Monday, January 31, 2011

A Perfect Pair

Today my lips are dressed in something new and something quite lovely. The Lipfinity Lip Tints by Max Factor are one of their new releases. The concept of a felt tip pen loaded with pigment is not new to the market but I dare say this one is one of the better ones I've tried. And I have tried a few as I think it's a novel idea but one that hasn't been executed very well previously. So with a 'here we go again' attitude I tried this over the weekend and I am quite delighted as a result. The concept is a simple one - draw in your lip shape with the tip of the pen and fill in with the flat side. The water based colour stains your lips and leaves a long lasting, matte finish behind. I love it. It genuninely works.... My favourite shade is 04 - a light berry tone.
Now, a word of warning; if you have anything on your lips beforehand such as balm or foundation (why?!) you need to be sure to take it off. The felt pen could clog and will become useless after a couple of tries. The lip tints need completely clean and dry lips to adhere to. I predict this will be a superstar product for brides who need colour all day, but can't be constantly running to the loo to touch up. At €9.99, they're a winner in my book.

Seeing as the Lip Tints leave the lips as dry as the Sahara and this can be fantastic for people who hate the feeling of anything on their lips, I personally like a bit of slip. So their new Sheer Gloss Balms are perfect to add a balmy, not glossy finish and a slight colour. These balms have an SPF10 and lot's of moisturising goodies so you can feel the benefit to your lips, particularly in this cold weather it's great to find something that looks good and is performing a duty for you at the same time.
I've been slathering on the number 02 (coral ) over my lip tint and it works like a dream.

These two products are soul mates; better together than apart.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Weekend

smell the roses...

find your ruby slippers...

make red lips compulsory...

look at beautiful dresses...

the sign says it all...

wear a messy bun...

see some girlfriends...

Enjoy yourself!

(images via here, here, here, here and here )

Friday, January 28, 2011

So Saab, So Good

I was thrilled to be asked to attend the IFTA's (Irish Film And Television Awards) as a guest of MAC. So the hunt is on for a great black tie dress. On a non-black tie budget I must admit, but I've turned my attentions to the couture shows for inspiration. I look forward to these so much each season; the sheer creativity, the level of detail, the feeling of abandon for the designers who can at last indulge their inner visions, not too hampered by strict budgets. Couture is about accessing the highest expression of their talents.....expect luxurious fabrics, expensive detailing, hours upon hours of work by cutters, embroiderers and beaders. No, none of us can buy them, but we can dream, we can become inspired, and we can wait for the themes to filter down to us mere mortals on the high street!

I have adored Lebanese designer Elie Saab since he launched himself on the couture scene by dressing Halle Berry for the Oscars ten years ago. He can be extremely opulent and at times I find him too much for my generally minimalist taste, but I like this season a lot...

The colour palette of nudes, red, black and soft silvers really appeal to me and I love the above dress for it's demure shape paired with beautiful sparkle.

I think this draping is superb. It takes a master to get it right...

What a cute swing dress in amazing fabric. Wouldn't this make a fantastic wedding dress for a more low-key bride?

I adore this shot. Black against porcelain skin is one of my very favourite things. I also love the soft makeup and slightly messy buns in the hair. The prefect counterpoint to the detailed dresses.

Bring back boleros! How lovely is this...

A lot more lace than I could normally handle, but it's working for me today!

Elie, I salute you. You know how to dress a woman.

(images via )

Hello Beautiful!

My dears, it's been a busy week so forgive me for the light posting. I worked on a great beauty shoot, visited a new salon to review it for a magazine and had the absolute pleasure of one of their Aromatherapy Associates massages - heaven! I have also been swallowed up in the planning of mine and Ivan's new food business harnessing all his skills as a Ballymaloe trained chef. On top of all this, we are thinking of moving house so are viewing every couple of days...Whew! See? I told you I was busy. I am certainly not complaining though as it has been most pleasurable.

I found this image from the Spring/Summer Chloe campaign and oh how I love that bag.... Be mine you beautiful thing....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chanel Lightens Up

There's a new kid on the foundation block and it's name is Vitalumiere Aqua by Chanel. I've been quite excited to try it as I like everything it claims to do. Claims. There's a word that is important to take note of whilst considering products. They promise the sun, moon and stars for sure, but how do they fare on the face? Chanel say it's 'a new generation texture, an unprecedented sensory experience' Doesn't that sound nice!
Only time will tell.... So I have started testing this latest offering from Chanel's makeup maestro, Peter Philips. So far, I like it. The coverage it provides is fairly light, it claims to be like a second skin but in all honesty, we've heard this before from lot's of other companies, with some failing and some succeeding in bringing us this mythical glowy, baby-like complexion we all crave. Or are told we crave by the cosmetic houses. But the truth is, sometimes we crave decent pigment and good coverage for our not-so hot days when we want to hide. My initial sense is that Vitalumiere Aqua may be best on combination skins which mine isn't, so as I'm not fully sure that this foundation should join the ranks of my uber second-skin product, MAC Face & Body quite yet, I will wear it for a while longer and see how I get on.

I will report back to you like the willing makeup guinea pig that I am and in the meantime, this product is being widely sampled in all the glossy mags at the moment too, so why not try it for yourself and tell me how you get on...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Manic Monday

Correct. It's not Monday, it is Tuesday, but I had such a manic Monday yesterday with a long over-due catch up with a friend followed by a business meeting. So I didn't get a chance to sit at my computer and announce the winner of The Friday Freebie featuring the fab Essence hamper. Thank you all so much for your entries and your very lovely comments.

And the hamper goes to...

*drum roll*

Fran Cluskey!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's Saturday...

Have a great weekend
Relax, read, play and buy yourself some flowers!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Friday Freebie

I've got a great giveaway for you today! To celebrate me winning Best Irish Blogger, the lovely people at Essence got in touch and are offering a hamper full of Essence products. Yes, A Hamper! It contains one of the Jumbo Metallic eye pencils that I posted about earlier this week...

One of their Soft and Natural foundations....

One of their lovely lip glosses...

and a Studio Nail File
Nail Fashion Stickers
Metallics Nail Polish
Metallics Gel eyeliner brush
Glitter Eye Pencil

Ooh, lucky you!
Leave me a comment below and I will announce the winner on Monday.

Fashion's Prince

The Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens has left his last post at Nina Ricci to much dismay on the part of the fashion peeps. Anna Wintour is credited as saying 'How could you do this to me' such is her belief in him and the fervent love of his creations that are almost couture-like in their detail and scope. His style is always dramatic and dark. His models moody and otherwordly....

He looks like the typical image of Jesus Christ here doesn't he! Is he fashion's Messiah? Perhaps so, seeing the extent of people's regard for his fashion vision...

He hasn't announced his next move yet, so rumours are rife on where he will pop up next. But in the meantime he has produced his book called The Other Side Of The Picture from which these shots are taken.

From these sneak peeks it seems to be a gorgeous look into his slightly gothic world. With backstage shots galore you can see the work and dedication of his teams to bring his ideas to the runway.

It's one for the coffee table. Out in February.

(seen here first )

A Jewel from Down Under

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
These shots of Erin Wasson for Australian brand Scanlan and Theodore are so dreamy and inviting...

This is a really interesting fashion line by a husband and wife team who count style mavens Carine Roitfeld and Mischa Barton among their loyal followers. They never advertise, preferring to be stumbled upon and they don't sell online -you have to visit one of their stores.

Their designs combine wonderful shapes with draping, layering and unusual cutting in luxurious fabrics.

I love their vibe. Take a look here...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Best 10 Minutes Of My Day

Today I had the best hug ever. When Lulu woke from her nap, I went up to her room and sat on her bed. Normally she would jump up and run around carrying on with her busy business of being a toddler. But today she clambered up to my arms, gave me a kiss (without me asking for it, as usual) put her head on my shoulder and just clung on like a little koala. We stayed like that for 10 minutes.

10 perfect minutes that stopped me worrying about the things I was worrying about previously. 10 minutes of stop time.... 10 minutes of me and my girl... 10 minutes that made me feel like a real Mum...

10 perfect minutes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Out With The Old, In With The New

So it’s a new year, time for some new beauty resolutions. When was the last time you cleared out your makeup bag? Are you still using ancient eye pencils and mascaras that are long past their best? If so, harness those New Years good intentions; it’s time for a beauty overhaul.

Firstly, empty out your entire makeup collection on to a table. For some this may mean a mountain of products and for others barely any. The same rules apply though; you need to build your capsule collection of good products that are working for you not against you. You need to have faith that the key products in your makeup bag are truly doing something good for your face. Pretty packaging is one thing, but it’s fairly useless at making you look good. It’s what’s inside that counts, so only keep something if you really love how it delivers. Tough, but fair!

Look at your foundation and ask yourself are you really happy with it? Is it improving your skin? Is it the right colour? Is it the right coverage for your skins needs? If the answers are no, then throw out what you have. Be ruthless, it’s better to have no products rather than bad ones.

Now, look at your concealing products. Do you have a good under eye brightener to disguise shadows? Do you have another one with more coverage for blemishes? Again, if yours is not performing – ditch it!

Have you a light textured setting powder in a shade that matches your skin tone?

Look at your eye shadows next; how many of them do you actually wear? Are they all variations of brown? Have you got purples or greens?

Separate them into colour families – all the neutrals together, all the vibrant shades together, all the smoky, dark tones etc. If you see that you have multiples of the same shades, put them aside to give to a friend, sister or niece, You should only need a few shadows in your collection that have specific effects. People tend to buy the same shades over and over because they like them, but they are not getting any new looks, just re-hashing old ones. If you’re stuck in a colour rut; vow to do a makeup course or lesson to get some new ideas.

Mascaras should only be used for 6 months at a maximum. Any longer and the mascara itself dries up so is ineffective and you also run the risk of getting conjunctivitis…not a good look for Spring!

Take your eye and lip pencils and sharpen them. Make sure they are all still soft and haven’t hardened with age. Check you have basic shades such as a good nude, berry and red tone for lips. For eye pencils everyone needs a good inky black and a grey or dark brown for softer, daytime definition.

Review your bronzers and blushers bearing in mind the roles you require of them. Bronzer is to brighten your skin, not make it look dirty as many dark bronzers can. Keep the colours peachy and you will look great. If your current bronzer is too dark – you know the drill; ditch it!

Likewise, blushers are designed to add a rosy, healthy glow to the cheeks so anything too brown, too orange or too red has to go. Keep to baby pinks, rose tones and soft peaches and you’re looking good.

When it comes to lips, I think it’s very personal. Some people feel good in dark tones, some hate anything on their lips but Vaseline. So figure out what you like and stick within your comfort zone. On my makeup courses, I get people to try on lot’s of new colours, as you won’t know what you think until you try and so many people vow their loyalty to a particular shade only to be blown away by something else that they never would have picked up at a counter. Lip colours are where you can really change your look and I recommend that everyone should have a nude pink, a soft berry and a classic red. These colours can be in a full lipstick format for the fearless or in glosses for the less brave.

Now that you have given your makeup collection a full review, you should fill your day to day makeup bag with the 10 or so products that you will be wearing most.

(I wrote this article for the January issue of Irish Parent magazine)

Essence Treasures

I'm on an Essence exploration at the moment. I'm in the process of testing various products from the range to see if they will fit well on my Beauty On Your Budget makeup course. So far, so good. I'm very impressed with their colour range. This week I've been wearing one of these Jumbo Eye Pencils from their Metallics range. I have shade 03 (on the right above) which is a soft cool copper. It is a really wearable tone that enhances all eye colours yet still looks subtle, therefore perfect for daytime. Just scribble it over your entire eye lid, blend at the edges, add mascara and you're set. It's fantastic for a super fast eye. To make it appear darker for night, simply colour in your lid with a deep brown kohl pencil first and apply the Jumbo pencil on top. Couldn't be easier!

I have developed quite a thing for nail polishes of late. Not unusual, you may say, but I had bare nails for years preferring the totally natural look. But lately I've become so much more adventurous and curious about all the exciting nail colour trends.One of my favourites from last year was the taupe-y/grey look. I did think however that after a couple of days they looked a bit dead so I tried the Walk of Fame shade from Essence as it looked a little more mauve than flat grey. And it is! The slight hint of mauve is much more flattering on a pale skin tone. It needs two coats and a top coat for extra glossiness but once those are in place, I love it!

And the extra benefit? It's only €1.29!

(image from shortnchic)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two Good Shots

I've been looking into some great wedding photography from around the globe lately. Here are two that caught my fancy. I think that even if you don't like sparkly shoes, this shot warrants a little 'oooh'

I adore this shot - a secret kiss caught from behind a curtain. Romantic and sweet, the very essence of what a wedding should be.
More gorgeous shots to come later....

Interiors Crush of The Day

I was perusing my favourite blogs and I came across these two lovely interior shots. I just love the mauve and orange in this one over on Coco & Kelley. What a fantastic colour combo...who knew!

This sideboard is in my current style crush, Emmanuelle Alt's house in Paris. Yes, she's the new editor in chief of French Vogue aka God Of All Things Stylish so you can undertand why I was very curious to see inside her house. I love the retro feel to this piece of furniture and the pictures and lamp are effortlessly chic. Just like her really...
You can see more over on the ever-cool Disney Roller Girl

Best of the Globes

Right, I'm not going to bore you with yet another review of what they all wore at the Golden Globes. Yes we noted that emerald green was popular, the ubiquitous black was, well, ubiquitous. But I liked these peachy and cream tones. They are a very flattering colour to wear in both wardrobe and makeup. I thought Emma Stone looked fantastic in this simple but stunning sheath from the Calvin Klein Collection.

Anne Hathaway literally sparkled in Armani Prive and I love the covered up effect. No shoulders, boobs, or leg on show in any of these three looks. And the result? They look like elegant ladies. Finally, people are returning to the glamour of wearing beautifully cut dresses in great fabric. In my view they are far more sexy than letting it all hang out (are you listening Halle Berry?)

The idea of Tilda Swinton as a fashion icon can be quite polarising. Some people think she looks like a man, some people say she's wierd. I think she's wonderful! Her choices are elegant, they stand out for their difference and she is one of the only ones who really makes a statement. This Jill Sander ensemble is beautiful. She looks ethereal, with an almost fragile strength, if there is such a thing....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Won!

My friends, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to vote for me to win Best Irish Blogger in the awards. I can't believe I actually won!

Here's what they said...

'It was quite the duel between Ellie Balfe's blog and for quite some time, but Balfe's musings of a makeup artist nailed it at the final hurdle. Ellie has long been one of Ireland's most prominent makeup artists, but has diversified in recent years to also become one of the foremost commentators within the beauty scene online and in print in Ireland and overseas.'

It is such a thrill for me to know that people who have stumbled across Ellie loves... stay and read and keep coming back. I am honoured to have your presence and I love reading your comments and emails.

I am quite literally jumping for joy and it's all down to you for reading every day, so with a very happy and humbled heart, I thank you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paloma Sparkles With Shu

I really like Paloma Faith. It is as though she is a showgirl from days gone by. Her shows are an extravaganza of delightful detail and her soulful voice never fails to draw you in to her theatrical world. Her costumes and styling inspire her audiences to dress up along with her and her live shows sparkle and shimmer with rhinestones and glitter.

Paloma is a great fan of Swarovski gems and she has just collaborated with the wonderful Shu Uemura to create a little colour collection that includes these fabulous crystal encrusted false lashes. There are over 30 gems to add a touch of the glamorous diva to your look. The collection is only available from Selfridges in London and launches in February....get someone you know to send them over.... don't miss out!

Paloma also worked with Swarovski to design her costumes for her Glastonbury performance....aren't they amazing!

'Whatever happens, if you sparkle you always feel better! So in joy and sadness, shine on.'
-Paloma Faith-
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