Monday, February 28, 2011

Gloss Giveaway

Wow, I got the most amount of entries in last Friday's giveaway EVER! It's an Ellie Loves... record!

The 10 winners of the Bourjois Effet 3D lip glosses are....

  1. Simone G
  2. Anne Marie
  3. Lisa
  4. Cherry Pullinger
  5. Amy
  6. Gigi
  7. Bex-4-ever
  8. Jo
  9. Is This Life Real
  10. TC

Congrats ladies, please email me your postal addresses to ellie(at)elliebalfe(dot)com and they'll be on their way...

Best Dressed

I look forward to the Oscars every year and have done since I was small. The glamour and glitz transports me to another world where, as a little girl, I used to dream of being part of it. Now as an adult I still love the sheer escapism. And the endless commenting on what they are wearing still entertains me no end! This years Oscars were fairly tame I thought, some pretty dresses but nothing amazingly striking. There were quite a few red gowns in a nod to what's in store for Autumn/Winter '11 and then cool berry tones, blues, nudes and white were the order of the day. I loved Mina Kunis in the beautiful lavender Elie Saab above...

Natalie Portman in Rodarte (who else!)

Amy Adams in L'Wren Scott...

Cate Blanchett proved the most daring in her Givenchy couture gown with sculptured shoulders and bright yellow beading...

Hailee Steinfeld designed her ballerina style dress with Marchesa. I don't like the shoes or hairband, but she's got the dress right!

Michelle Wiliams wore Chanel, therefore I love....

This Armani Prive dress looked great on Celine Dion and she's showing off her post-twins body to perfection. As usual, I like the more covered up styles. Hurrah for less cleavage and more sleeves!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy Weekend

I love this shot by super cool photographer Max Wanger. What a cool family portrait eh? It's got me wondering how I can get a trampoline to try and re-create it!

Have a great weekend my lovelies, I hope it's full of friends, family and fun (and trampolines)

See you on the other side!


Colour Me Beautiful

As I'm sure you are all aware now, colour is back for 2011. It's the time to ditch those muted tones and get into jewel/candy/pastels...any way you choose, as long as it's colour!

I wrote a guest post about it on the famous Irish model, Faye Dinsmore's fashion blog. Have a peek here and get it bright!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Friday Freebie

Bourjois have updated their (already fabulous) Effet 3D lip glosses. I have always liked these as I think they are a champagne gloss for a lemonade cost, to borrow a phrase!
The re-jig of these little beauties mean that they are more balmy in texture which is a feature I really like. They feel less gloopy and sticky and are less likely to grab strands of your hair in the wind. The colour range is extensive but they have some stand out shades that I have been using to great effect since I got them. Number 33 is a perfectly wearable nude, number 03 is a warm pretty rose, number 08 is a brighter fuchsia tone which is so current this Spring and number 06 is my personal favourite; a sheer, gorgeous red... an easy way to add some colour into your look without appearing over-done.

Bourjois are giving a gloss to 10 of you, yes 10!

So leave me a comment below to be in the draw and I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Hear Our Voices

The day has come. Ireland is going to the polls to have our say and vote in a new government. Our country is in crisis, we have lost our jobs and our young people. Our future has been gambled with by the corrupt, greedy, small minded and plainly idiotic people who were supposedly 'leading' us. Leading us where? Into the darkness it seems...
But today is our chance to rattle the cage and although we are not entirely inspired by the choices before us, at least a change is possible.
A changing of the guard, a changing of the conciousness, and hopefully a change in mindset...

Get out, vote and enjoy playing your part.

( I just love this picture, it looks exactly like my Mum in the 70's with her long hair!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Greatest Glow

I am please to announce that I have found my holy grail of highlighters. Yes, it's true, I have no need to look any further for this elusive and essential piece of kit!
Allow me to introduce The Shimmering Skin Perfector from Becca. I saw Lisa Eldridge using it on one of her excellent videos and knew I had to try it and how happy I am as it is simply fantastic...
As you can see, it comes in a pump format and there are two ways to use it; either use a flat foundation brush and lightly brush it over your still-wet foundation on the areas where the light hits the face. So that's the cheekbones, the browbones and a tiny amount on the cupids bow. You can also use your fingers to press it in to the skin, but my preference is the brush. Powder afterwards, not's always best to keep like with like, so that means all your 'wet' products together (base, concealer, cream blush, cream highlight) and your 'dry' products the same (powder blush, bronzer, shimmer powders all sit best over setting powder).
But, back to why I love this shimmering skin perfector....the texture is amazing, it is smooth to apply, it is not glittery (hurrah!), it is pearly but not a coloured pearl - a white pearl.
It makes pale skin look porcelain and other-worldly perfect. I am using it on myself daily to pep up my skin and I have used it on several shoots for a gorgeous glowy skin with strong fuchsia lips and nude eyes. Very Spring-y. Very lovely.

Unfortunately, Becca is not widely available in Ireland, which is a shame as it is such a beautiful brand with the most divine foundations. I got mine from the great Mise Beauty - my absolute favourite Irish online beauty store. It's a real store too, but more of that in a future post!

Signs of the Times

I do love a good sign! No, don't laugh, not the directions kind or warning kind - more the inspirational or sweet kind. I saw these recently and they have rather grabbed my fancy...

A nice little mantra...

Wouldn't this be sweet in a kids room...

A good one for a work desk perhaps! be loved by you. Aaaah!

Romantic and sweet ( possibly slightly deluded, but hey!)

(top 3 from here, the rest from here )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I think I may have found my new glasses. I was looking at Jennifer Aniston's new look and admiring her specs so I did some web trawling to ascertain which ones she was wearing. Super sleuth that I am (not really!) I found that they are the new 'Wacks' by Oliver Peoples as seen in these new campaign pictures featuring real life couple Devendra Banhart and Rebecca Schwartz...

What'cha reckon??

Here they are in black which I would choose I think...

Here they are on Jen.
And here is Oliver People's new campaign video featuring Shirley Manson from Garbage along with Elijah Wood.
Just because it's cute...


Scarlett & Mango

I love the vibe of Mango's Summer ad campaign. It's glossy and glamorous in a faintly seventies way...

Retro print with a great tan belt...

Nice hair, nice top, nice shades, nice nail polish, nice lipstick!

No-one does tousled better than Scarlett and she's rockin' it here!

Wednesday's Dress

I saw this Vivienne Westwood Anglomania dress called Wednesday on Net-A -Porter and thought it apt to post about it today!
Taffeta would not normally be my fabric of choice but I like it here, so perhaps it's the stripes that grabbed me! That, and the cool grey and navy colour which is so chic. Westwood dresses are so beautifully cut that I imagine this would look wonderful on. Wouldn't it be a sweet dress to wear to a wedding or even for some funky bridesmaids!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Target

From time to time I love nothing more than browsing through the vintage jewellery auction online catalogues and adding things to my wish-list. Lately, Ivan and I have been imagining what we will treat ourselves with if our new business is a success. His treat will be a new car (surprise, surprise!) and mine will be this Victorian target ring that is currently up for auction at O'Reillys Fine Art on Francis St in Dublin. Isn't it beautiful! I have found myself looking at it every day and imagining it glistening on my right hand....

We got my engagement ring (above) in an auction too and it was a pretty exciting process as I had fallen in love with it but there was no guarantee we could get it until Ivan placed his bid over the phone as the auction was going on. Our hearts were in our mouths as the lot number approached!

Jen & Bob

Why are we so fascinated by this woman's hair? I'm not entirely sure, but I admit to joining the 'oohs' when I saw Jennifer Aniston's new bob that she revealed yesterday in Madrid.
As a lot of you may know, I am a fan of the bob! I just love a sleek one and also love a messy one, so I think Jen looks just great....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hello Monday

It always rolls around too fast doesn't it! But hey, it's here, and we have to make the most of it!
How was your weekend? We had a nice relaxing time which included a first birthday party and a long lunch and catch up with a friend yesterday. We've also been viewing houses and plotting the futures for our businesses...very day-dreamy I admit, but if you don't dream, you don't get, right?!

I've also been thinking about summer... we haven't taken a holiday in the sun for three years and I'm not sure if we will get to this year either but I'll continue to dream about sweet summery dresses and sunglasses such as these from ASOS...aren't they pretty. Oh to feel the sun on my face like this lucky model....Come on Spring, let's be havin' ya!

The winners of The Friday Freebie are A Certain Vintage and Ciara me your postal addresses please!

Friday, February 18, 2011

In Defence of Your Skin - The Friday Freebie

So you know the feeling in winter when you're skin is feeling a bit de-hydrated and weathered so you load on a thicker moisturiser to nourish it? Only to find that your makeup won't stick and when you get indoors into a centrally heated environment you start to 'glow' exessively due to the barrier of cream. The other extreme is when it is warm and you want something lightweight yet are concerned about getting enough moisture as well as a decent level of SPF. I have found that I have been layering products in the summer time in order to address my skin's needs and end up 'glowing' again! But don't even mention the disaster that would be your skin if you didn't protective products at all.
So what to do? What to use? It all gets a bit confusing...

Well, the clever clogs (and dermatologists) over at Neutrogena have sorted it. They have just launched their Multi-Defence line which is their first daily moisturiser that protects against sun damage, pollution, cold, heat and wind. Wow! What a claim, can one bottle of lotion really do all this?

It seems yes. They worked with eminent dermatologist, Dr Susan Mayou from the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group, whom I quizzed at the launch, and she was very excited about the breakthrough technology that Neutrogena have harnessed to develop this range. They call it PROT-AOX which is a blend of highly performing ingredients including Moringa seed, Brazilian Green Tea and vitamins C and E. This particular cocktail protects the skin from environmental aggressors and improves the skin's own resistance. They include a spectrum of UVA and UVB filters as well as being able to protect against ozone, cigarette smoke (shame on you!) heat and humidity. So it works to defend you against all these skin enemies in one bottle, but how does it feel I hear you cry!

I divided my haul between three people, myself included, all of us with different skin types and the results were a unanimous positive from us all. I road-tested the wipes and the moisturiser for all skin types which has an SPF of 25. This high level of protection at under €10 is amazing so for that alone I give it a huge thumbs up, but mainly, I loved the texture. It's light, my skin felt smooth and my makeup sits perfectly on top. In fact, people commented on how well my skin looked when I started wearing it.
My tester with oily skin used the Gentle Purifying Scrub and the moisturiser for normal and combination skin. The result? Happy skin!
Ivan tested the one for dry and sensitive at my request as I wanted to see how it would fare in warm environments (he's a chef - it gets hot!) and he was impressed - no oily residue or sticky feeling.

So there you go, my verdict is that Neutrogena have worked hard to develop this range which really performs and protects. It's your skin's own bodyguard and with each product at under €10, I'm in...hook, line and sinker.

Here's the best bit - Neutrogena have some goodies to give away to two of you!

Leave a comment below and I'll announce the winners on Monday...

The Dream Kitchen

Myself and Ivan (aka The Resident Chef) have just set up a new foodie business called The Dalkey Food Company where he will be making his range of beautiful artisan soups and supplying them to cafes and stores. We're also planning to teach cookery classes to people who would like more kitchen confidence. Well, he'll be teaching - I am the hostess and the event stylist!
As we're planning on teaching small groups in our own home, we are looking to move to a new house with a fantastic kitchen. The one above is pretty much ideal and we're both currently swooning over it, the downside is that it's in the US! So as soon as we find a cool kitchen with house attached we'll be good to go!

(pic via apartment 34)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lipstick Line Up

Makeup guru and queen of the New York uber-groomed look, Bobbi Brown has re-formulated and re-launched her lipstick line and I had the pleasure of playing with them yesterday at their Spring launch (so many pretty things, coming your way!)
The difference in the formula is that they now consist of pigments mixed in a clear, emollient base...this means that the colours are true to what you see in the tube and they are rich, creamy, long-lasting and completely gorgeous. Shade-wise we're spoiled for choice but I really fell for the Cosmic Raspberry shade.

I'm a lipstick fan, always have been, so I'm thrilled to see how people are embracing it again. It's just so glamorous; there's no escaping it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Joy of Converse

I know they're nothing new, but I can't wait to get in to my Converse again once the weather warms up a little. I have them in both the boot and the shoe and this Spring I am also contemplating getting the metallic leather ones and the yellow ones!
They are up there with Levi 501's, breton tops, trench coats and LBD's in the classics gallery and I love 'em...

A Classic Bronzer

Terracotta by Guerlain. It's been around for donkeys..for a reason. People keep buying into it because it keeps making them look good. I love the proper matte one and use it for contouring under my cheekbones (with a small flat eyeshadow brush actually - better for precision)
Now, it's called a moisturising bronzing powder but moisturising it ain't. That's because it's a powder, and they ain't moist by nature, but let's overlook that slightly odd claim and give credit where it's due.
Used on the high points of the face with a light touch, it's a great bronzer and that, is that.

4 Eyes

Due to a chronic clumsy episode the other day, I lost my glasses. I am currently wearing an old pair that look ridiculous and I can't see out of, so am therefore bashing into things like a fool.
So I went spec shopping earlier but of course couldn't make a decision so left, totally confused. These three have made the short list, what do you think? The new design Ray Ban wayfarers above...

These D&G ones which are more straight and more like my old ones...

Or these retro style Ray Bans? I can't make up my mind about whether I love or hate these Mad Men-esque frames but they would be cute with breton tops and capri style pants in Spring...

Indecisive? Moi?

Help, my lovely readers, what do you think?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lilac Bouquet

I think this is a gorgeous bridal bouquet. Lilac tied with a beaded belt...simple and stylish.

(seen on once wed )

Lovely Loulerie

There's a beautiful girl called Louise and she sells beautiful jewellery in her store in Dublin called...yes, Loulerie! It's been open for a few years now and she sells the most stylish and chic pieces. After a few years spent working in the industry in New York she was exposed to lots of creative new labels previously not seen on these shores. She still travels there each season bringing back her pick of the latest trends. The designers she stocks represent something different in the, dare I say, slightly jaded jewellery scene in Dublin. Not everyone wants the now ubiquitous charm bracelets and run of the mill wedding solitaires and bands. Louise and her team offer a fresh approach and can help you to accessorise an outfit as well as offering a bespoke design service for something truly original. It's my favourite contemporary jewellery store and I frequently pass by and stare longingly in the window.
I am currently coveting this stackable 18k gold ring and bangles... aren't they pretty!

Reading Chairs

Somewhere to chill, escape into a book or just stare out a I do love a reading chair!

I love the red chair in a neutral toned room... and the metallic fireplace is pretty special too.

(images via red )

Cherry Blossom Girl

I like this dreamy shot and particularly love the mint green converse over on the Cherry Blossom Girl's fabulous blog. If you haven't seen her before take a look here, she's one of my favourite bloggers ever...

Blooming Lovely

The new collection called In Bloom from Smashbox hits counters right about now. I think it's one of the prettiest offerings from any company this season. Regular readers of Ellie loves will know that I am a fan of cream blushers and am particularly loyal to the now-disappeared Stila ones and I'm struggling to find a suitable replacement - well, that position may now be filled! This Cream Cheek Duo in Blushing/ Peony is a genius two toned product that has a great texture (the most important element of a cream blush). This one is creamy yet not too slippy and sheer. It lasts very well, with the colour still looking intense after several hours. I use my fingers to apply to the apple of teh cheeks but a flat foundation brush is also excellent. The best way to use the two colours is to apply a small amount of the darker tone to under the cheekbone and the lighter tone to the apple. Or just the lighter one for day and darker for night...up to you and your comfort levels with colour.

This pretty palette is the main part of the collection and it's so damn wearable that I can honestly say it will suit everyone. There are a mix of matte and sheen shadows ranging, as you can see, from the pale tutu pinks to fleshy nude and taupe as well as warm green and lavender blues and mauves. A fairly decent brush accompanies this set that I think you could be wearing right through to Autumn and beyond. It's a winner in my book and as prices go, Smashbox fall in the 'medium' category.... not cheap, not expensive, totally accessible. The cream blush is €26 and the eye palette is €49. Check them out asap...

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Driftwood Heart...

...just because it's beautiful.

Parisienne Pots of Pretty

I am quite excited about some of the new releases from Bourjois. As always they introduce pretty, covetable and innovative products which are superstars in their price bracket.
But did you know about their history? They go back a long way to Paris around 1863 where Monsieur Bourjois was busy concocting stage makeup used in the dressing rooms of young theatrical artistes. He came up with the baked powder formula blushers and shadows that are still used today. They have always been cased in the little round pots which are now iconic in the beauty world and have also always been intended for a dual usage - wet or dry. So whether you like a lighter wash of colour or a more intense level of colour, you can be in control.
This season the little pots have cute vignettes of Paris landmarks on their lids to celebrate their heritage. My favourite shades are Rose Coupe de Foudre ( a warm peach with gold sheen) and Rose de Jaspe ( A peachy pink - super flattering for Spring) I also love the smell of them, they have that old fashioned makeup smell that divides some, but I love it. It conjures up the nostalgic idea of the mystery of makeup that grabbed me as a little girl and perhaps played part in my desire to become a makeup artist!

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