WEDDING GUEST STYLE INSPIRATION: FIRST UP THE BLUE DRESS

I was talking to a friend of mine, a girl who is very social and outgoing, always participating in something and is a part of a few sports teams. The result of all this participation and socializing is instead of having one small-knit group of close friends like most of us, she is part of quite a few small-knit groups of friends and is quite close with lots of girls. This is great for her most of the time, except now that she is turning 30, as are most of her many friends, she is in the thick of wedding invites. In fact she is invited to 10 weddings and 10 hen parties this year. So I thought I would do a few posts on wedding guest style to give people a few ideas of how to mix and match dresses and accessories. Hopefully you will get a few ideas on putting colours together and how certain shapes and styles can work for you. These posts may also give you some inspiration for other occasions other than weddings and maybe show you how to rework a dress that you wore to a wedding so that you can wear it again to something else. The point is to get value out of both the accessories and the dresses.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a “that’ll do” kinda girl when it comes to getting glammed up. I love getting all glammed up for a special occasion and everything has to be just so. I know for some of you it’s your idea of a nightmare but I really love every bit of it from shopping for all the coordinating bits and pieces, getting tan and hair done, doing my nails and makeup. I just love being done up to the nines as they say. So you don’t have to go all out like me but hopefully these posts will give you some inspiration for what’ll work for you.

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This blue dress is by Calvin Klein and I bought it on eBay. I spotted it on an American department store web site that does ship to Ireland but they won’t ship Calvin Klein internationally, so I stalked eBay until I found it and for a lot cheaper too. This is probably the most comfortable occasion wear dress that I have ever owned. It fits me perfectly, the material is thick enough to not require special seamless underwear and the ruffle is perfectly placed across the tummy to disguise any after dinner bloating. I loves it, I loves it a lot. You can easily find a similar dress to this, there are loads of peplum dresses out there in this blue colour and you can find them as cheap or as expensive as you like.

And now to accessorise it. First up, my favourite colour with this blue is orange.

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The shoes are Kurt Geiger, the wrap, fascinator and bag are from a shop in Galway called Glitzi Bitz.
Some orange jewelry can look cheap and tacky so I went with amber because it looks a bit classier.

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The necklace is from Gerards (a shop I am always trying to get my mom to shop in but their accessories are quite good), the earrings and ring are from eBay.

Second, we have the berry pink. Bright fuchsia pink would be an obvious choice but everyone does that, so to be different I went with a richer berry toned pink.

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The wrap and bag are Star by Julien McDonald at Debenhams.  The shoes are Menbur and I must declare that I love Menbur shoes. They are the only brand of court shoes that stay on my heel and are comfortable, no need for insoles, party feet, heel shields, sore spots . . . absolutely no modification required.

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The necklace and earrings are from Boots that’s right, the pharmacy (how many times have you walked past those stands; filled with little gems, so they are).

Other colours that would look great with blue are bright aqua and lime green and I am eyeing a pair of lime shoes and matching clutch at the moment, fingers crossed they are on sale soon.  Have you any other colour suggestions for accessorising a blue dress?

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COMFORT ZONE HYDRAMEMORY CREAM GEL 24HOUR: REVIEW

I received a voucher for SPA Sula in Westport a while back and finally got around to using it the week after the Climb for Autism, about two and half weeks ago. That was also the Saturday during the two weeks of sunny weather (remember the summer of 2013). I had the most wonderful facial and the Thermal Suite is amazing, but I’m not going to blog about that because one, I didn’t pay a flying bit of attention to what was going on, I just totally relaxed and enjoyed every bit of it and two, I wasn’t invited by the SPA to do a post so I couldn’t go around taking photos and notes while other guests were relaxing and enjoying themselves. I sure as hell wouldn’t appreciate a stranger taking photos while I was in a SPA.

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The products used during the facial all felt and smelled so beautiful that on the way out I decided to purchase a facial moisturizer. I was completely out of moisturizer anyway and because it was such a lovely day I didn’t want to go trudging through all the shops, so I asked the SPA therapist to recommend one of theirs. She recommended the Comfort Zone Hydramemory Cream Gel 24 hour. I was not familiar with this brand before, but after my facial I was optimistic that it would be a good product. Comfort Zone is an Italian SPA brand and the Hydramemory range is a 24 hour deep hydrating system. The main ingredients of trehalose which “is a hydro-active sugar obtained from desert plants able to create a protective barrier around cells limiting their loss of water. Baobab extract is obtained from the leaves of the invaluable African plant known also as the “Plant of Life” since it can survive up to 5,000 years. Its moisturizing efficacy is linked to the mucilage obtained from leaves because it is able to bond with large amounts of water.” What does all of that mean for me; it is a very  good moisturiser.

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It looks like an ordinary white cream fluid, that is not thick, but it is very cooling when applied, so it feels kind of like a gel. It’s a lovely products to use during warm and humid weather. It also feels lovely and cooling after exfoliating, which can sometimes leave my cheeks a bit sensitive. It sinks in quickly and leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and velvety and it is a nice base for makeup. It definitely does leave my skin feeling hydrated all day.

Comfort Zone Hdromemory 24 Hour Gel

Now the packaging, don’t get me wrong here; I love fancy packaging and am a total sucker for it. However, the very plain packaging here gives me confidence that the money is in the quality of the ingredients and not the packaging. This cost €43.50, which is not cheap but for a quality SPA brand it’s actually very reasonable. I think this is a great moisturiser for summer and I would buy it again and I am also interested in trying other products from the brand.

Have you tried anything from this brand? What SPA brands do you rate?

HEN PARTY CHIC

Yea that title is a total oxymoron. On Saturday I went along on my future niece –in-law’s hen party with a gang of girls in their early 20s. It wasn’t too bad as my older sisters (one of whom is mother of the groom) as well as the mother of the bride were there so the oldies were only slightly outnumbered.

The plan was to go to Carrick-on-Shannon for some fun activities, such as sumo wrestling, obstacle course, Velcro wall and a bucking rodeo bull thing along with some other bits and pieces and then a night out with dinner and drinks. With the wedding less than two weeks away I’m afraid Arnica has become my new best friend but it was some craic and we nearly busted our sides laughing. Anyway, wearing a tracksuit on my chunky butt in front of a bunch of young wans is bad enough, there was no way I was going without some makeup. Obviously this is one of those situations where a fully face of slap isn’t really appropriate so I needed to be careful to make it look like I wasn’t wearing any but still look like I am actually naturally fabulous.  So here is what was on my face:

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MAC Prep & Prime BB Cream (review here)

MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural

Clinique Blushwear Creamstick in Peachy Blush (review here)

Unfortunately the schedule got off track so there was very little time to shower and get properly glammed up for dinner and drinks. There was a mad dash to literally slap on some slap. For the night out this is how I did my makeup:

Face:

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Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24h foundation
Bobbi Brown colour corrector
MAC Pro Long wear Concealer
MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural Light as finishing powder
MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Dark for contouring
MAC Blush in Peaches

Eyes:

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MAC Mineralise eye shadow in Fireside – crease
MAC All that Glitters- lid
Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner Black Violet
Loreal Virtuose Mascara
BROWS: MAC Omega

The finished look:

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What products do you use to look like you’re not wearing any makeup?
How do you do your makeup when you are pressed for time?

FRIDAY STYLE: BOYFRIEND JEANS DRESSED UP FOR A DAY OF SHOPPING

When I head out for a proper day of shopping, I like to dress nice. Now if I’m just on a mission to get something specific like tights or heading into Penneys to see what’s cheap and cheerful then it doesn’t matter what I wear. But if I’m out to treat myself to some real retail therapy then I like to make the effort. There are two reasons for this: one, when you look good you feel good. If you start the day out in a frumpy tracksuit and feeling negative and you are in a downer mood, then of course nothing will fit right or suit you. It’s always better to start the day in a positive mood, feeling good about yourself and I always feel better about myself when I have made a bit of an effort. The second reason is when you are dressed well, sales assistants tend to be nicer to you. Unfortunately this is not a rule, some stroppy mares will always be stroppy mares. However, I am a people watcher and I can’t help but notice that sales assistants are generally nicer to people that are dressed stylishly as opposed to those in still in their pj’s.

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So this is what I wore for a day of shopping on Saturday. The vibrant coral blazer is from Cutie and I bought it from iclothing.ie. I love the shape of these blazers, the cropped sleeves and tailored fit make it sit well with almost anything. They can look really dressy with a dress or smart casual with jeans and they come in loads of colours.

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The pussy bow blouse you have seen before in this post when the weather was colder. The colour of the leopard print is quite soft so it’s a pretty blouse and contrasts nicely with the bold colour of the blazer. The blouse is from Penneys.

These slim fit boyfriend jeans are from Zara. Because they are a very casual style, I love trying to dress them up. This outfit would look far dressier with heels but because I’m off to stroll through the shops, comfy shoes are a must for all that walking. These wedge heel, peep toe, canvas courts are a few years old but I got them in Paul Byron.

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Are you up styling boyfriend Jeans or keeping them relaxed with a t-shirt and flip flops? How do you like to dress for a day of retail therapy?

AUSSIE AUSSOME VOLUME SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER: REVIEW

Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo and Conditioner
As someone who has always had naturally straight and fine hair, I have bought lots of volumizing products over the years and if there is one thing I have learned it’s that a shampoo won’t give me big hair. Big hair requires serious styling products combined with specialist styling technique that requires a good stylist. However, being the sucker that I am I bought the Aussie Aussome Volume shampoo and conditioner a few weeks ago in Tesco as part of a two for something deal (sorry I don’t remember the actual price. Tesco, being the evil geniuses that they are, stick yellow deal stickers everywhere and some of us just buy things we don’t need without really considering if it even is that good of an offer at all). Back to the shampoo and conditioner, the promise is that the “Australian hops extract” and “unique formula, with extract of Australian hops, leaves you hair with body and fullness from root to tip. Bring on the Big Hair” yea bring it on because I’m still waiting.

Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo and Conditioner
Ok so I’m not left with a massive bouffant but it’s not all bad news. The shampoo does leave your hair squeaky clean, literally my hair squeaks while I’m rinsing the shampoo out. Luckily the conditioner adds back the moisture and leaves my hair soft and easy to comb through. I wouldn’t like to use the shampoo alone, there would be no way in hell I would be able to comb my hair after just using the shampoo. The conditioner doesn’t leave hair weighed down in fact even though there isn’t any noticeable volume as such; my hair is left lightweight and actually bouncy and swishy. In the photo below you can see the definition in the layers of my hair which shows how light weight the layers are left.

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If I am honest, I would buy these two for the scent alone. It is quite a sweet smell that some of you will hate but I like it. I love that I can still smell it in my hair for ages after. Have you tried these? Are there any volumizing products that have worked for you?

Long or Short?

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I’m trying to decide if I should crop my hair up again. Here is a picture of me from a few years ago with my hair cropped and here is a recent pic with my hair long and straight as it usually is. I’m open to opinions on keeping it long or cropping it up again. What do you think?

SMASHBOX LIMITLESS EYE LINER IN BLACK VIOLET: REVIEW AND PICTURES

Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner Black Violet

While I was waiting for my hairdresser in my beauty and hair salon I started playing with the bits and pieces on their Smashbox stand. I ended up buying this on a bit of a whim and I’m glad I did. It’s one of my favourite eye liners, not my all time favourite but it’s up there and I use it loads. I personally do not like black eyeliner on me so I tend to mostly use browns and purples. The name of this is Black Violet and as the name suggests it a dark purple; it’s definitely more purple than black. It’s not so dark that it looks harsh on me but it is dark enough for a nice smoky eye.

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The formula is nice to use; it glides along the skin without dragging or pulling. You can smudge it out to soften the line. I use a MAC 219 brush to smudge the line but you have to be quick because once it sets it doesn’t budge. It comes off easily enough with a good eye makeup remover or usually whatever cleanser I’m using to take my makeup off will remove the eye liner as well.

Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner Black Violet Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner Black Violet

Also the sharpener in the lid is quite handy as it will sharpen any makeup pencil. So when travelling, if you bring this eye liner then there is no need for a separate sharpener for other pencils.

In the simple eye makeup look below I show you Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner in Black Violet in action. All I have used here is MAC Satin Taupe (a purple gray taupe) all over the lid and in the crease. Then I used a small bit of MAC All That Glitters (a rose gold) in the inner corner.

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I lined the tightline, waterline, upper lash line and lower lash line all with Black Violet and smudged the lines with a MAC 219. A quick sweep of Lancôme Hypnose mascara on the lashes finishes the look.

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