Monday, December 12, 2016

La Dolce Vita

Every time I have an occasion and I can't decide how to do my makeup or I don't have a lot of time to get ready, this look tends to be my go-to. I think everyone has their failsafe party makeup look that you know will look good and that you can almost do with your eyes closed. These are the products that I know will last for hours, that I've used countless times and I can rely on to make me look ready for any special occasion. 

I usually begin by prepping my skin with a face mask like the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, I love this one because it makes a huge difference to my skin in such a short time- one minute to be exact. It gives your skin a hit of Vitamin C and makes it instantly appear more bright and smooth. 

Then I apply a hydrating serum and moisturiser making sure to let each one sink in fully before I begin my makeup, this way I know my skin will be hydrated properly and my foundation won't sit on my skin. 

My absolute favourite foundation for a special occasion is Estée Lauder Double Wear Light. If you have combination/oily skin this foundation is perfect for controlling oil and lasting throughout the entire day and night. My sister and I both wore this on her wedding day and it's one of those foundations that still looks perfect even after you've been wearing it all day. However because it's so long lasting I find that sometimes I need an extra hit of hydration beforehand which is where the YSL  Instant Moisture Glow comes in. I've written about it before, but if you have dry/dehydrated skin, this honestly does wonders for the appearance of your foundation. It gives a your skin instant hydration and a beautiful texture to work with. I'm down to my last few drops of this and I'll definitely be repurchasing it once it's run out. 


Once my foundation is done I always move onto my brows. I feel like they anchor my whole face and I don't feel right until they're finished. I always use my trusted Soap and Glory Archery Brow Pencil in the shade Hot Chocolate because I know how to get my brows exactly how I like them using this. I've gone through countless amounts of these pencils, it's probably one of my most repurchased makeup items. I finished off my brows with the Lancôme Sourcils Styler Brow Mascara in Châtain. I've been using it for about six months now and it's still going strong. It's without a doubt the best brow mascara I've ever used, you can read my full review here


Next up is the most fun part- the eyes! I always begin any eye look by using Urban Decay Primer Potion. I've been using it for about ten years now and it's never let me down. You can get a 5ml travel size for €11 which is so handy, especially for a product like this that takes me ages to get through. 

The pièce de résistance of this entire look is the incomparable Charlotte Tilbury The Dolce Vita palette. I can't believe I've had this for two and a half years and I've never once mentioned it here. My mam got it for me for my birthday and it's once of my most prized makeup products. I was hesitant to even write this post because the photos just do not do this palette justice. I found a photo of Beyoncé wearing the Dolce Vita Palette to Michelle Obama's 50th birthday party and it's probably the best photo of the gold glitter 'Pop' shade that I've seen. This is one that you need to experience in person to see how truly gorgeous it is. 

There's a video on Charlotte's Youtube channel of her using the palette that I followed when I first got it and I've pretty much used it in the same way ever since. The palette it so easy to use with it's guide on the back, the four shades are Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop. Once you follow those steps you end up with a gorgeous glittery warm smoky eye. It might look scary at first with the glitter and dark brown but the quality of the shadows means that they blend together seamlessly and allow just about anyone to achieve a party eye look easily. 

Anyone I know who has this palette adores it. For me it's without a doubt the must-have palette from her makeup range, I really can't see anyone being disappointed with it. I've worn the eyeshadows alone too and each one is a gorgeous shade in its own right. 


I finished off my eyes with some dark brown liner, this one is the Lancôme Grandiôse Liner. In the photos below I used my current favourite black liquid liner, Bourjois Liner Pinceau, which is the closest I've found to the now discontinued Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner. My favourite mascara for giving my lashes lots of volume for a party look is Bourjois Volume Clubbing. It allows me to apply a few coats and it means I don't need to bother with false lashes. 


I'm not a huge fan of contouring but I absolutely love the NARS Contour Blush in Olympia. As you can see I'm quickly running out of it after having it for over two years. This is another product I swear by for giving fair skin a little bit of definition. It also makes a gorgeous neutral blush for those days where you only want a hint of blush. It's a totally underrated product. 


The overall look is very strong so I only added a touch of my Urban Decay Afterglow Blush in Score just to give my cheeks a hint of colour and a little glow. As you can see this is another product that is very well loved. I've been wearing this shade almost every day for more than a year. It's that perfect blush shade that goes with almost any makeup look. I love the formula of the Afterglow blush range, they blend into the skin so easily and last all day. 


I finished the cheeks with a touch of highlighter. This Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Starlet Mosiac is another product I've been using for years. You only need the smallest amount of this to get a beautiful sheen on your cheekbones. 

TB17 DVP21

To finish off my skin I used some Clarins Instant Light Concealer under my eyes to brighten my dark circles and then powdered using Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot. Both of these are firm favourites of mine. I've been using the Clarins concealer for so long and there's still some left in the tube. I've repurchased the Soap and Glory powder a few times, it's great for keeping in your handbag to touch up if you're starting to look oily. I always try to blot my skin first with blotting paper or a single ply of tissue to get rid of any oil before powdering as it make it last longer. 


The first two shades above are Charlotte Tilbury Red Carpet Red and Bitch Perfect. Red Carpet Red is from the Matte Revolution collection whereas Bitch Perfect is from Charlotte's original K.I.S.S.I.N.G. collection which has a more cream finish. I adore both of these shades and wear them all of the time. As you can see each lipstick completely transforms the look. I'm obviously more partial to a red and this is how I usually wear this look. Dolce Vita paired with Red Carpet Red is for me, the perfect combination for party makeup. 


The shade above is Clinique Nude Pop, this is actually a sample size I got free in a magazine but I actually love the shade. It's a great nude shade for fair skin and the formula feels hydrating and comfortable to wear all day. I love the shade of this lipstick paired with the Dolce Vita palette, it's much more understated than the red lip allowing the eyes to be the focus.


I've been wanting to share this look for a long time and there's no better time than now during the holiday season. I hope this will give you some inspiration for any parties you're attending over Christmas and New Year's.

I'd love to know what your go-to party make up look is and what products you swear by for making you look and feel great for a special occasion.

Emma x

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea

Last week I went for afternoon tea in the Westin hotel for the second time. The first time I had the Traditional Afternoon Tea and it was such a luxurious experience that I was so excited to go back again. My lovely work colleagues got me a voucher for A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea for my birthday back in August and last Friday I finally got around to booking it.

When we arrived we were brought into the Atrium parlour, a room just off the larger Atrium lounge. There was a table reserved for us which had plenty of space around it and a gorgeous big couch. I was so happy I waited until the Christmas season to book it because the room was decorated with Christmas decorations and it added so much warmth to the experience.

You can order two different Afternoon Teas if you didn't like the sound of the more adventurous Most Peculiar Afternoon tea, but we opted for two of the same as we'd already had the other one.

We were brought our cocktail in a teapot first which was a delicious gin mojito and gorgeous Hendrick's gin teacups (I'm dying to get some for myself!) Obviously if you're not a gin fan or if you don't drink alcohol I'm sure you could substitute the gin for another spirit or for tea or coffee. When we went for the Traditional Afternoon Tea we had several different coffees and the waitress made sure we were topped up at all times. I was full of caffeine by the time I left.

The waitress brought out the three-tiered stand and went through each item on it with us. My boyfriend waited patiently with a rumbling stomach while I took some photos and then we tucked in. 

AT1 AT2 AT25 AT5 AT23 AT6 AT17 AT8 AT9 AT13 AT16 AT15 AT7 AT18 AT26 AT27 AT22 AT20 AT11 AT28 AT30 AT3

Everything was delicious! Both savoury and sweet were equally amazing. I love how they have created such an unusual afternoon tea with really tasty combinations of food. The banana bread on the middle tier was probably the nicest banana bread I've ever tasted (the cinnamon and honey butter was incredible). The presentation of the little jars and spoons and cones all added to the "peculiar" theme. 

We ordered coffee to go with the desserts which ended up costing €4.50 each which is fairly standard for a 5 star hotel. The Traditional Afternoon Tea is €32 and this one is €34, I loved the cocktail but I think if I was to go again I would get coffee or tea instead as I think it goes better with the food. 

The main reason I wanted to write about this is that I think it's such a great gift to get for someone. I got my sister a voucher for afternoon tea for Christmas last year and she loved it. I've since gotten them for a couple of other people and anyone who goes always says what a great experience it is. It's a little afternoon of five star luxury in beautiful, calm surroundings and you're made to feel very special. If you're struggling to think of a gift for someone this Christmas, perhaps your parents or in-laws or anyone really, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy it. 

Most hotels do some kind of afternoon tea, some of the better ones in Dublin (or so I've heard) include the Shelbourne, the Westbury and the Dylan

Have you ever been for afternoon tea? Would you like to receive this as a gift?

Emma x

Sunday, November 27, 2016

All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun

We braved the freezing weather last weekend to take photos of an outfit I based around my new Aire Shirt from the second Archive by Alexa collection for Marks and Spencer. 

I still adore the Frances Trench and Misty Dress from the first collection that I featured earlier in the year so when I heard that there was going to be a second collection I was so excited to see how it would compare to the first one. I was drawn to the metallic Aire Shirt straight away when I saw the campaign images. It's based on a design from the 80s and I loved the embroidered details on the collar and pocket as well as the neck tie and scalloped edge on the cuffs. 

AA1 AA8 AA10 AA17 AA15 AA14 AA18 AA19 AA9

Shirt- Marks and Spencer
Coat- New Look (similar here and here)
Skirt- Monsoon (similar here, here and here)
Boots- Primark (similar here, here and here)
Bag- Zara (similar here and here)
Fur Collar- Chicwish (similar here and here)
Earrings- Accessorize (similar here)
Lipstick- Clinique Nude Pop

I wasn't sure about the material of the shirt when I first tried it on as it's not exactly very soft, but I actually don't mind it at all, if it had been made from a softer material it wouldn't have the same look. The reason I went for this shirt over the other items in the collection that are maybe a bit more wearable is that it's different from anything else I've seen on the high street. I loved this printed pieces too but I limited myself to one thing and this shirt was it.

You may have seen my Winter Wardrobe Wishlist last month in which I mentioned some patent boots from New Look that were sadly sold out in my size. I had to give up on them but luckily when I was in Liverpool earlier this month I spotted these boots in Primark that I had seen on Instagram and couldn't find in Penneys here in Dublin. They were very similar to the New Look boots except with a lower (and different coloured) heel and they were only £12 so I couldn't pass them up despite only having a carry on bag for the plane. I'm delighted I ended up getting these instead of the New Look ones because the quality is practically the same and they were a third of the price and much easier to walk in so I'll get more wear out of them.

I got this coat in New Look on sale last year and I've worn it so much. I like that the grey colour is different from the usual leopard print coats. This is pretty much the opposite to my last outfit post. More accessories and print and textures, but I like trying something different and not always wearing the same thing. I've made a couple of "Black Friday" purchases that I'm looking forward to styling when they arrive.

Did you get anything in the sales? What do you think of the second Archive by Alexa collection?

Emma x

Sunday, November 20, 2016

YSL Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream

YSL Beauty have recently added to their Vernis À Lèvres repertoire with the latest incarnation, Vinyl Cream. Described as a mixture between a lip stain, lipstick and gloss, it has a unique blend of skincare ingredients and pigment which keep the lips feeling comfortable all day without compromising on the colour.

The collection contains 12 shades ranging from nude to pink, red and orange. I was given 401 Rouge Vinyle and 410 Fuchsia Live, both are vibrant shades that I would have chosen for myself. I have to admit I rarely wear a glossy lip, I think that's mostly down to the fact that Ireland is such a windy country and it really annoys my when my hair gets caught in my lipstick. Also when I do choose a glossy lip product, I find they just don't last as long as I'd like. This is where Vinyl Cream excels. This is a glossy lipstick for anyone who loves the staying power and pigmentation of a long lasting lipstick. 


Vinyl Cream has the same sleek and durable packaging of the Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain and Pop Water only in all black. They also have the same rosy scent of the Glossy Stains that I adore and find quite addictive. The design of the applicator is based on a diamond which allows for greater definition of the lips. The colour is deposited in the centre of the applicator so that you can use the edges to perfect the lines of the lips without applying too much of the product. I use a lip liner like the Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone pencil or the Duwop Reverse Lipliner around the outside of my lips to prevent bleeding/feathering which tends to happen to me when I wear glossy lip products. I'm sure you could also use a lip liner in a matching colour if you needed.


You can apply one light layer of these for a more "wearable" look or increase the intensity by building up the layers. In the photos I have two layers on and as you can see the colour payoff is excellent. The creamy texture makes them easy to apply, reapply and build up which definitely isn't the case with the Glossy Stains. They don't feel sticky on the lips, instead they are creamy and comfortable and don't settle into the lines of the lips too much instead giving a smooth look. 


With such a high shine, richly pigmented finish, the Vinyl Creams are definitely a statement lip product. YSL Beauty Creative Director Lloyd Simmons suggests that the Vinyl Creams work best with "pared-down, minimal skin" for during the day and "at night, add strong, graphic eyes" like the campaign images with Cara Delevingne. I love high shine lip colours like these for a nighttime party look. The red shades in particular would be amazing for over the holiday season (I'd pair them with gold eyes for a proper Christmas look). 

At €33 they are on the higher end of the scale but for you're getting unparalleled quality for your money. If you love a statement lip, stop by a YSL counter and check these out in person. I'm looking forward to experimenting more with mine over the party season. You can buy them in Boots, Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Debenhams

Are you a fan of glossy lips? 

Emma x

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Sun Shines Down, You Came Around, You Love The Easy Days

Since I started my new job a year ago I've found that I'm finally figuring out my style. In my previous job, we had to wear clothes and accessories (a minimum of 3 to be exact, which always reminds me of Office Space and the "flair") from the shop which meant that although we got a reasonable discount I still ended up spending a large portion of my wages on my "uniform" which meant there was very little leftover for spending elsewhere.

Now that I no longer have to buy my uniform I've found I'm experimenting with my clothes a lot more and trying things I never have before just because I can. There are days though when I just want to keep it simple and minimal with one statement piece like these leopard print brogues. 

Photos by Simon
Coat- H&M (similar here, here and here)
Shirt- H&M
Trousers- ASOS (similar here and here)
Shoes- ASOS (similar here and here)
Earrings- Topshop
Bag- Accessorize (similar here here and here)
Lipstick- Urban Decay Disturbed (review here)
Nails- Champneys

I bought these high waisted wide leg cropped trousers thinking they probably wouldn't suit me but I wanted to try them anyway and I was suprised my how much I like them. They're a wool mix so I've been wearing them a lot in the cold weather and they work really well with brogues or boot or runners. This H&M boyfriend coat I featured on the blog about 2 years ago and at €29.99 it's one of the best style investments I've ever made. I love the classic cut of this coat, it's one of those styles that would suit anyone.

Leopard print is very obviously hotter than ever and I couldn't be happier. I have always adored leopard print, particularly in the form of accessories. I got these shoes last year on ASOS, there are plenty of similar options available at the moment, I've linked to some that I really like above. Printed shoes are such a great way to update your Winter wardrobe or make a simple outfit something more special. I also love all of the velvet, metallic and embroidered shoes and boots at the moment.

As you can see from the links above, most of these items are no longer in stock because I bought them all a while ago. I find that with sharing my personal style online there can be a pressure to constantly have new things, but what I love is finding new ways to wear things I already own. My main goal with a post like this is to offer inspiration to anyone who reads it. I'm tall and curvy and I do struggle to find things that suit me and that I feel comfortable in sometimes. For me that's what it's all about, feeling comfortable and stylish no matter what shape and size you are and to not be afraid to experiment as long as it takes to figure out what works for you. Hopefully I can be of some inspiration, even if it's that you don't like my style!

You may have noticed (if you don't already follow me on Instagram) that I recently had a significant amount of hair chopped off. I felt it was time for a big change after having very long hair for the past two years. I was nervous to finally go for it because any time I've had my hair cut shorter I have hated it. This time was different because I went to see my favourite hair stylist Carolin Zinck who has never let me down. She cut my hair exactly the way I wanted it with long hidden layers. I'm blown away every time she cuts my hair. If you're living in Dublin and looking for a great stylist for curly hair or any hair for that matter, I honestly can't speak more highly of her, she's got the gift. I'm so happy with my hair right now I'm having a lot more fun styling it than when it was long (and it's so much easier to maintain), so if you're thinking about going for the chop, my advice is just go for it, it'll always grow back!

Finally I wanted to ask for some help with new bloggers to follow, honestly it's been difficult especially with style bloggers to find people I can relate to and who inspire me. There are a few ladies I've found through Instagram recently who have been reigniting my love for fashion and style blogging and perhaps I'll share them in a separate post for you but I'm always on the lookout for more if you have any suggestions.

Emma x

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