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

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