Autograph Apricot Blusher

First off, let me begin by saying that Marks and Spencer makeup is easily one of the most dismissed and ignored ranges on the market. My mother and I have been fans for many years so when the opportunity has arisen for me to do some stuff with M&S, I've jumped at the chance. I am very honest on my blog and anything I am sent to review only features if I would spend my own money on it. When I was sent an email about the Autograph Pure Colour blushers, I knew I needed this one. Described as "Apricot", it is actually the most perfect rose gold colour and has a finish akin to a MAC Skin Finish. 

They are very sleekly designed, not much fuss and with a handy mirror. The gold design on the top rubs off after you have used it. The peach tone has flecks of pink and glitter through it making it a perfect all rounder for blusher and highlighter. It can be layered for a more dramatic look or a quick swipe of a brush for a lightly flushed look. 

Watch me apply this blusher in my Everyday Makeup video here. 

The Pure Colour blushers are available from Marks and Spencer and cost £12.

G x

Blogger Sleepover at Malone Lodge Hotel

When the Malone Lodge Hotel contacted Belfast Fashion & Beauty bloggers (also known as FABB), to see if we would like to come for a girly sleepover at their newly renovated hotel, we jumped at the chance. It was a great opportunity for us to explore somewhere new and spend time together. Malone Lodge Hotel's recent renovation has established its position as one of Northern Ireland's best hotels. A family run business, the hotel is friendly, fun luxury. Located on Eglantine Avenue, it is situated close to Belfast's trendy Lisburn Road and within close distance of the city centre and Queen's University Belfast. The staff are friendly, the rooms are modern but not too minimal and the food at the Knife & Fork restaurant is second to none. 

I shared a room with my blogging bestie, Sara from Belfast Beauty Love. Our room was huge (as was the bathroom!). The beds were super comfy and I noticed the large wardrobe which would be great for anyone visiting Belfast on a holiday. We were also kindly greeted with onesies courtesy of Bank. I was given a leopard Amy Child's number which says "Party Animal" on the back. Very apt! 

After dropping our bags at our rooms, we chilled in the lobby with some refreshing drinks. Below I am pictured with my Sara and Dawn. We were then were taken on a little tour of the hotel. I was very impressed with the Deramore Suite which can be partitioned off into smaller rooms or hold up to 240. We saw it set up for a 50th Birthday using half the room then the following day, for a wedding using the room at full size. Downstairs, the Malone Suite is a purpose built venue for civil ceremonies. They had converted this room into our party room for the night, showing that it can be used for many different functions! 

I loved the vintage inspired photographs displayed in the hallways 

We retreated to the Malone Suite in our PJ's where they had a huge bed (I think 3 double beds pushed together), cocktails, a stunning selection of food from the Knife and Fork, cupcakes from cakes by James and a lovely demonstration from the girls at Skin Medi Spa. Personally, I planted myself in the middle of the very large bed! I was tempted to sleep there for the night. This was then followed by a viewing of Breakfast at Tiffany's, popcorn and lots of makeup and girly chat!

I was kindly gifted Pure Cotton Revere Collar Dobby Heart Print Pyjamas (£25) from Marks and Spencer for the sleepover. As they are pure cotton, they didn't make me feel too warm and have the cutest heart print. They felt really traditional and cosy. I can't wait to wear them during the autumn and winter months. They would also make a beautiful gift as they are amazing quality for the price. They are pictured below with my Malone Lodge slippers! 

After a night's rest in our lovely rooms (okay, some of us didn't go to bed until 1.30am... too much to talk about!), we hit up the Knife and Fork restaurant for a scrumptious breakfast. I opted for the Full Irish Breakfast with a pot of Peppermint Tea (complete with cute tea pot!). Some of the girls got the pancakes which also looks delicious. 

Overall, an amazing stay at the Malone Lodge Hotel. I'd encourage anyone to visit this beautiful family run hotel either for a stay or for a steak at the Knife and Fork. They plan to start afternoon tea within the next few weeks which will also be an fantastic addition to their glamorous lobby. 

To read more or to book a stay at the Malone Lodge Hotel see:

Many thanks to Anna, Carla and her girls and Gareth for an amazing stay at the Malone Lodge Hotel.

G x

That Belfast Girl takes on Portrush

I love exploring on my own doorstep so when my mum's friend asked us up to Portrush for a little day out, I jumped at the chance. I haven't been to Portrush in 4 years but I love it as it never changes. It always reminds me of my childhood. We had lots of fun playing in Barry's and a lovely lunch in the famous Ramore Wine Bar. I had Garlic Chicken and Prawns which came with "micro chips". It was so filling. My mum had the famous burger and said it was "the best burger ever!". I could not believe the price of the food- so cheap and so delicious. Let's not even get started on the desserts. Next time just leave me there with a bottle of gin and a spoon! 

Enjoy some pictures of my day in Portrush!

G x

Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara

I am always on the look out for a way to make my lashes bigger. If I wasn't so lazy I would wear false lashes everyday, but since I am neither rich or a WAG, I think I'll leave it for the mean time. I have fairly voluminous lashes but I'm always on the hunt for a way to make them longer. I've been using an eyelash curler for the past few weeks and really enjoying it. I picked up a new lash curler for £5 from Tesco and it does a great job. I am a pretty devout Maybelline mascara wearer. I usually pick up whatever one is on offer or new out. I also have recently been enjoying the They're Real mascara by Benefit but I really hate paying almost £20 for a mascara! 

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned how Nigella Lawson was one of my beauty icons. She has beautiful lashes and brows so I went on a little mission to find out what mascara she uses. A 2007 Vanity Fair interview informs me that she wears (or used to wear) Max Factor Masterpiece Max mascara. Coming in at £9.99, it's very middle of the road and only a few pounds more than I would pay for the Maybelline one. I honestly have to say, I'm in love with this mascara. I have a real habit of putting too much mascara on which results in clumpy lashes but no matter how much of this I put on, I don't get clumps. It's also great for my bottom lashes which are usually ignored. The brush is quite petite and the formula is excellent. The only downside is that it has a very odd smell to the formula but in a way, it someway reminds me of all the products I used to steal from my mum as a kid.

A brilliant buy. No wonder Nigella likes it! 

The Easiest Makeup Removal Ever: L'Oreal Skin Perfection & Kleenex Facial Cloths

Makeup removal dream team!
I have huge problems getting mascara off. I don't wear waterproof mascara but normal mascara just seems to cling to my lashes like something mad. I love micellar waters but many of them are expensive or simply run out too quickly. I had heard a lot of comparisons of the L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Water to the coveted Bioderma so I thought I would give it a whirl. Coming in at just over £3, you get XX amount of product which is great value for money. There is no real smell from it and it is so sensitive. I've bought eye-makeup removers for sensitive eyes that have still stung. I simply use one the Kleenex facial cloths soaked in the solution to remove all my eye makeup and then rub it all over my face before cleansing. The facial cloths are also a recent find. After running out of the DHC Silky Cottons (an absolute luxury), I needed something to replace them. My mum picked the facial tissues up in Poundland (they are usually about £2 for 30) and they are so handy if like me, you remove your makeup with a water or solution. They are essentially a huge thin piece of cotton wool but they seem more cost effective and efficient than using numerous cotton pads. I've been using this method of makeup removal for over a week now and follow it with my Revive Gel cleanser and Liz Earle toner and I feel like my skin is looking pretty good!

L'Oreal Skin Perfection is definitely a That Belfast Girl MUST HAVE! 

G x

My all time beauty icons

I asked someone who their beauty icon was this week and they replied that they didn't have one. I was a bit shocked. From a young age I've always stolen my mother's magazines and watched TV and films looking for pretty ladies that I hoped I would grown up to look like. 

As I child, I looked very foreign. My mother loves to recount a story of us going to Turkey when I was two (almost 20 years ago, before it was trendy and touristy) and the locals ran after us with fish and gifts for me because they thought I was half Turkish! My "dark" looks admittedly come from my father's side where my father and his eight siblings are all dark, olive skinned and look like they've just arrived as an import from some Italian town. Although I am very much my father's daughter in looks, I have also inherited my mother's freckles, despite the fact that mine only come out to play in the summer. 

To me classic beauty is a woman who looks after herself. A pet peeve of mine is women with unkempt hair. I think good hair is important as people often judge your appearance from your hair... just look at Kate Middleton! Good brows, good hair and a full pout are three things which my four beauty icons have. I think their makeup and style has probably really infused my own sense of self and how I want to look, not only now, but when I'm 40. 

I'll start with an unsurprising beauty icon. Elizabeth Taylor, who I recently posted about, is easily one of the world's most beautiful women. Big lashes, big eyebrows, big hair and a big personality to match. One of her beauty tricks was to get into a hot bath, makeup and hair done, to plump up her skin and give her a glowy look. Born with a natural set of double lashes, makeup seemed to be a big part of her life. She also really varied in weight, (which is something she has in common with another of my beauty icons) but she was always beautiful. She also looked beautiful when she began to age. I think she was her prettiest when she was in her 40s, which I'm sure many people would debate with me about! 

My second beauty icon is a women of the same era, Sophia Loren. Very similar to Elizabeth in many ways but a real Italian! Her big brows are iconic, as are her many wigs! I remember a couple of years ago she did a photo shoot and I had to look twice at the number revealing her age in the article (first photo below). A women who has looked after herself very well!

Thirdly, will again come as no surprise. Although only in her 30s, I cannot wait to see how she ages. Kim Kardashian, although a controversial figure in many ways, has an undeniable beauty. So well groomed (by a large glam squad, I know) and interested in beauty, she maintains her Armenian roots with her looks. Her hair absolutely phenomenal, even though it may not be real!  

And lastly, the woman every man wants to be with and every woman wants to be. Nigella Lawson, the domestic goddess, I think is one of the prettiest ladies on the planet. Naturally pretty, big brows and a love of a good pair of false lashes, I hope when I grow up, I'll be just like her. Over the past few years she has definitely become more "glam" and has a makeup lady that travels with her but I have loved her since I was a little girl. I remember her in the 90's with her super long hair and twin sets. I also remember watching the documentary about her late husband John Diamond's battle with cancer and it made an indeliable mark on my life. Every time I see a clip of it, it makes me feel very sad. I think I was only 8 or 9 when I watched it and it obviously makes more sense to me now, but I remember thinking she was a very busy lady as she was a mummy, wife, had her TV show and still had time to brush her long hair.  Like Nigella, I have a real obsession with food and people's relationships with food. She has also described herself as "happily imperfect" which is something I feel like I am. She's a real girl who wears Spanx, has had really horrible sadness in her life and her face tells a story. I have on occasion been told that I look like her which is the greatest compliment ever. If I look half as good in my 50s as she does, I'll be very happy!

Tell me who your beauty icons are!

G x