Instagram

The best products of 2014


Best lipstick Rimmel Kate 03
I am a sucker for a nude lip and this remains the best colour, even over very expensive alternatives. It's the perfect Bardot nude that suits everyone without looking like concealer on the lips. Teamed with a nice liner, I manage to look like I've had lip fillers and feel like the sexy 60s siren I was born to be!

Best mascara Too Faced Better Than Sex
Love the name, love the formula. I am converted to high end mascara after finding this holy grail product. This gives me long, glossy lashes without clumping. It's also great for bottom lashes and it doesn't smudge. I can't see myself giving this up anytime soon.

Best eyeshadow Too Faced Chocolate Bar
Ok so I'm technically cheating but eyeshadow palettes have been all the rage this year. Chocolate Bar is easily the most complimentary palette on the market and easily transition from day to night. The colours are all neutral, easy to mix and match and super easy to blend. Plus, they are made with real cocoa powder and smell divine.

Best eyeliner Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner
2014 was the year I fell back in love with liner but I am incredibly bad at doing it! The Eyeko Skinny liner makes it so much easier. The felt tip pen disperses the formula evenly without putting too much pressure on the eye. The line comes out really thin and can be easily built upon. This is the perfect liner for anyone that loves flicked or winged liner- so much control!

I adore my beloved Laura Mercier Silk Creme but it is pricey. No7 Superlight has been an absolute gem this year. I love dewy, flawless skin and the light formula is buildable and works into the skin so beautifully. The luminous qualities also save on a primer meaning I can get out of the door much faster in the morning! 

Best powder product Michael Kors Bronzer in Flush
Michael Kors says this is a bronzer but in reality, it's a wee bit of everything. Part blush, part bronzer with a little bit of shimmer. I use this all over my face but it's been a great product to both lift and sculpt the cheeks. It also looks really fab and the mirror is huge making it a handbag essential.

Best perfume Lyn Harris Rose
Sadly now discontinued from Marks and Spencer, my scent of the year has been the musky tones of Rose by Lyn Harris. Co-owner of Miller Harris, her M&S difussion range was small but fabulous. I've been wearing Rose for a few years and love it even more now I know it's no longer available. It's a very unique scent and although very distinctly Rose, it doesn't smell too old or over-powering. A good alternative is Dahlia Noir by Givenchy- the two layered are my absolute fave! 

Best skincare Yon-Ka Lait Nettoyant
I have very sensitive skin that breaks out so easily if it does not like a product (especially heavy essential oils). However, I have fallen in love with Yon-Ka and their facials. The Lait Nettoyant is a cleansing milk that I use morning and night. It leaves my skin clean but without feeling tight or stripped. I know I am going to use this for years to come- again another holy grail product.

Let me know your best products of 2014 by commenting below or by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond.

The NYE Glam


I am very particular about my festive makeup. For me, Christmas is all about matte red lips and bold eyeliner but New Year's Eve is another story. I want "other level" glitter. It's the only time of the year I will let myself look completely over-done and feel fabulous about it.

It's all about the eyes and the old school Barry M Dazzle Dust never goes a miss. I love the gold shade and use a flat eyeshadow brush to really pack it on rather than using it as a shadow. You will need a good primer for it to stick to or cover the eye with a cream shadow stick such as the Gosh Forever Eyeshadow stick in Light Copper. This gives a good amount of colour underneath and provides a fantastic sticky surface for the dust- just be sure to move quickly before it sets!! The Gosh stick also doubles as a great liner colour under the eyes. To complement a bold eyeshadow, I love Ardell Wispies as they are very full but natural. They are also very easy to apply and are super light.

For a glow on the cheeks, I love Makeup Revolution's Highlighter in Golden Lights. This costs a bargain £3 and it rivals many of the expensive highlighters I have tried.  A little bit of this across the top of the cheekbones and in the cupid's bow will give you the perfect Kardashian-esque glow.

Finally, we can't forget about the nails. Using Glitter Bomb by Rimmel to top your existing Christmas mani or simply using it on its own, can help create a simply gorgeous sparkly nail.

I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve! If you use any of these products, tweet me a picture to @GemmaLEBond. I'd love to see your makeup looks!

What I've learned in 2014


Some years shake you more than others. 2014 was one of those years. I think when you are a blogger, everything can seem very rosey as you only see the fabulous, glamorous parts but I assure you that I have ups and downs like the rest of the world. Here are three things that 2014 has taught me. What a year it has been- roll on 2015. 

1. Don't be afraid to be honest
I am known as being a really forthright person but when it comes to confrontation, I can back away and hide. However, 2014 has been the year that I voiced that I feel annoyed or hurt rather than just huffing about it. I've found that this has been really helpful in my relationships. In many ways, it makes your relationships stronger as you can discuss honestly issues that might be bothering you and the other person may know something about you they didn't know before. 

2. Friends are the family you choose for yourself
In the past year, I've lost friendships but the ones that remain are people that fell more like family. I've know my best friend for 12 years and we've weathered more storms than I care to recall. Through some very hard stuff this year, friends have stayed and friends have left. I'm blessed to have amazing people to turn to. 

3. Follow your heart
I had to make a big decision this year about what I was doing with my life. I trained as a teacher last year- something I dreamed of being for my entire life. However, my heart had been stolen by the world of media and PR after the success of my blog. So I had a choice to make- go and make good money teaching or spend a few thousand pounds to follow my heart? My heart won and I'm happily doing my Master's in Communication, PR and Advertising and it's the first time in my academic life that I feel very secure, settled and knowledgable. Maybe I'm a slow learner but I hope this will lead to a long and happy career. 

I hope you have all had a good 2014 and are ready for 2015!

My Christmas Present from Argento


Argento are a local jewellers that everyone I know seem to has a piece from. The company stock many great brands including Pandora and Michal Kors along with their own brands Dirty Ruby and Karma. 

Argento kindly offered to send me a little Christmas gift and as I'm a rose girl girl, I picked the gorgeous August Woods Rose Gold Alligator Necklace, £20. I wanted a really classic, timeless rose gold piece that looked as amazing with a plain white tee as it does with an evening dress. I love this piece because it lies really flat on the neck so it makes quite the statement. A matching beautiful bracelet, £12, also is available and I think I'll be purchasing it to have the full set.

Argento sent my jewellery to me via their delivery service. I was really impressed with it so ordered some more stuff for gifts for Christmas. They have some great bargains on the website and I was impressed with the fast delivery.

Thank you Argento for my beautiful gift- I know I'll be wearing this for many years to come.

Kildare Village #StepIntoTheStory

I was delighted to be invited back down to Kildare Village during the week to start my Christmas shopping. This was my second visit to the village as I had previously had a fantastic trip during the summer months (Read all about it here). The Christmas campaign #StepIntoTheStory is so fun and the numerous reindeer around the village were so cute. My friend came with me and it was her first visit. It's always interesting to get other people's views on something. She enjoyed that the stores were genuinely close together so that there was not lots of walking about to do! This also proved great as I was a crisp day when we were there so we never managed to feel cold with all of the shop dodging!

Like my previous visit, I went with shopping goals in mind. I wanted a white shirt and some new flat shoes. I feel like it is good to go down with goals because it's very easy to get carried away once you see the bargains. Since my last visit, two new stores have opened. Kate Spade is a very all-American company that sells beautiful brightly coloured handbags and costume jewels. I was impressed by what was on offer in the store and I'd definitely come back to the village with a view to buy a handbag. Kurt Geiger Boutique had just opened the weekend before we went to the village. Unlike the normal KG stores, this store only stocks high end brand that are greatly reduced such as Isabel Marant (yes they had the trainers!), Charlotte Olympia and Carvela. 

My favourite shops on this visit were All Saints and Lulu Guinness- I probably neglected them a bit last time because I was a bit overwhelmed by the selection. The reductions in Lulu Guinness were fantastic with makeup bags and wallets being well reduced and making great Christmas presents. I also took a shine to a Lulu Guinness suitcase that was really heavily reduced. All Saints is a store that I sometimes love and sometimes hate but Kildare Village's offering was amazing. I picked up a gorgeous top that had an additional 20% off it on that day. My friend had never been to All Saints before and she too was impressed their selection. 

I did manage to get my white shirt in Ralph Lauren and my shoes from Hobbs- both really well reduced and I was really pleased with the quality of both. My friend picked up bits from Links of London (which she tells me is SO much cheaper), Molton Brown, Furla (I had major handbag envy!) and Jack Wills. I definitely will be back to Kildare Village next year. January sales anyone?

Diesel boots
Kate Spade
Mulberry
Lulu Guinness
Amazing chocolate hamper in Lily O'Briens
The centre felt so festive!
New shoes from Hobb's
And what was the boot like on the way home? See below! Two very happy ladies!


Thank you to Kildare Village for having us!

DV8 Bloggers Evening

Fur collar- School Gate Style
Coat and bag- H&M
Jumper- Gap
Jeans- Primark
Shoes- Dune
Oh yes, that's me feeling the festive vibes above. This week I released my inner Christmas diva (mostly down to unleashing my curly locks!) to attend the DV8 Christmas Evening. DV8 is a shop that I often pass or call into in my local shopping centre but I often dander pass the flagship store in Belfast. 

On my visit, I discovered they stock lots of brands I like such as Vero Moda, New Balance and AX Paris. The array of products they have is fanastic. I took a real shine to the white PU Leather skirt  (below) as it really reminded me of a Kim K type item. They also had lots of amazing crop tops which would look fab paired with it. The Frozen Christmas jumper made me laugh and would be sure to brighten up anyone's festive celebrations. There was also a wide array of long dresses, party dresses and jumpsuits for the Christmas party season. And can I just talk about the fabulous black and white fur coat? Cruella in the best of ways!


The DV8 website also offers some great options- I've picked a few of my favourites below:

Love this Balmain inspired dress


Fun iced pink fur gilet


Great classic monochrome sweater

Great colour combo on these trainers to wear with jeans

I have to admit that I misjudged DV8 and I'm pleasantly surprised by what they have on offer. I'll definitely look there in future for something different especially in terms of a "party item".

Thanks to DV8 and CMPR for the kind invite.

Christmas Gift Guides: Electrical Beauty Tools

Every Christmas, I always seem to have an electrical beauty item on my wishlist. I'm keeping it a secret as to what I've asked for this year, but below are my top four picks that I think you should be buying your loved ones this season.

If you are someone like me that has a complete melt down if you get hard skin, the MicroPedi is a fantastic buy. It gently buffs away dead skin and can be used daily. It's easy to use and the Christmas gift set would make the perfect present for any gal or guy that spends a lot of time at work on their feet. The gift set also includes all the other necessary components for a perfect at home pedicure. 


From the same company, comes a similar concept only for the nails. If you are like me and suffer with nails that split or always have nail polish peeling off, the MicroNail is a fantastic tool. A mechanical buffer that allows nails to becomes super shiny and smooth, the MicroNail is easy to use and like the MicroPedi, helps with at home maintenance. 


If you have super long hair or have hair extensions, the Instyler is the tool of your dreams. The rotating iron allows you to create the big, bouncy hair you've always dreamed of without having to go to the salon. The polishing cylinder allows you to have maximum hair shine and the variable temperatures allows you to save your hair from damage. Truly the best gift for girls who love their big hair.


I adore my curling wand. For a curly haired girl like me it has become an absolute staple. I can leave my natural hair to dry then curl random sections to make it look more put together. The conical shape of the want means it allows you to create different styles of curl from corkscrew to beach waves. It heats quickly and costs around the £20 mark- what's not to love?


Let me know your beauty tool of choice this Christmas by commenting below or tweeting me @GemmaLEBond.

Things to get up to over the festive season in Belfast


Belfast is an amazing, vibrant city and a great place to visit for a weekend over the holidays. Ireland.com recently contacted me and asked me to give some of my "must visit" places in the city.

Full of culture, food and fantastic shops, I’ve highlighted some of my favourites to make your weekend away a little easier. If you're a local, I hope these ideas inspire you too!

See
Culture is abundant in the historic city with an array of museums and theatres to pick from. The classic city centre Grand Opera House is a stunning location to go and see the Christmas pantomime. This years offering comes in the form of Aladdin. It’s always sure to bring lots of laughs with Belfast’s beloved May McFettridge celebrating 25 years of panto giggles. The Lyric Theatre located on the Stranmillis Road is offering two shows- Sleeping Beauty for the family and Mistletoe & Crime for those looking for some Northern Irish humour. The MAC located in St. Anne’s Square (which is also full of fabulous restaurants) is showing the Christmas Mystery Palace- a mixture of theatre and magic! The MAC also has numerous galleries that are worth a look around.

If history is your thing, take a tour of the Ulster Museum and a walk round the stunning Botanic Gardens where it is located, just next door to Queen’s University Belfast. Whilst your there, you might even want to catch a movie at the QFT (Queen’s Film Theatre). Showing iconic blockbusters and independent harder to find films, you are sure to find something to suit all tastes.

Shop
Huge high-street offering come in the form of Castlecourt and Victoria Square. Castlecourt is home to stores such as department store Debenhams, Gap and Dorothy Perkins whereas Victoria Square is home to LK Bennett, River Island and Topshop. Victoria Square is also a great place to visit to get something to eat, catch a film at the Odeon see Belfast lit up at night from the “Dome” on the top level of the centre.

St. George’s Market is the perfect spot to visit for handmade gifts and delicious cake treats. With traders such as The Lily Pink Bakery and Belfast Times, all the things the market has to offer along with the fun banter from the numerous market traders will make you understand why Belfast is such a unique place. Get down early on a Sunday morning, sit with a coffee and soak up the atmosphere.

If you are in the mood to do some serious shopping and take home some goodies that are hard to find anywhere else, then the Lisburn Road is a must visit for you. A road filled with independent traders, stores such as Harrison, Blush and Déjà Vu are filled with fashion offerings and interiors come in the form of Maven that stocks a treasure trove of Irish home-wares.

Eat
Food is really precious to the city and most of the great restaurants use locally reared produce. Ox and James St South are great examples of this and have been highly rated by food critics across the UK. If some local catch is more your thing, the Mourne Seafood Bar will delight your taste buds. The oysters are legendary and the restaurant is hugely popular because of them. The Mourne Seafood’s sister restaurant, Home, located yards away from City Hall is also a fantastic place to visit, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan as they offer an array of hearty and different tastes. If you are in a rush and want a coffee, Ground Coffee Bars are a locally run company and their new Purple Dragon blend coffee is sure to keep your body fuelled for some serious shopping. Co Couture is also a great pit-stop shop for all things chocolate- the truffles and brownies are not to be missed. Finally, if you’ve had a hard night on Irish whiskey, a lunchtime visit to Boojum for a burrito the following day is sure to make your sore head feel just that little bit better.

For more ideas, deals and offers, click over to Ireland.com


I hope you enjoy your time in Belfast. Be sure to tweet me @GemmaLEBond and let me know your thoughts on your visit.

Christmas Gift Guides: Beauty Gifts & Stocking Fillers


Christmas time brings so much joy but often, a little bit of stress over what to buy people. It seems everyone has a friend (or five) who literally has everything. Here's a selection of gifts that I know any girl would love to receive as a gift. 

For stocking fillers, I love small beauty gifts. A few Christmases ago I made my best friend a little beauty bag filled with lots of handbag essentials which she really liked. Stocking fillers can be thrown together to make a really nice, personal gift. Below are the new Crystal Couture Nail Polishes from NYC which are available in Superdrug for a bargain £1.99. They are super glittery and the gold shade (11 Fashion Queen) is perfect for the party season. NYC have made your life easier by making the "Strip Me Off" base coat, £2.99. It essentially act as a barrier that allows your glitter polish to be peeled off (I get such satisfaction in doing this!). 

A great investment for those who love to constantly change their nail colour. Another fab cheap but amazing product is the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette. Retailing for £5.99 and available in selected Medicare Pharmacies here in Northern Ireland, it provides all the shades you would need for a day to night look. I travel with this palette and it makes my life much easier! Finally for stocking fillers, I spotted this stunning little palette in Marks and Spencer for £12.50. I am a big fan of the Autograph makeup and this reminds me so much of the Charlotte Tilbury/Tom Ford palettes. The shades are stunning, wearable and packaging looks pretty swish in your handbag too!



I've always been impressed by the Topshop makeup range and they have their own festive offerings. I thought that the Smoky Eye Kit (£22) would make a great gift for a friend who loves makeup or is just getting into it. 


My favourite tan (both because it is amazing and made locally), Vita Liberata, have their own set out for Christmas. Each set includes a full size Body Tan, Face Tan and Tanning Mitt, beautifully presented so you won’t even need to wrap it! Available at www.vitaliberata.co.uk, the set is £22.50 meaning huge value for money. I'm tempted to stock up for myself!


A brand I've fallen in love with this year is Yon-Ka. The spa products are luxiourous but not too heavy for my sensitive skin. I fancy the Limited Edition Yon-Ka Pillow mist Brume D’Oreiller, £17.50 which aids a restful sleep. I definitely need this with all of the Christmas partying. I think this would be a really thoughtful gift for someone who is having a tough time- whether they be a new mum or just struggling with something in their life right now. 



If you want to treat someone to a taster of Yon-Ka, the gift sets in Belle De Jour/Nuit would be a good place to start (£56.74-£69.50). I would also suggest a voucher for Deborah Harper in Helen's Bay for a Yon-Ka facial- I had an amazing experience with her earlier in the year which you can read about here.



My biggest brand love of the year is definitely Too Faced. From their Better Than Sex mascara to their Chocolate Bar Palette, they have become a staple of my daily routine. Their Christmas range would be a welcome edition to any girl's festive gifts. I love the shades in the  Beauty Wishes & Sweet Kisses palette (£32 from Debenhams).


And if you are really stuck for ideas for the beauty and fashion obsessed girl in your life, tickets are now available for the Spring 2015 shows for both the high street and designer nights at Belfast Fashion Week. I love giving gifts were you can make memories together! Check www.belfastfashionweek.com for dates and tickets. 



I hope this inspired you to inspire you Christmas shopping. Whether you are braving the crowds or doing it online, best of luck!

Festive Glam at the Women in Business Awards

I was honored to be invited to the Women in Business Awards last night in the Culloden Hotel. As a young woman, I walked away feeling so inspired by the stories of the winners and the fantastic speech by Dr Linda Papadopoulos about body image. Body image is something I struggle with (and people always found that ironic considering I'm a blogger!) so I felt it was a very timely lecture for me to hear!

Thursday night events always mean getting ready pretty quickly for me. I had spent most of the day glued to my laptop doing work so getting ready felt like a treat. I tonged my hair and left the hair in big velcro rollers to cool. I sprayed the hair with lots of hairspray and then removed the rollers. A bit of backcombing in the front area ensued then I clipped it up. I felt a bit like Princess Anne but I was ensured it was more Elizabeth Taylor! I love my hair up off my face but I need to make sure my makeup is flawless!

I kept my makeup pretty simple and smoky. My foundation was L'Oreal True Match with MAC Strobe Cream underneath which always makes a great combo. I used lots of Maybelline Fit Me Concealer (a great Nars dupe!) under my eyes to hide the bags! I filled my brows in with MAC's Mystery and used the Too Faced Chocolate Bar for my eyeshadow. I followed this with lots of Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (yes the lashes are all mine!) and a run of By Terry Ombre Blackstar in 13 Brown Perfection along the bottom lash-line. My lipstick is Wet n Wild "Bare It All" which gives the perfect nude pout.

However, the real show stopper of the night was my jumpsuit. I had people guess where it was from- Topshop and Biba were the top suggestions but it is in fact from George at Asda and costs £20! It's been a long time since I've worn anything strapless. This is boned and sits up very well (with some help from a good strapless bra!). I will admit that it runs quite small but that may also be due to my enormous height of 5ft10! I teamed my red jumpsuit with my black glitter Insolia courts from M&S and a very glam pair of statement earrings. They were a £4.99 bargain from New Look and remind me of many of the Kenneth Jay Lane pairs that I love. I threw on my trusty white blazer (M&S SS14)  to stop me from feeling cold.

Links:
Jumpsuit (only black or blue left online)
Shoes

Overall, an inspiring evening with lovely people. Maybe I'll be up on that stage on day... a girl can dream!

#HiddenGems: The Underwear


Yes, you now all can see what size I wear in a bra. So what!? I've been thinking for a long time about the often un-glamourous things that we use but in so many instances, really need. That's why this week I've been taking about my #HiddenGems.

I thought I would leave the underwear until the end- the best for last!? Namely, support underwear. I'm a big girl. I'm 5ft10 and a size 14. I also seem to carry all of my weight around my stomach which is a bloody nightmare. So, if I'm wearing something like a clingy dress, I go in search of a pair of big knickers. We all have them. Spanx, granny pants etc. They're unattractive but boy do they make us feel just that little bit thinner. I had a reader email me recently asking for advice on the very issue. I have a preference for Pretty Polly knickers which are seam-free. They look great under almost everything. I pick mine up in TK Maxx for around £7 for 3 pairs. 

However, sometimes you need to bring out the really industrial scaffolding. At the recent CIPR Awards, I wore a beautiful but very fitted lace dress from M&S. To go under this, I got a Shaping Slip. Essentially a bra with a dress made of supportive fabric attached, the garment smooths out any lumps and bumps. I must admit, although I did look and feel thinner, it was a little uncomfortable! I know this is true of so many support underwear items but you just have to suck it up and go on.

Any underwear secrets? Share them below!

#HiddenGems: The Moisturiser


If I had my way, I'd coat myself head to toe in Creme De Corps from Kiehl's, all day everyday. But since I'm not Beyonce and not made of money, I've found an amazing alternative.

I suffer with dry skin especially on my legs. My skin also would break out in a rash from time to time  with high levels of stress. I'm painting a glam picture here. Most regular moisturisers don't do anything for my skin so La Roche-Posay has been a game-changer. The brand ethos is to treat skin issues and Lipikar Baume AP+ has literally changed my life. The special anti-irritation formula was a blessing when I was struck down with the shingles in September. One application of this every morning and night has really helped my dry skin- so much so that for the first time in my life I've been able to use mouse tan! Hooray! Lipikar sinks in quickly and has a luxurious texture despite the price-tag. The pump dispenser is also really handy. I imagine this moisturiser would be great for babies and adults who suffer from psoriasis or eczema.

Secondly, Cicaplast has been fantastic for my handbag for during the day. Perfect for hands, lips or small dry patches, the intense hydration formula works quickly. I also love to use Cicaplast on the soles of my feet then wrap up warm with cosy socks!

La Roche-Posay is a brand I am slowly falling in love with- let me know any LRP recommendations in the comments below.

Plump It


I want lips like Kylie Jenner. Whether hers are real or not, is another matter. I do already have a fairly substantial pout but for the past few months, thoughts of fillers have come to mind. My bottom lip is much heavier than my top lip. However, being a bit adverse to needles, I thought I would try some non-injection options to plump up my lips.

Firstly, Plump Potion in Rose Cristal* is by the American brand Physician's Formula. The brand has just launched int the South of Ireland and is set to launch in Belfast soon (I'll be sure to keep you updated). The Plump Potion is a slightly pink tinted gloss. It makes the lips very glossy and the plumping element is strong when you first apply it. The "sting" is pleasant and wears off quickly. I have found that this has been a great solution for the weekend as the results are pretty substantial making for the perfect Kylie Jenner pout for your evening out. The gloss also still works on top of lipstick which is also great for transforming some of your favourite matte shades into a high gloss shine. 

Colour Bomb by Too Faced* is a really interesting concept- a Chubby-Stick hybrid of lip gloss/stick which also contains a plumping element. I have the colour Coral Pop which is a fairy bright coral which can be layered for stronger colour or patted in as a tint. The product also smells amazing because of the menthol plumping ingredients. The sting is light and leaves the lips looking smooth and nourished. This is my everyday option and I'm going to invest in some more of the colours including "Never Enough Nude" which looks like the perfect Bardot pout colour. 

I think the idea of fillers is truly out of my head now- these products do the trick!
*PR Sample


A little early festive glam


It may only be the end of October, but the Christmas events are rolling in thick and fast. In my recent Gordons Chemist haul, I picked up the Rimmel Scandal-Eyes set* which is out at the moment. The set is clearly designed to be the perfect stocking filler or Secret Santa present. Containing the Scandaleyes Mascara, Scandaleyes Black Liner and the Glam Eyes HD Eyeshadow in Brixton Brown, it contains everything you need for a fast, smoky eye look.

I have used the Scandaleyes Liners before- the nude one is a particular favourite for me to perk my tired eyes up! They are very creamy and remind me of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencils which retail for a much higher price.I was impressed with the Scandaleyes Mascara which gave my lashes a good amount of lift and volume. It's a really intense black colour which I always look for in a mascara. I haven't worn Rimmel Eyeshadows in years so I was impressed to see the colours are pigmented but bailable. The Brixton Brown palette allowed me to create a smoky eye with no fuss. It also contains a cranberry red eyeshadow shade which I think I will use more in December time.

To finish off my look, I used a bit of Creme Brûlée eyeshadow from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette in the centre of my eyes. I used Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation, George at Asda Super Boost Concealer, Michael Kors Bronzer in Flush and Maybelline Velvet Beige lip pencil with a clear gloss on top. 

What do you think of  my early festive glam look? Too much or just right?

*PR Sample from Gordons Chemist

My Favourite Places in Belfast: Garfield Street

Photos by Photography by Astrid
When I was asked about places I loved in Belfast, I knew I had to go to Garfield Street. Reportedly named after 20th President of the United States Andrew Garfield (history geek, I know), the street is home to Victorian Bar Aether & Echo. However, it's the amazing murals across the street from the bar that make me smile. I have no idea who did them or what they mean but the colours alone make it an amazing to visit. Murals are a big part of culture in Northern Ireland and to have something that is non-political, fun and cheerful on a wall is a change. 

The old Garfield Bar is now empty but I hope it years to come that this street is regenerated. I could see the bar being an amazing space for a small theatre or independent cinema. In the meantime, I'll always take a detour up this street just to see the murals. On another note, this post is really making me miss my longer hair!

This is the last in my series of "My Favourite Places in Belfast". A huge thank you to the beautiful Astrid from Photography by Astrid. We had such a fun afternoon taking pictures and she made me feel so at ease!

The all rounder foundation


I do have a penchant for expensive foundations. But at £30-£40 a tube for some of my favourites, I was looking for something medium coverage and dewy which wouldn't break the bank. I have watched many American YouTubers rave about L'Oreal True Match*. It comes in a slightly different bottle in the US (without a pump!) but for about £10, the amount of product you get is great value for money. The colour range is expansive and the coverage of the foundation is medium but very build-able. I have been testing this for the past few weeks. I put 2 pumps on the back of my hand and this is perfect for my whole face. The foundation applies nicely with a buffing brush as well as with a damp sponge. I find that it leaves the skin looking nourished, bright and covers any major redness. I still use concealer on any blemishes but I find True Match covers any light imperfections well. I feel like this last 6/7 hours before needing to re-powder or touch up which I feel is standard for my skin. 

Overall, a great foundation for normal/dry skin types!

*PR Sample from Gordon's Chemist

Getting glam for the CIPR Pride Awards with M&S


I love getting glammed up so when my lovely friends at ASG asked would I like to sit at their table at the CIPR NI PRide Awards, I jumped at the chance. The PRide Awards celebrate excellence in PR campaigns from the past year. As a Master's PR student, it was really inspiring to hear about the amazing campaigns and see why the winners stood out. 

For the ceremony in the The Culloden Estate and Spa, the invite stated black tie. I would usually wear full length for an event like this but I felt like I wanted to try something a little different. Shorter lengths are fine for black tie as long as they pass the knee (actual black tie rules!). 

The lovely people at M&S offered to dress me for the night. They have some amazing dresses and jumpsuits in the Autumn/Winter collection so my decision was not an easy one. I opted for the Metallic Effect Lace Shift Dress* which features in a lot of the imagery for this season. It costs £59 and I feel like it is the perfect flattering shape for my figure. I opted for a size 14 which fits very true to size (Sidenote: M&S is one of the only stores that I will consistently be the same size in!). I paired this with the Limited Edition Court Shoes*. These are the perfect heel height with Insolia technology making them very comfortable to wear. These are a bargain £25 and I know I'll wear them a lot over the next few months. 

My earrings* are also M&S and cost £15 and my ring* was £8. My bag was borrowed from my mum and my clip in my hair was from Poundland! It's very rare I will wear my hair curly to an event but I felt it suited the style of the dress. 

There is a secret to why I look a bit thinner than usual but I will reveal that later this week!

I hope you all had a great weekend. Thank you so much to M&S for providing my beautiful outfit for the evening. 

*Outfit provided by M&S