Blogger Slumber Party at Malone Lodge

Malone Lodge 

Blogging can be a solitary activity, so one of my favourite things about it is meeting up with other bloggers.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m part of a local network of fashion & beauty bloggers in Northern Ireland called FABB, set up about 18 months ago by the fabulous Katrina, stylist and editor of online fashion & beauty magazine, Sugahfix.  Last week, the FABB girls were invited to the most glamorous slumber party I’ve ever attended, to celebrate the newly refurbished 4 star Malone Lodge Hotel in Belfast.

A snapshot of the evening goes something like this…

Peach Bellini reception, hotel tour, Cosmopolitans and welcome from hotel staff (mostly decked in PJs, fair play!), dinner with gorgeous food from the deli, Elemis beauty treatments by Skin Medi Spa, cupcakes, popcorn & ‘Breakfast in Tiffanys’ movie viewed from a giant bed, sweet sleep, a hearty breakfast in the new Knife & Fork restaurant…

and back to reality with a bump! 


Having spent approximately one night away from my children in the past 8 years, I was like a small child myself at the excitement of a room just for me in the new hotel wing. It was super spacious, comfortable and luxurious - and I loved the glam bathroom (is it just me who gets excited about hotel bathrooms?).  In keeping with the slumber party theme,  a surprise gift of a Lipsy Drama Queen onesie from Bank Fashion was on the bed.


The FABB girls have many talents… and towards the end of our evening, make-up artist, Rebecca Bryson (Bexberry) did a gorgeous AW make-up look on model, Aoife Malone featuring sparkling cranberry eyes and a vampy lip.  Above, Aoife chilling in her onesie (& bling) with a chocolate cupcake.  I loved this (not least checking out Rebecca’s kit!) and picked up some great tips, which I’ll share in future posts.


And from modelicious to wee me… you’d think I’d have been organised enough to take a pic at the start of the night, make-up freshly applied etc, but no… here I am in the early hours of the morning, looking weary but happy bordering on delirious in my gorgeous bathroom.

If you’re ever visiting Northern Ireland, I can heartily recommend Malone Lodge for a stay, dinner or Audrey Hepburn style afternoon tea!  The staff are incredible and the hotel’s style is a lovely mix of traditional and contemporary.  In fact if you’re passing tomorrow (Sunday 1 Sep), pop along to their free family fun day from 1-6pm - jazz, food & wine tasting and loads of kids’ entertainment.

Thank you for having us, Malone Lodge - we’ll be back!


Charlotte Tilbury Does Make-up


One of my favourite redheads and make-up artist to the stars, Charlotte Tilbury has launched her own make-up collection: Charlotte Tilbury Beauty.  This excites me not only because the collection exudes old school glamour, but that Charlotte’s overriding aim is to make her ‘failsafe’ products accessible to every woman and encourage non make-up wearers to get stuck in and have a play!


Charlotte Tilbury logo

“My aim was to create a make-up range for everyone: the make-up junkies (that’s me), the time-poor working women (me also!), the cynical and the down-right terrified of colour, and share with every woman how, with the right make-up it can transform your life!”



The products are curated into 10 looks, each representing a different woman and her lifestyle, for which Charlotte has created tutorials on her blog, including day to evening options.



My personal favourites are Ingénue, for daytime and Dolce Vita for evening.


charlotte-tilbury-makeup-launch-kissing-lipstick   Charlotte-Tilbury-ROCKNKOHL_BARBARELLABROWN Charlotte-Tilbury-THEFELINEFLICK_PANTHER Charlotte-Tilbury-Magic-Cream

For me, the must-have is the Feline Flick Liquid Liner, the perfect tool to create Charlotte’s signature look.  She’s even provided guidelines on how to use it for an instant eye lift…

  • Starting from the inner corner of the eye, draw a very fine line as close as possible to the lash line. There mustn’t be a visible gap between the lashes and your eye liner
  • Keep drawing a thin line until two thirds of the way across.  From this point start to thicken the line, sweeping the pen slightly up and out.  
  • Instead of following the curve of the eye downwards, keep drawing the line diagonally upwards. Once you get level with the end of the eye, keep sweeping the line out and up.  Your flick should end 2mm from the end of your eye.
  • Always look straight into the mirror.  If you look down then you will naturally pull the line downwards.
  • To intensify, add a fine line of eyeliner underneath the bottom lashes at the outer corner as close to the lashes as possible. This should join your top eyeliner at the outer corner for a completed, lifted effect
  • For a true feline finish, curl your lashes and then apply Full Fat Lashes mascara adding extra volume to the outer corner lashes, elongating the eye.

A selection of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty products can be purchased from today, in advance of Monday’s official launch. The range is available exclusively at Selfridges.


My Morning Skincare Routine


I’ve slowed down my skincare regime and testing quite a bit recently and am much more wary about what I use on my face.  I’ve found a combination that I’m really happy with in recent months and thought I’d share which products I’m using.  As the pile turned out to less minimal than I imagined in my head, I’ve broken it down into morning and evening routines (evening to follow next week).  There is some overlap, but I do switch things up and will explain why as I go along.

While six products may look like a lot to slap on your face of a morning, I spend so little time on it. I’m not a morning person and am generally rushing to get two small children to school, so each step is slotted into my existing routine, which goes something like this…

Cleanse (1 min): I’m so not into the whole shebang when I’m barely awake, so a quick face wash with Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser massaged into my damp face and rinsed off in the shower is as good as it gets. Kiwi, Manuka Honey, Grape and Apple all combine to give a refreshing fragrance and light gel texture whisk away any overnight oil or dead skin without leaving my skin tight.  Job done.

Tone (30 secs): Pre teeth-brushing I’ll swipe a cotton pad with a few pumps of Pixi Glow Tonic over my face, neck and décolletage.  This alcohol-free toner contains aloe vera, glycolic and ginseng and gently exfoliates the skin with continued use.  Only available from Pixi Beauty in Carnaby Street, London, I ordered mine by phone (0207 287 7211) or you can email

Serum (1 min): By the time I’ve finished brushing, the toner has dried and I’ll massage in a few drops of Elemental Herbology Cell Food.  Good Lord this stuff is gorgeous.  The futuristic silver bottle, dropper and milky white texture are all a great start, but it feels beautiful, sinks in instantly and my skin adores it.  Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and actives, it’s designed to help the skin find equilibrium, which is exactly what it’s done for me.  Soothing, glow-injecting and just…. I love it.


Eye Cream (30 secs): Shimmy into the bedroom and my eye cream goes on before my clothes.  Remember my rave about HealGel Face (here)? You’ll be happy to hear that HealGel Eye is equally fabulous. Created to address dark circles, puffiness and fine lines, it ticks all the boxes for me.  It gives my eyes a definite instant lift/smoother appearance… I won’t even attempt to explain how, but I love that it does.  These products were created by a team of Britain’s best surgeons and derms. They know their stuff. I still use the Face product when my skin is feeling fragile and treat it like gold dust.

So that’s three mins so far and we’re almost done, woo hoo!

Moisturiser (1 min):  From first use, I adored Functionalab Mature Skin Anti-Ageing Cream and 6 weeks on I feel the same. The gel-cream texture is beautiful and my skin loves it.  I aim for 2-3 pumps for my face, neck and décolletage, allowing it to sink in while I dress. *This is what I mean about fitting skincare into my routine…. I don’t stand and do each step in succession - that would feel too much like hard work.*  Although fairly new to me, Functionalab is an award-winning, science-based, global brand with a range of ‘Beauty Dose supplements’ designed to complement the skincare products.  I haven’t tried them, but have been blown away by the skincare (more of that to come in my evening routine).

Primer (1 min): I wouldn’t normally consider primer a true skincare product, but I’ve been so impressed by Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer I wanted to include it.  The first time I used this I was so pleased with the instant magic blurring effects, I considered not adding foundation (for about 10 seconds).  This stuff is awesome. It does contain silicones, which may put some off, but it hasn’t bothered my skin at all. It’s very slightly tinted, has broad spectrum SPF 30, creates a dreamy velvety base for make-up application and helps it last longer. Created to improve the overall health of the skin, peptides stimulate collagen production alongside anti-ageing actives.

By the way, if it’s very hot or I’m planning to spend a lot of time outdoors, I’ll add a regular SPF before primer.  I generally treat built in SPF as a bonus top up rather than a replacement.

So that’s it. Five mins in total. You could easily skip the toner and primer (as I do if I’m in a mega rush) and cut it down to 3 mins!  How long does your skincare routine take? (I’ve linked to each step via the product names above)


Kiko Dark Heroine Review & Swatches


KIKO Milano has released a limited edition Autumn collection, Dark Heroine, with a range of products including bronzer, stick blush, highlighter, eye shadow palettes and more.  I’ve been experimenting with the following products: Loud Night Bronzer 01 Supple Satin Honey; Lounge Warm Tones Eye Shadow Palette, Twinkle Eye Pencil in Periwinkle, Laser Nail Lacquer in Venom Teal and Latex Lipstick in Attractive Pink.  First up, the star of the collection for me…

Colour Impact Eye Shadow Palette: Lounge Warm Tones

If you’d covered the label and told me this was a Tom Ford palette, I’d have believed you.  The tones are rich and sumptuous and the pigmentation literally jaw dropping.  I love a mix of matt and shimmer shades and these colours are perfect for AW.


See what I mean about the pigmentation? This is ONE swipe of each shade.  A rich yellow toned shimmery gold, matt aubergine-plum and matt bitter chocolate…

Kiko-Dark-Heroine-Lounge-Warm-Tones-eyeshadow-swatches (2) 

A cool champagne gold, pearlised cream and cool mid bronze shimmer.

Kiko-Dark-Heroine-Lounge-Warm-Tones-eyeshadow-swatches-pic Kiko-Dark-Heroine-Lounge-Warm-Tones-eyeshadow-swatches-review

I experienced little fallout during application, though the shimmer did stray below my eyes after a few hours of wear.  I haven’t tried them with a primer yet, which I’m sure would help.  The texture is buttery soft and the colours blend well to create both daytime and evening looks.  The deeper, matt tones work well applied with a small brush as eyeliner for a soft or smokey look.

Loud Night Bronzer: Supple Satin Honey #01

Loud Night Bronzer - Supple Satin Honey

The packaging of the bronzer is stylish and substantial with a large mirror, similar to the eye shadow palette and exactly the same size, which is always helpful when it comes to storage.  The streaks of highlighter and peach can be lifted with a small brush, though I tend to swirl the bronze and highlighter together, then add a touch of peach on the apples of my cheeks.  There’s a bit of fall out when lifting this on the brush, but thankfully not during application to the face.


I’ve swatched the tones both individually and blended out. The swatch to the right is all tones blended using Kiko’s new double ended brush - which I like a lot - and gives the truest representation of how the product looks on the skin. I’ve swatched it quite heavily here so that it shows up in pics - the colour is actually quite subtle and good for light to medium skin tones.

Laser Nail Lacquer: Venom Teal #435


Sorry that I don’t yet have any swatch pics of this but I promise they’re coming soon!  It’s a delicious deep teal shot with purple, which doesn’t really show up, just adds depth and an almost beetle like shimmer that looks beautiful in the light.

Latex Like Lipstick: Attractive Pink


Latex Like Lipstick is named after its shiny, elastic finish.  Although not a colour I’d personally choose, I’ve been wearing this quite a lot as it feels incredible on the lips - really creamy and moisturising, yet well pigmented. It comes in five other shades, all of which look lush, (I need Plastic Red just for the fabulous name!) so I’ll definitely be picking up another couple of these.

Kiko Dark Heroine swatches 

A final look at the pretties in the sunlight, including the lipstick and super creamy Twinkle Eye Pencil in Bewitched Periwinkle.

Screenshot (3)

I created this look using the eye shadow, bronzer and lipstick, as posted on my Instagram last week… it’s a bit overexposed, so the colours looked richer in real life, but hopefully gives you some idea of how they can look.

If I had to choose one thing from Kiko’s Dark Heroine collection it would be the Colour Impact eye shadow palette.  There are more colours to choose from across the range and you can see it all at Kiko online or in one of their stores, if you’re lucky to live near one!   As always, the range is reasonably priced - between £4.90 and £16.90.

Do you like the look of these tones for Autumn?



My Neon Jumper & a discount code

Screenshot (2)

Quite a few people commented on my new By Malene Birger jumper in this instagram pic, so when I spotted it in an online sale today, I thought I’d share.  I got mine from My Wardrobe, but it’s still available from Atterley Road, an online retailer I discovered a few months ago via friends.  It sells a really nice mix of clothing, footwear and accessory brands - Great Plains, Whistles, By Malene Birger, Jigsaw, ASH, Hultiquist and more.  The best bit? You can get 20% off TODAY (26 Aug 2013) using the code: BANKHOL (not sure if this applies to sale items & Whistles is excluded).

I was so unsure about this jumper when I first got it as it didn’t look neon on My Wardrobe - see my horror here on Instagram, where some lovely people talked me into stepping out of my comfort zone… I’m happy I did now!  It’s really handy for cooler days/evenings and I know I’ll wear it lots between the seasons.

Here is the jumper and a few of the (many) other items I’m drawn to on the site!  You can click on any of the images below to view full details on the site.



I’m trying to be very strict about sticking to my new shopping rule: only purchase if you really love it, can think of lots of occasions to wear it and have other items that match! I must admit it makes choosing what to wear each day much easier.  I have less choice, but love what I have, which I think is a good thing! 

Ashiana bracelet

Examples of such shopping include this Ashiana bracelet, which I also picked up in the Atterley Road sale, along with a pair of classic patent quilted French sole pumps, now out of stock, though I’ve found them in the ASOS sale.

Now if only I could apply the same principles to my beauty purchases…


Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beaute: keeping hair healthy in Summer


Described as a ‘haute couture’ oil for the hair and body, Huile Secret de Beaute is formulated using rare, fine oils with anti-ageing properties to protect and enhance the appearance of hair and skin.  Leonor Greyl is a French brand specialising in oils to create natural products with highly nutritional properties and natural filters. 

Made with tiare, yucca and jasmine, the scent of this oil is warm and exquisite… it seriously smells so good that I sometimes skip perfume when I use it, so that I don’t mask the scent.  The pump bottle makes it easy to mist it on hair and body for a gorgeous, light yet nourishing sheen.


There’s a lot of love and integrity behind these products, created by Jean Marie Greyl for his wife, Leonor.  The couple have endeavoured to keep the business in the family; now run by their daughter, Caroline. 

“The list of the ingredients used include: borage, chilli rose, sea lavender, silk protein, seaweed extracts, camomile, avocado, sage, Vitamins A, E, F..., wheat protein, propolis, Manketto oil, acacia collagen, zinc, iron, magnesium to quote a few.”  

Leonor Greyl products are available at Selfridges, Cult beauty, Bliss pharmacy, John Bell & Croyden and Harrods but Huile Secret de Beaute Oil can only be found at Harrods pharmacy (not online) and Net-a-Porter.

You can read more about the history of this brand and full product range at


sponsored post


New M&S Beauty Releases

Ad Shot - M&S Britain's Leading Ladies - per una Behind the Scenes 2

Good ol’ M&S has taken some bold strides into the 21st Century recently, not least in its latest ad campaign featuring a dozen women at the top of their fields, from Darcey Bussell to Dame Helen Mirren… I love the behind the scenes out-take above right. Is this campaign really a radical step, or an acknowledgement that M&S isn’t just about keeping up with the High St Joneses, but exists primarily for the real, diverse - and dare I say it - more mature woman, who aren’t ready to opt for frumptastic?!   Back to beauty, here are a few new and upcoming releases that I have my eye on!

I love a pretty make-up bag and think these ones are adorable…

M&S Limited Collection Stag Cosmetic Bag £7.50M&S Vintage Cosmetic Bag £8.50

M&S Spotty Cosmetic Bag £5.00M&S Downton Abbey Cosmetic Bag £12.50

You can hover over each image to see the price or view the full range here. The last one, with a peacock design, is part of a Downton Abbey M&S exclusive collection launching in the Autumn, which includes the pretty candle and lip balm duo below. 

M&S Downto Abbey Candle £8.50M&S Downton Abbey Lip Balm Duo £5

The debut Downton Abbey Collection will be available exclusively from 12th October 2013, coinciding with the return of the fourth series this Autumn (I really must dig that box set out!). 


M&S Autograph Pure Colour Blusher in Apricot £12  M&S Autograph Pure Colour Blusher in Berry £12    

Lest your pretty make-up bag should remain empty, new M&S beauty releases include these gorgeous Autograph Pure Colour blushers in Apricot and Berry here.

Not forgetting the huge range of brands now available in selected M&S beauty halls, Pur Minerals has a great offer starting next week (29 Aug) with 3 for 2 on its eye shadow trios, worth £20 each.

EyeShadowTrio_LittleMissPerfect EyeShadowTrio_BohemianBombshell

These rich, yet subtle Autumnal tones are my favourites, but there are loads more to choose from - including brights - here.  The offer applies to the Pink Mix* shade (above left) if redeemed online, or you can choose any shade if you redeem the offer in stores from 29 Aug- 11 Sep.

 *On the packaging Pink Mix is labelled ‘Little Miss Perfect’ as M&S use different shade names

Must admit I love being distracted by the new beauty counters en route to picking up a sandwich at M&S.  Is there one near you?  And what do you think of the new ad?




See by Chloe Perfume: Review


See by Chloe has brought something new to Chloe perfumes.  As a whole, the brand produces classy, pleasing scents, but See by Chloe is really something special.  I don’t think I’ve ever received so many compliments on a perfume - including from complete strangers (the effect I was hoping for - and didn’t get - from Escentric Molecule).


My Verdict

From the bold red box to the heavy glass bird cage bottle, this scent is truly stylish, thankfully with equal quantities of substance.  See by Chloe is a soft floral, but not as we know it.  There are no sharp edges in this rich, creamy floral - always a winner for me - just a softness that verges on powdery. If I had to sum it up I’d describe this as sensual, sweetly feminine perfume which is simultaneously sophisticated and sexy.  I’d be equally happy wearing this to work as I would on a first date. It smells quite Summery to me, but that could just be because it IS Summer! I’m fickle like that…

The notes are Bergamot, Apple Blossom, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Vanilla and Sandalwood. 

I’ve been wearing this daily since I received it (that never happens) and I’ve no intention of stopping any time soon…

Chloe has since brought out a new Rose scent, which I haven’t tried yet, though was tortured by a row of pretty vintage pink boxes the day they arrived in House of Fraser with no tester yet available - the poor staff were also gasping for a whiff! Keep an eye out for that one.

In the meantime, I’ve just spotted 15% off See by Chloe (& the full range) at!


Models Own Velvet Goth Review & Swatches: Amethyst, Sardonyx, Obsidian


New for Autumn from Models Own is the Velvet Goth Collection: five matt, yet sparkly 2D jewel shades, topped with limited edition velvet lids.


The shades I have are:

  • Amethyst - royal purple with fine purple and fuchsia glitter
  • Sardonyx - blood red with fine scarlet glitter
  • Obsidian - dark charcoal grey with fine silver glitter and medium sized hexagonal holo-ish rainbow glitter

The other two colours, both of which look gorgeous (and remind me of peacocks!) are:

  • Absinthe - deep emerald green
  • Valerian - rich bottle blue


Designed to be worn matt, the polishes are all densely packed with glitter and highly pigmented, leaving a matt,  slightly textured finish which although not quite velvety, doesn’t feel scratchy like some glitters. 

Of course I couldn’t resist seeing how these babies would look with a slick of gloss - and I wasn’t disappointed!

 Models-Own-Velvet-Goth-glitter-polish-review  Models-Own-Velvet-Goth-photos-red-purple-black-charcoal  Models-Own-Velvet-Goth-with-gloss-top-coat

Pretty swoony, right?  The gloss top coat (Lumos, kindly recommended by Charlotte from Lipglossiping) brought the polishes to life in a way that reminds me of looking through a kaleidoscope!

Here is the full set…

Models Own Velvet Goth

I can’t deny that the velvet lids are a big seller for me - and I think these would make gorgeous gifts. Great to have the option of wearing them either matt or glossy too.

Models Own Velvet Goth polishes* will be £5 each at Boots from 4 September and Superdrug, 25 September.

Which look do you prefer: matt or glossy?

© Strawberry Blonde. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig