New Year’s Eve Party Make-up

bronze eyes red lips

It's the one time of year we're allowed to break all the rules… lay on the glitter, brave a bold red lip AND smoky eyes without anyone questioning it. It'd be rude not to. Here are my tips for a sparkling make-up look with wow factor… I'm thinking filmstar inspired glowing skin, red lips, huge lashes and a lil' bit of festive sparkle.


BASE - Since we're blinging up the eyes and lips, it's best to keep the base simple, even and of course, as flawless as possible. Naturally flawless… skip to Eyes (I won’t hold it against you). My foundation choice for such occasions is Laura Mercier Silk Crème (Cream Ivory) for radiant full coverage that leaves skin looking like skin, rather than flat and mask-like. Clarins Instant Concealer (01) obliterates under eye shadows while NARS Creamy Concealer (Vanilla) hides redness and blemishes. Set all of this in place with a light dusting of powder on the T-zone. My favourite is still the talc-free Jurlique Rose Silk powder with a little contouring via the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. I only use both of these for special occasions, adding the deepest Hourglass shade for subtle warmth around cheekbones, temples, and hairline and the highlight shade on tops of cheekbones. Its ‘soft focus’, candlelit effect still wows me.

CHEEKS - I like to opt for a neutral rose-beige like Clinique Chubby Stick for Cheeks in Amped up Apple. Its creamy formula gives cheeks a dewy, natural looking flush that adds dimension and doesn’t detract from bold eyes and lips. I’ve been wearing this and the coral Robust Rhubarb shade a lot this Winter (full review & swatches here).


EYES - I start by priming eyes to ensure brighter, long lasting crease-free eye shadow, flitting between NARS Smudge Proof and Urban Decay Primer Potion (NARS is longer lasting; Urban Decay is easier to blend over). I like to use a cream shadow base pre-glitter to add intensity and help the product stick around. Max Factor Excess Shimmer Cream Eyeshadows (Bronze) leave a lovely metallic sheen and are easily applied with a finger. I then add a darker matte brown shadow in the crease and then press glitter over the top of my lower lid... I love Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Sparkle in Sunlit Bronze, which works beautifully over the Max Factor Bronze cream shadow. I’ll then spend 20 minutes (!!) adding a feline flick with Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner and lashings of mascara. The new No7 Midnight Lash gives great length, doesn’t clump and has a nicely tapered wand to reach every lash. For extra va-va voom, I like Ardell Demi Wispies false lashes.


LIPS - You just can't beat a red lip for party season. I always start off by lining my lips when I’m wearing a deep shade - the new Bobbi Brown Lip Pencils are great for extra staying power (and also look good worn alone over balm). For a rich dark red, I’ve been loving Bobbi Brown Bordeaux - lightweight, silky and so comfortable to wear. To add volume, top with any clear gloss and press a little pop of highlighter on the centre of your lower lip. If you prefer a long lasting matte lip, Bourjois Rouge Velvet in Hot Pepper is still my go-to, a stunning orange-toned ‘Marilyn’ red.

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve - and do you ever plan your make-up in advance?

PS If you read yesterday’s post, the Mint Aero chocolate brownies were awesome. And all gone.

NB The top image, my inspiration, is from Pinterest - click on it to see the original.


NARS Eye Opening Act




Hello everyone - I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas? I’m popping my head up from Sleepy Hollow to tell you about a gorgeous New Year release that I’m loving the look of! In January, NARS will launch a limited edition collection called Eye Opening Act, featuring two new eye shadow palettes, five Matte Velvet Eye Shadow Sticks and an Illuminating Multiple. Above is Inoubliable Coup D’Oeil eye shadow palette and below, my personal favourite, Yeux Irresistible, £29. I love every single colour in this, particularly the teal blue, taupe and copper tones.




NARS Eye-Opening Act Glenan Velvet Shadow Stick NARS Eye-Opening Act Nunavut Velvet Shadow Stick NARS Eye-Opening Act Flibuste Velvet Shadow Stick 

I’m really excited about these Matte Velvet Eye Shadow Sticks, £19, which promise crease-proof long wear. If their lasting power is anything like NARS Larger Than Life eyeliner, I’ll be very happy (I use this in Madison Avenue, a matte grey and must pick up Via Appia, the most gorgeous copper). I’m such a fan of shadow sticks for smudging along the lashline or sweeping all over the lid and blending with a finger - great for on the go!

NARS Eye-Opening Act St. Lucia Illuminating Multiple

The Illuminating Multiple is described as a multi-purpose glow stick to highlight eyes, cheeks and lips. Although it’s not something I use every day, I do like a creamy highlighter.

NARS Eye Opening Act with be exclusive to Selfridges (which currently has 10% off beauty) from 1st January.


Now off to make Mint Aero chocolate muffins for my little boy who turns 7 tomorrow… I’ll be back when I’ve completed The Taste Test!


Argento Rose Gold Bracelet

 Argento-Rose-Gold-bracelet- Argento-Rose-Gold-bracelet-pic

Delicate jewellery is one of this year’s biggest accessory trends - and much as I love statement jewellery, I’ve become very fond of finer pieces too. I was recently gifted this gorgeous rose gold bracelet from Argento, a jeweller’s with a special place in my heart, as I remember it from back in the day when it began as a jewellery stand in Belfast’s city centre. It’s been amazing to watch it grow to a business with branches right across Ireland and the UK, where some of my most treasured pieces of jewellery have been purchased.

Argento-Rose-Gold-bracelet-review Argento-Rose-Gold-bracelet

As this is so delicate I tend to save it for evenings and love wearing it with my new long sleeved black lace top - you can see it on my wrist at a Christmas girls’ night out here. The Arabesque Disc bracelet is available in silver or as part of a rose gold set here, or you may find it in-store (£30). I may have my eye on the matching necklace!



Party Shoes

Tis’ not the season for sensible shoes. Put the flats back in the cupboard and book a taxi - today I’m talking party shoes - from glitter and feathers to stars and studs, it's all going on...

Carvela-Gemini-courts £120

GLITTER - Glitter right down to our toes is how we roll and Carvela Gemini Courts, £120 look like they've bathed in it. In actual fact they're covered with lots of tiny sparkling studs, with a sprinkling of slightly larger ones; I like to think of this style as Grown Up Glitter.


STARS - Kurt Geiger Bailey Black Star Courts, £110 are pretty much my perfect party shoe. Black suede with glittery pale gold star cut outs, these will make the most simple black dress or jumpsuit look festive. Just add a large metallic clutch.


ROSE GOLD - Hands up, I have a weakness for all things rose gold and pounced on these Topshop Gallop rose gold courts, £98 the minute I spotted them. The crackled effect, pointed toes and sleek lines make them a definite statement shoe.

Topshop-black-feather-sandals £58

FEATHERS - Also available in champagne gold, these Topshop Ritzo feather strap sandals, £58 are more than a little bit showgal and will definitely be the talk of the dancefloor, perfect for New Year's Eve!

Zara-caged-black-studded-sandals £79.99

CAGED - Sometimes adding a little bit of vamp just works - and this Zara caged sandal, £79.99 fits that bill perfectly. The studded detail gives them a little extra something and these will look stunning with a loose fitting dress or skinny leather trousers.


STUDS - Want your feet to have their own party and turn every head in the room? Look no further than the fashionista’s shoe of choice, Valentino Rockstuds in colours that will still look amazing come Summer. Santa will need to be feeling generous to deliver these under your tree... he can pick them up from Cruise for a cool £445 (30% off).


One of these pairs is in my online basket right now… which would you choose?


Smellies she’ll thank you for


I had a two hour slot to do 90% of my Christmas shopping today. For anyone else still running around like a loon (actually a week before Christmas is record early for me), here are 5 smellies she’ll thank you for…

1. Le Couvent des Minimes is L’Occitane’s more affordable new little sister and I’m really impressed by its range. Soothing Body Milk is beautifully packaged, not a million miles from the family style and both feels and smells delicious on the skin. It contains lavender, acacia, shea butter and grapeseed oil, so no compromise on ingredients here.

2. Gingembre is one of my favourite Roger et Gallet scents and these new body sorbets made with 95% natural ingredients are just gorgeous. Pump bottle, pretty packaging, warm winter fragrance and great texture… what’s not to love?

3. It will come as no surprise that my No.3 is actually my No.1 - L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil is all kinds of divine and the most luxurious shower product I’m ever likely to own. A little really does go a long way and mornings are better with this in it.

4. Fans of warm spicy smells will love Rituals Touch of Light body cream with Patchouli & Cardamom. There’s nothing light about the texture of this - it’s rich and creamy with the kind of satisfying aroma that lingers on your pyjamas.

5. Caudalie Divine Oil is a longterm favourite which I try to ration for special occasions as it leaves a beautiful, non-sticky sheen on the skin and has the most sensual musky scent. Also available as a perfume if you’re feeling extra generous, see my review here.

The last date to guarantee pre-Christmas delivery from most retailers is Friday 19 December, so if you fancy avoiding the crowds…



Eyeko Eye Wardrobe


I only discovered Eyeko products last year and a big fan. My top 3 are the Brow Gel, Magic Mascara and liquid liner - in that order - the tinted Brow Gel is Holy Grail status. I also love the blue velvet lash curler, which I find much easier to use than my much pricier Shu Uemura set. You can pick up a few of the brand’s top selling products in this cute Eye Wardrobe, all wrapped up in a gorgeous 100% leather make-up bag.


Inside you’ll find Black Magic Mascara - I love the thin, curved wand on this and find it really easy to use - and Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner, along with a cooling hydrogel eye patch and eye makeup remover wipes.


Although I rarely use liquid liner, I’ve been a bit of a cat eye convert since trying Eye Do. It has a felt tip style nib with just enough flexibility a very fine point - I’ve shown a few light and heavy strokes here - and once it’s set, it really doesn’t budge. It’s not the blackest of blacks, which is maybe why I find it a bit more approachable! I like to keep the rest of my eye make-up quite light, just focusing on lashes and liner, and defining my lower lashline with a subtle wash of taupe eye shadow.

Eyeko Eye Wardrobe, £38 is exclusive to Space NK and would make a lovely gift, if you can resist treating yourself.



Seven Seas Perfect7

SevenSeas-Perfect7     SevenSeas-Perfect7-pic

Seven Seas has launched a new supplement to address first signs of ageing and help support the body from the inside… Perfect7 is a unique blend of marine oils, rich in Omega-3, and key vitamins and minerals.

Perfect7 contains marine oils to help maintain normal heart and brain function, and vitamins and minerals to help contribute to reducing tiredness and fatigue. I know my body will benefit from the extra nutrition at this time of year, when my skin in particular tends to show the effects of a little more partying than usual! One of the external signs of a healthy body is good skin and Perfect7 Woman is designed to provide the nutrients to help maintain normal skin and nails from the inside.


I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to downing any kind of vitamins, so was relieved to find these very easy to take; they are not too large and don’t have any smell, which I’m very happy about! Each pack contains two sheets: one with vitamins and minerals and one a fish oil capsule, so I’ve been take one of each per day. I’ve been meaning to take a fish oil supplement for a while - I tried with several liquid formulas and just couldn’t hack it, so capsules are best for me! perfect7

Men and women are not the same - especially when it comes to ageing. This is why Seven Seas has developed two distinct formulations for Perfect7 Woman and Perfect7 Man. The pic below (back of box) explains the 7 key benefits of Perfect7 Woman. 


I started taking Perfect7 last week and will continue to do so for the next 3 months - I’ll report back on how I’m getting on in the New Year!

 Seven Seas Perfect7

Find out more at


*Sponsored by Seven Seas


Pre-Party Beauty Prep


The Christmas countdown aka party season is officially ON! With lots of you racing out to post-work parties with minimal pampering time, here are my tips for pre-party prep to make getting ready more of a pleasure than a chore!

Gold-Collagen-Forte, Hairfinity-vitamin-hair-supplement

ON THE INSIDE… give skin and hair a boost with supplements like Gold Collagen Forte and Hairfinity. I’ve noticed my skin looking more plumped since using Gold Collagen, a liquid food supplement packed with skin boosting vitamins and antioxidants. Hairfinity is a vitamin supplement for healthier, stronger locks - and if it’s good enough for Kim K…. (side note: I’m not a fan, but no-one can argue that the woman’s hair is amazing!).

Hand-Chemistry-Hyaluronic-Concentrate,Bioderma-Hydrabio-Mask,GlamGlow-PowerMud, LOreal-Absolute-Repair-Lipidium 
BELOW THE SURFACE… a mega dose of hydration helps skin glow and hair shine. I’ve been using Hand Chemistry Hyaluronic Concentrate on my body for a boost of intensely hydrating hyaluronic acid; I usually layer this under a body cream like La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume (for dry, irritated skin), treating it almost like a body serum. This combination is the best I’ve tried for keeping eczema patches at bay and leaves my skin much more comfortable.

For the face, GlamGlow Power Mud is quick, easy and gorgeous to use with instant brightening results. A unique mud to oil formula, it dries clear (no need to panic if the doorbell rings!) and deep cleans to leave my skin extra smooth and glowing. I then go in with Bioderma Hydrabio, a mega nourishing drink for my skin to replenish lost moisture (full review here). I’ve already raved about L’Oreal Absolut Repair Lipidium and this instant resurfacing mask is my top pick from the range for helping undo damage caused by colouring and heat styling.

Sensationail,StTropez-Sensitive-self-tan,MicroPedi, Weleda-Foot-balm

ON THE SURFACE… a gel mani means nails stay immaculate for up to two weeks, no worries about redoing chipped nails between parties. I do mine at home with a SensatioNail home gel kit, on offer at half price in Boots this month… (think I’m going for Dusk til Dawn - a go-with-anything blackened plum - and gold glitter tips). 

Self tan is back a go-go with a little more flesh being bared in party dresses and St Tropez Self Tan Sensitive Bronzing Mousse is my go-to for a foolproof, light golden colour that doesn’t look out of place in December. 

I dug out my Micro-Pedi this weekend for the first time since Summer and my feet are looking a lot prettier as a result, hard skin be-gone! If you’re planning to get your toes out in strappy sandals, I suggest you do similar, or at least dig out the foot file. I’ve also been slathering on Weleda Foot Balm, great for both softening skin pre-high heels and soothing tired feet with lime-scented goodness between parties.

Just add make-up and a little black dress… you’re good to go!

Beauty Gifts for Teens


My own interest in beauty products appeared with a flash of glitter in my teenage years - and while a separate category isn’t essential, some of you have asked me for teenage-appropriate beauty gifts. I’ve included a range of options across different budgets, mainly aimed at mid teens. My daughter is almost ten and as yet has zero interest in beauty products beyond hand cream and lip balm (with the occasional spritz of Katy Perry perfume!). No doubt in a few year’s time she’ll be writing this category on my behalf, but for now, I hope you find my ideas helpful. NB it goes without saying that these products are not restricted to teens - I use most of them myself!


Sheer, glitter or full-on colour we’ve got lots of lip options, starting with Barry M Cor Balmy - a step up from regular lip balm that’s less full-on than lipstick - a sheer wash of sweet-scented sheer of colour and moisture. For a more pigmented pout, Too Faced Melted is available in stunning statement shades and Bourjois Rouge Velvet remains my No1 matte lip, great for parties as it doesn’t need touching up - or host your own lip party with Glitter Lips!


I love this royal purple Sleek Glitter Dip It Eyeliner for a pop of colour - if you can’t wear things like this as a teen, when can you? Library of Fragrance Gingerbread smells just as you’d imagine - available in literally 100s of everyday scents, the brand has released a limited edition Christmas collection of festive scents available at Boots.


Older teens will appreciate a little piece of luxury beauty and Nude Stix from Cult Beauty offers perfectly packaged lip, eye and cheek products to enhance natural beauty without looking OTT. For an evening look, every girl is gonna love Bobbi Brown’s Bronze Glow highlght powder for shimmering cheek and brow bones; this also looks great applied wet all over the lid for a glam Christmas or New Year look.

Sleek,BarryM-eyeshadow-palettes Elegant-Touch-Nails,BarryM-Glitter-Polish

I think teenage make-up should be all about fun and these bright eye shadow palettes - Sleek Vintage Romance and Barry M Super Chic - are perfect for experimenting with colour. You all know how much I love Barry M glitter polishes (about to apply one when I finish writing this) and for real wow factor, Elegant Touch press-on nails come in loads of foolproof, pre-glued designs - a fun stocking filler!



KIKO Lips Seduction: Red Berries Ice Cream


KIKO Lips Seduction is a perfect gift for all ages; beautifully presented, a pleasure to use - and practical! Less Scarlet Woman than it looks, this little set is all about glamorous lip maintenance. The pot contains Red Berries Ice Cream lip scrub that looks and tastes sooo good (oh yes I did!). Essentially an exfoliator for lips, I gently massage this in to get rid of any dry flaky bits, then slick on the Kiss Balm for a Shea Butter packed sheer red sheen. The tinted lip balm in red metallic casing adds a little colour while keeping lips really comfortable… a great option for anyone wary of a full-on red pout and an easy daytime lip look. I’d happily buy one of these sets for all of my friends!

KIKO Lips Seduction comes in 3 flavours: Candy Canes, Orange & Cinnamon or Berries Ice Cream, priced at £11.90 each here. Alternatively you can choose from 7 shades of Kiss Balm for £5.90 each here and you’ll find all of them in-store at KIKO shops. Free online delivery with the code: XMASKIKO14 until 15 December.


Clinique Nutcracker Suite


The Clinique Nutcracker Suite was a refreshing arrival in the midst of my current red, gold and plum palette. Celebrating the grace, pastel tulle and velvet of Classic Ballet, it includes two ‘acts’, inspired by different aspects of the performance. As well as the overload of pretty, it was the names that charmed me the most... among them, Plie Pink blush and Snowflake Suite eyeshadow. 


Each of the palettes includes 4 eye shadows and a blush… blink and you might think they’re the same, but one includes slightly deeper tones with a dark grape inspired by the Sugar Plum Fairy - and the other, taupe and charcoal grey. The texture is smooth and well pigmented and they do create quite different looks on the eyes.

Clinique-Snowflake-Dreams-pink-sparkly-powder Clinique-Snowflake-Dreams-pink-powder-swatch

Snowflake Dreams is a new blended face powder, which leaves a fine silver sparkle on the skin… personally I’d save this for shoulders and collar bones, though glitter embracers might like to use it as a cheekbone highlight. A lot of the glitter falls out on application and the pink blends into my skin, so it’s not as full-on as you might expect.

Two  Chubby Stick Baby Tints in Budding Blossom and Flowering Freesia have been paired with the collection. You can see my review and swatches of these in this post - and I must admit they’ve had a lot of use in the recent cold weather when I’ve been using the red shade, Coming Up Rosy quite a lot.

I personally prefer wearing pinks on my eyes in Winter, which sounds al kinds of wrong, but for me they work best with pale skin. If you fancy a change from browns, greys and jewel tones, it might be worth checking these out.

Clinique Nutcracker Suite Collection, from £17


Filorga BB Perfect & a party trick!

Filorga-BB-Perfect Filorga-BB-Perfect-Swatches-Radiant-Amber, Golden-Sand, Radiant-Beige-03-02-01Filorga-BB-Perfect-Swatches-Radiant-Amber, Golden-Sand, Radiant-Beige 

For me, a BB cream has got to be more than a tinted moisturiser to hold my attention, so choosing one from a skincare brand I already love is a good place to start. Filorga BB-Perfect has been around for a while now and the brand has just added a deeper shade, Radiant Amber for tanned to dark skins. The product claims tick 3 important boxes for me: increase radiance, decrease redness and improve skin hydration, thanks to hyaluronic acid. The texture feels very comfortable on my skin, with just enough coverage to ‘take the bad look off me’ as my mum would say!

While I’m too pale for the lightest shade at the moment (01/ 02 would work for me in Summer), I was really pleased to discover how well Radiant Beige works to even out skin tone on my neck and (slightly deeper) décolletage. Not something I’d use everyday of course, but on the cusp of party season, this will be a godsend with a low cut dress or top! I’ve tried the same trick with foundation, which looks obvious and frankly ridiculous on me… this is easier, more skin enhancing than self tan and invisible to the naked eye.

If you have deeper skin than me and enjoy skin-boosting sheer coverage, you may like to give this a go.

Filorga is available at and I recommend checking out their skincare too.


Beauty Gifts for Her


Welcome to my main Christmas Gift Guide, with a selection of hand picked beauty gifts that I’d be very happy to either give or receive. I’ve chosen pretty and practical gifts that I think most women will enjoy, all coming in at around £10.



Aromatherapy Associates Instant Inner Strength roller ball, £15 combines a 100% natural blend of clary sage, frankincense and cardamom, to help calm thoughts and emotions, boosting a more positive outlook. Kind of like a more sophisticated Rescue Remedy I guess. I’ve raved about this particular oil at length in this post, but suffice to say, I’m so happy this roller ball has been invented as it’s saved me slathering the bath oil on my wrists! Beautifully presented, it’s the perfect handbag size at about 4” long and a great gift for anyone under stress or prone to occasional meltdowns (are any of us immune?!). 10% of proceeds will be donated to the charity, Defence Against Cancer.



Burt Bees Honey Pot Collection, (on offer at £5.60) is one of the cutest little gifts I’ve seen - and I love that the glass pot could be used as a candle holder or storage for cotton buds, hair clips etc. It contains Beeswax and Honey Lip balms and a mini hand salve, perfect pocket sized cold weather defenders to soften and calm cracked lips and skin.



More cute minis, this time from Pur Minerals My Favorite Things, a prettily packaged set of Big Look Mascara, Mineral Glow Bronzer and Lip Gloss Stick in Pretty Berry. I’m already a fan of the Lip Gloss Stick (one of the best I’ve tried) - and the bronzer, which applies really smoothly for a very natural finish. This set is available in-store at M&S and you can buy the products individually at


MrKate-Gold-Beautymarks MrKate-Gold-Beautymarks- 

The skin jewellery trend has really taken off this year and Mr Kate Beauty Marks, £12 from Red Ruby Rouge was one of the originals. A bit like a grown-up glam version of the transfers we all loved as kids, Beauty Marks can be worn anywhere on the face or body. I’d personally wear one or two simple pieces on my wrist or shoulder for a night out... I like the idea of the dotted circle just below my collar bone and the feathers are really pretty.



Lanolips The Artist’s Tin £15.28 is a collaboration with Australian fashion illustrator, Kelly Smith who designed the beautiful vintage inspired tin containing the hero products 101 Ointment – a 100% natural multipurpose balm and Intense Hand Balm for intense hydration & protection for very dry hands & nails. This Limited Edition beauty is available exclusively at Whole Foods Market or the products can be bought individually at




It was one of these little sets that ignited my initial love for Philip Kingsley hair products, a great way to try the brand for the first time or sample new products before committing to the full size. Available in a number of options, but who doesn’t love a bit of Body & Volume for the party season?! Philip Kingsley Body & Volume Christmas Cracker, usually £10, is down to £7 in the M&S Christmas Gifting Weekend (50-8 Dec), which I’ll be investigating further once I hit publish!

That’s all for now folks… I have a couple of more specific guides coming up including Smellies She’ll Thank you for and Make-up Gifts for Teenagers. Anyone finished their Christmas shopping already *high five* (not me!) will be happy to know that I also have some regular beauty posts coming up, such as my Evening Skincare Routine, a few Hair features and So to Sleep, the products that help me nod off at night. If you have any requests, please feel free to send them my way!

Happy Shopping!

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