Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea

Last week I went for afternoon tea in the Westin hotel for the second time. The first time I had the Traditional Afternoon Tea and it was such a luxurious experience that I was so excited to go back again. My lovely work colleagues got me a voucher for A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea for my birthday back in August and last Friday I finally got around to booking it.

When we arrived we were brought into the Atrium parlour, a room just off the larger Atrium lounge. There was a table reserved for us which had plenty of space around it and a gorgeous big couch. I was so happy I waited until the Christmas season to book it because the room was decorated with Christmas decorations and it added so much warmth to the experience.

You can order two different Afternoon Teas if you didn't like the sound of the more adventurous Most Peculiar Afternoon tea, but we opted for two of the same as we'd already had the other one.

We were brought our cocktail in a teapot first which was a delicious gin mojito and gorgeous Hendrick's gin teacups (I'm dying to get some for myself!) Obviously if you're not a gin fan or if you don't drink alcohol I'm sure you could substitute the gin for another spirit or for tea or coffee. When we went for the Traditional Afternoon Tea we had several different coffees and the waitress made sure we were topped up at all times. I was full of caffeine by the time I left.

The waitress brought out the three-tiered stand and went through each item on it with us. My boyfriend waited patiently with a rumbling stomach while I took some photos and then we tucked in. 

AT1 AT2 AT25 AT5 AT23 AT6 AT17 AT8 AT9 AT13 AT16 AT15 AT7 AT18 AT26 AT27 AT22 AT20 AT11 AT28 AT30 AT3

Everything was delicious! Both savoury and sweet were equally amazing. I love how they have created such an unusual afternoon tea with really tasty combinations of food. The banana bread on the middle tier was probably the nicest banana bread I've ever tasted (the cinnamon and honey butter was incredible). The presentation of the little jars and spoons and cones all added to the "peculiar" theme. 

We ordered coffee to go with the desserts which ended up costing €4.50 each which is fairly standard for a 5 star hotel. The Traditional Afternoon Tea is €32 and this one is €34, I loved the cocktail but I think if I was to go again I would get coffee or tea instead as I think it goes better with the food. 

The main reason I wanted to write about this is that I think it's such a great gift to get for someone. I got my sister a voucher for afternoon tea for Christmas last year and she loved it. I've since gotten them for a couple of other people and anyone who goes always says what a great experience it is. It's a little afternoon of five star luxury in beautiful, calm surroundings and you're made to feel very special. If you're struggling to think of a gift for someone this Christmas, perhaps your parents or in-laws or anyone really, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy it. 

Most hotels do some kind of afternoon tea, some of the better ones in Dublin (or so I've heard) include the Shelbourne, the Westbury and the Dylan

Have you ever been for afternoon tea? Would you like to receive this as a gift?

Emma x





Sunday, November 27, 2016

All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun

We braved the freezing weather last weekend to take photos of an outfit I based around my new Aire Shirt from the second Archive by Alexa collection for Marks and Spencer. 

I still adore the Frances Trench and Misty Dress from the first collection that I featured earlier in the year so when I heard that there was going to be a second collection I was so excited to see how it would compare to the first one. I was drawn to the metallic Aire Shirt straight away when I saw the campaign images. It's based on a design from the 80s and I loved the embroidered details on the collar and pocket as well as the neck tie and scalloped edge on the cuffs. 

AA1 AA8 AA10 AA17 AA15 AA14 AA18 AA19 AA9

Shirt- Marks and Spencer
Coat- New Look (similar here and here)
Skirt- Monsoon (similar here, here and here)
Boots- Primark (similar here, here and here)
Bag- Zara (similar here and here)
Fur Collar- Chicwish (similar here and here)
Earrings- Accessorize (similar here)
Lipstick- Clinique Nude Pop

I wasn't sure about the material of the shirt when I first tried it on as it's not exactly very soft, but I actually don't mind it at all, if it had been made from a softer material it wouldn't have the same look. The reason I went for this shirt over the other items in the collection that are maybe a bit more wearable is that it's different from anything else I've seen on the high street. I loved this printed pieces too but I limited myself to one thing and this shirt was it.

You may have seen my Winter Wardrobe Wishlist last month in which I mentioned some patent boots from New Look that were sadly sold out in my size. I had to give up on them but luckily when I was in Liverpool earlier this month I spotted these boots in Primark that I had seen on Instagram and couldn't find in Penneys here in Dublin. They were very similar to the New Look boots except with a lower (and different coloured) heel and they were only £12 so I couldn't pass them up despite only having a carry on bag for the plane. I'm delighted I ended up getting these instead of the New Look ones because the quality is practically the same and they were a third of the price and much easier to walk in so I'll get more wear out of them.

I got this coat in New Look on sale last year and I've worn it so much. I like that the grey colour is different from the usual leopard print coats. This is pretty much the opposite to my last outfit post. More accessories and print and textures, but I like trying something different and not always wearing the same thing. I've made a couple of "Black Friday" purchases that I'm looking forward to styling when they arrive.

Did you get anything in the sales? What do you think of the second Archive by Alexa collection?

Emma x




Sunday, November 20, 2016

YSL Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream

YSL Beauty have recently added to their Vernis À Lèvres repertoire with the latest incarnation, Vinyl Cream. Described as a mixture between a lip stain, lipstick and gloss, it has a unique blend of skincare ingredients and pigment which keep the lips feeling comfortable all day without compromising on the colour.

The collection contains 12 shades ranging from nude to pink, red and orange. I was given 401 Rouge Vinyle and 410 Fuchsia Live, both are vibrant shades that I would have chosen for myself. I have to admit I rarely wear a glossy lip, I think that's mostly down to the fact that Ireland is such a windy country and it really annoys my when my hair gets caught in my lipstick. Also when I do choose a glossy lip product, I find they just don't last as long as I'd like. This is where Vinyl Cream excels. This is a glossy lipstick for anyone who loves the staying power and pigmentation of a long lasting lipstick. 

YSLVC16 YSLVC6 YSLVC19

Vinyl Cream has the same sleek and durable packaging of the Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain and Pop Water only in all black. They also have the same rosy scent of the Glossy Stains that I adore and find quite addictive. The design of the applicator is based on a diamond which allows for greater definition of the lips. The colour is deposited in the centre of the applicator so that you can use the edges to perfect the lines of the lips without applying too much of the product. I use a lip liner like the Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone pencil or the Duwop Reverse Lipliner around the outside of my lips to prevent bleeding/feathering which tends to happen to me when I wear glossy lip products. I'm sure you could also use a lip liner in a matching colour if you needed.

YSLVC9 YSLVC13

You can apply one light layer of these for a more "wearable" look or increase the intensity by building up the layers. In the photos I have two layers on and as you can see the colour payoff is excellent. The creamy texture makes them easy to apply, reapply and build up which definitely isn't the case with the Glossy Stains. They don't feel sticky on the lips, instead they are creamy and comfortable and don't settle into the lines of the lips too much instead giving a smooth look. 


YSLVC4 YSLVC14

With such a high shine, richly pigmented finish, the Vinyl Creams are definitely a statement lip product. YSL Beauty Creative Director Lloyd Simmons suggests that the Vinyl Creams work best with "pared-down, minimal skin" for during the day and "at night, add strong, graphic eyes" like the campaign images with Cara Delevingne. I love high shine lip colours like these for a nighttime party look. The red shades in particular would be amazing for over the holiday season (I'd pair them with gold eyes for a proper Christmas look). 

At €33 they are on the higher end of the scale but for you're getting unparalleled quality for your money. If you love a statement lip, stop by a YSL counter and check these out in person. I'm looking forward to experimenting more with mine over the party season. You can buy them in Boots, Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Debenhams

Are you a fan of glossy lips? 

Emma x





Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Sun Shines Down, You Came Around, You Love The Easy Days

Since I started my new job a year ago I've found that I'm finally figuring out my style. In my previous job, we had to wear clothes and accessories (a minimum of 3 to be exact, which always reminds me of Office Space and the "flair") from the shop which meant that although we got a reasonable discount I still ended up spending a large portion of my wages on my "uniform" which meant there was very little leftover for spending elsewhere.

Now that I no longer have to buy my uniform I've found I'm experimenting with my clothes a lot more and trying things I never have before just because I can. There are days though when I just want to keep it simple and minimal with one statement piece like these leopard print brogues. 


LPS2 LPS18 LPS10 LPS17 LPS5 LPS12
Photos by Simon
Coat- H&M (similar here, here and here)
Shirt- H&M
Trousers- ASOS (similar here and here)
Shoes- ASOS (similar here and here)
Earrings- Topshop
Bag- Accessorize (similar here here and here)
Lipstick- Urban Decay Disturbed (review here)
Nails- Champneys

I bought these high waisted wide leg cropped trousers thinking they probably wouldn't suit me but I wanted to try them anyway and I was suprised my how much I like them. They're a wool mix so I've been wearing them a lot in the cold weather and they work really well with brogues or boot or runners. This H&M boyfriend coat I featured on the blog about 2 years ago and at €29.99 it's one of the best style investments I've ever made. I love the classic cut of this coat, it's one of those styles that would suit anyone.

Leopard print is very obviously hotter than ever and I couldn't be happier. I have always adored leopard print, particularly in the form of accessories. I got these shoes last year on ASOS, there are plenty of similar options available at the moment, I've linked to some that I really like above. Printed shoes are such a great way to update your Winter wardrobe or make a simple outfit something more special. I also love all of the velvet, metallic and embroidered shoes and boots at the moment.

As you can see from the links above, most of these items are no longer in stock because I bought them all a while ago. I find that with sharing my personal style online there can be a pressure to constantly have new things, but what I love is finding new ways to wear things I already own. My main goal with a post like this is to offer inspiration to anyone who reads it. I'm tall and curvy and I do struggle to find things that suit me and that I feel comfortable in sometimes. For me that's what it's all about, feeling comfortable and stylish no matter what shape and size you are and to not be afraid to experiment as long as it takes to figure out what works for you. Hopefully I can be of some inspiration, even if it's that you don't like my style!

You may have noticed (if you don't already follow me on Instagram) that I recently had a significant amount of hair chopped off. I felt it was time for a big change after having very long hair for the past two years. I was nervous to finally go for it because any time I've had my hair cut shorter I have hated it. This time was different because I went to see my favourite hair stylist Carolin Zinck who has never let me down. She cut my hair exactly the way I wanted it with long hidden layers. I'm blown away every time she cuts my hair. If you're living in Dublin and looking for a great stylist for curly hair or any hair for that matter, I honestly can't speak more highly of her, she's got the gift. I'm so happy with my hair right now I'm having a lot more fun styling it than when it was long (and it's so much easier to maintain), so if you're thinking about going for the chop, my advice is just go for it, it'll always grow back!

Finally I wanted to ask for some help with new bloggers to follow, honestly it's been difficult especially with style bloggers to find people I can relate to and who inspire me. There are a few ladies I've found through Instagram recently who have been reigniting my love for fashion and style blogging and perhaps I'll share them in a separate post for you but I'm always on the lookout for more if you have any suggestions.

Emma x


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Braun Silk-épil 9

Hair removal is something that I rarely read about on blogs despite the fact that for most women (and a lot of men) it's part of our weekly, sometimes daily routine. Over the 14 or so years that I've been removing unwanted hair I've tried almost everything. I think a lot of younger girls tend to follow the footsteps of their mothers and sisters and my mam was always a waxing kind of woman so naturally that was my first foray into hair removal. I remember going into the salon with no clue as to what I was getting myself into. My first experience with waxing resulted in me going out the next day to buy a razor and shave gel.

I was shocked that women paid other women money to inflict them with so much pain. I didn't think it was worth it and so began my relationship with shaving. It was a novelty at first, feeling like a grown up shaving my legs and under my arms but that feeling soon wore off when I got annoying stubbly regrowth and had to invest in body scrubs and pay an extortionate amount of money for razors. The added joy of having sensitive skin that would get red and itch after shaving didn't enamour me with the process in any way. It meant I couldn't shave my legs more than once a week, twice at a push, because it would really irritate my skin.

When laser hair removal came onto the beauty scene a few years ago it seemed like the answer to my prayers, an expensive answer at that and to be honest although I have seriously considered booking a consultation, I never really had the extra money lying around so I put it on the long finger and kept shaving. I gave waxing another chance before holidays in recent years and yet again I decided it wasn't for me. In theory I love the idea of waxing because you get a lot longer out of it than shaving and it doesn't seem to irritate my skin at all, however waiting 4-6 weeks between appointments is difficult and I always end up shaving in between because the regrowth gets to me.

All options exhausted or so it seemed until my mam bought an epilator last year. She had similar struggles with hair removal over the years and decided to give epilating a go. My sister in turn bought one after trying out my mam's one. I borrowed her's to test it out before we went on holiday to France in August.

BSE1

I bought the Braun Silk Épil 9 which after much research seems to be the best on the market, it's also the one my sister has so I knew I liked it. I was quite apprehensive at first after being warned my both my mam and sister that it is very painful the first time you use it. I think they both have much higher pain thresholds than me so this made me very nervous. They did also say that it gets less painful each time you use it so I just had to get through the first time and I knew it'd be okay after that.

I braced myself by having a bath first, blaring some tunes that I could sing along with to distract myself and drank a couple of glasses of wine. I can't tell you if it all made a difference but I feel like it did. I'm not going to sugar coat anything, it hurts like hell. The pain, if you can imagine it, is almost exactly like someone plucking all of the hairs out of your legs at the same time. I got through the first leg, just about, and the battery died which I was extremely grateful for because I don't think I could have made it through both legs in one night. The next evening with a freshly charged battery I soldiered on and managed to finish the second leg.

I have to be honest there was a point when I didn't think I could take the pain anymore and yet again questioned why on earth women do this to themselves, I thought, there's not a chance in hell men would inflict this much pain on themselves voluntarily. Looking back on it now I'm so glad I persevered because it really does get less painful each time. Obviously the first time epilating is the worst because it's all of the hair at once whereas after that it's just a case of maintaining it which isn't pain free but completely bearable. I have yet to brave my armpits which my sister has warned me is excruciating the first time you do it.

BSE2.1

I thought I would do a quick list of the pros and cons of epilating using the Braun Silk Épil 9 for anyone who wants the main features.

PROS

- One time purchase (hopefully, unless it breaks!)
- Cost effective (no need for razors or shave gel or paying for a wax every month so it works out less expensive in the long run)
-  It's longer lasting than shaving so you don't need to do it every day
-  It's convenient (because you don't need water or shave gel in can be done any time or anywhere)
- Travel friendly (It means less liquid for your carry on on if you're traveling by plane)
- Cordless (comes with a charger but once it's charged you can use it in your bathroom or wherever you like)
- Can be used wet or dry, it's waterproof so you can use it in the bath or shower which helps with the pain
-Charges in one hour and can be used for up to 40 minutes
- Good option for anyone with sensitive skin as it means you won't get razor burn or a reaction to wax
- Hair grows back more sparse
- It comes with a trimmer cap and shave head so you have three products in one. It also has a tiny light to help guide you in lower light

CONS

- Very painful at first
- Expensive if you're on a budget (depending on what option you go for, mine cost roughly €110. However you can get other models for around €40)
- Can't be used while being charged (however it charges very quickly)
- There is no cap to cover the head which can be an inconvenience when travelling, the travel bag it comes with is poor quality, I would have expected more for the money you're paying
- Like waxing it's difficult to get a completely smooth finish as your hairs grow at different rates
- Not all models are cordless and waterproof
- Like with waxing you might suffer from ingrown hairs so having a good exfoliator like Tend Skin or the Waxperts Wonder Pads is a must

I got my Braun Silk Épil 9 from Amazon as I found it was the best price. I got the one with the bonus facial epilator which I haven't properly tried yet but the reviews I've read seem to to be very positive, it's around €50 by itself so it's deinfitely worth it if you think you'll use it as it won't cost you any more money. You can also get them from Boots, Argos and Littlewoods which are considerably more expensive or Target and Ulta if you're in the US. With the current Pound to Euro exchange rate it's definitely worth it buying from Amazon, you save about €50 compared other retailers.

I wanted to write about my experience with epilating because I couldn't find that many reviews or articles about it when I was doing my research and I thought this might be helpful to anyone thinking about investing in an epilator. It's not exactly an inexpensive purchase and it's hard to test it out beforehand unless you know someone who has one so I think it's important to have as much information as possible before investing in a beauty tool like this one. I have to be honest I don't know if I would have bought one outright if I hadn't tried my sister's one and heard her and my mam rave about their ones.

I'm so happy that I invested in an epilator, it's one of those "how did I not do this sooner?" products. I actually enjoy epilating my legs whereas I used to dread having to shave. I hope that I've covered everything in this blog but if you happen to have any specific questions please leave a comment or email me privately.

Emma x





Saturday, October 22, 2016

Winter Wardrobe Wishlist

It's feeling a lot more like Winter every day and the only good thing about the shorter days and colder weather is Winter style. I've been doing a lot of online window shopping lately to counteract my sadness that Winter is just beginning and I wanted to share some of my favourite pieces with you.



Winter Wishlist





I saw this pink H&M Knitted Turtleneck Jumper (€69.99) on a couple of different people on Instagram and I was immediately obsessed. Nothing about this is typically me, it's oversized which is generally unflattering me and it's bright pink, a colour I think I've only worn once as an adult. This is definitely a love or hate it jumper, I haven't seen it in person and tried it on yet so it could be hideous on me but a girl can dream.

I saw these New Look Black Patent Flared Heel Ankle Boots (€39.99) a couple of months ago instore and they didn't have my size and haven't had it since and I think that makes me want them even more. They don't have my size online either so I'm thinking I might have to give up on this one. I love the shape of these, the slightly pointed round toe is a bit more flattering and the heel isn't too high either.

I've seen Jenn Im (one of my favourite Youtubers) wearing these Jenny Bird Edie Hoops a few times now and I adore them. I had a big hair change last week getting about 6 or 7 inches off the length of my hair so I really want to start wearing big earrings again since you'll be able to see them better without all my curly hair in the way. They also come in silver and rose gold and in a bigger version too.

The other item of jewellery that I'm crazy about is the Stella & Dot Signature Bespoke Pre-layered Necklace. This necklace was recently added to Stella & Dot's growing Bespoke collection and it's right up my street. It's three in one so you can wear both layers either separately or together and both can be engraved making this a great gift idea.

& Other Stories is opening it's first Irish store on Grafton Street before the end of the year (I hope!) and having already been a fan I've been perusing their online store a lot recently knowing that I'll get to see everything in person soon. Their bags are some of my favourite on the "high street" and this Galaxy Print Leather Box Bag jumped out at me when I saw it on the site a few weeks ago. There are plain versions too but I love the idea of a statement printed bag paired with a colourful coat to brighten up the dull, dark Winter months.

I actually bought this Lace Midi Skirt from Zara this week. It's the kind of skirt I can wear dressed up over Christmas and New Year or dressed down with a jumper and ankle boots. Lastly, I've been looking for the perfect leopard print coat for the past few years to no avail. I haven't seen this Faux Fur Coat from H&M in person yet but I'm hoping this might be the answer to my leopard print prayers.

So that's my Winter wardrobe wishlist, what's on yours?

Emma x




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