Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Plain Sale-ing

This article was printed in my most recent Style By Caroline enewsletter. The advice is quite handy and timely, given that the Christmas Sales are cranking up with gusto. You can subscribe to Style by Caroline enewsletters on http://www.stylebycaroline.ie/.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Although I'm taking Roy Keane's quote out of context here, the sentiment is the same. Ever before you hit the shops, make a list of items that you actually need and take this list with you on your sale expedition.

The early bird catches the bargain
Sales mania is a horrible; all that pushing, shoving, disorder and heat makes for a most unpleasant shopping experience. Get to town early when bedlam is still in bed and you can shop in relative peace.

Dress appropriately
Wear comfortable footwear (preferably flat) and don't wear garments that have loads of buttons/fastenings. You'll quickly tire of changing rooms if you have to unfasten/refasten 10 buttons every time you want to try on an item.

Look for quality, not quantity
There is no better feeling than that of being laden down with shopping bags. There is no worse feeling of looking at a wardrobe packed with garments, yet you can't find anything to wear. Don't get carried away with impulse purchasing at the sales; only invest in classic items that are of good quality, well-cut and have no shop damage.

Try before you buy
Even though the queue for the changing room may be a mile long, make sure that you try on every garment that you intend purchasing. It may look good on the hangar but not on you.

A bargain isn't a bargain unless you really need it
Don't convince yourself that you really need something just because it has a "75% off" tag. Only purchase items that you really need.

Heed the conditions of sale
Before you purchase an item, make yourself aware of the retailer's conditions of sale. For example, most stores will not accept returns of sale goods.

Happy shopping!

Yours in style,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tried & Tested: Barbara Daly Make-up

"You're the spitting image of Dita Von Tease"...

"You have the most amazing lips I have ever seen"...

Just two of the most extraordinary compliments that little ole me received from total strangers in Nancy Blakes in Limerick last night!

Now, let me assure you that even if you crossed your eyes, squinted and wore your granny's bifocals, you would still fail to see any resemblance between me and Dita Von Tease. Nor do I have lips like Angelina Jolie for that matter. But for a few hours last night at least, my lips drew favourable comparisons to the aforementionned luscious lovelies!

"How? How!" says you.

Well, I'll let you into a secret. The lip colour that I was wearing was from Tesco of all places!

Usually my visits to Tesco are like a Dale Winton trolley dash; but yesterday I found myself with a few minutes to spare and so I made a beeline for the Barbara Daly make-up display.

Barbara Daly is to make-up what Barack Obama is to politics. She is amongst the most eminent artists in the make-up industry and has a dazzling career portfolio spanning 3 decades. Supermodels, high fashion magazines, leading photographers...you name them, she's worked with them.

Earlier this decade, Barbara lent her expertise, not to mention her name, to a phenomenally-popular diffusion make-up line at Tesco. Fast-forward to 2009 and the release of a re-vamped version of the line - The Perfect 10 Collection.
To say that The Perfect 10 Collection has been successful that George Clooney is average-looking. Beauty editors, make-up artists and shoppers alike have gone doolally over it; in fact, Tesco are having a hard time keeping the shelves stocked it is so popular!

And yesterday I got to test the goods for myself and see did they cut the mustard. Did they heck - look at the feedback I got above!

Caroline's 'TRIED & TESTED'

One-step Powder Foundation ("Warm Ivory"): This powder-based foundation is bang on trend at the moment and is certainly a high-quality product. As my skin tends to be quite dry, the powder formulation left me looking a bit parched. Also, the colour was a shade too light (even for my so-white-I'm almost-translucent complexion!). However, that is not to say it is a bad foundation - just bad for me. It would be far better on normal or slightly oily skin. Apply with a soft powder brush. No need for setting powder.

Cream Concealer ("Pale" and "Medium*"): Be warned, the "Pale" is very very pale. I know it says it on the tin, but even I (Pale McPalerson) here found it too light for my whiter-than-white complexion! The medium was a much better colour for me, so the lesson is try before you buy. Both shades have a yellow-base, which means that they work well for neutralising darkness under the eyes or hiding any red blemishes. I liked the creamy consistency (which is not unlike Bobbi Brown's creamy concealer) but some people might find it a bit heavy for under the eyes. Apply with a concealer brush (preferably synthetic bristles).

Soufflé Blush ("Rose"*): Ooh this blush is just gorgeous. I must confess I have actually had this in my professional kit for a while now and it is one of my most-used products. Great for giving a natural glow, it is easy to apply and lasts for ages. Great for cooler-toned skins. Apply with your finger tips or a small duo-fibre brush.

Soufflé Blush ("Whisper"): This is a slightly warmer version of the above. Super for warmer-toned complexions.

Cheek-to-Cheek Powder Blush ("Petal"): The lighter peachy tone has a very subtle shimmer and is wonderful for highlighting. The darker matte colour is a lovely pink shade and works very well over the soufflé blushes above. Apply with a regular blush brush.

Soufflé Eye-Shadow ("Sea Foam*" and "Driftwood"): Ooh, these are pretty. Creamy shimmery delectible little pots of colour. "Sea Foam*" is a silvery grey colour, with the barest hint of green. "Driftwood" is a shimmery bronze-champagne mix. Both of these colours are lovely but perhaps work best as a base for powder shadows as the colours are not terribly strong when applied. Apply with your fingertips or a synthetic eye-shadow brush.

Lipstick ("Gypsy*", "Watermelon", "Innocent" and "Sorbet"): I was super-impressed by these lipsticks. The unique square-edge makes them very easy to apply, the colours are intense and long-lasting, and the finish is creamy, silky and supple. 10/10 Barbara! Colour guide: "Gypsy*" = red , "Innocent" = nude, "Sorbet" = candy pink and "Watermelon" = the coour of a watermelon, strangely enough!

Shades marked with an asterisk(*) are those that I wore last night. I only wish I took a photo to show you the finished look. I'll recreate the look over the Christmas holidays and put it up here with a step-by-step application guide.

Yours in style,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pat on the back for BTs

Times are exceptionally tough for retailers at the moment there's no doubt. Our plundering economy, combined with a lean appetite for spending, has left our poor retailers reeling. And with only 8 days until Christmas, my retail colleagues are telling me that business remains far from brisk.

I won't be popular with my aforementionned colleagues for saying this; but for shoppers, the past few weeks have been a veritable joy! No rip-off merchents, no crowds and none of the harried service we experienced in previous years. We see retailers coming up with innnovative ways of attracting us and for the first time in years we are getting great VALUE. By value I don't mean cheaper products (although that certainly helps), I'm also referring to friendlier service, greater personal attention and an overall more pleasant shopping experience.

I'm particularly fascinated by the transformation of Brown Thomas from supercilious to super-considerate. This year has been an 'annus horribilis' for the retail sector in general but in fairness BT has reacted with aplomb. From the introduction of loyalty cards, to their weekly 'special offer' e-newsletters, they have made great strides in making their once-aloof brand more accessible and appealing.

And now I see today on the 'News' section of http://www.brownthomas.com/, that they have Brown Thomas Gift Genies in each store throughout the festive season who will assist you in finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones.

This is the innovation and value I'm talking about! I commend Brown Thomas and others for making a huge effort and recognising that customers will spend their hard-earned cash once they perceive that they are getting great value.

Hindsight has 20/20 vision; I believe that once we ride out the recessionary storm, we will look back on this period with grim affection. Going forward, I hope that retailers will continue offering improved value and will reap rewards from same.

Yours in style,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What if the Shoe Doesn't Fit?

I'm just after catching a very interesting interview with Glendon Lloyd - CEO of http://www.tszuji.co.uk/ - on the Seán Moncrieff radio show on Newstalk.

Fed up with the 'shoenami' (geddit!) he faced every time he opened his wardrobe, Lloyd set up Tszuji, a web-based company offering quality shoe storage solutions.

I have a chronic OCD approach to wardrobe organisation, so when I heard a mention of shoe storage I immediately galloped over to the laptop to have a gawk at the goodies on offer on http://www.tszuji.co.uk/. And I wasn't disappointed! The site is extremely impressive - offering a vast range of clear shoe boxes, storage racks (free-standing and over-door), handbag storage, heel protectors and insoles, with the added comfort of a "100% satisfaction or your money back" guarantee.

I was particularly fascinated with the Rakku Shoe Wheel (pictured below), which stores up to 30 pairs of shoes. This product retails at £64.95 (ex. delivery) and is available in either black or silver. There are discounts availabe for multiple purchases (up to 4). Regardless of whether you own 1 or 10 or 100 pairs of shoes, I strongly recommend that you store your footwear carefully i.e. in a cool, dry place and protected from dust. If you're very good, you should stuff them with newspaper to preserve their shape, and clean them after every wear (following the manufacturers instructions re. leather, suede, patent etc.) so that they are ready for their next outing.

Back to Tszuji, my only criticism of them is the name of the website - it took me 3 or 4 tries on Google before I got the spelling right. Nonetheless, the destination more than made up for the bumpy journey, so to speak, and I have earmarked at least 3 items which I will be purchasing as Christmas gifts.

Yours in style,


Monday, December 14, 2009

When the Coat Met the Cardigan

This season has been all about fashion mash-ups. First we had the "Snood", pioneered by Burbury (the product of a hood and scarf liaison), then jeans and leggings jumped on the bandwagon with "Jeggings" and now the latest fashion fusion is the "Coatigan"...

Essentially a cardigan moonlighting as a coat, the Coatigan has been a celeb favourite for a few months now and there are a plethora of variations on the market to suit every shape, taste and budget.

Broadly speaking, there are 2 main Coatigan styles - chunky knit (think 'lagging jacket') and slim knit (think 'cozy sophistication').


This chunky woolly number (pictured below) is from Warehouse, http://www.warehouse.co.uk/. It is deliciously warm (especially on a frosty day like today) but could you imagine trying to wash it? The weight of the thing!

Choose if: You're cold obviously! This style suits anyone who is narrower on top (slim shoulders, small bust) as the bulky material won't make you look chunky.

Avoid if: You have broad shoulders or a large bust as ths style will only make you look bigger. Also, avoid this length if your hips are wide as this hem-length will draw attention to your hips.


This slim-line version from Marks and Spencers may not have the cuddly factor of the chunky Warehouse version, but it's imminently more washable and, dare I say, wearable.

Choose if: You need a classic Winter Warmer to throw on over almost any outfit. Most people can wear this shape very well as it drapes the figure beautifully, and the soft belt draws subtle attention to the waist.

Yours in style,

I love 'LOVE Aprons'

If you are looking for a stylish Christmas gift for a style-conscious cook, then check out Clodagh McKenna's LOVE Apron range on http://www.clodaghmckenna.com/.

The selection includes three 1950s-inspired aprons (red, green and black/white print) - and new to the range is a navy vintage-style half-pinny.

The aprons cost €35 each and the pinny is €25.95. The price includes the fabulous colour-coordinated packaging pictured in the iddle picture above.

These aprons are stocked in selected stores nationwide (including Carrig Donn) as well as on Clodagh McKenna's website, http://www.clodaghmckenna.com/. I recently purchased a selection of these aprons from the website and I was delighted with the service and speedy delivery (Mr. DHL arrived on the doorstep less than 48 hours after I submitted my order).
Yours in style,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Swap Til You Drop

Are you a Stylista on a Recessionista budget?

If so, you might just be interested in a new store which has opened in Limerick in the past few days.

Be Fabulous is a high-end swap shop, specialising in new and nearly-new designer and high street clothing/accessories, at a fraction of the retail cost.

If you have high quality garments in your wardrobe that you never wear, why not trade them in at Be Fabulous. Alternatively, if you're looking for a gorgeous designer gúna without a designer price tag, this could be the place for you! With new stock arriving daily, I've a feeling that this place will become a veritable treasure trove for fashionistas and bargainistas alike!

Contact Details:
A: 15 Shannon Street Limerick (opposite the entrance to the George Boutique Hotel)
T: 086-3242818
E: mizinka@hotmail.com

Yours in style,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box

Whilst larking about on http://www.bobbibrown.co.uk/ earlier, I happened across the brand new Bobbi Brown Black Plum Deluxe Beauty Trunk (pictured right), which has been released just in time for the Christmas market.

Ooh isn't it handsome - all faux leather and chrome and mirrors - it's like something I could happily live in.

Eh, except it costs an arm and a leg...nay, two arms and two legs...and probably a few organs too. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I discovered that it is retailling at £350 in the UK (which means that you won't get much change out of €450 here). And the leather isn't even real! Crikey eh.

Now, there's a lot to be said for having a good sturdy make-up case. Not only will it help you to keep your products organised, they're also less likely to get lost or damaged. However, a sturdy make-up case is a hard thing to find. Good quality cases, can cost anything from €200 upwards. In fact, I've seen poor quality make-up cases retailing in salon supply shops with pricetags of €80+!

I don't mind spending money on good products, but €200+ on what is essentially a box seems a bit excessive to me in the current climate.
So, time to think outside the box (if you pardon the pun)!
Enter, B&Q.

I purchased this B&Q Aluminium Storage Case last February for only €33! 10 months later it is still going strong. Costing less than 1/10th of the price of the Bobbi Brown equivilent. It's study, attractive and ideal for storing all my make-up bits and bobs.

Since discovering the merits of B&Q, Ive purchased a fantastic tool-pouch for €12, which is ideal for storing my 40+ make-up brushes and little plastic containers (that I can attached to my make-up brush belt) for storing disposable mascara wands, cotton buds etc.
Not bad eh!
Yours in style,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Folly than Jolly!

I came across a bizarre story yesterday on http://www.ananova.com/ which is so outlandish that it must be true...

Doctors at the Harley Medical Group (major UK cosmetic surgery operator) have experienced an influx of women looking have have Botox injected into the soles of their feet!

Are they hoping to eradicate wrinkles in their feet?

Are they hoping their feet will sweat less? (Botox is often used to stop excess sweating.)

Well what could they possibly want Botox for then?
Believe it or not, they're using Botox to prevent pain associated with wearing high heels! This new technique is known as "foot fillers" and costs a whopping £240 a go, for results that doctors say only last 2-3 months.

Now, I love my high heels as much as the next girl, but would I inject a poison into my feet to eradicate the associated pain? Not on your nelly!

Instead, I avoid all toe woes with following combination;
  • Penneys' Foot Consolers*.
  • Scholl Cooling Foot Spray.
  • A supply of fabric plasters & Compeed blister plasters.
  • A pair of flat shoes in my handbag (if all else fails).
  • Basin of cool water (for bathing my feet when I get home).
*These sole-savers are just fantastic. Essentially each Foot Consoler is the same shape as the gel inserts e.g. Scholl's Party Feet. Like a gel insert, the Foot Consoler sits in your shoe under the ball of your foot. Unlike a gel insert however, it stays put by way of a secure, discreet strap. Another reason for favouring Foot Consolers over gel inerts is because they are made of cotton - which means that they don't become slippy, and as result there's less chance of you coming home with one/none of them! Best of all, they are an absolute bargain at only €1.50 for 2 pairs (available in Penneys).

Botox-schmotox eh!

Yours in style,

Stylish Gift from Style By Caroline

Are you looking for a stylish gift to give a friend or loved one this Christmas? Well, we at Style By Caroline have Christmas Stocking surprise that is bound to delight!

Style By Caroline vouchers (€20 - €200) are available to purchase on-line and the lucky recipient will be able to redeem their gift against any of our services, including;
  • Personal style lesson
  • Personal shopping
  • Wardrobe decluttering
  • Make-up application for a special event
  • Style classes
  • And many more!

Purchase securely on-line using Paypal and the voucher will be dispatched to you within 24 hours. If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us

Yours in style,

My Experience at "The Wedding Experience"

Irish readers may not be familiar with her name (yet), but when it comes to event management across the pond, the name on every celebrity's lips is Tatiana Byron.

Byron specialises in organising extravagant events for the most elite names in the entertainment industry (think Mary J. Blige, Sean Combs, Diana Ross, Cannes Film Festival and so on), as well as organising weddings for high society names. And if that wasn't enough to manage, she is also President of The Wedding Salon, http://www.weddingsalon.com/, the world's premier luxury wedding showcase which takes place in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

No better women to headline "The Wedding Experience" at Adare Manor last Sunday then!

Organised by McEvents, The Wedding Experience is Ireland's most exclusive wedding showcase and Style By Caroline had the honour of being invited to participate at this event.

Five days on, I'm still struggling to find words to describe The Wedding Experience. I don't think I have ever seen anything like it. Genuinely. I've been to tonnes of wedding fairs in my time but this was in another dimension altogether.

Silver platters laden with delicate canapés and decidant desserts were in copious supply (why is food so much tastier in fun-size form?). Fruit punch and mulled wine melted any Winter chills, and as for the fireworks (see I told you it was extravagant!), well, put simply, they were spectacular. Imagine, all this against the sumptuous 'gothic revival' backdrop of Adare Manor.

The unanimous highlight amongst brides-to-be was the wedding preparation workshop hosted by Tatiana Byron. Alas, I didn't pick up any star secrets as I was based far away in the Gallery (and conveniently close to Sue Cummins, wedding cake designer, who allowed me to indulge in chocolate cake all day) but every couple I met was full of praise for Tatiana.

As the evening drew to a close, I had the pleasure of meeting the lady of the hour and I must say I was hugely impressed by her charm, wit...and fantastic clothes! She even happily obliged my request for a photo...

I'll be put the photos from the rest of the day up on the Style By Caroline Facebook page shortly. They describe the day far better that I ever could.

Yours in style,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Suits you sir!

"Clean shirt, new shoes,
And I don’t know where I’m goin’ to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don’t need a reason why.
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can,
‘Cause every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man."

ZZ Top were right; there's nothing quite as dapper - nay sexy - as a besuited gentleman...and it turns out I'm not alone in this view; in fact, the sartorial merits of The Suit discussed at length on the Ryan Tubridy show on RTE Radio 1 this morning!

It turns out that this discussion was prompted by a book that Louis Copeland sent as a present to Ryan Tubridy (he being no stranger to dapper tailoring either) entitled "Sharp Suits", by Eric Musgrave. See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharp-Suits-Eric-Musgrave/dp/1862058520/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259313748&sr=1-1.

Which leads me nicely into telling you about a meeting that I had with Louis Copeland earlier this year. He hosted a Men's Tailoring & Style course for the Irish Image Consultants Institute at his Flagship store in Capel Street, Dublin, and generously bestowed the following top style tips for gentlemen:

1. Choose your suit colour carefully: When purchasing a suit for general-wear, go for darker colours which are more versatile, less likely to show up stains and are longer-wearing than lighter-coloured suits. Navy is the most popular selection amongst Irish men as it flatters Irish skin-tones.

2. Every gentleman should own a blazer: Louis recommends that you should invest in a good-quality blazer that you can get years of wear from. There’s nothing a like a blazer to smarten up an outfit! Avoid wearing a suit jacket as a blazer as this is an unconvincing look.

3. Choose trousers to suit your build: If you are carrying a bit of weight, go for a pleated trouser, which will be more comfortable to wear. It is also advisable to wear braces if you are carrying weight around the tummy area. If you have a slim build, choose flat-front trousers.

4. Jacket & shirt sleeves: The jacket sleeve length should end just below the wrist / at the base of the thumb. Elsewhere, Louis recommends that 1/2” of your shirt cuff should be visible below the sleeve of your jacket.

5. Accessorise with caution: Match your belt, shoes & socks to your outfit i.e. if you are wearing a dark-coloured suit then wear a black belt with black shoes & socks. If your trousers have belt loops then wear a belt (preferably leather). Lastly, wear long socks so when you sit down you won’t flash any flesh!

For more helpful advice on men's style and tailoring, why not book a personal consultation or personal shopping trip with Style By Caroline. See http://www.stylebycaroline.ie/ for contact details.

Yours in style,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks for my DKNY Cozy

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My one and only true Thanksgiving experience was in New York last year, with two of my favourite people in the world! Over the course of our visit, we indulged in every cliché possible; a huge turkey dinner, the Macy's Day parade, the Rockettes Christmas spectacular...and of course the post-Thanksgiving sale at Macys.

12 months on, and given the day that's in it, I must express my gratitude for my favourite NY08-Thanksgiving-sale-purchase, my DKNY "Cosy". A rich royal purple in colour, and made of the softest Merino wool, my Cosy has been a loyal companion over the past few months of dreary weather.

Not only is it extremely soft and warm, it is also incredibly versatile as it can be worn in no less than 12 different ways. See the DKNY look-book for inspiration on how to wear your cozy, http://www.dkny.com/womens/collection.php?view=cozylookbook

If ever there was a good wardrobe staple, this is it (for me at least). It's so easy and comfortable to wear and it will transform any look. It says it all really when it looks as good over a simple pair of jeans as it does over classic little black dress!

My DKNY Cosy was quite pricey at $160 but, given the amount of times I've worn it, it owes me absolutely nothing. Plus, given that the DKNY Cozy has been around since 2003 and is even more popular this season than ever, I consider it to be a great investment purchase.

There are plenty of lookalike versions on the high-street, but if you have the cash, I suggest that you get one that is made of the highest quality fabric that you can afford. If it's anything like mine it will be worn again, and again, and again.

Yours in style,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Does Your Closet Need Clothesbusting?

I caught a very interesting discussion on Ryan Tubridy's RTE Radio 1 show this morning on the subject of clutter and clutterers...two subjects issues that lie very close to my heart!

As a personal stylist, clutter and clutterers are concepts that I am extremely familiar with. So many women have little time to organise their wardrobes; with work, family pressures and other time constraints bearing down on us, often our wardrobes can easily become neglected.

A a huge part of my job is helping people to overhaul their underperforming wardrobes; after all, there's no point having unused clothes gathering dust in a disorganised vault. I help women to clear out and re-stock their weary wardrobes so that they are transformed into neat, organised and fully-functional spaces. In the process, the wardrobe owner discovers what clothing styles and colours suits them, and what they should be buying to meet their wardrobe needs.

For more information on wardrobe de-cluttering and other personal styling services, see http://www.stylebycaroline.ie/.

Yours in style,

Brush up on your Brushes

With less than 5 weeks to go 'til Christmas, I’m contantly being asked for beauty/style-themed Christmas present ideas.

In my opinion, make-up brushes are a fantastic gift for anyone who enjoys wearing the ole warpaint. A good set of bushes will last the owner for years, provided that they look after them properly of course.

The trouble with make-up brushes however is that there are loads of rubbishy ones on the market that irritate the skin, shed hairs and cause all manner of splotches and streaks. After much trial and error, I have listed my favourite brushes below, which might serve as a good guide to you.

I tend to buy brushes with natural hair as they are softer, generally last longer and give very even coverage. The trade-off for great quality is, as you might expect, high price. The recommendations below are quite pricy, but as I say, these brushes are brilliant and will last for years.

Good make-up starts with a good base. I recommend the MAC Foundation Brush (no. 190) or the Boots No.7 Foundation brush (my current favourite!). Elsewhere, I always think that foundation looks better if you buff it afterwards with a soft brush. The crème de la crème of soft brushes is the MAC Duo Fibre brush (no. 187), which is also great for applying face powder and blush. Jemma Kidd does a great ‘copy-cat’ version of this brush, which is available in most Boots stores.

I usually apply concealer with Bobbi Brown’s Cream Eyeshadow Brush (most concealer brushes are very small but this is a lovely medium size), but I must give an honourable mention to Boots No.7 Concealer Brush which is as soft as silk, easy to control and gives a lovely even finish.

I heartily recommend the under-soft MAC Powder Brush (no. 129), which can be used for applying powder and bronzer.

You can use the same bush for applying powder and blush if you like (provided that you clean it in between applications). If you prefer to use a separate brush for blush, go for the MAC Blush Brush (no. 116). For cream blush, either use your fingers to apply, or use a small Fibre Duo brush.

Again, MAC comes up trumps here. I use the MAC Blending Brush (no. 217) to build colour and I use the MAC Tapered Blending Brush (no. 224) to blend the edges for a softer finish.

To apply shadow, gel or cream eyeliner, I use the MAC Small Angle Brush (no. 266) which gives great precision and control. If I want to ‘soften’ a shadow or kohl eye-liner (say under the lower lashes) I use a MAC Pencil Brush (No.219) which gives a wonderful smoky look.

I use a Retractable Lip Brush by Barbara Daly from Tesco! Barbara Daly is a world-renowned make-up artist who Bobbi Brown credits as being the best in the business. Her diffucion range of make-up products and brushes for Tesco is excellent and this brush is no exception. I must also credit the MAC Lip Brush (no. 318).

I hope these recommendations help you with your shopping! One last tip - make sure that you only purchase your branded make-up brushes from genuine outlets. You would be amazed at how many cheap fake knock-offs there are out there, particularly in cyberspace!

Yours in style,

Note: You’ll see that I have been very generous with my MAC recommendations. However, be careful. Last year I the unfortunate mistake of buying a MAC Brush Set (Christmas 2008 Collection) which unfortunately was an entire waste of €60. Although it contained 5 genuine MAC brushes, the brush heads were very small, had poor shape and obviously made of synthetic fibres. As a result they irritated my skin and gave poor coverage. So, the lesson here is to buy the individual professional brushes (and if you like, go for the shorter handle ones are cheaper).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sweets & Treats at Sequoia Lane

Fancy an evening of classical music, mulled wine, mince pies from the Bailey Bar & Bistro and delicious confectionary from Limerick's own Pandora Bell?

Then open your diary and put a big red circle around next Tuesday, for the good folks at Sequoia Lane (you'll remember me raving about this place in blog entry a few weeks ago) are hosting a "Winter's Evening" with plenty of treats, lots of sweets and a host of special offers for you on the night.

Venue: Sequoia Lane, O'Connell Street, Limerick.
Date: Tuesday, 24th November
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm

Yours in style,

All I Want for Christmas, is Shooooes

Hi, my name is Caroline and I am a shoe-holic.

There I said it.

They say admission is the first stage of recovery; but heck, I've no hope of recovery when the most BEAUTIFUL shoe-shop in the country (recently xposed by Tv3, if you pardon the pun) is located right on my doorstep i.e. Serendipity Shoe Boutique in Adare, Co. Limerick. To make matters worse (dare I say better), Serendipity has just launched its "Christmas Wish List" campaign....

"Intriguing", says you.
"Indeed" says I!

Visit Serendipity over the next couple of weeks and create your very own 'wishlist' of items that you would love to receive as Christmas presents. Then, your loved ones can order said items from Serendipity and surprise you with them on Christmas morning!

As someone who finds it very difficult to find the perfect presents for loved ones, I think this idea is inspired. It may even be of great help to a certain Mr. Claus!

Serendipity's shoe and boot collection includes the following labels; Ann Roth, Lisa Kay, Sachelle Couture, Salvdor Sapena, Sax, Hogl, Manas, Lollipops, Bourne Wedding Shoes, Pilar Abril, Menbur and Luciano Barrachini.

If you are struggling to accessorise an outfit for the Christmas season, why not bring it with you to Serendipity where their team will help you find perfect footwear, jewellery, headpieces, umbrellas and hosiery to match.

For more information, contact Serendipity on 061-395531.

Yours in style,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Jock Shock

I happened across a very curious survey conducted by Debenhams last week, which revealed what exactly stimulates men’s underwear purchasing behaviour.

The survey of 1,000 men concluded that men’s underwear shopping behaviour is directly correlated to their relationships with women. Seemingly, when they are trying to entice a lady, they purchase their own underwear; conversely, when they are in a stable relationship, the lucky lady doesn’t so much wear the pants as buys the pants.

Debenhams Head of Men’s Accessories Buying, Mr. Rob Faucherand said: "Our research shows that you can tell when a man is looking for a partner by the number of new underpants they buy for themselves"!

In brief (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), the results were as follows:
  • 0-19 years: Their mothers purchase their underwear .
  • 19-23 years: They buy their own (up to 31 pairs annually).
  • 23 - 33 years: Buying behaviour declines to 0 (in a stable relationship).
  • 38-40 years: Underwear purchase pick up again (post-relationship break-up and looking for a new relationship).
  • 44+ years: Back to 0 (usually in a stable relationship).

According to Mr. Faucherand, "It's not who wears the pants in each household - it's who has to buy them that counts".

Indeed. And that’s the way it should stay…or for the next 7 weeks at least. Imagine, if the menfolk did purchase their underwear, what would we buy them for Christmas!

Yours in style,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flora Oil - not just for frying!

I was cleaning my make-up brushes tonight at the kitchen sink and for the umteenth time I despaired at how hard it can be to remove waxy/oily residue such as foundation, concealer and lipstick, even when using a proper make-up brush cleaner...

Then, it hit me. That bottle of Flora Sunflower Oil sitting on the kitchen counter might just solve the problem...

I gently massaged a dollop of the aforementioned oil into each of the affected brushes...and BANG, the dirt was gone. (Sorry Cillit Bang, it's too late on a Friday night to be coming up with my own catchy catch-phrase).

To remove the oil, I cleansed thoroughly with my MAC Brush Cleanser, followed by a rinse of water.

Remember that old adage re. oil and water...yep, it's true, they don't mix! If using oil on your brushes, don't rinse them with water; instead, gently massage the brush with make-up brush cleaner. If you don't you'll be left with greasy brushes.

Now, my brushes are positively gleaming and not a trace of foundation/concealer/lipstick in sight. Plus they are as soft as silk!

Tips when cleansing brushes
  • Clean your brushes regularly (at least every 3rd use).
  • Use a proper brush cleaner (not washing up liquid / shampoo).
  • Use warm water (not hot).
  • Try not to immerse the brush handle in water as it could cause the brush hairs to become loose.
  • Lay the clean brushes on a towel to dry naturally.
  • Store the brushes in a clean, dry place.

Tune in next week for my top make-up brush recommendations (which will make for a great Christmas gift for the make-up junkie in your life).

Yours in style,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Outnet Giveaway...Outed!

Fancy getting your hands on this Marchesa silk-chiffon dress worth €3,416? Now that caught your attention didn't it!

One of my favourite websites, http://www.theoutnet.com/ is
giving away this beauty in an on-line competition this week.

If you fancy your chances at winning, fill out an entry form on http://www.theoutnet.com/giveaway/199?cm_mmc=Email-_-GiveawayU90-_-Marchesa091111-_-INTL. Hurry though as the closing date is this Friday, 13th November (lucky for some, don't you know!)

Yours in style,


How can you stay snug and warm this Winter, whilst staying band on trend? Tis easy - buy a pair of 'shoe-boots'.

Shoe-boots are very easy to wear and look great with opaque tights, leggings or even under trousers.

Check out my most recent purchase from Dunnes Stores - a fantastic (and dare I say extremely comfortable) pair of purple, velvet, platform shoe-boots for a bargaintastic €18!

The above shoe-boots are also available in black and grey from Dunnes. They are flying off the shelves so get there asap if you want to bag yourself a pair.

Rules for Wearing Shoe Boots

If you have short legs: Ensure that the colour of your shoe-boots matches your tights / leggings / trousers, which will give the illusion of a longer leg. Avoid wearing shoeboots on bare legs with a skirt/shorts (unless the shoe-boots are a nude colour), as your legs will look very stumpy.

If you have long legs: You lucky thing, you can easily carry off wearing a contrasting colour shoe-boot to your tights / leggings / trousers! With your legs, it's always a good idea to 'break up' the leg length by wearing boots, shoes with ankle straps, colourful footwear etc. as this will make you appear less leggy (and your legs won't look like stumps I promise!)

Yours in style,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Conical or Comical?

Pioneered by Marylin Monroe in the 50s and reincarnated by Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier in the early 90s (Blonde Ambition tour), the Conical Bra is making a comeback...thanks to Monsieur Gaultier himself as it happens!

His show at Paris Fashion Week on 3rd October (pictured below) featured a spectacular array of conical bras, and Gaultier was keen to promote their bosum-boosting-benefits: "instead of filling oneself with silicone or collagen, why not try these prostheses, which can be taken off," he chuckled, "It's perfect!"

It's amazing how quick a trend can filter down to the high street. Whether it be for fashionable reasons, or the functional reasons purported my Gaultier, UK chain store John Lewis are reporting a 33% upsurge in sales for these pointy creations.

Conical or comical?

Yours in style,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Waist Not, Want Not

Waistcoats, waistcoats, everywhere I look there are waistcoats. I’m not talking about ‘dapper gentleman’ ones. No such luck. I mean ladies’ fashiony waistcoats. Flicking through Grazia and the like, it appears that you’re at nothing this Winter unless you are sporting a woolly torso-toaster…

.. or a teeny, low-cut denim delight…

So who can wear this style?

CHOOSE IF... the top half of your body is smaller than the bottom half. A slim-fitting waistcoast can balance out your proportions, aswell as drawing attention to your neat upper half.

AVOID IF...the top half of your body is busty, boxy or large on top avoid this style as it will do absolutely nothing flattering for you.


Waistcoasts are hard to wear, in my opinion. Unless you have quite slim proportions, they can make you look bigger than what you are. Also, they can be quite ‘boxy’ and therefore don’t always enhance womanly curves.

All in all, I think this trend is best left to the youngsters (i.e. anyone who wasn’t around for the original 1980s experience).

Which reminds me, there is a photo at home somewhere of me in 1994 (old enough to know better) looking a fright in a massive REVERSIBLE waistcoat…denim on one side and thick brown chord on the other. Imagine! Of course I wore it with the mandatory Levi’s 501s. *Shudder*

Moving swiftly back to the present, if you really want to ‘get waisted’, check out http://www.asos.com/ where they have a plethora of styles.

Yours in style,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Snap Happy!

I’m a divil for staking photos; I always, ALWAYS have a camera in my handbag for impromptu snapping.

I’ve recently upgraded my 'snaparatus' to a (deep breath) Panasonic Lumix DC Vario DMC-FS12 12 Mega Pixel camara. And what a great little product it is too - even for a technophobe like me! It's easy-peasy to use and the picture quality is phenomenal.

The only problem I’ve encountered is that the file size of each picture is obviously huge (between 4-5MB each) so I’ve had to resort to http://www.picresize.com/ when uploading to the internet.

My thanks to the lovely man in Currys, http://www.currys.ie/, who recommended it. Plus, it was on sale too at €179!

Yours in style,

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's all Grey-vy

"Caroline, you're looking a bit grey in the face."

These are the words of my kind, well-meaning, Irish mammy when I'm tired/sick/stressed and basically look like I've been whitewashed.

Now though, my favourite make-up brand, Bobbi Brown, has given a whole new (hale and hearty) meaning to the phrase, with their sumptuous new Chrome Palette.

This limited-edition collection is the latest in a string of home-runs for Bobbi Brown. Traditionally known for favouring a nude look, Bobbi has made a few foray's of late into the wonderful worlds of colour and shimmer.

And this latest offering doesn't disappoint. Largely inspired by this season's 'in' colour (grey, if you haven't guessed by now!), the palette features 10 eye-shadow shades (in both matte and shimmer tones), as well as four lip-glosses (in varying berry tones).

Grey is a very versatile colour for typical Irish complexions (pale skin, light coloured eyes) and suits all ages. As it is quite a cold colour, I suggest that you wear a nice pinky blush (pink and grey go exceptionally well together), with a pink lip for a great Winter look. Finally, finish your eyes with a slick of Bobbi's "Granite Ink" long-wear gel eye-liner for a modern, long-lasting, defined finish.

Price and Availability: The good news is that this palette is great value at €65.00. The bad news is that it is not so easy to get your mitts on this palette as we only have limited stockists in Ireland, namely Brown Thomas Dublin/Cork/Galway (but not Limerick for some strange reason). If you don't fancy a road-trip, you can mail-order your palette by ringing any of the above-mentionned BT outlets (P&P fee will apply).

This is one that is definitly on my Christmas wish-list!

Yours in style,

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beautiful Treats in Sequoia Lane (Limerick)

I have been the proud owner of a pair of pink-patterned wellington boots for nigh-on three years now. In the 1000+ days of our courtship, my wellies and I have had great times - concerts, shows, cleaning out sheds...they even featured in a charity calendar at one stage!

Alas, last Saturday, a terrible thing happened. Well two terrible things to be precise. The right welly sprung a leak. And then, to add to my misery, the left one joined in in sympathy. What are the odds!

Anyway, today I decided to go and invest in a pair of 'sensible' wellies (i.e. green or black, and preferably waterproof) so off I headed to Sequoia Lane, http://www.sequoialane.com/, in Limerick City where they stock the famed "Hunter" wellies.

What a beautiful store Sequoia Lane is - packed to the rafters with beautiful, funky interiors, clothes, sweetie treats from Pandora Bell, http://www.pandorabell.ie/, Clodagh McKenna's apron range, http://www.clodaghmckenna.com/, beautiful recipe books and many more lovely things.

And after all my talk of Hunter wellies, I clean forgot about them and instead purchased a selection of handmade cards, two ornate Christmas decorations, and...ahem...some sweet treats for my dogs!

When I went up to the counter, to pay for my goods, I was offered a Sequoia Lane Loyalty Card. (Wait a minute, that's the second time this week!) Their loyalty card scheme is actually very good. You earn a "stamp" for every €25 spent, and after €225 you receive a €15 voucher. Handy in the run-up to Christmas for sure.

As for the wellies, I shall invest in a good pair of Hunters this week and return with a review.

Yours in style,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brown Thomas Loyalty Card

Last Sunday I ventured up to the 2nd floor of Brown Thomas in Limerick to buy a set of pots and pans, plus "fluffy towels" (their towels really are just so gosh-darn fluffy).

Upon arriving at the check-out with my pots, pans and fluffy towels in tow, I got the surprise of my life. Not only was every one of the above-mentioned items marked 50% off, but I was asked did I have a Brown Thomas Loyalty Card.

I paused for a moment, afraid that I might have misheard. Surely this was too good to be true. Did she mean a gift card...or maybe a BT credit card??

"A Brown Thomas Loyalty Card", I repeated, cautiously.

"Yes", replied the amused assistant, "we launched it last week; you get one point for every euro you spend, plus extra points on your birthday".

"Arrrghaa are you serious! It's my birthday on Tuesday, sign me up quick", I exclaimed with wide-eyed delight!

And so, the long-term relationship between Brown Thomas and I has been made official, and I am now the proud owner of a shiny, sleek Brown Thomas Loyalty Card.

As if I need any further encouragement to shop in BTs! Look out for future posts on my burgeoning addiction to MAC eyeshadows, DKNY knit dresses, fluffy towels etc.

Yours in style,

You can register at any Brown Thomas store, or online at www.brownthomas.com/black.

Catch us on Facebook

Things are getting very techie around the Style By Caroline office of late...

Earlier this week I pressed the green light on this blog, and now I'm delighted to tell you about our new Facebook page!

I would put a link up to it here...except...eh...I haven't figured out how to do it just yet! Anyway, if you're a regular Facebooker I'm sure you already the score; log onto Facebook, type in "Style By Caroline" and, hopefully, you'll find us.

I'll put up photos of all our photoshoots, press clippings etc, on the Facebook page, plus invitations to all upcoming events. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve any of our technological services (website / blog / Facebook), don't be shy in dropping me an email / comment.

Yours in style,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ta dah!

Welcome e-friends, to the official Style By Caroline blog!

It's the "little sister", so to speak, of our main website http://www.stylebycaroline.ie/ (where we tell you all about our personal and group styling services, make-up services, upcoming events etc...the bread and butter stuff).

Here though is where all the fun stuff happens! Expect plenty of style tips such as how to wear the latest seasonal trends, honest product reviews, info on all the latest style happenings and whatever else springs to mind...maybe recipes, match reports, solutions to leaving cert algebra equasions...

Eh, well, we can't make any promises on the maths front, but if you have any fashion queries or style dilemmas ("stylemmas" if you will), please get in touch and we'll be sure to answer them here.

Yours in style,