Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas 2010 Gift Ideas: Make-up

I feel quite proud of myself – I’m almost finished my Christmas shopping. I’m sure this is quite a surprise to many of those who know me as Caroline’s last-minute-Christmas-present-shopping-shouty-frenzy is almost routine at this stage. Nonetheless, I’ve turned over a new leaf, and in order to help others avoid the last-minute-Christmas-present-shopping-shouty-frenzy, I’ve put together a few nice gift ideas for the make-up fan in your life.

1. Wish for the Perfect Palette from Smashbox (€75)

What an aptly-named collection. This self-contained kit contains (deep breath): 9 eyeshadows, 10 cream liners, six brow powders, brow wax, eight glosses, two blushers, a bronzer, highlighter and four mini brushes. Available in Debenhams and selected pharmacies nationwide. Note that this is a limited edition product and will sell out in nanoseconds (if last year’s similar collection is anything to go by).

Smashbox Wish Palette

Smashbox “Wish for the Perfect Palette”

2. E.L.F. 100-piece Eyeshadow Palette(£15stg)

This would make a fantastic gift for any make-up enthusiast. Containing 100 shades in a variety of textures, this palette offers superb value for money. Also available in a smaller 32-piece collection (£9). E.L.F. is available in selected outlets nationwide, and is also available to purchase on-line. Their Facebook page offers regular discounts.

ELF 100 Shadows

E.L.F. 100 Shadow Palette

3. Laura Mercier Travel Brush Set ($85usd)

Laura Mercier brushes are the creme de la creme of cosmetic utensils. Gorgeous as they are – they are lightening dear. Or should I say, they are usually lightening dear, but, in tune with the economic times, Laura Mercier has created a travel brush set for Christmas 2010 which offers great value for money. The collection contains five brushes, 4 of which are double-ended, giving you a total of 9 brush heads for eyes, lips and face. Laura Mercier products are available at Brown Thomas stores.

Laura Mercier Travel Brush Set

Laura Mercier Travel Brush Set

4. Sigma Brush Kit ($99usd) offers a complete brush kit with 15 full-sized brushes and a brush roll, offering great value for money. Sigma brushes are blatant copies of MAC brushes both in terms of appearance and their brush numbering system. The quality isn’t quite on a par with MAC (not all the brushes are as soft, some shed bristles), but they are still good brushes. In fact, I use them regularly, having purchased this same kit a year ago – click here to read my review. A word of caution to Irish buyers – you may have to pay tax and/or duty if you are importing products from the US (the Irish Revenue website has more information).

Sigma brush roll

Sigma Brush Set

5. Her Name was Glowla by Benefit ($36)

I always look forward to seeing what goodies Benefit will come up with for Christmas, and once again they have come up trumps for Christmas 2010 with this limited edition palette. It contains; 1 blush, 2 highlighters, 5 eyeshadows, mascara, lipgloss and a double-ended brush in extremely natural shades that will suit all skin tones. In fact the only negative thing I can find about it is that I now have Barry Manilow stuck in my head! “At the Copa, Copacabana…”

Benefit Glowla

Benefit Her Name Was Glowla

6. Naked Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay (€32)

This limited-edition is another one of my kit favourites. No doubt inspired by Bobbi Brown’s “nude” palettes which were a huge hit a few years back, this palette contains 12 earthy shadows in a variety of colours and textures including matte and shimmery. The palette also contains two eyeliners and a mini bottle of primer potion. Available in Debenhams.

Urban Decay Naked

Urban Decay Naked Palette

As I come across more present ideas I’ll post them here. Happy shopping!

Yours in style,

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to Apply Eyeliner

In my last post, I briefly outlined the various types of eyeliners on the market. In this follow-up post, I will impart a few tips that I’ve learned over the years, which will hopefully make eyeliner application a little bit earlier for you.


  • What to consider: There are two things to consider when choosing your perfect shade of eyeliner; AGE and HAIR COLOUR.
  • Hair (light): If you have blonde, red or medium brown hair, opt for lighter shades of eyeliner such as brown or grey.
  • Hair (dark): If you have dark brown or black hair, then you should opt for darker shades.
  • Age (young): Youth is a time for experimentation, so feel free to try out coloured eyeliners! As you grow older, tone down the colours a bit.
  • Age (mature): The older you are, the more conservative you should be with your eyeliner colour. Darker shades will actually look quite harsh against your skin so choose soft browns and greys for a more flattering look.


  • Keep as close to the last line as possible. There should be no gaps between the eyeliner and your lash line.
  • The line should be thinnest at the inner corner, graduating in thickness outwards to the outer corner.
  • Don’t pull stretch the eyelid outwards when applying liner as it will distort the lash-line and will make your liner look messy. Instead, gently press the skin on your brow-bone upwards, which will make it easier to see and do your eyeliner.
  • It may help to look downwards into a mirror when applying your eyeliner.
  • If you’re hand is a bit wobbly, rest your elbow on a table. You may also like to rest your baby finger on your cheekbone (see image below) to steady your hand as you line your eye.
  • Clean up any smudges with a clean cotton bud soaked in eye-liner remover.

iStock_000010598778 (XS) Woman applying eyelinerLining your upper lashes


  • For a SOFT look, dip a slim angled brush (e.g. MAC #266) into your chosen eye-shadow colour. Then, starting at the outer corner of your eye, place the brush immediately underneath the lash line and work inwards to the halfway point of the lash line. Stop here. Be sure to keep the colour as close to the lash-line as possible.
  • For a DRAMATIC look, use a waterproof eyeliner on the waterline (kohl pencil or gel pencil is best).
  • For a more AWAKE and alert look, line the waterline with a flesh toned pencil.
  • Clean up any smudges with a clean cotton bud soaked in eye-liner remover.

Bright black eye make-upLining your lower lashes


  • Easy peasy: I only line the outer half of the upper eyelid for day-time. This creates the illusion of full, soft lashes, yet it looks extremely natural. To achieve this I use a waterproof pencil or a gel liner.

Black cosmetic pencilMy favourite daytime look


  • First, line your upper lashes: Apply eyeliner to the upper lash line as normal using a gel or liquid eyeliner. Keep the line thin in the inner corner and gradually make it thicker towards the outer corner.
  • Getting the flick: Line a credit card or folded piece of paper against your face, connecting your nostril, the outer corner of your eye and the end of your eyebrow. Using the credit card or paper as a ruler, create an upward flick on the outer corner of your eye with your eyeliner.
  • Clean & tidy: Clean up any smudges with a cotton bud soaked in eye-liner remover.
  • Conceal: Apply concealer underneath the eye when you’re finished, for a crisp and clean look.

Eyes Closed.An easy ‘cat eye’ flick

I hope these tips helped you. There are a few excellent videos on YouTube which might also be of assistance:

Yours in style,

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Types of Eyeliners

In the past week, I have received a number of enquires from people regarding eyeliners – everything from how to choose the right one, to how to apply it without looking like a panda! With this in mind, I have put together a guide which will hopefully be of assistance to you. I have split it into two parts; this post (part 1) deals with the different types of eyeliners on the market today, and part 2 outlines some of my favourite eyeliner application techniques.


  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Pros: Soft finish / suitable for mature skin / variety of colours.
  • Cons: Fades the fastest / can smudge and become displaced easily / not water resistant.
  • Caroline’s top tip: Apply your chosen eyeshadow colour using a small angled brush (like a MAC #266). Dip the brush in water beforehand for a more intense colour.

iStock_000013751378 (XS) Eyeshadow Palette

Soft browns, greys and khakis look great as eyeliners


  • Difficulty level: Easy.
  • Pros: Easy/ versatile (you can do a sharp line or a soft smoky blended line) / variety of colours.
  • Cons: Can fade, smudge and become displaced / not entirely water-resistant (even the waterproof ones).
  • Caroline’s top tip: Sharpen the eyeliner pencil after every use.

iStock_000013767407 (XS) Eyeliner pencil and sharpener


  • Difficulty level: Medium.
  • Pros: Clean, crisp finish / waterproof / doesn’t move or fade.
  • Cons: Practice required / product can dry out quite quickly / expensive (good cream liners can cost €20, with a good brush costing nearly as much).
  • Caroline’s top tip: Coat the bristles of the brush from root to tip with the product and then wipe the excess off on the rim of the gel pot/jar. This will enable maximum precision on application.


MAC Fluidline Gel Liner

mac 266

MAC #266 Angled Liner Brush


  • Difficulty level: Hard.
  • Pros: Clean, crisp finish / great for creating dramatic looks.
  • Cons: Hard to master / unsuitable for mature skin.
  • Caroline’s Top Tip: Instead of using the wand that comes with the liner, use an angled liner brush (example pictured above), which I find is much easier to control. Make sure that you coat the brush hairs from root to tip for better results.

Benefit Magic Ink

Caroline’s favourite liquid eyeliner: Benefit Magic Ink

In my next post, I will discuss my favourite eyeliner application techniques.

Yours in style,

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Dannii's Turquoise Earrings

There’s a right ole row on the Internet today over various X-Factor sagas which happened this weekend. However, there was only one X-Factor topic on my mind when I switched on my laptop this morning and that was where to find Dannii Minogue’s gorgeous turquoise earrings, which she sported onthe show last Satuday (13th November 2010).

I’m afraid to post any images from ITV in case I get sued, but click here to have a gawk. See, aren’t they gorgeous! They’re designed by a covetable brand called Annoushka, to whom Dannii has been extremely loyal this series. As gorgeous as they are though, they’re a little beyond my budget; so, I did some digging to find some more affordable versions:


Galway jewellery designer, Frank Murphy, hand-crafted these turquoise teardrop earrings (€15):

Frank Murphy Turquoise Drop Earrings

Etsy designer JooJooland designed these beautiful Persian earrings in gold and turquoise ($24usd):

Etsy Turquoise Earrings

American retailer, National Jeans Company, has a really nice variation of the look ($45usd):

National Jeans Company

I’m obsessed with Stella and Dot and I already own the necklace version of these fabulous turquoise resin teardrop earrings ($34). Note that Stella & Dot’s official website only ships to the US and Canada; however, there are plenty of retailers on Ebay who ship to Ireland.

Stella and Dot Charlize

Finally, Astley Clarke London turns up the glamour gauge with this pretty pair (£395):

Astley Clarke London

Yours in style,

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Dior Giveaway + 25% Discount

Corkonians, if you’re on the look out for a special Christmas present for a loved one in your life, you might be interested in this delectable Dior discount, which is available right on your doorstep…

Pharmacy First Plus in Douglas, Cork, is offering up to 25% off Dior products until Sunday 21st November 2010.

Not only that, but Pharmacy First Plus Douglas is also running a competition whereby you can win a €250 hamper of beautiful Dior products. And it gets better - they have very generously given me an exclusive competition entry code for Style By Caroline customers and subscribers!

To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous hamper, text ”Dior9″ followed by your name and address to 50015. Entry is FREE. Good luck! One entry per person. Terms and conditions apply.

First Plus PFP Dior - Style By Caroline

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Choosing Winter Boots

This blog post originally featured in Style By Caroline’s October ezine. To subscribe to our monthly enewsletters, simply complete the subscription form on the left hand side of this page.

iStock_000003160238 (XS) Boot ShoppingWith the weather growing colder by the day, one or two pairs of high-quality boots will be an excellent wardrobe investment over the coming Winter months. Here are some considerations:

Boot Height: Choose a boot height that finishes at one of the slimmest points of your leg (often just above the ankle and just below the knee). Avoid heights that finish across the broadest point (e.g. ankles, calves).

Tall or long-legged ladies can usually get away with any boot height. Petite or short-legged ladies should avoid mid-lengths as they shorten the leg.

Colour: Buy a versatile colour that will match a large proportion of the clothes in your wardrobe. Remember, darker colours are slimming.

Fabric: Opt for natural fabrics which will allow your feet to breathe. For day-to-day boots, choose a fabric that is durable, warm and easy to clean (e.g. high quality leather). For dressy occasions, consider softer cloths such as suede, satin etc.

Sole: Check the sole for thickness & grip. If the sole is insufficient, ask a cobbler to re-sole the boots.

Heels: For day-wear, chunky or wedge heels give greater support and comfort than slim heels. Heels can often wear away with use, so ask your cobbler to re-heel your boots if the heels are getting tatty.

Boots for slim calves: Choose a style with buckles or laces that you can adjust to fit your slim legs. Also consider loose-fitting slouchy boots, which can look extremely flattering. Likewise, brighter colours, patterns, textures and embellishments will add visual interest.

Boots for broad calves: Choose boots with discreet elasticated panels, buckles or laces, which will expand to accommodate your legs comfortably. Avoid bright colours, patterns or embellishments which will broaden the leg.


  • Support | Choose boots that offer excellent support and protection for your feet. Ugg style boots, for example, give notoriously bad support.
  • Store | Store your boots carefully in a dry area, out of direct sunlight and dust. Stuff the legs with paper or a boot tree to maintain their shape.
  • Protect | Use a protective spray on suede or nubuck boots before the initial wear.
  • Clean | Clean your boots regularly with appropriate products, per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dry | If your boots get wet, stuff them with newspaper and allow them to dry naturally. Then clean them as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Yours in style,

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Black A-Line Skirt

Every woman’s wardrobe should contain a number of ‘failsafe’ garments that she knows will (a) flatter her figure tremendously, and (b) suit a variety of occasions. In my opinion, one of those garments should be a great black skirt.

And if you were to ask me for the one style that suits every figure, I would say a gentle A-line shape (skims softly over the bum and hips), with a wide waistband (supports the lower tummy) and that finishes at, or just below the knee (often a flattering part of a woman’s leg).

It seems that I’m not the only proponent of the black, A-line, wide-waistband, knee-length skirt. I received an excellent query on my Facebook page this morning from a reader seeking advice on where she might find a skirt of this description!

For such a simple garment, it is remarkably hard to come by…especially in the depths of the AW10 fashion season, which seems to be paying exclusive homage to the pencil skirt.

Undeterred nonetheless, I did a thorough trawl of the Internet to see if I could find anything suitable. Most of the high streets shops let me down unfortunately, but I think I may have found a few hidden gems elsewhere…

Phase Eight Carter Hook-up Skirt (£39 on sale)

Phase Eight Carter Hook-up Skirt

I have a very similar version of this skirt in Navy (different fabric) and it is an extremely flattering fit. I always receive compliments when I wear it. On the hanger it might look a bit baggy, but it’s quite streamlined when it is on. The fabric is quite light and you can adjust the length and shape of the skirt easily using the hook-ups. Phase Eight is available at Brown Thomas.

French Connection Rhonda Plains Skirt (£55)

French Connection Rhonda

This French Connection skirt is not quite a true A-line shape, but it does have generous room at the hips and I reckon that it could look really flattering on.

Warehouse Legion Skirt (€60)

Warehouse Legion Skirt

I love the interesting pocket and waistband detail on this skirt from Warehouse.

Principles by Ben de Lisi Black Velvet Trim Ottoman Skirt (€68)

Ben De Lisi Principles Ottoman Skirt

This skirt, available at Debenhams, would be a very versatile skirt for Winter. The waistband isn’t particularly wide, but the fabric weight and belt detailing would give some support to the lower tummy. Incidentally, the Debenhams website has quite a lot of black skirts in its range, which you might like to check out.

Twenty8Twelve Magrite Taffeta Skirt (£65 on sale)

Twenty8Twelve Taffeta Skirt

This taffeta skirt from Sienna and Savannah Miller’s clothing collection is a really versatile number. The high waistline will give great support to the lower tummy area. It is available from where you can check out a video of the above model wearing the skirt on the catwalk.

See by Chloé Silk-Blend Tiered Skirt (€131.24)

See by Chloe Skirt

This See by Chloé skirt, available at designer discount emporium,, is a fun yet sophisticated take on a black skirt. It finishes just above the knee.

All Saints Hoxie Leather Skirt (£195)

All Saints Black Leather Skirt

Finally, I adore the shape of this soft, light, leather skirt from All Saints. Delectable, but pricey!

Finally, when you’re purchasing any item, make sure you bear the following considerations in mind:

  • Does it suit my shape?
  • Will I actually wear it?
  • Does it match at least 3 existing items in my wardrobe?
  • Does it wrinkle easily? (A big no-no in my books)
  • Is it easy to wash, dry and iron?

Good luck with your shopping expedition!

Yours in style,

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Style Class: 13th Nov

Style By Caroline’s next half-day Ladies Style Class takes place on Saturday, 13th November 2010 at Woodlands House Hotel, Adare, Co. Limerick.

Course Content: Dressing for your shape, choosing colours to flatter, wardrobe maintenance advice, shopping tips and make-up demo.

Cost & Booking: €50pp (incl. tuition, course materials and refreshments). Early booking is advised.

Click here for information and secure on-line booking.

Yours in style,

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Video: Cheap Make-up Storage

Make-up supplies can be really expensive and I’m always on the hunt for cheap alternative solutions. Here are some of my star buys from B&Q, of all places!

SBC Make-up: Cheap Make-up Storage Solutions

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Video: Coloured Contacts

Coloured contact lenses are my favourite way to transform my look. Click below for more information.

SBC Make-up | Coloured Contact Lenses

Yours in style,

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October Ezine

In Style By Caroline’s October 2010 ezine, be in with a chance to win some MAC goodies! Also, discover how to choose the perfect pair of Winter boots, find out the latest style class details and see what Style By Caroline has to offer this Christmas. To subscribe to our monthly ezines, simply complete the subscription form on our main website.

Bright Eyeshadow

I’m doing an exciting photoshoot next week which involves lots of colour; this is an exciting departure as much of my make-up work tends to involve more traditional colours.

One small problemo though – I need lots of brights and neons for this shoot however I’m reluctant to shell out for my usual MACs etc. as I know I’ll have limited demand from my clients for such brights in the future.

However, quite unexpectedly, I found the solution whilst having a browse in Boots yesterday - this 9-shade “Poptastic” palette from Collection 2000, priced at only €6.99! The colours are perfect for next week’s photoshoot, and even though I expected the quality to be rubbish, I decided to take a chance on the palette as it was so cheap.

Jasmin & Louise Makeup 22.10.10 006Poptastic Collection from Collection 2000

I put the palette throught its paces this evening and I found it to be surprisingly good; the pans are a good size (6g), the quality is seriously impressive (virtually no fallout), the pigmentation (depth of colour) is fairly good too and the colours are easy to blend.

The packet says that the shadows will last up to 8 hours and are crease resistent. This doesn’t impress me hugely as any shadow worth its salt should last all day and evening with little fading and creasing. Nonethesless, I haven’t seen it on long enough to prove this claim right or wrong.

I did two looks this evening using this palette. In both cases, I used a primer and a white eyeliner pencil under the eyeshadow (a white eye pencil helps the colours to ‘pop’).

Look 1: Blue, Green & Grey

Close-up Turquoise Eye ClosedClose-up Turquoise Eye 3b

Look 2: Purple & Yellow

Close up Purple & Yellow

I really like the top look in particular – I used the green on the inner corner, blue in the middle and outer corners, and the dark grey in the crease. This is a look that I will definitely be replicating this weekend, and I think it could be replicated easily using the yellow, purple or pink shadows too!

Enjoy the bank holiday!

Yours in style,

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WAH Nails & Barry's Tea Invite You...

Every day should have it’s golden moments.

Today, this email from Barry’s Tea was my golden moment:

“Dear Caroline, I wanted to let you know about an awesome event that’s happening next Wednesday, 27th October 2010. Sharmadean Reid, the founder of WAH Nails will be the star guest at next Wednesday ‘Barry’s Tea With…WAH Nails’ at The Loft, Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin. She will be talking to Aisling and Kirstie from about all things WAH, plus the latest trends, over delicious cups of Barry’s Tea.”

Ah, if ever an event was made for me; I love Barry’s Tea, and nail polish, and, and Powercourt House, AND next Wednesday is my birthday! Serendipity eh. AND, the best bit about this news is that all Style By Caroline followers are invited too! If you would like to attend, simply pop an RSVP email to

We’ll have the kettle boiling for you.

Yours in style,

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Ciaté Nail Polish

I’m a fickle glossy magazine reader, so much so, that my purchase is generally based on who’s offering the best freebies.

This month, Marie Claire won out, with a free Ciaté Paint Pot in “Dangerous Affair” (pictured right).

I had never come across Ciaté before so I was keen to try it out, especially when they claim “long lasting, full-coverage” results. Big promises, which to be honest, I wasn’t expecting them to fulfill given that this was a freebie. However, Doubting Thomasina here was well and truly proven wrong. Genuinely, I was extremely impressed by how well this product performed.

  • Application: The brush (a 250 bristle flat brush I’m told) is sturdy yet malleable, for easy application. The polish didn’t take an age to dry either, and, importantly in my book, the smell of the varnish wasn’t overbearing.
  • Coverage: The coverage is very good; if I was in a hurry I probably could get away with one coat, but I prefer 2 for a polished polish, so to speak.
  • Long-lasting: Well, today is day 9 of wearing it and my toenails are still looking as neat and shiny as they did last week, with NO chips! Even wearing sandals for 5 days didn’t seem to unsettle it. Impressive eh! I’ll be keen to see how long it lasts on my fingernails. I’ll be giving it a go this weekend and I’ll report back.

Have you ever tried Ciaté products? If so, let me know in the comment box how you got on.

You can buy Ciaté nail polishes on-line for €10.24 (13ml). Otherwise, but the October issue of Marie Claire.

Yours in style,

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7 Day Skin Recovery

Like many women, my skin can be a bit contrary. I’m pretty good when it comes to skincare and diet; however, it’s been years since I can honestly say that I’ve had a blemish-free face…until today that is.

I was lucky enough to grab a last-minute holiday in the South of France last week, and upon returning to my home mirror yesterday, I noticed that my face was clear, bright and entirely blemish-free. In the hopes of keeping it that way, I’m going to continue with a few ifestyle changes that I made last week.

  • Double cleanse instead of single-cleanse: I double-cleansed my face every evening with a Dermalogica cleansing oil, followed by my usual cleanser.
  • Muslin cloth instead of a facecloth: Usually I only cleanse once with a facecloth, but I found that a clean muslin cloth works far more efficiently. You can buy a pack of 3 in The Body Shop for around €6.
  • Massage skin with moisturiser: Instead of slapping on my moisturiser in a hurry, I massaged it into my skin for at least 60 seconds.
  • 2 litres of water per day: In Autumn/Winter, I usually only drink 1 litre of water. In the warmer weather, I drank 2+ litres of water a day, which really hydrated my skin.
  • 8 hours sleep: At home, my sleeping patterns can be a bit chaotic. Whilse in France, I got 8 hours sleep every night, and felt all the better for it.
  • Antioxidants & Omega 3: I ate plenty of fresh oily fish and drank loads of fresh fruit juices whilst away. Not only does my skin look better, I feel better too.
  • Sunshine: I really believe that the sun on my skin did it the power of good. In Ireland, I spend a lot of my time indoors and rarely see the sun at it’s highest. Did you know that many Irish people are deficient in Vitamin D (which is the only Vitamin that you can get from the sun)? I’m going to start taking a Vitamin D supplement, which will also help in the absorption of calcium, thus preventing osteoporosis in the future.

The Body Shop Muslin Cloths | Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse Cleansing Oil

Dermalogica Pre-CleanseBody Shop Muslin Cloths

Yours in style,

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Style Class: 13th Nov

Caroline will be hosting a half-day Ladies Style Class at Woodlands House Hotel and Spa, Adare, Co. Limerick on Saturday, 13th November 2010 (10am – 1.30pm). The class will incorporate incorporate tuition and demonstrations on dressing for your body shape, choosing colours that flatter wardrobe maintenance and shopping skills, plus skincare and make-up. Suitable for all ages, shapes and styles. Small class size and individual attention guaranteed.

iStock_000005213640 (M) Women Shopping

Booking Details: Class costs €50 per person (including tuition, course materials and refreshments). Click here for more information and secure on-line booking, or contact Caroline. Booking is essential.

Yours in style,

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Video: Foundation Basics

Due to popular demand, here’s a video dedicated to foundations!

Click here to view: SBC Make-up | Foundation Basics

(Sorry I look and sound a little poorly in this video – I’m just getting over a headcold!)

1. Preparing your skin for foundation
2. Choosing the right product
3. Application techniques
4. How to make your foundation last longer

I forgot to mention in the video that foundations should be replaced every 12 months (or beforehand, if you notice a chance in consistency / odour). Be sure to store your foundation per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Yours in style,

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Caroline's Guide to Tights

Continuing with the theme of warm Winter woolies, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s blog post to the topic of tights, as these are my number one wardrobe staple during the Winter months. Obviously I wear them under skirts and dresses, but I also wear them under jeans and trousers for extra warmth during the cold weather. As well as being cozy, a good pair of tights will also streamline a wobbly tummy and thighs – no mean feat eh!

There are a couple of common questions that I get asked about tights, which I’ll address here. If I haven’t answered your query, simply add your question to the comment box below.

“What does ‘dernier’ mean?” Dernier refers to the weight of the fabric. The higher the number, the heavier the material. Sheer stockings might be 15 for example, and heavy opaques can be 100 or more. Winter opaques generally start at dernier 40; however I prefer to purchase opaques with a dernier of 100 as a heavier weight will hold its shape better, and is less likely to ladder or ‘bobble’.

“I want to wear opaques but I don’t know what colour to choose?” Be very careful when choosing the colour of your tights. Remember the golden rule; dark colours are slimming. It doesn’t have to be black – grey, navy, purple etc. can all look great. Bright colours make your legs look bigger!

“What size should I go for?” In my experience, tights are generally quite small in size. Read the size guide on the label carefully before selecting your size. I generally prefer to go for a larger size, for comfort’s sake!

“How do I wash my tights?” Technically, you are supposed to wash your tights by hand; however, I certainly have no time or inclination to do so, so it would be very hypocritical of me to preach otherwise! I wash my tights in the washing machine at 30o on a low spin. Sometimes tights can get tangled up in a huge knot in the machine, so to avoid that, simply seal them in a pillowcase before putting them in the wash. Afterwards I let them dry naturally. I don’t tend to use a tumble dryer as I find that they can be very ‘staticy’ afterwards.

Will expensive tights last longer?“ In my experience, no! I’ve bought €1 tights in Penneys that have outlived €25 from Brown Thomas. Generally, more expensive tights will have a nicer fabric/finish, but they’re not ladder-proof – more’s the pity. Marks and Spencer apparently has new ladder-proof tights but I’ve yet to try them myself. My favourite opaque tights are €3 in H&M and are of extremely good quality. For sheer tights, I generally head to Dunnes Stores.

“I can’t find tights to fit me?” Check out, which has tights for every shape and size, including; extra-long leg, maternity, plus size, bridal, support and more.

Yours in style,

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Winter Coat for Your Shape

There’s a real chill in the air today which has got me thinking about Winter coats. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new Winter coat but are unsure of what style to go for, check out my guide below:

Best for Pear Shape

Features: Narrow shoulders, neat bust, slim waist and broader around the hips/bum/thighs.

DO draw attention upwards towards your narrowest features with detailing, pattern and colour. Show off your neat shoulders and collarbones with a broad labels. Enhance your bust with a dramatic collar, frills, embellishments or a double-breasted fastening. Draw attention to your slim waist with a fitted waist or an eye-catching belt. Conceal your tum, bum and hips with an A-line cut (a style that flares out gently from the waist down). The hem should finish at a slim point on your leg (i.e. above or below the hips)
DON’T wear a baggy or loose style. Similarly, avoid coats that finish just at the hip (your widest point).

Monsoon Ada Belted Coat

Pear Shape Example: Monsoon Ada Belted Coat £160

Best for Top-Heavy Shape

Features: large bust, undefined waist, may carry weight around the tummy & upper arms. Slim bum, hips, thighs and legs.

DO choose a sleek, well-cut, single-breasted design. Keep the colours and patterns quite plain and sophisticated. (Dark panels on either side of the torso can be very slimming.) Favour slim lapels and open necklines. Enhance your waist with a gentle belt, or slim-fitting cut. Most lengths suit you.
DON’T wear anything puffy, baggy or tight. Similarly avoid double-breasted styles, high necklines or bulky embellishments.

Acne Wool Blend

Top-Heavy Shape Example: Acne Galactic Wool-Blend Belted Coat (€490)

Best for Athletic/Rectangular Shape

Features: Body shape is straight up and down with very little waist definition.

DO try to create the illusion of curves with gathered fabric, asymmetric detailing and a skirt that emphasises the hips. Try to highlight the waist also with an eye-catching waistband or belt. Also, opt for soft feminine colours and fabrics. The best length for you is anywhere between mid-thigh and above the knee.
DON’T wear boxy shapes (such as trench coats or macs). Also, avoid muted colours and patterns, or linear detailing (which will only enhance your naturally straight proportions).

Phase Eight Dolly Coat £160

Rectangular Shape Example: Phase Eight Dolly Coat (£160)

Best for Curvy Shape

Features: Body shape is voluptuous.

DO choose plain, tailored designs with darker colours and plain patterns (if choosing a pattern, make sure that it is small). Single-breasted or button-less styles with a gentle belt fastening are very flattering. Ensure that the hem finishes at a flattering point (anywhere above the knee).
DONT wear styles that are bulky, puffy or shapeless. Avoid loud or bright colours and large patterns.

LK Bennett Funnel Coat

Curvy Shape Example: LK Bennett Event Coat (£295)

Best for Tall

Features: 5’8” or taller

DO have fun! With your height you can pretty much get away with anything. Look out for bright colours, unusual patterns or eye-catching detailing. Break-up your height with a double-breasted fastening, angular zip, asymmetric lengths or peplum-style hems. Most lengths suit, but be sure that your hem finishes at a flattering point.
DONT wear anything boring! Avoid vertical detailing or boxy styles. Avoid very long styles, which will only add to your height.

Karen Millen Draped

Tall Example: Karen Millen Soft Draped Coat (€350)

Best for Petite

Features: 5’4” or shorter

DO choose structured styles. Try and find a coat with some vertical detailing (e.g. vertical pin-stripe, vertical rib), which will elongate your figure. A high neckline and high waistline will also stretch out your torso and make you look taller. Avoid loud or dramatic patterns which might swap you; instead, opt for colour-blocking or interesting embellishments / detailing which will draw the eye. Anything at or above hip-length is best (widest part of the upper thigh).
DONT wear anything big or bulky as this will swamp your neat frame. Similarly, avoid long coats, which will serve to make you look like a hobbit!

Coast Bella

Petite Example: Coast Bella Coat (£180)

Yours in style,

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What Hairstyle Suits Me?

Like dressing our bodies, it is important to consider balance and proportion when it comes to choosing a haircut or style that will suit our face shape.



  • Features: Perfectly symmetrical , gently rounded hairline, slightly wider at the temples than at the jaw.
  • Objective: Show off your perfect proportions!
  • Choose: Most hairstyles and lengths suit an oval face.
  • Avoid: Ensure that your cut doesn’t hide your facial features.
  • Celebrity examples: Cindy Crawford, Jessica Alba and Julia Roberts.


  • Features: Face is quite long, with similar with at temples, cheekbones and jaw.
  • Objective: Your haircut should create the illusion of a wider and shorter face.
  • Choose: Short-to-medium length (above the shoulder), layers (fullness at sides of face), volume/body, side parting, wispy fringe.
  • Avoid: Long hair, straight styles, centre partings, no fringe.
  • Celebrity examples: Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler and Hilary Swank.


  • Features: The face is widest at temples, narrowest at chin.
  • Objective: Balance out the wider forehead/temples area by adding visual interest or volume around the jaw/chin area.
  • Choose: Chin-length, fullness at jaw-line, soft or curly styles, side parting, wispy fringe.
  • Avoid: Short or pixie crops, volume at the crown / upper half of face, severe cuts.
  • Celebrity examples: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Charlize Theron.


  • Features: Rounded hairline and chin. Face is widest at cheekbones.
  • Objective: Lengthen the face for a slimming effect.
  • Choose: Longer than chin-length, height at crown, sleek cut that is close to the face, side parting.
  • Avoid: Very short or very long styles, straight fringe, middle parting.
  • Celebrity examples: Cameron Diaz, Kate Bosworth, Drew Barrymore, Mandy Moore.


  • Features: Strong square jaw and hairline.
  • Objective: Soften the hard angles of the face.
  • Choose: At or below shoulder length, layers, waves or curls, side parting, side-swept fringe.
  • Avoid: Square or geometric cuts (e.g. bob), very long styles, middle parting, straight or heavy fringe.
  • Celebrity examples: Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock, Calista Flockhart.


  • Features: The face is widest at the ckeekbones.
  • Objective: This is a particularly attractive face-shape so your objective should be not to hide your great features!
  • Choose: Any length (a graduated bob looks especially good), nearly all styles, volume around the neck area.
  • Avoid: Bare neck, hiding facial features.
  • Celebrity examples: Linda Evangelista, Sophia Loren.

Yours in style,

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Video: Hide Sickness/Tiredness with Make-up

I’m feeling a little under the weather at the moment, but, rather than sit on the couch watching trashy day-time tv, I decided to do a video on make-up products and techniques for when you’re feeling ill / tired / stressed or run-down.

Click here to view: SBC Make-up | Make-up for When You’re Feeling Sick / Tired /Run down.


  • Anti-Redness Colour Corrector (pre-foundation): Armani Colour Corrector in “Yellow” (now discontinued) / Benefit “You’re Bluffing”
  • Concealer: Catrice Concealer Palette / Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in “Warm Ivory”) / Bobbi Brown Colour Corrector (“Light Bisque”)
  • Powder: Bobbi Brown Loose Powder (“Pale Yellow”) / Benefit “Bluff Dust”
  • Blush: Barbara Daly Cream Blush in “Rose” and “Whisper” / MAC Compact Blush in “Strada” / “Harmony”


  • White eye-liner pencil (waterproof)
  • Brown eye-liner pencil (waterproof)
  • Brown Mascara (waterproof)
  • Neutral lip gloss

Yours in style,

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Ploughing C'Ships Style

For the next 3 days, I will be moving my style HQ to a field in Athy, Co. Kildare.

Yes, you read that correctly. But, this ain’t no ordinary field, for this is the site of the largest annual trade exhibition in ireland – the National Ploughing Championships.

For the uninitiated, the annual Ploughing Championships is a huge 3-day festival which celebrates the best of Irish country life. As the name suggests, the event draws the best sod-turners in the land – but you could spend 3 days walking around the site and not see a plough, so huge is the site! Whether you’re into cookery, gardening, health, well-being, lifestyle, interior design, building, music or style, you’re bound to find an exhibit that appeals to you.

If you are intending to head to the show, be sure to follow this piece of advice to the letter; dress appropriately. If Met Éireann are to be believed, we’ll see all four seasons over the next few days, so be sure to bring plenty of warm and waterproof clothing with you. This is not the place for high heels and fascinators – even if you do have aspirations of winning the best dressed lady competition.

I will be working at stand K205 at the show, with my family’s business – Adare Machinery. Strictly speaking, my job for the next few days is to sell tractors (back to my roots!) but I’ll be bringing a bit of style to the event too, so if you’re around, be sure to pop in and say hello. Our stand is located very close to RTÉ, in the hub of all the action.


Wellies: I’d love to wear colourful boots but the farming fraternity simply won’t take me to their hearts unless I’m wearing the industry standard black or green wellies! Whatever colour you choose, make sure that your boots are comfortable, or you’ll know all about it later on when your feet are in agony from all the walking. Likewise, for extra comfort and warmth, I suggest you wear thick long socks underneath – ski socks are ideal.

Derwent Wellies €79

Derwent Muck Boots, €79 (from

Navy Jeggings: These always look great tucked into snug boots. I’ll be wearing my reliable €12 pairs from Dunnes Stores but I also like the look of these stretchy denim leggings from South at Littlewoods.

South leggings

South Denim Leggings, €29 (from

Jumper: I’ll be wearing my Adare Machinery fleece with pride, but I’ll spare a thought for this Love Label cable-knit jumper, which epitomises this season’s love-affair with knitwear. Wrap a belt around the waist for an instant slimming effect.

Love Label Cable Knit

Love Label Cable-knit Jumper, €49 (from

Coat: I’ll be relying on my trusty fleece to keep me cozy, but if I was off-duty, I would jump at the chance of wearing this gorgeous Fuse By Preen herringbone coat, which I think personifies country chic.

Fuse By Preen

Fuse By Preen Herringbone Coat, €124 (from

Hat: A warm hat is a must, and continuing with the tweedy theme, here’s a rather lovely baker-boy hat, again from Littlewoods:

Herringbone Hat

Herringbone Hat €19 (from

Bag: A large bag, with a cross-body strap is a must for the Ploughing. You will need something sizeable to store all your purchases (believe me, it’s impossible to negotiate though the food-halls without indulging in some sweet treats), and a cross-body strap will make your bag more comfortable to carry for the day. Choose a waterproof style, that is easy to clean afterwards.

Organiser Umbrella Bag €32

Organiser Umbrella Bag, €32 (from

It would be a good idea to bring umbrella, scarf, gloves and probably sunglasses too, given the mixed forecast; nonetheless, whatever the weather, it’s bound to be a wonderful event as always. Here’s to a great few days in Kildare!

Yours in style,

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Charity Begins at Home

They say that charity begins at home…

Well there are a few “charities” that have their eyes set on my home, that’s for sure!

Every day I’m being bombarded by leaflets and stickers from so-called charities seeking donations of clothes. These leaflets are usually dropped through the letterbox during the night, so I’ve yet to actually meet any of these kind-hearted samaritans face-to-face and quiz them on their charitable endeavours.

‘Junkmail’ like this has been a bugbear of mine for some time, but I hadn’t quite realised how serious and rampant a social issue it is until Anne Doyle delivered a solemn news report regarding same on last night’s 9pm news.

Did you know that the vast majority of these nocturnal paper-pushers are NOT charities – they are commercial rag merchants hoping to take advantage of your goodwill! Indeed this problem has become so prevalent that the Irish Charity Shops Association has drawn up a set of guidelines to help you identify whether a door-to-door collector is a legitimate charity or not.


Observe the ISCA ‘coat-hanger’ logo on the left

If you receive a leaflet or sticker through your door and you want to establish whether it is from a genuine charity shop, you need to examine the following:

Remember, if in doubt, throw it out!

Yours in style,

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