Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Consumer Rights

This extract is from my March 2010 Style By Caroline enewsletter. Visit my website, to subscribe.

This month's Style Corner focuses on the slightly-boring-but-extremely-important topic of consumer rights. Alas, many people are unfamiliar with their consumer rights, which can lead to confusion and upset when a shopping transaction goes pear-shaped. Hopefully my ‘handy guide’ below will improve your knowledge.

Please note that the information below pertains to the Republic of Ireland only.

The Sale of Goods Act 1980

  • When you buy goods from a Retailer, you make a contract with Them.
  • Anything that you buy from a Retailer must be: (a) of merchantable quality, (b) fit for purpose, and (c) as described per the packaging / advertising / salesperson. The Act applies to items “on sale” also – unless they are being sold as ‘shop soiled’ or ‘seconds’.
  • If the goods turn out to be faulty, you are entitled to a full refund / replacement / repair by the retailer (not the manufacturer). You do not have to accept a credit note.
  • If you simply change your mind about an item following purchase (e.g. “nah I don’t like it after all”) you have no rights under the Sale of Goods Act. The Retailer, as a gesture of goodwill, may consider offering you an exchange or credit note (but they are not legally obliged to).
  • Likewise, you have no rights under the Sale of Goods Act if you misuse a product after purchase, or if you were advised of a fault at the time of purchase.

Caroline’s Top Tips

  • Always keep your receipt.
  • Read the terms & conditions on the receipt (e.g. the exchange period).
  • If you have a complaint, air it with the manager as soon as possible. Most Retailers will do their utmost to resolve the situation quickly and amicably.
  • The Consumer Rights Association, has some excellent tips on its website for Consumers.

Yours in style,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All Hail the Heel

I mentioned in the last post the wearing a heel will make your legs look longer.

Did you know that heels do something else rather wonderful...they make us ladies look slimmer than we are. Believe it or not, for every 1" you gain in height, you visually lose 3lbs (or just over 1 kilo)!

Yours in style,

How to Make your Legs Look Longer

One of the most common questions I get from customers is "how can I make my legs look longer"?

These top 10 Style By Caroline tips will have you looking like a Pretty Polly model in no time!
  • Choose a trouser with a vertical stripe / vertical pattern, which will draw the eye up and down, thereby visually lengthening the leg
  • Avoid trouser cuffs / turn ups as these visually shorten the leg.
  • Avoid overly baggy/ wide styles of trousers. Instead, choose boot-cut or straight leg styles which are more flattering.
  • Avoid cropped trousers with a mid-calf leg length; these will make your legs look stumpy. If you wish to wear shorter trousers, choose slim-fitting (but not squeezy tight) styles that end just below the knee.
  • Choose footwear in a similar colour to your trousers - this will create a streamlined look and subtly make your legs look longer. Ensure that your socks / tights are in a similar colour too.
  • Wear a heel. Even the smallest of heels will make a difference to the length of your leg. Wear wedge heels for greater comfort.
  • Your trouser hem should finish 1cm (or 1/2") off the ground. Short hem = short legs.
  • Avoid wearing shoes/sandles with an ankle strap as these will shorten the leg drastically.
  • Shoes with a pointy toe will elongate the leg. Avoid 'square toe' styles.
  • Finally, if you want to fast-track your way to a 36" leg (or at least make it look like you have), wear nude-coloured shoes with a high heel (very much in vogue at the moment).

Yours in style,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SPF & Moisturiser

Following on from my previous blog post on prevention of Skin Cancer, a lady contacted me seeking advice regarding sunscreen for the face. She advised that she has found a moisturiser that she loves; however, it doesn't contain an SPF. She didn't want to go to the bother of finding a new 'perfect' moisturiser, yet she didn't want to expose her skin to the sun's dangerous rays.

This is a common dilemma as, remarkably, many moisturisers - even the best sellers - don't contain an SPF. Given that Ireland's most common cancer is skin cancer, it seems remarkable that cosmetic companies aren't offering more products with an SPF.

Back to the question, there are two main solutions available:
  1. Apply a sunscreen to your face under your moisturiser (ensure that it has a minimum SPF15 and is especially formulated for the face).
  2. Use a foundation with an in-built SPF.
  3. Mix a 'sunscreen supplement' in with your moisturiser (see review below).

Caroline Recommends:

My favourite facial SPF product comes from Dermalogica; it is called a Solar Defence Booster and it is a 'sunscreen supplement', with an SPF30.

The product has been designed as a 'mixer' for moisturisers that don't already contain an SPF. It is a cinch to use; simply mix equal parts of Solar Defence Booster and your favourite moisturiser together, and apply to your face as normal.

It takes little time for the product to soak in and once it does, it leaves a non-greasy, smooth finish, and most importantly, your face is protected against the sun's harmful rays. The product can also be used on it's own as a sunblock and is suitable for all skin types.

Dermalogica Solar Defence Booster retails at €24.80 on

Don't forget also that your lips also need protection from the sun. I highly recommend Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner (€3.57) or Vaseline Lip Therapy Sun Protection Petroleum Jelly (€1.09), which are both extremely effective lip balms.

Hope this information helps. Remember, if you have a style query, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me via my website,

Yours in style,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prevent Skin Cancer

Did you know that Skin Cancer is the most common Cancer in Ireland?

No? neither did I. I was enlightened to this fact just yesterday during an interview I heard with RTE television presenter, Dr. Mark Hamilton.

When asked as to why there is little awareness of this statistic, Dr. Hamilton reported that the success rate for treatment Skin Cancer is excellent (provided that there is early diagnosis) which might explain why it receives less attention by the population than other Cancers. However, this fact shouldn't give us room for complacency. As with any illness, prevention is better than cure and it is critical that we look after our skin to as to help reduce the risk of developing Skin Cancer.

The causes of Skin Cancer are many and varied; however, they mainly derive from exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays. As Irish people typically have very fair skin, we must go to extra lengths to ensure that we protect against Skin Cancer.

  • Apply sunscreen on exposed skin daily.
  • Use a minimum SPF15 daily (increase the SPF as the temperature gets higher).
  • Ensure that your sunscreen is in date (throw out the bottle in the cupboard left over from last year's holiday's)
  • Never, ever apply a product that accelerates tanning. Remember, a tan is actually sunburn.
  • Never use sunbeds.
  • If you notice any changes in your skin (lumps, bumps, sores that don't heal, moles that change colour / shape / size etc.) consult your GP.

For further information on this topic, visit

Yours in style,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Golden Moments

Last thursday, I overheard a thought-provoking discussion on RTE Radio 1 between presenter Kathryn Thomas and bestselling author of The Goddess Guide and The Goddess Experience, Gisele Scanlon.

In case you haven't heard of them before, The Goddess Guide and The Goddess Experience are stunning treasuries of style and are must-reads for anyone with even the slightest interest in Style.

The radio interview focused mainly on the recently-published second book, The Goddess Experience: What makes Your Happy?, which, in Gisele's own words, "is crammed with over 1001 micro-pleasures; uplifting fashion, beauty, travel, food and home tips". Essentially, "micro pleasures" are to style authors what "golden moments" are to Barry's Tea drinkers i.e. the little things that make us happy.

With 5 minutes to spare...and struggling to come up with good sensible blog content...I decided to make my own list. So, here goes:

Things that Make Caroline Happy:

  • Being in the company of my favourite people.
  • My 'broken in' jeans.
  • Receiving a card in the post.
  • Getting into a freshly-made bed.
  • Bagging a bargain.
  • Towels straight out of the tumble dryer.
  • Paddling in the sea.
  • Eating raw 'queen cake' mixture out of the bowl.
  • Hot buttery toast.
  • Picking the petals one-by-one off daisies.
  • Finding a fiver in my pocket that I didn't know I had.
  • Stretching.
  • Fast-forwarding past the ads with Sky Plus ("speedy speedy").
  • Post spring-clean/wardrobe-decluttering pride.

Visit for more info on the Goddess series.

Yours in style,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dunnes Stores, Fun Galore!

Darned potholes. The country is full of them. And now they're costing me money! I hit what can only be described as a crater over the weekend and I banjaxed an alloy, resulting in a flat tyre.

Costs incurred:

  • €40 to fix the rim
  • €67.50 on impromptu shopping session in Dunnes Stores this morning while I waited for the rim to be repaired!
Every cloud has a silver lining eh!

Look at my beautiful new shoes; patent, nude-coloured, platform heels - a bargain at only €15.

And nautical-themed junper from the Savida Range (€20), which will go perfectly over my rapidly expanding collection of jeggings:

What a nice way to start the week.

Yours in style,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Style by Richard Lewis

Award-winning Irish couturier, Richard Lewis, unveiled his Spring-Summer 2010 collection at Dublin's RHA Art Gallery on Wednesday and created quite a stir with his wry witticisms on Irish Style (or lack thereof) during the reign of the Celtic Tiger.

"Looking forward to a new decade in fashion, I found myself looking on the last decade with dismay", he quipped. Denouncing the vulgarity of exposed flesh and achingly high heels so prevalent in the noughties, Lewis proceeded to unveil a collection "almost bordering on plain".

Plain, yes. But the collection is also effortlessly chic, with an air of understated glamour. It seems to say "dress to invest", in contrast to the "dress to impress" excesses of yesteryear.

Keep an eye out on for swatches (not available when this blog post was published),

In an effort to hammer home the point that Style predominates Fashion, Richard compiled "10 Style Commandments" to help Irish women to hone their sense of style:
  1. Let your head look to fashion but your heart look to style.
  2. Always wear the dress - never let the dress wear you.
  3. Dresses should hang on your back, not your wardrobe.
  4. What you wear inside can be more important than what you wear outside.
  5. Check once in a full-length mirror, then enjoy the evening.
  6. If your shoes hurt, it shows on your face.
  7. The only initials you should wear are your own.
  8. Clothes are not life and death.
  9. The best accessory is a smile.
  10. Rules are made to be broken.

Richard Lewis' collection is available at his flagship store at 22 South Frederick Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. See for more details.

Yours in style,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

High Heels & Handbags

I had such a lovely day yesterday. You know those days that are full of belly laughs and generous helpings of chocolate. More of that please.

I spent the day in the esteemed company of Loraine Domican, headpiece designer, and Elaine Cronin, owner of Serendipity Shoe boutique in Adare, Co. Limerick. We're in the middle of organising a fabulous fashion event called High Heels & Handbags, taking pace on Saturday, April 17th at the Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare, Co. Limerick at 2pm.

Without ruining the surprise, I will let you in on a few of the treats that we have in store...

  • The best shoes & accessories in Ireland
  • Pink champagne and afternoon tea
  • Workshops & presentations from style experts & designers
  • Luxurious goodie bag for everyone
  • Amazing prizes
  • Many more details to follow
All proceeds will go to TLC4CF. Tickets are priced at €25 a pop (or €30 on the door). For enquiries and bookings, contact 061-395531.

If the event itself is half as fun as the organising, then I can't wait!

Yours in style,

A Beginner's Guide to Cropped Trousers

Cropped trousers. Love them or loath them - they're everywhere this season!

For some reason, cropped trousers polarise opinion. Some women adore them and can't walk past rail without buying a pair in every colour available. Others condemn them as "flappy ankle beaters".

My opinion? Well, they're long as you find a style to suit your legs. A great choice will make your legs look lean and elegant, whereas a poor choice will make you look chubby and stumpy. Hopefully these foolproof Style By Caroline tips will steer you away from the latter category!
  • Colour: If you tend to carry your weight in the lower half of your body (pear shape = broad hips, bum and thighs), choose a darker shade. Conversely, if you have slim hips and a neat bum, choose a lighter shade which will draw attention to your slim legs.
  • Fabric: Lightweight fabrics e.g. 100% cotton or linen, can be unforgiving (they go out of shape easily, and can emphasise the dreaded VPL)! Favour a slightly heavier fabric that will not only offer better support, it will also have some 'give' for comfort e.g. a light denim.
  • Fit: If you have broad legs, avoid styles that are too clingy (you will look like you were catapulted into them) or indeed too baggy (they will make your legs look wider than they are long). If you have slim legs, by all means go for the slimline styles.
  • Waist: If you are conscious of your tummy, avoid low-waist or 'hipster' styles. A mid-rise or high-rise waist will give much more support to your tummy, not to mind being more comfortable to wear.
  • Length: Ensure that the trouser leg finishes on the most flattering point on your leg. Often the most flattering point on a woman's leg is just below the knee. If you have short legs, I suggest that you don't go below this point as your legs will look very short. If you have long legs, you can get away with any length you fancy. If you have broad calves, ensure that the hem doesn't cut across the broadest point of the leg.
  • Pockets: Avoid hip pockets if you have broad hips. If you wish to minimise the size of your bum, choose large rear pockets that are positioned quite close together and tuck slightly under the bum. If you wish to increase the size of your derriere, choose small pockets or no pockets.
  • Footwear: If you have short legs, I suggest you wear a heel with cropped trousers to give you added leg length (wedge heels are extremely comfortable). Ankle straps are to be avoided at all costs if you have short legs or broad ankles. If you have long legs you can get away with murder.
Finally, nothing sets off a pair of cropped trousers like a tan. If you are not naturally bronzed, a quick rub of Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan will have you glowing in no time.

Now, if only this cold wintery weather would go away...

Yours in style,

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Desert Island Product...

I'm regularly asked what is my favourite beauty product. Which, to me, is like having to choose my favourite sibling. Not an easy task!

If I was forced to choose one however, it would have to be...

My brother.

Only joking sis! *Chuckle*

Being serious, if I was forced to choose a product it be Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm.

Strictly speaking, this is an eye cream. However, I also use it on my forehead frown lines and around my lips too in an attempt to stall the aging process.

5 reasons why I like it:

  • It smells gorgeous
  • It leaves the skin feeling improbably smooth.
  • A little goes a long way.
  • It can be used on all skin types.
  • It can be used effectively under make-up.
I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm actually addicted to the stuff. God forbid I should run out of it, I have a spare tube in my car...and my desk...and my bedside locker...and my bathroom...and my make-up kit. Alas, it's quite the expensive addiction too as each tube retails in salons at €40 a pop! Thankfully, you can buy it cheaper online ; for example, Irish website retails it at €29.68 with 2-day delivery in RoI (plus you get lots of lovely free samples!).

Tell us what your favourite product is.

Yours in style,

Secrets of Healthy Hair

Clients often ask me how to get great-looking hair. The answer is simply TLC! It takes a bit of work, but the rewards are worth it. Check out my tips below:

A Balanced Diet: Be sure to follow a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day to maintain soft, healthy locks.

A Great Hairstyle: A good hairstyle will not only enhance your facial features, it will also make you appear younger, more vivacious and attractive! Furthermore, I recommend that you trim your hair every 6-8 weeks so as to avoid split ends.

Choose Suitable Products: As obvious as it sounds, choose cleansing, conditioning & styling products that are specifically designed for your hair-type i.e. frizzy, curly, fine, dry, damaged, dandruff, coloured etc. It really does make a difference.

Shampoo twice: For squeaky-clean hair, shampoo it twice, using only a coin-size of shampoo each time. Rinse your hair in cool water for an extra shiny look!

Always condition: Apply conditioner to your hair after shampooing and leave it to penetrate for at least one minute before rinsing. Don’t apply conditioner to the roots as this will make your hair look greasy (use your ears as a guide of where to start applying). If your hair errs on the dry side, treat it to a weekly conditioning treatment.

Dry, don’t fry: Avoid drying your hair with a dryer until it is 2/3 dry. Not only will it be easier to style your hair, it will also help to prevent your hair from drying out. If possible, try to let your hair dry naturally at least once a week. If you like to straighten your hair, be sure to use a heat protecting product on your hair, before you touch it with hot irons. Don’t straighten your hair every day as it will shortly lead to a frazzled, unmanageable hair.

Yours in style,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Feel Good with Glow Magazine

Glow Magazine wants to treat the ladies of Ireland. And boy they've come up with a great way of doing it!

The Glow Magazine Feel Good Roadshow, in association with EBS, is coming to a town near you:
  • CORK: 6th March - Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay
  • GALWAY: March 27th - Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square
  • LIMERICK: April 17th, Clarion Hotel
  • NAAS: May 8th, Osprey Hotel
  • ATHLONE: May 29th, Radisson Blu Hotel
  • DUBLIN: June, date & venue TBC
What to expect
  • FREE entry
  • 11 dedicated feature areas
  • Meet the experts - beauty, hair, fitness, nutrition etc.
  • Financial advice from EBS
  • Free health checks
  • Make-up masterclasses
  • Q&A with Laura Bermingham (editor of Glow Magazine & TV3 beauty expert)
For more info, log onto

Yours in style,

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Likes & Dislikes

A bit of frivolity for your Monday...

My February 'Likes':

  • Spring has sprung: At last, it’s great to see colourful clothes and accessories back on the rails!
  • Make-up tutorials on Youtube: I’m addicted.
  • The return of Desperate Housevives: It’s what Tuesday nights are made for.
  • La Cucina Deli (Limerick): Italian food, made by Italians. As it should be.
  • Tiger bread rolls from Tesco: Try them!
  • Winter Olympics: I'm useless at Winter Sports, but the vicarious joy of watching the Winter Olympics in the comfort of my warm living room is unparalleled.

My February 'Dislikes'...

  • Neutral nails: The oh-so-trendy mushroom colours make my hands look mummified.
  • Deceptively cold weather: On more than one occasion I didn't bring a coat because “oh, it looks lovely outside"! It’s positively freezing!
  • Overuse of the word “madness”: Now that we’re entering March, I sense an avalanche of March Madnesses coming our way.
  • Multiple exclamation marks: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Chocoguilt: Everyone I know is “off chocolate for Lent”. I feel like a glutton.


Yours in style,