Monday, 30 July 2012

A Retro Day Out: Ladies Day At The Races

It's well known that the Irish have a huge love of horseracing and in recent years racing festivals have become the hottest sporting and social events on the calendar. Fashion is a key feature of racing; most festivals have a designated ladies day with impressive and much coveted prizes for the best dressed.  Whether you opt for a classic vintage piece or something bold and daring from the high street you’re in with a chance – there’s no right or wrong at the races. It’s also one of the few occasions apart from weddings that we girls get to don a hat and drink champagne!

So far this year I’ve been to the Punchestown Festival and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival and I had an amazing time at both. If you’re looking for a day of glamour, excitement and flirting (yes, there’s always plenty of men!) I would thoroughly recommend hitting the races before the summer season is over. See 2012 Ladies Day dates below.

What I wore to Punchestown

Hat – Vintage (circa 1940s) from the Ha’penny Flea Market

Blouse – Penneys/Primark

Skirt – River Island

Cardigan – F&F Tesco

Gloves – Vintage

Bag – Penneys/Primark

Shoes – Shoe Rack

A close up of my Punchestown accessories. The umbrella is from Penneys/Primark

My friend Magdalene and I at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby

Headpiece – Handmade by myself
Top – Penneys/Primark

Skirt – Asos

Gloves – Vintage

Bag – Borrowed from my sister

Shoes – Shoe Rack

Umbrella - Penneys/Primark

                                                                My headpiece

The Inside Track – Top Tips:
·         Whatever you wear make sure you dress for the weather. When you are planning your outfit have a warmer/cooler option and bring an umbrella, this is Ireland after all!

·         Leave your impossibly high heels at home. A day at the races involves a lot of walking so wear heels that you’ve already broken in or go with a comfortable wedge. Party feet insoles will also help to prevent sore feet.

·         Though very popular, a clutch bag is not ideal for the race track. I found this out the hard way at Punchestown! It is impossible to hold a drink, study a form guide and hold onto a clutch at the same time.

·         Eat a sensible meal before you head to the race track. With trying to catch the eye of the Best Dressed judges it might be some time before you can grab something to eat.

·         Popping plasters and bobby pins into your handbag is a good idea. Blisters and loose hats/headpieces are the biggest threats to a wonderful Ladies Day.

Ladies Day Dates 2012:
Galway Summer Festival - Thursday 2nd August
Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day at Sligo Racecourse – Thursday 9th August
Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day at Kilbeggan Racecourse – Saturday 11th August
Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day at Tramore Racecourse – Saturday 18th August
Bellewstown August Festival at Bellewstown Racecourse – Thursday 23rd August
Littlewoods Ireland Ladies Day at Killarney Racecourse – Saturday 1st September
Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes Day at Leopardstown Racecourse – Saturday 8th September

For more Ladies Day Dates click here.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Beauty Tutorial: Futuristic Nails

                                          Girl from Mars: Jil Sander Autumn/Winter 2012

Have a look at the cinema listings, in your local bookshop or turn on a television - the fantasy genre is in full swing. Two of the most highly anticipated films this year were Prometheus and The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games books remain firmly on the bestseller lists and Game of Thrones is ensuring the majority of the population is glued to television sets every Monday night. Whether it’s dystopian tough girls you’re into or otherworldly sprites, the sudden popularity of this genre was reflected on the Autumn/Winter catwalks. Jil Sander showcased sci-fi silver with shocking white while Balenciaga‘s heroines wore electric blue teamed with solid metallic accessories.  The futuristic trend appeared on nails too; featuring in the shows of Chanel, Alice + Olivia and Behnaz Sarafpour.

Behnaz Sarafpour Autumn/Winter 2012

Behnaz Sarafpour’s gorgeous reflective silver tips are what I tried to emulate. After using a base coat I took the most intense silver from my collection, Rimmel Lasting Finish in 239 Your Majesty, and painted the tip of each nail. This did take a bit of patience; it might be easier if you used those crescent shaped guides available in French manicure kits. When the tips had dried I painted my nails with a clear glittery polish, Essence Colour & Go 04 Space Queen, how apt! A top coat went over this and I was ready to kick some alien ass! Researching for this post I discovered that Behnaz Sarafpour’s tips are most likely foils. I think you can easily recreate this look without the expense of foils. I got three days wear without a chip and that’s not too bad considering I used budget nail polish.

Left to right: Rimmel Lasting Finish in 239 Your Majesty, Essence Colour & Go in 04 Space Queen

This photo does not do my shimmering beauties justice

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

U Magazine Stylist Competition: I'm A Finalist!

‘Do you adore fashion? Would you love to make a career out of it?’ These are the questions U magazine posed last month when they launched their competition to find Ireland’s next great stylist. My answer? Hell yes! I quickly went about completing the first task which involved styling two trends (there were six trends listed) and submitting the shots. I chose pastels and all white as my trends and my leggy sister Aoife kindly took on the role of model extraordinaire. I almost died when I found out I had made it into the final ten. No, literally. I was on the bus happily chomping away on a bar of Dairy Milk Whole Nut and reading the latest issue of U when I suddenly saw my name staring up at me. Thankfully the woman beside me didn’t have to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre but it was a close call!

We were set our next task which had to be submitted last week. It was challenging as the trend we had to style can be a difficult one to wear. I’m sure all will be revealed in U soon! From this, ten will be whittled down to six and I wish all the girls the best of luck. I’m definitely facing some stiff competition.

And the prize?! Mentoring by top stylist Courtney Smith and a shoot with renowned photographer Daniel Holfeld which will appear in U. A truly amazing opportunity. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Hair Inspiration: The Beautiful Bob

For as long as I can remember I have worn my hair shoulder length or longer. The thought of anything shorter appalled me. However, over the past few months my hair has become dry and damaged snubbing my overzealous efforts to style it.  I was also bored with it and in the midst of a mid-20s crisis last month I went under the scissors and got a bob!

The history of the bob is an interesting one. Originating at the beginning of the 20th century, it was seen as a shocking statement of independence in young women. It was only considered respectable when women joined the workforce during World War I and no longer had time to style long hair. By the mid-1920s it was the dominant female hairstyle in the Western world popularised by actresses Louise Brooks and Joan Crawford, the original flapper girls. As the 1930s approached, women started to grow their hair longer and the bob was abandoned.

Vidal Sassoon is credited with bringing back the bob in the 1960s, revolutionising the style with his precise, geometric cuts. Sassoon created some of the most iconic hairstyles of the 60s including Mia Farrow's pixie crop and the five-point cut worn by stars such as Mary Quant, Nancy Kwan and Grace Coddington.

                                          Vidal in his salon. Oh to have a time machine!

More 1960s Inspiration:
Anna Karina

                                                      Chantal Goya
                                              Jessica Paré as Megan Draper in Mad Men

Modern Inspiration:
Krysten Ritter


Alexa Chung

Taking inspiration from the 60s (my favourite decade for music, fashion and beauty) I asked my hairdresser for a blunt bob a lá Chantal Goya. However, she nervously recommended an A-line bob (where the front is slightly longer than the back) for fear I’d turn the scissors on her due to my lack of length! I took her advice and it was the right decision. I love my hair. It’s in better condition, more manageable and I think I look a little more elegant! Also, in a world obsessed with big hair and extensions it’s nice to sport something a little different.
  My gorgeous friend Katie and I at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby last weekend