ENVOY OF BELFAST SS16 – JANUARY ‘16

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“Envoy of Belfast, a space for products selected with care, chosen for their excellent and distinctive quality of design, fabric, craftsmanship and coherent narrative  We are inspired by the pieces we sell, and we hope you will be too.”

I was delighted to be asked back to do make-up for the Envoy SS16 shoot.  I love the minimalist style and barely there make-up - subtly polished skin, dressed down eyes and softly sculpted features.  This look was all about less is more.



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PAULA & TYSON GRAY – OCTOBER ‘15

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At school, Paula and Tyson were one of those couples that seemed to be together forever.  But as were grew a bit older and Uni loomed, they parted ways and moved on.  After spending most of their 20’s in relationships with other people, they found themselves single again, and a random visit by Tyson into Paula’s shop one day in Belfast began a new chapter…when Paula told us she thought he was hinting at a date, we told her they’d end up married, and she said, “I know”.  AAAAHHHHHHH!!

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They are the perfect wee couple, and it felt like they’d never been apart.  They are the kind of couple that just make you smile when you look at them.  They just adore each other, and are forever giggling when in each other’s company.

The date was set for 29th October at Ballyscullion in Magherafelt.  A gorgeous little converted stable house, surrounded by a stunning walled garden.  After a very relaxed morning at home doing hair and make-up (my wee chum Lynette styled the hair beautifully), we headed to their church in Carrick for a lovely ceremony, which included a bit of football, followed by tea and homemade sausage rolls - Elaine’s (mother of the bride) infamous homemade sausage rolls.  Then we were off to the venue, whoop!

We were so lucky with the weather; sunny and mild enough to have drinks in the garden.  The trees had all turned in colour but hadn’t lost all their leaves, and we were entertained with pumpkin carving!  After a few group shots, we were sat for dinner is a cosy candle lit room, and listened to the groom give a FAB speech.  We laughed, we cried, we laughed, we cried then toasted the "tall ships, the small ships, the ships that sail the seas, but best ships are the friendships, so here’s to P & T".  Hurrah!  After that, it’s a haze of laughs, drinks and dancing.  Lots of dancing.  Oh I want to do it all again!  If only to see Paula’s wee peachy bum in her dress ;)

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WE ARE THE CLAY - OCTOBER ‘15

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I’ve always been a fan of Grace Photography; a husband and wife duo who document rather than dictate.  When they got in touch to ask if I’d like to do the make-up for an upcoming shoot they were planning, I had no doubt about the answer!

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They wanted to develop their brand, and offer a style of photography which was a little darker and moody.  Laura from Betty Williamson Weddings and Events worked with Adam and Grace to style the shoot, and also modelled for the shoot with her husband!  We had a selection of amazing dresses from the White Portfolio in Newry; edgy 2 pieces, with unusual cuts and collars.  Flowers were wild and loose with little pops of autumnal colour by Flowers be Mee, which worked beautifully with the rustic style and moody colours of the cakes by Cake Couture NI.  The stationary was created by Design Our Day and incorporated rich colours of maroon emblazoned with gold text.  Suits were provided by Groom Formal Hire.

Laura’s make-up consisted of matte, flawless skin, with soft terracotta cheeks and a smudgy matte smoke on eyes.  Liner was intensified to create a little more drama and lips were kept quite nude.  To keep with the mood, heavier eye suited the style perfectly.  Her hair was styled by my lovely chum Lynette Murray, and was softly pinned with a loose curl, and taken out later in the day for a more relaxed and “undone” feel.

Lovely to do something a little different for bridal, and we had the PERFECT misty moody weather on Slieve Gullion!

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WILLOW & THREAD – SEPTEMBER ‘15

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Kate Speers opened Ivory & Pearl just a few years ago, but is already one of the top bridal boutiques in Ireland.  This year, she opened a sister store named Willow & Thread.  A fashion boutique in the heart of Comber, with all collections hand-picked and updated weekly.

To showcase some of her pieces, she arranged an informal shoot in the boutique.  It was lovely to finally work with photographer Fiona Jamieson, model Rachel Ewing (legs to die for!) and see my old chum and hairstylist Lynette Murray.  It was also the perfect excuse to get into the boutique and pick up a few pieces for my own wardrobe!



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VICKI & DWAYNE – SEPTEMBER ‘15

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After a busy summer, Jonny and I were excited to be packing our suitcases once more to venture to Ravello, Italy, to celebrate the marriage of one of my besties, Vicki, to her lovely man Dwayne.  We had quite a wait for this one, 2 and a half years, but the time had finally arrived!  It was TOTALLY worth the wait.

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Neither of us had been to Italy before so it was a lovely excuse to visit a new country.  After quite a treacherous taxi journey over the hills of the Amalfi coast, we arrived to our B&B which was situated ON the town square in Ravello.  Couldn’t be closer to the action if we tried!

The views were breath taking.  I’ve never seen anything as fabulous.  It was almost a little hard to believe it was real.  This wedding, apart from the actual marriage of two lovely people, was all about the location and venue.  We spent the first afternoon sipping Prosecco in Ravello town square.  A bustling little spot where everybody was people watching – totally fascinating.  We then headed into Amalfi that evening for some dinner and to meet all the other guests.  It was bouncing!  So many people socialising, drinking coffee, eating pastries and sipping beers.

The next morning was an early start to get ready before heading to Vicki’s hotel to get her, her mum, sister and our friend Paula who was bridesmaid, all dolled up.  Paula O’Hara, who is an AMAZING photographer and good friend of mine, had travelled to take their photos, and Ricky Linton from Rabbit and the Fox had also travelled to video it all.  It was very relaxing to have pretty much all the essential suppliers from home!

After a 5PM ceremony outside in private gardens overlooking the Amalfi coast, we all dandered the half a mile through the town to Villa Cimbrone.  Wow.  It’s hard to describe how magnificent this building and its views were.  We drank cocktails and ate some of the most delicious Italian cicchetti while milling in the gardens, listening to the speeches as the sun set.  It was so romantic.  We were then lead to the crypt for the meal.  Pasta to start then steak topped with truffle.  Holy moly it was so tasty.  As soon as we finished eating, we jumped up from the table and started dancing!  It was so casual but the perfect end to a really relaxed day.

The following day was spent being a tourist, wandering in the sun and sipping on more fizz.  It felt like we cheated on Ravello by only staying for 3 nights, but we loved the opportunity to spend some more quality time with friends.  Our lives are just getting busier and busier, so this was a real treat!

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ENVOY OF BELFAST AW15 – JULY ‘15

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Although the majority of my work is bridal, I sometimes work on editorials and other projects too.  In July I was asked to do the make-up for the Envoy of Belfast AW15 collection.  The style was very much “up my street”; a barely there foundation, clean natural eye and a smidge of nude lipstick.

It was lovely to finally meet model Carrie Anne Burton.  She has such a distinctive look, and eyes that just draw you in.  And also to work with photographer Tim, from This Modern Love.



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AMANDA & HADLEIGH JESS – JUNE ‘15

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June was a busy month of weddings; peak season with lots of lovely faces to make up.  June was also the month in which we flew to Bordeaux to celebrate the marriage of two of our lovely friends!  Hadleigh is an old school friend of Jonny’s, and although we’ve only known Amanda for a few years, it feels like we’ve known her forever!

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We flew out a few days before the wedding to settle into our 18th Century Mansion.  It had its own pool, games room and courtyard.  It was AMAZING!   Nice wee find by our friend Wendy through AirBnB.

After a relaxing welcome BBQ the evening before the wedding, the day had arrived!  It was a scorcher.  I got my face on, curled my hair and headed to the Chateau to get Amanda ready.  Her hair was already beautifully styled in soft curls, with some pinned up off her shoulders.  Her make-up was a polished version of her everyday look.  For the heat, we used a gel/cream moisturiser across her t-zone, then a very mattifying primer from Becca.  Amanda likes quite a full coverage so I built it up with By Terry Cover Expert then topped it up with some Eve Lom mineral powder.

She opted for a winged, softly defined eye shadow, with full lashes and smudgy liner, and her favourite raspberry pink lip stain.  She was gorgeous!  Her dress was by Riki Dalal from Forever Bridal in Finaghy.  It was quite a figure hugging dress that showed off her lovely shape, but in a very comfortable material so she would still feel relaxed all day in the heat.  It had a deep V at the front but was balanced with lace sleeves.

The day was so relaxed.  Chateau de la Ligne was beautiful.  Rolling vineyards, endless gardens and a pool.  All very typically French but with a few Irish add-ons by its Irish owner – namely a lambeg drum!  After the ceremony we were treated to a wine tasting, then lawn games in the setting sun with pink fizz and delicious nibbles.  My favourites were the grilled prawns and fresh cuts of ham.  Yum.  The evening went on with a beautiful meal, more wine, macaroons and lots of dancing…maybe a little drunken dancing and rolling around in the grass much later on!!!

The day after, we had the perfect hangover cure - a pool party!  We lazed in the sun all day drinking cold gin and tonic and gorging ourselves with another BBQ.  It was bliss.  Perfect end to the perfect traditional wedding, with all its gorgeous added French style.

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MEGAN THERESE COUTURE BRIDAL ACCESSORIES - MAY '15

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Couture Bridal Accessories

I love my brides and working on real weddings, but it’s lovely every now and again to get a break between bookings, and meet some other industry folk who also love what they do.

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“It wasn’t until 2012 where my skills for designing and crafting came to fruition, whilst planning my own wedding.   This is where my love affair with weddings began; exploring a world of couture dresses and accessories ignited my passion for bridal fabrics and designs.   I enjoy working with soft tulle, French lace, gold accents and vintage jewellery.   I adore intricate detailing, harmoniously balancing the charm of the old and the beauty of the new.

I appreciate the desire a bride has to wear a bespoke piece, something entirely unique and precious to her.   I’m thankful I can create this and it makes me very happy when I see a bride’s joy when she receives her finished piece. I draw inspiration from eras gone by, fine art photography and nature.    I use only the best, locally sourced fabrics and materials.”


Megan had been working hard on a new range of veils and head pieces for 2015.   She got in touch to ask if I could do the make-up for an upcoming shoot to showcase the collection.   The make-up was to be very soft, very natural and barely there.   The model had beautifully clear skin, so I kept the base very sheer, with a creamy peach blush and baby powder finish.   Her eyes were washed with a romantic taupey mauve shadow for subtle definition and lips were kept unlined and dabbed with a peachy nude lipstick.   Dreamy gorgeousness!

Hair was styled by my lovely friend Lynette Murray (who brought her wee daughter Florence along – she kept us all entertained with her gorgeous smile and giggles!).   The model wore Claire Pettibone from Ivory and Pearl, and it was all captured by Grace Photography and Forever Social Cinematography.

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WEDDING SHOWS - FEBRUARY/MARCH & SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

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A great way to advertise my business to brides is to attend wedding shows.   It allows me to showcase my work, and chat face to face with potential clients.   I think it’s very important for a bride to not only book an artist whose style of work they like, but to also get a feel for their personality – after all, I’m going to be with you for quite a length of time on your wedding day so it’s imperative that we get on and can have a giggle!

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I’ve exhibited at a number of different shows over the last 6 years, but I’ve learned to select shows now that really consider what couples want.   A relaxed atmosphere, diversity of high standard businesses and more importantly, a focus on really helping and guiding couples through what can be quite a daunting challenge - planning a huge event!

I exhibit 4 times a year; twice at Quirky Weddings (link) and twice at Galgorm (link).   Roughly around February/March, and again in September/October.   Quirky Weddings have a completely different approach to wedding shows.   They believe in equality, embracing the unusual and encouraging couples to have a unique day that really reflects their personality, rather than fitting the mould.   They take applications from exhibitors then select the top 120 to reflect a spectrum of businesses from across the wedding industry.   We are supportive of one another in the Quirky family and believe that good networking between our businesses will not only make us more successful, but will put faith in our couples that we all want the same thing; for them to have the most amazing day ever.

Galgorm in Ballymena is also a little different…they only exhibit with selected “partners”, meaning there is only one of each business represented, and I’m very proud to be the recommended make-up artist for such a prestigious resort.   They have gone from strength to strength this last few years; refurbishing 3 of their wedding suites, extending the hotel, upgrading rooms and including new executive suites and adding a Boudoir onto the refurbished spa.   They have become one of the top venues in the UK to get married in, and their hospitality is second to none.

So if you’re thinking of booking me for your wedding and would like to have a chat face to face, treat yourself to a Sunday day trip and come see me at one of these shows – if anything else, you’ll get some cake!

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CAROLINE HIRONS - JANUARY '15

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Working in Space NK allows me to work with some amazing brands from all over the world.   In January, they launched a relatively new American brand, Sunday Riley.   Sunday firmly believes that ideal formulas are a perfect union between pure, potent botanicals and advanced chemistry.   The latest technologies are combined with ingredients which are 99% pure to produce innovative and highly effective skincare products.   Launching in 2009, her obsession-worthy products have become favorites of globally renowned make-up artists and are used by high-profile celebrities and supermodels.

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Sunday Riley and Space NK, in collaboration with renowned facialist, brand consultant and beauty blogger Caroline Hirons, introduced the brand to stores nationwide.   Caroline is famously unbiased and honest about brands, but is a big fan of Sunday Riley so took part in a series of one-to-one consultations with customers and needless to say, there was a lot of hype!   On 12th January, Caroline visited my store (Donegall Square in Belfast) – it was a crazy busy day with some customers waiting up to 4 hours to speak with her!

Some products have received cult status including Good Genes (link), Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil (link) and the newly launched Luna Sleeping Night Oil (link).

If you don’t already, read Caroline’s blog; not only does she give great reviews on products, but she’s a flipping geg!

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INTO THE MYSTIC - NOVEMBER '14 (SHOT MAY '14)

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“Smell the sea and feel the sky,
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic,
And I want to rock your gypsy soul”

Van Morrison

"We wanted to create a shoot that stripped the song bare, that looked at the feeling of longing, and of the wild, great elements of the sea and the sky.   The shoot was dreamed up to allow our team to play with the wild, Irish gypsy spirit, passionate and romantic, on the rugged and unpredictable Donegal coastline."   Grace & Saviour.

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It’s no secret, I love working with Paula O’Hara.   She sees movement, shape and beautiful moments that many would look by.   We’ve also become good friends now through working together over the last 5 years so any shoot she’s involved in, I want to be a part of!

I’d met Grace of Grace & Saviour earlier in the year and after chatting we were keen to work together, so when she and Paula coined the idea for this shoot, I was delighted to be asked to create the make-up for it.   Once the models were in place (they can really make or break a shoot so it was important to get models with the right look), we were off!

We travelled to Downings in Donegal, a little corner of our country I’d never visited before.   Grace’s family had a holiday home there so she knew the area very well.   It’s absolutely stunning, and offers so many different backdrops that we could have stayed a week and created a different style each day.

After a scout around the venues on arrival and a glass of wine, it was an early night for a 7AM start.   Nerissa has such dewy, gorgeous skin and dark eyes so make-up was kept very soft and in warmer tones – browns, peaches and creams.   I wanted her to look very “undone” so we used minimal eye make-up, soft liner and nude lips.

Despite a little sunshine in the morning, the day turned cold and damp.   On one hand we felt we’d been outside for hours, yet we could have done with an extra day or two get through all the ideas Grace and Paula had, the time flew by!   Hats off to both Nerissa and Tim (mostly Nerissa who had much less clothes on!) for working through the cold.

We had a great time just pleasing ourselves, and it was fantastic to meet Cathriona and Ann Marie who both work mainly in the South.   We all got on like a house on fire and had Ann Marie’s dog Buddy to keep us company too on our journeys!

Featured on Junebug Weddings and in Bash Magazine 2015 Wedding Annual.

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FAIR MAIDEN - NOVEMBER '14 (SHOT MAY '14)

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Featured on Style Me Pretty, click here to view.

“For she is a fair maiden, the fairest lady of a house of queens.”

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“The inspiration for this shoot came from the wild landscape of the Irish moors and of another world, gone by many years ago.   The fair maiden is awaiting her true love; she has an innocence and naivety about her, anticipating her wedding day and what’s to come.   We drew inspiration from the untamed landscape and nature’s elements, the movement in the beautiful gowns, the flowing of the veils and silk stationery suite, unstructured, lush floral design with textured elements of linen and stone throughout.”   Alise Taggart.

I’m always excited when I get a message from Alise.   Her ideas are so whimsical, and loaded with rustic charm.   Our photographer Christian Oth is based in New York and wanted to take advantage of being in Europe while visiting for a friend’s birthday, so he made a stop off in Ireland on his way back to the US.

Luckily we got quite an overcast and misty day (with the odd spot of sun!) so this really added to the mood and feel of the images.   The make-up was kept very minimal with a little flush on the cheeks and lips to portray that the girls spent a lot of time running around outside in the moors and in the elements.

It was fantastic to work with such an amazing photographer who had a fresh set of eyes on our landscape, and obviously the highlight of our day was meeting Maisey the 3 week old lamb!

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WE GOT ENGAGED! - SEPTEMBER '14

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Jonny and I have been together for years.   We meet on my first day of secondary school on the bus home.   He was my brother’s best friend and I thought he was a complete pain in the bum.   He pulled my tie, stole my school bag and pushed me into puddles.   I disliked him so much that I stopped getting the bus and got my mum to pick me up after school.   It wasn’t until the summer between 3rd and 4th year when he got a job in the local chip shop that I worked in, the infamous “Vicky Hot Spot” (albeit a short employment of about 3 weeks as it was interfering with his football practice), that I realised I kind of liked him…and that was it.

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We always knew deep down that we’d end up together, and we were keen to get settled in our careers and buy a home.   We bought our house in 2013 and as far as I was concerned, an engagement ring and wedding was another year or two off at least!

When booking the flights for my friend’s wedding in Portugal, we realised we were due to fly home on my birthday so decided to stay an extra day to celebrate.   A birthday on the beach – bliss!   We had a gorgeous breakfast in a café in the main square (strong black coffee and tasty Portuguese pastries, yum) then got ready to head to the beach.   I was so excited for a snooze in the sun.   Jonny is a red-head and not so keen on sunbathing so he went for a walk to suss out a nice restaurant for dinner that night.   He was also sussing out the spot where he was going to “pop the question”, little rascal.   After a snooze and a stroll we headed for a light lunch (it was about 3pm by this stage!) and parked our bums on a table which sat in a little sunny spot right on the cliff edge.   We dined on langoustines, tomato salad and cold, crisp wine; delicious.

After a few cocktails we got ready and headed for dinner.   Jonny isn’t one for being in a rush but he made a few comments about eating early.   I didn’t really pick up on it at the time, but little did I know he wanted to propose at sun set (big sop), which I ruined by having several cocktails instead of just one after lunch…when in Rome and all that.   After a beautiful dinner in another cliff-edge restaurant we went for a dander.   Jonny wanted to show me the scenery because I’m apparently “always banging on about going for a walk along the coast”, but by this stage it was dark; “Jonny, I’m sure it’s lovely but I can’t see anything”.   I got a little suspicious at his insistence, but I put this down to him wanting to surprise me for my birthday with a nice bar he’d found.   We jumped a fence (just a 2ft one!) into a play park and he walked me to the see-saw.   I had bought him an anniversary card earlier in the year with a stick man style illustration of two people at one end of a see-saw - the joke being that I always want to be at his side regardless of where or when.   I had a giggle and he handed me my birthday card.   I opened it and removed a piece of paper that was inside while I read the card, not realising what was written on the paper.   It was an “I O U” for a day shopping for an engagement ring…then he dropped to one knee.   I couldn’t believe it.   I walked backwards in shock and surprise, had a little tear, then dropped to my knees beside him and asked him to repeat what he’d said because I didn’t hear him the first time!   He proposed with a 3 band ring with the date and “even on the see-saw” engraved on it (I then found out this is why he wanted to propose with some light so I could read it – oops).

After being together for so long, the surprise was just lovely!   So, hats off to my wonderful man for giving me such a superb surprise proposal, and here’s to 23rd July 2016 when I become his “Mrs”!   Whoop whoop!

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KERRI & DAVID YOUNG - SEPTEMBER '14

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The summer flew by in a haze of weddings, sunshine and preparations for a trip to Portugal in early September.   One of my closet friends got engaged on Christmas Day ‘13 and didn’t want to waste a minute.   They set the date for the following September; it was to be a laid back destination wedding, in the beautiful vineyard of Quinta de Sant’Ana, Gradil.

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Ninety guests travelled to Portugal and stayed in the sleepy fishing village of Ericeira, which was around half an hour from the wedding venue.   The town is quite rural and not very touristy at all, but it is nestled on a coastline quite famous for surfing, so there were just enough bars and restaurants to keep us entertained.   It was bliss!   There was a real community feel to the town as every corner we turned, we bumped into other guests.   We all cherished the opportunity of some quality time with close friends so the made the most of the £1 sangria, buckets of gin and yummy seafood on offer at the café’s along the shore.

By the time the wedding came around we were all so relaxed and so excited that the day had finally arrived!   Make-up brushes at the ready, I strolled to Kerri’s hotel that morning and had a gorgeous girly afternoon getting her and her sister/bridesmaid Gillian ready.   The rest of the girls arrived and we cracked open a bottle of bubbly with giggles one minute and tears the next.   Everything was perfect, and even a phone call to say there had been a thunderstorm at the venue setting a tree on fire and knocking the electric out didn’t faze our bride.   The ceremony was pushed back an hour, but we actually appreciated the extra time to be together, just us girls smiley

Then we were off!   We arrived at the beautiful venue in glorious sunshine - apart from the odd puddle there was no evidence of the thunderstorm!   The next few hours flew by in smiles and hugs, and at around 8.30PM we were guided to dinner by candle light (there was still no electricity at this point; hats off to the venue for cooking our AMAZING meal using generators).   The soft light made the room all the more cosy and very relaxing, but of course in true Norn Iron style, when the lights flickered on we all gave a very Irish “Yeeeeeoooooo”!   Then the dancing commenced…

We live such busy lives, constantly thinking of the next thing we have to do.   It was the first in a long time that we all just lived in the moment, Kerri especially.   Every now and again I’d see her take in a big breath, look around and smile.   And that’s was life is all about isn’t it?   Living for the here and now and surrounding yourself with your nearest and dearest.   It was just perfect smiley

#kerridavid #jamemories #bettertogether

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WEDDING JOURNAL READER AWARDS - JUNE '14

Wedding Journal Reader Awards '14
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In an industry that runs on recommendation, the opinions of our brides and grooms mean everything.   To give them the platform to shout about their favourite suppliers is a great way to see who in our industry is getting it right, and inform future couples of where to invest.

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It’s not just about the product; it’s vitally important to build a rapport with couples and gain their trust by giving excellent customer service and reassurance, so come the wedding day they can stop organising and confidently hand over the control to us, their wedding team.   After all, that’s what we are being employed to do – provide a wedding day.

Knowing a bride has been happy with my service and would recommend me to a friend means everything.   It makes all the early mornings, long drives and late nights worth it.   I was honoured to be listed in the top 5 recommend make-up artist in Ireland, and can’t thank all of my lovely clients enough for putting me there.   If nothing else, Jonny and I had a fab afternoon at the awards ceremony in the Malone Lodge in Belfast!

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LOVE SWEPT BY THE SEA - MAY '14

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Originally a small shoot to feature the beautiful bright lights and letters from Electric Alphabet, this quickly snow-balled into a beautiful boho-style bridal shoot featuring some fabulous NI wedding vendors.

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Christine McKendry, an electrical engineer, got married last September and wanted her and her fiancés initials in lights as a backdrop for her dancefloor.   After failing to find a company in Ireland that could provide this, she made her own!   Straight away, Electric Alphabet was born and continues to grow rapidly, Electric Alphabet.

After several meetings, the date was set and location was set.   Lynette Murray and I teamed up for hair and make-up that morning at the beautifully simplistic and airy studio of Archive 12, a vintage bridal showroom owned by stylist Claire Leese, housing a unique collection of vintage wedding dresses.   Once our model Laura Irvine was ready, we travelled to Murlough Beach in Newcastle to join the rest of the team who had been setting up.   Mood Events who styled the set, had a tough time against the strong winds but managed to discretely weigh everything down so it stayed in place long enough to be shot by Kat Mervyn.   Flowers were supplied by the very talented Tim at Floral Earth and additional dresses and accessories were provided by Petticoat Lane Bridal, Ivory & Pearl and Gibson Bespoke.   Despite the bitter cold (it was freezing!) and super strong winds, we think the Kat did a great job making the wind work to our advantage by adding a very Irish feel to the photos.

Added bonus, the shoot was featured in new Irish wedding magazine Inspire Weddings.

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DANCE OF LOVE - MARCH '14

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It’s a rare occasion, but every once in a while I like to indulge.   Amongst the busy weeks of work which fly by so quickly, it’s important to take a step away from it all.   Make a little distance in the other direction to be a little selfish then come back refocused.

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Paula O’Hara (my lovely friend and favourite wedding photographer!) had wanted for a while to photograph a dancer and experiment with light and movement.   We trundled down to the beautiful Gosford Castle in Markethill, Co. Armagh (which was still set up in some areas for the filming of Game of Thrones, eek, I support the Starks!) on a chilly Sunday morning.   Kathy McLean (hairstylist) and I prepped our dancer/model Hannah Blevins then we explored the shadows of the castle.   Styled very naturally, and dressed in both traditional ballet wear and flowing gowns and lace from Trash Couture and Maria lluisa Rabell, Hannah danced amongst the charmingly styled florals and props by Alise Taggart.

We stood in silence, encapsulated by the beauty of the dance and the peace within the stillness of the ruins around us.   It was so refreshing.

To top it off, it was all filmed by Michael from Story of Eve.   A breathtakingly beautiful piece of work, click here to view.

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PRO HAIR & BEAUTY - FEBRUARY '14

Pro Hair & Beauty
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Anybody working in the beauty industry will have at one point or another popped in to “Sally’s”.   Sally Beauty Supply LLC began as a single store in New Orleans in 1964.   Today, Sally Beauty is the world’s largest retailer of professional beauty supplies.

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I’m in my local (Abbeycentre) quite regularly for false eyelashes.   They stock a great range of Ardell and own brand lashes, my personal favourites being the Ardell Demi Wispies or Salon Services 070.   I’ll often pick up a copy of the trade magazine, Pro Hair and Beauty, as it’s full of very useful tips and tools for the trade, so I was absolutely delighted to receive an email from the editorial assistant asking if I would contribute to the March/April issue.   They wanted a critique on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s red carpet make-up – what a stunner!   Here it is…

“Rosie’s stunning make-up complements her style; simple yet slick and effortlessly sexy.   Her tailored blazer and sleek hair require a strong and structured make-up: polished skin with groomed brows, minimal eyes and contoured cheeks, which allow her striking voluptuous lips to ‘pop’.   To recreate this sophisticated look, keep lips matte, skin illuminated, and finish with false lashes.”

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GETTING MARRIED IN NORTHERN IRELAND READER AWARDS - NOVEMBER '13

GMNI Awards 2013
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2013 was a very busy year, both at work and at home.   Bookings were up again (woohoo!), Jonny was changing jobs, friends and family had a lot going on (all good goings-on!) so there was a lot of catching up to do and Jonny and I finally got our first home together (yeay!), so it was all go!   As a lot of you know, keeping a work/life balance is difficult, and when you’re self-employed it’s very hard at times to switch off, and vice-versa, you constantly question if you are doing enough and can you improve.   So, I was very happy to receive an email from Getting Married in Northern Ireland magazine to say I had been nominated for a second year running as a finalist in their Reader Awards in the Best Bridal Make-up Artist category!

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The magazine has been running for 28 years, and they have hosted the Reader Awards since 2004.    However, they only introduced the category of Best Bridal Make-up Artist in 2012.   I finished 3rd, up two places from the previous year and left with a beaming smile and beautiful Belleek award.   After such a busy and at times slightly manic year, it was just lovely to know that yet again, my lovely clients still classed me as a “top wedding supplier”.    It really makes all the hard work so worthwhile, and has driven me to keep going onwards and upwards!

So, a huge THANK YOU again to all of my past clients, and a big HELLO to all the lovely new people I will meet this year!

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SUMMER @ SPACE NK - SUMMER '13

Body Brilliance Institut Esthederm Eve Lom SPF 50 Kevin Aucoin Mascara Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
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With such an amazing location in the City Centre, it’s a real joy to work in Space NK during the summer months.   There are always plenty of people out and about around Donegall Square and EVERYBODY sits in the sun and eats their lunch in the grounds of the City Hall.   It really puts you in the mood for holidays, and of course, stocking up on new heat proof make-up, skin care and hair care products.

Here are a few of my summer favourites:-

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Clean and Lean Body Brilliance, 300g, £50.00.   This is an all-natural vegan protein and fibre chocolate shake, made from super greens, minerals, energising herbs, fruit and vegetables.   It boosts your metabolism and can encourage fat burning, is packed with fibrous super greens which can help your body flush out toxins, and contains powerful antioxidants like blueberries and goji berries which can help your body fight free radicals - just a few of the many benefits from this amazing morning time drink!   Mix with rice milk, sprinkle on your cereal or blend in with a fruit smoothie; it’s so easy to take and sets you up for the day!

Institut Esthederm UV in Cellium Bronzant, 150ml, £42.50.   This is a fantastic product pre-holiday.   It won “Tan Boosting Breakthrough” in Grazia's Summer Beauty Awards 2011.   UV in Cellium is a pre-tanning treatment that prepares the skin for sun exposure, helping you to develop a deep and long-lasting tan.   Institut Esthederm has a completely different ethos when it comes to tanning – they don’t believe in SPF, as this is the scale we use to measure the burning of the skin.   They believe in preparing the skin pre-sun exposure and encouraging it to protect itself, by drawing the melanin to the surface in an even distribution, meaning the skin is prepared for sun expose and tanning is safer.

We should use SPF daily, even in winter, but it’s extremely important in summer.   Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF 50, 60ml, £70.00, is a dual-action protective, brightening, and anti-ageing formula, representing a new generation in sunscreen.   With powerful UV shields plus antioxidant Vitamins C and E, it doubly shields your skin: firstly from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also from ageing free radicals and daily environmental damage.   Fast-absorbing and ideal for all skin types, it actively brightens, nourishes, firms and regenerates too – helping form new collagen, and reducing the appearance of lines and imperfections.

Kevin Aucoin Mascara, Curling, 5g, £22.00.   This curling mascara wraps lashes in a pitch black, shrink-wrapping formula that pulls lashes apart and up for a separated, thick and curled finish.   Fantastic for definition by the pool that will survive through the heat and a quick dip!   Due to the shrink wrap finish, the mascara doesn’t break down or dissolve – panda eyes are not sexy!!!

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse - Multi-usage Dry Oil Spray, 100ml, £28.00.   The perfect size for travelling, this multi-purpose dry oil with a unique super activated formula combines 30% Precious Plant Oils and Vitamin E to nourish, repair and soften face, body and hair.   Face and body are left beautifully soft and moisturised, whilst hair is supple and glossy.   Perfect after a long day at the beach!

Space NK Website

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ORIFLAME BLOGGING EVENT - JULY '13

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Founded in 1967 by two brothers and their friend, Oriflame is an international beauty company selling direct in more than 60 countries worldwide.   Respect for people and nature underlie the company’s operating principles and are reflected in its social and environmental policies.   Using herbs and plant extracts from Swedish nature, they were one of the first companies to not test on animals.   Today, it employs more than 8000 people in 60 different countries and has an impressive portfolio of more than 1000 cosmetic products.

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Although the stats are impressive, Oriflame seems to have skipped a generation (ask your Mum or Grandmother about the range, no doubt they have used it!) so to bring it back to our attention, they have been re-launching the brand via social media and bloggers events.   Oriflame asked me to travel to Dublin to present and demonstrate the products to some of Dublin and Ireland’s most followed bloggers.

We set up in the beautiful Avoca store in the City Centre and I demonstrated 3 key season looks with the products – Valentino and Armani inspired nude, Missoni and Versace inspired grunge eyes, and a Prada and Vera Wang inspired berry stained lip.

I cleansed the model first using the Optimals Cleansing Milk and followed with Essentials Moisture Day Cream.   I kept the base light with Oriflame Beauty Oxygen Boost Foundationand flushed the cheeks with Oriflame Beauty Perfect Blush.   To develop the look to a grungy eye, I used Oriflame Beauty Kajal Eye Liner all over the lid and smudged with a small domed brush, then layered some shadow for added density.   And to finish with the third look of a berry lip, I used Giordani Gold Jewel Lipstick in Eternal Red, just patted on for a stained look.

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SPACE NK COLOUR SEMINAR - FEBRUARY '13

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One of the many perks of working in Space NK is the amazing training with lots of different brands; skin care, hair care, fragrance and wellbeing, but the one that grabs my attention most is make-up of course!   Space NK’s Spring make-up campaign was launching in stores at the end of February, “La Vie En Rose”.

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For this season, they decided to focus on a series of looks, as opposed to just launching new products.   The managers from all the UK stores, along with a handful of keys artists were invited to the Space NK head office in London to attend a seminar lead by key make-up artist for the campaign, Karen Alder.   Click here to view her website.

Karen’s career began in the 90’s working predominantly in advertising and music.   Since then, she has travelled the world with Kylie Minogue on her “On A Night Like This” tour, and worked with many celebrities for fashion, advertising & the red carpet, as well as working with the Prince’s Trust, launching a lipstick – “Trust”, to raise vital funds for the same charity that helped set her up in business.

I was so excited to watch her at work, demonstrating the key looks for the Space NK campaign and giving tips and recommendations on techniques and her favourite products.   I’m so lucky!

Her top tips:-

  •  Use a clean foundation brush damped with a wet wipe to clean the skin at the end of the application.
  •  For a modern, sheer smokey eye, use browns, with all the emphasis on the top lid, and dot liner on to soften the look.
  •  When contouring, use a sculpting powder under the ear and along the neck to carry the look through to the shoulders and collar bone.
  •  Modernise blusher, and softly contour cheeks by applying blush in a half moon shape (“Nike” tick) as opposed to applying on the
      apples of the cheeks.
  •  Always spritz the face with a refreshing toner like Elemental Herbology Flower Harmonising Mist, after the application to keep make-up
      fresh and hydrate dry areas.

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LADY OF THE LAKE - DECEMBER '12

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After a busy bridal season, I got together with two of my favourite girls for a little creative shoot to see the year out.   Paula O’Hara is an amazing photographer; her images are so real & emotive, and Lynette Murray is a wee gem – such attention to detail when she creates her beautiful hair styles.

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Paula was inspired by ethereal Pre-Raphaelite art and had the idea to shoot in the early morning mist down by a lake.   It was bitter cold and very early on a Sunday morning but Sophie Irwin did fantastically well on her first ever shoot – she didn’t mention the cold once and stood for very long periods of time in the frost with no coat!   She had the perfect look for this shoot – a fresh, innocent face and the most beautiful skin, with gorgeous long hair.   Her hair was kept minimally styled, soft and flowing, which beautifully complimented the dramatic winter floral hair piece by Tim @ Floral Earth, and delicate headbands by Ursula @ BFord.   The dress was kindly supplied by Petticoat Lane – gorgeous detailing with whimsical billowing sleeves.   Make-up was kept fresh to keep in line with the sharp, cold weather – clean, glowing skin with a flush on her cheeks, slick of gloss and swipe of mascara.

The shoot was featured on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings which was an added bonus!  Lovely way to end a busy year, especially as it gave us girls a chance to catch up over a mug of coffee afterwards!

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WENDY & STEPHEN - 28/12/2012

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This is a bit of a self-indulgent post here about a couple of friends, but being in the bridal industry I really appreciated the love & intimacy of their wedding, so I wanted to share it with you all!

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Stephen is an old school friend of my partner Jonny; he now lives in London but still keeps in touch with the boys “back home”.   The guys have all stayed close from school which I think is really lovely (being men they may disagree!), and no matter how long it is from they all see each other, their friendships remain very strong.   Stephen is from Carrickfergus, and Wendy is from Glasgow, but as they live in London we were all unsure of where the wedding would be, so we were very excited when the invitation told us it would be at Cameron House, Loch Lomond in Glasgow – absolutely stunning venue, Cameron House.

I was even more excited about this wedding as Wendy asked me to do her bridal make-up, so not only was I attending, but I was going to be involved!   Wendy’s overall look was stunning – beautiful lace dress and effortless D&G Italian beauty – creamy skin, softly defined eyes with a slick of liner and nude lips.   It was a joy to be with her and nearest & dearest on the morning of her wedding.

The ceremony was at the Glasgow University Chapel, and was filled with love, laughter and singing – Wendy walked up the aisle to the Rocky theme tune (personal joke!) and all the guests sang The Beatles “All You Need Is Love” while they signed the marriage register.   We then headed back to Cameron House to be greeted with bagpipes and champagne.

The table plan consisted of a tree, with everyone’s name pegged to a piece of string.   We had to get our Polaroid taken, and replace our name tag with the photo to find out where we were sitting.   It appeared they wanted all of their different groups of friends and family to integrate, so we were all sat amongst each other - this is what weddings should be all about, sharing the love & brining people together.   The starter (delicious salmon) was served to share, as was the dessert, so we were encouraged to chat and get to know one another – the atmosphere was amazing.   After all the speeches, we finished the day off in the traditional Irish way; drinking wine and dancing!

We had a fabulous time and it was a lovely way to end a great year.   Congratulations Mr & Mrs Hagan!

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CHRISTMAS @ SPACE NK - NOVEMBER, DECEMBER '12

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As some of you may already know, I work part-time in Space NK.  I absolutely love the store and have a fantastic manager who allows me to work around my freelance work.   December 2012 was my 4th Christmas with the company and it was as busy as ever (despite having the flag protests on our doorstep!)   Here are some of my top products from the festive season…

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Our skin takes a real battering in the winter months; bitter cold weather and extremes in temperatures, from the icy wind outside and toasty warm but dehydrating central heating indoors.   Parched skin was major concern with lots of women in December so my top recommendation was Eve Lom Moisture Mask, £65.   It has a complex of skin quenchers to restore your skin’s moisture balance and defend against future dryness.   Skin feels replenished, plumped and enriched, not to mention smelling divine!

I love nothing better in the winter than returning home after a long day at work, and having braved the cold temperatures, than indulging in a pampering bath, then getting cosied up on the sofa in my jammies.   Undoubtedly Laura Mercier Honey Bath, £31 and Laura Mercier Souffle Body Crème, £43.50 are some of the most indulgent and best-selling in December!   Their newest scent, Ambre Vanille is my favourite.  The rich bubbles of the honey bath calm and relax you, while shea butter and vanilla extracts leave your skin velvety soft.   The silky smooth crème which is whipped for lightness enriches your skin with vitamin A, C & E.   It also soothes with grape seed oil, honey and vanilla extract, and maintains moisture balance with sweet almond and hydrolysed rice proteins.   Plus the scent lasts ALL DAY!

My favourite fragrance over the winter months was Diptyque 34 Blvd St. Germain EDT, £60-£85.   Developed to celebrate Diptyque’s 50th birthday, the scent is named after the street on which their first store opened in Paris.   With a chypre backbone, the scent encapsulates the smell of Diptyque, amalgamating lots of recognised and distinct Diptyque scents – with base notes of wood, and unusual compositions of damp moss, blackcurrant leaves and sun-dried figs, and spices like those you can smell on the markets of Damascus, it’s a fragrance that appeals to everybody!

December is a month of casual drinks, catching up and office parties, and to do so we don sparkly dresses, curl our hair and glam up our make-up!   My favourite eye make-up products this festive season were Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour, £20 and Shu Uemura Pressed Eye Shadow, £11.   I used the creamy caviar sticks all over the lid (lash line to socket) and blended out with a dome shaped brush, to give a strong base for a bold look.   The formulation of this product is long-wearing and crease-resistant so is perfect for partying into the small hours.   I then finished the look by dabbing a complimenting glittery shadow from Shu Uemura over the inner corners and the centre of the eye lid.   This added depth to the look and that bit of Christmas Sparkle!

Christmas is a hectic time; so much shopping, organising, cooking and socialising!   For an instant pick-me-up, I love to use Caudalie Beauty Elixer 100ml, £32.   I have this in my handbag and I’m forever spritzing my face with it!   Inspired by the “elixir of youth” used by Queen Isabelle of Hungary, if used under make-up it tightens pores, smoothes the skin and gives radiance.   It is also anti-bacterial so helps with blemishes.  Used over make-up, it refreshes foundation and hydrates.   Containing grape, orange blossom, rosemary and organic balm mint, it is anti-aging, antioxidant and smells AMAZING!

www.spacenk.co.uk

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GETTING MARRIED IN NI READER AWARDS - NOVEMBER '12

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Science was never my strongest subject at school (you would have found me doodling away at my study in the art department, or covered in chemicals in the photography dark room!) but one thing that really stuck with me from Physics was the law of energy – energy can never be destroyed, only transformed into other forms of energy.   I believe that if you put the effort in, whether it’s studying for an exam, doing a workout or starting a business, you will get the results you want.

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I work hard at my job (which is easy to do when you love it!) and have been very lucky to see my business continually grow.   So you can imagine my utter delight when I received an email last October to tell me I had been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2012 Getting Married in Northern Ireland Reader Awards, along with 4 of NI’s finest make-up artists!   It was very humbling, and meant the absolute world to know that some of my lovely brides had taken the time to vote for me.

The magazine has been running for 27 years, and they have hosted the Reader Awards for the last 7.   However, 2012 was the first year that they have run the category I was nominated for, Best Bridal Make-up Artist.   I took my very supportive and lovely boyfriend Jonny to the awards night, and although I didn’t win, I left with a beaming smile – to know that my clients class me as a “top wedding supplier” and would recommend me to their friends is reward enough.   It makes all the hard work so worthwhile, and has driven me to keep going onwards and upwards!

So, a huge THANK YOU to all of my past clients, and a big HELLO to all the lovely new people I will meet this year!

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MAX MARA FASHION SHOW @ ULSTER MUSEUM – OCTOBER ‘12

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Working in Space NK not only allows me to work with some of the most amazing skin care and make-up brands, but gives the opportunity to work on some fantastic events.

Last month, directors from Italian fashion designer Max Mara, came to Belfast to visit the Max Mara store on the Lisburn Road.   In light of this, the owner organised a fashion show to showcase the latest Max Mara winter trends at the Ulster Museum, and the make-up artists from both Space NK stores in Belfast (Lisburn Road & Donegal Square) were lucky enough to be asked to work at the event.

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The main foyer of the Ulster Museum was the perfect setting; clean, fresh, airy and bright.   The show was intimate but very relaxed due to the vast space created with such a high ceiling over the foyer.

The make-up was kept very classy and elegant with a soft brown smoke on the eyes, using Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks blended with Nars shadows and finished with Kevyn Aucoin black liner.   Cheeks were sculpted using Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer to highlight and contour, and lips were finished with a deep rich opaque red – classic Italian beauty.   The hair was styled by Kevin Kahan into loose, messy side buns, and finished with lines of wet gel which caught the light beautifully on the catwalk for high shine and texture.

Great experience to work with such a fantastic brand and to represent Space NK – a store & company, which I’m sure you all know by now, I love working for!

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STYLE SERENDIPITY – SHOT SUMMER ‘12

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Beautiful flowers?  Tick.  Stunning dresses?  Tick.  Dreamy location?  Tick.  Irish Wolf Hound?  Tick…just a few of the things co-ordinated by Ciara O’Halloran of Style Serendipity for a delectable Irish inspired wedding shoot.

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American photographer KT Merry, contacted Ciara to help her co-ordinate a bridal shoot somewhere fabulous in Ireland while she was here on vacation – the location they decided on was Castle Leslie.   I have visited Castle Leslie several times, both for real weddings and most recently for a Wedding Journal magazine editorial, so I knew I was in for a beautiful shoot with such a stunning backdrop.

Myself and hair stylist Kelly McLean arrived in the early afternoon and were taken to the main bridal suite; wow.   The original décor and fittings make you feel like you have stepped back in time, or at the very least, like you are on a movie set.  The dresses were supplied by Samuelle Couture and Jenny Packham via Chic Parisian so you can imagine how beautiful they were – soft and flowing with detailed beading and flashes of peach and lilac.

The hair was loosely curled and pinned softly around the nape of the neck.  Make-up was kept light and undefined, with washes of peach over eyes, lips and cheeks, finished with a very light slick of mascara.

Every detail had been thought of; wedding cakes by Sarah Bond of Celebration Cakes, jewellery from Keanes Jewellers, Jenny Packham and Delphi Antiques Powerscourt - the most stunning flowers I have ever come across from Carrie O’Connor of Best of Buds Flowers & Events, and to finish the scene, two Irish Wolfhounds from Gerry Clarke of the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland.  The dogs were like two gentle giants and added such a nice touch to the overall style of the shoot.

It was an absolute joy to work with a diverse group of creative people and create a set of truly romantic images.  KT used film to shoot with which gave the images such beautiful diffused light, and it was wonderfully nostalgic to hear the film wind - just delightful.  The shoot has since been featured on Ciara’s Irish Wedding blog, Style Serendipty, also on Style Me Pretty, a hugely popular American “bridal inspirations” wedding blog, and most recently printed in Irish bridal magazine Confetti.  Thanks so much to Ciara for asking me to be involved!

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BRITISH HAIRDRESSER OF THE YEAR 2012

NICHOLAS GRAHAM AVEDA CONCEPT SALON ENTRY - SHOT MAY '12

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I was very excited and honoured to be asked by the Nicholas Graham team to work on another competition shoot for their salon.  In 2010 I travelled to London with the salon to the finals of the Aveda Pure Image Awards where they were nominated for 3 of the 5 awards and won 2!

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This time it was for the Creative award of the British Hairdresser of the Year.   The chosen theme was the elements of nature and after several meetings with Andrea and Graham we narrowed this down to Air, deciding upon a fresh dewy natural but defined make-up with a flushed cheek.

We travelled to London on the Saturday evening to wake fresh on the Sunday morning for a busy day shooting at the fantastic Worx Studio on Heathman’s Road.   Our photographer, Jim Crone, has years of experience in shooting images for hair competitions, so was able to keep us on track all day.   We used four amazing London based models; Gabriela and Adrienn from Elite, Holly from Bookings and Annabelle from Oxygen, and had a fantastic stylist, Desire Lederer, to dress and accessorise the girls.   The clothes and jewellery were unbelievable, a mix of soft chiffon and feathers with plastic jewellery and heavy metallic accessories.

After a busy day, and lots of different hair looks, we finally had our 8 main shots to be entered into the competition.   We were delighted with the results!   The competition was tough this year and unfortunately we didn’t get to the finals but I’m so happy to finally share the images!   It’s a pleasure to work Nick and his team, and of course with Jim Crone again.   Hope you like the images as much as I do!

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“PERFECTLY PAMPERED” IN AID OF PRETTY ‘N’ PINK – 26/07/12

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As a make-up artist, I come into contact with a wide variety of women; mums, housewives, nurses, lawyers…all hard working busy women.  They all have a diversity of backgrounds and lives but more often than not they have one thing in common; they don’t spend enough time on themselves!   I think it’s really important to at least once a week have some “me” time.   Take a relaxing bath, spend an hour in the hair salon, treat yourself to a pampering make-over or catch up with the girls over a glass of wine…  I decided to organise a “ladies-only” event to highlight the issue and also to raise money for a worthy cause, Pretty ‘n’ Pink breast cancer charity.

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The date was set and the venue was booked; the gorgeous Marina Suite at the Windrose in Carrickfergus.   Ladies arrived to a champagne reception and canapés, and browsed a variety of pop-up shops and beauty stalls offering hair, make-up and beauty advice.  About Face beauty salon in Carrickfergus treated ladies to eyebrow threading and skin care advice, Sarah Chambers offered ladies a nail file and polish, Debra and Gemma from Avon provided skin care and beauty products, Lynette Murray demonstrated hair styling tips and recommended products for luscious locks, and I spent the first half of the evening doing 5 minute make-overs and advised ladies on my top tips for flawless skin and the perfect smokey eye.  Other pop-up shops included B Ford hand made and bespoke headpieces, Innocent Chaos handmade kitsch jewellery, R & S Desserts cupcakes and bakes, Curiosity Cured vintage clothing, jewellery and accessories, Abigail*Ryan hand designed and made home wares, and Lulabelle’s House interior designs and up-styled furniture.

After a “Just for Girls” raffle including day passes for Galgorm Spa and a Space NK gift bag, we were entertained by the gorgeous burlesque dance group Whistle Bait Babies, magician and illusionist Rodd Hogg, swing singer Dave Martin and the night ended with a set from DJ Stewart Harper of Harper Entertainments.

The atmosphere was fantastic and we raised £760 for an amazing charity.  Huge thank you to my gorgeous friends, Paula Fulton, Vicki Halliday, Kerri Warnock and Judi Bamford for their help on the night, also to the businesses who donated to the raffle and to everyone who made the night so successful.  See you next year!

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SPRING @ SPACE NK – MARCH, APRIL, MAY ‘12

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Working part-time in Space NK (Belfast City Centre store) gives me a fantastic opportunity to keep up to date and gain knowledge of some amazing skin care products and new make-up.  Here are my top 5 from the last few months…

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Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Spf 15, 50ml, £52.00 is quite possibly the most amazing primer out at the minute!  It is mineral based so allows your skin to breathe; it also eliminates redness, minimizes pore size, softens fine lines and creates a smooth uniform canvas for a flawless application.  But most importantly, this primer will give your foundation a water-resistant finish, AMAZING!!  And it really does work…most suitable for normal, combination and oilier skin types, this is one item you have to try.

For a drier skin I would recommend Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Hydrating, 50ml, £28.00.  Hourglass was founded in California so the majority of the products are water proof and water resistant to withstand the humidity, but the founder also wanted to products to be as gentle and kind to your skin as your skin care so the products are all made without parabens, phthalates, fragrances or animal testing.

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, 100ml, £21.50 is a gentle, delicately scented toner that removes all traces of dirt and prepares the skin for moisture application.  With essence of rose and aloe to regenerate and soothe, this mist is perfect after a hot summer day.   The nozzle emits such a fine mist that feels beautiful on the skin, and can also be used as a refreshing spray throughout the day over the top of make-up.

Eve Lom Rescue Mask, 50ml & 100ml, £35.00 - £55.00 is the ultimate deep-cleansing treatment to help clear decongested skin and brighten your complexion.  Cooling camphor decongests and almond extract reduces redness.   Kaolin absorbs excess oil and reduces puffiness while ground almonds gently exfoliate.   Honey and glycerine condition the skin leaving it soft and supple.   It can also be used dotted on to blemishes over night, or diluted with water and used under the eyes for puffiness.

Xen Tan Perfect Blend, 220ml, £35.00 is an innovative new product with a dual compartment container to allow custom blending of self-tan and instant bronzer.   With olive undertones and subtle shimmer you can be confident that your colour is customised to match your unique skin tone.   It also contains a breakthrough new ingredient that neutralises any chemical odours, what a bonus!

Oribe Supershine Moisturising Cream, 150ml, £47.00 is a rich natural leave-in conditioner, and I love it!   The smell alone is enough to make your eyes roll to the back of your head but it is hands down the best leave-in I have ever used.   It contains a rich blend of powerful botanicals to infuse moisture, smooth split ends and elevate gloss.   Edelweiss and watermelon help reduce keratin loss and give natural protection against the damaging and colour-depleting effects of the elements.   My hair is super soft, tangle free, glacier glossy and feels light and swishy.   Lovely jubbly.

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GIVE A LITTLE BACK... – MARCH ‘12

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A very good friend of mine, Valerie Gardner, works as a Youth Leader in Sunnylands Youth Club in Carrickfergus, and I’m constantly in awe of the work she does with children and young adults.  The youth club is project work and activity based, but unfortunately they don’t often have the money to run programmes for those that attend, so heavily rely on volunteers in the local community.

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Valerie recently began a 12 week programme aimed at targeting issues surrounding young women of today.  The meetings and workshops she organises are tackling issues to do with self-awareness, healthy relationships, factors in the young women’s communities and self-esteem.

I went along to one of their meetings for a make-up demo, and covered issues such as good skin care for teenage skin, the reasons why we wear make-up, and practical advice on products and application.

Fortunately the local press featured a small article to highlight the good work being done with young adults in Carrickfergus, and both Valerie and I hope that it has encouraged local businesses, both small and large to lend a helping hand in their communities.

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CHRISTMAS @ SPACE NK – DECEMBER ‘11

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I love this time of year; layering up in winter woollies, bowls of hot stew, endless mugs of Starbucks gingerbread latte, decorating the house with twinkly lights, cinnamon candles, shopping for gifts for friends and family…and of course, the Christmas parties!

For the last few years I have worked part time in Space NK (Belfast City Centre) over Christmas and I just love it.  So I’ve decided to give you a quick run down of some of my favourite products from the store and a quick over view of the festive make-up I did on lovely customers.

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My favourite pick from our bath and body range is Aromatherapy Associates; one of the world's leading names in high quality and highly effective aromatherapy.  Using only the best natural ingredients and essential oil extracts, each product is hand blended to treat the mind, body and senses on every level.

The most popular product would be Deep Relax Bath and Body Oil, £37.00, containing vetiver, camomile and sandalwood essential oils to instil peace and tranquillity.

From our hair care range it has to be Philip B; he first began making his innovative scalp and hair treatments in his kitchen from fresh ingredients and essential oils.  In particular I like the White Truffle Moisturising Shampoo, £50.00 and White Truffle Nourishing Hair Conditioning Crème, £65.00.  These luxurious products contain white truffle oil from Italy which repairs and hydrates each strand, leaving a soft, silky sheen on even the driest of hair.

Perfect for the annual January detox, Dr Brandt’s Goji Maxi3 Water Booster, £30.00, will promote total body detoxification and visibly healthier looking skin.  By adding a few drops to a cup of warm water it detoxifies & clarifies skin from the inside-out by helping to reduce excess fluids and toxins.  Rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, nutrients and amino acids, one daily dose helps to fight free radicals, combats premature ageing and maintains younger looking skin.

An absolute sell-out gift this Christmas was Kiehl’s Goodnight Set Ltd, £60.00.  “Say goodnight to tired looking skin”, not only is this set amazing value for money but is full of cult classics and new samples, and has everything you need to keep skin baby soft and youthful, from top-to-toe.  My favourite product in this set is the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, usually £36.00.  Water free, it contains essential oils Evening primrose, Lavender, Coriander and Rose Hip seed oils.  The formulation has been designed to be most effective between midnight to 4am; the time when the skin is most susceptible to absorbing ingredients.

Now, on to the make-up!  My top foundation in Space NK at the minute is By Terry Sheer Expert, £44.00 (Cover Expert also available for a slightly heavier and more matte finish).  Best applied with a brush, it erases imperfections, combats shine, signs of aging and adapts automatically to all types of complexions.

Add a dab of Nars The Multiple in Orgasm or Riviera, £29.00, on your cheeks and you’re fresh as a daisy!  For a quick and easy smokey eye on customers I used Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour, £20.50.  The gentle texture glides effortlessly onto lids and blends easily, ensuring rich and seamless colour.

Finish with a pair of Shu Uemura lashes, Smokey Layers, £18.50, are my favourite, double layered, soft crossed for a natural look and a firm base for easier application.

On the lips I love to use Lipstick Queen, an amazing range of glosses and lipsticks in every shade, texture and finish to suit all tastes.  In particular I like Sinner 90% Pigment in Red, £17.00.  This lipstick is very opaque, rich and creamy with a matte yet silky finish; all pigment and no shimmer or frosting = attitude and drama!

To finish the party look, I used Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc, £31.00, on eyes, cheeks and décolletage for a glowing and polished party look.  Lovely jubbly.

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REVEAL – NOVEMBER ‘11

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We girls love to feel like a million dollars… this is THE way to do it!  We are quite a reserved country so the idea of sexy underwear and a camera is a little daunting, but done in the right way is extremely classy and very intimate.

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These shoots are perfect for encapsulating all that is beautiful with your body, either just for you, or for a special someone.  It’s all about what’s hidden, as opposed to what can be seen; revealing just enough to stimulate the imagination.

For this shoot, we chose the sultry lighting and 20’s-esque décor of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast.  Paula O’Hara has such a wonderful eye for capturing her subjects in the most flattering natural light, which instantly adds class to every shot.

Collette O’Neill is such a beautiful model so it wasn’t hard to high light her best features and she posed with such grace and dignity.  I wanted to keep her make-up quite fresh in cool colours of grey, plum and navy with soft peach lips, as opposed to a more traditional “sexy” heavily smoked eye and high gloss lip.

Sonya Mac tonged and curled Collette’s gorgeous hair full of volume so her hair hugged her shoulders and back almost like another piece of clothing.  Having had a boudoir photo shoot with Paula myself, I can guarantee it’ll be one of the best things you ever do!

To book, you can get in touch with Paula via her website, www.paulaohara.com.

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IRELAND'S WEDDING JOURNAL, SPRING ’12 – 22/11/11

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I feel very lucky to be asked back for a third shoot with Ireland’s Wedding Journal; I worked on their last two editorial shoots as well as the Style Stage of their King’s Hall bridal show last September.

We travelled to Castle Leslie on a crisp November morning for a ‘Marie Antoinette’ style shoot in one of Ireland’s only castle estates still in the hands of its founding family.  It was simply magical.

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The dresses were all very decadent with quite a royal theme throughout, beautifully accessorised with jewels, fabrics, flowers and feathers; the more the merrier.  The make-up was kept pale, softly powdered with flushed cheeks, minimal sculpted eyes with a stained pout lip.  Karen Fitzpatrick from Assets Model Agency was so beautiful, perfect for the look we wanted.

The hair was kept full of volume and pinned high with wisps of hair framing the face.  Stephen McCusker created so many variations of the look and he was so quick, amazing!  The images were all beautifully and creatively shot by Emily Quinn; lovely woman to work with.

Big thank you again to Tara Craig and Laura Cunningham of Wedding Journal for asking me on board!

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MTV EMA’s – 06/11/11

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O.M.G……this is without a doubt my career highlight so far!  Still can’t believe that I worked at the MTV Europe Music Awards!  Northern Ireland had been buzzing in the months leading up to the EMA’s, and naturally I was beginning to devise how I could try and wing a few tickets to the show.

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You can imagine my delight at receiving a message from Joe McGivern (a hairstylist and friend who was already booked to work at the after show party) to ask if I was available to assist Jo Adams, a London based MUA who was being flown over to work at the event.

It was an amazing experience.  Myself and 4 other MUA’s (including my favourite make-up girlie Ashley Morhej) worked alongside Jo to create looks on the hostesses, dancers and London socialites & drag queens at the official after show party in the Europa hotel.

The hostess’ looks were comprised of grungy ‘worn in’ liner, sculpted cheek bones, polished dewy skin and black lips – think Alice Dellal and Pixie Geldof.  It was all so well organised and we worked alongside hair and styling so the atmosphere was great.

Come 11.30PM we were done…then the party began!  We were lucky enough to attend the party, and boy did we!  We were treated to a set from Katy B, then mingled with the stars including Jessie J (in case you didn’t know, I LOVE her!), Katy Perry, LMFAO and Bruno Mars to name a few.

It was amazing, the whole of Belfast was buzzing!  It was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so thankful to Joe and Jo for getting me involved.

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IRELAND'S WEDDING JOURNAL, WINTER '11 – 24/08/2011

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Still on a high after the beautiful Autumn editorial shoot for Ireland’s Wedding Journal, myself, Paula O’Hara and Lynette Ball were all delighted to be asked back for a second time for the Winter editorial shoot.

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The theme this time was totally different from before; we were going for a glamorous 70’s inspired bride.  Think Bianca and Mick Jagger!

We used the new Four Seasons suite at Galgorm Manor which suited the theme perfectly; lots of luxurious white leather and slick mirrors.  The styling was very alternative to the more traditional bridal looks we are used to seeing yet still beautifully stunning with floppy hats, fur stoles and wide legged jumpsuits.

The hair was kept down mostly and full of volume, and the make-up was smoked in shades of charcoal black and chestnut brown accented with antique gold.  I finished the look with a glossy blood red lip in some shots for added drama.

Lynette did an amazing job as per usual with the hair, and Paula shot it all using the beautiful natural light; she captured such hazy warmth in the photos.  All in all, another fabulous shoot with Ireland’s Wedding Journal! Thank you Tara and Sarah Jayne!

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WEDDING JOURNAL SHOW, KING’S HALL – 30th SEPT TO 2nd OCT 2011

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After having done 2 editorial shoots with Ireland’s Wedding Journal (the second of which is due on sale mid-October) I was delighted to be asked to work on the Belfast Telegraph Style Stage at the Wedding Journal Show in the King’s Hall, Belfast.

Over the 3 days of the show I did mini make-over’s on competition winners and bride’s-to-be alongside hair stylist Stephen McCusker from Stephen International.

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In addition to the Style Stage I had a stand on the balcony, an article in the Belfast Telegraph supplement ‘Blushing’ and a double page spread in the guide which was on sale at the show’s both North and South.

It was a tiring but fantastic weekend!  Big thank you to the Wedding Journal for asking me to do it, to my wonderful friends Paula Fulton, Kerri Warnock and Vicki Halliday for giving up their weekend to help me on the stand and to Dave Martin on the stand next to us for keeping us entertained!

Oh, also, Sharon Hay and Ursula Bamford of Innocent Chaos and B Ford were exhibiting a few stands down from me...I highly recommend that you check out their work to accessorise your wedding dress!

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THE SHAZ AWARDS AND CIARA DALY MAKE-UP – 07/08/11

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I first met Ciara around a year and a half ago...I took a Sunday job on at the last minute, a photo shoot with Ciaran O’Neill and Lucy Evangelista that Ciara was also working on, and it was one of the best moves I ever made!

From the moment I met her, Ciara was full of positivity, genuinely happy to see me do well in my career and supportive beyond belief.  She has given me valuable advice and guidance and I can’t thank her enough.

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Ciara set up the Shaz Awards (named in memory of her late mum) in 2010 Facebook - The Shaz Awards to celebrate the talent of her students and other make-up artists throughout the country, amateur or professional.

I entered the Best Creative Make-up category in 2010 with a make-up inspired by the birds that prowl the night’s sky and was delighted to win!  Ciara then asked me back this year to judge the Best Creative Make-up award alongside European Champion make-up artist Paddy McGurgan, leading hair stylist Ciaran Green and top Northern Ireland photographer Khara Pringle.

We had a fantastic night in Lily’s on the Lisburn Road and saw lots of talent.  This year’s winner was the super talented Sara Tonin from Dublin with her corset latex make-up...amazing!

Ciara has just recently opened her new studio on the Lisburn Road, a jaw-dropping inspiring space that just oozes creativity and Avant garde fashion.  She has revamped her current courses, Beginners, Advanced and Airbrush Make-up and will be introducing a whole host of short courses in the New Year.

I’m very excited to have been asked to teach a ‘Creative Make-up Research’ class on her Advanced course and can’t wait to get stuck in!  Visit her website for more information, Ciara Daly Make-up

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OONAGH BOMAN MAKE-UP EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2011 – 04/07/11

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After graduating from the Oonagh Boman School of Make-up in January 2010 it would be another 18 months before we could enter into these awards…and what an 18 months it was.   I have loved every minute of my work since turning professional, and entering this competition was a fantastic opportunity to reflect of what has been achieved and to determine where my career is heading.

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Six graduates made it through to the final and the winner was judged on the thesis we completed at the school and our exam result, our portfolio’s to date, an interview with the panel, a letter of achievement and business intent and finally a themed make-up based on “New Romantic”.

My take on the theme was “Androgyny”.  New Romantics wanted to be individual, to stand out and to be unique in their self expression.   Their clothes were theatrical and the hair and make-up exaggerated on both men and women.   I took a class in gender studies at University and have always been interested in the portrayal of “masculinity” and “femininity” in society and in how men are classed as “the one” and women “the other”.   To be androgynous is to display a combination of both masculine and feminine characteristics, therefore to be more balanced – equilibrium?  To portray this in my make-up I combined soft blending with sharp angular lines and the lips were dark but voluptuous, all using colours of magenta pink through to slate grey – both typically “male” and “female” colours.

The final was held in the Ivory restaurant with a fabulous make-up and fashion show, and with a special guest of honour, the founder of Senna cosmetics Eugenia Weston.  Unfortunately I didn’t win overall, Ashley Morhej was the deserving winner, but I was Highly Commended for my work which was fantastic.  Now, to keep moving onwards and upwards!

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IRELAND'S WEDDING JOURNAL, AUTUMN '11 - 22/06/11

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After several very exciting emails, a 3 and ½ hour journey, a chippy for dinner, lots of ogling over very beautiful dresses and accessories, a glass of wine, a scare with some ridiculously huge spiders, a run in with a bear called Otto and a dog named Mouse, 12 dress changes, 3 hair and make-up changes, lots of ducking and diving out of the rain and an encounter with 2 pot bellied pigs…we got a front cover and a 12 page editorial shoot!

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This shoot was fantastic; the team at Wedding Journal were brilliant to work with and gave us a lot of creative freedom.   Huntington Castle and its grounds were just stunning and the family were so accommodating to us.

Sarah-Jayne (assistant editor) was lovely and so organised; she had serious amounts of styling to do!   Lynette did a great job keeping the hair looking fabulous even though it kept raining on the model, and Paula worked like a trooper, she kept her cool throughout the on/off showers all day to get the shots we needed.

I’m so excited to have my first front cover on such a successful all-Ireland magazine and can’t thank my girls enough for the craic…“wee” Lynette and “our” Paula!

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FALLEN ACROBATS - 30/05/11

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After a year in the waiting I FINALLY got to do a shoot with one of my favourite NI photographer’s, Erin Elizabeth Kelly.  I love Erin’s style, very raw, a bit cheeky, playful and suggestive.

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The theme for this shoot, Fallen Acrobats, was created by the fantastic stylist, Jarayd Fee.   It was all a bit like “after the curtain falls”…all very colourful, lots of different materials and textures like you would imagine in the Circus but more evocative and dark.

The hair was amazingly styled by Ciaran G, lots of wand curls brought forward over the face and eyes to contrast with our “bad” model, Sophia Taylor, who was a little more dominatrix, like the Circus Ring Master.  Her hair was pulled into high slick pig tails and entirely covered in rows and rows of kirby grips…amazing.

The make-up on Diona Doherty and Claire Fox (the “good” acrobats) was kept very bright and colourful; the eyes were splashed with a rainbow of red, yellow, orange, blue and purple and dusted with glitters and gems of the same colours.  I kept the cheeks and lips very neutral so as to keep the make-up bright but not too typically pretty.  Sophia’s eyes were sculpted into a round, skull like shape to give quite a daunting appearance, but I dotted the eyes with black gems to add a bit of glam back in.

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REMUS UOMO A/W '11 LOOK BOOK - 26/05/11

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These kinds of jobs don’t come around very often, and when they do you need to grab them by the horns!  I was very excited to receive a phone call from Gavin Millar, one of Northern Ireland’s top photographers.  He was shooting the A/W ’11 look book for Remus Uomo; the largest selling menswear brand in Ireland.

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Ashley Morhej (a fellow professional MUA and good friend of mine) worked on the first day of the shoot in Garrison, Enniskillen and I worked on the second and final day.  It was fantastic; we roamed around acres of woodland and along the edge of a lough to shoot 15 different looks.

Tom Warren from Models 1, London, did a great job in the crazy weather and the Remus team of Michelle, Adele and Giles were all fantastic to work with.

Follow the link to their website to see the final shots in use www.remusuomo.com.

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FASHION / HOME SOUK - 14 & 15/05/11

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Tonya and Alyson of The Fashion Souk approached photographer Elaine Hill a few months ago to ask if she would hold an Exhibition as part of their Fashion/Home Souk in the Europa Hotel.

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To my delight, Elaine then asked me to collaborate with her and Jan Lowry to create some striking “wall furniture”…something a bit different to the generic prints and canvases you would purchase on the high street.

We decided on some close up beauty shots, focusing on parts of the face with beautiful light to create shapes and contrast.  The idea is that you can mix and match the images to create a set; one on its own, a combination of 3 or the whole compilation to place around your home or office.  Enjoy!

Elaine will also be displaying some of her other work in the exhibition so there is plenty to see and choose from!

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SPRING BRIDAL – 09/05/11

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What a lovely way to bring in the good weather; a spring/summer bridal shoot.  I got together with my favourite girls to collaborate on this spring bridal shoot at Lissanoure Castle in Ballymena…absolutely beautiful location, the grounds, the castle itself and the quaint décor inside (I fell in love with some cast metal sculptures of cockerels and pheasants, so cute!)

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Collette O’Neill and Richard Skinner were our models; they were brilliant, just too beautiful!   It was lovely to have a man in the photos to help make them more narrative.  They were fabulously styled by Nikita Tully using Pettycoat Lane Bridal in Hillsborough and Red Grooms in Carrickfergus; some stunning dresses!

The lovely Lynette Ball styled the hair; she did a fantastic job as always and had the extra challenge of gusty winds so well done!  The bride was accessorised in beautiful head wear by Ursula Bamford of B Ford, and jewellery and unique brooch bouquets by Sharon Hay of Innocent Chaos.  All beautifully shot by Paula O’Hara; she really is just the best at what she does, such stunning photography.

It all came together so well, and the weather perked up at the end to allow us to get a few final fun shots in and around the river, the bluebells and odd wee frog, just lovely!

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NORTHERN IRELAND MENCAP Y FACTOR 2011 – FEBRUARY TO MAY 2011

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Last year I was approached by Laura McManus from Mencap to be the make-up artist for their up coming fundraising and awareness raising event the Y Factor.  Similar to the nationwide favourite the X Factor, the event was to take place all over the country with heats in Belfast, Londonderry, Newry and Omagh.

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The winners of each heat made their way to the grand finale in Omagh’s Main Street complex to battle for the big prize; to have a song professionally recorded and played on radio stations throughout the country.

I had an absolute blast travelling the country with my good friend and hair stylist for the event, Lynette Ball. We met some fantastic people through out the event and raised lots of money for a great cause, nearly £30,000.  Mencap in NI work alongside and represent the interests of people with a learning disability and their families.

They deliver a wide range of practical support services, transforming the lives of children, young people, men and women with a learning disability and their families.  They help people with a learning disability to speak out about the things that are important to them and enhance the skills and capacity of their local membership network.

They challenge attitudes and assumptions about learning disability and involve people from different backgrounds and communities in their work. www.facebook.com/MencapNI

Huge congratulations to the overall winner, Kate McCusker from Omagh who blew us away with her self accompanied acoustic version of Adele’s Make you Feel my Love.

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B FORD – 27/02/11

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Documentation photo shoot for the latest collections from Ursula Bamford of BFord.  Her designs are truly unique and stunningly beautiful.  An absolute must to finish that perfect outfit.  BFord’s collections are inspired from life’s journeys past, present and future.

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“I laugh, I love, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry.  And I know you do the same things too.  So we’re really not that different, me and you.”  (Colin Raye)

BFord’s products range from feather and flower fascinators to feather hair bands and much more.  Every individual item is unique and handmade.  With headpieces for every occasion they can be worn as casual every day wear or for special occasions such as the weddings, cocktail parties and a day at the races.

Designer Ursula Bamford graduated in 2008 with a Ba Hons in Fine and Applied Arts specialising in textiles.  With her passion for fabrics and creating something different with a simple stitch, she thrives on the idea of collaborating hard and soft materials finding inspiration from both vintage and modern styles. Ursula has an eclectic taste which helps to create a variety of designs.  The styles in BFord’s collections range from modern, art deco, vintage 1920s to 60s and retro styles, as well as art nouveau peacock-inspired designs.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street.  Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”  (Coco Chanel)

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NICHOLAS GRAHAM – AVEDA PURE IMAGE AWARDS 2010

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This is one of the highlights of my career to date.  The Nicholas Graham Aveda Concept Salon in Bangor entered into 4 categories of the nationwide Aveda Pure Image Awards 2010, and I was asked along to do the make-up at the photo shoot with photographer Jim Crone.

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I got a phone call from Nick a few weeks later to say that 3 of the 4 entries had made it to the finals in London and would I like to come along as their make-up artist...you can image my response!  So, off to London we went.  It was an early start, 3AM to be precise and we spent the day at the Aveda Academy in central London getting the models ready.  Later that afternoon we made our way to Movida nightclub (the venue for the awards) for a run through then...show time!

After sipping on champagne and nibbling on yummy finger food the awards commenced.  Sarah Chambers was a finalist in the Newcomer category with model Laura Thom and was our first winner with lots of screams and cheers from myself and Andrea, followed by Jessica Stuart who was a finalist in the Assistant category with model Courtney Stuart; the second winner of the night.  Nicholas was a finalist in the Men’s category with model Patrick Luft.  He unfortunately didn’t win but I think he was more than elated with two of his staff winning their categories!

With 2 out of 5 categories going to the Nicholas Graham salon it was a fantastic night overall! We partied to the small hours and had great craic on the walk back to the hotel!  The whole experience was amazing, and I can’t thank them enough for getting me involved.

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RED RIDING HOOD – 30/01/11

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Never work with animals or children...unless you are Paula O’Hara!  Paula had the inspiration for this shoot after seeing Grace Coddington’s shoot “Into the Woods” in a copy of Vogue.  So, Red Riding Hood wouldn’t be Red Riding Hood without her wolf, or in our case a gorgeous Alaskan Malamute named Shadow.  He was adorable, and so were his 11 pups, just too cute!

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Paula wanted a whimsy, almost Tim Burton-esque feel to the shoot so we were careful to keep the styling, hair and make-up more editorial rather than fancy dress.  Nikita Tully had double the work as she both modelled and styled the shoot.  Paula has captured such warmth in this set of photos but I can assure you it was FREEZING and Nikita was such a pro, she didn’t complain once and it never showed on her face.

Lynette Ball tamed Nikita’s mane of hair by twisting, curling and pinning it up, then finished the style off by placing a cute red bow in the back (which is I just loved!) and crowned our RRH with a sophisticated fascinator.  I wanted the make-up to be quite hard but beautiful to retain an air of innocence, so I winged Nikita’s eyes with a black/grey smoke and contoured the cheeks to create a wolfish stare.  I then contrasted the look with the lips by polishing them with pillar box red Swarovski crystals, all 150 of them!

Another enjoyable Sunday spent with 3 very talented women.  I really do love working with them and can’t wait for the next shoot!

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BELL'S DIOR – 29/12/2010

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I heart Jasmin Bell.  This was our 6th shoot together and they just get better and better, I absolutely love working with her.   She has such a raw talent and just dives in head first, and it always works!  Jasmin organised this shoot for part of her final year exam for University and the inspiration was a Dior perfume advertisement.  Elaborate and ornate.

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We shot against a torn wallpapered backdrop in Love and Death Inc. in Belfast.  Jasmin wanted a block colour scheme within the shoot so we stuck to purples, greys and blacks alongside the golds and reds of the wallpaper.  The stunning models, Lucie and Thandie from The Style Academy Model Agency, were dressed in beautiful gowns by award winning local designer MaryRose McGrath (available from House of Fraser @ Victoria Square) and superbly styled by Northern Ireland’s top fashion stylist Sara O’Neill.  The hair was craftily cut into short bobs with high fringes by the amazing Joe McGivern.  Joe has worked on all of the shoots I have done with Jasmin and is simply outstanding.

The make-up consisted of creamy sculpted skin with dark piercing eyes (grey/plum on Lucie and gold/fig on Thandie), defined yet brushed up brows and full volume glossy lips in stains of wine and aubergine purple.  We polished the girls’ cheekbones with a gem for that extra bit of finesse.  Roll on the next shoot!

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VINTAGE INSPIRED BRIDAL - 07/11/2010

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Bridal shoots can be quite tricky to organise as you have to appeal to all tastes yet ensure there is direction to the images.  Luckily I didn’t face that dilemma as I had such a talented team of women on board!  Paula O’Hara was our photographer and suggested we use Parkanaur Manor House in Dungannon as our backdrop (Thank you Marlene!).  Paula’s style of photography is breathtakingly beautiful and she likes to use the natural light as it gives a softer and more atmospheric feel to her photos, so it was an early start to get the girls ready!

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The theme was autumnal vintage inspired and we couldn’t have had a more perfect group of people on board to create this.  Our models were Tasha Swan (gorgeous pale skin, red hair and heart shaped face) and Rebecca Maguire (beautiful long, dark hair with sultry eyes and strong cheekbones) and they were true professionals, even when outside in the bitter cold!  They were styled in stunning dresses by Lizzie Agnew which flowed beautifully in the wind and draped effortlessly around the girls for the shots inside.  The dresses were fashioned with charming bespoke head pieces by Ursula Bamford of BFord and both the models and set were finished off with kitsch vintage inspired jewellery bouquets and accessories by Sharon Hay of Innocent Chaos.  We were able to arrange an Alice in Wonderland style tea party on the lawn with Sharon’s teacup tiers, vintage teapots and cake stands, so quaint!

The make-up was kept soft but striking to emphasize the girls’ beauty with cool tones on Rebecca and warm tones on Tasha to suit their natural colourings.  Amazing hairdresser Lynette Ball (she’s a geg!) styled the hair with flowing soft curls and pinned them into beautiful compositions to suit the girls’ face shapes and to fit the head pieces.  A true pro!

It was a lovely day spent doing what we all do best and enjoying each others company.  Can’t wait for our spring bridal shoot girls!

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