Christmas Gift Guide 2016

So there’s only 10 shopping days left until Christmas and some of you might still be stuck for Christmas gift idea’s for your sister, mum, girlfriend or maybe to drop a few hints to Santa for yourself. I’m a real Christmas lover and one of my favourite parts of the preparation is shopping for gifts. I hate leaving everything to the last minute because I love taking my time to find the right gift. So when I come across things during the year that I know other people will love, I keep note of them. I’ve decide to share a few of them with you here – I’m good like that 😉 . You’ll find direct links to all the items in the title highlighted in pink…


Barry M, Coconut Infusion Nail Polish €7.49 : I have to say, I’m a little obsessed with the Barry M nail polishes. I get bored quite quickly with the same colour so I’m always changing my nail polish which means I don’t really want to spend a fortune on them. The Barry M ranges are really affordable, they’re in small enough bottles so if they go off you’re not wasting too much and they come in a huge range of shades and finishes from shimmer, to gloss and matte. The Coconut infusion ranges are so pretty and bring you through to spring too when you’re sick of the darker shades. You’ll find them in most Boots chemists.

Pestle & Mortar Hydrating Duo €86 : Those of you who have been hiding under a rock and haven’t yet come across this Irish skincare brand need to add it to your Santa list, Birthday list, wish list and any other list you have because they are AMAZING!!!!! Their first product that was launched last year and is now a huge favourtive within the beauty industry, is the Pure Hyaluronic Serum (30ml). It’s like a big drink of water for the skin and perfect for this time of year. They have created a gift set which combines it with their award-winning Hydrate moisturiser (50ml) in a chic cylindrical gift box. It’s not cheap but you’re getting a very good deal for both of them in the one pack and in my opinion it’s worth every penny. Anyone who is serious about looking after their skin will LOVE this.

The Pippa Palette for Blank Canvas €34.99 : This face palette is a firm favourite of mine and I use it all the time on both myself and my clients. It’s a really lovely collection of eye shadows, blush, bronzer and highlighter. The eye shadows are all gorgeous matte shades which are really well pigmented and blend beautifully. The blush is a really flattering peachy pink, the bronzer isn’t too dark and the highlighter is a champagne shade which suits most skin tones. Perfect for the makeup lover in your life! You’ll also find it stocked in Meaghars Chemists.

Juvi Ring €89 : I first came across this beautiful Irish jewellery brand on a shoot I was involved in and I literally wanted everything in sight! Their gorgeous chunky pieces with coloured stones are so simple yet really make a statement. There’s so many designs and piece’s to choose from so you’ll find something for everyone!

Max Benjamin Diffuser €30 : I featured the candles from Max Benjamin in my Christmas gift piece a few years ago and I still love them. I was given one of their diffusers as a gift a few months back and it’s the perfect addition to my living room. With so many different scents to choose from you’ll have plenty of options and they make a fabulous gift.

Zoeva Brush Sets €79 : These brushes are THE BOMB!!! I bought a set last year for myself and I have to say I was well impressed with the quality and how lovely they are to use. They come in beautiful colours and finishes which makes a nice change to the usual black and silver and the little pouches they come with are gorgeous. They’re very reasonably priced for the number of brushes you get and the quality so if you want to make the makeup obsessed lady very happy then these are a great buy.


L’Occitane Travel Size Cherryblossom Handcream €10.50 : I’m a hand cream nut and have one in every handbag and every room of my house so these are a must for me. I adore the Cherryblossom one but there are lots of different ones and you could always get a set of three to make a really nice gift.

Chupi Initial Necklace €99 : This was what Santa brought me last year and I don’t think I’ve taken it off since. Chupi, as I’m sure you know, is an Irish designer taking the industry by storm and creates the most beautiful pieces of jewellery from natural elements such as feathers and leaves. This necklace is one piece that caught my eye after I had my little girl. I wanted something that I could have always close to me so I got the pearl with mine and her initial on it. Along with my engagement ring, this is my favourite piece of jewellery and I just love it! Speaking of engagement rings, she has just recently launched a range if you’re dropping some hints this Christmas or if you’re thinking of popping the question, then definitely check them out.

Hour Glass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette €75 : This palette is the newest addition to the Ambient Light range and it’s limited edition. It includes a setting powder, bronzer, blush and highlighter and comes in the most gorgeous marble case. It’s a complete luxury and if you know a lady who is all about the glow then this is the one for her. She’ll love you forever!!! It’s available from SPACE NK on Grafton Street, Dublin.

Bombay Duck Alphabet Spotty Mug €20 : A really cute stocking filler for the tea or coffee drinker in your life, or me, who doesn’t drink either but just loves mugs 🙂 These are available from My Shining Armour online, Moss Cottage in Dundrum Village, Molloys Chemists, Meaghars Chemists among other gift shops and online retailers.

Dusty Boy Designs Notebook €12.95 : If like me you’re never without a list or have a bit of a thing for notebooks then these are just perfect. Husband and wife duo, Justin and Kate are based in Wexford and run the very cool stationery and paper goods company Dusty Boy. These notebooks are just a selection of the fabulous gift idea’s you’ll find and if you’re getting married and haven’t looked at invites yet then check them out too. Quirky, beautifully designed products, carefully thought out colour palettes, touches of gold foil for us magpies and all produced with oodles of love and creativity… my kind of business!

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipsticks €30 : So these have been around for a few months but such a great gift for the woman who never leaves the house without her lippy applied. There are 12 shades in the collection and each one is named after a celebrity such as ‘Liv It Up’, ‘Hel’s Bells’, ‘Nude Kate, ‘Sexy Sienna’ and ‘Secret Salma’. They are a beautiful Matte finish and there is literally a shade to suit everyone. The packaging alone makes these lipsticks worthy of a place in any makeup bag, a real touch of old Hollywood glamour!



Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Colouring Book €12.95 : A big trend this year was adult colouring books and I have a few. I got my first one as a gift and then I bought this one and it’s the perfect way for me to just switch off and relax (if I ever get 5 minutes to actually sit down!). I picked mine up in Hodges Figgis in Dublin or you’ll get them in most good book shops or Moss Cottage in Dundrum Village.

Helen Moore Faux Fur Asymmetric Scarf €50 : These faux fur scarves from My Shining Armour are perfect for the colder months and look super stylish over your coat or a chunky knit. There’s loads of colours to choose from and other accessories too. €12 – €14 per month : The perfect gift for the product junkie. A subscription to one of the many monthly beauty boxes available is the gift that keeps giving. Lots of lovely new samples to try and favourite products delivered to her door every month. What’s not to love.

Kate Spade Pencil Pouch €30 : This Kate Spade pencil pouch is really gorgeous. Although it’s described as a pencil pouch I would use it for carrying makeup on a night out or my cards and some cash maybe! I love the gold dots – which isn’t surprising really 😉

So there you go, just a few idea’s that might inspire you. Happy shopping!!!

















Christmas Party Makeup Looks

Well, it’s only 6 weeks to Christmas so I thought I’d share a few makeup looks I love that would be perfect for the festive party season.

If there was ever an occasion to really go to town with your makeup and try those looks you might have been a little afraid to try, Christmas is the time. Don’t be afraid to play with colour and if like me you’re a bit of a magpie and love your glitter and sparkle then you have to add a little shimmer to your look whether it’s in the form of eyeshadow, highlighters or glossy pout… just have some fun with it! Be careful though, Halloween is over, so we don’t want to look like the 5th member of Abba but the 4 looks below show you how you can have some fun but still look gorgeously glamorous.


I’m now taking bookings for party makeup so if you’d like to sit back and relax while someone else does the work, including some false lashes to give your eye’s a real pop then I’d be delighted to hear from you! Just drop me an email on

Happy Partying!!!!

Image Source: 1. Pinterest 2. MAC 3. Pinterest 4. Charlotte Tilbury



Makeup Shelf Life

I’m often asked how long should you hold on to makeup products and when you should throw them out and I’m pretty sure we’re all guilty of hanging on to the odd eye shadow or mascara longer than we should but out of date products can do you more harm than good. Bacteria builds up in products the more you use them so by not throwing them away within the recommended time frame you can’t be sure what kind of negative effects they might have on your skin.

You can pretty much tell when a product isn’t at it’s best by looking at it and it really depends on how much you use the product but below is a quick guideline to the type of products and how you can tell it’s time to replace them…



Mascara’s in particular have the shortest shelf life especially if it’s one you use regularly. The easiest way to tell is if the “popping” sound is gone. The more you use a mascara the more air is trapped inside the container so it will dry up quicker. This means it’s time for a new one.

Foundations & Concealers:

With foundations you will be able to tell if they have started to separate or just don’t have look right. Try keep your foundation away from heat as this is an environment that bacteria just loves! With concealers, powder and stick products can last up to 2 years but liquid formulas have a shorter shelf life. Again the colour and consistency will be a giveaway.


Powders can be a little harder to tell especially loose ones but with a powder whether it be blush, eye shadows or other face powders, you are continually putting your brush or puff into the pot so this is transferring oil and residue from your face back into the product so this is where washing your brushes is very important. With pressed powders you might see a skin form, this is the oil from you face or eyelids effecting the product so you can remove the top layer of product to reveal fresh powder below.


For eye and lip pencils you should pair them with a good sharpener to refresh them regularly. You can tell they have gone off when they start to form a film on the nib. You do need to be very careful with eyeliners as you are applying them to a very sensitive part of the face and if you use these too far beyond their expiry date you may end up with a nasty infection so just don’t risk it!


Your favourite lipstick or lip gloss I’m sure will be used long before it reaches it’s shelf life but for those you only wear occasionally you really need to replace these after 2 years. If you’ve been sick or suffer from cold sores it’s a good idea to replace them more regularly or you could use a lip brush which will stop direct contact. You’ll know your lipstick has gone off if it has gone hard and doesn’t apply properly.

Nail Polish:

Everyone pretty well knows when these are gone off. They tend to go gloopy and harder to apply.

So I hope this helps… now get that make-up bag and start sorting!



The Importance Of Exfoliating!

As a makeup artist I’m a firm believer that in order for your make-up to look good you must start with your skin and a very important step is exfoliating. In order for your make-up to sit well and look good you need a smooth canvas and getting rid of those layers of dead skin is a must. I would exfoliate at least once a week and you really do feel the difference afterward.

There are so many different products on the market and some are harsher than others. I would recommend going for something with a finer grain than anything too course or rough as this can actually cause more damage to your skin. You just want something gentle to remove the dead skin and allow the new skin to come through. If you have sensitive skin be very careful as harsh products can irritate your skin so be sure to get one that is specially formulated for sensitive skin.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on face scrubs. There are so many really good ones that will last you ages and don’t cost too much. Three of my favourites would be Simple, St Ives and Liz Earle. The Simple scrub is the cheapest of the three and is does the job perfectly but I have to say the other two would be my tops, mainly because the grain is so fine and really works well into the skin and they both smell gorgeous. My skin really feels amazing after an encounter with these two.

So if you don’t exfoliate and you feel your skin is looking dull and lifeless and your make-up just doesn’t sit well or look good then get yourself one of these little must haves and you’ll never look back!

Clare xox

Face Scrubs


Love the skin you’re in!

I’ve spoken before about the importance of looking after your skin, and moisturising, especially as you get older, is so important – this includes the boys too you know 🙂 !

In my piece on bridal make-up I spoke about prepping your skin for your big day but to be honest this applies to every day really. If you look after your skin every day then when you wear make-up it will always look better than if you ignore your skin completely. You don’t have to use expensive products or have a truck load but a few basic products that work for your skin type is all you need.

It’s important to know what skin type you are so that the product can benefit your skin as best it can. For example if you have oliy skin and you use a heavy/thick moisturiser then it’s likely that you’re skin will become even more oily and shiny and your make-up will slide off by the end of the day. On the other hand if you have dry/dehydrated skin and you use a light moisturiser then you’ll probably end up with dry or even itchy patches and your make-up will be cakey in areas and look awful.

I think it’s also very important to use either a moisturiser with an SPF or an SPF cream under your daily moisturiser. The latter is better but to be honest I’m not very good at doing this religiously. The daily moisturiser I use, Olay Total Effetcs (below), has an SPF of 15 so I wear this every day and if I know I’ll be in the sun for prolonged periods I will use a full Sun Cream. I really like the Olay as it’s nice and light but still moisturises my skin enough that it feels hydrated. It drys in pretty quickly and works as a great base for my make-up too. At night I use Liz Earle Skin Repair (below) and I love this because it’s just that little bit richer and soaks in nicely over night. I have combination skin so I get quite oily on my T-zone but can be dehydrated on my cheeks and around my hair line and nose in the winter months so both these products work perfectly for me. As my skin matures I’ll have to look at the products I use as your skin will change over time but for now these work for me.

Clare xox

OLay.Liz Earle


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