Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Smashbox 'Shape Matters' - Contour for Brow, Face & Eye Palette Review

I remember discovering contouring in mid-2013. Beforehand, I hadn't a clue what it was or how to even go about doing it. After many mess-ups (cue overly-orange stripes going across my face), I eventually found my ideal routine and shades for my super-pale Casper skin and face shape.

Palettes are always a great starting point when it comes to new makeup methods or products; you can trial and test the various shades and textures to see which ones suit you best. Smashbox's 'Shape Matters'* contouring palette is a go-to for your eyebrows, eyes and face alike. 

The range of shades makes it accessible for most skin tones and for use for both 'day' and 'night' looks. The brow shades are perfect for anyone with dark blonde - mid/ dark brown brows and offer a pigmented, yet workable finish. I sprayed setting spray on an angled brush to darken the 'Soft Brown' shade to define the ends of my brows and used the wax to mess them up. (I prefer my brows to look boyish and bushy so tend to use wax to purposely make them look this way. If you prefer yours more polished, it's a fantastic product to neaten hairs and the shape into place too)!

The eye-shadows are a dream, particularly for anyone who loves makeup on the grungy-side like myself! I used 'Vanilla', 'Posh' and 'Aubergine' to create a toned-down, yet dramatic, smoky eye with lots and lots of layering and blending. I completed the look with a felt tip liner on the upper lash line and a soft kohl smudged into my lower lashes to give a cat-eye effect. I opened the eyes up more by applying a mix of 'Highlight' and 'Glow' to my inner tear duct area and brow bone. 

I usually have to go quite light-handed when it comes to contouring, due to my skin tone. Many contour shades can come across too orange and warm on my skin so I tend to use shades on the ashy side to give it a more natural look. The 'Contour' shade in the palette is ideal but quite pigmented so I tapped any excess off of my contour brush before applying and went over the applied product with translucent powder to blend it into my face (cheekbones, forehead and jawline) further.

I'm pretty obsessed with highlighter as it can instantly brighten and wake up a face! I tend to apply a lot of it and love it looking quite "obvious" on areas like my cheekbones and brow bones to lift my chubby-cheeks up. Alike to the eyes, I mixed 'Highlight' and 'Glow' together for that perfect sheen.

The 'Shape Matters' 3-in-1 palette is currently available in all Boots stores for just £40 (approx €51) from April 26th - May 2nd. It's also available on Boots online from April 30th - May 2nd. The palette comes with 16 shades, a double-ended eyeshadow brush and super-cool interactive 'how to' cards that you can use via your phone. It's a brilliant palette for anyone wanting to give contouring a try or for those who want a versatile palette that gives them all of the options in one go.

Monday, April 25, 2016

'Archive' by Alexa Chung x Marks & Spencer | Top Picks & Style Guide

Alexa Chung has collaborated with Marks & Spencer to create her wondrous 'Archive by Alexa' collection*, featuring handpicked revamped pieces from M&S' archive itself. Alexa Chung is one of my style icons and when I heard about this collaboration, I knew it'd be a winner. She never fails to put her name behind respected brands and no better brand exists than Marks & Spencer - it suits her quintessentially British, classic-yet-quirky style and it'll no doubt sell out within weeks.

I picked up the black 'Olive' slip dress the week of the launch itself. It's the perfect ode to 90's grunge and is an ideal piece that you can dress up or down a million to one different ways. I styled the slip with layered with a basic white tee, my vintage waist belt, an oversized leather biker and my favourite boots. I tend to dress down anything girlie, to grunge it up and add my own flair to it.
The collection is full of classics and truly 'Alexa' styles: they can all be worn and styled to fit a variety of ages, sizes and personal tastes. I've selected my top picks from the collection below:

(Blog post supported by Marks and Spencer and Shopping Links. Images sourced from Marks and Spencer and Dazed and Confused Magazine, Issue May 2016.)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Smashbox 'Be Legendary' Lipstick | Review + Giveaway

I don't know about you but I'm forever a lover of matte lipsticks. I've never been one to wear overly-glossy or shimmery formulas. I tend to stick to 90's nudes, pin-up reds and vampy purples, shade-wise. Smashbox's 'Plum Role'* from their latest Be Legendary lipstick range is a dream; the perfect gothic purple to compliment any skin tone. It's rich and creamy in formula, not too drying and it has great lasting-power (a big plus for most matte lippies). 

Teamed with Smashbox's 'Clear' (yes, clear!) Always Sharp Lip Liner and their Insta-Matte Lip Transformer you're good to go for the day without smudges or bleeding lines. Both products are great investments, as they can be used with any shade of lipstick you already own. The Insta-Matte is a favourite of mine as it gives your lips a blurred effect, without chapping the life out of them!

GIVEAWAY: For your chance to win your own Be Legendary 'Lip Look' from the wonderful people over at Smashbox, post your favourite lip look on Instagram using the hashtag #BeLegendary. To win, you must be following both my account and Smashbox's. Good luck!

MEET-UP: I'll be hosting a meet-up with Smashbox on the evening of Wednesday April 27th in Boots, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre (Upper level) from 6:30-8:30pm. There'll be exclusive makeup consultations and you can have an oul chit-chat with me! I can't wait to meet you guys.

Photography - Zak Milofsky


Friday, April 15, 2016

OOTD feat. Missguided & Public Desire

CLICK TO SHOP: Leather jacket - Reiss* (similar) | Cropped sweater* - Missguided | Western belt* - Missguided | High-waisted jeans* - Dr Denim | Lace-up platform sandals* - Public Desire | Velvet choker - ASOS | Clubround sunglasses* - Ray-Ban

Photography - Patrick Quinn Byrne


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Moving On From Our Teenage Selves - And Mistakes

We've all experienced the inevitable awkward and often bumpy road of teenage life. We've gone through the physical, mental and emotional changes that occur within ourselves and those of us past the age of 18-19, have successfully moved on from this wondrous time. Thank god.

Teenage experience is all about making mistakes. It ultimately shapes you to become the person you are as an adult. How you perceive the world, how you treat others and how you react to certain situations. It's necessary to live through and learn from.

Unfortunately for those of us born in the early 90's and beyond, our teenage experiences are often etched into the online world for us to cringe over - and for others to laugh at or talk about, forever. Our generation are guinea-pigs for the internet and social media. Our parents could live their wild teenage lives as they pleased and make a multitude of mistakes, with maybe a week's grounding or a haunting polaroid only left to trip them up.

For us, our teenage pasts can come back to haunt us on a daily basis. Whether it be a Facebook photo that's gone viral or a rumour being circulated, it's meant that a lot of us are constantly reminded and expected to punish ourselves somewhat, for things we may have done as merely children. Immature, misguided, confused, troubled and influenced children.

My teenage life was anything but perfect: sometimes people try and undermine my experience but only I can vouch for how genuinely tough it was. I was bullied in school, out of school and online. Mentally and physically. My mental health was progressively getting worse as the years went on so I engaged in 4-5 years of heavy binge drinking with other "misfits" I had become friends with (and whom, I owe a lot of my better memories to, despite the underage drinking).

Drinking gave me confidence I didn't have otherwise, it made me social and it temporarily made me forget my life outside of a Saturday. It made me do and say things I regret but in hindsight, none of it was unusual for your average teen in Ireland today. I was severely depressed, I was angry at myself and I was angry at the world and everyone around me. I don't regret my entire teenage experience as such, but I do think a lot of it could have been prevented. That's what teenage mistakes are all about though - reflecting on them as you grow older and moving on.

Although I've moved on from my teenage years and have become a wholly different person to who I was, I often encounter negativity directed towards or about me in relation to something I might have said or did as a teenager. At 23, this is frustrating because the person I was at 16, isn't the person I am now. The person I was at 20 isn't even the person I am now!

I'm simply quite sick of personally having to and seeing other adults having to apologise over silly things they might have said or involved themselves in as teenagers. I remember a friend telling me how she's still to this day, treated badly in her hometown in rural Ireland, because she cheated on her boyfriend as a 15 year old. She's now in her mid-twenties. It's ridiculous. If every person alive had things they said/ did between the ages of 12-18 printed across billboards, we'd all be in hiding.

If you hold a grudge towards someone over something they did as a teen, for god's sake let them try and move on from it as a grown adult. It's a bigger reflection on you and your inner feelings, than it is them. If they're making an effort to become a bigger, wiser person than who they were - at any age, might I add - why try and hold them back or continue to attempt to humiliate them?

Most people deserve second chances in life. I've said this before but absolutely NO adult is the same person they were as a teenager. Some people take years to change. Some take days. Let people try and better themselves. If they haven't murdered someone or engaged in an act as dark, there's absolutely no other reason for you to try and anchor them down in their past.

Let this post be a point in which some of you officially make a decision to move on from your teenage life, and to stop giving yourself a hard time over it. You can move on. You're allowed to. 

Let this post be a realisation for some that everybody struggles. Some are only better at hiding it. Don't try and trip someone up to make yourself feel better. If they're a better person now, let them be one. Letting go of the grudge will only progress you and your happiness. Believe me.


"Well, I think that part of being young is not exactly knowing why you do some of the things that you do. And it's by exploring your life or experimenting or making mistakes and learning from them hopefully, that you start to forge an identity." 
- Stephen Chbosky

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Winter is finally behind us, which means we can shove our irritatingly gigantic coats, oversized scarves and thick boots to the back of our wardrobes for another few months (or days, if you live in Ireland). Spring/ Summer 2016 is pretty exciting, due to the amount of different trends going on at once: whether you want to continue to dress as a 70's groupie or embrace your inner Sporty Spice, it's all there for you - especially on the high street. Happy shopping..

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why The Block Button Is Your Friend | #HappyIs2016

Norman Parkinson

It's been a running joke online, particularly here in Ireland, about my notorious blocking of individual's on my social media accounts. It's become an "achievement" for some to get blocked by me (I shit you not). I was discussing with a friend earlier about the importance of the block button online, after she confided in me over receiving her first bout of online trolling. I thought it was about time I jotted my thoughts down on this because in 2016, I'm simply tired of discussing how vile, dangerous and unprogressive cyber bullying is.

I've mentioned this before but I feel I need to scream it from the rooftops to get the point across: THE BLOCK BUTTON IS YOUR FRIEND. The block button isn't available on social media for the hell of it - it's there to help you enjoy your online experience, without having to encounter and deal with things or people you don't want to see or hear from on a daily basis.

I've been blogging seven years this year but I've been "online" as such, for over a decade now. I've received nasty comments and have been cyber bullied since my early days on Bebo so at this stage in my online life, I feel I'm an expert on the subject - having been the subject of it.

Blocking is really quite simple: it's there to protect a user from experiencing or encountering something that makes them feel uncomfortable online. Whether that be a person cyber bullying you, a misogynistic account, a homophobic account and so on. It's there to aid your online experience and encourage you to enjoy your time spent on the internet.

When I receive or see the typical "Leanne Woodfull is such a X, Y and Z" tweet, my first reaction is to block the individual. Why? If an individual whom I've never met, approached me on the street and started speaking to or about me in a degrading, insulting or generally negative manner, I'd leave the situation as it would obviously cause upset to me and make me feel uneasy.

Blocking is the virtual way of "walking away" from a situation. Some may think you're only giving these people what they want (a laugh) from blocking - in my case, certainly - but quite simply, I don't really care. I'd rather enjoy my online experience and not have to encounter mean or insulting comments about me on a daily basis from the same group of people, than not block them at all based on what others may think of me or my online protocol.

Blocking is an essential tool for online users - especially for those under the age of 18. My two young sisters are under the ages of 11 and alike to most kids, they're active online and know how to use an abundance of social platforms. My sisters are active on Youtube mostly. They watch videos on Minecraft and their favourite tv episodes; as most of you are aware, Youtube is horrific for trolling. 

I can't protect my sisters from seeing the comments underneath a video but at the very least, I can teach them about online etiquette and how to use the 'block' button. It's an easy click for them to learn and it teaches them how to 'walk away' from a negative situation they might encounter.

Online etiquette and the effects of cyber bullying are only being discussed in schools now - my generation didn't have this, as we were new to social media ourselves. The majority of online abuse I still receive, comes from adults. Generally people in and around my age, who've been engaging in it towards me and about me for years (they have a lot of time on their hands, evidently).

There's a huge issue with this and the lack of education we received as teenagers about online bullying and engagement. HOW can we teach the youth of today about the importance of being a decent human being online, if adults are continuously engaging in cyber bullying themselves?

There's at least 10 individuals who crop up tweeting or posting about me regularly in some bitchy form or another; the same people, the same tweets. It admittedly gets boring and tiring after a while. I guess it's an age thing but I honestly rarely feel hurt anymore, I just genuinely feel for the person and their peers themselves. If you get a kick out of bringing someone down, especially as a grown adult, it's a reflection on yourself and your mindset, than the actual person you're discussing.

I'm old enough now to take a lot of it on the chin but it's sent me down some very, very dark roads in the past. I'm open about my depression and anxiety and my family would agree with me when I say my online experience is the cause of many of the struggles I deal with today. However, I know how to handle these situations as a (nearly) 23 year old - I block, I ignore, I get on with my day. Some people unfortunately can't see these experiences that way and bottle everything up. The rise in suicides, self harm, anxiety disorders and depression in our generation and younger can't be ignored; the internet and our engagements online are hugely at fault for this.

We must teach young people, older people, people our own age, that online bullying of ANY form - to WHOMEVER - is not acceptable. Whether it be a school mate or a celebrity - we need to reign it in. We need to educate people on how to leave situations virtually that they don't want to be a part of. 

The block button is essential. Who cares if it humours the person and/ or people you're blocking? Who cares if it's seen as 'controversial' to do so? Your mental health and happiness are your priorities and if pressing that one button on your twitter account can help you to enjoy your online experience, then so be it. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why I'll Remain Loyal To Skinny Jeans & How To Wear Them In 2016

Recently, I've read many an article declaring that the skinny jean is OVER. Gone. Bust. Dead. 90's and 00's styles have become en vogue over the last two seasons, with their flattering cropped and straight legs - but it still hasn't encouraged me to fling my skinnies out of a window anytime soon.

I'm Team Skinny Jeans for life. Ever since I bought my first pair of H&M skinnies during my glorious emo days aged 13, I knew it was love. They flattered everything, hid everything and went with everything. I've been loyal to skinny jeans ever since and my love has yet to fizzle out for them.

If you feel like your skinnies are feeling a tad outdated, it's pretty simple to upgrade them to a 2016 style. Cropped jeans of all cuts and finishes are HUGE right now and cropped skinnies are super flattering and gorgeous to wear with light summer shoes. If you want to be even more SS16, opt for a frayed hem on the leg and/ or some embellishment/ ripping on the jeans themselves.

The high street has an incredible array of jean styles to choose from: my personal favourite denim go-to's are Topshop, River Island and ASOS as the quality, fit and longevity is super from all.

It can be quite hard to find "the" pair for you; the pair you always pull out of the wardrobe, the pair that give you a rush of confidence and the pair that can be easily dressed up or down. My personal favourite jeans are any of the skinny, high-waisted styles from Dr Denim. I don't think I could go a week without wearing mine. I also love Topshop's Petite jeans range for any of my fellow gals under 5"3 - they offer a range of leg lengths so they're a great investment for a staple pair!

Whilst I love my boyfriend jeans and how rugged and grungy they look, I just can't say goodbye to my pile of skinnies just yet - they're an essential piece to my wardrobe and style and quite frankly, I'm going to happily ignore anyone that declares them over. Keep 'em coming!


Monday, March 28, 2016

OOTD feat. River Island & Glamorous

CLICK TO SHOP: Suede biker jacket* - River Island | Laced crop top* - Glamorous | Jeans* - Dr Denim | Boots* - River Island (similar) | Hat - Forever 21 | Leather tote bag* - River Island | Belt - Vintage (similar) | Sterling silver Claddagh ring and black pendant ring* - Cheap Frills

Photography - Patrick Quinn Byrne