Make Up For Ever, one of the world's leading makeup brands for makeup artists and beauty junkies alike, have just launched their colossal new makeup brush line. Make Up For Ever brushes are revolutionary; made with 100% synthetic fibres, 0% natural hair, they're handcrafted and designed to allow for the ultimate in performance and quality.
The brushes are a 2-in-1 tool; with the brush itself and a bevel tip to allow the makeup artist to scrape product, apply lashes easier and so on. There are 76 brushes in the range; ranging from basic application to artistic. Dany Sanz, the founder of MUFE put years and years of work into this brush revolution and no doubt they will go down a storm worldwide.
In celebration of Make Up For Ever's brush launch, I have teamed up with Dublin's Make Up For Ever store to hold a competition in which a makeup artist can win 10 brushes of their choice from the new collection. It's a fantastic opportunity to win some quality makeup brushes for your kit!
We want you to come up with a makeup look inspired by Spring/ Summer 2014; look at the trends and make it your own! The competition will be held on Instagram as it's the easiest way to post images and to get your creativity across. Preferably, we would solely like makeup artists to enter as the prize would be highly beneficial to someone building up a kit - however those passionate about makeup can also enter if their skill is of high standard.
1. Upload your entry photo to your public Instagram account of your SS14-inspired makeup look. This MUST be created by you, translated on to your face or friend, family member's etc.
2. In the photo description tells us what inspired this look and how you came up with the idea. Elaborate as much as you can, inspire us!
1. People that post their photos to their Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, on their blog etc will have gained one extra entry as long as myself and Make Up For Ever are tagged in each post.
1. You must be a resident of Ireland to enter and must be available to travel to the Make Up For Ever store on Clarendon Street, Dublin 2 to personally pick out and collect your chosen brushes on a day that suits you.
2. You have to be a follower of both my account and MUFE's on Instagram.
3. You can enter as many times as you like but each entry must be a different makeup look that you have created.
Friday 14th March at midnight (a week from now).
The winner will be notified on their winning photo and through my personal Instagram account. I will ask for your email and contact details, which I will then pass on to the staff at the MUFE Dublin store.
I'm currently sat on my bed with my laptop propped up on my lap. It's 12:30am and I am lost for words on where to even begin this post! This day, last year was by far the biggest, scariest and most rewarding day of my entire life thus far - at this very hour last year, I was lying in bed sick with nerves - counting down the mere hours until I left for the hospital. Who knew 12 months could go by so quickly?
Many of you are aware that I underwent major double-jaw surgery on March 5th 2013. I developed a severe underbite as a young teen and I had it corrected through elective surgery. Throughout 2013, I made various Youtube videos and blog posts discussing pre and post surgery - click here to have a gander through all if you wish (I advise reading them prior to this, as I won't be going into much detail about last year's recovering here).
It's an entire year since the surgery and only NOW am I beginning to feel like myself; I think I've said that at least 2-3 times in previous posts but I was so unaware of the constant changes throughout the year - I actually mean it now! The photo collage above is a general timeline from when I had my underbite, hours after my surgery, weeks after, months after and now. I'm going to make this post as straight-forward and simple for you all by breaking down the main points and experiences I've discussed previously in the posts and videos.
Swelling: Swelling is an odd one - after around 5/6 months I didn't even notice I was swollen anymore, only in retrospect do I see how swollen I still was in 2013. In all honesty, the majority of my swelling - especially around my jawline - only disappeared in November/ December. You can see from the photos above how my face has changed over the 12 months: my cheekbones are more prominent, my jawline is more defined and my lips aren't as thin (my lips practically shrunk altogether when I was extremely swollen). I'm still slightly swollen around the left-hand side of my jaw due to nerve-damage (I'll get on that in a second) but it's only really noticeable to me.
Nerve-damage: Unfortunately during my surgery, a nerve was severed on the left-hand side of my face - directly to the side of my chin and bottom lip. Patients who undergo this surgery are told countless times how likely it is that such a thing could and can occur - be aware of that. 70% of my entire face was numb last year. I only regained feeling back around my left eye-socket, cheek, nose and top lip in late Summer. Half of my bottom lip and the left-hand side of my chin are still numb now. However, I saw my surgeon for a check-up a month or two ago and we did some tests; I can differentiate between temperatures and direction, which is a hopeful sign that the feeling may return eventually. I get the pins and needles feeling every once in a while, daily. I won't say "I've gotten used to it, I don't even notice it anymore" because I would be completely lying. It upsets me on a daily basis that I have this complication - I dribble due to lack of control of my bottom lip, it feels like I constantly have something alien attached to my face (think of the feeling when you have a facemask on, you're aware of it being on) and it makes me very paranoid whilst eating in company. In saying that, I'd rather go through this than still have an underbite. It's something I've had to suck up and deal with. Maybe the feeling will come back over the next few years, I am praying it will. My gums were also completely numb up until a few weeks ago (literally) - I only regained the feeling back in my top gums in late January/ early February. The pins and needles feeling started to occur and within days I had more or less complete feeling back. There are still certain areas that are numb inside of my mouth but it doesn't bother me.
Before with underbite | post-surgery month one | post-surgery 12 months on (now).
Eating & drinking: Eating and drinking is completely normal for me these days. I only got 100% back to normality diet-wise in September-ish; I found it quite hard to eat, chew and digest certain foods until then (tough meat, crisps, chips). Out of habit, I tend to still cut up pieces of food for easier eating as I can only open my mouth the width of 3/4 fingers (I'll elaborate further on).
Stretching & pain: If you read my previous posts last year, you'll know that I found the stretching exercises very difficult during recovery. I can currently open my mouth just about the width of 3 fingers, fitting my baby finger in on a good day. Prior to the surgery, I was able to put my whole fist in my mouth (shoutout to Karen Smith) so I know it's not at its full potential. However, I don't push myself to stretch when it feels sore and uncomfortable. It doesn't affect me on a massive scale, I just have to be wary with certain food (rolls and burgers can be a pain in the ass to try and eat sometimes). Pain-wise, over the last 2/ 3 months my jaw joints tend to ache or stiffen up. If this happens, I just massage the areas with my fingers in circular motions. Nothing too major!
Teeth & bite: My underbite will forever haunt me; that's something I've had to accept. On a daily basis, I terrify myself into thinking my surgery has rejected and that my jaws are moving back to their original position. My bite has changed over the months of recovery - I'm not overly paranoid - my top jaw just about fits over my bottom jaw. I'm genuinely terrified that my bite will yet again be incorrect and that I'll have to go in for another surgery but hopefully this is just paranoia. Every single day, my teeth and jaw move; it's very difficult to explain on this but I can feel with my tongue that certain teeth move. Not dramatically, but they do. I wear my retainers daily (along with having permanent wires being glued directly on to my teeth) so my teeth are still straight but I know they haven't "settled" yet. I have an appointment next month with my orthodontist and I will tell her of all my worries about my bite. (Don't let this scare you - I've just terrified myself into thinking the worst!)
All in all, I don't regret a thing. I'm at a loss for words trying to put all of my emotions and thoughts from the last 12 months into this post. It's an experience that I'm still not over - physically and mentally - and I find myself getting highly emotional and almost overwhelmed looking back on it all. My confidence has obviously soared since the surgery but unfortunately the likes of BDD and anxiety aren't cured with a scalpel and I still have a long way to go in terms of learning to love myself. I am so proud of myself for going through what I did and it's surreal to think of what I went through before, during and after. Looking "normal" was something I had to get used to for quite sometime, to my surprise - I wasn't used to people NOT staring at me because I looked different.
I just want people to know that this surgery, regardless of how life-changing it is, isn't the be all and end all to happiness and self-confidence. It certainly contributes to it but it takes time to achieve such a positive state of mind. I wish anyone going through this all the best and I highly advise you read back on my previous posts and watch my videos for further information - preparation, diet, advice etc. Thank you so much for all of your support during my journey.
Many of you know that I've wanted to pursue fashion styling for many, many years. One of my first tastes of it was back in 2012, when I won an opportunity to style eBay's first live-streamed European fashion show with three other stylists. I knew it was for me the minute I threw myself into it - it was a massive success! Over the years, I've dipped into styling other people and models here and there but I promised myself that 2014 was going to be the year I gave it my all. I'm currently studying a diploma in Fashion Styling at Dublin's famousLA College of Creative Arts. The college best known for its makeup courses has recently launched a bunch of fashion courses; styling, millinery, buying etc. It's so fantastic to see such courses starting up in Ireland now, as it's something this country has really lacked - we may have a great range of design courses but those who want to go down the styling/ media route have very little to choose from. The Fashion Styling course I'm doing is spread out over 3 months; it's held on Monday and Tuesday evening every week and on three separate weekends for photoshoots. (There is a 3.5 weeks option for others wanting to delve into a crash-course but the spread out timetable suits me better.)
Darren Kennedy - one of Ireland's most renowned stylists and tv personalities - curated the entire course. It covers everything from trend forecasting, client briefing, photoshoot sourcing, makeup, colour theory, journalism - the list goes on and on! I started it back at the end of January and have to say I am absolutely ADORING it. I knew it was going to be a good course initially but it has blown all of my expectations out of the water. Already since beginning the course, I've become more confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic in regards to fashion, styling, shooting and coming up with heaps of ideas for the future.
The course is held in LA Creative's headquarters on Chatham Street, just off of Grafton Street. The class I'm in is full (yet small); 12 students of all different ages, backgrounds and styles. It's amazing! Lorna Clare Weightman (fashion writer, stylist) and Corina Gaffey (fashion editor of Stellar and KISS magazine) are our two tutors. We have guest visitors frequently though, including Darren Kennedy himself which is always a nice surprise and very inspirational.
Throughout the course, students partake in three photoshoots. The first of ours being the one pictured above; I decided to stay inside my comfort zone for the first photoshoot (as recommended by our tutors) and opted for a 90's grunge skater vibe. What I do best! You're allowed to choose any theme you like, with whatever props and clothes you want - it's a fantastic opportunity to experiment before you start out in the industry properly; you're encouraged to give it your all but to be aware and work on your mistakes. The college provide you with makeup artists (fellow LA Creative students), a photographer and the location. You're in charge of clothing, sourcing a model, making a moodboard and coming up with your overall theme (although guidance is never out of reach).
I hope to pursue my styling career in full-swing after the course and have many an idea up my sleeve that you guys will hopefully love for the year ahead! I shall keep you all up to date on how the course is going and I will post regular snippets over on my Instagram and Twitter. I hope some of you looking to study something of a similar nature find this useful, as I know far too many fellow Irish fashionistas feel a little lost in regards to college and the likes.
Whilst in London a few weeks back for LFW, the lovely girls at Cagecity invited me over to their HQ to partake in a 'Cagecity Meets' blogger photoshoot - Cagecity stock the ultimate in cool brands (think Mink Pink, Evil Twin etc) and even sell some independent designer pieces that you can't snap up anywhere else! They asked me to style some of their current stock; I kept each outfit to my own style, of course - 90s, grunge and comfortable. I even incorporated colour into some of the outfits *gasp*! I adored each look but my favourite pieces of all were the shaggy monochrome coat from Mink Pink and the Evil Twin eye jeans. Amazing!
You can see more outfit photos and read my interview by clicking here. All clothing (bar the shoes and accessories) are stocked on Cagecity's website. Which outfit is your favourite?
One of my best blogger mates Kayla popped along to Cagecity with me on the day and we ended up getting involved in an impromptu, giddy photoshoot.. all of her clobber is from the website too.
NYFW definitely wasn't the most groundbreaking of seasons this week, although it usually tends to be my least favourite out of the main four anyway - purely down to my taste not being very "New York", I guess. I was really impressed with a handful of collections nevertheless; Jill Stuart being my utmost favourite of them all (utter flawlessness, see for yourself below).
Neo-grunge doesn't seem to be shifting anytime soon - to my delight! Flowy feminine dresses teamed with chunky boots and bed-head hair were shown throughout, showcasing a modern yet relaxed vibe. AW14/15 seems to be a lot more androgynous than SS14 in New York; a natural swerve away from the lollipop-colours and 50's-style full skirts that are already hitting the shops for the coming months.
I especially adored the makeup seen throughout all of the shows; nothing dramatically different from SS14 with paired down, fresh faces sporting only a flush of colour or liner to make it all pop. The sleek lined eyes at MBMJ (formerly known as Marc by Marc Jacobs) were particularly gorgeous; they stood out a mile with the models' hair braided off of the face in a Wednesday Addams' style with a simple black hairband. Easy to recreate for anyone, which I admire.
Here's a selection of my favourite collections and looks from NYFW AW14/15..