Fashion & Lifestyle Blog


Wedding Planning on a Budget

I met up with the organiser of a great event soon in my hometown, Cork, where brides can sell their pre-loved wedding goods to brides-to-be planning their special day. The concept is big in America and I was delighted to hear of it happening in Ireland. I caught up with Aileen Lynch-Kelleher to ask her for her Top Ten Wedding Planning Tips before Sunday's event. (Follow the Bridal Bazaar events here: 

Aileen's Top Tips for Wedding Planning

Enlist some friends to help with some DIY. Play to their strengths. The girl with the nicest handwriting gets to do the invites, the creative friend can help with decorating the venue and your friend that loves to shop can help you discover the best bargains. Wedding planning without friends to help can be a stressful process. Your wedding organizing should be fun and with your friends on board, it will be!

Give yourself plenty of time. The best thing to do is check out some online weddings, get a feel for what you like and what you don't like. Don't forget to speak to your wedding venue and church or civil ceremony location about what will be allowed e.g. some churches do not allow candles in the aisle. Decide where you want to spend most of your money, what is most important to you. It can be very hard to stick to a budget, but things can get out of hand very quickly if you don't.

Rustic and vintage weddings are very in fashion at the moment, but even if that isn't your thing, you would be surprised at what you could pick up at flea markets and second hand shops. Mother Jones Flea Market have some exceptional pieces. Ebay, etsy and donedeal are also places that you can find some hidden gems.

I love the wedding pom pom trend, and they're so easy to make! DIY invites can be really special and money saving. Remember though, when it comes to invites these are the first impressions of your wedding. You want them to reflect what your wedding is all about. You can do this cheaply, but you don't want them to LOOK cheap.

A good idea is to pick a venue that works with your colour scheme, you won't have to spend a fortune to make it fit with your wedding theme. Choose flowers that are in season and find a florist that doesn't charge travelling fees. If you know someone that is creative,you could enlist them to help you arrange your flowers! Jill Wild of Wild Floral Couture holds workshops on how to arrange flowers and make floral headpieces. You can purchase your flowers from a flower wholesaler or better yet directly from the grower and off you go. A lot of venues include flowers on tables as part of their wedding package. They might originally say they only provide a very specific flower, but I have found that you can mostly negotiate the types of flowers used and how the table is decorated within reason. A lot of money can be saved by doing this.

Bargaining is key. When it comes to dress shopping, venue booking, flowers, cakes, you have to bargain to get the best price. Shop around and get comparable prices and don't just jump in and agree to the first thing you see.

Preowned wedding dresses can be magnificent. These dresses have been worn once and you are getting possibly up to 70% off the original price. You are getting amazing quality without spending a fortune. If preowned isn't to your taste, most stores have rails with last seasons dresses that are usually on sale. Check these out before you go splashing a few grand on your dress. Sample sales are also a good idea. Vera Wang holds an amazing sample sale in Brown Thomas in Dublin.

When it comes to jewellery on your wedding, borrow some! it is tradition after all and it will imbue your celebration with even greater meaning - a brother's cuff links for the groom, a mother's pearls for the bride. 

As for music, think of yourself as a talent scout. Check out music venues and even music schools! Kerry school of music provided some very talented church musicians for my sister's wedding. You don't always have to choose a 'wedding band', and non wedding bands are almost always cheaper.

Who doesn't love the cake? But these can be pricey. An average wedding cake costs between 350 and 500 euro. An idea would be to order a one tier cake, have it beautifully decorated and displayed and use it for the cake-cutting ritual but serve a classic sheet cake or cupcakes for your guests to enjoy. They will never know the difference.

Bridal Bazaar happens at the Cork Vision Centre on Sunday, March 30th next from 2pm - 5pm. The event is for brides looking to sell their pre-loved wedding goods to brides-to-be!


Pregnancy Pampering

For over 25 years, Eve Lom has been recognised as an authority in advanced skincare.  I had always read reviews about her products in top magazines and seen celebs endorse the benefits of the brand but I couldn't find an Irish stockist or spa where I could try them out myself. On a visit to my favourite laser therapy clinic, Therapie, last week I discovered that they were the only clinic that sold Eve Lom and to my delight, I learned that their heavenly spa upstairs did an amazing Eve Lom facial. 

Using pregnancy as my excuse for a pampering, I booked myself in and off I went this weekend. On arrival, I met the Eve Lom Specialist for Therapie, Leonne, who was the perfect advert for such a high-end brand, with her flawless skin and calm, caring nature.  Leonne brought me to the treatment floor where I left all my city stresses behind and lay down in the most beautifully scented treatment room to begin my facial. 

Based on the principal of perfectly cleansed skin, Eve Lom developed a unique massage technique for lymphatic drainage which relieves tension and leaves the skin radiant and revived. I was very excited to finally test the iconic Eve Lom Cleanser which has won awards the world over for 25 years. First up was this iconic cleanser which felt rich and luxurious on my face, neck and chest. My lips were cleansed with 'Kiss Mix' cleanser at the same time. 

The next part of the treatment was an exclusive signature Eve Lom hot wax mask to awaken dull, tired and congested skin, using acupressure to relieve tension before extraction.  After I was fully cleansed and revivied, Leonne gave me a beautiful massage with Eve Lom Creme Universal and Fiuisli Eye Lift with some TLC and I had a blissful snooze in the tranquil treatment room before my session was completed.

I give the treatment and products full marks, it really is a step above regular facials. Not only were all steps and benefits explained to me along the way but it was a bespoke treatment tailored to ensure it was what I needed.  It was the first time in all my 34 years being comfortable and confident strolling around the city afterwards with not a scrap of makeup on my face as my complexion was glowing and my skin was flawless. I will definitely book in for another before baby arrives! xo

Marketing Institute Ball

The thought of going to a ball was somewhat daunting with a 6 month baby bump and very glamorous friends. I didn't want to wear a traditional maternity wear evening dress as any I have seen online or in my hometown are dated, dull and safe. I called into Vivienne at The Dress Bar expecting my new body shape to look wrong in her slinky evening dressed but was pleasantly surprised to  be spoiled for choice.  I dressed up a size and chose this navy crystal encrusted floor length dress which had room for my bump to expand after the tasty dinner and surprisingly enough-I actually felt good in myself. I picked out a second beautiful gown for my ball in London next week so will post pick of that next week. My bump has the best social life already! Xo

Dress: The Dress Bar dress hire
Hair: Curled it myself with a tongs and pinned up one side
Makeup: Again , I did it myself.  MAC Studio Sculpt and MAC Rebel lip. I had an Eve Lom facial earlier in the day so I have Therapie to thank for my glowing skin. Facial details post later today.
With fellow fashion blogger Along  Came Holly
Contributing to (or pretending we can paint) the auction painting in aid of The Samaritans
Vivienne with The Lord Mayor who she dresses for events


Insider Interview: Caroline Matthews Ready-to-Wear

My Favourite Ready-to-Wear Collection this Season

Since studying design at Leeds University, Caroline Matthews has carved a name for her exquisite wedding design label 'Caroline Atelier' in both Ireland and the UK and this season the southern Ireland based designer launches her own ready-to-wear fashion line called 'Caroline Matthews'....join the already existing queue to pre-order some amazingly crafted pieces for your wardrobe!

What inspired you to begin designing?
I have wanted to be a designer all my life, I spent days with my head stuck inside Vogue, anything that was fashion related. My dad was in the clothing industry too so being around fabrics and trims has always been part of my life so i guess it was inevitable in the end.

Where did you study?
I studied in the UK at the Prestigious Leeds University which is renowned in the north for great fashion courses.
I have been designing all my life but Caroline Atelier which is my bridal label has been running for 7 years and my ready-to-wear fashion line called Caroline Matthews is hot off the production line and is going to launch officially this season.

Who are Caroline Atelier & Caroline Matthews clients?
Brides who come to us want something different than what is on the current market, I am known for our signature style backless dresses with bias skirts but also design bespoke dresses for any brides who have their own ideas... by the way, it is no more expensive than going to a boutique and ordering a dress, at least this way you get input into your dress. Buying from a designer means the fit will be absolutely perfect. 

Describe your current collection and who it's aimed at
Our fashion line is aimed towards women who want to look stylish, edgy and on trend. The collection has very clean lines and is constructed to compliment women's body shapes. The first collection is a mix of Leather and crepe fabrics to give a sultry yet elegant look. Whilst the bridal is all about Hollywood glamour which i love!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a career in the fashion industry?
Learn Learn Learn… it is great to think that you can just go off on your own and start a fashion label but there is so much to learn from production to selling and to be a successful label be it in fashion or bridal, knowledge is key!!!

Bridal Website:  www.caroline-atelier. Ready-to-wear website launching soon.
Facebook Page for Ready-to-Wear line: Caroline Matthews Design, 
T: 087 7704341. The Studio is based at 7 South Mall, Cork, Ireland.


Paint the town Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This St. Patrick's Day I will be shunning the leprechaun green for a more subtle pastel mint shade. While pubs serve green pints and McDonalds dish up green shakes all over Ireland, I decided to apply this season's lighter hues to my festive wardrobe and styled my new Otterbox mint Symmetry Series iPhone case with bargain mint block heel sandals from Pennys/Primark. 
To the Irish all over the world today - Happy Paddy's Day xo


Weekend Pastels

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