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feeling good in skinny jeans

willow lane style
I like to change up my style, especially as the seasons begin to turn.  Lately I’ve been updating my wardrobe with some skinny jeans, something I would have stayed away from a while ago.  I’m feeling good in my skin and many of you have noticed that I’ve lost a bit of weight this year.  Loosing weight wasn’t something I did consciously to begin with.  I think the pounds began to come off around the start of the year when I started my new job.  With a change of routine and new focus in my life, I must have started snacking a little less but didn’t really realise I was making this change until around April time when I felt my clothes getting looser on me.

My weight loss over the last six months or so has been very gradual.  I am most definitely not on a weight loss diet but after noticing some weight loss I was pleased and it naturally made me want to keep the momentum going.  I am prone to ‘grazing’ – a bag of crisps here, a few biscuits there –  and I’ve tried to stop snacking so much.  Sometimes it’s very small changes to your diet that can make a real difference over time.

Like many, my weight has fluctuated over the years.  I comfort ate a lot when I was around fourteen/fifteen and ended up being quite overweight.  I think I was sixteen when I started Weight Watchers and I lost about three stone in total (this was over a long period of time).  I felt great for it but then when I left school, did Camp America and started university the weight began to creep on a bit.  I tried going back on the Weight Watchers regime but my heart wasn’t in it so much.  I didn’t want to be so strict with myself when it came to food.  Then shortly after I started going out with Phill and graduated weight began to very gradually fall off me.  Again this was just a change in my my routine and eating habits.

For me what size I am is not the be-all and end-all. I don’t own a set of scales and being healthy and happy is my priority.  I love clothes and I try and dress for my shape.  Of course it feels good to be looking a little leaner but the main thing is feeling good in myself and in my life.

Phill took these photos for me at the weekend after I got my hair done.  I got more colour put through my hair and had a good few inches chopped off.  I really like it!  Alana and Lindsay at Peter Mark Hair Salon in Belfast did a great job.  Boy would I love someone to blow-dry my hair every week!

willow lane style

Jessica Simpson boots

beautiful tree

balayage hair
Bjorg acorn necklace

balayage hair

northern ireland park

willow lane blog

I’m wearing ONLY grey shirt, t-shirt from TK Maxx, Zara skinny navy jeans, Jessica Simpson boots, Betty Barclay bag, Oasis scarf and Bjorg acorn necklace.

Belfast Fashion Week 2014

Last week I attended the launch of Belfast Fashion Week and got a sneak peak at some of the key fashion trends the models will be sporting come October.  For me, it was all about the coats at the launch.  I’m already on the hunt for a new season warm coat and I saw some fabulous ones from George at Asda and Marks And Spencer.  I also loved all the blue hues on show. If you want to be on trend this autumn/winter then think about injecting a pop of baby blue into your outfit choices.

Belfast Fashion Week 2014

I went for a very autumnal look for the event, sporting black leggings, my new BCBGeneration leather cut-out heels and a luxurious velvet kimono from Topshop. I finished off my look with coral red lips and nails.

Ruth Maguire

I feel that Belfast Fashion Week have really pulled out all the stops this season to celebrate their ten year anniversary.  From a showing of the movie ‘Mean Girls’ to a stylish ‘Sushi Saturday’ event, there will also be the usual high street and designer catwalk shows, which will take place at a brand new quirky venue on Bruce Street, Belfast.

Speaking at the launch, director Cathy Martin said:

“Showcasing the best of our local designers and independent boutiques as well as international high street names, this autumn the catwalk will be a sea of colour, style and must-have fashion. We’re loving the blue hues, the coral reds, the plaid and the glorious glitter trends, as well as sharp suiting and oversized coats.

Our new move allows us the space to welcome a pop up sushi and cocktail bar from the fashionista’s favourite eaterie Zen, as well as play host to our new ‘shop the show’ boutique alley where show goers can browse and buy on-trend fashion and accessories from the shows.”

Belfast Fashion Week 2014

Check out all the different events below and be sure to book you tickets on belfastfashionweek.com. Let me know if you’ll be attending any fashion week events in Belfast or anywhere else for that matter!

WEDNESDAY 15 OCTOBER, 8.00PM – WEST COAST COOLER FASHIONWEEK PRESENTS “MEAN GIRLS” THE MOVIE in association with Odyssey Cinemas. Tickets priced at £15.

THURSDAY 16 OCTOBER, 8.00PM – Ireland’s largest online retailerwww.excelclothing.comopens FASHIONWEEK catwalkshows. Tickets priced at £20 or £25 for FROW.

FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER, 6.00pm - #FASHIONFRIDAY:THE BLOGGERS’ Q&A. Tickets priced at £15.

FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER, 8.00pm – DESIGNER BOUTIQUES AND LOCALDESIGNERS. Tickets priced at £20 or £25 for FROW.

SATURDAY 18 OCTOBER, 8.00pm – HIGH STREET. Tickets priced at £20 or £25 for FROW.

SATURDAY 18 OCTOBER, 2.00-4.00pm – SUSHI SATURDAY “The Director’s Cut”. To book call SHIRO on 028 9024 8000, price £25pp.

SUNDAY 19 OCTOBER, 2.00-5.00pm – STYLE SUNDAY in association with LIDL and in support of Mencap NI. To book call SHU on 028 9038 1655, price £45pp.

tan organic ireland

It’s great to see two Irish beauty brands doing so well. Tan Organic and Fuschia Makeup are two award winning companies who are really making waves in Ireland and the UK. I like to support local businesses when I can and I’ve been really enjoying using products from both Tan Organics and Fuschia recently.

Noelle O’Connor is the talented lady behind the luxurious Tan Organic range. After appearing on Dragon’s Den and securing 50,000 investment her brainchild has gone from strength to strength.  Tan Organic’s signature products are it’s original self-tan and the tanning oil, both of which are presented in slim elegant glass bottles. The tan is perfect to use for a special day/evening out. They contain high-quality, all-natural ingredients like Aloe Vera and Vitamins A, C and D. This all really appeals to me as I tend to react badly to most tans. My skin gets so itchy!

Tan Organic also sells a body oil which again is super luxurious and perfect if your skin is in real need of hydration and moisture. I can see me using the tan and oil on a weekend when I really want to pamper my skin. But when it comes to the Tan Organic Duo Bronzer, I’ve been using this everyday. I thought it would give a deep bronze colour but it actually gives your face a subtle bronze glow thanks to the caramel and warm chocolate hues. And I love the beautiful wooden casing – very much keeping with the company’s eco-friendly image.  Not only are Tan Organic the first Eco-Certified self-tanning brand but they are also certified by PETA and The Ethical Company Organisation.

Fuschis makeup ireland
Fuschia Makeup has been going since 2005 but I must admit to only hearing about the brand recently on social media. Fuschia has been steadily growing for years and it has a substantial makeup collection. All the products are simply but prettily packaged,  and very reasonably priced.

I’m in love with the matte lipstick in Vamp.  It’s a beautiful deep sensual colour (perfect for a night out) and the Eggplant lip pencil is the ideal match for it. I’ve been looking to buy a deep purple coloured lipstick for a while now but never get round to it. I can’t wait to sport super dark lips and the Full Moon pigmented eye dust with lashings of mascara. A great look for autumn I think.

And I’m currently eyeing up their range of make-up brushes.  As many of you know my suitcase was stolen on a trip to Dublin recently and my makeup and collection of brushes look to be gone forever.  I’m now in the process of replacing my brushes and I’m looking for ones with bamboo handles as not only do they look great but they are environmentally friendly.  Fuschia may just be the brand to go for.

Dublin city centre

Dublin street art

Dublin street artists

These photos probably do not accurately portray my recent weekend spent in Dublin.  This was a girls trip I had looked forward to for months.  It was a birthday celebration trip for my mum-in-law and her sister, and eleven family members in total travelled to Dublin for a long weekend.  I was looking forward to bonding, shopping, eating and maybe even a little swimming in the hotel pool.

Unfortunately disaster struck when we arrived by coach at Dublin.  My group were one of the last ones to get off the bus and when we went to collect our luggage from the hold my weekend case was nowhere to be found.  I immediately thought it had been stolen as there was no other case left.  Who took my case and where?  I may never find out as my poor case is still out there somewhere.

So I know this is not the worst thing that could have happened to me but I did loose quite a bit of stuff. From my lovely L.K. Bennett shoes and bag to my Armani specs and Fossil watch.  These are expensive items which I really loved and won’t be able to replace.  Then there were my smaller items like my makeup and makeup brushes and my lovely pink slippers!

But hey ho these things happen and I got on with my weekend.  I certainly didn’t need an excuse to shop but if I did, loosing my case would be the perfect one.  Now I know I definitely needed the new underwear I bought but perhaps not the three pairs of black shoes I ended up buying (black to match my mood perhaps?!).  I got some great basics in Zara – two plain t-shirts and a pair of navy skinny jean leggings.  Zara is bursting with fab basics and beautiful coats at the minute and thanks to the Euro the clothes I bought worked out cheaper than what I would pay for them in the UK.

It was pretty annoying having to buy makeup and skincare whilst I was away but I had a feeling I wouldn’t be seeing my case anytime soon and so I needed to buy replacements.  I bought my usual makeup bits (and I am slowly building up my makeup brush collection again) but rather than buy the L’Oreal skincare I’ve been using for months and months, I choose to try the Botanics range in Boots and so far so good!  Every cloud and all that…

Dublin is definitely a great city for shopping.  There are beautiful department stores like Brown Thomas, which is the place to go for your designer brands, and Arnotts –  which has a mix of designer and high street brands.  Look out for the haven that is The Shoe Garden!  I bought a lovely pair of Kurt Geiger Carvela sandals there (in the sale!).

I’m back in Dublin in November for a concert so here’s hoping I have a stress-free trip and I get to sample more of what Dublin has to offer.  I’d definitely like to stay in the Camden Court Hotel again.  Not only is the hotel very central (just a few minutes walk away from famous St Stephen’s Green) but the staff are fantastic.  They were so helpful and allowed me to make countless phone calls from reception in an effort to find my lost luggage.  They couldn’t have done enough for me and they even treated my whole group to a big chocolate fudge cake on the Saturday evening.  That definitely put a smile on my face.

Camden Court Hotel Dublin

delicious cappuccino

french fruit tart

LK Bennett at Brown Thomas

Dublin architecture

Dublin street art

Dublin fun

birthday cake

The Bleeding Horse Dublin