Monthly Archives: July 2013

Dress of the Month ~ July 2013

July has been Sale month at Cathedral Gowns, so my focus has moved from the newest dresses towards some of beautiful dresses who’ve been friends for a while! So this month’s favourite dress might not be with me for much longer, and I genuinely will be sad to say goodbye to her!

This beautiful gown is Karena, and she really is something special! A fantastic lace embroidered tulle gown complete with an amazing sheer tulle coat. From the moment I spotted a picture of this gown in the look book from the designer ‘Fara Sposa’ I knew I had to have it!


The gown itself is strapless with a gently scooped sweetheart, and forms a semi fitted silhouette. What I love about this gown is that it is fitted long enough on the body to really showcase your shape and emphasise curves but since it flares out into a full skirt it has a real princessy feel. The best of both worlds! To really emphasise your curves I love the idea of adding a belt to this gown. Right now we have a fab floral lace textured belt that looks absolutely amazing on this dress.

The lace appliqués are arranged tightly to the top of the gown and gently fade out towards the hem. The gown features an invisible zipper closure which means the delicate lace continues almost seamlessly across the back of the gown. I am very tempted to add some satin covered buttons along the length of the zipper and right down the length of the train!


The most spectacular and unusual part of this dress is the sheer coat! I absolutely adore it! In all my years in bridal I have never seen anything like it, it is so unique! The coat forms a gorgeous softly draped shape around the shoulders, and creates a fabulous V-neck plunging into a four button closure at the waist. The emphasis on the waist really works well to balance the width created at the shoulders. The coat then falls completely over the skirt of the dress, and the hem of the coat is trimmed in a gorgeous lace detail. I absolutely love it!


I love that you have two looks in one and that the coat offers the perfect amount of shoulder and décolletage coverage for a church ceremony or a more demure bride, plus I just love the look! It feels very Grace Kelly, and I cannot wait to meet the bride who will wear her on her wedding day!

Now for some GREAT news, this dress is currently reduced from £1545 to only £795!

Friday Tanning Review: Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week tan

This week’s fake tan is Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week tan. Following last week’s very cheap but very very good fake tan, I have chosen a slightly more costly, but exceptionally good product!

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week tan


I am a strong believer that you do not have to spend a fortune to achieve a perfect fake tan, but when a tan is as remarkably good as this one is, I think it is worth every penny!

What makes this tan stand out, amongst other things, is the length of time it lasts!

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week tan

If like many people, you want a year round healthy glow, but cannot be bothered to reapply every few days to a week, this is the tan for you! Although it may cost slightly more than some, once applied it lasts 2 – 3 weeks, so it won’t run out as quickly as your average bottle. Upon first application I must admit, I was skeptical of the longevity of this product. But I was extremely surprised and extremely tanned for a full 2 weeks! This is also perfect for anyone going on a summer holiday that either does not tan very well, or does not like to sit in the sun. If you want to wear that beautiful new swim suit, with a drop dead gorgeous tan throughout your holiday…then simply apply this fake tan before you jet off, and it will last the duration, even with a few dips in the sea! Fakery at it’s VERY best!

This fake tan is a mousse which makes application very simple! I would recommend using a tanning mitt for best results! (See the application tips at the bottom of this review). And once applied this fake tan absorbs into the skin quicker than you can say “Lookatmyfabuloustan!” And with no sign of streaks! This is also a fake tan that you can confidently sleep in, to let it develop overnight before showering, and know that it will not leave noticeable marks and stains on your clothes or bed sheets! Bonus.

 The smell is very minimal and any small scent left behind (which can’t be helped) is very pleasant and refreshing. This fake tan is a freak of nature, in the best possible way! It is a gradual tan which means it develops over a few hours and lasts…not days like your usual tan…but weeks!! After 2 weeks the tan fades like a natural tan would, without any steaks or patches. Even with daily showers throughout.

In all my years of using fake tan I have never come across such an impressive, advanced and unique product. This fake tan does last as long as it claims to, and looks extremely natural, with no orange glow whatsoever!

At around £37 a bottle, with many retailers regularly doing offers on the range, you really are getting a quality product that saves a lot of time and ensures a natural looking tan that will have you living in vests and shorts all year round!

Vita Liberata also do many other amazing products to suit every skin type. They can be found here – or are available at Boots, Debenhams and House of Fraser in the UK.

If you would like me to review any other fake tans from their range please let me know!


 Application Tips – as always, your basic skin prep is essential – no matter what fake tan you use, it is important to have the best canvas possible. This means, hit the shower and have a good thorough scrub with an exfoliant all over the areas you intend to fake tan. This removes all of the dead skin cells that would get in the way of an even application. Once dry make sure you moisturise the ankles, feet, knees, elbows, hands and wrists. And if you’re going to be shaving, always do so around 24 hours before tan application. Always apply with a tanning mitt if possible, this creates a smoother application and makes it easier to cover all areas. If you have to use your hand, ensure all areas are covered, you have enough product on your hands at all times, and always wash your hands thoroughly straight after. If you have any visible streaks or patches, use a thin moisturiser to even them out.

Next week I will be reviewing an instant tan, with tips and secrets about the safest and best ways to apply!

Finally a Professional Brush Set to meet all your needs!

I see so many makeup brush sets which sound great in theory. 30 Quality Makeup Brush Sets…. you would imagine with 30 brushes that you have everything you need to create effective makeup looks, but yet you find yourself with about 20 of those which are completely useless to you. So I have been waiting and waiting for a company to actually use a bit of common sense and create a set of brushes which are well thought out and finally I have found them! have created their 10 piece Brush Set and I honest feel that I could create 99% of everyday looks with the brushes in this set.

10 piece makeup brush set by


Let’s take a look through the brushes you get in this set:

1. The first brush you get is this great, circular duo-fibre brush, very similar to the MAC 187 brush I am always raving about. The length and match of the fibre’s are perfect. It is a well constructed and very usable brush.

2. You get a very specific powder brush. I love the size and shape of this brush as it lets you use it for a multitude of purposes, it is big enough to use as an all over powder brush. It is shaped well enough to use as a contour brush and it is small enough to use as a blusher/bronzer brush. So basically you can use this as a 3 -in-1 Powder Brush.

3. Thirdly, you get what is conventionally known as a ‘foundation brush’ however, most makeup artists will tell you these aren’t used for foundation. They are however perfect for concealer! The fibres in this brush and smooth enough to create a flawless concealer application. A very good quality brush.

10 piece  professional makeup brush set by beauty boxes

4. Next you have a natural fibre large eye-shadow brush. This also is nice to apply concealer. The length, rigidity and texture to the bristles make it very easy to hold eyeshadow product in the fibres. I have used this brush with a range of different types of eyeshadow’s, from pressed, cream and loose pigment and it works perfectly every time.

5. Another very relevant eyeshadow brush made from synthetic fibres. This brush is a bit smaller and thicker than the first eyeshadow brush and is very much needed when creating makeup looks.

6. I was so happy to see this brush in the set. It is similar to the MAC 224 brush. However it is a little smaller. It is made from synthetic fibres. I can’t explain how necessary this style of brush is when creating makeup looks, especially the smokey eye. This brush blends eyeshadow’s in and around the crease line of the eye beautifully. This is the first brush set I have seen to include this type of brush.

7. Another great eyeshadow brush when creating beautiful eye looks. The small thick bristles are perfect for applying eyeshadow under the eyes. The tension in the bristles are great for pressing your eyeshadow to set your eyeliner both above and below your eye. I love this brush. It is fast becoming one of my ‘go-to’ brushes.

10 piece professional makeup brush set by

8. Another brush that is so relevant, is this synthetic angle brush. It is well crafted to ensure you can use it for a variety of purposes. It can be used with eyeshadow or eyeliner. The tip of the brush is pointed enough to ensure you can create any thickness of line you need to.

9. The last brush in the set is a synthetic lipstick brush. I don’t really need to say much about this. You know how much it is needed. It is a well made brush with no straying bristles, meaning you get an accurate application every time.

10. The last tool in the brush set is a powder puff. This is a great tool to have in your belt. Everyone should have one. They are great for when you have an oily patch to your skin. Use this with powder to set your foundation and you will get a lovely matte effect.  Using a powder puff also ensures accuracy when applying powder as you are pressing the powder onto the face rather than swiping it with a brush. They are great around the crease of the nose to really help set your foundation or concealer.


And there you have it. I haven’t came across a brush set to date where I can tell you how relevant each and every tool is. So if you are a makeup artist looking to invest in some new tools, or maybe even just starting out and looking for a great starter brush set you should definitely invest in this set.

That’s not to say that this set is only for makeup artist. I always encourage my clients to invest in some great brushes, without them you will find it almost impossible to achieve beautiful flawless makeup.

This brushes come in a faux-leather brush roll, reaching out to 35cm long x 22.5cm wide when unrolled and 22.5cm x 11cm when rolled.

This set is prices at £71.45 from . For a set of such great quality and useful brushes, it is well worth the spend.


Product Review: Stay Flawless!

If you haven’t heard of ‘Stay Flawless’ yet, what planet are you from?! It’s only the best primer I think Benefit Cosmetics have come up with yet.

stay1Benefit Cosmetics Stay Flawless 15 hr primer

This product comes with pretty big promises from Benefit Cosmetics. To be honest, when any cosmetic’s company promises something as huge as ‘Keeping your Foundation in place for 15 hours’ – I take that kind of promise pretty seriously and almost find myself setting out to prove them wrong. So, we’ve been having a lovely heatwave in Northern Ireland recently, during which I have been able to sit out in the sun getting some of my writing done, so I thought that would be the perfect time to test it out. Notice that the promise doesn’t state that it will keep your foundation in place…. if its nice cool dry weather…. It states that it will keep it in place, period!

little_miss_know_it_all_by_toysoldierdesigns-d4bonxjSo off I went on my ‘Little Miss Know-It-All Quest’ feeling very sure that out 30 degree heat would make my foundation slide FOR SURE! Which actually made the fact that I couldn’t prove the promises wrong even worse! It was a bitter sweet feeling as I actually didn’t want to prove them wrong either! Are you kidding, a primer which keeps foundation in place for 15 hours is my best friend! I just like testing the boundaries set out in advertising.

So I can safely say that no matter how many star jumps and sweating I did to try make this shift, it wouldn’t budge! My foundation stayed perfect for the full 15 hours!

Benefit Cosmetics Stay Flawless 15 hr primerOK so a bit about the product itself. It comes in a 15.5g stick which you twist up to dispense. The product itself feel very light and silky when smoothing on the skin.

When applying the product, don’t put too much on or you will struggle to actually blend your foundation. You will feel the product pulling back on foundation as you apply it, it almost feels like a glue. I found this product works best when you apply a few strokes over the main areas of your face and then smooth it out with your fingers to ensure that your foundation will be smooth and even when applied on top.

I have tried this foundation with a range of products and tools and on different  skin types. It works with both 0il and water-based foundations as well as cream foundations.

It works on all skin types. However, if you do suffer from oily skin and you feel you are still getting a bit of a shine in your t-zone with this primer, you could try a bit of Benefit’s other primer POREfessional in that area instead, it will help create a more matte effect.

Benefit Cosmetics Foundation BrushBenefit Cosmetic’s website, suggest using your fingers to apply your foundation over this product…. well you already know how I feel about that, USE A BRUSH! I found that synthetic fibre’s work much better over this primer than natural fibre’s. The Natural hair brushes create too much of a tug on your foundation with this primer and can leave your foundation a little streaky as a result. I recommend using either Benefit Cosmetic’s own Synthetic Foundation Brush or a MAC 187 Brush for a more airbrushed finish. If using the MAC brush, be careful not to put too much pressure on your brush, you want to blend with the white synthetic tips only. Check out my YouTube Video Here on Foundation Brushes for more info.

If you want to ensure the longevity of your foundation, always follow up with a powder to set it. Try out Benefit Cosmetics ‘Hello Flawless Powder’.

benefit logo

If you want your foundation to stay in place for a full day, you can purchase ‘Stay Flawless’ for £24.50 online at or Alternatively you can pop into any Benefit Counter to pick up this great primer.

Leave me a comment if you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts too.