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F A B   F I L L I E S

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Hey Fab Fillies,


Welcome to our blog where we will be chatting with various stylish ladies at the races, keeping an eye on the latest trends and a little bit of living thrown in for good measure.


Ellen xx

By ellenmartin, Feb 19 2017 07:43PM

Hey Fab Fillies,

Just a quickie post to fill you in on my latest vist to Kahlo & Apfel this week.

I headed out to Farran Village on Friday with my RHW (Right Hand Woman) Martina

aka Styled by Martina and we even had a pitstop in Peter Mark Mahon Point on the way

just to make sure we were sparkling on arrival in this tres chic store.

Kahlo & Apfel has gone from a two woman show to a one woman show and that super

diva/girlboss is none other than Cork's number one fashionista Reg Halligan.

If you know Reg then you know there is no exaggerating using that term for her and if you

don't know her then you are missing out cos she is the funniest, kindest, quirkiest lady you will

meet and a visit to her shop is a must for the laughter alone.

Reg sells previously loved clothing both vintage and modern day and there really is something

to suit all tastes. I was swooning on the day for a Selected Femme grey cropped jacket but what

I really fell for was a vintage two piece from the 1960s which I have decided to keep for Galway

Races 2017. I'm actually delighted that I have something organised as I don't find the hunt for an outifit

for Galway too easy at all!!

The new decor in the shop gives a chilled, easy vibe and the atmosphere is simply welcoming so I'm heading out this week again to Kahlo & Apfel for a bit of Reg Therapy and a browse on the cool industrial rails.

Til next time Fab Fillies....

Ellen xxxx

By ellenmartin, Jan 25 2017 06:48PM

Hey Fab Fillies,

With my fine hair, all of my life, if I tie it up in a ponytail there is a slender wisp of hair hanging aimlessly off the back of my head. Or if I decided to plait my hair - say on a day when I hadn't time to wash it - by the time the end of the plait has formed I am down to a little sliver of hair, basically a very skinny plait had formed.

But folks since I have had Peter Mark Rapture Extensions/Fillers in my hair a ponytail is like a horse's mane and a plait is a robust chunky stream of woven hair which I can assure you I am thrilled to flaunt!!

You know what, I would never have considered extensions or fillers for my hair as I am a bit of a no frills

type of person, partly for comfort reasons and partly out of laziness. But when I say my whole appearance has changed since I've had Rapture in my hair I really do mean it.

When you have a fine (thin) head of hair it really is hard to make it look like you have a full thick head of hair...yes you can go and ask for a full blowdry and load your hair with thickening serum but to be honest a couple of hours after you have left the hairdressers your hair had settled back into it's limp state, it becomes oily really quickly and you realise you are fighting a losing battle.

But with Rapture in your hair there isn't a bad hair day in sight. A full blowdry lasts for days and the volume stays in your hair until you are ready to wash it again.

I was in a boutique in Galway at the weekend and the lady that owns the shop said 'How do you keep your hair so healthy?' and I honestly wanted to do a jig around the shop when she asked. I filled her in on my secret and you know what it's as simple as that really - when you have Rapture in your hair it looks like you are healthy from head to toe. Undamaged, healthy flowing locks add to your overall appearance and I know that I feel totally confident since I've had Rapture in my hair.

Even today I got alot of hightlights in my hair with the Rapture still in fuss...just all the root area topped up with a beautiful blonde and I'm good to go for another few weeks again. About 4 weeks ago I had my Rapture extensions/fillers repositioned and I wont have to do that for another 4 weeks from now. Basically what happens is as my hair grows, the tape part of the Rapture comes down with my hair so every 7/8 weeks I need to get them moved back up to the root. This takes about 40 minutes and by the time you have your frothy cappuchino drank you're done...easy peasy!!

You know what, well for me anyway, being in my early forties, you start to think the game is up with trying to look good...well that is what happended to me anyway but Rapture has made me rethink that outlook completely and now I know with a little help I can look good and it doesnt matter what age I am!!!

Til next time Fab Filles!!


Ellen xx

By ellenmartin, Jan 3 2017 07:47PM

Happy new year Fab Fillies,

Hope Christmas went well and you are all ready to kick 2017's ass!!

To kick off our blog for 2017 we got to speak with one of the main players in the Irish Millinery scene.

I met this lady first very early on in her career and I could see from the word go that she has a natural flare for hat making and was going to be a very busy lady and that has come to pass. Let me introduce Cork Milliner Liz O Sullivan AKA Marc Millinery... Liz is an award winning milliner and has taken many Ladies Day titles with her unique headpieces.

FAB FILLIES: Liz....tell us a bit about your background..

LIZ: I am a mother of four and my background has always been in retail, admin and the financial services.

FAB FILLIES: Where did the interest in millinery come from originally?

LIZ: I have always loved hats, but only explored millinery a few years ago . As a child I loved crocheting and art but never realised my love of craft and art could be combined in millinery !! When I eventually found I could work doing something I absolutely loved it was amazing!!

FAB FILLIES: What gave you the actual push to start your business?

LIZ: I guess I had my fourth child and felt that if I could stay at home for a while and take a break from work, with time on my hands, what started as a hobby became a job . So I went up to a Lina Stein millinery workshop in Westport and loved it so much, and decided this is for me .

So Marc Millinery was born the name coming from my four kids names:

- Megan, Annamae, Ronan and Callum .

FAB FILLIES: Who would be your most frequent type of customer...mother of the bride, a racegoer or is it wedding guest?

LIZ: I would think mother of bride / groom and wedding guest are my most frequent , race goers are next and becoming a lot more popular as are so many women now enjoying a day at the races

FAB FILLIES: What is your favourite material to work with?

LIZ: I don't really have a favourite. I love creating different colour combinations using a variety of fabrics, ii I love silk, especially making matching silk flowers, I love felt at winter time, I love sinamay as I can experiment a lot with it, I have been known also to cut up a dress when need be!!

FAB FILLIES: What is your favourite shape or style of headpiece?

LIZ: Again I don't have a favourite per se.

I suppose for my business the pillbox is a very popular option as it's a nice easy size and easy to wear , then the beret is a very classy style as it is a bit bigger so it's a nice mother of the bride size , the disc / saucer is another favourite . I love the vintage shapes and especially love the 1950's .

FAB FILLIES: Can you see any particular style of headpiece being popular for the coming season?

LIZ: I don't see a particular style at the moment. I feel it varies as it's such a personal choice , some ladies love structure, others love flowers and feathers , others love embellished pieces while some ladies the simpler the better so really as a milliner you need to adapt to suit the client and also find a shape that suits them.

FAB FILLIES: Who or what inspires you?

LIZ: My inspiration just happens, it usually starts with colour combinations and really takes off from there , - a lot of experimentation!!

FAB FILLIES: Favourite places to shop?

LIZ: I love high street - River Island, Zara, Vera Moda, Penneys and Dunnes. I love Brown Thomas as a treat .

For something different I love Vanilla Boutique in Fermoy.

Coast in Cork are really helpful and great for weddings .

For that something special for wedding guests and mothers of the brides I have seen some beautiful pieces from Phoenix V in Cork .

I also love designs I have seen from Tina Griffin Designs, her work is amazing and her fabrics are wow.

FAB FILLIES: Any advice for budding milliners or someone else with an interest in the business?

LIZ: I would have to say go for it!! Look for courses in your area and give it a try -you will know if it's for you!!

By ellenmartin, Nov 8 2016 07:58PM

One of the first girls I got to know at Ladies Days when Fab Fillies was in it's infancy is the stunning Tasha O' Connor. We got to speak with Tasha lately and here is what she has to say:

FAB FILLIES: How did you become interested in the races and Ladies Day?

TASHA: I have been going to Listowel Harvest Festival Races nearly every September since I was a child, as its our local one. I always loved watching the style. I went to the June Listowel Races for the first time 3 years ago, and got picked in the final, I wasn’t going for "ladies day" so was totally shocked. I went to the July Killarney Races also for the first time the following month and was in the final. My whole outfit including hat, dress, bag and shoes cost me a total of €39!! So I suppose it all started from there!

FAB FILLIES: How soon before and event do you start getting organised?

TASHA: Sometimes it's totally last minute or if I see a dress I like on sale I will buy it and it could be the following year before I will wear it. If Liz at Marc Millinery is making me a bespoke headpiece, I will try to give her as much notice as possible. I often don’t even get to see her creation until the day before the races! But if she has a headpiece already made then it's totally last minute to find a dress to match the hat!

FAB FILLIES: Where does the outfit it the headpiece or the dress?

TASHA: For me it is the headpiece, I just adore hats! Liz at Marc Millinery makes the most amazing headpieces. The bigger the better!!! It's a lot easier to dress around a hat. I was picked in the final 5 in Leopardstown for "Best Hat" this year, as the hat was large, I bought a plain navy midi dress for €19, but the hat totally changed the look of the whole outfit.

FAB FILLIES: Your most memorable moment at the races?

TASHA: I've had a few memorable moments in the last year. It would have to be winning Best Hat at Killarney Races made by Liz at Marc Millinery. It was my first time winning anything and because it was Best Hat it meant a lot more to me. Also winning Ladies Day in Listowel as it is my local racecourse. I never expected it, so I was thrilled. I got picked last month for the top ten at Ladies Day in Limerick by Lisa from Lisa Lust List. She has such amazing style and for her to even consider me? The style that day was unreal!!!

FAB FILLIES: Favourite place to shop?

TASHA: Online shopping all the way, especially Asos, Chic Wish and House of Fraser. Penney's for shoes and bags. I am always looking for bargains! If I had the money and time it would be all the fabulous boutiques and to get a bespoke dress made. I am quantity over quality as love going to the races in something new so I can't justify spending alot of money on something I am only going to wear once or twice. Liz at Marc Millinery makes all the headpieces I wear. She doesn’t have a particular style of headpiece, so every headpiece looks unique.

FAB FILLIES: Any advice for someone considering entering a Ladies Day event?

TASHA: I am the last person to give advice but anyways... Don’t spend a fortune! (unless you can afford it of course) I think for me half the fun is getting an outfit together on a budget! Just have one item and work everything around that, the dress or headpiece first, as it can be very overwhelming. Don’t take it too seriously, everyone has different tastes! You can't please every judge. As long as you love what you are wearing. Keep an eye on bloggers pages as when they put up a dress a lot of women will buy the same one! I was at one once where there was 6 of us in the same dress! Go early, as I love watching all the fabulous style coming in, its like a fashion show! Bring flats (bribe a friend/partner to look after them for you), hair and safety pins!!

A lot of Ladies Days are on mid week over the Summer, sure no better way to spend a Thursday afternoon lol!

Go off have a few drinks and enjoy yourself!

By ellenmartin, Oct 16 2016 06:57PM

Good evening Fab Fillies,

Plenty of you ladies who enjoy Ladies Day at the Races will be familiar with the uber glamorous Mary O Halloran, but for those of you who don't know Mary then I hope after reading this piece you'll feel like you do know her. Mary is 60 years old (now when I read myself I couldnt believe it) and she is retired from the public service. Mary is mother to two adult children and loves her frequent trips to the races. We got to chat with Mary lately and got her take on the preparation for a day at the races.....

FAB FILLIES: How did you become interested in the races and Ladies Day?

MARY: I first attended race meeting about 5 years ago at the Roscommon racecourse, where the added attraction was the regular race night country dance night in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon. I recall being so impressed with the style of the best dressed ladies events in Roscommon, as the finalists would list off where they sourced their class outfits in regional boutiques. Must admit I was then unaware you could buy such beautiful style in smaller boutiques around the country.  Many’s the time I tried to scribble down the names of milliners and boutiques on the back of my betting docket!! I was hooked and decided I must give it a go and bought my first headpiece on-line.

One of my first Best Dressed Lady events was at Fairyhouse, I attended on my own, but was not left on my own for long, I recall Veronica Marley inviting me to join herself and her racing buddies, we have been racing pals since!

FAB FILLIES: How soon before an event do you start planning an outfit and is it the dress or the headpiece that comes first?

MARY: A couple of years ago I recall watching Goks Fashion Fix on TV, he recommended the three colour capsule wardrobe.  Stick with three colours that suit you and compliment each other.  I try to stick with a few colours that suit me, and try and mix and match. Over time I found that Irish designers design perfectly for all ages, great classic looks, gorgeous fabrics / colours for every season and skin tone. I usually start with the dress/outfit and then try and get a headpiece to match. I'm a bit of a last minute merchant I must admit, but find that Irish Milliners and Designers always do their best to ensure I get kitted out in time. I find they genuinely care about their customers and take great pride in their work/reputation. Ideally you should start planning your outfit/budget about three /four months in advance. Although sometimes you can be lucky with those last minute bargain purchases.

FAB FILLIES: Your most memorable moment at the races?

MARY: Kentucky Derby 2014, I managed to get chosen as a finalist, along side Carol Kennelly (who I didn’t even know at the time!) wearing my on-line hat purchase!! The system there was quite different to here, you just get a number and the judges allow everyone walk the platform, and then choose the winning line up by the number! Only the finalists are asked their names, outfit details etc.

FAB FILLIES: Favourite places to shop?

MARY: Must admit I love the Kilkenny Shop Nassau Street. They have lots of Irish designers there, and good honest advice from sales staff - then nip upstairs to enjoy a pit stop in the lovely restaurant. Time to consider “Will I wont I buy it?” I recently managed to get a 70% reduction on a Niamh O Neill dress and jacket there! I find Arnotts good also, Heidi Higgins, Aideen Bodkin, Fee Gee ….. I love Marion Murphy Cooney designs, nothing like getting fitted for an outfit, especially as you get older, well worth the two hour drive to her shop Atelier Design in Nenagh. Shopping on-line can work if you are patient and know what designs/sizes are for your shape. I have managed to get all great accessories on line, from Fab Fillies etc.

FAB FILLIES: Advice for anyone thinking of entering a Ladies Day Event?

MARY: - Plan, Plan,Plan!!

- Plan you day, Plan your outfit, Plan your budget!!!

Day - arrive early, have a “race bag” packed with essentials. Spare tights, plasters, needle/tread, safety pins, clips, paracetomal, Leave this “race bag” in your car or main handbag. Remember where you parked your car! Are you going to do your own hair, nails etc. Never leave the nails til the last minute!!

Outfit - Plan two outfits, zips have a knack of getting stuck at the last minute. Try not to leave the outfit purchase too late, a lot of the more popular outfits will have disappeared of the rails. Bring the second outfit with you just in case of a downpour or a spill! Wear as comfortable shoes as you can get to suit your outfit, no point in being an inch taller if you look in agony after an hour. Remember these events tend to drag on so be prepared to stand around for up to three hours. Dress to suit your shape, age and personality. Trends come and go, stand out by being yourself, and show your individuality. Less is more sometimes. Try and share accessories with your friends.  Try not to obsess about the judges etc, it’s not an exact science, dress to make yourself feel special.

Budget - Plan within your budget. If you intend going to both Summer & Winter events, decide on your budget and try and stick to it. Look at what you already have in your wardrobe, see what you can re-wear and sell the rest on-line or give to charity/friends. Plan your outfits, and approach your milliner in time as they are always under pressure as the race season begins. Typically it can take up to three months for a bespoke headpiece or outfit design. Send the milliner a swatch of dress fabric.

Finally enjoy the day, its a great opportunity to mix with fellow style lovers, make new friends outside your normal circle, and have the craic.  

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