Sunday, 27 September 2015

K-Pop Summer 2015 Playlist

I'm a big K-pop fan and this summer has been a particularly great one for launches and reboots. As summer is now officially over, I thought I'd pop some of my favourite songs from the last few months up here for others to discover/obsess over/fall into the endless pit of dreaminess/sign away their lives to being a lame fangirl.

(Also, the use of the term "k-pop" is being used a little loosely here as a couple acts are probably better described as rock or R&B bands but all are South Korean music groups/artists.)



































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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Zoe Jordan X River Island

Last season I was checking out Zoe Jordan's AW15 collection at Somerset House with 160g Magazine and, though I couldn't head over this time around, a little bit of LFW came to me on Monday night. In the Grafton Street store, her collab with River Island was launched in Ireland and, within a couple hours, many pieces were sold out. Fear not, however, as more stock is on its way!

Why did it sell out so quickly? Well, it's got a lot to do with Zoe herself, who has a refreshingly honest and practical approach to designing. She put several of her key hero pieces (the "cold shoulder" jumpers and smoky prints) into this collection, making her famous staple items available to a wider audience, and doesn't discriminate between these pieces and those from her own collection, seeing them as complementing each other. In a more general sense, she also believes in creating trans-seasonal, timeless clothes that reward the buyer by lasting.

With cute party dresses, smart tailoring, tough outerwear, cosy knitwear and dressy tees, the collection will easily fit right into countless wardrobes. And the balance between simplicity, badassery and impeccable fit means that, as she will tell you, Zoe Jordan's girl isn't any one girl but all.

You can shop Zoe Jordan x River Island online and instore with prices beginning at €47.00.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani

I normally don't write these kinds of posts, don't feel the need to repeat what's in press releases or could be summarised in tweets because I prefer to put out content that I've directly altered and made my own. However, when news in the beauty or fashion worlds really excites me and I'm in a position of privilege to hear about it early on, I cannot help but feel the need to share it with all of you!

The title has given the news away but: HOW EXCITING IS THAT? Gwen Stefani has been a major inspiration for me since I was ten years old. Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt was the first album I bought with my own money and I've always loved her fearless and experimental sense of style. Considering how bold but put-together said style is, her collab with UD is bound to be colourful and exciting - a perfect match, really.

Gwen has worked with the brand on everything for this limited edition collection from packaging to formulations and is stoked for it. She notes: “When Urban Decay came to me to collaborate, I immediately thought it was a perfect match. The way they've built their company is very similar to my aesthetic and approach. It’s all about creative self-expression, being strong and not being afraid to go outside of the box. Everyone in my life knows I absolutely love make-up. From a very young age, it was an artistic passion of mine. I actually used to be a make-up artist. I love wearing make-up and having so many ways to express myself through it. It’s my war paint. To be able to do a collaboration with people who get that concept and who are just as passionate about it is a dream come true. We've made and created products that I actually wear every single day. It’s the real thing. I'm obsessed with everything we've done, and I can’t wait to share it.”

Can't wait to actually see some of the products now!

The collection launches online from Urban Decay in late November and will be available in Ireland through House of Fraser and Debenhams from December.

Gwen Stefani
Photo Credit: Jason H. Smith / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Review: Urban Decay Brow Tamer, Game Changer

I try a lot of new products in any given month and, while I enjoy lots of them, it is rather rare for any particular make-up item to really, really stand out. However, I've had a spate of being wonderfully surprised by just how good Urban Decay products really are - the new Brow Tamer (RRP €18.50), in particular.

Before trying it, I saw rave reviews in a few places and that always makes me curious. In fact, I often justify my terrible hoarding habit by saying I need to suss out if cult favourites are all hype or worth the buzz. Sometimes they are but, often, they don't quite live up to the level of absolute praise and adoration heaped upon them.

Only launched in the past few weeks and already capturing hearts, the Brow Tamer, is one such product that lives up to the hype. The packaging is sleek, metallic and slim - perfect for popping in a bag and very much in line with Urban Decay's existing products. Where it gets interesting, however, is the brush. Slim and a little shorter than a mascara brush, it's the perfect length for dragging through the expanse of your brows for overall taming and colour but short and narrow enough for precision and concentrating on certain areas, where you might be altering the shape or direction of hairs.

You also don't get an excess of product on the brush when you pull it out and a mechanism inside seals it off when you push it back into the tube and prevents the product from drying out which is always good when it comes to brow gels and mascaras. Speaking of drying, the product doesn't do that gross thing brow gels are prone to, of going crunchy a while after application. Instead, it keeps everything neatly in place and, if you get the right shade, adds enough definition and colour that you can wear it alone, without pencil or powder underneath, for a more natural brow look.

Overall, it's now my go-to brow gel after a little over a week of use. And I can't see that changing anytime soon.

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(This product was sent to me as a press sample but all views and opinions are my own)


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Friday, 18 September 2015

Blog Awards Ireland

Hey, guys!

This is just a super-short post to let anyone who wasn't aware know that I was short-listed in the Blog Awards Ireland for Best Fashion Blog for the third time this year. I'd really love to progress to the next stage and would appreciate any support you guys could offer. I'm extremely grateful for anyone who keeps come back to my wee blog and all the experiences and opportunities I've had through it and due to you. If you've been on this journey with me for a little while or a long time and feel like I deserve a vote, just follow this link and vote for Wide-Eyed and Blind as the 2015 Best Fashion Blog. Voting closes on Monday the 21st of September!

I really am thankful for everything that's happened due to this blog and your continued support even if you don't vote - but please do!

Love,
Cx

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Review: Yogandha Relax Body Oil

Oils as moisturisers can seem scary. Especially if you have naturally oily skin. But I have completely embraced the notion, particularly for the body. In fact, I rarely use lotions anymore and almost exclusively gravitate towards body oils.

Yogandha is an Irish company which produces body oils and roller ball fragrances. The idea behind the company is that they go hand-in-hand with yoga and mindfulness practices but can also be used as beauty products separately from this. The body oils moisturise the skin and the roller balls can be used as perfumes but both also act as immediate mood boosters as well.

I tried the Relax Body Oil (RRP €29.95) which is lavender and vetiver scented. Now, lavender scents are always a gamble for me as I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with them. I either find them the best and most relaxing smells in the world or rather over-powering. In this case, it's rather strong but not quite so much that I can't enjoy the product - because I cannot make myself use a beauty product that smells unpleasant. However, this bordering-on-too-much smell is completely compensated for by how lovely the oil feels on the skin. It's ultra-moisturising without leaving you feeling too slick and the ingredients seem to soak into all the tension I carry. If I want a really good night's sleep, this is part of my wind down routine. And I'm always going to recommend something that helps sleeping.

The packaging is great, as well. I like that it's plastic as many oils come in glass bottles that I've had trouble with in the past. Another plus is the pump which makes it easy to use when you're going in for more product but your hands are already oily. The actual design (of both bottle and box), as well, is clean, pretty and suggests the ethical and ideological stances of the brand without being twee or vaguely costumey and problematic. In fact, they've won awards for said design.

And speaking of ethical stances, these are yet another reason to love the brand. The products are natural, vegan, free of synthetic fragrances and artificial colours, sulfates, parabens and phthalates. They are cruelty free. The boxes are 100% recycled and made in a carbon neutral facility and are compostable. Furthermore, 5% of their profits goes to Women for Women International.

Admirable stuff! Yogandha is available in Avoca, Liberty, Colette, Harvey Nichols, Anthropologie and Ahlens as well as online and I recommend giving their stuff a go and supporting such an amazing young Irish brand.

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(I was given a discount code to purchase and review this product but all opinions are my own)


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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Brands That Reward You For Recycling

Recycling is, in of itself, its own reward. However, it's always nice to get positive affirmation - especially when it comes in the form of free stuff from your favourite brands! There are several fashion and beauty brands that offer rewards schemes for recycling their products and as I'm passionate about recycling, beauty and fashion, I thought I'd share them with you so that you, too, can get on board!


Beauty

Lush probably has the most famous or well-known of these schemes. If you bring back five clean black pots, you get a free fresh face mask. They also take in their other containers, such as spray bottles, for recycling though you won't get anything in exchange for these. I actually did this for the first time recently and got the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask in return for my empties.

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Kiehl's have a similar scheme where you can bring back ten clean full-size empties and get any travel collection item. While this one seems like very little reward, it's still better than merely recycling normally and getting nothing at all so it's worth tucking away empties for a later date!

At M.A.C., if you bring back six primary packaging containers, you can get a free lipstick of your choice.


Clothes

For clothing, H&M take in pieces for recycling and sometimes offer vouchers to be used instore in return and Skunkfunk have a scheme where one bag of clothing will warrant a €5 voucher to be spent in the store. Some charity shops also give instore vouchers for items donated and Oxfam, in particular, gives a voucher to be used in M&S when you donate old M&S items. In fact, you can also donate items directly to collection boxes in M&S, if that's handier!


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Now you know! Makes recycling seem less of a chore, right?


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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Karen Millen AW15 with Louise Roe

On Monday evening I left work and made my way over to Brown Thomas where I was handed a glass of champagne and tried to juggle all my bags as I stood among a bunch of rather excited bloggers. You see, Louise Roe - who has had the kind of career most of us dream of - was in-house to give us a run-through of Karen Millen AW15 and their major trends.

The usual, leading faces in the Irish modelling world filed on stage in what I wouldn't have come to usually expect from the brand. As Ms Roe pointed out, Karen Millen brings to mind party dresses. I think of it as occasionwear, elegant, pretty. But what I saw before me was cooler, edgier. And I do so love when a brand surprises me in a positive way!

One of the main trends that the house is putting out there is Seventies. We're seeing it everywhere but Karen Millen are offering pieces that aren't at all costumey and very much take the best of that era and forget the woeful. It's modernised, sleeker.

Another of the other key trends is more gothic with a touch of Victoriana. Think lace, beading, embroidery. It's clothes made with intense love and attention to detail - all carefully constructed in their Shoreditch atelier. Again, though, the inspiration is just that, inspiration. It veers from costume into something wearable which will easily fit into wardrobes all over.

Minimalism is also back again with classics given a twist and made anew. Great for AW as its comfortable and practical, this interpretation, however, also incorporates some colour and pattern so that you can look chic and cool but maybe try something a little different and new.

Overall, the collection wasn't what I expected. In fact, it was much more than that with something for lots of different women and the kind of immaculate detail and construction that you usually pay a lot more for.

P.S. I want that suedette shirt-dress.

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Monday, 7 September 2015

Skinlogic Salon Relaunch

(Note: This is a repost. I have no idea what happened to the original!)

Little did I know that there was an absolute gem right on my doorstep! Skinlogic in Naas, Co Kildare is just a wee trip from my family home and tucked into a pretty little oldschool shopping centre just off the town centre. The exterior doesn't hint at how impressive their facilities are at all. From leading skincare technology, to stocking arguably the best fake tan ever (TanOrganic) and a luxurious make-up brand I had yet to hear of, to a spa space that makes you feel as if you're in an entirely different country, the whole set-up is amazing.

When it comes to skincare, they offer facials, peels and Microdermabrasion, as one would expect, but also offer the latest in Microneedling technology. Mirconeedling, certainly in this incarnation (a precise pen rather than a roller), is not nearly so frightening as it sounds. The needles in question are tiny and, in most cases, there is no visible bleeding during or after the treatment. While bonier areas such as the forehead may be uncomfortable, the rest of the process across the face is little more than a pinch. The idea behind the therapy (coming from ancient Chinese principles and Korean technology) is that the body is tricked into thinking its being attacked, triggering regeneration of skin cells at a faster and more effective rate. This was the first thing I learned about as I walked in and I didn't run away - testament to the knowledgeable, kind and helpful staff at the salon! In fact, the more I heard, the more I was intrigued and wanted to try it myself.

After having a goo at where you can get manicures and pedicures - amazing range of shades btw - I was told a bit about gloMinerals, the make-up and skincare brand that they stock, use in-house and sell. Definitely a high-end brand, it seems worth the investment - particularly for the stunning lip crayons, which immediately stood out to me for their shades and smooth application, and the base products. Despite offering high coverage, the result is pretty and, importantly, skin-like. I can't stand foundation that looks caked on and this didn't at all.

Then I popped upstairs for a massage and a go on the flotation bed, both of which were so pleasant I kinda had a nap while people were milling around at the launch...The d├ęcor upstairs, the relaxation room and treatment rooms, low light and decorative elements really do remind of somewhere far off and sunny and are seriously luxurious. It's the perfect place to indulge in a massage and some all-important self-care.

However, the best part for me was how kind everyone was to my mother when she arrived to pick me up. Not only was it lovely to share a bit of what blogging is like with her (the parents find it hard to wrap their heads around the whole thing) but she got pulled right into the whole thing and is eager for us to pay another visit.

Thanks to Skinlogic for inviting me along! Do pop in if you're nearby, the bus service do from Dublin is regular and doesn't take very long and Naas is a rather pretty town if you feel like getting away from it all for a day.

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Calle Del Mar AW15

Having a serious brand crush on the colourful and seriously cool Calle Del Mar by Aza Ziegler.

With deliciously awkward lengths - whether cropped or over-sized - and a clash of masculine and feminine by combining sportswear inspired pieces with ruffles, it reads as cool without having to try very hard. It's effortless, easy.

Expect beachy motifs, re-purposed materials (raincoat material skirt, anyone?), a wide mixture of textures and fabrics, embroidery, re-imagined and dressed up casual pieces and a colourful but restrained palette. It's very Cali-inspired but with a twist of complexity and imagination.

I'll have one of everything, please.


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(All images are the property of Calle Del Mar)

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