Friday, 30 October 2015

Lush Hallowe'en Purchases

Right off the bat, I'm going to admit to the fact that this isn't necessarily a collection of exclusively Hallowe'en themed Lush products. In fact, only one product is actually from their hallowe'en collection. I apologise for the lie, or half-truth, implied in the above title but what can you do? There was a sparkly pumpkin in the mix, how was that not going to end up grabbing the spotlight?

I digress.

Lush won't be new to, I imagine, a single one of you. However, as someone who is rather familiar with their whole line and who has developed very particular favourites and who has a lot of other (often much more expensive) products to compare them to, I thought I'd share a little edit of what I feel is worth buying at the moment.

Of the four items I purchased, two were regulars. These are the Tea Tree Toner Tabs and the Big Blue Bath Bomb. I'm sure I've harped on about the Toner Tabs plenty before but I can't reccommend them highly enough. Admittedly, I'm not sure if I've ever seen an outstanding immediate result from them - so don't expect that or from any product, really - but it's good to open up those pores and get right in there for a clean and refresh with some great essential oils. That aside, the smell and process of using them - you place a tab in a bowl of hot water and lean over the steam with a towel over your head, keeping that steaminess in, for a few minutes - is so relaxing and calming. I feel really refreshed and revived afterwards. At just over a euro, it's a steal because it's basically a home spa treatment for as much as a bar of chocolate.

Big Blue, meanwhile, is another relaxing delight. I love the smell, I love that the water goes uber-blue and that seaweed is released from inside it. It's good for your skin, leaving you feeling all soft and moisturised, makes you feel like a mermaid lounging around and it's always entertaining to see people's reactions to bits of seaweed floating around in the bath.

The Hallowe'en purchase was the Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar which is, sadly, no longer for sale online but is probably still available in stores for at least a few more days. Again, the water goes a super-strong, fun colour (orange in this case) and the bubble bar smells great. Plus, it looks like a pumpkin and turns everything sparkly! Not so much fun when you get glitter all over everything in the store, great craic when you're hanging out in the bath.

Finally, I picked up the Damaged hot oil hair treatment. I'd never tried it before but with lightened ends, I'm wary of my hair becoming overly dry and thought it'd be a good idea to give this a whirl. The ingredients were the deciding factor with this one; almond, vanilla, avocado and olive oil. All things my hair was bound to like. Cue revitalised hair that wasn't just smooth and soft but had a surprising, and welcome, burst of volume and smelled damn good. I approve.

With the weather becoming colder and indoor heating and wind and rain all attacking our skin and hair. With the days become shorter and darker and a little bleaker. With the craziness of Christmas looming. It's all reason to take care of ourselves and manage our stress levels and if you don't have the time/finances/opportunities to head to the spa/salon/dermatologist Lush provides a relatively inexpensive and easy means to ensure we have access to some of that all-important self-care. These products are some that I think are just the trick (and treat) (I apologise) (for nothing).

Are any products from Lush key to ensuring your sanity/vanity?

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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Paul Galvin for Dunnes Stores

Normally I hear a lot of hype before a collab collection drops but the Paul Galvin for Dunnes Stores collection managed to sneak up on me somehow. Which is funny because I've been saying for a while that such a collection was exactly what Dunnes needed. With so many amazing designer collaborations in-house for homeware, kids and women, there was a space that was crying out for some seriously contemporary, cool menswear.

And now it has been filled. While the collection is distinctly a fashion forward departure for the brand when it comes to menswear and the pieces have urban, contemporary elements, it also presents solid, clean separates that are good quality and would fit into many a wardrobe. You don't have to be quite the urban warrior that Galvin has put forward in order to find something for you.

But if you want to be that warrior, go ahead!

See, the thing is, there's actually plenty of exciting stuff going on for menswear in Ireland but it often requires having access to a lot of capital - something which is especially daunting if you might be worried a snide remark or comment might prevent you from ever wearing something a little more daring again. This collection is a high street collaboration, admittedly on an upper scale of the high street, but is accessible for many nonetheless. And, while it's pushing in a different direction with the styling of the lookbook, some of the decorative accents and trims, silhouettes and pieces such as the cape-parka hybrid, it's not too far from the accepted to give your average Joe trying something new too difficult of a time.

Galvin himself states that he aimed to create something which is "not so much a clothing collection as a clothing movement" and which "represents new thoughts, new language, and hopefully a new direction for menswear in Ireland." Some might roll their eyes at such an ambitious claim but I'm very much on the same page. Let's level the playing field when it comes to clothing - if nothing else, it'll make commutes and walking down the street more interesting.

The "Vanguard", (which was chosen to capture the "spirit of the vanguard warriors, the risk takers, who led military movements from the front") title of the collection seems interesting as well, given the timing. 1916 commemorations are looming and are very much present in the popular mindset at the moment, giving many of us pause to consider our rather recent past and the struggle for independence as led by some of our greatest thinkers, warriors and heroes as well as a lot about the vast changes which have overcome our little island in the past century. While it's dangerous to think more adventurous menswear is anything close to synonymous with a bridging of the gap of inequality between men, women and everything between, it's still progress when freedoms of expression become more normalised. 

Outside my tangents into the symbolic and sociological elements of the collection, it's just damn wearable and cool and I'm even coveting some of the pieces for myself. The collection comprises of 21 styles and key pieces including an overcoat, bomber jacket, shirts, sweatshirts, tees, sweatpants, sweaters and footwear with prices from €25. It is available in selected Dunnes Stores and online and went on sale on Saturday the 17th of October (sorry about my delay in posting on it!).

Will any of you guys be picking any of the pieces up? What do you make of the collection?


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(All images are courtesy, and property of, Dunnes Stores)

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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Charli XCX x Boohoo

Charli XCX's collection for Boohoo pulls inspiration from the nineties, something we've seen a lot of in recent seasons all over the high street and runways alike. However, she specifically quotes punk feminist icons, Clueless and The Craft - two of my favourite movies from the decade - as particular influences.

There are elements of the collection that I adore; the styling, the accessories, the palette. I mean, I'm definitely getting one of the berets. I just can't decide on a colour yet or whether I should try and justify buying one in every shade...The super-clingy pieces in the collection, however, are less my thing. I like the Clueless-inspired clothes and quirky accessories but feel that there could have been more intensely Gothic pieces à la The Craft. This is merely a personal preference, but there it is.

Overall, though, the collection is exactly what Charli intended it to be; fun, cute and, at times, rather sexy. It certainly celebrates curves in a very fearless way that I have to admire, even if I don't dress that way myself. These are party clothes for going out and are the epitome of fun. And a lot of the artist herself is reflected in them. It seems genuine and as though Charli really put her heart into the collection and was really involved in the design process.

Plus, you don't get enough opportunities in life to wear faux fur stoles and cuffs, right?

The collection went on sale on Boohoo yesterday and prices begin at €7.00 for accessories, €14.00 for items of clothing and €40.00 for shoes.

Have any pieces stolen your hearts? Who else really needs to re-watch Clueless now?

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(Images are the property of Boohoo and are used here with permission)

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Friday, 23 October 2015

Where can you buy Flormar make-up in Ireland?

Ever since I wrote about the relaunch of Flormar in Ireland, I've been receiving questions about where you can purchase the products. I responded to those who asked with the simple truth that I honestly didn't know where exactly, particularly outside of Dublin. Then, yesterday, when I was conversing with one of their representatives via email about a different matter, I recalled all of those messages and asked if they could help me out. Thankfully, Flormar were able to send me a full list of their stockists. This list will be expanding over time so what I'm including here is not nearly an exhaustive list. However, you can always check out their Facebook page for updates in the "About" section.

Hope this helps you guys out!

Adamstown Pharmacy (Wexford)
Adriane Dunne Ashbourne (Meath)
Aghada Pharmacy (Cork)
AllCare Pharmacy (Douglas)
AllCare Pharmacy (Wicklow)
AllCare Pharmacy (Donaghmeade)
Ardiluan Pharmacy (Dublin 18)
Bagenalstown Pharmacy (Carlow)
Ballybay Pharmacy (Monaghan)
Bangor Erris Pharmacy (Mayo)
Barretts Castlecomer (Kilkenny)
Barry's Pharmacy (Dublin 12)
Bradley's Pharmacy Blanchardstown (Dublin 15)
Bradley's Prharmacy Ardee (Louth)
Caherconlish Pharmacy (Limerick)
Clonminch (Tullamore)
Carroll's Pharmacy (Waterford)
Christine's Pharmacy (Navan)
Clonroache Pharmacy (Wexford)
Clonsilla Pharmacy (Dublin 15)
Collin's Pharmacy (Clare)
Corrs Pharmacy (Louth)
Colm's Pharmacy (Galway)
Dalton Pharmacy (Tipperary)
Daly's Pharmacy (Dublin 7)
Donabate Pharmacy (Co.Dublin)
Dooley's Bridge Street (Limerick)
Dorrian Ballyshannon (Donegal)
Drom Pharmacy (Limerick)
Durrow Pharmacy (Laois)
Edenmore Pharmacy (Dublin 5)
Edward McManus Pharmacy (Dublin 9)
Edward McManus Pharmacy (Dublin 9)
Ennistymon Pharmacy (Clare)
Fitzmaurice Pharmacy (Dublin 3)
Flanagan's Clearwater (Dublin 9)
Foley's Pharmacy (Dublin 1)
Foxford Pharmacy (Mayo)
Georges St Pharmacy Dun Laoghaire (Dublin)
Glen Easton Pharmacy (Kildare)
Haven Pharmacy Ballybowden (Dublin 16)
Health 1st Pharmacy (Monaghan)
Heathers County Pharmacy- O'Donnells (Mayo)
Heaven Drimnagh (Dublin 12)
Heffernan's Pharmacy (Tipperary)
Hickey's Pharmacy Rush (Co. Dublin)
Janet Dillons (Leitrim)
Janet Dillon (Kildare)
Janet Dillons (Dublin 7)
Jobstown Pharmacy (Dublin 24)
Kelly's Ardara (Donegal)
Kevin Karey Pharmacy (Wicklow)
Killinarden Pharmacy (Dublin 24)
Lannon's Pharmacy (Sligo)
Lennon's Pharmacy Ballymote (Sligo)
Leonard's Corner (Dublin 8)
Life Pharmacy Ballymun (Dublin 9)
Lismore (Mari Mina) (Waterford)
Lonergans Pharmacy (Dublin 12)
Looby Haven Pharmacy (Dublin 21)
Magners Pharmacy (Dublin 5)
Maxwell Pharmacy (Dublin 6)
McCaffreys Pharmacy (Dun Laoghaire)
Mc Cartan Sutton Cross (Dublin 13)
Mc Cartans's Pharmacy (Dublin 17)
Mc Cormack's (Kildare)
Mc Guinness Dundalk (Louth)
McDevitts Pharmacy (Leitrim)
Mclaughlins Pharmacy (Dublin 12)
McManus Pharmacy Clara Offaly
McMahon Pharmacy (Tipperary)
Medipharm Dundrum (Dublin 14)
Medipharm George's St (Dublin 2)
Mitchells (Galway)
Mullaney's Pharmacy (Portlaoise)
Mulligans Pharmacy (Mayo)
N.McSweeny's (Galway)
O ' Dwyer's (Tipperary)
O'Sullivans Pharmacy (Dublin 12)
Park Pharmacy (Waterford)
Ratoath Pharmacy (Meath)
Robert's Pharmacy (Limerick)
Sk Healthcare (Louth)
Springkeel Pharmacy (Mayo)
Staunton's Pharmacy (Meath)
Strand Pharmacy (Dublin 3)
The Cosmetic Outlet (Dublin 8)
The Link Pharmacy (Mayo)
The Rise Pharmacy (Dublin 9)
Thurlas Phar, Dunnes Stores s/c Thurlas Tipperary
Varden West Clare. Milltown Malbay Clare
Village Pharmacy Dundalk (Louth)
Walsh's Pharmacy (Celbridge)
Wards Pharmacy (Longford)
Waterford Park Pharmacy (Waterford)
Woods Pharmacy (Westmeath)

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(Thanks to Rebecca from Flormar for passing this information on to me)

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Urban Decay - Time To Start Composing Your Christmas Wishlist

Whether you're naughty or nice, Urban Decay has got you covered. With new launches and old favourites reimagined and repurposed, there are plenty of great gifting or self-gifting options coming from our go-to make-up brand this holiday season.

Yesterday, I attended an Urban Decay Make-up Masterclass with MUA Danielle Roberts in the Drury Buildings. I was so busy taking notes and photos that I forgot to actually eat anything so the make-up itself stood in for nutritional sustenance instead. But I felt pretty nourished by the end of it and left with a pretty long wishlist.

As Danielle completed her look, she talked us through the products, what was on trend and how to reuse old favourites in new and unexpected ways. She had so many nuggets of make-up wisdom that I wouldn't do a blow-by-blow account of the full process justice. Instead, I'm just going to highlight some of the points and products I found most interesting.

Now, the Vice 4 palette (RRP €48.00) was the clear star of the show and little really needs to be said about it. As insanely anticipated and popular the Naked Smoky (€46.00) might have been, this latest palette release from UD has been turning a lot of heads lately. While the Naked range is packed full of wearable neutrals that are often perfect for the everyday, go-to routine, the Vice 4 is all jewel tones that warrant a special occasion or a wearer who embraces colour. Both are stunning but the Vice 4 is majestic enough that it has swayed the heart of at least this minimalist and neutral devotee.

One of the things that Danielle kept talking about was incorporating UD's prep and setting sprays - not just at the beginning or end of the process, but throughout to bring in the skincare goodness that is infused into each one and to transform products into something new. For example, her tip to get the glowy, luminous skin that is so on trend, was to spray a little of their hero spray, the B6 Prep Spray (€14.00 for the travel size), into the palm of your hand and mix it with the foundation that you're going to use. This warms the products up so that they melt into your skin better and it gives your skin an extra boost of moisture and vitamins. Similarly, if you want to turn your favourite powder blush into a cream blush, just mix a little of the pigment with the Naked BB Cream (€30.00) and voilà!

One of the new launches that caught my eye - if you'll excuse the pun - was the Waterline eye pencils ($20.00). These are designed, you guessed it, for the waterline and offer a subtle enhancement to the eye, stay put and don't budge (seriously, I had to take my Clarisonic to the swatches on the back of a hand I had washed multiple times that day) and are also suitable for sensitive eyes. Which is all good news to me as my eyes water like crazy and tightlining my eyes is nigh on impossible.

The new Brow Beater (€18.50) brow pencil and Brow Tamer (€18.50) gel also got some love for being just the thing to create the imperfect, tousled and just wild enough brows that have been all over catwalks of late. I'm already a big fan of the Brow Tamer and the Brow Beater seems to do a great job of giving you thin lines to build up a natural-looking brow.

Another product, or range, that you might want to keep an eye out for (I apologise for that one), is the new line of Primer Potions. In addition to the original, beloved primer are ones for targeted concerns; Anti-Ageing (€21.00, Eden (a nude matte with full coverage, €21.00) and Minor Sin (sheerer version of the champagne-toned Sin, €21.00). All with the addition of a new applicator to help the product glide on more smoothly.

Finally I have to give a shout-out to the new matte lipsticks (£15.00) which are pigmented and bold with a lovely matte finish while still managing to be creamy and not too heavy - the best of all worlds! Plus, in the matte finish, the shades look truly gorgeous!

So much to look forward to! Will anything be getting a spot on your letter to Santa?

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Sunday, 18 October 2015

REVIEW: Olympia by Pygmankenstein at The New Theatre

I review things a lot. I try not to do it too much. But I do review things on a regular basis. These are usually product or collection reviews. This time, however, I've got something a little different. I was asked along to the opening night of "Olympia" in The New Theatre in Temple Bar. Intrigued, I agreed, even though - and, perhaps, because - it was well outside of my comfort zone and what I'm used to doing.

Firstly, I'd like to confess that I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a regular theatre-goer or someone particularly well-versed in the artform. However, I've been a student of literature and a lifelong lover of storytelling in any form. When I learned that this particular play was a proper Gothic tale, took inspiration from Gaiman and promised to be scary, it sealed the deal.

Bringing along my best friend, Sarah, who has the best reactions ever to anything frightening, we ventured into the theatre, which is fronted by Connolly Books. Upon entering, I had a burst of social anxiety and embarrassed myself while trying to explain who I was and why I was there. Memo to self: just give people your name in future, you'll be on the list, no further explanation is necessary.

Moving on from how excruciatingly embarrassing I am...I didn't really know what to expect. I came in with the prejudice that a play wouldn't be able to be really scary but a recent theatre experience that had me looking forward to what was about to happen, none-the-less. Plus, I always hear such great things about the scene in Dublin.

Very quickly it became apparent that I was, indeed, going to be frightened. Nothing beyond what I could manage but there was a note of that Gothic sensibility that pervaded and wasn't merely an aesthetic but an eerie atmosphere that left the room heavy with tension. The combination of lighting, visual effects projected on a screen at the back of the stage and sound effects á la American Horror Story's title sequences, a few minutes in set my heart pounding. I was immediately uneasy and the recurring motif of eyes didn't help with this. They are so precious and delicate that anything to do with them is utterly terrifying, especially for someone who has had their eyes cut up by lasers - even if it successfully gave me perfect vision.

The lead, Nathaniel, (as played by Michael-David McKernan) is a young medical student who is a typical figure in such tales; talented, intelligent, too Romantic for his own good, obsessive - in this case about the well-being of his eyes. McKernan embodies the nervous, single-minded energy of such a character to a tee, though seemed shaky in moments. A nervousness that seems to be his own, at times, lends to the tone of unease but, ultimately, only helps in building tension. His best friend, Lothaire (Shane Robinson), as the comic relief, is brilliant, charismatic and the ideal counterpart to Nathaniel. He steals the stage every time he steps on it.

Nathaniel and Lothaire meet Professor Coppola (Aenne Barr), an expert in transplantation and Nathaniel is taken on as an assistant in her research. Her motivation is the ethereal Olympia (Claudia Kinahan), her daughter, who lost her sight in an accident and who the research ultimately aims to cure. Clara (Erin Gilgen), Nathaniel's fiancée and Lothaire's sister, rounds out the cast as one of the voices of reason and one of the heroes of the piece. Barr is perfection as Coppola, a grand dame who seems to have it all together but slowly unravels, and upon her introduction it seems obvious that something is amiss.

The tale is set up nicely with immediately identifiable "types" of the genre, yet Pygmankenstein (the writing duo of Nora Kelly-Lester and Lauren-Shannon Jones) make sure that we're constantly surprised and guessing. And, yes, very afraid. I was genuinely scared several times and, in a relatively quiet theatre, Sarah gasped pretty damn loudly. I would definitely recommend giving this a goo, especially for the season that's in it!

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(Thanks to Insight and the company for having me!)

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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pamela Scott AW15 - "The Collection"

One of the most admirable things that a brand can do is take a new direction without leaving loyal customers behind or losing their identity. It's a difficult line to tread, indeed. Yet, Pamela Scott seems to have managed it.

As I walked into the press day, I noted the garments that my aunt or mother would normally visit the store for were still present on the racks; classic, warm coats, elegant knitwear, dresses fit for the office and weddings. Pamela Scott, after 40 years in business, knows what their woman wants and makes sure she'll keep returning to get it.

But they're also opening the door to a younger woman who they say is in her forties. One look at "The Collection," however, and I find I could wear much of it myself. In fact, there are some crisp pieces that I've been keeping an eye out for elsewhere to no avail.

The Collection offers pieces that look and feel much more expensive than they are. There are some pretty dresses - some exceptionally pretty dresses - suitable, again, for both office and party alike but there are also some separates that are seriously cool. One of my favourite looks from the whole collection is a pair of black, clean culottes with a floaty cream pussybow blouse. The blouse hits at the 70s trend that is everywhere but is simple enough to outlive the trend. The culottes are the perfect shape and length and utterly wearable - something I've been trying and failing to find. Pamela Scott knows real women and real bodies and these clothes are easy to put on without stressing about careful styling to make trends designed for models work on shorter or curvier forms.

Another highlight are the coats - one in camel and another in a deep, rich green. Tailored and neat, they are the perfect piece to dress any outfit up for any occasion. These are wardrobe staples that will earn their keep rather than gather dust.

Capes also appear. One is navy and structured - a little Gossip Girl, in that regard - and the other is a big, drapey knit piece in grey tones. Both are timelessly chic and on trend.

After viewing the show and being impressed by it, I ventured upstairs, at their encouragement to become better acquainted with the store at large and was taken aback by the quantity and range of formalwear. I was unaware but if you're after a Debs or bridal party dress, they've kind of got you covered!

Pamela Scott knows Irish women and a much wider cross-section of the population than I previously thought. They know how to dress our bodies and what we want and how we celebrate. And now they're also being a little more fashion-forward. They'll probably never make faddy, super on-trend pieces but, rather, garments that you'll cherish and wear over and over again with just enough awareness of current taste to be fashionable and enough timelessness to remain relevant for years to come.

Here's to the next forty years of this great Irish institution of fashion!

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(Thanks to Pamela Scott, Sorcha and the team at Elevate for inviting me!)

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