Monday, 27 March 2017

Skinfull Affairs - Affordable, Vegan, Cruelty Free Beauty In Dublin

Well, this has been a long time coming. Shit's been rather real lately and I just couldn't bring myself to sit down at the computer and blog once I got home every day. Apologies for the hiatus but it was kind of needed. I am sad that I didn't share today's post any sooner, though, as I'm stoked about the content. See, near the start of this year, a new shop and salon opened up in Dublin's city centre that I was dying to try out and I finally got around to it a couple of weeks back.

Skinfull Affairs, on Exchequer Street (right next to the standalone Ladurée store) is a store and beauty parlour that sells products and offers treatments that are cruelty free, natural and, in many cases, vegan. There are few places of this kind in the city and none that I can think of offer both beauty treatments and products. There are also few places to get ethical beauty treatments in Dublin that don't cost an arm and a leg. As ethical beauty is something that is really important to me, you can imagine how intrigued I was, once I heard about the store.

So, one evening after work, I finally wandered in for a goo. First of all, I was super into the aesthetic of the store from the neon logo sign to the metal details and the green and neutral colour scheme to the wood and marble effect furniture. Housed in the sleek and funky interior, however, was the main event: the treasure trove of cruelty free beauty and treatment. You can get everything in the store from natural sex products to basic skincare, henna tattooes to manicures with seven free polishes (nail polishes minus seven of the most harmful chemicals often found in the stuff), threading and tinting to facial treatments and massage.

Once I'd had my wander and a nose, I decided to make an appointment and came back the next week to try one of their facials. I went for their basic facial which costs an extremely competitive and affordable €25, which is then redeemable against product on the day (*Edit: The cost of the facial is no longer redeemable against product. Though I was told the offer may return at some stage. I suggest asking when you book an appointment.).

When I arrived, I filled out the standard forms and had a lengthy discussion with the facialist about my concerns and skin type. I got a refreshing lack of bullshit and good advice, if not delivered a little bluntly at times, and once we went over my routine, we realised I had somehow skipped over exfoliation. I'm constantly trialling new products and, admittedly, rarely buy much of my skincare, so sometimes things fall through the cracks. We picked out an exfoliating product from the in-house Yonka line called Gommage 305 (I'll probably review it separately some time) that cost €36.50 so, in the end, I only that amount for the facial and product - a serious steal.

The treatment room for the threading and quicker facials is on the ground floor at the back of the shop and doesn't have a door so I had some reservations about being in such an open and bright space but the lights were turned down and my chair was flattened out and it was easy enough to get relaxed and tune out the street noises in the distance. For longer treatments (more complex, targeted facials, microdermabrasion, massages etc) there is a more private room downstairs. But the upstairs room is perfect for such a quick facial and pick-me-up during the week. You get plenty relaxed with the aromatherapy elements of Yonka's products and the elements of massage involved in the facial and when you're done (in around twenty minutes) you can get up, pay and float out the door for a good night's sleep.

Even when I have a good experience somewhere, I tend to be a bit of a commitment phobe but I was so impressed by Skinfull Affair's venue, customer care, service and price that I made a follow-up appointment on the spot and plan to head back next month! If you care about ethical beauty, like Instagram worthy locations or are in need of a quick and affordable pick-me-up for your skin, this spot is bound to please.

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Saturday, 11 March 2017

How Buffy Changed My Life - The Moral Support to Survive my Teens and the Beginning of a Blog

If you mention Buffy around my family, my father will, invariably, groan. This is because I spent my latter teenage years watching and rewatching the show (and researching smutty Spuffy fanfic) instead of studying for my Leaving Cert. Buffy was an escape in a time when I was angsty and felt terribly misunderstood and oppressed by smalltown Ireland.

While I am being self-deprecating as an adult that has long since checked their privilege and gained much-needed perspective, I cannot deny that little emo (punk, actually, but the angst was, indeed, a little more emo) Colette had her trying moments. Teenaged wasn't a good look on me. Education felt stifling and unchallenging, the boys in my class often seemed to have a personal vendetta against me, I was an awkward lump that desperately wished I was pretty and it regularly seemed as if none of my peers cared about the same things as me.

I remember first watching Buffy as a young child when it originally aired and being so terrified by that hospital episode that I couldn't watch it again for years. At twelve, I rediscovered it and my new guy best friend and I shared a serious crush on the titular character. By sixteen, I was reading the scripts, watching the episodes over and over, and was seeking out novel-length fanfictions set in alternate universes, tracing Spike's life from his origins as a mild-mannered Victorian poet to the swaggering punk that Buffy fell in love with. Distraction has been long since the tool by which I survive the swirl of my thoughts when they become overly intense and no world - fictional or otherwise - was ever so distracting as the Buffyverse.

More than comfort and distraction, however, BTVS was a safe space. It was a distant place of adventure and fantasy but was also somewhere that the familiar things that I thought about and ideas I was struggling to navigate as I grew up, were tackled with grace, humour and humanity. And, of course, I had female characters that were complex, flawed, wonderful and in control of their own agency to look up to - characters that really haven't appeared that often in the two decades since - in spite of supposed progress. I always attribute the cementing of my feminism to Buffy and, in this regard, the show has changed my life unlike any other single work of art ever has.

Though I didn't think it possible, the show changed my life once again in 2012. It was my third year of college and I happened to finish my exams weeks before my friends because of the particular modules I had chosen. As they studied, I sat alongside them in the library whining. They told me to enjoy the sunny weather but this was before I knew how to go out and enjoy the wider world on my own. So, I sat. I pouted. I read. I read about things I'd never read about before. And I ended up reading academic texts about Buffy. And reading blogs. Lots of blogs. Fashion blogs. I thought, "I can do this too", so I did. I thought, "Why has no one discussed the banging style in Buffy?", so I did it myself. And, with a post on the style in BTVS, Wide-Eyed and Blind was born.

Buffy has taken me from the birth of ideas and ideals that would define the woman I became to a choice born of boredom that has introduced me to friends I would never have otherwise met, made me pursue the career I would have otherwise been too scared to try for, helped me become a fashion editor before the age of thirty, allowed me to sit front row at fashion week and taught me to be alone, be strong and brave enough to swallow my fears long enough to explore the world.

I, honestly, cannot tell you where I would be had BTVS not been in my life. Probably not where I am today. Probably a little more lost and a little less comforted. I actually don't know how to express my gratitude to the show and all involved in its production, something that is difficult for a writer to admit to, but I am grateful, in a vast, intense way.

Happy 20th birthday, Buffy. Thank you for everything you have given me, the lessons you have taught me, the nights you kept me company and the style inspo that you have imparted. I am genuinely a better person because of you.

Nli58b


Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?


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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Urban Decay's New Vice Liquid Lipsticks - Yea or nay?

In the middle of last month, Urban Decay, on the back of the success of the Vice Lipstick line, launched their new Vice Liquid Lipsticks (RRP €18.50). Admittedly, I wasn't that interested at first.

Liquid lips can be hard to apply, show up every crack and bit of dead skin and can feel really uncomfortable. Plus, the way they wear off generally isn't very fetching. However, the images of spokesperson Ruby Rose wearing the shade Blackmail on the red carpet made me reassess the situation. Suddenly, I wanted to see if Urban Decay could, once again, convert me to a product I normally wouldn't care for.

Well, call me the converted.

The press release made some bold, generic claims, the kind that beauty products almost always do but, as I experienced it, these liquid lipsticks lived up to almost all of them. Intensely pigmented? Check. Non-drying, comfortable wear? Mostly check. Zero transfer? Check.

I was sent the shade 1993 to try out and this was where I hit perception hurdle number two. While everyone seems mad for liquid lips and brown shades, I never cared for either. In my opinion, they often make lips look shriveled and dead. However, this was very much not the case. 1993 has a lovely red undertone that means it looks warm and like a more interesting classic red lip. I particularly liked it as it looks bold and pretty without being too in your face. As my lips are naturally quite plump, the classic red can be a bit overpowering in most situations so this is actually perfect as a nice, toned-down alternative.

These liquid lipsticks really are very pigmented, that is not a joke, but I often find this to be the case with liquid lips. However, where the Vice lipsticks nudge ahead, is in the fact that they are much easier to apply. Highly pigmented liquid lipsticks can be a nightmare to get right and I'm not a liner kinda gal, which ups the danger stakes. As the formula doesn't dry instantly, you can correct mistakes as and if they happen and the shape of the wand really is perfectly designed to both coat the thicker parts of the lip and get into the smaller nooks and crannies for more precise application. Then, once it dries, it isn't going anywhere.

The only downsides? The same non-drying element of the formula that stops the lipstick from looking nasty and highlighting all the cracks in your lips has a kind of tackiness to it that I'm not a big fan of - kind of like a gloopier lipgloss feeling. However, this minor sensory discomfort is a worthwhile sacrifice in order to get that matte liquid lip look without unpleasant desert vibes. My only other minor complaint is that there really is zero transfer but once it eventually does start to wear off, it isn't exactly pretty. Yet, in comparison to other liquid lips I've tried before, it tends to wear from the absolute inside of the lip outwards, giving you plenty of time to correct it and top up or remove the product before it starts looking nasty.

Overall, the price-point, pigmentation, shade, wear-time and application all really impressed me and made this the first liquid lipstick that I could see myself reaching for on a more regular basis. I think if I expanded into some shades that were a little more me, this would be even more likely.

If you've always been curious about liquid lipsticks but fear the desert mouth and tricky application, take it from your uncoordinated, fussy pal here: this shit is good.

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(This product was sent to me by Urban Decay to review as a press sample. However, all opinions are my own and I was not paid to review this product.)

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

LFW AW17 - Day IV

On my last day of fashion week, my true love gave to me...nothing. I just went to a couple more shows.

Or, to be exact, I met a friend from home for coffee, visited the designer showrooms in search of new brands and overlooked gems, wandered around the International Fashion Showcase in Somerset House (Poland was my favourite, btw), took some street style photos, took in the dramatic gowns (and walks) of the Barrus show and then, finally, swung by a rather theatrical presentation by Filipino designer John Herrera.

Then it was off to the airport for Japanese food, a beer and a swift return to reality, punctuated by a lovely bus trip home once I returned to Irish soil that involved the bus being swarmed by around thirty of the drunkest university students I have ever laid eyes on, who set the journey back by fifty minutes. What a crash landing back into the less glamorous ins and outs of daily life, particularly unpleasant for having to return home a day early and before the Richard Malone presentation: devastation, thy name is Colette.

Roll on next season!

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