Saturday, 22 September 2018

5 Highlights Of LFW SS19

London Fashion Week, my old pal, came early this season. It sneaked up on me and things were chaotic (even more so than usual) in the run-up. As a result, I decided to chill out a bit and not book up every second of my day. I took things easier, I breathed a little and I tried to be more in the moment; it was a very different fashion week and I made more meaningful connections with brands and people, which is a rare thing at LFW.

So, my highlights this time around are extra special. Here are the best collections and brands that I encountered at LFW SS19.


1. Katie Ann McGuigan

I'm a bit of a smug arsehole, in general, which is why Katie's SS19 collection was all the more gratifying for me. I was at her first show, at Fashion Scout, years ago and called her as an incredible talent right away. To see her have her first standalone show on the official LFW schedule and for her to kill it once more proved me right in picking her out and that only delighted me. Her collection, celebrating the unity that can be displayed in sports culture, takes elements of football kits and sportswear and adds ruffles and pleats, transforming something often seen as "masculine". The use of colour, as ever, was bold and brilliantly executed and the accessories showed a keen understanding of streetwear and what people really want. Bigger and brighter things are ever ahead for this talented designer.





2. Xu Zhi

Two Temple Place, a stunning Gothic Revival building that features stained glass windows, gargoyles perched outside, rich wood panelling, chandeliers and more, played host to Xu Zhi's Emily Dickinson-inspired SS19 collection. The presentation was a magical experience, guiding the guests through the building to various tableaux of paired models against dramatically lit sets, and even the jostling (often rude) crowds and German couple sharply cursing them couldn't ruin it. Delicate, elegant and leaving a strong impact, the collection was poetic and filled with pieces that were at once dreamy and utterly wearable.




3. Alexandra Moura

Alexandra Moura was actually my first show of the season, landing me on Brick Lane first thing in the morning on Friday. And it woke me up right away. The collection was inspired by the time that the designer's time, while growing up, in the countryside village where her grandparents lived, and getting ready in their Sunday best for mass and occasions. The church bells that tolled during the show were a little triggering but the lacy dresses, lace kid gloves, headscarves, ruffles, flounces, and cool denim looks majorly inspiring and well worth getting out of bed for...





4. Isosceles Lingerie

On my first trip around the designer showrooms - a scouting trip to inform my next, proper visit the following day - I noticed Isosceles Lingerie. The neon mesh caught my eye right away. Then, upon getting the lookbook, I read the accompanying notes from one of the models, writer Cara Scheffler, and it sealed the deal for the brand. It opened with Scheffler talking about being upskirted while furiously trying to fit in grocery shopping between meetings in New York and being too busy to be upset by it. The text goes on to explain that the idea that lingerie is for the person wearing it and not anyone else is almost redundant at this point. It's just simply the case. The campaign is all about claiming ownership of your body and presenting it how and when you choose. And I am totally on board.


5. Nelson

As I noted, I encountered a lot more kindness this season and one of the gentlest, loveliest soles (geddit it?) of all was Jamie Nelson, shoemaker and designer at the Melbourne-based footwear brand Nelson. Made to order and customisable, the shoes from this brand are sustainably made, stunning and very special.



Can all fashion weeks be this chill and filled with impeccably-made beauty, please?


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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Your Smile Direct - Onto The Retainer And The Final Steps Of The Treatment

After six months (or a little over that, I messed up my scheduling of things – utterly my own fault), I'm finally on the retainer stage of my aligner treatment with Your Smile Direct. And, after another six months of 22 hours of wear a day, I'll only have to use them at night. While the treatment has been comparatively bump free, especially having had traditional braces as a teen, I can't say that I won't be happy to be able to walk around without a mouth full of plastic during the day.

In saying that, as I look back on things and having actually experienced it for myself, I have to say that I really and truly believe this to be an excellent option for lots of people who have always wanted to straighten their teeth.

Yes, it's cheaper and that's a big deal, but there are lots of things about the treatment process that I preferred to my braces (which I hated so, so much). Although, in saying that, depending on what you need done, aligners do have limitations. Some people will need traditional braces and other treatments in order to correct issues they have and, personally, my bite could not be entirely fixed by either braces or the aligners. I would have had to have had my jaw broken and reset and I decided I wasn't doing that a long time ago. Instead, I simply had my upper row of teeth widened to align with the lower row more comfortably and the results are subtle but noticeable. The gap between my teeth is much smaller. I'm pretty happy with the result, even if I'll never have a perfect smile.


What I am completely happy with, however, is the whole process of using Your Smile Direct. I talked about the consultation process and how the aligners work in a previous post, then about getting my aligners and getting used to them here and about the halfway point of the treatment here, if you want more detailed information about the whole treatment from beginning to end but I thought it might be a good idea to outline the main points that I think really sealed the deal for me on why it's a great option.

1. Convenience

Aside from my initial consultation (which can be done in person or online using moulds – I went in person), everything was done online. Your aligners are sent to you in one package, you get your retainer at the end and if you have a freak accident and something happens to the retainers, they'll post another set out to you. No taking time off from work or having to travel for appointments. Considering how busy I always am, this was incredibly beneficial and convenient and I imagine most people would feel the same way.

2. Pain is lesser

I won't lie and say there was no pain. The aligners can rub and the pressure of your teeth being realigned can be painful but nowhere near as painful or as invasive as traditional braces with their wires, tightening and gum rubbing. When I first got them, the aligners were hard to adjust to and I had all sorts of issues with saliva, a lisp and pain but, as the treatment continued, these issues almost all went away and the pain and lisp would only return a little when I moved on to the next aligner and last less than a day or two. Being able to take the aligners out also means that, if it gets real bad, you can pop them out for a few minutes reprieve, which was not an option with the braces I had wired into my skull. However, bear in mind that you can't eat or drink (anything other than water) with them in and remembering to put them back in and making sure you wear them for at least 22 hours a day can be a pain and cramp your lifestyle a little: going for cocktails for a few hours is a lot less glamourous when you have to keep pulling plastic out of your mouth.

3. Cost

While I didn't pay for my treatment as I was working with the brand to review the process, I do know that it would have costed a fraction of what my parents paid for my treatment as a teen. Being able to undo the relapse in my teeth that I had stupidly caused by not wearing my retainer was brilliant as I had always felt guilty about it and wanted to right that wrong. I was even already looking into the brand before they contacted me and I know that they would have been the only viable option for me finances-wise atm.

4. Aesthetics

No, I'm not talking the charming minimalist aesthetic of the brand, its packaging, website, literature etc, I'm talking about how they look. As in, you can't really notice them at first. Really. Barely anyone spotted them without being told first (I even made out with someone once and didn't have time to take them out and he didn't notice them – tmi?). The one time a friend made a comment about it, she simply thought I'd had my teeth whitened as the shininess caught her eye. So, if you're self-conscious about the idea of having braces, this might be a good option for you!

5. Customer Service

Admittedly, I was working with the brand as press, however, I was often dealing with people who weren't aware of this and the customer care was always impeccable throughout. When my aligners needed replacing, it was done asap, when I was making my original appointment and following up after the consultation, everyone was attentive. Not being there in person throughout the treatment doesn't mean you're just abandoned and the balance of attention and convenience was perfect.

So, all in all, if you've always wondered about braces or getting orthodontic work done, this might be a more affordable and time-efficient option for you. Just contact the team at Your Smile Direct and book a consultation to see if it's for you!

(This is not an ad or sponsored. My treatment is being provided free of charge by Your Smile Direct but all opinions are my own.)


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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

5 Everyday Essentials From Primark Beauty


I have been lucky enough, through blogging (over six years of it), to get added to press lists and be sent samples of products for years. As a result, I often have an excellent skincare regime with products that I shouldn't really be able to afford on my budget and way more beautiful makeup products than is necessary for someone who doesn't wear makeup more than a few times a month. Not to say that I haven't worked hard or don't deserve any of this.

However, in addition to the luxurious products that we all love and want, I'm a big believer in budget items that pack a punch. I have always had favourite products among the Primark Beauty line but they have majorly improved and expanded in the past few years and now there are lots of great pieces that you can pick up in store for a steal! Best of all, they are cruelty-free and have recently received official certification.

On a daily basis, there are some key products that I have been using that have been saving my life and that have made it into the main rotation, which goes to show that a higher price doesn't necessarily mean better. Here are the five everyday essentials from Primark in my beauty routine that I swear by...

1. The Blemish Blaster Clear Gel Patches

Every time I go to Penneys, I grab a handful of these guys. They are KEY items in my skincare routine atm and a necessity for hormonal breakouts.

Part of the Kpop line of products, they are little clear patches with salycilic acid and other ingredients that are used to bring down inflammation and help heal acne. I've used plenty of similar patches from Korean brands (where they originated) before and loved them (the Cosrx ones are notable and famous in K-beauty as popular favourites) but these guys cost just €1.50 per pack of twenty and can be readily purchased in Ireland rather than ordered online - that's hard to beat! They are really effective and I wear them overnight to bring down angry spots, especially those under-the-skin, painful ones. During the day, if I have a really nasty breakout, especially one I'm tempted to pick at, I slap a patch over it to keep it out of my mind and, if you apply it carefully (no air bubbles or puckering), they are clear enough that they should go unnoticed (unless someone is up in your personal space). I can't sing this product's praises enough and pray to God that it becomes a permanent product!

2. Facial Massager

That weird, Medieval-torture-device-looking mofo is a silicon facial massager and my current best friend (sorry, Sarah). I use it at night, after my serums (yes, plural: I'm that bih) and moisturiser, to massage my neck and face and it visibly makes my face more defined and less puffy the next day. I'm a big believer in facial massaging, in general, as it increases blood flow and helps keep your skin happy. I've really noticed a difference when using this, even if briefly, each night. You can totally go buy a jade roller, like the ones you've seen on Insta, but this only cost me a few quid and has been pretty damn effective. I skipped it one night recently and my whole face was puffy the next morning (my nose was massive!).

3. Overnight Lip Treatment

My worst habit is picking at my lips when nervous, bored or deep in thought. As a result, a feature that takes up a rather significant portion of my face is often ravaged. I now apply this deeply moisturising lip treatment each night before turning in and my lips are a lot less destroyed than usual. Just having the pot next to my bed makes me remember to do it too!

4. Kpop Bubble Blush Cushion Blusher (in Pastel Pink)

I had really wanted to try a cushion blush but was struggling to find one by a cf brand when this guy came into my life. I love a pale-ass pink blush, and while you have to be careful with the amount you use (unless you want to look like a rag doll: you do you), this is a really pretty shade and exactly what I had wanted. And it only cost me five quid. Admittedly, I don't use this every day as, as I mentioned, I don't wear makeup on the daily, but I reach for it often.

5. Miscellaneous "Boring" Products

So, this isn't technically one product and the one pictured above is a pack of the Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes, but Primark is great for beauty basics; cotton wool, wipes, q-tips, etc. Inexpensive and well-made, they are great. (Note: I carry these wipes to clean up messes I make - like of my life - and wipe my hands or as a temporary solution if I get sweaty. I never use wipes to cleanse my face as they're not great for face-skin but, as I said before: you do you.)

Primark Beauty will surprise you, if you give it half the chance so if you check out these excellent favourites and let me know how you get on! They're all pretty indispensable favourites for me now.


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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Where I've Bean: Introducing Bean Magazine

bean mag

No posts in May. (Until now) It's disgraceful.

I'm aware.

But I have a good excuse. I swear: I founded a magazine/website, Bean Magazine, with a bunch of my friends, some incredibly talented women that I love and admire.

Well, I tell a lie. I founded the magazine back in February but it finally went online this month and it has taken up all of my spare time. I designed the logo, built the site, proof-read the articles, published them and did the social media...all while writing my own, having a day job and trying to have a life. So, I've been busy.

Excuses, excuses, I know and balance is coming, which will mean I'll be back on here more but, for now, you can head to Bean for more content. The content that has been absent from here.

But what is Bean Magazine?

It is an all-woman team of writers creating content for women in Ireland. It aims to be a source of fun, escapism and joy but all the while having a heart and soul. So, there'll be lots of fun, interesting content but also some serious topics, lots of women's issues and plenty of tips and tricks on how to live a happier, healthier life. There will be all sorts of topics covered from food to fashion, art to television, beauty to travel and more.

Most of all, we want Bean to be a community. We don't want to just talk at people. We want to talk to people. And hear back from them. And get them involved, so we'll have a submit page where you can get involved too. If this sounds like your thing, consider getting involved, we'd love to have you on board!

We want to encourage fun, passion, joy and have a space where the maddest thing you've always wanted to write but never have found a space for can finally find a home, where you can share a love of writing you might not have been able to indulge, where you can voice an opinion or a frustration you've never been able to get out there and where you can be heard.

Welcome to Bean Magazine, we're very excited to have you!


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Monday, 30 April 2018

Dad Trainers As The Basis Of An Outfit Every Day For A Week

dad trainers outfits

Dad trainers, the great sartorial divide of our times...

I'm very much for them, let me make that clear. However, my affection very much comes with plenty of terms and conditions. I'm not an old fogey who complains about ripped jeans (within reason) - I get how pre-wearing items can be aesthetically pleasing - but I refuse to pay for runners that look like they've been worn until they are a gross brownish-white. Refuse. Similarly, I need the colour palette to be attractive - I'm not into some of the deeply unattractive and fuddy-duddy, drab "Dad" colour schemes. Basically, give me the fat silhouette, but make it a little slicker, and give me a couple extra inches of height in the sole. Footwear that makes me taller, looks fresh and is comfy? Yes, please.

So, now that we've established where we stand when it comes to my opinion on the trend, let's talk styling. I was a little concerned, before they arrived, that these guys from Public Desire might not be overly versatile. When I laid eyes on them in person, I quickly realised that they were going to actually be really fun and easy to style with a bunch of different kinds of outfits. 


First off, I faced Monday in a comfy outfit comprised of the lovely cream hoodie I bought in Seoul and these cropped favourites from Topshop and then pulled the hair around my face back into a little pony on top of my head. As I said, it was comfy and that was key for how I felt on the day (i.e. dead tired) but the cream accents on the runners tied in nicely with the hoodie, which is a more structured fit, making it all look more polished.


Day two was a more girly look with my custom-made pinnie over an & Other Stories striped long-sleeve, a bunch of pins and these cute heart-shaped sunglasses from Primark. The little bit of height in the runners made me look good and leggy and they also made an otherwise sweet outfit a little fresher and more interesting.


For Wednesday, I was wearing my politics on my chest with my Repeal sweatshirt, a striped over-long-sleeve underneath to break up the all black a little, and my trusty Jamie jeans from Topshop that are about six years old and still going strong despite constant wear.


Thursday was one of my favourite looks, quite different from the others. My powder blue suit from Savida at Dunnes made another appearance with my white Winona tee underneath and the runners to make the whole thing a lot cooler and less stuffy. I was still pretty overdressed for everyday life but I was so into the look and I'm so used to being overdressed that I didn't really care.


However, in saying all this, my last look was my favourite. A little Hypebeast-wannabe but still cool enough that I'm not mad at it, it brought out these faux leather sweats from Topshop that I got years ago and have never really worn and saw them paired with my beloved Vetements hoodie, some Vetements socks and my new faves: the dad trainers. It was effortless, made me look tall and lean and was comfy as hell. The kind of outfit magic that I always aim for but seldom achieve to this level.

So, moral of the story is: if you get the right dad trainer, they will work with everything in your wardrobe, give your tired feet a break and look cool as hell while they're at it.


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