Monday, 29 June 2015

Top 10 Summer Beauty Essentials

Rachel Dalton communications will always have a rather fond place in my heart. Not only were they the first PR company to start working with me but they are also enduringly unbelievably helpful and kind. Last week they had an event and put together some essential summer beauty products from the brands they represent. I'm pretty on board with the list - how about you?

Summer Beauty Essentials

1. The MICRO Pedi Nano (€39.95) is a travel-size version of the cult favourite. Cute, dinky and perfect for throwing in your suitcase, I can utterly see why this would be a summer essential. I have the regular version and it turns my poor, battered feet into something presentable - which is good, because, boy do I love sandals!

2. Keeping your teeth looking their best on the go is also majorly important which is where the Violife SlimSonic (€12.95) comes in handy. Adorable and mega-handy at perfect pop-in-your-handbag size. It's a no-brainer.

3. Ziaja, luckily, make a travel range that is perfect for maintaining healthy hair and skin on the go. The 50ml versions only cost €1.99 and a particular fave is the Natural Olive Conditioner which revitalises hair pretty instantaneously.

4. SPF is kinda my jam so Ziaja's Sun Antioxidant Face Cream with Vitamin C SPF50 is a must. At €8.99, it's uber-reasonable for such a high factor and is light on the skin but not on the protection.

5. REN's Moroccan Rose Gold Glow Perfect Dry Oil (€28.00) smells A-mazing. Seriously. It also makes you glowy and gorgeous, works for hair and body and gives you a lot of product for your money. Cannot recommend it highly enough.

6. Me and leg-shaving have a notoriously tricky relationship. Giving a klutz a razor is probably not the best plan, but I love me some smooth skin. To help, Total Shaving Solution's Natural Shaving Oil (€5.48 for 10ml and €11,17 for 25ml) has your back. Just remember to hide it from everyone else!

7. Back to teeth, Kin's Whitening Toothpaste (€8.04) is sulphate-free, reduces plaque, smells good and does wonders for brightening your smile.

8. WaterWipes are literally the only wipes I recommend now (though a good cleanse is still necessary, obvs) with the travel pack costing only €0.99 and packaged nice and slim, it's the perfect thing for taking care of children's skin or removing make-up. Multi-tasking is always a good thing while on the run!

9. Viviscal has done wonders for my hair, the Gentle Shampoo and Moisturising Conditioner (€14.95 each) will keep your locks happy, help those with fine or thinning hair and do so naturally.

10. In a similar vein, Perfectil (€12.95), a beauty supplement, does likewise good things both for your skin and nails as well as hair.









Much as make-up and clothes are fun to play with, with travelling, warm weather and more sun, summer is the time to think more about spending time on protecting the canvas that is your body. Wouldn't you agree?

What are your summer beauty essentials?

(Prices are RRP, may differ from retailer to retailer. This post attempted to find everything online but you may need to check instores for exact matches of some items. Most major pharmacies should stock items listed.)


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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

DIY: Magic Charm Necklaces

With the solstice just behind us and a certain weight to the air, as if something is going to happen, as if possibilities abound in summer for some reason, I thought I'd share a post I've been meaning to write for ages.

A while back, I was reading about the magical properties attributed to various plants, herbs and spices. I've always been fascinated by witches and magic and liked the idea of putting some of these ingredients together myself, playing around at making spells and charms. Then I noticed tiny glass bottles in my local craft shop and the two things kinda combined in my brain.


When I tried it out, I realised the ingredients looked really cute in the little bottles as necklaces. They also make nice gifts if someone is going through a break-up, looking for work, stressed or just someone you care for because you can tailor the ingredients into well wishes for them. Whether they work or not is kinda redundant, it's more about showing (with more than words) how much you have a person's back. I've given them to a couple people so far and they've been appreciative whether they were superstitious or not.

I'd like to immediately point out that I am not a practising wicca and have no in-depth knowledge of modern paganism as a religion or practice but was merely having fun and playing around with ideas. However, the ingredients I've listed below are traditionally associated with certain properties.

To make these, all you need is a scissors, twine, a bottle (from a craft shop or you could use empty food colouring bottles with the labels removed) and ingredients as desired. Merely pop them inside, close, tie the twine/string around and wear or gift it! It's super-easy.





This is a list of potential ingredients. It is not exhaustive in options or the properties of each item but somewhere to start from. As I say, this was for fun so I have no idea how to "activate" these charms, they are merely decoration! Still cute though!




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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Why I don't Wear Make-Up – An Echo

I'm a fashion and beauty blogger, and yet, I don't wear make-up on an even semi-regular basis...that sounds a bit funny, doesn't it?

Let me explain. This post is a response, or an echo, of Leandra Medine's post about the same topic.

It's not that I don't like make-up or that I think there's anything wrong with wearing it, it basically boils down to laziness. And if it's a choice between fifteen more minutes in bed or a put-together face, I'm always going to choose sleep. Always.

I like applying make-up when I have time to do it – before I go out or on lazy afternoons when it's something akin to doodling. On my face. But, I digress. The point is, I have no interest in rushing things. Since becoming a blogger, since companies started sending me things to try and becoming deeply entangled in internet beauty culture, make-up has become something that I am rather passionate about. I watch tutorials, read review posts and trend reports, stalk the sites of beauty brands for new products and runway behind-the-scenes for details on the beauty looks that went hand-in-hand with shows I obsessed over. The artistry and transformative powers of make-up fascinate me and I have to tip my hat to some of the things that people can do with it. It takes skill and training and years of practice.

I'm also of the feminist school of thought that choice is what women should be afforded and, if a woman wants to wear make-up, more power to her. Yes, it's tied to a long history of patriarchal power but I believe in people having the right to take utter control of their own appearance and bodies. We have the power to move on from the past. And if men want to wear it too, go ahead. Literally some of the most glamorous people that I have ever met have been male MUAs.

However, what I don't like is when the opposite right is not likewise afforded women. I hate that it seems to be considered unprofessional for women not to wear make-up in a workplace setting and that I've had to argue against this double-standard with countless people, not least my mother. The notion is utterly ridiculous. If you are professionally dressed and well-groomed and ready to do the job, then what right does anyone have to comment on your appearance?

I also am a little concerned when people need make-up, can't leave the house without it. Not judging, just sad that they are made feel this way.

It's a fact that many make-up artists don't wear make-up daily, just as many fashion designers dress rather unflamboyently. If something is what you do, about creating, about more than a part of a daily routine, it can be hard to just reduce it to that. Make-up, to me, is part of my career, which means I think about it, talk about it, research it and rarely do it willy-nilly.

The other thing that many of these MUAs consider is having their skin in the best possible condition for doing their make-up which means giving your skin a break. Going days without make-up does wonders for your skin and skincare in the long term is more important to me than looking glam in the short term.

I don't know. These are just my thoughts on the matter and my relationship with make-up. I wonder what you guys think? Do let me know!

Yo 099
Rare occasion of make-up wearing


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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

May Favourites

Well, horrendously late as this may (heh) be, here's my May Favourites 2015! There's been lots of beauty products that I've liked but I've limited myself to only mentioning the ones I'm truly loving for now, I'm sure the rest will pop up in some other guise or another. In fact, my favourites this month are mostly cultural in nature; music, anime and television. And then there's the appearance of an absolute pillar of beauty in Dublin.

Ore Monogatari (My Love Story is the official English title) is the only anime this month. I often feel I've run through all the anime in the genres I like and I didn't think I'd like this one at all. But something made me give it a go anyway and, damn, if I was wrong! Charming, funny and very sweet, it tells the tale of Takeo, a giant mountain of a teenager who frightens women and girls but is adored for his physical prowess by other boys. His scary appearance belies his very gentle and kind nature. In fact, he's prone to saving strangers on a regular basis without expecting any kind of compensation. When he saves the beautiful Yamato from being groped on the train, she falls in love with him almost instantaneously. Best of all, she loves him, not in spite of how he looks but for it. She genuinely finds him handsome. Cannot recommend this enough, it'll make you happy.

On a very different end of the spectrum is Outlander, which has featured on my favourites before (I think) but has since come back and finished for the season. I was dying for every episode which I find less and less common a trend. If you haven't seen it, go now! It features time-travelling, period drama, beautiful Scottish landscapes (and a particularly beautiful Scottish man) and lots of intensity. The major thing I've taken away from it is that "mo chroí" (my heart in Irish and Scottish) is defo my new favourite pet name.

Then there is the music. I've been going mad for Sorority Noise, a kinda garage rock, fuzzy sort of band that very much remind me of early Weezer. And, again with the opposite ends of a spectrum thing, I'm digging the new EXO album, "Exodus," and its repackage so hard. The danciest, slickest thing I've heard in ages, it's got crazy-on point styling and ridiculously good choreography and MVs.

As I said, I've limited myself with the beauty favourites, so I have just one make-up, one skincare and one service favourite. The make-up pick is Topshop's Cream Blush in Head Over Heels (£7.00). I already spoke about it in my post on their 5 Years of Topshop Beauty Collection but it's basically a really pretty, natural shade that is light on the skin and blends easily and beautifully. The skincare item that I'm mad for at the moment is Caudalie's Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye and Lip Cream (€36.66*). It's immediately soothing and feels just wonderful on the skin. That it doubles up for eye and lip is especially useful for travelling.


Screenshot 2015-06-17 21.36.07

And the service favourite is Tropical Popical, a Dublin nail salon that is quirky, fun and well-established. I dropped in at the start of the month on a Saturday and, luckily, snagged a drop-in appointment. I'd just gotten my hair cut and, while I liked the result, the hairdresser announced there and then that he was cutting six inches off. I'd been thinking about getting rid of a bit for a while but it was around seven years of growth gone instantaneously and wasted on the floor. I'd felt like I couldn't really say no, given how quiet the salon was and how yerman was acting like I was being silly just for questioning him. As I say, I liked the result, I was just a little fragile and taken aback. Which is why the kindness, professionalism and charm of Tropical Popical and their staff made me feel loads better. I got the mini-mani which is reasonable at €15 and I would highly recommend! Great experience all around.

Screenshot 2015-06-17 21.56.16

So, that's what I was feeling in May. I'd love to hear about what you guys were into!

(* Press Sample. All opinions are my own.)


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Monday, 15 June 2015

Quick Brow Routine

Brows are the one thing I rarely leave the house without. I'm not a massive make-up wearer day to day but my brows grow so sparsely that I can look odd without them filled in. Therefore, they are a bit of a priority.

Sometimes, however, you don't have time for pencil + powder + wax/gel - I like them to look good but ain't nobody got time for that in the morning. Which makes perfecting a routine that is quick and looks great is important.


Of late, two products have made that possible for me. The first is Soap and Glory's Archery Brow Tint and Precision Shaping pencil (€13.50, in the shade Brownie Points). I tend not to use the tint as it requires a lot of working and effort to look any way effective but I love the pencil. It twists up which is handy as I don't have to pare it all the time and I'm a lazy butt like that. I start off by using small quick strokes to fill in my brows, beginning at the centre and working to the outer edge before going back to the inner edge and meeting with the centre again. I read about this method somewhere ages ago and it basically keeps the shape believable and easy to follow. Afterwards I like to use a brush or spoolie to work the product in and take away any excess.




The second product is Mememe's Arch Angel (€10.50, in the shade Light Brown) which I am OBSESSED with. It's a two-in-one product with a tinted brow gel on one end and a highlighter on the other. The brush is the perfect size for brows which is great because many tinted brow gels often have mascara-sized brushes that are awkward to use on the brows. The formulation is wonderful too and doesn't go crunchy the way some do. I just brush this gently over the pencilled-in brows to set them and give them some more oomph - being careful not to add too much product. But the best part about this product is probably the highlighter which has a lovely, not overly-intense glow. I take a little beneath the brow, on the tip of my nose and on my cheekbone. A friend immediately noticed it the other day and said I looked like I was glowing which is always a good thing. Also I'm just mad keen on the name and packaging.






So, that's it - quick, easy and effective! Let me know if anyone has tried these products and what they thought. And, if you've been eyeing them up, I highly recommend giving them a shot!



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Saturday, 13 June 2015

National Tailoring Academy Graduate Show 2015

On a sunny Thursday morning this week, Number 10 Ormond Quay Lower played host to The National Tailoring Academy's 2015 Graduate Show with the amazing Sinéad Burke as compere. Several part-time students who graduate next year showed a taster of what has yet to come and four young designers (who have just completed the one-year diploma in Bespoke Fashion Tailoring at the Academy) showed their collections.

The designers - Jan Joe Gino Dubria, Stiofan Dennehy, Blathnaid McClean and Jennifer Young - each had distinct aesthetics which were complemented by the artisinal training that they had received. In fact craft, workmanship and in-depth knowledge were the motivators in establishing the course in 2013. The Academy wants to preserve the craft and art of tailoring for future generations and to pursue enduring excellence in the area in Ireland.

Mr Dubria's collection, "The Classic Sprezzatura", immediately caught my attention with the name. Sprezzatura is something I was familiar with from the study of Italian Renaissance art and literature. It is an attitude, a way of dressing, an etiquette and way of life that is gentlemanly, nonchalant and easy. The embodiment of this idea saw pieces that were classics, timeless but not stuffy or old-fashioned. Meticulous construction and attention-to-detail, linen, pattern in restrained palettes. And a little boy modelling the second look that melted the audience's collective heart.

Dennehy's collection was strikingly different to the others. Bright colour, unexpected lengths, pattern and boldness that made something very exciting. New, fresh - the future of where suiting might go. Yet, while the aesthetic was looking forward, the technique and craft involved was utterly aware of its past and paid due respect to that. I could utterly and completely see myself wearing some of the pieces. And I do love a good sit up moment during a show.

McClean's "Sartoria" looked to Italy as a source of inspiration, using the Italian word for tailoring as its title. The pieces used strong and bold colour choices but paired it with impeccable craftsmanship and wonderful cuts to create pieces that anyone could immediately place in their wardrobe. These are wearable, wantable looks that could grace the best of establishments and sell. They complement the form and exude easy style.

Jennifer Young won the Excellence in Craftsmanship award for her collection, "The Serenade". Offering stunning bridal looks which wowed the crowd and made a lasting impression, sweeping purposefully and elegantly down the runway, she secured her place as the winner of this year's award. However, much as the grand gowns delighted, it was the Mother of the Bride look that impressed me most. The very phrase evokes a certain level of scepticism and wariness in myself but I was utterly and pleasantly surprised by Young's solution. An over-long blazer in a loose, but form-enhancing fit, over chic and breezily elegant garments - flattering, wearable but cool too. In fact, I'd totally rock it myself!

Apologies for the photos not being up to my usual standards - catwalk shots are hard! Plus, when I was getting images at the end, there was lots of others doing the same and several crews filming for television so it was rather chaotic! However, I think you get a great sense of what was being shown - after just a year! Congrats to all the designers, I was majorly impressed. And good luck to the part-timers with a bit yet to go. Thank you to Sinead Doyle, the course director, for inviting me and being so helpful - you should be very proud of what you're doing!

Anyone interested in the course should check out their site here.















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Friday, 12 June 2015

Photo Post

Pastel sunsets and water, quiet moments with wonderful people, laughter echoing around as family takes time to enjoy one another, beauty in the place that made me, appreciating how very lucky I am.









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