Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kevyn Aucoin at Queen beauty emporium

If you're a makeup junkie like me, you'll love Dublin's newest beauty emporium - Queen on Aungier Street. The Kevyn Aucoin makeup line is available here exclusively; I picked up The Liquid Airbrush foundation and The Celestial Powder - a gorgeous highlighter which will be perfect for nights out over the holidays. I'm sure I'll be heading back after Christmas to take a closer look at the eye shadow palettes and some of the delectable lip colours.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Balenciaga... or Massimo Dutti?

If you liked Balenciaga's Fall/Winter 07-08 collection, with it's shrunken blazers layered over striped polo-necks, buttoned-up shirts, patterned scarves and jodhpurs, but your budget doesn't quite stretch to Balenciaga prices, then you need to get to Massimo Dutti for a cheaper version of the look. They have everything from the jewel-coloured blazers and navy and white striped polo-necks to the narrow-leg riding trousers (their version is a little bit more wearable than the Balenciaga version for those of us with less than model-like thighs) and fringed scarves. The blazers are priced at €195, but the details are fantastic, from the printed lining to the insignia-stamped buttons and contrast piping.

Massimo Dutti is located in the Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Giorgio Armani Maestro Eye Shadow

I have to hand it to Giorgio Armani - he knows exactly how to suck me in with his lethal combination of fashion and beauty. Maestro Eye Shadow has just been added to the Armani cosmetics line - a collection of 18 shades in 3 different finishes, all inspired by the silk that Giorgio Armani works with in his fashion design. Containing matte, satin and sparkling shadows, the colours in the Maestro range from nude pink and beige to purple, brown, navy and black.

I have already tried out 10 - sparkling lilac and 12 - satin purple and I love the fine texture, smooth application and polished finish these shadows give. As with the existing Armani eye shadows, the Maestro shadows are still somewhat sheer in finish, but that happens to be the look I like, so I will definitely be picking up more colours from this line. I believe these are priced at around €22.50 in Ireland and are available from Armani counters in Brown Thomas and hopefully at Dublin airport too!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pilgrim Charms Collection

The Danish jewellery company Pilgrim make some very pretty and distinctive costume jewellery and their Autumn 2007 Charms collection is a lovely addition to the line. Available in silver or yellow gold finishes, choose from a selection of unique and creative charms, including teddy bears, ducks and this covetable owl. If you prefer your charms to be a little more grown-up in theme, there are also various crystals, lockets and pretty antique-style keys available. With a range of different bracelets and chains available on which to display these adorable trinkets (all pretty reasonably priced at around €20-30), don't blame me if you can't stop collecting them!

Pilgrim jewellery is available in Ireland from their store in the Dundrum Town Centre, and from various other outlets, including Avoca and Kilkenny.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Caudalie Vinotherapy

I've just placed another of my regular orders with the Caudalie website, so I thought it was time for a post about this brand. Caudalie is a French company which has been producing skincare based around the humble grape for over 10 years now. Grapeseeds contain polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that can help protect the skin against free-radicals, and Caudalie skincare is packed with these little gems. And it's not just the seeds which are used - the grapevine stalks themselves are full of something called "resveratrol", which works to stimulate cell renewal, and this is also used in Caudalie's anti-ageing products.

I've been using Caudalie skincare for around 6 years now, and coming from someone who loves to try out the latest new skincare products, this brand loyalty really says something good about the line! My favourites are the Gentle Cleanser (a mild, creamy cleansing milk which keeps my skin soft and clear), Instant Foaming Cleanser (a gentle, refreshing and non-drying foaming cleanser), Eau de Raisin (a soothing and refreshing water spray which I use after cleansing), Anti-Ageing Serum for Eyes and Lips (an easily-absorbed serum which works wonders on my under-eye circles), Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (a milky serum which is perfect for reviving a dull complexion) and Lip Conditioner (my must-have lipbalm, I carry this everywhere).

In Ireland, Brown Thomas has recently started to stock Caudalie's bath and body line and as far as I know Therapie on Molesworth Street still stocks the facial skincare. But I usually order directly from the Caudalie website - delivery is free on orders over €50, products are reasonably priced in Euros and orders are usually delivered in around a week.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Louis Vuitton Neverfull

I've never been particularly attracted to the Louis Vuitton monogram bags, but the new Neverfull range, artfully modelled by Scarlett Johansson in the Autumn/Winter 2007 advertising compaign, has grabbed my attention. Available in three sizes, these totes would be perfect for travel - no heavy hardware to eat up your cabin baggage weight allowance and plenty of room for all the little necessities to keep you comfortable while flying. You could probably even fit enough for a weekend city break into the large model and avoid baggage reclaim altogether.

Priced between €390 and €450, these are at the more reasonable end of the LV price spectrum and should be available from the Louis Vuitton store in Brown Thomas in Dublin.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Aveda Smooth Infusion

If I was granted a wish to change just one thing about my appearance for good, it would be my hair. It has always been my dream to have the kind of smooth, sleek, super-straight hair that requires no styling - to just be able to come straight out of the shower after washing it and let it dry naturally and not have to do battle with hairdryer, brushes, serums and straighteners to get it under control. Until I find the magic bottle containing a genie to grant my wish, however, I'll have to rely on a different type of bottle - two in fact - the new ones from Aveda containing their Smooth Infusion shampoo and conditioner.

The Smooth Infusion line promises that hair will be up to 60% smoother and softer after using both products, and while I haven't figured out how to quantify it to a precise percentage figure, I am definitely impressed with what these products are doing for my hair. I do still need to style my hair after washing, but the process is much quicker, and from the first use I could see how much smoother and sleeker my hair looked. The products don't weigh my hair down, either, and I love the extra protection they give against heat-styling.

Smooth Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner are available from Aveda counters and salons now, and if you're lucky you might even be able to get your hands on a sample to try out first. The 250ml bottle of shampoo is priced at €20.50 and the conditioner at €22.00.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Armani Fall 2007 Leather Collection

Be still my beating heart... Armani's summer bronze collections never do much for a pale girl like me, but once Autumn rolls around and the Fall collections are on the counters, the Armani counter is pretty much guaranteed to have me as a customer. This year's collection doesn't disappoint. The Fall 2007 Leather collection is perfect for recreating the grown-up glamourous looks featured on all the catwalks for this season. The collection arrived in Brown Thomas last week, and barely before the saleswoman had the words "limited edition, we only got one order in" out of her mouth, I had requested the Eye Mania palette, the new Sheer Blush and the Maestro Liquid Eyeliner.

The Eye Mania palette (€57) is encased in a black snakeskin patterned compact and features eye shadow shades of satin pink beige, soft shimmering pink, matte deep purple and matte ashwood.

TheSheer Blush #11 (€35) is encased in a similarly embossed palette and is a gorgeous shade of pink with a touch of peach.

The Maestro Liquid Eyeliner (€25) is a water-based black liquid liner with a felt tip - perfect for recreating this season's catwalk looks.

The new collection also includes single eye shadows, lipsticks and lip shimmers and the advisor section on the Armani website has a helpful step-by-step guide to recreating their look with the products from the collection.

Run, don't walk to the Armani counter for this one!

Friday, August 17, 2007

RMK Beigy Colours A/W 2007

OK, the name of this collection might not invoke excitement, but the cute heart-embossed shadows, blushes and glosses from Japan-based RMK's Autumn/Winter 2007 collection are all going on my wishlist. The limited edition collection, comprising 6 eye shadows, 4 lipglosses, 3 blush/highlighters and 3 nail polishes, takes a subtle and polished beige as its backdrop and compliments it with coordinating pops of colour in the hearts that are embossed into the shadows, blushes and glosses. You can use the colours separately or mix them together to create custom shades. The quality of RMK products is generally fantastic and I'm sure these are no different.

RMK is available from House of Fraser in Dundrum in Ireland.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Nylon magazine - read online

Nylon magazine is one of the more artistic and creative fashion magazines out there, with a fresh and irreverent take on fashion and a pleasantly different approach to the major publishers when it comes to beauty writing. Unfortunately it can be hard to find in Irish newsagents, which is why I was so pleased to see that they make their past issues available online, and for free! You'll need to sign up to a free 3 month digital subscription (no credit card details required!) to see the more recent issues and once you've created an account, you can log in anytime to read the issues online. Recent cover stars have included the White Stripes, Christina Aguilera, Christina Ricci and the infamous (and ubiquitous) Ms. Lohan and the current issue is fronted by Nicole "I don't know why I'm famous either" Richie. Happy reading!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bobbi Brown Stardust Collection

It's true, the Stonewashed Nudes palette wasn't my only Bobbi Brown purchase recently. I also picked up the Stardust Collection - a specially-priced set which includes Espresso Ink Long-Wear Gel Eye Liner, Galaxy Long-Wear Cream Shadow, Mauve Shimmer Lip Gloss and Powder Pink Blush - all packed in a cute double-sided makeup bag, one side of which has spaces for travel-sized brushes. The shades in this set are perfect for Autumn/Winter and will also go really well with the Stonewashed Nudes palette - how could I resist?

The Stardust Collection is available from Bobbi Brown counters, priced at €60, which is probably a saving of at least €20 on buying each item separately, plus you get the nice bag for free! I don't imagine this one will last long at the counters either...

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bobbi Brown Stonewashed Nudes

I have never been drawn to Bobbi Brown cosmetics in the past. While I have flitted between obsessions with many different brands - from cute, ultra-feminine Stila to elegant, upmarket Armani - Bobbi Brown, with her "10 different shades of brown" lipsticks and eye shadows "imaginatively" titled Cement, or Putty (did I make that one up? It's possible) seemed too dull and pedestrian to attract my attention. But things seem to have changed there recently and with the launch of the new Stonewashed Nudes eye shadow palette, I was finally won over. Featuring seven cool, neutral shadows in matte and shimmer finishes, and complete with a double-ended shadow/liner brush (which, take note, beats the insignificant sponge applicators many competitors are still supplying with their products out of the water), this palette will definitely be my go-to for a variety of everyday looks this Autumn and Winter.

Stonewashed Nudes retails for €55 from Bobbi Brown counters in Ireland. Buy it now - this is a limited edition product and I predict it will be popular.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Pretty Ballerinas Autumn Collection

They may be based in sunny Spain, but that hasn't stopped Pretty Ballerinas from noticing the sad excuse for a summer that their more northerly-based customers are experiencing. And so they have decided to launch their Autumn shoe collection early! Admittedly, ballet flats wouldn't be the best choice of footwear in a flood, but if the lack of sunshine has you feeling down, the purple satin pumps with ribbon ties (pictured above) will certainly put a smile on your face! And if you're an optimist and refuse to believe that the current weather is here to stay, then how about these cheery sailor stripes, or these funky zebra-patterned pairs.

I am the proud owner of one pair of Pretty Ballerinas already (the Isabella style in metallic champagne leather, which is not currently available), and can highly recommend both the shoes and the speedy delivery service. Delivery is €10 to Europe and €20 to the rest of the world. I will definitely be adding to my collection in the near future...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

APC - Fall/Winter 08

APC's Fall/Winter 08 catalogue dropped into my letterbox the other day and I immediately want 70% of it. I especially like the 70s cord jeans, wool cardigan, navy silk-screened sweatshirt, Peter Pan-collar blouse, sunglasses and the black patent wedges. At APC prices, however, I might want to whittle down that list a bit. Smock in Temple Bar, Dublin are an APC stockist, so I may go in there sometime soon to see how much of the collection they'll be stocking.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Abahna - The Ceremony of Bathing

I stumbled across Abahna in Nue Blue Eriu recently. I was looking for some new pampering bathtime products. I hit the nail on the head with Abahna, as their entire philosophy is based on turning the everday bathing experience into a ritual of relaxation and enjoyment. Their beautifully packaged range of bath oils, shower gels, lotions, soaps and candles is available in energising White Grapefruit and May Chang, relaxing Frankincense and Sweet Orange and replenishing Himalayan Cedarwood and Rose Otto fragrances. All products are formulated to be as natural as possible, are fragranced with pure essential oils and are free from parabens, SLS and SLES.

I purchased the White Grapefruit and May Chang shower gel (€22) and body lotion (€27). The shower gel is enriched with aloe vera, honey and chamomile and lathers generously to gently cleanse the skin. The body lotion nourishes and hydrates with sweet almond, jojoba and sunflower oils and organic honey and cocoa butter. This is a light lotion which sinks into the skin immediately, leaving it comfortable and hydrated. The White Grapefruit and May Chang fragrance is refreshing and invigorating - perfect for waking up in the morning or energising yourself for a night out.

These products may be somewhat expensive, but who doesn't deserve a treat every now and again? I am sure I will be purchasing more from this line in the future. Abahna products are available from Nue Blue Eriu in Ireland and through the Abahna website in the UK. The Abahna website also lists worldwide stockists.

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