Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas!

My Christmas tree is from Muji this year - not having a lot of floor space free means getting a bit creative, cause I'd hate to be without a tree at all. But this little wooden one (complete with hanging decorations) is perfect for a small space.

Hope everyone has a very Happy Christmas and looking forward to bringing you plenty more pretty, shiny and sparkly things in 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Radley Kanton sunglasses

It has been a quiet few weeks on the blogging front, while I concentrated on lovely things for those other than myself. I've finished the Christmas shopping by now, however, and it's time to focus on all the pretty things I'd love again...

In Arnotts at the weekend, I discovered that Radley (yes, the makers of those handbags with the little dogs on them) also do a lovely line in sunglasses. I may have been wrapped up in hat and scarf at the time, but it didn't stop me from trying on this lovely pair - the Kanton. I love the ice cream colours - cream on the outside and pink on the inside, and the flower and leaf pattern cut into the arms. The squared off shape and curved frame are also very flattering on.

The Kanton sunglasses are priced at €120 in Arnotts, and £75 sterling on the Radley website.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

30% discount at Gap

Typical. I hadn't bought anything in Gap for ages, but decided I needed some new trousers for work at the weekend and went in and bought two pairs there, as well as a cardigan, some socks and a jumper for the husband. And then I get this voucher, after removing all the tags and wearing some of the stuff...

Oh well, maybe I'll just have to pop back in again and get some more of their knitwear (really nice fine merino wool cardigans and shell tops) and socks (very soft, very comfy, nice colours and stars!). Maybe I can pick up a Christmas present or two while I'm at it.

Print the voucher at the link above for 30% off at Gap in the UK and Ireland, also valid in Arnotts and House of Fraser concessions. Valid from November 19th to 30th.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Comme des Garcons for H & M

If previous H&M collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney are anything to go by, the Comme des Garcons collection will disappear in a flurry of buyitnowandthensellitonebayatvastlyinflatedprices as soon as H&M opens its doors tomorrow morning. But on the offchance that Dublin's shopping public is more restrained than that, I'll be popping into the new South King Street branch of the chain tomorrow evening to check out the cute polka-dot cardigans and slightly off-kilter tailored items that this collection offers.

I'm not sure I'd be able to pull off the pantaloon-esque trousers, but love the idea of the layered polka dot items and fitted tuxedo jacket, as well as the crisp shirts which will be perfect for the work wardrobe. Prices start at €22.90 for a simple long-sleeved top and work their way up to €299 for the fabulously gothic dress.

See the full collection here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A stylish cuppa with Orla Kiely and Bewleys

A lot cheaper than her handbags, but just as desirable, the new tea caddy designed by Orla Kiely for Bewleys is top of my must-have-it-now list. Priced at a very reasonable €6.99 and packed full of Bewleys Gold Blend tea bags, this will brighten up teatime in any kitchen. Pair it with an Orla Kiely mug (€14.99 from Kilkenny stores) for the ultimate Christmas present.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Peter O'Brien for A¦Wear Winter 08

Peter O'Brien's third collection for A¦Wear launched last week and I'm happy to report that it's a good bit younger than last year's collection was. His collections generally tend to be ageless in appeal, but the one last year seemed to be quite a bit more mature and less versatile than this collection is.

If you like the tailored look, then there'll plenty to please you here, from high-waisted sailor pants to a beautiful vintage-y ruffled blouse or a fabulous frock coat with what seems like a hundred buttons.

I also like the new colour palette of nude, heather and navy; shades which are a bit more flattering than the blacks and browns which have dominated previous collections.

Most of all, though, I am in love with the hair and makeup styling for the ad campaign. I may not dare to recreate the multiple giant bows, but I think they compliment the collection beautifully for styling purposes. The pink lips, glowy pink cheeks and strong brows are definitely a look I can recreate for the office however...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Orla Kiely Fashion Targets Breast Cancer collection

I love, love, love Orla Kiely's signature graphic prints and her new collection for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer is no exception. Based around the bull's eye target symbol used by the FTBC organisation, this capsule collection includes a shoulder bag (€160), book bag (€165), wallet (€90) and makeup bag (€85).

All proceeds will go to Action Breast Cancer (who provide services for younger women diagnosed with breast cancer) and Europa Donna Ireland (who campaign for better cancer services for patients), so you get the double bonus of donating to a very worthwhile cause while picking up a lovely new bag for yourself!

Oh and if you needed any more excuses, the waterproof coated canvas on these makes them ideal for rainy weather. Just sayin'...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Silk Scarf from APC

Accessories are invaluable when it comes to refreshing your look. Who needs a new wardrobe every season when you can make classic outfits look brand new with a well-chosen scarf or belt? And it just so happens that accessories is where my own wardrobe is sadly lacking, so I think I may just need to remedy that, starting with this leopard-print silk scarf from APC.

A little bit fun and a little bit retro-glam, this is just what I need to inject a bit of fashion into the many basic staples in my wardrobe. A plain t-shirt and jeans (or, in this weather, a nice cashmere jumper and jeans) will instantly look more interesting with the addition of this scarf. Now I just need to decide on the colour...

Sandwashed silk
100% silk

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hot on the heels of the big brands

If you and your bank balance have been idly wondering what the It Bag for Autumn/Winter 08 might be, then wonder no more, for the It Bag, it IS. NO. MORE. But fashion being fashion, this doesn't mean we can put our credit cards on ice. Oh no. The It Bag, she has been replaced by The Statement Shoe.

What to do if your cashflow is more M&S than Manolo (soon to be opening a concession at Brown Thomas!)? Well, don't automatically jump to thinking "granny shoes", but Clarks is the place to be this season...

Just take a look at some of these beauties up above? When Balenciaga brought out their very architectural wedges last year, little did we think this was a trend that would make it to the high street. But there they are, and in Clarks of all places. And if those wedges are a little bit too much statement for your liking, check out the red patent peep-toes or the black patent courts - the pretty almond-shaped toe and solid heel make these a practical as well as pretty choice.

Most styles are priced at €100 or below, so if you want to add to your shoe wardrobe without making your bank manager cry, Clarks might be the choice for you (but not if I get to those heeled patent Oxfords first...).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New from Armani - Lip Wax

The product-naming department were obviously on holidays the day they decided to launch Armani's latest offering, but despite its shortcomings in that area, Lip Wax looks like a very interesting new must-have for my collection.

Available in 6 shades, from a nude beige to a deep wine (perfect for this season's deep berry lip), Lip Wax is a lip stain in a compact. Apply with your fingertips for a sheer wash of colour, or layer on with a lip brush for a more precise application and deeper colour. And if you like to coordinate your lip and cheek, try blending this lightly onto the apples of your cheeks for a sheer flush of colour.

Priced at $26 on the US website, I am guessing this will be around the €24 mark here. Definitely one to look out for at the Armani counter...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Autumn-Winter 08 Inspiration - Calvin Klein

Don't get me wrong; I love a splash of colour. But there was something so clean, so austere, so grown-up about Francisco Costa's Autumn/Winter 08 collection for Calvin Klein that it had me craving a wardrobe of neat, beautifully made pieces in dark neutrals. So I started off with a silk skirt in a very dark blue from Massimo Dutti yesterday. Falling to just above the knee, with loose pleats, a tie belt and pockets bringing it right up to date, it's the perfect piece to wear for work during the day and then dress up with pretty accessories for evening. Now all I need is a grey wool coat to wear over it...

images with thanks to

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Handbag Heaven: Sissi Rossi

I've been admiring Sissi Rossi bags for a long time, so when I stepped into Harvey Nichols in Dundrum last weekend and spotted a few from their Autumn/Winter 07-08 collection on sale at 75% off, I stopped, caught like a rabbit in the headlights. Made of the softest, squishiest buffalo leather, these bags are luxurious, but designed to be worn and loved - the leather will just get better age.

After some wavering, I eventually settled on this gorgeous stone grey one. With sturdy handles and a long strap, it is versatile and can be carried or worn on your shoulder or across the body. It is also fairly voluminous, so I'll be able to carry my life around with me on a daily basis, as usual.

Check out more Sissi Rossi bags online or in Harvey Nichols.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Harvey Nichols Summer Sale

I picked up a lovely Sissi Rossi bag in the sale at Harvey Nichols in Dundrum today (more on which later). Most stores are coming to the end of their sales, but there were quite few bargains to be had in Harvey Nichols - including this fab Sasha handbag from Botkier in silver snake at only €250. Run, don't walk...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Citrine by the Stones jewellery

Jewellery brand Citrine by the Stones has been receiving a lot of attention lately, their pieces having adorned the Sex and the City girls in the movie. Their Peace and Wish bangles have been on my mind lately, despite the fact I don't usually wear any yellow gold. And now this pretty elephant charm necklace has me hooked. See it for yourself at Seagreen in Monkstown (priced at €145).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Release your inner supermodel with Topshop

If you've ever harboured a fantasy to star in your own fashion shoot, Topshop could help you to realise your dream. Starting this week in London's Oxford Circus store (and coming to the Stephen's Green store in Dublin from June 17th to 22nd), a photographic studio set up in store will allow you to style, pose and photograph yourself, without a photographer being present.

The concept is inspired by iconic fashion photographer Helmut Newton's "Photo Machine". He came up with the idea in the 1970s, using a specially designed photo studio where the photographer did not need to be present. The camera was set up on a timer system and the model used a mirror behind the camera to check her pose. In effect, the control of the shoot was handed over from photographer to model.

Now Topshop is paying homage to Newton by recreating his system in their flagship stores, where customers will be able to style themselves as they wish in Topshop fashions, before posing for the Photo Machine and taking their own photo. Check out the customer photos in the Topshop Gallery and head along to the Oxford Circus, Manchester Arndale or Dublin Stephen's Green stores if you'd like to take part yourself.

Image thanks to Topshop

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Picnic season with M & S

There's nothing like a picnic in the sun, is there? When the weather is good I love to pack up some food in the evening after work and enjoy it in the park beside the sea near where I live. Which is why I had to have this gorgeous picnic box set from Marks & Spencer as soon as I spotted it in a magazine.

Made from glossy red melamine, and consisting of 2 big compartments and one sectioned compartment for dressings etc, the set stacks together and has a handy metal handle for easy transport. I'll be filling mine with couscous, roasted vegetables, tomatoes and goat's cheese - feel free to comment with your own picnic favourites!

Priced at €14.50, this picnic box is available now from Marks & Spencer and I predict it'll be a popular item, so hurry up and get yours!

(Dimensions: H11 x W14 x D14cm. Picture with thanks to

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bourjois Rouge Hi-tech

I must admit that I have never been a lipstain fan. This is mainly as a result of an unfortunate run-in (with a product I won't name and shame) years back, when I ended up with lips stained purple only on the outer edges, giving me the look of a vampire who'd just finished dinner. Well, that or a wino. Anyway, when I spotted these little beauties on the Bourjois display, I thought "Never say never" and decided to give one a shot.

Rouge Hi-tech is a water-based liptint that comes in a cute plastic container, with a sponge-tipped wand applicator. I was a bit worried that applying it right would be like learning how colour between the lines all over again, but it turned out to be pretty easy. The tint stays in place where you apply it, but does blend well before it dries, so you can correct any mistakes. It's also easy to apply a sheer coat, or build up to get more colour. You do need to make sure your lips are in fairly good condition, as flakes will catch more colour and give an uneven result, so I always apply a coat of balm and then blot off before applying.

The lasting power of Rouge Hi-tech is a huge plus point for me. When I apply before breakfast, it lasts through breakfast and lunch with only some fading, and the colour fades so gradually and evenly that you don't need to worry about running to a mirror to top it up. I also regularly apply lipbalm over the tint and it does not affect it at all.

The shade I bought is the one used above - Rose Pixel. It's a pretty rosy pink with a touch of red - perfect for summer. There are a number of other shades available and I have my eye on a lovely shade of fuchsia...

Rouge Hi-tech is priced at around €10.70, with most retailers currently offering an introductory price of around €8.50.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Travel in style (and light) with Muji

Gone are the days when air travel was an enjoyable experience. With the advent of low-cost airlines and extra charges for checking in at the airport or checking in luggage, I am coming around to the idea that where possible I will only travel with carry-on luggage. I recently bought a lovely Samsonite wheeled case which meets the size requirements for cabin baggage and is also light enough that it doesn't take up half of the weight allowance while empty. I have used tote bags as carry-ons in the past, but if I do want to use the full 10kg weight allowance some airlines grant, a wheeled case is the only way to travel.

Once you have the right bag, the key to packing light is organisation, which is where the wonderful Muji comes in. A Japanese chain of lifestyle stores, Muji stocks a treasure trove of stationery, kitchen, household and travel goods.

Try the following to organise your clothing: nylon shoe cases for packing extra shoes, mesh garment bags are perfect for separating clothing and soft mesh laundry cases mean an end to packing your laundry in plastic shopping bags for the return journey.

Toiletries is where it can get complicated these days, with the ban on liquids or gels exceeding 100ml. Luckily Muji have a wide array of fliptop bottles, spray bottles, tubes and jars in a variety of sizes under 100ml - you merely need to fill them with your shampoo, shower gel and moisturiser, pack them in a ziplock bag or clear pouch and you're ready to go!

Happy travelling this summer!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

So, Lyndar tagged me a while back and I promptly forgot all about it, due to my lack of update-iness on the blog... oops!

Anyhow, I'm cheating slightly and going to describe six pretty, shiny and maybe even sparkly things that I'm loving right now, seeing as my little corner of the web-world is devoted more to things than to me.

* The sun, she is shining and my APC sunglasses have finally come out to play!

* Pretty, shiny and sparkly, my lips are adorned with MAC Euristocrats lipsticks in Milan Mode, London Life and Rue d'Bois these days

* It took me an age to get around to dropping them off to have rubber soles put on, but today I'll be picking up my cherry patent Pretty Ballerinas from the cobbler and I'll finally be able to wear them out this weekend!

* I recently added to my Pilgrim Charms collection with a heart-shaped locket, an antique key and a cute little duck - now my eye is on the multi-coloured hot-air balloon...

* Has the emergence of the sun prompted you to think about trips to the beach? If it has, you might want to hot-foot it to Brown Thomas or BT2, where they are selling this bright and cheery beach bag, designed exclusively for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer by none other than Diane Furstenburg. Priced at €45, all proceeds go to the Irish Cancer Society's Action Breast Cancer, so your money will be going to a good cause - surely a great excuse for another new bag, no?

* And finally, I'm not sure where it fits into the pretty, shiny or sparkly categories, but Isabel Allende has a new book out, The Sum of Our Days and it is a very enjoyable read. Following on from her memoir Paula, she writes about family life after the tragic death of her daughter. This is a moving and entertaining read and I'd recommend it whether or not you already know the author and her work.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pretty Ballerinas Cherry Patent Rosario

It was a difficult decision to make, but I finally settled on the cherry patent Rosario from Pretty Ballerinas. The colour is so pretty and will be perfect for Summer. I ordered these at the weekend, so I'm dying for the pretty pink shoebox to be delivered!

Pretty Ballerinas can be ordered online and are also available from Arnotts and Seagreen in Ireland.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Camper Spring-Summer 08

I wandered into Camper yesterday and fell in love with half of their Spring Summer collection on the spot. But these shiny red ballet flats have stuck in my mind and I suspect I'll be going back to try them on soon. Pretty and practical shoes are my downfall, and with their glossy finish, rounded toe and practical rubber sole, these hit the mark on all counts.

Check out the Camper website to see more of their fun Spring-Summer collection.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chanel ... or Pilgrim?

These Chanel Camellia rings surely tick all the boxes for inclusion in Pretty Shiny Sparkly - the glossy finish (complete with famous interlocking 'C's) on the Chanel signature Camellia flower certainly grabbed my attention when I saw them in Harper's Bazaar today.

However, if (like me) a Chanel purchase is not something you'd make on the spur of the moment, how about these Pilgrim rings instead? Almost as pretty and a fraction of the price, Pilgrim jewellery is available in Ireland from their shop in the Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin and from branches of Avoca and Kilkenny.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pretty Ballerinas Summer 2008

It may still look like winter outside, but March is only around the corner and thoughts of new Spring/Summer fashion are on my mind. Perfect timing, then, for the launch of the Pretty Ballerinas Summer 2008 collection! The collection includes a rainbow of bright, summery colours and various finishes, from shiny patent to edgy snake-print, with prices ranging from 99 Euros for this stripy fabric finish pair to 169 Euros for this white patent pair with silver buckle.

I have my eye on the super-summery yellow patent pair above, but am hard-pressed to choose between those and the turquoise and green colours in the same style. Maybe I'll just order all three and take advantage of the refunded postage costs for customers who order three pairs or more before the end of the month...

Pretty Ballerinas shoes can be ordered through their website and are also available from Arnotts in Dublin.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More pretty sights from Powerscourt

While I wait for inspiration to strike on what to write about next, I thought I'd go back to my Powerscourt photos. These pretty gates lead into the walled gardens, which date back to the 1700s:

I love the elaborate vine detail and gold-painted leaves:

The garden wasn't in full bloom when I visited, so I am looking forward to returning to see the roses later in the year.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lust, Caution - a visual feast

I saw Ang Lee's latest film, "Lust, Caution", recently. Despite the lacklustre reviews I've read, I very much enjoyed the film. But rather than reviewing the film here, I want to talk about the visual feast of fashion and beauty it provides. Set in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the 1940s, the women of the film wear a wonderful mix of traditional Chinese (gorgeous cheongsams in numerous different fabrics):

... and Western styles (classic trenches, chic hats and very covetable oversized clutches):

I wasn't able to locate more detailed pictures of the makeup, but during scenes where the women play gossipy games of mahjong, I was admiring their glossy, berry-tinted lips and perfectly lacquered nails in juicy shades of watermelon and blackberry, while pondering the best type of brush to achieve that subtly-lined eye with the tiny perfect flick.

How advantageous, then, that the languorous pace of the film allowed me to focus on the visual aspects of the film without missing what was going on in the plot!

Images courtesy of Yahoo! Movies

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Japanese Garden at Powerscourt

While visiting Powerscourt House & Gardens a few weeks ago, I was very taken with the Japanese Garden there. Here are some of the pictures I took of my favourite features.

The view from above of the garden with its pagoda:

Small streams winding and falling around the different levels:

Little wooden bridges crossing the streams:

Stone arches leading into secluded mossy alcoves:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Giorgio Armani Spring 2008

Armani's Spring collection is out and although I haven't seen it up close and personal yet, the ad campaign featuring model Sasha Pivarova makes it look seriously pretty. Featuring a naturally luminous base, with iridiscent highlights and just a hint of colour, this look is all about perfecting the flawless base and then gently highlighting the features. The new Luminous Silk Powder will be a welcome companion for the already popular Luminous Silk Foundation, and the limited edition Radiant Pigments Fluid Sheer adds a hint of colour and illumination to the cheeks. I'm already a fan of the Fluid Sheer highlighters, so I look forward to trying this new formula out.

As alway, theAdvisor feature on the website describes in detail how to achieve the look.

In Ireland, this collection should be available from Brown Thomas towards the end of the month, if not earlier.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

APC Sunglasses

I'd been impatiently awaiting the APC sale to see if the gorgeous black patent wedges I'd been coveting for months would come down enough for me to justify buying them, but unfortunately they were sold out in my size by the time it came around. Still, I did get my paws on this pair of sunglasses:

The light frames will make a refreshing change from my usual black or brown frames and I'm picturing them in my mind's eye with jeans, a navy t-shirt and a sheer, glossy red lipstick.

If you like them too, they're one of the few items still in stock in the APC sale!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Winter Cherry Blossom at Powerscourt Gardens

At Powerscourt Gardens the other day, I came across cherry blossom in bloom. I thought the recent mild weather had tricked the tree into blossoming early, but I looked up the variety later on (they had helpfully labelled the trunk of the tree) and discovered Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' (yes, the name might have given the game away, had I thought about it) does generally flower between November and January. In fact, the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK has even named it Plant of the Month for January!

Cherry blossom is probably my favourite type of flower and this variety is a lovely one. In the bud, the blossoms are a pretty shade of pink, hence the common name of rosebud cherry. In bloom, the blossoms are white with a hint of pink and very delicate in appearance. Very pretty, particularly as not much else is in bloom at the moment in the very green Powerscourt Gardens.

Friday, January 4, 2008

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

Yesterday I went to the see an exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints at the Chester Beatty Library in the grounds of Dublin Castle. 'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon', by the artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, is a collection of 100 portraits, each linked to phases of the moon. The fine detail and vibrant colours of the prints, as well as the links to Japanese history and folklore, make this an exhibition worth seeing, particularly if you have an interest in Japanese culture.

The collection will be on show until February 17th, 2008.

Images courtesy of the Chester Beatty Library website

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year, Happy New Diary

My favourite thing about New Year's Day is getting to start a new diary. I always make a resolution to keep a daily diary and then get lazy after a week or two, but with my brand new red Moleskine Pocket Diary, I'm sure I'll last until February at the very least this year...

Not only does this diary come with a limited edition red cover instead of the usual black, it also contains sheets of stickers and labels, so you can customise it to your heart's content. Highlight banner days with birthday cakes, love hearts or cocktail glasses; add smiley or frowny faces to good or bad days; decorate your shopping hauls with cute little shopping bags... or be practical and highlight dentist appointments and meetings in your calendar.

Also included is a removable tabbed booklet which you can categorise with labels included, such as music, books or movies, or with headings of your own choice on the empty labels provided. I'll definitely be keeping lists of the movies I see and books I read throughout the year.

With a full page per day, plus calendar overview pages for 2008 and 2009, travel planning pages, a list of international holidays and the international timezones among other useful extras, this is the perfect little red book for keeping a complete record of 2008.

Also available in black, and in a larger format. Check the Moleskine website for a complete guide to their offerings.