Monday, December 28, 2009

Sale fail

Dear Brown Thomas Winter Sale,

Firstly, 50% of almost everything is a Big Fat Lie.

Secondly, why so many ugly Guess handbags in stock that you need to sell off?

I did like the large navy blue DKNY monogram totes, but the practical side of me won out when faced with such a large bag and only one small zipped pocket inside. I like compartments.

Yours sincerely,


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Get your 15 minutes of fame from Lipstick Queen

Perfect as a present for any beauty addict (or even for yourself), these cute sets of mini lipgloss pens are available in two colour selections - The Nudes and The Berries. Priced at €24 for a set of 5 glosses, I think these are a really good deal - you could even split a set among a few lucky people as stocking fillers.

I've been meaning to try the Lipstick Queen range of lip products for ages now and finally got around to it when I picked up the Medieval tinted lip treatment and the Goodbye shade from the Butterfly Ball shimmering treatment lipstick collection recently. Both are lovely and have left me wanting more... you can't have too much gloss at this time of the year, can you?

Available from SpaceNK at Harvey Nichols in Dundrum.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Take your next Tripp with Orla Kiely

Just in time for Christmas, Orla Kiely has cut prices on her Tripp travel line and this adorable upright cabin case is now available for a mere £80 (down from £156). Unfortunately the £25 delivery fee outside of the UK (compared to £4.95 in the UK) is a bit much for me, though I will be looking around to see if retailers here are also lowering prices.

While the laptop bags are sadly sold out, there is also a very lovely large tote bag in the same print still available for £60.

Images courtesy Orla Kiely

Monday, December 7, 2009

A little taste of luxe with Marni and Ladurée

A Marni handbag for Christmas might be a bit of a stretch, but these Ladurée macaroons designed by Marni are definitely an affordable treat and would be very welcome in my Christmas stocking come December 25th...

Available from today in the Luxury Hall at Brown Thomas in Dublin, prices start at €14.90 for a box of 8.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Isabella Oliver Maternity

I'll let you in on a little secret about all the wonderful high street maternity ranges that are supposedly out there at the moment - they're not all out there and they're not all that wonderful. Take Dundrum shopping centre, for example. That place is constantly full of pregnant women, yet Marks & Spencer have got rid of the small maternity section they had, Zara has one rail containing a few pairs of jeans and a few shirts, H&M has a number of depressingly plain acrylic pieces and Mamas and Papas, where one would expect to find a good range of stock, has mostly ugly and unflattering styles (apologies to anyone who has shopped there recently and found something they like - I just didn't see anything that suited me). Oh and don't get me started on Gap maternity.

So thank goodness for Isabella Oliver. While you won't find any trend-led pieces or interesting prints and colours here, you will find a good range of the basic items which will take you through your pregnancy and which can be accessorised to add your own personal style. I've tried a couple of their pieces and now that there's a 20% off code (TREAT09) valid until December 1st, I'm sure I'll find a few more things I need.

Two of the pieces I have and love are the Scoop Top (long sleeves) in black and the Cap Scoop Top (short sleeves) in grey. These both fit beautifully (I'm a UK10 and wear a size 2 from Isabella Oliver) and have a nice amount of stretch to them, making them very comfortable to wear. They are nice and long in the body, so I'm not constantly tugging them down. The ruching in the front also gives a really nice shape and plenty of growing room for an expanding bump and they work very well under my ever-growing collection of cardigans. One thing I'd note is that the extra panel of fabric inside the front of these only comes down to the top of the bump and it's quite visible through the fabric in the white colour if you're not wearing anything underneath, so I returned the one I'd ordered in white. In grey and black it isn't noticeable at all, however.

Prices are a little steep here, but so far I think you get what you pay for with them - the clothes wash well and hold their shape, so they will last. There is also free shipping for orders over €65 and when you buy multiples of the tops, there is usually a discount. Exchanges are also very easy if you find something doesn't fit and you won't be charged for shipping on exchanged items with your first exchange.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shiny new Mulberry (not so shiny new prices)

If you had a bit of cash to spend on something purely frivolous this Christmas, you could do a lot worse than the Mulberry Bayswater Clutch (€580) in Antique Gold Cracked Metallic Leather. And if gold is just too obvious for you at Christmas, I also rather like the Midnight Blue version (though I do wonder how well the cracked leather finish on these bags lasts). If you'd prefer a more traditionally-sized clutch, the Small Bayswater Clutch in the Rouge Noir Wrinkled Patent Leather (€420) is a lovely option (and one I'll be watching the post-Christmas sales for).

As I browsed the Mulberry site, however, having been drawn in by the shiny, seasonal clutches, I was pretty shocked to see that my ultimate Mulberry bag, the traditional Bayswater in the oak natural leather has shot up in price from €650 to €750 overnight! Apparently Mulberry wanted to bring the prices of their traditional bags into line with the more expensive newer styles, but what a strange time to do it. It seems Irish shops aren't quite jumping on the pricing bandwagon just yet. Brown Thomas has increased the price of the natural leather Bayswater from €650 to €675 and from what I've heard, House of Fraser hasn't increased the price at all at this point. So if you had a purchase in mind, now might be the time to do it!

Images courtesy

Monday, November 16, 2009

Edvard Munch: Prints at the National Gallery

We finally took ourselves off to see the Edvard Munch: Prints exhibition at the National Gallery in Dublin at the weekend. It's been open since September and is only running until December 6th, so I wanted to make sure we got in before it was gone again. And with the way the weeks have been running away from me, that was a real risk.

Featuring 40 of Munch's finest prints, including a lithograph of The Scream, the exhibition covers all of the important themes of Munch's work and is an intriguing look at printmaking techniques. The prints are beautifully displayed in rooms with dimmed lighting, accompanied by useful histories of Munch, the art world he worked in and the different printmaking techniques he used.

Oh and don't believe all you read on the website above there - admission to the Gallery may be free, but there's a €5 entry fee for the exhibition. Well worth it, however. Make sure to go around lunchtime so you can enjoy the lovely soups and cakes in the cafe afterwards.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Earning my stripes

I have a terrible tendency to buy the same type of clothes over and over again once I find a formula I love. And so my not-very-fashion secret comes out - if I had to pick one outfit to live in, it would be jeans, a long-sleeved stripy tee and Converse. Not very creative or individual, but so damn easy when you don't know what else to wear on a quiet Sunday.

So when I spotted this perfect example of the striped tee in Gap on Saturday, I promptly bought it. In three colours (oh yes, my other fashion secret is my slightly OCD tendency to buy multiple colours of items I really like - I also got the dark blue merino wool cardigan which I already have in brown). Navy, red and purple all caught my eye, and I must confess I might have even got the grey too if they'd had it in my size. These are soft, warm, satisfyingly long in sleeve and body and very accommodating of my growing bump. And when they're past their best for outdoor wear, they'll make fantastic pyjama tops.

Good work, Gap (despite the fact that you wouldn't let me use the 30% discount on your cashmere range).

Price: €22
Image courtesy

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chocolates with style from Altmann & Kuehne

One of my favourite shops in Vienna isn't a grand department store or a trendy clothing emporium, but a teeny tiny little chocolate shop called Confiserie Altmann & Kuehne. In there you'll find the most beautifully packaged boxes of the most divinely diminutive hand-made chocolates - all very Alice in Wonderland.

Pick out the box you like (as well as the traditional box below, you could choose a heart-shaped box, a mini hat-box or - if feeling particularly decadent - a sewing-case which opens in tiered levels), the colour design of your choice and the lovely ladies will wrap it up carefully so it makes it home in one piece. And in case you don't plan to visit Vienna any time soon, you can even order online at the link above.

The only difficult part is trying to restrain yourself from eating the whole box in one go...

The outer layer

One layer in

The gorgeous Wiener Werkstaette design box

And the payoff

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Book

In case you didn't arrive here via (sometimes I promise something here, such as the NARS foundation reviews and it ends up there instead), you might not be aware of the launch of The Guide to Gorgeous. A vision in pink loveliness, this is a really informative and fun-to-read guide to all things beauty, packed full of expert opinion and user comments on various beauty products, treatments and remedies.

Check out the fun at the recent launch of the book in Dublin here, and order your own copy here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Food frenzy at the Vienna Naschmarkt

We visited Vienna, one of my favourite European cities, for a few days earlier this month. It might not be as fashionable as Paris or have a thriving underground scene like Berlin, but I still have a brilliant time and find something new to see or do everytime I go there. This time we happened to be staying near the famous Naschmarkt, an open air market which has been in existence more than 200 years and which now includes numerous restaurant and cafes where you'll surely find any international cuisine you're craving.

For some silly reason we chose to go directly after our big buffet breakfast in the hotel, but I'm already planning my next trip and you can be sure it will involve a visit here on an empty stomach. Just take a look to see why...

A flowering artichoke used as decoration

A rainbow of deliciousness stuffed with creamy cheese

Cheeses, hummous and stuffed vegetables - so pretty this could be an ice cream counter

A close-up of those stuffed vegetables

Spicy green chili peppers

... and some red ones too

Fresh vegetables as far as the eye could see

The most appetising looking olives

Every kind of spice you could possibly need

Some weirdly shaped little squash-type things

The Naschmarkt can be found at the Wienzeile, 1040 Vienna; take the U4 Kettenbrückengasse or U4, U2 Karlsplatz to get there. Open from Monday to Saturday, make sure to get there early on Saturday for the best brunch options in the many restaurants.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Armani Manta Ray - Liquid Silk Eyeliner

I promised this a while back so apologies for the delay. I planned to take more decorative pictures but never got around to it, so here they are, carelessly swatched on the back of my hand in an unnaturally large close-up.

Available in two shades, these liners come in the same packaging as the High Precision Retouch Concealer and are the type where you dip the brush into the liquid. I usually find this type really messy to use, but because the liner is thicker than usual and really pigmented, I don't have too much of a problem with these once I got some practice and realised I could wipe off a lot of the excess product inside the neck of the bottle.

These colours are GORGEOUS. #1 is a metallic deep blue and goes exactly as it looks in the picture - it doesn't end up looking close to black. #2 is a medium grey with no shimmer, but a really glossy, almost plastic finish. This is a really modern shade and unlike any other liners I own, but dark enough to give proper contrast as a liner.

These are available now from Armani counters priced at €25.50 and of all the new products Armani has put out lately, definitely my favourite.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Storytime with Nick Cave

I hope you don't mind if I take a break from regular programming to bring you a bit of Nick Cave. I suppose I can make it style-related if I mention how sharp his suits always are and how his appearance in Vicar St. last night was no different. Though sadly shorn of his 70s-porn-star moustache (allegedly at the hand of his wife), he cut a dashing figure, as usual.

The blurry picture above was taken with my camera phone from the very back wall, hence the slight lack of quality. I can't really get down with the people who spend the whole gig taking pictures (especially if they leave the flash on and especially when they're seated 30ft or more from the stage...), but I thought I'd try it out to see for myself during a particularly divine performance of The Ship Song. And now I know... no more taking pictures with my camera phone during gigs for me.

Anyway, if you put your face up close to the screen and squint hard enough, you might make out Nick himself at the piano on the left, the Rasputin-like figure of Warren Ellis (who took to his minimalist drum-kit - one snare and a set of cymbals - with a vengeance on a rousing version of Dig, Lazarus, Dig!) and the unassuming Martin Casey in the middle.

The gig was to promote Nick's recently published novel, The Death of Bunny Munro and was billed as "an evening of reading, music and conversation", so what was with all the rude people filing out en masse each time Nick began to read an extract from the book? The bar wasn't even open during the performance, so no excuses there. Even if they had no interest in the book and were only there for the music (or the slightly dull "conversation", enlivened only by Nick's response to the girl who questioned whether he endorsed the main character's misogyny: "I'm f*cking insulted you have to ask that! Have you read the book? No?"), it still wouldn't have killed them to sit through the reading and not disturb everyone else who was interested.

Audience issues apart, great show

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cocktail Jewellery attracts my inner magpie

Apologies for the broadcast silence over the last few weeks, as I've been away. Before I went away, however, I dropped into the Leinster Gallery to visit Cocktail Jewellery's pop-up shop.

Cocktail Jewellery is an Irish company which was established in 2008 with the aim of providing simple, classic jewellery designs at affordable prices and they have just added a bridal collection to their range. This includes traditional pearl necklaces, earrings and hair combs available, as well as pretty rose quartz pendants and earrings. I loved the Two-Style White Pearl Necklace, which can be worn doubled as a short string or opened out and worn as a long string (€185):

But you won't be lost for options if pearls aren't your thing - I was particularly taken with this gorgeous Silver Hammered Ring (€60 - this design is also available as a pendant or earrings):

And I loved the colour in this Cherry and Clear Quartz Necklace (€155):

Cocktail Jewellery will be available at the "Affordable Art and Jewellery Exhibition" at the Leinster Gallery in Dublin, October 29th - November 8th and I've a feeling that lovely ring will be calling me back. Jewellery can also be purchased online from the Cocktail Jewellery website.

Images courtesy Cocktail Jewellery

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fashion Bloggers' Brunch at Pacino's

September's FBB took us off to Pacino's on Suffolk St. last weekend and despite the fact that I must have walked by it on more than one occasion, I'd never registered it was there before. While waiting for our delicious eggs florentine and pancakes with bacon we eagerly delved into the Clarins goodie bags so generously provided - expect to be reading more from me about the lovely Autumn/Winter 09 collection at a later stage...

There was no rest for the fashionable once we'd devoured the food as we were ushered downstairs for a surprise lesson on how to mix the perfect Mojito with renowned mixologist Paul Lambert. With his top tips in mind, there'll be no reason not to make my own delicious cocktails at home next summer.

I had to take off following the demonstration, but I heard rumours of even more yummy food afterwards, so props to Pacino's for being such generous hosts and thanks as usual to the lovely Annmarie for organising the event!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

RMK Autumn Mystique A/W 09

RMK has been a favourite makeup brand of mine for quite a while now, so I was very sad to see the counter close at House of Fraser in Dundrum last year. However (it must have been fate), as I wistfully read about the latest colour collection on their website recently, an email popped into my inbox informing me that UK-based hair and beauty retailers lookfantastic are now stocking the brand. Caught up in the moment of excitement, I immediately ordered a few products from the new Autumn Mystique collection (at present lookfantastic are stocking only a limited amount of products from the brand - I'm not sure if this will be expanded).

Here's what I got (you can click on the pictures to see larger versions):

Mystique Cheeks in 01 Pink Beige and Mystique Eyes in 02 Brown Beige:

Mystique Cheeks includes 5 shades, of which three are blush shades with good pigment and two are shimmery highlight shades. Blend all colours together to apply, or select individual shades (for which you'll need a precise brush, as this palette is fairly small). I generally wear this by blending all shades and adding some of the highlight shades separately as required. The shimmer, as is usually the case with RMK, is very fine and gives a lovely glowy effect. I like this a lot.

Mystique Eyes also includes 5 shades. The darkest shade at the top is a matte deep brown and the other 4 shades are all more sheer with shimmer. There is a useful mix of warmer and cooler shades in the shimmer finishes, which all combine well with the dark shade either as a base shade or to line.

Ingenious Gel Eyeliner in 02 Deep Blue and Ingenious Pencil Eyeliner in 02 Deep Grey:

I love, love, love the Gel Eyeliner. It is smooth, very pigmented and a gorgeous shade of very deep blue with a shimmery finish. The pot it comes in is plastic, making it easier to travel with than gel liners (such as Bobbi Brown's) which are packaged in glass jars. I also love that it comes with a very useful double-ended retractable applicator with a brush on one end and a sponge tip blender on the other. Perfect for application on the go.

I don't love the Pencil Eyeliner quite as much. Although the packaging is nice (this is an automatic pencil), with a sharpener at one end, the pencil itself is hard and doesn't blend easily on the eyelid. The shade is lovely when I test it on the back of my hand, but because I can't press as heavily when applying it to the eyelid, I don't get the same colour payoff. On the plus side, it does seem to last well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I want this (pt. 1)

If the rather damp August didn't set me off early, then the very chilly mornings this week have definitely started me thinking of Autumn/Winter dressing. Just how cute would this French Connection Kitty Coat be with some dark skinnies and riding boots? I know this gorgeous cherry red shade would definitely cheer me up on an otherwise dark and dreary morning.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Normal service will resume shortly

My apologies for the lack of updates as my moments of inspiration seemed few and far between recently. Stay tuned for updates on NARS Sheer Glow and Sheer Matte foundations (courtesy of the wonder that was the 1st anniversary Fashion Bloggers' Brunch goodie bag), Armani's Manta Ray collection (or the best parts of it) and RMK's Autumn Mystique look.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The September Issue - 1 month, 1 day and counting

You know The Devil Wears Prada is going to pale into insignificance when this comes out... I AM SO EXCITED!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Camper A/W 09/10

I have become slightly obsessed with these lovely boots from Camper's new Autumn/Winter collection. In reality I'm not sure how well they'd suit all but the most gazelle-legged among us, but until I try them on and rule them out, I'll continue to dream.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Duvet days

On a day like today, when I look out the window and see rain, rain and more rain, there is nothing I'd like more than spending the day on the couch watching Gossip Girl DVDs, snuggled under my Blankie. The cosiest, comfiest and cutest mini-duvet you've ever seen, the Blankie comes in a variety of colour combos, though the Hot Chocolate number pictured above is my favourite.

Measuring 105x152cms, the Blankie is filled with a mix of down and feathers and comes packed in its own drawstring bag for convenience. Check the website above for a list of stockists, both online and offline.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shades of grey: Burberry Prorsum A/W 09

As the concept of Summer seems somewhat faded and distant at present, my mind has turned to Autumn/Winter fashion. I have a shameful backlog of fashion magazines waiting on my coffee table to be read, but the catwalk supplements delivered with this month's new issues have jumped to the head of the queue. And so I have decided that in fantasy land I will be dressing exclusively in Burberry Prorsum this Autumn/Winter. Imagine how easy it would be to get dressed in the morning with these hanging in your wardrobe?

Images thanks to

Friday, June 26, 2009

Time for a new T?

Everyone's favourite t-shirt people Turtlehead have just launched three new Irish t-shirts, featuring everyone's favourite b-words (that's Biffo and Bono, just to be clear). Expect Enda and Eamon to turn up wearing this fine design on the last day of school, I mean Dáil:

As for me, I'm rather liking this one and with the weather we've been having, it must be time for a new t-shirt: