Sunday, 22 January 2017

Forget Orgasm, This Is The Prettiest Nars Blush

I've always admired Nars from afar but, for whatever reason, have never really gotten in to the brand - in fact, I have a similar relationship with Charlotte Tilbury. I really cannot, for the life of me, pin down why. I guess part of the reason is that I don't buy a lot of makeup anymore. Generally, I have so many press samples to work my way through that I have no space - mental or physical - for anything else.

But, perhaps it is also because, in my mind, the brand is really all about blush and I've never really been a blush kind of girl.

Then I tried Orgasm and I got it. I understood the hype. It quickly became one of my all time favourites. I would reach for it every time I did my makeup. Recently, however, I've come to understand the cult of blush a little better (even if I am, by no means, a fully-fledged member) and began to expand my horizons. First, I wanted to track down the perfect rosy, berry shade and found it in Flormar's Terracotta Blush-On in 45 Touch of Rose. Then I was all about peachy tones.

In the past few weeks, I became obsessed with finding the perfect pale pink that looks like the natural flush that colours the cheeks of children after running about outside on a winter's day, the kind of shade that has been popular across Asia for seasons now. I looked high and low but everything was too bright and obvious. I needed subtlety.

And then, last week, I happened to wander into Brown Thomas on my way home from work one evening and the thought struck me, if I was tracking down a particular shade of blush, where better to check than the Nars counter? Sure enough, looking up at me from the new collection displayed prominently by the cash register, there were three new shades of blush and, among them, the perfect pale pink.

This new shade is exactly what I wanted: matte, natural and incredibly pretty. I looks like the kind of natural blush I wish would spring to my cheeks. Not the bright, burning, splotchy red that I have suffered from since I was a teen and made me look permanently mortified or shy, but the kind of soft and elegant flush of maidens in Rocco paintings and K-drama actresses with perfect porcelain skin.

Orgasm, step aside, there's a new (surely soon-to-be) cult favourite in town and it's called Threesome.

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(This product was purchased with my own money and I was not paid to review it. All opinions are my own.)


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Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Burren Perfumery

During one of the first days of our family holiday this summer, before we knew that the weather was going to abruptly change and give us the freedom to spend almost the whole week surfing and swimming, we sat around researching activities in the area. There were all sorts of famous restaurants, boat trips, deep caves, historic buildings, pretty villages and natural gems to keep us plenty occupied. However, among all the outings we planned, there was one destination that I chose and pushed, despite the lack of interest among everyone else: the Burren Perfumery.

I'm a great lover of Irish beauty products and am always fascinated by things done smaller, done locally, steeped in tradition. The Burren Perfumery is the oldest working perfumery in Ireland and produces a variety of fragrances, aromatherapy products, soaps and a skincare range. Everything is made on site using local flora and sold in a physical store as well as online.

Now run by Sadie Chowen, an English perfumer that came to work for the perfumery, and Ralph Doyle, formerly employed in the IT sector, the whole place is as lovely and romantic as the couple's origin story. The two took over the business in 2001. They met onsite in 1995, when Chowen rented a cottage to Doyle and went from being a landlady to a wife, after falling from a horse and being nursed back to health by her tenant.

Today, the perfumery is a beautiful place, nestled amongst the bountiful, vibrant and protected flora of the Burren. The site is made up of production rooms, a shop, gardens that can be toured and a tea room, all in stone buildings, alive with plants. During summer months, the place is bustling with tourists and there are all sorts of tours and talks on offer, out of season, things are a good deal quieter and the tea room closes. Either which way, the perfumery is worth the visit. It feels tucked out of the way, like a secret garden, and the lovely store is filled with incredible beauty products that are just waiting to be discovered.

When I visited, I mostly spent my money on some of the body products and soaps for my mother, who wanted them but is normally loathe to spend money on herself. As such, the only thing that I have personally tried is the Honey & Beeswax Organic Lip Balm (€ 9.50) but it has remained on my nightstand since I purchased it and barely has a dent in it, despite daily use. I swear by it now.

If you happen to visit for yourself, the perfumes, candles and skincare line all intrigued me and I'll definitely stock up on some more products during my next visit - and I do plan another visit.

For beauty lovers exploring Ireland or Irish beauty lovers looking to shop local, it really is a must.

P.S. The film about the Burren playing in the room just off the shop is utterly hypnotising and lovely and so relaxing to watch.

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Photo Post - November & December 2016

So, I let things slide a little at the end of the year between work chaos, blog commitments that I felt needed to be prioritised and festivities. The photo post I had planned for November was meant to go up at the beginning of December but Five Golden Gifts pushed everything back and suddenly it was January. Which is why the two months are being presented together.

November began on a mad note. In the first week I finished work on Thursday evening, got a train from Dublin to Wexford, hung out with my parents (who are living there at the moment), went back to our GP in Wicklow on Friday, briefly stopped off at the family home in Kildare, headed to the train station and arrived in Galway after 9. By the time I had gotten to my hotel, checked in, bathed and prepared for the next day, I fell into bed. Then I had a crazy day on the Galway Fashion Trail, running around the city, catching up with the ITWBN gang and making new friends. After dashing around the shops, eating dinner and grabbing drinks, Saibh walked me to the train station and I headed back to Dublin - I saw a hell of a lot of the country in one week! Sunday was hectic too, even if I was in one place. I did a bunch of chores and got stuck into my articles for Magpie, who I've since finally announced took me on as their Fashion Editor!

In fact, November continued on a crazy note, largely because of Magpie. It was great and I was happy to be doing it but fitting in three articles outside of a day job and generally busy life was not easy. On the following Tuesday I interviewed the lovely Jenny Drea about her modelling and fashion design careers. The next morning I had the launch of Courtney Smith's collection for Shoe Lab and got to catch up with her awesome mam, the blogger behind the fantastic (and fantastically named) Over The Hilda, who I'd met that weekend in Galway. Following that I had a Crabtree & Evelyn event in the Merrion Hotel, attended welcome home drinks for one of my besties who'd been away for a year, a hangout and dinner with the extended gang and, finally, a quiet weekend.

The third weekend of November saw me attend my first event for Magpie, the launch of Poco by Pippa, produce a write-up the next day, have breakfast and an interview with Sonya Lennon for the next issue of the magazine, go to the COS SS17 preview, have a cinema date with my other bestie, finally, finally donate the clothes to a charity shop that have been sitting in my living room for two years (!) and get my first ever headshots taken by a pal.

Week four began lunching with friends and continued with the Primark SS17 press day, Christmas shopping, the Platinum Christmas party, a trip home and lots of work on deadlines and blog posts.

After a brief moment of quiet, where I kind of caught my breath, November transitioned to December with work on getting my Five Golden Gifts posts ready, a Lennon Courtney show, the Toy Show, drinks with a friend we don't get to see often enough and a hungover drawing class that made me realise how much I really miss putting pen to paper for more than words.

December saw a big rush of excitement for the blog and lots of engagement with the incredibly successful Five Golden Gifts posts. I was truly blown away by it. Then, I ended the first week of the month at the & Other Stories store opening, going down to Wexford again for our annual family trip in the run up to Christmas, where we had an incredible dinner in Cistin Eile, and a fun dinner and karaoke session with the people from my Korean class.

As we reached the middle of the month, I was having the same kind of fun and pleasant adventures - tea with Sarah, dinner with my brother, exciting new music - when, suddenly, my computer started acting all screwy. I live and work through my computer and this was a serious pain in the ass. Amid the stress of being without it, posting out my prizes and Christmas cards and doing the last bits of shopping, I hung out with a contingent of friends who now live in France, had a nice festive day of markets and movies with Sarah and finally had time to get my shit together around the house.

In the last ten days of the month, I had catch-ups with various friends to exchange gifts and Christmas wishes, my annual Christmas party and went home to bake, eat too much, be with my family, go on hikes, skateboard, visit the cinema, play with a puppy and recharge for the new year - the perfect way to end a crazy, busy, fun and (largely) great year.

2016, in many ways, was a difficult year for most of us. But I was lucky. Personally, 2016 was a year in which I grew, did new things, challenged myself, had adventures and achieved life-long goals. I only hope that 2017 sees more hard work pay off and that I continue to be surrounded by the people that always get me through the less good moments. That we all remain healthy and mostly happy. What more could anyone ask for?

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