Saturday, 26 March 2016

Mascara Mysteries: Dior, Avon and Benefit


I tend to expect a lot from a mascara, particularly the expensive ones: Long lustrous lashes, extreme volume and blacker than black, isnt't too much to expect, is it?
Most don't deliver on the promise that they market with so keenly, so disappointment is a regular occurrence. This is why I tend to go for Mink lash extensions these days, but when I'm not wearing them I do like to have a good mascara - one that works that is!

Dior (Disappointment)

Priced at €33.50 for the Dior Diorshow mascara you would be forgiven for having high expectations for this product.
Having promised "Buildable Volume, Lash Extension effect", I thought, "this is the mascara I have been waiting for". Instead it delivered little better than barely black lashes with no volume.

I find you need a couple of coats and then it's usually worn away by the afternoon leaving the lashes limp. Definitely not worth the price.
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Benefit they're (SO) real!

Again, I don't tend to like the rubber wands as much as the bristle ones but this mascara is truly a great buy. I tried this first when it came out in 2011 but was given a present of a travel size one recently and I have to say it renewed my love for this mascara. It's blacker than black and the bristles give great definition to the lashes with the angled bristles at the tip allowing you to coat every single lash!
€26
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Avon

Avon-a-buy this again! I absolutely love this mascara which a friend have to me for Christmas.
This also has a rubber wand which I don't normally go for, however this mascara is quite similar to Benefits they're real!
I like to use two coats of this mascara to really define the lashes, but it does give great volume and depth of colour.
It's not available on the Avon Site at present but similar versions are available on Amazon if you're interested in trying this product.
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Monday, 21 March 2016

The Naked Truth About Laser Hair Removal | Urbana




I actually can't rate this salon highly enough! Girls, and guys, stop what you are doing immediately and pay attention to this! I guarantee you will thank me later. 

After years of painful waxing sessions at various salons around Dublin, a friend recommended going to Urbana for laser. I thought no way could I, how painful! Boy was I wrong! I swear you will think they are paying me to say this (Chuckling) but I can almost guarantee that it is 99.9% LESS painful than waxing, but I had a full on panic attack outside the salon before my first appointment. Although, I am so glad now that I went through with it now.







I started with my bikini area last summer following a painful waxing session - as I lay there, I thought to myself, "Do I really want to be doing this when I'm 50?". Obviously the answer was no. Granted there are those among us who prefer waxing or shaving, and that's fine - it just wasn't for me. Needless to say the sessions have paid off. They estimate between 8 - 10 sessions (every 6-8 weeks) before switching to bi-annual or annual appointments. 
I have tried the lip, underarm and full leg. I can honestly say the lower leg is the worst, but if you can bear it you will reap the benefits. It is pricier than waxing initially, but the results are so worth it. Plus you can pay as you go and earn points per session with their Loyalty Programme.

The salon is gorgeous, with a modern sleek design and state of the art medical grade laser machines which are used with ice cold air to divert any hint of pain!






The unfortunate thing about laser hair removal is that you cannot currently do it if you have fair hair. As the laser light attacks the dark pigment so if you have blonde or red hair the laser will not pick up the pigment. So I am one of the lucky ones that can avail of this, however having olive skin you still have to be careful because the laser can cause scarring if you've have had recent sun exposure to the skin.

If you are considering laser hair removal, I would highly recommend checking out Urbana as consultations are free of charge. They discuss the whole process with you and even do a skin test with the laser so you know what you are getting yourself in for and to make sure you don't have a nasty reaction.

I urge you to stop abusing your bodies with wax and check out laser!!! It is AMAZING!!!

I was actually delighted last month when after participating in one of their online customer service surveys; I actually WON a €300 voucher! I never win anything, absolutely fantastic prize. Thank you, Urbana.



Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hotels, Highlights, and Hairspray!

So this past weekend saw a mixture of events, with a trip down to Portlaoise and a last minute dash to the hairdressers!

After a few busy weeks and some car trouble, we decided a long overdue adventure was in order. And after becoming somewhat of a hotel snob in recent years, I thought I'd just book a cheap deal and get out of dodge for a bit. After recently relishing that Hotels.com have a loyalty reward programme I had a look on their site to find a deal. What could be more satisfying than finding a bargain night away, and gaining free rooms nights at the same time! 

I found a great deal for the Maldron Hotel in Portlaoise for €58! It’s a 3 star hotel that probably is only lacking the fourth because of the location and the food. It was an hour’s drive from Dublin and we arrived at 2.30pm to check in, however our room wasn’t ready (check in was supposed to be 2pm). This was fine as we wanted to get some lunch, so we popped into their adjoining restaurant Stir. When we walked in we grabbed a seat and waited to be served before realising it must be help yourself. We looked at the menu on display by the counter and both chose the Chicken Caesar Wrap, only to be told after finally gaining the chefs attention that they only had carvery. Slightly confused I advised him that wasn’t listed on the menu – he didn’t respond (there was a gaudy sign hanging above the restaurant when we pulled up to the hotel stating ‘Carvery €8.95’, but I didn’t think this was all they would have). Starving at this point I said we would both take the roast beef. He loaded two huge portions on the plates for €8.95 each.
The food was only OK, so we finished up had a beer, watched the rugby and went to check in. We got our room quickly and went up to leave our bags. The room was basic but spotless, happy enough with our accommodation for the night we decided to go exploring. 
We drove into the town, it seemed nice enough. We stumbled across an ancient burial ridge dating back to the 17th century. The Ridge of Maryborough was formed by an esker during the Ice age, then used as a road before becoming the burial ground of Maryborough.
No matter where I go I get excited when I find a Local Newspaper hub or radio station, so it was only fitting that on our wander we found the office of the Laois Nationalist. It was closed unfortunately so I didn’t get to go in.
Along our way we also found a gorgeous cafe, Chocolate Brown they do amazing cupcakes! 


Before long it was time to head back to the hotel and we took a well earned dip in the pool before soaking in the Jacuzzi and chilling in the Steam room.
We didn’t fancy going back into town, so we just went back to Stir to try the evening menu. What can I say it went from bad to worse. Not overly hungry we shared a starter of chicken wings which were only Ok. For main I had the Italian Tagliatelle with chicken, which was pretty tasteless though edible. A chicken burger arrived for my partner instead of the supreme of chicken which was ordered and was only OK. We decided to share a Lemon Meringue pie after spying someone at the next table with one. It arrived and looked delightful. I took a bite and wasn’t quite sure what I was tasting to be honest. So to narrow it down I tasted the ‘meringue’ first, which tasted like polystyrene, The curd tasted off and the biscuit base was stale. I spent over 35 minutes trying to gain the waitresses attention, while she polished spoons in the corner. When she arrived I filled her in and they generously gave us a free round of drinks for the trouble.
After this we were both feeling ready for bed when a group of men and women – who seemed to be having a reunion of some sorts – called to us and asked us to stay for a sing-song. Having grown up with many a sing song in my aunties and uncles home I was only too delighted to stick around.
There was singing, a fiddle and a flute, funny masks and eventually some spoon playing from a championship spoon and fiddle player and their families. They were so warm and welcoming which made for a incredible evening. The hospitality in Portlaoise was amazing.
We eventually rolled into bed about 5 and had a late check out which was perfect. We rolled out of bed the next morning in search of breakfast and ended up in the Rafters Cafe in Laois shopping centre. It looked gorgeous, the soup was amazing but the Chicken, Brie and Cranberry wrap was awful. I wouldn’t be rushing back.
Last Thursday evening with the weekend looming and my roots needing some major TLC, I set about a major search for a last minute appointment to get my highlights done. SalonAddict.ie is always great for finding last minute appointments, and great deals. I found a great little salon in town, perfect for on the way home from work called CharmingHair Salon, on Burgh Quay – a full head of mesh highlights and blow-dry for €75.
A lovely girl called Monica looked after me and did a gorgeous job, absolute bargain. The front of the salon is quite cramped, but modern, while the back - where I was seated - and the toilet are very tired looking. I had to move chairs a couple of times, but other than that I couldn't fault the place! Great service, perfect location, bargain price.

Which leads me onto my next fabulous find, the Umberto Gianni Glam Hair back comb in a bottle! I got this in my Christmas sticking as a filler and have been dying to try it out. I brought it along on Saturday, along with my curling wand and tailcomb. I literally just curled and sprayed and this gave me a 1920’s inspired finger wave in my fringe and a curly do which lasted into Monday! I absolutely love this spray and can’t wait to use it again! €8.49 Boots









Thursday, 10 March 2016

Brasserie 7, Capel Street

Brasserie 7, located in the North Inner City, on a corner between Mary's Abbey and Capel Street, opposite the Boar’s Head. 
A modern-ish Brasserie with a twist; the food can be hit or miss, it is definitely not one of Dublin’s hidden gems.

I’ve been here four times now and that’s just about all I can take. Venturing inside one evening a few years back for dinner with a friend, I was charmed by the grand piano in the centre of the room. The restaurant's decor is modern vintage chic with a slight hint of the Orient in parts - mirrors adorning the walls, alongside garish red canvas paintings.

On my return this week the place looked tired. I had purchased a biteabargain voucher for €19 which included a starter and a main for two people. The menu had changed significantly since my last visit. 
I ordered the chicken wings and the Spinach & Ricotta cheese tortellini. My friend also had the chicken wings and the Pan fried supreme of chicken which she loved. I have to admit the chicken wings were divine, but the pasta was undercooked and tasteless. The sauce was nice and it looked beautiful, but who wants to chew on undercooked pasta.

















This was a stark contrast to the previous menu of Irish Goat's Cheese, Roasted Garlic & Honey Salad with Candied Walnuts & Raspberry Vinaigrette. Summer delights tossed into one bowl. It was beautiful, bursting with sweetness and evened out with the creamy coolness of the cheese. 
The Twice cooked Daube of Irish Beef, which consisted of slow cooked beef in red wine sauce, Horseradish Mash and compote of Cabbage, pancetta & rosemary had sincerely lived up to its complex description. The beef was mouth-watering and the mash and cabbage were equally as nice, but I'm not sure where the pancetta was hiding. Much less vibrantly the Butter Thyme Roasted Breast of Chicken arrived across the table, also served with Mash Potato, accompanied by Greens, and Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce. The report was good, but more-ish.

On that occasion we didn't have a second thought about ordering another glass of wine or dessert. We decided to share two. Our choices: the Lemon Posset with Lime & Coconut Cream and the Baileys Cheesecake. They were both like a mini piece of heaven. I adore lemon desserts and cheesecake - both were delightful. Dinner for two with an enticing voucher from GrabOne (2015)for €19.90 for 2 courses and a glass of wine each, two desserts and extra wine came to €37.90.

Last time I would have definitely said they were worth a visit as they always have great deals on, great food and fabulous service but now I would say give the place a wide berth.

With the biteabargain for €19, coffee and water added on, the whole debacle came to €25.60. You get what you pay for!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Clinique, Mac and Vaseline - my new favourite finds!

In an endless search for the the next best thing, ways to speed up my morning routine and improve the condition of my skin, I wade through a lot of product. 

My face is particularly sensitive - I hate to admit, a little temperamental at various times of the year - so I am always looking for a cleansing face wash that's not too drying or a cleansing cream that's not too oily. On a recent trip to Brown Thomas I stumbled on the Clinique Cleansing balm priced at €27. I really want to say I love this but it's not all that. It's silky on application, but does not remove all make up such as liquid eyeliner as its states or mascara. I tried reapplying to my eye area and it still did not completely remove the mascara which was disappointing. My skin also still felt tight after removal. I wouldn't be rushing back to buy this one.
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When I'm racing around in the morning getting ready for work I don't always have time for a full body moisturise. So, a couple of weeks ago I thought "wouldn't it be great if I had a spray on moisturiser!" 
Later that day I was doing my usual lap of the cosmetics aisle in Supervalu and there it was, Vaseline Spray and Go Body Moisturiser! Eureka I was in heaven! It comes in three types: Cocoa, Oat extract and Aloe Vera.

The Cocoa one is absolutely amazing, light yet moisturising without being greasy and it's super absorbant. Its €7.69 in Supervalu, but Tesco has a sale on recently and it was selling for €1.50. It is an absolute bargain.
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I had a tenuous encounter with my first MAC foundation, but this was more to do with the service at the shop that the actual product. I wanted to try the MAC photo finish foundation but was shown the Pro Long Wear Waterproof foundation which I actually kind of love except for the fact that it is a little bit awkward to apply. It sinks into pores, making them more obvious. I tried using my blending sponge but it wasted a lot of the product. I found the best way to apply this foundation is with my hands.
I have been caught in the rain wearing this and it is definitley waterproof! It is a great buy at €36, I would recommend it for oily skin, if your skin is in anyway dehydrated or dry this is not for you.
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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Milanos, Baggott Street Lower (Bridge)

I was here last night with a pal for a bite to eat and a vino to take advantage of the lovely weather we're experiencing in Dublin!
We sat outside overlooking the canal and the atmosphere was buzzing; everyone was in a good mood under the summer sun! I had worked here about 10 years ago before it was Milanos and it was strange seeing all the changes, I have to say I preferred the previous design but Milanos is what Milanios is, great food and affordable.

We both ordered the Legarro Ameican Hot which is served with salad in the centure as a lighter choice pizza. We also got the polenta fries which were gorgeous washed down with a nice large glass of Shiraz.

The service was good, the first waiter we had was a little hyper, which I'm not a fan of when you go for a relaxing meal - they sent over a second waiter who was a little more relaxed and was really lovely to deal with.

I would highly recommend their outside dining area!

Juls


Eathos, Baggot Street

This place is a little gem in the city! There are very few places that do wholesome lunches in Dublin, but this one is exceptional. Amazing food and desserts laid out in the windows to entice you inside.

I got the Lemon Chicken with grated carrot salad. It was so fresh and tasty, full of flavour. My friend got the roast aubergine which she wasn't impressed with as it was served cold. 
The deserts in the window were too tempting to resist so we shared a Chocolate and Raspberry tart oozing with Mascarpone and white chocolate. It was on many levels the best dessert I've ever had. 

The design was cool, modern and sleek, ultimately minimalistic with a gorgeous garden area out the back. 

The only negative I would have was that when we went in first, it's not entirely obvious whether you have to go to the counter to order or be waited on; but once we got over this hiccup the service was fantastic as well, very fast turnaround.

I would highly recommend Eathos, shame it doesn't open on the weekends!

Juls