Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin

5.23.2015

Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin

Today I have one of my favourite bloggers ever sharing her fine city of Dublin. Settle in and let Lorraine from John, It's Only Makeup (be sure to check out her wonderful blog and follow her on Twitter too @Lorrrrrrrrraine) share all some wonderful beauty haunts and plenty of shopping advice.

Dublin is relatively small city, which means our best shops are never too far apart from one another. You can be knee deep in the chemist's bargain bin once second, and pressing your nose to the glass at the Chanel counter the next. 

I have linked each store's location and opening times below, for your convenience.

Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin
Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin
Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin
Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin

DEPARTMENT STORES...

Arnotts, Henry Street - As soon as Arnotts is on the horizon, my boyfriend will ask if I want to go in and smell things (in as bright a tone a man who has resigned himself to shuffling around soap-stacked shelves can muster). I do, invariably.

See, the beauty hall has your typical brands, but the sprawling fragrance and body care section sets it apart from the rest of the pack. Luxe, niche and more affordable ranges are stocked on try-me friendly displays. Staff are always around to help, but they never pester, pressure or side-eye when you get enthused with the perfume pumps. It's bliss.

Marks and Spencer Beauty Hall, Henry Street - This might be my favourite. The displays are immaculate, the wealth of brands available is superb, and the atmosphere is spa-like. M&S is best for skin care, body care and home fragrance, but there are few sold cosmetic brands (one of our few Stila stockists!) that balance it out.

Brown Thomas, Grafton Street - This is the fanciest of the bunch, for better or for worse. Would I feel judged if I went here in tracksuit bottoms and a top-knot? Yes. Does anywhere else stock Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury or Nars? No. So, there you have it. If you're looking for luxury, Brown Thomas should be top of your list.

Debenhams, Henry Street - Based on my gut feeling and absolutely no statistics or reports, I think Debenhams is the best department store for landing a bargain. Sales pop up regularly, and many counters have little baskets of items that have been reduced. It's big, it's busy and stocks all the usual suspects.

Clerys, O'Connell Street - If you can't hack hustle and bustle, stay off the high street and camp in Clerys. It's not beside any other major stores and doesn't have its own parking, so us natives tend to forget about it. There's brand overlap from the other department stores, but also an onsite chemist that stocks NYX, Sleek, Essence, Catrice and more.
HIDDEN GEMS...

Muji, Chatnam Street - Storage, the love of my/every beauty blogger's life. Muji is your man for those acrylic drawers, pots and shelves. Alright, so they might not be suitcase friendly, but you can still have a look.

L'Occitane, Upper Liffey Street - L'Occitane specialises in fragrance and skin care of the swish French variety. This store is just of one of our two main shopping streets, so it's easy to get to but a little less crowded.

Make Up Forever, Clarendon Street - Yep, we've got a MUFE store! This one is a bit of a trade secret and is on a side street, so you won't be shoved or jostled away from the lipstick display. Word of warning - stock tends to be limited, so you might want to ring ahead and have items put on hold if you're sure of what you want.

Inglot, South Anne Street - Inglot offers incredible value. The freedom system allows you to fill empty palettes with cream or powder products, and prices are really fair. There are two in the city centre, but this new one on South Anne Street is the only standalone store. It's not listed on the official website, but I promise, it's there!

Avoca, Suffolk Street - 99% of fancy soaps in Ireland are in Avoca's stockroom. Or, y'know, something like that. This shop is probably most popular for the cake in its basement café, but I head in for the quirky cosmetic bags. On my last visit, I very nearly parted with 30 euro's for a envelope-style one with a Dear John letter printed on the front.

Beauty Destination Guide - Dublin

BEST OF...

Topshop, St. Stephen's Green - This Topshop is about twenty seconds away from Grafton Street, the busiest row of shops in the country, but you'd never think it. First off, I think people forget that it's there and secondly, it's huge. The beauty section is on the bottom floor. You'll find the full Topshop Beauty range, as well as some kinda novelty stuff like flavoured balms and weird hair brushes.

Boots, Jervis Street - Truth be told, none of our central Boots stores are great. They lack the luxe counters that you'll find in places like Liffey Valley or Blanchardstown. Of the city brigade, the one in the Jervis Shopping Centre has the most brands; L'Oreal, Rimmel, Max Factor, Bourjois, Barry M, Collection, Soap & Glory and more. There's a new nail aisle that stocks Butter London, Essie, Nails Inc, Mavla and more salon brands.

Space NK, Grafton Street - It's a lovely store, but the draw is its exclusives. This is the only place in the city centre that you'll find Kevin Aucoin, Lipstick Queen, By Terry, Hourglass, Becca, Oskia, Sarah Chapman, and about a zillion more amazing brands.

The Body Shop, Upper Liffey Street - The Body Shop has branches all over Dublin, but this smaller store on Upper Liffey Street is my favourite. Like a lot of my picks (my hermit flag is really flying), it's quieter, more tidy but still centrally located.

I don't think there'd be room for a mouse's fart in your suitcase after visiting that lot, but do let me know if you've got any favourite spots in Dublin City!

I am looking to make this a regular feature with cities not only within the UK but worldwide. If you'd like to write a post on your stomping ground and have it featured, please email me on thesundaygirlblog@yahoo.co.uk with the subject line Beauty Destination Guide and we can discuss it further. I look forward to hearing from you!

Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot Review

5.22.2015

Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot

As you may be aware Benefit Porefessional is one of, if not Benefit's best selling product so any product boasting similar technology will forever grasp my attention. Enter the newly launched Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot - a solid balm that promises to conveniently and instantly create matte skin; being part of the Porefessional line Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot also aims to blur the appearance of enlarged pores. A clever little matte skin creating gadget wouldn't you agree?

Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot

Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot is presented within an easy to use, retractable tube that is of course decorated with the now signature Benefit Spy Gal logo. The idea is that you use Benefit License to Blot on the go. This is why the solid balm has been moulded into a triangular shape, such design allows the nib to easily slot into the tricky facial contours of the face. I'm not sure I am totally sold on the consistency of the product but will happily say it glides on to the skin and is a dream to apply to the nose, forehead and other typically oily areas of the face. The product itself is colourless so is ideal for all skin tones.
Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot

I would somewhat deem Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot as the solid version of Benefit Porefessional - I wouldn't use it as my only method of oil control but there is no denying it works. The idea is that you apply your make-up and setting powder much as you typically would and rely on Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot to eradicate any shine throughout the day, as and when needed. To use you simply glide the balm over any excess oil and watch it instantly mattify the skin. It relies on new and fairly innovative technology that is exclusive to the product - invisible blotting spheres which can keep the skin shine free for up to 6 hours even after application.

Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot

I won't pretend that Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot is not without its faults - you can certainly feel it on the skin. I hasten to add it isn't overly heavy nor uncomfortable to wear but weightless it is not - it feels a lot like a silicone based primer on the skin. The main problem I have experienced is that it somewhat removes and encourages any make-up on your face to slide around and in some instances lift off the face completely. After a few uses my Licence to Blot stick is a little orange around the edges - I'll save you the real time visual. However it does work, a quick slick and oil disappears as well as any open pores appearing somewhat softened. Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot is ideal if you don't want to cart around a powder compact of any type; despite being a little heavier in texture than I personally enjoy it is not prone to caking and for those who want extra oil control you can, should you wish apply powder on top. I would debate the six hour wear time - I have tested this on three separate occasions and with my rather oily skin it was closer to three hours.

All in all Benefit Licence to Blot is great for on the go and undeniably innovative, if you are a fan of quick and easy oil busting products this is for you. A great extension of the already impressive Benefit Porefessional range.

Benefit Porefessional Licence to Blot £15.50/4.3g via Benefit - link

This post contains a press sample.


Birch & Brook London Library Candle

5.21.2015

Birch & Brook London Library Candle

Two of my favourite and utterly simple joys in the world are: lighting a beautiful candle and curling up with a good book. Bliss. I know that somewhere along the line Kindles and electronic tablets have replaced the humble book but in my opinion you can not beat the smell or feel of a paper novel - it is a certain type of comfort nothing could replace and like I said simplistic. Tapping into this very idea is Birch & Brook London Library Candle, a heady yet soothing blend that was made for book worms and comfort seekers everywhere. If any candle was made to accompany an afternoon or evening reading session it is Birch & Brook London Library Candle.

Before I further discuss the scent let me tell you a little about the Birch & Brook Candles - each candle is hand crafted within the UK, using 100% natural wax made from GM free, organic and certified vegan ingredients with a natural fibre wick for even and clean burning. All the ingredients are sourced from renewable and sustainable sources and are free from chemicals, palm, paraffin and petroleum waxes. Excuse the terrible pun but I sure this will allow many of us to breathe easy in more than one way. All Birch & Brook candles burn evenly, they do not have a tendency to tunnel nor do they produce thick, heavy black smoke - the beautiful, glass containers that they are presented in can also be re-purposed. If purchasing a travel sized candle the cotton pouch that protects the candle is ideal for stashing jewellery in or for other small keep safe items.

I hate to draw comparisons to other brands but sometimes feel it is the easiest way to describe fragrances? If you are familiar with Byredo Bibliothèque candle  or to some extent, Diptyque Feu de Bois Candle but perhaps want something a little more affordable yet equally luxurious, Birch & Brook London Library Candle is the one for you. A distinctive blend of Guaiac wood and patchouli, mingled with cinnamon, clove buds, and soft base notes of cedar and moss - it really is something special. Best described as smoky and earthen, it conjures images of rain soaked afternoons spent nose deep in a good book. It is truly one of the best woody home fragrances I have experienced in a long while and is truly unisex. The scent throw is incredible, after one hour my entire home was filled with the smoky yet somewhat green aroma of Birch & Brook London Library Candle, which lingered around the room for several hours after snuffing it out.

Believe it or not the above candle is the travel sized edition, it is on par in terms of size with the Neom Travel candles. All of the Birch & Brook Travel Candles come beautifully presented in a dinky, drawstring pouch - ready for stashing in a case or bag and burn up to 40 hours. At £18 I would say it is an affordable slice of luxury and a great way to first experience the brand for yourself. 

Birch & Brook London Library Travel Candle £18 - link.

This post contains a press sample.

Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly Review

Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly

While in Lush Oxford Street I assumed that Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly was perhaps a sneak peek of a future Winter/Christmas collection? Nope it is an all year round showering product that is exclusive to the new store along with over 200 other products. If you happen to live in London or the surrounding area I can not urge you enough to plan a visit - it is three stores of bathing heaven.

Once you wrap your head around the fact that Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly not being a seasonal product the next thing you notice along with the texture is the wonderful scent. A truly sensuous aroma that has somewhat aromatherapy benefits, a blend of Pine and Cyprus Leaf notes come together that to mimic the effect of a sauna. Such scents also encourage the blood to flow and increase circulation, all the while stimulating the capillary beds. I also find that it de-congests and clears the airways - great if like myself you are suffering from hayfever or even a Summer cold. The fragrance itself is very alpine , outdoors-y and a little masculine - fresh, invigorating and renewing, it is one that both sexes can truly enjoy. If you don't have regular access to a sauna (and who does?), this is the next best thing.

Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly
Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly

Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly is actually recommend for use after a visit to the gym or any form of exercise for that matter as it can calm and soothe tired, achy muscles. For extra relief I recommend popping it into the freezer - it won't physically freeze but will remain icy cold for a good few hours. Trust me it is quite the treat when combined with tired limbs and a warm shower.

You can use any Lush Shower Jelly in a whole manner of ways, you can freeze it as I mentioned above, chill it the fridge for a quick cold blast or use it straight from the tub. The one factor that never changes is that they are really slippery, so do make sure you have a tight grip or you will be chasing it around in the shower which is more frustrating than amusing. I find the Shower Jellies to cleanse really well but they do not foam quite as much as a typical shower gel but let's face it they are oodles more fun!

Lush Needles and Pine Shower Jelly from £5.25 exclusive to Lush Oxford Street.


Teen Talk - Bloggers Beauty Ranges

Bloggers Beauty Ranges

In the last year or so, a handful of well known bloggers and Youtube video creators have crossed over from being reviewers and beauty writers of sorts, to create their own beauty ranges. Admittedly it won't be to everyone's taste but I think it is fantastic and so impressive to see the progression of this fairly new community. Slowly but surely both myself and sister have bought and tried most of the beauty ranges (we are easily lead astray) launched by fellow bloggers; we have found that on the whole they have exceeded expectations. Here is a what we thought of the main ranges, some may just surprise you...

Bloggers Beauty Ranges

Real Techniques Brushes
Perhaps the original cross over line and by far our favourite - very few beauty aficionados don't own at least one Real Techniques brush and for very good reason. In a nutshell they work, offer a great range of options be it pre-made sets or individual brushes and more often than not they are really affordable. They deliver great results (on par with far more expensive tools), are pretty (who can resist metallic and pastel brushes?) and wash (no splaying, shedding or loosing shape) well - you really couldn't ask for more. The entire brush line up is not only available via Superdrug but also Boots - link, it is worth while checking all retailers as more often than not the Real Techniques brushes are on a 3 for 2 offer!

Bloggers Beauty Ranges

Zoella Beauty
Yes it is aimed at the really young but it is super affordable, beautifully scented and features some super handy products. Take for instance the Zoella Beauty Bath Fizz Bar, not only does it smell wonderful - slightly sweet and floral but the £5 bar provides enough for up to eight relaxing baths. I love that rather than using a full bath fizzer you have complete control over how much you use per use, not to mention it is great value for money. If you enjoy a budget but sweetly scented candle (somewhat floral yet fresh) you could do a lot worse than the Zoella Candle, the scent throw isn't the best but it is nice enough to have flickering away in the background. Sadly I can not find the scented candle online which is a little bizarre but it is readily available in Superdrug which I find adds to the appeal of the brand. You can shop the entire line up here - link.

Bloggers Beauty Ranges

Colab Dry Shampoo
This is of course the dry shampoo brain child of Ruth Crilly from A Model Recommends. Admittedly it took us (my sister and I) the longest time to pick up a can or two, fobbing off all the hype as just that. Oh how wrong we were; not only do the Colab Dry Shampoo's smell utterly incredible with at least seven scents to choose from (New York and the newly launched Monaco versions are our favourites) but also two varieties: invisible and volumising. They quickly soak up any signs of oily roots, refresh and don't coat the hair in a dreaded cloud of white dust. We honestly rank them as one of the best dry shampoo's out there and the fact that they range from £2.49 - £4.49 in price only sweetens the deal. Forget Batiste this is the dry shampoo range you want to try next! You can find them via Superdrug - link. 

Bloggers Beauty Ranges

Tanya Burr Beauty
Again this is a range that can be found in Superdrug and is perhaps the most varied in terms of products: nail polish, false eye lashes and glosses. The glosses are the stand out item - well pigmented and offer a vast range of shades for every taste, without being too expensive. There is also a huge selection of nail polishes (our favourite is the pretty mint green Little Duck hue, great for Spring/Summer) and well made yet easy to apply eye lashes for every occasion to choose from - the everyday flutter eyelashes are great for beginners! You can shop the Tanya Burr Beauty here - link.

Like we have said not all the ranges will appeal to everyone but it is commendable to see how far blogging as come in the last few years.

What is your favourite blogger beauty range or item?
What blogger would you like to see branch out next?



Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio Review

Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio

With Summer on the horizon (well hopefully at least), I have began seeking out travel friendly products - isn't everything so much cuter and appealing when it is in miniature form? I am no stranger to mini bottles of Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and even Mouth Wash but mini brushes are something I have only just discovered. Miniature brushes do seem to be few and far between but one brand that is both affordable and accessible have provided the answer with the Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio.

Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio

At just £7.99 the Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio is great value and could perhaps not only be the perfect travel solution but also ideal for everyday use, to free up handbag space? There is no denying that they are teeny tiny - almost half the size of a regular Real Techniques brush. On one hand this makes them ideal for stashing in even the smallest of handbags, on the other it can make using the dinky tools tricky. The brushes within the Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio are super lightweight and to some extent flimsy. They are ideal for on the go touch ups, festivals or anywhere in which the last thing you want to do is pack you best make-up brushes; for everyday use not so much, you will compare them to the original and full sized Real Techniques brushes.

Being a trio the Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio of course contains three brushes:

Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio
Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio

- Mini Foundation Brush - this is of course for use with liquid foundation and/or concealer, I would not recommend using this for applying a full face of make-up - it would require a lot of time and patience. Rather it is ideal for little make-up touch up's throughout the day and/or under eye concealer. The tapered tip allows you to easily slot the brush into the natural contours of the face. Other than the actual size of the brush head and of course handle, I would say the quality is on par with the original Real Techniques Foundation Brush.

Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio
Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio

- Mini Shading Brush - a small, soft and fluffy duo fibre eyeshadow brush that can be used to pack on eyeshadow and/or used to blend. Out of all of the miniature brushes this works the best. The small handle is the only real compromise - I would happily pack a few of these in place of my regular eye brushes next time I go away for a prolonged period.

Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio
Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio

- Mini Face Brush - Admittedly this is not as fluffy nor as soft as any of the full sized Real Techniques face brushes but for a quick touch up be it face powder or blush I have to say I am a fan. It gets the job done nicely and is effortlessly apply powder, blush and bronzer as needed during the day.

Think of the Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio as a comprise, they are budget friendly and more than get the job done when needed. Would I use them daily as my only source of brushes? Doubtful but the mini shading and face brush have found a way into my travel make-up bag.

Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio £7.99 via Superdrug - link.



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