13 Valentine Gifts Under €30, For Her.

So pay day has arrived and “Dry January” has come to a close – thank God! You’re finally free to spend all your hard earned cash on nights out and Nike. Well that was what you thought, until you realised that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. But, we’ve done a little research on your behalf. Behold 13 Valentine’s Day gifts for less €30:

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick (€19):

Urban Decay Lipstick

There isn’t a make up junkie on the planet who fails to appreciate Urban Decay cosmetics. If picking a shade proves problematic opt for something neutral like “Native” or”Naked”. The Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks are available here at Debenhams.ie.

 

Miniature Macaroon Necklace (€9.97):

Blair Waldorf

If you have been forced to sit through endless episodes of “Gossip Girl” and subjected to more than a dozen Chuck Bass quotes, then this gift will put you in the good books for life. Be sure to include the words “I was in Paris, only to get your favourite macaroons from Pierre Hermé” in your card. It will either work wonders, or make you look like a complete creep. This necklace is available here from Etsy.

 

theBalm The Manizer Sisters (€28 / Currently €23.52 from Cloud10Beauty).

The Balm

This one is a “Holy Grail” among make up lovers so you can’t really go wrong. Available here (currently on sale) from Cloud10Beauty.com.

 

Urban Decay Total Perversion Duo (€28):

Urban Decay Total Perversion

 

While the name is a little sketchy, the sentiment is clear. This mascara has caused obsession worldwide – even Kim Kardashian is a fan. Available here from Debenhams.ie.

 

PHYT’s Lait Hydro-Nettoyant Cleanser (€22):

Phyts

PHYT’s are possibly the best skincare brand on the market at the moment, and one of my absolute favourites. I adore this cleanser so any secret admirers, feel free to hand it over to the Postman. Available here.

 

Initial Necklace (€24.63):

Initial Necklace

These dainty necklaces look far more expensive than they are at €25. Absolute bargain. And, if you’re feeling completely cheesy, you can get your own initial added to the piece. Available here from Etsy.

 

Bando Getaway Passport Holder (€29.50):

Passport Holder

Pair this with some plane tickets and you’re on to an absolute winner. Available here from Hippenings.

 

Fuschia The Eye Collection – Galaxy (Was €65 – now €25):

Fuschia Eye Make Up.jpg

Well known Irish brand Fuschia always deliver on quality. And, at this price tag – who could resist? Available here.

 

Mionetto DOC Treviso MO Prosecco (€21.95) – OVER 18s.

Prosecco

If she’s a champagne and chocolates type of girl, this prosecco is a great option. Available for store pick-up from O’Briens Wine.

 

Parks London Champagne Scented Aromatherapy Candle (£9.99):

Parks Champagne Candle

Usually these candles cost upwards of €30 but they are currently available on the TK Maxx website for £9.99 (UK sterling). Snatch one up quickly because the supply is limited.

 

Blank Canvas Master Series Palette One (€34.95/ Currently €29.36 from Cloud10Beauty):

Blank Canvas

Barely making it in under the €30 mark, this gorgeous palette was a huge sell-out at Christmas and is currently on sale here at Cloud10Beauty.com.

 

Ziaja Cocoa Butter Gift Set (€9.99):

Ziaja

Ziaja is a completely underrated brand and their cocoa butter range is simply divine. Effective products that smell like chocolate – sold! Available here at Originalbeauty.ie.

 

Compass Bracelet (€12.29):

Compass Brac

For anyone who suffers from “wanderlust” available here from Etsy.

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CND – The Art Vandal Collection. 

It’s true what they say; once you’ve had CND shellac, you won’t go back. The brand pride themselves on creating high quality formulas which provide vibrant, long-lasting colour, without damaging nails. 
 

I’ve been a huge fan of the “Vinylux” (weekly polish) range from CND for ages now so when I was invited to attend the launch of their “Art Vandal” collection, I was delighted to oblige. On arrival at the event, we were treated to some bubbly, sweet treats and a manicure using any shade from the new range (either shellac or Vinylux) – absolute bliss! 
 
Opting for the the shellac formula, I picked the shade “Digi-Teal, an electric blue from the new collection. My manicurist, the fabulous Susan from Rinn Neimhe Beauty Salon, Co. Leitrim took wonderful care of me. She explained that my nails were weak and damaged, due to winter weather and stressed the importance of the regular use of hand cream and cuticle oil – something I had never bothered with before. 

    
After one week of wear, I have to say that I am in absolute awe of the CND polish. There’s not a single chip in sight and most surprisingly, my nails appear to be stronger than usual. I’m delighted with the colour of the polish, as well as the cute glittering and foil detailing which can be added to any CND formula. 

  
I can’t wait to try the rest of the shades from the “Art Vandal Collection” – who doesn’t love a splash of colour in spring? 

  

Stay tuned for reviews and pictures from the Vinylux version of the collection. In the meantime, tell me – have you ever tried CND shellac? Or, do you have a favourite brand of your own? 

Rouge X 

Catch 22, Dublin – A Foodie Review.

It is notoriously difficult to find great quality food, at affordable prices around the Grafton Street area. This is mainly because the well known shopping district has developed into a tourist trap, littered with chain restaurants and fast food joints. However, I am delighted to announce that I recently stumbled across a diamond in the rough. Let me introduce Catch 22.

Catch 22 is located opposite Kehoe’s on South Anne Street and they pride themselves on their simple, yet delicious seafood menu. The décor which consists of tiled flooring and bleached timber panel walls screams ‘sailor’ and, I am delighted to report that there’s nothing pretentious about the atmosphere of the restaurant.  Alas, a word of warning: this place is tiny and they operate on a “first come, first served” basis so you can only reserve tables for parties of 5+. But, if you are lucky enough to snatch up a table on arrival – you are in for the most delightful treat.

I have been to Catch 22 on two occasions now and I’m happy to report that they have my full seal of approval. On my first visit to the restaurant, I ordered a portion of calamari with hand-cut chips. More often than not, Irish eateries get it wrong when it comes to squid – we’ve all had the over-cooked, rubbery type. However, the deep-friend calamari in Catch 22 was soft and succulent, and I have to admit, surprisingly fresh. The calamari was served with chilli mayo which was tangy, rather than spicy – delicious.

  

The menu at Catch 22 provides for the addition of two specials, sourced and cooked fresh everyday. So, on my second visit to the restaurant I opted for one of these specials; prawns tossed in Marie Rose sauce, layered over home-made brown bread. The prawns themselves were moist and bursting with flavour and freshness. I expect that they were sourced directly from Dublin bay – no phoney frozen fish here! The sauce was simple, yet tasty and complimented the fresh seafood perfectly. And as an added extra, the hand-cut chips were cooked to perfection – fluffy on the inside with perfectly crispy skin.

  

And there you have it – unpretentious, wholesome comfort food at surprisingly affordable prices! 
What do you think? Worth a visit? Let us know in the comments!

Rouge X 

 

Giorgio Armani Beauty “ECSTASY LACQUER”.

“Loose lips sink ships”.

Armani Ecstacy Laquer

During office hours, I am forced to abandon my signature red lip in favour of something a little more subtle. And although this breaks my heart, I am happy to report that recently I have managed to discover some delightful alternatives. May I introduce Giorgio Armani’s “Ecstasy Lacquer”.

Now, usually I am not a huge fan of lip gloss because while I appreciate the appeal of shiny, seductive lips; I’m not so fond of the sticky, messy texture. So what differentiates Armani’s formula from the rest? Well, “Ecstasy Lacquer” is a water based formula making it possible for Armani to use water-soluble colourants that fuse with the lips to create vivid but translucent colour and a lip stain that holds. Furthermore, the water-based formula meant that glycerine, a highly effective moisturising agent, could also be introduced into the gloss. Therefore, “Ecstasy Lacquer” eliminates gooey lips and instead feels light, fresh and soft on the lips.

I have been using this gloss in the shade “501 Uptown” for weeks now and have been really impressed by the results. The gloss is really easy to apply, so there’s no need for a lip liner. The packaging is sturdy so it’s a perfect handbag essential. And, the best part is that it only needs to be topped up after eating or drinking. Otherwise, the colour stain stays intact for hours.

Armani’s “Ecstacy Lacquer” is available in 10 “Intense Lacquered” shades and 8 “Pearlescent Metallic” shades from Brown Thomas.

What do you think? Would you try this new formula lip gloss? Let me know in the comments.

Rouge x

 

Kardashian Beauty – Hair Range.

“Kardashian Kraze” seems to have taken over the planet lately and, whether you love ’em or hate ’em, you cannot deny that the sisters rarely have a hair out of place. Therefore, when I heard that Kourtney’s, Khloe’s and Kim’s  haircare range was due to be released on Cloud10beauty.com, I was more than intrigued.

Kardashian Hair

 

Firstly, check out that sleek packaging! Each formula produced by “Kardashian Beauty” has received approval from all three sisters, who regularly feature the products on their social media accounts. The main objective was to share a few of the style icons’ red carpet haircare secrets, at an affordable price point. I was lucky enough to be gifted two products from the range: the “Black Seed Dry Oil” and the “Take 2 Dry Conditioner”.

“Take 2 Dry Conditioner” (€13.95):

Kardashian Dry Conditioner

 

Like most ‘girls on the go’, I rely on dry shampoo far more than I ought to. Unfortunately, working 9-5 everyday just makes the whole ‘wash and blow-dry’ routine too tiring to bare every single evening.

The main problem presented by the use of dry shampoo is that often, it can leave hair looking lack-lustre. Sure, we all want squeaky clean roots but nobody wants dry, unhealthy ends. Fortunately, this dry conditioner formula from Kardashian Beauty seems to provide a solution. The product can be sprayed to the ends of the hair (from just below the ears) to create an illusion of shine and vitality. I have been using this product every second day, in conjunction with a generic dry shampoo and it works wonders – even friends have noticed and commented on my seemingly glossy mane.

“Black Seed Dry Oil” (€15.95):

Kardashian Black Seed Dry Oil

Now, this stuff is like liquid cashmere. Just one tiny drop of “Black Seed Dry Oil” should be massaged through the ends of damp or dry hair to add shine and volume. Personally, I have been using the oil to counter-act the heat damage which I continue to inflict on my poor crowning glory with the curling iron and, have noticed a substantial difference over a two week period. My hair is easier to style and no longer knots and tangles after every wash. Well worth every penny!

All in all, I am really impressed with these products. Unfortunately, they have not instantly transformed me into a Kardashian sister but, the formulas are surprisingly high-quality. Furthermore, the price point is great, especially for the “Black Seed Dry Oil” which will last for months, given that you need only use a tiny amount per application.

All products are available at Cloud10beauty.com. I’m also dying to try the “K-Body Volume Foam”, which has received a thumbs-up from beauty guru Marissa Carter in the past few weeks.

What do you think? Do you buy into Kardashian-mania? Let me know in the comments!

Rouge x