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 

 

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Dealz Winter Wonderland.

Maybe Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to preview the Dealz Christmas collection. Now I know what you’re all thinking – Christmas in October, really? However, as the saying goes; fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Now, I didn’t know much about Dealz before I attended the event other than the fact that everything costs €1.49 and that my mother absolutely loves the store. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an array of bargain buys – sure, I could fill a basket for under €20. What’s not to like? Whether you’re looking for decorations or stocking fillers, check out these Christmas steals!

Christmas Gift Bags

Every single Christmas Eve, I find myself running around the house in a panic, searching for gift bags. Usually, after all the shops have shut. Dealz have some really cute options such as the duo pictured above. Two gift bags for €1.49? Sure, that’s practically making money.

Christmas Red Wine Glass

If you have lots of visitors in your home over the Christmas season, your dishwasher will be in over-drive. Dealz have lots of home-ware options so why not stock up on some extras? These festive wine glasses are my personal favourite. Red is my self-declared power colour so I think I will be using them all year around.

Christmas Sack

If you have children in your home, you need to run to your nearest Dealz store and purchase as many of these sacks as you possibly can. My inner child is squealing with delight at the notion of personalised sacks, straight from Santa’s workshop.

Dealz Candle

Festive candles are a must in my household, and my mother’s scent of choice has always been cinnamon. Now, usually we purchase a few luxury candles, ranging in price from €15 to €40 but after smelling the candles which were burning in the Dealz Christmas showroom, I will be saving my money for other treats instead. Available in a few different scents, these candles are really fragrant and long-lasting – SOLD!

Jewellery Gift Box

If you’re on a bit of a tight budget for Christmas, a great option is to purchase some affordable accessories in high street stores, remove them from their plastic packaging, and deposit them into swish jewellery boxes. Nobody need ever know that their gorgeous necklace came from the sale section in Penneys. This two pack of jewellery boxes is available in stores nationwide for €1.49.

Frozen Santa Stationary

The reality is that Christmas is all about the kids and at the moment, almost every child in Ireland seems to be obsessed with Frozen. I know a particular baby brother who would be delighted with this Frozen stationary set for writing his letter to Santa.

Frozen Anna and Elsa

Alright, I know I said “kids” but you’re never too old for Disney, right? Could I please have these baubles for my Christmas tree?

Minion Cracker

I thought that these individually packaged Christmas crackers would make fabulous stocking fillers.

Peppa Pig Advent

And, it isn’t Christmas without an advent calender. I have very fond childhood memories of scoffing all 24 chocolates in one go, only to mourn the loss for the remaining 23 days so maybe it is wise to purchase a few back-ups for any greedy chocolate monsters.

Freddo

And, if that wasn’t enough chocolate for you, Dealz have a huge range of Christmas sweet sets. Smarties, Freddos, Malteasers – calories don’t count at Christmas!

Everything pictured in this post goes on sale in Dealz in November for €1.49. Will you be stocking up on any of the goodies?

Rouge x

My Fall Favourites.

I was very kindly nominated by Sarah Jane of Siren and Soul to complete a list of questions about my fall favourites. I love these ‘ask and tag’ type posts because they give me a real opportunity to interact with other bloggers and our followers. Here goes:

Favourite Halloween Costume?

It took me awhile to hunt down this photograph. I once dressed up as Katy Perry and actually won €100 in my local nightclub. Granted, I probably spent that purchasing the sweets to super-glue on to the dress.

  

Favourite Candle?

I am obsessed with Yankee candles. They’re the only scented candles that produce a scent that lingers for a considerable amount of time. My favourite scents at the moment are from the ‘Out of Africa’ range – I’m loving ‘Serengeti Sunset’ in particular. It is a citrus and floral scent, perfect for Autumn.

  

Favourite Fall Movie?

I will admit that I am definitely not a film fanatic. But, ‘Dirty Dancing’ – always!

  

Favourite Lip Colour?

How can I pick just one? At the moment, I am loving Wet n Wild’s ‘Bare it All’. It retails at €1.99 and I find myself reaching for it more often than any of my high-end lipsticks.

  

Favourite Fall TV Show?

I love a good TV series so please leave any suggestions below. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is my favourite and ‘Gossip Girl’ will always have a place in my heart – mainly because Chuck Bass stole my entire heart!

  

Favourite Drink?

Is it too early for mulled wine? Never too early..

  

Favourite Thanksgiving Food?

There’s no Thanksgiving in Ireland but I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes with marshmallow crust. Now I’m starving!

  

Favourite Blush?

The weather is getting chilly so the majority of us will be seeing a natural pinch in our cheeks pretty soon. For that reason, I will probably be sticking to cream formula blush – perhaps MeMeMe’s ‘Boho Balm’. You can find my full review here – this one is a handbag essential.
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Favourite Clothing Item?

I am MADLY in love with these boots from River Island. They’re €85 and worth every single cent. You can read more about them and view all my footwear picks for AW15 here.

  

Who I Tag? 

To continue the ‘Fall Favourites’ challenge – I want to nominate a few of my favourite bloggers. Check them out:

  1. The Pharmers Journal.
  2. Cool Rhubarb.
  3. The Fashionista Observer.
  4. Pure Irish Sugar.
  5. Shawna Beauty.

Ziaja ‘Cocoa Butter’ Range – My Winter Skincare Saviour.

Your skin is so soft, newborn babies are envious.

October is finally here! Welcome back to the pumpkin spice lattes, toffee apples, gorgeous autumnal colours and  of course flaky, weather-sensitive skin. During the summer, when the central heating systems are turned off, we don’t really need a heavy moisturiser and I love to use something nice and light like Cocoa Brown’s ‘Chocolate Whip’. However, now that Mr.Frost has returned, I need something a little more rich to keep my skin in tip-top condition. Let me introduce you to Ziaja’s ‘Cocoa Butter’ range.

First up, I was sent this beautiful ‘Ziaja Cocoa Body Butter’ (RRP €7.99). Filled with vitamin E, cocoa butter and omega 6 & 3, this formula is designed to give you satin smooth skin. It smells gorgeous – reminiscent of chocolate, so best to avoid if you’re on a diet. What I like best about this product is that it absorbs really quickly. I hate sticky moisturisers but this one soaks into skin almost immediately – perfect if you’re in a hurry. I have almost finished the container and will definitely be repurchasing!

I will admit that even though I’m a skincare addict, I never really believed in the benefits of hand cream until just a few weeks ago. Like I said, I cannot stand the sticky texture of moisturisers and I find that hand cream is often the worst culprit – nobody wants to be walking around with greasy palms! However, because I’m studying at the moment and handwriting essay after essay, I recently noticed that the skin around my fingers has become irritated and dry. So off I went in search of this ‘Ziaja Cocoa Butter Hand Cream’ (€2.99) only to discover that I have been missing out for years! After just three days of use, the dry patches on my hands have cleared up completely (results photographed below). Again, the formula is extremely fast absorbing (less than 60 seconds) and the scent is delicious. Ziaja promise that this product will also help strengthen nails over time, which I’m really looking forward to. At that price point, who could resist?

Ziaja products can be purchased online here. I’m very impressed by the quality of their products, for such affordable prices. Have you read my review of their ‘Natural Olive’ shampoo and conditioner?

Let me know if you have tried any of their products – I would love some recommendations.

Rouge x

“Back to College” – Daily Skincare Routine with ESPA.

College life can really take a huge toll on our skin. Greasy food, lack of sleep and lots of alcohol consumption can leave skin tired, dehydrated and prone to break-outs. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a good skincare routine.

I first discovered ESPA products at Castlemartyr Resort in County Cork, when my Mum went on holidays and brought back the gorgeous ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’. So, when ESPA kindly offered to send me some sample sized goodies to try out, I jumped at the chance. I have been using said products religiously for approximately 3-4 weeks and can honestly say, that ESPA will be my ‘go-to’ skincare brand in the future – I am in love!

  

So let’s talk about the skincare routine. First up, remove your make-up using the ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’. This product is very mild and soothing so, perfect for irritated skin. Before, introducing this cleanser to my routine, I was sampling quite a lot of products and my skin did not appreciate playing ‘guinea pig’ – it was sore, blotchy and prone to blemishes. This formula is filled with wholesome ingredients like sweet almond and soya bean oils so it will nourish dehydrated and damaged skin. Yes, I’m looking at you with the glass of wine in your hand!

  

Next up, add a little ‘Hydrating Floral Spafresh’ toner to some cotton wool and wipe face in a circular motion. This will remove the last bit of debris from skin and strip away any excess oil. It is also soothing on skin and is filled with rose extract. If you are on a very tight student budget, I think you could skip this step but if you want to pamper your skin, I would definitely include it.

  

One or twice a week, after cleansing and toning, I have been using ESPA’s ‘Optimal Skin ProSerum’. This is to be used at night when your skin is feeling especially worse for wear. It is enriched with omega and vitamins to rejuvenate skin, giving it a healthy glow. And, even more importantly, it promises to protect against early ageing. Trust me, you want to enjoy your time spent in college without having the wrinkles to show for it. Just note, that the facial oil can feel a little ‘slimy’, so I wouldn’t attempt to apply it underneath make-up.

  

Moisturising is a key element of any skincare regime and ESPA’s ’24 Hour Replenishing Moisturiser’ is a ‘holy grail’ product. It is filled with delicious ingredients such as frankincense and vitamins to help stimulate cell renewal. You only need to apply a ‘pea sized’ amount of this product to your skin, so I’d imagine that the full-sized version would last throughout your entire college year.

  

Finally, I complete my skincare routine by applying a tiny amount of ESPA’s ’24 Hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser’ to the top of my cheek bone, just below the immediate eye area. The eye area is very sensitive because your skin tissue is much thinner, compared to the rest of your face. Therefore, regular moisturisers are too heavy to be used and a specific eye cream is essential to banish bags and dark circles. This is particularly handy during exam season when ‘all-nighters’ are the norm!

All in all, I think I have found my favourite skincare brand. Since undertaking this routine, I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin – it appears more firm and blotchy areas have been banished. ESPA isn’t cheap but then again, I have yet to find skincare products which are really luxurious yet available at a low price tag. I would recommend this routine for anyone with normal or dry, damaged and dehydrated skin. I will be posting a routine for oily skin in the next few days so stay tuned.

ESPA products are available online here, in Harvey Nichols or in selected spa resorts such as Castlemartyr Resort or Powerscourt Hotel.

Let me know what you think if you try the products.

Rouge x

Fab Fillies – Review.

Special occasions often prove difficult to prepare for. As a lover of the casual ‘jeans and tee’ look, I always struggle with accessorising and coordinating for glam affairs such as the races and weddings. We won’t even talk about the throwback that was my ‘Debs’. So, when a friend of mine spoke fondly of her visit to ‘Fab Fillies’, a Co.Cork based boutique specialising in accessories for special occasions, I was more than intrigued. Cue, stealing her purchases and trawling the internet to discover the boutique’s website.

‘Fab Fillies’ is a 100% Irish owned company brought to us by the fabulous Ellen Martin. Before opening the boutique, Ellen worked at the Cheltenham Races for years, witnessing many a ‘Ladies Day’ in her time. Therefore, it is safe to assume that she knows all there is to know about glamorous dressing. I’ve found that while preparing for an event like a wedding or dinner dance, purchasing the dress is the easy part. Then there’s jewellery, sashes, gloves, fascinators and handbags to think about!

‘Fab Fillies’ has you covered for every element described above. The friend who recommended the store to me spoke of how Ellen took the time to consult with her on her outfit choice, and made recommendations based on the information given. Check out some of the beautiful pieces she purchased:

I wore this gorgeous bracelet to ‘Ladies Day’ and the Dublin Horse Show and received numerous compliments on the piece.

And, what do you think of this brooch? Pretty ‘vintage glam’ isn’t it? Reminiscent of the style captured by elegant ladies like Audrey Hepburn, I love this purchase!

You will be delighted to hear that the prices of the accessories stocked by ‘Fab Fillies’ are generally very affordable, allowing you to add a little glitz to your outfit without the need to re-mortgage your home!

If you would like more information visit the ‘Fab Fillies’ website.

Let me know what you think – you know that I love your feedback!

Rouge x

Ladies Day at the Dublin Horse Show 2015 – Hair Fascinators by Michelle Foley.

I enjoy hats. And when one has filthy hair, that is a good accessory. -Julia Roberts.

Many of you will already know that I attended ‘Ladies Day’ at the Dublin Horse Show this year and thoroughly enjoyed the event. As a first time attendee, I didn’t know what to expect from the show but I was majorly impressed by the fantastic atmosphere. A day filled with fun, food and fashion? What more could a girl ask for? A few of you have asked that I share my outfit details and as ever, I aim to please.

  
One of my favourite shops at the moment is Ollie and Mac, a boutique based in Co. Meath. They have an excellent selection of elegant party-wear and from there I picked an irresistable tulle skirt in a lavender shade. I paired it with a simple cream, halterneck top from Topshop – similar can be found here.

  

However, the stand out piece of my outfit on the day was definitely the hat. Lots of you have been complimenting the design all week, and I’m delighted that you loved it as much as I did. The hat was a bespoke piece from Hair Fascinators, created by my favourite milliner of the moment, Michelle Foley. Taking the time to discuss ideas with me, Michelle focused on creating a hat which would accentuate my outfit. I highly recommend contacting Hair Fascinators if you need a hat for any occasion – I know that the A/W ‘wedding season’ is fast approaching!

  

Above are some more hats designed by Michelle, aren’t they exquisite?

Let me know what you think of the look, I would love your feedback!

Rouge x