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

“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

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

Flormar Fabulous!

Ok, so anyone who is following me on Instagram or Twitter will know that I’ve become obsessed with Flormar, a brand who have just recently introduced themselves in Ireland. I’ve been posting little snippets of my favourites for weeks now, so today I’m going to share a full post reviewing my must-haves.

Bronzer

With contouring remaining a huge trend on the make-up scene, a good bronzer is an essential tool in any kit. Check out Flormar’s ‘Bronzing Powder Face and Body’. Those of us who don’t tan will know that finding the correct shade of bronzer is a tough task, unless you favour the oompa loompa look. However, this Flormar powder is available in a perfectly subtle shade for fair skinned folk – result! The RRP of the bronzer is €9.95 and because it is positively huge in size, the value for money is insane. I’ve been using the product by applying it to the hollows of my cheeks with an angled contouring brush.

Flormar Lip gloss
Next up, I am madly in love with the ‘Long Wearing Lip Gloss’ in the shade ‘Backstage’. When I first received this colour in a goodie bag, I was majorly apprehensive of the super bright shade. However, I quickly learned that the formula can be layered for desired colour intensity. At €5.95, I couldn’t walk past one of these glosses in a pharmacy without picking it up.
Flormar Primer
Finally, we have my favourite Flormar product. This ‘Illuminating Primer Make-Up Base’ is liquid gold. I’ve tested it for both day-time and night-time wear and love the results. The formula creates a smooth base for make-up application. It is super hydrating and evens out dry patches while retaining a mattifying effect on skin. The best part is that the primer ensures that make-up remains on the skin for an extended period of time, eliminating the need for foundation touch ups. At €9.95, this product will be replacing more high-end versions in my make-up kit.

Here’s a look at the three products discussed upon application:


Flormar products are available in selected pharmacies nationwide and online at Simplyfoxy.com. What do you think? Will you be purchasing?

Rouge x

The Body Shop ‘Virgin Mojito’ Range.

If you follow me on any form of social media, you will know that I am a huge fan of cocktails. In fact, I have been known to drag unsuspecting friends out for brunch simply for some fruity refreshments. My favourite, you ask? Well, James Bond can keep his Martini – make mine a Mojito. The zesty lime and tingling mint flavours make a Mojito and experience for the senses. They not only taste great, but also smell delicious so when I heard that The Body Shop were releasing a ‘Virgin Mojito’ range, I expected to be a huge fan.

  

I was sent the ‘Virgin Mojito Body Scrub’, ‘Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet’ and ‘Virgin Mojito Body Splash’ and have been using them in that sequence for the past two weeks. Initially, I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive. I mean, I love the smell of Mojitos, but what would the people at work think? I didn’t want anyone under the illusion that I’d undertaken a new diet involving cocktails for breakfast!

I needn’t have worried, The Body Shop have created this range based on the Caribbean scents associated with Mojitos, rather than the alcoholic ones. Each product unleashes a burst of fruity fragrance upon application so steer clear if you’re not a fan of sweet scents but, I for one am OBSESSED!
  
First up, we have the ‘Virgin Mojito Body Scrub’. This is my favourite product of the range. I’ve been applying it to dry or slightly damp skin and massaging before rinsing it off in the shower. It’s a very gentle scrub so if you’re looking to remove lashings of false tan, you may need something more heavy-duty but this is perfect for regular, everyday exfoliation. My skin has become significantly more healthy looking after just two weeks of use.

  
Next, I’ve been using ‘Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet’. I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture of this lotion when I began using it because it is a gel consistency rather than a cream one. I love my rich, luxe body butters but after using the  ‘sorbet’ formula for a few weeks, I have grown used to it. Due to the fact that it is a light moisturiser, this product would be perfect for those with oily skin.

  
Finally, I have been drowning myself in the gorgeous ‘Virgin Mojito Body Splash’ after every shower. I just cannot get enough of this scent. The fragrance is zesty and sweet, ideal for the summer season. It also clings to skin for hours after application so it is great value for money. I’ve actually been reaching for it in the place of expensive perfumes lately.

Overall, this range is well worth a look if you enjoy a fresh, fruity fragrance. If you want more information you can visit The Body Shop’s website.

What’s your favourite skincare range at the moment?

Rouge x

My Deliveroo Review. 

Everyone knows that dining out is the ‘Holy Grail’ of my hobbies. So, imagine my joy when I heard that I no longer have to leave the house in order to source ‘restaurant quality’ food. The food delivery app ‘Deliveroo’ has launched in Dublin and promises to deliver from many major eateries across the city, straight to your door. Yes you heard me – restaurants such as Nandos, Aussie BBQ and many more straight to your door!

Last week, my friends and I decided to give the app a trial run by hosting a foodie party. In the mood for pizza, we chose to order from McGarry’s Pub and Restaurant in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. €50 supplied three large pizzas, two portions of chips, one portion of wings and a side of garlic bread topped with mozzarella. 

  

The service was super fast with the food arriving within 35 minutes of ordering online. The food was delicious and travelled well, tasting just as it would had we eaten it in the restaurant. The app itself is really easy to navigate – suitable for technophobes city-wide.

  
I can’t wait to see what else ‘Deliveroo’ have to offer. Considering we fed five people on €50, I don’t think I’ll be cooking next time I host a dinner party. 

For more info you can check out the website here

Let me know if you love it!

Rouge x