Mothers’ Day Gift Ideas

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” – Agatha Christie.

 

 

With Mothers’ Day just around the corner, I hope you’ve been saving your pennies! For most of us, our Mums are the only people in our lives that we can depend on, no matter what. But often, we take their help and guidance for granted. So, show Mum a little appreciation on March 26th, whether you cook dinner for her or buy her a gorgeous gift. For those of us who appreciate the materialistic element of giving; here’s a little list of ideas.

 

 

Acorelle “Lotus Dream” Eau De ParfumAvailable Here:

 

V Claire Acorelle Perfume

“Acorelle” is a fragrance brand that originates in France and sells 100% natural and certified organic fragrances. Now, I would be the first to admit that I have no intention of giving up my Tom Ford “Black Orchid” scent but, when it was brought to my attention just how many chemical nasties are in the formula of some of my beloved high-end perfumes, it made me think twice about wearing them on a daily basis. “Lotus Dream” is a really fresh, relaxing fragrance that has now become my daytime “go-to” perfume and, I think it’s one that Mums will love. The perfume has notes of lavender, cumin and litsea which create a calming scent which is reminiscent of an Atlantic Ocean breeze.

Sharleen Collins Make Up Academy “Personal Make Up Lesson” – Information Here:

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This is what my own Mum will be receiving for Mothers’ Day. For €100, you can book your Mum in for a personal make up lesson in the newly launched Sharleen Collins Make Up Academy. The website describes the lesson as the following: “This is a one on one lesson with an artist where you bring your own make up bag and brushes.  Make Up Lesson is done in stages depending on your ability with step by step demonstration.  You will work with your own make up artist to create your desired look using your make up with recommended products. A face chart with the product recommendations will be filled out for you and to take away on the day“.

My Mum will love this gift because she has so much make up, and not a clue how to use the majority of it. Plus, I really like the fact that you bring your own make up to the Academy, so you won’t have to purchase many new products to work with.

The Westin “Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea” – Information Here:

Westin Afternoon Tea

Image via Pinterest

 

I’m a self-confessed afternoon tea addict. It’s one of the nicest ways imaginable to pass a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and I guarantee that your Mum will love it! I’ve tried almost every luxury hotel in Dublin and to date, the nicest tea that I have found has been at the Westin. The “Most Peculiar” afternoon tea is a feast of different flavours and rather than being served with the traditional tea/coffee, it’s served with a gorgeous “Victorian Mojito”, made with Hendrick’s gin. However, if your Mum would prefer the more traditional version of afternoon tea, the Westin have that on offer too – and you can add a glass of champagne for an extra treat.

 

 

An Image Skincare Facial – Information Here:

 

Image Skincare

After a consultation with Jennifer Rock (aka the Skin Nerd), I have become a big fan of Image Skincare and LOVE their “Prevention+” range. A facial is always a good idea and giving your Mum a voucher for one is a great way to pamper her for Mothers’ Day. If you’re one of Rouge Writing Hood’s Cavan based followers, I recommend checking out a new salon in Bailieborough, Essential Beauty Skin and Laser. This gorgeous new salon are offering Image facials at an introductory price of just €60 for the month of March and that’s an absolute bargain when compared to the usual price of €80-€90 in Dublin based salons.

Yves Saint Laurent “Tint-In-Balm” Lipstick – Available Here:

YSL Tint-In-Balm

Take my word for it, this is the perfect lipstick for Mums who are always on the go. It’s subtle but pigmented and most importantly, it’s so comfortable to wear. Shade “No1 Dream Me Nude” is a gorgeous, universal shade that should suit all skin types. The “Tint-In-Balm” is a mango scented must have and after only a few days of use, it has become my “go to” lipstick for daytime wear. I will be keeping the matte lippies for nightwear from now on.

Clarins “Face Contouring Palette and Brush” – Available Here:

Clarins Sculpting Palette

I’m including this particular product because a few weeks ago, when I was kindly gifted this gorgeous palette, my own Mammy was very quick to lay claim to it. It’s still in my own make up drawer but I doubt it will stay there for too much longer. The shades in this palette are quite neutral and are suitable for those who don’t want an obvious “contour” look. The brush that is included with this palette is the perfect sized for traveling and it’s also really functional and allows the user to apply the powders with ease. I will have a full review of this contour palette up ASAP, but for now, I can assure you that it’s worth every cent of the €45 price point.

Bellamianta “Luxury Scented Candle” – Available Here:

Bellamianta Candle

If you’re working with a low budget but still want to spoil your Mum, this candle from Bellamianta is a great option. The scent of essential oils and bergamot create a really relaxing atmosphere, that will allow your Mum to chill out and undertake some at home pampering. Pair this with a great book and it’s absolute bliss..

Rouge x

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PHYT’s Skincare – Gift Ideas, For Her

the-grinch

If you’re struggling to decide what to purchase for the ladies in your life this Christmas, skincare gift sets are usually a safe bet. Well, unless you choose the wrong products, of course. Women of all ages like to take care of their skin but what you probably didn’t know is that many of the formulas that are on the market at the moment contain lots of chemical “nasties” that are actually bad for the skin if used for a prolonged period of time.

I have pretty clear skin – due to a combination of good genes (thanks, Mum) and the use of good quality skincare products. The “no make up selfie” above will demonstrate the current condition of my skin, without layers of foundation and concealer. So, followers of Rouge Writing Hood often ask me about skincare and the products that I use on a daily basis. And, I can honestly say that no matter how many times I take it upon myself to test new products from different brands, I always seem to return to the French brand, PHYT’s.

PHYT’s are an organic skincare brand, available online or from a number of stockists throughout the country. They’re a salon brand who never fail to deliver on their promises. Plus, their formulas are organic and gentle, so they’re suitable for all skin types. Keeping this in mind, I’ve complied a list of Christmas gift sets that are available for purchase this year. And, the great news is that the brand are currently offering a 20% discount on ALL of their gift sets if you shop online here.

PHYT’S NOURISHING CLEANSING SET:

phyts-nourishing-cleansing-set

This set contains three essential products for everyday use. We’ve got “Lait Nettoyant Cleanser”, “Hydrole Orange Toner” and the “Lip Balm Comfort”. Suitable for all skin types and the cleanser is very gentle so I think it would be great for sensitive skin. This would be a particularly good gift for young girls who are just starting to wear make up and learning to take care of their skin.

EAU MICELLAIRE & CONTACT+ GOMMAGE:

christmas-gift-set-phyts

This gift set would make a great pressie for any gals who are a little lazy when it comes to removing their make up. Especially those who like to party all night long because the “Eau Micellaire” is a great formula for removing make up quickly, before you roll into bed. After a night out, I always use my “Gommage Contact +” to gently remove dead skin cells, before applying a face mask to revitalise tired, dull skin. This gift set is currently reduced from €60 to €48 so it’s a really affordable option.

LAIT HYDRO & CREME AQUA HYDRATANTE

phyts-skincare-set

If I had to choose two skincare products to bring to a desert island, the “Lait Hydro” and “Creme Aqua Hydratante” would be an easy choice. These products aren’t for oily skin but they work wonderfully on dehydrated, dry and normal skin types. That means that they’re perfect for winter. This set would be a wonderful gift for Mums, who are always in search of a good moisturiser.

GEL NETTOYANT & LIP BALM COMFORT

phyts-shower-gel-set

Bath sets are really popular Christmas gifts but, many of them are heavily perfumed and often, this means that the formulas are drying on skin. Not ideal – especially during the winter months. However, this set from PHYT’s is (like all of their products) made entirely from natural ingredients. The body cleansing “Gel Nettoyant” is soothing on skin and will help keep it moisturised and healthy throughout the winter months. And, no woman can ever have enough lip balms.. At €27 (reduced from €34), this set is no more expensive than those found in pharmacies nationwide, and I assure you that the formulas are above and beyond the quality of the “cult-favourite” drugstore options.

LAIT CORPS FLEURIE & GALET EXFOLIANT

phyts-moisturiser-and-soap

This is another body skincare set. Young girls with a passion for false tanning will find the “Galet Exfoliant” really useful for removing the “snake-skin” look. This mint scented soap is great for removing dead skin cells and exfoliating skin. And, the “Lait Corps Fleurie” is a gorgeous body lotion that is naturally scented with flower and plant extract. Mums, grandmothers, sisters and aunties would also love this set, but I wouldn’t recommend purchasing your girlfriend/wife a bar of soap for Christmas – even if it is as pretty as this one!

And that’s it folks. PHYT’s are an organic, natural brand that I am really passionate about, so if you purchase any of their products, I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Just drop me a line on Twitter (@rougewriting) or Instagram (@rougewritinghood).

You can purchase any of the above sets in stockists nationwide or here at the PHYT’s Ireland website.

Rouge x

“Le Drunch” at the Marker Hotel – Review.

sundays

I’m the Queen of brunch. Almost every Sunday, I will drag myself from my cosy nest of blankets and pillows and traipse across town in search of a yummy “Eggs Benedict” or my all-time favourite “Coco Pops French Toast”. The only issue I have with this is that, the odd time, I’m feeling a little fragile after a night of partying and getting up at 10 am for brunch becomes a little less appealing. However, the Marker Hotel know what’s up, and they’ve come up with a solution to my little problem. Let me present “Le Drunch”.

“Le Drunch” is a combination of dinner and brunch and it is served from 2pm on Sundays, out in the very picturesque setting of Grand Canal Square. A fortnight ago, I ventured out to sample some of the dishes, with the help of my lovely Mum, in celebration of completing my final exams. My mouth is currently watering just thinking about it…

We kicked the celebrations off with a thirst-quenching cocktail. In the Marker, they present you with the option to “build your own” Mojito. So divine… This one was my choice and was infused with strawberries. Mum had the cocktail pictured on the right. This one is the “Marker Dream” and was infused with Beefeater Gin, Chambord, elderflower, grapes and lime juice. She loved it, and may have had another one over the course of the meal but ssshhh..

In order to make complete pigs of ourselves, we decided to order three courses during “Le Drunch” and pictured above were our “Start Plates”. I had the “Chipotle Spiced Chicken Wings” while Mum tried the “Tiger Prawns”. Now, of course I sampled both.

The chicken wings were the most unusual that I’ve ever tasted. Whilst I am very dedicated to my generic “hot sauce” style wings, the Marker’s wings were a refreshing change from the ordinary. These wings were glazed to perfection and tasted spicy, while retaining some sweetness with the sprinkle a pomegranate.

Of course, Mum the star dish. Her prawns were the highlight of the entire meal. The prawns were served with garlic, shallots, chilli & French baguette. And, oh my goodness, they were amazing. The meat was tender, succulent and cooked to perfection. I would return to “Le Drunch” at the Marker, even if this dish was the only one on the menu.

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Next up was the main course. When we entered the Marker Hotel, we decided to leave the diet at the door so, we ordered from the “Comfort” section of the menu. There’s also a “Equilibrium” section that offers healthy alternatives and would be a great option for any one who considers themselves to be “fit fam” material. This time, I ordered the “John Stone’s Butcher’s Secret” dish while Mum had “The Marker Charolais Irish Beef Burger”.

The “John Stone’s Butcher’s Secret” was essentially a really tender cut of meat, served with champ, roast shallots, mushrooms and peppercorn sauce. The meat could be described as “melt in your mouth”. I’m starving just thinking about it! Also, I’m a stickler when it comes to any kind of mashed potato and in this instance, the champ was completely “lump-free” and creamy. I cleared my plate..

Mum said that her burger was really well cooked and juicy. She enjoyed the Parmesan truffle fries and, the homemade tomato relish was gorgeous. However, if we had to pick a winner in the main course department; my choice comes out on top.

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I can barely breath thinking of it, but there was no way we could have left without sampling the dessert on the “Le Drunch Menu”. If the truth was told, I would have to admit that I would have gladly eaten every dish on the menu.. Yes, I do have a sugar addiction. So, to finish, Mum had the “Baked Alaska” (pictured above) and all I can say is; why on earth isn’t this dish served everywhere? It was essentially a plate of fluffy, meringue and ice-cream goodness. I was raging that I didn’t order this dessert myself!

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I decided to try the “Banoffee” which is my absolute favourite dessert. Now, don’t get me wrong; it was absolutely delicious but, I was so full that I only managed a few bites before admitting defeat. Banoffee pie is always a very heavy dessert so, I would only recommend ordering this one if you haven’t just eaten your weight beforehand. Still worth it though!

Overall, “Le Drunch” at the Marker Hotel was one of my favourite dining experiences in Dublin, to date. The staff were lovely, the setting was stunning and the food – well, the pictures speak for themselves.

If you want to take a look at the food menu you can do so here. You can also take a sneak peak at the cocktails/drinks menu here. It is a little on the pricey side but as they say, “treat yo self” – it’s definitely worth it!

If you have anymore dining recommendations in Dublin, I would love to hear them. You can let me know here (in the comment section) or over on Instagram (username: rougewritinghood).

Rouge x

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.

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 

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

Inglot’s AMC Eyebrow Gel – Review.

Don’t worry about me, worry about your eyebrows.

After posting a few too many selfies onto my Instagram account, I have been getting lots of questions about which products I use to shape my eyebrows. Eyebrow sculpting is a precarious art – if you do it properly, your face will appear more defined but if you use too much product you look RIDICULOUS. Yes, if you are smearing powder, gel, wax and liner all over your brow area, you probably do look ridiculous. Less is more in this instance.

As many of you already know, I am very pale with a definite ginger gene. So, it took me a long time to discover products which matched my hair and skin tone – there is nothing attractive about red hair paired with black eyebrows.

Inglot Brow Gel
However, a few months ago, my fabulous friend gifted me Inglot’s “AMC Eyebrow Gel” and I haven’t looked back since. With a range of 12 shades, Inglot have gone out of their way to accommodate those who like to match their hair colour with their eyebrows. There is one for everyone.

To use this gel, grab a small angled brush and dip it lightly into the product. Then, use the formula to sculpt the natural shape of your eyebrows. I always start from the arch and draw out towards the ears, then use the excess product on the brush by blending it in to the rest of the brow. This formula is waterproof so it is long lasting, and won’t budge from your face throughout the day.

  

 

 The above picture shows before (right eyebrow) and after (left eyebrow). It does take a few practice runs to perfect the technique and if you are unsure of your shade, I recommend visiting your local Inglot counter for a consultation with one of their well-trained staff.

Inglot’s “AMC Eyebrow Gel” is €16 and available here. Check it out and let me know what you think.

  

What products do you use to shape your eyebrows? Are you a fan of powder, gel or wax consistency?

Let me know – I love to hear your recommendations.

Rouge x