Clarins “Double Serum” Review.

At this stage, you all know that I’m obsessed with skincare. I’m one of those weirdos who thoroughly enjoys a double cleanse, followed by three of four different kinds of lotions and potions that promise to target specific skin concerns. However, I’m also a Trainee who always seems to be on a very tight budget which makes it difficult to justify purchasing said lotions and potions.

When I received a sample of the Clarins “Double Serum”, I though whoa – I’ll never be able to repurchase this if I fall in love with it and really want to add it to my (already lengthy) skin care regime. A 50ml bottle retails at the grand total of €90. Yikes! However, in the name of research, I set about using the product anyway and I won’t lie, I was sort of hoping that I would hate it.

I should have known better – Clarins never let me down. And now, if I could only ever buy one skincare product for the rest of my entire life, it would be “Double Serum”. That’s a statement that I really don’t make lightly. I held off on reviewing this one for a really long time – I’ve used a 50ml press sample and purchased a 30ml bottle with my own, hard-earned cash. I never, ever promote products that I wouldn’t buy myself but given that this one is more expensive than my usual picks, I used it for at least six months before writing this post.

The serum is lightweight and sinks into the skin quite quickly – I’d say that it absorbs into my skin within 15 mins. There is a measured pump on the packaging which means that you don’t waste any product when you’re applying it. I use two of the “large” pumps every evening on my face, neck and chest area. I don’t apply moisturiser over the serum but you can, if you like. I don’t apply this product in the morning as I feel that it needs a few minutes to absorb and I’m just too lazy to get out of bed any earlier. I’m a five minute make up / no make up at all girl in the morning so I usually slap everything on and run out the door.

Clarins have adopted lots of jargon to explain the science side of things and I won’t pretend to understand it. All I know is that I was promised smoother, plumper skin as well as a more radiant complexion and this product delivered. After application, my skin feels hydrated instantaneously. I also notice that when I apply the product before going to bed, it brightens my skin in a matter of hours. I’m really happy with the results and think that “Double Serum” is a mini facial in a bottle.

So, is it worth the price tag? In my opinion, it definitely is. I’ve recommended this product to both my Mum and my Granny and both of them have added it to their own skincare routines so I’m inclined to say that it probably suits all ages and skin types. In order to cover the cost, I’ve ditched my “targeted” skin care products for the most part.

The above picture should give you an idea of the condition of my skin, without make up (I am wearing mascara and lipgloss). Of course, I’m the first to say that I do have quite naturally good skin – thanks to my Mam – but, I definitely think that “Double Serum” is to thank for keeping my skin bright and radiant.

So, what do you think? Could you justify the spend? Let us know in the comment section.

Rouge x

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Yumi Lashes Lash Enhancement – Review

I can actually hear your eyes rolling as you read the title of this blog post. Yes, I know – we’re all sick to death of beauty “fads” and treatments that promise miracles and don’t deliver. “Fat Freezing” and “Body Sculpting”, I’m looking at you. So, I think that you’re entitled to be skeptical about the Yumi Lashes treatment that is marketed as “a revolutionary method of creating volume or straightening lashes”, if the brand do say so themselves. I’ll even admit that I thought it was another beauty gimmick when I first heard about it. However, when my local salon Essential Beauty Skin & Laser in Bailieborough, County Cavan started offering the treatment, I knew there had to be some truth to the marketing spiel – the girls in the salon never offer a treatment that they don’t believe in.

 

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My cousin actually booked the treatment before I did and her results were amazing but she has naturally full, long lashes so I still didn’t know if it would work as well on my own. However, I decided to bite the bullet before I went on my holidays to Portugal a few weeks ago and I’m so glad that I did.

Firstly, I have to warn you that you absolutely MUST have a patch test before you have the Yumi treatment because the results would be far from pretty if you’re allergic to the tint or the glue. The treatment takes approximately 40 minutes, and it’s a lot more relaxing than I expected it to be. I have pretty sensitive eyes so I was bracing myself for a half an hour of torture but, I was in great hands with Ciara at Essential Beauty Skin and Laser.

The Yumi treatment is basically as sophisticated “tint and perm” for eyelashes. The process begins with the application of relaxing eye masks to hydrate your under-eye area while a silicone mould is applied to your upper eyelid. The upper lashes are then lifted towards the silicone to curl them and serum is applied to set the curl. It’s not all as glamorous as it sounds because the curling solution smells disgusting but, that’s something that we can let slide. After the curl is set, the upper lashes are tinted. Then, the adhesive is removed you’re left with fabulous eyelashes. Removal is a bit uncomfortable and as with all eyelash tinting treatments; stings like bejaysus. It’s definitely tolerable though and I think that the photo below demonstrates that it’s worth a few seconds of discomfort for the results.

 

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For 24 hours after the treatment, you can’t allow your lashes to get wet and you have to make sure that you touch them as little as possible – which is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. As you can see, the difference is really impressive and two weeks later, I’m still getting compliments on my lashes. Yumi say that the results last 9 – 12 weeks (as long as the natural life cycle of your lashes) but the girls in Essential Beauty Skin and Laser said that for some people, the life cycle is 6 – 9 weeks.

The beauty industry is one that thrives on illusion and often we’re presented with nothing but photos of airbrushing, heavy make up and false lashes. Sometimes it’s refreshing to opt for a more natural look and that’s exactly what the Yumi treatment caters for. Here’s a picture of my natural eyelashes, after the treatment, without mascara:

 

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Of course, the effect of the Yumi treatment intensifies after the application of mascara. In my opinion, the results after a coat or two of mascara are gorgeous and actually look a lot better than a set of lash extensions. My favourite mascara to pair with the treatment is the Urban Decay “Troublemaker” mascara because it holds all day without budging, even when you’re melting in the heat in Portugal! I’ll drop a photo below to demonstrate how the treatment works with mascara, and I think you’ll be straight on the phone to book an appointment!

 

 

Overall, I would highly recommend the treatment and if you’re in the Cavan area, you should pop into the girls in Essential Skin and Laser because they’re absolute pros. I’ll keep you up to date on how long the treatment lasts for me but after two weeks, my lashes haven’t budged and I will definitely be booking in for another treatment before Christmas! 

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

Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Cancer is something that touches everyone’s lives” – Ellen Pompeo.

 

When it comes to cancer, everyone has a story. Unfortunately, the disease is one that touches everyone’s lives. 1 in 10 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And, sadly, every year around 2,900 cases are diagnosed and 660 women die from the disease in Ireland. But, it isn’t really about the statistics. It’s about your mother, your granny, your sisters and your daughters. For me, it’s about my fabulous aunt and godmother, Geraldine, who passed away after a long battle with cancer the year before last. She’s the reason that I’ve become a supporter of the cause.

So after a prolonged break from blogging, I thought I’d start back at Rouge Writing Hood with a really positive post. As most of you will already know, October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and, I thought I would share a little info on how you can donate to the really worthwhile cause whilst stocking up on your beauty buys.

 

Make Up Forever: 

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For the month of October, Make Up Forever will be donating 10% of the price of any lip products purchased to Breast Cancer Ireland. They have simultaneously launched a new collection of lipsticks, their “Artist Rouge Collection”. Said collection consists of 48 new shades – 33 cream formulas and 15 matte. You couldn’t find a better excuse to treat yourself! You can check out their selection on the MUFE website.

Make Up Forever are also encouraging the general public to pop into the store at 38 Clarendon Street, Dublin during the month of October to choose a lipstick shade and place their kiss mark on the ribbon shaped wall with a suggested donation of €2. If you do so, please tag me in your selfie with the hashtag #anotherkissonthewall – I would love to see them!

Cloud 10 Beauty:

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For the third year running, Cloud 10 Beauty have partnered up with the Irish Cancer Society to donate €1 from every order placed on their website to breast cancer research. So what are you waiting for, get over to their website right now! If you would like me to write another post on my recommendations for purchase, just let me know in the comment section.

Again, if you purchase anything from Cloud 10 Beauty, why not tag me in a picture and let me know what you got using the hashtag #cloud10paintitpink – I would love to see your beauty hauls!

For more details on how you can help, or to donate directly to the Irish Cancer Society; you can visit their website here.

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):

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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.

My Happy Place – In Association with Independent.ie.

For their “Mind Yourself” campaign, Independent.ie recently asked me to discuss “my happy place”. At first, I was reluctant. I am one of the lucky ones. One of the few individuals who can say that they have never felt the force of mental illness. Sure, I have experienced bad days – even the kind which make you wish that you could curl up underneath your duvet, never to resurface. I have embarrassed myself more times that I could count. I have spoken out of turn, letting friends down in the process. And, some friends have let me down. I have witnessed the loss of loved ones and the loss of hope. But, I have never quivered with fear at the thought of leaving my own bedroom. I have never been catapulted into a frenzy of anxiety over seemingly mundane tasks. I have never been consumed by the darkness of depression which dims and drowns all light.

So, what authority do I have to speak about mental health? Initially, I believed that I had none . Then, on November 13th 2015, Paris fell victim to a series of terrorist attacks and I sat in awe, horrified by the actions of a small percentage of the human race. I looked on as the safety of humanity skated further along thin ice, with the cracks deepening and expanding under pressure. And, as my brain began to reel in shock, I quickly packed a bag, purchased a bus ticket and sought my happy place.

Aged 10, I was an only child. Slightly selfish, I had complete confidence in my position as “the family favourite”. That was, until my father sat me down and spoke of “a new baby brother or sister”. In that moment, I experienced a crunching apprehension in my stomach – I didn’t appreciate change, and I certainly didn’t want to share my family. Months passed as I battled my child-like jealousy until eventually, I was introduced to my new sibling. A tiny, wrinkled baby who resembled a potato was passed into my arms and I quickly realised that I was no longer the most important person in my own world. I had found my happy place.

Twelve years later, I have four crazy brothers. And, each weekend I travel back from Dublin to our home in the countryside to see them. I especially enjoy these trips in the winter, when we all curl up on the sofa for movie night as an open fire crackles and pops in the background. With chocolate cake on our laps and cups of tea in our hands, we will sit in calm, comfortable silence – at least until one of the two toddlers screech for attention.

I enjoy embarrassing all four of the boys, with the eldest two becoming “too cool” to hang out with their practically ancient sibling. I laugh as their lips curve with a smirk at the sound of their own jokes, much like their sister. I listen to the rambling details of the latest GAA matches, or at least pretend to. I nag them about school, and question their progress. And most importantly, I question their understanding of the concept of morality. In a world full of violence and dread, I wish that these four children need never grow up but, I will settle for them growing up, without bitterness or hatred for people that they don’t even know.

So, as I sit here tonight with a toddler sized baby brother cuddled under each arm – I urge every reader to find their own happy place, and hold on to it. For many, you will find your happiness in family – a never ending source of trust, love and loyalty. Should the darkness come to claim you, fight back, speak out and seek help. Be not afraid – there is always light.

 

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.