Archive for November, 2009


Let Your Roots Manouver Your Look

With the final days of WAG-dom finally biting the dust, and the recession in full swing women have realised that the up-keep of things like gel nails and uber-coiffured hair is not only out-dated but also un-realistic. Mixed reviews of her X-Factor wardrobe: dresses; ‘okay’, hair; ‘maybe not’ have signified a certain amount of disenchantment toward queen-WAG Cheryl Tweedy, Cole. I’m not suggesting that women aren’t taking care of their appearance, if anything making an extra effort when times are hard, can make you feel a million dollars. It’s just that we need to find more sensible ways of maintaining a well-kept appearance.

What I find the hardest to maintain on a budget though, is blonde hair. I’ve nearly always dyed may hair a lighter shade than its nondescript ash-blonde / light-brown natural ‘colour’. From adding Sun-In when I was in high-school to going full-on bleach blonde in my late teens / early twenties, I feel better and more confident when my hair is lightened. When I was having a fully bleached ‘do, I was in the salon every 4-5 weeks. Right now though, I have found myself at a crossroads with the whole bleaching thing. The up-keep of having a full head of blonde is very time-consuming and very, very expensive if you want it done properly. At the minute I can’t afford it so I’ve opted for foil high-lights; a set of which I am in the growing-out stage of. A half-head of three-tone-blonde high-lights that I had done in June, to be more specific.

This is where my problem begins; as unnatural as bleach blonde hair looks, it has a certain edge. From Marilyn Monroe to Christina Aguilera; Britney Spears to Sienna Miller, blondes have a kind of seductive power and no-one cares if their hair colour is real / looks real or not. These women have the resources to maintain their brilliantly blonde locks perfectly. As I said, I don’t and have therefore had to opt for foils which are supposed to be a more natural-looking way of lightening your hair and one that needs less maintenance. Using two or more colours, in fine sections across all or part of your head, is supposed to give a naturally highlighted look. The problem is that, it doesn’t. Not at all, every time I have gone for these foil high lights I have paid extra for the most qualified hairdresser in the salon and specified that I want the finest high-lights possible. She has sighed and rolled her eyes sky-ward, I have sat nervously for hours 0n end and walked out later looking like Geri Haliwell at the height of Spice mania. For the next two months, until my hair has grown out a little, I cringe at my zebra-like crown and angle numerous mirrors in front of mirrors atop my bonce to see how bad the damage is. A disaster all round, nearly 6 months after my last striping session, it’s time to get high-lighted again but I’m determined to do it differently this time.

I spent hours at the weekend searching for “natural-looking high-lights” on the internet and I found a process called Balayage. It is said to give a more natural look because the colour is painted on to your hair in individual strands. So rather than the regimented effect of foil high-lights, Balayage high-lights are applied where they will look most natural. The colour isn’t applied right to the scalp so you automatically get that on-trend grown-out / ombre look, letting your natural colour shine through as much or as little as you want. The majority of the lighter colour is concentrated on the ends and around your face, mimicking the way that your hair would naturally lighten if you spent hours in the sun. It also means that you only need to have the colour applied as little as twice a year, because you don’t get that tell-tale line of bleach so it’s also a money concious way of maintaining your a lighter hair colour. According to, celebrities like, Gisele, Jessica Biel, Erin Wasson, Alexa Chung and SJP among others all have their high-lights added this way. The technique, sometimes Anglicised from the French, to Balliage is also recommended by Although the process was developed in France in the 197o’s, it didn’t become popular in the US until 20 years later and is only even more recently finding its way to salons this side of the pond.

Style Club on South William Street do the technique, I’m booked in tomorrow! I shall post before and after pics, wish me luck and pray I don’t end up looking like a depressed Spice Girl!


A, B & C or Arnotts, Buskers & (more) Christmas Windows.

Dublin was chilly and bright today, I walked into town along Baggott Street which is still pretty, even when all the leaves have fallen off the trees and it’s full of businessmen in suits. This, among other things (read on) remind me why I love Dublin. I walked through Temple Bar and stopped to watch some (amazing) buskers. I wouldn’t ever suggest that I am any kind of John Peel type but, I like a good tune and these boys, The Riptide Movement, (they had a sign) are worth a listen. The songs I heard were bluesy, rock, soul and they’re playing The Village December 11th apparently.  So as I listened to their very energetic session I wandered into the jewellery shops and alternative boutiques along Crow and Cope Streets before heading over Ha’penny Bridge. (I bought zilch but wanted lots).

I got all Christmassy after seeing the Brown Thomas Christmas windows earlier in the week and decided that instead of presuming that they were the best Christmas windows, actually go and research it. My destinations were Arnotts and Clery’s, via both Topshops. (I’m dying for the nude, lace strapless corset that also comes in burgundy, can I find it, can I ‘eck). So Arnotts, hmmm, a little on the skimpy side but glitzy and glam none the less. The two windows put aside for the festivities seemed to be more about New Years Eve than Christmas I reckon. The colours were gold and red but all the models were wearing masks and there were disco balls!. I liked the GOLD! feel of it all, the bird cages are particularly pretty,  but why only two windows and why no Santa?

Clery’s next… oh I feel dreadful about what I am about to write but good grief it was like taking the lead in A Christmas Carol when the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come, whisks scrooge (or in this case me) off into the night. I opened my eyes and glanced upon the bleakest most un-Christmas morning ever. I audibly sighed and walked away wondering which of my ways I needed to change to make sure that Christmas never happens to me. I have nothing else to add, you can see for yourself what O’Connell’s flagship department store is offering up for the festive season.

Instead I’ll leave you with a clip from one of the best versions of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. I’m referring to the parody of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, which sees Edmumd Blackadder in the lead role and Baldrick as his employee, the twist being Blackadder is the ‘nicest man in England’… until the first ghost appears anyway. I highly recommend it, though, if the thought of Tony Robinson in a leather thong doesn’t exactly float your boat, I advise caution on the later video parts.

NB: I also love the Disney cartoon Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Growing up in the 80’s meant tedious TV adaptions with wobbly sets, dreadful lighting and acting so hammy you’d only need the stuffing, spuds and sprouts for Christmas dinner. The Disney version gave my 5-year-old mind all the magic of Dicken’s amazing story with the added bonus of Goofy as Jacob Marley. Genius.


Christmas Windows and Charity Shopping Part 2 (of 2).

Finally I’ve managed write part 2 of this post from Tuesday. I spent that afternoon exploring the above and I bought an amazing leather / fur jacket from a charity shop in Rathmines. I did um and ah for about two hours before I plumped for it; as you may have read, I am at odds with myself as to whether or not vintage is more acceptable (to my own conciousness). Though the fact that I was buying from a charity shop definitely added to the pro-vintage argument!

So this eve I am taking the long walk over to the O2 Dublin to see the best thing to come out of Sheffield since The Full Monty. The Arctic Monkeys usually give a decent enough performance so I’m sure I’ll be jumping around in my new fur and showing it a good old time. I actually got dressed and ready to go kind of early, which NEVER happens. So I’ve taken a few snaps before I run to, a. save me trying to describe the beige leather & fur combo or the brown press-studs.  And b. to prevent my friends from having any unnecessary heart-attacks from my actually being on time!

More pics here at Her Apparel.


Terry O’Neill Photography Exhibition Opens in Kildare Village

Last night, in Kildare Village, a temporary photography exhibition opened, featuring the work of photographer Terry O’Neill, spanning his whole career. A career that took off in the ’60’s when he photographed the most celebrated figures in the entertainment industry including; the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Brigitte Bardot (left) Orson Wells and Audrey Hepburn, (among many others). He not only captured these icons in a thought-provoking and poignant way, but also in a way that focused on their natural, individual style. Turning him from a mere rock photographer into a legendary celebrity artist in his own time.

The exhibition called Intimate, is free and running until January 2010 prints of all the images featured in the exhibition are also available to buy from the gallery space. If you do decide to go along, be prepared to be in awe. Terry O’Neill’s candid images capture the true beauty of every actress, musician and model he photographs. Included in the exhibition are a series of colour and B&W photographs he took in 1977. The images (see below) of actress Faye Dunaway lounging beside a pool in the Beverly Hill Hotel, are probably his most well-known. They were taken the morning after she won the Oscar for Best Actress for the film Network. He has also shot covers for Vogue and his iconic images have graced the covers of many magazines around the world.

EDIT: Photograph of Terry O’Neill at the launch of his exhibition in Kildare Village.

Here is a small study of some his other works.

Faye Dunaway

Audrey Hepburn

The Rolling Stones

Jean Shrimpton and Terence Stamp

Orson Wells

The Beatles

Brigitte Bardot Cover French Vogue

Images courtesy of Rotten and from an amazing collection at the UK National Portrait Gallery.


Christmas Windows and Charity Shopping Part 1 (of 2).

So after my little excursion to Pleasants Lane and browsing charity shops on Georges Street I took a left towards Brown Thomas. It’s true, I don’t really do happy mediums, I’m all one extreme or the other! Anyway, I wanted to see their Christmas windows (I watched the movie Mannequin quite a bit when I was growing up… this may or may not be an explanation…) I know the display was unveiled a week or so ago and I haven’t seen it properly yet.

So I grabbed the chance to have a look today and I have one word for you, busy. There is so much to look at in each of the front windows that it’s enough to keep you going all through December. Which is how a good Christmas window should be I suppose. Striking enough to impress the out-of-towners, but busy enough that the locals will stay interested. The theme, or what is written on the windows at least, is “I’ll be home for Christmas” which explains the cosy living room scenes and family-heavy scenarios. I did, however, find myself drawn to the oversized pyramids of Ladurée macaroons. (Eat your heart, Ambassador Ferrero Rocher). And Santa’s backside seemed to be causing a bit of a stir too, mainly with  the two toy dogs biting his ankles.

Around the corner, however, the Louis Vuitton window was as over the top as a WAG’s hair extensions. Fabu-lush!


Old Streets, New Boutiques

… or another store I have never been into…

I hadn’t been on a charity shop spree for a couple of weeks so I decided to have a goo today. I did the usual tour, from Rathmines to Georges Street ( I should try other areas but these ones always give up the goods!) Anyway, I managed to grab a couple of fantastic pieces, (more on that in the next post). As I was dodging the filth, (please don’t strike again,  Messers city workers) I spotted a sign for Mayfly with directions on how to get there. Pleasants Place it turned out, which runs off Pleasants Street and parallel to Lower Camden Street.

Pleasants Place is a pretty old lane way, Mayfly is a pretty little boutique that has only been open for 4 months. It is a mix of really cute (and alternative) gift ideas and clothing for kids, handmade jewellery and alternative ladieswear. The way it is laid out is a mix between a sweetshop and a boutique, with lots of little cubbyholes and baskets filled with gifts and other goodies. The clothes for women are very much all about natural fabrics and bright patterns but it is the kids clothes that really stand out. The ceiling, for example, is hung with an array of tutus resembling giant carnations in loads of different colours. The babies clothes are adorable and range from pretty, ‘Sunday’ dresses to awesome tiny Cradlerock, rock Tees and  babygrows.

These feature mini versions of classic band logos and iconic images; including everyone from Elvis and Prince to Bob Marley and The Rolling Stones, they’re €22 each. This is the Rolling Stones one:

This is a quick snapshot of some jewellery from Courtney Designs. Courtney herself was telling me that a lot of her stuff is packed up and ready for the National Crafts and Design Fair that is happening at the RDS next week, (2nd – 6th Dec).

Shop Once Removed Vintage

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