Browsing articles in "Shops"
Jun 19, 2012

Oscar Verne’s Masque – Ferocious Mingle Market

Hopping from one party to another last Saturday night I must say I was mighty impressed with little ol’ me! Considering I’d been in bed all day battling Friday night’s gin ‘n’ juice, I had plenty of ammunition for Oscar Verne’s Masque at the Ferocious Mingle Market. I pulled a mask down over my cheeky chops and made my way to Thomas Street for a late night speakeasy – this girl was back in the game!

Shimmying under the shutter – this was an invite only do – me and my Cuz knew we were in for some serious fun. The Ferocious Mingle Market does what it says on the tin in daylight hours, selling fab vintage threads, exquisite hand crafts and home baked goodies. Being a stone’s throw from NCAD the place simply buzzes with creativity. We entered the twilight zone that it transformed into after dark.

I found one of my friends among a sea of masked creatures and he brought us into the belly of the beast where the gang were sipping BYOB. We picked up drinkies at the bar and joined in. My thirst wasn’t up to much but in a place like this, a lady doesn’t have to be a lush to have a good time! There were boys dressed as girls, dames spilling out of corsets and pretty faces half hiden with tinsel and glitter.

Part of the charm was wandering around the market chalets, which were like glamour camps containing their own mini gatherings. I swapped style tips with a lovely stall owner who produced a darling handbag that fell in love with me at first sight. Sigh… Meanwhile the stage came alive, with a hot mama singer belting out 80s pop and disco faves in her deliciously wild voice, howling, whistling and all.

Next we shook our tail feathers to alt rock gods Saint John the Gambler, who brought their own brand of class to the party. The dance floor was filled with exotic beautiful people sweating out an amazing Saturday night. We were busting some crazy moves and it was a well earned wind down when a gorgeous young thing floated on stage to serenade us to sweet oblivion. He was just divine…

A finale of Adele’s “Someone Like You” brought a tear to the eye and a promise from my pals to see this guy again. Oscar Verne’s Masque was still in full swing, with groups tucked into corners and cool kids lounging in the theatre seats. We took on the dance floor ’til the death with a killer Bollywood soundtrack and by the time I hit the streets I gotta say I’d got my groove back! Oh what a night! / Ferocious Mingle Market, 72 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

Jun 4, 2012

Forever Fabulous – Bling Launch Party!

Ireland’s latest online boutique Forever Fabulous celebrated their official website launch in style last week. The venue was smart Blackrock bar Suite 54, suitably glamorous with it’s contrasting chandelier lit black and white rooms. I was handed a nice cool vino on arrival – let the fun begin! First stop the VIP area where an array of delicious Forever Fabulous goodies were on display. Heaven on earth…

There were gorgeous crystal studded clutch bags, sparkling shamballa bracelets and seriously bling bangles, in a variety of colours. I also checked out the crystal phone covers, cute flower hairbands and beautiful diamante earrings. Oooh – what to choose? While I had my larks trying on the jewellery, a couple of girlfriends went for makeovers with stunning results. One even discovered red lipstick!

Forever Fabulous really is the go to place to sort out your whole look. Owner Rachel O’Riordan, who is a professional make up artist, told me that her bespoke make up service is ideal for bridal parties and girly get togethers. She does a range of beauty treatments perfect for a big event or a luxury pick me up. And you can book yourself a handbag and jewellery party to accessorise your look!

Rachel had arranged a glamorous photo shoot with top model Michelle McGrath earlier in the day but there were also some famous faces at the launch party. Well known beauty blogger Joanne Larby, The Make Up Fairy and model Jessica Gallagher, face of Forever Fabulous, rubbed shoulders with uber cool Cars Love Girls singer, Orla Breslin. We talked make up and fashion all night, natch!

The star of the night though was Rachel herself. She really is something else! Rachel came up with her business concept, creating a unique online boutique and is steadily building up her brand name. And she’s a beauty columnist too! Rachel’s elegant style is the hallmark of Forever Fabulous, as she personally buys her exclusive lines and produces dazzling looks. Watch this space Darlings!

May 29, 2012

MayFly Clothes Swap – Exchange Dublin

Moving house, who’d do it eh? Me! As it turns out, it was a good chance to detox my life of unwanted furniture, books and clothes. Ah, my wardrobe – no matter how many times I clean it out there’s still some lovely things I’ll never part with. I like to tell my friends that I don’t buy clothes, I collect them… But there were a few nice things lingering that I hadn’t yet brought to the charity shop.

So when I heard about the MayFly Clothes Swap at the Exchange I packed my bag of goodies and headed on over to Temple Bar. Cruising through Dublin on a sunny evening reminds me of everything I love about this city! When I rocked up to the Exchange I could see lots of ladies through the window, scouring the jam packed rails. Good work my fellow bargainistas!

Five quid on the door and the idea is that you offload your gear and can then bag yourself whatever you fancy from the rails. There was dresses, jeans, coats, shoes, handbags and jewellery. Some absolute gems and a few ropey bits too… Most of the good stuff went early tonight, girls making off with their bags bursting. I got some cool bounty but was happy to leave with less!

My best find was a pair Katherine Hamnett rose tinted glasses. Sure don’t I always see the sunny side up? By the end of the night the place was scant of threads and MayFly’s Courtney Tyler told me the event had been a success as usual. She runs the Clothes Swap every two months and it’s gained a cult following among Dublin’s fashion savvy. People love something a bit different, Courtney told me.

MayFly of course if well known for it’s quirky recycled accessories, which I’ve seen at various markets over the years. Now they’re sharing a hidden shop inside Se Si and Lucy’s Lounge on Fownes Street Upper. It’s a unique boutique selling artisan jewellery, handcrafted clothes and original gifts. I promised Courtney I’ll check it out as I’m sure MayFly is a great new addition to Temple Bar.

MayFly, Se Si, Fownes Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 /

Apr 18, 2012

Lost Society – Fresh As A Daisy!

Twas a bonus sunny afternoon when I met mia Mamma for lunch in town last week. Our default meeting point is the front doors of BT – a sneaky peek at their lipsticks is always on the cards! Now where to? We decided to stick a pin in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, as there’s an abundance of scoffs to be had there. So, up the stairs and into Lost Society with the pair of us.

I didn’t realise that this popular bar and club even did food, as my visits thus far have been nocturnal, but it was the yummy lunch menu that won us over. Sitting out on the terrace in the sunshine had put us in a salady mood. Sharing great taste, we both went for the roast apple and goats cheese salad and a portion of skinny fries. And tea for two, naturellement.

I’d spied some very good looking chips at a neighbour’s table, and we weren’t disappointed with our crispy little fellas! Pretty presentation in a Baroque style wrapper to boot. But the piece de resistance was the main dish. Spanking fresh mixed leaves, and plenty of them, topped with mild goats cheese, hazelnuts and tasty red apple. No dressing. That simple!

When I come to a cafe like Lost Society and experience amazing food at nice prices, I wonder why all eateries can’t do this? Good ingredients are the key. The Mothership’s fave nosh is greens and she was well impressed! We’ll be back to sample more of this most imaginative menu. Attentive service made this a lovely meal, and the guy in charge does such easy charm.

Time for a post munch browse around the Townhouse – rude not to… We enjoyed a mooch about Article, a chic homeware store with seriously covetable retro furniture, quirky objets and gorgeous gifts. Next, a leisurely scan of the newly refurbished Loft Market. What can I say? Delicious dresses, handmade hats and vintage jewellery… Dessert is served Mesdames!

Lost Society, Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin 2 /

Apr 17, 2012

Lara Boutique – Celebrity Glamour!

When one of my girlfriends won a 200 euro shopping spree last week she had your reporter on style speed dial. The fabulous prize was from our fave shop Lara Boutique, on Dame Lane. We met up for a day of total retail therapy. Lara Boutique is the ultimate girls shop, a gorgeous showroom of glamorous gowns and party dresses as well as slinky jeans and sexy heels.

We were in another world – one of diamante, sequins, satin and feathers. Lara is such fun to browse as there’s no other store like it in Dublin. It’s the glitterati’s secret “go to” place for events. Katie Price is a big fan, indeed owner Lara Casey is her personal stylist. My pal needed special outfits for a birthday party and for her business launch night. We were spoilt for choice!

With a stash of seriously bling numbers, we got stuck in. The girls here are so lovely and helped us to select the perfect frocks. An amazing Forever Unique one shoulder mini dress with beautiful jet beading and a super cute diamante encrusted LBD by Jovani. Wow! All shopped out, we bagged the goodies and made our way to Keogh’s Cafe for a little perk up.

I had somehow managed to escape empty handed. But, passing Lara a couple of days later, I nipped in to check on the welfare of a darling Karen Cole jacket I’d spied the last time. Fash lust… Lara Casey was on on hand to style judge, telling me all about the designer and the soft merino wool. Lara clearly loves clothes and knows exactly what her customers want.

Lara started out more than ten years ago when she recognised a market for exclusive brands in Ireland. Now with three stores – Dame Lane, Terenure and London’s Chiswick – her collections are as popular as ever. Selling luxe brands like Forever Unique, Jovani Couture, Just Cavalli and Pinko, Lara told me she watches up and coming trends to source her stock.

We had a giggle as Lara explained that styling is about letting loose and enjoying the clothes. Her take on fashion is looking and feeling good, and of course going as glam as you can! As a girl who likes to add a unique twist to her wardrobe, I find Lara’s one off designs right up my street. Like the lady herself, this daring boutique has a certain je ne sais quoi!

Lara Boutique, 1 Dame Lane, Dublin 2 /

Apr 3, 2012

Second Avenue – Seaside Style!

Last Saturday was riding on the crest of a mini heatwave, so once the housework was out of the way I made for Sandymount strand. Rocking a strappy summer dress, sans uniform tights, I brought my milk bottle legs for a nice walk on the beach. It was like being on holiday! But no rest for the wicked, as I stopped into the supermarket to pick up my groceries.

Sandymount village is one of those suburban pockets that seems quite exotic compared to other Dublin neighbourhoods. It retains a quaint air, thanks to local businesses – Books On The Green, Murtagh’s Hardware, Michael Byrne Fine Foods and Mira Mira. Sandymount Pharmacy is a particular joy to shop in, the place trading on it’s olde apothecary style.

Of course, a crop of chic boutiques is something I just can’t walk past and I was sad to note that a couple of my faves are closing down. A sign of the times I suppose. But where one thing perishes another flourishes. I nipped into Second Avenue, a gorgeous little second hand store tucked away on Seafort Avenue, to get my weekly fash fix.

Fashion exchanges and worn once shops are becoming evermore popular, with plenty of well heeled women clearing out their designer cast offs. Any bargainista worth her salt will do well in Second Avenue. The shop is bijou but well laid out, with rails colour and size coded. What I love about this kind of shop is the element of surprise, when a must-have jumps out at me.

The shop was buzzing thanks to owner Aisling, who was holding court with two ladies she was kitting out. Effervescent and enthusiastic, Aisling recently took over the shop from it’s long time owner. She told me that the place is thriving and so is she. Connecting with her customers is what drives Aisling and she loves helping put together the perfect outfit.

I spied a divine Nanette Lepore gold party dress and Aisling revealed that a few had tried it on already. We joked that it’s waiting for the right person and I promised to try it on next time. If it’s not snapped up by Miss Right… An embellished blue cashmere cardigan by Karen Millen is also on my retail wish list. Second Avenue, you know me too well.

Needless to say, I didn’t leave empty handed. A gorgeous pair of box fresh Marc Jacobs summer peep toes had been winking at me from the window display until I finally slipped them on. My feet said yes. Aisling named her very reasonable price – a fraction of what a girl might pay at BT. I waved her goodbye and skipped back into the sunshine, bag swinging on my arm.

Second Avenue, 22 Seafort Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4

Mar 30, 2012

Avoca Handweavers – Country Chic!

Escaping the big smoke for a couple days was an excellent way to clear my head. It was like a mini brain holiday! The fresh country air certainly blew away the cobwebs. First up was Wexford to visit my uncle. We got away from the madding crowd with a lovely walk along Rosslare Harbour. Next stop Inch, to stay with my best friend and her gorgeous family.

The babies were so excited to have a visitor that we decided to bring them on a trip to Avoca Handweavers. And so we four ladies set off – Avoca really is a girls world, with the original woolen mill, a sparkling stream, pretty flowers and a nice cafe and shop. The place is cute as a button, made up of a bunch of cottages on a patch of green in Wicklow’s quaint Avoca village.

Avoca is one of the world’s oldest weaving mills. Established in 1723, it has now expanded into a thriving business selling homewares, clothing, children’s toys and artisan food. As well as it’s famous woven goods – in all colours of the rainbow, the blankets are as bright as they are snug. The mill still uses traditional looms and it’s amazing to see the process in motion.

We settled in for a late lunch at the cafe. Avoca’s food is homely and artfully presented. Everything looks delicious! We went for a juicy salmon fish cake and a thick slice of spicy nutloaf. Both came with three salads – there are lots to choose from and we munched on broccoli, hazelnut and feta, jewelled wild rice, honey and mustard potato, and mixed leaves.

Of course we couldn’t leave without sampling something from Avoca’s bakery. We enjoyed a good chat over a rich coffee cake and a giant Mars Bar square. Yummy! The girls had great fun playing in the shop afterwards, trying on scarves and admiring dollies. Then it was back outside for some stone skimming by the water. A fab day out for kids – both big and small! / The Mill at Avoca Village, Co. Wicklow

Mar 28, 2012

Green With Envy – A Different World

Today’s glorious weather was perfect for a bike ride. I’d an errand to run in Rathmines and I wanted to test out the new Grand Canal cycle path – two birds. But drama ensued when my tyres started playing up and I lacked the necessary welly to fix them. Luckily my lovely nabe came to the rescue with his electric pump. Job done! But seriously. I’m thinking of getting a husband.

A nice traffic-free amble and I ditched my bike outside the Swan Centre. Once business was out of the way, I had a good wander around in the sun. Rathmines, forever known as bedsit land, is a mish mash of 2 Euro stores, charity shops and mini marts. It’s crumby in a comforting kind of way – quite unlike it’s slick neighbour Ranelagh. But the town has character and a lively cafe culture.

I rested my bones in the Village Cafe, at an outside table – how cosmo! It’s amazing how Dublin comes alive with a bit of heat – the place was packed. The Village Cafe is a staple with locals, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a Mediterranean slant to the food and I went for a goat’s cheese, roast veg and olive tapenade ciabatta. With chips. And tea. Delish!

With a happy tummy, I was about to head for the hills when I spotted a sign for a swap shop. Oooh… Green With Envy, upstairs from Boots, is a fashion exchange, vintage boutique and art gallery extraordinaire. I’ve found nirvana. Glamorous owner Margaret Williams showed me around the gorgeous salon and I was really taken with her bright, bold paintings.

The main room is a treasure trove of such beautiful things. Luxe dresses, velvet scarves, sparkling jewels, rainbow hats and soft furs. I vowed to Margaret that I’ll never buy new clothes ever again, so exquisite are her pieces. She told me that her stock is vintage finds and worn once or labels still on. She only accepts top quality, often designer outfits.

We agreed that more women are looking for something a bit different, especially for occasions, as style is so samey these days. Margaret takes in select gear, displays for up to six weeks and if it sells, the price is split 50 / 50 with the original owner. I fell in love with a stunning lace embellished ball gown. Margaret told me that a bride to be had tried it on earlier.

Sunshine beckoned us both and I promised I’d be back again for a good a flick through the rails at Green With Envy. According to Margaret there’s new items in every day. Today, I managed to escape with just one buy – a delicious black silk prom dress. I popped it into my pannier bag and went back out into the real world. I wish I could live in that shop. Sigh…

Green With Envy, 302 Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines, Dublin 6

Mar 21, 2012

Ritz-Carlton – Ambassador You Are Spoiling Us…

My first impression of the Ritz-Carlton is of those gaudy Arabian furniture showrooms on the Edgware Road in London. I used to stroll down there on a Saturday afternoon and marvel at the solid gold eagles, porcelain tigers and red velvet chaise longues. Tasteful. The Ritz-Carlton is fabulously bling, testament to it’s boom years origin, but lately it seems less brash and more class.

Adapting to the straightened times of even it’s clientelle this fine hotel, set in the estate at Powerscourt House, has toned down from an uber celeb haunt to a mellow chill out zone. Mother and me had a nice spin trough the Wicklow mountains and, as we were passing, decided to go mad and have lunch a deux posh style. Well it was the day after Mammy’s Day after all…

The Sugar Loaf Lounge, in the lobby, offers a less formal lunch than Gordon Ramsay downstairs, which is now open for breakfast and dinner. There’s a choice of two delicious afternoon teas but since we’d stuffed our chops the day before, we tore ourselves away from the pastry trolly and opted for the all day dining menu. Having spotted some fine looking fish and chips next door we ordered two.

Yummy batons of delicately soft cod wrapped in light batter came with juicy chips, mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce. We also got stuck into a basket of fresh fluffy bread. When in Rome… We added some fizz too – San Pellegrino, not champers! Every bite was divine. The Ritz-Carlton does seriously good nosh and amazing service to match. The views aren’t bad either.

Dessert was a long walk around the grounds followed by a mooch in Avoca at Powerscourt House. I could honestly spend all day browsing beautiful, but useless, things. Bliss. We picked up a slice of chocolate gateau for Dad since he’d missed all the fun and Mother wouldn’t get home to make the dinner. Well, ladies who lunch must take pleasure in life. Let him eat cake! / Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow

Mar 9, 2012

Oxfam – Isn’t She Lovely?

Having a nosey in the shops during the week, I was shocked to find the door of Oxfam on George’s Street locked up. Say it ain’t so? Happily, the new Oxfam on South King Street is only a stone’s throw, so I skipped on over pronto for my vintage fix. Remember the Fairtrade shop, where they sold lots of cool hippy stuff? Well, it’s where that used to be, opposite Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre.

Now if the words charity shop make you think of old granny pants, this Oxfam will change your mind. As a longtime bargainista, I’ve found diamonds in the rough on mouldy rails from London to Capel Street. But this place is a different experience. Kitted out with a slick interior and stocked with plenty of nearly new threads, this posh Oxfam blends in nicely with the boutiques on Grafton Street.

With colour coded sections, the store is easy to get around. No more rummaging! Shoes and jewellery are artfully dotted about and there’s a serious magpie’s cabinet in the corner. I spent a good ten minutes examining it’s contents, easily done with my gra for quirky tat. The quality of the gear signals that Oxfam is reaching out to a new audience, who may not have considered second hand before.

I left the dressing room with an armful of lovely things. A pinky tweed coat, a 1970’s suede mini and brand new red wellingtons. All cheap as chips! But my “absolute find” was a 1960’s handmade fur trim gold and turquoise party dress. Love at first sight… The ladies running this gaff are so nice too, their pride in the shop is warming and they told me that business is doing well. I know I’ll be back!

Oxfam, 54 South King Street, Dublin 2