Jun 6, 2013

VintageIreland – Something Old, Something New

Shopping for old clothes. That doesn’t sound right, but it feels right. I love vintage fairs. There’s something so satisfying about finding a diamond in the rough. I get the same feeling in TK Maxx! My romantic view is thus – that special dress will find me, if only I’m in the right place at the right time. And this time I was at the Davenport Hotel on Merrion Square, a stone’s throw from I Love Saturday HQ.

It was a boiling hot day in the city but still there was time for a mooch. There always is! First I browsed Vintage Belle, who had a lovely collection of old skool summer dresses. Just the ticket for floating around Dublin Town. Great accessories too – leather satchels, satin clutches and some cool sandals. Then a scan of the jewellery merchants, who’d laid out their stalls like bling sweet shops. Magpie love…

My hit list included a Great Gatsby style black velvet feathered headband with jet detail, emerald set silver earrings and a cream silk chiffon 1950s gown (yes, I know what you’re thinking…). But I struck gold, literally, with a stunning pair of Rupert Sanderson heels. Gold t-bars with bottle green velvet detail – Cinderella shall go to the ball. Super stylist Maria Fusco was delighted to re-home these beauties.

Fashion glamour puss Maria and I happily chatted away about clothes and creative style. Her ethos is to have fun with fashion. And always look fabulous, even when buying a pint of milk. Maria’s eclectic array of designer threads and objets d’art captured my imagination. VintageIreland is all about fantasy and I often daydream the history of a garment. Perhaps it was worn to a Royal wedding or Studio 54…

vintageireland.eu / mariafuscofashion.blogspot.com

May 23, 2013

Social-Life Dublin – Pleased to Meet You!

Dublin’s a little town with a lot of people. Getting out and about is easy, so why not meet more of your neighbours? Social-Life Dublin is the city’s newest meet-up. It’s a monthly gathering offering various talks and performances, followed by music and chat. Your Girl Friday, ever the social butterfly, found it fun and informative. Good times! The latest event was a top evening at Boteco Brazil on Ormond Quay.

Caipirinha in hand, I made my way to the cellar bar where plenty of folk were already chattering away. First up was Miller Anthony and his talk “How Enthusiasm Saved My Life!”. Certainly an upbeat topic, life coach Miller talked us through how to channel one’s thought process in a positive direction. Miller explained how enthusiasm in everyday life is the key to happiness. It’s all about mental attitude!

We paused for deliciously authentic Brazilian tapas. Melty mozzarella balls & hot veggie skewers… Nomsters! The stage was set for the inimitable Rose Lawless – cabaret artiste & enfant terrible. The eternally glamorous Rose was her usual mixture of mirth and mischief, regaling us with song and story. She graced us with her comedy numbers including “Up Da Pole” and “Man With a Moustache”.

Social-Life Dublin is run by local bon viveur Jerry O’Brien, whose aim is to showcase a host of interests under the one roof. The idea is to bring positive people together to discuss and take part in hobbies and personal development. The events include talks, entertainment, hobbies, activities, networking and clubbing. Not only is it a great way to meet new friends, but a good opportunity to make connections.

I’ve caught Conor Lynch from Social Media talking personal branding, world traveler Chris Riggs on African safari and Mo Levy on improv comedy, among others. Social-Life Dublin’s next meet-up is Friday June 14th at Boteco Brazil. The line-up includes comedian Marcus O’Laoire, memory master Kevin Redmond and Patricia Tiernan of LEAP Coaching on “How to Find a Job You Love”. See y’all there!

www.facebook.com/Sociallifedublin / Boteca Brazil, 6 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin 7

May 6, 2013

Rare Vintage – Fabulous Darling!

Rare on Dawson Street has been a local haunt of mine for some time now. Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of bargain threads. A girl can live without BTs when there’s so much great clobber to be found around town these days. Rare Clothing Company trades in pre-loved clothes, with lots of worn once, labels on and ex fashion shoot. This savvy shop showcases designer, high street and vintage.

Main men Paddy and Martin run a smart ship, offering menswear and children’s clothes alongside women’s styles. The deal is that they’ll swap your stuff, dry cleaned by them, for Rare shop credit, online purchases or from other shops or straight cash. I’ve made some great wardrobe upgrades, without even leaving Rare’s door! And now, to keep me hooked, they’ve brought vintage into the mix.

Rare Vintage comes to us courtesy of the fabulous Rebecca Boon. Sourcing her one-of-a-kind pieces from all over the globe, there are gems from London, Paris and New York. Rebecca’s collections span the decades, with 50s, 60s and 70s outfits being my faves. She has some stunning dresses, including babydolls, maxis, minis and chic fitted numbers. Whether you like colour or love an LBD, it’s all here.

I got chatting to Rebecca, she’s at Rare every Sunday, and found out all about her retro style. Always something of a magpie, Rebecca started out as a buyer for a friend’s shop and developed her eye for the eclectic. She told me that there’s something about the history of a piece that gets her imagination ticking. Was it bought on Carnaby Street, or worn to a Beatles concert? Every frock has a story to tell.

The beauty of vintage, says Rebecca, is that you can style it with designer pieces or go head to toe for a more daring look. The appeal, we agree, is the uniqueness of each garment. Nobody else will be wearing it. And in a sea of samey high street fashion, there’s something to be said for owning a special one-off. Rebecca rocks the vintage vibe effortlessy and is happy to offer her stylist service to customers.

A fellow fashionista was delighted to find a Biba original and, as Rebecca hand picks her stock, she filled us in on the origin. Some items are even like new, as they came from shop stockrooms or unworn from wardrobes in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. My must-haves included a Dollyrockers fuschia maxi, a Diolen 60s scooter dress and an Audrey Hepburn-esque black satin dress. What to choose…

Rare Clothing Company, 53 Dawson Street, Dublin 2

May 5, 2013

Cocoa Atelier – Let Them Eat Chocolate!

There’s hot chocolate. And there’s Cocoa Atelier hot chocolate. The Bloke had nipped into Cocoa Atelier on Drury Street to buy me some lovely chocolates. No reason, that’s just how he rolls. Lucky me! And while he was at it, a nice assistant pointed him in the direction of what is quickly becoming known as Dublin’s best hot chocolate. A bottle of the stuff, to take away, which he duly snapped up.

Cocoa Atelier began when Marc Armand, a French chef and founder of La Rousse Foods, wanted to bring a little slice of Paris to Dublin. A proper chocolaterie, that offers something to the connoisseur, within a sleek boutique setting. High cocoa content is the key when it comes to top quality chocolate. Cocoa Atelier combine theirs with continental flavours, like lime, earl grey, whiskey, mango and vanilla.

The shop is a joy for sweet tooths (hands up!) with beautifully crafted goodies on display. French patisserie include traditional chocolate creme eclairs and macaroons in every colour of the rainbow. Treats are packaged in chic black boxes, perfect gifts, and bars are available in squares of varying darkness. Jars of chocolate and caramel sauce are perfect for desserts. Mmmn… Now, where was I?

Cocoa Atelier, 30 Drury Street, Dublin 2

Mar 22, 2013

Sweet Nosh – Ciao Bella!

Finding places to get cake in Dublin is not just a hobby of mine, it’s a life skill. Chatham Street is well loved for it’s strip of genuine Italian eateries and new kid on the block, Sweet Nosh, is the sweetest spot in town. Serving up treats like Mamma makes, there’s a rainbow of Italian pastries including amaretti, bigne, biscotti, canolli, tiramisu and cassata. All are displayed in a glass case like beautiful jewels.

Whether you want a little bite of heaven or a special cake for an occasion, Sweet Nosh are the “go to” cake people. The cafe has a lovely Continental vibe, a good foil on a grey day. You can sit in and indulge with quality espresso, rich hot chocolate and mix and match deliciously dinky dolci – ah, they’re only wee… Home-made gelato is the real deal – try banana or pistachio topped with lingue di gatto.

If your taste is for salty morsels, Sweet Nosh do mouthwatering savoury fare too. Pop in after work for aperitivo, the traditional Italian snack plate of cheese, hams, salamis, olives, whatever’s in the kitchen! Perfect with a nice glass of something. Cioccolatini for dessert of course… Sweet Nosh is also my first stop for foodie presents. And the Bloke already knows that a little box of dolci is the way to my heart.

Sweet Nosh, Unit 1 Chatham Street, Dublin 2

Mar 22, 2013

The Loft Market – Secret Treasure

Powerscourt Townhouse is one the hidden gems of Dublin. Tucked away between South William Street and Clarendon Street, it’s a great showcase for alternative Irish retailers. I’ve always been a boutique shopper and with Grafton Street becoming ever more commercial, I find Powerscourt the perfect refuge from the ubiquitous faceless multinationals. And it’s the home of my fave treasure trove The Loft Market.

Last week the Madre and me were enjoying a loaf about town. First off a Tom Collins in Brooks Hotel on Drury Street, then to The Loft Market to see what we could see. Jean Cronin Vintage had got in some old skool wedding dresses – don’t get any ideas! – that Mama simply had to see. We had lots of fun picking from a cute 60s silk maxi, an 80s lace Madonna number and a 70s boho broderie Anglaise.

Frolics aside, Jean Cronin Vintage always serves my sweet shopping tooth. I picked up a buff silk 40s style dress, an electric blue embroidered number and a gorgeous little beaded sequin cardi. Those, like me, who don’t do high street fashion – get here! Mama is mad for anything Irish and handmade and her eclectic taste was met with a pink Heather Finn scarf. The girls working here give great style advice too.

The layout of The Loft Market allows customers to mix and match clothes, jewellery and accessories. It’s easy to while away an hour, acting the magpie at Chupi, Perk Up Vintage, Aliquo, B Fashion Design and Lark Vintage amongst others. Large dressing rooms with multiple mirrors add to the “dressing up box” feel of the place. For a girl who loves her shopping, The Loft Market is chic, fun and stress-free.

The Loft Market, Powerscourt Centre, 59 South William Street, Dublin 2 / www.powerscourtcentre.com

Feb 3, 2013

Eden Bar and Grill – Hot Little Sister!

When my girlfriends suggested Saturday night supper to celebrate a birthday jam (three of us!), I did a mental walk around town and picked my top restaurants. Temple Bar fave Eden was on my list and one of the girls said she’d heard it now has a little sister on South William Street. So off we went to Eden Bar and Grill, delighted to discover a new place, tucked in where beauty shop Nu Blue Eriu used to be.

The interior is chic and understated and I could see from my perch in the lobby that Eden was full in a nice way, all din and chatter. We were led to a cosy table at the back, near the open kitchen and it was nice to be secluded yet close to the action. The ever changing menu serves all, from fussy eaters to the more adventurous, great when eating with a gang. And full of tasty bits and bobs, to mix and match.

Once drinks were on the table – Mojito mocktails for me and my pregnant friend – our friendly waitress got her notebook out. I went for a medley of starters and sides, cos that’s how I roll. Goat’s cheese beignets with beetroot, smoked mackerel with purple potato salad and sprouting broccoli with toasted almonds. With my salady, veggie tendencies I rarely order meat, but I had plenty of alternatives here.

The girls tucked into chicken with haricot beans, pork belly, mushroom risotto and a fine chargrilled sirloin, all whet with a nice Merlot. My myriad plates were a jungle of fresh leaves and delicious side sauces, which I piled into one dish. My only disappointment was the parsimonious mackerel, which was served 80s haute cuisine style. More please, Sir? But I had enough of everything else to fill my belly!

The atmosphere at Eden was as good as the food. We were comfortable cackling, gossiping and catching up, as all around us conversation flowed. Dessert was accompanied by soothing piano music. I found room for yummy Gathabawn Farm ice cream, while the girls finished with brioche and butter pudding, chocolate mousse and pecan pie. And a nightcap at Cafe En Seine, just like old times…

Eden Bar and Grill, 7 South William Street, Dublin 2 / www.edenbarandgrill.ie

Dec 11, 2012

An Afternoon With Rose Lawless

“It’s like a Recession party” mused the inimitable Rose Lawless. Our favourite cabaret girl was describing Dublin’s creative renaissance. It’s something she’s grasped with relish as her personality, though influenced by Paris and Prague, was born of this great city. Living as she is these days in Georgian Parnell Square, Rose is delighted to find such grand quarters teeming with fellow artists.

“Moore Street is the Montmartre of Dublin” Rose declared “The spirit, the characters, the comedy. It’s all there”. Since the untimely demise of the sorry Tiger, this town is thriving. Dublin has shifted into another gear. The right one, says Rose. “People like us are allowed to go to the party now. The hurt and anger is over and we’re developing a new relationship with ourselves” she paused “It really is la dolce vita”.

We met in the seaside haven of Monkstown and Rose brought me to the delightful Cafe Du Journal. “I love this place” she told me “It’s a real community hub”. A notorious good girl gone wrong, bohemian Rose is naturally attracted to such boltholes. She was found flaunting her gorgeous self at The Hot Spot in Greystones last week, causing her audience to both blush and marvel at her daring darling show.

Rose, of course, was delighted with the reaction. “If we can’t shock, then what can we do?” she asked, wide eyed. Sipping her Americano, Rose filled me in on her upcoming Christmas show in the New Theatre. “The Dazzling Cabaret Revolution!” she beamed “I am fabulously down at heel but still scandalising the masses… And now I’ve got a band and an album on the way too!” She winked boldly.

Rose Lawless, the shabby chic Paris Hilton of Dublin, has come a long way. Underground Rose ran away from boarding school aged sixteen. An anarchist she took a Hungarian lover and found the stage as a burlesque dancer with more than an edge. Her songs celebrate love, sex, sorrow and joy. Only Rose can add such glitter and gore to the kitchen sink drama that is life. A lady and a glamorous tramp!

Looking slinky in an Edith Piaf style black dress, from Lulu French Vintage in Monkstown, Rose glanced out the window and sighed. “Though I am a poor artist, I count that as a blessing” she explained “Toulouse-Lautrec, you know? Beauty comes from poverty”. Indeed, Rose is soon to film a video for her controversial rap song “Up Da Pole” in the city centre. “Like a fash mob, but in our best pyjamas!”

Rose and her comrades will be at the mysterious New Theatre, in the back of Connolly Books in Temple Bar from December 17th to 22nd. With Julie Cruickshank on keyboard, Claire Fitch on cello and Shane Atlas on drums it promises to be a spectacular Rose Lawless cabaret experience. Win a prize for your vintage style and enjoy a dinner deal at nearby La Dolce Vita. Let the fun begin, la vie en Rose!

www.roselawless.com / www.the newtheatre.com / The New Theatre, 43 East Esssex Street, Dublin 2

Dec 7, 2012

Siopaella – A Dog’s Life Kilo Sale

Once I got word of Siopaella’s Kilo Sale in aid of animal charity A Dog’s Life, well I just had to do my bit for the furry ‘lil fellas! Conveniently around the corner from the Bloke’s place – Siopaella has two shops, one on Crow Street, the other on Temple Lane South – I’m oft to be found flicking through the rails. Owner Ella De Guzman’s two adorable mutts love to sit in the corner, watching us bargainistas swoon.

Siopaella first popped up in the corner of its Crow Street location last year and I was hooked straight away. Ella takes in top quality designer and high street fashions, with a little vintage in the mix too. Clothes sellers take home 40% of the sale price, while shoppers get gorgeous gear at a fraction of the retail price. Everyone’s a winner! And Siopaella’s boutique service is a lot more glam than trawling Ebay.

Previous finds of mine include a boxfresh leather Chesneau bag, a silk Monsoon dress and a pair of suede Dune heels. The Temple Lane South store is home to high end designer labels – perfect for a little Christmas Chanel to self… Last Wednesday I picked up a St Martins dress, two silk LBDs, a cute jacket, cord skirt and a pair of Levi’s. Just 20 euro! And over a thousand raised for A Dog’s Life. Woof…

Siopaella, 8A Crow Street & 25A Temple Lane South, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 / www.adogslife.ie

Oct 30, 2012

Hard Rock Cafe – American Pie

Twas a breezy Tuesday afternoon when me and the Bloke decided the only thing for it was to hit up the Hard Rock Cafe and stuff our chops. No better place! The Hard Rock’s been in Temple Bar for a few a years now, on Fleet Street alongside fellow burger buddies on the Hen / Stag trail. As a salad kinda gal it wouldn’t be my first port of call but we fancied a big fat chow and some cocktails, so down the hatch!

We were seated in a leatherette booth beneath Bono’s shades. The decor, featuring musical memorabilia like its worldwide siblings, is homage to Irish rock’n’roll history. Music videos played on big screens in the background, MTV style. Our man in Japan was one of the best waiters I’ve had the pleasure of, bringing us cocktails first. A sparkling fresh Mojito for me and a macho pink one for himself.

The nachos came with a warning on account of their size, and true to his word our man brought us a ginormous mess of hot tortillas, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos. With salsa and guacamole on the side. For starters! However I did spy two ladies next door demolishing the insane looking Jumbo Combo, which does what it says on the tin… We made a good dent in the nachos which could have fed four.

I had the chicken Caesar salad for dins while the Bloke tucked into an S.O.B burger. I’m sure he only picked it for the name! My salad was nice and crisp with proper Romaine leaves and seriously creamy sauce. There was a good topping of grilled chicken and salty bacon bits but the croutons are always my test. Lovely crunchy little numbers! The hot and spicy burger went down well, the chips not so much.

Another cocktail – rude not to – helped to ease our sore bellies. But the charming chef talked us into his dessert special of banana bread and butter pudding. The cake fiend in me made room for this sweet sticky caramel goo-fest. Yummy! Not used to munching so much in one sitting we waddled home for a sneaky snooze. Now that’s what I call a carb coma. The Hard Rock Cafe does American comfort food.

Hard Rock Cafe Dublin, 12 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2