Thursday, 14 November 2013

Suddenly Diamonds Perfume Is A Lidl Gem

Suddenly Diamonds Eau de Parfum (€3.99 for 50ml): Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this is Lidl’s latest perfume. It’s certainly new to me and there’s very little information about it online so I'm guessing it’s just hit Irish shelves. Word on the web is that it’s a dupe for a well-known luxury fragrance. Lidl’s first perfume, Suddenly Madame Glamour, is a celebrated dupe for Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and was an instant hit when it was first released here. Suddenly Diamonds is reportedly a dupe for Boss Orange by Hugo Boss. I have no idea if this is true as I have yet to smell Boss Orange but I definitely plan to and will report back here when I do. The packaging is quite similar, both boxes are white with an orange and silver design, and when I researched Boss Orange’s description it certainly sounds like Suddenly Diamonds is an imitation.

I've been really enjoying wearing this the past few days; it’s a beautiful and unusual scent. At first I thought it was too sweet for me, it's distinctly fruity; however intriguingly, it’s also intense with a vanilla and woodsy base. It lasts about 4 to 5 hours and while the bottle is nothing to write home about, it fits snugly into a handbag. I've a feeling Suddenly Diamonds is going to be another sell-out fragrance for Lidl. It’s undoubtedly a winner in my eyes. I recommend checking out this perfume before it flies off the shelves. And if it’s indeed a dupe for Boss Orange you’ll be saving yourself approximately €60, Boss Orange 50ml is currently €64 in Boots.

Would you wear perfume from Lidl?

I finally went into Boots to give Hugo Boss Boss Orange a good sniff. Not a thorough scientific analysis I must admit but my fully functioning nose confirmed that Lidl's Suddenly Diamonds is without a doubt a dupe for Boss Orange!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Three Budget Hair Products I Can't Live Without

'Helene Curtis Spray Net' Ad 1956

1. Hask Argan Oil (€2.50 from Penneys/Primark): Moroccanoil revolutionised the hair care industry. Following on from its success; brands such as L’Oréal, Schwarzkopf, Shu Uemura, John Frieda and even Aldi launched hair oils claiming to contain the same miraculous argan oil. As far as I can tell, these oils are all the same. They can all be used on wet or dry hair, smell divine and will leave your hair incredibly shiny and soft. The only thing that varies is the price. Hask Argan oil, which is available in Penneys, is the most purse-friendly. The bottle is a tiny 18mls which makes it perfect for travelling and a little goes a long way.
2. Wella Silvikrin Hairspray (approx. €3 for 250ml): My hair doesn’t need a complicated updo to get a blast of hairspray. No, my flyaway mane gets its hairspray fix every day! I've been using Silvikrin for years. It's by no means the cheapest on the market but when I’ve tried more affordable brands, I’ve been left bitterly disappointed. What I love about this hairspray, apart from its long-lasting hold, is that it brushes out effortlessly. My hair is back to normal after a quick brush, soft and clean with no residue. Silvikrin also has a pleasant fragrance unlike its overpowering and overpriced rival L'Oreal Elnett.
3. Batiste Cherry (approx. €3.99): Since discovering Batiste dry shampoo a few years ago I’ve gone through countless cans of the stuff. It’s one of my must-have beauty products. It's an excellent multitasker (and lifesaver!), creating volume as well as refreshing hair. Batiste Cherry was launched last year and its sweet and fruity scent is my favourite from the range. The retro print can also looks great on my dressing table.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Autumn Style: Modern Beatnik

Watching Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face recently made me realise how much I adore a simple polo neck (or turtleneck). In the bohemian nightclub scene, Audrey is achingly cool in her beatnik uniform of black polo neck jumper and cigarette pants. A stereotypical outfit from that time but elegant nonetheless.

Polo necks are everywhere this autumn/winter. Even crop tops and bodycon dresses are sporting the classic high neck. I put a modern spin on the beatnik look by taking a teal polo neck jumper and pairing it with navy and green check trousers with gold detailing. To me, this outfit conjures up images of autumnal walks (without the pointed courts of course!) and evenings by the fire discussing poetry and literature in true beatnik fashion. The mix of cosy knits and check also encapsulates the heritage trend.

Polo neck – Penneys/Primark (in store now)

Trousers – H&M (in store now)

Shoes – Barratts

Earrings – Penneys/Primark

A polo neck jumper would also look wonderful either tucked into this season’s key piece, the full skirt, or into a ladylike pencil skirt.  

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Retro Suitcase Is On Facebook!

The Retro Suitcase is on a new adventure, exploring the big bad land that is Facebook. It’s high time the little blue case discovered new terrain; its last holiday was probably to Butlins circa 1965!  

I now post daily on Facebook so if budget buys, photos from the red carpet, quirky events and retro ramblings are your thing, give The Retro Suitcase a like. Who knows, Twitter and Instagram might be our next destinations!


Friday, 6 September 2013

Beauty Review: Catrice Long Lasting Lip Pencils

I’m rarely seen without lipstick. Reds, corals, plums and pinks - I love them all. If I’m not wearing lipstick, you’ll find me sporting a slick of gloss or tinted lip balm. Before applying lipstick, I use a lip liner to define my lips. I’ve always been a bit envious of people who can apply their lipstick perfectly without liner (or the aid of a mirror!). I, on the other hand, need all the help I can get in the shaping department. Once I’ve outlined my lips, I fill them in with the liner. This acts as a primer and helps to prolong the wear of my lipstick.
From top to bottom: 050 Red Lip District, 090 Reach The Peach, 030 Berryson Ford

Catrice recently launched their Long Lasting Lip Liners as part of their Autumn/Winter 2013 collection. There are 12 shades available and they're €1.99 each. During my last visit to Penneys/Primark I picked up these three.
Catrice is a German beauty brand known for its inexpensive, good quality products. Their products also have wonderful quirky names. I wasn’t let down on the quirky name front with these lip liners, I particularly loved the novel Berryson Ford. However, I was let down by the product itself. Catrice claim their Long Lasting Lip Liners are waterproof and last 4 hours but I got less than 2 hours wear before fading occurred. Application was also tricky with the pencils dragging a little. Even sharpening the pencils proved difficult, the nibs constantly broke and Berryson Ford is now half the man (err…pencil!) he used to be.

Despite being highly pigmented, apart from Reach The Peach which is oddly sheer and shimmery, these liners have very little staying power and aren’t waterproof either. Quite disappointing from an otherwise excellent beauty brand.

Left to right: 050 Red Lip District, 090 Reach The Peach, 030 Berryson Ford

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Wardrobe Shake-Up: What I Wore Saturday Night

Something old,

Nothing new,

Something borrowed,

The rent is due.

Bills, bills, bills. Being an independent lady comes at a price. On Saturday, I stood glumly before my wardrobe looking for something to wear out. Yes, the old adage ‘I've nothing to wear’ did pop into my head! However, as I couldn't afford to buy something new (and I haven't for quite some time) I had to be inventive and give some old pieces of clothing a new lease of life.

If we're honest with ourselves we’ll admit our wardrobes are crammed full of clothes. Long-forgotten, once loved, and even unworn clothes. A wardrobe shake-up, where you create new outfits from clothes you already have, will not only de-clutter your closet but it will save you a packet and help you see your clothes in a new light.  And of course any unwanted items can be given to your local charity shop.

I rediscovered these high waisted bouclé shorts that I bought last spring. I put them with an old jumper, new-ish shoes and borrowed the headscarf from my sister.

Shorts – Asos

Jumper – H&M

Shoes – Asos

Scarf  - Shotsy Vintage

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Beauty Review: Lush Sparkle Toothy Tabs

Toothy Tabs aren’t new to Lush. The ethical cosmetic brand invented their solid toothpaste tablets in 2011, in response to the tons of non-recyclable toothpaste tubes being dumped every year. Toothy tabs’ main ingredient is sodium bicarbonate, which is a natural cleanser and whitening agent. There are six flavours available, each containing different essential oils and spices.

I went for Sparkle which is the whitening Toothy Tab. Sparkle is flavoured with lemon oil, grapefruit oil and black pepper. The black pepper is the most distinct flavour and it has quite a kick to it, it left my mouth feeling really fresh. The taste does take some getting used to, mint being the flavour we associate with toothpaste. The tabs are a doddle to use. You just place one between your teeth, nibble it to break it up and then start brushing with a wet toothbrush. The chalkiness of the tab feels a little bit odd at first and it doesn't foam as much as regular toothpaste. However, after just one use my teeth were left with a professional polish type feel. Yes, squeaky clean! They also looked noticeably brighter. After using Sparkle Toothy Tabs for a number of weeks, I didn't see a huge increase in whiteness which led me to conclude that they’re more of a quick fix. Perfect to use before a date or a big event for added dazzle.

Toothy Tabs get a big thumbs up from me. Teeth look and feel cleaner (they've undergone dental trials and are proven to work just as well, or even better, than regular toothpaste), the packaging is 100% recyclable, they’re relatively inexpensive - for €3.10 you get 40 tabs and they’re much easier to transport than a tube of toothpaste.

If lemon and black pepper isn't your thing, Lush have two mint flavoured Toothy Tabs. Dirty contains spearmint oil while Ultrablast contains peppermint oil.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

My Brow Routine

When it comes to eyebrows, big is proving to be beautiful. The power brow trend is showing no signs of going anywhere, which is great news if you have, like me, naturally thick eyebrows. Brows are a touchy subject for many women. We've all been a bit too enthusiastic with the tweezers or heavy-handed with the eyebrow pencil. I aggressively tackled my bushy brows for the first time at the age of 16 and came away with sad stubby eyebrows. I literally tweezed half of them off and they still haven't grown back fully. 

Personally, I recommend threading over any other form of brow shaping. I've only had my eyebrows threaded once, in Threads Brow Bar in House of Fraser, but I've been able to maintain the shape and that was almost two years ago! Below is my current brow routine, it takes about 3 minutes.


1. After applying foundation, I brush through my eyebrows using a brow brush.
2. Next I brush a light sweeping of pressed powder over my brows to absorb any excess oil from my moisturiser/foundation. I find this increases the longevity of the eyebrow pencil.

3. Using an eyebrow pencil, my favourite is Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 004 Black/Brown, I begin to define the highest point of my brow using light strokes. Starting at the highest point helps to determine the shape of the rest of the brow. It also makes the brow appear bolder. I prefer using pencil over powder as it’s quicker to apply and creates a more intense look.

4. When my brows are fully filled in, I use a cotton bud to gently soften any lines. I then brush through them using brow gel. My current favourite is by Essence.

Don’t worry if your brows aren't totally symmetrical. Remember eyebrows are sisters, not twins!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Ladies Day At The Dublin Horse Show

Glorious sunshine, bustling crowds, dazzling hats, pomp and pageantry

 There was something incredibly naughty about taking the day off work to drink wine (and eat chips!) in the stately old grounds of the RDS. I highly recommend it!  
I wore a mix of high-street and vintage. I bought the hat at a vintage fair last November and this was my first time wearing it. I adore this head-hugging style of hat, called a skull cap or a close hat, which was popular in the early to mid-1950s. The gloves I found in my parents’ attic in January during a New Year clear-out. They belonged to my Great-Aunt Liz and I’m guessing they’re from the 1950s due to their flared shape, which was called gauntlet style. I’ve inherited some of Liz’s beautiful belongings which I talked about in this post
Dress – Asos
Hat – 1950s Jacoll from Granny’s Attic Vintage in Newry
Bag – A birthday present from a friend
Shoes – Asos
Gloves – Vintage (circa 1950s)
 I thought I was the epitome of recession chic with my outfit costing less than €90 but my gorgeous friend Cynthia of The Irish Cyndependent (check it out here) is the queen of thrifty treasure hunting. Her striking yellow wool and lace dress, yellow hat and red accessories cost less than €21!
Dress – George at Asda
Hat – Charity shop
Shoes – Chairty shop

All photos kindly taken by Cynthia

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Beauty Review: TRESemmé Volume Styler

When I got my hair cut into a bob last year I soon realised I needed a styling tool to maintain its smooth shape. I've never been able to blow dry my hair into a style and while I love using heated rollers they are time-consuming. I was tempted by the acclaimed BaByliss Big Hair Hot Air Styler but I wasn't willing to pay over €60 for it. While looking for a cheaper alternative I came across TRESemmé Volume Styler.

TRESemmé Volume Styler dries your hair while adding body and shape. It doesn't create curls, rather bends and flicks, so it’s perfect if you prefer your hair straight but with some bounce. And the best bit? You only need to use one hand! No more achy arms from holding a heavy hairdryer and brush. I find if I rough dry my hair first until it’s 80% dry (it's not a hairdryer so it won't dry your hair fully, unless you have very short or fine hair), separate it into manageable sections and use the highest setting I get a better result.

As far as I can see, the biggest difference between TRESemmé Volume Styler and BaByliss Big Hair is the fact that BaByliss Big Hair has a rotating barrel. However, both barrels are 50mm and ceramic coated and both stylers have ionic conditioning and a 700w motor. TRESemmé Volume Styler is available from Argos for €33.99

Friday, 12 April 2013

Spring Style: The 60s, Monochrome & Floral Print

The 60s is a key fashion trend this spring/summer. Designers, in particular Louis Vuitton and Moschino, showcased shift dresses, cropped trousers and boxy jackets in typical sweet spring shades. However, it wasn’t all pastels and pretty floral prints on the catwalks. Surprisingly there was also a strong emphasis on black and white.

Monochrome is timeless and one of the easiest ways to sport the 60s trend. It's also flattering and there are a number of ways to wear it - stripes, spots or block colour. Add low-heeled pointed shoes and a ladylike handbag and you have a one-way ticket to 60s chic!


Dress – Penneys/Primark

Shoes – Asos

Earrings – Penneys/Primark

Dress – Warehouse

Shoes – Asos

Bag – Vintage  


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Beauty Review: Dermalogica Products


Last year I resolved to take better care of my skin and invest in some high-end skincare products. I typically have normal/dry skin but I'm also prone to flare-ups of dermatitis. With my skin’s propensity for extreme dryness, I was concerned about premature ageing. I chose Dermalogica over other skincare brands for a number of reasons. (1) Dermalogica classifies skin care as a health issue as opposed to a cosmetic concern. Its products are free from common irritants and ingredients found in budget skincare products. (2) My sister uses Dermalogica products and swears by them. (3) Dermalogica products repeatedly win beauty awards in respected women's magazines. (4) Jessica Alba, Victoria Beckham and Lucy Liu have all stated they use Dermalogica products. If they’re good enough for them, eh?! Millies Beauty Rooms have the best value Dermalogica products in the country. You can buy online here

Intensive Moisture Balance (€41.95 for 100ml, €31.25 for 50ml): This is an ultra-rich cream for dry or prematurely-ageing skin. Vitamins A, C and E and nourishing ingredients such as ginkgo, wild yam and grape seed all work together to smooth dry lines and reduce the signs of premature ageing. I noticed a huge improvement after using this for a few days. My skin looked plumped up and dry patches disappeared. As Intensive Moisture Balance doesn’t contain SPF, I use it as my night cream.

Daily Microfoliant (€37.50 Winner of ‘Best Facial Exfoliator’, InStyle Best Beauty Buys 2012): This exfoliator is unique in the sense that it is a powder formula. It transforms into a creamy paste upon contact with water. This paste is so gentle that it can be used every day and around the delicate eye area which is ideal if, like me, you suffer from dry patches under your eyes. Like Intensive Moisture Balance it is packed full of gorgeous ingredients such as rice enzymes, salicylic acid, grapefruit, liquorice, green tea and colloidal oatmeal. Daily Microfoliant effectively removes dulling skin cells leaving skin smoother and brighter. It also soothes the skin while helping to balance uneven skin pigmentation.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Fair Maidens Rejoice: Rimmel's New Match Perfection Foundation In 010 Light Porcelain Is Super Pale!

010 Light Porcelain

Budget brands are improving their foundations all the time in terms of coverage, longevity and packaging yet their shades remain terribly limited. Many budget foundations are simply too dark for girls with pale or Celtic skin tones; what is labelled ‘ivory’ is usually soft beige or something bordering on tangerine! I found this was the case with two of the most popular budget foundations launched this year. Both Rimmel Wake Me Up and Bourjois Healthy Mix’s lightest offerings were at least two shades too dark for me.
 When my fair friend Laura told me she had found the ultimate pale foundation in Rimmel Match Perfection I was sceptical at first. Match Perfection has been around since 2010 and I had never heard it applauded for its light shades. However, unbeknownst to me, Rimmel launched a new Match Perfection foundation in November and its lightest shade is now a beautiful porcelain!
This is definitely the palest budget foundation shade I have come across. If you're lighter than NW10-15 in MAC foundations I would recommend trying this. The foundation itself is a light liquid formula which smells lovely, very like Bourjois Healthy Mix. It blends in effortlessly and gives light to medium coverage. Rimmel Match Perfection is marketed as an illuminating foundation but it doesn’t have any obvious radiance sparkles in it. Rather, it leaves a natural finish with a subtle glow. I find it lasts all day on my normal/dry skin and doesn’t emphasise any dry patches. 

The truth is I’m in love with this foundation – the glass bottle, the pump dispenser, the price (€9.95), the SPF of 18, the gorgeous finish and the fact that it actually matches my ghostly complexion perfectly. Yes, match perfection indeed!