March 31, 2015

The Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

The hype for new eyeshadow palettes never stops, does it?! When we started blogging, the first Naked palette hadn’t even been released. Now, even the most basic of makeup kits seems incomplete without a decent neutral eyeshadow palette. So many brands have hopped onto the bandwagon - in fact, this is Smashbox's second 'big' neutral offering.

I really wasn’t interested in last year’s Full Exposure palette – the glitters were a little full-on and it was a bit too cool-toned for me overall. If you’re like me and far prefer warmer shades, Double Exposure* is a far safer bet. There's still a line of mattes and a line of shimmers, but not a whiff of chunky glitter in sight.

I’d actually liken a lot of the tones in this to the NARS NARSissist palette – they’re not actually all warm, but very wearable for most skintones. Even the more mauvey shades are really flattering and I've used every shade bar the blue!

The texture of these shadows is something that I was concerned about when I received the palette – Smashbox say they can be used either wet or dry. I was concerned about using them damp and honestly originally thought this was an easy way for Smashbox to get around the fact that these shadows don’t all swatch very strongly on the first pass. When you get down to using them properly with a brush, though, pigmentation honestly isn't an issue and there is almost zero fallout. I didn't feel that I had to dampen these to get the most out of them as they perform really well on their own.

My absolute favourite shades in this palette are the warm browns - not a surprise as they're colours I always gravitate towards, but these four are particularly lovely and work really well together. I used them in the look below for a brown smokey eye last month and a lot of you seemed to like the look!

A photo posted by Dee (@deirdro) on

Overall, I actually really do like this a lot and would totally recommend Double Exposure to any of you that are interested in it. It comes with a really lovely double-ended brush - I think that plus fourteen lovely shades is decent value at under €50!

The Smashbox Double Exposure Palette is €44 from Arnotts and bigger Boots stores nationwide.

March 30, 2015

Shakshuka For Brunch

Move over pancakes. Take a back seat green eggs. See ya later pulled pork. There's a new brunch dish du jour and it goes by the name of Shakshuka. Hailing from North Africa by way of Israel, Shakshuka is a dish that is as impressive as it is simple; eggs poached in a fragrant, flavourful tomato sauce. For brunch (or lunch...or dinner), it doesn't get much better than this.

March 23, 2015

Esqido Lashes

Who doesn't love a bit of falsies action?! I remember hearing LisaLisaD1 talk about Esqido lashes early in 2014 and thought they looked beautiful with their padded white and rose gold boxes and the soft, fluttery fullness that comes thanks to the fact that these are crafted from (naturally shed) mink hairs.

March 22, 2015

French Pharmacy - Our Picks

If you read Viva Adonis with any kind of regularity, you'll know of our grá for all things skincare, especially French pharmacy! Brands from across the pond have proved themselves time and time again for us, and have helped with a ton of woes - from Dee's spots to Sinéad's dryness.

We have a ton of favourites, but as a lot of the best French brands are currently whittled down price-wise with up to 30% off here, we thought it'd be a great time to showcase just a few of them. As always, this post is fully shoppable so hopefully you discover something that works brilliantly for you!

Bioderma has to be the brand associated most strongly with the French pharmacy craze; even now that micellars are widely available in the Irish market, the original is not, and it is really quite nice. Dee especially rates the blue version as one of the best for oily skin - and if you're looking for something extra to keep oil at bay, try using their excellent Pore Refiner (reviewed here) as a primer.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc is one of the hottest skincare products out there right now; it's rolling into Irish pharmacies as I type (but more on that soon), and is also readily available for us to pick up online. If you want something to soothe and calm irritated skin and prevent future blemishes, look no further. La Roche-Posay Redermic R is another brilliant product it you're blemish-prone - just a tiny bit each night can help with even the worst under-the-skin spots.

Nuxe is a brand we're both really fond of - everything they do smells delicious, and works wonders on the skin, too. One of the nicest basic moisturisers we've ever had the pleasure of using is their Creme Fraiche de Beauté, which also comes in a lighter version for if you're oily. The Reve de Miel lip balm needs no introduction, really - though you can read Sinéad's rave about it here if you're not convinced!

Klorane is kind of the odd-one-out here as it's actually a haircare brand - but hear us out. They do some of the most gentle, nourishing shampoos and conditioners out there, so if your hair is overprocessed or your scalp is dry, give this stuff a go.

Avène is another French thermal water breed of skincare - their products are brilliant especially if you're very sensitive. We've tried a legion of hydrating masks at this stage, but their version remains a firm favourite for restoring moisture and plumpness.

And finally, we couldn't talk skincare without including a good hydrating serum. Vichy's Aqualia Thermal is one of the most basic and affordable but really works a treat. If your skin is a bit dull or you don't find that just moisturiser is cutting it any more, try adding this to your routine for an instant hydration hit.

March 21, 2015

Stella EDT

Spring really is the time for scents, it seems - last week, Sinéad raved about her new signature perfume from Giorgio Armani, and now, I'm here to sing Stella's praises.

March 19, 2015

Pho Viet, Dublin 1

I think it's only correct for me to write my first ever 'proper' restaurant review on this blog about somewhere that I am quite loyal to, and have introduced quite a few people to over the last year or so.

Almost exactly on the corner of Parnell Street and Cavendish Row, you'll see Pho Viet as soon as you hit the top of O'Connell Street. It's a really handy spot for a pre-theatre or cinema bite to eat, and as a Northsider I find myself around here quite a bit.

I'd never had proper Vietnamese before Pho Viet, and now, I'm constantly looking out for it! I've had the pho (tasty, hearty noodle broth with a meat of your choice, served in a bucket-sized bowl) more times than I can count and totally recommend it, especially on colder days. I know that a lot of people love Pho Viet's curries, too, though on my last visit I opted to try something different, one of their Bun dishes - grilled prawns and pork served with light rice noodles and a fresh salad. This is brilliant value - the portion was generous and the meat and prawns were fresh and beautifully cooked. A really nice, light main that won't leave you feeling like you could have picked something 'better'! What a lot of the mains here have in common is that they're fresh, zesty and rely mostly on herbs and chilli to lend a natural flavour to the dish - not a whiff of MSG.

I totally forgot to mention starters. I think that Pho Viet do some of the best spring rolls in Dublin - and I do take my spring rolls quite seriously! I love their 'ordinary' cooked spring rolls, they're crispy, light and just the right size - but I've also become equally fond of the cold kind, or Goi Cuon. They're gorgeous, translucent little parcels made up of cooked prawns, vegetables and vermicelli noodles, served with a peanut dipping sauce. Absolutely gorgeous and totally moreish.

For drinks, one draw for this place is that you can bring your own for a corkage fee of €5 per bottle. They also serve a few good wines for a decent price. What I love most about coming here, though, is the lack of guilt - it's inexpensive (literally the same price as an Eddie Rockets, and far, far better). The food is relatively clean and healthy, especially if you order carefully. I have never had a disappointing meal here - the staff are always lovely and it's as good for a night out as it is for a quick lunch. 

I should also tell you that I ate here the other week after a really lovely tour of Glasnevin Cemetery, which had been specially curated by one of their amazing guides (Bridget Sheerin), for International Women's Day. Irish history, especially that of our lesser known women, is a total passion of mine and I only wish that I could devote more time to it. Bridget did an amazing job of balancing the tour with some famous and some unknowns. Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington will always be my personal hero, but I also loved hearing all about Maura Laverty, Margaret Skinnider and Anne Devlin. It was hard not to come away feeling inspired!

Whether you're well-versed or a total newbie to Irish history, I think that Glasnevin offers one of the best days out in Dublin. With over a million and a half people buried here, it's hard not to find something (or someone) of interest, and the museum is great, too. Don't forget to pop into the Gravediggers pub on Prospect Square after for a drink!

March 11, 2015

Giorgio Armani Sí EDT - Springtime in a Bottle!

You all know I am quite picky about scents. I hate anything overly floral or that makes me smell like a cupcake. My last two favourite perfumes have been by Estée Lauder; Modern Muse, followed by Modern Muse Chic, and with my bottle of Chic running perilously close to empty, I had been wondering what my next fragrance would be. Something spring-like, I was sure but, how to marry the lighter notes associated with the season with my own affinity for something heavier, more musky? Enter Giorgio Armani Sí Eau de Toilette* or, as I have dubbed it, springtime in a bottle!

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