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The first time I got lip fillers, it was in the height of the post Kylie Jenner era, when the makeup mogul was renowned for capitalising on her penchant for an aesthetician's assistance. 

For most of us mere mortals who have sought the assistance of the aestheticians needle, it's about creating an adjustment that makes you look (in your mind) better, rather than turning you into a celebrity Doppelganger.

While the Kardashians may have catapulted fillers into the lime light, people have been utilising them for decades to make tweaks to their faces, bringing them more in line with what humans scientifically consider ideal beauty – which all comes down to youth and symmetry.  


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With the popularity of injectables remaining high, despite the 'Kylie Jenner effect' losing it's power over the beauty standards of the nation, it's essential that the women (and men) of Ireland who seek to boost their pouts have a same and specialised environment in which to do so. 

Late last year, Thérapie Clinic launched a brand new, city centre clinic that exclusively offers injectable treatments – while their other clinics also offer hair removal and skin procedures, the newly opened South William Street Clinic has a strict focus on creating facial perfection through injectables like botox. 

Having an unashamed fondness for filler myself, I decided that for my next treatment under the needle, I would scope out Thérapie's new offering 


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As well as injectable treatments, skincare puritans can snap up at-home products from Environ, Murad and Image – and on arrival at the new clinic, you're instantly greeted by a glossy wall unit showcasing the best that Irish skincare has to offer. 

Guided through to the waiting room after checking in at the podium desk, where I was greeted by an exceptionally friendly woman who had an impressive amount of positive energy for 6pm in the evening, the decor was stylishly bright and minimalist. 

While waiting, I helped myself to the cucumber infused water-pitcher on the table, before I was quickly whisked away to one of the consultation rooms. If you have had fillers before, you will be well versed in the form-reading and box ticking portion of the event, but in case you're not: As lip fillers require medically trained application, there are a few health and lifestyle forms to fill out, as well as a general form for the clinic's records. You will be asked to write down your expectations of results, whether you are pregnant and what injectables you have had previously, as well as a selection of other questions. If you're a first timer, don't worry, at Thérapie one of the gorge gals who keep things running is on hand to answer any queries you have about the forms in a private consultation room. 


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After the forms, I was escorted into the procedure room, where I was greeted by Dr Rua, who's glowing-from-within complexion is probably the best advertisement I've ever seen for good quality skincare. 

We chatted about what kind of look I wanted to achieve, before she discussed what would be realistic for my face. Her goal is for each of her patients to leave looking fresh and lifted, rather than over-done or with lips or cheeks that are detectably 'filled.' 

We settled on a full ml of Juvaderm filler – some patients have unrealistic expectations with the amounts of filler that can be used. A reputable aesthetician will use no more than 1-2mls maximum in the lips at one time, depending on the person. More than that, and it's impossible for even the expert administrator to predict what the final look will be. 

Fillers and botox should only ever be administered by a registered dentist, doctor or nurse – and unskilled hand delivering injectables can cause havoc by hitting one of the tiny veins or arteries in the massive network or vessels which reside in the lips and face. With fillers like Juvaderm available to purchase on the internet, it' vital to make sure the technician you are seeing is registered and had a medical background. 

I've previously had 1 and half mls of Restylane filler in my lips (1ml injected first, then another half months later) so Dr Rua first needed to assess where that product sat in my lips before deciding where she would be sculpting and adding volume. 


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One week after the procedure – still very swollen but healed

The numbing cream had been applied in the consultation room, and once I was comfortably lying back in the chair, she set to work. I find fillers quite painful, but Dr Rua was exceptionally gentle, and chatted to me throughout, making the entire process go by much faster. I have asymmetry in my lips, with one side of my top lip being thinner than the other side – a feature I've covered up with lip liner for many years, and Dr Rua aimed to correct that asymmetry as well as making the lips bigger.

As soon as we were done, I was handed the mirror to take a peek at my improved lips – and I was honestly floored at the results. Through the slight redness and swelling, I could instantly see that there was a subtle but perfectly executed difference in my lips. They were balanced and pouty without being bee-stung. 

Costing between €200 and €300, lip fillers are definitely costly, but worth it in my books. 


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Before any lip fillers

I was given plenty of aftercare instructions, and was warned that there was a chance of further swelling and bruising. I also had picked up the IMAGE Skincare Ormedic Balancing Lip Complex, which helps after lip fillers to replenish moisture and enhance the results. 

I slept slightly elevated that night, as I experienced some serious swelling int he hours after my procedure, with the side of my lip we had focused more heavily on to correct the asymmetry becoming more swollen as a response. 

In the aftermath, it took about two weeks for my lips to fully settle, which is to be expected, and once the asymmetrical swelling had subdued, revealed underneath was a pair of perfectly balanced and strikingly full lips (if I may say so myself). 

I opted in for a follow-up appointment with Dr Rua a few weeks later, and after an examination, she couldn't have been happier with the results (same, gal).

Discussing the beauty standards that has led so many women to going under the needle, Dr Rua explained that many women think they need far more work done than they really do: 'When you ask a girl to rate her facial beauty, she will always say a 5 or a 6.'

However, when you really look at someone's face, they may only want for one tiny tweak here or a small lift there, so they're actually coming into the clinic an 8, and leave looking and feeling like what a 10 means to them.

As beauty is subjective and not everyone prescribes to the same standards or aesthetic 'look,' the goal at Thérapie Clinic is not to create a sea of homogenous 'Instagram-perfect' faces, but to improve and hone the natural beauty everyone already has – which is why I'm already scheduled back in for a top up. 



When it comes to smartphones, with so many of us sharing our lives via social media, one of the most important aspects of considering a new purchase can come down to camera quality. 

From Samsung to Apple to Sony, there are a multitude of brands to contemplate – however with Huawei quickly gaining on recognisable brands thanks to it's innovative technology, we offer the Huawei Mate 20 Pro for debate. 

When it comes to taking photos, it's unquestionably the strongest model on the market. 

Love Lane by Anna Doran captured on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro 

The Mate 20 Pro has a number of different settings for its camera – and thanks to it's incorporated AI intelligence, it is able to recognise what you're shooting at any given time. However, you can manually adjust the setting to suit your individual needs. 

We have regular photo and video, which capture general images in crisp clarity, but we also have Night mode, which adapts to low or changeable lighting, adding a natural brightness to the foreground and background. 

Another setting is Aperture, a term usually reserved for DSLR quality cameras. This mode captures intense details for close up shots. 

Portrait mode, much like the iPhone setting of the same name, is perfect for shots of people, and softens the background to bring the topic of your photography into focus. 

Pro is the stand-out setting, and the clue is in the name. In this mode, you’ve got the option to control features you would usually only have on professional grade camera equipment, such as ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, AF mode, stabilisation, white balance and metering.

An evening in Fade Street Social captured on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro 

The secret is in the Leica triple camera – with the Mate 20 Pro being the first smartphone in the world to utilise this form of technology. 

With the highest total pixel count of any smartphone on the market today, it's not entirely surprising that the stand out feature of this smartphone is it's photographic propensity. 

Billed as 'redefining intelligent photography,'  the system incorporates three different lenses to capture the clearest image possible while making smart amendments for lighting changes and stabilisation. 

We had a few months to try out the new phone, and alongside our iPhone for comparison, the Mate 20 Pro proved itself far superior when it came to being Instagram handy and a diligent travel companion. 

Exploring and eating in Brighton's lanes captured on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (outfit from Boohoo.com

The world has been opened up to us thanks to affordable airfare and apps like Instagram, which showcase the world in miniscule megapixels and only fuel our wanderlust. 

Photography on a smartphone is essential while abroad, and the camera scope makes the Huawei ideal for mini-breakers and backpackers alike. Whether you're looking to take shots of mountainscapes or your outfits against new backdrops, the adaptability of the Leica triple camera is unbeatable. 

For food shots, we recommend the Pro setting – which is how I captured the Middle Eastern spread above (from Lavash in Brighton's lanes – a must try if you're over there) – to capture every delicious detail, while Portrait mode works well for forward-focused fashion shots, like this blogger-worthy windswept shot. 

Temple Bar and Camden Street, Dublin, captured on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

While away, another photographic trick that's sure to come in handy in countries that don't speak your language is the Microsoft Translator app – which you can use offline on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. 

In partnership with Microsoft, the app comes pre-installed, giving users online quality level language translations even when you're not connected to wifi.

Simply take a picture of a sign, menu, or whatever dialect you want to translate, and run it through the app. 

Crystals at Folkster, Temple Bar, and Prada heels in The Marvel Room, Brown Thomas captured on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

When it comes to photography, the devil is in the details – and the Mate 20 Pro picks them up with ease, particularly in Aperture mode. 

Whether it's capturing the sprinkles on your gelato or trying to capture the complexity of a close-up eye makeup look, the phone adjusts to the range between the phone and object to create the clearest photo possible. 

Along with technical details, the phone allows you to get creative with your videography and photography. 

The camera incorporates modes like Time-lapse, to create sped-up videos of your travels. There is also an underwater setting (to be used with the waterproof case) which is designed specifically for submerged photography. 

You can also try light painting, panoramic shots, or add various filters to your camera. 

A weekend in Galway, captured on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The one downfall of the camera is the selfie mode – although this could be taken as a positive or negative depending on how you look at it. 

The camera automatically adds a beauty filter to your face when recording on selfie mode. You can turn down the beauty filter, but it is difficult to remove entirely. 

Of course many people would enjoy this filter, but following the ease of use, professional quality and creative freedom provided by the phone's other camera features, this one seems out of place. 

Overall, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the ultimate travel companion phone for a globetrotter looking to capture their life in as many pixels as possible. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is available on all Irish networks, from €1,049


If you haven’t heard of Dylan hotel, you are sorely missing out. The Irish-owned five-star boutique hotel is renowned already for it’s red brick Victorian building, lavish decor and high-quality food, as well as it’s amazing proximity to the Irish city centre.

Tucked into a side avenue near Baggot Street, this gem is still relatively private despite it’s location, as if the building itself is housing a treat only a special few experience.

Dylan Bar has everything going for it, but we decided it was high time for us to try out their brand new Christmas afternoon tea menu: Spice and All Things Nice. We felt we deserved some five-star treatment, especially since the cost is only €45 for great service and even better food.

The design of the hotel is immediately striking; while it may be aesthetic Victorian brick on the outside, within the building is modern, contemporary design. We were seated by the fireplace by incredibly attentive staff, and after perusing their extensive afternoon tea menu, our eyes were swiftly on the prize: Christmas cocktails.

Their limited edition cocktail menu is inspired by the magical spices of the festive season; ginger, nutmeg, clove, star anise and cinnamon. It’s pretty mouth-watering stuff, if we do say so ourselves. Seeing as we value journalistic integrity, we had to taste as many as possible. *winks*

We definitely weren’t disappointed; their Winter Wine Warmer is an extravagant version of mulled wine, except far, far classier. Made with a mix of homemade citrus, star anise and clove syrup added to classic Merlot, the twist on the aromatic Christmas drink of the gods goes down a treat.

The Festive Pudding cocktail is a reimagined version of the classic winter dessert, made with allspice Guinness syrup, fresh orange and lime juice, old fashioned bitters, eggs whites and of course, Irish whiskey. Any connoisseurs of whiskey will adore this drink, trust us, it has a kick.

Next up on our list was the Apple & Cinnamon Crumble, made with Zubrowska vodka, goldschlanger, apple and lime juice, vanilla infused honey and topped off with a cookie crumble rim. Talk about being in heaven, the Dylan mixologists were infusing the atmosphere with subtle yet heartwarming Christmas vibes.

For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate appreciators can enjoy the Polar Express either hot or cold. Created with Hennessey V.S., Bailey’s Frangelico, and chocolate and vanilla cream, you’ll be rolled out of the place after one (or five…) of these.

Other divine drinks on offer include the Zenzero Negroni, which has the highest alcohol content so brace yourselves, and Before Santa’s Here for another whiskey.

Last but by no means least, their Summer in December is a rum and gingerbread syrup blend for a summer mood with a winter cheer, and they also include their version of an Irish coffee; the Dylan Christmas Coffee mixed with their secret spice syrup.

The designated drivers can also try a range of mocktails which are as good as the real thing. Dylan Bar also has refreshing bubbly, for any Prosecco queens out there, and a variety of tea and coffees. Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s located at Eastmoreland Place.

With all of these gorgeous drinks, we had almost forgotten about all the luscious cakes and sweet and savoury treats coming our way. Almost. They served us the carefully crafted food on a three-tiered plate, and we had a try of their spiced scotch egg, turkey and sage pie with cranberry chutney and pulled ham on granary bread and brie and cinnamon spice apple. 

The savoury selection was delicious, and we couldn’t leave without trying their sweet and subtly spiced buttery homemade scones and indulgent desserts. Pistachio slices, gingerbread cupcakes topped with whiskey icing and a meringue snowman with chocolate and nutmeg mousse were just a taster of what we were offered.

Sitting by the fire, breathing in the mulled wine and eating our weight in macaroons, we realised that we honestly need this lifestyle 24/7. It’s extra, it’s lavish, it’s Christmas magic, and everyone deserves a treat like afternoon tea at Dylan Bar. Don’t miss out, it’s only offered until the New Year so snap up a reservation while you can.

Enjoy the Spice & All Things Nice menu in the Dylan Bar until January 1 2019.

Call 01 660 3000 to make a reservation or email reservations@dylan.ie to have your Christmas injected with the warmth of festive food and drink.

Feature image: Instagram/@dylandublin


Asking For It is one of the most ground-breaking pieces of Irish literature to be published in a long time.

Since it hit shelves in 2015, Louise O'Neill's novel has been the catalyst in addressing rape culture in Ireland and giving sexual consent a vocal platform. 

For those unfamiliar with the plot, Asking For It follows Emma O'Donovan, a fifth year student from the fictional Ballinatoon in Cork, suffers a horrific gang-rape at the hands of her male friends, which is plastered across social media afterwards.

It's aim, as author Louise says herself, is to start conversations of consent, slut-shaming and sexual violence.

The book explores how Emma's family, friends, wider community and of course, how she herself, reacts to the rape and the ripple effects that that fateful night has on everyone in Ballinatoon. 

So, how did the book translate to the stage? 


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Julie Kelleher came up with the idea to adapt the book for stage, a job which was taken on by Meadhbh McHugh in collaboration with director Annabelle Comyn under Landmark Productions.

And what an adaption it is.

It opens with Paul O’Mahony’s monolithic set, with it's fantastic use of glass panel buildings that transform into a bedroom, school, party and kitchen. 

Emma, played to perfection by Lauren Coe, is by no means a likeable character – she is a bully who belittles her friends.

Her girl group are well cast and fizz with chemistry, with a stand-out performance from Zoe (Venetia Bowe) who is harbouring a painful secret.

The dynamics of female friendship are explored as well as the teenage boys who are cringey in their attempts at overtly sexual banter.

Is this what being on the cusp of adulthood in 2010's Ireland is like? 


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Sinéad McKenna’s lights show glimpses of writhing bodies at a house party along with Jack Phelan’s video images of girls in states of distress.

When Emma ends up in a room with the Football Captain, he forces sex upon her – all which happens off stage – with voice-overs of Emma thoughts narrating it. 

One of her thoughts is that if she moans, it will end quicker and sure he seems to be enjoying it. 

The gang rape itself which happens after is blurred out in a fog of alcohol and drugs, and the first act ends with Emma's parents and brother finding her, unconscious, blistered and bleeding on her doorstep.

She wakes up and sees the events of the night before on Facebook.

It is conveyed by a series of splintered images of naked limbs, with overlapping voices echoing things like ''great sesh'', ''she's a bitch'' ''she was asking for it.'

The second act is an agonisingly slow and claustrophobic build-up to a heart-wrenching crescendo.

The set closes in on a suffocating kitchen, streaked with rain, in which Emma is trapped – as are we as the audience watching her. 

It is one year since the sexual assault and we see how it slowly destroying Emma's family.

Mam, played by Ali White, is trying to hold it all together for her ''beautiful family'' but cracks are showing in her marriage to Dennis (Fran O'Connor) who has retreated from his daughter and cannot cope with the trauma she has suffered…and the whispers of the neighbours.

Emma loses her voice for most of this act, with voice-overs letting the audience in on her thoughts as she remains a prisoner in her own home, with no access to the outside world. 

She has to cope not only with her own forms of PTSD, but her toxic mother, absent father and brother Bryan, who is the only person that shows any real sympathy and support for her. 

The climax, when it comes, is like a valve releasing pent-up tension with lines that evoke audible gasps from the audience as well as sobs that could be heard around the theatre. 

Asking For It is not an easy watch – it is 2 hours and 40 minutes of raw dialogue, difficult questions and a searingly honest depiction of modern Irish society and family life.  

Tweets like these say it all:

''The stage adaption of Asking For It is SO IMPORTANT. I am in absolute bits. The whole thing is so real. THAT is what is being brushed under the rug for my generation.''

''‘They’re good boys really, this just got out of hand’ #AskingForIt in @AbbeyTheatre is powerful, heartbreaking & unapologetically intense. The audience sobbed silently in solidarity for the second half.''

It runs in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin from 9 – 24 November – please try go and see it, you will not regret it. 


By Kate Brayden 

First and foremost: let’s get something out of the way. Noah Centineo is the internet’s new boyfriend and if you disagree with that then i’m sorry but we just can’t see eye to eye.

Now to the matter at hand… MAJOR SPOILERS INCOMING! You have been warned. If you’re looking for a film you can sit on the couch with your fluffiest pyjamas and possible hangover, that is precisely what this movie can offer you. What this film cannot offer you, however, is a decent moral compass, or a lesson in consent.

It goes without saying that the talent of the cast is noteworthy (hello, Peter Kavinsky from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see you and we appreciate your existence). Shannon Purser plays the lead role in this Netflix romantic teen comedy, and shows off her singing voice during the film with a charm that adds to her actor’s repertoire. Purser is mostly known for her stint as Barb in the sci-fi Netflix hit Stranger Things, which earned her a surprise Primetime Emmy award nomination in 2017.

Noah Centineo continues to fuel our hormones to dangerous levels in his second Netflix rom-com in a matter of weeks, and yet this effort lacks the simplistic sense of fun in comparison, mainly due to the Catfish narrative that weaves its way through Sierra Burgess. It’s hard not to want to like this film, and there’s no doubt it makes for entertaining viewing primarily because of its talented cast of three-dimensional characters, and yet the unrealistic ending taints the protagonists’ likeability.

@ShannonPurser Instagram

The movie itself is at least trying to give the audience the themes and messages that resemble the John Hughes cinematic vibes of the 1980’s, except they tend to fall flat when the person we are meant to root for conspires to deceive someone into dating them. Shannon Purser as Sierra Burgess is cast as the “ugly duckling” (let’s pretend she’s not absolutely beautiful for a hot second, Hollywood’s idea of non-conventional beauty is literally laughable) and the mean girl, played excellently by Kristine Froseth, plays a trick that gets the ball rolling.

By giving Noah Centineo, A.K.A. Jamey the Magnificent and Emotionally Intelligent Jock, Sierra’s phone number, it connects the two characters, who begin texting. Naturally, Sierra falls for Jamey, because who wouldn’t, despite the fact that he thinks she is a beautiful cheerleader named Veronica. She is then left with the choice of whether or not to reveal her true identity.

RJ Cyler deserves a shout out as Dan, the best friend of Sierra and a scene stealing icon. He has the wit of the perfect sidekick, but honestly the boy should have his own movie, or at least a Netflix comedy special.


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The movie does well by giving the ‘Mean Girl’ Veronica layers to her background. Living in a turbulent home with a beauty pageant obsessed mother who has issues with her own self esteem, Veronica’s life is more miserable than her outer appearance lets on at school.

Sierra persuades Veronica to help her continue to text Jamey under the radar, and in return gives Veronica tutoring lessons to appear more intelligent for her (ridiculously toxic) college boyfriend.

Their burgeoning friendship would be a huge positive if not for the fact that Veronica and Sierra are literally catfishing a teenage boy who has no idea that he is calling, texting and sending shirtless photos to a girl he has never met before, and thinks she is someone else entirely.


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It’s hard to deny that if Noah Centino and one of his mates had conspired to change their identities to get a girl, would the audience still feel comfortable watching it? Maybe I’m just hyper protective of the internet’s newest boyfriend, or else 2018’s TimesUp movement, has made watching the betrayal of his trust into a hugely negative experience.

Another problematic aspect to the film is the numerous jokes made about Sierra and lesbianism, as well as the scene involving pretending to be deaf in front of Jamey’s ACTUALLY DEAF younger brother. Yes, you read that right. In 2018, when acting roles are still shockingly slim for members of the ASL community, the (anti)heroine genuinely impersonates deafness in front of the love interests’ deaf brother, and yet the movie still has an ending where Jamey somehow is unbothered by this.

The phrase ‘plot hole’ doesn’t even begin to describe that. America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With The Stars winner Nyle diMarco slammed the movie for this very reason:


@NyleDiMarco Twitter

It’s worth remembering that the internet is a dangerous place, and social media is not always a tool for positive change.

Sierra Burgess for example hacking into Veronica’s instagram and playing havoc with her emotions is another viral betrayal of trust that sends messages the movie doesn’t appear to have intended to send out. While they attempt to convey that body positivity and self-confidence are the subliminal messages, the dominant theme appears to be to protect yourself from your phone.

This is why the ending really dampened the film for the viewer. After being catfished by someone who literally hid undercover beneath your car, who hacked someone’s Instagram as revenge, who lied about who they were and who Skyped you as someone else, and pretended to be deaf, I highly doubt your instinct would be to kiss that person and take that person TO HOMECOMING.

Now this could just be jealousy speaking, but Jamey deserves better than that. He is a jock who somehow made playing football sound deep, has an emotional range and doesn’t judge people based on their looks. He must be protected at all costs.


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Alas, even Noah Centineo’s endearing longing gaze and Shannon Purser’s adorable Sunflower song cannot save the ending of this movie from itself. Having insecurities is not an excuse to deceive a person who believes he has romantic interest in your false alter-ego.

Instead of forcing the two leads together into a romantic ending that makes no sense, the movie failed to make female friendships its main focus.

Veronica and Sierra overcame social boundaries of the high school zoo to form their bond, and the finale should have elevated that.

Though the movie tries its best to put forward positive themes of body confidence and self-esteem, the message of taking caution online overtakes them all. Oh and Sierra, maybe go to a class on ethics, you’re kind of lacking in that department…



Magnetic lashes have been the most recent online trend, demonstrating hassle-free extensions in a matter of seconds.

But the question is…do they really work?


Today I am trying magnetic Lashes. Goodtimes! #magneticlashes

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So, I decided to try these luscious lashes out for myself.

First, you should know that I am no lash amateur. My roommate does professional lash extensions, and I have often been the guinea pig of her many beauty experiments.

When I had permanent extensions, I used to love waking up every morning and not having to do my eye makeup, but I hated the constant upkeep.

At the time I was working two jobs while going to college so I had NO time for fills every two weeks. Plus, sometimes a girl needs to rub her eyes after a good cry and that would cause these lashes to tragically spiral off in every direction, making me look like the mad hatter.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

I figured that magnetic lashes would be the perfect compromise because of their easy removal.

After a weekend trial, I came to this conclusion: I absolutely loved them!

Contrary to popular assumptions, they are super simple to apply to your eyelids.

The eyelash strips came in small box with arrows indicating which were meant for the top lashes and which were meant from the bottom.

After about twenty minutes of trial and error, I figured out how to slide the lashes on exactly where they looked best – the outside corner of the eye.

The trick was to place the bottom lash on first and then lower the top lash on your eyelid until the magnet gently snaps together. 

By the third day that I used them, I was able to apply them in just a few minutes with some minor adjustments.

Here are my before and after pictures.


What a difference, right?! 

These magnetic strips transformed by eyelashes from drab to fab!

Now, although I love this product there are some cons to the full lash look. If you prefer the natural vibe with some face powder and mascara then these may not be for you.

Because of the black magnets that line the strip, I found that I got the best results when I penciled on some eyeliner. This blended the black line across the whole lid instead of awkwardly leaving it on just half of the eye.

Also, I personally have straight-down lashes with no curl in them whatsoever. So, I curled my natural eyelashes before I stuck on the lash strips, making sure they did not peak through the false ones.

Therefore, the product was not a massive time saver in my daily make up routine, but it also did not take me more time than usual.

Overall, these fabulous lashes are great for a night out on the town or a classy, posh event on a student's budget. I will definitely be using them when I go out on the sesh this weekend.



Time on my own is a rare luxury – busy gals, do you feel me?

As a young parent, journalist, and fitness junkie, my days are jam-packed. 

And given my schedule, it’s entirely fair to say my nail care is firmly last on my to-do list.

Day One

I was unfazed about my non-existent routine; after all, I was already caring for my skin and hair… not to mention another human being too.

On the odd occasion that I did treat myself, my nails would be a hot mess in two or three days with peeling and chipping – so I gave up.

That is until I spoke to nail guru Marian Newman at a CND Shellac Luxe event.

To say that my nails were an embarrassment is an understatement. 

I continually apologised to the nail technician, who I believe has magical powers.

She turned my "children nails", as my sister has kindly nicknamed them, into professional, gorgeous-looking nails.

Granted, my nails aren't anywhere near the amazing specimens that are featured on my Insta-feed – I am just your average 20-something-year-old with normal nails. 

Day One

I selected Shellac Luxe 'Satin Slippers' which is a nude.

It's ideal for work and mum life as it is chic and sophisticated but strikes a feminine and pretty look.

An added bonus was Shellac Luxe promised not to destroy my nails and it could be removed in 60 seconds – (YES, 60 seconds!)

Additionally, given the science behind the formula and the 'Wiggle' technique, I was told I'd be well equipped for everyday life without chips or breaks.


The TEMPTATION is reallll #CNDLuxe

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I won’t lie: I was VERY sceptical.

I am hard on my nails in general: I play tag rugby, attend Zumba and lift weights four times a week.

I use a push scooter to get to work (laugh now, but they're unreal) come rain or shine, and life with my four-year-old includes A LOT of painting, parks and hikes.

Week Two

However, this is how I got on with Shellac Luxe.

During the three weeks I had it on, I really put it to the test, and I have to confess – I was surprised.

My first chip came in the second week as I was lifting with a bar and caught my nail.

The rest of my nails maintained beautifully well until the end of the experiment though.

Week Three after scooting into work

The biggest thing I didn’t anticipate was how much I loved looking at my hands when my nails were done – I had forgotten what it felt like to have nice nails.

You can guarantee I was lapping up the nail compliments too.

CND were honest about the removal process which I did on my own, and I was SHOOK.

By the time I had finished wrapping the last nail, the first one was ready.

My nails were perfect, no damage or stress to the nail bed after three weeks of Shellac – I was very pleased.

I even got my nails done AGAIN, and I fear that I may become a nail junkie after this experience – please pray for my bank account. 

If you're interested in trying out Shellac Luxe, you're in luck.

They've added 14 new shades for us to obsess over.

CND gives you beautiful Shellac with no compromises – even for those of us who have demanding lives and commitments.  


Ocean's 8 is not just a great film. Nor is it just a feminist film. It's so, so much more than that.

There's a theory in film called the Bechdel test. Basically, you listen to the amount of conversations a female character has with another on-screen female. By figuring out how many conversations are centred around men, you can figure out whether or not women were involved in the making of the film. 

Basically, fewer decent female conversations = less women being involved in the production.

Ocean's 8, this summer's most hotly anticipated film, takes the Bechdel test and smashes it. The cast itself is enough to get us excited, we talking Sandra Bullock, Cate Blancett, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy  Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway and Awkwafina the film has already smashed the US taking in over $41.5 million (£30.8 million) in its first week. 


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Over the last year feminism and representation has been a hot topic. Thanks to the Time's Up and Me Too movements world-wide, women are standing up and demanding equal and fair representation. Stereotypes are no longer acceptable. The women are here, the spotlight is ours and we refuse to apologise for it. 

That's exactly what Ocean's 8 does. The film starts with Deborah Ocean (Bullock) providing the parole board with a sob story of how she had changed since prison, complete with mention of her dead brother Danny Ocean (George Clooney from the original series) and tears. 

But that's the thing, it's an act. She serves them with the narrative they want to hear. Successful, she then struts out in an evening dress and proceeds to set herself up thanks to a high-end shoplifting spree. She's smart, she's sharp, she's fearless, but most of all she's human. We eventually find out her plan to get revenge the man that framed her and put her in jail, much to her right hand woman's, Lou (Blancette), annoyance. 


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But that's only part of the plan, they're going to steal a $150 million necklace off the neck of film star Daphne Krugler (Hathaway), right in the middle of the met Gala. Could the stakes possibly get any higher? 

In typical heist movie fashion, the leader goes about assembling her crew. First they get the struggling fashion designer (Carter with an inexplicable Irish accent), to get them close to the target – by designing her dress for the gala. Then they need the diamond expert (Kaling), desperate to move out from under her domineering mother, followed by a slouchy pickpocket (Awkwafina), an ice cool hacker (Rihanna) and a bored suburban mother who never quite got out of the game (Paulson). 

While each member of the heist team has a different function, none of them fall under stereotypes so often applied to women in any type of action film. Blachette's character could be the typical leather-clad club fixer, but she has a heart of gold,  Eight ball (Rihanna) has a touching moment with a little sister and Bonham Carter struggles with ageing. Even Hathaway's petulant and spoiled antagonist has surprising depths. 


Regram from @mindykaling: Posse. #Oceans8

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The high point of the plot is definitely the glitzy Met Gala, where big stars like Kate Holmes and the Kardasians make cameo appearances. Just when you think the heist is pulled off, it isn't, keeping you guessing in typical heist style. The dialogue is flows with the trademarked wit of the series as does the sharp cinematography. 

So seriously, ladies, go see it. Bring your friends, your sisters, your mothers, your daughters and any woman on the street that looks like she might need a bit of female empowerment. 

As Debby Ocean says in her pre-game speech: "We're not doing this for ourselves. We're doing this for the 8-year-old out girl there dreaming to herself at night about becoming a criminal."

Okay we're not condoning robbery here, but as girl gangs and positive messages go, this is unarguably one for all ages. 

Ocean's 8 is released on Monday June 18th in cinemas nationwide. 


By Amy Donohoe

The first season of Netflix's original series, 13 Reasons Why was released last year.

The show caused no end of controversy, but with success of season one, it became the most talked about show of 2017, and it was inevitable that a second season would follow.

The show tackles issues like sexual assault, suicide, self-harm, gender discrimination, mental health and substance abuse, was criticised by many last year for the manner in which it dealt with such sensitive topics, but it opened up an avenue for teenagers, parents and educators to openly discuss some serious real-life issues.


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This time we see Hannah’s life filtered through the eyes of other people. Viewers, parents and mental health charities previously called out the show for Hannah Baker's suicide scene and dangerous lack of trigger warnings.

Season two began with a mature content disclaimer which saw the show's lead stars tell the audience the season ahead will tackle “tough, real-world issues,” even going so far as to encourage younger viewers to watch with an adult.

It warns some viewers that it “may not be right” for them if they struggle with any of the issues the series is about. This represents Netflix’s attempt to frame the series in a more responsible manner along with the crisis-resource-driven website 13reasonswhy.info, which is mentioned at the end of each episode.

“We’re committed on this show to telling truthful stories about things that young people go through in as unflinching a way as we can,” creator Brian Yorkey said. “We fully understand that that means some of the scenes in the show will be difficult to watch. I think Netflix has helped provide viewers with lots of resources for understanding that this may not be the show for everybody, and also resources for people who do watch it and are troubled and need help.”


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This season follows the individual struggles of numerous characters, including Clay, who is still pining for Hannah; Jessica, who is trying to feel normal whilst dealing with the after-effects of being raped; Alex, still recovering emotionally and physically from his own suicide attempt; Justin, Jessica’s ex- boyfriend and a former love interest of Hannah’s who’s homeless and a heroin addict; and Olivia Baker, who continues to mourn whilst trying to focus on getting justice for her daughter.

Clay and Justin helped each other in their recovery process. They both needed each other but they didn’t know that. Clay was angry, traumatised and unable to move on. Clay always had a wall up, he didn’t open up but he did to Justin, their bromance offered light to a dark situation.

We see Justin blotting out his pain and covering his feelings by using drugs. The Netflix series never glamorised his drug abuse, they made it look repulsive. Justin should’ve seeked professional help as an addict in the series. But recovery doesn’t follow a straight line.


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Jessica and Alex also leaned heavily on each other. Jessica was uncomfortable in her own skin as a victim of sexual assault and Alex had to deal with the aftermath of his suicide attempt. It’s important to have a strong support system and they displayed that.

Jessica was fearful during the series. She regained power by courageously naming Bryce Walker as her rapist. People in society tend to doubt sexual assault, they may think that the victim is a liar, over exaggerating or a slut.

The victim’s sexual history doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make what happened less violent or less traumatising. Viewers were upset that Bryce only received a three month probation as punishment, and they should be, but this is happening everyday.


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Parental support is crucial to a sexual assault victims recovery. Although, they shouldn’t assume they know exactly what the victim is going through and they have to be patient and let them know they’re there for them.

Language is the key when gaining consent, it’s important you have permission and know for sure that the person you are with is agreeing to it. Teenagers spend 10.3 hours on the internet per day and some of them will hide secrets to keep up their social media image, whether it be that they were raped or feel depressed.

They will feel pressured to keep a positive image of themselves.


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Hannah committed suicide and Alex attempted it, so their school decided to ban the students from talking about it. This is unhealthy and should’ve been talked about in the school by using plain language and by letting everyone know there are resources available; there are safe and trustworthy people to talk to such as trustworthy friends or family members, guidance counsellors or helplines.

Hannah’s death rocked her fictional community. Teenagers might not tell their parents everything. Parents need to say that they’re open to listening.

They need to understand and they shouldn’t get angry. They should be more about listening than talking. They should find out the answers to their child’s problem along with the child. Not all guidance counsellors have all the training to save someone’s life.


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The series has been getting many complaints about a vile male on male sexual assault scene portrayed in the final episode.

"But the fact is that, as intense as that scene is, and as strong as are or reactions to it may be, it doesn’t even come close to the pain experienced by the people who actually go through these things. When we talk about something being “disgusting” or hard to watch, often that means we are attaching shame to the experience. We would rather not be confronted with it,' says Yorkey. 

'We would rather it stay out of our consciousness. This is why these kinds of assaults are under reported. This is why victims have a hard time seeking help. We believe that talking about it is so much better than silence.”


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"There's a statistic that one in six men have been sexually assaulted," explained psychiatric consultant Dr. Hedrick.

"I think it's much harder for male victims because, it's a lot more difficult for boys and men to talk about being the victim because they have the same shame and guilt and fear that women and girls have but it also brings into question their own sense of masculinity and manhood."

Male on male sexual assault is under reported due to the pain and shame of talking about it and season 2 is a conversation opener. Gun violence effects most communities in the US. It has been happening increasingly over the past 25 years. As we see in the season 2, the hurt within a person caused involvement with guns.

It’s not an excuse, we need to look out for people who are hurting and help them express it in ways that are not damaging. We get to understand why someone would do something so unthinkable.

Not portraying this matter doesn't make it go away and not talking about it doesnt mean its not happening in society. It means we’re not talking about it.

It was an uncomfortable season to watch, but it was honest, these things are happening in the world and should not be taboo topics.

Hopefully it helps towards progress.

Season Two of 13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.

If you or a loved one needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential 24/7 support. Call National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House) 1800 247 247 or visit www.pieta.ie. You can text The Samaritans at 087 260 9090 or email: jo@samaritans.ie. there are other supports available at http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/need-help-now/



Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said that he will review the way in which sexual assault cases are handled. 

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Flanagan said that we would consider allowing alleged victims to have their own legal representation. 

Currently, complainants act as witnesses for the State’s prosecution and do not have their own legal team.

'I will commence consultations with women’s groups and the legal profession without delay,' he told The Irish Times.

'I want the Domestic Violence Bill enacted within weeks, and the Criminal Justice Sexual Offences Act and the Victims of Crime Act are being rolled out offering greater protection.'

'I will study what more can be done to protect women and girls.'

He is aiming to review the way such sensitive trial operate. 

The decision comes after days of country-wide protests in solidarity with survivors of rape and sexual assault. 


*Disclaimer: Mild spoilers ahead*

Based on the true life story of Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding, and told in the style of a dark mockumentray, I, Tonya follows the rise and fall of one of America's most talked about athletes.

From her troubled home life and abusive relationship to the infamous attack on ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, viewers are given a no holes barred account of the events that led to the collapse of her professional career.

Brilliantly portrayed by the excellent Margot Robbie, Tonya Harding is anything but your typical skater.

Brash yet likeable in equal measures, her feisty attitude is apparent right from the get go.

Raised primarily by her over-bearing mother, played by Allison Janney, viewers are first introduced to Tonya at the tender age of four when, despite being told she is too young, she signs up for figure skating classes at her local ice rink.

Determined to be at the top of her game, she dedicates her entire childhood to perfecting her technique, before dropping out of high-school to focus on skating full-time.

It's from this point onwards that everything seems to gop down hill for the up-and coming star.

From toxic living situations and an abusive partner to unwanted media attention and socio-economic prejudice, one can't help but feel Tonya was dealt a fairly sh*t hand. 

Sure, she's a little rough around the edges, but her desire to succeed and love for her sport make her this year's ultimate cinematic anti-heroine. 

One of the most impressive things about the film is how director, Craig Gillespie, manages to effortlessly break the fourth wall with the help of fictional interviews dotted throughout the film.

With that, viewers are presented with various perspectives, and thus allowed to choose what version of events to believe. 

The truth is there is not truth – and that's what makes I, Tonya such an exciting watch. 

Tonya Harding and Margot Robbie 

Gripping from start to finish, I, Tonya is without a doubt Margot Robbie's most powerful performance to date. 

Funny, dynamic and above all, thought provoking, each scene is better than the last. 

Our rating – 4 stars! 


There are few things more closely associated with one another than the Fifty Shades series and kinky sexcapades. 

However, if you're looking forward to sitting in the dark among strangers to watch glorified porn for two hours, the third cinematic instalment will leave you disappointed. 

While there were a number of steamy scenes in the film, one question was on my mind after seeing Fifty Shades Freed – where was all the riding? 

As someone who has read the books, which include 10-page long passages highlighting the various aspects of Ana Steel and Christian Grey's sexual encounters in excruciating detail, frankly I was expecting to be titillated by Hollywood endorsed erotica. 

However, the third instalment of the film trilogy was definitely in the romance category, rather than an adult drama. 

While there were a number of sexy scenes, it seems that marriage was the nail in the coffin of Mr and Mrs Grey's exploration of extreme BDSM. 

While the first sex scene did see Ana handcuffed by the wrists and ankles, the following sex scenes were devoid of the various BDSM elements one has come to anticipate from the franchise. 

There was only one single, solitary and playful pat on the bottom from Christian to Ana as opposed to the fully fledged spanking sessions in previous films and literature, and while screen time was dedicated to a drawer full of butt plugs and a blindfolded Ana on a St Andrew's cross, equal if not more time was committed to the pair's missionary exploits. 

So unexciting were the sexual elements of the film that in one scene which featured Dakota Johnson's character creating a trail of Ben & Jerry's ice cream down her husbands torso to create a dairy-laden pathway to mutual oral, I honesty felt offended by the flagrant wasting of ice cream.  

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There's an additional subplot to the film which sees Jamie Dornan's character develop from a classic controlling misogynist to essentially not being an a*shole. 

In the opening dialogue, Ana and Christian can be seen soaking up the sun on a nude beach on their honeymoon.

Understandable, Ana wants to remove her bikini top to tan the tatas, but her now husband forbids it, and even attempts to shame her by pointing out that his bodyguard will see her. When she goes against his wishes, he makes them leave the beach.

Later in the film, we see his attitude change as he begins to 'allow her' to wear the clothes she chooses, which is apparent in his appreciation for a low cut sequinned dress she dons. However, when purchasing the guna, Christian's reaction to it is in the back of her mind, creating this undercurrent of foreboding over his controlling nature. 

However, if you're looking for a romantic film with a thriller edge, Fifty Shades might be right up your alley. 

It's ultimately a romance with a feel-good ending and a healthy amount of deviating plot lines to keep viewers intrigued. 

It's recommended that you watch the previous films first, as a number of plot lines are continued in the third flick which aren't given the back story that would be required for someone just dipping into the franchise with the third film to understand.