Oh Dublin. The longer I live here the more I love you.
The City is undergoing an unusual overhaul in recent years. The castoffs of the Celtic Tiger crash are being upcycled into fresh destinations of affordable luxury.
Hipsters are ruling the roost with their funky homebaking coffee shops, cushions and cosies adorn many a tea house and Ye' Olde Sweet Shops are a dime-a-dozen. TO LET signs are loosing out to COMING SOON notices.
It's safe to say that Dublin is firmly back on its feet. In the last few months there has been a number of exciting new openings, three of which I'll share with you today so you can plan your next trip into town accordingly.
Sugar Cubed hair salon
Westbury Mall, Clarendon St
Brown Sugar is synonymous with luxury hair dressing and general beautification around the Creative
Quarter. Its brand spanking new "sister salon" Sugar Cubed was born out of an idea for trend-driven, urban hair dressing that doesn't break the bank.
Think of it this way. If Lunatic Fringe is MySpace, Sugar Cubed is Pinterest.
It's very New York loft chic inside. Exposed brick, rustic wooden floor, pastel colours and 1950s
chairs. The sinks are in the back, and look not unlike props from a sci-fi movie. There's something very Fifth Element about the room. You can plug in your own headphones and listen to music while getting your hair washed and getting a massage. Multitasking.
Not only that you get a SODA STREAM (hello childhood) while you get pampered. Mine was a pink lemonade. Very lovely indeed.
The stylists are of Brown Sugar pedigree, guaranteeing senior-stylist quality without the hefty price tag. I was lucky enough to win a free hair cut with the salon through a Twitter competition. I didn't go for anything special, just a trim to loose the scraggy ends and some shape in the front. My stylist, Amanda, was wonderful in listening to my rabbiting on and giving great advice.
I loved the finished cut so much - so much I've kept my middle parting since that day instead of sweeping it over to the side like I usually do. It's safe to say I'll be calling back very soon for a sprucing up without a moments hesitation, which is saying something considering I'm a serial salon hopper.
G'wan check out the SugarCubed website, you know you want to. Also keep an eye on the Sugar Cubed Twitter for their special offers, especially discounts on colour during the week!
Inglot Pro Store
South Anne St
A few weeks ago, Inglot graduated from pop-up-esque stalls in the middle of shopping centres to launching their new flagship store. Technically a pro store but catering to us common folk, the South Anne Street shop as well as being ideally located has the entire Inglot range from freedom system to nails and specialist products including some in-store exclusives and a private studio upstairs for makeovers, demonstrations and training.
It was such a relief to have a dedicated space away from the shopping centre throughways. I've always loved Inglot but found it difficult to have a good browse in the previous locations such as Dundrum and Jervis. Though it was crowded at the launch, not helped by sheer numbers and some layout hiccups, it's so much easier to have a good look at the full range without feeling you need to stick close-by for fear you look like you're about to make a run for it.
Of course I had to pick up a new freedom pallet, easily the greatest thing about Inglot. We were also introduced to the new skin-specific toners, exclusive to the Sth Anne Street store and the 3s powders, which are mattifying and longlasting in nearly any situation.
Until now the Inglot flagship store was in Blanchardstown, which as nice a location it is it was always difficult to get to. It's also a relief to have an Inglot counter (although it's world's better than just a counter) on the south side of the city for added temptation.
The best way to stay updated is via the Inglot Ireland Facebook page or just pop in next time you're on Grafton street.
South William St
The most recent launch, not disimilar to Inglot's venture, was the longawaited Benefit boutique. Graduating from beauty halls, Dublin's South William Street and London's Carnaby Street (near Oxford street in Soho) have been the locations for the next phase of Benefit's world domination with brand spanking new boutiques opening in recent weeks.
Fans of Tanya Burr would have been well aware of the London opening, and anyone walking down Sth William Street this summer would have been hard pushed to have missed the pink hoarding that had the Georgian storefront all wrapped up like a little present.
The building itself is beautiful. The original georgian features from the arches to the wooden stairs with cast iron bannisters are all in tact. The makeup counters are there, as are the infamous brow bars but that's not all. You can also get a manicure, your hair washed and styled (I've seen this take place at the same time) as well as a spray tan, leg and intimate waxing. Pretty much anything you need to get ready is here.
It's also the brand's regional offices, playing headquarters to head trend artist Mark Rogers and Irish marketing co-ordinator Sofia Serradas who share the world's most beautiful office, eat your heart out Miranda Priestly. South William Street is also the location of the new Benefit University where the Benebabes of the future will hone their skills.
It's nice, like with Inglot, to be away from the hustle and bustle of the beauty hall, especially when you're getting your brows tinted! I booked in the other day for my own WowBrow and had the lovely Isabela who according to her badges is a brow and intimate waxing specialist. I was delighted with my brows, of course I'm always happy when I got to Benefit, but I was particularly happy this time round. They even offered to tidy up Boyfriend's brows seeing as we were going to a wedding that weekend but he politely declined (he prefers threading after an unfortunate allergic reaction after a waxing incident in college...)
I highly recommend dropping in if you're in the area, or keep an eye on the Benefit Cosmetics Irish Facebook page for the latest news.
Are there any new stores around Dublin you think I should check out?
Any coming soon you're excited about?