Her Mother's Eyes- Beautiful, Large Scarves By Bangor Tattoo Artist Kathryn Kirk, Available for Pre-order Now

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It's with pride I post this particular post today. I met Bangor-based artist Kat Kirk back in 2004. Over the past 12 years I've seen her train & draw, draw, draw with the dedication needed to become adept & confident enough to take her artwork onto skin. 

Kat now has her own place in Addiction Piercing & Tattoo Parlour, Bangor, tattooing both clients' designs and her own original flash. 

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I featured her amazingly cool candles previously, but today I'm sharing with you her newest venture- bringing her artwork to large scale, vivid scarves. 

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Her Big Cartel store has the designs available for pre-order, or you can call into her studio to see the prints in real life. I swung by today & was really impressed by them. The scarves are huge (140cm x 140cm), the fabric is soft & flowing and the photographic prints are clean, clear and gorgeous.

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My favourite scarf is the blue & white. It's a photographic image of dozens of tattoo flash stencils that you use to mark out a tattoo on the skin.

The collection of tattoo stencils

The collection of tattoo stencils

The scarf

The scarf

I look forward to seeing the future designs Kat brings us.

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Palette London Create Your Own Nail Paint Collection

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I spotted this cool set in TK Maxx, and you can  still buy it on their website if you like the idea too.

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You get five base colours, five empty bottles to make your colours, and a dropper to measure your paint. It's a lot messier than I expected, but it's fun. 

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I made a sunset orange shade first. It's quite patchy when I painted it on my nails, so it would take at least two coats. 

What other colours should I make? Let me know on Twitter @rudedoodle

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Back to School with Dr. Martens & What to Wear For the Stylish School Run 2016/2017

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I went to big school in the 90s. Apart from a brief affair with a pair of Kickers (one green sole, one red; what were we thinking?) I wore Dr Martens shoes the entire way through. They were comfortable, lasted more than one year & had the unique feature of being both desirable for us picky teens, and still be allowed uniform for such a fussy school like Sullivan Upper. 

So with school starting back on Tuesday, I took Michael along to the Dr Marten store in Corn Market in Belfast to try their  Back to School shoe styles, and to pick up my own yearly new boots for the school run.

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The store has sizes from tiny baby booties, right up through primary school sized feet to young adult styles for secondary school. There is the classic black leather, but also brown and various leather effects to choose from. There are several styles of girls' 'Mary Jane' strapped shoes also, I wouldn't mind a pair of those myself, I love the bows.

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There are also fun designs for the weekend for kids to choose from. Shiny patent leather that will be long lasting and keep them cosy and dry all winter. They provide a measuring service so you will get the longest wear out of the size you take home.

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I wouldn't have thought of the shop being a place to look for a school bag, but they have just got a collection of gorgeous leather bags in stock that would be perfect for school or university. There are also classic satchels which I adore, I wish I needed a school bag myself! 

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You can even match your bag to your boots. 

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After Michael tried his pairs on, it was my turn. I think a pair of Dr Martens is pretty much vital for the winter, and when the school run is wet & miserable, I always wear my Docs. I go for the almost knee high, zipped boots from the women's department and they've just had the Autumn collection arrive.

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So these are the new women's boots for winter, in two different leather effects. I chose the centre boot, called Viola, in rich brown. I have a similar pair from three years ago in black, and below you can see my pair from two years ago, in red. So I chose the brown to look well with my leopard skin coat. I can wear them with jeggings underneath, or with tights. They look great with either. They take absolutely no wearing in- they are soft and comfortable from day one. You can also see from the photo below that even after two years and constant wear, they don't fall apart. You would have a hard time wearing out a pair of Dr Martens in fact!

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So there you go, a one stop shop for shoes for both your primary and secondary school aged kids, sturdy school bags, and finally something for you to wear on the school run too!

I think I will be making a return visit to buy the light bluey green shoes that caught my eye. 

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I'm in the Ireland Blog Awards' Shortlist. Please Take Two Mins to Vote For Me.

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I received news a few days ago that www.TheWorldofKitsch.com has made the shortlist in the Ireland Blog Awards in the Lifestyle category & for Best Blog Post. 

20% of the points your blog gets comes from online voting, with the other 80% given by peer judges. So everyone is asking their readers to vote for them to increase their chances.

I always feel like I'm being annoying pleading for votes, so I will try not to do it too much.

I already have benefitted so much from you long-term followers voting so enthusiastically back in 2010, which led me to the highly commended prize of Best Lifestyle in the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards.

That accolade opened so many doors for me, and I am always indebted to you guys for taking a few mins & voting for me. So, if you could again, I would be happy as Larry once more!

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So, click here, through to 'vote now', scroll down to the bottom of the page, don't try to load the blog's alphabetically because that will take ages, and I'm listed in the 'Ts'. Type 'kitsch' into the 'Search by Title or Blog #' and both my categories will pop up with voting buttons.

Thank you in advance! And if any bloggers are in other categories, tweet me & we can vote for each other. Follow me on Twitter here, of if you're more a Snapchat kinda person, my username is Rudedoodle on there too.

The IKEA Flat-pack Lunch #MakeMoreThanJustFood

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We just received this wonderfully kitsch IKEA flat-pack, self-assembly lunch! The Kings of DIY furniture have just released their 2017 catalogue, and as with other years, they have a theme that ties the showcase of products together. 

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This time around the theme is 'Make More Than Just Food', a celebration of growing, cooking and sharing food with family and friends. From memories made making buns with your toddler, to relationships blooming at dinner parties with friends.

They sent us the flat-pack lunch, complete with instructions! The food shop part of IKEA Belfast is possible my favourite part of the whole store. There's elk sausage, mild cheese and crispbread to 'self-assemble'.

So watch for the 2017 IKEA catalogue hitting stores and coming through letterboxes very soon.

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Boots SEVENTEEN Skin Wow Concealer- The Five Star Handbag Essential

It still tickles me that I now venture tentatively into makeup reviewing, when five years ago I didn't wear any. 

In comparison I now daily use primer, foundation, an eyeshadow palette, eyeliner, mascara, brow pencil, concealer, highlighter, bronzer, lipstick, finishing powder and makeup setting spray! I still don't have the skills of women my age who have been wearing makeup since their teenage years, but thanks to YouTube tutorials, I'm getting there. 

My handbag touch-up kit is whatever lip colour I'm wearing that day & concealer. I find even if I wear eyeshadow primer, I still get a little dark smudge under my eye as the day goes on. So I carry a brightening concealer so I can 'paint over' those dark patches & freshen up my makeup. 

I had been carrying & using the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer which Sera from The Style Guide Blog  had sent me. It was the lightest shade, but still too dark for her, but it was great for my skin tone.

So when the Boots SEVENTEEN Skin Wow concealer arrived to review, it had to live up to my usual concealer product.

I'm a big fan of the gold

I'm a big fan of the gold

I previously tried out the  highlighter & primer in one from the Skin Wow range and loved it, so I was keen to see how the concealer measured up.

The little gold pen operates by clicking the end to release a small amount of product. It took a good few clicks to start the flow, but I would say once you have it started you would need one click per under eye area.

I liked the little brush, it made application easy, but it wasn't suitable for blending as it just kept adding more product. Blending out with my fingers was fine. 

This is the 'fair' version  

This is the 'fair' version  

The concealer currently comes in fair or medium on the Boots website. I'm not sure if there is a darker shade beyond medium in physical stores. 

There are currently 51 reviews on the Boots site, and it has almost five out of five stars. That's a good indication of how versatile it is on many different skin tones.

Brightening up makeup that was on for 6+ hours

Brightening up makeup that was on for 6+ hours

I'm a fan too. You can see below even with a quick application my under eye looks brighter and the crease less defined. It's not total coverage, but I reckon if you wanted that effect you could layer it on.

With Skin Wow concealer : Without

With Skin Wow concealer : Without

I would definitely recommend the SEVENTEEN Skin Wow concealer, especially to pale ladies like myself who need very fair tones for their base makeup. 

Its also ideal for your contouring or strobing as you can paint it on with exact precision thanks to the snazzy little applicator brush. 

The concealer is currently on offer for £3.99 rather than £4.99, and if you spend £6 on SEVENTEEN products online, you get a free gift.

Watch this space as I will be reviewing the new matte lips from the range very soon. 

Menarys Mega Beauty Event- 20% off Benefit*, Free Clarins Gifts, 25% off Lancôme & 30% off YSL

20% off Benefit with a Bob & Berts' hot drink purchase  

20% off Benefit with a Bob & Berts' hot drink purchase  

Menarys is a complete beauty lover's dream right now. We called down for some coffee & cake in Bob & Bert's & spied a fantastic offer for one of my favourite beauty brands, Benefit.

When you buy a medium hot drink, you will get a voucher for 20% off a Benefit purchase over £20. The voucher lasts until 31st August, and the girls at the counter told me there are new lip kits with lip liner & lipsticks in one hitting stores around the 25th.  

What to buy: any of the new wave of Benefit expert brow products that launched last month. The girls will help you select the right colour & products for splendid brows every time. I have the Goof Proof pencil, and it's my new go-to brow product. 

There are also a selection of Benefit gifts. I love these and have a couple. They have small versions of the post popular products & allow you to try them without having to buy full size, and double up as travel makeup kits. I bought the 'Do the Hoola' kit in Gatwick Airport & highly recommend it. Bangor have it in stock. 

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The next fab offer to share with you is the Menarys' Clarins'  gift event. It begins this Thursday and lasts two weeks. When you buy two Clarins products, one being skincare, you will receive a gorgeous beauty bag (not the one shown, the one on the leaflet) and you can choose four free mini-products to take home.

while stocks last

while stocks last

Choose from One Step Cleansing Water, HydraQuench Cream, Extra-firming Night Cream, Gentle Refiner, Beauty Flash Balm (I love it), Eau Dynamisante, Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch and finally Wonder Perfect Mascara. 

Plus, if you buy an extra skin care product on top of that, there's an extra gift for you worth £22. 

What to buy: Clarins Double Serum. It's won a tonne of awards and even out sold Boots' very popular serum last year.

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Now this is a biggy. The YSL concession in Menarys' beauty hall has 30% off. That's 30% off EVERYTHING. If you are a YSL beauty addict you'd be worth your while popping down and buying your whole year's worth of products and get a third off it all. Stick it on the credit card (just don't blame me later, I'm such an enabler!) 

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What to buy: If you are new to YSL & want to try something, why not go for their super product, Touche Eclat? Hailed as a wonder product when it launched, it's spawned a dozen copycats & an entire range of its own. But it's the original under-eye brightener that still wows, and with 30% off its a great time to try it.

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Finally the Lancôme counter has a similar offer with 25% off EVERYTHING. 

What to buy: the new Grandiose Liner. A clever, new product with a swivel tip for easy eye lining. I reckon even I could do a cat eye flick with this magic wand and at 25% off.

All the Details for Saturday's Grand Opening of NI's First 'The Entertainer' Store- The Toy Shop With a Heart

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Location of The Entertainer- Castlecourt, just at the top of the escalators inside the front door, opposite Debenhams, beside Starbucks

Location of The Entertainer- Castlecourt, just at the top of the escalators inside the front door, opposite Debenhams, beside Starbucks

This Saturday (13th August),  The Entertainer Toy shop add to their 130 strong, UK-wide stores by opening their first NI branch, in Castlecourt in Belfast. The Grand Opening on Saturday morning at 9am, is sure to be an exciting day, with costumed characters in attendance for photographs between 10am and 3pm. Lego's ninja pair Lloyd & Kai will be welcoming kids through the doors, as well as Star Wars favourites Chewbacca & Darth Vader, I'm sure there will be more than one parent wanting a snap with them too!

There will be balloons, demos and a free Lego gift with Lego purchases (while stocks last). If you fancy getting there early, then you might be one of the lucky 35 first in line. They will all receive a surprise voucher each, ranging from £5 right up to one lucky person winning £100

Ok, so who is 'The Entertainer'? Why do I call them the toy shop with a heart? And what makes them different to any other toy shop? 

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The chain is family owned, with the first store opening just outside London in Amersham 35 years ago. One thing very different about the stores is they don't open on Sundays- they want their staff to have that day for family, and they have stuck to their guns on this even when it meant certain shopping centres were less reluctant to let them open there. But it's admirable that they've not budged on what they believe, and with expansion ongoing it proves you don't have to always bend on what you think is right just to please others. 

They also have a very clear social conscience. 10% of ALL their profit goes to charities, specifically children's charities. That totalled just under a million pounds last year, donated by the chain. They are the very first high street store to enable you to 'round up' your payment to a pound, with the difference being given to charity, when you pay by card. You may have come across this when paying on eBay or Dominos before, so if your total is £13.45, the card machine will give you the option to round up to £14 and the 55p goes to charity.  Here in NI that charity will be the NI Hospice, so it's local money for local kids- a big plus.

Also on Saturday morning at 830am there will be a trolley dash for Autism NI (I have always wanted to watch a trolley dash but the thought of doing one myself terrifies me!) 

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What about the store itself? What makes going to The Entertainer better than going to Smyths, or Toys R Us? Well from our sneak peek tour round the shop, it has to be one thing most obviously- price.  

As Rebecca from Head Office showed us round the bright, colourful store I kept stopping at the unbelievable prices of some of the stock. Of course your Lego, Playmobil etc is similarly priced to other stores, but for example there were little boxes of craft games for a couple of pounds or even £1, bigger than Poundland toys and perfect for party bags or stocking fillers. 

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Glitter activity bucket only £4, other games £1

Glitter activity bucket only £4, other games £1

Braiding games £1

Braiding games £1

In fact Rebecca told me The Entertainer specialise in pocket money toys, and trying to keep things under £25. They locate branches in towns and cities, rather than the trend of out of town shopping, and like to see the store as a treat to take your kids to when you've dragged them round shopping where you wanted to! Smix will certainly be more keen next time I want to visit Debenhams anyway.

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Kids will love The Entertainer more than other toy shops as they like to have lots of the toys out of their packaging so you can test them out, or have a play. Anyone of a certain age will remember the pleading at our parents to please take us to the Early Learning Centre, to get in the one Cosy Coupe, little red & yellow car they would have out on display. That would be the highlight of the shopping trip, wheeling yourself around ELC with your little feet flying. Well The Entertainer is going to be like that- but for our kids!

Wubble Bubble demo- it's now on Smix' birthday list (p.s. It's £2 cheaper in The Entertainer than on Amazon) 

Wubble Bubble demo- it's now on Smix' birthday list (p.s. It's £2 cheaper in The Entertainer than on Amazon) 

They cater from newborns up

They cater from newborns up

They also pride themselves on trying to be very quick to pick up the latest trends. They tend to be first to the market with crazes like Loom Bands, Moshi Monsters & more currently Shopkins, Pom Pom Wow and Bunchems. 

There has been a big trend of making Pie Face videos for YouTube, the game where a spring loaded hand with whipped cream on it is passed around in a messy version of Russian roulette. Rebecca told me the game has actually been out for 11 years, but thanks to YouTube it's outselling brand new to market games. The Entertainer have the real thing, but also some similar alternatives, like 'Splat!' for half the price at just £10. You can even buy the cream in store- I found that really amusing for some reason! I think I'll be getting one of these for Christmas 2016 in the Spence household.

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You can see from my photographs there's a very clear pink & blue divide to the in store decoration. I subscribe to the notion that toys are toys and for all, so I had planned on asking them why they have a 'girls' section' and a 'boy's section'- then I noticed that absolutely NOWHERE does it say 'girls' toys' or 'boys' toys'- so it was actually my own brain jumping to conclusions, when in reality there is no gender labelling in store, and boys can shop in pink if they want and vice versa, without being labelled the opposite. 

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£10 Ever After dolls

£10 Ever After dolls

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The store itself is designed to be easily navigated by pram, with slightly lower than usual stands so you can keep an eye on your child if they are excitedly running around. Another plus for busy mums and dads, is their 30 min click and collect service. Go on The Entertainer Toy Shop website, find the item you want to buy. Check it's in stock and reserve the item to pick up in store. 

This is a godsend at Christmas time and saves traipsing round half a dozen stores trying to locate that one most-wanted item on Santa's list. Reserve it, pick it up- easy

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Now this touch I absolutely adore. The till points in The Entertainer have little wooden steps so your child can climb up and pay for their own item should they wish to do so. How cool is that? 

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Finally I couldn't finish this blog without a word from Smix. What did he make of the new toy store chain? 

He liked how bright the store was, and that he could play with the Wubble Bubble. He said the labelling of the departments was good because he could easily read which section was which, and where to go to find certain toys. He noticed if you were in one section and didn't like anything, there was always something in another section you did like. He loved the choice from the pocket money stands, but he would like to see more Playmobil in store.

Sadly we can't make the grand opening by the mayor of Belfast on Saturday morning, but do tweet me if you go and let me see what's going on (@rudedoodle) With the Belfast store creating even more local jobs hiring for Christmas this Autumn, and plans to expand throughout NI, let's give The Entertainer a warm welcome this weekend.

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