Apologies For The Delay

October 21, 2012

Nope I haven't forgotten about you all.
My mother passed away this month and I'm still settling into my new home so everything, including blogging,  took a back seat for a while.
I hope to be up and running again shortly and thank you for your continued patience.
- BE

On the move again

August 15, 2012

Hi everyone.
I'm in the process of moving house so things are a little in the air. I hope no-one minds too much.
But I thought I'd keep everyone updated and at the very latest I'll have some new bloggings going up the very start of September (in time for my birthday too!). So what would everyone like as a special birthday present from me?

- BE

Barbershop Interview: Bertus of "Schorem, Haarsnijder en Barbier" in Rotterdam

August 7, 2012

Roll up, roll up! Introducing the newest addition to Barber Eile's Blog: It's the Interview Section! 
I decided that, rather than going on about my influences and other barbers I whom find inspirational, I would get them on here to answer a few questions so you could all get to know and love them too. 
So, without further ado, I'm delighted to introduce the first gentleman in what I hope to be a regular line of some of the world's greats barbers, the exceptionally talented...
Bertus of Schorem, Haarsnijder en Barbier in Rotterdam!
BE: Hello and Welcome to Barber Eile's Blog! Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions. 

So to begin, please introduce yourself to my readers!
Bertus: My name's Bertus and I am one of the two owners of Schorem, Haarsnijder en Barbier. Schorem is dutch streetlanguage for "scumbags" but it also translates as "I shaved",while Haarsnijder en Barbier means "haircutter and barber" in old dutch. I've started the shop about a year and a half ago with my best friend Leen in the heart of working man's town of Rotterdam. We have been cutting hair for 22 years, and have known each other for about 19 of those years, so I guess you can say we have 45 years of experience.

BE: How many staff are in your barbershop?
Bertus: We started with the two of us but right now we have five guys working for us: Nelis, Lau, Mannes, Coos and Janus. Three barbers and two apprentices.

BE: Schorem Barbershop has a fantastic reputation. What do you feel you bring to the craft of barbering and to each client you serve?
Bertus: We really believe in perfecting each haircut on each patron. The most important difference between hairdressing and barbering for us is that hairdressing is mostly about being creative, an art, while barbering is a craft, trying to perfect the cut you do over and over again. It may sound boring to some but we see it as a challenge with every patron that comes into the shop. I really think our patrons feel the love and passion we and our staff have for the craft.

BE: You can definitely see this perfect in the photos of some of your haircuts. I post a lot about shaving on my blog - could you please tell me a bit about what a client should expect in a hot towel shave at a barbershop? What process do you use?
Bertus: Okay, we offer both shaves with an "original" straight razor, but is has to belong to the client (he can store it in one of the drawers of our mirrorcase, which it was originally meant for, it was made for a barbershop in 1890 and it's still in perfect shape) Or the "normal" hot towel shave which we do with the replaceable blades (or shavettes as some will call them) -we use feather blades for all normal shaves. We use both hot and cold towels, the hot ones being prepared in hot water with a few drops of lavender to make the patron relax and the cold ones with a few drops of mint to waken them up again (we try to make the whole treatment one to remember). We usually start with a hot towel, than massage some pre-shave into the beard, we will go over that with hot lather, applied by with badger brush, badger in the right hand, left one on the back to keep dry. Another hot towel, apply more hot lather, talc the hands and start the shave, after the first shave (14 steps), we relather the face with the badger (we have a latherizer as well, that's easy to use for the last bits) and go over a second time SLIGHTLY against the grain. we really don't go for the BBS but try to come as close as possible without causing any trauma to the skin. another hot towel and final check before applying an after shave balm that we massage into the skin with different hand motions. Then we put on the cold towel, closing the pours and make the beard retreat into the skin, and of course cleaning the face, apply a little after shave and then finish with talcum powder. After the shave every patron gets a quick shoulder and neck treatment with the massager (Oster) and a splash of aftershave in the neck (we keep the tonics and aftershaves in the freezer for that extra tingling feel.

BE: That sounds wonderful! So -if someone told you you had 2 minutes to grab some of your tools as you were going to a desert island to work as a barber, what would you take first and why? 
Bertus: Well, I wouldn't be very busy on a deserted island I guess! -  but I get the point. On one hand I would take some of my straight razors and a strop because of the emotional value, but if I had to choose to take my favorite working tools, my first choice would be my Wahl Super Taper and comb, with that I'd be able to do every haircut, second place probably my feather artist razor, so I'd be able to shave and clean the outlines.

BE: - I see that your barbershop takes on apprentices. How do you recruit these people? Do they come to you or do you find them?
Bertus: Both, we feel we're making a change in the Netherlands at the moment, you have to understand that in Holland, there's no "barberschool" anymore, I was one of the last students that were able to choose between being a "gents" hairdresser, a "dames" hairdresser or "unisex" hairdresser. Now, there's only unisex or all-round left in the shools, which means you have to learn both, including doing colors and perms. You see, barbering is a dying craft here, there are actually only a few left. For us, this is the biggest problem in the shop, to find guys that'll fit in, and more important, guys that understand that being a barber has got nothing to do with being a stylist. The first apprentice we took was an old skateboarding friend of mine who was working as a garbageman. He just loved hanging around the shop so we offered him a spot, and now, a year and a half of training really hard later, he's working as a full-time barber. Because of all the photos we post on the internet, we think we're making it look more attractive to become a barber, and now we get a lot of guys asking for apprenticeships.

BE: What level of training do you expect them to have before starting out their apprenticeships? And must they pay to learn – like a barber college?
Bertus: Well, we expect no level of training at all, we do expect passion and love for the craft, and we expect hard work. Everyone (well, every guy that is) can come work for us when we have the space, we really don't care about age or former profession, being tattoeed, whether you did time in jail, we really don't give a F#@k. The only thing that matters is that you really, really want to learn how to cut and shave gentlemens' style. They don't have to pay for their education, we do ask them to work in the shop for two days in exchange for their training as a barber, but we see those two days as training as well, so as a part of their education.

BE: How long does the training last, and, in brief, what will each barber have learnt once they are done training?
Bertus: It really depends on the student, but it's save to say that they'll be ready to work full time after between one and two years. They will still have to train once a week though, to clean up the rough edges. We think the real training begins at the moment you start working in the shop on your own, then you will encounter the hard stuff without one of the two of us to help you out. A barber at Schorem has to be able to do a perfect hot towel shave and a perfect cut (this includes all haircuts).

BE: - What do you feel is the “Golden Rule” for every barber to know by heart and to live each day?
Bertyus: The only difference between a master and a student is a master has mastered the art of always being a student.

BE: Brilliant and wise words to remember for sure! What is the regulation for barbering like in Rotterdam? Here in Ireland anyone with a scissors can open a shop and no training required so it leads to a lot of unprofessional and unhygenic barbers here. Is it the same in your city?
Bertus: Yep, it's exactly the same here, and you see shops popping up everywhere now. Well, we love seeing that guys really seem to enjoy coming to our barbershop, because before they had to go to the unisex shop, where they had to sit next to the old lady with the foiles in her hair, getting a haircut from a 16 year old girl advising him a Justin Bieber bowl cut because it would go really good with his eyes... Hahaha. I think Schorem is a bit of a safe haven for guys that just want to get a proper cut in a nice enviroment. We've been in the business for so long now, people just know that when they come to us they'll be treated the way it's supposed to. We think that allthough everybody can open a shop, it's only the good ones that'll survive. It's a good thing that barbering is seeing a revival in the Netherlands though and we hope in the future we can educate more and more youngsters to become proper barbers, showing them that it can be a craft for life. A barber will never be rich, but will always have money in his pocket.

BE: How do you feel about female barbers in the industry?
Bertus:  I really don't think that's there's a big difference between male or female barbers when it comes to do a proper haircut or shave, I do think we as man have a bit of an advantage because we have the experience of shaving ourselves, so we know what it feels like, and what it shouls feel like, but again, that's only a slight advantage and I think anybody can learn the craft because it's more a technical than a creative proces. We were lucky to meet some very, very professional female barbers, Linda at the Waldorf as best example, and we have a big photo in our shop to remind us of a great week in Dublin at her barbershop. Schorem is a man-only barbershop though, no women are allowed in our shop, not even my wife, mother and daughter (and believe me, I had a whole lot of explaining to do). This is as we see it an answer to all the unisex shops we have here in Holland, again, everybody can open a shop here, and we wanted to create a place where men could feel home amongst their peers. Men usually don't like sitting around a bunch of women all covered in foils to get their highlights done, that's why we wanted a woman free-zone in Rotterdam. So we can read a playboy, drink beers smoke cigars and make all the dirty jokes and comments we want, and trust me, it works, they don't have to worry about losing their cool, because they're all there for the same reason. 
We love women, but we love the few hours amongst the guys just as much.

BE: Thanks again for your time, it's been great to get a virtual look inside the workings of your shop!
Is there any final message you would like to add, perhaps to anyone thinking of becoming a barber, or just looking for a great haircut?
Bertus: we love what we do and we love it everyday. The good thing about barbering is that you have the choice in what you want to accomplish, work in your own one chair shop for sixty years or teach the youngsters the tricks. It's a craft with so much history and there's so much to learn. We love to know as much as possible about "traditional' barbering, but think it's really important to learn all techniques to perfect a cut or shave. Some barbers say you're not a "real" barber when you use your fingers instead of scissors over comb or when you use a dryer, some say this, some say that... We really don't give a f@#k about that, we work our asses off to try to give all patrons a good time and a great cut or shave. Have fun and be proud to be a barber. The best job in the world.

So there you have it. Honest words from a fantastic barber. I'd love to hear feedback on this and any suggestions on who you would like me to interview in this section, or questions you would like me to ask. Either leave a comment here or send an e-mail to the address at the side.
And if you want to see more of the style being created at Schorem visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Schorem and their website: http://www.schorembarbier.nl/

- BE

Barber Eile meets Barbereile!

July 19, 2012

Long ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a girl looking for a catchy blog name... something about barbering... something witty... when inspiration struck! And the blog you are looking at was born!
However, like any good, mildly curiously narcissistic person... she later on went to Google herself only to find out that halfway across the country another person (presumably of similar world-shattering genius and creativity) had also stumbled upon the same name at some point. Yup, down in Tralee there is a barbershop with the same name as myself! (For those of you who don't get the pun in my name have a look at my "About Me" section ).
Now I had long ago forgotten where my barbershop doppleganger was located, but whilst holidaying in Kerry this week my boyfriend surprised me by driving by it and asking me if I wanted to have a look in! Of course I did! There was just one friendly lady inside working away but I asked her if she would mind if I took a few photos of my blog so I could show you all. She said no problem provided she wasn't in them (and the customer in her chair joked that I should make sure I didn't get him as he was meant to be somewhere else at work at the time!). So here you have it, a little peak into the other Barbereile here!
The shop front. Nothing too fancy, nice and local.

The interior. Look at that gorgeous stone wall with the fireplace - And those fantastic huge wooden mirrors!
And I just had to take a shot of this cheeky chappy! He's such a wonderful touch, a friendly dog by the fireplace welcoming in the customers.

So there you have it. I'd suggest for anyone in Tralee to pop in - tell them Barber Eile sent you!

- BE


Dermatitis - a serious concern for barbers

July 11, 2012

I'm going to get a bit scientific on you all for a minute but I feel this is worth writing about as studies show that roughly 70% of people working in the hair care sectors are effected by a skin condition as a result of their job. (I'll skip adding all my references and what not - I'm sure you're not grading me! But this is something I have thoroughly researched and written reports about whilst training so the information is solid).

Dermatitis is the most common skin complaint of barbers and it can be broken down into two types:
1 -Irritant contact dermatitis which occurs from working with chemicals and continually having wet hands. If your hands are frequently wet or if you are working on the basins all day doing washing (as many apprentices are) you are at higher risk of this. This form of dermatitis often occurs gradually and can be cured but may flare up again if not given sufficient time to heal.
2 - Allergic contact dermatitis which can occur as an allergic reaction of a product or substance often, but not exclusively, found in cleaning products and hair colouring products. Once you develop this you will have it for life. It can take days or weeks to settle resulting in large amounts of time out of work and re-exposure to the product will trigger it again.

Symptoms of dermatitis include: Dryness, Redness, Itching, Flaking/Scaling, Cracking/Blistering and Pain.

The best way to tackle this problem is through proper safety measures and practises in the barbershop. Below is a list of all best practises but even if you only take on a few, they could make a big difference:

  • Dry hands thoroughly as soon as possible after any contact with water. Be sure to dry in between fingers and wrists. This is my top, 'must-do' for any barber!
  • Use a barrier cream/good moisturising cream daily, (I love the one I reviewed here: Alsatian Soaps' Hand Lotion ) as often as you can after washing your hands, and again at home before bed. Be sure to include in between your fingers and your nails and fingertips.
  • Wear disposable non-latex gloves when doing wet work of any kind (shaving, shampooing, colouring) esp. when working with chemicals, and change them after each client. Be sure to remove gloves correctly so as to minimise contact with products (image from HSE leaflet): 
  • Check skin regularly for symptoms. It is suggested that salons have a monthly scheduled check for this.
  • Remove rings when shampooing as this can lead to a nickel allergy.
  • Make sure you are not sweating in gloves regularly as this can also be a cause/trigger. 
I hope you all find this useful and I'm sure it's just a refresher for some but I felt it needed a mention. I have some other topics like this to cover in the future and also a whole new exciting section coming up too! Keep your eyes peeled!

- BE

Room 104 (aka: how to make a great barbershop promo)

June 28, 2012

I've highlighted some barbershop videos on here before ( Inspiration Part 5 ) but I saw this promo from Room 104 posted on Facebook today and I just wanted to share it with you all.
I think it's fantastic. It conveys a strong brand identity, class, style, it's nicely shot and edited, and the atmosphere is kept light and real because of the 'out-take' style shots included (where the models 'break character' etc.).

Room 104 from Jeremy Toth on Vimeo.
Now maybe you don't like this style of barbershop, or the model's 'look' isn't your thing, but you can't deny that this video has great presence to it.
I love how they have those moving-stills shots like something out of an American Crew poster. 
And the little details - the stitching in the clothing, the book on cigars under the bottle of whiskey, the motorbike, and my favourite... a moment so 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' that its barely noticeable, but if you look at the model's hands at 47seconds in you'll see a patch of dried skin peeled off the thumb-tip. For me that's brilliant. These hands not afraid of hard-work. These hands lift and push and carry and work. The model is somewhat stereotypical "handsome, not-young/not-old, just enough grey to look classy, gentleman" but these hands have seen life. I love it. Probably not intentional but that's even better. 
Videos like this just get my mind racing, planning the day when I'll have my own place and all the little details to go with it... someday...

The Smallest Thing

June 25, 2012

Potentially moving barbershop... 
(*edit* update - nope! Still, I'm keeping this blog entry here for memory's sake)
With the highs come the lows, and this change meant saying goodbye to two workmates of mine who have been simply amazing to me over the last year. These people affectionately called me their "Irish daughter", and I laughed, sang and even invented a Bulgarian-Irish Hybrid Dance with them! We met up last week for a coffee and promised to keep in touch but what had me almost in tears was something so small and so touching that I can't truly express how much it meant to me without seeming silly:
About a two months before I finished up in my old job my colleague 'N' dropped one of the cups there and it broke. He then came in with two new mugs the next day and told me to pick one so we could have one each. I picked this one (the other has Bart Simpson on it). I'd never had 'my' mug at a workplace before so having a tea or hot chocolate in this cheered me up in work each day. When I left this job it was quite sudden, and I never though about the mug, but when we met for coffee 'N' said "Oh I have something for you" and pulled this out of his bag. I was so moved, and thrilled I get to keep my mug and have a constant reminder of great days working with these two people. 
I keep the mug at home now instead of moving it to my new job. The new barbershop will create memories of its own, and a cup of something warm in my Mickey Mouse mug will put a smile on my face of an evening when I'm tired and need to relax. 
Sometimes it's the smallest things that we treasure.
- BE

Product Review: Alsatian Soaps "Knitters Hands" and "Harry & Louise" Lotion Bar

June 17, 2012

This product has put this song in my head for the past two weeks so in order to get the full multi-sensory experience of this blog entry please click play before reading on!:

I first discovered these wonderful hand lotion bars from Alsatian Soaps when I was out at a party with my good friend Aoibhe Ní (for anyone into crotchet and crafts please check out her blog here: http://www.aoibheni.com/blog.htm). Now Aoibhe is somewhat of a mini-celebrity in the world of crochet, being published multiple times, flow to London to teach etc. so when she opened her handbag that night and took out her "project bag" I gave a peak over to see her pulling out a tube of something to rub on her hands. Barbers and crocheters share a similar problem of having dry hands, and trying to keep them properly moisturized can be a pain. I have worked through countless hand creams trying to find "the one" so, not recognising this one at all, I asked her what it was. Aoibhe raved about this product and kindly gave me a tube to try. So, after going through the whole tube and pretty much exclusively using it for over 6 weeks, several times each day... well, as the song says: 
"Is this love, that I'm feeling? It this the lotion that I've been searching for?"
(yeah sing along in your head, or out loud, you know you want to!)

So a bit about the company. I contacted Kathy at Alsatian Soaps to tell her I would like to write a review of her lotion bar having used up the one Aoibhe gave me and was eager to try the other scents. She's a lovely, very helpful woman and, when I asked is she could send me out sample discs of the scents to review, and so I could plan my next order, she kindly send me out this haul!
It contained 5 Knitters Hands lotion bars in tubes (one of each scent available) and two of her Harry & Louise lotion bars in re-usable tins. I should noted that my love of the product had already been formed before receiving these and, as always, I keep my reviews unbiased and as my personal opinion.
It was the Knitters Hands tube that won my heart originally and I find it so handy to be able to pop it into my bag and just bring it everywhere with me, I can put it on my hands without having to handle the bar itself so I can close it back up again before rubbing it into my skin. However, as Kathy pointed out (being an environmentally conciousness lady that she is) most people will bin the tube once the product has run out. This is why she developed the Harry & Louise range. They are the same product in gorgeously shaped pucks (you can see the celtic heart one I have in the photo above) and they are packaged in reusable tins which you can buy refills for.
But stop the press! I'm a traditional wet shaver, and what's the one thing I see being asked about time and time again in shaving forums? It's how to store your shaving soap sticks! Well once you are finished the Knitters Hands tube it is the PERFECT size to mill or shape a shaving stick into (44ml/1.5 oz) and voila! No more popping the stick into an old pill bottle or something. You can easily clean these out and they come with a lid and everything so they are perfect for your travel shave bag too! 

So back onto the review. Regardless of if you buy the puck or the tube, the results are just fantastic. Rub a little on your hands and the heat of your skin will do the trick to melt this and just rub it into your skin. At first it feels a bit oily and greasy but this doesn't stay at all, it rubs in well and actually leaves your hands feeling protected and like they have a good barrier on then with no residue (the last thing I want it to grease up my clippers or scissors). My hands are softer and better protected than they have been in a long time and I finally found a bar that's not too creamy/thick/oily/etc. It has great hydration power without having to be caked on. A little will go a long way. With fantastic natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, cocoa seed butter and natural oils this product is just perfection.
They come in a variety of fragrances, including fragrance free, and can be bought for $9 a tube, or $10 a puck in a tin (with $7 refills) from http://www.alsatiansoaps.com/index.html
Here is a short review of all of the scents I was sent, however more are available on the website, including the intriguing peppermint and eucalyptus mint!
Aloe: This is my favourite. It's a fresh, juicy, plant-like smell. Would suit either gender well.
Apricot: Perhaps it was just the one I got but this was the least fragranced out of the lot in my opinion. Just a hint of apricot. A subtle scent of fresh fruit. 
Apricot Freesia: This reminds me of those candy peach rings you can buy. However it's not sickly sweet, it's more peach-like then apricot to my nose.
Sandalwood Vanilla: Sandalwood take dominance in this scent with just the lightest addition of vanilla to prevent it from being too heavy as an overall frangrance.
Tahitian Vanilla: A nice warm vanilla with a sweetness to it. Like vanilla mixed with milky candy and just a hint of a floral undertone. 
Verbena: Lovely, light and musky. Nothing too heavy, with a warm, fresh, slightly spicey scent. This scent works very well with body heat and really comes to life when applied.

Now it's time to get back to my air-guitar!
- BE


Barber Eile Goes On IrelandAM!

June 11, 2012

I'm yawning as I write this as I was up at 5am this morning (there's a 5am? - Who knew?!) for my early morning TV appearance on IrelandAM. I have to say I felt very nervous and embarrassed but thanks to the magic of TV (and the TV3 make-up artist who not only made me look bright eyed and bushy tail, but also helped hide my blushing) I think I actually come across quite well.
So without further ado here's my tv début and 5 minutes of fame!
Sorry the quality is a bit grainy. I'll fix that if I can. 
Now you may notice that the lovely presented Anna mentioned my "top five tips", I was asked for these prior to the day and was told that they would be shown on screen during the interview but I'm guessing they never got around to that so for anyone curious, before I log off and snuggle into my bed, I'll leave you with my concise "Five Top Tips For Getting The Perfect Shave At Home":

1. Map - Map the direction of your hair growth. 
Facial mapping templates are available here: Facial Hair Mapping
2. Prep – prepare the skin and hair before shaving with preshave oil and a hot towel or steam.
3. Lather – create a good, cushioning lather with a quality shaving soap and brush. The brush will lift the hair and exfoliate the skin.
4. Tension – Keep the skin taut but don't over-stretch as this can lead to razor bumps. Using a single blade traditional razor, as opposed to a multiblade cartridge razor, also helps.
5. Aftercare – use an alcohol-free moisturising balm afterwards and/or witch hazel to tone the skin.

- BE


    As Seen On Tv! (Tomorrow)

    June 10, 2012

    Yes, Finally! Tomorrow morning at 9am I am going to legitimately going to be able to use the phrase:
    I will be on IrelandAM morning television show, on TV3 channel, at 9am and again at 9.20am for a 5minute interview. I'll also be doing a make-over, and giving shaving tips (trying to promote traditional techniques of course!). I will try my best to record it somehow to upload on here so my readers from across the waters can view it also. Also, if you can't catch it when it's broadcast then you can watch it online here: http://www.tv3.ie/ireland_am.php after it's aired. Anyway I must dash as I have to be up around 5am and I still have lots of things to get together - I hope I don't yawn through the whole interview!
    - BE

    Irish Shaving Soaps Review 5/5: SunRose Garden

    May 26, 2012

    A little bit about SunRose Garden:
    The beautifully named SunRose Garden was set up by Natasha & Martin in County Wexford. Their background is in complimentary healing therapies and they are dedicated to using natural, active ingredients in their handmade products, and use as many locally sources components as possible. Their website offers a idea range of products including a face care range and gift packs. Their online shop ships worldwide and accepts all major credit cards.
    With a lovely warm colour to both the bar and packaging, this is the only product in this review series that uses "open" packaging (ie. the product is not fully wrapped). While this is more environmentally friendly, as it minimises packaging waste, it also means that some people like myself will want to wrap it in something else for storage in between uses so that it doesn't dry out too much. On the website the "Clean Shave" bar is shown as being a round puck made in a floral mould. I'm unsure as to the reason behind this difference in presentation to what I received, however the bar is slightly soft and very malleable and so will easily fit in a shaving mug regardless of the shape. It is a good 100grams and the open-wrap presentation adds to that handmade feel in my opinion. This is not a slice cut off a larger block, this is an individual hand-crafted single bar which is a nice touch and feels more personal.

    Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, rapeseed oil, avocado oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, neem oil, green clay, spring water, glycerine, essentail oils of bergamot, sandalwood, juniper and lavender.
    I like the addition of the neem oil in this product as is is known for its antiseptic properties and thus is very good for the skin in small amount like this.

    When I looked at the list of essential oils used in the soap I though "that's an unusual combination" and I was right... the result is a wonderfully unusual scent. It's the type of scent that I keep on going back to and having another sniff of trying to pick out notes and work out the breakdown of the blend. It is light but the hints of sandalwood at a touch of a musk. It is fresh but neither distinctly floral nor fruity. It is lovely, addictive and my favourite out of all of those reviewed. It doesn't increase too much upon lathering nor does it linger on the skin but I am sitting here with it in my shaving mug beside me and I just can't get enough!

    Lather & Shave:
    You can not use too little water with this product. Martin, the maker, suggests rubbing it directly onto the skin and he's right. It will not create a usable lather in a bowl and it is very difficult to load onto your brush. The lather is thin and bubbly (more like a bath soap) but despite that it gives quite a good, moisturizing shave. There is no cushion to it so thick haired, sensitive skin types may not find it softening enough, however it has a nice glide and my skin is lovely and soft afterwards. A bit more work to use compared to a lot of soaps though.

    €4.00 per puck from http://www.sunrosegarden.com/products/Clean-Shave.html

    It gets the highest marks for its scent and consistency (nice, soft and easy to mold into your container) yet is lacking in cushion and lather durability. It's the type of soap that can hook you with its scent and that you'll put the extra effort into to get a shave out of it for that reason alone.

    - BE

    This is the last entry into this set of reviews - I hope you enjoyed them all and let me know if I missed any!


    Irish Shaving Soaps Review 4/5: The Handmade Soap Company

    A little bit about The Handmade Soap Company:
    Having previously talked about this company at length I'll keep this slightly shorter, but please do look at my entry about them here: Handmade Soap Company Blog Post
    Having been inspired by the cottage industries they saw in Australia, Donagh Quigley and Gemma McGowan set up the Handmade Soap Company in 2009. They use only natural ingredients and have won many awards for their company over the last couple of years. Their online shop ships globally and accepts PayPal.
    Wrapped in lovely little boxes with beautiful, simplistic detail and design this packaging is my favourite out of the soaps reviewed here. They are also the only company to offer a 'his' and 'hers' version of their shaving soaps which is great for couples' gift options. I love the cut out details on the lids giving a sneaky peak into the contents and the bars themselves are a generous 110grams each.
    The 'hers' is a lemon coloured bar while the 'his' is a more grey/light brown shade.

    Now this is where these guys really get brownie points. Yes, they use all natural ingredients but also, by providing a 'his' and 'hers' version they are also providing a vegan-friendly version in the 'hers' soap to offer an alternative to the tallow based 'his'! The 'hers' also is fairly unisex in scent so it gives an extra option to the gents out there!
    Hers Ingredients: Coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, olive oil, aloe vera, water, sodium hydroxide, essential oils of lavender, juniper, lemongrass and howood.
    His Ingredients: Castor oil, beef tallow, cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, glycerin, stearic acid, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, aqua, essential oils of lime, basil and sweet orange 10001. 
    Now here's the confusing part: despite what the ingredients label on the 'his' version says, the box itself says "essential oils of vetiver, wintergreen, juniper and sweet orange" and I have to say, given the overpowering scent of vetiver off the bar, I'm inclined to agree with the box, not the label.

    As I mentioned above, the 'hers' scent is unisex but personally I find the 'his' to be a strongly male scent in terms of appeal. 
    The 'hers' is lovely and sweet, very juicy and becomes more enhanced while lathering and leaves just a whisper of a scent of the skin. The lemongrass keeps the scent fresh and fruity but is tempered from being sickly by the other notes.
    The 'his' scent is unmistakably vetiver. Now unfortunately this is a scent that I really can't stomach too well. It's heavy and woodsy and very much a selected taste (though those who love it think it's amazing!). Like the 'hers' this scent also increases upon lathering and stays a little on the skin afterwards.

    Lather & Shave:
    Both soaps require just a tiny amount of water to get a usable lather. They are easily turned into an unusable  bubbly soap lather with too much water so just wet your brush, gently squeeze and add a drop or two extra as is needed. Again these don't bowl-lather well as it will disappear quickly but if you lather bit-by-bit on your skin you can get a decent shave out of them.
    His: This lather is just slightly above a body soap lather. It's thin and bubbly and unfortunately a little sticky in terms of residue. My razor needed a thorough clean after using this. The shave is fine and there was no skipping but also no cushion or thickness to the lather. 
    Hers: This one is a real surprise. Again the lather is thin and must be done bit-by-bit but the shave is very nice and probably left my skin the smoothest and most moisturised out of all the products reviewed. Add to that the inviting scent and you get a product that, while it doesn't look great, performs well. 
    Neither lathers will help soften thick beards and the cushion isn't there to support heavy growth either in my opinion. 

    €4.50 for the "Hers" puck and €6.95 for the "His" puck from http://www.thehandmadesoapcompany.ie/catalog/index.php?cPath=2

    The "her" provides a wonderful scent, as well as the being surprisingly moisturisating despite it's lack of tallow. The 'his' was disappointing I'm afraid, however I have been told that the formulation has recently changed and it is in constant development to improve it's performance.

    - BE

    Click Here For Part Five: SunRose Garden

    Irish Shaving Soaps Review 3/5: Dr. K. Soap Company

    May 25, 2012

    A little bit about Dr. K. Soap Company:
    Set up in Cork by "Dr. K" this company strives to use only pure, natural ingredients. They contain no animal products nor are they tested on animals. As well as making shaving soaps, Dr. K. makes many other products such as lip balm and body butter and the website also carries a variety of accessories. Their online store accepts PayPal and ships worldwide.
    Wrapped in paper with a sticker on top I'm instantly reminded of cupcakes when I see these 70 gram pucks! The label is pretty and informative and the soap is in the shape of a cupcake bottom (ie. the lower half of a muffin). They are the perfect size to pop into any shaving mug. I recieved one lime scented one and one peppermint scented one.

    These are SLS free. The ingredients below are for the peppermint version. The lime version is very similar and can be seen in the picture.
    Sodium/Potassium shea butterate, sodium/potassium castorate, sodium/potassium palmate, sodium/potassium stearate, sodium/potassium cocoa butterate, sodium/potassium cocoate, vegetable glycerin, bentonite clay, sucrose, peppermint Oil (or lime peel oil as in the picture above), limonene, linalool.

    I adore the scent of lime so for the purposes of testing the product that is the soap I opened and used. That being said I can smell the peppermint one clearly through the wrapper and is smells minty (d'uh), fresh and slightly sweet. 
    The lime scent is was initially strong when taken out of the wrapper but has become more subtle since first being opened. It is pleasant, natural, light and fresh. It doesn't have that lovely explosion of juiciness when lathering that I like, nor does it leave much of a scent on the skin unfortunately. However on the plus side this means that the levels of essential oil in it is probably not too high which would mean that it is unlikely to cause a reaction on sensitive skin.

    Lather & Shave:
    In a nutshell this is the best Irish shaving soap I tested. It forms a lather closest to what I would describe as a "proper" shaving soap lather. With that being said it is by no means perfect, but it is thick and has a moderate level of cushion and protection to it and leaves my skin beautifully moisturised. It lathers best on the skin rather than in the bowl as it doesn't load very well. It will load a little and this small amount will provide a small amount of good lather. However I found had had to reload, lather, reload, lather etc. for best results. It doesn't need much water at all and it is easy to whip up. It gives a nice glide to the shave and I will definitely use it again.

    €4.95 per puck from http://drksoap.com/handmade-soap/shaving-soap-lime/

    This is the all-round best performer in this set of reviews. Good scent, good lather, good shave. While I personally find the website gives it more of a "large company" rather than "small handmade artisan company" feel to the overall product I wouldn't hold this against them at all as it is easy to navigate and their prices are very reasonable. I would use this again and though it doesn't hit my top ten shaving soaps ever, it is nice to find a solid home-grown product I'm happy to use.

    - BE

    Click Here For Part Four: The Handmade Soap Company

    Irish Shaving Soaps Review 2/5: Crobally Irish Soaps

    A little bit about Crobally Irish Soaps:
    Based in a small town in County Wexford, this family-run company makes soaps and skincare products using honey from their own bees and as many locally sources ingredients as possible. As an interesting addition they also run training days on soap making and pre-safety assessment training. Their online shop accepts PayPal and ships worldwide. 
    The owner sent me a sample product and explained that the packaging that I have is not 100% identical to that of the actual product. Having said that, they are the only company in this series who provide their soap in a jar and so I don't have to find a shaving mug for the soap. Simple but effective, this resealable jar does the job. No bells or whistles but it has all you need without having to liberate another mug from the kitchen cabinet! The full sized product contains a minimum of 60 grams of soap per jar.

    The ingredients are not listed on the website but the owner has told me that the soap is 70% aloe vera based and 2% essential oils (in this case pine, sandalwood and patchouli oils). 

    BAM! sums it up pretty well. From the minute you open this jar you are hit with all three notes full on. While I could definitely recognise all three, my untrained nose couldn't make out the most prominent one, though I'm inclined to say it is the patchouli. Once you being to create the lather the scents really burst out strongly and it leaves a subtler scent on the skin afterwards. If you are a fan of strong scents and these take your fancy you won't be disappointed. They are not to my personal taste but that's just preference.

    Lather & Shave:
    For a handmade product this is best summed up as being a 'middle of the road' lather. It's not quite sure if it just wants to be a frothy, bubbly body soap lather or a thick, cushioned shaving soap one. It's somewhere in between. It really benefits from skin lathering rather than in the bowl and the trick is to use very little water. Just a rinse and squeeze of the brush and then a few drops on the skin. While the lather produced can't really be described as thick, it does paint on reasonable well and while there is very little cushion it did give good glide and left my skin lightly scented, nicely moisturised and ridiculously soft.

    Sold in a pack with their moisturising cream for €12.50 (€17.50 if you would like it in a set with a brush). Available at http://www.croballyirishsoaps.com/page4.htm

    Not my first choice but not a bad performer either. If you like these scents then you'll be very happy with the strength of them however personally they were not to my liking. People with essential oil sensitivities may find this too strong however.

    - BE

    Click Here For Part Three: Dr. K. Soap Company


    Irish Shaving Soaps Review 1/5: The Burren Perfumery

    A little bit about The Burren Perfumery:
    Named after the awe-inspiring karst landscape in County Clare, this lovely perfumery (and herb garden and tea shop!) is currently run by the couple Sadie Chowen and Edward Biggs. All of their products are handmade using only natural ingredients most of which are herbs and flowers native to the area. They ship worldwide and offer a 10% discount of first orders.
    Pretty as a picture and wrapped in handmade paper (some with tiny pressed flowers embedded in it) these soap blocks are 100grams in weight. The delicate and simple, clean presentation is lovely and each one feels like a small hand-wrapped gift. Inside of the outer paper is an inner lining of a light wax paper surrounding the opaque cream-coloured soap. The square shape means some pairing might have to be done to get it to fit into a shaving mug but the soap is easy to cut.

    Saponified Olive, Palm and Coconut Oils, Calendula Oil, Irish Spring Water.
    (Bonus points to this soap for being very natural with no hard-to-pronounce stuff!). Also it doesn't contain tallow so it is vegan-friendly.

    This only comes in an unscented version so it's great for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

    Lather & Shave:
    Unfortunately this is where the product falls short. In brief, it lathers like a body soap, not a shaving soap. The clue to this is in the ingredients as it is so heavily oil-based. A foamy, bubbly lather can be produced but it has very little staying power and no thickness or cushion to it. Only a tiny amount of water is needed to get a lather on this (wet brush, gently squeeze brush, and rub on soap). The brush does not really "load" with product and lather is formed straight away.
    With all that having been said, if you don't mind lathering your face bit by bit, there is a decent shave to be had provided you don't have very coarse hair. This lather does not soften the hair so thick beards won't have enough cushion, but it is very moisturising and your skin feels wonderful and soft afterwards. 

    €6.50 per bar from http://www.burrenperfumery.com/

    I love the ingredients and the look of this, but I think I would much prefer their standard body soaps and I imagine this soap could double as one quite easily. If you have a light beard and want a nice one-for-everything soap (maybe for travelling) then this could be a real winner, and those who are sensitive to fragrances will be attracted to this also.

    - BE

    Click Here For Part Two: Crobally Irish Soaps


    The HUGE Irish-Made Shaving Soaps Review!

    Here it is folks! What you've all been waiting for and never even knew it... I've been working behind the scenes on this one for a while and finally I'm writing up the results! It all began a couple of months ago when I once again got asked the familiar question by a reader: "Do you know of any good shaving soaps made in Ireland?". After finding my usual reply of: "I haven't tried any, I'm very sorry" just far to lame for a blogger of my global fame (ok, so my mum thinks I'm cool - that counts, right?) I thought "Enough of this Barber Eile, let's see what's out there!"
    A few e-mail conversations later with some awesome Irish soap makers, a few excited days waiting by the post box for little packages to pop through, and here it is...a review of the main 5 Irish-Made Shaving Soaps available (I'm open to expanding this if I've missed any!).
    I'm going to post each review as a separate entry so as to make the products more searchable in this blog. In the interest of fairness I will review them in alphabetical order by company name. 
    They are:

    Each review will be broken down into sections: Presentation, Ingredients, Scent, Lather & Shave, and Cost. I used my Gillette Super Adjustable DE razor loaded with a Shark blade and set to 4, and my Men-U brush for every shave for consistency. 
    So without further ado let us begin!
    Click here for The Burren Perfumery Shaving Soap Review!

    *please note that all products were received as a free sample for review, each supplier was informed that an unbiased review, without their edit, would be published in the interest of honesty and fairness*


    Stop Go

    May 17, 2012

    Hey everyone,
    Just to let my regular readers know that I have some uber-bloggings in the works. Sorry about being so quiet this month but my mum's illness has worsened though we hope it will get somewhat better soon.
    Please stay tuned though and I'll be around and blogging again next week!
    - BE

    Articles and Interviews

    April 27, 2012

    I was going to save posting an entry about these articles until I had my TV appearance on IrelandAM - it was meant to be this Monday but they have had to postpone it until June!
    Regardless, I've been receiving quite a bit of media attention lately as a result of my medal-winning, which has been both an exciting and a very new experience for me. When I was at the awards ceremony in the Law Society there was a photographer from the Irish Hairdresser International Magazine: http://irishhairdressermagazine.ie/ and they did a really lovely two page spread in this month's issue about myself, and the winner the Medal Of Excellence in Hairdressing, Michelle Silke. I like how out of the 109 medalists, only 2 were Irish and we got the ones for hairdressing and barbering! If I get a chance to take a better picture of the article I'll put a link to it on here so you can read it but here's a snapshot I took on my phone:
    Then I was asked to do a phone interview for the Education Section in The Sunday Times Paper as they were doing a piece on how City & Guilds have their European Headquarters in Ireland now. They sent a photographer around to my workplace to take a photo too! I was just about to start doing a hot towel shave on my friend Jim so the back of his head gets it's moment of fame too!:
    And finally The Irish Times Newspaper interviewed me also. This one was an unusual as I met the reporter for a coffee and we just chatted for about half an hour with his dictaphone sitting on the table. Mainly the interview consisted of him asking a few things and me just waffling on about everything I could think of. You can read the interview online (the link is below). It's funny to see the bits he chose to print and how it was all edited together to sound a little more ... "juicy" I guess? For instance, the whole thing about me saying "Hitler Youth Haircut" was not phrased like that and some of the questions he asked were not said at all, rather written to match some of the things I mentioned - but I'm guessing that's how journalism works. Here's the article online: Irish Times Interview , it was also put in print in the magazine suppliment on Saturday, and here's a photo from it:
    So there you go! Who knew that I would get this far when I started this blog huh? It all seems a bit unreal to be honest. I wonder if any of my readers out there have been following from the start and what do you all think? It's been quite a journey and it's really only beginning when I think about it. I hope to have exciting news in a couple of weeks!
    - BE

    View From Behind

    April 23, 2012

    Ah yes, you know that moment when your barber has finished up. When they ask you if you are happy with your haircut... you look on top, everything looks good and both ears are intact...
    And then the mirror comes out. Yes, so you can see the back of your head. A place where you will never see again until your next haircut. 
    Now I know this is so you can see that we haven't shaved our initials into your neckline or left you with a mullet, but every time I pick up my back mirror to show my client my handiwork (and sometimes my neck fade will be my proudest part of the cut for me! Unsurprisingly though I've yet to have a client go "oh lovely fade out on the neckline there... My word, my nape looks at least 200% sexier now, let me be sure to get your name so I can put you in my will"...) I can't help but think of this funny rant by the great English comedian David Mitchell where he approves of the mirror (but not much else!):
    The bit at 1.35 in about the "plant squirter" is also hilarious as I'm sure some client's feel that way! I hope this gave you a giggle!

    Caution: Floor Slippery When Hairy!

    April 16, 2012

    The title pretty much says it all!
    I was in work today cutting a client's hair from very long to quite short and so there was large chunks of hair on the ground - when I slipped! Luckily I regained my balance quickly by leaning on the chair (and apologising to the client for nearly having an Austin Powers style "oops, I fell again" moment!).
    So this is just a short note to say be careful out there! Barbering is dangerous business!
    (Get up off the floor woman - you'll cause an accident!)
    - BE


    Young At Heart

    April 9, 2012

    I want to just give a little shout out to one of my favourite customers. 
    He's a really cool guy, just comes in, hops straight into my chair and asks for the usual. It doesn't matter how long it's been since I last did his hair, he'll start to chat to me like an old friend and we catch up on everything going on in his life by the time I'm dusting him off and he's good to go. He's a real talker, and greets me like you would meeting your best friend for a drink in your local. He'll tell me all about his family, his holidays, his friends. Who's doing what and when, even if I don't know who he's talking about! He always remembers where we left off our last conversation and will always have a new interesting adventure to tell me about. He's funny, clever, intelligent and charming. When he leaves I'll have my smile on my face for the day.
    Oh yeah, and he's nine years old.
    I can't wait until his next haircut when I get to hear about all the fun he had at DisneyWorld with his family over Easter, and I get to be young at heart and live through all of the experiences as if I were there as he tells me all about them in detail. 
    Thanks little dude.
    - BE

    Blue Light Special

    April 2, 2012

    Okay this might turn into a rant as it's been a serious pet peeve of mine since day one:
    The Blue Light Special, also known as Chopshop Haircuts.
    Those horrible, cheap "barbershops" that have blue lights inside and have prices so low there is no way they are paying tax (and I know for a fact that some of them aren't...). Maybe we only have them in Ireland, but they are the barbershops that look like this on the inside:
    All the lighting in the main window, and inside, are those horrible blue florescent strip lights that look like they will make anything white you wear glow. I have tried to guess as to why on earth someone would think this is sufficient light in any kind of building, with the possibly exception of some trippy psychedelia shop. Perhaps they are installed for the same reason they put them in public toilets - to stop drug users going in as they can't see their veins under the light? But this seems unlikely. Maybe they are giant UV sanitation lights... though honestly if you need them that much I'd just have the place condemned! 
    I mean how on earth can you cut in this light? It's gloomy and must put a huge strain on the barber's eyes. 
    In short, I don't think you can give a decent haircut in this light. Not for the price of a cup of coffee. Which leads me to my more plausible reason for why I think they are installed: to disguise the bad haircut from the customer. 
    These chopshops are the fast food of haircutting. The more clients the better and, again I know from people who have worked in these places, the management actively encourage you to get the client in and out as quickly as possible, spending a maximum of 8 minutes per client... because at their prices it's the number of clients, and not results, that count. Here's my artistic interpretation of what happens:
    I hope I never have to work in one of these places, where every day I would feel like I'm walking into a giant tanning bed and my eyesight would probably get up and leave after 6 months. Were I male I would go into one once just to see what the experience is like - does anyone know? Please leave a comment above if you do!
    - BE

    The Blink Of An Eye

    March 31, 2012

    Just a short observation today in work:
    One of the barbers blinks in an alternating pattern to her cutting! Snip, snip, blink... snip, snip, blink. She'll take a new section, cut it twice and then blink (repeat for whole head). She ends up blinking far more often than you would normally but I guess by making sure she blinks in between cuts then she always has her eye on the job at hand!
    I must keep an eye open (haahaa) to see what other patterns people do. I observed early on that everyone has a unique work rhythm, like one of my colleagues who will comb up his first section of hair almost 10 times before making that first cut and then can speed through the rest, setting a solid line to follow I guess! 
    Because I'm aware of these things in others I am constantly trying to find the best flow for myself which means changing it up a bit when I catch myself doing something. I guess that when I do find a rhythm that works I probably won't even be aware of it until someone points it out to me, like my best friend who sticks her tongue out just a little when she's concentrating - the funny thing is though, she'll often be practising her face painting on me when she does it so her face is really close to mine and it makes me laugh!
    - BE

    The Fame Update! (London, Awards, TV and Thank YOU!)

    March 26, 2012

    The Superstar has returned!
    I'm back from my fantastic trip to London and, of course, the City and Guild's Medals For Excellence Awards Ceremony! It was truly fantastic and just like one of those gala awards dinners you see on TVand I really felt like a superstar. It was very surreal.
    When myself and my boyfriend arrived at the hotel provided to us for the night I was greeted by the friendly hotel staff and presented with a small envelope containing a congratulations card and a small pin badge to be worn at the ceremony to show I am an award winner. The hotel was very close to the Roundhouse where it was all happening that night so, after getting all spruced up, we walked down to the venue to see they had a red carpet outside leading all the way in, past a whole group of photographers waiting to take everyone's photographs! It was like being snapped by paparazzi! Here's some shots of me on the red carpet (note the huge smile on my face and the white stripe in my red hair for the barber's pole!):
    Once inside we were offered free champagne (though I opted for a soft drink) and shown to the balcony overlooking the main floor, where we were treated to a fantastic display of a man, dressed as James Bond, doing an acrobatic routine on silks high above where we would be seated! It was really incredible!
    We were then brought to the tables on the main floor and the celebration began! I won't bore you with a minute by minute account but I will say there was great food, great company and great entertainment from an awesome choir who performed some traditional African welcoming songs! The host for the evening was Alex Jones ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/strictlycomedancing/2011/images/dancers/alex_jones624x351.jpg ) who is a mini-celebrity over here! 
    Now I know you all are dying to know how I got on in relation to The People's Choice Award which you were all so, so fantastic in voting for me in... Well, I didn't win but I did come 4th out of 109 entrants so that's pretty fantastic in and of itself. And honestly, seeing everyone I know, and some I don't (!) rallying around me and supporting me has really meant so much more to me than that trophy ever would. I know it sounds cheesy but you'd better break open the packet of cream crackers because that's just how I feel!
    So what's next for this Diva of the Barbering World you ask? Well, quite exciting things actually! My appearance on IrelandAM has been confirmed for the 30th of April and it will available to view on-line after its airing so I will be sure to post a link. Also, I was contacted just this morning by another promotions agency who are looking to get me a further TV/radio spot so I'll keep you updated with any news I get about that too.
    On top of all that I am planning something exciting to post on here just before I am on TV so you can get scootching towards the edge of your seats in anticipation of that too! Okay now that my exclamation point button on my keyboard is nearly falling off I'll sign out!
    - BE

    Short Update: London and TV Appearance!

    March 13, 2012

    Hello everyone,
    I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who voted for me over the last few weeks! I'm off to London in two days time where the People's Choice winner will be announced. 
    Win or lose, you will be the first to know how things went and I'll post up photos also.
    It's all been such an amazing journey when I think back to the start, and ever reader and comment on here has meant so much - I genuinely can't find the words to express how much. I hope to keep doing this for a long, long time and get back on track to regular blogging once I return next week.
    Oh and did I mention I'm going to be on TV
    Yup! I was at the Dublin awards ceremony a week ago, receiving my Medal For Excellence (they had an Irish ceremony for the 3 Irish medalists, before the big London one) and the lady covering the PR for the event told me she had spoken to Ireland AM (a daytime chat-show style program on here in Ireland) about 'my story' and that they want to have me on to talk about receiving the medals, my training, and I even get a few minutes to chat about a topic of my choice. I'm thinking it'll have to be about traditional wet shaving but what do you all think? I've been given an amazing opportunity to tell the Irish public about something to do with barbering - what do you feel is the most important?
    Once it's aired I'll have to see if I can get a copy of it recorded to upload to here and show those of you reading from across the water.
    Anyway I must dash and start to get everything organised for Thursday. Lots of exciting news to come!
    - BE

    Tallow Chandlers Awards Luncheon

    March 4, 2012

    I feel an update is long overdue about my recent trip to London for the Tallow Chandlers Prize For Excellence that I received last month and previously blogged about.
    I've been to London many times, and the visit itself was fleeting, but I have to say the whole event was truly one of a kind! The Tallow Chandlers' Halls are truly magnificent and we were given a tour of the building when we, and the other award winners, had arrived and checked in our coats. After the tour we were announced into a room for a champagne meet-and-greet reception. Yes, that's right... I was announced into a room! How fancy is that huh? I felt so special and like I had gone back in time! My name was called out by the Beadle of the Halls and I walked in, was offered a flute of champagne (but took some orange juice instead), shook hands with Sir Christopher Dudley Pryke Bt MRICS (what a mouthful!) and Dame Josephine Williams DBE, and then was swished into the room and approached by a lot of fancy people with medals around their necks (indicating they were the Masters of the Guild) and asked all about myself!
    After a good mingle it was announced that we should proceed into the main hall for the luncheon. The hall is really stunning (you can see a photo of it in the blog entry I link to at the top) and this was my table setting:
    Everything was branded with the Tallow Chandlers crest, even the water bottles! The people around me, though upper class and posh sounding, were lovely and down to earth and we had some nice chats during the meal - which was very tasty. Speeches were made and the medallists were introduced one by one. We each had a piece about us, and our achievements, read out and then we went up and received our medal, certificate and an envelope containing a cheque! (Perfect as I needed to buy a new set of clippers!).
    After the meal a photographer took our photos and we got them e-mailed onto us just a week ago.
    So... I know this is the first time I've ever shown my face on here, but I figure it's about time...
    Here I am, proud as punch, holding my certificate and medal!
    On Wednesday there is a presentation lunch here in Dublin where I will receive my City & Guilds' Medal and then on the 15th there will be the huge ceremony in London again. I feel like a bit of a celebrity, and to be honest I can't help but sometimes think that I don't really deserve these somehow! Anyway I will keep you all updated on how the other two events go, including the results of the People's Choice Award section - and thank you all again for voting!!!
    - BE

    People's Choice Award - Please Vote!

    February 24, 2012

    **Update: voting is now closed and thank you so much to everyone who voted! I will find out the results on the night of the 15th March at the awards ceremony**
    MASSIVE NEWS!!!! And I need everyone's help please and thank you with a shaving brush on top!
    As part of the City and Guilds Medal For Excellence, I have won I have a chance to win a People's Choice Award for my barbering and need as many votes as possible. Not only thank but you all get to know what I look like - eeep!
    You can vote once a day up until March the 3rd and there's no need to register or anything. 
    Just go here:http://www.lionawards2012.com/content/peoples-choice?f=K
    Find my smiling mug (barber's pole on either side!) and click on it. "Danielle Keogh" and click vote. Please help me win! And vote daily if you can! Share with everyone you know and massive good karma to everyone!

    The Lion Awards present Medals of Excellence which acknowledge the hard work students have put into achieving a City and Guilds qualification. People who have overcome difficult circumstances, have achieved outstanding grades and/or have notably positively contributed to their industry or community as a result of their qualification. I've mentioned all of my journey on here but you can read a summary of it on the website where you vote. 100 medals are given out across the many, many industry sectors (from dog grooming, to car repair, to butler training!). Then, out of these 100 medalists, one will win the People's Choice Award. It's a huge event in London in March and it's across the whole of the UK and Ireland. As previously mentioned, I won the Medal of Excellence for Hairdressing/Barbering. Which is a massive honour as is. But to win this too would be amazing and would mean so much to me as I'm proud of what I've done. 
    Thanks everyone! Spread the word!
    - BE