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

Product Review: The Handmade Soap Company Hand Cream

February 20, 2012

As mentioned in my last post ( click this writing to be magically transported to the last post! ) I recently got a bunch of gorgeous producst from an Irish artisan company called The Handmade Soap Company.
Upon arrival, one of the first things I took out of the box of goodies was their hand cream:
(I've used it daily since I got it hence some is missing in this photo!) 
My mum was with me when I first opened this and I was at risk of never getting it back from her for review as she fell in love with it at first touch and smell! However, I personally wanted to give it a long run in order to give a more rounded review of it. Being a barber I use hand cream several times a day to keep my hands hydrated, so this cream as been my daily go-to for the last two weeks or so. I put a spoonful into a small 7gram jar I keep in my handbag and I keep the regular size jar (which is a good sized 50ml I should add) beside my bed.
The jar itself comes in a pretty box and I love the Handmade Soap Company packaging as I've mentioned previously. On the lid it says 'with aloe vera gel and golden jojoba oil', however this cream smells just like refreshing lemon sherbet! Here's a photo of the ingredients list and I'm guessing it's the lemon myrtle that gives it this scent. 
So, despite smelling delicious and fresh (there is nothing artificial about this lemon scent thankfully, as faux-lemon reminds me of kitchen cleaner), how does this perform? Well I'm (possibly unsurprisingly) very picky about my hand creams and own several. 
I like something with a bit of thickness to it, hence I like a cream over a lotion
I like a cream that doesn't leave oil or reside on my skin (thus marking anything I touch like my phone etc.)
I like a cream that I can feel has moisturised my skin and stays moisturised
Luckily, after extensive testing - this cream does all of that! Now I genuinely did want to nit pick about this cream and thought there would be at least a few things to grumble about but I can find very few. It rubs in quickly and you can feel the hydration for ages yet there is no clammy or oily reside. There is a slight lingering scent but nothing overpowering and it complements my natural body heat wonderfully (which is good as I've previously used a lemon balm on my hands that made my boyfriend gag as he said it combined with my body heat to become repulsive!). The texture is similar to a thick, smooth, mousse. You can see the indentations in the first photo of where I've taken some. You only need a pea sized amount for the whole hands and I can see this tub lasting a long time.
The price point of €11.95 does seem a little steep, however it will last ages and is handmade. It might be too much for some people, however as I use a cream so often, having a good one is important to me so I do think I would buy this having now tried it. (It would be too much for an unknown gamble). 
The only other downfall for me is that it's not slightly waterproof. However were it, that would make it a different type of hand product; a balm or butter rather than a cream, and as a cream I have to say it's virtually faultless. For something thicker during work (where my hands get wet and dry frequently) I will still use a heavy balm, but for morning and night time use this one will be putting all the others back in the drawer and taking proud place on my bedside locker! (You can find the product online here!)
- BE


The Handmade Soap Company (Ireland)

February 19, 2012

A few of weeks ago I was in the other branch of the barbers I work in and my boss was showing me some new products from a company called The Handmade Soap Company (HSC for short on here!). I had a quick look but then didn't think too much about them as I was busy in work. However, a couple of days afterwards I got a private message on the Badger & Blade Shaving Forum from a member who recognised my username as he had been talking to my boss only a few days before, and low and behold it was a very nice gentleman from  the HSC called Dave! We had a few messages back and forth and, to cut a long story short, he was interested in my blog having had a look at it, and asked me if I would like to review some of their products on here!
Now, I clearly explained that all products I review get a fair, honest and unbiased review regardless of if I pay for them, get them as a sample or a gift etc. Dave was cool with all of that and asked me what I would like. What a question to present to a girl of limited means with a healthy (?!) addiction to shaving products and soaps!
A few days later this wonderful lot landed on my doorstep! Dave had sent me my entire wish list (despite me saying for him to just pick and choose a few from it that he'd like a review on).
Before I was sent these I had seen these products around Dublin in a few places and remarked on how pretty and professional I think the packaging is. It looks clean, unique, eye catching and has a real feel of an artisan product to it.
So here's a summary of what I got. I'll be giving each product a fair test-run before reviewing so expect to see some reviews over the next month or two. 
- Hand Cream (with aloe vera and jojoba)
- After Shave Soothing Cream (with essential oils of lime, basil and sweet orange)
- Body Butter (with aloe vera, sweet almond and shea butter)
- Grandma Quigley's Body Soap (with clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and pine!)
- Shaving Soap For Him (tallow based)
- Shaving Soap For Her (vegetable based)

Upon opening the box there was an immediate wonderful blend of smells. Each item was taken out in turn and given a sniff and look at by myself and my mum who was there at the time. I can't wait to dive into these further!

During our conversing I had asked Dave many questions about the company and products and he happily answered everything I wanted to know. Everything is made using natural ingredients (I can look at the list and know what everything is which is a huge plus in my book!) and you can read more about the makers and who is The Handmade Soap Company (a couple living in Co. Meath) here: The Maker's Story

I love getting gifts but I promise you my readers that I will not let generosity get in the way of honest reviewing. However I can tell you so far that my dealings with the company have been friendly, quick and personal. If all of their customer service is this good then they are off to a great start! Review-time soon!
- BE


Inspiration (Number 5!)

February 6, 2012

Well in my last post I asked you all to stay tuned for 'number 5' in my inspiration list. Hopefully you haven't wasted away in anticipation but here it is...

5. Old School Barbershop Nostalgia.
Sometimes my inspiration and drive will come from going back to the root of why I started doing this, not just the haircuts involved. For me it's the nostalia and the old-school feel. I have a great book simply called 'Barbershops' that I got as a gift a while back and I love looking through it at all of the gorgeous photos of barbershops. I also have a DVD called "Barbiers: une histoire d'homme" that is full of wonderful history and stories of barbering. Heck, even watching the modern "Barbershop" films makes me smile at the sense of community it shows going on in barbershops in black communities right up to this day.
I'm a member of the Old School Barbershop group on Facebook and love the photos everyone posts up but, by far, the one thing I like the most is the videos of other barbershops that their owners and staff post up. People who are truely proud of what they have created and the establishment they work in. People who love their craft and this love can be seen in the surroundings they create.
If ever I want to get back to the feel of why I began barbering I can just look at one of these and get a wave of pride in my craft. I can imagine what my own shop could/will look like. I can plan everything down to the detail of the upholstery of the waiting area. So here, to play me out, are a few glimpses into barbershops I hope to visit someday (And the first two I have been in many times!):

If you have any videos you'd like to share I'd love to see them!
- BE