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Can’t Blame Jet Lag: Darphin 8 Flower Nectar Oil Cream

30 Jan

I know, I’ve written about this already, but I gotta say: this is some seriously magical stuff.

DARPHIN
Since I haven’t written in a while, and because I wanted to blame travel/time changes/the weather, it’s a bit rich to be talking about something I’ve already mentioned — but not as rich as this little tub of gorgeousness LOLLLLL.

My flight back from The Christmas (remember The Christmas?!) was delayed by seven hours. Having been good and paid attention to the repeated warnings from United about what time to pitch up, I had basically been in Newark Airport for ten hours. Nightmare! All the plans I had to beat my jet lag went out the window, and when we landed at 11.45 am and I didn’t get in my door until 1.30pm, I thought to myself, ‘I am completely screwed.’

I decided that I was going to have to stay up forever and hope for the best. My frigid little flat was so cold that it was all I could to stay out of bed and not avail of the electric underblanket. I didn’t last long, and cuddled up with my laptop and tried not to drowse. I made it to about 8pm and gave up. I reckoned that I would never sleep through ’til the next day and that I would have the lag forever and ever.

Right before I succumbed to that horrible, buzzy, cold, dizzy feeling, I lashed on Darphin’s 8 Flower Nectar Oil Cream, and hoped for the best.

That’s all I knew ’til Tuesday. I may have woken up at one stage, but not enough to wake all the way… and that was it. Made it through the entire day, and then the next I had horses and sweat out any lingering lagginess and… yeah: that’s all she wrote.

Look, I know, it ain’t cheap — it’s €91.65/$150/£95 — but if you want luminous skin and a good rest {and I reckon the skin is luminous thanks to the good rest} this has never let me down. And I’d put this up against any jet lag cure I’ve ever tried. Can’t wait to fly long-haul somewhere else just to reinforce my theory…

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Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Face

16 Dec

Here’s some lovely make up to get you in the festive spirit — I mean, to get your gift recipient in the festive spirit. {One for you, one for me…}

FUSCHIA MAKE-UP
Colour Pop €25; Defining Moments €25
FUSCHIA gift sets
These are just two of the 12 gift boxes from the Irish brand, perfect for fans of mineral makeup and ideal for stocking fillers. I love the little lippys! They’re perfect for slipping into a pocket, and also, who uses up a lipstick all the way to the end? These sizes are ideal as far as I’m concerned. The glam lashes kit is also perfect for the party girl in your world. They’ve also got a number of palettes available, also at €25 — I’m a fan of the Nudes Limited Edition. I find that mineral eyeshadow really lasts, as it promises: if you’ve got someone who likes to look natural with a touch of enhancement, this will fill the bill.

 

REAL TECHNIQUES
Deluxe Gift Set €40
REAL TECHNIQUES 1
I was lucky enough to have met Sam and Nic Chapman at a spectacularly fancy lunch several weeks ago: they were warm and lovely, and we all had great chats about makeup, and ghosts {you had to be there.} This five brush set includes their heroes: the Multi Task, Tapered Foundation, Angled Highlighter, Base Shadow and Fine Liner, plus a gorge wee clutch that will contain them with style. This is a hot item — failing this, I’d recommend the Travel Essential Kit for €28.95.

 

URBAN DECAY
Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette €46
UDXGWEN
It’s basically been the year of the palette, and despite competition from the brand’s Naked Smoky {without an ‘e’} offering, I think this is the one that pan-fans are gonna be happiest unwrapping. A combination of new colours personally developed by Gwen along with some UD perennial faves, each name has resonance with the singer-songwriter, and the balance of hues is such that you can go from a daytime nude to a nighttime colour blast all in one place. Heart this loads: I took it for a spin the other night and my pals couldn’t believe that I’d done my eyes myself, it looked that professional. That’s compliment, right…?

 

CLINIQUECLINIQUE High On Lashes
High on Lashes €22.50
Clinique do a great line in gifts, and you can get exceptional use out of their sample sizes. The Skinny Stick is new launch, this one in Slimming Black — and they’ve snuck a little bit of skincare thanks to their All About Eyes cream. I’d recommend the Lash Building Primer as well {€17} if you really want your friend/sister/mum to have gorgeous peepers in 2016. Also! I am saving some products for an end-of-year, finally-getting-round-to-reviewing posts, but I have to say, I love love love the Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen {€22.50}: it is easy and it is pretty, and it lasts and lasts — even through a long day at the desk and then on to horseriding. I’ve been using it for ages, and the tip hasn’t dried out, as do many liquid liners I’ve tested; it doesn’t get all gunked up even when I touch up over eyeshadow; and even after months of fairly regular use — let’s say three times a week — I still don’t feel like I’m seeing the end of it. Eh, guess that covers it, I’ll have to find something to replace this in my big plan!

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Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Skincare

16 Dec

If you’ve someone near and dear who doesn’t indulge in luxury products, give them a helping hand this holiday…

DERMALOGICA
OMG look at all those gift sets €17.15-79.70
DERMALOGICA group
This literally puts the truth in the phrase ‘there’s something for everyone’ — and something for every budget, too. The Clean Start is perfect for the tween/teen on your list — and not just the girls, my nephews are huge fans of the Soothing Clearing Booster and would use this stuff in a shot. Skin that is mature, dry, normal oily, frequent travellers who want to keep their body care routine on fleek, those love a good facial exfoliation, those who just love the brand and its best sellers — that’s all catered for here. The packaging is also refreshingly non-festivity specific, so those who don’t celebrate via the fat man in the red suit won’t be alienated.

 

CLARINS PARIS
Double Serum And Super Restorative Collection €69.50
CLARINS Double Serum gift
Here’s one of the many offerings from this brand, and all of them targeted to a variety of concerns, but this has to be my pick, thanks to the Double Serum. I went through that stuff for a shortcut and still think of it fondly. The addition of the Super Restorative Day, Night, and Eye cream only adds to the attraction. Plus! It all comes in an elegantly iridescent gold clutch — I adore that detail on the zip tab.

 

CAUDALÍE PARIS
Huile Divine/Divine Oil €8.70 Eau de Beauté/Beauty Elixir €12.60
CAUDALIE BAUBLES
May be the best beauty baubles ever: both are a terrific introduction to the natural, paraben-free French brand, they look adorbz, and they are really well-priced. This is Secret Santa sorted. The Divine Oil is suitable from top to toe and smells delicious; the Beauty Elixir works as a toner, a makeup setting lotion, and a general pick-you-up.

 

CLINIQUE
Clean Skin, Great Skin €89
CLINIQUE Clean Skin Great Skin
Bit of a splurge, but I am such a fan of the Sonic that I urge you to splash out on someone special. It’s not enough that you get their terrific skin-cleansing brush — you get a carry case too! I will not travel anywhere without this little beauty, and a case like that surely beats the pair of socks I’ve been using to protect in as we journey forth. The samples of the soap, DDM+ and Clarifying Lotion pretty much set your dearly beloved up for a kickin’ start to the new year.

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Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Gift Sets II

15 Dec

Make your giftee clean and bright…

LUSH
Selection of gift sets ranging from €11.95 to €220
LUSH gifts
Any Lush outlet takes on the atmosphere of Aladdin’s Cave at this time of year, and they’ve truly cornered the market on thoughtful, beautifully presented gifts. From the smaller boxes that contain two well-matched, full-sized products, to the massive collections like Wow! that comes with 36 samples from across their Christmas range — or the Winter Wonderland {117.50}, for the serial bath-taker in your life: 20 bath additives of the bomb, melt and bubble variety are sure to make someone happy for months.

LUSH winter wonderland

Here’s that magical box, and at right: the barest tip of the festive bathing iceberg. I know that people have widely diverging opinions related to the scent of Lush stuff — I heart it big time, personally. The best part of this particular gift set? The artwork on the box was created by ARTHOUSE Meath, a collective of art instructors who work with people who suffer from severe epilepsy, and those with learning and physical difficulties. This is just another indication of Lush’s commitment to outreach, and to involving local artists and artisans in their process. That’s the true spirit of the season, right there.

BENEFIT
Party Poppers €46 Get Your Party On and You’re So Party €56
BENEFIT GIFTS
This brand get it right year after year, and they’ve surpassed themselves in 2015. These two are my faves: Party Poppers is designed along the lines of an Advent Calendar, but celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas — along with a song that belts out when you open it… or even walk past it with too much vigour. It’s full of minis of Benefit’s greatest hits, and it’s well worth the fright you get when you hear someone singing and you don’t know where it’s coming from.

As far as collectible tins go, both Get Your Party On and You’re So Party are the proverbial gifts that keep on giving — I can’t even imagine how much stuff you could stash in these tins, once you gleefully decant the prizes inside. As regards the former, your amazed love one will find They’re Real Mascara and Hoola Bronzing Powder as well as a bottle of High Beam, and Gimme Brow in mediUm/deep. The latter will discover full-size They’re Real Mascara and Hoola Bronzing Powder, and mini POREfessional and Ultra Plush Lip Gloss Mini In Hoola. Like Lush, there are many choices to make based on your budget — it couldn’t be easier to shop.

ELIZABETH ARDEN
Original Eight Hour Set €30, available @theloopdublin in Dublin Airport
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Original Set €30.00
It’s unheard of for a brand to have a product that retains its cult status — for 85 years! — but that’s exactly what Elizabeth Arden have in their Eight Hour Cream. Originally developed by Miss Arden herself to doctor her thoroughbreds, it was the very first product to be released under the now classic name. For an astonishing price, you get Face Cream, Skin Protectant — which literally is useful from top to toe, for shaping brows to soothing rough heels — and a lip balm. A great introduction to a versatile product — and seriously, that price!

AVOCA
Medley Of Soaps €17.50, also at The Loop
Avoca Medley of Soaps €17.50
Everything about this is exquisite, which is one of my favourite words. The packaging, the variety of scents, and the price all combine to make this an terrific Irish gift for someone with excellent taste and fancy spare loo. Oh, forget that! Encourage your giftee to treat themselves and use them everyday! Just because something’s exquistie doens’t mean that it can’t be quotidian.

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Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Gift Sets I

14 Dec

Welcome to 2015’s gift guide! 

Gift sets have come a long way since the days of buying your mum a dusting powder duo from the chemists. Here’s a few of my stylish faves.

GIFTS I

DERMALOGICA
Super Rich Repair + Two Gifts! €79.70
I adore this treatment cream, and this gift also come with Skin Resurfacing Cleanser and an exfoliating mitt. That mitt! I don’t know, I’d say any old skin cells will takeo ne look at it and give themselves up without a fight! When they say ‘super rich’, they mean it: this is a heavy cream that is well-suited for this time of year, when weather conditions are primed to wreck your face. The cream alone is the same price as the gift {it’s full-size} and the travel-size of the cleanser is big enough to get a good intro to it. That mitt, though — that’s the real bonus in this little beaut.

BURT’S BEES
Love From Nature €16.95
Sadly, we lost Burt this year, but his legacy lives on. As a devotee of lip balm, it doesn’t get any better than this — you get full-sized samples of their legendary Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E & Peppermint, a Honey Lip Balm and Almond and Milk Hand Cream. As a devotee of gift boxes that you can use to put stuff in, this is one of the best I’ve seen so far this season.

L’OCCITANE
Hand Cream Collection RRP €32
I am not a fan of hand cream, but I adores those produced by the Provencal brand. This a lovely variety of scent, from clean {Dry Skin Hand Cream} to floral {Roses et Reines}, to fruity-flowery {Fleurs de Censier} to citrusy {Vervaine}. I received this sample from The Loop, the shopping centre in Dublin Airport, so if you’re stuck for a last minute gift and don’t want it to look you were stuck, then I’d say grab this up before you head for your gate.

ORIGINS
Ginger Pleasures €60
ORIGINS ginger
I love this range, and the scent is not so gingery that you smell like a little baked cookie man: there’s lemon, lime and bergamot in there, too. The brand have redesigned the packaging so that it’s got cool 60s Saul Bass-designed-movie-titles vibe {too graphic designer insidery?} and the samples in the set are really generous: 200mls of Ginger Souffle body cream, 100mls of Ginger Burst body wash, 100mls of Ginger body scrub, along with a mini Ginger Essence fragrance and a bottle of Ginger Gloss body oil — and a body puff!. This version is available at Arnotts, and if you like to layer, this is fragrant set does the business.

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Two Micellar Waters That Have Changed My Mind: Eau Thermale Avène and Bioderma

8 Dec

Not in that order, but still. I did not take a seat on the micellar water bandwagon, due to having tried many and finding them all to be useless. About 100 cotton pads later and maybe my mascara and eyeliner was mostly off; several more were required to remove the foundation, leaving behind a nasty stickiness.

Micellar water is, funnily enough, made of micelles, which are molecules made of oil that are suspended in water that dissolve (or are meant to dissolve) make-up, grime, and whatever else is on your face, on contact. Or, on repeated contact, as far as I was concerned. I wanted very much for this to work, though, as they are chemical-free and less harsh on the skin, but found that most were only good for cleaning my make up brushes {h/t letzmakeupblog.com}.

And then I got two samples of two different brands — both French, though, so that might be food for thought — and one changed my mind rather a lot, and the other changed it entirely.
EAU DE AVENE micellar
I love the Cleanance range from Eau Thermale Avène even though I don’t really need it. It’s geared towards oily skin, and mine hasn’t been since I was thirteen, but there is something about its, well, cleanness that appeals. I went through their toner for a shortcut, and I’m not a toning kinda gal, and they have a soapless cleanser that looks appealing — so I reckoned if I was going to give a micellar a second chance, it would be this one.

It’s good! It’s light and closer to water than any of the others that I’d tried at this stage, and it left my skin feeling far less tacky than previously. I liked it well enough for taking off the dreaded mascara/eye liner combo, and at €20.99 for 400mls, that seems like a good deal to me. This one does not get put on foundation brush detail for sure.

BIODERMA micellarHowever. When it comes to wiping off that make up and foundation in four-cotton-pads-or-less, the winner and reigning champion is Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution Sensitive Skin, designed for normal/dry/sensitive pelts. This is as good as those bi-phase concoctions that remove everything in one swipe, but leave behind an oily residue; this leaves nothing behind but clean, un-irritated skin. I honestly couldn’t believe how good it was until I used it again. At €14 for 250mls, it’s a big saving over some of the more expensive, less-effective waters {the above excluded, of course} and it’s got a permanent place on my hero list, not only of 2015, but of maybe ever.

Careful though! I availed of a two-for-one of the green version of this, the Sébium H2O Purifying Cleansing Micelle Solution, and while it is as good as regards the foundation and brow make up, it’s not so good on the eyes {and it may not be not meant to be…} This is the version for those who have oily skin, so I don’t know, maybe buy one of each if you are looking for a micellar water that removes eye make up too.

There’s a blue one, Hydrabio, which sounds like a Harry Potter Spell: this is for dehydrated, sensitive skins. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect it’s just as good as the other two in terms of general, gentle, thorough cleansing.

Eh, yep, really did love this.

BIODERM ALL GONE

BONUS LAVA LAMP IN SHOT

All this talk about cleanliness is making my face itch. Gotta go give it a good swipe now!

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BIODERMA GIFTThis fab gift pouch from Bioderma contains BB Cream, some of the magical micellar water, shower gel, and face cream, for €17.50. Available at all good pharmacies, or online at mccabespharmacy.com.

I Try Before You Buy: Oil-based Skincare {+One Of These Things is Not Like the Others}

30 Nov

There’s mixed intel as to whether or not facial oils are good for oily skin: logic would say, ‘Eh, no they’re not,’ but I’ve read various articles and reviews that claim that oily skin is working overtime to make oil, so if you use an oil, it lets your complexion off the hook and it can relax. I’d love to hear if anyone has personal experience of this notion — good or not so good!

Me, I ♥♥♥ oils to the moon and back, so speaking of outer space, there are a lot of stars this week.

01 CLINIQUECLINIQUE Smart Treatment Oil, €44 {30ml}
*****
I couldn’t get enough of the brand’s Turnaround oil, so when I used it all up, I was happy that this one was waiting in the wings. I love it just as much, and find it ‘dry’ enough to use in the day, which is not always the case. This is a triple anti-oxidant blend that’s fragrance-free, and it’s gentle enough for those who suffer from roseacea. I keep this by the bedside and put on lashings of it before bed, and awake with a new face.

03 DARPHINDARPHIN PARIS 8-Flower Nectar Oil Cream, €91.65 {15ml}
*****
Eep! That is pricey, but the cream is so rich, you won’t need or want to use too much. It would be like bingeing on fudge, or something. Every time I’ve used this, I have slept the sleep of the just, that is: I fell asleep immediately and stayed that way all through the night, and woke feeling like I’d been to some 04 LE MARAclass of dreamtime spa. Oh, and my skin looked radiant, a certain combination of the unbroken rest and the 280 petals from those 8 flowers that provide the aromatic essence.

LÉ MARA IRISH ORGANIC SEAWEED Miracle Facial Oil, €4.99 {150ml}
****
Here’s the opposite end of the spectrum: can anything that’s less than a fiver be any good? It is when it’s packed full of all sorts of goodness — from vitamin E to oat oil to primrose oil and bunch of anti-oxidants. The pump-action dispenser is pure genius, although it is better to spray in the palms than directly in the face {learned the hard way so you don’t have to.} This too is a mid-day, staying-in kind of treat, and it leaves behind a glorious glow. Bargain of the week — maybe of the year!

No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, €30.50 {30ml}05 No7
****
This seems almost too oily at first. I put that down to my own dispensing technique, which = using tonnes of product. Less is very much more here, and while I’m still not convinced that this is a good idea for me to apply in the a.m., I love it in the middle of a day in which I am hunkering down, not going anywhere, and ready for treat.06 TRILOGY

TRILOGY CoQ10 Booster Oil, €40 {20ml}
****
This is like a luxurious spa facial treatment right in your own home. It is far too heavy for use in the day, IMHO, but at nighttime, it is like the angels have wrung elixir from their wings for you to apply to your skin. Awake with a glow that wouldn’t look out of place whilst shepherds guard their flocks by night. Seriously, though: this is created to bust glycation, which causes collagen and elastin to become rigid, robbing skin of its plumpness and elasticity. The co-enzyme Q10 is an anti-oxidant, protecting the skin from ill-natured molecules.

VITA COCO Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, €12.99 {500ml}
****
I hesitated to Google ‘extra virgin’ because that just seemed like it was asking for a variety of pRon-y sites to pop up in my face, but this basically 07 VITA COCOmeans that it is processed in a way that is even better than ‘refined’. That is some price point, it has to be said, for such a versatile product: apply it head to toe, use it inside and out — it’s hard to imagine a better all-rounder when it comes to health and skincare. I had a difficult time using this for cooking, and yet when I used this on the bod, I felt like I should pop myself into the oven… Once I got over the mental blocks, I found I liked this best for my cuticles and for split ends {still too scared to use it as a hair mask, but I will get there as I suspect it will be amazing.}

And if all this oiliness doesn’t not appeal in the least:
KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, €27.50 {50ml}
*****
02 KIEHLSI’d say this definitely falls more on the side of a gel than a cream, but I’m not interested in semantics here: this is fab. I usually find gel-based moisturisers to absorb too quickly and dry tacky, but not this one — maybe there is something to the ‘cream’ in its name after all. Refreshing and soothing, this is terrific for skin that’s suffering from a surfeit of the elements, be they cold winter winds or hot summer suns. If you need a pick-you-up in the dark mornings, this will zing you to life and help with fine lines at the same time.

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Eye Loved This: Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream

26 Oct

Soz, couldn’t help myself, considering I resisted the hand pun last week.

ILUMA by IMAGE 1I came to eye cream late — if you are reading this and are not using it, start immediately! Right this second! This is the possibly the most delicate skin on your bod, begin to take care of it now! Go back in time and start ten years ago! … and as you can see, I have become rather evangelical about it.

Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream is one of the best I’ve ever tried.

Image Skincare is a cosmeceutical range that uses scientific method to create products that are usable by the general public that give professional results. It’s the type of brand you buy in a spa after having been treated by a pro — and I’m not gonna lie, sometimes you get the products you were inspired to buy, post-bliss, and when you get home, they just never seem to work as well, right?

I have not enjoyed a facial at the hands of a therapist trained in the use of the Image products, which in a way is better, as I can say I used this to great effect all on my own. Now, an eye cream isn’t the most labour intensive product on the market, but I can say that every morning, after having used this the night before, I saw the benefit of the brightening quality of this cream.

The evening when it was apparent that there was no more to dispense was a sad one, indeed.

But look!

ILUMA by IMAGE 2

That’s how desperate I am to get every ounce out of this. I’m going to hoard this for the night before a special occasion, because it is that good. At €64, you may say it had better be, but I made this last for a good six months. As ever, the better the quality, the less you use, and it really wasn’t a stretch to get that much use out of it.

Their Intense Brightening Exfoliator Powder is a winner, too — but I’ll save that for another day…

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See here for an Irish stockist near you.

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The No7 Advent Calendar {Deal With It}

20 Oct

Ooh, this is super fantastically gorgeous:

No7 ADVENT CALENDAR

The 25 Days of Beauty Wonder Calendar {so not Advent, strictly speaking}: 25 days, 19 minis, six full-sized products, €49.50 — which is insane as the total value is €193. You can expect nail varnish, skin care, body care, make-up, and some of the brand’s heroes like the No7 Instant Illusions Airbrush Away Primer and the No7 Stay Perfect Amazing Eyes Pencil.

Get on the waiting list here!

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Look, it’s almost Hallowe’en, okay?!?

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Support Your Local 600 Year Old Business: Rathbornes 1488 Premium Scented Candles

15 Oct

When I went to Wiki to ask ‘what was the world like in 1488’, I didn’t expect to find the very thing I was Googling around about: ‘Rathbornes Candles established in Dublin; the company will still be trading into the 21st century.’ Sure, Michelangelo started his apprenticeship in Florence, and Anne of Brittany became Duchess of Brittany at age 11, but it seems amazing that a purveyor of something as mundane as candles rates a mention.

Or not, if you think about it. In a world lit only by fire, a candle was essential to people’s daily lives — if they could even afford them. The company’s history doesn’t say much about who was buying their wares {I’m guessing lords and clergy}, so I asked the oracle ‘were candles expensive in the middle ages’, and yup: priests and rich folk availed of beeswax tapers, while the general populace had to make do with smelly, animal-based tallow. After going out of fashion in the mid 19th century thanks to the invention of the light bulb, a candle-burning renaissance of sorts flared up in the mid 1980s, and has been going from strength to strength ever since.
1 wick rose

I do try not to use the ‘C’ word this early in October, but spare a thought for Rathbornes 1488 luxury line, Beyond The Pale as you begin to think about prezzies. The candles are still handcrafted, almost 600 years later, and the scents evoke the Irish landscape, with additional notes to round out the fragrances. Like, Dublin Tea Rose is totally on point, but I don’t know how much Oud or Patchouli can be found in the wild {unless you consider ‘the wild’ to be South William Street — I reckon you’d find enough of those hipster scents wafting about in that case.}

Whatever: these are stunning. When I opened the box containing the Cedar, Cloves & Ambergris candle I went ‘Oh, my God!’ It is gorgeous — and this is the travel-sized version, which I think is a pretty healthy size, considering.

RATHBORNES travel size
If you or someone you know loves the light of a candle — and the fragrance — look no further, and join in with centuries of folks who lived their lives by the light of Rathbornes. Ooh, just got a shiver!

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Prices vary: €19 for 20-hour burning travel-size; €36 for 50-hour burning Classic; €54 for 60-hour burning Luxury.
Available in Brown Thomas nationwide, and at amara.com

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See candles.org for more candle lore.

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