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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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Gift Guide 2015: Sally Hansen and Make A Wish

7 Dec

Here’s a great way to get the holiday giving underway. Sally Hansen and Make-A-Wish Ireland have teamed up this year to give someone on your list, and a child aged 3 to 17 years, lovely treat. Buy the specially-branded Miracle Gel Duo and the charity will receive €0.50 for each sold.
SALLY H MAKE A WISH
The duo is priced at €14.95, which is a fiver of a saving for you, and the monies raised for the charity go towards making wishes come true for terminally ill kids. You can find this thoughtful deal at all good pharmacies nationwide. {Don’t ever shop at a bad pharmacy.}

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The tree ornament came with my press sample and isn’t part of the deal, which is a pity because it is pretty cute.

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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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{Insert Hand Pun Here}*: LUSH Salted Coconut Hand Scrub

12 Oct

Back on beauty duty! I’ve been editing my ‘horse book’, which required not only fingers on the keyboard, but also mind off everything but it. Stay tuned here and here for news as to its future as a published/virtual reading object. Or book, even.

I’m not so handsy, as in, always reapplying hand creams or worrying about manual moisture. A manicurist once told me that my hands were LUSH salted coconutnaturally hydrated, which explained why a dose of hand cream never really seemed to make a difference. Exfoliating/scrubbing, though? I’m always up for a good scrub.

Enter Salted Coconut Hand Scrub by LUSH. I am quite addicted: the scrub is gentle if you dampen your hands first, or slightly rougher if you use it on dry paws. The latter is my preferred application. Post-rinsing with water, it’s like you’ve gotten your baby hands back — so soft! The sea salt gets in there and dispenses with dead skin, while the coconut oil makes sure that the skin that’s been uncovered does not dry out.

LUSH hand scrub inside
It’s not the prettiest looking petal on the product flower, but it’s terrifically effective. I’m following the same exfoliation rules with this as I would with any other scrubby stuff, and use it three times a week max, but am not sure whether or not that matters. YMMV, and if you have very sensitive skin, I’d suggest going to a local LUSH shop and trying it out before you commit.

Also, it smells exactly like Play-Doh, which could go either way for people. I love it!

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€10.95/£7.95/$15.95

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*Did that on purpose

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Dr Rescue to the… Rescue

21 Jul

I make no secret of the fact that my nails are manky: my nail beds are shallow, my cuticles grow like weeds, and now that splitting has entered to repertoire, they are simply hopeless. Can this new line of nail product from Maybelline make a difference?
DR RESCUE balm
I love the idea of a ‘lip’ balm for my cuticles and SOS Balm Nail + Cuticle Care is new one on me, and the promise to moisture brittle nails is one that I’m going to hold it to.
DR RESCUE the balm
The actual application is slightly awkward given the flat surface, which doesn’t glide as well as it ought. Applying some to a finger and transferring it to another finger is a fair enough solution, if slightly messy. After one round, though, my cuticles were shiny with health, so that makes up for the awk.
DR RESCUE all in one
There is a separate Gel Effect Base Coat which provides the look of lacquer and a CC Top Coat which helps to whiten and brighten the nails, but if I can do something All-In-One, that is always going to be my choice. This is a base, top and treatment and it’s the way I’m going to go.

At €5.99 for each, you can DIY your manicure for about the same price as you would in salon, if not cheaper. We’ll see how my manky nails and I get on!

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Beautyfull News: Clarins Paris, bliss, CND, The Body Shop, Botanics

23 Jun

CLARINS PARIS Mission Perfection Serum {€60}
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I always love trying a new serum from Clarins, but this isn’t inspiring my adoration — not like the Double Serum did. Specifically targeted for age spots, BN 16 06discolouration and dullness, and redness, it doesn’t feel nearly as fluid as a serum ought, although the scent of the cherries is pleasant in the extreme. I’m using this at night, and dreaming about delicious fruit salad — JK, although I do feel like I’m dropping off more pleasantly than usual. We’ll see if it makes a difference to my skin.

bliss triple oxygen radiant protection energizing serum {€73}
*****
My very first facial ever, in life, was one of the Triple Oxygen persuasion in an actual bliss spa, in NYC. It. Was. Amazing. This? Is. Amazing. Too. It’s for anti-aging and smoothing fine lines, and is loaded with Vitamin C and cruciferous extract, which means maybe I can bin the kale? It feels like a teeny tiny face lift, about as good as you’re going to get without going under the knife: my skin feels markedly tighter every time I use it, which is first thing in the morning. Better than espresso!

CND Solar Oil Nail & Cuticle Conditioner {€10.95}
****
CND are doing an incredible line in nail varnish, but this is my hero as far as the brand is concerned. Be prepared to undergo something of a healing crisis: once you begin daily use of this, your cuticles will start peeling and clearing up well within 24 hours. It takes some time to absorb, which is a good thing, unless like me you keep it by your keyboard so you’ll remember to use it. It gets all over the keys, even when I wait and think I’ve given it enough time to sink in. Nevertheless, the best thing ever for raggy, snaggly cuticles. You can get it on cloud10beauty.com.

THE BODY SHOP Virgin Mojito Bath & Body Limited Edition {€Various: €8.95-19.95}
****
A replication of the famous cocktail for your body, the line includes body sorbet, splash, butter and scrub, minus the alcohol, sadly — it is pretty delicious, even without the rum. I prefer the body butter to the sorbet — the latter feels very sticky to me. Love the scrub, and am in like with the body splash and hoping once we get to know one another better, we’ll really have something. In general: super fresh and invigorating, and it’s got a sort of old school vibe to the fragrance? It feels like high school, in the best possibly way.

BOTANICS Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm {€8.66}
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I generally have mixed feelings about balms. As much I want to love them, the texture just seems terribly messy to me, unless I’m lolling in a bath and can sweat most if it off. Also, my bath only has a free-standing basin sink and the water just gets everywhere. This didn’t change my mind much: weirdly green in colour {probs from the olive oil in it}, the tub is very small {70mls}, and if I had been wearing a full face ‘o’ make-up, I think I would have made serious inroads into the product. It’s good for a first pass at the face, but I had to do another cleanse to feel really clean. I preferred this in the morning, as the scent is gentle yet invigorating.

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SHINY! essence Gel Nail Polish

5 May

While I generally dislike when a name brand insistS upon being lower case (I’m looking at you, too, bliss), it doesn’t translate into dislike for the brand itself. essence have launched a new line of Gel Nail Polish that promises to be super shiny without all messing around with LED and UV lamps.
ESSENCE GELs
These! From left: love is in the air, prince charming, and ever young. Also, all in lower case. Grrr. There’s a base coat and top coat which are option, but I would certainly opt for them, as I expect they make your manicure last that much longer.

I haven’t tried these yet because as ever, my nails are in rag order. They basically suck, in fairness. HOWEVER: I have found a New York style nail shop around the corner from me, so may bring in that gorgeous lemon yellow one and have it professionally applied to my toes.

There are 46 colours to choose from, and at only €1.79… well, need I say more? Base and top coats will run you €3.09. Amazers!

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Available at Penneys and pharmacies nationwide.

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Banishing Winter, One Nail at a Time

20 Jan

I am done with this cold weather malarkey. I banish you, winter! Away!

Right, so, whatevs: let’s show winter we mean business.
No7 GEL LOOK

Hello, pretty. On our left is No7 Coral Crush, on our right is Sweet Lilac. Both are from the Gel Look line of nail varnishes on offer, which promise one stroke of durable, shiny goodness.

My nails as usual are in rag order — although I must blog about my NYC New Year’s Eve mani/pedi experience, it was boss — so I won’t subject you to their nastiness.

Just meditate on this lovely image, and do pick some up and give them a try.

I saw many a Boots stand in a variety of drugstores in Manhattan, go have a look and see if they are there!

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No7 Gel Crush Nail Varnish, €9

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Oh, The Relief! CND Solar Oil

21 May

CND SOLAR OILI’ve been away from my desk for the last while — working at desks in offices, and ahem, away for the weekend in the South of France — and if there was any sound indicator that I haven’t been sitting in my own seat, it’s one look at my cuticles.

I’d have to put up some sort of trauma warning if I was to post a photo of them. Like the WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT that the Daily Mail often trots out. {Yeah, tell me you don’t often visit the Sidebar of Shame.}

They are in rag order, and the reason they are is because: not at my desk, where all my nail treats live. They live here because since I mainly work from home, and because I am so bad at tending to my nail health, it seemed like if I kept them right next to my computer, I would actually use them.

This plan works, when I am actually here.

Anyway! I just applied a healthy amount of CND Solar Oil: Nail & Cuticle Conditioner, and if my nails could moan, it would be in ecstasy. They were being all ridgey, and the cuticles themselves were raggy and growing at a pace that threatened to cover my nails completely. This was like bathing them in a pool of joyous angel tears — I can feel the benefit already, and the oil hasn’t even sunken in fully.

As oils go, this is not that oily! I literally started this post directly after brushing on the treatment. Sweet almond oil meets vitamin E in a blend that is light, and feels like it’s healing all the way down to the bed of the nail, in addition to rehydrating my poor cuticles.

As ever, with any quality product, a little goes a long way, and €8 for the bottle is a snip. I am just about ready to go another round…

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Eau, How Lovely! Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture in Eau de Rose

6 Feb

I am once again trying to mind my manicure, and am {once again} at the ‘healing crisis’ stage. So, you know, overlook the rubbishy-looking cuticles, and less-than-perfect application << I got so excited to see this on the World Famous Super Model Thumbnail™ that I rushed my fences. But looooook:
YSL EAU DE ROSEI just love it. Neutral without being invisible or greige! Not that I don’t heart a good greige — I am not a complete heathen — but this delicate little touch of pinkiness is very welcome.

It does go on a bit thick, so make sure that your bottom coat is on and dry as a brick. If only I had taken this advice!

Whatevs, just really love this, and when my nails are sorted once more… well, I’ll probs bring this to a proper manicurist* and get it done right.

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€24/£18/$27

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*Any recs?

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