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Mother’s Day 2014: Things That Spritz and Things That… Fits

24 Mar

Gift guides demonstrate the breadth of options one has when coming up to a big day like Mother’s Day {does anyone still call it Mothering Sunday, which sounds a little bit creepy?} or, they are prejudiced to the writer’s own preferences. This is a little bit of both. I like perfume, and I like things that are contained in other things, espesh when the container is ultimately useful in the future. I like all of these, and your mum may, too.

JO MALONE Rain & Angelica {€100} JO MALONEThis is one of four in the limited London Rain edition, hence the extra few bob in the price. The first hit of this is spectacular, truly infused with the freshness of rain. I pick up a little bit of pepper too, but that may just be my screwy nose (don’t ask me to talk about wine; I can tell if it’s red or white, that’s about the extent of it.) I just kept spraying it and spraying it on myself, because I kept missing the dry down — when I did get it, I was delighted for the wee blast of vetiver. This is lovely, but I will say it doesn’t have the staying power of some the classic JM scents.

Other scents in the collection include Wisteria & Violet, White Jasmine & Mint, and Black Cedarwood & Juniper, the last of which appeals as juniper = gin; also, the press materials claim that it has a ‘carnal touch of cumin’ in it, which — the mind reels.

LACOSTELACOSTE Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle {€60} This brand has always seemed preppy to me, which is mainly what they’re going for — that’s all in the way to say that sensual and little alligators haven’t exactly matched up in my mind. This is here to change yours: it’s got some amber notes in it, to darken things down a bit, and the bottle, as you can see, it designed to reflect the new tone.

It’s still sweet and yummy, though, and this dries down to a nougatine, vamilla-y vibe, so not too shocking a change. It’s definitely a touch more sophisticated — as in, less sporty — than the the original Eau de Lacoste for Women — but it doesn’t get completely down and dirty.

MUM'S DAY LUSH
LUSH Mum {€37.95} Talk about ‘what is says on the tin’! This container — yes, made of tin — is chock full of fun Lush stuff. Well, five seems like a ‘chock’ to me. There’s Dream Cream hand and body lotion, which is fab, and a trial-sized Gorgeous mosituriser for the face, along with four delicious bath additives, including a personal fave, the Secret Garden Bath Bomb. The tin is useful after mum uses everything up!

L'OCCITANE
L’OCCITANE The Exquisite Boudoir Collection {€17. with €40 purchase} I myself love a good coffret, and L’Occitane have packed this adorable, yet elegant box with five travel-sized products, including their glorious new scent, Neroli & Orchidee, in Eau de Toilette and body milk form. And you could even spend the €40 on mum — or on somebody else, ahem. You can now shop online at loccitane.ie, using the code VELVET, if you haven’t a boutique in your locality.

MUM'S DAY THE BODY SHOP
THE BODY SHOP Spritz & Moisture Basket {€22.95} Ah! A wee beach bag! Available in three ‘flavours’ — Satsuma, Shea, or Moringa — this contains a shower gel, an Eau de Toilette, and a sample of the brand’s famous body butter. Pictured is Satsuma, which I find to be refreshing and sexy, but the other two are equally good, depending on mum’s preference. Perfect to bring along on the big summer holidays.

FIT FLOPSFIT FLOPS The Skinny {€90} These also come in white, and look fab in either colour, I think it’s thanks to the cork-wraparound on the sole. White might go better with the above beach bag, but the red is so sporty and, I don’t know, yacht-y? Which may match nicely with the Lacoste perfume? If mum is an FF enthusiast, you won’t go wrong.

ROISIN CHOCOLATES ALDI
RÓISÍN’S Luxury Irish Chocolates {€9.99} From Aldi, these are delicious, and I can personally vouch for that, because I would never, ever recommend something without having tried it. Ever. So selfless! Anyway, this ‘fits’ because chocolates always work, for chocolate-loving mums, anyway.

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Lots of Love from LUSH: Literally

10 Feb

Yay! A cute box with things inside! LUSH are a prime purveyor of such containers, and as V Day looms, this goes both ways {ha, ha}: you can share the contents, or use them in anticipation of sharing their benefits, or encourage someone significant and otherly to purchase this for you, or you can treat your gorgeous self, as the case may be. Either way, you’ll come up smelling like a rose, with overtones of jasmine.

Bright, and beautyfull!
01 LOL BOX

Knot is knotty.
02 KNOTTY!
Thank God I wasn’t videoing this reveal, it took me ages to get that thing undone. The ribbon seems rather robust, for use in whatever way you may wish after all the bathing.

Is it me, or has it gotten smutty in here?

Time to clean things up!
03 LOTS INDEED
Now: these samples are excellently sized, which does matter. You’re going to want all the mileage you can get out of the Tender is the Night Massage Bar, which is the yellow thing with the pink flower on. The brand have improved the manufacture of their massage bars: in the past, it used to take about an eternity to get them to soften up. Aeration has made these more malleable from the off, and the scent is a blend of ylang ylang oil, Fair Trade vanilla absolute, and jasmine absolute.

Going counterclockwise, just for the craic:
> Neon Love Soap, made from soya yoghurt, is infused with the fragrance of fresh figs and passionfruit juice

> The invigorating scent of Prince Charming Shower Gel is down to its blend of grapefruit, sandalwood and geranium oils.

>I can vouch very highly for the Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner. It’s an in-shower body lotion, made with argan oil and rose oil > from damask roses, which are really sexy. It’s not rosy, like, you’re eligible-for-your-bus-pass rosy. The resulting super soft skin has to be felt to be believed.

> Sex Bomb Bath Ballistic! Jasmine blends with ylang ylang and clary sage to make your bath a sexy fizz-fest! Look how pretty!

Do with this information what you will. ‘Susan’ is a lovely name, meaning graceful lily, should you be debating same, down the road. Just sayin’.

***

€32.50/£26.50/$52.95

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Tried & Tested @ The Herald: Groom-o-rama

9 Jan

This is a piece about some serious grooming tools to spruce you up for 2014.

The intro, however, applies to a splurge-o-rama piece I wrote, in conjunction with a best value column, and neither seem to have made an appearance on t’internet. Ah, well. My weekly reviews appear on Tuesdays, if you want to be all analogue about it.

Below please find the foot-care extravaganza that is the Emjoi MICRO Pedi 12 Piece Gift Set.
EMJOI GROOMING
I hate feet, but love this. Just goes to show: keep an open mind, and you too can wear shoes with an open toe.

***

Soz, still jet lagging and a bit bonkers with it.

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Lucky Thirteen of 2013: The Year of Disposable Knickers

8 Jan

I was extremely fortunate last year, and enjoyed spa experiences up and down the country. I think the only corners I didn’t get to visit were down in Kerry and up in Donegal. Well, okay, and the very bottom in Cork, and maybe there is someplace in up in Antrim that would like my kind attention to their matters of mind, body, and spirit.

Not bein’ smart: it really is beneficial to all three to go and get some class of treatment somewhere. I wrote this in a burst of gratitude and guilt, and it still holds true. Self-care is important, and under the below circumstances, it ain’t cheap. The thing that is good though is that those local to such places might like to join the mailing lists of such posh spas — you never know what sort of deals are going down. That will cost you nothing…

***

REVAS SPA fitzpatricks
I went to REVAS SPA in Fitzpatrick’s Woodlands Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick, less than a month after I’d arrived back home after my dad passed away. Since his mum was from Limerick City, I am not discounting his hand in this gig, and indeed in all the spa treats I got this year. This came up somewhat last minute; lots of internet organisation ensued, as I was going to have to get the bus to the train to the bus to a taxi to get there. Would it all be worth it in the end?

It would, even with the usual but-the-website-said unreliability of information on our wee rock. I had expected to leg it off the train for the bus, because that’s-what-the-website-said {is Bus Eireann’s the worst website in the world? I think so!}, but yeah, no. I did have enough time, though, to go light a candle for my dad in his mother’s parish church, which, given time, space, generations, and an ocean, was kind of like a miracle.

My treatment at Fitzpatrick’s was kind of like a miracle, too, mainly when it was over: I got tucked into a daybed, wrapped in fleece, given fruit and a healthy beverage, and left to lay there. I would still be lying there if I had my way. It felt as relaxing and decadent as anything I’d ever done, swathed in warmth and feeling entirely relaxed. I had the Essence of Fiji treatment, which involved full body exfoliation, massage, and a facial. Prior to that, I enjoyed the freedom of the Thermal Suite, which, to my mind, is as important as anything that is to transpire in the treatment rooms.

I felt that their suite, while well-appointed, was a little down-at-heel and in need some sprucing up — and then I found the mahoosive outdoor hot tub, and much was forgiven.

I will also say that the spa is a significant distance from the main body of the hotel, which is something of a buzz kill. Otherwise, everything else was fab, from the room to the food to the service. Also, having been able to drop the name of a dear pal in Dublin who is originally from the locality — well, that didn’t hurt. Heart U Éire!

***

SPA SALVEO knockranny
Speaking of my ancestry. My great-gran on my dad’s side is from the Ballyhaunis area, and the invitation to spend a couple of days at Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, to avail of their Wellness and Radiance Ritual also seemed eerily apt. All I remember is that they use Kerstin Florian products, that the massage got down into the marrow of my bones, and that I saw God {She’s gorgeous.}

Well, okay, that’s not all: SPA SALVEO has garnered many awards lo these many years, and it’s easy to see why. The thermal suite is compact but complete; the pool is a decent length for getting your laps in; there’s a jacuzzi type set-up in a corner of the pool that is seriously strong and feels great; the staff and practitioners are welcoming and well able to deliver an unforgettable experience.

The hotel itself is enormous. When I was heading to my room, it felt a bit like The Shining, with its seemingly endless hallways. The room itself had more furniture in it than I would sit on in a week, much less two days, and the bathroom was stunning. I love a good bathroom.

As well, the food and service was spectacular. This was a large gathering of beauty journos, and it was utterly the craic. The train back to Dublin was a hungover post-party conveyance, with the majority of carriages filled with sore-headed folk returning after a weekend of debauchery in da Wesht. Couldn’t have asked for a better crowd with which to travel.

***

MUCKROSS PARK cloisters
When I was designer for lady magazines, I would routinely do layouts for spa awards, and inevitably would be working with the photo above, and would inevitably yearn to be there. CLOISTERS SPA in Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney is another one of those multi-award winning venues, and I wrote in full about it here. I just transported myself back, through time and space, to their outdoor hot tub. *Sigh*

***

SPIRIT ONE radisson
I interviewed Emer Gillen of Elemis here, about the tenth anniversary of Pro-Collagen Marine Cream’s launch, and about various other skincare related matters. There, too, find my review of the Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial in SPIRIT ONE SPA in the Radisson Blu Galway, which also involved the massage of shoulders, hands, and feet – which is genius, because I always find myself yearning for a facial when I get a massage, and a massage when I get a facial…

This was another big beauty journo bash and once again the craic was had. Did I mention that on many of these jaunts, I am able to bring a pal? A pal was brought along on this one, and we got breakfast brought to the room, and sat around and chatted for ages — for so many ages that the front desk actually rang to see if we realised we had to check out.

***

FRANCE le petit dejeuner
Oh, bon jour! This was a big trip, to the South of France grace á EAU THERMALE d’AVÈNE, to the town of Avène-les-Bains, to avail of their therapeutic bath treatment and learn more about the spa, and the products in which the water figures largely.

I had met Bao-Tan Pham, head marketer for the spa’s brand, and have a Q&A with her here. She accompanied us on the junket that incorporated not only the benefits of the spa, but the indisputable delights of cold champagne on hot Mediterranean nights, chats, and gorgeous, delicious food.

The treatment itself is shown to greatly reduce the severity of skin conditions like psoriasis, and is beneficial to burn victims, too. I was the de facto translator, and I did très bien, thanks very much. The bath itself was only twenty minutes long, but oh! what a comprehensive twenty minutes it was. It was followed by a shower that sprayed at us with varying degrees of strength, and then we all got to lay down and sigh in room full of loungers that overlooked a typically Southern French landscape. Le bliss! My skin was so clean and clear that I felt the Avène products that I used, when we were done, were working even more effectively than I had known them to work previously.

One night, we went out to eat by the sea, and the man set fire to the fish:
FRANCE le grande motte

And on the last day, we sat and moaned on the rooftop terrace of a truly stylish and fabulous Montpellier boutique hotel:
FRANCE montpellier roof top pool

***

I zipped down to Kilkenny, a town I adore, for an overnighter in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, to give OASIS SPA a look in. I was to try their Ginger Renewal, an 85 minute treatment incorporating {ha} scrubbing, rubbing, and wrapping.

Service was a little funky, as the hotel is in receivership, but the place itself is being kept in great nick. Below, as perfect an autumnal view out of a hotel window that it is possible to gaze upon:
LYRATH grounds
Now, back in my days of designing spa awards pages, I downloaded many a photo of hot stone massage, which looked like a stupid and useless treatment, because the stones were laid down the spine, and what, left there til they cooled?

Uh, the therapist actually rubs the hot stones all over your body? Am I the only person in the world not to know that? I was too zoned out to laugh at myself, at that stage, although I am sure I made a noise. I suppose they are used to it, but I’ll take this opportunity to apologise to all the aestheticians at whom I grunted and gurgled in 2013.

Anyway, look at this.
LYRATH outdoor jacuz
I clearly have a fetish for containers of water placed in the out-of-doors, because here’s another hot tub that opens out into the wild. This is maybe the best one because you don’t have to entirely leave the building, so less feeling vulnerable in your togs. It’s more like a pool than a tub, too, and you can drape yourself over the edge and ponder the shrubbery as bubbly water massages your bod, and cool air wafts over your face.

***

So, fingers crossed for 2014, but also: do investigate deals and such, especially of the day spa variety. Leaving is always a buzz kill, but most of the relaxation areas were worth their weight in gold — espesh at Revas, and at Cloisters — and even when you have to drive away after, you’ll have given yourself a really fantastic treat.

Also: brides! Ask for this on your registry!

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Lucky Thirteen of 2013: Cheekiest Q in a Q&A

22 Dec
LADYCARE MAGNET

Magnet! Oh!

Also: this was one of the top traffic-generating posts of the year as well. This B&B! Q&A with the creator of the LadyCare Magnet made a change from my usual run of querying, and apparently Derek thought Q#2 was pretty funny.

Not funny: hot flashes! Night sweats! This little genius knocks ‘em right out. Can’t recommend it more highly.

I used magnets to great effect when treated The Horseriding Injury, the story of which I am sure is linked in the above link. I tend to forget to keep using them, even though I should, as the the tendons continue perilously easy to induce enflarement upon. <Wow, what? In the same way, I suppose I should wear this all the time, but I don’t think I need it everyday. When I feel the surges about to descend again I just slap in on my undies — and trust me young wans, this shit is unmistakable, even as, like me, you won’t have experienced it before. It’s all ahead of you! Bwahahahahaha!

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OMChristmas 2013: Wow! Hatbox from LUSH

19 Nov

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! This happens every year: the press releases start rolling in, in September, and I get all, Oh, Christmas is miles away…; and then the launches start, and I think, Hmmm, time is flying!; and then the day comes when it is mid-November and I go Shite! There is like six weeks to go! Let the scrambling begin!

LUSH do a great line in beautifully designed and packaged Christmas gifts, and this has to be the most spectacular of them all, ever. It is crazzzzzy full of their signature holiday stuff, mainly in the bath ballistic/bubble bar line, as the freshly-made scrubs and cleansers wouldn’t make their sell-by dates.

LOOK:

WOW INDEED

In actual real life:

photo 1

That’s how big the box is. I had initially taken a photo of the box with a pencil lying on the floor, because… I don’t know why, because people used to use pencils for scale, much less writing? I can’t even believe I had a pencil in the house! Then it occurred that the pencil was ridic, and I used the Snowman instead.

I was so eager to paw through this that I didn’t take any photos of the interior, so will have to do this the old-fashioned way and use my words. There are three stacked trays with 32 individual compartments, in which resides each product, and the whole shootin’ match is full of styrofoam beans to keep everything from getting smashed. The assortment includes shower gels, bars of soap, bath melts, lip tint, lip scrub, and an array of the ballistics and bubble bars, and couple of body creams.

Since I’ve finally figured out how to run a decent bath in this place I am living — because the immersion is like the size of my kettle — I took several of the bits for a test-bathe. It was so hard to choose!

> I loved the look of So White and wanted very much to be in a tub full of whiteness, just like Cleopatra and her famous milk baths. It was, for about two minutes, and then the core was exposed, and turned the water a really dark red. I wasn’t mad about the scent, either.

< Hearted Father Christmas tonnes, even though I hated to see his merry smile fizz away. He’s a bit fruity, stuffed full as he is with mandarin oil and orange blossom absolute; don’t tell Mother Christmas…

> Wasn’t crazy about Cinders, and didn’t feel that the popping candy, which is embedded in it, worked all that well. But! My skin felt stupid silky afterwards.

> Adored unconditionally Lord of Misrule, which renders the water a deep, dark green, and the fumes rising off it are imbued with Fair Trade vanilla absolute and patchouli.

> Also very much loved the Christmas Eve Bubble Bar. I have not liked the bars much in the past, but this is where Lush really do stand out: they keep improving all their formulae, and I must say, this has really gotten better. Much better bubblage than before!

LE BOMBS

Fab Four: Father Christmas, Lord of Misrule, Christmas Eve Bubble Bar, Bombardino

> I am deeply swoony about the Snowcake Soap, which is evocative of marzipan, which I only like in small doses. Not so this! Big doses of this soap, please!

> I was also taken with the new Rose Jam Shower Gel, but not so much with Snow Fairy. The former has some lemon oil in it to give it a bit of bite; the latter is just too sweet for me.

> Also was hearted, big time: Bombardino. Based on an aprés-ski Italian bevvie, this is full of Sicilian lemony goodness, and made me want to drink the bath water, which is disgusting on so many levels.

Barely scratched the surface! There is so much clean in this big box, and so many different textures and ‘flavours’, it’s the perfect gift to not only club in on with, say, three other family members, but you can also get away with buying this for a bunch of nieces, and not look scabby. Seriously, I’d say it’d take two people the guts of three months to go through all this, if not longer!

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING…

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Okay, wait for it — €169.95/£129.95/$249.95.

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I Used It All Up: Dove Purely Pampering Body Cream with Shea Butter and Warm Vanilla

11 Nov

On the very day that I Used All V329158_PS1340-C1of the above Up, I went to get me brows did, as ever in HD style at Carter Beauty, Blackrock. The lovely and talented Katie and I were nattering about product, as ya do, and she mentioned how much she herself loved this particular body cream. What are the chances!

This is a little tub of goodness and great value: at €6.49 RRP, and even though I was hoarding it, this really did last a relatively long time. I mean, if I used it every day it would still have lasted ages. And when it became apparent that this was going to join the IUIAU crew {that is the worst acronym ever}, I tried to UIAU faster, but it simply wouldn’t allow me to do so.

But eventually {sob} I did indeed make it all go away.
DOVE PURELY PAMPERING goneso

Katie says she found this to be a miracle product for extending your self-tan, which, even as winter prepares to get its grip on us, is still an issue, given all the holiday parties about to erupt on the scene.

I love Dove, and have always been a fan of the classic bar of soap: it feels so soothing going on, and the scent of it is so clean. I have not been much of a fan of shea butter in the past, disliking its smell immensely. I think the warm vanilla ingredient has mitigated that nutty shea nutshell smell in this case, and combined with whatever that essence it is that makes Dove smell so fresh — well, it’s a winner.

And texturally, for a product at that price point? Amazingly rich, but with excellent, smooth coverage that absorbs quickly. A miracle!

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Bee Nice to Your Bod: The Body Shop’s Honeymania Line

18 Oct

My favourite term of endearment is ‘honey’. I don’t know why, it just is! And it’s not something I ever gave much thought to, until I was lucky enough to avail of allll the bits of the Honeymania line, that The Body Shop have recently laid on.

Made from Fair Trade honey sourced in the Ethiopian rainforest, this honey has a social conscience, and also exhibits the benefits of the natural moisturiser, without being sticky and unwieldy. Here are the products, in descending order of love.

Honeymania Body Butter
Many have raved about the brand’s body butters, but this is the Body Butter {€18.95} that has convinced me. It has just the correct amount of honey fragrance, so you smell inviting, much like the original blossom to the original bee, but you won’t be walking around making people wonder if they’d not like a nice cup of herbal tea. Fantastic coverage and day-long softness — this claims to impart 24hr hydration, and it’s one of the few that I’ve tried and tested that comes close!

Homeymania Bubble Bath Melt
This should have probs come before the Butter, in the interest of fragrance layering, but the Bubble Bath Melt {€13.95} isn’t something I’d avail of every day. Just writing about it now, when there is manky raining pouring down, makes me want to fire up the immersion and run myself a tub. This is as near a dammit to the texture of edible honey; it froths up fantastically under running water, and the bubbles last for ages. Heart this deeply.

Honeymania Beeswax soap The Soap {€3.95} is great for the fragrance layer-ers amongst us, and this too bubbles up nicely on your exfoliating mitts or your shower puff. Again, not so overwhelmingly honey-scented — just the correct amount. It has the added bonus of being glycerin-like, so when it dries, it doesn’t leave much residue, which doesn’t leave one with a sense of waste and mess. I have three soaps on the go at the moment, and I keep reaching for this one. I will use this until it is the very sliver of its former self.

Honeymania Lip Butter
We all now about my issues with baume pour les levres, so no one is more surprised than I that I am not completely mad about this Lip Balm {€7.50}. It is good, once applied, but I am having an issue with the texture — slightly gritty — and the scent — it is a bit much in this incarnation. Once it gets where it is meant to go, it feels soft and lovely, and will probably pay dividends under the mistletoe this holiday season. Is your Honey a sweet-aholic? They will be very happy. {The restraint I have exhibited just there!}

Honeymania Scrub
My least fave: I found the Body Scrub {€18.95} to lack enough scrubby bits in it, and its texture was far too slippery, under circumstances that were slippery enough already. If your skin is so, so sensitive to a common-or-garden scrub, I think you may find this to be gentle enough.

***

See thebodyshop.co.uk or thebodyshop-usa.com for prices in £ and $.

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B&B! Q&A: Sabrina Lucey, Cloisters Spa, Muckross Park Hotel

5 Sep

SABRINASabrina Lucey is head therapist of the award-winning Cloisters Spa in the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney. Eight years into her career as a beauty and massage therapist, she’s worked in television for such programmes as Ireland Am and Xposé, and she’s been loving every minute of it.

At Cloisters, she says she’s ‘fortunate to have a team of excellent and experienced therapists, who are all highly trained in all aspects of conventional beauty treatments.” They also are proficient in holistic massage, reflexology and many other alternative treatment, so you’d be spoiled for choice.

I myself was fortunate enough to have experienced a new treatment, the Wilderness Ritual, which featured a full body exfoliation with tailor-made body scrub, followed by full body application of body butter, and a massage using essential oils, administered via sea shells. I am just about crying, looking back on it now.

I chatted with Sabrina about certain aspects of this terrific experience, which totally puts the treat in ‘treatment’.

I know we’re supposed to exfoliate — and believe me, I love it! – but what exactly are the benefits, for face and body?
Simply put, it keeps the skin soft and glowing. Buffing the dead skin away will keep your pores from clogging, which keeps acne under control — both on the face, and on places like the back. It also speeds up your skin’s natural renewal process, and helps your moisturizer penetrate even deeper.

Getting rid of the dead skin cells helps with skin discoloration and unevenly toned skin — and if you keep up a routine, your skin will not only be visibly brighter, you’ll be keeping fine lines and wrinkles in check.

Can you tell me about the scrub and the body butter you used?
In Kerry I wanted to source something local, and met Alice from Skellig Soaps, at a Christmas shopping fair. I wanted an exfoliator that involved our signature scent of Lemongrass and Lavender, and Alice combined these two and created our exclusive scrub.

The oil I use in the seashell massage is her creation as well, and combines Ylang Ylang, Rosewood and Jojoba oil, which is very relaxing on the skin.

And I also know that essential oils are good for us, but don’t know exactly why…?
Essential oils have been proven useful in killing off viruses, bacteria or other pathogens. They are also considered to be powerful anti-oxidents.
They also can act on the mind, as well as the body: when the brain’s limbic system is stimulated, the realeas of neurotransmitters such as pain-reducing encephalin, pleasure-producing endorphins, relaxing serotonin, and stimulating noradrenaline, encourage the body, and also the mind, to chill out!

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So, how was it?
CLOISTERS poolMy first thought as I descended the long, spiralling staircase down to the spa was, ‘No wonder they keep winning awards.’ If you’re going to set the stage for luxe, ensure that your guests feel like Scarlett O’Hara — albeit in a towelling robe, rather than swathed in the curtains — as they enter your domain.

It is all about relaxation in the thermal suite: that pool is not for laps, something that I always have a grá for, but I was happy enough paddling around for a while. The big draw is the outdoor hot tub: the bubbles were the correct amount of froth and warmth, and as the Blue River lazily wound its way around the back of the spa, l let go of some tension I hadn’t even been aware I’d been holding onto.

There are numerous places to lounge, and a sauna that I highly recommend. That hot tub, though, had my name on it, and I dunked myself back in until it was time for the treatment.

Now. I am am avid exfoliator, and equally as assiduous in applying lotions and potions on the bod. But let me tell you, there is nothing like having someone else do these things for you. The full body exfoliation with the lemongrass and lavender scrub was as thorough and aromatic as it gets — more thorough than I could ever manage for myself. A quick shower to rinse it off feels like it may be a bit harsh on the mellow, but the mellow is fully regained when the application of the body butter ensues.

Then, the shells. I eyed them somewhat dubiously when I arrived in the treatment room, but they are so effective. The shells had been warming throughout the exfoliation/body buttering, and were the perfect temperature by the time it was their turn in the process. They felt pretty spectacular: used to apply pressure to the body, they felt firm but not too hard on the muscles; they worked out several knots that I had been walking around with, and bunch of others I hadn’t known were there.

As always, it was over all too quickly, even though the session is the guts of 90 minutes. Afterwards, I was lead to one of the daybeds in the relaxation area, given a light treat of almonds and a smoothie, and left to breathe deeply under a muslin-canopied day bed. Bliss.

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The Wilderness Ritual is €150 for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and includes full body lemongrass exfoliation, Cloisters Body Shea Butter application, followed by an 80 minute warm sea shell massage.

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Muckross Park Hotel & Cloisters Spa
Muckross, Killarney,  Co. Kerry.
T: +353 (64) 662 3400
F: +353 (64) 663 1965
E: info@muckrosspark.com

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Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Smudged: Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse

30 Jul

So many things happening here.

CLARINS DELECTABLE MOUSSE

>Delectable? Because it’s a mousse? Is this meant to work inside out? {Noooooooo! Do not eat this, Credulous Reader!}
>Mousse? I am used to my non-edible mousse coming out of an aerosol can, or a pump thing.
>It’s white. A white cream. That smells very self-tanny.

It was not love at first sight.

I very haphazardly, with disdain, rubbed this all over my belly. I didn’t want this showing, because due to the smell, I reckoned this would be majorly orange, and not fit for human sight.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

In these days of instantaneous tan, we may have forgotten the virtues of colour that comes up in its own good time. Clarins have got a pretty good thing going on in this wee jar, and I admit I treated it with disrespect. Mea culpa: the warmth of its toasty brownness was perfect, and the streaks that resulted from my derisive application were all my own fault. My belly was brown for the guts {ha haaaaa} of five days.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

Seriously, though, the scent needs work, and a tiny bit of hue in the cream — the wonderfully textured cream, it has to be said —  wouldn’ go amiss, particularly for those among us who routinely go amiss with their autobronzant, even when giving it all due respect {Me.}

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Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse, 125mls, €35

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