Tag Archives: LUSH

Festive ’14: Here We Go!

28 Nov

What few standards I have, I stick with, one being: no mention of The Christmas until after Thanksgiving. So Happy Black Friday, everyone: let the gift shopping begin.

FESTIVE 14!Let’s try that again: let the gift shopping begin!

I’ve got a load of ideas for lady-beauty prezzies, and even some stuff for dudes, that won’t tax your pocket or your brain. In the best possible sense, of course.

Gift packages have improved enormously over the past few years, and many of my favourite products are being presented beautifully this season. I’ve been shooting {‘shooting’} them this morning, and in a fit of meta-tasticness, above please find the pre-shoot non-styling.

I’ll have offerings from The Body Shop, Lush, Bulldog, Roger & Gallet and more, including some Guaranteed Irish products. Stay tuned!

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B&B! Q&A: Gabbi Loedolff, Lush and The SLush Fund

15 Jul

‘Our hope is that we can create a model that shows a different way to do business,’ says Gabbi Loedolff, a buyer for the SLush Fund initiative. Having started working for the brand as a sales advisor and then manager of Lush‘s busiest London shop, she moved over to working on Lush’s wish list of projects — and somehow found the time to study Anthropology.

She describes her current role as ‘a bit of a dream job: working closely with different communities around the world to understand their needs and potential and help them create truly environmentally, socially and economically sustainable projects.”
GABBI
Now with a new self-preserving formula, the little pot is still doing a lot of good: minus the VAT that goes to the government, the rest of the money made on the hand and body lotion goes to help grassroots causes whose focus is making the world better for people, animals and the environment. Over £7 million has been raised since 2007. In a word: wow. Gabbi spoke to us about how what she does contributes to the Charity Pot and about how one person can in fact make a difference.

Gabbi, can we get some background on you, and your previous work?
I grew up in South Africa and I started working for LUSH in 2001, whilst on a gap year before starting a new university degree. My initial plan was to travel around Europe, but as often happens, I ran out of money and decided to get a temporary job to save some additional funds. I applied to an advert in a newspaper, which led to a job at LUSH and, well, here we are in 2014!

It was during this time that I got the amazing opportunity to manage our charitable SELF-PRESERVED CHARITY POTgiving and launch the Charity Pot in its initial form, so this is a project that is very, very close to my heart. After doing our charitable giving, I did more retail projects before moving into the buying team in 2011. This was near the start of the SLush Fund (Sustainable Lush Fund) and I was fortunate enough to be involved from the early days: creating application procedures, choosing projects to support and actually visiting the groups on the ground.

I remember cornering Mark Constantine, the founder, back in my early days with LUSH to quiz him as to how we were supporting the actual producers of our ingredients, on the ground, and here I am, working on this very same question on a daily basis!

Which SLush Fund ingredient are you the buyer for, and what projects you call your own?
At the moment, I buy all cocoa and product packaging for LUSH, but have been involved with various other materials over the last few years. The way the SLush Fund is set up, I get to be involved with all the projects even if I do not directly buy the material at the end.

One of the projects I am most closely involved with is the cocoa butter from Comunidad de Paz San Jose de Apartado, a Colombian Peace community. We first came across the Peace community through our colleague Paulo Mellet, the man behind the SLush Fund. He told us about this amazing group, working to live a self-sufficient life of peace in an area riddled with conflict, and the challenges they faced.

It just so happened that they grow cocoa, which they struggle to sell on the local market, and we use 100s of tonnes of cocoa butter a year. We had been talking for a while about how to ensure full traceability on our cocoa and this seemed the perfect opportunity to not only support an amazing group of people but also explore a new way of buying cocoa. What better way to support people, as a cosmetics company, than trade based on truly fair prices? We agreed to buy a 25 tonne shipment, which we had sent to Europe to be processed into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

The relationship with the Peace community has continued to grow and thrive and to date we have bought about 7 shipments of beans from them.

How do you find new vendors?
Most of our partnerships to date have been people that have come recommended to us through the networks we work with. Some of the SLush funding has been to existing suppliers, like the Ojoba Collective that produce our shea butter, while others are completely new relationships.

When we are exploring supporting a new project, we have an application process which includes a detailed but straightforward application form. This application covers the aims, the proposed environmental, social and economic outcomes of the project, the background of the people behind it and we do reference checks too. The budgets need to be quite detailed — we have a limited amount of money and like to ensure that it is being used as efficiently as possible.

Can you talk about a day-in-the-life of someone who is producing a product you’re working with?
The Ojoba Collective in the Bongo Soe region of Ghana consists of around 400 women. It’s a very, very dry region and work is scarce. Before starting the cooperative, many of the women had to leave their families to travel south to try to find work. When we first started working with the group, they had about 40 members. Now, more than 400 women are part of the collective.

The women will finish their chores at home before coming to the processing site. Here they wash the shea nuts before laying them in the sun to dry. The nuts are roasted and ground before the real work begins: they beat the shea liquid, from the nuts that have been ground, until a creamy butter separates from the liquids. This butter is then filtered and boxed up ready to ship out.

The profits are shared equally amongst all the women — even those who have been unable to contribute during a period due to poor health or those that have become too old to work.

They attend literacy classes and have just started a shea tree nursery with support from the SLush Fund. By creating their own shea nursery, they are securing a source of Shea nuts for the future.

How do you see this sort of initiative growing over the next few years?
Our hope is that the projects we have already started will all become financially independent — generating enough income to run themselves without further support — and that we can continue to start new projects around the world. The absolute ideal for us would be to end up in a situation where all our materials are not only sustainable, but regenerative too. Our North American team have started their own SLush project, which is very exciting. For the projects themselves, my feeling is that they will continue to grow and that the amount of people benefiting from the work they do will increase.

It can often feel that, as one person, it can’t be possible to make a difference in the world — can you share some inspiring thoughts or a story that would encourage folks to keep the faith?
I am regularly amazed by just how much of a difference one person can make, and how wide their reach can be. One example is our friend Paulo Mellet, who sadly recently passed away. A dedicated activist and believer in permaculture, it was his inspiration and vision that brought about the SLush Fund. As a company, we were already working hard on sustainable and transparent supply chains, but under his guidance and through his vision, we have taken this so much further.

Another great example is a gentleman called Paul Yeboah from Ghana. He started the Ghana Permaculture Institute demonstration site on a small piece of degraded land. He now has a thriving site that offers permaculture training, grows mushrooms, processes moringa seeds into oil and also very visually illustrates to the local community how you can regenerate soil without using pesticides or fertilisers. They offer a micro financing scheme to women to enable them to start their own businesses.

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Lush Charity Pot: €16.85/£12.95/$22.95 (240g)

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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’.

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€32.50/£26.50/$52.95

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Danger! Cosmetics to Go: A Q&A with Mira Manga, Author of Lush’s First Book

24 Jan

It’s not so unusual, a beauty brand branching out into the world of publishing — sure, Bobbi Brown’s got several titles to her name. So when the call came to have a chat with Mira Manga, whose book, Danger! Cosmetics To Go is a look at the origin story of the Lush brand, I certainly wasn’t going to say no.

Particularly as another one of my hats is that of books editor for the Herald. I like to mix things up in the column, and especially like having the chats with other* authors. The Q&A with Mira can be found here, along with reviews of some other beautyfull books.

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*Other authors? Yes, indeed! THAT MAGIC MISCHIEF And it occurred to me that I have been talking about my most recently published novel, That Magic Mischief, many times this week. So, here ’tis! Available for download for whatever digital reader you currently own, this is a contemporary romantic comedy set in Brooklyn, but with Irish interest (as in the hero) and a paranormal aspect as well (as in a Pooka).

I’ve also got two more! Drama Queen and The Fidelity Project are also available for purchase from the Ether — and I reckon I was talking about all my titles because: thank God for digital! I’m especially fond of it as regards these two: printed in a short run, they would have disappeared entirely if not for the Advances of Modern Technology.

Something{s} for the weekend, so?

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I Used It All Up: Lush Lip Service

13 Dec

The reformulated versions of Lush‘s lip balms came out in March. I started using this, before bed, every night, since… let’s say 1 April.

LUSH LIP SERVICE

Eight months? That’s pretty good! If you only apply it once*, though. Still: even if you used it twice a day, four months out of this wee 8g, 100% recyclable tin — that’s pretty impressive.

I’m also impressed by the brand’s constant revisitation of formulae, as I’ve said before. The last version I used of this was really hard to coax out of the tin — the scraping required! The initial scratchy moments of application until the balm warmed! Not nice. This is much softer, more aerated, and it stayed completely fresh over those eight months, too.

Next up: Honey Trap

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€7.20/£5.75/$7.25

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*Who applies lip balm only once a day?!?!

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OMChristmas 2013: Gifts That Give

11 Dec

I played a game yesterday, unbeknowst to the charity muggers who were also involved. Instead of crossing to the other side of the road to avoid them, I tried to see how close I get to them and avoid eye contact — of course, whilst still saying ‘No thank you’ politely. I got pretty close! Then I felt bad, because they are only trying to do a job; and then I was like, but this whole notion of buttonholing people in the street to give money to help the less fortunate — surely there must be a better way.

Well, the below are a few beautyfull ideas in which to do so. I’m sure — I hope! — there are many, many initiatives that I have missed, as this post is somewhat cursory. Surely there are many big corporations out there who are working with worthy causes to raise finds and awareness. O.o

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ELEMIS was something of an inspiration for this post, as they recently reported having been able to donate £36,000 to GAVI (Global Alliance of Vaccines and Immunisations).

The money was raised through the sale of the very special limited edition 10th anniversary edition of their Papaya Enzyme Peel, about which I wrote here.* The donation provides 5-in-1 Pentavalent vaccines to fully inoculate children in Africa against five diseases.

You can still avail of this offer, while supplies last. Equally, the brand have an initiative for breast cancer: Think Pink Beauty Heroes {€42.20; bliss.ie} is a fantastic little zippered pouch of goodness, with travel sizes of five of the best of Elemis: Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm {20g}; Pro-Collagen Marine Cream {15ml}; Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm {15ml}; Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust {15ml}. Elemis pledged to donate £10,000 to the Breast Cancer Care charity to raise money for research.
ELEMIS charity gift

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L'OCCITANE Solidarity SoapL’OCCITANE‘s Rose Tenderness Solidarity Soap {50g} is €4, and 100% of profits from the sales of this special edition  will finance eye-health projects run by NGOs in developing countries. The L’Occitane foundation is particularly committed to supporting the blind and visually impaired, which I didn’t know! Learn something new, etc.

It’s a gorgeous wee stocking stuffer, and suits just about every lady and girl on your list. I don’t use much soap that comes in bars these days, but when I do, I am surprised at how long it lasts!

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GREEN ANGEL for barnardos
GREEN ANGEL ,the Irish seaweed beauty brand, have long been associated with Barnardos, offer up their Golfer’s Hand Repair Treatment gift set {€29.95} This handy {ha, ha} gift for the golfer in your life will help everyone. Including here are hand scrub, hand cream, and a bar of the especially great lavender soap. A percentage from sales goes to the children’s charity.

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LUSH‘s Charity Pot {€16.85/240grms} is extremely transparent: not the pot itself, but the way in which sales of it help fund projects. The guidelines and mission statement are right there on their website, with their specialist areas being the environment, animal protection, and human rights.
LUSH CHARITY POT
In the last financial year, the brand donated £340,000 in those areas.

Hello. That is pretty awesome. Do your bit to help by buying a Charity Pot for a pal. The moisturiser is made from cocoa butter: it smells deliciously chocolatey and so will you. Your pal will. Or your sister, or niece, or mum. Or whomever!

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*It’s the Enyzeme Peel in the wee photo that I’m talkin’ ’bout; not sure that the awesome toiletries case is still A Thing.

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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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Hallowe’en Happiness: A Miscellany

28 Oct

I LOVE this time of year. Love. It. Here’s a bunch of things that make me feel even more of the love.

DEALZ
Just everything in Dealz. Everything. This is the sort of stuff you can buy in a pound shop < using this as the catch-all term for ‘value-priced product store’ and not get The Rage because you don’t need it to last more than a day. Photo slightly blurry due to excitement.

LUSH pumkin
My lil’ LUSH Pumkin Bubble Bar LUSH soot ball {€3.50} didn’t make it through the post in one piece, but he was fated to be merciless crumbled under hot running water anyway. He made a glorious, orange-coloured, orange flower absolute and ylang ylang scented bath, full of froth and refreshment. The little guy on the right is the Soot Ball Bath Bomb who apparently will not turn the bath black. I don’t think I would have minded, just for the sake of novelty. He will, in fact, turn the water gold, and the scents involved here are frankincense, tonka and sandalwood. I may run out and get one while they last!

IMPRESS
Oh, if only I was capable of doing these super fantastic imPRESS Nails {€8}! My nail beds are so unsuited to these long and thin shaped yokes — I’ve tried, I’ve tried! May this inspire you to do a ghoulish manicure that you can then peel off as if it had never been there, just like a ghost.

GALIBARDY
Oh, yeah. I enjoy skulls in the general run of the year, and become fairly delirious around the end of October. This gorgeous piece of statement necklacery is via Helen Galibardy via galibardy.com… Soz, just got lost in the website all over again. C’mere, I think this cost about €50ish, I can’t remember because I don’t care, and I love it, and will wear it all year round, but with especial pride on the 31st.

Tesco Halloween CostumesCopyright Fennell Photography 2013
Have ye childer? And do you suffer from MARTINI 1999 cropprocrastination? I’d say you’re probs SOL at this stage, because if the costumes at Tesco haven’t been all snapped up, I’d be utterly shocked. I have a fondness for this Gold Witch Costume {€7} because A} witches; B} the pose reminds me of one of my better efforts at a costuming, which was the year {1999!} I and my pal Ames went as martinis. Simple and effective! We made skirts out of… taffeta? Sparkly something — organza? and I went with a twist, as you can see, made from wire and foam and acrylic paint.

And then we went to a party and we were the only people that had exerted themselves, which at the time hadn’t bothered me much, but I haven’t dressed up since. In the digging through the archive for that photo, I realise that I’ve never actually worn all my showjumping gear — the white jodhs and the shirt and the tie and the jacket. Ah sure: if worse comes to worse, there’s always my collection of crops…

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Happy Hallowe’en!!!!

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Mystery Lippy: What Could This Be???

26 Jul

DA LIPS?Those are some sleepy eyes: snapped this on my way into my part-time desgin gig, at the crack of dawn {8.30am} and cannot for the life of me remember what that lipstick is. Which is a shame because it’s lovely.

I am guessing it is Rimmel’s Apocalips in Apocaliptic, because that is my go-to, lightly textured, but richly pigmented hero lip colour of 2013 {thus far.} Or it may be Galaxy? I just checked here, and I think this may be the latter…

Or! It could be Passionate, from Lush’s Emotional Brilliance line, because I like that one too, when I’m feeling gobby, in the best possible sense. Actually, just checked this, and now I think I’m wrong about this, too.

Damn. Off to rummage through the archives and see can I dig this up…

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