I Used It All Up: Clinique Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

Hello, phone — meant to do that.

At €32 for 15ml, it doesn’t seem to be much of an investment, but I am so tempted to scrape out that little bit that’s left. CLINIQUE’s Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm is a limited edition, and I liked it so much, I limited my application of this edition — counter-intuitive, I know, because shouldn’t you be using something you like? — but rationing it out made it last for almost six months.

Naturally, I have no before image. It looks like a tin of Vaseline, only richer and whiter, and the smallest scrape of a fingernail yielded enough to cover the face and a bit of neck, once warmed up in the palms. I never used it during the day, although one can, on one’s rough patches, and the directions suggested tissue-ing off any excess after ten minutes if using before bed — not me, I went for the full overnight intensive experience, and loved it.

That small size made it extremely easy to take along on trips, which = duh, but I have a whole slew of minis that are designated for travel, so I never think to bring along anything that I consider to be part of my serious regime. That’ll learn me!

Also: this feels clean, if you know what I mean: not sticky, not heavy, and I woke without feeling like I needed to scrape it off my skin. I highly recommend this little beauty!

***

€32/£26/$Not finding it in the States?$

Beauty For a Snip! Cien at Lidl

Despite being rebranded, I have long admired the cotton pads for sale in Lidl. Iseree, Cien? Eh, just don’t take away my love, dudes.

Beauty products come and go in the global discount supermarket chain, but Cien‘s new line that’s taking up permanent residence from now on.
CIEN makeup launch
I’ve given the lippy a good going over, as well as the lip gloss, and both are excellent. I esepcially love the Rich Magenta (fourth from left) because it is just the right amount of pink without being too hot or too rosy.

Equally welcome is the new haircare range:
CIEN haircare launch
You can get the full whack for less than a sevener, and it is really stands up to anything that you’d buy in the €15-20 range, particularly for a keratin-infused concoction. In this case, the Intensive Repair Mask is my fave, as I love little better than a good hair mask; take this one for a spin if you are a fan of co-washing, it is so good.

For those of us who like to impulsively fling a new lippy into the trolley, you {we!} can now do this with abandon…

***

{Co-washing, you say? It’s using conditioner only, without shampoo, something that those with fine and super curly hair swear by. My version is more like condition, shampoo, condition, and it’s worked a treat. I also find that this gets the best out of those good-for-you, but hard-to-use sulfate-free shampoo/conditioner duos. I find them pesky because of the low-lather, which makes my fine hair explode like bamboo shoots tossed into a wok. As ever, YMMV.}

The Nose Knows: Some Things That Smell Good

I love a good summertime scent – it’s the fragrant version of the summertime song {for me, this year it’s Christine and the Queens’ Tilted} {listening right now: j’adore!}

NUXE BODYIn terms of perfume, why have one fave if you can have several, including one that’s a body cream — and one that’ll transition you into autumn? I ask you.

This is pure perfection if you feel like spritzing even the lightest EDT is too much. NUXE BODY Relaxing Fragrant Water {€30} is a typically delicious offering from the French brand. It relies on notes like Coconut Sorbet, White Flowers and Wild Vanilla, but to me it smells very much akin to their beloved Huile Prodigieuse. That has a host of natural ingredients as well, with the Sweet Almond leading the way. Gorgeous and light, you can spray your whole self without fear of overwhelming yourself or anyone else; the bottle is quite heavy so I doubt you’ll be carting it round for top ups, sadly.

Did I say almond? ULITMATE BLENDS delicate oatI clearly have a grá for it. GARNIER‘s Ultimate Blends Body line is, well, in line with its haircare regime, so fragrance-layering lovers will be delirious with the possibilities. Delicate Oat is comprised of oat milk and white almond cream, and the 250ml version of the Soothing Hydrating Lotion will only set you back €4.14 at Boots. The feel is total luxury, I-spent-a-bomb-on-body-lotion-am-I-crazy, and the scent lasts most of the day. If it’s that hot out, I do tend to skimp on the lotioning as it feels icky, but luckily we live in Ireland so it is not often that much of an issue. There’s an amazingly rich Multi-purpose Soothing Balm in the same flavour that I’ll be hitting up in the winter.

The line also features Honey Treasures, Mythic Olive and Marvellous Oils {Argan & Camellia} if you’re not an almond enthusiast.

MICHAEL KORS coralJust looking at this makes me feel like I’m about to go fora swan along the Riviera. MICHAEL KORS Coral {€109/100mls} presents all light and fruity and festive, with just enough musk on the base to keep me interested. I don’t go crazy for girly-girly scents usually, but the grapefruit note has just enough bite, and it complements a sexy sandalwood dry down. I adore the bottle, which is kind of masculine, all square and formidable, and I keep it out on my dresser, which I almost never do. I just love looking at it. Staying power is only okay and this size isn’t exactly portable, either; I’d go for the handbag-friendly 30 ml for €55, tbh.

JML Basil & Neroli Campaign Shoot 1
Nothing like a JO MALONE launch to get the heart racing. There’s so much going on with the new Basil & Neroli, yet is so beautifully blended you’ll come away from it merely thinking ‘lovvvvvve’. The basil, of course, reminds us of the iconic Lime Basil & Mandarin, but whereas that is pure springtime joy, this is a more complicated light/dark concoction that lends itself to be ambiseasonal {I coined that at the launch and immediately tweeted that shiz}. It is also pansexual — not just for gals/gal indentifiers. It is glorious for everyone, with the neroli adding its signature bitter oranginess, and some vetiver in the base to give it heft.

The campaign is a nostalgic 60s black and white affair, but the scent is anything but. Plus! There’s a body creme and a candle, your whole life can be layered in this gorgeousness. The prices are as usual, 30ml is €54, 100ml is €109, Body Crème goes for €65 and the Home Candle is €52. The scent launches in September — too late for summer, you cry? Eh, not so much, given we’ll be getting a last blast of heat about mid-month {fingers crossed!}

***

Undergoing Renovation

…and not sure about that Cersei-esque holding image but hey — let’s go with it for a wee while. { Also not sure about the way it’s looking on mobile… I’m due new photos soon, so we’ll see what happens. }

BRB with new posts, additional themes, and more photos up my nose as I re-enter life post-Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning Diploma. Yay!

***

Time Out of Time: Lusty Beg Island

Take time out, they say. It’ll be grand, they say. Truth: there is nothing like a nice weekend away, much less one that involves pampering. I’m honoured to have been hosted at spa hotels all over the country, but the sensation of being on an island almost exactly in the middle of this island added even more of that special feeling of ‘being away’ than I’ve experienced so far.

Lusty Beg Island sits in Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh. The drive from Dublin to Enniskillen was a manageable 90 minutes-ish on the bus, and travelling from the depot to the island took about half an hour. When we crossed a bridge onto Boa Island, I was a tiny bit bummed and said to the driver, ‘Oh, so… this is like Achill? You can just drive on?’ He said, ‘You’ll see,’ and in moments, I did: after going up a boreen (okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t a dual carriageway), we came to a dock, and zipped onto a tidy little two-car ferry.

It was a journey of less than five minutes, if that, but once we disembarked, everything changed.

Lusty Beg Exterior (11)

Lusty Beg accommodation — one of the many options

From the Irish for ‘small lodge’, Lusty Beg was once home to monks, and within moments, I felt like I was stepping in their contemplative footsteps. Even with all the accommodation — 40 rooms, and an assortment of chalets, lodges, cabins and apartments — I felt like I had the place to myself. Even after having a lovely lunch in the bar, and seeing actual other people in the place, once I left to get my treatment, I had an uncanny sensation that I had the whole island to myself.

***

THE SEAWEED BATH

Deep bath + VOYA seaweed = bliss!

I am masso fan of Lazy Days Seaweed Bath from VOYA, as I have described here; in fact, this was one of the very first products I ever blogged about. I haven’t had one in ages, so the chance to enjoy one, practically at the source, wasn’t something I was going to pass up. I’d already had a facial in the Island Spa that used VOYA products, and as such was pretttttty relaxed, but the soak in the seaweed-infused water finished me off, in the best possible sense.

There wasn’t a toxin left in me by the time the 30 minutes was up — and I didn’t actually make it for the full time. The tub, straight out of a sexy, renovated TV-decorating show bathroom, was long enough for me to stretch out in, and I added a bit of hot and cold water as necessary… but the drinking water from the pitcher that was set tub-side ended up going over my head to cool me down, as much as it went into me. I crawled out to take a break, and just as I was about to go back in for more, the knock on the door landed. As much as I wished it could have gone on forever, half an hour was in fact exactly enough.

I made my way to my self-catering log cabin (the kitchen was nicer than the one in my apartment), didn’t bother unpacking, and sat myself down on the couch, because:

THE VIEW

Utterly relaxing, rain…

And the next day, I spent a good few hours there again, because:

THE VIEW2

…and shine

***

It’s not all seaweed baths and contemplation: there are numerous activities to avail of as well, of the casual adventure-type — although, having said that, the off-roading probably gets pretty hairy; from my own experience in the speedboat, don’t eat before embarking, because even if the lake’s not rough, which is was when I was taken for a spin, then the speed may make you want to vom.

THE BOAT

Yeah, okay, it looks as smooth as glass — it was not

Or you can try archery for the first time ever in your life and MAYBE HIT THE BULLSEYE.

BULLSEYE!

BOOM

***

I adore a good illustrated map.

LUSTY BEG MAP

I literally didn’t even get to explore anything but the long skinny part #GottaGoBack

I can’t recommend the place more highly: it’s perfect for families, couples, solo travellers, you name it. Don’t bother thinking you can have your wedding there anytime in the new few years though, someone told me they’re booked out ’til 2018 — and I can’t imagine a better, low-key, fun, beautiful place to get hitched. See here for all the ins and outs and special offers, but honestly rain, shine or hail (I am pretty sure we got a little dose of that at some stage), this is one of the better breaks I’ve ever had — and I think it shows:

GLOWING!

Relaxed and glowy

***

I Used ‘Em All Up: Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes

This is surprising, because I have long been suspicious of the micellar trend, and have never been all about the wipes. As regards the former, I found that most of them didn’t do the job they promised to do when it came to eye make up, and generally left an icky, sticky residue; in terms of the latter, I hadn’t come across one — and I’d come across many — that didn’t make me feel like I’d just rubbed a Dettol Floor Wipe all over my face. I tended to use all those unusable wipes to clean my horseriding boots, tbh.

But cometh the hour, cometh the wipe.

SIMPLE micellar

Loved these. They’re refreshing give, they give good cleanse, and they ~feel~ really clean. There was no way they were going to end up in my tack box!

I didn’t find them to be totally effective on the eye makeup (once again), but I used these to take off the first round of foundation, and to remove any lingering traces of whatever else was on my face that day, and they were perfect for that. The wipe itself is sturdy yet soft, and the micellar water was in no way sticky or stripping.

I also went for these in the morning for a nice pre-shower wake-me-up (Some days, it’s necessary).

They entirely lack alcohol, perfume and colouring, and come with vitamins B5 and E. Bonus!

It’s about time that the convenience of the wipe met good skincare practice. And in fairness to micellar water, I think the technology is advancing in this case, too…

***

€4.99/25 wipes

***

Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Scents

I know that shopping for scent for someone else is tricky, but I think these are the best bets if you’ve got a fragrance junkie on your list.

MICHAEL KORS
White Luminous Gold, Radiant Gold, Brilliant Gold 30 ml, €55 / 50 ml, €79 / 100 ml, €109
MICHAEL KORS
When I first received these to test, I immediately chose the the spicy, musky, deep floral Rose Radiant Gold, and wrote off the the other two. And then I thought, ah, sure, in the interest of fairness, give the White Luminous Gold a go — and it’s lovely, with a really sexy jasmine/amber dry down. And then when I was taking the photo, I gave the 24K Brilliant Gold a spritz — I like it toooooo: this one smells the most ‘expensive’, like the limo is going to pulling up at the door as I swing on my fabulously expensive car coat and slip elegantly into the back. Or whatever. The packaging is pure contemporary luxe, and the variety in the scents on offer is sure to suit someone you want to splurge on.

JO MALONE
Candle €52, Diffuser €74, Limited Edition Pomegranate Noir €105
JO MALONE
I sigh. The range has changed and expanded, but the essence of the Jo Malone brand remains the same: delicious combinations of scents that you’d never imagine would work as well as they do. I’ve got a candle on the go at the moment, and it’s been going and going, with a fragrance that lingers delightfully long after the flame has been extinguished. I’ve also got a diffuser that I’m hoarding until I come back from hols, but expect to get a good six months out of it {74 ÷ 6 = 12.33/month! Cheap as chips!} And what can I say about Pomegranate Noir except that it is legendary, and this year’s LE bottle is just beautiful. If I had to choose a scent for the candle, I’d go with the White Jasmine & Mint; for the home diffuser, I’d be thinking ahead to spring and suggest the Lime Basil & Mandarin. I am totally dreaming of a fragrant Christmas…

NEOM ORGANICS LONDON
Limited Edition Christmas Wishes Scented Candle €42/One Wick Christmas Wish Home Collection €54
NEOM candle and gift setGlorious scented with mandarin, cinnamon & tonka bean, NEOM’s Christmas Wish candle makes the home smell like the inside of a holiday bakery, without any of the fuss or mess {hate baking, me}. If you’d prefer something zingy, then the Perfect Peace candle will do the trick as it is loaded with pine, myrrh and lime peel. I’m new to this brand, and it’s been one of my highlights of the year: I enjoyed a Happiness Wellbeing Treatment at Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic in their new premises in Leeson Street, and it was spectac, and of course used products from the line — more about that later! I’ve also had help Zzzz-catching with Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist, a blend of English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine {27.45}. The box on the left is a generous gift of a candle and a bottle of Home Mist, not only because of the quality of the products, but also because you’ll be introducing someone to an excellent brand.

L’OCCITANE
Pierre Hermé Paris Limited Edition: Jasmin-Immortelle-Neroli €68
LOCCITANE NEROLI box
I’ve been keeping this in mind since the press launch way back before we all started wondering where we could find an ark-building course. With a value of €89, this blend of jasmine, the essence of the immortelle flower and the ever-popular orangey neroli results in a girly yet sexy scent. The set includes a 75ml Eau de Toilette, 250ml Body Milk, 50ml Shower Gel and 50g Scented Soap — perfect for the lady who likes to layer her fragrance. There’s also a Pamplemousse Rhubarbe collection, which is more towards the cedary, vetiver-y end of the spectrum.

GHOST GirlGhost_Girl
Eau de Toillette €34.50 / 30ml
I flagged this back in the summer and I still can’t imagine anything more appropriate for a teen or tween on your list than this little number. The classic fragrance brand have added this youthful scent to their line, and this is as young as it gets: it’s got a sharp, bright, fruity initial tone that only reluctantly deepens into something richer. The dry down is like watching an adolescent who has been told to go upstairs to do her homework take… each… step… one… at… a… time. This is entirely appropriate for such a youthful fragrance. My inner teen thinks she’d probably wear this, so it’s all good. Tiny bit pricey for girls on a budget, though, so be a good grown up and treat a niece/babysister/young cousin.

***