Instagram Has Killed Blogging

Speaking personally: it is so much easier to snap and cap than it is to do this.

Nevertheless, I am feeling it again, primarily because I have two books in the can, and have the time/brain space to post. The first is my equestrian memoir, to be published in the autumn by Trafalgar Square Books, entitled Many Brave Fools: A Story of Addiction, Dysfunction, Codependency…And Horses; the second is a novel that’s a mashup of Regency Era Historical Romance + Paranormal, that I am pitching to agents at the mo.

Despite being ankle-deep into the second instalment in the latter’s series, I’m about to revamp, so it felt natural to pop over here and say hi.

Here’s me, upgraded to Business Class on the way home from the Christamas hols abroad

Hi! I’ve got a few things in train to post, but even now, I’m not making any promises…


PS Do visit my Insta feed, at right >>>>>


I Used It All Up: Julien Farel Vitamin Restore

I finally used up the last of this lil’ beaut: Julien Farel Vitamin Restore. It’s the first low shampoo I ever tried, and liking it so much I hoarded it for-basically-ever. It’s got hyaluronic acid in, as well as echinacea stem cells, and vitamins B, C and E, and triples as a cleanse, treat and condition formula.

Everything about it is neutral in the best sense: zero fragrance, no lather, and yet its effect is shiny, healthy, bouncy hair.

I wondered: exactly how many years has this been perched on the lip of the tub, waiting for an outing? How long had I kept in reserves for those days when I wanted a guaranteed Good Hair Day™ or I was simply not arsed to do the whole shampoo/shampoo/condition thang?

I thought about doing a search on my hard drive and went: Nah. Cannot be arsed to do that, either.

I did want to find more of it, so I googled it, and lo and behold. It is alive! My past self was there all this time, hidden in The Herald website, which deigned not to give me credit, but does at least still keep a record of my tried and tested days.

Upshot: I hoarded this stuff for three years. Is that nothing or is that mad? I am not that impressed, tbqh. Maybe next time I’ll do better.

(Just fell down the Julien Farel rabbit-hole: a haircut with the man himself is $1000. FYI.) (Buying this internationally may be a ‘no’; I think I’ll pick some up in NYC at Christmas.)


As regards the rest of that link: I quickly fell out of love with the Dermalogica‘s Ultimate Buffing Cloth. The length got on my nerves. I fondly recall both the Vaseline Spray and Go Body Moisturiser and Garnier‘s BB Cream + Blur — might be time for a run to the chemists…


Snap! Judgment: Vichy Ideal Body

Basically said OH MY GOD really loudly when I dabbed a bit of both of these on.


Both use active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and LHA which you’d be more likely to find in face creams, but surely the rest of our bodies can benefit from them as well? With 10 lovely oils included as well — among them passionflower, macadamia and jojoba — there’s an added sensuality to these products.

The oil smells like summer; the body balm is like wrapping yourself in a cashmere blanket. At €23 and €22 respectively, you might prefer to pick one or the other. I’d go with the oil for spring-into-summer action, and keep the balm for winter. It’s optimistic to think that winter’s over, so IDK, do what you think best.

There’s a serum, too, which may be the bridge between seasons…

Very excited to give these a proper whirl!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eh, yep, really did love this.



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


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

The No7 Advent Calendar {Deal With It}

Ooh, this is super fantastically gorgeous:


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!


Look, it’s almost Hallowe’en, okay?!?


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

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!




*Did that on purpose