OMChristmas: A Variety of Beautyfull Things

BUTLERS 7.95
Love, love, love this BUTLER’S CHOCOLATE Tree Ornament {€7.95} is fun, functional and delicious. Well, the stuff inside is; don’t eat the actual bauble. Like I have to say it, but you never know. Should figure in your decorative oeuvre for years to come.

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Mini Mani Month 2013-1
This is an advent-ish calender that works all year round: CIATÉ Mini Mani Month {£42} comes with enough nail polish to please even your fussiest manicure enthusiast. There’s 19 5ml varnishes, 1 large size paint pot, 2 bottles of Caviar Pearls, and 2 samples of glitter/sequins… which equals 24? Whevs: it is super cute, even if it can’t add.

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Aoife Harrison - Ivory Lace Hairband with Silk Flower - High
AOIFE HARRISON is an Irish milliner whose gorgeous headpieces are like confectionery for your noggin. Above is the Ivory Lace Hairband with Silk Flower, embroidered and studded with pearls — it is simply stunning! Prices range from €199 to €399; her work is stocked exclusively at the Design Centre, or go online at aoifeharrison.ie. A bridal heirloom in the making!

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Neroli Candle
Oh, YON KA PARIS, with your Neroli Orange Blossom Serenity Massage Oil Candle {€45}, are you trying to kill me? This is so pretty and smart: the little spout on the candle container is pure genius. No messing about with scooping warmed wax: just light, blow out the flame, and pour! Happy holidays, indeed.

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DUBARRY FLASK
DUBARRY Rugby Hip Flask in Walnut {€50} is perfect for the dudes, but why be sexist when you don’t have to? I would welcome this with open pocket.

That’s me done with gift guides for another festive season. Happy Christmas!

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OMChristmas: Dudes

I guess guys must think we think they smell bad, given that’s the majority of what we give them at Christmas … nah, just joking. Nothing like a fragranced male to keep the yuletide bright! Herewith are several gift sets for yer fella, a list which betrays my own personal bias towards the snuffle factor, and some skincare bits that are fairly burstin’ with testosterone.

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‘Snuffle factor’ being an actual industry term, which is a measure of the degree to which a lady wants to rub her nose on a man’s post-cologned neck. I could get a PHD in this, I am such an excellent calibrator of snuffle-ocity.
Zegna Uomo Classic Set High Res

ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA Z Zegna Uomo Classic Set {€55} contains Z Zegna 50ml EDT and a 100mls of  Hair & Body Wash. The scent dries down to yummy vetiver, patchouli and musk. I don’t know when we started calling cologne Eau de Toilette? Are they different things, or what? No idea, but I do know that causing your man to smell like a sexy Italian is no bad thing. If your man is already a sexy Italian, does he have a brother?

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NIVEA MEN REGIME
NIVEA MEN Regime {€12.99} is a great way to get your man into skincare without making it come over all girly. This set includes Deep Cleansing Wash 100ml; Moisturising Shave Gel 200ml; Rehydrating Moisturiser 75ml. It looks suitably masculine and as with all Nivea products, smells fresh and clean, so he will, too.

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L'OCCITANE CEDRE & ORANGEL’OCCITANE have a gorgeous box of South of France goodness in the form of their Cèdre & Oranger range for men {€73}. Included in this Star Gift Set is 75ml Cèdre & Oranger Eau de Toilette; 175ml Cèdre & Oranger Shower Gel and 75ml Cèdre & Oranger After Shave Balm.

I, er, made the mistake of cracking into it, and I really like it for myself — so if you, like, mistakenly use the shower gel, say, it won’t be that terrible of a mistake.

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ZIAJA €7.99The macho-looking ZIAJA‘s Men Set {€7.99} is a full-sized wonder for a travel-sized price. The cream absorbs superfast, and dries matte, so there’ll be no sign of the pampering that has just ensued. The rest of the line is as competitively priced as the lady stuff, so you could throw a few more products in, and if you spend €20, I’d be surprised.

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HUGO BOSS FRAGRANCE SETI would buy this for a grown-up nephew, or a brother or brother-in-law. The BOSS Bottled Gift Set {€60} is a modern, fresh, masculine combo of 50mls of Eau de Toilette and 100mls of shower cream. It is sexy, but not in a way that ‘s going to annoy your sister because you are giving it to her husband, or freak out your bro.

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007 FRAGRANCE SETThis is perfect for a medium-grown nephew, as I have heard that 11-year-olds are now giving themselves a splash of cologne before getting on the school bus. The JAMES BOND 007 Quantum Gift Set {€38} contains 75mls of EDT and Refreshing Shower Gel. The cap is a nifty twisty thing that adds interest, and the size is just right for those fickle tweensters, who will no doubt go about robbing their dad’s cologne (above.)

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Yon-Ka Men GiftSauce for goose meets gander: YON KA PARIS for the ladies is sublime, so surely it is the same for the mens? This For Men Gift Set {€40} come with Anti-oxidant and Energising Nutri-Moist creme and a travel-sized Lotion YK Aftershave in a fancy toiletry bag. I mean, a manly toiletry bag.

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OMChristmas 2013: Gifts That Give

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: Gift Sets That Are Fab {And Mainly Come in Tins}

…and are not lame, which I used to think gift sets were — back when dinosaurs walked the earth. As the human race has evolved, so has the ways in which brands present their ‘best of’ in attractive packages for the festive season.

^^^That’s all code for: this is a simple and easy way to gift, but you wont look scabby because all of this stuff is nice.

DrHauschka Daily Face Care Kit
DR HAUSCHKA Skin Care Essentials {€27.95} is terrific way in which to introduce your natural-cosmetic-loving loved one to the brand. I am a sucker for a tin or a box, and oh! the uses this container would get put to!

LRP
I love LA ROCHE-POSAY‘s Lipikar line, having had great enjoyment out of their shower oil. If you buy two or more LRP products from your local chemists, you’ll receive this gift box plus 100mls Lipikar Cleansing Oil. I can’t imagine a better value gift, and if you’re needing to spread the love a little, you can surely give the two products away in your office Secret Santy, and the gift box to a loved one. In any event, you will get so much love in return, as this is truly an excellent brand.

PAYOT design lift regard
I’ve not had much opportunity try PAYOT; their Design Lift Regard Coffret {€85} comes in a pretty little zippered case, and contains a healthy sample of Design Lift Visage face cream and sample sizes of eye cream, masque, Elixir Jeunesse, and Design Lift Visage, which is a skin-tightening serum. The sizes are perfect for travel, and like all high quality brands, you’ll get good mileage out of the the samples — less is more.

BENEFIT groovy kinda love
OMG, here’s another tin just waiting to be used to hold things! A Groovy Kind-a Love {€39.50} is full of fabulousness, including the now-iconic Porefessional and They’re Real mascara. BENEFIT have done it again in the gift-set department. And again:
BestOfBenefit
Best of Benefit {€29.50} is truly the best of the brand, and if your loved one is a heathen and not enamoured of tins, then this box will do nicely. The sample sizes are eminently portable, and will go a long, long way. You’ll get particularly excellent mileage out of the Boi-ing and the BeneTint. I mean, your giftee will. Yeah, the person for whom you bought this. Right.

Marine algae Gift Set €12.99
ZIAJA Marine Algae Spa Gift Set {€12.99} is a terrific introduction to the value brand. There are seemingly limitless lines, from grapeseed to shea butter, but I am a fan of this one, myself. Throw in a bottle of the Enzyme Peeling Treatment {€4.99} and for less than €20, you’ve given someone pampering treat.

BODY SHOP butter snowman
I consider THE BODY SHOP to have been one of the first to conceive of this form of gifting, and in having been in the vanguard, I find it can be easy to forget about them. Well, if you go for a browse in your local shop, you’ll be amazed that anyone could: the level of design and presentation continues to improve every year, as does the quality of the product. I literally went ‘Ooh!’ when I opened the Shea Scrub & Soften Gift Set {€29.95}. A 100ml body butter is paired with 50mls of scrub. This tin has festive potential for years to come…

SANCTUARY SPA @ BOOTS
Oh, Boots, how are we supposed to keep up! There are so many bargains to be had, I almost didn’t know how to choose amongst them, but I do love the SANCTUARY SPA brand. Here is their Top to Toe Glow Pamper Tin Gift Set {a tin, how surprising!}, and it is stuffed full of self-care goodness. Oh, I gotta list ’em all: 250mls of Body Wash and Body Lotion; Spa Skin Body Polisher; Radiance Exfoliator {100ml}; Fresh Faced Purifying Wash {140ml}; Spa Facial Headband; Pumice Foot Scrub {50ml}; Moisture Rich Foot Butter {50ml}; Spa Pedicure Foot File. Whew! It’s £19, and with the best will in the world, I tried to get the € price. I’ll convert, but don’t quote me on this: €22. Sure, with all the 3 for 2 deals that are going at the moment, whatever the upward difference may be is easily made up at the till.

R&G FIGROGER & GALLET 100ml Fragrance Coffrets {€39.75} in which you get matching 50mls of Shower Gel and Body Lotion. Choose from one of their four most popular scents: Bois d’Orange, Fleur d’Osmanthus; Fleur de Figieur or Rose Imaginaire. Sadly, not contained in a tin, but that box is super pretty — no wrapping required! Your new year of fragrance layering starts here.

MICRO Pedi gift set and components
Give a beloved foot enthusiast the gift that keeps on giving. At a special introductory price of €49.95, you cannot beat EMJOI‘s MicroPedi Gift Set. Look at all that! And look how cute the little heart is on the cover of the box, it’s like two little feet… As someone who is grossed out by feet, even I am adoring this.

Go forth and shop!

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OMChristmas 2013: Guaranteed Irish Gifting

GUARANTEED IRISH We are a small island, but we make a whole lotta stuff. It’s not all jam and rashers either — although! I can thoroughly vouch for the deliciousness of the brown bread that comes from Fitzpatrick’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, as I have scarfed that up myself during a stay there, reviewing Revas Spa for the Irish Tatler Spa awards earlier in the year. Must post about that here…

Anyway! I spotted a loaf during a recent presentation from Guaranteed Irish, a showcase of the very best that Ireland has to offer during the festive season. Everything looked gorgeous, and it was a revelation to see how well-represented the Irish touch is, in terms of self-care — and by self-care, I mean beauty products and candles. Candles are so important.

IRISH STILL LIFE 1I wanted allll the candles. Having been made familiar with the Cloon Keen brand, thanks to their presence in the Shelbourne Spa, I was happy to see them represented, and was also happy to meet a new brand, about which I will talk below.

I don’t even know what’s on this table, and I’d enlarge it but I was so overwhelmed, it’s a little bit shaky. Maybe not overwhelmed as such, just dead impressed at the lovely, lovely things arrayed before me.

Here’s more:
IRISH STILL LIFE

And here’s a small round up of things that I love, and think you — I mean, your loved ones! — will love, too.

IRISH BIA feed your skin
BIA BEAUTY Feed Your Skin set {€80} includes Mellow Mandarin Moisturiser; Orange & Grapefruit Exfoliant; Stop the Clock Eye Gel; Apple Blossom Body Butter; and Detox Body Scrub. All take their scents from essential oils, and the scrub in particular is terrific for treating cellulite. There’s more info at the Cork-based concern’s website on biabeauty.com.

GREEN ANGEL face cream set
O, seaweed! Is so awesome. GREEN ANGEL offer up their fab duo, Daily Moisture Face Cream & Night Cream {€39.99} I can personally gush about the day cream: it is so silky and absorbs perfectly, yet feels so rich. I love the little blast of aromatherapy too, as the Jasmine and Neroli are invigorating enough to give me a wakey-wakey boost in the morning, but not so much that I am bouncing off the walls. Go to greenangel.com to see the full line.

IRISH PIXY TEMPTING GIFT BOX €14.95
All of PIXY NATURAL SKINCARE’s Christmas offerings are priced under €20! I myself am tempted by their Tempting Gift Box {€14.95} which comes with a heart-shaped soap, two skin nourishing mini bath bombs, a creamy lip balm, and the Internet’s favourite Lime Body Scrubs, also heart-shaped, and a perfectly natural exfoliating treat. See pixy.ie for more well-put-together gift boxes.

LA BOUGIE
Ooh, LA BOUGIE! Also from Cork — what is going on down there, is it like the locus of creative beauty entrepreneurs or wha’? — the company present us with candles in an array of scent combinations that are spectacular. Pictured is my very own Sweet Pea & Pear 140g candle {€19.95}, and I gotta say, I am deeply attracted to the Ginger & Black Pepper and the Honeysuckle & Sea Salt. This bad girl will burn for 40 hours; there’s 220g versions that burns for 55! {€29.95} Go for the glow on labougie.com.

IRISH VOYA
VOYA is also a purveyor of Irish seaweed-infused products, and here’s three gift sets that pretty much are like their ‘best of’ collection of hits: the Organic Voyager Set {€40} features 75mls each of Squeaky Clean Body Wash, Softly Does It Body Moisturiser, Silky by Nature shampoo and Forget Me Knot conditioner; 1,2,3, Glow {€58} comes with a full-sized Ritzy Spritzy facial toner and Cleanse & Mend facial cleanser, and a mini 7ml jar of Me Time moisturiser; the Body Gift Set {€48} Softly Does It body moisturiser and Squeaky Clean body wash. Not pictured is the Hair Gift Set {€40} Silky by Nature shampoo and Forget Me Knot conditioner. The full complement of product is on voya.ie.

NAT'L PRINT MUSEUM FAIR
The Christmas Fair at the NATIONAL PRINT MUSEUM runs from 29, 30 November and 1 December; rock up on Friday between 16.00-20.00, and on Saturday and Sunday between 11.00-16.00. It’s free to enter, although your wallet ought to be lightened considerably once you clap your eyes on all the artistic, unique offerings. There are also make-your-own opportunities for all the family, although I’d say it’ll be a bit late to be hand-printing your Christmas cards, hmmm? See nationalprintmuseum.ie for directions and the like.

Also, for more creative goodness, check out TALBOT GALLERY & STUDIOS on Talbot Street, D1 and their Selection BOX exhibition. All the artworks are 12 inches x 12 inches and priced at €200, making for an affordable start/expansion of your collection. Find the list of artists here; I bought a picture a couple of years ago, and it’s really one of the nicest things you can do for yourself — loved ones! Loved ones! Everybody! Art is for everyone!

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