Top Twelve of 2012: Lucky Number Thirteen

I was just this second reviewing my list, and I gasped aloud: there is nothing on it to do with The Hair.


HYDRATING STYLINGAnd then I remembered that I was in fact going to laud the seemingly implausible qualities of Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream. So let’s just call this Lucky Number Thirteen, and then we’ll get on to the business of the rest of the list.

‘Seemingly implausible’ because, as the owner/operator of fine hair, the notion of putting anything as heavy as a styling cream on post-blow dried locks is like, why not just stick your head in a vat of goo?

As I reported here, I took the risk, and I have to say, the risk has paid off in spades since April. No matter that I use styling oil, and have gotten one of those Keratin hair dryers*, I still get flyaway strands that want to do what they do best, and flyaway. This tames them, and also imparts that signature Moroccanoil fragrance, which is powdery and clean, and one other thing that I can’t quite put my finger on. Possibly the thing itself from which Moroccanoil is made, like a nut or something?

Hang on.

Okay. I have plenty of stuff that has argan oil in it, and they don’t all smell like this. The Internet was sharing all kinds of links with itself when I Googled, but most of the links had to do with other products {reading is fundamental, mentallers} including the nut one, so clearly I was confused, too. We all get confused sometimes. Glass Petal Smoke — a site I will certainly be bookmarking — breaks it down to white amber and musk. I am huge fan of both, so there ya go.

So, two more things I couldn’t put my finger on. Also! Totally forgot to try it on damp hair, pre-blow, as I had vowed to do in the previous post. That will be top of my New Year’s Resolution List, right below ‘world peace.’


*OMG Keratin blow dryer thing. Have you heard? I’ll be back with that anon.

Festive Form: All the Things in LUSH

First of all, Mr Punch soap has gin in it.

6092-Mr-Punch-Full-640-x-587It’s €4.25 for 100g, which, depending upon your relations, may be just right, or… or not. In addition to the gin, there are cucumbery, melony notes, that all activate once you hop in the bath.

Gin is made from juniper berries, which are no-brainer ingredients for the natural cosmetics company, since juniper berries are natural and grow on… bushes?*

Here are some samples from the extraordinarily comprehensive, beautifully-wrapped line. Funnily enough, two out of the three contain a gin-based product!


Christmas Party {€10.25} has no gin in it. But still, it looks fun, and would be perfect for a young lad, or a Secret Santa work thing.


Jolly Hollydays {€32.95} comes with six products, including an Each Peach massage bar, and 100gs of our ould pal, Mr Punch.


‘Twas The Night {€64.95} is so, so pretty. It is the essence of a sophisticated Christmas, via its packaging alone. Your loved one can re-purpose the box as well, it is so well made – which it would have to be, since it is chock full of stuff. I’ve raved about the Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner in the past, and there’s a massive Angels Delight soap moon, too. And! you guessed it: the thing that has the gin in it.

No gin was partaken in the writing of this post, which I am sure you were wondering.


*Bushes and trees.


I don’t even like gin.


Festive Face: Who’s Under Pressure?!?!

I feel the reindeer breathing down my neck.

SONY DSCGet back to basics with Matis Fundamental Gift Set {€69; worth €107} — you get — I mean, the person for whom you are buying this will get a full-sized Fundamental Beautifying Cream, and samples of the Lift Effect Gel, Radiance Revealing Serum, Avantage Initial, and Youth Hand Cream SPF10. The container re-purposes as a jewellery box!

CLINIQUE black tie violets2

What could be better than Clinique Bonus Time? A Clinique gift set the like of which you see here. Black Tie Violets {€70} comes with all that lovely stuff — that little wand-y thing is a lower lash mascara — in a typically lovely wee bag. I can personally vouch for everything except that bottom lash mascara, and give a very special shout out for the eyeshadow, which blends beautifully, and makes the eyes pop {not in a scary way.}


I’ve got an eternal fondness for BeneFit packaging, and this is a new fave, because She’s So Jetset {€39.50} comes with PoreFessional and the legendary They’re Real! mascara. You also get a 4-shade eyeshadow palette, a lip gloss in Life on the A-list, and some face powder.


If you know anyone who is really good at putting on false eyelashes, here’s an attention-getting pair: Dior Grand Bal Limited Edition False Eyelashes {€26}. I would pay someone to apply them for me, as I am not so good at them. Sparkly! {And sold out in BT’s Dublin, so ring round if you are after a set yourself.}

Festive Frontage: Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless

My shoulders have gotten some lovely definition from the horseriding, and I’ve gotten my collarbones back, too, which is: wha’? I don’t know, but I’m happy enough, and want to show them off this holiday season.

At this stage, I revisit the horror that is the strapless bra.

If it’s not one failure, it’s another. It feels too loose. It feels too tight. The cups don’t stay up. The cups are squashy. It digs into that place under your arms. It either feels like some kind of medieval torture instrument, or you don’t trust it. If you can’t trust your strapless bra…! Total nightmare.

Here’s a dream come true.

WONDERBRA 2The Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless packaging boasts that it ‘feels like you’re holding yourself in place’. I immediately thought to myself WTF, that is ridic — Oh, right.

It must be some function of that extra X chromosome, but I admit to hoiking up the ladies every now again, when debating a boob lift. They always look so nice that way! So the notion that a bunch of scientists did a bunch of Science to replicate this action makes me think that Science is finally making good use of Its time.

Quit searching for the God particle, lads! Make me the perfect strapless bra!

And so they have. Now, this thing is structurally sound in the extreme, in that you can’t fold it into itself to stick in the drawer. I tried and I felt like I was compromising its architectural integrity. So I’m keeping the yoke it came upon, because I don’t want to do anything bad to this, ever.


It really fits. It doesn’t pinch, it feels like it’s going to stay in place, and in fact, it does stay in place: in the interest of my own scientific inquiry, I danced around the flat and the shizz did not budge.

The thing is, those scientists — or was it engineers? — anyway, the brassiere boffins made these polycarbonate hand-shaped structures that are moulded into the cups, negating the need for that pesky, pokey underwire. Wearing the bra is exactly like you are cupping your own boobs*. Don’t dwell on it too much, trust me; and trust me on the fit of this thing, it is spectac.

I do feel that it doesn’t really do the pushing-together thing that I need for optimum cleavage, but it makes up for that in stupendous support and comfort.

Hmmm, I guess this isn’t really a gift for anyone but yourself? Whoops!


The Wonderbra sizes from A to F! €46/£24/$54

* Helen Mirren, Oscar dress, felt like boobs were cupped by the hands of angels? How far back in time is that event? My brain, and its cray cray storage system.

Festive Flippin’ Amazing: Hampers & Co Christmas Selections

Hampers & Co The Ultimate B 1

Look. At. That.

Before I go any further, okay: it costs a grand. That would be One Large in The Wire-speak. But! If you have many siblings, or close cousins, and you all want to club in together, depending on how many you are, it could cost you only €100 to get your parents, or your parents + aunt & uncle, this massive, flippin’ amazing hamper.

Look at it! There are eleven bottles in it, and I am not talking bottles of spring water. Bollinger Champagne! Jameson! Red and white wine, and port, and creme liqueur!

Coffee, tea, jam, cakes, choccies, cheeses, biscuits for cheese, nuts, decorations! Christmas crackers, relish, mustard, dressings, Fancy Serviettes — a Fancy Serviette holder! I could go on and on, because I adore this thing, this inanimate object. An inanimate object, that in fairness, is animating me beyond all sense.

Plus: THE HAMPER ITSELF with which you can go somewhere pastoral and pretend that you are in an episode of Downton Abbey. OMGGGGG.

What is that little tin, bottom right, the one that looks like a wee suitcase? I love it. {I suspect it is the Walker’s Shortbread Fingers.}

I love everything here, unconditionally, and with the whole of my heart.

So, yeah, I know, €1000, but seriously, embark upon my plan and you cannot fail. And there is enough to share out, frankly, amongst three pairs of parent-y/aunt’n’uncley adults, the ones who always so hard to buy for, you just have to legislate for who gets the hamper, which could get ugly — but if you bring it forward as your idea, I’d say that’s all the argument you need.

The hamper is, essentially, your intellectual property. You can tell ’em I said so. {However, I am not available to mediate any negotiations. Nor would you want to hire me, because my fee would be the hamper. Bwahahahaha.}


Hampers & Co interactive brochure is here. I could ‘leaf’ through it all day long.

Festive Fellas: L’Homme Sport Coffret from Roger & Gallet

I wrote about Bulldog back in September. What was I thinking??!? Sheesh. Anyway, good stuff, and I had a dude try out the Original Shave Gel, and his  review consisted of, ‘Yeah, it’s good, I like it,’ which in dude-speak = overwhelmingly positive. So enter the way back machine here to see the whole line. {September?!?! What was I thinking??}

Let’s think about this, instead.

R&G HommeSport Coffret RRP€39.00This is very sophisticated packaging, which is not surprising as Roger & Gallet routinely produce gorgeous containers for their products.

L’Homme Sport has that fresh, citrus-y top-note thing happening, which makes it sporty, I guess, but it’s also got peppercorn hanging out in the blend as well, which is terribly exciting, for those of us who like things to be rather… savoury.

Back to the package {LOL}. It’s really clean, and the designers did a great job of making this fresh and manly, just like the fragrance. The fella in your life that might like to smell good, but feels self conscious unwrapping toiletry-type stuff, will be completely gratified by this gift.

As will you!



Festive Feet: Pixy Pedi Gift Set

Ooh, what could this beeeeeeee?

It is a clever and cute giftie from Pixy, Ireland’s natural beauty brand. Based in Co Cork, they’ve made a splash — ha, ha — with their bath bombs and bath muffins, bringing not only jobs to the south, but also clever and beautiful products for the rest of us to try.

I love the bit of ivy! Well, you know, it’s not real, but everything else about this is. The foot scrub is loaded with cocoa butter, and the peppermint foot cream with… yeah, you can figure that on your own.

Adorbs! I’ve also gotten my hands on a Pixy Dream Gift Set, which includes one bomb, one muffin, a shower mousse that comes with one of those scrubby yokes, lip balm, body oil, and a slice of soap — the last being my fave of all things. I suspect it will last me a long, long time. Added bonus is that it makes the whole bath smell lovely, but doesn’t overwhelm.

There are loads more on their site at, and you could pretty much sort out all the female members of your family, and possible all your pals as well.

Shipping in Ireland is free for orders over €50!


Pixy Pedi: €16.95
Pixy Dream: €29.95

Festive Face: All is Bright Lip Glaze Set from Stila

What is anyone going to do with eight lip glazes?

What’s anyone not going to do with eight lip glazes?

Seriously, this is like the gift of gorgeous lips for every occasion.

Stila Lip Glazes were new to me, mainly because the brand has had a spotty presence on this island. That’s all changed, and I was delighted to get stuck in to this yoke.

From left: Jack Frost, Jingle, Holly, Jolly, Joy, Splendor, Black Cherry and Sugar Plum. The last two are available all the time; the first six are limited edition.

The brush applicator allows you to apply the glaze with precision. Glaze is not gloss, although these are way glossy. You can’t just feck this on — well, you can, but then it’s not going to look its best.

So: brush applicator on the top of the pen, and you dial up product as needed. Each one smells lovely, and I tried the Jolly and the Black Cherry. Both have really good pigment; the glaze is, by nature, pretty sticky, so don’t eat a bun and expect everything to be a-okay; I am gong through both at a rate of knots.

Biggest appeal is the delicious scent. I wouldn’t be wild about overly fragranced things that go on the face, but these are subtle and delish.

Price-wise? Amaze-Christmas-balls, because I have seen these bad gals for €18 all on their own. This kit is €24/€24.99/$25. From sparkly to matte, from dark to light, this is a variety pack at at its prettiest and most versatile.



Festive Form: FIVEPOINT Gloves from Etre

Is cold! Can you want for Santy? I think not!

And what better way to assess the giftability of something than to try it yourself? {I fear this will be a defining characteristic of this gift guide…}

Behold, Etre FIVEPOINT Gloves in Oxford Blue Fairisle with Pearl Tips: Lambswool.

What is the big deal, apart from them proudly declaring you to be a Sarah Lund-ite?* The big deal is that you can keep these gloves on whilst texting, tapping, and generally interacting with your Smart Touch-screen device. Incorporating contactwoven® technology, you don’t have to peel off to log on.

This is a big deal for me! I have a pair of Etre TouchyWool Gloves, and they were grand — the forefinger and thumb are essentially topless, but even that little bit of exposure to the elements was a little unpleasant.

These work. I didn’t believe it either, but they do. Navigating is a doddle, texting/tweeting is a bit trickier, but I suppose practice makes perfect. If nothing else, I can swipe and switch my tunes without having to wrench off a glove.

Also: excellent unisex prezzie. Bonus!



See to buy, and for many more beautiful products.

*Yeah, okay, so, it’s not Faroese, but still: jumpery, and also retro, is Forbrydelsen enough for me.

Festive FREAK OUT: Time to Shop for Christmas!

It took me waaay too long to figure out a signpost-y theme for the 2012 Bright & Beautytfull! Gift Guide. Too many years in editorial? Too many years in America? < meaning that I was subconsciously adhering to a ‘don’t speak of Christmas before Thanksgiving’ which is completely irrelevant nowadays?

Whatevs: we’re going with Festive: Name of Category, and I am done freaking myself out about it.

And then I started thinking, Hmm, all your categories start with the letter ‘F’, you know, and than I started overintellectualising that, and I thought, No, seriously, nobody cares but you inner monologuist, so be silent, silent like the holy night.

You can google the letter F — and the first hit is Facebook! Not even its own Wikipage! Poor wee F, had no say in its appropriation, I’m sure.

It is actually amazing how many categories can adhere to the plan, so be looking out for the following Festives:
>Feckin’ Amazing

… and the last being my, ha ha, Favourite because it Full of things that are very feckin’ amazing.



Let’s start with some Furnishings.

Lovvvvve itttt. Look at those colours! Festive, and breaking free from the tyranny of red and green {and silver and gold!} All the bits — the ornaments, the baubles, the tinsel, the garland, the Noel letters — are only €1.49 at Dealz! Fantastic! I would totally paint a wall that blue as well, to set the whole thing off.

{The tree and the chair, and the table: not €1.49}

If you are into the red and the green {and the gold and the silver}, you’ll find that, too. My local Dealz is a bit on the bijou side, but the one in Dundrum is an epic experience in adventures for €1.49.


See for more information.