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…


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.



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:


Utterly relaxing, rain…

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


…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.


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.




I adore a good illustrated 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:


Relaxed and glowy


Could This Be More Portable? Pure Potions Arnica Rescue Salve

As regular readers know, I ride horses, and I often review beauty products in the context of that pursuit. SPFs get a good workout during a lesson in high summer; anything that claims to be waterproof, from mascara to foundation, will find its claims challenged in the saddle.

Then, there’s those random little nicks and bruises that appear as if out of nowhere. Like this one.

Yeah, no idea. Could have been anything. Maybe I scraped up against a buckle, or the door to the loose box. Who knows! All I know is, I didn’t have this handy little tin — ha, ha — to hand.

Part of their First Aid range, pure potions arnica rescue salve is accompanied by tea tree, lavender and calendula & comfrey salves, and all are about the size of a lip balm tin. It couldn’t be easier to pop one of these in a pocket, especially if you’re me and have become so inured to bodily injury that you don’t even notice straightaway that you require some sort of intervention. Any one of these are a good thing to have hanging around.

As a quartet, they’ve got you covered for minor burns, stings, cold sores, insect bites — admittedly small ones, as while their small size enhances their portability, you’re not going to cover a whole body’s worth of excessive sunburn with your tin of lavender.

They are also organic, with no added nasties.

How I wished I’d had this on me the moment I noticed that scratch. Once home, I lashed on the arnica and in a day and half, the scratch was healed.

I’ve learned my lesson! Into the rucksack it goes…


Set of four rescue salves are £16.99. Check in your local Holland & Barrett for any and all, or see http://www.purepotions.co.uk


B&B! Q&A: Emer Gillen, and Ten Years of Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

EMER GILLENEmer Gillen is originally from Sligo; based in London for the last four years, she trained as a beauty therapist in the Georgina Price College of Beauty Therapy in Galway. Having had an equal passion for spa therapy and travel, she pursued the opportunity to work on a cruise ship with Steiner Leisure Ltd. “This was my first introduction to Elemis products and treatments, and was where I made such a strong connection with the brand,” she explains.

She was part of the management team that launched the Spirit One Spa when it opened in the Radisson Blu, Galway, and considered it a natural progression to join the Elemis training team 8 years ago as an International Trainer. “I have such a varied spectrum of responsibilities with my role,” Emer says, “from spa, salon and retail courses, alongside working with our Elemis Day Spa, SpaSpecialist and British Airways Travel Spa teams. Globally, I work closely with our distribution teams developing their training divisions and I also present Elemis on QVC UK.”

Emer took some time to talk about a mainstay of the Elemis brand, followed by my review of the Spirit One experience…

It’s the 10th anniversary of the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, and I think it says it all in the name. Can you talk about the properties of both the collagen and the marine aspect, and how they are so effective in anti-ageing?
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is about working with the skin’s natural functions to assist in improving collagen and elastin production, which leads to stunning long-lasting results.

The results really speak for themselves: the Marine Cream has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkle depth by up to 78%, and increase hydration and moisture levels by up to 45%.

The composition of the cream challenged traditional anti-ageing skincare by combining ground breaking natural marine ingredients Porphyridum and Chlorella seaweeds along with Padina Pavonica, which is central to the cream’s activity; a fan shaped brown algae, it is handpicked daily by scuba divers from the temperate waters of Malta, and left to dry under the sun’s warming rays. This dynamic anti-ageing cream gel helps to dramatically increase skin elasticity, suppleness, firmness and hydration levels.

How does the new cult fave Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm complement the cream, and how does it work?
Make-up, sweat and pollution build up in the layers of the skin. Oils and waxes are naturally compatible with sebum, easily breaking down excess pore blocking oils. Theses oils and waxes protect the skin from being stripped of its natural lipid layer and essential skin protection. Make-up micro particles left in the skin result in a long-term dulling of the complexion and may also lead to other skin problems.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm is a beautiful texture for an exceptional treatment experience, preparing the skin brilliantly which complements Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and enhances its anti-ageing effectiveness.

Cleansing balms seem to be all the rage at the moment. What are your top tips for using a balm?
Scoop a small amount of Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm with dry fingertips, and massage directly into the skin. Then, wet the fingertips and continue to massage as the balm transforms into a beautiful milk. Remove with a very warm cleansing cloth, both morning and evening.

For a special treatment, smooth a generous amount over the face, neck and décolleté with dry fingers. Massage to warm the skin and loosen the balm. Leave for 10 minutes. Hold a very warm, damp cleansing cloth over the skin, practice abdominal breathing and inhale the exquisite aroma. Gently wipe away.

The Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift facial in Spirit One Spa was gorgeous. How do people go about designing facials, and what are the specific benefits of this one?
The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial for fine lines and wrinkles was designed by Noella Gabriel, Director of Elemis treatment and products development. Through Noella’s vast industry expertise, and therapy background, this treatment was developed to deliver a results-driven sensory experience for the client.

The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial allows you to experience the ultimate in scientific skin therapy. It’s an advanced anti-ageing facial, clinically proven to reduce the number of wrinkles by 94% and improve skin firmness by 57% after just one treatment. This anti-aging face and eye treatment helps to protect against the signs of ageing, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face and restructuring the eye contour. Specialised lifting massage techniques are combined with Elemis anti-ageing products for maximum treatment efficacy.

Looking over the protocol for the facial, I notice that there are loads of essential oils used — lime, rosewood, tea tree, to name a few. Can you talk about the brand’s use of such ingredients, and what the benefits are?
Each Elemis product and treatment takes you on a sensory journey and the Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial is no different. The use of Lime, Lavender and Rosewood Essential Oils which are anointed onto luxuriously warm mitts or facial compresses are used to enhance the aromatic experience of the Elemis facial. We understand the emotional and physiological response that aromatics have on our wellbeing, and so essential oils, herbs and fruits play an integral role in the fragrance pyramid of each unique product.


So, how was it?

Spirit One Spa is like a little fairground of therapeutic possibilities: you’ve got your sauna and your steam room, and your bowl of ice to really get those pores breathing, but there are also loads of marble beds upon which to recline, and the Sabia Med, a beach room in which you can lie on sand and relax, from a simulated sunrise to sunset. The spa is also very popular, and was rather busy the day I was there to avail of its benefits — benefits that were somewhat diminished by the chattery hen parties that were roaming about the place. Save it for the pub, ladies, seriously. Manners! One would encourage the staff to gently enforce the rule of silence. It’s only fair.

Once the hens went on their way, the place achieved the kind of serenity it aims to provide. And once I was lead away to enjoy my treatment, it was like being transported to another world. A world of seemingly endless double-cleansing, toning, exfoliation, massage… and every Elemis product known to woman. Okay, not every, but all the best ones.

As mentioned above, the use of essential oils in tandem with the glorious signature scent of the products was almost enough to send me into bliss, just on their own. It all started off with a  Hot Lime Foot Cleansing and Thai Foot Ritual, and progressed through the use of Japanese camellia oil, rosewood, more lime, and lavender, this last in the form of an eye pillow that did its work whilst I received a hand, arm, and décolleté massage.

It’s amazing how relaxing it can be for the face when your hands are getting a good going over…

Amongst the products used were, of course, the piéce de resistance of the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, but also in play was the Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Serum, the Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Peel Off Mask and the Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment. And the Eye Renewal. And the Wrinkle Treatment. And the Rehydrating Ginseng Toner! This too is like a little fairground, a little fairground of renewal and utter, utter relaxation.

The best thing was that, even after a night of gorgeous food and plenty of bubbly, my visage was not ravaged. In fact, the glow lasted the guts of a week, and as ever, my make up looked all the better for having had the canvas primed, as it were. Nothing like several hours wrapped in a spa robe and a fab facial to put all things right in the world.


The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial is 1 hour 10 minutes, €95.00. See spiritonespa.com for details

spirit one spa, Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway, Lough Atalia Road, Galway, Ireland
T: +353 91 538 462 


ALSO: Some of the best sushi ever is available at the Radisson Blu’s Japanese restaurant, RAW: sushi in the sky. SERIOUSLY. And I have enjoyed sushi in both NYC and LA (admittedly not in Japan) and both of those places have the best sushi, but this sushi in Galway not only holds its own, but also beats the competition! Seriously!


B&B! Q&A: Sabrina Lucey, Cloisters Spa, Muckross Park Hotel

SABRINASabrina Lucey is head therapist of the award-winning Cloisters Spa in the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney. Eight years into her career as a beauty and massage therapist, she’s worked in television for such programmes as Ireland Am and Xposé, and she’s been loving every minute of it.

At Cloisters, she says she’s ‘fortunate to have a team of excellent and experienced therapists, who are all highly trained in all aspects of conventional beauty treatments.” They also are proficient in holistic massage, reflexology and many other alternative treatment, so you’d be spoiled for choice.

I myself was fortunate enough to have experienced a new treatment, the Wilderness Ritual, which featured a full body exfoliation with tailor-made body scrub, followed by full body application of body butter, and a massage using essential oils, administered via sea shells. I am just about crying, looking back on it now.

I chatted with Sabrina about certain aspects of this terrific experience, which totally puts the treat in ‘treatment’.

I know we’re supposed to exfoliate — and believe me, I love it! – but what exactly are the benefits, for face and body?
Simply put, it keeps the skin soft and glowing. Buffing the dead skin away will keep your pores from clogging, which keeps acne under control — both on the face, and on places like the back. It also speeds up your skin’s natural renewal process, and helps your moisturizer penetrate even deeper.

Getting rid of the dead skin cells helps with skin discoloration and unevenly toned skin — and if you keep up a routine, your skin will not only be visibly brighter, you’ll be keeping fine lines and wrinkles in check.

Can you tell me about the scrub and the body butter you used?
In Kerry I wanted to source something local, and met Alice from Skellig Soaps, at a Christmas shopping fair. I wanted an exfoliator that involved our signature scent of Lemongrass and Lavender, and Alice combined these two and created our exclusive scrub.

The oil I use in the seashell massage is her creation as well, and combines Ylang Ylang, Rosewood and Jojoba oil, which is very relaxing on the skin.

And I also know that essential oils are good for us, but don’t know exactly why…?
Essential oils have been proven useful in killing off viruses, bacteria or other pathogens. They are also considered to be powerful anti-oxidents.
They also can act on the mind, as well as the body: when the brain’s limbic system is stimulated, the realeas of neurotransmitters such as pain-reducing encephalin, pleasure-producing endorphins, relaxing serotonin, and stimulating noradrenaline, encourage the body, and also the mind, to chill out!


So, how was it?
CLOISTERS poolMy first thought as I descended the long, spiralling staircase down to the spa was, ‘No wonder they keep winning awards.’ If you’re going to set the stage for luxe, ensure that your guests feel like Scarlett O’Hara — albeit in a towelling robe, rather than swathed in the curtains — as they enter your domain.

It is all about relaxation in the thermal suite: that pool is not for laps, something that I always have a grá for, but I was happy enough paddling around for a while. The big draw is the outdoor hot tub: the bubbles were the correct amount of froth and warmth, and as the Blue River lazily wound its way around the back of the spa, l let go of some tension I hadn’t even been aware I’d been holding onto.

There are numerous places to lounge, and a sauna that I highly recommend. That hot tub, though, had my name on it, and I dunked myself back in until it was time for the treatment.

Now. I am am avid exfoliator, and equally as assiduous in applying lotions and potions on the bod. But let me tell you, there is nothing like having someone else do these things for you. The full body exfoliation with the lemongrass and lavender scrub was as thorough and aromatic as it gets — more thorough than I could ever manage for myself. A quick shower to rinse it off feels like it may be a bit harsh on the mellow, but the mellow is fully regained when the application of the body butter ensues.

Then, the shells. I eyed them somewhat dubiously when I arrived in the treatment room, but they are so effective. The shells had been warming throughout the exfoliation/body buttering, and were the perfect temperature by the time it was their turn in the process. They felt pretty spectacular: used to apply pressure to the body, they felt firm but not too hard on the muscles; they worked out several knots that I had been walking around with, and bunch of others I hadn’t known were there.

As always, it was over all too quickly, even though the session is the guts of 90 minutes. Afterwards, I was lead to one of the daybeds in the relaxation area, given a light treat of almonds and a smoothie, and left to breathe deeply under a muslin-canopied day bed. Bliss.


The Wilderness Ritual is €150 for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and includes full body lemongrass exfoliation, Cloisters Body Shea Butter application, followed by an 80 minute warm sea shell massage.


Muckross Park Hotel & Cloisters Spa
Muckross, Killarney,  Co. Kerry.
T: +353 (64) 662 3400
F: +353 (64) 663 1965
E: info@muckrosspark.com


How to be the Best Child in the History of Children: sansanaSPA and Mother’s Day

Even though I am a fancy beauty reviewing lady, I don’t get to go to spas, like, every week. Much less every month! I am a lucky, fancy beauty reviewing lady in that I do get the occasional treatment, and every time I do get one, I’m all I should really {get a facial/a massage/a full-body exfoliation} more often!

And funnily enough, I never do!

After having spent hours in the sansanaSPA in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, my first thought wasn’t about me, for once. I immediately thought of all the mums, and all the daughters looking for gifts for them for Mother’s Day. Ladies — and any gentleman who may be reading — here’s the best thing you could ever give your mum, ever, ever.

I enjoyed a 90 minute Shirodhara treatment just last week, and I’m still sighing.

Because I am a fancy beauty reviewing lady, I have set foot, and body-on-plinth, in many a day spa. This is, hands down, the quietest one I’ve ever been in. Not that it wasn’t busy, because it was — but the soundproofing is sublime, and added to the rest of the solicitous attention I was receiving, the restful silence was the cherry on the ‘I am a special snowflake’ sundae.

I’ve been in treatment rooms that, for the level of noise that never seemed to abate, may as well have been in a lay-by on the M50. I have had my mellow harshed by endless opening and slamming doors, and have been irritated beyond belief by loud talking from the relaxation rooms that has not been adequately shushed by staff. The sansanaSPA staff are assiduous in maintaining the kind of atmosphere you’d expect in a retreat spa in the middle of the country.

So there’s that already, supplying your mum with an atmosphere that is geared to treat her like a queen, and she hasn’t even gotten into her plush robe yet!

Sansana Spa Treatment

I love pictures of treatment rooms. And look at the Thermal Suite!


At the far end of the aisle? That’s a bowl of crushed ice, which you spread upon your body, um… because you are insane? No! Because it’s a thing you do after {before?} the steam or the sauna. Or something. I don’t like cold, so I didn’t go near it.

Use of the the Thermal Suite is included in the session. There are also Experience Showers {!}, a room with floaty-mattress beds upon which to lie, a Mud Room, and my fave: the Heated Marble Beds. Just the perfect temperature, not too-too hot, and not some wimpy lukewaryish excuse for heat, either. These beds — ah! Even as relaxed as I was after the Shirodhara, I went and reclined for another twenty minutes. Well, you can never be too stress-free, can you?


In the background: the marble beds. <3 u, marble beds!

I also enjoyed a 30 minute swim in the Royal Marine’s pool. *Sigh*

Onto the treatment: the name Shirodhara comes from the Sanskrit for ‘head’ and ‘flow’, respectively. Based on the principles of Ayurveda, it involves the pouring of liquids, in this case warmed oil, over the third eye.

Right. I immediately thought of some scary, Homeland-y kind of water torture jawn, and wasn’t sure about this part. The other parts, grand: a rose foot bath, a full body massage, the regular application of eucalyptus-infused hot towels, and a facial cleanse/massage — super, no worries, bring it on.

But the oil-on-forehead thing was all set to freak me out.

It is so not freaky.

It is so… decadent. Sensuous. Relaxing. Indulgent. The warm, scented oil flows and flows, and runs down your crown, nourishing your scalp, and you — me — your mum would ever want it to end.

This is literally a top-to-toe extravaganza of a chill out.

My aesthetician recommended that I leave the oil in overnight, which I did. She had also recommended sleeping with my head wrapped in a towel, which I did not do, which was a poor choice. I’ve ruined that pillow slip, and I’ve tried washing the oil stain out twice. So do what the lady says, is the moral of that story.

Don’t plan anything — I mean, make sure your mum doesn’t have anything on after this, because the bliss, it should be embraced for the rest of the day.

The treatment costs €99, and is worth every single little penny.

And if you’re feeling super-generous, you can get a sibling in on the gig, sharing the Best Child status, and also the cost.

I’ve just sighed again. It really was fantastic. You could even go have a nice tea up in the Hotel beforehand, and then toddle off — I mean, send mum down to the spa.

Okay, I have to stop writing about this now.



The Shirodhara treatment is 90 minutes, at a special introductory offer of €99. Ring 01 271 2563 or email sansanaSPA@royalmarine, for more information.


Let’s Do Thisssss, Part Two: Dr Lewinn’s Cosmetic Lift, Actually Doing It

Here we go! Giving ourselves a cosmetic lift, in the comfort of our own bath!

Here’s the before, for what it’s worth; iPhone, whilst always making my nose look bigger than it is, makes up for this unfortunate exaggeration by glossing over all fine lines and wrinkles. So:

Here’s the line up, one more time.

First thing: cleanse thoroughly with the Gentle Facial Cleanser {the light green stuff.} I tell myself that this is a much different experience to my usual cleansing… but I think I only want that to be so. It does feel lovely and fresh, and I am using the cleanser the way an aesthetician would: gently, just like it says on the tin, rather than my usual rough-and-ready removal.

Second thing is to mix up the Cosmetic Lift Powder with a teaspoon of water. There is a mighty amount of powder in this jar! I reckon… I reckon there are at least 20 facial lifts in this jar? I was never any good at guessing the number of jelly beans, if ya get me. I think 20?

Look, there’s tonnes of powder, whatever.

Mixed with the water, you get this:

Feh, thought I. That is nothing. Slightly annoyed, because this was taking time, and I had had to clean the sink, and everything, I started to paste it — I mean, stroke it, gently — onto my face, with the brush provided. I followed the diagramme and all, and started out a bit scabby because I was sure there wasn’t going to be enough.

This is why I am a bad baker! There was plenty!
In fact, I went over my face entirely at least thrice. I set my timer for 30 minutes — which was another rude awakening, because I hadn’t read that far along. I was only grateful that the delivery man had already come and gone.

Went back to the computer, typing with one hand and holding my specs up in front of my face. Not as super-efficient as you may think. I wondered what the heck was going to happen with this stuff on my face. So what, so it was going to dry? Dry into what?
Bwahahahahahaha! Into this, a full-on, seriously squinchy mask. The kind where your lips are are beyond pursed — they are practically turned inside out. My very thoughts became pursed.

Now, I lovvvvve a good, squinchy mask. If you don’t, then you will dislike this in the extreme. But me: lovvvve it. I felt like all my pores were being individually shrunk. I never wanted it to end.

Then: two teaspoons of the cleanser mixed with water. This was eyeballed: I tried to use the teaspoon, but it was pointless in the extreme. You have to squueze the cleanser out, not scoop it out, so filling up the teaspoon was rendering fairly imposs. I mixed it, as directed with one teaspoon of water, and used the brush to stroke it all over my face. this served to loosen the mask — gently, gently — and then used a few cotton pads to get the last bits off.

The carnage. Not too terrible!

I pat my skin dry, applied a few pumps of the very green Tissue Firming Serum, which felt grand, and then cracked open the last jar, the Vitamin A Rejuvenation Cream.

Wowee! Yellow! I really liked the texture of this, and you can definitely tell when it has all been absorbed.

After, in the wild, on my way to horses. Again, for what it’s worth.

I have to say, my pores have never felt smaller. And given the way that I’ve felt the weather has been beating up my skin, I felt uncommonly glowy.

I thought I would do this, you know, another time whenever. Nope! Gotta do this three times in ten days! So, five days from yesterday, I’ll be back in the bath — and black vest!


Let’s Do Thisssss, Part One: Dr Lewinn’s Cosmetic Lift

The thing that I loved so much about We Love Laser is that you show up, lie down, get zapped, and you’re done.

On the other hand, there was The Fear. I got over it, in less than three visits, and the Photo Facial is totally non-invasive, but what if you have a laser phobia or whatever?

Dr Lewinn proposes that you can give yourself a lift, sans zappage, at home.

DR L BOXSee? Says it right there on the box: Cosmetic Lift, and also, Facelift Without Surgery.

These are all the things in the box:

And these are all the directions:

So many wordsssssss. God, I’m lazy. Half the time I don’t read the packaging, which has resulted in some interesting uses of products: putting stuff on my face, for example, that is actually meant for my hair, or using an exfoliant for the face all over my bod. Whoops!

Also: mixing stuff up + me = disaster, because again: directions, and I so rarely believe that the measurements look correct, so I add more, or less, or whatever, and, big whoops! Don’t ask me to make scones!

But I’m interested in this product because I am interested in Dr Lewinn and all his works, since he’s been doing such a great job on my manky nails.

Okay! Here we go!

First, I had to go clean the sink in the bath. I’ll spare you the before — here’s the after.

Then, all the things you pray won’t happen, happened: the phone rang, a delivery man came to the door, I realised that I ought to take off the big bulky fleece and put on a vest* — which I did, before the delivery man showed up, and boy is he glad I did! Should have gotten his number — and then then I realised that I needed to memorise the poxy directions because I absolutely can’t read anything anymore without my specs —

And then I stopped procrastinating and got down to business…


*That’s a tank top, to you Yanks.


£115; see here to buy online from the UK


Watchoo Lookin’ At? Post-Sisley Facial Face on the 46A

Just evidence that I do ‘naked’ face too, sometimes. Especially after I’ve had a treatment.

Dude to the left was like WTF and I was all WTF right back.

And the lovely Gabriella from Sisley, who administered an amazing facial in the Beauty Rooms in Brown Thomas, was subtly WTF when I said no thanks to a bitta make up post-treatment.

I like to let the pores breathe, you know?

Did you know about the Beauty Rooms in Brown Thomas? I didn’t! They are tucked away on the ground floor, right off the main beauty hall, and the major brands offer treatments on a rotating basis. The facial is €50 against product, so if you don’t want to buy anything, you just stump up the nifty.

Now, day spa environments are generally noisy, and whilst tucked away from the buzz of BT, you’re not all that tucked. There is soothing spa tunes playing in the room, but you can absolutely hear what’s going on in the outside world. This did not bother me, which is amazing because it is exactly the sort of thing I would complain about. There was something about hearing all that activity beyond the beauty room door that I found thrilling, in a cinematic way. It was the urban soundtrack to my fancy facial.

And Sisley is fancy! The French brand uses botanical active ingredients and essential oils in its concoctions — I must admit to having an unfortunate olfactory reaction to a tinted moisturiser I had to test last year. I actually brought it to the counter because I’d thought it had gone off.

No such worries with any of the myriad products that Gabriella used in my facial. She used twelve products, from cleanser to pore minimiser, and since it was the end of the day, she also gave me a layer of Supremÿa At Night, which felt like an instant face lift, and ought to as it retails for €508.

If anyone has used this over a course of time, do get in touch and let us know if it was worth it?

The highlight of the treatment was the exfoliation with the Creme Gommante, priced at a less breathtaking €54. Gently, gently, Gabriella applied the buffing cream, and gently, gently, did she brush it off. We talked about it afterwards, as I wondered how did one try this at home? By trial and error, basically. It’s going to be messy until you get the hang of it. I appreciated her frankness.

I got a bunch of samples:

Including two of the scorned foundation, which I am actually gasping to try now.

The women of Sisley in BTs are lovely, go along and ask some questions, and tell them Sue sent you. You may not have the dosh to invest in that night cream, but it’s always worth checking out a few samples of things. And the holidays are imminent…!


Check at the Sisley counter for upcoming Beauty Room appointments.

Clever, Pantene — Very Clever!

Here’s a pet peeve: packaging fails in the shower.

Oh, how I loathe tubs! They are so fiddly! And once you get them open, they can fill up with water and dilute your product, or! because you are trying to avoid the deluge, you set it on the edge of the tub, and then knock it over, and there’s your product all over the floor rather than all over your hair. Hate tha’.

When I got this tub of Pantene 2 minutes Deep Smoothening Mask, first of all I was like, Smoothening?!?!and then got all huffy about the tubbiness of it.

Then I looked at the top of the lid.

Now, that — that is pretty smart. The simplest of drawing conveying the cleverest of solutions.

Just peel back the foil…

And then twist the top back on! Then all you have to do is flip it open {okay, you may have to pry a tiny bit} and there’s your smoothening mask, ready to go!

I found it to be a total success in practice.

I don’t know if I felt that my hair was all that smoothened, but I must say that my highlights looked significantly highlighty-er.

A keeper, and an inspiration to package designers everywhere, I should imagine.