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.



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


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


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…


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.

White Luminous Gold, Radiant Gold, Brilliant Gold 30 ml, €55 / 50 ml, €79 / 100 ml, €109
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.

Candle €52, Diffuser €74, Limited Edition Pomegranate Noir €105
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…

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.

Pierre Hermé Paris Limited Edition: Jasmin-Immortelle-Neroli €68
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.


Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Hair

Good hair makes the season bright.

A Gift Of Pure Moisture For Hair €52
AVEDA A Gift of Pure Moisture for Hair
I don’t know: have you ever bought yourself a nice brush? Now that I think about it, I don’t have a notion where any of my hair brushes have come from… which is a little weird/unsanitary. So, it follows that if you haven’t ever splurged on a quality hair grooming implement, then someone you know and love may not have either. This could suit a dude, too, and the addition of a full-sized sample of Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil makes this a clever, useful gift.

It’s a special choice in another way. Aveda have teamed up with Himalayan Bio-Trade Limited and employed people of Nepal to create the hand-crafted Lotka Bark Paper in which all the brand’s Christmas gifts are wrapped. 5,500 people have been employed to make more than 2,000,000 sheets of paper, allowing families to sustain themselves and send their children to school.

There are nine more gifts in the range with prices covering the gamut from €20-60, and all benefit those Nepalese crafts people. #LoveForNepal

BC Time Restore Gift Bag €33.50
I have been acquainting myself with many of the the products in Schwarzkopf’s Professional line, and I can heartily recommend not only the BC Time Restore gift bag as shown — the Q10 Plus Treatment is especially excellent, even if not paired with the shampoo, which is also fab. There’s a gift bag for those who need a BC Moisture Kick, those who are a bit hard on their locks and could use a BC Repair Rescue and another fave combo of mine, BC Colour Freeze. This last really is super for colour treated hair, giving it a blast of shine and lifting it when it feels like it’s going a bit dull.

Deluxe Dry & Style Gift Set €245
I’ve been using hair straighteners for ages, but I have seen the ghd light: this heats up in a finger snap, straightens the bejayziz out of my fine, sometimes-flyaway hair, and I never feel like I am overdoing it or stressing my tresses. I just love it. They are not cheap, but in combination with the air® hair dryer this is one impressive deal. I gotta say, using the air® is a professional experience even for me, who blasts her hair dry every single time. How much does a loved one want a great hair year? How much do you? This is The Big Gift for sure — but I swear, you’ll never look back.

Elixir Ultime Serum Solide €28.95
KERASTASE elixir ultimeSmall but mighty, this is 18 grammes of beautifully scented hair goodness. A tiny amount scraped off with a fingernail and rubbed between the palms creates a fluid imbued with 15 oils that add shine and a rich, woodsy scent. You won’t smell like a pine tree, no matter how seasonally appropriate! It’s more like a floriental, and it will inspire anyone you hug to come back for more. If you use too much you’ll get a predictably heavy result — experiment to determine the correct amount. I mean, you know, counsel your giftee to do so. It’s not like you’re out shopping for yourself, right?