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?


Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Face

Here’s some lovely make up to get you in the festive spirit — I mean, to get your gift recipient in the festive spirit. {One for you, one for me…}

Colour Pop €25; Defining Moments €25
FUSCHIA gift sets
These are just two of the 12 gift boxes from the Irish brand, perfect for fans of mineral makeup and ideal for stocking fillers. I love the little lippys! They’re perfect for slipping into a pocket, and also, who uses up a lipstick all the way to the end? These sizes are ideal as far as I’m concerned. The glam lashes kit is also perfect for the party girl in your world. They’ve also got a number of palettes available, also at €25 — I’m a fan of the Nudes Limited Edition. I find that mineral eyeshadow really lasts, as it promises: if you’ve got someone who likes to look natural with a touch of enhancement, this will fill the bill.


Deluxe Gift Set €40
I was lucky enough to have met Sam and Nic Chapman at a spectacularly fancy lunch several weeks ago: they were warm and lovely, and we all had great chats about makeup, and ghosts {you had to be there.} This five brush set includes their heroes: the Multi Task, Tapered Foundation, Angled Highlighter, Base Shadow and Fine Liner, plus a gorge wee clutch that will contain them with style. This is a hot item — failing this, I’d recommend the Travel Essential Kit for €28.95.


Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette €46
It’s basically been the year of the palette, and despite competition from the brand’s Naked Smoky {without an ‘e’} offering, I think this is the one that pan-fans are gonna be happiest unwrapping. A combination of new colours personally developed by Gwen along with some UD perennial faves, each name has resonance with the singer-songwriter, and the balance of hues is such that you can go from a daytime nude to a nighttime colour blast all in one place. Heart this loads: I took it for a spin the other night and my pals couldn’t believe that I’d done my eyes myself, it looked that professional. That’s compliment, right…?


High on Lashes €22.50
Clinique do a great line in gifts, and you can get exceptional use out of their sample sizes. The Skinny Stick is new launch, this one in Slimming Black — and they’ve snuck a little bit of skincare thanks to their All About Eyes cream. I’d recommend the Lash Building Primer as well {€17} if you really want your friend/sister/mum to have gorgeous peepers in 2016. Also! I am saving some products for an end-of-year, finally-getting-round-to-reviewing posts, but I have to say, I love love love the Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen {€22.50}: it is easy and it is pretty, and it lasts and lasts — even through a long day at the desk and then on to horseriding. I’ve been using it for ages, and the tip hasn’t dried out, as do many liquid liners I’ve tested; it doesn’t get all gunked up even when I touch up over eyeshadow; and even after months of fairly regular use — let’s say three times a week — I still don’t feel like I’m seeing the end of it. Eh, guess that covers it, I’ll have to find something to replace this in my big plan!


Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Skincare

If you’ve someone near and dear who doesn’t indulge in luxury products, give them a helping hand this holiday…

OMG look at all those gift sets €17.15-79.70
This literally puts the truth in the phrase ‘there’s something for everyone’ — and something for every budget, too. The Clean Start is perfect for the tween/teen on your list — and not just the girls, my nephews are huge fans of the Soothing Clearing Booster and would use this stuff in a shot. Skin that is mature, dry, normal oily, frequent travellers who want to keep their body care routine on fleek, those love a good facial exfoliation, those who just love the brand and its best sellers — that’s all catered for here. The packaging is also refreshingly non-festivity specific, so those who don’t celebrate via the fat man in the red suit won’t be alienated.


Double Serum And Super Restorative Collection €69.50
CLARINS Double Serum gift
Here’s one of the many offerings from this brand, and all of them targeted to a variety of concerns, but this has to be my pick, thanks to the Double Serum. I went through that stuff for a shortcut and still think of it fondly. The addition of the Super Restorative Day, Night, and Eye cream only adds to the attraction. Plus! It all comes in an elegantly iridescent gold clutch — I adore that detail on the zip tab.


Huile Divine/Divine Oil €8.70 Eau de Beauté/Beauty Elixir €12.60
May be the best beauty baubles ever: both are a terrific introduction to the natural, paraben-free French brand, they look adorbz, and they are really well-priced. This is Secret Santa sorted. The Divine Oil is suitable from top to toe and smells delicious; the Beauty Elixir works as a toner, a makeup setting lotion, and a general pick-you-up.


Clean Skin, Great Skin €89
CLINIQUE Clean Skin Great Skin
Bit of a splurge, but I am such a fan of the Sonic that I urge you to splash out on someone special. It’s not enough that you get their terrific skin-cleansing brush — you get a carry case too! I will not travel anywhere without this little beauty, and a case like that surely beats the pair of socks I’ve been using to protect in as we journey forth. The samples of the soap, DDM+ and Clarifying Lotion pretty much set your dearly beloved up for a kickin’ start to the new year.


Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Gift Sets II

Make your giftee clean and bright…

Selection of gift sets ranging from €11.95 to €220
LUSH gifts
Any Lush outlet takes on the atmosphere of Aladdin’s Cave at this time of year, and they’ve truly cornered the market on thoughtful, beautifully presented gifts. From the smaller boxes that contain two well-matched, full-sized products, to the massive collections like Wow! that comes with 36 samples from across their Christmas range — or the Winter Wonderland {117.50}, for the serial bath-taker in your life: 20 bath additives of the bomb, melt and bubble variety are sure to make someone happy for months.

LUSH winter wonderland

Here’s that magical box, and at right: the barest tip of the festive bathing iceberg. I know that people have widely diverging opinions related to the scent of Lush stuff — I heart it big time, personally. The best part of this particular gift set? The artwork on the box was created by ARTHOUSE Meath, a collective of art instructors who work with people who suffer from severe epilepsy, and those with learning and physical difficulties. This is just another indication of Lush’s commitment to outreach, and to involving local artists and artisans in their process. That’s the true spirit of the season, right there.

Party Poppers €46 Get Your Party On and You’re So Party €56
This brand get it right year after year, and they’ve surpassed themselves in 2015. These two are my faves: Party Poppers is designed along the lines of an Advent Calendar, but celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas — along with a song that belts out when you open it… or even walk past it with too much vigour. It’s full of minis of Benefit’s greatest hits, and it’s well worth the fright you get when you hear someone singing and you don’t know where it’s coming from.

As far as collectible tins go, both Get Your Party On and You’re So Party are the proverbial gifts that keep on giving — I can’t even imagine how much stuff you could stash in these tins, once you gleefully decant the prizes inside. As regards the former, your amazed love one will find They’re Real Mascara and Hoola Bronzing Powder as well as a bottle of High Beam, and Gimme Brow in mediUm/deep. The latter will discover full-size They’re Real Mascara and Hoola Bronzing Powder, and mini POREfessional and Ultra Plush Lip Gloss Mini In Hoola. Like Lush, there are many choices to make based on your budget — it couldn’t be easier to shop.

Original Eight Hour Set €30, available @theloopdublin in Dublin Airport
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Original Set €30.00
It’s unheard of for a brand to have a product that retains its cult status — for 85 years! — but that’s exactly what Elizabeth Arden have in their Eight Hour Cream. Originally developed by Miss Arden herself to doctor her thoroughbreds, it was the very first product to be released under the now classic name. For an astonishing price, you get Face Cream, Skin Protectant — which literally is useful from top to toe, for shaping brows to soothing rough heels — and a lip balm. A great introduction to a versatile product — and seriously, that price!

Medley Of Soaps €17.50, also at The Loop
Avoca Medley of Soaps €17.50
Everything about this is exquisite, which is one of my favourite words. The packaging, the variety of scents, and the price all combine to make this an terrific Irish gift for someone with excellent taste and fancy spare loo. Oh, forget that! Encourage your giftee to treat themselves and use them everyday! Just because something’s exquistie doens’t mean that it can’t be quotidian.