WWASD? Post-Christmas Gift Guide

WHAT WOULD AUNTIE SUE DO? I was late, as usual, getting my gift guide together. Gathering images, deciding to take some pictures and do some Photoshop, making sure I’ve got prices and shopping info — it all takes (probably more) time (than it should). I’d gotten as far as the images and the photoshoppery — and then my family experienced an untimely and shocking loss: my beloved godmother and aunt, whose namesake I am, was struck down by a car two weeks before Christmas and killed. It’s as raw as that sentence, just the worst effing thing ever and I extend my compassion and empathy to anyone who has experienced something similar.

So, blogging and all it entailed was obviously shunted to the side; I also felt bad about not following through with my plans as my posting year had shifted largely to Instagram and I wanted to start back working here.

I couldn’t settle to what to do. Should I skip it? Should I reframe it? It seemed ridic to worry when there was so much more going on than the state of my wee blog. And then I thought:  what would Auntie Sue do?

She’d go shopping.

A longtime QVC devotee and coat-and-handbag enthusiast, she’d feel her feelings and hit the mall — or like most of us, do that simultaneously. I’m not sure I’m even half the woman she was, so I’ll just leave this here for those who got vouchers or gift tokens from Santa, or who are happy to spend cash the big fat man in the red suit might have left in their stockings. While I’m not certain that Jo Malone may even have any Christmas stock left, I do know that Lush do a big reduction on their Christmas gifts. In any event, I’ve honoured my intentions because that was Auntie Sue’s style.

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lush-set-1

Speaking of Lush: I don’t know how big the reductions are, but they do cut prices, and even ten percent off this collection is good value. Inside this stunning box resides a personal fave, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner, The Comforter Bubble Bar and Shower Cream, Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub and a sample of Gorgeous, their truly excellent facial moisturiser. It’s not like you can shop in advance for next Christmas — Lush is not for hoarding — but early 2017 birthdays might benefit from the sales.

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burts-bees-lip-collection
Ideal for anyone who likes a range of lip colour choices that also involve lip care, I can’t recommend anything more highly. From the top, the famous Burt’s Bee tinted lip balm; in the middle, the legendary lip shimmer; and last but absolutely not least, the brand’s new lip crayon. I’ve been using the guts outta Redwood Forest: it’s a rich purplish red that works really well with a no-make up face, and is easy-peasy to reapply all day long.

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trilogy-radiance-set
If you haven’t tried the New Zealand’s brand uh-maaazing CoQ10 Booster Oil, here’s a great excuse to give it a go, along with samples from Trilogy’s Age Proof line. I’d say treat yo’self even if all these sets have sold out: I had my tester propped up precariously on its head, in an attempt to get every drop of goodness out of the bottle.

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too-faced-merry-macarons
I have been all about Two Faced in recent times: their Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Matte Lipstick is the bomb, the best matte I’ve tried thus far, and their Better Than Sex mascara is legendary. The Christmas In New York Merry Macarons palette was a pleasant surprise, not only due to the delicious vanilla scent of the pans; while I didn’t find it the best to put on — the colours seemed to drag rather flow smoothly onto the lid — once I got it on, it stayed on and stayed fresh. This is/was a limited edition, but be inspired to check out their many eyeshadow palette options.

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jo-malone-candle-cutout
Speaking of LEs, this year Jo Malone‘s signature scent was Orange Bitters, and it was gorgeous. It was a perfect pairing with their new Basil & Neroli scent, so if you can’t get the former anymore, do check out the latter, which has already appeared in these, er, pages (screens? posts…) I also highly recommend dropping your spondoolicks on any of the three Dry Body Oils: Oud & Begamot, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily or Velvet Rose & Oud. They are great on the skin and make a terrific base for fragrance layering. Don’t like oils? (you heathen!) You can get these delicious intense sets in their signature body crème as well.

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dermalogica-body-and-face
Head-to-toe premium care, these are great when you’re heading off somewhere for a longer-than-usual period of time and don’t want to let your regime go by the wayside. I especially like the masques for travelling, as each one targets a specific experience: post-flight Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque is great to use inflight; Skin Hydrating Masque is perfect for post-sun exposure; and Charcoal Recovery Masque comes in handy if you’re on a city break and need to deep clean. The body care set comes with an Ultimate Buffing Cloth which is long enough to wrap around yourself and give your backside a good going over.

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body-shop-mask-duo
Clear impurities and plump up your skin simultaneously. Multi-masking may have seemed like a flash in the pan, but it’s really not, and this set gives you the option of Himalayan Charcoal for deep cleaning and British Rose for feeling fresh and hydrated. Both are 100% vegan and as per The Body Shop’s ethos, are never tested on animals. This Christmas, They donated funds from select gift sets to aid their Bio-Bridge initiative, which helps restore one square metre of rainforest per purchase. If you want to feel beautiful inside and out, this is the go-to brand.

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spa-magic-organics
Hey, let’s all just relax. I have several go-to I-can’t-sleep remedies, and I can say with confidence that Spa Magick is truly, well, magic. My stupid water heater takes ages and many euros to make a decent bath, so I’ll have to really be struggling before I’ll avail of the lavender salts; the oil, however, is the ideal bedside companion for application all over before the pursuit of snoozes. The six oils include lavender, rose-hip and vitamin E, so good for your skin and your restfulness. Apply to your pulse points in addition to your face, scalp or cuticles, and then breath deeply and zzzzzzzzzz.

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glitter-face
Does it have to be Christmas to glitter and glow? Eh, no: there’s nothing I like more than a little bit of highlight going a long way. And with New Year’s Eve imminent, this group makes a seamless transition from holiday to partay. Clockwise from left: Too Faced Snow Bunny Luminous Bronzer will do your face a good turn in the summertime, too; Paese Cosmetics Sun Of Egypt Powder is also a warming touch of sun and perfect if you prefer working with a loose mineral powder; L’Oréal True Match Liquid Highlight is a buildable wonder; Sleek MakeUP Diamonds In The Rough i-Lust Palette is a champagne-inspired eyeshadow palette; Jane Iredale 24-Karat Gold Dust is just dying to be stroked over your collarbones and décolletage; and finally my two faves from the Essie WInter Collection inspired by Swinging Sixties London:  Getting Groovy and Party On A Platform.

 

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You’re on your own with the prices, lads. 

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Beauty For a Snip! Cien at Lidl

Despite being rebranded, I have long admired the cotton pads for sale in Lidl. Iseree, Cien? Eh, just don’t take away my love, dudes.

Beauty products come and go in the global discount supermarket chain, but Cien‘s new line that’s taking up permanent residence from now on.
CIEN makeup launch
I’ve given the lippy a good going over, as well as the lip gloss, and both are excellent. I esepcially love the Rich Magenta (fourth from left) because it is just the right amount of pink without being too hot or too rosy.

Equally welcome is the new haircare range:
CIEN haircare launch
You can get the full whack for less than a sevener, and it is really stands up to anything that you’d buy in the €15-20 range, particularly for a keratin-infused concoction. In this case, the Intensive Repair Mask is my fave, as I love little better than a good hair mask; take this one for a spin if you are a fan of co-washing, it is so good.

For those of us who like to impulsively fling a new lippy into the trolley, you {we!} can now do this with abandon…

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{Co-washing, you say? It’s using conditioner only, without shampoo, something that those with fine and super curly hair swear by. My version is more like condition, shampoo, condition, and it’s worked a treat. I also find that this gets the best out of those good-for-you, but hard-to-use sulfate-free shampoo/conditioner duos. I find them pesky because of the low-lather, which makes my fine hair explode like bamboo shoots tossed into a wok. As ever, YMMV.}

I Try Before You Buy: Palettes of the Eyeshadow Persuasion

01 YSL couture
YVES SAINT LAURENT Couture Variations 10-color Eye Palette in Tuxedo €70
*****
This is an almost unbelievable world of combinations here, in a wealth of textures — although they do err on the side of sparkly, a side I have been known to err on lo these many years. It’s suits its name as it does feel very formal, but don’t be put off by strength of the pigments: the key matte shades are there for day, and the deeply rich ones (love the navy) are there to transition you into the evening. The lightest touch has you covered, and the colours stay strong.

02 ISADORA eye bar
ISADORA Eye Color Bar in Nude Essentials €17.50
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These are not rich in pigment, but they are long-lasting, the perfect sort of non-dramatic hue and intensity for a day at the office. This is not damning with faint praise: most of us can’t rock up to the office like we’re ready to go clubbing at the drop of a mouse. If you want to enhance your peepers and still look professional, you won’t do any better than this — but when you are ready to drop that mouse and go out to play on a school night, you may find yourself caught short. The Surf & Sun Eye Color bar is like a Caribbean holiday in a palette, complete with yellow and green, so if you’re more adventurous, you’ll have a blast playing with it. I personally love that purple and teal…

03 NO7 mini palette
NO 7 Mini Eye Palette €14.25
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Not just for mini eyes, ha ha. Actually, this palette isn’t at all mini, but it is slim. The ‘mini’ designation is, I think, due to the palette’s being comprised of the top shades from No7’s line of eyeshadows. These are surprisingly hefty in terms of pigment, and I’m starting to feel a little bit misled by the whole ‘mini’ designation. I like the container, it’s sleek and looks expensive, which it is so not. I’d pop this in the carry-on and go travelling with it.

04 CLARINS garden escape
CLARINS PARIS Garden Escape 6-Colour Eye Palette €41
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Love these colours in theory, and as ever, the shades are long-lasting and rich, but that green. I don’t even know what to do with that. I played around with it, and it became apparent fairly quickly that I needed a professional to show me how to do this. If your skillz are up to it, then there’s lots to like here. If you have The Fear of mad colours, go with a classic Clarins palette.

FUSCHIA
FUSCHIA MAKE-UP The Pro Collection €45
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This is fun! You too can walk in the footsteps of many a make-up artist, thanks to Fuschia, by personally selecting each and every color you put in your palette. You can buy a Pro Palette Senoir {€18} or Junior {€18}, and fill it repsectively woth large pans {€7.50} or small ones {€5.50}. Nothing I love better than playing with colour, so once you’ve decided to go big or go small, you can start choosing your hues. Choosing colour online, however, has inherent drawbacks. If you’ve got a good eye and decisive mind, then you are laughing. If you can’t picture the colours on your face — which is totally understandable — this may be seem daunting. I received many compliments recently when I used this, and the look lasted the whole night long.
fuschia.ie

SLEEK Vintage Romance
SLEEK MAKE-UP I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Vintage Romance €10
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These mineral eye shadows have more pigment in one little pan than many palettes have in their entirety. These are very very smokey, and may be hard to manage — but practice, and you’ll get a long-lasting, dramatic look rather than a panda-bearish vibe. For a tenner, this is going to last an age and a half — perhaps even an aeon. There are 13 palettes to choose from, so for the price of many of the above, you can have the eyeshadow department of your beauty regime completely sorted for months to come. See http://www.sleekmakeup.com for the full line.

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So Many Palettes, So… Few… Eyes

Where’s a spider when I need her? {Ick.}

Someone recently asked me, do I wake up in the morning and just start plastering on the slap? Well, my interlocutor put it far more elegantly, but that was the gist.

A: Not really. I suppose I ought, but I do need to answer the buzzer fairly often, and don’t like the idea of nipping down the stairs looking like something out of A Clockwork Orange. I never know when the delivery lads will appear, and they inevitable would, mid-eyeshadow application, I’m sure of it.

Lately, the world has been treated to full eye makeup, even if I’m just going down the High Street to do me messages. It’s kind of funny, because the women in the know are all like O rilly missus? It is all of 2 of the clock! and the some of the dudes get a little flustered. Bless.

To wit: Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics Wet & Dry No. 19.  {€56} Very sparkly for the daytime, one would assume! In actual fact, once you do a decent blend, there is an attractive shimmer; you won’t look as though you fell face first into a vat of glitter. Unless you want to, of course! The all you have to do is lay it on, baby!

Clinique Plum Seduction {€32}, which figures largely in their Limited Edition Black Tie Violet gift set for The Christmas. I blended too well when I applied this — sorry, no pictures of me sporting any of these, which is not helpful, I know, but they didn’t turn out well a’tall — and whilst it made the blue of my pop, it also made my eye area look a little bruised. I think it’s either all contrast with this one, or none whatsoever. Second hue from the left is the culprit, methinks, just too bland, but the third from the left will make for a terrific Purple Smokey Eye.

No. 7 Deco Darling {€12.95} is Boots’ tribute to The Great Gatsby, and it is soooo Deco, darling! I am easily delighted: that fan-shaped thingie, the embossing, is terrifically fab. The similarity in hue and intensity is not so fab, however: it goes on well enough, but in the course of the day, the colour all dull down to the same degree. The deep charcoal is super for lining the eye; stay away from the silvery gray.

Today’s palette: Clarins Ombre Minérale 4 Couleurs {€40} in Odyssey, which may be a limited edition. Look at that goldy one! This is a terrific palette for wearing during the day, then sparking up with that goldy bit!

This one is wet & dry, too, and begs the question: does wetness not muck up the wee applicator beyond all redemption? I use my own fancy brushes, thanks very much, and I suppose I ought to be cleaning them more often than I am — oops— but seriously, is it worth it? I’ve only applied shadow wet once, and it worked out grandly, but I really do hesitate. Also: I forget and am halfway through the face before I remember.

Can the MUAs among us advise?

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How Did It Do? Passionate from Lush Emotional Brilliance

This photo was taken about two hours after application.

Well, it’s true. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.

That is pretty incredible pigment, isn’t it?

I will say, that as with most matte finish lip colour, the gob felt dry. I hadn’t even blotted the initial application, so I did that — two hours later — and then added a touch of lip balm.

It lasted about another hour, until which time I had had a sandwich. This couldn’t withstand a sandwich. But! I bet if you had a salad and ate it reallllly carefully, this would not budge.

I am very keen to collect a few of these colours…

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Passionate Liquid Lipstick from Lush: Emotional Brilliance, €17.95

Lush Emotional Brilliance: Change Your Face, Change Your Attitude

Last night, I was applying some of Lush’s gorgeous Celestial: Heavenly Moisturiser for Sensitive Skin — not that my skin is all that sensitive, but this cream is so soothing and gorgeous, it feels really dreamy, which is perfect for entering the dreamtime… anyway, I was doing that, and thinking to myself, I haven’t blogged about Lush in a while

This morning, I got a Lush delivery in the post!

I must be psychic or something.

Well known for their skin care and bath ballistics, Lush are venturing into the realm of cosmetics with a typically holistic approach. Emotional Brilliance uses colour therapy and behavioural therapy to allow users to enhance not only their faces, but their moods and attitudes.

So: you look at the wheel and respond to the first three colours that jump out at you. There are words that correspond with the colours — like Passionate, Sophisticated, Fantasy — and these words will be significant for you at the time of choosing. Then! In using the colours, you fulfill a need or amplify a specific talent or quality that you have, but may have been neglecting.

I think it is dead cool, and I totally believe it. For example: I’ve started wearing less black-coloured clothes in favour or more colourful ones, and I can really see a difference in the way that people respond to me. It’s a chakra thing, into which I will go into further depth when I start talkin’ ’bout my Reiki practice {soon!}

Lush’s new line features lip colours, eyeliners and eyeshadows. The variety of shades on offer point to timelessness: this is less trend-driven, and more about the sorts of tones and hues that will never do you wrong.

Here is a picture of  Passionate lip colour:

The packaging is a departure for Lush, who usually try to not have any packaging at all. Everything about the containers is recyclable, and even reusable. I’m not sure if you can go back and get refills, that sounds unlikely and unwieldy.

Here it is, applied:

It felt a bit grainy to start, but then I reckoned it was more likely that my lips needed a good exfoliating. I’ve been sporting it for the last 40 minutes or so, and it feels super light.

There’s something alchemical about the whole shebang: the bottles, the colour theory. It’s fun!

I received several samples, including one of Fantasy Eyeliner and Sophisticated Cream Eyeshadow. All of these retail for €17.95 each. There’s a supplementary line of powder, skin tints, and Eyes Right Mascara, which is shown at left. Hmmm. That makes me nervous for no good reason… Mascara in a bottle? The applicator is a traditional brush, which gave me comfort. I think I was expecting a brush, like something olde-timey? I dunno, whatever, we’ll see.

The line launches on 21 July, and there are thirteen lip colours, two no-smudge eyeliners, eleven smudgeable ones, and six eye creams.

I can never get a good photo of colour swatches, but I’ve just stroked some of the eyeliner and some of the cream eyeshadow on my hand, and the pigment is exxxxtreme. Cannot wait to play with this stuff!

Brows and Lashes: I Can Haz Cut ‘n’ Paste?

Yeesh, sorry if my followers are getting update notices — saw some typos I needed to fix, or else I wouldn’t be able to sleep this night!

It may just be that I am addicted to Photo Booth, but I wanted to update with the latest installment of HD Brows: simply put, the treatment/technique is fab, and I got mine refurbed last Thursday. That one is the bottom image, and I wish I was adept enough at P-shop to put those brows over those eyes {top} because the top brows are definitely furry, and blurry around the edges.

At one stage last week, I finally tried L’Oréal’s Superliner Gel Intenza(€14.99), of which I went on record as being to afraid to try — but I did it, and it is pretty fab. I found that if you didn’t get it right the first time round, it meant serious do-over, down to having to use eye make up removal product to clean the slate. as ever, my right eye was a doddle, and my my left eye, a debacle. It is kind of tacky on the finish, and it dries quickly, so I don’t know, maybe practice on the back of your hand?

The main problem I have with liner on the top edge of the lid is that I have almost no eyelid to speak of, so it just looks like I fecked a dark bit of whatever on my entire eyelid; so rather than getting something all eye-opening and dramatic, my lid merely looks dark. And then you skip right to the part between my lid line and the brow, which is called… What is that called? The upper lid? I can’t even think — does it have a name?

I think I am having a senior moment.

Also in use was a sample from MAC’s newest eye shadow, Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in Warm Thunder (€20.50). It received compliments, and lasted like nobody’s business. I found it as sticky to put on as the liner, but both lasted as long as I needed it to — that is, until I got home — so my advice would be to go lightly with this stuff, but go with authority and confidence.