Festive ’14: Emma So Natural and Glove Your Body

Support your local artisan/provider!
Handmade in Ireland, Emma’s So Natural line incorporates wax tart melts and small travel candles in tins, but for me, it’s alllll about the tumbler candles.

Made from soy wax as opposed to paraffin, these last longer as they burn more slowly, and they are cleaner and greener, too. Essential oils provide the scent, and you can choose from seven. There are also seasonal choices, including Wonderland, a mix of pine, eucalyptus and benzoin.

Last shipping day by courier is the 22nd!

Gotta use a glove to apply the fake tan — I do know that many prefer the bare hands, but: no. Glove Your Body’s offering looks more like a plush toy than a tanning mitt, and its many features — you’d be surprised that a self-tan accessory would have more than one feature — makes it easier to spread the product around, ensuring that your tan is more even and natural-looking.

Feature One: the obviously plush surface, which helps contain the tan. Whenever I use a sponge mitt, I find that the liquid can roll all over the surface, making it hard to manage. Definitely not a problem here.
Feature Two: Inside, there are finger-holders, like in a baseball mitt, meaning that it’s not going to slip and slide all over the place.
Feature Three: An opposable thumb! I had no idea that it would come in so handy! Why? I just feel like I’ve got better control of the whole process because my thumb is free.
Feature Four: Machine washable!

All in all, if you are a serial tanner, this is the Pro Mitt. And it feel really nice, too.


Emma’s So Natural tumbler candles, €18.50; 2-pack, €35; emmas.ie

Glove Your Body, €19.99; http://www.gloveyourbody.com


OMChristmas 2013: Guaranteed Irish Gifting

GUARANTEED IRISH We are a small island, but we make a whole lotta stuff. It’s not all jam and rashers either — although! I can thoroughly vouch for the deliciousness of the brown bread that comes from Fitzpatrick’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, as I have scarfed that up myself during a stay there, reviewing Revas Spa for the Irish Tatler Spa awards earlier in the year. Must post about that here…

Anyway! I spotted a loaf during a recent presentation from Guaranteed Irish, a showcase of the very best that Ireland has to offer during the festive season. Everything looked gorgeous, and it was a revelation to see how well-represented the Irish touch is, in terms of self-care — and by self-care, I mean beauty products and candles. Candles are so important.

IRISH STILL LIFE 1I wanted allll the candles. Having been made familiar with the Cloon Keen brand, thanks to their presence in the Shelbourne Spa, I was happy to see them represented, and was also happy to meet a new brand, about which I will talk below.

I don’t even know what’s on this table, and I’d enlarge it but I was so overwhelmed, it’s a little bit shaky. Maybe not overwhelmed as such, just dead impressed at the lovely, lovely things arrayed before me.

Here’s more:

And here’s a small round up of things that I love, and think you — I mean, your loved ones! — will love, too.

IRISH BIA feed your skin
BIA BEAUTY Feed Your Skin set {€80} includes Mellow Mandarin Moisturiser; Orange & Grapefruit Exfoliant; Stop the Clock Eye Gel; Apple Blossom Body Butter; and Detox Body Scrub. All take their scents from essential oils, and the scrub in particular is terrific for treating cellulite. There’s more info at the Cork-based concern’s website on biabeauty.com.

GREEN ANGEL face cream set
O, seaweed! Is so awesome. GREEN ANGEL offer up their fab duo, Daily Moisture Face Cream & Night Cream {€39.99} I can personally gush about the day cream: it is so silky and absorbs perfectly, yet feels so rich. I love the little blast of aromatherapy too, as the Jasmine and Neroli are invigorating enough to give me a wakey-wakey boost in the morning, but not so much that I am bouncing off the walls. Go to greenangel.com to see the full line.

All of PIXY NATURAL SKINCARE’s Christmas offerings are priced under €20! I myself am tempted by their Tempting Gift Box {€14.95} which comes with a heart-shaped soap, two skin nourishing mini bath bombs, a creamy lip balm, and the Internet’s favourite Lime Body Scrubs, also heart-shaped, and a perfectly natural exfoliating treat. See pixy.ie for more well-put-together gift boxes.

Ooh, LA BOUGIE! Also from Cork — what is going on down there, is it like the locus of creative beauty entrepreneurs or wha’? — the company present us with candles in an array of scent combinations that are spectacular. Pictured is my very own Sweet Pea & Pear 140g candle {€19.95}, and I gotta say, I am deeply attracted to the Ginger & Black Pepper and the Honeysuckle & Sea Salt. This bad girl will burn for 40 hours; there’s 220g versions that burns for 55! {€29.95} Go for the glow on labougie.com.

VOYA is also a purveyor of Irish seaweed-infused products, and here’s three gift sets that pretty much are like their ‘best of’ collection of hits: the Organic Voyager Set {€40} features 75mls each of Squeaky Clean Body Wash, Softly Does It Body Moisturiser, Silky by Nature shampoo and Forget Me Knot conditioner; 1,2,3, Glow {€58} comes with a full-sized Ritzy Spritzy facial toner and Cleanse & Mend facial cleanser, and a mini 7ml jar of Me Time moisturiser; the Body Gift Set {€48} Softly Does It body moisturiser and Squeaky Clean body wash. Not pictured is the Hair Gift Set {€40} Silky by Nature shampoo and Forget Me Knot conditioner. The full complement of product is on voya.ie.

The Christmas Fair at the NATIONAL PRINT MUSEUM runs from 29, 30 November and 1 December; rock up on Friday between 16.00-20.00, and on Saturday and Sunday between 11.00-16.00. It’s free to enter, although your wallet ought to be lightened considerably once you clap your eyes on all the artistic, unique offerings. There are also make-your-own opportunities for all the family, although I’d say it’ll be a bit late to be hand-printing your Christmas cards, hmmm? See nationalprintmuseum.ie for directions and the like.

Also, for more creative goodness, check out TALBOT GALLERY & STUDIOS on Talbot Street, D1 and their Selection BOX exhibition. All the artworks are 12 inches x 12 inches and priced at €200, making for an affordable start/expansion of your collection. Find the list of artists here; I bought a picture a couple of years ago, and it’s really one of the nicest things you can do for yourself — loved ones! Loved ones! Everybody! Art is for everyone!


Snap! Judgement: Pixy Soothing Body Balm

First thought: This is only small.

Second thought: Smells nice, though.

Third thought, as applying to skin: Ohhhhhhhhhhh — !

PIXY SOOTHING BODY BALMI like me a balm, but find that on the bod, they can be a bit greasy. This has all the qualities of a balm, and finishes with a glow, but it doesn’t feel at all slimy. Its mousse-y texture feels very, very gentle, and you absolutely don’t need all that much to get excellent coverage.

I feel itchy all over just thinking about wintertime: this is a combination of both cocoa and shea butter, which just sounds like a total itch-buster. It’s also got calendula, ylang ylang and lavender oil in there, which contributes to its balm-y qualities, and its lovely fragrance.

I am sold on this little tin of goodness, and am sure it is a future candidate for an I Used It All Up post…


€12.99; free delivery in Ireland for orders over €10!



Tanning Twenty Twelve: Karora Self Tan Mist

I hate the self tan sprays, as I have mentioned before, mainly because they are not very precise. It’s like when you clean the mirror in the bath — which you will have to do if you use a spray tan! — and you squirt the Windex and it’s like SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT. It’s okay when it’s Windex and it’s a mirror; it’s not so okay when it’s yer bod and a container of stainy stuff that will get all over the place.

So I end up SPLAT SPLAT SPLATing the stuff directly onto the mitt, and so what’s the point, then? You’re not getting the ‘salon experience’ at home, are you? Feh.

So with my usual open mind, I wielded Irish brand Karora Self Tan Mist (€14.99) and pointed it at my mitt. And then something truly amazing happened! It was all sssssssssssssssssssssssh: a truly gentle and absolutely misty expulsion of product.

Huh! I pointed the canister at my arm and depressed the button. There it was again! Ssssssssssssssssssssssh, resulting in a perfect mist of self tan adhering to my skin.

I used the mitt anyway, to distribute it evenly — I hadn’t lost my mind entirely — and have to say that the spray thing is really convenient and gentle and thorough. Who knew!

In the usual run of my criteria, this is yet another self tan that doesn’t smell bad. This also dries instantly, which is probably the most important thing to me.

However: it shows colour only to a small degree on contact, so you’ll have to plan ahead with this one. I put some on going out, and it didn’t really make an impact until the next day. Normally, I wouldn’t be okay with this either {so impatient!} but because this dries so fast, I’d put this this on and then get between the sheets without thinking twice.

Finally, I am guessing that is terrific value, because the sssssssssssssssssssssh doesn’t waste product, and with the help of the mitt, it distributes really well. Excellent all round, and it should last for the best part of the ‘summer’.



Tanning Twenty Twelve: Decadence Self Tan Mist

Always ready to support a product that is Guaranteed Irish, it was with a paradoxical mix of optimism and trepidation that I cracked open Decadence Self Tan Mist (€14.99). Akin to the way that we really, really hoped the Boys in Green would make a good go of the Euros, we really, really hope that any new thing that comes out of Ireland will make a go of it, and then kind of sigh and shrug when it doesn’t — we had hopes, sure, but they weren’t all that high.

So, off came the plastic cap. I was exfoliated and ready to go. {I should have moisturised, I know, I know, but that’s a post for another day.} The container is a soft plastic, which allowed me to get a grip on it, which I counted to the good. I gave myself a cursory spray, even though I knew I wasn’t going to spray myself all over, because it got all over the place, and: nightmare. I have honestly given this technique a fair go in the past but here’s the thing: because I am worried about the spray tan all over the bath, I immediately start to clean it, and then get all sweaty, and then get all streaky.

Does this misting lark work for anyone? Am I just doin’ it rong? It’s a class thing, isn’t it? Because I’m a renter? Do all you home-owning, spray tanning-types have entire bathrooms devoted to the art, that you can just layer and layer in tan?

Anyway: gave it go, got it all over, proceeded to spray it on my handy applicator mitt, and it was joy to the world after that.

This is dark, and it goes on dark. This is good because you can see what you’re doing. It’s not great if you are super, super fair — at least, I don’t think it would be. It felt a little bold to me, and I am medium fair-ish.

I made sure that I got as much coverage as possible, so that I wouldn’t look too too dark, and I have to say, once it settled down, it gives an excellently warm and rich tan.

I put some on my face, which I am not sure I was meant to, not after it was too late and I did it anyway. I was far too, er, generous with the product, and I immediately scrubbed about half of it off. In future, I’ll be more delicate in my approach to that area.

Drying time: eh, only hits ‘okay’ on the Fab-U-Lometer, and actually inspired this post.

It has lasted for the guts of six days, it didn’t smell bad, and I have to say, this may be the best tan I’ve ever used on my legs which, even with fake tan, stubbornly refuse to look elegantly bronzed. They did with this one.

This is championship-level tanning. Olé, olé, olé!


Decadence Self Tan Mist is available in pharmacies nationwide.