Bank Holiday Spa Staycation: All the Stuff I Never Have Time To Do

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND… or rather, some of the stuff I never have time to do. It’s mainly those oils that get short shrift in the regime, which is a pity because I loooove oils and I love the deep moisturising kind of thing that they produce.

Let’s start from the left, though, just to keep everything organised.

The Clinique Sonic {which I pronounce in my head as ‘Sonique’, surely a missed opportunity for the marketing heads} has launched a Massage Treatment Applicator {€25} to go with their new Sculptwear Contouring Massage Cream Mask {€48} and I think it is just terrific. This new applicator, which is metal and was developed by dermatologists, feels like it is doing the work of those sorts of facials that inject serum into the skin. This wouldn’t have exactly that function, but using the Sonic to make sure that you’re getting the fullest benefit of the mask is a no-brainer: it gets the product deeper into your skin than your fingers can do.

The scent is gorgeous  and my skin looked fresh and vibrant, but the 50ml tub feels a little tiny, as I felt I used a little more product than I would under normal, non-vibrating-applicator circumstances, but that’s my only criticism < which, in fairness, isn’t negligible, but given the result, I think I can cope.

I am sucker for a cult product, and La Roche-Posay’s Serozinc {€10} certainly qualifies, with the number of women who have had to stock up on this whilst abroad can attest. I don’t suffer from blemish-prone skin, but I do like the odd pore-tightening {TWSS} and this toner promises to do just that. I found myself giving myself the odd spray every time I passed, and the refreshment was of the highest order. I’ve never really gotten into the ‘spray spring water on your face’ thing that has been made famous by other French spas — and the weather certainly hasn’t been roasting enough to encourage that practice — but I am so lazy with toning that I’m hoping I get into the habit with this. Dat price, tho: best value for a toner of any stripe.

I loved the results I got from label.m‘s Brightening Blonde range, and I have to say it may be replaced in my affections by their Honey & Oat line. The shampoo {€14.97} and conditioner {€18.64} are the bomb, although I do find that the conditioner doesn’t do the best job of making my tangle-y tresses easier to untangle. Luckily, the Treatment Mask does a better job, and I did a good job using it — I left it on for a good long while in the shower, and my hair felt like silk when I dried it. LABEL M HAIRLooked like it too, without any styling: just a good blast dry and brushing, and my highlights look rejuvenated as well. I’ll have to be using more of the conditioner than I’d like, perhaps, but I am very happy with this trio. And smelling like a delicious autumnal bowl of porridge is no bad thing, either.

Onto the oils! There’s nothing like applying a scented oil to a damp bod, but who has time for this in the normal run of a week? Not me, so I took advantage of allll the time at my disposal and lashed on Neom‘s new 3-in-1 Face, Body & Hair Oil {€43 RRP}. I tried the Daily Boost version, that comes infused with Wild Mint & Mandarin: On wet skin, a little goes a long way, and two days later, my pelt still feels nice and silky. I am wary of things that say they can go all over you, and haven’t been brave enough to try it on the hair, or the face, TBH.

I was more than happy to use No7‘s Youthful Replenishing Oil on my visage, obvs, and put this on fresh out of the shower as well. Loaded with rosehip and jojoba, and Vitamins C, E and A, I put some on before bed too, which I am sure is something that a beauty expert might caution against — one may get too much of a good thing, mightn’t one? — but I didn’t care. My face didn’t fall off, so.

Vichy Laboratoires have revamped their Pureté Thermale range, and I liked the look of the One Step Cleanser {€14.99} — although, again, not sure that using it to remove eye make up, the third element in the 3 in 1, would be something that I’d attempt. I hate creamy cleaners on my eyes. Otherwise, I found this very effective, even though I only used it once at the beginning of this whole process. It’s kind of scary how, even when you think you’ve done everything to cleanse your skin, there’s still pesky bits of foundation stuck in your pores. This did a good job of getting the leftovers off, and I’ll be bringing it into my usual schedule.

But now, it is the dreaded post-Bank Holiday Tuesday… once more into the breach, my friends!


You can find label.m on or on




La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL: Compact, But Not Sturdy

Ugh: nothing worse than the mix of sunscreen and make up. I’ve got a few liquids I’m trying, and so far, not so good. They are fine on their own, and I gotta say, SPF 50 works. I haven’t had the usual outbreak of freckles all summer, because I’ve been as mindful as I’m meant to be, especially when horseriding. Not a smidge of pigmentation! This is great news.

Not so great: the days when I want to put the foundation on my face, or even a tinted moisturiser, and continue on with the full complement of brows and mascara, much less eyeshadow. What’s gal to do then?

I’ve been doing this.
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Compact-Cream is proper make up with proper SPF that properly protects and also makes you look like you’ve got a good, finished look to ya. You’ve got your UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection, and an excellent quality creamy foundation coverage. It is also water-resistant, so sweat as much as you like.

However, if like me you don’t know your own strength…
I’m pretty sure I’ve never used a compact so much that I’ve broken it. I don’t know that I’ve used this all that much, either, to result in such destruction. Good thing I bought that asparagus that time, because I kept the purple elastic and it’s just the correct size to keep everything together.

I’ve had this issue with other LRP products, in which the packaging doesn’t stand up to regular usage. Its annoying, but it won’t put me off altogether, at all.
And this is why I love it. I feel all sun-protected, and yet natural-looking. I can use this with allll the make up, or as depicted here, with none a’tall. I haven’t even scraped down to the bottom — you know the way you get that little hole in the middle of a compact? — and there is so much summer yet to be had.

Okay, so maybe there’s a freckle or two on my nose, but srsly: nothing like the splatter of frecklage that used to look so cute all those years ago…


€21;  comes in Sand Beige or Golden; the former is depicted here.


OMChristmas 2013: Gift Sets That Are Fab {And Mainly Come in Tins}

…and are not lame, which I used to think gift sets were — back when dinosaurs walked the earth. As the human race has evolved, so has the ways in which brands present their ‘best of’ in attractive packages for the festive season.

^^^That’s all code for: this is a simple and easy way to gift, but you wont look scabby because all of this stuff is nice.

DrHauschka Daily Face Care Kit
DR HAUSCHKA Skin Care Essentials {€27.95} is terrific way in which to introduce your natural-cosmetic-loving loved one to the brand. I am a sucker for a tin or a box, and oh! the uses this container would get put to!

I love LA ROCHE-POSAY‘s Lipikar line, having had great enjoyment out of their shower oil. If you buy two or more LRP products from your local chemists, you’ll receive this gift box plus 100mls Lipikar Cleansing Oil. I can’t imagine a better value gift, and if you’re needing to spread the love a little, you can surely give the two products away in your office Secret Santy, and the gift box to a loved one. In any event, you will get so much love in return, as this is truly an excellent brand.

PAYOT design lift regard
I’ve not had much opportunity try PAYOT; their Design Lift Regard Coffret {€85} comes in a pretty little zippered case, and contains a healthy sample of Design Lift Visage face cream and sample sizes of eye cream, masque, Elixir Jeunesse, and Design Lift Visage, which is a skin-tightening serum. The sizes are perfect for travel, and like all high quality brands, you’ll get good mileage out of the the samples — less is more.

BENEFIT groovy kinda love
OMG, here’s another tin just waiting to be used to hold things! A Groovy Kind-a Love {€39.50} is full of fabulousness, including the now-iconic Porefessional and They’re Real mascara. BENEFIT have done it again in the gift-set department. And again:
Best of Benefit {€29.50} is truly the best of the brand, and if your loved one is a heathen and not enamoured of tins, then this box will do nicely. The sample sizes are eminently portable, and will go a long, long way. You’ll get particularly excellent mileage out of the Boi-ing and the BeneTint. I mean, your giftee will. Yeah, the person for whom you bought this. Right.

Marine algae Gift Set €12.99
ZIAJA Marine Algae Spa Gift Set {€12.99} is a terrific introduction to the value brand. There are seemingly limitless lines, from grapeseed to shea butter, but I am a fan of this one, myself. Throw in a bottle of the Enzyme Peeling Treatment {€4.99} and for less than €20, you’ve given someone pampering treat.

BODY SHOP butter snowman
I consider THE BODY SHOP to have been one of the first to conceive of this form of gifting, and in having been in the vanguard, I find it can be easy to forget about them. Well, if you go for a browse in your local shop, you’ll be amazed that anyone could: the level of design and presentation continues to improve every year, as does the quality of the product. I literally went ‘Ooh!’ when I opened the Shea Scrub & Soften Gift Set {€29.95}. A 100ml body butter is paired with 50mls of scrub. This tin has festive potential for years to come…

Oh, Boots, how are we supposed to keep up! There are so many bargains to be had, I almost didn’t know how to choose amongst them, but I do love the SANCTUARY SPA brand. Here is their Top to Toe Glow Pamper Tin Gift Set {a tin, how surprising!}, and it is stuffed full of self-care goodness. Oh, I gotta list ’em all: 250mls of Body Wash and Body Lotion; Spa Skin Body Polisher; Radiance Exfoliator {100ml}; Fresh Faced Purifying Wash {140ml}; Spa Facial Headband; Pumice Foot Scrub {50ml}; Moisture Rich Foot Butter {50ml}; Spa Pedicure Foot File. Whew! It’s £19, and with the best will in the world, I tried to get the € price. I’ll convert, but don’t quote me on this: €22. Sure, with all the 3 for 2 deals that are going at the moment, whatever the upward difference may be is easily made up at the till.

R&G FIGROGER & GALLET 100ml Fragrance Coffrets {€39.75} in which you get matching 50mls of Shower Gel and Body Lotion. Choose from one of their four most popular scents: Bois d’Orange, Fleur d’Osmanthus; Fleur de Figieur or Rose Imaginaire. Sadly, not contained in a tin, but that box is super pretty — no wrapping required! Your new year of fragrance layering starts here.

MICRO Pedi gift set and components
Give a beloved foot enthusiast the gift that keeps on giving. At a special introductory price of €49.95, you cannot beat EMJOI‘s MicroPedi Gift Set. Look at all that! And look how cute the little heart is on the cover of the box, it’s like two little feet… As someone who is grossed out by feet, even I am adoring this.

Go forth and shop!


O, Joy! Cicaplast Lips Barrier Repair Balm

This image is a little fuzzy, as my hands were shaking with excitement.
CICAPLAST repairing balm

Which is sad! But I know that I am not the only lip balm addict in the world, and the evidence that La Roche-Posay are expanding their Cicaplast family is just… just beyond thrilling.

I have previously written about my love for the Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm here, and the straight-up Cicaplast Pro-Recovery Skincare here, which both served me well as regarded equestrian injuries in the past. This, I hope I don’t have to use due to extreme duress, unless it is because I have been snogging the face offa someone blisterin’ hot. Hmmm. I am feeling inspired…

This is a thicker texture than most balms, and yet it absorbs quickly, and leaves behind, yes, a barrier, one of protection and of continuing hydration. It’s got some fancy MP Lipids in it, which help to rebuild the skin, layer by layer. Because of my assiduous use of lip stuff, I haven’t had cracked, peeling lips in years, and I am willing to take this innovation on trust, and since I’ve been using this, I have to say that even though I haven’t got worst-case-scenario-mouth, the improvement in softness and suppleness has been remarkable. And! Even though I love to reapply, I haven’t had to very much, because this is so effective.

The elements are reverting to their blowy, chilly, autumnal selves, and the chapping from the wind is not something I’m pleased to welcome back. Especially when out on horseback. This little tube of wonder is set to be my go-to balm, not only to protect against the weather, but also to soothe and heal me gob for the times that I not so much forget to use it, but am hoarding it against the really cold days ahead. Although, at the price below, it’s not that much of a stretch to stock up…




La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque: Refreshing!

HYDRAPHASE INTENSE MASKI don’t know that I can post about this quickly enough! With one eye on my iPhone, threatening rain at the end of the week, I feel like I have to talk fast!

This is great! My skin has been feeling hard done by — this is not a total complaint! Don’t go away, sun!

Okay, hang on, clearly need to take a breath here.

Combined with the general stone-splitting conditions please add two doses of horseriding per week, and my face has been feeling like an old boot. I lashed on La Roche-Posay’s newest addition to the Hydraphase family, and basked in its cooling, soothing properties. And when I say ‘lashed’, I mean loads and loads of product. I am usually quite scabby when it comes to masques, in part because I am trying to make them last, and also because I feel like a thick layer doesn’t really appreciably make a difference. A thin layer ought to work as well, if not better, as it will absorbs more efficiently. Right?

Whether the depth of the lashings made a diff or not, I don’t know, but I do know that my sun-kissed, arena-dirt-encrusted, tired, hot face was transformed upon removal of the masque. Or what was left of it*: I let it sink in as directed, and there was just about none left — meaning that my skin was as dehydrated as I suspected it was. Glad to know we were all on the same page.

There’s hylauronic acid fragments in it, so: anti-aging qualities as well. That’s just icing on the cake — or face. LOL. < I am giddy from all the Vitamin D. I’m beginning to think it’s a hallucinogenic. Like, I am still living in Ireland, right? O.o

Quitting whilst I’m ahead,




*The masque, not my face. Giddy!


Dude Week: This La Roche-Posay Vid Will Always Be Relevant!

I saw some dudes selling the paintball experience out in Henry Street, when we had summer last week, and I was like, dudes! You are burning yourselves to a crisp! The foreheads, they were scarlet! So may I sorta reblog myself: a post from last May. Bears repeating.

{I was going to edit the part about the sun seeming ‘a distant, wistful memory’, because it is out, this very second — but that will probs change the minute I post this. Doesn’t matter! ABSPFing!*}


Chase Your Dude Around the House with SPF!

Because one in eight Irish dudes will get skin cancer.

Yeah, I know, I’m looking out my window, too, and the sun seems a distant, wistful memory. And frankly, the last three {four? Five?} ‘summers’ haven’t exactly inspired any of us to even think twice about UV protection.

Picture 6I am bad enough, me with all my samples and knowledge, about being ambivalent as regards the SPF, but dudes? How many dudes do you see sloping around with their shirts off, the minute the mercury creeps above anything that seems even remotely warm? And, as it says in the video created by La Roche-Posay for their Save Our Skin campaign, some Irish dudes do think that sunburn is hilarious — I’ve seen them, laughing at their poor, lobstery mates! — but the long term ill effects of a right roasting can be life threatening.

So, you know, if you want your man to take care of his pelt, it might be up to you to get the routine started. And, uh, apparently like, clothes don’t really block out the UV as much as you’d think, so if you are chasing your dude around the house with SPF, well, it could be fun. Because you can’t really apply the stuff effectively when those clothes are on? Right?

Sun protection can be sexy.


*Always Be SPFing!


Hey! Weather! I Got Work to Do, Yo.

I know, I know — I know! But even here in Ireland, where we expect such things as hail and rain and sun and hail and rain in one hour, we are getting fed up.

It is feckin’ May, dammit. I have things I need to use and have not got much impetus to do so.

I know I am an amateur when it comes to self-tanning. I still abide by these now arbitrary rules as to when it is actually ‘summer’. Heck, I’d begun relaxing them in recent years to incorporate May, but look where we are with that. How’m I s’posed to check all this stuff I’ve got if there is not going to be A} sun to block or B} sun to illuminate the applied shine?

HEY WEATHER!There’s that bottle of Clarins Splendours Shimmer Body Oil {€37}, which falls squarely in the B category. Sure, I could douse myself from head to toe, and how I yearn to do so, but then what? Cover it up with a jumper? What a waste! I also have a tub of He-Shi’s Luminous Shimmer {€12.60}, not pictured because I think it ran away from home, and is heading for climes in which it can be shown to its best advantage. Cannot believe the bitch did not take me with it.

I suppose I could use La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL Invisible Nutritiv Oil SPF50+ {€22} when I go horseriding, and I think I will definitely try in on my face. I found the Anthelios XL Extreme Fluid {€19.50} to come over rather Chaplinesque  — not a good look.

At least I’ll get some use out of the above. But whither my massive IsaDora Bronzing Powder {€25.95}, much less my long-awaited and anticipated Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick {€42.50}? Or the new Vichy Capital Soleil Beautifying Sun Protection Compact {€19.50} — which, okay, since we’re meant to ABSPFing* I should probs use anyway.

All this moaning would be moot if I would just crack into Cocoa Brown’s Night & Day Tan {€7.99}, giving myself the proper canvas upon which to apply all the shimmer. This shows up the tan immediately, with no development time, and showers off the next day to a lovely, light tan. Or so I’ve heard.

And I guess I could work my way into the whole glow-y vibe by using the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder {€48}.

CHANEL les beiges

I am happy just to look at the lovely cream lid. I am such a weirdy, but that is actually lifting my spirits. So elegant. So… so full of je ne sais quoi. No, I know quoi — it’s an inanimate object, uneffected by the vagaries of les temps.

Anyway, as I watch the rain piss down from the heavens, I feel a rebellious urge begin to stir within… Let the tanning begin! Weather bedamned!


*Always Be SPFing


Noooooooooo! Come Baaaaaaack!

I have all these SPFs I tried out, Sun, and what, now you’re fecking off?!?!

Do you expect everyone to go off on a fantasy holiday to Krk??

Well, anyway: yesterday, I said I was going to cover myself in protection, and so I did.

At €5.99, you get a lotta bang for your buck with Lacura Suncare Moisturising Spray. The Aldi brand always comes through with the excellent price point. The spray action is not so great, unless you are in fact, say, on the deck of ship cruising the Adriatic. It got allll over the place in my house, and all over the clothes, too.

Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Light & Silky Protection Mist SPF 30 {whew!} was another spray that made a mess. Not that I learned from my previous mistake, no: got a fine white film over everything around my right leg. The further away you hold it the better, obviously, but again, I think I’ll be sticking to cream-based SPFs for doing the daily business. This goes for €26.83 which seems pricey.

I had fun with the Stick Sensible from Eau Thermale Avène, so I was happy enough to give their Very High Protection Emulsion 50+ a go. I totally forgot I had put this on, and this is excellent on many levels: it absorbed quickly, it smelled clean, and my skin felt soft afterwards. Only complaint: why so small, my French friends? 50mls seems on the shy side for €22!

La Roche-Posay Laboratoire Dermatologique have the most frustrating packaging on the planet. I didn’t even know what this was for until I unearthed the little brochure thingie that came in the box, that slid out of a sleeve. Their Anthelios AC 30SPF Matte Extreme Fluid is another one that comes in at 50mls, is only slightly less costly at €19 and is only for the face. Sheesh. But you know what? It is extremely fluid, and it worked extremely well: my face felt nicely toasted after spending a few hours basking, with nary a nasty patch of red to be to seen.

Well {heaves an enormous sigh}, at least I’ll be prepared when the Sun does decide to come back…

Chase Your Dude Around the House with SPF

Because one in eight Irish dudes will get skin cancer.

Yeah, I know, I’m looking out my window, too, and the sun seems a distant, wistful memory. And frankly, the last three {four? Five?} ‘summers’ haven’t exactly inspired any of us to even think twice about UV protection.

I am bad enough, me with all my samples and knowledge, about being ambivalent as regards the SPF, but dudes? How many dudes do you see sloping around with their shirts off, the minute the mercury creeps above anything that seems even remotely warm? And, as it says in the video created by La Roche-Posay for their Save Our Skin campaign, some Irish dudes do think that sunburn is hilarious — I’ve seen them, laughing at their poor, lobstery mates! — but the long term ill effects of a right roasting can be life threatening.

So, you know, if you want your man to take care of his pelt, it might be up to you to get the routine started. And, uh, apparently like, clothes don’t really block out the UV as much as you’d think, so if you are chasing your dude around the house with SPF, well, it could be fun. Because you can’t really apply the stuff effectively when those clothes are on? Right?

Sun protection can be sexy.

When Blogs Collide: Cicaplast by La Roche-Posay

I posted this image on my horse blog, because I like to keep my readers apprised of the latest havoc wrecked upon my bod.

You can read all about the genesis of that bruise via the link, if you like.

Having attended the recent launch for Cicaplast Baume B5 by La Roche-Posay (€12.50), it only occurred to me after the fact — the fact being that we had a live Twitter feed provided at the event and I could have asked this question then — that this stuff might be good for that bruise.

During the presentation, the BB5 was represented as purely fool-proof for dry, irritated skin; as a ‘store-cupboard’ essential, as it is safe for use on infants and children; and as a miracle worker for those who have skin conditions the like of eczema. The results, as presented by Dr Geraldine Morrow and practice nurse Selene Daly, were compelling, and while I prefer to try and test products under the proper conditions, I didn’t really want to start cracking and peeling in order to determine its efficacy for myself.

I had forgotten about the bruise, you see, because it doesn’t hurt, even though it is gobsmackingly colourful, and massive.

Now, I had used the regular Cicaplast, which is generally used after skin treatments like peels, on the bit of my shin that had gotten kicked by a horse, and talked about it here — this post is turning into links within links, but the thing is: will the new stuff do the job, or is the other stuff the way to go?

The damn thing is big enough to try them both simultaneously… ah, sure, feck it, may as well try the new stuff. It’s not like it’s going to make it worse.

Okay, took this photo yesterday {photographing your own arm is very difficult.} Now, you can see that it is healing, but it’s still got a ways to go. I applied the BB5, and found the texture to be light and soothing, and the absorption rate to be very good.

Don’t squeeze out too much, because it’s unnecessary. The coverage is excellent.

I spent a long-ish day at the laptop yesterday, and so applied more before I went out to co-facilitate the writing workshop I’m doing in Blackrock*. I was wearing a short-sleeved dress-top, and no one recoiled at the sight of my arm.

Huh! This is today’s shot. Look how all the black is gone, and the whole thing is turning that awful yellow, which means it is really on the road to recovery.

Now, I’m no doctor, but I am something of a bruise expert, having always been a tender peach, and this is pretty remarkable.

I am fairly certain that there will be other bruises with which to conduct experiments from the beginning, so stay tuned. Unless they are on my arse — been known to happen! – then you’ll just have to take my word for it.

*Follow me on Twitter @SusanEConley, for updates on upcoming workshops.