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.

***
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.

***
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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

 

***

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

***

Advertisements

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…

***

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!