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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Love At First Night: L’Oréal Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil and Cream

AGE PERFECT oil Sometimes it takes me a while to work something into the schedule. Everyone loves a launch, but it’s rarely ever practical for me to post right away, or to try something out immediately — unless I fall in love with it at first sight — or in this case, at first smell, and at first touch.

I love oils: I’ve got stuff for my scalp all the way down to my toes, and I especially love love love facial oils. It is absolutely not like the oil you cook with, which I think has to be said — I know it’s the first thing that came to mind when these sorts of things started flying into the post box. Facial oils are fluid, for sure, but they have a slightly dry second touch, and when they absorb correctly, you have the luxuriousness of that fluidity, but you don’t have to wait hours for it to sink in.

By ‘second touch’, I mean: you put some on your hand, and think ‘Ooh, oily!’ and then it almost instantly starts to feel substantial. Like, it’s not going to just drip off of your face. L’Oréal Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil does that, and one stopperful of product — gorgeous, delicious-smelling product — covers the entire face and neck, and turns your skin to silk.

And then you wake up it still feels silky, and clean, and fresh. And then! You get to continue the good work you’ve begun with the brand’s Extraordinary Facial Cream. AGE PERFECT cream pot I know that the image had been styled, but in fact, the cream feels like that — like a soufflé for the face, all light and fluffy.

Fluffy face cream — surely it’s A Thing just waiting to happen.

I think that what we deem to be quality in a product — and what determines the cost, or what we are thought to be willing it pay — has everything to do with texture. Both of these win in the texture sweepstakes: both feel rich and in comparison with some products that I get to try, are truly reasonably priced. With RRPs of €25.99 for the oil and €22.99 for the cream, it’s manageable in the extreme. Also, pricier products can always be justified thanks to the truism ‘a little goes a long way’, and both of these adhere to that.

As rare as it is for me to immediately rotate something into the routine, it is equally so that I turf through that something at a rate of knots. I am turfing through these something fierce. I can’t recommend this duo more highly — and for mature faces? Yer only woman.

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Available at your local chemists.

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Top Twelve of 2012: Four, Calling Birds

Did anyone else think that this holiday was completely weird, time-wise? Not only that it came up so quickly, but also, I don’t know, it just seemed like everything was on the wrong day?

I blame Tuesday. Aw, poor Tuesday, I feel bad immediately saying that. However: Christmas on a Tuesday just doesn’t work. So let’s avoid that for the next while, ‘kay?

Because of time and Tuesdays, I suddenly don’t even have twelve days to do a single Top Twelve per day, so I’m doing some grouping here. Let’s start with makeup, my B&B birdies! Continue reading

Q: Why is This Woman Grinning Like an Eeeejit? A: HD Brows.

HD Brows are the best thing ever, ever, ever.

Ever. Seriously, it’s like the rest of the face can just chill out, because the brows are doing all the work.

I just got them seen ta yesterday at Carter Beauty in Blackrock, and the world of difference it makes!

If you haven’t seen the before-and-after gallery on their site, go have a look.

Evidence: compelling.

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What else have I got going on?

> The Hair: Dermalogica Shine Therapy Shampoo & Silk Finish Conditioner {€22.20/28.65} with a few squirts of L’Oréal Mythic Oil Milk {€19.99}

> Foundation Le Teint Touche Éclat from Lancôme {€38}. I think I got too light a shade, maybe? Can’t tell from the seriously warm photo. I’m not sure this is right for me. I have to give this another go, and see.

> 10 Bronzer {€34} from Benefit because of the above.

> Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara {€21}

> NYC HD Color Quattro Eye Shadow in Queens Boulevard {€3.49}. I didn’t use the full quattro, only a duo; the palette is nicely purple-y.

> Dr Hauschka Lipstick Novum in Slow Mood {16.50}, because I was going for a neutral lip. I’m thinking it is only okay, and was sorry that I hadn’t remembered this new Lacura Beauty lippy I’m liking at the moment, from Aldi, in 419. It’s a smoky purple-y grey, and the other day? I ate an apple, and it didn’t wear off. !

Hey, that’s one pricey face…

Ooookay, A Bit Much for Daytime, But Still: Smokelicious Eyes from L’Oréal

Sometimes I don’t think ahead. I was sitting here, taking a break from work-work, and I reached down into the box that lives at my feet, down to the right. This is the box that contains all the new stuff, stuff that needs to be to hand, but is to foot because I am trying to keep the top of my desk from being too cluttered.

I reached down, and my hand hit this, one of L’Oréal’s new eyeshadow palettes for autumn, in the Colour Riche Les Ombres line. Hmmm, I thought. Green. I always think that green will make my eyes bluer, but it makes me look like I am due to be carried out of my gaff feet first. Eh, whatever, I like the look of the plummy bit, and after squinting, even with my specs, at the wee diagramme on the back, I laid it on myself. Continue reading

Tanning Twenty Twelve: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Golden Mousse

Right, so. It is 6.30 in the morning. It is… to say it is pissing down rain is to insult piss, to be honest. It is filthy, foul, and soul-destroying out there. Your first thought, before you are even conscious that you are thinking, is Holy crap, I have to get my Christmas shopping done! before you remember that it is July, not November.

You are actually vertical, and preparing to leave the house in an hour. You can’t imagine what in the world you are going to wear, because your phone says it is actually kind of warm out. You look at yourself in the mirror — the lovely suntan you picked up in the South of France is fading, as is the memory of that strange glowing orb that was present in a sky that was this really weird colour, like blue or something?

You think, Feck it, and even though everything you’ve ever read tells you to tan the night before the morning of the deluge, you don’t give a toss. You grab the can of L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Golden Mousse (€22.49) and your trusty mitt, and go to work.

On a day that seemed to start out so wrong, suddenly everything is right. The mousse is light, it doesn’t have that stink, it imbues you with instant warmth and glow, and dries in finger snap. It is perfect.

That is all.

Sweeties for The Sweet! L’Oréal Miss Candy Collection

Stripey goodness! Let’s pretend it is summer! {Although I know that New Yorkers are sweating buckets, and frankly, wish I had your troubles, betches.}

Here comes the Miss Candy Collection via L’Oréal, comprised of Glam Shine Lip Glosses, Color Infallible Eye Shadows and Riche Nail Varnishes.

Clockwise from left: Dolce Pralina, Tart Lollipop and Miss Candy gloss; Sassy Marshmallow eyeshadow; Wild Purple, Dating Coral, and French Riviera nail varnish; Naughty Strawberry and Innocent Turquoise eye shadow.

I’ve used the Infallible Eye Shadows before: the pigment is rich but the stuff itself doesn’t go on on well with a brush. You may have a different experience, but when all else fails, do as I do and use your fingers. I’ve swiped a bit of Sassy Marshmallow on my hand it is shiiiiiiny. {It is too gloomy out to get a good photo.}{Or I am just a crap photographer.}

The glosses are shiiiiny, too, but without much colour; even the poppy-looking Tart Lollipop hasn’t got much actual pop.

Since I am mid Dr Lewinn’s treatment, I’ll save the varnish ’til my nails are perfect.

This came with:

Probably not going to get that with purchase, but if the line could be summed up by anything, it’s by those bright, fizzy sweets. Yum!