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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Bourjois La Laque: New Shades for Summer 15

…and well into autumn, I’d say.

LA LAQUE

I used to love going into Woolworths {RIP} when I was a tween, and would stand and gaze at the rainbow of nail polish on display — back when there was Woolworths, and when there was no such thing a ‘tween’. This range inspires the same awe, and since I am rubbish at manicures, but have found a New York-style pedi right around the corner*, I’m going to go the full NYC vibe and bring along a colour of my own.

No idea where to start! I’ve got a teal-ish hue on my toes at the mo’, so I may go for one of the reds — or that orange! It’s probably the only way I can actually wear that colour. That burgundy and brown with definitely see action in September/October. I do wish there was a black/deep purple; fingers — or toes — crossed for A/W15…

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€10.49/£6.49/$10.45

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*New Yorki Nails on Upper Great Georges Street do a €30 pedi that includes dead skin-scraping and a calf massage!

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NYC Fancy Dotty Nail Polish: Yes

Yes, it is fancy and dotty.
NYC FANCY DOTTY

Shown is Nolita’s Lolita; also available are Greenwich Goddess {white}, Park Slope Fairy {pink} and NY Lady {peach}. The peach is heavy on the yellow rather than orange, FYI.

It is also not the easiest to get off, so brace yourself for many, many cotton pads-worth of remover — but it lasts really well, even when lashed on with no base coat or top coat, even.

Cheap as, if not cheaper than chips, at €1.99, this is perfect for those us {me} who haven’t got great nails/patience/marigolds* — you’ll get a good long run out of one application, and they look fun. Also great for a quick accent nail!

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Banishing Winter, One Nail at a Time

I am done with this cold weather malarkey. I banish you, winter! Away!

Right, so, whatevs: let’s show winter we mean business.
No7 GEL LOOK

Hello, pretty. On our left is No7 Coral Crush, on our right is Sweet Lilac. Both are from the Gel Look line of nail varnishes on offer, which promise one stroke of durable, shiny goodness.

My nails as usual are in rag order — although I must blog about my NYC New Year’s Eve mani/pedi experience, it was boss — so I won’t subject you to their nastiness.

Just meditate on this lovely image, and do pick some up and give them a try.

I saw many a Boots stand in a variety of drugstores in Manhattan, go have a look and see if they are there!

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No7 Gel Crush Nail Varnish, €9

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OMChristmas: A Variety of Beautyfull Things

BUTLERS 7.95
Love, love, love this BUTLER’S CHOCOLATE Tree Ornament {€7.95} is fun, functional and delicious. Well, the stuff inside is; don’t eat the actual bauble. Like I have to say it, but you never know. Should figure in your decorative oeuvre for years to come.

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Mini Mani Month 2013-1
This is an advent-ish calender that works all year round: CIATÉ Mini Mani Month {£42} comes with enough nail polish to please even your fussiest manicure enthusiast. There’s 19 5ml varnishes, 1 large size paint pot, 2 bottles of Caviar Pearls, and 2 samples of glitter/sequins… which equals 24? Whevs: it is super cute, even if it can’t add.

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Aoife Harrison - Ivory Lace Hairband with Silk Flower - High
AOIFE HARRISON is an Irish milliner whose gorgeous headpieces are like confectionery for your noggin. Above is the Ivory Lace Hairband with Silk Flower, embroidered and studded with pearls — it is simply stunning! Prices range from €199 to €399; her work is stocked exclusively at the Design Centre, or go online at aoifeharrison.ie. A bridal heirloom in the making!

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Neroli Candle
Oh, YON KA PARIS, with your Neroli Orange Blossom Serenity Massage Oil Candle {€45}, are you trying to kill me? This is so pretty and smart: the little spout on the candle container is pure genius. No messing about with scooping warmed wax: just light, blow out the flame, and pour! Happy holidays, indeed.

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DUBARRY FLASK
DUBARRY Rugby Hip Flask in Walnut {€50} is perfect for the dudes, but why be sexist when you don’t have to? I would welcome this with open pocket.

That’s me done with gift guides for another festive season. Happy Christmas!

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Viking Chic? Nails Inc Floral Street Varnish and Goth-y FitFlops

Loving the way the flat, bright white of Nails Inc‘s Floral Street just pops.

NAILS INC FLORAL STREET

I was going to go give myself a pedicure in Photoshop — gasp! Misrepresentation! — and then though, hmmm, might be more useful to show what happens after you have worn a pair of black tights, and have to touch up the big toes.

Now, I admit my toes are manky, and that the nails are the smallest you may ever like to see on a grown human woman {weirdly tiny!} and that maybe people come to The Internet to see perfect things.

I obviously don’t agree. What’s the point of pretending that this is varnish is not doing something that might bug you? Me, I’m happy enough to show the result of a quick and dirty touch up — I had to post and run, ha, ha — because it’s like, real, betches.

Anyway: the varnish is a bit gloppy, and in general the texture is a bit like white out. It took three layers to get the dead white.

I love it anyway! And in tandem with my dungeon-y vintage FitFlops (c. 2010), the overall look is on-trend monochrome, with a Norse twist.

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€17.10/£11*

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Price point alert! Sheesh!

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Are you people gonna tell me you put top coat on your toes????

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Colourful Claws: Essie Nail Varnish

What a difference healthy nails make. Nail varnish, once relegated to be reviewed on my toes, because my fingernails were so, so manky, is now one of my favourite things in life.

Essie probably won’t thank me for posting a picture of a less-than perfect finish, but sistuhs: this is day four. Day. Four.

Here’s what my nails went through in four days:
> Horseriding
> Dishwashing x3/day, without gloves
> 3 showers
> Lots of keyboard work {I had a big gig in the last week} which I am only realising as I am now typing, does indeed have an effect

That’s high stress stuff! And yet: four days! And only a wee bit of chippage! I don’t know, I’m sure other people do better, simply because they are better at applying it, but me, I am dead impressed.

{What’s she talkin’ ’bout, horseriding? The gloves play utter havoc upon a manicure, of course.}

Clockwise from left: Beach Bum Blue, Smokin’ Hot, No Place like Chrome, and Really Red. I also got the very classic neutral, Ballet Slippers, and my abso fave, Nothing Else Metals, a lavender-y metallic wee bottle of gorgeousness.

I am going to remove this now {*sob*} and do up all the nails in Ballet Slipper, methinks. I’ve cut my splitty nail all the way down, which is why it’s covered up. But thanks to — I know, I know, it’s all I talk about — Dr Lewinn’s Renunail Nail Strengthener, I have faith that it will grow back stronger than ever before. Because I wouldn’t even be bothering to paint my manky nails {not so manky now!} without its amazing benefits.

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€9.99/£8.50/$8.00