Snap! Judgement: Roger & Gallet Huile Embellissante in Fleur d’Osmanthus

This is a new launch from the fragrant French firm, who are celebrating 150 years in the smelling-good biz.

Snap! The colour of the bottle is a dead giveaway. This is gonna smell orange-y.

Snap! The bottle gives good squirt, which can be an issue. It doesn’t spray all over the place {sorry, my mind just wandered there for a sec…} but you do need to cup the palm or else you won’t get the full benefit of the pump. Insert filthy giggle here.

Snap! Yup, orange-y, and kind of light-yet-smokey? Your nose may tell you something different. Let’s just say floral, which again, no surprise, it says fleur right there in the title!

Snap! It applies beautifully. I do love a dry body oil, they feel so luxurious and sexy. The skin on my right forearm felt very soft for quite a long time.

Snap! Then, I cheated and used it after my shower, and this mitigates the snappiness of the judgement, but the oil applies really well to the dry bod, and I’m going to use it on the damp bod next time. The scent is not my style, so it’s gives my a bit of a headache — I prefer darker, woodsier fragrance — but the resulting soft skin is worth it.

It also says you can use it on your hair. Hmmm…

Roger & Gallet Huile Embellissante in Fleur d’Osmanthus, 100mls €26.50

Make Your Own Bath Ballistic

How much fun does this look like???

My answer: LOTS.

As a life-long fan of Lush Bath Ballistics, I am delighted to announce the some of the brand’s crack compounders, are comin’ to town to help you craft you own wee fizzy bath thing. In the olde dayes, we used to call them ‘bombs’ but I think for humanitarian reasons, they changed the name — this is nothing less than you’d expect from the all-natural brand.

You have three choices:

Blackberry Bath Bomb to lift you up with bergamot and frankincense; Think Pink with reassuring tonka and vanilla; and Space Girl, an intergalactic, glittery bath ballistic scented with grapefruit and bergamot oil and filled with popping candy that is truly out of this world.

I am definitely going to make the Blackberry one. Oh, but, I love vanilla, so Think Pink, maybe? Clearly, Space Girl suits me down to the ground…

The compounders are in residence at the Henry Street shop from 1 to 5 pm this Saturday, 5 May, and in the Grafton Street premises on Sunday, 6 May. That’s this weekend, bath enthusiasts! It is free to do this thing, to learn how to make your own ballistic and then take it home! Don’t miss out!

For more info and to book, ring the Henry Street shop on 01 873 5735 or the Grafton Street Shop on 01 677 0392.

Magical Amazingness: Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray

Once upon a time, I used a non-aerosol hairspray that will not be named. I used it because it absolutely froze my hair into submission. Like, I could walk out on a day like today {rainy/blowy, for all my foreign readers} and my skin would wobble like on that Memorex advert, but The Hair would not move. Which was the point.

But then, should anyone want to run his fingers through said coif, there’d probably be blood, because the hair was so crispy, it would cut a bitch. {Bastard? Eh.}

This was so many years ago, I would prefer not to say.

I would still like my hairstyle to have some hold, but I’d rather not look like I’ve had my head shellacked. I’d also prefer that the product actually smell lovely, which I think we might agree that one of the more popular hairsprays on the market does not. Also! I’d like a bit of body, too, please.

Is this too much to ask?!? Not if you’re talkin’ to Moroccanoil’s Luminous Hairspray. During the hair fashion show — at the Westbury, BTW, very fancy — this can of miraculousness was employed rather relentlessly by the stylists as they crafted each new hairdo. Hmmm, I thought, I bet their hair is going to break right in half. I mean, that was a lotta hairspray to be sprayin’ on  the same head, over and over.

When I got home, the first thing I did was shake up my sample of the product and — if you’ll excuse for a moment, I’m just gonna give my hair a little blast — ahhhhh. Wow. The typically delicious Moroccanoil scent meets a spray that is light yet strong, and if you direct it at the roots, you get a nice bounce without any gunk at all. Which is all a girl can ask for, really.

Oh! I didn’t ask for this, but you get shine, too! Magic!

€21/£16.65

Haiku Review: Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream

Nope, no way in hell.
Putting cream on my dry hair!?
No way will it — oh.

Gotta love my open mind. Oh, yeah. Show me a product and my immediate reaction is, ‘Hey, that is great! I can’t wait to experiment with this thing that you are telling me is going to work a treat!’

Not so much — at least not where my hair is concerned. We all know by now that the hair {or, better, The Hair} is of primary importance, and a bad hair day is enough for me to hide under the bed, or even crazier, jump back in the shower and start over.

Last Sunday week, I attended a Moroccanoil fashion show. Again, as this fashion-y business is new business to me, so I was wondering how they do a hair fashion show? They do it like this:

Models model clothes and hair, and then stylists make changes to the hair using the sponsor’s products.

Now, Moroccanoil are the original creators of argan oil-based products, and continue to innovate. Their signature treatment can be perceived to be ‘the’ oil, the one that opened up the whole ‘let’s use oil on our hair’ market.

I love the way it smells, and using the oil as a pre-blow dry styling product is like weaving silk into the very core of each individual hair on your head.

But when the talk turned to the Hydrating Styling Cream, I was like to close my ears entirely.

That is a cream. And you’re telling me to put it on my dried hair? My hair that I have just put oil in, and let me tell you, how much risk was involved in that!

I even saw it in action, on the lovely tresses of representatives of the brand, and still I did not believe.

But I wanted to. Why? Who knows, except that anything that I can discover that gives me silky, lovely hair is to be sought. So I pumped out a dab, such a wee dab that it should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Smallest Amount of Hair Product Ever Dispensed, and I smoothed it onto the ends.

Ooh. It was nice. It didn’t feel greasy, it didn’t weigh the hair down, and it smelled gorgeous.

Okay. Since I was just sitting around, and I wasn’t going anywhere that evening, I pumped up some more, and like a wild woman, applied it about halfway down the hair shaft and combed it through.

Oh, wow. Now, my hair on that day was second-day, unstyled, no dry shampoo — nothing special, not going-out-into-public hair, and I have to say, the cream gave it such a lift. I would never show you pictures of my hair in that state, so forget it. The thing is though, I felt like it revitalised the locks that had been going limp, and if pushed, I might have made a run to the corner shop for some buns, if I had to. I don’t think I can say any better than that.

You can of course use this on damp hair as well, and I’ll do that next. And see the can the model is holding, in the picture? That’s Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray, and WAIT until I tell you about THAT.

€28.45/£22.85/$31; available in select salons.

Free Thing! via Exclusive Magazine: NEOM Pillow Mist

Yay, free thing!

NEOM Luxury Organics, on the back of the Dublin edition of Exclusive Magazine, are offering a free NEOM Organic Pillow Mist (worth €12) if you say the following magic words: Exclusive Neom Mist. Uh, you have to be buying something else at the time, you can’t just rock up to the counter, let’s be clear about that.

I don’t know if you have the same taper-and-tealight obsession that I do, but these ones are good for you and your home: made from vegetable wax and essential oils, they release only healthy scents that freshen your living space and your head space. Candles in general burn off the toxins that are made in the making of them {yuck}, and they also release soot, which is not nice.

These look nice:

The one on the left is a travel candle (€16.25), and the three-wick job is the Home candle (€50.80). To put that last into perspective, because, whoa, 50 squid: the candle weighs 1kg. ! Me, I would very much like to fire up this bad boy, the Sensuous Home Candle, with its infusion of my personal faves, ylang ylang, frankincense, and patchouli.

Brenda McCormick, editor of Exclusive, says, “I am a bit obsessed with NEOM candles, and since discovering them no other candle will do me at all. They smell so natural as they burn, and I love the fact they’re designed to work as aromatherapy treatments, too.” She also suggests checking out the body oils. I quite fancy the one called Refresh, infused with the essence of Sicilian Lemons & Fresh Basil. I’d quite fancy a holiday as well, apparently.

I’d say the pillow mist runs along the same essential oil lines, meaning: it is soothing and natural, and also, bound to help you if you have trouble falling asleep. In general, I’m finding that room fragrance is really quite refreshing, without being gross like those sprays you get at the supermarket.

Don’t forget the magic words! Exclusive Neom Mist; this offer is only available in Brown Thomas, Dublin.

Go here for a look at the entire issue!

It’s Leap Year, and You All Know What That Means: Reprised*

Right? You know what that means? If not, get this:

On the British isles, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been claimed that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in 5th century Ireland, this is dubious, as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century.

Wha’? I don’t even — it’s an Irish thing? This is from Wikipedia; naturally, I took that with a grain of salt and went off a’googling. Now, it occurs to me that the internet is just a massive self-fulfilling prophecy, in that information is taken from one website and put in another, because where else are we going to get our information, and everything you see on a screen is true. Right? I don’t know, it just hit me, that this is so, and made me wonder about the things we think we know… I’ve always been easily led, but today is the day I question everything.

From about.com:

St. Bridget’s Complaint
It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.

Plus the whole Sadie Hawkins thing started in a comic strip? Really?

I didn’t really get Lush’s Leap Frog Bath Ballistic. I mean, he smelled fantastic, and was made of all of my fave essential oils: jasmine, neroli, ylang ylang, sandalwood and rose. < Seriously, all of them in one place, I couldn’t believe it. He looked to be a good size, one that would keep fizzing until he melted, rather than fizzling out. LOL.

The Leap Frog’s particular thing is that he comes with a special message inside. Now, let me tell ya, there is nothing like the promise of a secret thing inside another thing to get me going. Or a prize of some sort! Lucky Dip, Cracker Jacks, piñatas — holy wow, watch me go for it.

The special, secret message, though, has to do with being a female and popping the question to the male? I have no use for such a message at this stage, but: I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE FROG. And if I got the special, secret message that’s supposed to help you go about proposing {???} then I would put it aside for future use. Maybe. I already been married, sistuhs, so, you know, no big deal.

BUT I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE FROG. I needed a bath, anyway. Are you the kind of person who needs baths? I prefer showering for cleanliness, but need baths for relaxing and unwinding. So, into the bath I went, with the Frog, who was as fizzy and fragrant as promised and although this was a scenario designed to create the relaxing and the unwinding, I was completely focused on the disintegrating Frog, waiting for the SPECIAL MESSAGE.

When it appeared, I couldn’t read it anyway because I had the candles going and I didn’t have my glasses. Did not relax or unwind much because I COULDN’T READ the special message that I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR.

<This is what I got!

Okay! I am down with this! I actually had a dream a couple weeks ago about a dude called Robert! WILL THIS SPECIAL MESSAGE COME TRUE?!?!?!

€3.50/£2.95/No sign of this in the US

Are you superstitious? Don’t go here.

*I first posted this on 23 January — what was I thinking? I was thinking, ‘Hey, I get stuff from Lush all the time, and never seem to stay caught up with reviews.’ So there I was, being all efficient, and this got buried. So here it is again, a little over a month later. Still no sign of Prince Rob, *sob*.

What Have We Here, Jo Malone?

Having only just rapturised about the Jo Malone Red Rose Home Candles, I have been presented with this:

Hmm, interesting! The elegant box, a signature of the brand, has had its colours swapped: black box instead of cream, with cream accents and cream-coloured ribbon… Is this a new thing?

Yup, sure is. The Jo Malone Home Collection launches in April of this year, and I should probably be waiting to write about it, but I simply can’t contain myself.

I love home stuff, and when I’m in the US, I could watch HGTV for hours and hours and hours {and do.} I already love JM candles, as I’ve said, so the addition of anything to this line is going to make me want to curl up on the sofa and breath in the scent-y goodness.

Okay, I’m looking at the list of new elements in the range, and may wait to revisit closer to the time, but look at these!

These are the Limited Edition Scent Surround™ Sachets (€25/£20), three to a gorgeously designed box, and are infused with the world famous Lime Basil & Mandarin scent. I used to do a line in lavender sachets, which was a bit matronly, but I don’t know, I read it in a book or something, and there weren’t any real alternatives. Now, though! I can lash one of these in the knickers drawer and just exult in my LB&M scented pants.

The Scent Surround™ line also includes Limited Edition Drawer Liners, Room Sprays, and the thing I am most dying to test, the Diffuser. It’s one of those things, with the sticks? Only in LB&M, Red Roses and Pomegranate Noir.

Since I’m moving house, I’ll be saving all this up for when I get settled in. I think they will go some way to helping me nest in even faster than usual.

 

♥Day: Smelling Good is Its Own Reward

Yeah, well, you know what? Every day really is Valentine’s Day, for me at least, because I love fragrance and I love smelling good.

I keep meaning to investigate the psychology of scent, to see what the opinions are. Does one spritz habitually out of low self esteem {ooh, I am so stinky I must mask it} or out high self esteem {I am a beautiful flower, come and admire me}? I don’t ‘do’ signature scents, I mean, Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir is something that people recognise as ‘me’, but I think I use scent more as an indicator of how I feel on the day. There are days when I’m feeling zesty and youthful, and days when I’m feeling deep and mysterious. Sweet and sexy day? Karma by Lush. Sentimental? Coco by Chanel.

Right, so: I’ve gotten my hands on a couple things that are in the deep, mysterious, and sexy category. Those who favour the zesty and clean and sexy stuff I’ll refer to this post.

Perhaps it’s simply because I am easily led — perhaps I am a package designer/marketeer’s dream girl — but could there be anything sexier than Emporio Armani Black Carat for Her (€61.50) and for Him (€53.50)? I ask you. And this may go back to the ‘easily led’ part, but they smell sexy too. Especially the one for Him. I just had this flash, this mental image, of me running around town spritzing dudes, just so I can smell how yum this must be on a guy. I wonder if that behaviour is actionable…

Just for the ladies, Thierry Mugler’s Alien (€30) is terribly appealing, and manages to combine some dark and sexy bits with a floral finish. I always associate flowers with light scents, but I don’t think that’s always the rule. Must also chase up that perfumery lesson… Anyway, love the bottle! It does look like a wee alien! Adorbs!

Actually, perhaps once I take that lesson, I can maybe get a gig writing the copy for fragrances? It looks like fun! It seems to me to be the same as writing about wine — about which I also know nothing, except that some is white and some is red and some is somewhere in the middle. I was googling, based on personal experience, a lovely — I mean, manly — fragrance for a dude, and remembered how much I liked Eau des Baux by L’Occitane (€44). I love the copy on the site generally, but this description really rang my bell:

In Provence, the knights from the village of Les Baux chose the cypress tree as a symbol of their strength and honor, and a bright star in the sky as their guiding force. In honor of their courage, L’OCCITANE has created a sensual and mysterious blend of cypress and incense named Eau de Baux.

Fantastic! And the fragrance is, too: earthy and musky and masculine. It is a bit risky, purchasing fragrance for another, and especialy if yer man doesn’t normally wear eau de toilette… but maybe you can get wee samples or something? Or employ my strategy as outlined above… or maybe not.

♥Day: If I Was Your Pal, I Would Be Quite Happy to Receive This Gift Set

Okay, so The Handmade Soap Co.‘s Valentine’s Offering is labelled ‘A Box of Sensual Delights’, so you could argue that this is skewed to a partner-type creature, but I like the idea that my friends think:

A} That I would have use for a box of sensual delights

B} That, you know, they think I’m pretty or whatever.

Don’t we want our friends to think and want the best for us? This gift is a total vote of confidence! And it’ll get you sorted entirely as it contains Body Butter, Body Oil {for massaging or putting in the bath — or for putting in the bath and then also using for a massage}, Grapefruit scented soap and a candle, which is made of Soya and all-natural.

Bonus! The company is guaranteed Irish. Apparently, the hand cream is a cult object, but I haven’t come across any so far…

€29.99

See www.thehandmadesoapcompany.iefor more info, and to enjoy their fab site.

Bois, Oh Bois…

Do I love this kind of thing or what! The levels that the following products appeal upon are many, and alliterative! and summed up in the following: France, Fragrance, Flask.

When I lived in Paris*, I was mightily taken with Roger & Gallet. As a former graphic designer, I am a sucker for a lovely package {TWSS}, and everything about the historic brand speaks to elegance and style. My favourite thing was the soaps that come in the little plastic holder? Perfect for travel! And useful when the soap is done, for containing, uh, paperclips and elastics — elegantly.

Nothing like an elegantly contained paperclip.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand, three limited edition fragrance flasks have been created, the design of which was inspired by Napolean Bonaparte’s bespoke {ohh, another excellent word!} Eau de Cologne bottle. You can’t tell from the photo, but the back of the container is flat, which had been designed like that so that NP could slide the bottle into his boot. His horseriding boots, I am sure!

The celebratory line of fragrances has been named Voyage of the Senses, and No. 1 in the  line-up, Eau de Cologne Jean Maire Farina, is the eau that was favoured by the man himself.  I absolutely love that this is available to us today. Oh, and just to keep things interesting, this has another name, Italian Freshness, which appears on the bottle. Pictured in close up is Eau Fraîche Parfumée Bois d’Orange, or, The Magic of Alhambra, and the third and last, No. 3, is the Eau Fraîche Parfumée Fleur D’Osmanthus, aka A Ceremony of Happiness. Whew! I’m too worn out now to list all the ingredients, but there are plenty in each, all blended in that mysteriously alchemical way that parfumiers have of creating a cohesive whole out of disparate parts.

Each of the three comprise a category into which one can fit oneself. They’re all sort of outdoorsy and natural, but No. 1 seems to be lush and exotic, No. 2 obviously citrus-y, and the last… well, it’s green, so it’s perfect for those who like pastoral scents. Seriously, I’ve just spritzed myself with No. 3, and I’ve come over all meadow-y and sunlit. And No. 2 smells orange, but not so orange-y that you’ll feel like a walking fruit bowl. I like it, and I didn’t think I would.

In the memoirs of Mme de Rémusat {circa 1802-1808, love it!} she notes that the Emperor used up to sixty flasks a month. Yeah, well, I can see why: if you’re going for all-day staying power, these are not the fragrances for you. But being able to slip this into your boot means that you can top up as necessary.

Now, I’m not so big on history, and sadly, anything I know about the Napoleanic wars, I’ve learned from romance novels set in the Regency era, the reading of which is the guiltiest pleasure ever. So, clearly not an expert or anything, but nevertheless I had this thing where I was like, ooh, you know, Frenchman lays waste to Europe in the nineteenth century — but let’s just frame this as a testament to the man’s good taste in Eau de cologne, and as celebration of the staying power of a diverse brand.

Me, I’m pleased by the fresh fragrances, the Frenchness, and the flaskiness. And I don’t know why I like the word ‘flask’ so much, I just do.

€41/£34

*For a very short time, many years ago…