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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Sweet Sixteen Minus Six: Too Faced Caribbean in a Compact, Snow Bunny

Whoops! Here’s the number ten product in my revised Top Fave All-Time Products, which I should have posted last week. D’oh! Just as well, really, because there was a dead link within, and I tweaked this accordingly, with information as to how to order Sephora from Ireland, which is v v spendy. No wonder everyone goes bonks when in NYC or abroad…

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People often ask me, ‘Sue, do you ever buy beauty products anymore, and if you do, what would they be? ’The first one that always springs to mind is this cutie-pie compact from Too Faced: Carribean in a Compact Snow Bunny Subtly Sun-Kissed Bronzing Powder {which is now known in Sephora as Too Faced Snow Bunny Luminous Bronzer -ed}.

TOO FACED snow bunnyThat looks very ‘yum’ to me, like Neapolitan ice cream, which, as I suspected, is almost entirely an American construction. Here, you’ve go the bonus fourth flavour, which is probs the one far right, to swirl all over your face in order for it to look sun-kissed and glowy.

I was a bronzer loser when I started down the slippery slope of self-tanning, and this one was my salvation. Even I couldn’t mess this up. A perfect combination of lowlight and highlight, of gold + white + pink + fawn, this flows over the face like the sun itself, and during the Tanning Times, I never walk out of the door without it.

Imagine my distress when I began to run out of my trial version. It didn’t seem to be available anywhere in Dublin, and the brand no longer seemed to be represented by anyone in the PR world. So, on a trip to NYC, I lunged into a Sephora and grabbed up two. This number now seems optimistic: I’ve gone through the first one, and occasionally look at the other one in my drawer, with relief and trepidation.

At the time of this writing, I’ve rung all round town, to see whether a shop in town is carrying the brand, to no avail. Ah, well. There’s always online shopping, and as Sephora don’t have a store in the UK, much less in Ireland, you can order from France. Here’s a handy link, if you happen to read French; if not you can google-translate it.

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€26 from sephora.fr, plus shipping, which is — wait for it — €18 {merde!}/£22/$30

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Sad Face: What to Put on It

IRELAND 1 — CROATIA 3  I wish I didn’t care about the footie so much. It is an odd thing, all the emotional energy that one can generate/expend, even when one is watching a match on one’s laptop, much less when one is in an actual stadium. It’s a tribal thing for sure, what with the drums and the face painting, and I love every single second of it — except when it makes me want to puke, and my heart is beating like it’s going to go into arrest, and I scream obscenities at the top of my lungs as though I had no class a’tall.

So I am sitting here looking at stuff on my desk and just don’t even know. My face is so sad, what could possible help cheer it up?

I usually find Lancôme skincare products err too much on the side of their signature scent, but today, it is just the ticket. And their Hydra Zen Neurocalm Anti-Stress Moisturising Cream would have come in handy last night. I’ll have to remember it for Thursday when we take on Spain.

Bliss is always good, as a concept and as a line of spa-quality product. My poor peepers have just benefited from Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Gel, which is cooling, soothing, and yes, energizing-with-a-z… but they can’t unsee that third Croation goal.

Better to be sad and brown than sad and pale, and American brand Image Skincare do a great Facial Bronzing Cream in their Body Spa category. It smells coconutty, which is a good thing, and if there is the tiniest whiff of fake-tan smell, you only notice it for a quick second. {Feel free to insert comment re: quick second half here.}

I am losing the will, to be honest… and I am usually really good about prices and stuff, but eh, just don’t have the energy.

One thing that always makes me happy is Snow Bunny: Carribbean in a Compact from Too Faced. It is the absolute best bronzer on the planet, and the golden brown, wedded with the white, pink, and fawn shimmer creates a youthful, healthy glow. I had to stock up when I was in the States, and you will have to order it online — unless someone knows a Irish stockist? Could I have some good news, pleassssse???

That’s all I got, friends. Really gutted, but ah, sure, you never know, and Spain and Italy — anything could happen, yeah?

YEAH!

Sweet Sixteen: Too Faced Carribean in a Compact Snow Bunny Bronzing Powder

People often ask me, ‘Sue, do you ever buy beauty products anymore, and if you do, what would they be? ’The first one that always springs to mind is this cutie-pie compact from Too Faced: Carribean in a Compact Snow Bunny Subtly Sun-Kissed Bronzing Powder.

That looks very ‘yum’ to me, like Neapolitan ice cream, which, as I suspected, is almost entirely an American construction. Here, you’ve go the bonus fourth flavour, which is probs the one far right, to swirl all over your face in order for it to look sun-kissed and glowy.

I was a bronzer loser when I started down the slippery slope of self-tanning, and this one was my salvation. Even I couldn’t mess this up. A perfect combination of lowlight and highlight, of gold + white + pink + fawn, this flows over the face like the sun itself, and during the Tanning Times, I never walk out of the door without it.

Imagine my distress when I began to run out of my trial version. It didn’t seem to be available anywhere in Dublin, and the brand no longer seemed to be represented by anyone in the PR world. So, on a trip to NYC, I lunged into a Sephora and grabbed up two. This number now seems optimistic: I’ve gone through the first one, and occasionally look at the other one in my drawer, with relief and trepidation.

At the time of this writing, I’ve rung all round town, to see whether a shop in town is carrying the brand, to no avail. Ah, well. There’s always online shopping… although as outlined here, it’s a rather ornate undertaking. It can be done, if you care enough, and I must admit, I do.

€ price is whatever the conversion is, plus shipping/£22/$29