Winter Essentials

Thw weather has turned, it is getting cold, the rain is lashing down and it’s already dark by 4pm! There are a couple of essentials I have dug out of the back of my wardrobe over the last week and it is with joy that I am rediscovering their benefits! Here are my winter picks below ranked in no particular order, let me know what yours are!

1. OnePiece

The cream of the crop when it comes to onesies, these Norwegian made bear suits are impenetrable to the cold draughts which nip at my heels at home. We received them as presents and they have become firm favourites in our house! (thanks again Gerry and Emma xx)

2. Emu Boots

So wonderfully, magically soft and toasty. I recently picked up a grey pair and they are just ever so slightly impossible to get out of (although I try not to pair them with the above one piece…too much).

3. Carmex

In truth I use this all year round but the application of it becomes slightly more obsessive, to say the least, in the winter months. I have yet to find a better lipbalm..

4. L’Occitane Shea Butter Cream

Another essential to keep hands from getting dry throughout the winter, this is very rich and luxurious but good value and lasts forever as a little goes a long way!

5. Le Roche Posay Lipikar & Trilogy Body Oil

This is a particularly great body moisturiser for every day and even better when used along with its shower cream product.

This Trilogy oil is more of a treat product, it doesnt last as long and used everyday would run out in no time but it smells gorgeous and used sparingly on weekends is a luxury for skin. Another oil I am dying to try is REN Morrocan Rose Body Oil, I have heard good things.

6. Clarin’s Blue Orchid Facial Oil

My mother has been using this most of her life after her friend, a lifelong make up expert raved about Clarins Oils being elixirs among ‘those in the know’. Also used by a dermatologist I know so it must be doing something right. Great for dry skin applied at night, I love it as it leaves skin so soft and refreshed.

7. Origin’s Clean Energy

As you can see I’m a huge fan of oils as they really suit my skin. I swear by this Origin’s oil cleanser and in fact really love this range of skin products which are so natural and sensitive.

8. Origin’s Make a Difference

I wouldn’t normally include two posts on the one brand but the Origins Make a Difference moisturiser deserves its own. Designed to combat the really harsh effects of cold windy weather on the skin it is one I go back to every year for its results. It does exactly what it says on the tin!

9. Hot Chocolate

Nothing is quite so comforting as hot chocolate at any age and any time of the day. My favourite brands are Cadburys and Butlers but there are so many out there to try out so find the one you like most, half the fun is in the testing.

 

The New Yorker just keeps on giving

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I know it’s early to mention Christmas but I just thought for any of you contemplating what to get someone, particularly one of those ‘she/he has everything type of person’, I hit gold last year when I bought my mum an annual subscription to The New Yorker magazine.

There are 47 issues per year for $120 which works out about €94, not bad when you consider that is €2 per issue. The quality of writing is amazing and a lot of highly accomplished authors road test their new work out in it. The issues arrive every week in the post so a great Christmas present and they can be shared around and recycled to family, friends and neighbours.

Other subscriptions I would personally like would be Vanity Fair and National Geographic, oh and the National Geographic for kids is I think a really amazing present when they are still teeny and should solve the problem of the constant ‘why’ being asked around the busy Christmas period.

Get in touch if you know of any other good subscriptions would love to hear it!

 

The Sisters Brothers – a great read

I have just finished Man Booker nominated The Sisters Brothers by Canadian Patrick deWitt and I have to say, it is a great journey of a read from start to finish. Set in 1851 as the gold rush swept the American frontier this is a classic Western which follows the fate of two brothers, Charlie and Eli Sisters, on the trail of an elusive prospector.

What really makes an impact is how dexterously deWitt gets under the skin of these two characters. Sure there’s violence, it’s a Western after all, but the book really gives an insight into what a bizarre and strange time this was. A particularly memorable scene is the arrival of the brothers into San Francisco where the first person they encounter is a man walking barefoot through the streets stroking a chicken having been driven mad by the lust for gold and surrounding decadence and deabauchery in the city.

Featuring plenty of action packed into short and punchy chapters this is a quick and engaging read. Even those who do not consider themselves fans of westerns, this will draw you in from the first page as deWitt himself admits he is not a big fan of westerns.

DeWitt’s first novel, Ablutions, was published in 2009, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice so that is going to be next on my list. Anyone else have nay recommendations?

World Book Night

Over 1 million books will be given away in the next 24 hours to celebrate World Book Night which is being held this year in Ireland, the UK and the US.

Today, April 23 is also UNESCO’s World Book Day, chosen due to the anniversary of Cervantes’ death, as well as Shakespeare’s birth and death.

The aim of this initiative is to reach ‘reluctant readers’ so each year 25 titles are chosen and the 1,000,000 books are distributed throughout the community with half donated directly to hospitals, prisons and care homes, and the other half distributed amongst individuals in communities.

Titles on this year’s list include: Room by Emma Donoghue, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Misery by Stephen King and A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

The full list and more information on how to get involved is available here

Real time captioning for theatre

A really good idea from Australian based The Captioning Studio who have released a new app that delivers real-time theatre captioning on smartphone and tablet devices. While captioning has been available for some time on films and TV, theatre has always been trickier.

To use the app, theatre goers simply register to access the list of upcoming events and select the performance they’re attending. Then, during a performance, actors’ lines appear on-screen as the actors speak them. Also included in GoTheatrical’s captioning are ad libs, asides, song lyrics, musical descriptions and other sound effects. The app is currently priced at US $1.99 on Apple’s app store.

A really innovative way of making performances more accessible to larger audiences.

The many faces of coconut oil

Coconut oil was recommended to me by a nutritionist as a substitute for cooking oils so you can basically fry or cook anything in coconut oil instead of sunflower, olive or fat. I bought a big tub in a health food shop for about €3 but found when I cooked with it that I could still taste traces of coconut through my food which wasn’t so great. So it sat in my cupboard for another few months.

Then I read online about how good it is for skin especially dry skin. The weather has been up, down and around in the last few weeks and my skin is certainly getting dry as a result. So I tested the coconut oil and well….it really works, really!

Just one go and that was it, dry skin was banished. It is quite hard in the tub so you have to warm it between your hands and it quickly becomes an oil but for anyone looking for a cheap and natural moisturiser you should try it. It patricularly works well for psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions too.

Apparently it is also great as a hair oil for healthy locks, as an anti stressing massage oil, it can also be used as a healing agent on minor scrapes and bumps and it aids digestion and metabolism when incorporated into diets in smoothies and salad dressings.

So whether you fry or apply, the tubs last forever and are great value, it’s my skincare pick of the week.

Post apocalytic panda packs a punch

I came across this beautifully put together three min prologue online of Wastelander Panda – a live action series that tells the story of the last remaining panda in a post apocalytic world.

It was developed by Australian based Epic Films who made the prologue and circulated it virally online in a bid to raise enough money through crowd funding to make three more episodes. Channelling Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Mad Max and Gladiator, the short movie packs a punch.

They have succeeded on the back of this of raising AUS $25,000 so the first three series will be rolled out so I’ll be watching this space to see where they make them available.

The short prologue video is available to view here on vimeo and more about Epic Films here