This gift guide focuses on Irish brands. These are the ones that I personally use - I know there are many, many more but I have limited experience of them so I can't recommend something I've never tried. Here are my Top Five Best of Irish.
1. Newbridge Silverware
Ti Amo Rose Gold Bracelet, €35. Guinness Rose Gold Plated Earrings, €40. Claddagh Ring (S/M/L), €30. Sleigh Scene Tealight Holder, €20. Maureen O'Hara Necklace, €65. Tealight Holder, €45.
2. Cocoa Brown Tan
Is there a woman in the country who doesn't own one Cocoa Brown product? The Cocoa Brown tanning range was launched in 2012 by creator Marissa Carter. In three years, Marissa has made Cocoa Brown a household name, making it a substitute for the words 'self tan'. Nobody needs an explanation when it's mentioned, everyone knows what it is and where it came from - that is one hell of an achievement (there's even an ad for a local salon offering a Cocoa Brown spray tan in my local Chinese). I personally don't get on with the beloved original one hour mousse - that's just me, I'm not a good tanner, I don't have the patience - I get flustered and I make mistakes. However, the Gentle Bronze and I are very good friends - or were, until the latest release came along. The new Instant Tanning Gel in Matte (I haven't tried the Shimmer) is fantastic. It's absolutely foolproof. I've linked a list of stockists under the header, but I'm sure at this stage we all know where to get our fix. Cocoa Brown makes a brilliant stocking filler, I always pick up a few for family and friends.
Instant Tan Bronzing Gel (Matte/Shimmer) €6.99 each. Deluxe Tanning Mitt, €5.99. Chocolate Whip Moisturiser, €5.95. Tough Stuff Scrub, €7.99. One Hour Tan Mousse, €7.99. Be Bronzed and Beautiful Gift Set, €9.99.
3. Gill & Macmillan Books
I previously featured Kennys booksellers in my Christmas Gift Guide - I wanted to feature an Irish publisher too. Gill & Macmillan, founded in 1856, are based in Dublin. They publish a wide range of books, but are probably best known for their work with Educational publications. If you've never owned a schoolbook with Gill & Macmillan printed on the front, you probably didn't go to school in Ireland. Here are my 6 picks of the books currently available from the website (I haven't read any of these yet but About Face is on the way and the rest are all on that ever-growing TBR pile) - delivery is free on all orders over €25 (UK and Ireland).
About Face by Aisling McDermott & Laura Kennedy, €22.95. Irelandopedia by Fatty Burke & John Burke, €24.95. Counting My Blessings by Francis Brennan, €14.99. The Irish Countrywomen's Association Book of Christmas by the ICA, €22.99. The Nation's Favourite Healthy Food by Neven Maguire, €22.99. Foster's Historical Irish Oddities by Allen Foster, €10.99.
Ingrown Hair Pads (Wonder Pads) - €7.95. Beautiful Body Oil - €12.99.
4. Blank Canvas Cosmetics
Blank Canvas Cosmetics are an Irish company founded in November 2011 by Una Tynan from Donegal. As someone who has only really gotten big into make up brushes over the past 2-3 years, Blank Canvas are now my go-to brush brand. I always check them first if I'm looking for something specific - and 9 times out of 10, they have it. Available from their website, they can also be found at Cloud 10 Beauty, Dolledup.ie, and Cara Pharmacy. Their most recent release was the much-anticipated collaboration with Pippa O'Connor - The Pippa Palette. I didn't buy one for myself - I thought that the price point was a little high considering the affordability of the rest of the range - but I did buy one as a gift for a friend. I always treat myself to some new brushes around Christmas - and I always get a couple for others as stocking fillers.
The Pippa Palette, €34.99. Eye Perfection Collection with Travel Case, €59.99. G25 Large Powder/Blusher Brush, €13.99. F28 Fluffy Contour Powder Brush (as recommended by Orla from Makeup Over Mind for highlighter - it's fantastic), €7.99. F20 Flat Buffer Brush (also available in pink), €14.99. 6 Piece Set #1 with Case, €49.99.
5. Hairy Baby
Jax|BeanJax Men's Tee, €23. Bouli Tee, €20. Red Rover Ladies Tee, €22. Tote Bag, €8. Feile '94 Mug, €14.50. Small/Far Away Mug, €12.50.
That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great Irish companies - as I said, there are dozens and dozens more. I'd love to hear about your favourites, so please do leave me a comment if there's a great Irish brand you think I need to know about.