Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bumper Christmas Gift Guide 2015 #2 - Five Great Irish Brands

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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

Newbridge were established as a Cutlery Company in Co. Kildare in 1934. Today, they're one of Ireland's leading brands of jewellery and homeware. Their most recent Ti Amo range is beautiful - I was very kindly sent a necklace from the range and I adore it. When we got married in 2012, I gave my Bridesmaids Newbridge earrings. We received a Newbridge Cutlery Set as a wedding present and we use it every day - it's something I'd never have bought for myself. While I still think Naomi Campbell was the most bizarre choice to front a collection, the new 'Ti Amo' range is gorgeous and there are some other lovely bits and pieces on the website. If money isn't an option, have a look at the Grace Kelly collection and try not to drool all over your keyboard. Newbridge offer free delivery to Ireland and the UK, and International delivery at €15 or free over €100.

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.

4. Waxperts

Established in 2008 by Ellen Kavanagh and now ran by Ellen and her business partner and best friend Trish, Waxperts has quickly become the go-to brand for tackling ingrown hairs and spots at home. Their Wonder Pads (aka Ingrown Hair Pads) are one of the best inexpensive multi-use products for tackling not only ingrown hair, but stubborn spots and Keratosis Pilaris (those annoying little red bumps on your arms/legs). Their Beautiful Body Oil is scented with lavender, and soothes the skin after waxing or shaving - I love it after shaving my legs. Waxperts products are the type of thing you don't realise you need until you don't have them - so I always have a spare pot of pads to hand. A pot of Wonder Pads and a bottle of Beautiful Body Oil make perfect stocking fillers - a gift voucher for salon with a Waxpert (a Salon Professional trained at the Waxperts Academy) would make a great present too. The Waxperts Salon is based in Dun Laoghaire, to find a Waxpert in other areas of the country, you can find more information here.

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,, 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

I LOVE Hairy Baby so much, they're worth every cent. They have stuff that suits the Irish sense of humour so well, where else could you buy a t-shirt with "did you turn off the immersion?" on it? Or a child's top with "Daddy or Chips?" emblazoned across the front? They have a great line of Father Ted merchandise too. I've bought several of the t-shirts for myself and my husband, and they're great quality. They also do t-shirts for kids, and they have mugs (the mugs come in a tin that's also a money box), tote bags, phone covers and greeting cards too. The company is based in Cork and was founded by Daragh Murphy from Kerry in 2005. I actually found it really hard to just pick 6 things to show you - go and look at the website, it's brilliant! I have my eye on another t-shirt for my obituary-obsessed husband for Christmas and I want to replace my smashed A1 Sharon mug, but there are SO many choices. Seriously, I could have shown you 66 great things here. But here are 6:

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.


  1. Supporting Irish is so important, especially coming out of a recession like we are! This is a fab guide, covers so many angles! I follow you on snapchat, and you're so funny and relatable! Your kids are gorgeous and seem so mannered. Keep doing what you're doing, have a great day! xx

  2. i have a newbridge necklace on my wish list (a rose gold pendant from the guinness collection) and i wouldn't mind some blank canvas brushes either! i actually didn't know they were an irish company!

  3. I'm got my to get a waxperts wax for Christmas... For Keith muah hahahahahahha joking its all for me!


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