A holiday gift guide

The beginning of my list springs from last week’s Black Friday sales during which I purchased a bunch of skincare-beauty products. At Marionnaud cosmetic store, ALL products were 30% off. I’m not loyal to one brand, I like trying them all: from high-end, non-organic CHANEL to Dr. Hauschka which is 100% natural to Moroccan argan oil.

Here’s my bathroom shelf featuring some of my favorite skincare products –

REN (above) is a British brand. Calling itself clean skincare (ren means clean in Swedish), there are no parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance or colors, etc. EKIA is a French organic skincare brand that focuses on anti-ageing products.

The Hydra Beauty moisturizing cream by CHANEL has a divine fragrance, but I think I prefer the AHAVA day cream (below) that uses mineral-based compounds from the Dead Sea.

At Marionnaud I purchased this serum that I had been wanting to buy for quite a while: CLARINS Double Serum. I highly recommend it. Here’s the blurb:

The Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate from Clarins is an excellent skin treatment that infuses the skin with over 20 anti-aging plant extracts that claim to be all-natural. The luxurious, lightweight serum reactivates the skin’s 5 vital functions: protection, hydration, regeneration, nutrition, and oxygenation. Together, these functions work to boost radiance, collagen production, and hydration while also fighting stress, aging effects, and pollution. The end result is smoother, more supple and firmer skin.

During the winter months when the air is super-dry in my apartment, my skin feels parched. I guess I could buy a humidifier, but instead I put oil on my skin. The bottle on the right is argan oil from Morocco. Natural argan oil is wonderful for skin, hair and nails with nourishing fatty acids, antioxidants and anti-ageing Vitamin E. Apricot kernel oil is also good (avoid eye area.)

The Clarins Skin Illusion foundation is perfect: lightweight and nicely perfumed. Before, I used YSL Touche Eclat. As much as I loved it, I realized it was too thick.

This brand from New Zealand is the best (see below.) The makeup remover below cleans your face straight away. I also like their hand cream. Award-winning eco-conscious Kiwi brand supplies a range of certified organic, natural skincare and makeup products. Proudly made in New Zealand, Antipodes products boast natural formulas with pure plant fragrances inspired by New Zealand’s nature.

At the risk of sounding like a skincare-beauty product fetishist, I’ll move on.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, music and talk shows on my laptop while cooking, doing the dishes or puttering around my flat. After three years of loyal service, my Philips mini-speaker died. I happened to be in a BOSE store last week and decided to buy a mini-speaker (because it was on sale and because BOSE is supposed to be the best.) I took it home, plugged it in and didn’t like it at all. In my opinion, the sound wasn’t as good as the Philips speaker. So I returned the BOSE and got a refund (99 euros.) Then I purchased a new Philips speaker for 29 euros. The sound is superb. It’s very small, approximately 4 inches squared, and totally portable.

A battery-operated milk frother because who wants yet another electric appliance? I have so many electrical things I’m constantly tripping over wires. 12 euros. For my weekend café lattes.

GEOX GEOX GEOX – 100% Italian footwear and clothing company. J’adore!

These Geox high ankle sneakers are called Nebula 4 X 4 B ABX A.

A book. This memoir isn’t even out yet, and already it’s being posthumously lauded. Sadly, the author, a well-known Scottish journalist named Deborah Orr, died two months ago at the age of 57. She worked for The Guardian, The Independent and other publications. Ironically, Orr’s mother is at the center of the story, and the title is Motherwell, the name of the town that Deborah grew up in. The book is due out in January 2020.

MOTHERWELL is a story about a girl, a family, a time, a place. But so much more. Fearlessly, Deborah Orr works out how she was formed as she unpicks everyday dysfunction. Full of glinting pain, brilliant one-liners and utter clarity, the sliver of ice in her heart melts. Sheer humanity shines out. I was astonished. (Suzanne Moore)

A stunning literary memoir about the author’s relationship with her complicated mother and childhood.

A fierce and tender reckoning: personal, political, and blazing with truth. (Melissa Harrison)

4 thoughts on “A holiday gift guide

  1. Awesome! I’d been looking at the Clarins Double Serum for awhile now not knowing whether to buy it. Now I will. Love the Geox jackets too. I hope the strikes end soon so you can get out and about and do your Christmas shopping in Paris!

  2. Wow I love your eclectic skincare shelf… am so into natural products and would love to try REN… but the Clarins double serum looks amazing too… thanks for sharing this!

    • It is eclectic, isn’t it? If you like natural, the most natural of natural products is the German brand, Dr. Hauschka. REN is good too. Oh, and the New Zealand Antipodes is also very natural, but not easy to find. Have a good week!

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