Saturday, 31 July 2021


*complimentary - AD Founder, Mari from DEI Skincare recent send me some skincare items from the range for review. The range is carefully formulated and hand crafted in small batches using organic certified ingredients and clay powders. The range is unisex, and contain no parabens, silicones, synthetic colours, fragrances and preservatives. They aim for minimum packaging, using glass jars and bottles which are easily recyclable or reusable and the labels are minimalist but stylish.

Nourishing Face Oil with Organic Jojoba, Raspberry Seed & Argan Oils mini (10g - £12)* is the perfect size to try the product/for holidays. The silky oil has a nutty and herbal aroma. It'll deeply nourish and care for the skin. Formulated with 98% organic certified ingredients including those mentioned and also Apricot, Evening Primrose, Sea Buckthorn and Vitamin E. 

To use: apply 2-5 drops on cleansed skin AM and PM

This is a gorgeous oil which my skin is loving. It absorbs instantly onto the skin, plumping and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and deeply hydrating the skin. Love!

Skin Balm with Organic Coconut & Sweet Almond Oils (25g - £24)* is formulated with just three ingredients - Organic Coconut, Sweet Almond Oils and Beeswax. It's got a nutty and sweet aroma. It nourishes and recharges, soothes and regenerates dry skin (I've also used it for flyaways!)

To use: massage onto the skin including dry patches, hands, nails and lips.

I adore a multi-use product especially one which is lovely to use and effective.

The third item I was kindly sent was their Purifying Face Mask French & Kaolin Clays enriched with Organic Moringa and Baobab Powders in a discovery size (£4) which will purify, tone and soothe the skin. Balancing, tighten pores and deeply clean them. 

To use: mix 1tbs of mask with water, apply to clean dry skin with a masking brush. Wait up to 10 minutes before removing with warm water. Use 1-2 times a week.

I've been enjoying clay masks and this one is lovely and effective. I've loved trying some products from the range. Have you used DEI Skincare? What are your favourites?

Friday, 30 July 2021

July Book Round-Up

If a book is marked * I kindly received it from the publisher via Netgalley or directly for a blog tour. Here's what I've been reading in July:

Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse - having adored Risk of Harm (review) I had to go back and read the first one in the series. DI Robin Lyons has been dismissed for misconduct from the Met. She and her teenage daughter, Lennie are going back home to Birmingham, something Robin is dreading. Back to her parents house and her taunting brother Luke.

Her best friend of 20 years, Corrine is happy to see her back and is looking forward to catching up then something tragic and unexplained happens and Robin needs to know why. She sets up her own investigation alongside that of the police. Her ex Samir is the Officer in Charge.  She's also working with her mother's friend Maggie, a Private Investigator on the case of a missing young woman.

I absolutely devoured the book and loved hearing the backstory of Robin's and her friends lives. Can't wait for book #3!

Truth or Dare - DI Helen Grace #10 by M J Arlidge - having been left on a sort of cliffhanger in book #9 I couldn't wait to buy and read the next instalment. It didn't disappoint!

DI Helen Grace seems to be unable to slow the crime rate in the city much to the enjoyment of DS Joseph Hudson and reporter Emilia Garanita. Hudson is hell bent on destroying Helen and taking over the Team.  He and Emilia are doing all they can to make this happen.

Helen is missing her friend and colleague, DS Charlie Brooks who is on maternity leave. It seems her authority is being thrown out at every turn. The story is fast paced and twisty and it's good to see those get their just desserts near to the end! Roll on book #11 is all I say! Absolutely love this series.

*Missing Words by Loree Westron - this enjoyable short read isn't published until early next year, so catch my review then.

*Dolly Considine's Hotel by Eamon Somers - I took part in the blog tour with an extract - see HEREI found the story richly drawn and multi-layered. It's set in Dublin in two timelines – the 1950s and the 1980s and in the latter against a background of the Pro Life Constitutional Amendment of September '83.

Paddy Butler is meant to be having a summer of freedom with his best pal but it's not to be. He therefore reinvents himself and becomes Julian Ryder, a would be writer and young man about town. A chance meeting sends him to Dolly McClean's (nee Considine's) hotel, the bar which is a den of iniquity and therefore a perfect setting for Julian experiencing all life has to offer while writing up about it of course. After he helps one of the bar staff fight off an IRA thug, Dolly hires him as a lounge boy on a temporary contract.

I found the story and characters within it believable as well as interesting and the story totally engrossing, if something I'd not have normally have picked up.

*Little Bones - DI Lottie Parker #10 by Patricia Gibney - this latest instalment in the Lottie Parker series doesn't fail to disappoint! It's not published until September so I'll share my review then - it's great!

Time for the Dead - Rhona MacLeod #14 by Lin Anderson - it was so nice being back in the world of Rhona, Chrissy and McNab! I'm taking part in the blog tour for book #16 so thought I'd better catch up! Currently reading book #15. 

Forensic Scientist, Rhona MacLeod returns to Skye to recover from her previous case. By chance she discovers a crime scene and is soon back in the thick of things. With Chrissy in Glasgow she recruits tracker dog Blaze to be her assistant.

When they discover a body at the foot of Kilt Rock they are keen to speak to a group of Army Medics who seem to have disappeared. McNab has been keeping in close touch with Rhona and they believe there's links to the bodies in Skye with a Glasgow investigation.

As ever, a brilliant read which I couldn't put down. Highly recommend it!

Rounding up my July reads is the fantastic My Name is Monster by Katie Hale which was July's The Boozy Book Club pick. There's been global war and the sickness which killed off everyone. Monster had been safe in the vault and emerges off the coast of Scotland alone in a post apocalyptic landscape.

She takes the long walk south, scavenging what she can along the way. It's a lonely existence, the only sign of life is the packs of wild dogs. She settles down in a farmhouse near the city. One day she discovers a feral child and renames herself Mother. She teaches Monster all that she knows. 

Monster is happy to learn but she's also got a mind of her own and does something quite unexpected. I found the story beautifully and sensitively written and would highly recommend it.

What have you been reading this month? 

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Castaway Mini-Soap Gift Box

I've been meaning to do this review for ages! I love shopping local and trying beautiful artisan products from small businesses. I came across North Berwick based Castaway Soaps on EGG on Facebook I think! The soaps are lovingly handcrafted and packaged by husband and wife team, John and Sara. Sara, creates natural soaps inspired by the sea and outdoors. Packaging is stylish and minimal and always recyclable (I've reused the little cardboard boxes in this set + the ribbon!)

You can pick up this cute Mini Soap Gift Box for £12.50 plus p&p. See more details HERE.

The handcut soaps (approx 50g each) inside the gift set are: Wake-Up, Cranachan and Insomniac. Wake-Up is a delicious citrus with Lime and Grapefruit. There's also some spicy Ginger to "add a little spice to your morning"! It's the perfect soap for your morning shower. Cranachan, a delicious Raspberry + Oats concoction (and my fav from the trio) which also contains local Honey, will protect, nourish and clean. The oats also give it a nice scrubby feel. Rounding up the collection is Insomniac, a Lavender soap to calm and soothe. 

You can pick the bars up singly, as a set of 3 or 5 and your order can be gift wrapped too. See more info HERE.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

*NEW IN: The Skin Elixir Super Natural Oil

*complimentary Latest launch (today!) from Skin Elixir is their 2% Bakuchiol (natural alternative to Retinol) The Skin Elixir Super Natural Oil (20ml - £32)* which will plump, firm, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, reduce pigmentation and sun damage, improve elasticity, redness and dryness. It sounds like a wonder oil!

It's been carefully formulated with skin loving oils including, as well as, the 2% Bakuchiol - Organic Rosehip, Black Seed Oil, Organic Moringa with Immortelle, Orange, Petitgrain, Yang Ylang, Geranium & Cypress which gives it a spicy, floral and herbal aroma.

I've not been trying it long so expect a full review soon! Pick yours up HERE.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

July: Lately I've Been Loving

(if it's marked * I've received it free of charge for review). So many July loves but especially the beautiful sunshine and long hot days, having a nice lunch out with a friend, visiting family and feeding my online shopping addiction! I've now cancelled all my subscriptions and plan to enjoy what I have (queue unsubscribe from all tempting shopping emails!)

I was very kindly sent Ras Kutani's The Sleep Oil (£16 - 10ml)* which I've been diffusing in a burner with water before bed (pour water into the bowl of your burner and add a few drops of oil). It's a blend of 10 different essential oils including Jasmine + sleep inducing Lavender. The founder asked a well known nose to create the blend. I feel instantly calm and my worries slip away as soon as the scented oil diffuses though the atmosphere. 

Gorgeous Glow Potion* (30ml - £24) from Raven Botanicals. See my review HERE. It gives the skin a nice gleam and glow.

Fresh flowers is now my Friday treat. I've recently been enjoying bunches of peonies.

Warm summer sunny days - good for the soul!

I dipped my toes in again to The Boozy Book Club - a book club with a difference! Along with the book (this month, My Name is Monster by Katie Hale), you receive a themed cocktails and other treats. A real joy which makes my heart sing!

Naturisimo Discovery Box never fails to disappoint! July's Edit is packed full and worth £22. The Kiki Magnesium Oil/Spay is a staple which made this box a must have.

I'd read in a mag about Estee Lauder's Limited Edition Bronze Goddess Creme de Soleil Decadent Smoothing Body Creme (200ml - £38) which I managed to pick up at Harvey Nics with 10% off. It's super luxe with the perfect beachy/summer aroma.

Lunch on the terrace at Contini, George Street for my friend Celia's early birthday lunch. The sun shone and the food and drinks delicious with impeccable and friendly service.

A little visit to see my mum and dad (and sister, briefly) at the weekend. It was roasting with not a bit of air. Lovely hot summer weather and so nice to have a garden to relax in and enjoy a catch up. We also went for lunch to House for an Art Lover - check out that sky!

What have you been loving this month?

Monday, 26 July 2021

UpCircle Beauty: Soothing Body Cream with Date Seeds

(*I received a blogger discount) As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Upcircle Beauty, having been a fan since their early days as Optait. I adore their Coffee Body Scrub with Peppermint. The range is 99% plastic free with plastic free refill options for the 1%. See my previous reviews HERE and HERE.

I recently picked up their Vegan (and plastic free - boxed with a glass jar and aluminium lid, which is easy to recycle/reuse and with a nod to #plasticfreejuly) Award Winning Soothing Body Cream with Date Seeds (125ml - £24.99) which has a light fluffy texture, a bit like just whipped cream. It absorbs instantly leaving the skin feeling soft, smooth, hydrated and smelling fresh.

The body cream is formulated with Shea Butter, Linseed and Olive Oil as well as left over date seeds, a by product of date farming and has a citrus/herbal aroma (lemon peel oil + rosemary leaf oil).

To use: apply AM and/or PM to clean skin. Massage until absorbed.

I've loved using this fluffy and uplifting luxe cream which deeply nourishes dry skin. What are your favs from the brand?

Saturday, 24 July 2021

*Raven Botanicals: Glow Potion - Equilux

Raven Botanicals have launched a glorious Vegan, Cruelty and Preservative Free Glow Potion (£24 - 30ml)* which is available in three skin tones. The girls very kindly sent me the mid tone - EQUILUX, which gives the skin a sun kissed glow. ÆTHER gives the skin and ethereal highlight and SORCERESS a deeper radiance. It smells amazing and makes the skin gleam and glow. As ever pick up the reusable pump first and then the refill with aluminium cap and reuse the pump.

Glow Potion is hand made in small batches using skin loving plant oils (argan, camellia, sweet almond and safflower) with a shot of ethically sourced mica.

To use: shake before use and apply liberally to the face and body. Use layered with make up or alone to give the skin a natural glow.

It's the perfect addition to your summer routine or to perk up autumnal and winter skin.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

July Empties

I'm not going to use anything else up this month so here are my July empties (if a product is marked * I very kindly received it free of charge for review):

Green People Neroli & Marshmallow Shower Gel* which I featured in my Love Lula picks in April. See my post HERE. This was lovely and I'd buy it again.

No Secrets Hand Butter One 15ml which I thought was more of a rich cream than a butter. Gorgeous scent and nice to use. Would maybe or maybe not buy again but no plans at the moment to.

Noble Isle Summer Rising Bath & Shower Gel 75ml which is one of my fav Noble Isle scents. Sure to buy again at some point. See my review HERE.

I absolutely adore Organic Work's Bergamot range. I used up the Shower Gel 300ml and Hand Wash 300ml* (review). I'll definitely buy both of these again at some point. 

I adore Kiki Health's Magnesium Oil Spray 125ml for soothing aches and pains. I've just cracked open another one as it's a staple in my stash. 

The Balance Me Hyaluonic Plumping Mist 10ml was a magazine freebie. I really enjoyed it and would buy full size.

The Organic Pharmacy's Magnesium Stress Complex 60 caps is another must have. They'll calm the mind, help with aches and pains and help with sleep problems. Already replenished.

I recently picked up some de Mamiel sample sizes which I've been enjoying. I definitely want to pick up the next Seasonal Oil full size! I also loved the Revitalising Body Serum. Great brand and products.

I received the de Mamiel 5ml First Fix in a recent Cult Beauty Goody Bag. Gorgeous, my skin loved it. Full size now on the wishist!

Rounding up my July empties is SOiL's Peppermint Essential Oil 10ml which is something I use a lot for diffusing and cleaning around the house (diluted).

What have you been using up this month?

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

NEOM Great Day Magnesium Body Butter

I've got a slight obsession with products which contain magnesium (I adore Kiki Health's Magnesium Oil Spray) as I find it helps greatly with aches, pains, calming and helping me to have a better night's sleep. I've had NEOM's Great Day Magnesium Body Butter (200ml - £36) quite a while now, infact I'm nearly finished the tube!

Rather than being a butter it's more of a cream type texture which absorbs quickly. It's got a glorious uplifting scent - 8 essential oils including zingy and fresh mint + mandarin. It's formulated with Magnesium (88mg per 5ml) and will help to repair muscles, easing stiffness, nerve and muscle pain as well as helping with sleep issues. 

To use: massage the butter over your body concentrating on areas which need extra care.

Formulated with Magnesium Chloride, an easily absorbed form which helps relieve pain and promote sleep. Coconut Oil is anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and nourishes, conditions and soothes. Shea Butter is a rich source of fatty acids and helps to soothe, firm and nourish. 

It's a beautiful bodycare product which smells uplifting and feels nice on the skin. It definitely helps with aches and pains and is lovely to use. Yup! I'll buy it again for sure. Are you a fan?

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Organic Youth Skincare: Discovery Set

I won Helen's giveaway over on Instagram recently of Organic Youth Skincare's Discovery Set (£35 - 4 x 15ml). It's a new to me brand which made the win even more exciting! Thanks again Helen.

I received a beautifully packaged parcel from Organic Youth Skincare's founder, Leanne who is a former Oncology Nurse. She gives 5% of annual profits to Cancer Research UK - I love a company who gives back.

The discovery sizes are a very generous 15ml and presented in glass pipette bottles. The oils are formulated and hand produced in house, certified cruelty free and Vegan through PETA using carefully selected ingredients. The range is highly aromatic and luxe. 

Inside the discovery set you'll find:

Clean Away Organic Cleansing Oil: is formulated with oils which won't clog pores (Sweet Almond, Safflower, Hazelnut and Jojoba) and is suitable for all skin types. It has a woody and earthy scent (Frankincense & Myrrh).

To use: massage onto dry skin avoiding the eye area. Remove with a warmed damp muslin cloth. 

This is a very luxurious cleanser which turns cleansing into a real ritual. I like to use this aromatic oil cleanser in the evening. It easily removes daily grime and make up and leaves the skin feeling clean and nourished.

Everglow Organic Face Oil: is formulated with Jojoba, Apricot Kernel and Sweet Almond Oils and scented with luxurious Rose Otto, Jasmine, Sandalwood and Bergamot which gives the face oil a deeply floral and woody scent.

To use: AM and/or PM apply 2-6 drops after moisturiser or alone.

This face oil is glorious and is suitable for most skin types.

Super Boost Organic Overnight Face Oil: is made with a powerhouse of ingredients to care for and nourish skin while you sleep. It's formulated with skin loving oils of Jojoba, Olive Squalane, Sea Buckthorn, Rosehip, Chia Seed, Bakuchiol and Vitamin E and scented with a citrus, floral and woody blend of Rose Otto, Neroli, Chamomile, Helichrysum and Bergamot.

To use: PM before bed. Massage 2-6 drops onto the skin for a superboost.

A gorgeous nourishing oil which smells amazing. Suitable for oily, dry and combo skins. Awaken with radiant and glowy skin.

Escape Organic Bath & Body Oil: last but no means least is the multi-use bath & body oil which is scented with aromatic Vanilla, Sweet Orange, Jasmine and Sandalwood - it really is a beautiful combination of scents - sweet and floral with a touch of woods. The base oils are Safflower, Grapeseed, Sweet Almond and Avocado. 

To use: add a couple of pipettes to the bath or massage a small amount over the body. This product is truly luscious! 

I've enjoyed tying the whole range but the products which are stand out for me are Super Boost Organic Overnight Face Oil and Escape Organic Bath & Body Oil. Have you tried the range? What are your favourites?

Monday, 19 July 2021

Lush Classics Perfume Gift

I only went into Lush for Sleepy Body Lotion but impulsively bought their Lush Classics Perfume Gift Set (£55) which contains 5 x 10ml sprays. I've had the set a month or so now and Dirty is the one I know I'll buy again and again. It's got a clean and fresh vibe with notes of spearmint, tarragon and sandalwood (Scented Crafts do similar scented wax melts which are seriously lush!)

The set's really well presented in a fabric covered box and would make a great gift. The bottles themselves are packed tight into the box and I had to use the leg of my specs to get them out! (although easy enough to tip them all out).

As I said my fav is Dirty closely followed by the lush classic Rose Jam, a rose, rose geranium + lemon powdery pink delight! Also in the set is Vanillary, which combines vanilla, tonka +jasmine (I like this one too!)

Pansy, is a lush floral with green galbanum + fresh rosemary + oakmoss (this was a Cosmetics-to-Go perfume, along with Ginger). The 5th one in the kit I'm not keen on so I gave it to my friend Sam. The ever popular and best seller, Karma which blends hippy patchouli with sweet orange + fir.

Despite not liking one of the perfumes in the set I've really enjoyed all of the others (what's your favs?). Check out the perfume gifts HERE

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Miel Botanicals Herbal Sleep Balm

I couldn't resist East Lothian based Miel Botanicals Award Winning Herbal Sleep Balm (50g - £15, 25g - £8.50). The pots here are the large size. They're easily recyclable or reusable with a nod to #plasticfreejuly. I'm a huge fan of the brand - see previous reviews HERE and HERE.

Apply - Rest - Sleep - as simple as that! This little pot of magic calms and relaxes both the body and mind before peaceful slumbers. Specially selected essential oils and herbal infusions (lavender, chamomile, marjoram and lemon) help the body unwind, calming and soothing while vetiver can aid a more peaceful and deep sleep.

To use: rub a small amount onto wrists, collarbone and soles of your feet! The essential oil blend will absorb into the skin helping you get a more restful sleep as well as nourished tootsies! 

Smoothing the herbal balm over the feet is a great ritual before sleep and it smells heavenly as well as being the perfect natural sleep aid. Pick yours up HERE.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

*Love Lula: PLASTIC FREE JULY: Herbfarmacy, Elsa's Organic Skinfoods, Butterwhips, Skin Alchemists + Lyonsleaf

As you'll know I've been theming my Love Lula Accredited Blogger Picks this year. See my previous reviews:

January - SLEEP,  February LOVEMarch - AWAKENApril - BLOSSOMMay - FORAGE, June GROW

This month I chose under a theme of #PlasticFreeJuly:

I've been enjoying testing them all out! Definitely some buy-agains in there. 

Every Herbfarmacy product I try I love. Their Comfrey & Mint Foot Cream* (55ml - £15) comes in an aluminium tin (and is presented in a cardboard sleeve) which is easily reusable/recyclable and for the cardboard recyclable. The cream has a deliciously light but nourishing texture, a minty herbal scent and feels soothing and nourishing on the feet. It's lovely to use and will rescue tired aching feet and cracked heels. Comfrey helps to improve skin elasticity and heal. Hypericum relieves aches, pains and inflammation. Spearmint is antibacterial and anti-fungal. 

To use: slather on dry feet massaging until absorbed

This is a gorgeous product which makes for happy feet!

I'd only ever had a teeny sample sizes of the tins of Elsa's Organic Skinfoods deodorants before so when this arrived I thought it was massive! I chose Lemon Ice Creme Deodorant* (45g - £11) which has a delicious zesty scent. Fresh lemon and grapefruit are crushed together with ice for a refreshing treat for the underarms. 

To use: massage a pea size amount into the underarms or between the toes for fresh smelling skin!

I've been enjoying using this creamy deodorant which comes in a reusable aluminium tin. I've felt fresh all day long.

As you'll know I'm already a huge, huge fan of gorgeous Butterwhips having reviewed some products in the range recently - see HERE. Traditionally Floral Geranium, Lavender & Vitamin E Body Butter* (25g - £8) has a classic floral scent. It melts instantly onto warm skin leaving it feeling nourished and delicately scented.

To use: apply a small amount to your palms, rubbing together before applying the melted butter over your skin for luscious nourished skin.

This is a gorgeous product! Again, it's presented in an aluminium tin which is easily recyclable or reusable.

I'm a huge fan of Skin Alchemist's gorgeous artisan soaps which come simply boxed. I chose Fresh Mint* (128g - £10) which is perfect for summer. The soap has a creamy lather and a distinctive mint aroma. It's enriched with dead sea mud, aloe vera gel and sea moss.

To use: use with warm water to create a gentle lather, massage over the skin and rinse.

Absolute love for this beautiful soap! 

Rounding up my #PlasticFreeJuly picks is Lyonsleaf Try Oil Cleansing Pack* (8ml + 5 muslin cloths - £5.99). I've used Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm before (review) so it was lovely to revisit (it also makes a good moisturiser!) The muslin cloths are a good quality too. The beauty balm comes in a reusable tin and full instructions are included. 

To use: massage a small amount of balm into the face and neck, massaging over the skin before removing with one of the warm damp muslin cloths. You can also use the beauty balm as a moisturiser. 

Great to revisit - definitely need full size again! What have you been picking for #PlasticFreeJuly?

Thursday, 15 July 2021

*Blog Tour: Dolly Considine's Hotel by Eamon Somers

Today I'm rounding up the Blog Tour for Dolly Considine's Hotel by Eamon Somers. It's a richly layered tale which makes for riveting reading. I am pleased to be able to share an extract with you today. 

Julian Ryder (aka Paddy Butler) is an eighteen-year-old aspiring writer fleeing a life unlived. Dolly McClean (née Considine) is knee-deep in running a hotel populated by family secrets and Irish republicans. They seem to have little in common – until Julian rescues Dolly's barmaid-cum-cleaner from a supposed IRA thug. It doesn’t take long for him to embroil himself in the gossip of the bar and the guests’ bedsheets. Dolly and her entourage quickly become fodder for his literary ambitions and soon it becomes impossible to extricate reality from fantasy...

Moving fluidly between the 1950s of Dolly’s youth and Julian’s 1980s summer of unrequited love, Irish recession and emigration, the hotel becomes a stage for farce and tragedy. As statues give birth to fully grown men while sword-wielding Irish dancers perform for party politicians, Julian’s fictions, Dolly’s Political secrets and political intrigue threaten to tear them and Ireland itself apart in the run up to the Pro-life Constitutional Amendment of September 1983.

About the Author

Eamon Somers was born and grew up in inner city Dublin. He was a Historical fiction campaigner and spokesperson for Ireland’s fledgling lesbian and gay rights movement in the early 1980s. During the economic downturn he was made redundant and, having moved to London, spent two years working in Haringey’s Lesbian and Gay Unit until Clause 28 and Council Tax cuts sent him into the charity housing sector where he continues to work.

Eamon’s story Spring in the Country won the Carmarthen short story competition sponsored by BBC Wales. Other stories have been published in Chroma, Tees Valley Writer and ABC Tales. Eamon is a graduate of the certificate in creative writing at Birckbeck College London - the forerunner of the current MA. He is the father of three wonderful children. He and his Civil Partner (Tomás) are very proud of their three-year-old grandson Daragh.


Part 1

Dolly Considine’s Hotel: April 1953

When her Aunt Ellen’s will was read and the extent of the debts run up during the yearlong closure were known, Dolly Considine’s father announced publicly that the twelve-bedroom hotel up in Dublin would be sold at auction. His daughter might have inherited the business, he said, but she was only eighteen and her place was at home with her family in Co Offaly. Everyone knew he had to look decisive in public, but to his constituents, party managers, and the pro and anti-Fianna Fail newspapers, it would be the outcome of the coroner’s inquest that decided his political future, and not the decisions he made about his underage daughter’s hotel.

Dolly had been persuading her mother to take her Christmas shopping in Dublin for years before the scandal. On her very first stay in the hotel, towards the end of The Emergency, with war rationing still affecting everyone else and while watching a couple of American soldiers in mufti in the Visitors’ Lounge, she had made a promise about her future. And as if to seal it, she let go of her mother’s hand, brushed a fleck of glitter from the front of her long brown coat and shook her head to make the two pink rose buds pinned to the front of the hat her mother had bought her that afternoon in Brown Thomas quiver with certainty. She smiled at the American soldiers to let them know they were invited to come back to the bar to sip celebratory drinks with her on the day she moved into the hotel forever. 

Mrs Burns, the manageress, had her own opinion about the hotel owner’s sister and favourite niece occupying beds that she could have filled twice over in the days surrounding the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the traditional opportunity for country people to come to Dublin for their Christmas shopping. But it was December 1951 before she said anything.

Dolly is getting to be such a grand lady, she might be more comfortable in the Hibernian next year,” Mrs Burns said as the pair of them stood at reception fretting over suitcases and Christmas wrapped parcels and waiting for a taxi to take them to King’s Bridge station. Mrs Burns might have said something similar the following year, but by the time Christmas decorations went up in the shops, Josie Geoghan was dead, the hotel was closed and Mrs Burns herself was dismissed and living with her sister in Birmingham, and the shame which would finish off Aunt Ellen two days before Little Christmas had already begun its work. 

Far from it being the Hibernian Hotel, a week after the inquest into the death of the chambermaid recorded a verdict of misadventure, Dolly and her mother were sleeping in Mrs Burns’ old room, and despite Mrs Considine speaking to auctioneers, Dolly was making plans for a grand reopening; washing, scrubbing, dusting, making beds like a professional. She even painted the hall ceiling when the man she’d engaged to do it was scared away by Mrs Considine’s warning that he would have to join the hotel’s creditors. But invitations to the celebration were issued and her mother had no choice except to attend and pretend it was an opportunity for the auctioneer to familiarise himself with the business.

Mr and Mrs Hannafin, (who had continued to live-in while the hotel was officially closed) attended, and when Dolly gave them a welcoming sherry each, she also issued them with a bill for their arrears. She introduced everyone to her late Aunt’s solicitor, who confirmed that selling the hotel without Dolly’s full agreement would be against the spirit of the bequest.

The Porchester Theatre, which occupied half the hotel’s basement, sent two representatives who expressed their personal satisfaction at the prospect of the bar (historically accessed for pre-show and interval drinks) being open again. The event was boycotted by the rest of the theatre’s trustees, claiming association with the scandalous hotel was sullying their artistic integrity. Dolly also presented them with an invoice for rent arrears. The other long-term guest (Miss Guilfoyle) did not appear, so her bill was slipped under her door. 

Mrs Considine was in bed by midnight but was still awake when Dolly joined her just after two.

Pick your copy up HERE.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

*Love Lula Beauty Box: July 2021

I receive the Love Lula Beauty Box complimentary every month as a Love Lula Accredited Blogger for an honest review. The July Beauty Box arrived on Saturday and this month is worth £58. Inside this month are 4 brand new to me products, although I know the brands. I have tried gorgeous Skin Alchemist's soaps before but not Equilibrium which is inside the box this month (it has a very strong lime-y scent along with aromatic notes of Lavender, Vetiver and Incense Woods). Shall we take a look?

Inside this month are 4 full sizes! Two body care, one skincare and one make up item. It's a fabulous mix (I also love the new information card!)

From Bloomtown there's their Natural Deodorant Bar in Lemongrass & Peppermint (£10 - 50g) which comes out the reusable/recyclable tin to use! It smells so good. I've used this plastic free deo - (it's excellent for #plasticfreejuly) a few times now and can honestly say it keeps me fresh all day. I like this a lot. It's a great addition to the box this month.

A make up item! We've got a Pure Black Kajal (£14.20 - 3g) from Soul Tree. I spotted these on the website a while ago and was tempted so it's great to see this Ayurvedic formulated Kajal in the box. 

I'm a huge fan of Gallinée, having used several of their products in the past. Inside the box this month is their Eye Contour Cream (£22 - 15ml) which I'm excited to try. A review will come for this one when I've had the chance to try it out.

Rounding up this fantastic box is Skin Alchemist's Equilibrium Soap Bar (£10 - 128g) which smells intensely of limes. There's also some Lavender, Vetiver and Incense Woods in the formulation. Again, this artisan, handcrafted soap is perfect for #plasticfreejuly coming in an easily recyclable cardboard box.

What are your thoughts on the box this month? Are you a subscriber?