Small print

 

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Suck it and smell: it's perfume in a pill

TAKING A beauty product into your body as opposed to leaving it on the outside isn’t anything new. From weight-loss pills to tanning injections, not to mention plastic surgery, we’ve long since broken the skin with internal beauty products. But now a team is working on edible perfume – a digestible pill that will emit a scent through the skin during perspiration.

“Body architect” Lucy McRae and synthetic biologist Sheref Mansy are in the research phase of their product. Swallowable Parfum consists of scented lipid molecules that copy the structure of fat molecules found in the body. Because our bodies have enzymes that metabolise fat, this perfume works on the basis that the enzymes will also metabolise the perfumed molecules, excreting them through the skin.

The proposed digestible capsule will emit an odour unique to the individual the more they perspire, as the perfume emerges as droplets on the skin’s surface.

Harvard biologist Mansy and Amsterdam- based Australian artist McRae created a video at swallowableparfum.com to illustrate the process. With cosmetic products increasingly obsessed with technology, this could be the next step in marrying biology, technology and beauty in one little scented pill.

– Una Mullaly

Estonia: land of meteors and marzipan

NOW THAT we’re off to Estonia on November 11th for the first leg of the Euro 2012 qualifier, here are 10 things you might like to know:

1 Tallinn is the current European Capital of Culture.

2 Estonia has more than 1,500 islands.

3 The country is 50 per cent forest.

4 It was first to industrially produce marzipan, sold in pharmacies from 1806.

5 Estonia has the world’s highest number of meteor craters per land mass.

6 Estonia has more traditional health spas per capita than anywhere else.

7 Estonia has the world’s third freest press, after Norway and Iceland. Their first daily newspaper was printed in 1675, some 27 years before England’s first daily.

8 The Minox miniature spy camera was invented in Estonia by Walter Zapp.

9 Hemingway wrote that in every port in the world you will find one Estonian.

10 Estonian for hand ball is kasi pall.

Una Mullally

Sexy costumes are out. Smurfs, Shrek, Chuckie and priests are in

WE ARE fast approaching dressing-up time, and all around the country fancy-dress shops are readying themselves for the busiest time of the year. So what fashions are gripping the costume world?

As usual, topical celebrities – from the late Amy Winehouse to presidential candidates – are big hits for DIY costume makers, but in the stores themselves, some interesting trends are emerging.

“Sexy is not as popular now,” says Alan Simmonds, owner of fancydressstore.ie, which also has a shop in Blackrock, Co Dublin. “Two or three years ago, sexy was the big thing. It’s fallen back now and girls are getting more into the funny costumes, like MMs or Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, stuff like that.” Simmonds has already sold out of Mad Hatters, and Smurfs are also proving to be the biggest hit with the younger demographic, with Flintstones and pirates are also selling well. Simmonds sells licensed costumes, merchandised as part of films and brands.

At Partyland in Cavan, better know as The Joke Shop, owner Thomas Maloney is also seeing a boom in Smurfs and Alice in Wonderland costumes. “You have your usual Bat Girls, Bananaman, Scooby Doo. So you have two ends of the spectrum, the people who go for the traditional costumes and all the superheroes, and those who are a bit more adventurous going for a lot of the new stuff.”

Mr Men costumes, Bananas In Pyjamas, and a new range of costumes from the Chuckie horror film franchise are also selling well. “One that’s making a good comeback this year is Shrek,” says Maloney. “It wasn’t popular when the films came out, but it is now.” Priests and monks are also popular with customers older than their late teens or early 20s, he says.

Una Mullally