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I am a recent convert to Mu London, having fallen for their deliciously scented white chocolate elbow, knee and heel cream. I love the fact that the company use genuinely natural ingredients and that there is none of the "greenwash" that companies like The Body Shop and Lush use to make us think that their products are natural and healthy.
With Mu London, what you see is what you get. They are certified Organic, contain no preservatives or animal products. All of the jars of wonder are made by a man called Boris,who is very approachable and seems to genuinely enjoy interacting with his customer base. In fact, if you go to the Mu London facebook page, you can chat with him directly. The page is also a very good indicator of customer opinion, and there seem to be a large quantity of people who enthuse about the products. I am joining them...
I think we all know about this wonderful plant in one way or another. Hemp is a superfood, a fantastic skin product, the plant itself can be smoked (!), can be used for rope, textiles and fuel.
This product contains both Hemp oil from the seeds plus the exotic Hemp essential oil which is steam distilled from very low THC strain Cannabis flowers. The medicinal and healing properties of Cannabis are well known and it is fair to say that this plant has some fairly spectacular effects on both the body and skin.
For the uninitiated, you will NOT get wasted by sniffing this pot, neither will you start singing Leonard Cohen songs if you decide to spread it on your toast....
There are miniscule traces of the active chemical THC in cosmetic Hemp products, if any.
Hemp is a oil that is very high in Omega 3 and 6, and in my Veggie/Vegan household we use the cold pressed oil on salads instead of using Fish based oils. Like Shea, the oil is totally edible and can be used in so many ways. In cosmetics, hemp is used for its super moisturising qualities and anti-aging effects.
High in fatty acids, Hemp oil scores very low on the allergy scale and is therefore suitable for sensitive skin. Used regularly, this oil has a very positive effect on problem skin, psoriasis, eczema etc. It is also very good for young children and babies. Hemp is a natural anti-inflammatory and balances moisture in the skin. This beautiful oil is also high in minerals and contains a plethora of vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E.
This product comes in two sizes (30ml and 60ml) so you can trial a smaller jar should you wish to. Like most of the products from Mu London, the cream comes in a good quality, heavy glass jar with a silver metal lid. All of the ingredients are listed on the front including four logos (Peta, Vegan society, Vegetarian society and Organic certification).
The product itself has the pale colour of Shea with a very slight green tint, in common with many good quality hemp based products. This stuff melts as soon as you touch it and has the creamy velvet texture of over-ripe avocado. The smell is typically hemp but subtle and natural, so if you are used to any Body Shop type Hemp products (full of artificial ingredients) and dislike the heavy scent, this one will suit you better. The smell is gentle and earthy and will not interact with perfumes etc.
The company state:
"Fresh, woody, smoky and mystical - this Hemp face moisturiser heals and protects with organic Shea Butter, pure Hemp Seed Oil and the exclusive and rare Hemp Essential Oil"
In addition to the Shea and Hemp, this cream contains the water soluble Jojoba, and essential oils of Black Spruce and Vertivert root. This combination of ingredients is well chosen and creates a very special warming subtle aroma. It also shows that the company really understand different ingredients and oils, alongside how to combine them to maximum effect. If that was not enough, the cream has Organic Rosemary Antioxidant added to assist with skin issues such as acne and spots.
Mu London's Hemp face moisturiser contains no mineral oils, parabens, silicones, emulsifiers or other man-made chemicals.
USING THE CREAM:
This powerful cream is designed to be used sparingly and is suitable for the whole body. It feels velvety on the skin and blends easily leaving little residue. I have used mine on my face and hands and have not found it too heavy on my face at all. It feels luxurious and rich and leaves the skin with a silky soft sheen. I do not suffer from any facial skin issues but I do on my hands (patchy psoriasis), and this cream is effective at both moisturising and protecting the sore cracked bits. It does not sting open skin cracks at all and feels very protective and gentle.
I have been hugely impressed with the texture of this product. It literally starts to melt when touched and becomes a silky liquid with a very subtle scent of woody hemp. It leaves my skin incredibly soft to the touch and the effects last a long time.
I am already a big fan of Hemp oil and its qualities and am more than capable of making my own products (and sometimes do), but in my opinion this is worth the money. It has been cleverly balanced from top quality ingredients and is a luxurious item with easy to measure effects on the skin. The fact that so little is used each time means that this little jar of magic will last a long time. I genuinely cannot recommend it enough.
Hemp moisturiser from Mu London comes in two sizes. A 60ml jar will cost £15 and a 30ml jar costs £9. I tested the 30ml jar but will be buying the larger one based on the efficiency of the product. I recommend that you do the same as once tried you will be hooked!
You can buy the product or read more about it here:
Lush's range of "Fun" products are a type of mouldable soap which come in different scents and colours. Mainly designed for kids (for obvious reasons), this is a versatile product that can be used in many ways.
RED FUN- Playdoh for the bath.:
This squishy sausage shaped product comes wrapped in cellophane like all of the Fun range. The ends are twisted and are easy to undo. Inside the very simple packaging you will find a squidgy product with a strong scent. The mandarin oils in this whack your nose and fill the bathroom with a delicious scent.
You only need a little bit so your fiver goes a long way. Keep it from sitting in water for too long and it will last you a long time.
HOW TO USE IT:
I have just reviewed Gold Fun so will not repeat what I have said but in a nutshell, Fun is designed to be used in several ways.
Fun can be used as a shower gel if you break off a little piece and squish it up with some water. This turns it into a rosy red paste. It will not stain your skin (or bath) and it works on hair too!
Fun can be used as a shampoo and is especially useful if you are a swimmer or go to the gym as it is portable and small enough to fit in a tiny container. Simply break a piece off as per the shower comment above and lather it up.
Fun creates bubbles when run under the tap. The bubbles will not be as extensive or as impressive as one of Lush's bubble bars but you will get some very nicely scented bubbles out of a blob of the bar.
For kids who love playdoh, this is something to squash and sculpt with. It has a great texture for making things out of and it holds its shape easily. When you are finished you can either wash with it or squash it up to use again.
Fun can be used as a hand soap. Just place a blob by the sink and washing your hands becomes... well um FUN. Kids love it, and it is a novelty product so it can encourage kids to practice better hygiene.
INGREDIENTS AND EFFICIENCY:
Red Fun is a citrus based product and contains both mandarin and sweet orange essential oils. Both are very uplifting and "sunny" aromas that enhance mood and create a cheerful ambiance.
The properties and benefits of Mandarin and Orange Essential Oils are fairly similar. Both are widely used in cosmetics and bath products for their uplifting scent and the fact that they can be blended with so many other aromas.
The oils of the Orange family generally come from the potent skin of the fruit, and are antiseptic. Both also act as tonics and despite the uplifting nature of the scent, both are sedative in nervous system effect.
Red Fun therefore is a good product to use before your child's bedtime.
Mandarin has an overall sweetness which is less noticeable in the more "grown up" Orange oil. It has antibacterial and fungicidal properties too so would be excellent for those with athlete's foot.
Both Mandarin and Orange oils boost circulation and immunity and the combined effects of the scent and a hot bath relieve stress.
GREAT FOR SCULPTING BUT DOES IT GET YOU CLEAN?
If you like fresh citrus smells then Red fun will be something that you will enjoy.
Red fun is the citrus member of the fun family. It contains mandarin oils and really is a zingy and refreshing product. Does it actually get the dirt off though?
The answer is yes, and the softening ingredients of glycerine & cornflower mean that your skin will not dry out. It does contain SLS which is added to this ingredient as a foaming agent unfortunately. It also contains colour.
We have had Red Fun for a month now and the bar is still going strong. Admittedly it has some competition with members of the other Fun range which are taking over my bathroom, but each bar goes a long way and lasts ages. These products are a sales gimmick and a clever one as they really do appeal to kids. The leave your stinky sprogs smelling sweet and clean, and enhance bath time.
Talc, Cornflour, Glycerine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Orange Oil, Mandarin Oil, *Limonene, Perfume, Colour 14700
*occurs naturally in essential oils
Aptly named, Red Fun is a great zesty product to awaken your senses in the morning or to chill last thing before bed. We had no ill effects from the additives even though I do not like them.
Red Fun costs £5 for 200g which will last to yonks.
Therefore we consider this product to be good value and to have lasting amusement value for kids.
( Cu is the symbol for copper in the periodic table.... it is the best I can do at this time of night.... )
Weleda's copper ointment is a Vegan friendly remedy for aching muscles. As somebody who suffers from neuropathic pain, I bought this to add to my pain management arsenal. The sales blurb mentions that the product is a remedy for sore muscles and cramp, but I would like to add nerve pain to that list as it did help me.
Weleda's Copper ointment comes in a metal tube with a white screw cap lid. As with most creams, the tube has a hygiene seal which needs to be pierced in order to use it, and there is a little pointy piece of plastic on the outer side of the lid with which to do this. The cream itself is light and has no real discernible scent, and this is to be expected as it contains very few ingredients.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body so it is important to consider the benefits of copper on the inner processes as well as the outer when assessing this product. Obviously something being used topically is going to be absorbed into the body which is why I try to minimise chemicals and artificial products on my skin.
After Zinc and Iron, Copper is the third most abundant element to be found in our bodies. It is found in all of our tissues and primarily stored in our liver. We only need a small amount if copper to stay healthy but in a society where processed food is king, some people are deficient in this.
The role of copper for humans is complex and multifaceted. It is used in the body for enzyme production and these enzymes are essential for healthy blood and collagen. Both copper and iron are essential elements in the creation of red blood cells and it also has an important part to play in the outer layer of our nerve fibres.
The use of copper for medicinal and health benefits dates back to early Roman times. It was commonplace then for people to drink from copper vessels as it was believed that copper made the water safe to drink and store. Once microbes were discovered, copper was highlighted as an important element with which to fight microbial disease. To this day, copper is still used in fungicides, pesticides and antiseptics.
WELEDA COPPER- Not just for skin:
This cream is marketed as a remedy for aching muscles and cramp. It also has the added benefit of adding copper to our body every time that it is used. Although this addition may be small, it is an essential benefit. Most people do not eat enough copper rich foods (whole grains, legumes, brewer's yeast, cherries and green leafy veg are some sources)
PAIN RELIEF FROM COPPER:
Interestingly, copper has been implicated in the treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis. Around 53% of the body's copper is located in the muscles and bones and with the role that copper plays in the function of healthy collagen, it is natural that this would be seen as something to help arthritic symptoms.
I do not have arthritis but this cream is warming on the skin and heat definitely helps pain.
Copper is an essential element in the protection and health of the myelin sheath- a protective covering over and around our nerves. Regarding nerves, I suffer from nerve pain and have used this cream in conjunction with a tens machine on days when my nerve pain was bad. The cream did not get rid of the pain but did alleviate some of it by producing a warm sensation. It is impossible to assess if the copper contained in this did anything else as I use it sporadically and many other factors could affect the results.
Over 50 enzymes in out body contain copper, including antioxidants. It also works as an antibacterial agent and has been shown to inhibit bacterial and microbial growth, especially in the study of E Coli. Topical application of copper could therefore be used for scratches and sore skin.
Pure copper in a cream/lotion form is the most accessible way to get the benefits of the element into your skin. In fact copper peptides are recognised as a new and promising skincare component in some of the higher end cosmetic products. With the effects that copper has in the production and maintenance of collagen, it is something that can help to regenerate skin and there are studies ongoing into the efficiency of this.
Studies are also ongoing in which the effects of copper on pollution exposure are being conducted. There are some excited mumblings about the effect of copper on tumour growth too. All in all this is one essential compound.
And you just bought this stuff for cramp?!
USING THE CREAM AND EFFECTIVENESS:
This little tube contains a non runny cream that is marketed and used in the treatment of muscular pain and cramp. It improves circulation and brings a gentle glowing warmth to the areas it is applied to. The effect of this heat is not as marked as something like "deep heat" which is designed for this purpose, but it is a nice effect of using this cream.
There is no strong odour so it will not make people walk away holding their noses, and it did not stain my clothing. The cream is light and easily absorbed into the skin.
My favourite way to use this cream is to apply it on to my feet when they are cold. It is also really effective when you have stiffness from prolonged lying down or sitting in a chair all day. Sporty people like it because it is a good rub down after a game and a way to avoid cramp.
The cream is Vegan and I have had this product in my bathroom for over a year. I do recommend this if you want subtle warmth or suffer from cramp. The effect of something like Deep heat is more pronounced but then you would expect that from a product containing more ingredients and chemicals.
I have suffered no side effects from using this product over the last year and although it is hard to judge the effects of the other benefits of the cream on my body, it certainly cannot harm me.
100g of Weleda Copper ointment contains:
Cuprum metallicum praeparatum (sublimed Copper metal) 0.4g
Base containing Liquid Paraffin and Yellow Soft Paraffin
And that is it. No parabens, perfumes, colours or preservatives.
PRICE AND VALUE FOR MONEY:
As with many Weleda products, the price varies. The cream starts at around the £5.50 mark for 100g. It lasts a reasonable amount of time, and is easy to use. We give this 7/10 in the Spiritwood house, mainly because the warming effect is subtle and I like sledgehammer!
PubMed article on a copper toxicity test:
Weleda have a large range of products which utilise the healing abilities and effects of plants and flowers. Larch ointment is a product that slots right into their range as it contains resin from the Larch tree. This has many uses, some of which I will touch on below.
This cream is marketed as a product for sore eyes- you do NOT put it in your eyes but around them. It professes to relieve tiredness and eye strain. This lotion is made from Larch resin, pineapple and lavender in a soft paraffin and lanolin base. It is suitable for vegetarians but due to the lanolin, it is unfortunately not suitable for vegans.
WHAT IS LARCH RESIN?
The bark and its resin of the Larch tree are used in many herbal remedies. It is suitable for both external and internal use.
As a topical application, larch resin cream is an antiseptic and is often used in traditional wound first aid. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and is very helpful in the healing of skin trauma including burns. This was the reason that we bought this, not for the effects on the skin around the eyes.
Pure larch resin is one of the ingredients that is traditionally used for varnish & violin rosin, and like frankincense and copal can be burnt as an incense on charcoal. A tincture of larch is used for toothache and tooth decay and many moons ago it was a popular remedy for chest infections and arthritis, where it was used in a hot compress.
Larch resin is used in many products available on the shelves, from cosmetic to body creams. It is a natural sunscreen and helps to keep skin moist and supple.
USING THE PRODUCT:
I initially bought this because I knew that larch was an effective cream for wounds. I do not like to use chemical creams so a natural one was very suited to my lifestyle. I mainly used mine as a first aid cream, but found it to be very effective for chronic joint pain when placed on muslin and used as a very hot compress.
The cream comes in a little metal tube with a screw cap lid. It is light and easy to use and you do not need to use much to get the required effect.
The cream itself has a soft texture and is not overly greasy. It has a gentle woody scent and a noticeable lavender component which is very appealing. When used on sore skin, this cream does not sting at all and it eases itching and splitting from psoriasis. I never put it on my face but obviously it is fine to do so as it is marketed as an eye cream.
When you buy this you are getting a product that can be used many ways.
It is rare but possible to have an allergic reaction to larch resin, so if you do get any redness or soreness it is important to stop using this cream immediately. I found the formula to be very gentle and effective so hopefully it would be suitable or most people. I have used it as a wound cream on my daughter to no ill effects. Alas since I became Vegan I can no longer use this so will keep it by for my daughter.
Weleda state that the cream is to be " applied sparingly around the eyes" and is suitable for children and adults.
INGREDIENTS AND VALUE FOR MONEY:
100g of Weleda's Larch resin contains:
Ananassa, Fruct. 5g, Larch Resin 2g and Lavender Oil BP 1g in a base containing Lanolin BP and Yellow Soft Paraffin BP.
The retail price does vary so as with all premium products, it is worth shopping around. Currently this varies in price from around £6 upwards. It will last a long time.
I am a big fan of Weleda products and their Calendula range is very varied. Most of the calendula products are geared towards babies but they work equally well for old gimmers like me too. The Calendula range is easy to spot on a shop shelf as it shares an orange/yellow outer packaging. Most of the products have flip top style lids for ease of use.
Calendula body lotion is a light and deliciously scented moisturiser which is designed to be used for babies. All of the range share the same amazing smell, and they are very gentle on the skin.
WHAT IS CALENDULA?
Calendula is another name for Marigold, and the orangey yellow frilly type flowers have been long used for their skin and cosmetic benefits. Like Nasturtium which shares its sunny colour, Calendula is edible and has been called "poor man's saffron" due to its ability to colour & flavour food. It is used in the form of incense and burnt over traditional charcoal discs and the petals can be used to consecrate a sacred space.
The medical uses of Calendula are well known to herbalists who use the flowers to assist in the healing of wounds and to prevent infection. It is a natural anti inflammatory which is also antiseptic, and is very useful for people who have acne or eczema. Indeed, so well thought of in former USSR, Calendula was known as Russian penicillin.
The fresh flowers can be used directly in the bath or can be made into an infusion by steeping them in hot water as you would a tea. This tea can be used as a gargle or mouthwash in the case of sore throats and is very effective at treating burns and sores.
The lotion itself is white and has the consistency of single cream. It is very easily absorbed and leaves very little greasy residue so it will not ruin clothes or sheets. The smell is hard to describe but if you know the smell of marigolds then this captures it perfectly. The lotion has a slight "tincture" aroma to it and it is light enough to not interfere with other perfumed products. When used on lovely baby skin, the child just smells very sweet and clean. We are big fans of the baby body and shampoo wash and have used this since birth. The lotion compliments the other products in the range beautifully.
The product is 100% natural and 99% of the ingredients are organic, making this the ideal product for babies and children, as well as those with skin issues. There are no preservatives, fragrances or colours added to the lotion base, just a selection of oils and flower extracts.
The scent of this is quite heavy on the chamomile but this is such a subtle fragrance it blends well with the calendula itself. Of course Chamomile is also a very popular product for problem skins so it seems that Weleda have worked hard to produce something effective.
DOES IT WORK?
It most definitely does!
Not only does this lotion moisturise the delicate skin of a baby, it is excellent for removing poo!
The lotion is light and very gentle on the skin, and the delightful scent lasts a long time. If you compare the ingredients and credentials of this product to that of the more commonly purchased ranges by Johnson etc, then you can see the difference. Johnson's products are chock full of chemicals and artificial ingredients and to be honest I feel a bit sick that it is considered to be acceptable to use that on a newborn.
The lotion has a great texture which also makes it conducive to any kind of baby massage. There is no stinging when applied to sore skin and (long story) it does not sting the eyes if you have the misfortune to squirt it into them....
All in all this is a superb product for both mother and baby, it smells divine and works a treat. Yes it is more pricey than Johnsons et al, but it contains high quality ingredients and no parabens etc. It also lasts a long time as you only need to use a little. To compliment this product I 100% recommend the baby body and hair wash, the smell is addictive and it has a no tears formula (regularly tested and it really does do what it says).
Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Ceteargyl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Caprylate, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*,Geraniol*, Citral*. * from natural essential oils
This lovely lotion is suitable for vegetarians.
PRICE AND VALUE FOR MONEY:
At the moment this body lotion is on offer on Amazon, where it is reduced from £7.95 to £5.30 (Prime eligible shipping) and even at full price I consider this to be worth every penny. As most parents know, there is nothing sweeter than the smell of a newborn. This however would win second place.
If you were to ask your average person what the first brand of coffee pot or cafetiere was that they could think of, then Bodum is probably the first brand which would come to mind. Bodum are synonymous with coffee pots and have been selling these for 60 years. A Danish company, Bodum have expanded to offer high quality kitchen appliances such as grinders and even now offer a range of cutlery. They have a good reputation and their cafetieres last for years if looked after. There is the added bonus of being able to buy spare parts for the coffee pots, thus extending their life for much longer than a cheaper version.
Despite the premium brand, this cafetiere cost me just £12.
WHY BUY BODUM?
I have used Bodum coffee paraphernalia for eons, and although I also have a few cheaper items, I very much like the longevity of this brand. My last cafetiere finally gave up the ghost after 8 years of near constant use and went through 2 replacement glass jugs and one spiral filter in its life time. I finally decided to buy a new larger one with a posh and shiny chrome lid, and this one for everyday use.
Although I very much prefer the chromed one, this Kenya 3 is great for one person. If like me you prefer a slightly chipped builders style mug of coffee, then you will probably manage 1.5 mugs of coffee from this.
So the descriptive "three cups" is deceptive unless you drink from a child's tea set. The coffee maker holds 0.35 litres of fluid or 12 oz.
This cafetiere is made from heat resistant borosilicate glass and is dishwasher safe.
WHY USE A CAFETIERE?
As an unapologetic coffee snob, this should really need no explanation, but for those of you still suffering instant coffee then I shall explain further. Instant coffee is NOT proper coffee! It is processed and dried out dusty yuk and just tastes wrong. Compare this then to a fresh cup of filter coffee from ground beans. If I am feeling extra righteous then I will grind my own, but usually I buy organic ground coffee made from pure beans. Yum. There is simply no comparison in smell, taste and pleasure between instant and filtered coffee.
Fresh coffee smells delicious and earthy. So delicious that when you open the packet you just have to take a long sniff of the aroma. Such is my love for ground coffee, I use it to exfoliate and make cakes with. If you purchase a cafetiere like this one and a bag of ground beans, you will not go back to instant...
Bodum state that the filter design ensures that you extract the most essential oils of freshly ground coffee, and that the design also ensures that most of the sediment stays where it belongs ie behind the filter.
Boiling water is not recommended as it kills the taste so allow your kettle to sit for a couple of minutes before adding the water. Then it is a case of waiting a few minutes before plunging downwards.....
Although not as pretty as the silvery chromed one, this is easy enough on the eye despite the plastic and the muted colour means that it would fit most kitchen colour schemes (if you have such a thing- I don't). The cafetiere is designed to sit by the kettle without getting in the way. It is dinky enough to tuck out of the way of nosy four year old children and wayward kamikaze cats too which is a definite bonus.
The price is a real bonus too, and I consider this to be a bargain at just £12.
The filter parts are well made and long lasting compared to cheaper models and the design is clever. The inner parts are very well thought out and the product not only filters the coffee grounds beautifully, but it all comes apart easily for ease of cleaning. The inner mesh is attached well and does not let any errant grounds get into your mug, even if you are a bit over enthusiastic with the coffee like I am.
Everything under the lid unscrews and any little coffee grounds rinse out easily. The Bodum Kenya cafetiere comes well packaged with basic instructions and a measuring spoon which I have never used, preferring instead to chuck the coffee in and guess the amount needed.
The cafetiere pours well and at just the right speed. My last one would either dribble halfheartedly or flood my kitchen so this is a welcome relief for my floor. Should you be unlucky enough to break the inner glass, and this would be quite difficult as the plastic casing is designed to very cleverly protect that vulnerable part (more so that the metal framed ones), then removal is easy enough and the replacement just slots right in.
Muted, understated and classic would sum this coffee maker up. There is sufficient outer plastic to cradle the glass part meaning that it should technically last a long time unless you take up juggling, and the general appearance is classic cafetiere in style. It is fairly simple and basic and has no knobs and whistles on it. However for a day to day appliance then this is good value and well designed.
AVAILABILITY OF SPARES:
Cross plates, filter plates and spiral plates are available to purchase should you need to replace a part. These range from £4-£5 each so not too bad. The part that often needs replacing of course is the inner glass and this too is available to buy as a spare part for £9.
For spares you can buy direct from Bodum's website:
VALUE FOR MONEY:
Prices really do vary so it does pay to shop around. The cheapest is Amazon at £12 (free delivery too if you have prime).
This is one of the first creams that I tried from the Lush general skincare range. I had previously experimented with Lemony flutter (very delicious) and Pied De Pepper (a gorgeous foot cream that is now one of my favourite products). Dream cream has so many good reviews all over the place that I had to try it. I was sent a sample which got used up very quickly, and on the basis of that sample I bought a pot.
Dream cream comes in one of the bigger sized Lush pots (double the size of many products on the site). The pot itself is standard Lush fayre, being recyclable black plastic with the white font. You get 240g of Dream cream in your pot and mine was made by a man with a very strange beard called Ben according to the little sticker on the front.
WHAT IS IT FOR?
Dream cream is described as a hand and body lotion. Although it is certainly not as rich as the thicker products such as Lemony flutter butter or Helping hands, it is not watery or thin. This is a cream which has a distinctly soft and silky feel when applied and the effects are really quite amazing. I suffer from small patches of psoriasis on my hands which tend to erupt on my knuckles. Nothing has managed to eradicate it much to my frustration, but this cream stops it from splitting or getting too flaky. It is a very gentle formula that contains oak milk, rose water and glycerine- all very famously used for their skin benefits.
WHAT IS IT LIKE?
Dream cream smells delicious. The aroma is not something that would compete with any perfume that you were wearing and neither is it so "girly" that a man would not use it- instead Dream cream has a soft sweetness which reminds me of sunny fields. Fresh flowers, fresh grass, fresh air- this stuff is subtle but beautiful. It blends well, it does not sit in an oily slick on the skin and you only need a little bit for it to be effective. It can be used all over the body, even on the face.
This product targets people who have sensitive skin. It states on the lid that it is cooling and soothing and it really is. A little research also shows that this product is very popular with those who have problem skin, especially those with eczema. This product is suitable for all skin types.
WHAT IS IN IT?
Dream cream is packed with good stuff. Lush then ruin it somewhat by doing what they always do- ie adding is a couple of unnecessary nasties, in this case parabens. There is also the generic "perfume" which is unlikely to be natural, and triethanolamine.
That aside- Dream cream contains extra virgin olive oil and cocoa butter as a base, 5 essential oils (benzoin, lavender, rose absolute, chamomile blue and tea tree). The natural products chosen are all added because they have a long history in skin care and reparation. The oat milk base is especially good for dry skin and the results of this cream can be enhanced by adding porridge oats to your bath- after all this is all that "oat milk" is.
Despite the addition of chemicals, Dream cream is effective on sore and dry skin. It is gentle and does not inflame already dry areas, and the effects are lasting. A little goes a long way with this so this big pot should last a long time.
VALUE FOR MONEY:
A large pot of this costs £11.25 and is available from the Lush website or instore. That might seem pricey but actually the pot lasts so long that it works out at around £3 a month for me. I consider this product to be a good buy and the only thing letting it down for me are the unnatural ingredients.
Oat Milk, Rose Water, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Tincture of Benzoin, Rose Absolute, Chamomile Blue Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, *Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
*occurs naturally in essential oils
Lush's trademark scent "Karma" is one of my absolute favourites. I love the bubble bar, the cream and the perfume solid so I snapped up a bottle of the liquid perfume when I found it on Ebay.
Like the Karma range, it is earthy and heavy on patchouli, so if you like delicate florals then this one is not for you. If you enjoy wafting around like an extra in an iconic 1969's film, then you will love this one.
Lush's perfume range is something that I am only just dipping my toes into. The main reason being cost- the prices are prohibitive to me. Sometimes though when you really love a scent and know that you will get a lot of use from it, then saving up for the product really is worth it.
Grrrr for Gorilla (in an ugly bottle):
If you go to the Lush website, you can find Karma perfume under the Gorilla perfume tab. None of the bottles look like the one in the picture though as they all feature the plastic black bottles. The bottles are fairly ugly and I am not sure when they stopped doing the pretty glass bottle. As far as uniformity and branding goes, the black labels and bottles do little to entice the buyer. But of course Lush tend to run on reputation and the addictive nature of their products so perhaps it does not matter.
For those that love the combination of citrus and patchouli then Karma perfume is a no brainer. You can layer with it as there are other products available on the main site such as soap, solid shampoo (my favourite), cream etc. Lush describe Karma as "Retro yet ageless. Karma is a powerful, spicy and unique patchouli and citrus perfume. It's a strange slow-burner for some; you fall for it without realising what's happening. Others love it from the first sniff as they are transported to the age of freedom."
As one of Lush's best selling scents, I would say that the above sales blurb is fairly accurate to the product which makes a change, as Lush can be guilty of over exaggeration at times.
So what is it like?
Perfume reacts differently on each person as the ingredients react to the chemicals and oils in our body and skin. I find Karma to be a very evocative and addictive scent, and once I put it on I love to catch wafts of it as I go about the day. The orange oils definitely balance out the harshness of the patchouli oil, and this makes it much more accessible and user friendly. Citrus notes are uplifting and softening to the woody notes in a scent, and this is exactly what this perfume conveys. Woody aromas with a warm orange and a smidge of pine. This is a very natural scent and actually quite unisex. It is not girly and flowery at all and is ageless.
When combined with other products in the Karma range, the effect is even more striking but it does not become overwhelming.
I am very lazy when it comes to cosmetic faffery- and am delighted to report that even a quick slick of the solid perfume brings my natural scent to life. We all have a natural scent & mine is quite vanilla/sandalwood. This perfume both compliments & enhances that. I have both the solid version of this perfume and the spritzer, and I must say that I prefer the solid as it seems to blend better on my skin.
Overall impression and value for money:
The longevity of Karma perfume in the solid form is less that the spritzer when I use it. Even so I only usually reapply once more in a day (and that is because I want to sniff it!). In terms of value then Karma is a good buy. It lasts a long time even when used every day (and frequently stolen by a four yr old) and can be worn as either a day type perfume or an evening one.
Karma is a beautiful product and if you like the perfume then I recommend the solid shampoo "Karma Komba" which is really delicious and very user friendly.
Lush Karma perfume starts at £5 for the solid stick perfume, £10 for the spritzer and costs £21 for the atomiser. Those prices are actually reasonable when compared to the rest of the perfume range.
I have seen people on here mention sample vials- please would somebody enlighten me as to where I could get these so that I can try out other perfumes. Thanks :)
If you have ever had a yearning for a huge wolf in your life then this is the toy for you. It will not eat your children or poo in your shoes, instead it will initially leave fluff everywhere (especially on soft furnishings) for a while. I eventually got fed up with this and brushed it like I would a dog (yes I did feel silly) and vacuumed up the fluff.
This super-duper soft toy is not only ginormous, but is very well made. Just as well really as he is not cheap to buy. Bear in mind though that you are actually getting a reasonably realistic soft toy that is the size of a dog. Yes really- this is huge.
"Humphrey" is both great for home education and wildlife awareness, and the claws, facial features and fur gradients add to the realism. He looks very regal and gorgeous seated on the sofa and makes a particularly welcome pillow for a tired four year old.
SIZE & QUALITY:
This is a supersized wolf soft toy and comes in at 76cm according to the manufacturers, but he looks bigger. The fur is "genuinely fake" so there is no worry over buying something that contains skinned cats or dogs like some toys and clothing. Even so, fake does not mean nasty- this fur is sumptuous and thick. The seams are nicely stitched and in some places the stitching is so tiny that it can hardly be seen.
The eyes are well attached, being made of plastic and riveted into the body. They are multicoloured so add a depth to the facial features. The nose is soft and squishy, and the whiskers are some kind of nylon type soft wire.
The fur pile on the wolf is around 1" thick in places apart from on the legs where it has a beige coloured velvet type feel. The overall feel of the toy is of quality and cuddliness. The toy is listed as handcrafted and there is a lot of attention to detail which makes this toy worth the money such as the ear "pockets" and the individual toes and claws.
UNIQUE SELLING POINTS:
Apart from the size, this monster soft toy is machine washable. Some soft furry toys lose their looks when washed but this wolf manages to retain the softness and newness. Admittedly once washed, we did blow dry him but that may be a little excessive for most people....
This toy cost £42 which is a lot for a soft toy. However this is one cuddly that I am happy to keep hold of if my daughter ever gets bored of it- it really is a beautiful thing. This toy comes in at a 10/10 from us for sheer beauty. Everybody who comes into the house makes a beeline for it.
A RANGE OF CUDDLIES:
This wolf comes from a range of toys by "WILD REPUBLIC" and is from their rather unfortunately named "floppies" range. For a similar price you can find tigers, gorgeously realistic polar bears, and even a confused looking plushy snail.... this is a very unusual company who seem to specialise in realistic wildlife toys. When I purchased this, I could buy the wolf on Amazon, but it seems that he has sold out. He is available on Ebay and in other places and the price ranges from £40-58.
VALUE FOR MONEY:
As stated, this is in my opinion worth every penny. This is a top quality soft toy or huge proportions and great build quality. He should last for a very long time and I look forward to the day that I can steal him from my daughter :)
10/10 for originality, quality and beauty.
Cherry the cat comes from a collection of toy animals which are made by a company called "Furreal". As suggested, they have more "real" movement and attributes than say a beanie or stuffed toy. Most of the Furreal range move (which means that they eat batteries like nobody's business so get rechargeables), some mew and purr. The are all slightly disconcerting.
Unfortunately, my daughter discovered the Furreal range of "emotion" pets via an older child who has several. There then followed requests for various annoying electronic cats and puppies in various guises. This was the latest acquisition and compared to the others out there this one is the triffid of Furreal animals...
Cherry is a huge anamatronic cat with a soft gingery fur outer which covers a skeleton of metal. Under said skeleton is an array of technology that makes my brain bleed. The cat is interactive and responds to voice and touch.
MOVEMENTS AND FEATURES:
To get your over-sized toy cat to do anything irritating, you firstly need a battery stash. Cherry takes four AA batteries which are inserted into an underside cavity, and then covered with a sliding top. The battery holder has a small screw too so you will need a dinky screwdriver. The design is safe for small kids too- trust me, nobody is getting into the battery compartment without tools.
Cherry cat is very cleverly programmed so that she can respond randomly, thus increasing her ability to be "real". She has a reasonably accurate "meow" and she can also blink her slightly OTT and unreasonably blue eyes. In fact the eyes are strange compared to most of the other Furreal range (bar the horse who shares equally unrealistic eyes), in that they are far too large and bright- almost cartoon eyes. The smaller animals in the Furreal range have standard soft toy type eyes and they look better. I can only assume that the huge eyes are created so that they can open and move, but I remain unconvinced.
The toy also has a swishy tail and any cat owner will recognise this as one of the movements that a real cat makes when irritated. Cherry does this when you stroke her back and also adds a rather guttural purr alongside the tail swishing too. This toy also has the ability to move her ears, although some of the movements sound rather stiff and mechanical.
Needless to say, my daughter was delighted with this toy and adores it. Cherry is a big toy though, surprisingly so. Bigger than a real cat, it looks like a bug eyed feline on steroids. Kids do not seem to mind this though, choosing instead to focus on the sounds and movements.
FEEDING YOUR CAT:
This is one cat who likes to be fed rather than needing to as a necessity. She comes with a fish shaped plastic thing which I guess is supposed to be a cat biscuit. When she is "hungry" then she will eat it, complete with chewing sounds. Yuk....
This cat also shivers when scared, and snores when asleep....
There is a brush provided which seems to send Cherry cat either into a purr frenzy, or to sleep. The fur remains easy to brush despite being manhandled by small people which is a big bonus. She is well made and sturdy. Her limbs move easily with no wrenching, meaning that even the smallest child can play with her. She IS large though- be warned. The fur can be sponge washed if necessary.
All in all the cat is very well made and the level of technology is impressive. I am not a fan of "pretend" pets as I would much rather get another real one, but my daughter loves it. It is fairly low maintenance and the batteries last a long time (so far 2 months) as she seems to go into a form of "sleep mode" when not played with for a short while.
VALUE FOR MONEY:
The price for this cat ranges from around £40-80. Although she is large and full of technology, the cat does not really do a huge amount (check out "Biscuit" the puppy to see how robotics can be used) and because of that I do consider her somewhat overpriced. If you manage to get the toy in the sale or reduced then she is worth buying for the "small person enjoyment value".
Cherry is a large animated cat who has a few functions and movements that will appeal to small children. She comes with a fish "biscuit" and a brush. Ensure that you have batteries in before your child receives the toy and be prepared to want to throw it out of the window once the purring starts to grate (and it will).
7/10 from the Spiritwood household....
Inspired by the movie " Spirited away", Sootball was released for Halloween this year. Seeing that we are like a UK version of the Addam's family, Halloween (or Samhain) is one of our biggest festivals. With this in mind, we grabbed Sootball as soon as it came out, along with some other Halloween inspired bits from their range.
Sootball came in one of Lush's paper bags, and left a powdery black reside on the inside. An odd knobbly looking ballistic, it was large and vanilla scented. We used it (sprog and I) and were anticipating the "golden glimmer" promised by Lush. The bath water was deliciously scented but there was no glitter or sheen, just a sludgey bath which left black deposits on our feet and the tub. Although my daughter did enjoy it (more because of the cute appearance I suspect), I was underwhelmed and now had more cleaning to do.
Lush withdrew the product after people complained about the black residue, and in doing so shrunk the ballistic significantly. The price of course stayed the same. Underhanded tactics Lush! And although the issue of residue has been significantly reduced, the Sootball bath ballistic still turns the water an unattractive sludge grey and leaves a mess. The glitter is still lacking. Disappointing in many ways.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA:
The second edition Sootball bath bomb is a knobbly round shape with a powdery back outer layer. On the front it has a pair of eyes which are made from printed card. These are fragile and not very securely attached, so expect them to fall off as soon as you handle it. Speaking of handling, this bath bomb will leave a black/grey layer on your hands. However it is easy enough to remove. The aroma is vanilla/Tonka and pleasant enough, but does not stand out. You do get a hint of Sandalwood but I found it hard to locate the Frankincense oil.
For £2.50 you too can stain your tub and make it look like it belongs in an episode of "How clean is your house". Although much improved from edition one of the Sootball batch, this will still leave deposits. The ballistic exhibits fairly typical Lush Bath bomb behaviour, and fizzes around in the water. No popping candy in this one to liven up the sludgy grey colour though. There is a slight (very slight) hint of a yellowish sheen to the sludge, but it is no way what you would expect from a ballistic that promises sparkle. The water in fact is fairly unattractive, giving the appearance of stagnant pond crossed with muddy puddle.
Sootball dissolves at a fairly standard rate for a ballistic, taking around 5 minutes to disappear. The last little piece is supposed to be the sparkle, but we found it to just be a ochre coloured blob that sat on the surface of the water like a deposit from a particularly expressive sneeze.
The bath bomb contains Frankincense and Tonka, creating a vanilla scent that is not too sickly. In fact the Frankincense adds a decent earthiness to the whole experience. There is also sandalwood which adds another layer of "head shop" to the bath. If not for the colour and mess, then Sootball would be reasonably pleasant. Nothing to get excited about, but enjoyable enough. Like all of Lush's ballistics, the main ingredients comprise Sodium Bicarb and Citric acid, which create a fizzy product that dissolves evenly. The Shea butter ensures that the Citric acid and Bicarb do not strip the skin of moisture, but also has the unfortunate effect of leaving a tidemark around the tub. This is then further enhanced by the dark colours which attach themselves to the tidemark and create something quite revolting to look at. It takes some scrubbing to remove the grease from the Shea and the black from the colour. Or you could of course leave it for a bit and pretend that you are in Withnail and I.
This ballistic has a range of interesting and expensive ingredients. The oils are some of the pricier ones, and unfortunately there are a few chemical additives which I would prefer were not there. There are natural colours and foamers available and I wish that Lush would concentrate on those instead of the long list below.
Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Tonka Absolute, Australian Organic Sandalwood Oil, Fair Trade Columbian Cocoa Butter, Fair Trade Shea Butter, Cream of Tartar, Olibanum Resinoid, Benzoin Resinoid, Gardenia Extract, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, PEG-6 Caprylic / Capric Glycerides, & PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, *Coumarin, *Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Perfume, Colour 77499, Colour 15510, Radiant Gold Lustre (Potassium Aluminium Silicate, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides), Paper Eyes
*occurs naturally in essential oils
THE BLURB vs REALITY:
Lush say" Let this surprising little bath bomb spirit you away into a golden, lustre-filled bath"
This was not the experience that we had.
They also add: "Don't worry, Soot Ball won't turn your bath water black" - they lied...
£2.50 for one bath is a lot of money. The ball is hard to split without shattering therefore you tend to use it in one go. The product is Vegan and interesting to look at,and although a favourite with my daughter, for me it was a messy waste of money.
Although not everybody seems to have the same issues around dark tidemarks and lack of glitter, it seems that many have so buyer beware. I grabbed one for my friend's 9 year old daughter, who ended up with stained black feet. Sootball is a quirky one off for us, smells lovely but has too many negatives to be something we would buy regularly.
Yep that's right. Urea (found in urine of course) is found in many skin products, usually the ones designed for very dry skin. And yet this little bath bomb contains none of it. Instead it pays homage to the substance in another way...
This is my first year in which I have bothered to become fully aware of Lush. Mainly because of Dooyoo I must add, including the many reviews on here that eventually corrupted me and led me astray. Since my first foray into the realms of Lush, I have mumbled and grumbled a lot about the chemical ingredients that the company insist on adding into their products, despite trading under an umbrella of "green". However I am not going to whinge about that today, I have something far more interesting to moan about.
So being a newbie, I am only just learning that Lush bring out limited edition and seasonal products, the first batch of witch (get it) were for Halloween (or Samhain as us weirdos call it). And currently on the website and in store, Lush have very recently seen fit to bring out their Christmas range IN OCTOBER no less! And what a large range it is too. I am not a huge fan of Christmas as such but having a young daughter certainly makes it more appealing. The range of products available to buy as a seasonal Yule treat look enticing enough to draw in even the most bah-humbug amongst us. There are even products for kids such as Gold coloured "Fun" which my daughter will no doubt be sampling over Christmas.
This ball of coloured trouble is one of the Christmas range this year (and apparently it seems to come back regularly in the Christmas stock) and is a bath ballistic with extra pizazz. Meet "Cinders", a volcanic hued ball of intrigue. The initial impression is one of citrus, with the oranges and reds complimenting the aroma. The ballistic/bomb is slightly smaller than some of the more usual ones but then it does contain a heavier ingredient in Sea Salt so the weight is still 100g. The surface looks akin to a hot fireplace which of course is the idea.
Lush's "blurb" people say this:
"This is a bath bomb to evoke the feeling of sitting by a crackling fireside, drinking a glass of warm fruit punch. Cinders is designed to bring comfort at Christmas. Lie back, letting the water support your body, and listen to the fire as the smell of fruit punch fills the room."
The colour and texture are given a third element when you realise that the product contains popping candy. My daughter finds this amusing so this was one that we shared. The ritual in my house is that my daughter always gets in the bath first and then any bath bomb etc is given to her. She sits in the water cackling like a enthusiastic witch as the bomb dissolves and spins around her. Most of the Lush ballistics tend to follow a similar pattern as in you put them in the water and they come to life. This is due to the Bicarb and Citric acid which cause a colourful and foamy fizz as it shoots around your bath. At some point in the proceedings, I am deemed worthy of sharing the experience. It goes like this....
The water turns yellowy orange pretty quickly leaving a white foamy froth as it spins about. There is a large quantity of red glitter that also begins to spread through the surface water, leaving a trail of post-jaw's dismemberment type effect in your bath. If you have candlelight then this glitter will be more effective, but if not you will still enjoy it (if you like that kind of thing) and the glitter bits are a decent size and very red. The bloody hue remains with foamy white patches of froth in your water and the underneath is yellow.
Bathing in this reminds me of bathing with my sprog when she was tiny and regularly wee'd in the bath (usually at my end). The colour really does look like you are laying down in a vast vat of urine. Not just any old urine either, but a dehydrated person's. I would have preferred a more orange experience than a wee one but the aroma and interest kind of made up for the colour. The ballistic has chunky sea salt, gardenia, orange and cinnamon, all of which combine to create a warming and festive whiff.
The popping candy is gimmicky yet seems to go down well at Lush as a few of their products contain it. This bomb has generous amounts and it does crackle. The overall effect though is minimal. The most enjoyable part of this for me was the scent which is wintery, warm and slightly sweet. My daughter enjoyed the fizzing and popping best.
The bomb dissolved in around 5 minutes at most, leaving an interesting tide mark around my white enamel bath. The scent lingered upstairs for an evening and on our skin for slightly less. Both of us felt clean and soft afterwards and my daughter's hair smelled of this bomb all night long. If you like citrus with a bit of a twist then you would enjoy this bath ballistic.
Once you get over the fact that it looks like you are washing in a big bowl of urine, the actual experience itself is nice enough. The smell is great and uplifting, as all citrussy scents are. The cinnamon is also lovely, bringing a definite seasonal element to the ballistic. The frothy white clouds were softening and attractive. The jury is still out on the glitter but after past experiences I am somewhat wary....
IS IT WORTH IT?
This ballistic costs £2.45 from Lush stores and online, and to be fair it is a treat experience. Good fun and seasonal, it would make a nice gift for yourself or another person but it is not a mind-blowingly brilliant product in my opinion. The ball itself is small but could probably manage two baths. Unlike many Lush bath products, this does not really contain anything that could be described as moisturising, although sea salt does have a softening effect. It can make the skin feel very soft but in some people it can be drying. This is not one for the dry skinned amongst us to use.
Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Coarse Sea Salt, Popping Candy, Perfume, Gardenia Extract, Almond Essential Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, *Cinnamal, *Eugenol, *Limonene, Colour 14700
*occurs naturally in essential oils
"Cinders" is nice enough and quite fun, but nothing to shout about. We enjoyed it as a one off but will not be stocking up....
I was lucky enough to have this sent to me as a little sample in a small black pot, and loved it so much that I purchased some. This is a thick and indulgent hand cream that can also be used on the body. It comes in a standard black recycled screw capped 100g pot and is Vegan.
The cream is very thick and does not run. It offers amazing hydration to dried up bits because of the excellent balance of ingredients. There are no less than five different types of butter at play in this jar and the combination makes for a thick product without any real waxiness.
The cream itself is light coloured,very soft and easy to get out of the jar. The butters are combined with base oils, rose water and vanilla absolute (a mega expensive oil) which create a very delicious aroma and the scent lasts for a long time. The overall scent is vanilla and rose but without the sickly sweetness that comes with fake vanilla's which are found in many similar products. The rose is just there, not overpowering at all. There is a subtle nuttiness to the scent too and the overall impression is one of luxury.
This hand cream contains a combination of Shea, Peanut, Cashew, Almond and Pumpkin seed butters, all of which are edible. The Shea is from Ghana and the company pride themselves in their relationships with the Shea farmers (usually women) who provide an important income to the villages and families within. Extracting Shea butter from the seeds is a lengthy and laborious process which has many stages, and it is conducted in a traditional fashion that has been used for hundreds of years.
All of the butters hydrate and protect the skin, although they have slightly different properties. Peanut is very oily so that is used in smaller quantities, and Shea makes up the bulk of the product.
When you buy this you are not just paying for Shea. Shea on its own is not that expensive. Rose water when made from scratch uses thousands of petals and is therefore considered a luxury and an indulgent ingredient. Vanilla absolute costs around £40 for just 10ml and is a thick almost solid oil extracted from cured pods and beans. The scent of vanilla is something that we are all familiar with. It is a warm and sweet aroma which is used a lot in the perfume industry. The vanilla oil in this cream is mainly used for the scent as it is not generally used in aromatherapy.
THE OTHER STUFF:
The cream has a long list of ingredients and as per usual some of these are great and some are not so.
The cream contains essential oils in the form of Rose Absolute and Chamomile Blue Oil which is often sold as German Chamomile oil. Blue oil is the most popular form of Chamomile in an essential oil and this is also a expensive addition at around £25 for 10ml. German Chamomile essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and daisy like flowers of the chamomile plant. It is used therapeutically as a calming oil and when used in skin care products it acts as an anti-inflammatory. The scent if this oil is subtle and sweet but again not overpowering. Camomile oil is an excellent addition for itchy or sore hands.
Rose essential oil is usually sourced from Damask rose and comes from many thousands of petals via steam extraction. Rose is a very distinctive fragrance and it is prized as another precious oil due to how many flowers are needed for just one drop. Rose is used in aromatherapy for calming of emotions and body. It is also very nourishing for the skin.
Alongside these two expensive oils, this cream also contains Benzoin, evening primrose base oil, almond oil and organic lemon juice. Combined into a little understated pot, this somewhat dull looking pale cream not only smells wonderful but is highly effective on even the crinkliest skin. Unfortunately Lush have seen fit to chuck in parabens as a preservative however this is the last ingredient on the list in terms of quantity so I would hope that it would only be a smidge.
The overall scent of this cream is a vanilla infused herby freshness and one that I find really nice. It does not overpower other scents if you are a perfume fan but it is definitely strong enough to be "there" and it will last for a few hours. In fact I love the smell of this so much that I frequently sniff my hands when I use it and have to stop myself doing this in public in case people think that I have a permanent nasal drip....
TEXTURE & EFFICIENCY:
The cream has the texture and thickness of a body butter. If you are versed in some of the Body Shop butters then this one is not much different to use in terms of consistency. You only need a small amount of this to get an effect, in fact using a good sized dollop would not only be wasteful but would leave your hands very greasy. When I use it I use a blob around the size of a currant. If i am feeling extra decadent then I use a blueberry sized amount....
Go easy on the application and you will find that this cream absorbs quickly, and leaves your hands very soft and gorgeous. Any tightness from washing up or dry hands is easily remedied with this product and the moisturisation lasts a good amount of time too. It can be used all over and is especially lovely on the feet and elbows. I have found this to be non greasy but then my hands do get very dry. Use the cream sparingly for occasions when your skin really needs a moisture boost and I think you too would be impressed.
Rose Water, Shea Butter, Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Organic Almond Oil, Triethanolamine, Fresh Organic Lemon Juice, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Rose Absolute, Chamomile Blue Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Peanut Butter, Organic Pumpkinseed Butter, Organic Cashew Butter, Organic Almond Butter, Tincture of Benzoin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methyl Ionone, *Benzyl Salicylate, *Coumarin, *Geraniol, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Farnesol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume, Chlorophyllin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
*occurs naturally in essential oils
Handy Gurugu is available in Lush stores and online for £ 7.75 for 100g. I consider this to be a good deal because it lasts for ages and has less in the way of chemical additives than most creams. It is very effective and smells gorgeous.
Unless you make jewelry or work with metals, it is unlikely that you will have come across this before.
Meet Liver of Sulphur, a chemical wonder which has the capacity to create amazing colours and textures upon silver and other metals. Easy to use, and cheap enough to buy, this stuff transforms plain silver and rosy copper into something with depth and patina.
I use this gel in combination with the Art clays that I have reviewed on here. Art clays briefly, are mouldable substances that turn into 99% pure silver (or copper) when fired. The scope for this clay is huge and it is possible to make your own pendants, inlays, clasps, belt buckles etc.
IT WASN'T ME, IT WAS THE DOG.....
First things first, this stuff honks. It smells like my dog after she has stolen the eggs and scoffed them all, shells included. The ripe aroma can only be described as a sulphuric farty cloud of abomination, and that is being kind. Liver of Sulphur is something to use with the windows open, and even then your neighbours will give furtive glances towards your house as they wonder what has died in there.
Despite the smell, this stuff is worth the sufferance. The effects that it has on metal are so beautiful that it is worth a few minutes of nausea. Liver of Sulphur is capable of creating indigo shadow or rainbow shimmers on the surface of your metal piece, and all of the colours in between.
Part of the fun is its unpredictability- not knowing what you will end up with adds an edge to your work. There are many ways of using this and many recipes abound, but even if your outcome is not as you wished, it is possible to remove the patination and start again. It can be nerve wracking unless you know this fact, after all precious metal clays are very expensive.
A Patina is a type of colour effect that forms on the surface of many metals. The most commonly seen one is verdigris on copper, but there are many others and many ways to achieve this. Patinas are formed by oxidation (the green of copper) or chemicals (Liver of Sulphur, Vinegar etc). As well as being pleasing to the eye and adding interest in the case of sculpture or jewelry, a patina can create a layer of protection on the surface of the object.
Patina is different to tarnish in that tarnishing is the all over discolouration (usually darkening) on the surface of an object due to pollutants. Patinated metal tends to have a rich warmth which brings the object to life, whereas a tarnish usually dulls it.
Liver of Sulphur is the common name for Potassium Sulphide, which is a chemical colouring agent when applied to metals. It can be found in solid format (small chunks which are added to water) or you can buy it in a liquid form like I did. The bottle that I purchased is a gel form, which means that it is easy to use for a beginner and does not drip everywhere. The Beadsmith XL gel has a longer working time than that of the standard Liver of Sulphur solution, which can go off very quickly.
It comes in a black lidded 1oz bottle, and looks rather like a small bottle of ink. It has a long shelf life and is not degraded by either air or light. Beadsmith list their gel as non flammable and non toxic, but it should not be used in conjunction with alcohols or acids. The bottle that it comes in has decent and thorough instructions on it, again brilliant for beginners. The top closes tightly to protect the gel and the dropper size is just right for easy measuring on to a spoon.
Liver of Sulphur is a potentially nasty chemical. The gel format reduces the dangers from inhalation. Unlike the gel, solid forms are flammable and have a very limited shelf life. The solid form is also highly sensitive to light and it will degrade rapidly if left in daylight for long.
HOW TO USE IT:
To use this you shake the bottle and measure out 5ml of the gel on to a teaspoon. This is added to 350ml of hand hot water. The item that you wish to alter is then placed into this solution. The gel can be applied neat onto the metal. Although the honk is not too bad straight out of the bottle, it really hits you when you dilute it into the water. Ensure that you have ventilation because it really is rank. This is because the gel emits sulphur dioxide and this is not only stinky but toxic.
The chemical affects all metal that comes close to it. For this reason I have a set of tools and brushes that I only use when putting patina on metal in this way.
Generally speaking, the hotter the water used to dilute it, the faster the colour effects will be. The colours appear in a transition type effect and they change from shade to shade in front of your eyes. Initially the piece will appear more golden and then it will move through shades of pink, blue, violet, bronze to grey to black. If you have seen items of jewelry which have a depth to them (ie the deeper parts are a darker colour) then it is likely that this method has been employed.
It is important that your metal is very clean and is free from oils including fingerprints. Minimal handling is the tip here, or even the use of long nose tweezers or small tongs. Pre-heating the pendant/metal will accelerate the time it takes for the colour to emerge. Each treated piece needs to be dunked for a few seconds and then checked. Even when removed from the solution, the patina will continue to develop so it is important to dunk it in clean water once you reach the colour that you want. Colouring should be done in stages, ie dunk in the solution and then remove, wash off and then dunk again. This creates a far more stable finish.
One you are happy with the patina, you simply wash the piece in soapy water with some baking soda added to it to neutralise. Do not scrub too hard as patina can come off.
TIP: If you want a slower colour change, use cooler water in your solution (ie lukewarm). This allows a beginner more control over the finished effect and will help you gain confidence.
If your metal piece has textures, patterns, scratchwork etc, then you can re-highlight these after it has been coloured. I use a burnisher but a polishing cloth is ok too. This will give you a 3d effect on your jewelry and create real depth and feel. The top part which has been burnished or polished will be the colour of the raw metal, and the details under it will be darker.
You can double dip into Liver of Sulphur by removing the piece at the golden coloured stage. Rinse off and burnish the raised areas. You then need to dunk the piece back into the solution. You will be left with some really chocolately areas which are highlighted in a golden colour.
One of the benefits of using the Beadsmith gel is that it can be applied straight onto a warmed piece of metal with a tiny brush. This allows you to colour small areas rather than larger blocks. This is harder to achieve tidily with a thin liquid. I tend to employ the random dunk method and have found the gel very easy to use and very quick to react.
MAKE A RAINBOW:
You can make some fantastical colours by adding a tablespoon of pure ammonia to your Liver of Sulphur. The downside to this of course is the fact that it smells even worse! Ammonia concentrates the hues so your blue level will be brighter and your gold will be shinier. It also creates the most incredible purple/pink on the surface of the metal. Ammonia also allows you to create ranges of colour with minimal effort, ie the blue will develop from a turquoise to a cobalt. You can create an almost rainbow titanium finish to your jewelry by using this method.
You can even use nail varnish to "block" off some areas on your jewelry. This allows the Liver of Sulphur solution to access and colour the uncovered parts, leaving the protected parts in their raw state. Wax can also be used to block colour but it is more fiddly.
SO THEN WHAT?
The surface effects from the Liver of Sulphur dunking must be protected as they are not permanent. There are many ways to do this including beeswax jewelry finishes, Renaissance waxes, Jewellers balms and lacquers and even furinture preparations such as Shellac or furniture lacquers. I used a home made wax which was easy to apply over the XL gel colour and has lasted well. I have not noticed any reduction in the patina since I sealed it so the gel does works well for adding interest to your pieces.
And what if you hate the patination? The surface patina is easy to remove with heat from your torch (the one that you used to fire the piece in the first place) - this will burn off the surface colour. There are tarnish removers available to buy but the torch method is free and fast.
Use a well ventilated room, avoid contact with eyes & mouth.
For some pictures of the XL gel results:
Liver of Sulphur XL gel is available from all art clay suppliers and Amazon, where it retails for around £7 upwards. The bottle that I have (10z) will last me a while, and remember you can use the same mixed solution for more than one piece at a time so long as you watch the developing colour carefully. Rather like old school photography, where the image slowly appears, this clever chemical works in a similar way but on metal. It is addictive, stinky and great fun.
This stuff is is a fun addition to anybody exploring the world of metal work or jewelry making with precious art clays. It is easy enough to use and over time you do develop an eye and feel for when to remove the piece from the solution to get the result that you require. The gel is easiest for beginners to work with and much safer too. Brilliant stuff.
I have two aged dogs, a pure breed German Shepherd and a German Shepherd cross. The former (now aged 14) is the reason that I started buying Gelert food. Although this food is made by Cambrian foods which is just down the road from me, it was not until my Shepherd started to drastically lose weight that I started to look at her diet with scrutiny. My local vet tested her for all manner of diseases but all of her tests came back clear. We even checked her pancreas function, as Shepherds are known to have a weakness in this area. Eventually, with all avenues effectively explored, I decided to change her diet.
My dogs (and cats for that matter) have always been fed well. I do not buy mass produced canned stuff full of nasties, and they frequently have chicken and fish cooked for them, despite me being Vegan. The problem for my German Shepherd was wheat. Through a process of (not very scientific) exploration and elimination, I found that by cutting wheat from her diet she started to gain weight again.
Both of my dogs have lived well on Gelert dry food for a few years now, and although they are getting on in age and have some health issues because of that, the Gelert food has helped both of them in many ways. Both look exceptionally healthy for two old dogs, their coat and skin is healthy and they rarely have fleas or worms. I know that had i not changed my dog's diet, she would have died, it was that serious. At her worst she was very skinny and her hip bones were jutting out- heartbreaking for me as I like to spoil my pets and she looked like she had been neglected and starved. My dogs have maintained a healthy weight, and my big hairy oaf of a Shepherd now weighs in at an optimal healthy weight for her size.
Gelert Pet Nutrition is a family owned pet food manufacturer founded in 1982. Based in West Wales, the company produce excellent quality foods, most of which contain "extras" such as Probiotics and joint aids. The ingredients sourced by Gelert fulfill all of the requirements laid down by various food standards agencies, such as the FEDIAF and BRC (British retail Consortium). All ingredients are traceable and are UK sourced.
THE BENEFITS OF DRY FOOD:
Most tinned dog foods are usually 60-80% water. On a dry matter basis this means that the nutrition content and equivalent price is very high if you feed tinned food. There are also many additives in most tinned foods such as flavourings, colouring and wheat as a bulk filler as it is cheap. This makes a dry food much more economical and it is also easier to store. You do not get the problem of the food going off quickly or attracting flies (or worse maggots hatching out in your bin), and the poo end of things is also easier to deal with.....
I buy mine in a very large sack which I store in a hall cupboard. I have to ensure that it is well locked away as my Shepherd is a terrible food thief and would happily gorge the lot. One 15kg sack of Gelert fish and rice lasts me around a month and that is for both large breed dogs. It would cost me three times that maybe more to feed wet food.
Dogs that eat dry foods are known to have fewer intestinal issues, less chance of diarrhea or constipation, and some pure breed dogs have very sensitive stomachs. The digestibility of this food is wonderful and we have had no issues at all. There is less chance of the dog becoming overweight too as canned foods tend to be more calorific and fatty. Of course a huge benefit of feeding a dry food is the effect that it has on teeth and gums. Dry food "cleans" the teeth and removes tartar build up. The act of munching and crunching also stimulates gums, so even though I soak my dog's food, I always ensure that some is left hard and dry for the benefit of their teeth. Despite their age, both of my dogs have very white perfect teeth and this food helps to keep them that way. Soft food does not help the teeth in the same way, and soft fed dogs have far more issues with tooth rot, abscesses and gum disease. This in turn will give the dog honky breath, something my two never have (unless they have been eating fox poo of course but that is another subject).
Of course the quality of a dry food is also essential. Many cheaper dry foods are full of fillers and cheap ingredients and that will not help your dog to stay well. Buying a food like Gelert with a good quality protein source (in this case white fish) is excellent value for money in the long run. Although the initial outlay seems high ( I pay around £28 inc delivery to my door for a 15kg sack), as I have said, one large sack feeds both big hairy dogs for a month. £14 quid a dog? Bargain!
With any pet food it is important to buy the best that you can afford as this will ensure the health of your pet. This will also save on Vet's bills. I would consider this to be a premium food but without the premium price- it is much cheaper than Iams for example, and Gelert do not have the same horrible history in regards to animal testing cruelty that Iams have. An inexpensive and cheap brand will do your dog no favours and could effect their health.
ALL ABOUT POO:
When eaten, most of the Gelert food is digested, as opposed to tinned food where you will get much of it wasted in poo. My dogs both do smaller poos on this quality dried food and the poo is certainly less offensive to the nose. The poo is also firm and easy to pick up with a scooper. Before using Gelert food, my dogs had intermittent digestive issues and these have not recurred since using this food. Anything that helps to lessen the chore that is "poo duty" is a good thing in my book! In fact their poo is so easy to deal with now that we built the doggy version of a compost toilet at the back of the garden! It rots down quickly and does not smell (although you would not want your football to land in it). We use pure wood ash from the woodburner to cover it up and have no problems with flies.
As with any dried food, it is essential that your pet has access to clean fresh water at all times. As previously stated, I tend to soak the food and leave some of the kibble dry for their teeth. They also have water bowls throughout the house and garden. A dog fed on dry food will need to drink more than a dog fed on canned food and this is essential to bear in mind.
A good dried food does not need to be given in the same quantity as canned food, and because of this and the quality and easily digestible ingredients, the poo issue becomes less laborious. Gelert also contains Probiotics, which aid and encourage healthy digestion. More on that later....
SPORTY DOGS OR LAP DOGS?
Gelert Country Choice is generally marketed towards those who have working dogs. This is prime farming country around here after all. My dogs may be elderly but both are still fairly bouncy and have been known to have mad half hours. The fact that it is designed for working dogs is not an issue that I have found when using this. Neither have become overweight or overly manic and the ingredient balance really seems to suit my two.
This range covers three main types (chicken, lamb and fish) and all are hypoallergenic. There is also a puppy range and canned food without fillers. Gelert food is formulated to be helpful in the case of intolerant dogs (like my Shepherd who had issues with wheat and weight loss) and the lack of additives, wheat and other filler ensures that you will not have issues with dandruffy coat or stomach problems.
The packaging is similar across all of the "flavours" and the outer bag is made of shiny strong paper. The fish and rice one is a pale blue colour and has a sewn top which is hard to get into. I usually give up and get a bread knife to cut into it. As the bags that I buy are so heavy, I use a small steel colander as a scoop to get the food out into the feeding bowls ready to soak the dry food in water. There is an inner bag as well as the outer shiny one, and this is brown paper much like waxed baking paper. When you get to the end of a packet you will notice that the inner brown wrapping has become "oily" from the Omegas and chicken oil included in the ingredients. This makes it great for starting the fire....
The rest can be recycled and gets chucked into my blue bags as needed.
* Gelert is highly Digestible
* It is a fortified food, with natural antioxidants (Vitamins E and C) plus added Selenium for a healthy immune system
* Rich in Omega 3 & 6 oils for healthy skin, joints and a shiny coat
* Gelert is Hypo-Allergenic - the balanced ingredients help to manage food allergies and intolerances
* No fillers! No Soya, wheat,beef, no fillers and no GM ingredients.
* No added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
* Fortified with added Glucosamine & Chondroitin for joint health
* With Added MOS (Mannan - Oligosaccharide) - a natural Prebiotic derived from vegetable sources, which helps to aid good digestion
* Cost effective - A little goes a long way
* Easy to store and does not go off or attract flies
* Less poo!
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut. All dogs (and indeed people) can benefit from added Probiotics. The best sources for people tend to be live yoghurts or Acidophilus caps. These aid digestion and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria (E-coli, Salmonella etc), whilst encouraging healthy gut flora. This in turn effects poo output, wind, stomach cramping, constipation and immune system.
Although there are fewer studies that have been conducted on dogs, human studies have shown the effectiveness of certain Probiotic strains in treating diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammation In people, Probiotics may help prevent UTI's, and can even reduce allergic reactions.
There are a few studies that have been conducted around specific beneficial bacteria for dogs, and these are the strains found in this dried food. If you are REALLY interested in Dog's guts then the sources are at the bottom of this review.....
Gelert Country Choice contains Probiotics which are called Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS). These are commonly found in animal foods as they are known to promote intestinal health and energy levels.
GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROTIN:
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are substances that naturally occur in the body of dogs. They are mostly found in a concentrated form in cartilage. A supplement of these two substances is beneficial for older dogs or dogs with joint issues such as Arthritis. Although Glucosamine and Chondrotin will not repair any structural damage caused by a joint disorder, they do provide some relief especially in regards to flexibility and inflammation.
My German Shepherd has issues in her hips and elbow joints now, due to age and although her hip score was good, she struggled a lot to move about. She is trialling a new drug (£100 quid a month for one tablet......<gulp> ) via the wonders of pet insurance, and this has helped her a lot. Additionally she has Green Lipped Mussel, Omega oil in the form of Flax oil and the Gelert food which contains the two joint supporters. Her mobility has improved, and although it is impossible to say how much of this is down to diet, my Vet did recommend the supplements that she is on. Acupuncture has also helped.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are also often recommended by Vets to be used as an aid post-operatively, and in the case of injury's in dogs that have undergone joint surgery. Glucosamine Sulfate is also one of the building blocks of cartilage and it assists in the rebuilding of damaged cartilage caused by Arthritis etc. Glucosamine is also beneficial to the claws, tendons, skin, eyes and synovial fluid. It is sourced by Gelert from crab shells or prawn shells.
Chondroitin is known for preventing stress injuries to joints as well being a help in reparation of damaged connective tissue.
THE TASTE TEST:
Now obviously much as I love my dogs, I am not willing to taste test this myself, but my dogs LOVE it. It is quite a stinky food and the fish smell is apparent when you are handling it or when you open the packet. My dogs seem to be able to smell it even through the strong black plastic sacks that it is shipped in, and indeed one of them got to it first today when it was delivered, and was found with a large mouthful and a guilty look on her face. It is not overly honky in terms of a fish smell, and possibly if you are not veggie or vegan you would not notice it very much. I do though and on the fish scale of disgusting aromas I would rate it up there with cod rather than kippers....
Gelert say that each kibble is coated in chicken oil and I can attest to this from the state of the empty inner brown bag. As it is designed to be palatable, there is no wastage and my dogs scoff the lot. I occasionally jazz it up with some veggies or fish but they are equally happy to eat it as it comes. The kibble size is good and it should not be an issue for smaller mouths. The kibble size is also handy for shoving in a pocket for training or walking purposes.
Rice (min. 35%), ocean fish meal (min 20%), maize, oats, barley, dried brewers yeast, chicken oil, fish oil, vitamins & minerals, Mannan-Oligosaccharide (MOS), Glucosamine & Chondroitin.
Gelert fish and rice gets a big thumbs up and tail wags from myself and my mutts. It has had a drastic effect on my German Shepherd's weight loss issue and wheat intolerance. It is easy to store, cheaper than buying wet food and contains ingredients that are excellent for all around good canine health.
Gelert can be purchased online (even on Amazon) via pet stores for around £23-28 for the large 15kg sack. Smaller pack sizes are available (2kg) and these can be found in some supermarkets. The 2kg bags cost around £5 upwards so a big sack saves you some money.
Examples of canine probiotic formulas that include strains known to benefit dogs:
-Thorne Research's Bacillus CoagulansVet (thorne.com)
-Jarrow's Pet Dophilus (jarrow.com)
-Vetri-Science's Vetri-Probiotic (vetriscience.com)
-Nusentia's Probiotic Miracle (nusentia.com)
-Purina's Fortiflora (fortiflora.com)