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Although I've managed to conquer my obsession with Lush, I still have a whole lot of their products stored away from various shopping sprees. One of my favourite Lush items is their shower jelly, as it is a unique product and has a novelty fun factor to it. This Sweetie Pie shower jelly is available to buy from the Lush high street stores, via mail order, or online at www.lush.co.uk. It costs £3.25 for a 100g tub or £6.45 for a 240g tub.
Product description: "A shower jelly with cherries, coconut and sparkles for bathtime fun. Even if it's not your birthday, treat yourself to a bit of fun with this jelly baby. Its sweet and sparkliness is the perfect way to cheer yourself up, or to encourage reluctant little ones to enjoy bathtime."
Shower jelly is a completely different cleansing product to your ordinary body wash or shower gel. It looks as the name suggests, like a big block of wobbly jelly! It has a firm but squishy texture which can get a bit slippy when it's wet. One feature of the shower jelly is that its consistency is very resistant. It comes in a plastic container to protect it from getting wet which would cause it to deteriorate. You can keep the tub of jelly in your bathroom so it stays at room temperature, or you can put it in the fridge - or even the freezer! - to make it chilled and give you a refreshing wake up call with your morning shower. Keeping it stored in the fridge does seem to help it last a bit longer as the texture stays more solid and the jelly melts less readily when you are using it on your body, so less is needed each time you use it. I prefer to keep my jelly at a warmer temperature though, as I hate the cold feeling of it against my skin when I'm in a nice warm shower or bath. This also makes it a bit softer so it is easier to lather up when you're ready to use it.
The Sweetie Pie shower jelly looks lovely as it has a deep purple colour and is packed full of sparkly bits of glitter. I particularly love this shower jelly as the smell of it is incredible. The fragrance is very rich and has a fruity berry scent to it, with a nice sharp hit of sweetness to make it really come alive. It reminds me of some of Lush's other products like The Comforter bubble bar and You Snap The Whip body butter bar.
There are several ways that you can use the shower jelly. You can rub the block directly onto your skin, but I find that this is fairly ineffective as it does not create much of a lather and the jelly becomes too wet, making it slippery and difficult to hold on to and I invariably end up dropping bits and losing them in the bath. I prefer to use this with a bath puff, breaking off a small section of the jelly by tearing it with my fingers, then rubbing it into the bath puff before washing. This helps the jelly to break down properly and creates a nice foamy effect which feels really soft and smoothes over the skin nicely. Unfortunately the glitter included in this shower jelly seems to be there purely for a fun visual effect as it has no staying power and does not stick on the skin.
Lush reckon that you can also use this to clean your hair in place of an ordinary shampoo, but I'm not so convinced. I decided to give it a try and although it lathered up nicely and seemed to clean my hair quite well, it also made my hair feel immediately dried out, and I followed up with an intensive conditioner to try and balance my hair back out. The next morning my hair was an awful sight, it was frizzy, tangled and unruly which gave my usually fine limp hair a bit of a birds nest appearance. I had to straighten it all over to get it under control and I did eventually achieve a smooth finish that had more volume than usual, but I am not encouraged to use this in my hair again.
This shower jelly is really nice to wash with as it is soft, smooth and smells great. I love using it because it's pretty and the fragrance really appeals to me, and I can recommend Lush's shower jellies as a fun addition to your usual bath time cleaning. Just keep it away from your hair!
Ingredients: Glycerine, Cherry Infusion, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coconut Infusion, Propylene Glycol, Carrageenan Extract, Perfume, Bergamot Oil, Cassis Absolute, Cypress Oil, *Limonene, *Linalool, Snowflake Lustre, Colour 17200, Colour 42090, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
*occurs naturally in essential oils
This is a vegan product and Lush are against animal testing - please keep your beauty cruelty free!
This Cooling Breeze mobile USB fan by Arctic is a nifty little gadget that I keep on my desk at work. Despite the current cold weather they can't seem to regulate the air conditioning at my office so I often end up either boiling hot or freezing cold, and this fan has proved to be quite useful. It is currently available to buy for RRP £6.95 from www.amazon.co.uk. This type of fan is intended to cool you (the human user of the computer) down, and it will certainly not assist with any overheating problems that your desktop or laptop might be experiencing.
The fan itself is relatively small, with the whole head measuring just a bit smaller than the palm of my hand. It has 7 angled blades arranged in a circular shape that provide the cooling breeze. The head is supported on a flexible wire neck, which ends with a standard USB connector. The neck is very practical as you can bend it in different directions and this allows you to position the fan so that the breeze is blowing in a comfortable direction, and you can aim it away from things such as loose papers on your desk.
I am spoilt for choice when it comes to USB ports on my office hardware, as I have two on my monitor screen and another two on my keyboard. The tower unit sits underneath my desk, and proves impractical for use with the fan, so it is important to ensure that you have a USB port available in a good location that will allow you to set up the fan properly. I find it easier to use the keyboard slot as this means I can have the fan set in a vertical position, rather than using the monitor slot which means that I have to have the fan set in a horizontal position. If I leave the fan running for too long in a horizontal position it can tend to work loose from the slot as the neck does not seem stable enough to maintain support of the head of the fan when it's used in this position for any prolonged duration.
When I plug the fan into my keyboard it stays nice and secure, and I can aim the fan so it blows towards me which provides a quick and direct cooling effect. I do have to be a bit careful when using it as if I start leaning over the desk I do worry that my long loose hair might get caught up in the fan blades. Also there is no on/off button, so as soon as you plug the fan in it starts turning, and when you want to turn it off you just have to reach in and pull it out of the slot without getting your hand caught up in the process. Even though the fan is small it is effective because I am sat quite close to it, and it has enough power to cool me down when the office is too warm. I usually only need to run the fan for a few minutes at a time until my body temperature starts to regulate itself, and I think it works really well.
I would recommend this USB fan for anyone who has the right sort of desk set-up with a conveniently located USB port on top of their desk, preferably allowing for use of the fan in a vertical position to get the most reliable results. I have found it really useful especially during the hot weather last summer, and even now when I am wearing warm clothing because it is so cold outside but the temperature in the office is too hot in comparison. A simple but very handy gadget.
Eyebrow threading is a pretty popular beauty treatment now, with lots of salons and even high street beauty stores offering the treatment. I was tempted to give it a try after a recommendation from one of my friends. Their eyebrows looked great and had a really defined shape that had definitely been enhanced by the threading, so I was looking forward to seeing the results for myself. My friend had the treatment done at a local branch of Superdrug, and you can just pop in off the high street without requiring an appointment. This seemed pretty simple, and because there was no need to book I just turned up and was seen to straight away. I hovered around for a bit first, glancing over at another woman having it done (your treatment takes place on the shop floor!), so I could see what it looked like. There were leaflets on display advertising threading, tinting and lash extensions, and while I was browsing through the information one of the other customers gave me a rave review about how good the threading was and recommended that I go for it.
It cost £7.00 and I paid at the main tills before being invited to take a seat in what looked like a dentist chair. The chair was positioned very low down and I had to slouch into it to place my head on the headrest, but this then puts you at the right level for your stylist to get to work. Threading consists of several strands of cotton thread being twisted and held tightly, then rolled over the eyebrow hairs to pull them out and create a defined brow shape. I found it a bit awkward sitting in the low chair as it wasn't very supportive or comfortable. The stylist got to work and removed hairs from underneath the arches, on the top line of my eyebrows, and above the bridge of my nose between my eyebrows. I was asked to hold the skin taut with my fingers which helped with the procedure. I kept my eyes shut the whole time which would have been relaxing were it not for the pain I was enduring! The hair is removed quickly but it causes a very sharp pain, and as the process was repeated the pain built up and it was enough to make my eyes water. I usually tend to pluck my eyebrows and find that I can tolerate this without much discomfort at all, but threading was a very different sensation and I found it very painful. The stylist commented that my skin seemed quite sensitive, which I suspected is because I am very pale and the threading had left red marks which were quite visible against my light skin tone. She gave me some aloe vera soothing gel to apply afterwards which did help to calm the stinging feeling, but my eyebrows were still sore to the touch for the whole rest of the day afterwards. Overall the process itself was fairly quick and the whole thing was over within 10 minutes.
Initially I was quite pleased with the results as my eyebrows did appear to have a nice clean shape and my skin felt really soft and smooth from where the hairs had been removed. However, upon closer inspection when I was applying my make-up the next day, I noticed that my eyebrows had a slightly different shape on each one, and one was shorter where more hairs had been removed. I like the full brow look so tried to balance this out with brow gel and powder until the hairs grew back in. Another problem that I experienced was that my sometimes sensitive skin had not reacted well to the treatment at all and I broke out with a cluster of sore and unpleasant-looking pimples which took a full week to subside. I looked it up online and apparently this is a somewhat common reaction, however I was a bit unsettled by it and it has put me off having my eyebrows threaded again.
Overall I don't think that eyebrow threading is for me. On the plus side it is reasonably priced and convenient to get done as you don't need an appointment and it takes only a few minutes of your time. But on the negative side this was far too painful for me, the shape wasn't quite right, and the breakout of blemishes have all deterred me from this method. I think I'll stick to the basic approach of plucking with tweezers as this suits me better, but I'm sure that some people will have better luck with threading and I'm still jealous of my friend's shapely eyebrows as it clearly worked well for them.
I love the Original Source range and always end up buying the new 'flavours' as and when I come across them. I've had this White Pear and Avocado Conditioner stashed away at the back of my cupboard for ages, and have finally got around to digging it out and using it. There are additional items in this particular Original Source range, and I am also using the matching shampoo and shower cream.
Product description: "We've jam-packed white pear & avocado in this damage-limitation conditioner. It contains UV inhibitors to help strengthen and protect hair against the sun and anti pollutants to actively fight against the effects of urban living. Packed with natural stuff & urban-grime fighting too!"
It comes in a clear plastic bottle which allows the product to show through, and I like this because it allows you to see exactly how much you have left inside. The bottle has a plastic flip-top lid at the base of the bottle with a small hole underneath which the product is dispensed through. The only thing I have trouble with is paying enough attention to using the correct bottle (as it looks identical to the shower cream) and I have ended up accidentally using the shower cream in my hair instead of on my body.
Recommended directions for use: Apply conditioner to wet hair. Take a minute to enjoy the full on fresh fruity fragrance and then rinse thoroughly. For best results use after Original Source shampoo.
The fragrance of this conditioner is quite unusual, and not exactly what I was expecting. I had thought that it might have a sweet scent because of the pears (admittedly I am not sure what avocados smell like, so it might be more avocado-y), but instead it has a very fresh and clean scent to it, like the type of fragrance you get with beauty products made from aloe vera or cucumber. This is nice in its own way and I think it would be suitable for both men and women to use as the fragrance is quite neutral.
The conditioner itself has a creamy white colour with just the slightest tint of green to it, which fits in with the ingredients used. It has a creamy texture that spreads easily through my hair. To use, I spread this through the lengths of my hair, from the nape of my neck down to the tips, and then apply just a very small amount near the roots. This stops it from overloading my hair which can tend to become greasy quickly. I've recently had a new haircut and got rid of my old split, damaged ends, but I still feel like this product does not provide my hair with enough moisture to keep it in good condition. My hair is very dull and lacklustre when using this conditioner, and out of curiosity I tried using two applications to see if it would help give my hair some much needed moisture. This has given me better results and leaves my hair feeling smooth and manageable, and it stays nice and sleek if I comb it through which still wet which is a bonus as I don't have to use any additional styling products. However, it's a bit of a pain to have to use two applications and I feel like it does not perform well enough in the first place. It claims to offer "damage limitation" for normal/stressed hair types, but I can't say I've noticed any results in this area and feel like I should stick with a richer conditioner that will keep my hair hydrated.
Overall I wouldn't recommend this White Pear and Avocado conditioner. In my opinion it performs the worst out of the three products I've tried in this range, and I only manage to get good results if I apply it twice, which is time-consuming and requires a larger amount of product so you have to buy it more frequently.
This is a vegan product and Original Source are against animal testing - please keep your beauty cruelty free!
I have managed to overcome my Lush addiction - oh yes, it can be done! That said, I do still receive lovely Lush gifts sometimes from friends who are aware of my past obsession. One such gift I received previously is this After 8.30 massage bar, which has been discontinued and was available for some time through the Lush retro line.
After 8.30 is a clever play on words, as this massage bar has a rich chocolate and peppermint scent, just like an After Eight chocolate mint thin. The theme of the massage bar comes together really well with the attention to detail in matching the design to the ingredients. It gives off a gorgeous strong scent that is sweet, refreshing, and very indulgent, and it also looks the part as it takes the shape of a block of chocolate with a layer of raised chunks on the top. The top layer of the massage bar is a creamy white colour and contains white chocolate, and the bottom layer of the massage bar is brown and contains dark chocolate. It looks impressive and I was really pleased to receive it as a gift, because it gives off a special feeling of being a luxurious body treat.
The idea of massage bars is to act as a solid, packaging-free product that is heat responsive and melts down to form a light oily lotion to massage with. You can use these in the place of ordinary massage oils for a Lush massage experience! To prepare, you simply hold the massage bar between your hands and rub gently to allow the heat of your skin to warm the bar. The bar will then start to melt a little and give your hands a lovely smooth coating of oils to be used for the massage. I have found that it can be quicker and easier to get started by rubbing the bar directly over the area of skin you are going to massage, and covering it to get an even distribution that you can work with. Once you get going this After 8.30 massage bar leaves a lovely rich oil behind which is deeply nourishing and makes your skin feel healthy and supple. It is really conditioning to the skin and is perfect for any time that you need pampering with a rich body product. But there are a few negatives. Firstly, the dark chocolate layer at the bottom of the bar makes brown coloured streaks over the skin and creates a lot of mess even if you are repeating motions and rubbing it into the skin. This can be very distracting and ruins the effect of the massage as you can be very conscious of the fact that chocolate is getting everywhere, and you have to be careful to keep it away from any clothing or other fabrics so it doesn't stain. Also, it does take a very long time for the oils to soak fully into the skin, and there will be an oily layer left behind even after the massage has finished. It's best to towel down afterwards before dressing, or just make sure to allow enough time for it to be absorbed and then you can really reap the benefits of the richly moisturising ingredients.
As well as using this as a massage bar, you can also use the bar as a solid body lotion. To do this, simply rub the massage bar directly onto your skin and rub the residue in with your fingertips. As my massage bars near their end I find they become harder to work with as they often break up into small fragments when rubbing between my hands or over my skin. In this case I often save the small broken chunks and use them in a hot bath in place of a bath melt, as they produce a luxurious moisturising oil which is great for the skin and leaves you smelling gorgeous. The real benefit of this is that you get an intensive skin care treatment and no need to moisturise with other body lotion products afterwards.
I do love Lush's massage bars but although this one has a yummy scent and works well on the skin, I can't stand the messy chocolatey marks that it leaves behind during and after use. I could recommend this to die-hard chocaholics, but personally I just find it too messy which ruins the overall effect of an otherwise lovely massage bar.
Ingredients: Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Synthetic Musk, Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita), Perfume.
I love the Original Source range and always end up buying the new 'flavours' as and when I come across them. I've had this White Pear and Avocado Shampoo stashed away at the back of my cupboard for ages, and have finally got around to digging it out and using it. There are additional items in this particular Original Source range, and I am also using the matching shower cream and conditioner.
It comes in a clear plastic bottle which allows the product to show through, and I like this because it allows you to see exactly how much you have left inside. The bottle has a plastic flip-top lid at the top of the bottle with a small hole underneath which the product is dispensed through. The shower cream and conditioner both come in the same type of bottle with the lid at the bottom, but because this shampoo bottle has the lid at the top it is easier to tell it apart from the others.
The fragrance of this shampoo is quite unusual, and not exactly what I was expecting. I had thought that it might have a sweet scent because of the pears (admittedly I am not sure what avocados smell like, so it might be more avocado-y), but instead it has a very fresh and clean scent to it, like the type of fragrance you get with beauty products made from aloe vera or cucumber. This is nice in its own way and I think it would be suitable for both men and women to use as the fragrance is quite neutral.
The shampoo itself has a creamy white colour with just the slightest tint of green to it, which fits in with the ingredients used. It has a gooey gel texture that spreads easily through my hair and creates a really rich amount of lather that thoroughly coats all of my hair and works right down into the roots. It seems really effective at giving a deep clean and it leaves my hair feeling fresh afterwards. I have had really good results even when my hair has been greasy if I haven't washed it for a few days, or after I've been exercising and my hair is a sweaty mess, this shampoo cleanses and rebalances my hair. I've stopped dyeing my hair and have begun having regular haircuts to try and keep it healthy. I have noticed that even though this shampoo cleans really well, it does not provide my hair with enough moisture to keep it in good condition. It claims to offer "damage limitation" for normal/stressed hair types, but I can't say I've noticed any results in this area and feel like I should stick with a more moisturising shampoo that will keep my hair hydrated.
Overall this is a good shampoo that gives my hair a thorough deep clean and works well to get rid of any build-ups of oils or products. It is nice and refreshing and cleanses well, but I think I could do with something that is a bit more moisturising to really keep my hair in top condition.
I have managed to overcome my Lush addiction - oh yes, it can be done! That said, I do still receive lovely Lush gifts sometimes from friends who are aware of my past obsession. One such gift I received this xmas was the Star Light Star Bright bath melt, which was available as part of Lush's limited edition Christmas range of products.
Product description: "Catch a falling star and put it in your... bath. We have been working for a long time to make this Christmas bath melt - a shimmering bright star for an extra special bath filled with light and lustre."
This bath melt looks lovely and I was excited to spot it nestled amongst the other bath goodies in my xmas gift box. It really stands out because of its star shape and it is covered with sparkly silver glitter. It was wrapped up in a biodegradable plastic coating to keep the glitter from transferring which was important because as soon as I unwrapped it and picked it up the glitter got all over my hands.
To use, you simply put the bath melt into a hot bath and let it dissolve into the water. The glitter coating comes away and swirls throughout the bath water which looks really pretty, and then there was a surprise in store, as when the product melts down to the centre it releases a wave of blue colouring which turns the bath water into a sparkly deep blue night sky effect. I love the scent of this product as it combines lime and ginger which are refreshing and invigorating, but the overall fragrance is quite enchanting and not sharp even though the ingredients are sour and spicy. It contains both shea butter and cocoa butter which are richly moisturising natural ingredients, and this served to effectively nourish my skin including the troublesome dry areas. My skin was smooth, soft and sparkly after I had finished bathing, and it felt in great condition for some time afterwards.
Lush have several glitter products and in my experience it seems to be that glittery bubble bars are for the visual effect only, as the glitter will swirl around in the water and not stick to the skin, whereas the glittery bath bombs have the effect of coating you in glitter from head to toe! This bath melt unleashes a vast quantity of glitter and it has excellent staying power. The glitter covered over all of my skin and gives off a really pretty shimmery effect. It stayed put for well over 24 hours with glitter particles still noticeable, even though a lot had come away when I was towelling myself dry. Because of the moisturising effect of the bath melt this can leave the skin with a light layer of oils which holds the glitter on, but this also means that it does transfer onto clothing and I would be very careful or leave sufficient time for the oils to absorb before getting dressed. There was a lot of residue left in my bath afterwards which I had to rinse away, although it appears that I did not do a very thorough job of cleaning as the next time I had a bath I was once again coated in glitter!
The Star Light Star Bright bath melt is a luxurious bath treat from Lush that is perfect for anyone wanting to indulge in a pampering treat with plenty of sparkle. Just be warned that the glitter is *very* effective and it's best to save this for a time when it can be enjoyed properly, and not so good for everyday bathing unless you like going out to work covered in glitter from head to toe. I would definitely buy this again as it ticks all the boxes for me.
Ingredients: Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Laureth 4, Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Perfume, Chinese Ginger Oil, Lavender Oil, Persian Lime Oil, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Titanium Dioxide, Colour 42090, Snowflake Lustre, Silver Lustre, *Citral, *Citronellol, Geraniol, *Coumarin, *Limonene, *Linalool
*occurs naturally in essential oils
This is a vegan product and Lush are against animal testing - keep your beauty cruelty free!
I love the Original Source range and always end up buying the new 'flavours' as and when I come across them. I've had this White Pear and Avocado Shower Cream stashed away at the back of my cupboard for ages, and have finally got around to digging it out and using it. There are additional items in this particular Original Source range, and I am also using the matching shampoo and conditioner.
Product description: "We've coupled white pear and avocado to create this delicately moisturising shower cream. Jump in the shower and help to soften and hydrate your thirsty skin whilst enjoying the full on fresh fruity fragrance. Packed with natural stuff and perfect to revive weary skin."
It comes in a clear plastic bottle which allows the product to show through, and I like this because it allows you to see exactly how much you have left inside. The bottle has a plastic flip-top lid at the base of the bottle with a small hole underneath which the product is dispensed through. The only thing I have trouble with is paying enough attention to using the correct bottle (as it looks identical to the conditioner) and I have ended up accidentally using this shower cream in my hair instead of on my body.
Recommended directions for use: Pour out, delight your skin.
The fragrance of this shower cream is quite unusual, and not exactly what I was expecting. I had thought that it might have a sweet scent because of the pears (admittedly I am not sure what avocados smell like, so it might be more avocado-y), but instead it has a very fresh and clean scent to it, like the type of fragrance you get with beauty products made from aloe vera or cucumber. This is nice in its own way and I think it would be suitable for both men and women to use as the fragrance is quite neutral.
The gel itself has a creamy white colour with just the slightest tint of green to it, which fits in with the ingredients used. This shower cream has a gooey gel-like texture, but when I use this with my shower puff it foams up well to produce a thick creamy lather. This feels nice and gentle on my skin, making sure that I'm fully clean but also helping to care for my skin by leaving it soft and moisturised. I think that this is more moisturising than most standard shower gels, and the creamy consistency really seems to help to improve the condition of my skin.
Overall I think this is a nice shower gel that performs well all round and I am happy to recommend it.
This is a vegan product and Original Source are against animal testing - please keep your beauty cruelty free!
I am a bit of a beauty product addict and as such I often receive plenty of new beauty treats come birthday and xmas time. I was given a Coconut themed gift set from the Body Shop, which included this Coconut Milk Body Lotion, Coconut Bath and Shower Cream and a scrunchy bath puff. It'd all been stashed away at the back of my cupboard for ages, but I have recently gotten around to digging it out and using it. Each product can be bought individually, but I thought that the gift set was a nice touch as I do enjoy using products that have a matching fragrance.
Product description: "This lightweight body lotion smells like fresh coconuts. It hydrates normal to dry skin, leaving it soft and smooth.
+ Light and easily absorbed
+ Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth
+ Fresh coconut scent"
I have a travel size version of this body lotion, which contains 60ml. The full size version contains 250ml and costs RRP £8.00. It comes in a clear plastic bottle which allows the product to show through, which I prefer because it allows you to see exactly how much you have left. The bottle has a plastic flip-top lid at the top of the bottle with a small hole underneath which the product is dispensed through.
Recommended directions for use: Massage into skin and allow to sink in before dressing.
The lotion itself has a pure white colour which is exactly what I would expect from a coconut themed product. It is very runny and pours rapidly out of the bottle which can make quite a mess and I have to be careful not to squeeze out too much or else it goes everywhere. I have noticed that the larger bottle comes with a pump dispenser which might make it easier to control. The light consistency of the lotion allows it to spread well over my skin and it is absorbed quickly. Even though it doesn't seem rich it does soften my skin and leaves it feeling moisturised. For best results it should be used daily, and I like to use it after washing with the matching shower gel. The scent from the shower gel is nice but does not have much staying power, and by using the lotion it gives a longer lasting fragrance. The scent of the lotion is very natural and has a true coconut fragrance, but I think it is a touch sweeter than the shower gel, although it does match in nicely and layering the products gives a stronger fragrance overall.
Overall I think this is a nice light lotion that is gentle on skin, leaving it soft and smelling sweet. I would recommend it in combination with other products from The Body Shop's coconut range.
The Body Shop are against animal testing - please keep your beauty cruelty free!
Taking care of your skin can be hard work and I find that to get the best results I have to vary my skincare routine. I spotted this Carrot Moisture Cream in The Body Shop and was intrigued to try a vegetable based moisturiser so I bought a tub to see what it was like. It costs RRP £4.00 for a 50ml tub which I think is excellent value for money.
Product description: "We could rabbit on about our old favourite for hours. Let's just say it leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth, just like our original one. Now with Community Trade Beeswax from organic sources."
It comes in a plastic tub with a screw-top lid. I quite like the appearance of the packaging, as it has an orange coloured base with a green label on the top, which mimics the appearance of a carrot and fits in with the overall theme of the product. The cream itself has a pale peach colour to it, and appears very thick and heavy. It has a dense texture with an almost waxy finish to it, and to begin with I was worried that it would overload my skin. Despite it feeling very thick and rich, it spread over my skin easily and was absorbed very quickly without leaving any residue behind, and the waxy feeling of the cream does not transfer onto my skin. I have combination skin and usually experience areas of oiliness that builds up across my forehead, nose and chin. This cream seems well suited to my skin type, and gives a light level of moisture which helps to keep my skin feeling smooth and soft to the touch. I like to wear make-up during the day and this moisturiser provides a good even surface in preparation for my foundation. Despite my tendencies to break out in oily patches, I have noticed that with frequent use this moisturiser helps to keep my complexion balanced and I do not end up with a shiny face by the end of the day.
I had previously heard of the organic beauty range, "Yes to Carrots" which has a range of carrot-based skin care and body products. They offer a moisturising day cream which is available at the RRP of £15.00 for 50ml. I've not yet tried it so can't compare in terms of performance and quality, but I feel that this version from the Body Shop is a bargain buy that works well and I would happily buy it again. I'd be tempted to splurge on the more expensive organic version, but for the time being I am very happy with this one and can definitely recommend it.
My local Poundland have a 2-for-£1 offer on a range of paperback books, and I picked this one up mainly because of the striking cover image and catchy title. To begin with I wasn't sure if this was a fiction book or not but the cover information places this book into the autobiography and travel genres, so curiosity got the better of me and I decided this would be a reasonable way to spend 50 pence.
Back of the book blurb: "Millionaires, surgeons, serial killers, CEOs: I light their cigarettes and mix their drinks. I am the facilitation of good times. I am a hostess.
Step into the surreal world of a Tokyo hostess club and gain an exclusive underground pass courtesy of Chelsea Haywood as she sets out to explore a vocation where £400 dinners, Harajuku shopping sprees and first-class trips to Kyoto are just part of the job.
This is the true story of one girl's immersion in the world of hostessing, a late-night entertainment for wealthy Japanese men drawn from the traditional institution of the geisha. In an attempt to make the foreign familiar, Chelsea's initial fascination takes an unexpected turn as she struggles to maintain sanity in an illusory world full of empty flattery, unrelenting temptation and material excess."
Chelsea Haywood is a 21-year old girl from Canada who, at the time of her travels to Japan, had been out exploring the world for 2 years and picked up a husband en route in Australia. They decided to travel to Japan solely so Chelsea could work at a hostess club and write about the experience, which of course ended up being the content of this book "90-Day Geisha". Put simply, hostess clubs hire hostesses (who are always young, beautiful women) and it is their job to work at the club providing direct customer service to clients (who are always rich, often older, men) such as pouring their drinks and lighting their cigarettes, and also providing entertainment by engaging in ordinary social activity such as conversation and karaoke. The customers pay the club heavily for the privilege of being accompanied by the hostesses. There are no romantic or sexual interactions. Chelsea's visa gives her 90 days in Japan, and before she has even had time to settle in to her surroundings, she jumps straight into the role of hostess for a club in the Roppongi district of Tokyo.
I thought this was a really fascinating idea, and one that I didn't properly understand until I had read the book. It opened my eyes to an entertaining part of modern Japanese culture, and it really does seem like a lot of fun. Chelsea's style of writing is engaging and she seems to capture the spirit of the moment well, translating all sorts of situations with an ease that makes it feel like you are also there watching. She adds a creative touch to her words by excessive use of similes, there must have been at least one used in every other sentence. I rather enjoyed this and thought that it gave the book a vibrant, youthful tone. The book is split into chapters that are very short, with each being only a few pages long. I found that it was best to read the book in small chunks at a time, as there is just so much going on to take in, and I wanted to savour the descriptions of the different places that she visited before being whisked along into the next part of the adventure. There are several repeat customers that Chelsea gets to spend time with, and some come across in a good light with hilarious anecdotes and charmingly obscure use of English vocabulary, but there are also some others that come off in a worse light, showing the darker side of the situation with ever-changing moods and obsessive behaviour.
There is little information provided about Chelsea's background, her friends, family, what her normal life is like, and who she is as a person. Instead the book gives detailed accounts of Chelsea's experiences depicted in a real-time sort of way, with events and conversation played back for the reader to act as a voyeur to these occasions. It was hard to form any real picture of Chelsea herself, as she does not provide any descriptions of her appearance, nor does she pause much for reflection or analysis. Instead you just have to see the "character" that Chelsea is creating, in the same way that her customers would never get to see behind the fake persona that she has created for them. If this was done intentionally I think it was a neat idea. The unfortunate downside in choosing not to reveal herself to the reader is that I had no choice but to form a somewhat superficial and negative view of Chelsea's actions. It seems that she has had a somewhat privileged background: well educated, model good-looks, free to travel the world and party as she wishes. I couldn't really understand her motivation for entering into this role and seeing it through to the end, as she is often very discontent and feels that the experience is damaging her somehow. She does not seem to take her role seriously and often makes fun of her customers rather than fully engaging herself as a hostess and acting professionally. I think it would have been more interesting to have included a bit more research and analysis about the sociological context of hostesses in Japanese society, and the psychological aspect of living this lifestyle. A lot of the more intriguing subject matter is repeated news-story style, or simply glossed over and brushed away quickly.
Overall I think this is an interesting book. It's a world away from your standard sort of travel writing, and comes across as something more like "Diary of a Call Girl", which I suppose is just due to the nature of writing about forming false intimate relationships with paying customers. Reading this first-person account of real-life experiences gave me an insight to something I was previously unaware of, and made this odd little part of Japanese culture accessible to me. It was well worth a read and I'd recommend it if you're interested in finding out more about this curious aspect of Japanese night-life.
Like most girls I love clothes, and I just can't seem to stop myself from placing regular orders with online super-retailer www.ASOS.com. I wanted to replace a pair of khaki trousers that I had previously bought from ASOS and worn to death, and spotting these Coated Skinny Jeans With Side Panel, I figured they would do the job nicely. They were originally priced at £40.00, but I got them in the sale reduced to £20.00.
I didn't realise quite how much I had taken to the trend for coated jeans until I realised that I had bought 3 pairs of them in the space of around 4 months, earlier this year! I was drawn to these particular jeans as they were the exact deep khaki green colour that I wanted. Not only that, but they also have the cool "coated" finish that I like, and an extra design feature with the side stripes. The coated finish essentially forms a waxed look which covers over the fabric, and most times will be matte but sometimes comes with a shiny version as well. In this case the coating gives a high shine finish to the fabric which makes them stand out and is a nice contrast to the otherwise dark colours of the fabrics. The coating is spread evenly across all sections of the jeans and does not seem to have worn away at all, which leads me to believe that they are of slightly better quality than the other coated jeans that I have previously reviewed here. The jeans are machine washable although it is recommended to turn the jeans inside out first, and I have been doing this in an attempt to help protect the coating.
I particularly like the cut of these jeans as they are very flattering to my body shape. They fit really snugly around my waist, hips and legs, but are also really comfortable to wear and cling to my body without cutting in or feeling too tight or restrictive. I particularly like that the waist band is well fitted and sits nicely above my hips, so they do not gape at the back, although there are belt loops all the way around the top edge and can be worn with a belt if required. The jeans have pockets at the front and back, and for one are actually large enough to be of some use, and I find that I can easily tuck my hand inside and use them to carry around small objects such as my swipe pass, or tissues for when I have a cold. The black panels at the outer sides of the legs create a sort of optical illusion, with the result being that your legs look longer and slimmer. This trick has become pretty popular in recent trends, and I think that it looks good from a stylish perspective as well as giving the bonus of streamlining your figure. The legs of the jeans are very slim fitting and can be a little tricky to put on and remove because of this, but once they are on they really hug tightly to my legs and the skin-tight finish looks great. The length is also spot-on for what I need, as they are long and remain fitted all the way down, and the length works well when worn with either flat shoes or heels, as well as tucking into long boots easily as there is no excess fabric around the lower legs and ankles.
The jeans are made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane, although I do not find them to be stretchy at all. In fact, the fabric does strain if I try for any extended range of movement, and it seems to have quite a firm structure with very little give. That said, I have noticed that when I wear these jeans the areas at the front that cover over my knees tend to ease out from where I flex my legs, and this causes the material here to go saggy and have a baggy look to it. This is remedied by washing but I am concerned that this will lead to an uneven wear as time goes on, as the rest of the jeans remain in good condition, with the only problem area being at the front of both knees.
I think these jeans have a great shape that fits in a flattering fashion. They make a statement in a subtle way thanks to the neat design features and neutral dark colours. I do have a slight problem in that the fabric is not stretchy enough which has caused issues just in the knee areas, but overall they look great on and I am happy with them.
Being a bit of a beauty product addict, I always like to try out new things and vary the brands that I use. One of my most exciting discoveries has been finding online companies that provide beauty boxes. The idea is that you will be sent a box every month, which will contain a selection of various make-up, skin care, fragrance products etc for you to try out, and I have been trying a few from different suppliers. I received this Basis Sensitiv hand cream by Lavera in a previous delivery from Amarya. You can find further information at www.amarya.co.uk and www.lavera.com. It costs RRP £4.45 for a 75ml tube.
Product description: "With luxurious organic almond oil and organic shea butter to protect and imbue your skin with essential moisture, even in harsh conditions. Organic chamomile extracts soothe and care still further."
The hand cream comes in a plastic tube with a simple blue and white design. It doesn't look particularly eye-catching and I would have assumed from the name "basis sensitive" that it may be intended for use on sensitive skin, so had I come across this by myself I probably wouldn't have chosen to buy it. This is why I love beauty boxes as you often discover a real star product that you could have otherwise overlooked. The tube has a flip-top lid at the bottom which is handy as the cream then stays at the bottom of the tube making it easier to dispense. Unfortunately it is impossible to see through the packaging to figure out how much of the cream is left inside, and I do tend to prefer packaging that is clear for this reason.
This hand cream has a nice creamy consistency and is pure white in colour. Only a small amount is required as the lightweight texture helps it to spread over my skin easily and also means that it is absorbed quickly. There is no greasy residue left behind afterwards, and my hands feel instantly smoother with a silky soft finish. I have used this hand cream all year round and find that it is suited to caring for my skin during all sorts of weather conditions. In winter, I do need to pay particular attention to the small patch of troublesome dry skin I get on the back of one hand, and I usually apply an extra small amount directly to provide a deeper amount of moisture. This hand cream really nourishes and cares for my skin, and I frequently apply it after washing my hands to restore the moisture and keep them in good condition.
I have been looking to try more natural and organic beauty products recently, mainly because they seem to be better quality and I don't have to worry about adding more chemicals into my body. The cream contains several organic ingredients, including almond and shea butter, which are well-known and widely used in beauty products for their moisturising properties.
The scent of this hand cream is really lovely and not what I would have expected from the ingredients list. It has a rich creamy fragrance with a hint of sweetness and a burst of light citrus zing, which to me makes it smell just like a tasty lemon soufflé! I love this scent and it is very nice to experience when applying the hand cream.
I can honestly say that this is the nicest hand cream that I've ever tried and it's firmly placed at the top of my favourites list. I am really glad to have discovered the brand and have been recommending this lotion to everyone I know! It is an excellent hand cream that works really well and gives good value for money especially considering that it contains organic ingredients. I have bought this several times since my first try and will continue to buy it again in the future.
I am a big fan of the Montagne Jeunesse range and really enjoy using their face masks as they are a fun treat and the lovely descriptions on the packaging makes them sound very appealing. I like to try out all the different varieties - or "flavours", as I think of them! - and this Hot Chocolate Orange face mask is one that I've used recently. The face masks are available to buy in most high street beauty stores for around £1.00.
This particular face mask is self-heating and contains melted chocolate and orange. Montagne Jeunesse say: "Take a deep breath of our self - warming Chocolate Orange masque and you'll be in chocolate heaven! Mediterranean Clay cleanses dirt and oils from deep within pores. Rich dark chocolate and orange oil leave skin feeling soft and refreshed."
Recommended directions for use: Cleanse, apply mask, relax for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse.
I like to give myself a proper pampering session when I use a face mask, so I began by first cleansing my face with a foaming face wash, and then settled into a nice hot bath to enjoy my face mask as I soaked. It's a good job I decided to use this particular face mask whilst in the bath, as it proved to be quite messy and I'm glad this was just contained within my bathtub so I could wash the remains away easily after I had finished. The packaging opens easily with a tear-away section in one corner, so you can squeeze the pouch and the contents come out of the corner through the top edge. I noticed that some of the mask felt very thick and solid inside the packet, as if it had started to set, but once the contents started to come out it was easy to spread over my face, with the mask having a thick, syrupy consistency. The sachet contains 15g which was enough to give me a full coverage over my entire face and I applied a fairly thick layer to use it all up. This mask has self-heating properties so did not need to be warmed prior to application, and as soon as I spread it onto my face I noticed a warming sensation. This was strongest when I was actively rubbing it on with my fingers, as I think the friction and body temperature helps to activate the heating effect of the face mask. In actual fact I found this effect quite overpowering and it was almost burning against my skin, so it was quite uncomfortable for a brief time. Thankfully, the heating effect does not continue for long, so I was able to continue wearing the mask without any further discomfort aside from the initial burst of heat.
The mask had a very rich chocolate fragrance to it which was really nice, but I was a bit disappointed not to notice any hint of an orange scent to go with it, which is what I was expecting from this chocolate orange face mask. I left the face mask on for 10 minutes, and was desperate to take it off by that time as it had really started to drip down my face into my mouth (ugh!), and I had been constantly wiping away bits that had dripped down. Because the mask was quite thick I had expected it would stay in place well, but this was not the case and it was very messy to wash away, with it taking several minutes to get my skin fully clear from all the leftovers. Once I had washed the mask away my skin felt nice and soft with a smooth texture all over. It was not the most nourishing treatment, and I did follow up with my normal moisturiser afterwards. I did notice the next day that a couple of blemishes appeared, which I suspect could be a result of the deep cleansing effect from the mask drawing out impurities. These cleared up after a short while and my complexion remained in good condition otherwise.
Overall this face mask has reasonable results, however I would probably choose to buy a different variety instead of this self-heating version next time, as the overheating and dripping were just too annoying for me to want to deal with it again.
Montagne Jeunesse are against animal testing, and have been approved by BUAV and the Vegetarian Society. Keep your beauty cruelty free!
I have managed to overcome my Lush addiction - oh yes, it can be done! That said, I do still receive lovely Lush gifts sometimes from friends who are aware of my past obsession. One such gift I received previously is this Dirty Springwash Shower Gel, which is available to buy from the Lush high street stores, via mail order, or online at www.lush.co.uk. It costs £4.45 for a 100g bottle, £8.95 for a 250g bottle and £15.45 for a 500g bottle.
Product description: "A shower gel to feel you leaving minty fresh and alert.
Springwash leaves skin feeling tingly fresh and invigorated - perfect after a workout at the gym. It's part of the Dirty range, which includes perfume (liquid and solid), body spray, styling cream, shaving cream, soap. Combine the shower gel, styling cream and shower cream, which each contain a different element of the Dirty fragrance, for the complete scent."
The Dirty range was originally produced by Lush's sister company, B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful, and has been picked up by Lush after the other ranges were discontinued. This shower gel now comes in the standard Lush packaging with the simple black and white labelling. It comes in a clear plastic bottle which allows the product to show through, and this is good because it allows you to see exactly how much you have left. The bottle has a plastic flip top lid and you have to tilt the bottle up and squeeze it to dispense the gel.
The gel itself is a rich, deep shade of blue which makes me think of tropical oceans. It has quite a thin consistency and flows freely from the bottle. I like to use this with my trusty shower puff and it creates a huge amount of foamy lather, although in practice the lather seems to be what I can only describe as insubstantial and "hollow". The foam is plentiful but it does not feel soft or creamy and I have to really work hard and scrub it over my skin to feel like it is actually having any cleansing effect. It doesn't take a lot of gel to produce a lot of bubbles, but I do find myself topping up the amount of gel on my shower puff in order to get myself properly clean. According to the information on the label, this shower gel can also be used as a shampoo to wash your hair with, but I have not tried this myself.
Lush are well known for their unique fragrances, and the scent is normally my favourite thing about any of their products. In this case I was hugely disappointed, as the Dirty Springwash scent comes across as an odd mixture of musky and woody with only a hint of mint thrown in the mix. This was not the strong, refreshing scent that I was expecting, and I have to say that if you just want a crisp, clear minty scented shower gel then you can't go wrong with the Original Source mint range, which happens to be a lot cheaper and also has a much more invigorating scent.
Overall, I really can't recommend this product at all. I found it to be very disappointing in comparison to other Lush products which are of a far higher quality. I wouldn't buy this for myself as it took a lot of effort to really feel clean when washing with it, and I really dislike this scent, although maybe it is just better suited to mens tastes.
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerine, Lauryl Betaine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Propylene Glycol, Perfume, Fine Sea Salt, Spearmint Oil, Menthol Crystals, Thyme Oil, Hydroxycitronellal, Methyl Ionone, *Limonene, *Linalool, Colour 42090, Methylparaben
*occurs naturally in essential oils
This is a vegan product and Lush are against animal testing - please keep your beauty cruelty free!