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Happy 2016!

Reviews written

since 03/01/2011


Lush Jasmine Revolution Incense 19/01/2017

Lovely incense

Lush Jasmine Revolution Incense As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I have made a few visits to the Gorilla Perfume pop-up shop in Shoreditch, London. Gorilla Perfume is the fragrance branch of my favourite store, Lush, and the shop was created alongside a gallery to showcase a bunch of new scents released towards the end of last year. These new scents were highly unusual, many inspired by British or world heritage or culture, and most of them completely different to the usual kinds of fragrance you can buy. Alongside the fragrances, two incense products were created. They are packaged in cylindrical tins with bright pictures on them. 20g each, they contain all vegan ingredients and cost £10 each – which is a tad pricey, but I hoped they would be worth it. Jasmine Revolution was inspired by the Arab Spring, in which jasmine became a potent form of signifying protest. The company of Gorilla Perfume was affected when their suppliers were caught up in the protest. This incense contains jasmine and ylang ylang absolutes. Using the incense is easy, just put the charcoal on a heatproof surface, add some incense, and light. The scent lasts for ages, and it’s reviving and comforting. I still think the price is a bit expensive, but at least it lasts for ages.

Lush Reindeer Rock Soap 06/12/2016

Rocking Reindeer

Lush Reindeer Rock Soap This is another soap that I picked up at Christmas, when my favourite store, Lush, released their limited edition products. I always try to sample everything that they do, and this was no exception. ***What is Lush?*** Lush is a store that makes toiletries and cosmetics, using natural and organic ingredients where possible and minimising packaging where they can. It started out as a mail order company called Cosmetics to Go, but this failed and the new store, Lush, opened in Poole, Dorset. Later branches of the shop opened in London and beyond, and there are now Lush stores all over the world. As well as in store, you can also buy products from the website, There are similar websites for many different countries including the USA, Japan and Germany. Lush buy ingredients only from companies that do not test on animals. All of their products are suitable for vegetarians and many are suitable for vegans. Lush say: "We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on our products and making our mums proud. "We believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and in the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again." ***The Soap*** The soap, which is suitable for vegans, is made with a base of rapeseed and coconut oils. Lush no longer make their soaps with palm oil owing to environmental concerns. The soap lathers up well and doesn’t irritate my skin. It is very refreshing and, while I do have to ...

Lush Superbalm 15/11/2016

Effective, but greasy on hair

Lush Superbalm Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superbalm! Lush Superbalm has been described as a “super hero blend of ingredients to rescue scalps from scale build up”. Sadly I do sometimes suffer from a dry or flaky scalp, so I thought I would give this a try. It was expensive at £12.45 for 45g, but only a relativel4y small amount would be needed at any one time, so I thought I would give it a try. The balm is suitable for vegans and is made with a base of extra virgin coconut oil and candelilla wax, with lavender oil, chamomile blue oil and rose absolute to add scent. I thought it still smelled a bit strange: not horrible, but not amazing either! It was quite strong, I thought, but otherwise hard to describe. The balm was quite thick and was a pale green colour. As instructed, I scooped some out of the pot and rubbed it on my scalp. As I was doing this I felt a gentle tingling sensation. I liked that the balm was thick, as it meant that it didn’t run down my face as I was applying it! It was a bit of a hassle to get it all on my head without getting my hair too greasy. However, the massaging sensation was pleasant. I left the balm on my head for about twenty minutes before rinsing it off. I did find it tricky to get it all out, even after shampooing twice. I couldn’t help but notice that my roots still seemed a bit greasy even for a couple of days afterwards. I did notice that my scalp felt soothed and cared for after using this product. However, I wouldn’t use it again simply ...

Lush The Icing on the Cake Roulade 12/10/2016

This roulade is the icing on the cake

Lush The Icing on the Cake Roulade Last Christmas I tried this Icing on the Cake Roulade from Lush. Suitable for vegans, it smelled good enough to eat (but don’t!) and cost £5 for 100g. Roulades are relatively new to Lush and are designed as moisturising, luxurious alternatives to soap and shower gel. This particular roulade is made, like soap, from a base of rapeseed oil and coconut oil – it has no palm oil, which is good as the production of palm oil has been associated with environmental destruction. It contains almond milk and chestnut puree, which help to moisturise skin, as does the organic cocoa butter. Orange, lime and lemon peel help to create a lovely refreshing sweet scent. The roulade feels lovely on the skin, and produces a slight lather. It feels luxurious to wash with, more so than a soap. It’s important to keep it dry in between uses as it might go a bit soggy otherwise. I kept it in a soap dish, but made sure that it wasn’t full of water! I still needed to use moisturiser after this, but not too much – my skin did feel more cared for after using this, and it also left a slight scent on my skin. I don’t think this has made it to Lush’s Christmas range this year, but you never know, it might come back as part of the Kitchen!

Lush Old Father Time Soap 06/09/2016

Time to use this soap

Lush Old Father Time Soap I actually bought this soap from Lush last Christmas, but it’s nearly Christmas again (where does the time go?!) so there’s every chance this product might make it onto the shelves again! The soap was a new release last Christmas. It’s vegan, and cost £3.50 for 100g although if it comes back next year it may well cost more. It is made with a base of rapeseed oil and coconut oil, rather than palm oil which has led to deforestation and environmental problems around the world – the base Lush use is much more environmentally friendly. The soap contains a fresh sage and thyme infusion, which helped to inspire the ‘time’ name and gives the soap an earthy, herbal scent. Myrrh resinoid is festive and the redcurrants and rosewood oil add sweetness. The soap has a lovely evocative scent. It looks pretty too, a rich reddish-orange with added lustre to make it shimmer. The pattern is of cogs which goes well with the name and also strikes me as rather steampunk. The soap lathers well and doesn't dry out or irritate my skin. It's not particularly moisturising but it is gentle on the skin and leaves a light scent. If this soap comes back this year, it’s well worth trying.

Lush Cranberry Festive Face Mask 15/08/2016

Lovely face mask

Lush Cranberry Festive Face Mask I got this face mask last Christmas, as it was part of Lush’s limited edition festive range and I really wanted to sample it. It cost £6.75, but I was able to get it for free by taking 5 clean black pots into my local Lush store – an offer that works on all fresh face masks. This one was suitable for vegans and contained antioxidant cranberries, as well as organic silken tofu, fennel seed infusion to cleanse, argan oil to condition and rose clay to draw out impurities. I thought it smelled amazing, very festive. To apply the mask, you should first cleanse your skin then apply a thin layer over your face. I did this and found the feel of the mask on my skin to be gentle and refreshing. I left it for the requisite 15 minutes then washed off the mask. It was slightly gritty and provided a gentle scrub. My skin wasn’t irritated at all by using the mask. It felt fresh and clean and looked brighter after use. Regular use of the mask – twice a week over the Christmas period – helped to keep my skin looking healthy and reasonably bright during a season in which my skin often appears dull. I hope that the Cranberry Festive Face Mask makes another appearance during Christmas 2016. I don’t think we’ll have to wait long to find out!

Nivea Volume Shine Pure Diamond Lipstick 26/07/2016

Bargainous lipsticks

Nivea Volume Shine Pure Diamond Lipstick A while ago, I saw an offer on one of the daily deals sites – I can’t remember if it was Living Social, Groupon, or something else entirely – offering a selection of Nivea lipsticks for about £15. I thought this was a bargain, so snapped it up, even though I’d had no idea Nivea made lipsticks, or indeed any kind of makeup – I thought they just did skincare. When the selection arrived, there were a few different kinds of lipsticks: 6 ‘Pure and Natural’, 2 ‘Volume Shine Ultra Glossy’ and 3 ‘Volume Shine Pure Diamond’. Today I’m going to review the Volume Shine Pure Diamond variety. These lipsticks came in silver and purple tubes with the colour of the lipstick wrapped around them. The packaging is very similar to the Volume Shine Ultra Glossy variety. These lipsticks have an unusual diamond-angled shape which is faceted. I have the following shades: 61 - Chocolate Carat: a rich chocolate 63 - Berry Charms: - a lovely berry shade 64 - Rouge Solitaire:- a lovely red colour 66 - Mauve Parure: - a deep purple The lipsticks glide on really easily, and are surprisingly moisturising – even with my dry lips, I find I don’t always need to use a lip balm. Once on, they don’t dry my lips out at all. The colours are all very subtle and natural; they aren’t the most exciting shades, but they are pleasant and should suit most women of all ages. I will discuss the shades individually below. These lipsticks don’t have the best longevity – 2 to 3 hours max, although I find this is common ...

Lush Gorilla Perfume Death and Decay Eau de Parfum 23/05/2016

Don't worry, it doesn't actually smell like decay!

Lush Gorilla Perfume Death and Decay Eau de Parfum Being a fan of Lush and their sister company Gorilla Perfume, I was interested to learn that they were bringing out a new range of perfumes. Volume 3 of the Gorilla Perfumes range contains many exciting scents, including the one I’m going to review today – Death and Decay. The name of the perfume sounds rather ominous, but actually, Lush are aiming for something different with this fragrance. They want people to contemplate “the fullness of beauty and its inevitable decay”, and the message implies optimism, acceptance and meditation. *Packaging* The fragrance comes in glass bottles, which I like as they remind me of apothecary bottles. The label has lilies on it and I really like it – I find it really pretty. *Price* Solid £8 (12g) Large Liquid £30 (30ml) *The Fragrance* The scent of this perfume is made up of lily and indole. The use of lily reminds me of the Victorians and their cult of death. I’m not familiar with indole, but the fragrance also contains tonka, rose and jasmine to add sweetness to the floral edge. *My Experience* This is an unusual perfume: it has a rich floral scent that won’t be for everyone, but which really appeals to me. It’s a “peaceful” scent that makes me think of contemplation. I believe it’s meant to evoke a calm acceptance of death rather than anything darker – it might sound morbid but I actually find it quite uplifting. *Conclusion* This is a highly unusual perfume with a bizarre name, but I really like it and would definitely repurchase.

Lush Pot O' Gold Shower Jelly 05/04/2016

At the end of the rainbow

Lush Pot O' Gold Shower Jelly I got this Pot O’Gold Shower Jelly when my favourite store, Lush, released it as part of their limited edition Easter range. I love Lush’s shower jellies, which are a bit like semi-solid shower gels. You can use them at room temperature, pop them in the fridge or freeze them. I’ve only ever used them at room temperature, not because I don’t like the idea of showering with a cold product on a hot day but because the kitchen’s in the basement and the bathroom’s on the second floor, and I don’t fancy running up flights of stairs every time I want to have a shower. The jelly costs £3.50, which is normal for similar Lush products, and is a lovely, slightly shimmery, gold colour. It has a gorgeous caramel-honey scent, similar to the Honey I Washed the Kids soap. It’s suitable for vegans and contains orange peel decoction, pineapple juice, fair trade vanilla absolute and sweet orange oil. It also contains glycerine to help soften the skin, and carrageenan seaweed to cleans and soften. I absolutely adore the scent of this shower jelly – the smell pervades the whole bathroom and lasts on my skin. I only need to use a small amount of the product at a time, and it lathers up really well on a shower puff. It doesn’t dry out my skin at all. The shimmer doesn’t go on to the skin, so no need to worry about turning glittery. This is an amazing shower jelly and I wish it wasn’t a limited edition product. I really hope it comes back in the future!

The Body Shop Dreams Unlimited Body Butter 29/03/2016


The Body Shop Dreams Unlimited Body Butter I have dry skin and I use body lotion at least once a day to keep it moisturised. One of my favourite products is body butter by The Body Shop, as it is thick and helps to keep my skin really moisturised. I always have some on the go for use after my evening bath or shower, so that I can apply some intensive moisturiser. I like ordering from The Body Shop when there is a discount code, as their products can be quite expensive. A 200ml tub of body butter usually costs over £10 but by using a discount code I can get a tub for half that. In one of my orders I obtained a number of products from the Dreams Unlimited range. I already had the perfume from this range and it was a lovely, light, floral fragrance ideal for the summer. I ordered the shower gel, body lotion and body butter, but while I would use the shower gel and body lotion in the morning, layering it up with the perfume, I would keep the body lotion for use in the evening after a bath or shower. The product comes in a pale blue tub with a white lid and the Dreams Unlimited logo on the top. Inside, the butter is very thick, white in colour, and with the distinctive scent of the range. It goes on to my skin well, though it takes a while to sink in. It doesn’t irritate my skin and the scent is discernible for several hours afterwards. I don’t need to use much at any one time, so it’s good value and lasts for ages. I do recommend this product and would consider buying it again. It’s ideal for the summer in particular, ...

Vichy Idealia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream 22/03/2016

Ok for the price

Vichy Idealia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream I got a small tube of this Vichy Idealia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream in a beauty box. My tube was white with pink writing, a simple but attractive design. The full size cream costs £24 for 50ml and comes in a glass tub with a pink toned label. The cream is designed for ageing skin, and is meant to improve the appearance of wrinkles, dullness and uneven skin texture. It’s not something I would have picked up for myself as I don’t really have wrinkles yet. The cream contains Kombucha, which is a tea extract designed to increase skin radiance and smooth texture. It also contains Vichy Thermal Spa Water, and it is paraben free. The cream has a pleasant smooth texture and isn’t too thick. The scent is faint but pleasant and the cream goes on my skin easily with no irritation. I do need to use quite a bit of the cream as it isn’t that thick. It sinks in well and is a decent base for makeup. The cream is decent enough but doesn’t really do all that much for me. Perhaps it would suit someone older but for me it isn’t worth the money – there are cheaper creams that do just as good a job or better.

The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Body Butter 01/02/2016

Lovely festive body butter

The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Body Butter Never one to resist a good sale, I got involved in the post-Christmas Body Shop sale action and ended up with a few ginger products. One of these was the Ginger Sparkle body butter. I love ginger – the taste, the smell, everything. It has often been associated with the festive season, but it is good all year round. This body butter comes in a brown slightly shimmery tub with a cute picture of a gingerbread man on the lid – very Christmassy. Inside, the body butter is a very pale brown in colour, and it is quite thick. It has a lovely sweet ginger smell. To use it, I scoop some out of the tub and apply it to my skin after a bath or shower. It sinks in well and, though it is thick, it doesn’t leave a greasy layer on my skin. Having said that, it is a bit thick to use in the morning before I head to work, so I tend to use it after my evening bath or post-exercise shower. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all. The body butter makes my skin smell really good, even up to the next day. It has a gorgeous ginger scent that reminds me a bit of Christmas, though it didn’t stop me using it in the summer! Despite the name, I didn’t notice that the body butter made my skin sparkle – this is probably a good thing though as shimmer isn’t always practical! If this comes back next Christmas, I would like to repurchase – it’s great.

L'Occitane Angelica Hydra Vital Cream 20/01/2016

Pleasant cream

L'Occitane Angelica Hydra Vital Cream A while ago I subscribed to several beauty boxes and ended up getting loads of different samples. Several of these were from L’Occitane, a French brand I’ve grown to like very much. One item I received was a mini tub of Angelica Hydra Vital Cream, normally £32 for 50ml (the brand is not cheap!). The cream comes in a pale green tub with a silver lid. It contains organic angelica water and essential oil. Angelica is a plant with impressive hydrating properties and its use in this moisturiser suggests that it will be a very moisturising one. The cream as a whole is designed to enhance the skin’s ability to hydrate itself, increasing smoothness and radiance. The cream goes onto my skin easily and doesn’t cause any irritation at all. It sinks in without looking or feeling greasy. It has a faint pleasant scent. I don’t have particularly dry skin on my face, in fact it tends to be slightly oily, so I stuck to using this product in the evening rather than the morning. Even so, I didn’t find it to be too heavy, just a pleasant moisturising cream that seemed to do my skin a lot of good. I really liked this cream but I thought it was not much better, really, than other creams that cost less. For this reason I probably wouldn’t buy this again, unless it was on a special offer.

Lush T for Toes Foot Powder 18/01/2016

Handy, effective foot powder

Lush T for Toes Foot Powder As I’ve mentioned plenty of times, I love Lush and I am trying to sample all of their products. As well as soaps and bath products, they also make some other kinds of products including deodorants and dusting powders (similar to talc). The T for Toes Foot Powder is one of these products. I've had mine for ages, so mine is still the old-style packaging which is a black cylinder with holes in the top – like a talc dispenser or a pepper dispenser for the kitchen! The newer design is a clear plastic bottle. The product is currently available in Lush stores and online, priced at £4.45 for 60g. This product is described as a deodorising powder that absorbs sweat or moisture and gets rid of the microbes that cause smells with antibacterial essential oils. It contains tea tree oil which is antibacterial as well as a bicarbonate and kaolin absorbent powder base. It is suitable for vegans and also contains powdered walnut leaf and lime oil. The powder has a pleasant, not overpowering fresh scent. I do, unfortunately, suffer from stinky feet every now and then especially in the summer. Therefore I hoped that this product would do a good job. I use it in two ways – I dust it lightly into my shoes before wearing them, and I apply it directly to my feet after a shower or bath. I have to be careful not to apply too much, or else I get a rather unpleasant “gritty” feeling on the soles of my feet. However, by applying only a small amount of product I avoid this problem; in addition, I ...

The Body Shop Dreams Unlimited Body Lotion 15/01/2016

Dreamy body lotion

The Body Shop Dreams Unlimited  Body Lotion I really love the Body Shop and I like making the most of discount codes and special offers to stock up on products. A while ago I made an online purchase containing a number of items including several from the Dreams Unlimited range, which I already owned a perfume from. The lotion came in a long narrow bottle, clear plastic, with a nice-looking pastel label. The lotion was white in colour and seemed fairly thin, ideal for the summer. I’ve been using it alongside the matching shower gel and perfume to layer the scent. I don’t need to use loads of product as it goes on easily and sinks in well. It doesn’t irritate my skin, despite the distinctive smell, which is sweet and floral, easy to detect. The bottle has a pump dispenser which means that it is really easy to get the product out. However, it means it will be tricky to get the very last bit of lotion out of the bottle at the end! The lotion is quite light, so while it keeps me hydrated throughout the day, my skin does start to get a bit dry again towards the evening, and I don’t think I would use this in the winter when my skin is even more prone to drying out. However, as a light summer lotion it is ideal. The body lotion smells lovely and works really well layered up with the shower gel and the perfume. I would certainly consider repurchasing if it comes back next year.
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