29 May 2016

Lush Cocktail: Little Red Riding Hood

Betty Boo's 'Little Red Riding Hood' Cocktail


Lashings Of So White Shower Gel



After watching Into The Woods one afternoon, I was inspired by this classic fairy tale-inspired cocktail, and knew it would be a great ending to a fairly wonderful Saturday. Not only was it a fairly straightforward recipe to follow, there was also very little involved in making it - making it great for those who don't want to use too many products for a single bath. 

While I'm unsure how the bubble bar fits in with the theme of Little Red Riding Hood, I figure the bubbleroon represents the forest, the FUN plays homage to her famous cloak, and the shower gel is reference to the very nature of it being a fairy tale to begin with. With my ingredients at the ready, I couldn't wait to escape reality with this fictional concoction. 

As all four of these products require you to crumble or pour them under the running tap, you can choose which order in which to add them. To begin with, I decided to hold and crumble the generous piece of Red FUN under the tap. This produced a beautiful and very warming orange bath, and filled the bathroom with a wave of sweet, mandarin and tangerine. 

Up next, I choose to crumble the Green Bubbleroon - which only served to deepen the orange colour in the water and give off a strong, robust 'green' aroma. As its name suggests, this product offers a beautiful, uplifting scent; a wonderful sweet but fresh aroma that smells like freshly cut grass with a generous splash of lime oil.

This happened to be the strongest element of the bath, despite the size of the piece that was used. I'd only suggest that you double the other ingredients if you wish for it to be further down in the mix. 

Up next, I decided to add in my 2-3 lashings of So White Shower Gel - the reason being that I thought the fresh, crisp apple aroma of the product would work really well when alongside the FUN and bubbleroon. And I was right.  Not only did it almost rival that of the bubbleroon in terms of its strength, but it softened the water and became noticeably more silky-soft within a matter of seconds.

Finally, I crumbled the Blue Skies And Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bar, and this is where things changed rather dramatically. As I expected, this is the odd one out in the mix, yet there is something magnificent about its inclusion that makes it worthy of staying. 

Not only did it turn the water a strange but rather alluring shade of green, but the scent was one that needs to be experienced to be really appreciated fully. It definitely didn't compliment the other ingredients well, but thats not to say that it didn't 'work'. Instead, its presence created a cocktail that seemed almost disjointed, but one that was rather enjoyable at the same time.

Although I was disappointed with the lack of colour and bubbles by the time I climbed into the tub, this is definitely something very different from the usual bath cocktails I have, and for that reason, it was most certainly rounded my Saturday off to a winning finale. 

Vegan?: Yes.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

23 May 2016

Papa Bear Gift Set

While it's definitely not the case, my ego sometimes tries to convince me that Lush are intent on bringing out products that they know I'll want and need to buy. In a fictional world, I envisage meetings that start out like 'So what should we do to ensure that Jen will buy something alongside the individual products this time?'. Brief pause. 'What about making a wooden box to hold one of the gift sets in?'. 'Yes I love it, what else?' 'How about swapping a knot wrap for a thicker knot wrap-sort-of-thing and calling it a scarf?'. 'Perfect'.

The reality of the matter is that Lush are just sometimes a little too innovative for their own good - and while all of these unique cosmetics are exciting for Lush fans, I occasionally feel that the level of new releases doesn't bode well for someone who wants to experience it all. You'd have to be pretty well off to keep on top of everything that Lush bring out - I sometimes find myself tripping over my own tail when it comes to purchasing and reviewing new releases.

When I first noticed the Papa Bear Gift Set online, I was torn. On the one hand I thought I was being clever when I imported the Father's Day range from Spain; intent on not having to buy too much when it came out over here. On the other hand, I was excited to be able to experience the intrigue and excitement of the seasonal release by having a couple of gift sets to try and review.

Upon arrival, I was shocked to find that the gift set was a lot smaller than I had imagined it would be. As far as size goes, it would compare to the boxes that the £8-£10 sets come in - not what I was expecting at all for a £30+ gift set. However, what you have to realise is that the scarf is the key feature in this collection, and almost overshadows the products that come with it. 

Featuring Smuggler's Soul Solid Shampoo Bar, Thanks Dad Soap, and a 50g tub of both Smuggler's Soul Facial Scrub and Smuggler's Soul Multi Purpose Cream, the worth of the products themselves equate to roughly £24, which means that you're paying £10 for the scarf and the privilege of having it all wrapped together and ready to present as a gift.

The scarf itself is definitely very beautiful, although perhaps it's not the best time of year to be offering winter-wear. And while the material is far superior to the usual knot wraps, I'm not quite convinced that it's really worth the money I paid to have the privilege of owning one. Having said that, I do think the scarf is very quirky and unique, and I will definitely be wearing this later in the year, to make the most out of my purchase.

Unfortunately, this product is not vegan as the solid shampoo bar contains lanolin, so while it offers someone the chance to try all of the non-bath items that are part of this years Fathers' Day range, it's not exactly vegan friendly.

Overall, this is definitely something very different to anything that Lush have brought out before, and I am glad that some of their gift sets are as innovate and as unique as the two that have come out with this seasonal range. I only wish the scarf was a little bigger and that there was a fifth item to make it seem better value for money. 

Vegan?: No.

2016 Price: £33.95 each.

Lush Kitchen Menu: May 23rd - 27th 2016

Every week I hope to bring you an informative (and fairly entertaining) video on the items making their way into the Lush Kitchen the following week. Above is this week's menu for you to enjoy, and below are the links to each and every one of the items featured in the blog:


21 May 2016

Smuggler's Soul Facial Scrub

This review starts off with a big disclaimer - one so important that I debated putting this part of the review in extra large font just to make a point. When I first heard that Smuggler's Soul Facial Scrub was going to be a 'thing', I was ecstatically happy. This is one of my all-time favourite fragrances from Lush - one that I cannot imagine living without now that it's made such a big impression in my life. Ultimately, it's a smell that I want to experience in as many formats as possible.

After learning the heart-breaking news that the solid shampoo bar was not vegan, I put all of my efforts into securing a handful of both the facial scrub and the body lotion from Spain - convinced that I was going to lavish myself in two newly discovered firm favourites. While I fell in love with the latter product very quickly, my mind was a mixture of confusion and disappointment when it came to the scrub. To put it simply - the product was not at all what I was expecting, and if anything, it was disappointing to say the least.

Supposedly sharing its scent with the perfume of the same name, this limited edition is one of three Smuggler's Soul-scented products, released as part of Lush's first ever Fathers' Day range. Alongside the body lotion and the solid shampoo bar, these products were first released in Spain, and then more recently in the UK.

What first struck me about this scrub was that the scent itself was very weak. While I realise that it would be neither conducive nor practical to have a scrub as strong as the fragrance itself, what greeted me upon initial sniff was something that lacked so much presence, that to begin with I felt as if I had been gifted with a faulty product. 

With six tubs of the stuff imported from Spain, I genuinely thought that the scrubs had not travelled well, and began the process of returning the items for a full refund.However, after investing in two pots from the UK site and receiving them in exactly the same condition, I realised very quickly that the scent and the consistency were as they should be.

In my honest opinion, Smuggler's Soul Facial Scrub bares very little resemblance to the fragrance of the same name. And while I could scrimp and scape around, and say that there is a very slight hint of lemongrass and sandalwood in certain batches, overall this comparison is hard to make. 

My impression of the scrub is that it reminds me of what I imagine a Lush lotion to be like, BEFORE the actual fragrance has been added in. Its lack of colour and weak scent bares similarity to what I remember some of my really old Lush lotions used to smell like when they'd lost their fragrance and were on their last legs. It's not exactly a bad smell, but it's not an aroma that leaves any sort of impression one whatsoever.

You can just make out a hint of lemongrass if you concentrate hard enough; you can also detect a slight element of bamboo and a little sandalwood and rosewood if your nose is up to it. However, when named after such a beautiful, strong and unyielding perfume as Smuggler's Soul, it's difficult to imagine something as inadequate as this scrub being related to it in any way.

While this scrub seems to be geared more towards the male market, and most men supposedly prefer lighter fragrances, I'd argue that there is a difference between a scent being gentle and a scent being non-existent, and unfortunately I feel as if this product has an aroma that sides more with the latter description than the former.   

In its defence, this scrub is fairly effective to use. With bamboo granules giving the product an almost grainy consistency for a light exfoliation, it's easy to apply and distribute across the skin. I'd recommend taking an amount equivalent to half a grape and carefully massaging it into the face - leaving it on for around thirty seconds before rinsing it off under warm water. Using any more than this, I found that the scrub was a little hesitant to rinse off immediately, and I would often find traces of it still on my face after I'd exited the shower.

This would definitely work better with oiler complexions, as I found that my face felt quite taut after I'd patted it dry. That's not to say that my face was dry or felt as parched as my hands do after using soap; only that I could tell some moisture had been stripped during application. 

Smuggler's Souls Facial Scrub did give my complexion a slight glow after use, and I feel as if the inclusion of cucumber did give my skin a burst of freshness that stayed with me for a short while after I had exited the bathroom. Furthermore, the lack of fragrance meant that I didn't have to worry about it clashing with whatever else I was using at the time, which was a bonus. 

Overall, I don't think this is a particularly bad product, and I did and still am enjoying using it in the shower on an almost daily basis. Those who prefer light or less offensive smells, might fall in love with this limited edition product, solely on the fact that it's easily the lightest-smelling Lush product I have ever experienced. Yet at the same time, I don't really feel as if represents what a Lush product should be, and while I will get through the eight tubs I now own, it's not a product I would ever consider buying again. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Water, Bamboo Stem Extract, Stearic Acid, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-100 Stearate, Glycerine, Triethanolamine Cetearyl Alcohol, Argan Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Rose Hip Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Rosewood Oil, Sandalwood Oil, Madagascan Vetivert Oil, Tagetes Oil, Lemongrass Oil, *Limonene, *Linalool, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Perfume, Methylparaben Propylparaben.

Vegan?: Yes.

2016 Price: £8.95 for 100g.

Year Of Original Release: 2016.

Scent Family:
Smuggler's Soul Body Lotion
Smuggler's Soul Body Spray
Smuggler's Soul Facial Scrub
Smuggler's Soul Liquid Perfume
Smuggler's Soul Solid Perfume
Smugglers Soul Solid Shampoo Bar

Veerappen Moustache Wax

17 May 2016

Lush Men Wooden Box Gift Set

If like me, you're heavily into Lush and keep up to date with their releases, you'll know that it's normally only a matter of weeks before something new makes an appearance - whether it be in the Kitchen, in a seasonal collection or as a surprise one-off, limited edition must-have. Just when you think that your bank account is safe for a while, something pops up and destroys any hope of a respite, and its usually at the most inopportune times as well.

Obviously, there's a sensible part of me that is able to rationalise that I don't necessarily need to buy everything that Lush churn out, and I also recognise that it would be rather silly of me to bankrupt myself because of a handful of products that I've never tried before. However, when it came to the Lush Men Wooden Box Gift Set, there was just no way that I could let it pass me by.

Ever since I was given a wooden Lush box earlier in the year, I have been pining for Lush to bring out other sets with similar designs. I am near on obsessed with collecting boxes and using them as storage, and a sturdy, wooden version is taking this idea to the next level. 

Priced at £44.95, this limited edition release for fathers' day is by far the most expensive collection you could buy for the man in your life. I would go as far as to say that it isn't the most versatile collection of products on offer either. What I mean by this latter statement is that the handful of goodies inside wouldn't necessarily be the ones that a lot of people would choose to give their father, brother or partner.

Having said this, the products featured inside are definitely very versatile, diverse, and cover a good part of what a regular routine could look like for somebody using this set. With a mask, scrub, smoothie, deodorant and solid shampoo, not to mention a lonesome bath bomb, there is definitely enough here to keep anyone going for a good amount of weeks.

Featuring both the original Ocean Salt Scrub and Mask Of Magnanimity Face Mask, this gift set is not 100% vegan - an issue that I thought was going to prevent me from being able to invest in this collection in the first place. Luckily, my friend buys both of these items regularly, and was willing to chip in and take them off my hands. This meant that I got the wonderful box set and a handful of goodies I wouldn't normally own, without breaking 'vegan-edge' or sulking in the corner because I ain't able to get such a unique box set.

Alongside the two non-vegan products, this collection also boasts Five 'O Clock Whistle Shaving Smoothie, New Solid Shampoo Bar, Lord Of Misrule Shower Cream, The Greeenich Deodorant Powder and Guardians Of The Forest Bath Bomb. Together, they make up some of Lush's biggest sellers, while also offering new Lush customers an interesting and varied range of items to try out for themselves.

What is great about most of Lush's boxes, especially the wooden variation, is that they are reusable, and I'm sure most customers - male or female, would be able to find something to fill the box with afterwards, even if its more Lush stuff like I will be doing myself. The box itself is sturdy and well crafted - decorated with a latch to seal it in between uses, or to mask the hidden gems you choose to store in there afterwards.      

With the price of the items inside coming to roughly just over £30, you're paying a little over £10 for the privilege of the box. While I would dispute this with a normal collection, this extra investment is definitely worth the added cost with this one. My only piece of advice would be to purchase this in store if possible, and check the products inside when you do so. My bath bomb was completely smashed when I opened my box, and while I wasn't overly concerned, I did think that a recipient of such a gift might be slightly disappointed if they were to find green dust covering everything inside the box as I did.

Vegan?: No.

2016 Price: £44.95 each.

16 May 2016

Lush Kitchen Menu: May 16th - 20th 2016

Every week I hope to bring you an informative (and fairly entertaining) video on the items making their way into the Lush Kitchen the following week. Above is this week's menu for you to enjoy, and below are the links to each and every one of the items featured in the blog:

After Tango Foot Mask (non vegan)
The Soft Touch Hand Serum (non vegan)
Recon Scalp Treatment (non vegan)

15 May 2016

Hot Java Bath Bomb

Lush tend to release products with particular spices at certain points of the year. For example, cinnamon and cloves are very much associated with the winter/Christmas period, so it's unlikely you'll find much with this smell throughout the rest of the year. This is a royal shame as sometimes I just need something to perk me up in the evening, and a ballistic with fruit and spices would do the job perfectly. That's why, when Lush released Hot Java Ballistic as a year-long bath bomb, many Lush fans were very happy indeed. 

Unfortunately, this happiness was short-lived. First released in 2005, the bath bomb only lasted a little over a year on the shelves, and was discontinued in 2007 due to reasons unknown. Whether it was removed to offer space for new releases, or down to its unimpressive turn over, this product barely left the ground before it was removed from stores and never seen again. Thankfully, Lush brought this beauty back a couple of weeks ago in the Kitchen, and the dust was removed on this rather unique bath ballistic.

Packed full of natural uplifting herbs; cinnamon, coriander and juniperberry, Hot Java offers a warming, spicy fragrance with a twist. With a surplus amount of ginger in here, in the form of oil, powder and absolute, this bath bomb is the perfect remedy for anyone needing to banish a cold or coax out any unwanted sniffles. Although not one of my favourite smells, I will admit that it gives the product a lovely warm and rather hot after-scent. It's not sweet like Hot Toddy or Glogg - rather more dry and dusty with a warming musky ginger smell, a touch of herbal coriander and a big helping of spicy cinnamon. To finish off, Hot Java also has a touch of orange zest which gives this ballistic a warming, well-rounded, multi-layered scent. 

As you can see in my demonstration video, this bath bomb is a fast fizzer - bleeding out waves of red colour across the surface of the water and producing one of the brightest baths I have had in a while. This vivid display remained prominent throughout the entire bathing experience, and even though the bath bomb was stimulating enough, the colour aided this feeling of warmth and comfort.

Unfortunately, it also filled the tub with a surplus amount of cinnamon sticks, which sunk to the bottom of the tub very quickly, but definitely didn't eradicate the many problems that they created by being there in the first place. For those of you who dislike bathing products with 'extra baggage', you'll often make an exception for the ballistics that might have one or two bonus surprises. This is because it's easy enough to scoop out the flowers/herbs etc. before you get in.

However, with Hot Java, my entire bath tub was full of shards of cinnamon sticks, which when you tried to scoop them up would form a flurry under the surface and make it very difficult to grab. This meant that I had to sit on the rough pieces throughout the entire bath, and be careful not to cause too much movement in the water for fear that the shards would get into my hair or coat my body. 

As for the smell, I was able to pick up both the cloves and cinnamon, which intensified when the bath bomb had been dissolved. I was also able to pick up the heated scent of ginger, which mellowed in the bath tub and let the other fragrances come through. Overall, this ballistic was surprisingly weaker than I was expecting for one so full of spices and herbs. This is not to say that this is a bad thing - in fact it was refreshingly original. 

Lush describes Hot Java as being a ballistic you can rely on 'every time you need warming up. It's for cold days or days when you've got a cold or when you've been out in the cold and need warming up right through. It's good for when you're feeling creaky after exercising too. Run a warm bath, drop in the Hot Java and let the spices soak right in.'

Despite my distain for some aspects of this bath bomb, I will admit that it did make me feel really relaxed and warm. The deep red-coloured water helped me to feel sleepy and contented, wherein the slight fragrance massaged my tense body parts and helped me to unwind. It even got rid of the headache that was threatening to erupt at that moment!

Overall, this is a bath ballistic that probably won't be making a permanent comeback. With the likes of Melting Snowman Bath Melt, Phoenix Rising and Hot Toddy Bubble Bar, Hot Java somewhat pales in comparison and cannot compete against these far more superior products. If Lush were to bring it back, I would definitely be tempted to buy a couple more. However, it's one I could live without.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Cinnamon Stick, Perfume, Ginger Oil, Cinnamon Powder, Ginger Powder, Coriander Oil, Ginger Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Juniperberry Oil, *Benzyl Salicylate, *Eugenol, *Geraniol, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Farnesol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Colour 14700.

Vegan?: Yes.

2016 Price: £3.95 each.
2017 Price: £3.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2005.