31 January 2017

Happy Valentine's Day Gift Set (Valentines's Day 2017)

It's times like this when I'm reminded of a quote from the classic film Seven. In the closing scene, the line 'what's in the box? What's in the box?' is uttered by our main protagonist - a pinnacle moment in the film that will leave viewers on the edge of their seat. While I hope I never discover what he found, in a Lush gift set, his reaction is very much on par with how I react whenever Lush bring out another gift set in a reusable format. 

When I first set my eyes on the Happy Valentine's Day Gift Set, I knew I had to have it no matter what, simply because the box was one of the most beautifully designed sets I have seen in a while. Decorated with golden hearts and finished with a golden bow, this is a box set that epitomises the very essence of the company, and is the perfect gift for any bath lover wanting to sample the selection of seasonal products available this year.   

Priced up at £19.95, this easily steals the show when compared to the other three gift sets available as part of the Valentine's Day collection. Firstly, the price is very reasonable. While you're paying an extra £3-£4 for the packaging on top of the price of the products, the box is reusable and beautiful enough to be stored anywhere throughout the house, at any time of the year.

Secondly, the collection offers a well thought out selection of seasonal and regular products. For new Lush fans, they'll be able to experience some of the best Valentine's Day products available, as well as enjoy one of Lush's biggest-selling regular bath bombs, Sex Bomb

This set also boasts an accumulation of very different fragrances, so there is bound to be something here for every mood. If you're unsure what scents a person enjoys, this set has something to suit near enough every person, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your gift will be put to good use.

For those who enjoy finer, delicate scents, Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar offers a sweet, gentle lavender fragrance, with a surplus of light, fluffy bubbles and a beautiful pastel-pink water to bathe in. Sex Bomb combines jasmine, clary sage, ylang ylang and soya milk to offer up a sweet and creamy floral aroma. Rose Bombshell is a robust, dried rose-scented ballistic with subtle elements of lemon to give it uplifting properties, while Lover Lamp is like a powdery, chocolately orange aroma - complete with extra cocoa butter hearts to make it one of the most moisturising bath bombs in the collection. 

Together, you have something here for every mood, and a set that showcases some of the most popular bath products to come out of Lush in the last couple of years. If you're going to buy one gift set this season, make it this one - I guarantee that you'll be very happy with your decision. 

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £19.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.     

With Love Gift Set (Valentine's Day 2017)

Despite being in a relationship throughout the entirety of my twenties, I don't think I ever received a Lush gift set as a present from my other half. This wasn't because he was against the commercial aspect of the day, or because he refused to buy me any Lush, as a large percentage of my family still do to this day. It was simply because it wasn't in his nature to purchase gifts for people, unless he'd been instructed to do so. 

It is for this very reason that I tend to indulge myself heavily when a new collection of gift sets make an appearance from Lush, and Valentine's Day is usually one of my favourite releases of the year. Despite being rather pragmatic in my affection towards people, there is something rather beautiful and endearing about the warming colours of the seasonal wrapping; the romantic gestures laced between flowery patterns; the red and pink ribbons sealing each and every box with a beautiful smile.

With Love is a minature gift set with a big heart and a loud message. It's for those who have a lot to express, but want something simplistic and to the point. Featuring just two products inside, this is for consumers looking for something magical whilst within a budget - a present that will give the recipient a little taster of what the company offer, without spoiling them too much.

Containing a large slab of Love You, Love You Lots Soap and a small 45g tub of the self-preserving Ro's Argan Body Conditioner, this is a great gift for someone who is a big fan of rose-dominated cosmetics. While the two products are very different in fragrance, they both share this common characteristic between them. Furthermore, as one of the items is a regular product and the other one a limited edition, With Love offers an opportunity for users to discover something that they can buy again if they wish to, and something that may entice them into trying out other members of the Valentine's Day range.

What is special about this gift set is that large piece of soap featured here is not the regular design that you can buy in any store. In fact, the only way you can own a piece that looks like the one below, is through buying one of the two gift sets that have this soap crafted in this way.

Another benefit of With Love is that both products featured are shower-related items, so this is a great opportunity to indulge someone you know who may not have access to a bath. The mere idea of not being able to enjoy a bath at all is a horrifying thought, and one that should warrant an immediate purchase of this gift set, just as a way of offering your condolences to that friend/family member. 

While £11.95 does seem a little expensive for the size of the gift, and the fact that there are only two products on offer inside, both the soap and the body conditioner will last a generous number of weeks in the shower, and the amount of pampering the recipient's skin will be exposed to because of your generosity more than makes up for it. 

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £11.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.

30 January 2017

Kiss Me Quick Business Wash Card

When Lush first opened their first flagship store on Oxford Street, the number of new and innovative products that graced the shelves was a little overwhelming. Yet none of these exclusives were as interesting or as unique as their array of, what the company term 'wash cards'. Seemingly the first of its kind, these strange looking sheets are a solid alternative to the usual selection of gels and jellies that they offer. While I am not completely convinced of their true merit just yet, I recognise the fact that they work well as a novelty gift, and definitely spruce up the typical shower if you find yourself bored of your normal, average, every- day washing routine. 

Kiss Me Quick Business Wash Card is yet another step in a new direction - this time taking the idea of the solid shower sheet and doctoring a slightly new concept from it. Matching the size of a debit card, or indeed a business card as the name suggests, this limited edition Valentine's Day item has many uses. 

Firstly, the size of this card means that this will slip easily into a purse or a side pocket of a bag/suitcase - making it a great travelling companion that wont weigh you down. Due to their format not allowing for any sort of spillages whatsoever, this solid rendition of a shower gel also guarantees to be leakage-free, and suitable to take on board a plane as part of your hand luggage.

Secondly, the lack of any active moisture means that the sheets are preservative free, which means that they should have a much longer shelf life, and are also able to be utilised much further when it finally does come into contact with water. Furthermore, they don't contribute to package waste in the slightest, making it far more environmentally friendly than their other shower counterparts. 

So in a sense, I do actually recognise their true worth as a product, and can honestly see the merit of using them in replacement of other liquid alternatives. However, I'm still not convinced that these could or will ever be able to rival the jelly and gel variations that Lush already do so well.

What is different about this wash card, when compared to previous renditions, is the fact that the base ingredient featured here is fresh apple pulp as opposed to melon. Known to contain antioxidants and vitamins that both nourish and refresh the skin, apples are naturally full of malic acid, which gently removes any dead skin build that may be causing your skin to appear dull and uneven, and adds radiance almost immediately

Sharing its scent with the 29 High Street range, Kiss Me Quick features a combination of ylang ylang, lemon and lime oils to give the wash card its key notes, as well as tonka, geranium and jasmine to build upon these layers and help to create a well-rounded yet refreshing complex aroma.

The ylang ylang is definitely at the forefront here, offering a sweet and very heady floral aroma - one that is encased within the citrus oils, which bring about a very fruity, almost honeyed aroma. The lemon and lime oils not only give this shower sheet a bright, uplifting fragrance, but are known for their cleansing properties, and the ability to leave your skin looking and feeling radiant afterwards. 

Underneath this there is gentle reminder from the tonka absolute, which serves as the base smell - giving the product a gentle muskiness: a creaminess, while supporting the other main components and creating a shower sheet that is as rich as it is sultry.  

As far as my senses are concerned, Kiss Me Quick is an almost perfect replica of the liquid perfume, once it has had a short while to warm on the skin; as well as the shower gel, when its notes have been stimulated under the warmth of a hot shower. Not only will the fragrance perk you up and stimulate your senses, but act as a blanket of warmth when the world outside is too bitter to face.

What is great about this wash card is that it can also be used as a shampoo, which helps to lighten your load even more when you're travelling. Having only tried this out once, I can honestly say that it left my hair feeling silky-smooth and incredibly clean - not to mention the fact that the scent radiated from my locks for hours afterwards. 

While it lathered up quickly, and was equally as generous as a regular shower gel in terms of the amount of 'foam' it produced, I was a little disappointed to discover that the sheet near-on disintegrated when coming into contact with the running water. This is definitely not a product you should use in one go. Instead, to get the most out of it, I would recommend that you break off a small piece (1cm), add a little water away from the direct flow of the shower, and then massage it across your skin in a circular motion. 

The wash card produces a light, fluffy and very fragrant lather, and you can easily clean your entire body with the recommended size piece. In that sense it is equally as effective, if not more so than the shower gel variation, and works as a great 'top up' for those who love the scent but don't have the privilege of owning the shower gel.  

As a gift, or as a product to store for future travel plans, this is a lovely limited edition to invest in. Although I won't be replacing my shower gels anytime soon, this business card has definitely sparked my interest in the shower sheets a little more, and I will be grabbing a few of these before they're discontinued. While a part of me considers £2 to be a little expensive for the size of the item, I can also see how its price tag makes it easily accessible for those on a budget, and who perhaps don't wish to invest the amount it costs for a full-sized version.   

Quantitative Ingredients: Fresh Apple Pulp, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Perfume, Cellulose Sodium polyacrylate, Ylang Ylang Oil, Lemon Oil, Lime Oil, Sandalwood Oil, Tonka Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Gardenia Extract, DRF Alcohol, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Citral, *Eugenol, *Limonene, *Linalool Alpha-Isomethyl ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Coumarin, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, Yellow Lustre, Colour 14700, Colour 45410, Colour 45380:3.

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £2 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.

Scent Family:
29 and a Half Soap
29 High Street Liquid Perfume
29 High Street Solid Perfume
29 High Street Shower Gel
Aubergine Bath Bomb
HQ Perfume
Kiss Me Quick Business Wash Card

Secret Santa Ballistic

29 January 2017

Two Hearts Beating As One Bath Melt

Stemming all the way back to Lush's old sister company, Be Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful, Two Hearts Beating As One is one of the brand's first signature fragrances, and one of the scents that most old-school fans probably remember the most about that era. Released as a shower gel, perfume, soap, as well as many other formats, this 'classic' smell epitomises the very essence of Lush as a whole, and is perhaps far more reminiscent of what I imagine a Lush shop to smell like than the likes of 29 High Street.

While this Valentine's Day Bath Melt doesn't possess its own original fragrance, it is a brand new format for the scent family, and one that is incredibly suited to the fragrance in question. As most Lush fans won't have experienced this smell at all, now is a great time for its release - most notably because of its incredibly romantic aroma: one that I would describe as being a timeless beauty.  

Containing apricot kennel oil as a key ingredient, this bath melt is packed with so many wonderful oils: argan, geranium, bergamot, jasmine and ylang ylang, not to mention a generous dosage of rose absolute as well. With so many components, you'd expect the overall fragrance to be confusing and perhaps even overpowering, but it is far from it.

To me, this bath melt has a warm, sweet floral aroma with wonderful jammy notes from both the argan and apricot oils. The jasmine, which is a known aphrodisiac, is definitely at the forefront - offering a fruity, narcotic note of exotic floral. Both the geranium and the rose add elements that I can only describe as being slightly powdery and cloudy - they form the base that every other component nestles within, and wrap a heavy blanket around the other ingredients to make this a very robust aroma.

Normally I wouldn't be overly enamoured with a floral smell such as this, but there's just something very captivating about the delicacy of the fragrance. It's cleverly crafted and wonderfully sensual, and will offer you an experience that you definitely do not want to miss.

Given the design of Two Hearts Beating As One, this is a bath melt that can easily be divided into multiple chunks, and used across more than one bath to make it good value for money. The fluorescent pink and orange pieces slot together like two pieces of a puzzle, and can easily be pulled apart to create two separate bath melts. Each piece can then also be segmented again, if you're looking to conserve your products even further.

That being said, there is definitely something rather mesmerising about watching the colours dance and intertwine across the surface of the water, and it is this reason that I recommend that a whole one should also be used at times, to really allow you to appreciate how beautiful this product is.

While predominantly designed to offer extra moisturising properties in the bath, this product also goes as far as to turn the water a soft, pastel pink colour. Quite a slow melter, Two Hearts Beating can take up to fifteen minutes to fully dissolve into the water, so I highly recommend that you enter the bath while it's working its magic, and enjoy the show up close.

What I loved about this seasonal melt is that, despite using an entire one during my first bath, I didn't find that it made the water at all greasy. Although there was an amass of oils on the surface, these dissolved into the water fairly quickly. In fact, I even attempted to wash my hair in the tub and found that it didn't end up an oily mess, like it has been known to do with other oils and melts.

Once out of the bath, I noticed an instant improvement in the condition of my skin. My hands, that had previously been rather dry and weathered, were smooth and supple; my arms and legs felt clean, soft and nourished; my complexion was silky-smooth and radiant. For a bomb-less experience, the bath melt holds up reasonably well by itself in the water.

While the scent did linger on my skin for a short time after I had towelled myself down, I wouldn't go as far as to say that it lasted long enough for my liking. For this reason, a body lotion or a perfume wouldn't go amiss to continue the experience throughout the day.

For a product that I wasn't particularly excited by, it is definitely one that has stolen my heart. Although the idea behind it is obviously linked to those with partners, I am more than happy to indulge in this by myself, and I don't necessarily think I would be willing to share the experience, even if the option was there.     

Quantitative Ingredients: Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter, Laureth 4, Almond Oil, Perfume, Apricot Kernel Oil, Argan Oil, Bergamot Oil, Geranium Oil, Jasmine Absolute, Rose Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Titanium Dioxide, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Citronellol, *Geraniol, *Limonene,*Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Colour 14700, Colour 45410, Colour 45410:1, Colour 19140, Colour 15510.

Vegan?: Yes. 

2017 Price: £3.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.

Scent Family:
Heart Of Enlightened Expectation Bubble Bar Melt
Two Hearts Beating As One Bath Melt
Two Hearts Beating As One Shower Gel

20 January 2017

Lush Cocktail: Unicorn Healing Misrule's Lonely Heart

Elska's 'Unicorn Healing Misrule's Lonely Heart' Cocktail




While I love having such an extensive collection of bubble bars and bath bombs at my disposal, I realise that it's much more enjoyable using fresh ones if and when I can. Which is why over the next year I plan on halving the amount of bath products that I own, and plan on only keeping my all time favourite ones to enjoy across the year.

Although a mouthful to say, Unicorn Healing Misrule's Lonely Heart sounded like the perfect opportunity to try something completely different to what I'd normally go for in a cocktail, as well as use up some of my older bath bombs and bubble bars in the process. And while on paper this sounds like a rather strange collaboration of scents, it actually proved to be rather enjoyable once it had been combined. 

To begin with I crumbled the small piece of Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar under the running water. As I have stated many times before, this bubble bar doesn't really do much in the way of changing the colour of the water, especially a piece as small as the one I used for this cocktail. However, it does create some rather beautiful looking bubbles and does soften the water a little in the process.

Emitting a gentle and rather sweet lavender aroma, this product isn't exactly the most prominent of the ingredients, and if you are one of those people who are not particularly bothered about bubbles, you could even omit this one altogether or replace it for something a little stronger such as French Kiss Bubble Bar

Next I added in the quarter of Lonely Hearts Bubble Bar, which although small in size had a massive impact on the bath. Not only did it darken the water and give it a red tint but it produced an impressive amount of bubbles and instantly made its mark in terms of scent. Sharing its fragrance with Fizzbanger Bath Bomb and Love Liquid Perfume this bubble bar has a combination of lemongrass and bergamot oil, with lashings of jasmine and rose absolute to make it a highly zesty but strangely floral bubble bar at the same time.

With a blend of sweet orange, lemon myrtle and sandalwood oils, Uluru gives off a wonderfully uplifting and refreshing fruity smell - one that is unique and wholesome without being at all overpowering. While you would expect Uluru to have a tartness from the orange and lemon, this ballistic gives off an aroma that is more sugary and creamy. As I said in my review of the shower gel, the scent reminds me of the soft peach-flavoured jellies that you can get in most Pic N Mix selections. While there is a sherbety element to the fragrance, it only reveals itself in the bath - latching onto your skin and leaving it smelling beautiful. 

Finally, Lord Of Misrule finished off this rather alluring recipe. With a strong and very dominating blend of patchouli, black pepper and vanilla, this was definitely the strongest element to the bath bomb and I'd even go as far as saying that it might have been better to use a quarter of this to give the other products a better chance of making an impression. 

When all of the ingredients had been added, you could definitely smell both of the bath bombs and there was a faint hint of Lonely Hearts. While the bath water turned a vivid shade of ruby pink and swirls of colour remained for a while on the surface of the water, I found that the bubbles disappeared at an alarming rate and within five minutes of submerging myself, they had all but gone. 

In all honesty, this is a really hard cocktail to describe. I wouldn't say that it was floral or citrus, despite looking at the main smells in the products used that would suggest it should be a combination of both. I definitely enjoyed mixing these ingredients together because I would never thought of pairing any of them in the first place. However, I wouldn't say it was one I would use very often.    

Rating: 8.7 out of 10.

Vegan?: Yes.