Archive for the ‘Perfume’ Category

posted by on Fragrances, In Praise Of..., Pampering, Perfume, Personal grooming, Skin Care, The Body Shop

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The humble Brazil nut. Enjoyed either plain or covered in chocolate. Except it’s a rather extraordinary nut, not just because it comes from the depths of the Amazonian rainforest, but because it takes an epic journey, which The Body Shop is keen to raise awareness of with its relationship with Community Fair Trade and the new Brazil nut collection.

Last week I met Gaston Vizcarra, the founder of Candela and Community Fair Trade Supplier of Brazil nut oil at the unveiling of this new range. He struck me as the Santana of Brazil nuts (a compliment – honest). There is something immediately heart-warming about Gaston in the first few minutes of meeting him. Maybe it was the pocketful of Peru he had brought with him (his home) and as the evening unwound, so did his adventurous stories. Accidentally stumbling into a tiger’s den whilst looking for Brazil nuts definitely makes my life pale into insignificance. (FYI – Tigger was not home.)


Gaston and the Brazil Nut mood board

Gaston has been supplying Brazil nut oil since 1989 through the Community Fair Trade programme to businesses like the Body Shop who use it to make those much-loved toiletries and cosmetics we love to use.

This ‘trade not aid’ relationship has helped immensely to sustain, harvest and protect over 3,000 hectares of the Peruvian rainforest by providing a livelihood for the nut collectors and nut crackers part of the Candela co-operative. Did I say Peruvian? I did. That’s because Brazil nuts are grown in Peru, as well as Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil (of course).


The enormous coconut-like shell in which the Brazil Nuts are found inside

Gaston works with more than 270 nut gatherers who hand harvest Brazil nuts from the Madre de Dios region, providing a safe alternative to logging and illegal gold-mining which results in deforestation and pollution. And because the Brazil nut is so invaluable as a source of income to both parties, the environment is also protected to ensure this cycle continues for future generations.

This 5 minute video by The Body Shop sums up the story of the Brazil nut perfectly:

Last year, The Body Shop International bought over 20,000kg of Brazil nut oil from Candela. This oil came from approximately 280,500m2 of forest, from nearly 3,000 trees. It’s pretty remarkable to know Gaston’s hopes and dreams came from a small bottle of Brazil nut oil that he brought to the UK all those years ago.

Understanding how this chain of events leads to the pretty lotions and potions we pick off the shelves was an eye opener. I think we are familiar with how passionate the Body Shop is about creating products derived from natural resources but the realisation of the long and arduous process involved gives much food for thought and indeed value and appreciation. Now I can’t look at a Body Shop Body Butter without pausing to think about how it got there in the first place.

You may recall the Body Shop brought out a Brazil nut Body Butter a while ago. Well it has returned by popular demand and this time, it’s brought some new friends to join the party:

Body Butter (£13)
Beautifying Oil (£9)
Body Mist (£7.50)
Shower Cream (£4.50)
Eau de Toilette (£8.50)
Cream Scrub (£12.50)


The complete collection (with real Brazil nuts for decorative purposes)

The first thing that is striking is the subtle sweet scent – it’s like chocolate or toffee with vanilla but aromatically sensual without being sickly sweet. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the Body Shop’s chocolate range (it was a little on the nauseous side) but the Brazil nut has won me over, especially the Body Mist and Eau de Toilette.


Another favourite is the awesome scrub with the shells crushed into smithereens for exfoliating. I am not impressed with scrubs that are too soft to work. Give me something that will do its job, and this offering certainly does.


The creamy Body Butter speaks for itself, considering it’s always such a popular and sought-after product of the Body Shop. In total the entire collection will set you back £55, which is (pea)nuts, so you could indulge in it entirely without feeling guilty (that’s how I justify multiple goods purchases) and hey, it is a worthy cause.

I can remember when Anita Roddick founded the Body Shop, and how strong her ethics were so I am pleased to see her legacy lives on with The Body Shop striving for the same beliefs:

AGAINST animal testing
SUPPORT community fair trade
ACTIVATE self esteem
DEFEND human rights
PROTECT the planet

The new collection drops on 23rd April. You can also visit the Body Shop’s website on Community Fair Trade here.

*PR samples*

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posted by on Benefit, Bumble & Bumble, Carmex, Chanel, Clarins, Clinique, Fragrances, In Praise Of..., Jessica, Jo Malone, L'Occitane, Lancome, Leighton Denny, Liz Earle, Make-Up, Molton Brown, Nails Inc, NARS, OPI, Origins, Perfume, Personal grooming, Shampoo / Conditioner, Skin Care


Yesterday Helen and I were taken on a personal tour of John Lewis’s multi-million pound new beauty hall at their flagship store on Oxford Street and what an experience it turned out to be.

Photo: John Lewis

Costing over £7 million to revamp and a whopping 18,000 square feet of retail space, if heaven is all bright white lights and pretty things then this must be it. I defy you not to be marvelled by what welcomes you the moment you enter the double glass doors of the store’s entrance.

Designer gpstudio has carefully planned the concept of this breath-taking haven with precision and style and created an ambiance that soothes and relaxes customers.  It’s a complete turn-around from other beauty halls, which are usually very daunting and sometimes claustrophobic.  John Lewis’s epic beauty hall was completed in seven phases, with the final unveiling only yesterday.

Photo: John Lewis

Based on the idea of a Town Square, the premium cosmetic brands are positioned like ‘houses’ around a central area focused on fragrance and niche assortments such as haircare, skincare and nails.   It is a pleasure to stroll through and take in the sights, sounds and scents.  I think this was the first time I could stop and look around in without other shoppers pushing past or shoving me out of the way.

Photo: John Lewis

Major international names are neighbours with niche brands and some highly prestigious names. It’s wall-to-wall beauty with something for everyone.

You can make a bee-line straight for Creed, Tom Ford or Diptyque or drool over favourites Chanel, Nars, YSL and Dior. Both Lancome and Guerlain have treatment rooms but there is also room for firm favourites L’Oreal, Carmex, Neal’s Yard, Ojon, Origins, Elemis, Liz Earle, Clarins and Clinique (to name but a few).

John Lewis has also secured concessions with Burberry (the first one outside of Harvey Nichols), Top Shop (the only place other than Top Shop itself to stock their make-up range) and the jewel in the crown (in my humble opinion), a Jo Malone concession that blasts other JM concessions out of the water.

Photo: John Lewis

Photo: John Lewis

Photo: John Lewis

You also can’t miss the incredible OPI glass cabinet housing hundreds of OPIs (can we have one commissioned for Helen, please?) surrounded by Nails Inc, Jessica and Leighton Denny delights.

Even gadgets have been incorporated (such as electric toothbrushes, haircare electrical goods, hair removal and magnifying mirrors) so all your beauty needs are covered.

It’s the ultimate beauty experience and the ultimate beauty hall. Mind you, I couldn’t leave without actually experiencing it properly, now could I? So I picked up YSL lip stain and then had the pleasure of spending an hour or so in the company of Stephanie at Jo Malone. The purse is a bit lighter (as is my head) but John Lewis’s new beauty hall is amazing. There. I’ve made my point.  Now go and see it for yourself.

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posted by on Douvall's Argan Oil, Glossy Box, Hair, Mavala, Perfume, The Body Shop


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I wanted to share with you some things that I am really loving at the moment. I’ve never done a monthly favourites type post but there are so many things I’m enjoying using right now that I hoped this might be interesting.

Herbal Essences Dazzling Shine Serum.* I received this last year as a PR sample, loved it then, forgot about it for a bit, then rediscovered it and love it even more now. I think I was using this a lot over the Royal Wedding time as it reminds me of warm weather and Bank Holidays. It smells amazing and really does make my hair sleeker and shinier.

Remember this post I did just before Christmas? It was an entry for a contest run by the high-end makeup accessory brand Japonesque. Well, imagine my delight when I won one of the competition prizes, which so happened to be  this amazing kit. I’m still having loads of fun playing with it all. Lucky me, eh?

Nars Bilbao lipstick. I have a fuller review of the items I bought from the Nars Spring collection coming later in the week but I can’t get enough of this lipstick at the moment. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t really wear lipstick. I like its toffee goodness.

Hugo Boss Orange.  I sniffed this for the first time a couple of years ago in an airport and loved it. Took me  while to actually get around to buying it though. I do like its fresh and light scent though, and the fact that I started wearing it before a nasty bout of flu and still love it now just shows that its a keeper.

Douvall’s Argan Oil. Believe it or not, this is the brainchild of none other than Alicia Douvall. Yes, she of the gossip pages and plastic surgery. Who knew? Anyway, all I care about is the fact that this stuff has done more for my psoriasis-ridden skin in two months of usage than years of steroids, drugs and creams. This is pure argan oil. It smells a little… goaty…but is absorbed fast. My skin has never been smoother and less irritated. It does rebound when I forget to use it, so as a result, I used up my original PR sample of this ages ago and have subsequently repurchased it three times. (from £12.00, available to purchase here

Rituals shower foamsensation in Yogi Flow. This was in December’s Glossy Box. It’s a foaming gel, much like those Imperial Leather ones that have been around for ages. This smells beautiful, almondy and sweet, without being cake-esque.  It cleans well and makes the bathroom (and my skin) smell great. (£6.50, available to buy here)

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Lip Butter. Usually I’m not a fan of buttery style lip products as I do find they don’t absorb as well into the skin as the more liquid balms but I make an exception here. This smells just like a fresh grapefruit and applies and moisturises nicely. I do wish it was in stick form rather than a pot though. And isn’t “pamplemousse” the most perfect word?

Jo Malone Red Roses candle*.  Just in case you aren’t lucky enough to be bought real red roses for Valentine’s Day. This is nicer anyway – smelling just as good and lasting a darn sight longer. Like all the products in Jo Malone’s Red Rose range, the candle smells like real flowers. Close your eyes, inhale, and you’d never know. This is an ideal way to sample the fragrance, and at £22.00, is a relatively reasonably priced touch of luxury. (available here)

Mavala Mavadry.* It’s been forever since I published my Quickdrying topcoat comparison post but I’m still using up some of the bottles I featured in it. One that arrived after the post aired (and will feature in the next one) is Mavadry. Just as good as any of the usual quickdrying suspects only criminally overlooked. It dries super fast, it lasts well and so far, I love it. (£6.99 for 10ml, available here)

My orchids. Purely for the fact that I’ve managed to keep these alive,where I have miserably failed every other plant I’ve ever owned.

And finally…. The Hunger Games trilogy. The sole reason I have not blogged, rarely tweeted, and seen practically no-one for the past couple of weeks. I’m about halfway through Mockingjay (the third book) at the moment, and am dreading it ending, although am excited for the film  – and the China Glaze nail polish tie-in collection. Have you read these books? And if not, why not?

So there we go. A little glimpse into what I’m loving right now. How about you?


*denotes PR sample


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