Chick ‘N’ Mix: A Mini Lush Review

Chick 'N' Mix Collage

Everybody sing it with me now: “Chicken, chicken, you can’t cluck too much for me…chicken, chicken, why don’t you come down off of that tree?”  No, not familiar with that one?  I suppose that’s not too surprising – I didn’t know about the Chicken song either, a children’s ditty by a singer named Nancy Cassidy, until it was featured in one of Orange is the New Black’s first season episodes, “The Chickening” (that’s the one where the residents of the Litch, starved for decent food, exercise and mental stimulation, embark on a crazed poultry hunt for a wee chicken that appears in the yard one day.)

This chicken, a Chick ‘N’ Mix bath bomb from Lush’s Easter collection, is a little less revered than OITNB’s prized poultry, although I’ve no doubt some of those ladies would shank their own grandmother for an unsupervised bubble bath.  Separated into three parts – chick, shell and adorable little concealed bunny bomb – this gigantic bath ballistic cost a whopping $10.95 Canadian and is really intended for multiple uses, although I just threw total caution to the wind and chucked the whole thing in my tub en masse.

Like just about every other bath bomb I’ve purchased and used this year, the Chick ‘N’ Mix fizzed out in just a little under 30 seconds.  I didn’t have time to fire off a single photo of the bath art either, because there was none – both halves sunk straight to the bottom of the tub and dissolved quite neatly.  Dejected, I tossed the little orange bunny bomb into the mix and thought about how that’s $11.00 I’m never getting back.

This is the part where I try to justify another dud of a Lush purchase by noting that the Chick ‘N’ Mix bath bomb did provide me with some Easter weekend nail art inspiration. But I’m growing tired of limited use items that don’t behave as promised, don’t smell as described, AND put a neat dent in my pocketbook in the process.  That’s not the kind of inspiration I need!  I mean, it’s inspiring me not to want to purchase any more Lush bath bombs, but I’m fairly certain that’s not the inspiration Lush needs now, is it?

Also, this bath bomb was pure nightmare fuel.  Ahhhh, KILL IT!  KILL IT WITH FIRE! Beware the rabid chicken bath bomb, friends, as you really ought not to share your tubby time with critters frothing green gunge at the mouth.  Sage life advice, from me to you. 😉

Chick 'N' Mix Kill it With Fire Pic

Treating Myself: A Bathing Garden Haul

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I’ve noted in the past that despite all indications to the contrary here on this nail and beauty blog where I talk about such things all the ding dang time, I’m not much of a product person. I never use intensive hair treatments, I rarely slap on a mask and body moisturizer is an only-if-I-remember-I-actually-own-any kind of thing.  Come to think of it, I’ve been using the same brand and make of face wash for the past 22 years (Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser, in case you were wondering.)

But with an upcoming milestone birthday (the one accompanied by all those obnoxious black balloons) and the gentle nudging of some dear blogger friends (lovely people, but terrible enablers with their gorgeously photographed blog posts!) and a completely bare beauty cupboard, I thought it was high time to treat myself to some beautiful bath and body care, Bathing Garden-style.

The Bathing Garden, an indie bath, body care and home fragrance vendor popular with the waxie set, does steady, year-round business turning out rotating themed collections of beautifully crafted scented wax and other bath and beauty products.  I have ogled their hoard-worthy wares for years.  Alas, with shipping restricted to the United States, this Canuck has been crap out of luck.  No Bathing Garden for me, eh?

No Bathing Garden, that is, until one of those dear blogger enfriendablers (rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?) allowed me to piggyback on her order, a random enough act of kindness before she also picked up the outrageous shipping as a sweet little pre-birthday treat.  I was so touched.  There are some truly lovely people online.  If your Internet activity centres around Twitter or Reddit or YouTube comment boards, that statement will absolutely not compute, but kindness on the Internet can occasionally happen!

Anyway, enough with feeling all hashtag-blessed. 😉  Onward haul, right?!  Let’s do this thing.

TBG Body 60

Starting off with the body care, you might be asking yourself what a not-a-product person is going to do with so much, uh, product.  Well, I’m going to use it!  Because I’m also one of those “if you’ve got it, use it” kind of people – it irks me when beauty products sit unused in drawers for years.  That’s not going to be a problem with these goodies, though – I’ve already used up nice handfuls of both the sugar scrub and the lotion, and I’ve only had these items in my possession for a few days!  Thank goodness reinforcements are now on the way. 😉

TBG Sugar Scrub Collage

The scrubs I chose were both from the soon-to-be-rotated-out Circus Collection, Poppet’s Coaster Ride (actually a scrub/soap hybrid), a blend of strawberry peach jam, raspberry cake bites and lemon curd (ugh, I want to eat that, it sounds so delicious; it also helps not one bit that the lemon curd side actually looks like lemon curd!) and Clowning Around, a carny-approved blend of toffee apples, cotton candy, popcorn and layer cake.

I’m so in love with these scrubs, they’re beyond gorgeous.  And that’s just the labels!  The scrubs themselves feature a beautifully plush texture – like slightly damp Magic Sand – buff on gently and rinse away cleanly, leaving behind no oily residue.  Best of all, despite sporting such lush, vibrant hues, they don’t stain your hide 12 different shades of turquoise!  Victory!  Clowning Around, the sugar scrub, was $8.00 US for an 8 oz. jar and Poppet’s Coaster Ride, the split parfait, was $12.50 for an 8 oz. jar.

TBG Soap and Lotion Collage

Suds and saturation came in the form of two more picks from the Circus Collection and one from the recently-retired Valentine’s Day Collection, Candy Carousel lotion, a sugary sweet blend of candy floss, apples and cake, Fried Candy Donut whipped soap, a lip-smackingly delectable wildberry bakery blend, and Coconut Crystal Cake whipped soap, which, to paraphrase my friend Julie, smells like a coconut if it didn’t know whether to be dessert or suntan lotion.

I haven’t cracked into the whipped soaps just yet, so I can’t speak to their sudsing power or their scrubbing bubbles, but the texture, which you can see in the above photos, is just divine – thick and rich, like buttercream frosting whipped into stiff peaks (there we go with that “do I eat it or wash with it?” thing again!) Coconut Crystal Cake’s delicate fragrance is unfortunately somewhat obscured by the soap blend used here; Fried Candy Donut’s robust berry bakery holds up much better.  I really wouldn’t kick either out of bed, though.  Each soap was $8.00 per 4 oz. jar.

The light lotion, here in Candy Carousel, looks deceptively thin and maybe even a bit watery.  Looks aren’t everything, though, as beneath the surface lies a powerhouse moisturizer that soaks in quickly and dries down to a soft, touchable finish.  This lotion was $8.50 for a 4 oz. container.

TBG Clamshells Collage

Ah, but did you really think I was going to stop with body care and 799 words? 😉 Not when there’s wax to be had, and certainly not when it’s this beautiful!  Because this, this is what lured me in to The Bathing Garden in the first place – the gorgeous little details on these clamshells, to say nothing of the deliciously complex scent blends.  These feel like such sweet little luxuries, I love them.

From left to right we once again have Poppet’s Coaster Ride, the wax version of the lemonberry curd scent featured in the parfait, Fried Candy Donut, also once again, which smells even more scrumptious in a scented wax, and Raspberry Hearts, a soft raspberry-vanilla that smells exactly like this skate shop I used to frequent as a teenager because that’s where all the cute and floppy boys hung out.  Each clamshell was $3.75.  And worth every penny when they’re as gorgeous as this:

TBG Poppet's Clamshell 132

In addition to their fantastic clamshells, The Bathing Garden also offers a number of their scents in adorable little shapes.  Many of these shapes are pressed into service as super generous samples (more on that shortly) but a number are available for purchase. And in my world, if there’s something donut-shaped on offer, you just don’t say no!

TBG Shaped Tarts 140

From left to right we have two frosted donuts in Fried Candy Donut ($1.25 per .8 oz. tart), a glitter-embedded bundt in one of Julie’s favourite scents, Victorian Midway, a sweet, pumpkin-apple cake blend ($2.00 per 1.5 – 2 oz. tart) and a wee little dipped caramel apple in Nights at the Circus, a dupe of one of my mother’s favourite scents, Bath & Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple ($2.50 per 1.8 oz. tart.)  I will never be able to melt any of these because they are just too darn cute.

TBG Samples Collage

Finally, let’s close this beast of a bathing beauty bonanza out with what we all came here to see – the free stuff! Of which, I don’t believe it can be denied, The Bathing Garden goes way, way above and beyond in providing. They are crazy generous, often providing dozens of samples, in addition to full size products.  And this bounty – save one or two extras my friend snuck into the package – represents just my choice of items!  We split the freebies (and the three full size samples) roughly 50/50.  Perhaps I should upgrade that to wicked generous.  So what freebies did I score?

In the top left-hand corner we have a beautiful little bunny tart studded with glittery hearts in Tea with the Queen of Hearts and a wee chocolate gateau in Eat Me.

In the top right-hand corner we have a pair of bedazzled and undoubtedly surgically enhanced lips in Kiss Me Silly and two swirly, twirly hard candies in Big Top Lemonade (top) and Tunnel of Love (bottom.)

TBG Samples 3 218

In the bottom left-hand corner we have, from left to right, a microbead-embedded Peep in Looking Glass, a speckled robin’s egg in Blackberry Fudge (actually a little gift from Julie), a pale-and-pastel Peep in Keep Your Temper, a grape-hued Easter egg in Lavender Vanilla Custard, an absolutely delectable little mica-dusted egg in Caterpillar Mischief (it came in that cute little chick cup!) and a ruby red Easter egg in Strawberry Nonsense.

Finally, in the bottom right-hand corner we have the body care items I chose, a full size body lotion in Cranberry Fig (I’m hoping the scent on this one blooms a bit, because right now all I smell is lotion) and a sample size scrub in Lemon Cheesecake (another one of those scents and consistencies that is seriously testing my “is this food?” boundaries.)

Phew!  So there we have it, my first Bathing Garden order.  Also, as of this afternoon, not my last – I went back for seconds on a few new favourites, and stocked up on a sweet stack of those wonderfully scrubby scrubs.  I’ll be sure to share that gorgeous bounty with you when it arrives, though hopefully this time in fewer than 1450 words!  And I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my conspicuous consumerism! 😉

Over and Over: A Mini Lush Review

Over and Over Collage 3

So I dropped this Over and Over bath bomb into my tub the other day, and immediately began composing mildly snarky puns in my head about how over and over, Lush has been disappointing me with the longevity – or lack thereof – of their bath bombs.  Of the four or five I’ve tried so far this year, all have been ultra fast fizzers, petering away to nothing in well under a minute.  This bath bomb initially seemed to suffer from the completely opposite problem – after dropping it into my tub, it just kind of floated there, occasionally emitting a weak stream of pale yellow honeycomb bubbles.  For the next two minutes.  I seriously thought the thing was broken.  Or maybe that was just my back as I crouched over the tub with my camera (like a beauty blogging moron, guys!)

Then the orange shell covering the top half of the bath bomb melted away, and the Over and Over ballistic erupted into a cheery, frothy mess of hot pink and sunshine yellow bubbles.  For the next two minutes. Seriously, this bath bomb just kept going and going and going…it was the Energizer Bunny of bath products! Definitely enough to get me to eat my words on the subject of lasting power.  Don’t discount your bath bomb before it’s fizzed, and all that jazz.  It also made for some very, very pretty bath art.

Over and Over Collage 2

Ah, but the smell…it was terrible!  Lush says lime and fennel, I say that closet at your grandparents’ house that smells like expired medicine, old Sears catalogs and unidentifiable cleaning products.  It was pretty nasty.  I actually climbed out of the tub and stepped straight beneath the shower in an attempt to wash off the ick. And given that the Over and Over bath bomb also stained the ever living crap out of the sides of my tub, necessitating a post-soak scrub-down of all ceramic surfaces – and all for the low, low price of $8.95 Canadian – I can’t imagine that this is a bath product I’ll be reaching for again, pretty though it was.

Over and Over Collage 1

Plum Rain: A Mini Lush Review

Plum Rain Collage

With a matchy matchy mani.  But first the suds!  Which would be Lush’s delicious new shower gel, Plum Rain.

I’ve griped on this blog multiple times about the discord I think there is between Lush’s scent descriptions and the actual fragrances themselves.  Nine times out of 10 everything comes out smelling like powdery orange “drink.”  Or a musty floral I uncharitably describe as “granny’s unmentionables drawer.”

Plum Rain blessedly succumbs to neither issue, smelling precisely like its blend of vibrantly-scented ingredients – tart, juicy plums and a zesty, lime-leaning mandarin. Fans of Lush’s Layer Cake soap – I very much was one – will love Plum Rain; they smell quite similar, like cold, clear, freshly-squeezed glasses of juice.

Being a clear shower gel as opposed to one of Lush’s more colour-saturated shower creams, Plum Rain also doesn’t fall prey to the very real problem of staining the crap out of your tub and/or shower and/or skin, despite its deep and dark indigo hue.  It also made my hide feel a little more scrubbed-down than when I use a shower cream, a sensation I actually prefer – all evidence to the contrary, I’m not much of a product person, and I dislike the feeling of slippery, overly-moisturized skin.

Plum Rain Bottle

Ah, but that colour!  Great enough to mimic in this manicure featuring one of Enchanted Polish’s mystery lacquers from January 2015, which is the exact shade of Plum Rain (glittery bits excepted – none of those in here, you glitterphobes.)

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Plum Rain is available online and in Lush shops right now.  This 100 ml bottle, which will last me the better part of the year (told you I’m not much of a product person!) retails for $10.95 Canadian.

April Band of Bloggers

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It’s that time of year again!  As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year.  Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended.  While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of colour.

For April’s Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring cleaning.  Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!

Do you decorate for Spring?

Save some specific Easter decorations that I pull out around the end of March, it’s ALWAYS Spring in my apartment – lots of raspberry red, robin’s egg blue and a pink I like to refer to as “Strawberry Fluff.”  This spattered egg wreath actually sits on a little decorative shelf above the second bedroom bed year-round.  My best friend once commented that I have the perfectly decorated single girl’s apartment – remarkable, as I live with a man, and a pretty messy one at that!

Wreath Pic

Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms?  This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!

I suppose like most people shrugging off the final frosty bits of winter, I start to lean towards fresh, fruity and floral scents for both my person and my home.  After finishing off a bottle of hand soap the other day, I reached into my extras drawer and pulled out two choices – some fruity berry thing, bursting with Springtime freshness, and a beautiful Bath & Body Works scent by the name of Winter White Woods, an unexpected favourite of mine that smells like a still copse of snow-laden birch trees.  Glancing outside, I saw that the actual birch trees surrounding my building were laden with snow themselves, so back into the drawer Winter White Woods went – perhaps best to put a bit of distance between winter and Winter, yes?

Do you participate in the Spring cleaning craze?

Living in a condo apartment building, I thankfully have very few Spring maintenance duties to attend to.  But before the summer spiders arrive and drive me back indoors, I sweep down the balconies, wash the windows and frames, maybe set out a few pots of pansies (which I haven’t in years; my dear, late kitty, Porky, LOVED to nibble on freshly potted pansies – would actually race me to the balcony door so she could rip off their little lion’s heads like the savage predator she was – and I haven’t had the heart to buy any since her passing.  Maybe this year.  Miss you, Pork Chop.)

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Don’t forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

New Scents From MooScents

MooScents 2

MooScents, wax offshoot of indie bath and beauty maker MoonaLisa, has been creating a bit of a stir among some of my blogger friends lately, enough that I thought I should perhaps check out their waxy wares for myself.  And so that’s precisely what I did, checking out a loaded virtual cart stuffed with delicious-sounding goodies when MooScents opened for orders in mid-March.

Bearing a small, yet comprehensive, scent list and a relatively quiet online presence, MooScents doesn’t seem to inspire the same kind of slavish devotion in its fans as some of the other indie wax makers. This means you can actually roll up to their site any old time you’d like, place an order without worrying about everything immediately running out of stock, and then have the beautifully wrapped package in your hot little (international) hands about two weeks later. I suspect that may change, though, as more and more wax lovers come to familiarize themselves with MooScents’ lovely products.  For now, though, it feels like a fun little discovery that’s mine, all mine (and one or two chosen friends.) 😉

But before we get to the really good (smelly) stuff, first some administrative details. Problems?  I got 99 of ’em, but MooScents ain’t one! This truly was one of the most efficient, friendly and easy online retail experiences I’ve ever had.  It was completely unremarkable, actually, save the fact that MooScents (through the e-commerce platform Shopify, which is based out of my hometown) followed up with a confirmation e-mail, my receipt and a thank you note within about 45 seconds of placing my order.  Turnaround time was a very decent three days, with the entire transaction (from Moo to you, if you will, or I guess from Moo to me) taking just 10 days.  That is quite impressive when you’re talking international shipping (which was a little over $14 for seven tarts.)

MooScents 1

My package was also exquisitely wrapped.  It sounds silly to get all rapturous about packing materials, but savaged parcels are the bane of any online shopper’s existence.  Nobody wants to take possession of a box that looks like it’s been mauled by a pack of terriers.  But my MooScents order saw no terriers, arriving in pristine condition, the little clamshells securely nestled among layers of tissue paper, bubble wrap and a smattering of whimsical decorative glitter.  Each clamshell was also wrapped in its own small plastic bag, a wonderful, “Why hasn’t someone thought of this before?” touch that kept the saturated fragrances from intermingling while en route.  This was the first wax package I’ve ever opened that hasn’t immediately assaulted my nose with the mingled fragrance of nine different Lush dupe scent blends. And whether it’s an intentional move or not, I think it’s a deeply considerate one, taking into account a customer’s neighbours AND postal carrier, both of whom bear the headache-inducing brunt of poorly-wrapped wax parcels.  Very nice.

MooScents Bagged LavenderShortbread

The price point on these clamshells, $5.49 for 3.25 ounces, is on the higher end of the spectrum, a small nit to pick when the other details are so luxurious – a gorgeously textured soy/beeswax wax blend, strong, true fragrances and pretty, eye-catching branding and graphic design.  I will absolutely be back for a second order. But first let’s take a look at my, um, first!

Starting off with my favourite, we have Lavender Shortbread, a scrumptious springtime blend of buttery shortbread generously sprinkled with steely lavender buds.  A luscious gourmand treat with no trace of artifice – love it!

MooScents LavenderShortbread

Next we have Blueberry Black Tea, a wicked strong blend of black tea and juicy blueberries.  I don’t get a lot of the blueberry note on cold, such is the nearly overwhelming power of the astringent tea, but we’ll see how she performs once warmed.  This is another true-to-life scent; it smells exactly like a freshly brewed pot of tea.

MooScents BlueberryTea

For my husband, who loves caffeine in all its varied forms, here’s Mocha Marshmallow Fluff, a delicious coffee shop blend of creamy marshmallow fluff, rich, dark chocolate and sweet, life-sustaining coffee.  This is another hella strong, super realistic scent, with the sharpness of the chocolate and the tanginess of the coffee softened by mounds of creamy, dreamy marshmallow fluff.  Mr. Finger Candy approves.

MooScents MochaMarshFluff

At the halfway mark we have an unexpected favourite, The Rumpkin, another gourmand blend of sweet-and-spicy lavender and pumpkin (scents that are supposedly male aphrodisiacs, no?)  There’s something vaguely soap-ish (but not soapy) about this intriguing scent, with its delicious, spicy-sweet herbal notes.  I love the colour of the wax – exactly the sort of pale, mauve-y coral you’d get if you mixed pumpkin and lavender – and I adore The Rumpkin’s label.  Think I’m going to tuck this guy away until Halloween, where it will join…absolutely nothing else, because I have no other Halloween-themed wax!

MooScents TheRumpkin

Next up we have another contender for order MVP, Mango Lime Smoothie, a lush blend of succulent mangoes and zesty limes, splashed with just a hint of coconut rum.  This scent is not as in-your-face as most mango fragrances, but I like its tropical softness very much – another nicely realistic blend.

MooScents MangoLimeSmoothie

Second from last we have another fine chocolate fragrance, this time Chocolate Dipped Shortbread.  Featuring the same beautifully buttery cookie note as the Lavender Shortbread, the chocolate in this sublimely delicious blend is rich and smooth and not the least bit Tootsie Roll-ish.  A chocolate fragrance for chocolate haters.

MooScents ChocoShortbread

Finally, we have Strawberry Sugar Shortcake, a super girly blend of sweet strawberries, fluffy whipped cream and flaky biscuits.  This is probably my least favourite scent; to my nose, it smells quite artificial.  I have noticed that I’m quite off strawberry scents lately; I don’t really seem to care for them from any vendor.  Love to eat the delectable little buggers, but I’m really not much for the fragrance any more, or the artificial interpretation thereof.

MooScents StrawSugarShortcake

So there we have it, order one from a terrific, new-ish vendor that deserves every bit of praise it receives for having its act together.  So many online businesses don’t, or they excel in one area while majorly bombing in another; MooScents doesn’t suffer from this problem, getting it right straight out the gates on both the product and customer service fronts.  I look forward to seeing what other delicious scents they come up with in the future, as I’ll definitely be back.

Kiss Me, I’m Delicious!

Lime Sugar Scrub Collage

Also Irish (or part Irish on my mom’s side) and totally kissable, thanks to this seasonally-hued lime sugar lip scrub I whipped up today.  It’s so criminally easy, it feels ridiculous even including a recipe, but a little instruction is always nice.  And so here’s how to make your own delicious, four-ingredient lip scrub this St. Patrick’s Day, or any other day of the week.

Step 1: Round up your ingredients – white granulated sugar, coconut oil, lime juice and food colouring.

Step 2: Gather any utensils you need for mixing – a small bowl, a silicone spatula and a couple of measuring spoons.

Step 3: Add the ingredients to the bowl in the following proportions and stir well:

7 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
One (and I do mean one; otherwise, you’ll wind up with neon green lips) drop of lime green food colouring.

(A couple of teaspoons of finely grated lime zest would be a lovely, zingy addition to this scrub that wouldn’t affect the consistency one bit; I would have added some had I any!)

Step 4: Spoon into a small plastic container with a lid (or small lidded jars if you’re giving them away, as I mostly am) and enjoy!

Lime Sugar Scrub Pic

Ah, but how does one enjoy?  Simply swipe the scrub onto your mug, buff it about for a bit and then wipe (or wash) it off, before sealing in all that lovely moisture with your favourite lip balm.  And if you accidentally ingest it?  So what?  It’s completely edible, and really rather delicious (although I wouldn’t sit down to a bowl of the stuff, you know?)

So there you have it, super kissable lips just in time for getting your Irish smooch on this St. Patrick’s Day.