Tea Time

Tea Time Main

Afternoon high tea is such a deeply civilized and indulgent custom, isn’t it?  I think it’s all those gold-rimmed cups, raised pinkies and tiny, crustless sandwiches.  Or maybe I just love the idea of stopping mid-day to treat yourself, mull over the events of the coming hours, days and weeks from atop a steaming mug of Earl Grey.  I think we’d all be better off – humanity, that is – if we were required to take a one-hour breather every afternoon. Stranger Things’ Chief Hopper may say that mornings are for coffee and contemplation, but I think afternoons are for tea and reflection.  Also crustless cucumber sandwiches with herbed cream cheese, and a couple of those tomato-and-bacon jobbies with the spicy mayo when you get a moment, thank you.

Sitting down with a bracing cuppa, however, is but one way to enjoy the elegant pleasures of tea time.  There’s also plenty of tea-based bath and beauty products, scented waxes and perfumes, as well as a vast assortment of things that just look like they belong on a tiered tray.  Of the latter, I have much!  It really made me realize how much my taste in decorating is rooted in the flouncy tea room aesthetic – so many vintage florals, and everything’s shaped like a petit four.  I also really love it when my bath and beauty items look – and smell! – like wee pastries.  And so what delicious assortment of treats has recently made an appearance on my tea tray of life? 😉

Tea Time Whole Tea Set

Well, for starters, tea time would be no such thing without a proper tea set, of which I somehow had none.  I didn’t even have a teapot, save the deeply unattractive – but wonderfully functional – diffuser pot I use for my day-to-day tea breaks.  I pulled together this beautiful little set from a stunningly gorgeous display of mix-and-match items at Marie Antoinette, a favourite decor shop in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario.  If you turned me loose in there for just 10 unbidden minutes, I could bankrupt myself and probably everyone else I know.  Is it cheating to say, “I’ll just take the entire store”? Because I would.  Twice!

Tea Time Cups Collage

How wonderful are these sweet little cups with their tiny china spoons?  I’m smitten with the not-quite-matching detailing and the vintage floral design on these pastel pretties.

Tea Time Tea Pot

The nicest surprise of all – because it was actually something I neglected to check while I was in the store – was getting this cute little teapot home and discovering that it houses a convenient built-in diffuser basket. Form and function at its prettiest!

Tea Time Bath Bombs

Another sweet find from Marie Antoinette was this tantalizing trio of mini cupcake-shaped Bath Mallows from UK outfit Bomb Cosmetics in, left to right, Cherry Pie, Lavanille and Little Bo Peep.  These tiny treats are so scrumptious (particularly Little Bo Peep, which smells like cake and candied berries) I had to hold myself back from just snatching up mad handfuls of the delicious little buggers.  Oh, that finances and storage space were of no concern!

Tea Time Wax Scrub Perfume

Speaking of mad, here’s a few items that might show up on the edge of the Hatter’s tub, a playing card-shaped wax tart and tri-layered scrub from The Bathing Garden in Tea Party with Alice, a perplexing blend of strawberries, honeyed tea and clotted cream, and a dainty rollerball perfume from Solstice Scents in Blossom Jam Tea Cakes, a beguiling blend of spring florals, almond tea cakes and sweet icing.  Appropriately enough, I’ve been driven sort of mad by both of these scents, as I really don’t care for either.  Or do I? Nah, I definitely don’t like them.  Or maybe I do?  I’m deeply undecided on both, and it’s really messing with my head.  The Hatter would absolutely approve.

Tea Time Yankee Tarts

None of these wax tarts from Yankee Candle smell like tea, but they remind me of tiny fluted tea cakes nonetheless.  They also look pretty fabulous stacked up so sweetly in that header photo. 🙂

Of these five tarts, Strawberry Lemon Ice is a favourite.  It smells exactly like the strawberry sauce my church would serve atop its annual Strawberry Social shortcake, juicy, sweet and tart.  Cafe Al Fresco is an unexpected favourite – smooth and creamy in a way I think none of us ever expect from Yankee Candle. Honey Lavender Gelato was pretty inoffensive, and you already know my feelings on Pink Sands.  Peeps had no scent whatsoever, unfortunately.  It happens, particularly with Yankee’s lighter scents, and you don’t get lighter than a marshmallow Peep.

Tea Time Tray of Sweets

Finally, we have a couple of cake trays laden with tantalizingly yummy wax treats from The Bathing Garden, including (top tray left to right) Summer Melon & Mint, Guava Berry Gelato, Summer Twilight, Sweet Madi and Happy Un-Birthday and (bottom tray left to right) Bee Smitten, Sweet Madi, Cheshire Cat, Sugared Pie Crust and Mid-Summer Song. Delicious little (non-edible) treats fit for an elegantly refined – and well-earned – tea break.

Sweet Carnival Treats

Circus Header with Banner

I sadly can’t remember the last time I was at a carnival or a fair or an exhibition. Probably the last time the actual Exhibition was in town, a travelling carnival (complete with jerky carnies of questionable sobriety) that made the Canadian rounds every summer until I was well into my 20s.  I loved going to the Ex so much; would actually go multiple times over its two-week run with my parents or my friends – ’twas no better place to people-watch, boy-hunt and play out your very dramatic teenage life than the dusty, sweaty and dirty Exhibition.

When I close my eyes, I can still see the flashing neon lights of the Zipper and the Pirate Ship and the godforsaken Tilt-a-Whirl bathing Lansdowne Park with their jaunty artificial glow.  I can smell back bacon on a bun, perogies, miniature powdered donuts and candy apples.  I can picture the trashcan beside the Himalaya where I nearly threw up in front of a boy I liked very much after we challenged each other to what was in retrospect an ill-advised pre-Himalaya milk-chugging competition (nobody won that day.)  These memories are so potent, I can almost hear local punk act Furnaceface (opening for Bryan Adams, yo) drifting (probably more like blaring) over the long-since-gentrified Lansdowne Park stands (it’s actually still a football stadium, now home to the Ottawa Redblacks, but these days it’s surrounded by far more genteel – and infinitely more boring – fare (Whole Foods, a splashy movie theatre and some chain restaurants that won’t be there in two years’ time.)  *Sigh*…might as well just give in to the Grumpy Old Lady within and admit that I miss the Exhibition of my youth. It was dirty, but it was our dirt (to paraphrase The Goonies, “It’s our grime!  It’s our grime down here!”)

Okay, time to step off the nostalgia bus and focus on the real task at hand here, eyeing-up this fun assortment of carnival-themed wax, snacks and bath and beauty items.  As always when putting together one of these themed posts, I’m amazed at the sheer number and variety of items I was able to pull together from just ’round the apartment. Why do I own so much circus and carnival-themed stuff when I haven’t been to either in over a decade?  Who the heck knows!  But it’s fun and pretty, and I had a blast putting together this little still life photo shoot.  MUCH easier working with cotton candy and sugar scrubs than trying to stuff babies dressed like begonias into flower pots, trust. 😉

Circus Lights Photo 1

First, a bit of carnival-themed wax, including clamshells in The Bathing Garden‘s unexpectedly delightful Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride, and in the little cup, a few thematically-appropriate scents, Rosegirls‘ Cotton Candy Frosting and Waffle Cone and The Bathing Garden’s Tunnel of Love.

Both Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride were favourites from an order I placed with The Bathing Garden earlier this year, and unexpected ones at that, on account of the popcorn note in Clowning Around and the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride – the latter tends to give me headaches and the former is nearly always totally yucky.  But the popcorn note in Clowning Around is completely inoffensive, adding a pleasant, almost grassy tinge to its tri-layered blend of sweet cotton candy, even sweeter candy apples and fragrant kettle corn.  And wonder of wonders, the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride, a dee-licious combination of raspberry cake bites, peach jam and luscious lemon curd, did not give me a headache!  Praise the fragrance gods!  And so I snapped up one of each scent in both the wax and scrub formats.  The sugar scrubs are loooonnnnng gone, having fulfilled their intended purpose in life, but they were too pretty to not share alongside these shots of their stupendously gorgeous clamshell companions.

Circus TBG Wax and Scrub Collage

By now you will have noticed that as ringmistress of this particular blogging circus, I’m focusing on the more pleasantly-scented side of the carnival circuit.  As in the cotton candy and the frozen custard and the caramel apples, and not so much the sweat and the outhouse and the chip grease (and the dust and the pig-on-a-bun and the cheap body spray.)  If that’s your thing, though, Demeter probably has a scent for you!

Circus Lights Photo 2

And if you’ll now direct your attention to the centre ring, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll find a fun assortment of carnival-themed bath and body care, including a festive fragrance from Solstice Scents (Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a beguiling blend of cotton candy, taffy, funnel cakes, crisp Fall air and wood smoke), a candy floss-scented bath bomb from The Goat Milk Soap Store, an Experimenter bath bomb from Lush, and a bottle of one of my favourite indie nail polishes, Candy Lacquer‘s Carnival Games.

Okay, okay, so with its funky old man smell, I’ll concede that The Experimenter is not exactly carnival-inspired.  At least no carnival I ever wish to attend!  But the mad burst of rainbow-hued bubbles it gives off reminds me of the garish, ultra vibrant neon lights of the attractions blinking feverishly in the sultry summer nights.

Circus Experimenter Bath Bomb Photo

And Carnival Games is the gold standard in mega chunky glitter bombs, a bonkers assortment of every shape possible in every colour imaginable.  Bright and whimsical, just like its namesake (though definitely not rigged, and certainly not a waste of money.) 😉

CG Bottle

Finally, we have a mixed bag of carnival-inspired goodies from The Bathing Garden – a bundt-shaped wax tart in Nights at the Circus, a scrumptious pumpkin-apple blend, lotion in Candy Carousel, another “scents of the midway” fragrance, whipped soap in Fried Candy Donut, a favourite of Mr. Finger Candy, dipped candy apple-shaped wax tarts in Victorian Midway (left) and Vintage Circus (right), two blends based off one of my mother’s favourite fragrances, Bath and Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple, another long-since-used sugar scrub in Fried Candy Donut, and a tiny, perfectly-shaped donut wax tart in – once more, with feeling! – Fried Candy Donut.

Circus Lights Photo 3

And with that, dear audience, it’s time to draw this carnival to a close – dismantle the Zipper, pack away the flammable prizes, turn off the cotton candy…blowers?  Sure, we’ll go with blowers.  See you out there in the circus of life, friends. 🙂

The Secret Bathing Garden: A Haul Post

TBG Main Photo

Or not-so-secret, as here it is, in all its deliciously-scented glory. 🙂

So it would appear that my previous protestations that I am not a beauty product person were weak efforts made in total vain, because you guys, look at all the pretty beauty products!  I bought so much!  Not one demonstrable ounce of willpower on display, not a one.  Birthday mad money very well spent.

This is the part where I’m supposed to scold myself for glorifying capitalism and mindless retail expenditures. Except it wasn’t mindless!  For that you’ll have to check out this fun story of the time I narcotics-shopped my way into a $200 bounty of shimmery unicorn makeup. 😉

But regardless of where you stand on the “My, that was a silly purchase” spectrum, I think we can all agree that these Bathing Garden items, a lovely treat facilitated by one of my sweet online friends, are absolutely beautiful and well-deserving of a SHOWING OF THE STUFF.  So let’s show it!

TBG Scrubs Collage

First up, we have four lovely sugar scrubs in, from left to right, Sugared Pie Crust, Tea Party with Alice, Fried Candy Donut and Parisian Strawberry Fields.  Shannon, the mistress of all things Bathing Garden, makes the most gorgeous scrubs – they’re finely textured, beautifully scented and not too oily, perfect for everyday use.  I tore through the two scrubs I purchased some months ago with great haste – not too surprising given that I used them (and continue to use them) to buff my tired tootsies every day as a nice little post-workout treat.  I’m really the sweetest smelling, most well-exfoliated lass in the land. 🙂  These 8 oz. scrubs were $9.00 US each.

TBG Pie Time

Next up, I spy with my little eye something that is…pie!  Regrettably non-edible, but that may be a blessing in disguise when you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, and also when the items in question smell as delicious as this bundle of Sugared Pie Crust sweets.  Not to get all rapturous on you or anything, but these items – the sugar scrub we saw before, a light lotion, a wax clamshell and that adorable little lattice-topped pie slice – smell like sex on stilts.  Sugared Pie Crust, you incredible bakery beast, where have you been all my life?!

Here’s the part where I killjoy all over your piqued interest by noting that this scent is no longer available. Offered as part of The Bathing Garden’s monthly featured scent bundle, Sugared Pie Crust was a bit of a one-and-done (or a one-and-done…for now; these popular scents tend to make annual reappearances.)  The items in each bundle vary slightly from month to month (May’s featured the most adorable little popsicle-shaped wax tarts and a lush whipped soap) but this particular assortment of goodies retailed for $18.50.

TBG Tea Collage

Then following pie time comes tea time – a playing card-shaped wax tart and a tri-layered sugar scrub in Tea Party with Alice, a honeyed tea, clotted cream and strawberry jam fragrance.  Both items are beautiful (even the scrub, with its sadly melted rosebud embellishment) but I’m quite undecided on the scent.  To my nose, the honeyed cream and tea layers combine to create something unpleasantly sour and astringent – it’s an odd combination somewhat redeemed by the rich strawberry jam scent.  The sugar scrub, which we saw above with its yummy sisters, was $9.00, and the gorgeous tri-layered tart, sprinkled with beautiful eye-catching embellishments, was $3.00.

And since no Bathing Garden order would be complete without at least a few clamshells, I picked up some of those.  Plus, you know, nine or 10 others. 😉  These clamshells were $3.75 each.

TBG Clamshells 1 LabelBare Collage

Representing Team Brown, we have Fried Candy Donut, a favourite wildberry donut scent, Eat Me, a complex, beguiling blend of what I swear is chocolate and wood shavings, and that glorious Sugared Pie Crust fragrance, on whose many delicious-smelling qualities I have already expounded.

TBG Clamshells 2 LabelBare Collage

From the recently-retired Spring Collection, we have Sweet Green, a bracingly strong blend of mint, clover and other grassy things, Pomegranate Lime Sweet Tarte, a delightfully yummy fragrance that smells exactly like all four of those descriptors, and Spring Fling, a mild blend of citrus and cupcakes.

TBG Clamshells 3 LabelBare Collage

Next, we have three delicious new favourites, Cheshire Cat, a fun and fruity combination of lemon, raspberry and vanilla, Happy Un-Birthday, a not-so-basic blend of yellow cake topped with mounds of cotton candy icing, and Parisian Strawberry Fields, a super fresh and sweet-tart blend of strawberries and mangoes. Fantastic, all!

TBG Clamshells 4 LabelBare Collage

Finally, we have my three favourite clamshells of this order, both in terms of fragrance and aesthetics, Clowning Around, an I-shouldn’t-like-this blend of popcorn, candy apples and cotton candy, Knave of Hearts, a candy sweet blend of fresh strawberries and brown sugar coconut cake, and Caterpillar Mischief, a sweet and creamy combination of mild coconut cream and apricot. Mushroom-induced fissure notwithstanding, just look at this gorgeous tart!  It’s stupendously beautiful, even a tiny wee bit roughed-up. Tiny wax works of art.

Caterpillar Mischief

Finally-finally, we come to my favourite part of any Bathing Garden order, the free samples and fun little extras.  I suspect I am not alone in my outright awe of Shannon’s generosity, which is second to none – at least one full size item of her choice comes with any order over $90.00, and that’s in addition to the many, many, many sample size items that routinely come with each order as delightful little enablers. 😉

As this order was a little bit mine and a little bit my friend’s, we split the freebies roughly 50/50.  There were, however, a number of scents that simply didn’t speak to me – that happens when 3/4 of the scents you like have the word “cookie” somewhere in their name.  So I left those in the possession of my friend, who I know will sniff and suss out their hidden depths and glories far better than I.  So this bounty, which includes one of the full size sugar scrubs we saw before, represents just my half of the extras, and then just a fraction of those (wow, seriously, so many unintentional fractions in that last paragraph!)

TBG Freebies

Generously-provided freebies, clockwise from left to right, include a full size sugar scrub in Parisian Strawberry Fields, a small tri-layered bundt in Cheshire Cat, a sample size sugar scrub in Knave of Hearts (ooh, this one is so delicious in a scrub, and that red velvet hue is to die for!), a small blue and purple bundt in Summer Twilight, a calming berry-lavender blend, a small green rosette in Summer Melon and Mint, a nose-tinglingly yummy combination of watery melons and mint, a large yellow coin in Bee Smitten, a light, honeyed floral, a small yellow rosette in Happy Un-Birthday, a small pink star in Guava Berry Gelato, a popular blend of creamy vanillas and sweet berries, a large pink coin in Sweet Madi, which regrettably smells a bit like plastic disposable diapers (which is pretty rank, but I suppose you can’t win ’em all) and a small blue rosette in Mid-Summer Song, which smells like a memory from my past that I can’t quite put my finger on right now, but which will undoubtedly come to me in the dead of night or some other thoroughly inconvenient moment.

So there we have it, another lovely Bathing Garden order that more than tickles my fancy – it also exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves my fancy smelling just divine, thank you! Secret no more. 😉

Frenching Beetlejuice: A Then and Now Post

Beetlejuice 1

Lordy, that’s a BAD title!  Almost as bad as the nails that went along with it, a messy, dark and smudgy effort not remotely befitting one of my all time favourite movies.  And so I took another stab at turnin’ on the (Beetle)juice to see what shakes loose, tidying and brightening up this black and white striped French mani inspired by the sandworms of Saturn.

Beetlejuice 2

Along for the ride to the Neitherworld is a clamshell of Beetlejuice-inspired scented wax from Super Tarts, a fun and thoughtful gift from one of my cool online friends, Jay of The Candle Enthusiast.  Do I think Beetlejuice smells like the very yummy combination of apple butter, iced oatmeal cookies and buttermilk pancakes that Super Tarts suggests? Probably not, although I do appreciate that they didn’t go for heavy realism with this inspired-by scent – I imagine that Beetlejuice smells pretty rank.  Dude doesn’t look like he bathes very often.  I mean, he does have moss growing on his skin.  Never a good sign. 😉

Spring Scents: Another Rosegirls Haul

Rosegirls Haulage

This much-anticipated order showed up on my doorstep at pretty much the exact moment I succumbed to a (now) week-long bout of illness that has robbed me of both my sense of taste and smell, so I can’t say it’s made much of an impression on me beyond, “Hey, look at this stuff that arrived.”  Lots of stating-of-the-obvious when I’m not feeling well.

But for those still curious as to my fever-induced thoughts on these Rosegirls goodies, here they are!

RG Spring Collage

In the adorable little two-pack muffin shapes ($7.00 US), I chose Rosegirls Garden, Raspberry Sauce and Vanilla Bean Noel, a blend created by my friend Julie of The Redolent Mermaid during one of Rosegirls’ last rounds of custom orders.  This was a real wildcard pick for me because I don’t generally care for floral scents, particularly rose scents, but I adore Rosegirls’ Raspberry Sauce, a super tart berry that overpowers just about everything it touches, and I’m warming up on the subject of Bath & Body Works’ ubiquitous Vanilla Bean Noel. And surprisingly, I really like this blend!  I especially like the way each of the three notes is present in equal measure, despite my belief that the Raspberry Sauce would blight any (not-the-least-bit) icky rose notes from the face of the earth.  It reminds me of a delicate, rosewater-infused pastry from a Middle Eastern bakery. Very nice, Julie!

Rosegirls Garden Raspberry Sauce Vanilla Bean Noel

The other scent I chose in the muffins was Cookie Dough, Waffle Cone and Wackadoodle (oh, those names) which smells exactly like the air in an ice cream shop – all warm sugars and unidentifiably delightful cookie smells.  It’s so delicious, I want to eat it (always a sure sign that it smells great, no?)

Cookie Dough Wackadoodle

There were a number of scents offered this go-round in half pies, but none really spoke to me, and so I satisfied myself with these smaller chunk bags instead ($10.50 for roughly 11 oz. of wax.)

Starting off with one of my favourite Rosegirls scents, I nabbed two bags of Hotline Bling, a gorgeous, parrot-hued blend of Watermelon Slush, Raspberry Sauce, Lemon Biscotti and Cotton Candy Frosting.  Sounds like a godawful mess, smells like a fruity dream! This is about as close to a punchy scent as I like to get (seeing as actual punchy scents – anything that could be described as “drink,” really – give me terrible headaches.)

Hotline Bling

Another favourite from this order is Cotton Candy Frosting Smoothie, a simple, comforting blend of Cotton Candy Frosting and Marshmallow Smoothie.  Pillowy, creamy dreamy cotton candy – sounds delicious, smells even better.

Cotton Candy Frosting Smoothie

Finally, we have the dud, because there has to be one in every order.  It’s Newton’s First Law of Wax.  The misfire would be Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, an ambitious blend of Strawberry Raspberry Guava, Mango Sorbet and Lollipops.  Being a sucker for all things Mango Sorbet, I added this guy to my cart, forgetting that that lollipop note shares quite a lot in common with the headache-inducing punch note I spoke about before.  As it’s the most prominent note in this blend, I’ll be taking a pass.  Eh, you can’t win ’em all, even if you win most of ’em. 😉

Sunshine Rainbow and Lollipops

Treating Myself: A Bathing Garden Haul

TBG Main Order Photo 190

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! 😉

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.