Lush Oxford Street Tour Highlights

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Hello from London town! If you’ve been following my tweets and Instagram posts, you’ll have noticed that I’ve spent the last few days away from home and hanging out in London. It’s been lovely as always to spend some time in one of my favourite cities and I’ll post a full recap of my trip next week!

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I couldn’t possibly let a visit to London slip past without going to check out Lush Oxford Street – one of the company’s newest locations and a hot topic amongst bloggers and fans of the cruelty-free brand. “I hear it has six floors”, “it’s got a spa!”, “there are Oompa Loompas in there” – the rumours seemed endless.

I’ve never been a fan of rumours, so I couldn’t wait to check out the store for myself.

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The lovely team at Lush wanted to make sure I took in every nook and cranny of their fantastic flagship branch, and kindly sorted me out with a fun-filled tour. I can’t wait to share the juicy details with you today!

I don’t want to describe every inch of the store because I want to leave a few surprises for you guys if you decide to pay them a visit yourself (and I hope you do!). Instead, I wanted to give an overview of my experience and a few product highlights…

One of the first things that anyone walking into Lush Oxford Street will notice is the sheer size of the store. It’s main floor is massive and feels alive with the buzz of energy, positive vibes and excitement – and that’s from both customers and staff. The store feels like the Disneyland of the bath and body world – and we all know how I feel about Disneyland, right?

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Something else to bear in mind is that Lush Oxford Street is home to several exclusive products that you can’t get anywhere else – from special soap to showder (that’s powder that lathers up in your shower!).

My tour guide, smiling Lush guru – and owner of the best eyebrows EVER –  Akter, started our journey on the main floor and kicked us off with hand & foot care, deodorant and moisturisers.

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One of the hero products that we looked at in this section of the store was the Salted Coconut hand scrub, which feels and smells gorgeous. It works really well on its own or when used in harmony with your favourite hand cream (I swear by Lemony Flutter).

Let me also tell you about Elbow Grease – a light, multi-purpose moisturiser that has the unique ability to sharpen the appearance of tattoos. Having had a play around this one, I can honestly say it is a total game changer! I love how Lush constantly think outside the box, and this is a great example of their innovation.

We witnessed a LOT more of that in the next area of the store, too…

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We moved on to haircare, which is something Lush have really knocking it out of the park with in recent years. From solid shampoos designed for every hair woe imaginable (including the rather magical Odango), to a wall of henna blocks – I thought I’d seen it all, until Akter walked me through the amazing hair dressings and treatments available. For that salon-pampered feel at home, I can’t wait to try Lush Oxford Street’s hot oil masks – which at only £6.50 a pop can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks after mixing.

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Mr Dandy’s Hair Candy and Hair Custard smell as yummy as they sound and are just the trick for adding volume and moisture to your tresses!

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It’s all very well talking about hair washing and grooming but Lush Oxford Street also have a barber and styling section to take things to the next level – perfect for keeping locks coiffed and beards looking sharp. I loved the vintage-style barber’s chair and slick tiling.

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Next up, facial skincare. As well as boasting all of the usual fresh face masks for every skin type, a few noteworthy exclusives to the store include the bubblegum blue Don’t Look At Me, and energising Cup O’ Coffee. As always, the masks are kept on ice with plenty of fresh ingredients and look good enough to eat!

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One of the things that always keeps me coming back to Lush again and again is their soaps – made in huge moulds and cut into slices like cake. Some of them even smell like cake too! Cold pressed soaps such as Lush Mechanic make sure that a little goes a LONG way and a rainbow of other soaps like Layer Cake (which even looks like a rainbow!), Bertie and Apandapand would brighten up any bathroom.

I couldn’t stop sniffing Sea Salted Caramel (obviously!) and Maypole – which smelled and resembled a stick of rock from the seaside! Yum!

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We hit the showers next – well, the products at least – and this is an area where Lush Oxford Street really showcase how innovative the brand is. With boxes of exclusive ‘showder’ stacked up like kawaii detergent, and sheets of soap paper (yes, really!) bursting with natural juices and beautifying oils, is it any wonder I started to feel like I’d stepped into Willy Wonka’s factory? A world of pure imagination indeed!

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My excitement surrounding the make-up section had just about reached its peak when I was finally let loose! I have a lot of love for Lush’s make-up range, and already swear by their Passionate Emotional Brilliance liquid lipstick as my go-to shade – but a gal can never have too many options, right?

I swatched everything from peacock-hued Eye Jewels to lipstick blocks designed to help you create your new signature shade. I picked out a new lipstick to try – it’s called Wonder and I think we’re going to be very happy together! You can also expect mascara, brow crayons, lip tints and much more.

The thing that stood out most was the high-quality and great pigmentation from each of the products, making them make-up bag essentials in my book!

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Moving downstairs, we escaped the bustling crowds of the main floor entering into Lush Oxford Street’s Spa and Gorilla Perfume Galleries. Greeted by the sweet, spicy scent of Lush’s massage bars and an overwhelming feeling of calm – this floor is completely different to the lively and interactive one we’d just visited.

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I don’t want to give away what exactly you’ll find down here, but rest assured every sense will be tingling and you’ll gain a deeper insight into what inspires Lush’s famous Gorilla perfume collection. Here’s a sneaky peek!

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Like Charlie Bucket, we boarded the glass elevator for a trip that took us to the top floor – and possibly my favourite part of the whole store! The doors slid open and I stepped into a technicoloured dreamland of bath, gifts and Fun (the playdoh-esque multi-purpose soap that makes you feel like a big kid in the tub!).

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After seeing Lush’s amazing HD video of The Experimenter, I was super excited to play with one myself! I got to try a few demonstrations using The Experimenter, Frozen and Intergalactic bath bombs and they were all kinds of amazing in the basins alone. I can’t wait to use them in my own bath though, because we all know there is NOTHING like a Lush bath, right?

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My top bubble bar picks include Big Bang, Granny Takes a Dip and Watermelon – guaranteeing the frothiest, most colourful baths around.

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Next, I was utterly enchanted by bath oils, which looked like tiny bath bombs and melt into your bathwater to create a silky, luxurious experience. These cuties were inspired by the divine chocolate truffles of Brick Lane’s Dark Sugars. With names like Johnny Appleseed, Lime Pastille and Delight you just might need to resist popping them in your mouth – much better popping them in the bath I reckon!

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I am a huge fan of Lush’s Snow Fairy scent (from their Christmas range) and often joke that it’s like crack for girls (because it IS!), so it was no surprise that I was all over the adorable Flamingo bath wands as they smell really similar. Plus, y’know…they look like flamingos!

This brought our happy little tour to an end and I couldn’t believe it! In true Lush tradition, I left the store smelling like candy and carrying a little more glitter than usual. I’d say that’s a win-win situation, wouldn’t you?

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I may not have spotted any Oompa Loompas, but one thing’s for sure – touring Lush Oxford Street was an awesome treat and learning about how this exciting brand is continuing to push the envelope with its innovative products just makes me admire them even more.

If you’re a London local, or just visiting like me, be sure to put Lush Oxford Street on your must-visit list!

Are you a Lush fan? Have you ever visited Lush Oxford Street – and if you have, did you feel like Charlie Bucket?

With fresh, natural love…

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A huge thank you to the lovely team at Lush for arranging this amazing day and a special thank you to my tour guide at Oxford Street, Akter! 

 

Global Generation Turns 10 – Let’s Dance!

Global Generation 5On a recent Saturday evening, I found myself in a secret green space, in the centre of London, eating delicious fresh produce and dancing with strangers. It was pretty much the complete opposite of how I’d spent my previous night, a totally new kind of special.

I was in Global Generation’s Skip Garden, an area that was once intended as a pop-up organic garden but has gained so much love from Londoners that it’s stayed a bit longer. I first learned about this little oasis after checking it out on Kylie’s blog, and learning all about the food, people and ethos behind Global Generation. When I heard about their 10th birthday celebrations, which were taking place while I was going to be in the city, it was perfect timing. What would it be like? Can there really be something so serene in such a busy location? Will they serve prawn cocktail Skips? I was most certainly intrigued and keen to finally check out Skip Garden myself.

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One thing’s for sure – when they call this place a secret garden, they aren’t kidding! After about twenty minutes of wandering around Kings Cross with Kylie and Erica (“but Google Maps says it’s right HERE! Where is it?”) we eventually followed our ears (and noses) and found it!

With a cute campfire (marshmallow roasting was actively encouraged!), home-made bunting for days and a live folk band setting up, we had time to explore the site – which is like a community garden, allotment and outdoor cafe all rolled into one. The amazing thing about Skip Garden is that it’s always developing – thanks to the input of local volunteers. They invite everyone to take part in shaping what the next steps are, and even as a first-time visitor I was made to feel VERY welcome indeed with a hearty spread of food and a fizzy rhubarb and honey concoction to sip on.

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Every part of the garden has been designed with sustainable living in mind, from the plants growing in colourful tins, the food being produced on-site (literally – they even have their own bees creating the honey, honey!) to the upcycled wooden furniture.

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After having some dinner – special mention to the to-die-for focaccia bread, spiced carrot dip (no Skips, but that’s OK!) – and blethering with my girls in the soft evening light, it was time to take part in a little bit of dancing, courtesy of Ceilidh Liberation Front who were raring to go! I hadn’t really done much Ceilidh dancing since I was in high school (where we had a Ceilidh every Christmas), but it turns out its a bit like riding a bike – you never really forget the steps! Traditional dancing was mixed with other styles, and – somehow – it worked!

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The atmosphere was amazing – gentle, friendly and encouraging. I expected to see at least a small group of people that didn’t want to take part in the dancing (as you normally do at any sort of event) sloping off to the side, but nope! This 80-strong jolly crowd were up for anything and happy to laugh at themselves for getting it a bit wrong, and hi-five each other when they had the routine licked. There were young people, older people, trendy guys and hippy chicks – all getting into the spirit of things.  “Ladies!” the band leader called out, “what does a turnip sound like? Throw out your arms and release that energy” – I swear I’m not making this up! It was, as I’m sure you’ll have guessed by now, totally unlike any other Saturday night out, utterly bonkers and 100% awesome.

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Mid-way through my umpteenth twirl of the evening I looked up. Beyond the garden, a mere few metres away I could see that we were still surrounded by concrete, as huge, grey towers loomed over. Even though I could see how close they were, they seemed a million miles away from this calm, rustic Eden.

As the three of us made our way out of the Skip Garden and into the London night, we couldn’t stop grinning. Did all that really just happen? I looked over my shoulder and could still see the faint glow of the fairy lights, and with light laughter and singing in the distance behind us, I knew that it had.

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Thanks again to Global Generation and the Ceilidh Liberation Front for showing us an evening to remember. If you’re ever in the centre of London and in need of some downtime from the hustle and bustle (and a damn tasty meal to boot!) be sure to check out Skip Garden!

With carrot dip and Ceilidh twirls,

Miss West End Girl x

Scrapbook: London Calling

cAt the start of the year I posted about plans and goals to make 2014 awesome. I love seeing new places, so I thought it might be fun to document everything, from the little trips to the far-flung holidays and all the experiences in between. I love putting together photo albums, silly collages and scrapbooks (blame this on watching far too many programmes like Art Attack as a child!) so Scrapbook is a feature where I can share photo diaries and little memories.

Earlier this month, Gary and I spent a few days in London. It went by in a blur – as most fun trips tend to! Luckily I had my faithful camera, Daphne, by my side and managed to snap a few photos while we were out and about. Here’s my London Calling scrapbook…

aOn our first day I got to spend some babe time with my “glitter soulmate”, Erica! This adorable chica took me for coffee in pink cups, at a cafe that had Prince playing on the stereo! Perfection! b

Erica also helped us to find Bodeans, where Gary and I had one of THE best barbecue meals outside of the US…

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dIt was gloriously sunny, so one day we took a stroll over to the British Museum. With an impressive collection sprawling over several floors, it’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in London!

fLiberty! I adore this iconic retailer and couldn’t resist popping in for a wander around…

gLater that day, I was off to Lady Dinah’s for a kitty date – wearing my finest cat ears (of course!). I’ve blogged all about my trip to London’s first cat cafe here!

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With a Blogcadette reunion brunch to get ready for the next day, I booked an appointment at every London pin-up’s favourite salon, Rockalily Cuts. Since we were staying in Shoreditch, it was just a short walk away from our hotel. I loved the giggly, girly vibe inside the salon!

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I MET A STRANGE LADY…

The Breakfast Club is hands down my favourite place to get a massive brunch. With its eclectic decor, a menu to die for and an old-school playlist, it’s always my go-to place to recharge and get ready for a busy day!

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It wouldn’t be a trip to London without a little shopping, right?! I managed to track down my DREAM SHOES at Irregular Choice and couldn’t wait to show them off!

I always have the best time in London, and this trip was no exception! Being able to meet with some of my favourite ladies, do a little shopping / exploring and spend some much-needed downtime with Gary was a welcome treat! I’m planning my next trip already.

I hope you enjoyed my London Scrapbook! Do you have any favourite London haunts?

Mind the gap, please…

Miss West End Girl x