The BathoryThe Bathory

The Bathory

Ever since the nights have drawn in and the mercury has dipped my evening routine has consisted of getting home as fast as the number 76 bus allows, demobbing whilst simultaneously saying hello to the cat, and diving face-first into a steaming hot bath, ideally to surface with my pyjamas ready and waiting for me on the radiator. Rock and roll people, rock n roll! Truthfully my nightly soaks in the tub have been a necessary antidote to a life that’s recently felt like the crazy-ometer has been turned up to maximum and besides red wine, chocolate and Pinterest – ideally indulged in all at the same time – I find a long, luxurious bath is my favourite way to soothe away a whole week’s worth of troubles and head wobbles.

What’s been making my nightly baths all the more indulgent have been these delicious bath salts from The Bathory. Aptly entitled Soothe, they’ve been doing exactly what they say on their exquisite and infinitely reusable violet glass jar. The Bathory offer a customisable and bespoke bathing experience via their charming website where you design your soak based on how you want to feel when you step out of the tub; be it relaxed, revived, happy, sexy, confident, focused or inspired. First you select your mineral salt-mix, next you cherry-pick from a selection of 10 different essential oils with nicknames like ‘the spicy one’, ‘the zingy one’ and ‘the exotic one’ which are combined to create your very own personalised blend that arrives in some pretty fantastic packaging.

The Bathory

The Bathory

The Bathory

All the ingredients are natural, organic and sustainably sourced, with each product is hand-blended to order and I plumped for a fragrant mix of bergamot, lavender and chamomile to relax, calm and uplift me with a mineral base of hydrating oatmeal, honey and buttermilk. The Bathory promises the best bath of your life and sinking beneath billowing puffs of scented steam I have to say, it was as close to bathing nirvana as I’ve ever reached! A Bathory Bath Soak costs £18 plus £3 P&P and each bottle is meant to be used over the course of three baths, however despite being really generous with my bath salt distribution I managed to eke out four utterly gorgeous baths, making for a pretty perfect Christmas present for anyone you know who deserves a little bit of indulgence.

I was lucky enough to have been sent a personalised Bath Soak From The Bathory to review and aid and abet my nightly routine bath times. Visit thebathory.com to get yours!

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All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

Last Saturday morning was the first time it had felt cool enough to warrant wearing my woollen camel coat and man was I thrilled! I’ve actually been a little at odds with this freakishly warm Indian Summer we’ve had of late (I know, I know what a grumbler hey!) and so being able to wrap up and feel cosy was an absolute joy; the sun was shining, the air was crisp and the leaves were on the turn from glorious green to the richer colour palette of russets and golds that signal that Autumn’s a-coming. It was exquisite.

Fast-forward five days to Friday and it’s a staggeringly sweltering 21c in London and despite being someone who firmly favours warmer weather, I have to confess I didn’t enjoy it all that much. Like I say I love Spring and Summer but by the time Autumn rolls around I feel very much ready for it, I welcome it in fact. It’s one of my very favourite seasons and I’ve waxed lyrical about just why before, so I’ve felt a little cheated of late.

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

Last Saturday’s Autumnal interlude was the perfect excuse to bust out my favourite new Deichmann Chelsea boots and go and kick some leaves in Bermondsey and take a trip to Maltby Street Market, the surrounding Wharf buildings and Tower Bridge. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pair of Chelsea boots for a long while now and these tick every box for me; the leather is hard-wearing without being stiff and even after one wear they were so comfortable they’d moulded to my feet. Comfort is especially important to me because I suffer with quite wide feet and so often find new shoes rub painfully but these did no such thing. Dreamboat. I also got to wear my Volcom fedora for the first time since I’d purchased it from The Stylist’s Rail, and paired with an animal print polo neck from Warehouse I felt like I was not only just dressed for Autumn, but dressed as Autumn. Which may actually be my new tactic …. dress as the seasons and will them to turn. Here’s hoping as I’m more than ready to start seeking out log fires, mainlining hot chocolate, wearing snuggly socks, swaddling myself in knitwear and curling up on the sofa, all in the name of the new season of course!

Volcom Hat – Vintage coat – Warehouse top – Vintage belt – BDG jeans from Urban OutfittersDeichmann Chelsea Boots – Vintage bag & faux-fur foxtail from ebay 

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

All The Leaves Are Brown

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Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

You know when you visit somewhere so incredible that even whilst you’re still there you’re already planning on how and when you can make a return visit? Well that’s exactly how I felt when I paid Maltby Street Market a visit at the weekend. From *those* custard-filled doughnuts from St John Bakery – which when I see one on Instagram I instantly experience deep pangs of lust for (I’m looking at you Clerkenwell Boy!) – to a Reuben sandwich from Monty’s Deli oozing with melted cheese and dripping Russian sauce, Maltby Street Market had me hooked. Tucked away behind the railway arches of Rope Walk in Bermondsey, each railway arch is occupied by a different eatery, bakery, grocery or winery that you can shop, eat and drink from at your leisure. I’m pretty sure I walked round the entire time with a massive grin on my (most likely sugar-encrusted and greasy from pastrami) face, repetitively saying between mouthfuls of food, “oh maaaaaa gerrrrrrrd this place is AAAAAHMAYYYYYYZING!” Because really, it truly is.

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Plumdiddlyumcious_October14_120

With bunting zig-zagging overhead, and stalls and pop-up restaurants from some of the best artisanal producers, brewers, growers and makers, Malty Street Market has a lovely village-fete feel and a deliciously eclectic vibe. However unlike Borough Market, it doesn’t get elbows-in-the-ribs busy which is an absolute Godsend! A foodies paradise, it’s very much set up for you to arrive at breakfast, get in the short queue for one of those aforementioned doughnuts (and get there quick as they sell out come midday!) grab a creamy flat white from Craft Coffee, amble and eat your way through the market and then leave around tea-time two craft beers from the Modern Beer Co and several cocktails later, completely sozzled and with a belly-full of food and drink. Which is pretty much exactly what we did!

Maltby Street Market

 

Maltby Street Market

Plumdiddlyumcious_October14_086

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

My particular favourite discoveries were Newton and Pott and their exquisite handmade chutneys and jams – the Rose and Raspberry jam is a new obsession of mine, meeting Ric at the Modern Beer Bar and seeing in 11:30am with a Chamomile and Hibiscus ale and declaring it “a great breakfast beer”, Little Bird Gin’s pop-up gin palace in a tiling shop and those Rose Collins cocktails, and visiting Lassco vintage antiques to marvel at their collection of doorknobs and French soaps. Maltby Street Market is now very definitely my favourite London Market (apologies to Netil, Broadway and Borough) and quite possibly my new favourite place in London I adored it so much. The repeat visit is now firmly in the calendar and I’m already counting down to it!

You can find out more about Maltby Street Market’s stallholders from www.maltby.st


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Olive Cooper

Olive Cooper

It’s a true fact of life that no matter what size your handbag is it’s never quite big enough for your daily requirements. You always need an extra ‘overflow bag’ (usually some kind of freebie canvas tote) for your gym kit, laptop, iPad, chargers, packed lunch and packed lunch receptacles, camera, a change of shoes, the free magazine you picked up at the tube station that for some reason just won’t for into your normal handbag, plus all manner of assorted vitally necessary things. It’s really no wonder I suffer from aching shoulders! I often wish I could own a Mary Poppins-esque bottomless number to cart around the extra luggage that for some reason I just need.

However Olive Cooper may have just come to my rescue. Borne out of the very same frustration – that one bag is never quite enough – Olivia Martyn AKA Olive Cooper has skilfully created a pair of bags that seamlessly fit together and subtly detach. For your morning commute you’d use the bags as a pair and take everything plus the kitchen sink with you in just the one bag. Then in the evening separate them, taking out the smaller of the two bags and go from desk to dinner out in no time at all, with not a canvas tote in sight!

Each piece has been designed with much love and attention to detail, handmade by genuine leather craftsman here in England and the range comes in exquisite nubuck leathers, sumptuous suedes and classic wools in a colour palette of caramels, olives and staple blacks. This Autumn/Winter marks their first collection with an official launch next month but you can currently buy a selection of pieces from their website here with prices starting at £190. I thank-you Olive Cooper for now no longer shall I be referred to as The Bag Lady.

www.olivecooper.com 

Olive Cooper

Olive Cooper

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The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

Do you know who makes your cosmetics? I’m betting that unless you shop at Lush the answer is probably no. However if you do, then you’ll be on first-name terms. This is because Lush affix a ‘Made By’ sticker onto all their hand-made products with the name of just who made your body lotion or face cream. It’s a playful and fun way of proving traceability and adds personality, something that comes across in every step of Lush’s manufacturing process. I recently got to experience this firsthand as I was invited to see exactly what goes on behind-the-scenes at their HQ in Poole. Joined by Simon from The Very Simon G, Neil from The Science of Appearance and Joe from What’s He Wearing we were taken on a guided no-holds-barred-ask-us-anything tour by the effervescent Olivia and got to find out some of Lush’s top secrets*

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The factories have a fantastically magical and Willy-Wonka feel to them and unsurprisingly, the first thing I noticed when arriving was the smell; a heady and intoxicating mix of that signature Lush scent blended with punchy whiffs of lemon zest, mint and cinnamon, it’s eye-wateringly strong! Being completely honest I really had no idea of the sheer scale of Lush – they have 900 stores worldwide and the factories I visited in Poole supply 40 countries outside of the UK – nor that literally everything is handmade on the premises and in mind-bogglingly vast quantities. Bath bombs are made by the bucket-load and ingredients shovelled by spades, soaps are made in enormous bubbling scented vats in the aptyly-titled ‘Bubbly Bits’ factory, and daily deliveries of fresh fruit arrive to be housed in ginormous walk-in fridges piled ceiling-high with pallets of papayas, crates of oranges and punnets of strawberries. As freshness is such an integral part of what they do even the salt water used in one of my favourite products (the Sea Spray) is delivered by hand from a local fisherman from Poole, who’s fondly referred to as Fisherman Pete and I’m told he’s quite the catch – ‘scuse the bad pun!

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

When I asked a few of the Lush team what their favourite products were everyone had a different answer, my favourite though was from Dave The Dairy Manager, a towering burly bloke he said that he loves the Happy Happy Joy Joy hair conditioner “because I can’t stop stroking my hair afterwards and when I play footie the team always pinch it from me!”

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

Along with making bath bombs, pumping shampoo into bottles, syringing makeup into glass vials and labelling solid bars of sunblock, we got to make shower gel from scratch in the Lush Kitchen. All the products in the The Lush Kitchen are made in smaller batches and it’s also where Lush interact with their dedicated fans – the Lushies –hosting Google hangouts and Twitter Q&As and even re-issuing much-adored limited editions when demand dictates. With expert tutelage from Pete we got to infuse, blend, mix, stir and emulsify an exclusive range of Karma Sutra shower gel that I proudly stuck a ‘Made By Plum’ sticker onto each bottle I’d made with my rather fetching fuschia-glove adorned hands!

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

The Lush Factory

I’ve been a Lush fan since a schoolgirl (some 16 years ago now *gulp*) and the more I’ve found out about the brand the more I’ve grown to love them, and the older I’ve become the more important it is to me that the products I use are natural. Plus they don’t just bandy words like ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly around, they actually make a difference; for example, last year their Charity Pot body lotion raised £2.5 million towards human rights, welfare and environmental charities, proving that Lush really are so much more than a high-street shop selling bath-bombs. Just call me a Lushie!

*Here’s a little secret – if you peel away one of the ‘Made By’ stickers on the side of every bottle, each one contains a cryptic message!

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