28/11/13 - TMI Tag

I saw this tag on Laura's blog and couldn't resist.  I'm an obscenely nosy person, so any excuse to get a little insight into other people's lives is okay by me!  It's also a great way to get to know a bit more about 'the person behind the blog', if you will.  I know that some people will find this infinitely boring, but I liked answering the questions so here we go!

What are you wearing?

As it's my day off and I'm feeling a bit under the weather, I am wearing my Snoopy pyjama trousers with a massive old T-shirt, cuddled up in my dressing gown and slippers.  Perfection.

How tall are you?

Something like...five feet and six inches.  Average.

How much do you weigh?

On a good day, about nine and a half stone.  There haven't many good days recently, so the numbers on the scales have been a teensy bit higher.

Do you have any tattoos?

Nope.  I know what I would get, but I'm too indecisive and pathetic with pain to go through with it.  Also my dad said he'd be "very disappointed in me".

Do you have any piercings?

Just the cartilage at the top of my right ear, not even my earlobes.

What is your favourite TV show?

I have far too many.  A small selection are; Gossip Girl, Doctor Who, New Girl, Sherlock, Made in Chelsea, Sex and the City, Friends, Two Broke Girls...the list goes on.

Who are your favourite bands/singers?

Again, I have quite a few.  I should also say that I don't really have like, 'cool' taste in music.  I've seen Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and the Script in concert and they're all some of my favourites.  I also love Taylor Swift and Busted, as well as some more classic stuff like Madness, Paul Simon, the Beatles (naturally, you can't be from near Liverpool and not love them) and the Kinks.

What is something you miss?

Right now, all my friends from university.  Some are still in Hull, some are back in their hometowns and some are on the other side of the world but I miss them all equally.  A reunion definitely needs to be on the cards soon.

What is your favourite song?
I don't have one, I'm really bad at having favourites.  But right now, I keep listening to 'Hard Out Here' by Lily Allen on repeat - empowering, funny and catchy, I can't get enough.

How old are you?

I am 21 and nearly a half.

Zodiac sign?

Cancer.  I used to be very into horoscopes and I still believe that Cancer's supposed personality traits are remarkably similar to my own.

Quality you look for in a partner?

Intelligence, humour and honesty.

Favourite quote?

My mantra is 'This too shall pass'.  No matter what hardship you're suffering, what little worries you have, nothing is permanent.  Some people may not find that to be positive, but I think that it means that everything is fleeting so savour the good and push on through the bad.

Favourite actor/actress?

Audrey Hepburn, David Tennant (obviously as the Doctor but in my opinion, he's at his best performing Shakespeare), Sheridan Smith and Andrew Scott.

Favourite colour?

Turquoise, purple and silver.

Loud or quiet music?

Depends on my mood; I like having something soothing on when I'm reading or trying to do work, but sometimes you can't beat a good old karaoke session in your room with the radio turned as loud as it will go and a hairbrush microphone.

Where do you go when you're sad?

Either in the bath or for a long walk.  Getting out of the house can really help to clear my head.

How long does it take you to shower?

About twenty minutes maybe.  I thought cutting my hair would make it quicker, but it hasn't particularly.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

If I need to wash my hair, it can take up to an hour.  If not, twenty/thirty minutes.

Even been in a physical fight?

Nope, I'm too much of a wuss.  But when I drink, I can get a bit aggressive so it's only a matter of time before someone decks me.

Turn on?

Talent and passion - hey hey, not like that, cheeky!  Be it in a partner or a friend, passion is an endearing characteristic.  I love hearing people talk about things they really care about, it can be enough to make me love that thing as well.  Also posh accents, and I seem to be developing a thing for beards.

Turn off?

Rude behaviour.  There's just no need.

The reason you started blogging?

I felt like I needed a creative outlet and I liked the idea of a community of people brought together by writing about things they love (see my answer to the 'turn on' question).


Losing my loved ones, obviously.  Also, down escalators and flying.

Last thing that made you cry?

I cry all the bloody time, I genuinely can't remember.

Last time you said you loved someone?

Another thing I do all the time.  Probably within the past twenty four hours to one of my friends.

Meaning behind your blog name?

I like alliteration, and this blog is a 'haven' for me to write about things I care about, away from the stresses of the real world.

Last book you read?

Restaurant Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones.  Really interesting insight into the world of fine dining and full of slightly worrying anecdotes that will make you question your experiences with eating out.

The book you're currently reading?

Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park.  Well, at the time of writing this, I have literally just put it down but as I've not started another book yet, I reckon this counts.  It was...a rollercoaster read.  Upon finishing, I feel like my insides have been removed but in the best way.  It's a gorgeous heart-breaking love story.

Last show you watched?

Erm...probably Two Broke Girls.  I can't get enough.

Last person you talked to?

My dad; we debated going to see 'Gone With The Wind' at the cinema this afternoon and then decided against as we both have too much work to do.  We're big procrastinators, so it seemed like a nice idea but being sensible sometimes has to take priority.

The relationship between you and the last person you texted?

Lauren is one of my closest friends and one of my favourite people.

Favourite food?

Anything with carbs and cheese, specifically goat's cheese.  But if I had to pick a single thing, it would be my dad's roast potatoes.  Yum yum. 

Place you want to visit?

Right now, Vancouver to see Rachel.  Roll on the spring when I'm hoping this little dream will be coming true!

Last place you were?

Other than home and work, I jaunted over to York yesterday.  It was lovely.

Do you have a crush?

Of course I do.  What fun is life without a harmless little crush or three?

Last time you kissed someone?

Again, all the time.  I'm a cheek-kisser.  Most of my friends are subjected to it.

Last time you were insulted?
I couldn't tell you; with silly petty things, I get insulted really easily and with big things, I'm much better at keeping my cool. 

Favourite flavour of sweet?

Green and orange.  Whatever is the sourest.

Do you play any instruments?

The impressive answer is: violin, viola and ukulele.  The real answer is: I've not played the first two for years and I'm not exactly a master of the latter.

Favourite piece of jewellery?

I was given a necklace for my 18th birthday by my friends from the orchestra I went to throughout school.  I'm the oldest of our little group and therefore was the first to go to university, so they gave me a silver chain with three little good-luck pendants; a four leaf clover, a horseshoe and a wish-bone.  In nearly three and a half years, I've only taken it off for a total of twelve hours.

Last sport you played?

Ha.  Ha ha ha ha.

Last song you sang?

Does the Sex and the City theme music count?  It's been stuck in my head for hours.

Favourite chat-up line?

"I've got Skittles in my mouth, do you want to taste the rainbow?"

Have you ever used it?

What do you think?

Last time you hung out with anyone?

Yesterday, in York, with Ellie.

Who should answer these questions next?

Anyone who could be arsed to read all the way through this ridiculously long post.

If you fancy doing this tag, link me to your posts in the comments - I'd love to read them.

26/11/13 - They See Me Grazing

I am a huge snacker.  No matter what I have to eat in a day, I can always sneak in a few cheeky nibbles between meals and unfortunately these snacks tend to be more on the unhealthy side.  This is partly because I am a big fan of crisps and carbs, and partly because it can be tough to find properly healthy snacks that don't feel like a chore to eat.  Sometimes I'm in the mood for chowing down on a bowl of natural yoghurt and banana, but generally a handful of sunflower seeds with a mid-morning green tea feels much more like a punishment than a treat.  Particularly as the weather gets colder, eating healthily can become more of a struggle, as the temptations of Quality Street and mince pies rear their tasty heads.  What to do?

Enter Graze box.  I first signed up to the Graze website a few years ago and have been receiving boxes on and off since then.  For a few pounds, a box of four snack-size portions is delivered right to your door in minimalist and entirely recyclable packaging.  The boxes are tailored to your own tastes; the website displays every snack option which allows you to immediately veto any foods you don't like (for me, that's anything spicy or anything containing dried mango) and also to select which you'd like Graze to 'send soon'.  After each delivery, you're given the opportunity to rate your box which is great for ensuring that each box is full of treats that you'll enjoy!

This box contained three snacks that were new to me and one old favourite which I have permanently marked as 'send soon'.  There's a vast variety of savoury and sweet options, but most of the boxes I've experiences tend to be fairly balanced between the two which is great for making such all cravings are covered.

Raspberry strings, sponge pieces, raspberry
cranberries and almond slices - 131 calories per punnet
I'm normally much more of a savoury girl when it comes to snacking, but I'm a big fan of Graze's mixtures of dried fruit and nuts.  They're occasionally combined with chocolate buttons, tiny biscuits or - as we have here - adorable little drops of sponge.  The raspberry strings tasted like those jelly laces but obviously much less artifical and healthier!  This made a brilliant post-work snack to combat a little sweet craving that I would normally have satisfied with a chocolate digestive or three.

Cheese croutons, tomato baguettes,
and tomato and herb almonds - 115 calories per punnet
This was a revelation and everything about it was perfect for my savoury cravings.  I particularly enjoyed the tomato and herb almonds; I wish they were readily available from supermarkets although it's probably best they're not as I would just eat them ALL the time.

Poppyseed pretzels with chocolate
dipping sauce - 97 calories per punnet
I enjoyed this with a mid-afternoon coffee on my day off and my word, it felt decadent.  The pretzels are cute and the chocolate sauce is nice and thick, not too artifically sweetened.  There also seemed to be a decent pretzel:sauce ratio, which some of the dipping snacks from Graze haven't quite mastered.

Wholegrain oatbakes with caramelised
onion marmalade - 114 calories per punnet
Aah Bonnie Wee Oatbakes, we meet again.  This is probably my favourite Graze box snack of all time and I'm always happy to see it when I open the lid.  I find it to be the best kind of comfort food; wholesome oaty goodness topped with sweet, tangy marmalade.  Can't get better than that.

And, as you can see, not one of these portions exceeds 150 calories with three quarters coming in under the 120 calorie mark.  The snack-sized punnets are my favourite thing about this box, as portion control is something I struggle with.  I managed to make this box last me a week, but even if you barrelled your way through all four over a couple of days there would be no reason to feel guilty.  They're great to pop in your bag to eat at work or on your afternoon commute home, and really pack a punch energy-wise.  I find my hunger pangs satisfied for much longer after one of these snacks than if I indulge in a chocolate bar or bag of crisps.

If you'd like to jump on the Graze box bandwagon, head to their website and sign up using this code: 44QZDY47B - this will allow you to get your first, fifth and tenth boxes totally free as opposed to the usual £3.89!  It's a deal you can't afford to miss out on, especially when you consider the sheer amount of options they have to offer.  There's something for everyone!

And no, Graze aren't paying me or offering me a free box for this review - it's just a service that I couldn't live without and think everyone should experience.  However, if they were offering me something free, I wouldn't be averse to that...

Have you tried Graze boxes?  Are you tempted to try them now?  Let me know in the comments!

22/11/13 - My Autumn/Winter Essentials

As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, I have to admit that I perk up a little.  Whilst I've started to come around to summer and seem to be developing into something of a sun-worshipper, I will always be a cold weather girl at heart.  I love bundling up and going for walks on dark cold evenings, watching lights twinkling in shop windows and people's homes, not feeling quite so guilty about indulging in the occasional stodgy comfort meal.  And although I am determined that this will not being a Christmas post - I am a firm believer that Christmas celebrations should happen in the month of December and not before - there is of course that little glimmer of excitement, just a few weeks away.

As summer slips away and autumn is firmly upon us, there are some things that you simply cannot be without.  So without further ado, this is a list of my absolute essentials for the colder months.

Coffee.  While coffee is obviously a staple all year round, but it just seems so much more satisfying from October onwards.  When I'm feeling lazy or need a pick-me-up before work, I hate to say that I reach for the jar of instant.  However Sunday mornings, particularly frosty ones, were just made for proper coffee.  Wrapped up in my warmest dressing gown, I crack out the cafetiere and treat myself to something a bit special with a browse of a newspaper or a chapter of my book.  I am currently enjoying Finca San Antonio that I got from 'Pact', a little company in London which will roast and grind some of the world's finest coffee and send it straight to your door in a handy 250g pouch.  I heard about it from The Londoner and Rosie was kind enough to give her reader's a cheeky little voucher code which gets you your first delivery for one English pound.  Not too shabby, I think you'll agree.

Snuggly pyjamas.  Not just pyjamas, snuggly sleepwear of all varieties.  Now is the time for dressing gowns, slippers, hot water bottles, the whole shebang.  My usual nightwear consists of a pair of pyjama trousers and one of my plethora of over-sized T-shirts from various events.  But as soon as the nights get longer and chillier, I favour sets of matching flannel.  It's not exactly the most sultry of get-ups but comfort is key here.

Baileys.  Some consider this a Christmas tipple.  I prefer to think of it as an autumnal drink - not quite in the league of mince pies (which I refuse to eat outside the month of December) but not something I'd habitually order in July.  Not only does it make me feel nice and festive (and slightly like a Grandma when I order it in the pub while all my friends are on the vodka lemonades), it's such a versatile liqueur.  Irish whiskey combined with fresh Irish dairy cream with a hint of cocoa and vanilla doesn't exactly taste like alcohol, which makes it perfect for slipping into almost anything.  Whether you drink it straight, mix it into a cocktail or prefer to spike your chocolate cake with it, Baileys will never let you down.  For this reason and after some encouragement on Twitter, I'm going to be doing a little blog series of recipes using Baileys.  For you guys, obviously.  I have no ulterior motive whatsoever.

Vampy lips and nails.  Over the festive period, holly-berry red and glitter get an outing.  In the summer, I favour a tinted lip balm with SPF and bright colourful nail polish.  But between September and November, the order of the day is something a bit darker.  Especially around Hallowe'en, you can't beat a gothic lip paired with neutral eyeshadow and lashings of black mascara.  For me at least, dark nails are the height of glamour especially with a sparkly accent nail.

Topshop polish in 'Thorn'
Nails Inc polish in 'Motcomb Street'
Topshop lipstick in 'Wicked'
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to combine two of my essentials by treating myself to a Baileys coffee (which I highly recommend - just replace your usual glug of milk with a tot of Baileys and enjoy) and curl up in front of the fire in my slippers.

What are your essentials for autumn?  Let me know in the comments!

18/11/13 - 'Finding Your Inner Cherokee' by Siobhan Curham

You may remember that I reviewed Siobham Curham's Finding Cherokee Brown in the summer.  If you do, you'll know that I absolutely raved about it and was particularly impressed with the way the book handled the idea of bullying.  I still maintain that I wish that book had been around when I was a young teenager, and now there's another book I can say the same of!  And as today is the start of National Anti-Bullying Week, this seemed the most appropriate time for this post.

When Siobhan Curham offered me the chance to read her latest offering in advance of the publication date, I jumped at the chance.  Finding Your Inner Cherokee is an e-book full of first-hand accounts, techniques and exercises designed to help victims of bullying find their own way of coping.  We all have a part of us which is "happy and care-free and strong", like Cherokee in the novel once she manages to overcome the struggles she faces at school.  Hopefully this book will do something towards helping other people feel that they can be these things again.

Using some of the ideas from the novel, this book is designed to "reassure and empower victims of bullying" and I have to say that I can imagine it doing exactly that.  Not only is it filled with lots of diverse case-studies to reinforce the number one truth of bullying (that you are not alone), Siobhan shares her own personal experiences which I find really helps the reader connect with the material on a more intimate level.  It feels more like a trusted friend or parent is talking you through ways to cope with the struggles you're facing, rather than a distant self-help author trotting out a load of cliches.

The best thing about this book is that it doesn't molly-coddle the reader.  It doesn't encourage you to feel sorry for yourself and it isn't unsettlingly saccharine like some advice guides aimed at young people can be.  Its honesty about the sad facts of bullying is bare-faced and this allows Curham to offer advice which is equally as straightforward.  I particularly like the emphasis on physically writing out problems as a means of purging, and this is something that I personally have been doing for years to make myself feel better - trust me, it works.  The only time I ever write in the diary I swore I would keep every day is when I need to vent and yes, reading it back makes me seem really angry and depressed all the time but when I finish writing, it's like a weight has been lifted.  I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one!  

My personal favourite of the exercises in the book is the idea of 'power tweets'; a powerful statement of 140 characters or less (sadly, the way most people communicate these days) to reinforce ideas that you might be struggling to make yourself believe.  These can be useful not only to build the confidence of someone being bullied, but also for general inspiration if you're feeling a bit down or need some motivation.  This isn't the only technique from the book that I'll be utilising in my own life.

Finding Your Inner Cherokee is available now to coincide with the start of National Anti-Bullying Week and best of all, it's FREE.  I think this is great, as it means that anyone and everyone who needs the advice and support this book offers can access it.  Exercises to build confidence and exorcise negative feelings are followed by techniques for bully-proofing your life, and I feel that people of all ages and in all situations would benefit from the practical advice in this book.  Bullying is a very serious issue that almost everybody has to deal with in one way or another throughout their lives.  It isn't just limited to playground teasing and unfortunately isn't something that automatically stops as soon as you leave school.  It can come in many forms from a variety of sources, but it is never okay.  

I'll end with a power tweet taken straight from the book because it applies not only to bullying but to an awful lot of situations and is something everyone should be reminded of: "Other people have got through this, and you will too."  Those words will mean something different to everyone who reads them, but something will have sprung to mind.  Stay strong.

(On a slightly selfish note, it was also pretty damn sweet to see some of my own words taken from my review of Finding Cherokee Brown in this e-book...page 65 was a very pleasant surprise!)

14/11/13 - The Book Lover Survey

Everyone knows that I am a big reader, I can't imagine that will come as huge surprise.  And from what I can tell, a lot of my lovely blog followers are pretty into reading as well.  For that reason, when I saw this tag on Laura's blog, I couldn't resist giving it a go.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
Honestly, I can't recall a time when I didn't love reading.  I was brought up on it, from having stories read to me at bedtime for years and always being encouraged to challenge myself with new reading material from an early age.  Both my parents are big readers and books have always been a huge part of my life.  No exaggeration, there are books in every single room of our house and that never stopped us visiting the local library on a regular basis.  We even used to have a system whereby if the whole family could go a few days a week without once using a screen recreationally - that's TV, computers, phones - we'd all go and buy new books at the weekend.  

This is just a fraction of my book collection.

Where do you usually read?
I hate to admit it but I am terrible for getting distracted by other things, so I read mostly on public transport or in the bath - two places the Internet can't reach me.  I used to read a lot on the treadmill (another Internet-free zone), but my lack of gym has put a stop to that.  I'm even in the habit of going for long walks simply to listen to another hour of my audiobook.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
I used to be someone who would read several books at a time, and it's a habit I'm glad I've broken.  It's so much easier to get invested in the characters and the plot if you're only engaging with one book.  This became a struggle during my English degree as I had to read a lot at once.

What is your favourite genre?
I'm a fiction girl through and through.  Other than that, I try not to limit myself too much although I read quite a lot of young adult novels.  I'm also a fan of autobiographies, but only if I'm particularly interested in the person.

Is there a genre you will not read?
I'm not a huge fan of a lot of non-fiction and you'd never really find me in the horror or sci-fi section, but I'm sure the right book could change that.  

Do you have a favourite book?
Short answer: no.  

Long answer: I've had various favourite books at different times in my life, but normally it tends to be one of a top five.  A few that have transcended from my childhood are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I was always a big fan of Jacqueline Wilson and her books will always hold a special place in my heart.  It goes without saying that the Harry Potter series is in there, along with a lot of John Green's books and anything by F Scott Fitzgerald.  I also really love The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  I could ramble about this forever, so I'm putting a stop to this answer right now.

What is your least favourite book?
My answer to this is a tad controversial but it's The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger.  I don't know if it's just that I read it too late in life and had moved a little past the teen angst stage, but I just couldn't feel any connection to Holden Caulfield and I can't quite understand the hype around it.

What is the longest book you have ever read?
I wish I had a more original answer but it's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Obviously.  Come one, why would I invest so much time in a book that wasn't about everyone's favourite boy wizard?

What was the last book you bought?
I recently invested in a stack of books from an author event I was covering at work; The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black and the entirety of a Sarah Rees Brennan trilogy (The Demon's Lexicon, The Demon's Covenant and The Demon's Surrender).  They're not necessarily my typical chosen genre (YA fantasy has largely passed me by) but I've really enjoyed the ones I've read so far and they're signed, so that's even cooler.

Do you prefer library books or buying books?
Both!  I've always been an avid library user, particularly enjoying the chance to try books for free and swapping them when I fancy new ones.  However, in my opinion, very little can beat the sight of a bookshelf filled to bursting, be it with brand new books or second-hand ones that I've adopted into my little inky family

What are you currently reading?
I sort of wish I could answer this question with a highly intellectual answer, but the truth of the matter is that I'm currently enjoying The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell.  Having watched the TV series starring the adorable AnnaSophia Robb, I just had to try the book and it's really fun and girly.  It would be perfect for a summer beach read.  I'm also listening to Jack Whitehall and his father Michael reading their book Him & Me when I'm out and about.   It's hilarious and a perfect portrayal of a teasing yet loving father-son relationship.  I would definitely recommend it, especially if you're a fan of Nigel Havers (which I am).  He features rather heavily.

If you feel like doing this tag or have already completed it, link your post in the comments.  I'd love to read them!

11/11/13 - 'Sweeney Todd' at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Nothing can quite compare to the whirling words and dark wit of Stephen Sondheim's work, and Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is no different.  Arguably the best known of his musicals and with lots of songs that everyone will recognise, it was exciting to finally see it onstage - I'm a big fan of the 2007 film (Johnny and Helena are always a winning combo) and I sadly missed Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton taking a stab - excuse the pun - at this seminal material.

Under James Brining's direction, this production sees the Demon Barber terrorising the throats of '70s or '80s London rather than sticking to the traditional Victorian setting.  Although this obviously creates a few anomalies within the lyrics, I personally thought it was incredibly effective and really gave a new meaning to the 'waste not, want not' attitude of Thatcherite Britain.  The update makes the story possibly even more unsettling; the idea of the rich preying upon a powerless underclass of society is even stronger in this era, and the gorey throat-slitting is vaguely reminiscent of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, who was at large around the same time.

David Birrell is stunningly terrifying as the titular Todd; his singing voice is strong, every word clear and all the more chilling for it.  Despite the fact that his motives are clearly questionable, I found it shockingly easy to sympathise and that's a testimony to Birrell's amazing performance.  His peroxide partner in crime and thrifty pie-shop owner Mrs Lovett, played by Gillian Bevan, is a fascinating mix of humanity ('By The Sea' being the obvious example) and unfeeling flippancy towards the idea of casual cannibalism.  The chemistry between the two is breath-taking, particularly in the darkly comic and undoubtedly sexualised rendition of 'A Little Priest' which closes the first act.  There's almost a feeling of a young couple playfully teasing each other and it's easy to forget the morbid meaning of their words.


The performances of the supporting cast were the perfect compliment to the show's stars.  Niamh Perry makes a beautiful doll-like Johanna (although for some bizarre reason she reminded me a lot of pre-breakdown Lindsay Lohan in her wig), partnered with the Michael Peavoy's charmingly eager Anthony.  Ben Stott is lovely as the endearingly loyal Toby who unwittingly becomes embroiled in the dire duo's evil doings after they liberate him from Sebastien Torkia's slimy con-artist 'Pirelli'.

The Royal Exchange is probably one of my favourite theatres, and this production only deepened this belief in my head.  Theatre-in-the-round is tricky to pull off and I was fascinated to see how the production would deal with this format.  The intimacy between the lower tier of seating and the stage increases the tension within the theatre.  I was seated on the end of a row right next to one of the main entrances used by the cast which certainly added an extra element to the performance.

If you're around Manchester and fancy a truly thrilling theatrical experience, get yourself to the Royal Exchange for this incredible production (details can be found here).  I went a couple of days after Hallowe'en so it felt particularly fitting, but it's running right up to end of November and is not to be missed.

Will you be making the journey to Manchester for this production?  I recommend it!

04/11/13 - Everything's Coming Up Rose Jam

I am a huge fan of LUSH and their products.  It's not just their colourful bath bombs, the super-friendly staff and the wonderful variety of scents; I am particularly drawn to their all-natural ingredients and the ethical nature of the company's values.  However, I won't pretend the deliciousness of basically everything they sell doesn't help!  I know a lot of people can't deal with the almost oppressive smell of a LUSH store, but I personally can't get enough.  

Every now and then, I get full-on addicted to a certain scent and my current one is a LUSH staple Rose Jam - as its tag-line says, "if the Women's Institute knew how to make bath products, this is what they'd make".  While LUSH stock various bath and body products in this scent as part of their core collection, the shower gel is the first I tried.  It's limited edition for the winter, and I think I'm going to have to stock up before it vanishes from the shelves.

The smallest size (100g) costs £4.65
Having seen it on the website, I was initially mildly skeptical  and surprised by how much I liked it when I actually smelled it.  When I think of rose-scented products, my immediate reaction is to wrinkle my nose.  They tend to be artificially sweet and sickly, which causes me to avoid them.  Despite not normally being a fan of floral scents, I can't get enough of this one.  Rose Jam is the perfect mix of rose Turkish Delight with some honey and vanilla sweetness, and fruity zest from the Sicilian lemon oil.  It's much sweeter than my usual shower/bath products as I tend to gravitate towards fresher and more citrus scents, but I am obsessed.  After trying to smallest size of the shower gel, I had to get myself straight back down to LUSH to pick up a couple of the Rose Jam Bubbleroons.

£3.50 each

These share their sweet scent with the shower gel, and make for a lovely bath-time experience.  My favourite thing about these is that you can stretch them out into several uses, giving you more bang for your buck.  I crumble about half under running water to create frothy fruity bubbles and give the water a lovely soft pink colour.  

These photos don't do justice to how lovely this bath was!

After using these products, particularly the bubble bars, my skin feels so soft and supple, and the scent lingers really well.  I definitely intend to ask for the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner for Christmas, as it smells the same but it's a little pricier than I can stretch to right now!

Do you like LUSH products?  What's your favourite scent?  Let me know in the comments!