Tuesday, 19 April 2016

My London Adventure and Haul

The River Thames

GUILTY CONFESSION: Before last week, I had never been to London. I’ve lived in the UK since 1999, and I’d never been to the capital! I’d been talking about going for ages, and in January I decided enough was enough and booked a train and hotel room for the first week in April. My friend Rach was kind enough to go with me, as a bit of a tour guide.

We stayed in a Travelodge that was literally a thirty second walk from Euston Station. It was nice, clean and centrally located, which was all we really needed. The day we got there, I thought it would be a good idea to walk to Oxford Street from the hotel. We ended up overshooting and walked half a mile past it.

Honestly, I had been so stoked to visit the Lush on Oxford Street, it was a little shameful. It did not at all disappoint. Three floors of Lush goodies were to die for. Bath bombs, oils and bubble bars upstairs, skin and hair care on the ground floor, and the spa and perfume gallery underground. I was a little overwhelmed with excitement, and a little panic because it was so busy, that I didn’t get to take too many photos. In my excitement, I picked up a couple of Lava Lamps, which SOMEHOW sent six or so bath bombs tumbling down around me. A lovely member of staff ran over, and after my frantic apologies, she told me it was fine, and it happened all the time. If it was anywhere else, I'm sure I would've had to buy every single one I had broken, but Lush staff are all incredibly kind.
Inside of Lush Oxford Street

Next on my list to visit was Victoria’s Secret. I know they have one in the Trafford Centre in Manchester, but believe it or not, it’s less of a pain in the ass for me to get to the one in London, because I don’t drive. They’re opening one in Liverpool soon, but they haven’t announced a date yet, just the ever so vague ‘Spring 2016’. Super annoying. What's more annoying is that I got exactly ZERO pictures of Victoria's Secret because my damn phone died! I'm such a terrible blogger!

The store itself is on New Bond Street, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The outside is grand and chic, with replicas of outfits worn by the VS angels on the catwalk displayed in the window. If I hadn’t been so tired, I probably would have stopped more to appreciate the details on the outfits.  The black floor and displays inside are the perfect backdrop to showcase the colourful pieces of lingerie. I get very frustrated that I can’t fit into any of the VS lingerie, so I went straight for the perfumes and body sprays.  When we first got there, a greeter practically pounced on us, giving us a little ribbon bracelet sprayed with “Very Sexy Now”. It smelled gorgeous, quite fruity with coconut undertones, but I had my mind set on what I wanted. I fought my way downstairs, to where the PINK range is, and finally found the body sprays that I had been dying for. Obviously, since I probably won’t be getting to VS again for a while, I grabbed 3. Overkill? Probably. Not sorry.
The second day we were in London was the sightseeing day. We got the Tube to Embankment (which isn't as all as bad as you'd think. Thanks Dave) and spent the day wandering around the Thames, which is where I spotted the Good Ship Benefit! As I'm sure you're aware, Benefit host a lot of amazing events, and are incredibly committed to their fans.
Good Ship Benefit Sign

Good Ship Benefit has a number of themed rooms, inspired by their products. The Benefit Boutique and brow bar, Porefessional Vault bar, the Lashitude restaurant, the Brow Lounge and the famous Hoola Deck! It wasn't officially open when I went, so I didn't get to see a whole lot, and I couldn't talk my way into a tour, but Rach and I did stop for cocktails on the Hoola Deck. If you're around the area, The Good Ship Benefit is worth stopping for, even if it's only for a quick cocktail. They're only around for a few months, so be quick!

I also visited Westminster Abbey, was told off by a Priest, and got to visit Poet's Corner (something on my bucket list). I won’t bore you with a blow by blow of my visit to London, but it was boss. The day after we got back, Dave and I flew out to Belfast with our friends Ian and Rachel to see Muse (which FYI, were fucking incredible) and then we ventured on to Dublin. A busy week.
Now on to the most important thing; the haul.

Lush Products on red background
Since I’ve started my medication, my skin has been super dry. It used to be really oily, but it seems to have kind of balanced itself out. I generally use the Tea Tree Water toner, but now that seems to be making it worse, so I thought I’d give Eau Roma Water a go. I’ve used it a few times before, but I’m gonna try it out for a few weeks before I give an official verdict!

I ran out of American Cream the night before I went to London, so perfect timing really. I love this conditioner. It makes my hair so soft, and doesn’t weigh my fine hair down like most other conditioners.

I went into Lush with every intention of buying Prince of Darkness, which is a face mask with charcoal. I was so gutted when I got there and they didn’t have any! So I settled on Don’t Look at Me, which is a bright blue fresh face mask. Made with lemon juice, murumuru butter and grapefruit oil, it has a very uplifting citrusy scent.  The mask itself is very grainy, which is perfect for exfoliation and getting rid of stubborn patches of oil. I’ve only used it once, but it left my skin very smooth, and a tiny bit dry. Fingers crossed for a couple more uses.
Lush bath bombs and bath oils on red background
Top: Lava Lamp, Golden Slumbers. Bottom: Floating Island, Johnny Appleseed, Double Vitality

My bestie Michala treated me to a Golden Slumbers from the Lush Kitchen last August whilst I was in Italy. I wish I lived closer to Oxford Street, or had the foresight to stock up, because I love Golden Slumbers. It’s a glorious bedtime bath bomb, with lavender and chamomile. After I used this, I slept like a freaking baby. It’s full of golden lustre, but doesn’t leave you looking like Tinkerbell or having to scrub out your bath.

I have yet to use Lava Lamp, but I know that the little purple bits on the bath bomb are bath oils. There have been a lot of reports of it staining people’s skin and bath, so fingers crossed it doesn’t betray me. I’m a big fan of You’ve Been Mangoed, so I have high hopes for these bath oils I picked up. Double Vitality is made of two little star melts squished together, and contains lemon and peppermint oil. It smells heavenly, and so refreshing. I can’t wait to try it.

Bioderma Hydrabio on red background

On our way to Victoria’s Secret, the heavens opened so we had to cower in Boots so we didn’t melt. I’ve had my eye on Bioderma since I got a sample of the Sensibio in a Birchbox. On my way to London, I checked if the Boots on Oxford Street stocked in (because the one in Liverpool doesn’t), and as luck would have it, they did! Before I started my medication, my skin was really oily. Now, I have quite a lot of dry patches, which has come as a bit of a shock! So instead of opting for the Sensibio, I picked up the Hydrabio for a little bit of a hydration boost. I’m not going to go into too much detail, because I want to do a full review of this once I’ve been able to test it out for a few weeks. It retails at £10.50 for 250ml, so it’s a tad (read: a lot) more expensive than most other micellar waters, but hopefully it’s one that’s worth splashing out on.
Victoria's Secret
Victoria's Secret Body Sprays on red background

As I mentioned before, I adore the VS scents. I don’t fit into any of the bras or undies, so it’s a tiny bit of glamour from them that I can afford! I picked up two ‘Pure Seduction’ and one ‘Love Addict’.

Pure Seduction is a combination of melon, freesia and red plum scents, and Love Addict is a combination of wild orchid and blood orange. A lot of people at work have Pure Seduction, which spurred me on to get one, as I always get whiffs of it around the office, and it smells divine. I picked three of these up for £24. They’re definitely worth the money, as they’re 250ml and last for quite a long time.
Phew, that was a wordy one! Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

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  1. Haha, I just came back from London and visited that exact store. The staff are super friendly. You said you were only in the UK from 1999, where did you live prior?

  2. That's pretty cool. You should definitely visit more UK places. I noted you went to Belfast too (that's where I'm from) and the northern coast of Northern Ireland is spectacular if you haven't checked it out. Giant's Causeway, Portstewart etc.