Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge Shower Wash & Body Lotion Duo: ridiculously cute

czech & speake lavenderAt £25 for two 65ml bottles Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge Shower Wash & Body Lotion Duo isn’t cheap but if you’re a lover of luxury and superb fragrance this delightfully dinky travel set is the ultimate addition to your weekend washbag. The cologne spray itself – a finely balanced blend of French lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary and Bergamot essential oils –  is probably my favourite lavender fragrance (it’s one of the few that doesn’t leave you smelling like your nan’s knicker drawer) and I take a travel-sized bottle with me almost everywhere. If you’re already a fan or, once you’ve tried it, about to become one, these additions to the range will be your new grooming essentials. But probably not your nan’s. Which is a relief.

Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge Shower Wash & Body Lotion Duo is available here.

Prada unveil TV ad for new men’s fragrance Luna Rossa

Fans of Prada fragrances (and I count myself as one of them) are in for treat with the forthcoming  launch of Luna Rossa – a fresh but sensual fragrance built around two of my favourite notes,  lavender and clary sage. As a  taster, here’s a glimpse of the TV ad, directed by by Swedish music video director Adam Berg who’s worked with the likes of Groove Armada, Graham Coxon and Death in Vegas.

The name Luna Rossa, in case you’re wondering, comes from the name of America’s Cup the sailing boat and team that came about thanks to Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of Prada, and acclaimed yacht designer German Frers.

The fragrance itself launches on October 1st and I’ll feature a full review of it here shortly. In the meantime, gather your sea legs and enjoy the vid.

Why Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle is ‘therapy’

I must confess, I’ve always been rather cautious of anything containing lemongrass. And with good reason. The smell of it brings back terrible memories of a Thai restaurant in Soho, a dish containing mussels and the three days that followed, during which I lost not only the contents of my stomach and much of my dignity, but over half a stone in weight too.

So it was with some trepidation that I put a match to Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle today. Hancrafted, using soy wax and aromatherapy grade essential oils, it’s a nicely thought-out fragrance and the colour of the glass is exquisite (practically the same as my lounge walls, which is handy!).

Although touted as the kind of candle to help you unwind at the end of the day it strikes me as being quite a stimulating scent, one brilliant at keeping a lounge, office or bathroom fresh, rather than for setting the mood in the bedroom.

If you’re a man nervous of florals, it’ll be perfect for you and Timothy’s range includes a few other cancels I can see appealing to men, including Wild Tobacco & Jasmine and Oakmoss & Vetiver, which sounds amazing. Best of all, even though the one currently alight in my living room has lemongrass, it didn’t bring back one single awful memory. It may even have helped me tackle my fear.

Available from www.timothyhan.com priced £38.

Tabac to the future

Just a quick post to thank make-up artist extraordinaire Daniel Sandler for taking me on an olfactory journey back to my youth this week. Whilst having a drink with me the other night he produced a small gift  – a bottle of Tabac Original Bath and Showel Gel, which he’d acquired at his local chemist. Now, without giving away too much about our ages, Daniel and I are ‘contemporaries’ and he too remembers the very distinctive smell of Tabac from his youth.

Originally launched back in the late fifties (no, that’s absolutely not the decade we remember it from in case you’re wondering) Tabac has had several resurgences in popularity, principally in the Eighties. To be honest, I’d actually forgotten it even existed anymore until Daniel and I were discussing fragrances from our misspent youth a few weeks ago and it came up in conversation (hence the gift). And the moment I got a whiff of it I was all of 15 again  – with hair and a 28 inch waist and all!

If you’ve never encountered it, it’s a fantastically old-fashioned florally fougere fragrance with notes of neroli, lavender, geranium, sandalwood, oak moss and ambergris. Somehow the shower gel smells just how a shower gel should and the fact that it’s  around all these years later (and probably will be in another 40 years) is a sign it’s still doing something right, so why not give it a whirl?

Grooming Guru Essentials: Spiezia Propolis Ointment

As someone who suffers from psoriasis I’m constantly on the look out for products that can improve  or relieve the condition. Although, the only thing that really seems to work for me is sunlight and seawater (a great reason for me to self-prescribe holidays!) various lotions and portions have helped over the years too.

My current favourite is this fantastic ointment from one of my favourite organic skincare brands, Spiezia. Perfect for psoriasis, as well as for eczema, sore, dry skin and athlete’s foot, it’s a rich topical treatment made from extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, calendula and propolis – a resinous product bees produce in their hives to protect against bacteria, parasites and other infections. It’s great for keeping skin soft and supple and to prevent flaking and, thanks to a blend of lavender, thyme and grapefruit extracts, smells absolutely amazing too.

I love the smell so much I also dab a tiny amount on my chest before bed and the soothing smell of lavender acts as a brilliant sleep aid. Spiezia products are also produced in one of my favourite parts of the world – Cornwall – and are 100% organic. Do you really need any more reasons to give it a go?!

Spiezia Propolis Ointment costs £17.95 for 50ml and is available from www.spieziaorganics.com

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Where’s the soap?

Firstly, my apologies to all those who emailed me asking where I’ve been these last few weeks. Unfortunately, due to family illness I was unable to keep up with my blogging and hence it’s been several weeks since my last post. I was shocked into doing something after someone kindly pointed out that my last blog (and the one that people were landing on) featured a large bottle of Brut. Not quite the contemporary image I have for this labour of love.

So I return to the fold with a small update about a comfort purchase. You see, when times are hard and The Black Dog bites I resort to the one thing guaranteed to cheer me up – soap. Yes, some people do drugs, some cane their credit card. I do posh soap.

So off I trundled to Liberty yesterday and treated my self to these three soapy treats. Liberty’s own brand Lavender & Eucalyptus soap has been a favourite of mine for many years and is great for men since the Eucalyptus takes the old-lady edge off the lavender perfectly. And I’m trying for the first time a couple of Dei Colli Fiorentini soaps which smell absolutely fantastic – Cypress Tree (which has a fantastically masculine frgrance) and Ginestra (aka Broom) which is sweet and smells like…..well, Broom.

To me, smelling soaps is a bit like wine tasting and you can spend hours at it. Seriously, next time you’re a bit under the weather give it a go. I guarantee you’ll come up smelling of roses. Or lavender. Or eucalyptus…..