Thursday, 19 May 2011

Amsterdam Haulage Part 1

My little trip to Amsterdam was a good excuse to pick up some lovely European goodies.

The curiosity of what I might be able to find makes me pretty much unstoppable when it comes to shopping abroad. This obviously applies particularly in the cosmetics department and more particularly than that, in the moisturisers aisle.  What makes it worse, is that every where outside of the UK seem to cater so much better for those who choose to use products that do not contain chemical ingredients such as parabens etc. This is definitely like a red rag to a bull! I find pots and jars and tubes of interesting looking body butters, scrubs, potions for this and that - all natural, that of course I just have to take back home to try.

The funny thing is, more often than not, this is the way I have come across some of my favourite brands- Yes To Carrots for example - I discovered that in Target whilst on holiday in America. I bought six things from the range and lugged it all back in my suitcase. Luckily, I since discovered I can buy it down the road. D'oh! But still, you get the idea.

Anyway, onto the haul.

By way of body butters in Amsterdam the options were plentiful. I wish I had more upper body strength and then perhaps I could have managed to carry more home. I bought the majority of them from an absolutely lovely shop in the '9 streets' - La Savonnerie.

Most products in this shop had a  'gifty' feel and what comes when you put gifts and toiletries together? You guessed it - SOAP! These were very pretty to look at, and of course to smell, but I have to admit that I am not the hugest fan of soap. It is not something I would normally buy or use for that matter.

Having said that, if you are into soap, this would definitely be a place to visit as they make all their own and have the facilities to mark it with personal text or a logo. Oooer.

What caught my eye were...

...Mediterranean Spa Body Butters and Salt Creams. I have to confess that I have failed sightly here as these aren't Dutch. Okay I accept - it is a mega fail. They are made in Italy. But seriously, once I swatched a little of the butter on the back of my hand, I was sold. The consistency and texture of these is like nothing I have ever come across before. Thick to the touch but uber quick to melt into the skin. The moisture boost is instantaneous and the practicality of being able to get dressed straight away is also a bonus not to be underrated. I am seriously impressed. The two I chose to buy were Avocado (the giant one!) and Basil Oil, mainly because I tend to go for whichever sound the richest on the moisture stakes. There were many others - the range is substantial - fig was one, lemon another.

The Salt Creams come in various 'flavours' too. I decided on Olive oil as I thought it would be one of the most nourishing. Since coming home I have used it twice and keep cursing myself that I didn't buy more. I must get more. In ALL flavours. The salt is perfectly sized to give a good proper exfoliation - not overly abrasive but definitely enough 'scrub' to make my skin feel totally rejuvenated.
I also enjoy how this product leaves my legs super silky and soft. I'm putting this down to the olive oil which leaves a slight film after use. (please don't let this sound off putting - it really isn't meant to - it stops that horrible tight feeling skin can sometimes get after some harsh exfoliators).

Inside the Salt Cream
The downsides? Not many, but the first is a pretty bad one and a cheeky one at that. The tubs are average sized for body butters (I'm not talking about the huge avocado one here, but FYI they've used the same trick on that one too). What they've done is put a false bottom inside, so basically you have half what you think you have.

The cheeky folk! Where the rim ends so does the product!

Now, what you could say, in fairness to the brand, is that they have done what is legally required of them and put the amount on the packaging i.e. 90ml. But I think this is still misleading. And a waste of plastic for that matter.

But you know what? I can probably forgive them for this. Perhaps because the butters are reasonably priced at 9.95 Euros and of course because they do such a good job.The second downside of these are that they are not readily available in the UK. Luckily, the lovely Dutch shop La Savonnerie said they would do international shipping. Woo hoo! You can also get hold of Mediterranean Spa products in America pretty easily and many US websites ship internationally too.

Next, I popped into a place called Rain. Not Dutch either. Opphs. This brand offers handmade products with a South African origin.
'In Africa, rain gives life and life depends on it. The cycle of the season is born into all living things, young and old. Rain is the gift that brings simple wealth to the plains, villages and mountains. Rain is refreshing in the still heat of the day; it cools the thirsty land, awakens the senses and sharpens the aromas of the bush.'

On their website it explains this about their shops:

'Rain stores are designed to showcase the exquisite handwork of our African people, as well as provide the customer with a unique interactive body and bath experience.'

These are bath 'eggs' - amazingly sweet to look at and to smell!
I made three purchases, the first of which was the Aloe & Avocado Hand Scrub  and woah! is this good? (er yes, it's amazing). At first glance it looked like a really cheap body exfoliator - one I would probably walk right on past. However, as they have a hand basin where you try things out I thought I'd experiment further. I am so glad I did because this little gem managed to soften and smooth out my rough, neglected paws like nothing else. All natural ingredients in this one too. (9.95 Euros)

Rain's Aloe & Avocado Hand Scrub - a little pot of goodness!
The second purchase was some Rock Mint Bath Salts. As I think I may have told you before, I am not into baths. It's just not really my thing. However, when I saw the display of bath goodies at Rain, I felt I had to put my reservations aside and scoop myself some into a bag. I went for mint purely because I love the smell and I reckoned that a bath in mint leaves would be super invigorating. I have yet to conquer the bath yet - but when I do I will be sure to let you know how I get one with these. Rock Mint Bath Salts 4.50 Euros per 100g.

How cool?

Going into new territory...the bath salts from Rain

And finally, another body butter. I couldn't resist. But unfortunately, I really wish I had. Here is what Rain says on their website:

'We use strive to source pure, natural and naturally-derived ingredients and materials with the highest quality...Our products are formulated from ingredients made from indigenous, wild-harvested plants sourced throughout Southern Africa. We want to show the majestic, but most of all, under exposed continent Africa and all the richness it has to offer. We use use the time honored secrets of indigenous flora and medicinal plants from South-Africa in our natural body care.'

Sounds like the perfect place for me to shop and I didn't hesitate to pick up the Macadamia Body Butter with Shea and Cocoa. If only I hadn't been in such a rush and I'd looked on the back on the pot! For when I returned home, what did I spy in the ingredients list? PEGS...colours...and other preservatives that I would perhaps prefer not to have in there.

Nevertheless, I did decide to give it a go. Ingredients list aside, it is still disappointing. Consistency is thick, which I usually like, but it didn't massage in very well. The scent, at first pleasant, became an annoying fixture in my nostrils - sickly sweet with a under note of cough syrup. (16.50 Euros)
Looked promising...but I'd give it a miss.
You can buy Rain products online HERE

Are you still with me? By goodness it feels like a long post this one. Hope you've enjoyed it. If you have, do sign up to follow or leave a comment. I really do enjoy reading what you've got to say.

Ciao for now x


  1. Oh how good is holiday beauty shopping?? Yes to carrots is big in Oz , they have yes to cucumbers and the new one blueberries too!

  2. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Looking at the pictures that shop reminds me of lush with all of the shops everywhere! x