Lily Storm

A personal take on beauty, life and dreams.

LUSH – fresh handmade cosmetics

British High Street beauty retailer Lush, recently opened a brand new store on African soil - at the V&A Waterfront. I’ve heard so many great things about the brand via social networking, so decided to check it out for myself on Friday.

One foot in the door, and I was in love. The delicious aromas made me feel like a kid in Mr Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! The intention was just to ’browse’, but I honestly don’t think that’s possible. I challenge any girl to try. Doesn’t help that the staff are so intensely happy, helpful and enthusiastic either!

Think hand-made, natural and fresh merchandise, butcher’s blocks, prices by weight, greaseproof paper wrapping and best-by dates. In this ‘beauty deli’, soaps are piled high on Provencal-style wooden tables like strange exotic cheeses, whilst a myriad of orbs (fizzing bath ballistics) are presented like perfectly round apples. There is so much to choose from…solid hair shampoo bars, shower gels, bath melts, and colour cosmetics.

Lush products are made as naturally as possible and they avoid using synthetic preservatives. Some of the hair conditioners even contain fresh strawberries, vanilla, melon juice and yoghurt!

My favourites? (tried and tested)…

Trichomania solid shampoo:  I’m happy to say that after using this natural shampoo bar, I will never go back to fancy salon stuff which only clogs my scalp with synthetic ingredients. Crammed with lashings of creamed coconut, it creates the most luxurious lather. Very easy to rinse out too. A 100g bar should last you about two months. I love it!

Retread hair conditioner:  I have just stopped using the GHD on my hair, because it’s been causing incredible damage and dryness. So I needed something to help speed up the repair process and was guided towards this product. It boasts some serious breakdown recovery ingredients such as olive oil, jojoba and avocado oils, fresh melon juice and yoghurt. After applying to my scalp and hair, I wrapped my hair in a warm towel for about 15 minutes. Voluptuous shine and softness will be yours.

American Cream: More hair conditioner. Okay I know, was it a necessary purchase? Probably not. But how I could resist a product with a label that reads: “Bring all the boys to the yard with this strawberry vanilla milkshake conditioner. Double strength and extra creamy to leave your hair gorgeously soft and smelling sweetly“. Oh and the smell…it is just amazing. Word on the street is that the fragrance lingers for days after use. Sold!

It’s Raining Men shower gel: I’m pretty sure this can used on skin and hair. Contains honey and exotic flowers. I used it last night and could smell it on me the next morning. The gel is rich and creamy so a little on a body sponge creates a mass of lather. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

A Million Kisses lip tint: Beautifully packaged in a little tin. Just a smidgen on the lips is enough to give you ruby stained lips more fabulous than Scarlett Johanssen’s. Again…smells like candy floss. I apply a dot small pat of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream on top for a little glow.

I also purchased two fizz balls with real dried rosebuds. Won’t be using these just yet, but will display it around the bath. I can’t stop smelling them! Worth every cent. Great decor idea…how about filling a basket with different balls and fresh / dried flowers, to show off in your bathroom?

Lush will be getting in a lot more stock over the coming months so I’m excited to get my hands on the fresh face masks. This is now my one-stop beauty shop and I cannot wait to go back. The concept is fantastic and very original.

xx

Nigella’s Damp Lemon & Almond Cake

It’s quite ironic that I’ve decided to become a ‘domestic goddess’ now that I’m single. The wonderful thing however, is that I don’t cook, bake or decorate because I have to…but because I want to!

I have come to love paging through a gorgeously illustrated recipe book, and virtually be transported to a lazy little town in Tuscany or an old English country house with a rose-filled garden. Slowly but surely… I am shying away from today’s instant gratification and fast food lifestyle. There is great pleasure in taking your time to prepare a meal…using wholesome ingredients and watching it all come together. Even when I’m just cooking for myself, I see no reason to put in any less effort or care.

So this weekend, I brought home the magical ‘How to be a domestic goddess‘ by the legendary Miss Nigella Lawson. If you have only one baking guide, let this be it. Every recipe is more special than the last and you will be spoilt for choice. I was having my parents over for Sunday lunch so I decided to go with the Damp Lemon & Almond Cake. Very simple, but was enticed by the thought of a sharp lemony dessert following my Sophie Dahl chicken curry (will post the recipe later).

Ingredients:

225g soft unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 large (free range) eggs

50g plain flour

225g ground almonds (I used 2 x 100g flaked almonds, and ground it in a blender)

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

21-23cm Springform cake tin, lined with baking paper on the bottom

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition. When all the eggs and flour have been incorporated, gently stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon zest and juice. (I’ve always wanted to ‘zest’ a lemon, the freshness is amazing!). Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour.  After 30 minutes or so, remove the tin from the oven and cover loosely with foil, so as not to burn the top of the cake. It’s ready when the top is firm and a skewer inserted, comes out cleanish. You want dampness, but no battery goo. Take the cake out and let it stand for 5 minutes in the tin. Then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

I made this cake the night before, and wrapped it in some foil overnight. Nigella suggested fresh raspberries on the top to decorate, but I wanted a kind of syrupy glaze. So I used half a packet of frozen raspberries from Woolies, covered with water (to which I added about 6 tablespoons of sugar), and brought to the boil. Once it’s cooked and reduced to a crimson and sweet smelling syrup, remove from the heat and place in a glass bowl to cool.

When ready to serve, spread cake with the raspberry mixture and dust with icing sugar (or the other way round if you prefer). Don’t be alarmed at the texture, it is supposed to be broody, damp and dense. Enjoy with a steaming cup of filter coffee!

xx

Bread & butter pudding – just because…

Winter or summer…there is nothing I love more than a warm and comforting pudding. Bread and butter in particular. Takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and fills your home with a sweet, cinnamony fragrance. This is my version of a classic.

What you’ll need:

6 slices of fresh white bread

soft butter

apricot jam

3 eggs

500ml full cream milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp sugar

dessicated coconut

fine cinnamon

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

2. Make sandwiches with the bread – spreading generously with butter and jam. Remove the crusts. Cut diagonally to form triangles. Arrange the six sandwiches in a baking dish, slightly over-lapping eachother.

3. Whisk the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl to form a custardy mixture. Pour over the waiting bread and let it soak through.

4. Sprinkle with the dessicated coconut and lastly…some cinnamon.

Pop into the oven, bake for 45 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Enjoy!

PS: Serve with cream if you dare.  xx

September GlossyBox

If you follow my Twitter updates, you’ll know that I’ve been chomping at the bit – waiting for this GlossyBox to arrive. Well it’s here! There have been quite a few mixed reactions with regards to these beauty boxes. Is what you receive, worth paying R130 per month? I’d say yes…for the most part.

It’s like sending yourself a gift every month! The packaging is divine and the products are high end. Even though GlossyBox mainly consists of samples, I think it’s great to be able to try something really expensive that you wouldn’t normally purchase. This is my first box, but from what I’ve seen, they do include at least one travel sized product. As well as discount and gift vouchers.

Nevertheless, here is a quick review on the September contents. I haven’t tried anything except the perfumes yet, but I just couldn’t wait to write about my little pressie! 

- Prada Candy eau de parfum (1.5ml) – Not my kind of fragrance. Very sweet, almost caramel-like. You’d like this if you’re an ‘Angel (Thierry Mugler)’ kind of girl.

-Carolina Herrera CH L’eau (1.5ml) – This personifies the purpose of GlossyBox. Try…and then BUY! CH L’eau is officially going to be my summer scent. Playful, fresh, feminine, soft…just beautiful. Makes me want to frolic in a field of daisies wearing a bright floral dress. I am a Gucci fan and prefer sexy, strong fragrances. But oh my – completely sold!

Sans Soucis Deep Moist Depot (3ml) - A two phase moisture concentrate suitable for all skin types. Can’t wait to try this because it consists of botanical ingredients and mineral-rich thermal spring water from Baden-Baden (no clue where this is, but it must be good). Vitalizes the skin and fights against free radicals. Who doesn’t need that right? Perfect for one of my spa evenings at home!

L’occitane Almond Milk Concentrate (8ml) - I’ve never tried this brand, but it’s always intrigued me. I don’t know if it’s the plush french feel of the stores, or the luxurious description of their products. A huge almond milk fan, so very excited to use this toning and firming body moisturizer. I know it’s going to be fabulous.

Salon Care Moisture Boost Serum - I am currently using the Salon Care facial range. Not too impressed though. After 3 months, I’m considering ditching it as my skin is really starting to play up. (Time to reconcile with Clarins maybe??) I will however, try this serum and see what it’s all about.

Gold Cuff bracelet from YDE - pretty, gold, shiny! Love it. Perfect for a night out.  

Very pleased, and will certainly be ordering another next month. http://www.glossyboxsa.co.za

Enjoy! xx

Prettify your home

Summer calls for brightening up your living spaces. I’ve decided on the romantic vintage look. Think dusty pinks and greens.

Mr Price Home has a beautiful selection of inexpensive decor items available this season. While passing one of their stores this weekend, I spotted the most divine cushions – in exactly the style and colours I’m after. For only R99 each. They were out of stock, so of course I had to have the last two right from the display window…thank you very much!

Also picked up a creamy coloured fleur de lis throw for R199. 

I’m not a fan of fake flowers. I despise them actually. However, an exception can be made for this gorgeous pink potted orchid from @Home (R330). Simply because I would never even attempt to buy a real one – the poor thing wouldn’t last a week. Lets hope none of my guests try to smell it though!

Happy shopping! xx