Christmas is creeping up and it feels like one of those years, when it's going to be here before we know it. I'm blaming the mild weather! I have a series of posts of gift ideas and special edition sets, to get you in the mood and provide some inspiration if you're stuck for ideas or feel like treating yourself. Today, I'm reviewing a couple of sets from Arran Aromatics. If you haven't heard of them, they are a Scottish beauty brand, originating on the Isle of Arran (hence the name) specialising in fragrant bath, body and gift items. I can remember (probably around 15 years ago now) buying several of their lavender products in those distinctive apothecary style bottles to take to Germany when I stayed with a friend. I'd wanted his Mum to have "something Scottish" and they were just so pretty. FYI, they went down a treat and survived the plane ride! Anyway the range this Christmas is beautiful, with the cutest packaging featuring nutcracker soldiers with tartan accents. Even the plastic inside has Christmas stockings, trees, baubles etc imprinted-I love little details like that.
The Two Is Better Than One set £20, comes in three scents, I tried the red boxed, Velvet Isle. Inside are 250ml bottles of bath & shower gel and body lotion, alongside a red body polisher. The packaging is practical and convenient; plastic with a tilting cap. The shower gel lathers nicely in the polisher and the warm, fruity scent is just lovely. The body lotion is silky soft and an absolute dream to apply. It's easily absorbed into the skin and just feels so smooth. It's very nourishing, but light and non-greasy and that same berry scent is again, delicious. There's a very subtle whiff of coconut which rounds it off nicely.
The Hand Care Set £16 in Mandarin and Petitgrain, comes in a green box and contains 250ml hand wash and hand soother. Again the bottles are plastic, this time with pump dispensers. Unfortunately I really dislike the scent, but have no issues with the actual products. I'm trying to pinpoint what I'm not keen on, but generally it's just too strong and heavy for me. The orange, while a surprising scent, is actually quite nice. I'm not a fan of cinnamon, but it's very subtle here, so I think the base of thyme is the issue. It's too masculine or astringent for my taste. Random facts here, but did you know thyme was regarded as a source of courage by the ancient Greeks and they thought very highly of it and that in the middle ages, people would sleep with it under their pillow to ward off nightmares and encourage sleep? Something I learnt years ago and it stuck with me. Scent aside, the hand wash is a pleasure to use and actually the lingering (in a nice way) scent is bearable for me and quite pleasant when I get whiffs of it after washing my hands. The hand lotion, like the body lotion is smooth to apply, but the scent is overpowering for me on this. The same set also comes in the woody spiced Nutmeg Embers, which was specially created for this Christmas. I'm not sure I'd be keen on this either because spicy scents aren't my thing. It's a pity as I love the combination in this set and would get a lot of use out of it.
I think both sets are terrific value for money (with generous sized products) and great as presents, especially in that Christmas packaging. There's plenty more gifts to choose from, with stockings, candles, tins, bags and you can even pick up matching gift bags and cards with the nutcracker soldier on the front. I'd certainly recommend Arran Aromatics, for that 'hard to find' person everyone has on their present list! Have you heard of them and have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
Items provided for review purposes. All opinions my own.