Monthly Archives: October 2012

Stocking Stuffers: Hand In Hand Sustainable Suds Soap

3 - Pack Assorted (Orange Blossom, White Tea, Lavender)

3 – Pack Assorted (Orange Blossom, White Tea, Lavender)

I’m really fed up of buying soaps from my local grocery store.  The amount of times I have had allergic reactions for the sake of affordable pricing – has been beyond upsetting.

I found Hand In Hand Sustainable Suds bars of soap at my local Anthropologie.  Not only is their packaging romantic, but their soaps have the quality of a bar of gold.  Hand In Hand Sustainable Suds is also sustainable giving.

How so?

•1 bar of soap donated for every bar purchased

•50 sq ft of rainforest saved for every bar purchased

•To help alleviate poverty in the US and the developing world, a donation is made to fund micro-credit loans for every bar purchased

•100% vegetable based, vegan, organic ingredients, gluten-free, biodegradable, palm-free & cruelty-free

•By purchasing a Fair Trade Certified bar of soap, you are helping to improve the lives of the workers and communities who farm the raw materials to develop Hand in Hand Soap

•All shipments include carbon offset and eco-friendly packaging  – The soap’s paper wrap is made from 30% recycled material.

•Hand in Hand enriched triple milled shea butter soap is sure to be soothing to the skin and senses, gentle on our environment, and a beautiful compliment to the home.

•Paraben-free & petrochemical-free

That’s a lot of social awareness within one beautifully wrapped soap.  I don’t think I can ever go back to using cheap and cheerful soaps after my body has been embraced by the Lavender, Orange Blossom and White Tea 3 Pack.

I have been using the Orange Blossom Soap for over a week now and my mom tried out the Lavender Soap.  We both are in agreement that the milky suds abound with these soaps and the scent although subtle is aromatherapeutically sublime.  My skin feels smooth, nourished and for once no allergic reactions or flakiness.  I usually rip the wrappers off soaps in the past without a thought – when I opened the Orange Blossom soap I noticed I was opening it as delicately as I would a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.  I still have the wrapper at home on my vanity table.

If you check out the website you can buy single bars of their soap directly from or I’d recommend buying 2, 3, 5, 6, or 9 pack assortments for stocking stuffers from the website.  Not only will they make excellent conversation pieces but they will pass the message forward to your loved ones to buy a bar, so that Hand In Hand can give a bar to those who need it most in Central America, South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.  Plus no gift wrapping required!  What a great way to start 2013!

TWG Tea Jelly – 1837 Black Tea

Tea Jelly - 1837 Black Tea (290ml)

Tea Jelly – 1837 Black Tea (290ml)

I remember growing up and my mum making me tea and toast for breakfast with a side of eggs for breakfast.  The jam was always a cheap and cheerful brand from the local grocer.  Sometimes they would be watery or gloopy.  That aside, the memory of actually eating the warm toast and sweet jam made me happy.

These days I like to have a few jams on the go in my fridge.  My latest love affair is with TWG Tea’s Tea Jelly – 1837 Black Tea (290ml).  Have you heard of it?  If you haven’t and are a tea and jelly fan like me – you must check it out.  It’s a neat mix of the two.

Tea-infused with TWG Tea’s renowned signature tea, 1837 Black is a unique blend of black tea with notes of fruits and flowers from the Bermuda triangle which leaves a lingering aftertaste of ripe berries, anise, and caramel.  Pure decadence.  It’s a dead posh jelly.  Firm and with an explosion of flavour.

I loved TWG Tea’s 1837 Black Tea especially with milk.  It is always warm and a perfect summer to fall tea.  Coupling that with the 1837 Black Tea Jelly made it an even sweeter delight.

I encourage you to bring this tea jelly to work with your toast if you need a lil snack or as a midnight treat especially now since the winter is coming and we need a lil extra warmth.  You can even have this gorgeous jelly out with some yummy freshly baked breads or crackers with clotted cream if friends come over for the holidays or with your TWG Tea service on an upcoming holiday morning for family.

Other amazing TWG Tea is also available for purchase and shipped anywhere in North America through The Urban Tea Merchant website,

Topshop Invades The Bay (Toronto): Bay & Queen Street Review

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Exactly a year ago I did a piece on my blog on Topshop and Topman’s Pop Up Shop in The Bay at 176 Yonge Street Toronto ((416) 861-9111).  It was quite the popular hit on my blog.  I loved touching the goods from overseas finally on my home turf.  Voila

At the time, I thought the pieces were very European.  Chic and Sexy!  I felt the more quality goods had been left behind in a chest in the UK – whereas we Canadians were left with the cheap and cheerful items to make up for the duty charges incurred sending the pieces overseas.

I kept an open mind upon popping into Topshop’s (19,000 square feet of space) Grand Opening at The Bay on Queen this past Thursday October 4, 2012.  My mate and I arrived around 5 p.m. during our dinner break and the floor was heaving.  There were young ladies queued up with armfuls of clothing, light appetizers were being passed around by dreamy boys laden with Topshop branded uniforms and cups overflowing with chips and pop.  There were girls trying on makeup, stepping into new flats and heels and friendly staff who were helpful without the ‘push’.

The Bay is really bringing their game with this stylish addition of Topshop and Topman’s brand into their retail space.  The shiny metal awnings, peacock blue walls, plaid tops and bottoms, flirty cargo prints, miniskirts for miles, fluorescent denim, styling and profiling bags and a shoe wall that will make any shoeaholic crumble at the seams.  The overall space felt very Cavalli.

I appreciated the floor’s British explosion meets Canuck traditional feel and the sporadically laid out clothing and accessories.  There is a lot of space to move on the floor unlike Topshop in the UK where the floor is simply jammed with product.

The pricing is another issue.  Topshop and Topman clothing is pricey.  I thought that would have changed a tad from last year.  I had my eye on a few bags, accessories, a pea coat – I’m not sure I’d pay full price for some of these pieces.  But a lot of people in the Queen Street store were buying product.  It felt very cultish.  I wanted to buy something but the frugal fashionista in me kept my purse firmly in my bag.  When I lived in the UK, I’d wait for Topshop sales days. I’m wondering what the sales will look like in the store after the grand opening week has passed.  I’m going to need a reason to check in on Topshop.

I also found the pieces were pretty ordinary to what is currently selling at Forever 21 and H&M down the road.  Hmmm…does Topshop think us Canadians won’t go for the daring pieces they brought over last year?  Did those pieces sell well?

The quality of some of the bags were not as stellar as the leather good bags found in Topshop UK.  Looking at the layout of bags on a hanging shelf on the floor – it felt like the more economically priced pieces were sent over for sale with a lot less va va voom.  Purses ranged from $64 to $150.  Some of these bags could not be found online on the Topshop link on The Bay’s website when I returned back to the office.  I really wanted to be able to take advantage of their Thanksgiving weekend online sale offers – BOO!

That said, the holidays are upon us and Topshop already had some cute cocktail dresses, fitted tuxedo jackets, multicolored tights and brassy jewellery up for offer.  It may be worth a looksy when you need a few options as we slide into Holiday Season dressing.

Nevertheless, it’s neat having the Topshop brand in Toronto settling in for a long term relationship with Canadians.  It’s nice to know we have some English options in hipsterdom available to us to add a more polished and refined look to our existing wardrobes.  The times are a changing in Canada’s retail landscape – make sure your pocket books are ready.

Check out Topshop and Topman’s online store at The Bay here: