Posh pampering at L’Occitane, Highcross

When you get invited to a mini-pamper session, after a long day at work it is hard to say no. L’Occitane is one of the best established names in beauty, making natural products since 1976. 

They greeted us at their Highcross Leicester store with a fruity little rose from Thierry Ferlay, green tea in cute ceramic handle-less mugs and a selection of beautiful chocolates from their neighbours at Hotel Chocolat – certainly a great way to unwind so far! The Champagne cocktail truffle was delicious.

Apparently L’Occitane are so committed to the sourcing and quality of their vineyard that even the wine comes from a vineyard they are partnered to. I’m not sure how true that is, I am unable to find independent verification but certainly this article about harvest time in Provence from their website gives a nod to their French roots and place within French culture, and the wine we were served was of Provence.

On to the pampering and we were soon busy ferreting around the store, looking at the goodies, clutching out Blogger’s Bingo cards which encouraged us to look a little deeper at what we were seeing. A great number of ranges were on offer, so I sought the assistance of the cheerful and extremely knowledgeable staff.

Current offer

Obviously as someone who rides a bike to work each day, I am outdoors a lot, in all weathers. My skin can take quite a beating. I was surprised to hear that L’Occitane were one of the first to bring Shea Butter to the UK and that their products tend to contain higher concentrations than others. In fact their packaging tells you exactly how much so you know what you are getting. I was recommended the 100% pure Shea Butter range, which is great for rehydrating battered and tired skin like mine.

100% shea butter range on cute little photography area

I have it on good authority that Shea Butter in its unprocessed form stinks to high heaven so I am pleased to report that this range has an almost neutral smell to it – again great for me because I am not keen on too much heavy scent in products. It certainly took the edge off the roughness in my hands, which were particularly gross that day as I had been lugging round medieval stonework for most of my shift at work.

My hands obviously required further work though, as next I was offered a soothing hand massage. I was scrubbed and then massaged with 100% shea butter cream which helped not only my skin but also to relax those aching joints. My masseuse had a very soft touch and was really nice to chat to. Clearly L’Occitane train their staff really well as their knowledge not just of what products are suitable for you was excellent, but also their understanding of where the ingredients come from and how things are made, which is something we should all be conscious of.

Test your senses

I really enjoyed the little smelling game they had laid on for us too, a blind sensory test that helps you think in more depth about what smells you do or do not like, As someone who likes to write about wine, I found this fascinating, not least because of how hard I found it! Perhaps that is because I am more used to identifying a different set of natural (and inorganic!) aromas from wine and these scents were just more alien to me. It’s certainly something I should like to go back and spend a bit more time on, I love how your senses can be trained to become more acute. 

My fellow bloggers were snapping away and cleansed and moisturised and generally thoroughly spoiled. Sadly I could not stay as long as I’d have liked but I did get the opportunity to get up close and personal with their Verbena Collection, another scent which comes straight out of Provence.

Verbena in my goodie bag, and shaving treats for The Boy to try.

It is zingy, lemony and refreshing, but has a light touch to it. I certainly preferred this to heavier scents, like lavender which can still be a bit cloying and mumsy. It was vibrant and woke the senses, whilst still having great functional properties in terms of the impact on your skin that each product had. I was also pleased to see that shampoo and conditioner was available in this scent, which I think would be lovely and reviving in the shower. Imagine my pleasure when my Blogger Bingo prize goodie bag contained a good amount of Verbena samples for me to try at home!

Goodie bag part 2! How spoiled am I?

Many thanks for the invitation L’Occitane! I found out a lot more positive information about the brands commitment to natural ingredients than I had known before and I think I have a new cure-all in the 100% shea butter range.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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