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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, November 11, 2005

The return of an old friend

Given the tribulations of Lady Bracknell's daily life (she will refrain from giving the full details of her medical appointment this morning, but readers may safely assume that its effects were neither pleasant nor short-lived), it was especially gratifying for her to discover that Smaragadine is once again available.

Should this gleeful statement produce nothing but a puzzled frown amongst her readers, Lady Bracknell will explain further.

In the region of fifteen years ago, at about the time that The Body Shop was achieving world domination via a targeted programme of dewberry-scented carpet bombing, there existed a mail order firm called, "Cosmetics To Go". Their catalogues were delightfully witty; their products were cruelty free and exceedingly yummy; and their parcels were a joy to receive. The young(er) Lady Bracknell - who was, at that time, considerably less comfortably off than she is now - saved her pennies diligently so that she could afford such luxuries as Ginger perfume, Neroli bath oil, and shower gel which smelled of Terry's chocolate oranges, the name of which she can no longer recall. But chief amongst all these was the wonderful Smaragadine Phytofoam: a rich, green bubble bath with an indescribably delicious fragrance.

And then, disaster struck! As happens with many small businesses, Cosmetics To Go expanded too quickly, and the receivers were called in. There was no further opportunity to purchase Smaragadine, and Lady Bracknell hoarded her last bottle in as miserly a fashion as she could.

The founders of Cosmetics To Go returned under the banner of Lush. Indeed, Lady Bracknell recalls being invited to offer a suitable name for the new company, and was disappointed that her inspired suggestion of "Cosmetics To Die For" was turned down in favour of a synonym for a drunkard. Lush products, whilst not without their supporters, have never appealed to Lady Bracknell quite so much as their Cosmetics To Go predecessors, although this may have less to do with their quality than with her ladyship's increasing age and sophistication of taste. (Their "Big" shampoo, however, does wonders for Lady Bracknell's scalp.)

She cannot have been the only customer to love Smaragadine, though, as it is one of only a handful of the old C-t-G products to have been revived by the nice "B never too busy to be beautiful" people. Lady Bracknell is about to place an order, and will report back at a later date on the issue of whether Smaragadine has retained its allure after so many years' absence from her bathroom cabinet.


Anonymous Chris Mac said...

...and now I have the most wonderful image of the good lady bathing. I do have something of a reputation for massages. I was once told that my hands were heavenly. (Chris apolgises if he offend his ladyship)>

9:36 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

In fact, her ladyship does not bathe. She is no longer capable of getting her leg over. The side of the bath.

But Smaragadine serves wonderfully well as a shower gel, despite being sold as a bubble bath. A trifle viscous initially, perhaps, but a good lathering soon sorts that out.

9:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if its disappearance from the shelves might have something to do with the possibility that many people thought it must be something you spread on your Wonderloaf?

I wonder also just what were the names which the marketing executives threw out as less attractive or evocative of a beauty product?

4:40 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

My favourite Lush product is 'Tramp' shower gel. It has loads of patchouli and stuff called "White Horehound" in it. Basically it smells... green.

My downstairs neighbour raves about the wonderful smell she enjoys when I am emptying the bath!

Oh bugger, now I'm going to have to go shopping. I gave up Lush because it is so expensive and their ethos has shifted in a direction I don't entirely approve of. But the stuff does last for months and months and months and months.

5:15 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

The anonymous contributor with the margarine fixation may be interested to know that "smaragdine" (absent the extra 'a') is defined in the dictionary as an adjective meaning "having the colour of emeralds".

6:09 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell apologises to the Goldfish for re-awakening her dormant desire for Tramp.

6:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am much obliged to her ladyship for the dictionary definition of the name of this substance.

I own, however, to a teeny doubt that persons reading adverts for beauty products would instinctively leap to a dictionary in order to establish the provenance of a trade name with which they are unfamiliar.

2:48 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

What the anonymous contributor may have failed to appreciate is that the Cosmetic To Go catalogues - not to mention the labels on the bottles and jars - always provided semantic explanations for the names of the products.

Smaragadine was part of the "Botonomancy" range which, clearly, was aimed at persons of a moderately gothic tendency who could be relied upon to welcome the references to spell casting and ancient herbal lore.

6:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am much obliged to Lady Bracknell. A google on this term, hitherto unknown to me, informs me that it is a magical term denoting divination by burning branches and leaves. What that's got to do with bath products or the color of emeralds is not clear.

6:45 pm  
Anonymous The stroppy professor said...

Ah, I recall Smaragadine... back in my university days, we would all cluster around the CtG catalogue, and the Botanomancy products were always my favourite. Tramp is a poor substitute for Smaragadine, and I gave up in disappointment when it failed to have the depth of its predecessor.

Is it my imagination, or has Smaragadine doubled in price now that it's in the fancy Never to Busy catalogue with overpriced makeup? I used to buy several bottles as presents for friends, and on student finances, I'm sure I wouldn't have considered paying the best part of £20 for a bottle of bath foam.

11:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the Professor. I loved Smaragadine and when offered the chance to but several bottles before they ran out all those years ago, I did so. I still have an old bottle with a smidge of the wonderous liquid emralds in it, which I open from time to time to sniff.

I am a little miffed at having to pay so much for a bottle from B. I know things go up with time, but this is ridiculous, I fear they are jumping on the Lush bandwagon and overpricing things.

Incidentally, I sent B a really nice message when I realised they had set up again and received no response to it....poor show guys, when people take the time to write they should at least have the decency to aknowledge it.

Anyway, don't think I will be buying any Smaragadine, eventhough I really, really love it. Shame!

1:40 pm  
Anonymous fuchsia groan said...

Ooh yes, Smaragadine. I used to buy this when Lush was Cosmetics to Go (I used to shop in their original shop in Poole). A friend recently send me some Lush stuff,plus catalogue, so I checked out the site of B Never too Busy....
Imagine my joy when I found the wonderful Smaragadine was available. A bit pricey at £17 a pop, but I placed my order forthwith. I smells just as wonderful as I remember. A real treat of days when I need a pick me up. Will have to ration myself at this price though.

5:16 pm  
Blogger Princess Livewire said...

Lady B, I wonder if you are aware that B has now discontinued Smaragdine! Once again I am left bereft and only have a small amount left to remember it by.

I was absolutely gutted when CTG folded and Lush tried to recreate the smell with Tramp. I bought several bottles, reconciled to having an 'almost' smell rather than nothing.

Imagine my delight when B reintroduced it. I quickly bought a bottle but now, when it comes to replacing my supplies, I discover it has been discontinued, without any advice or opportunity to replenish my stock!

I have sent an email to B to ask for an explanation. Surely if we have ordered in the past it would make sense (commercially if nothing else) to advise us of the discontinuation.

Now what do we do?

6:37 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Discontinued?!? Again?

Whatever is the world coming to?

5:29 pm  
Blogger Princess Livewire said...

Lady B, I had a response from Lush. Rumour has it that it will be re-introduced next year under the Botonomancy label, along with the rest of the collection, in Retro Lush.

I won't hold my breath but at least I feel slightly optimistic. Perhaps if we could all write to Lush to complain they may feel more inclined to bring it back (again!)

9:20 pm  

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