LUSH are one of those rare things in the blogging world that, as a writer, you just have to get excited about.

They are a brand that truly puts their customer first, without compromising at all on who they are, their values, and their beliefs. 

The brand have come a long way from narrow shops with curious looking ingredients down a long, narrow table in the centre of their stores - with the rise of the blogger, so came the rise of the bath bomb, the bubble bar, and the alchemy of combining all natural, skin-soothing ingredients with beautiful design and showmanship. Yes, LUSH has graduated past its difficult teenage years and is now well and truly reaching its maturity. I've never been more sure of this than when I visited their newest outpost in the just-opened Westgate, right here in Oxford.

Now amongst the top five largest stores in the country, our previous local LUSH had been about a tenth of the size of this new slick space, and one of the 'old guard'. Chock-full of passionate, enthusiastic and zestful staff, it was more of an apothecary/broom cupboard than a real store. But baby is all grown up, and the new premises don't let the brand down at all - in fact, from the second you enter the door, you're greeted with the LUSH 'we believe' statement against the matte black walls, stylishly housing the dazzling array of bath bombs, lotions and potions alongside. With all this new space comes the ability to house not only LUSH favourites and seasonal stock, but limited edition items debuted at (and sometime ago exclusive to) their Oxford Street lab.

Your path winds through haircare, teeth and lips, through to the 'greenhouse' - a minimalist's dream, all white subway tiles and Belfast sinks, repurposed, recycled wood (because of course) - housing every skin cream and lotion, along with face masks, ingredients now exposed and lovingly nestled alongside product. Punnets of fresh fruit, flowers, rosemary and mint plants, as well as fresh, tiny rosebuds are dotted in amongst old favourites like Sleepy, Dream Cream and Dirty. Behind you, on racks, are scented sprays hanging up on pegs. Behind that, a 'garden shed' for parties and groups in store. On the day I visited, there was a family inside the shed, the children colouring on bits of paper towel normally used to wipe away testers and trialled products. It was freaking cute, guys.

Towards the back of the store, a section for scenting, as well as a generous till area (queuing and space in general had been a bit of an issue in the old store). This LUSH is now one of four in the UK to carry their black label perfume - something a far cry from anything I remember LUSH scents looking like - to my mind they had all had much more psychadelic packaging and had smelt a lot stronger, often of patchouli. And whilst LUSH hasn't lost any of its 'woo' (the staff alone account for about 90% of that), you do get the sense that this is a brand that is growing up with its customers. No longer do they have to prove their clout, or aggressively seek out their customers. All they have to do is simply continue delighting us. And I was definitely delighted upon my visit to Westgate.

I had a tour and skincare consultation with the lovely Catherine, who was extremely attentive to me, and a warm, bubbly personality to be around. I also ran in to a pal from the old store, Jess, who said excitedly that LUSH Oxford had 'finally graduated'! I couldn't agree more - this did feel like a hell of a leap. But whilst markedly bigger in size and winning more points for style than it ever had, LUSH retains its heart. I still felt catered to, welcomed and appreciated by every staff member. I could still feel and admire the quality of the products and the treatments I received. And I still wanted every single bath product I laid eyes on. Some things never change.

So if you're local, get yourself down to Westgate to check out the new store - I'm positive you'll love it. And thank you so much to Ailish, Jess and Catherine for taking such good care of me during a manic opening day! I'll be back SOON.

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