Le Couvent des Minimes range
Mostly we tend to focus on specific products on Beauty Bible Loves, but we're hard-pressed to settle on one favourite from this fab range. Jo stumbled upon it in Provence while making her little movies with L'Occitane: they also happen to own the Couvent (convent) - and with founder Olivier Busson being the entrepreneur that he is, it probably wasn't going to be long before this wonderfully fragrant collection of bath/shower/bodycare/skincare/footcare/fragrance and more broke out of the gorgeous, meditative spa and made a bid for global stardom. (The spa itself is within the former convent, and if there's a more peaceful place for a treatment we'd like to know about it.)
The name comes from the first inhabitants of the convent (then a monastery): the 'Minim Brothers' (meaning "the least", which reflects their humbleness). Later, Franciscan nuns took over - but the last nun left the building in 1999, and L'Occitane swooped, creating a world-class hotel.
The smells, as you might imagine, are out of this world. We like the packaging, too, which features the shield that can be seen on the cool, thick limestone walls of the convent. And if we're forced to come up with a shortlist of must-haves, this is it. (NB We haven't even got round to trying the skincare yet, but meanwhile these are pure body bliss...)
Le Couvent des Minimes Energizing Shower Gel. Wonderfully uplifting whoosh of verbena and lemon, perfect for those mornings when your get-up-and-go got-up-and-went.
Gardener's Hand Healer. Does what it says on the tin (or rather, tube); jam-packed with the high levels of shea butter you'd expect from any brand linked with L'Occitane.
Eau des Minimes Cologne. A simple, classic, botanically-infused cologne: oh-so-French, oh-so-refreshing. (Think: grapefruit, blood orange, lemon, rosemary, wild pansy, lemon balm, hollyhock, neroli and benzoin.)
Leg Soothing Lotion. Love, love, love this (and the 'matching' Hiker's Foot Healer, too): ivy, red vine, cypress and spearmint work to improve micro-circulation and ease heavy legs, while grapeseed oil and shea butter nourish thirsty skin. The Alpine mint, lemon and May Chang scent effectively awakens our senses, as well as our weary pins.
Formula No. 303 Hydrating Body Sorbet. Fabulous gel-creme texture, superb lemon-verbena scent, and wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.
Le Couvent des Minimes? We're almost religious in our devotion...
UK readers find the range at a couple of locations for now (or buy via the US website, below, which ships internationally); it's at Tesco Newport, Tesco Horwich and Tesco Dudley.
US readers find Le Couvent des Minimes at usa.lecoventdesminimes.com/from $6.50 (for Pure Vegetable Soap) to $45 (Eau des Minimes Cologne) - click here for the full website (and do have a good meander round)