I don’t enjoy washing up. No one does, I think — not really. There are people who like it more than others, just as there are people who say that they like ironing, or cleaning the windows — but no one actually looks forward to the washing up. Not so long ago, I treated myself to some fancy soap in the hope of making this mundane chore (I’m a cookery writer so produce disproportionately large quantities of washing up) that little bit more fun.
I first bought this because I loved the bottle: It’s an elegant bottle, with clean slim lines. It’s plastic — granted, glass would be better — but it’s not cheap looking or chunky plastic, and the label is all-round fabulous: regal, pomegranate red, with impeccably chic typography and an extravagant gold edging. Plus it’s by French brand Astier de Villatte — and while their finely crafted plates at hundreds of pounds each have become a permanent fixture on my wish list, they are not what I would call ‘impulse buys’; this at £20 a bottle just nudges the title. It’s an affordably extravagant, aesthetically pleasing alternative to the garish bottle of Fairy Liquid that loiters, slightly scuzzy and worn, atop our kitchen sink.
Yet now that I find myself walking this path of designer washing-up liquid, I have also found that there is no turning back: It might have been the pretty bottle that first caught my eye, but it’s the dusty-rose-pink soap that comes within which has fully captured my heart. It smells so delicious, like brushing against an intensely scented bush of bay leaves. Not a sweet or sickly scent, but subtle and deeply, intoxicatingly — for want of a better word — aromatic. The perfume doesn’t linger on your plates: They come up clean, not scented, but you can smell the soap on your hands, luxuriate in it even. It comes in an array of equally heavenly sounding scents: Citrusy bergamot and black pepper are next on my list.
My only reservation is that you will find you get through a bottle quickly: Astier de Villate it seems doesn’t quite have that utilitarian quality of good old Fairy Liquid, where a single bottle lasts you seemingly a lifetime — though whether that’s because of the quality of the soap, or quite simply because I like it so much that I splash it around in extravagant quantities, I couldn’t tell you.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.