From Italy with love

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Nature is hard to find in Ho Chi Minh City. Each morning, you have to strain your ears to hear the sound of singing birds (if you can find any) through the omnipresent din of construction.

As more parks and gardens are paved over to make way for shopping centers, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better.

We want to escape from this concrete jungle, on weekends and holidays. But, what can we do during the week?

A trip to the spa is always a good idea. But a new line of imported products enables you to create a spa at home. Natural bath products can spice up your life and transport you back to that quiet, comfortable space.

L'Apothiquaire Artisan Beaute® is tucked away at the end of a tranquil tree-lined path. The spa itself is set inside a restored French villa adorned with a tropical garden, water fountains and mosaic-tiled pool.

As you enter, you encounter a display of Erbario Toscano. Bright strings of handmade Italian soaps hang decoratively in the entrance.

Le Hong, a customer who was perusing a line of olive oil candles and lotions for herself and friends said she couldn't resist the natural cleaning sensation of the antiseptic hand soap.

"I bought citrus and cinnamon bath foam and liquid hand soap which is spicy and sweet," she said.

Nguyen Thuy, another young customer, said she couldn't resist the citrus and cinnamon bath foam and was considering getting some to give out as Tet (Lunar New Year festival) gifts.

Since ancient times, olive oil has been used to make soap and perfume. The Roman athletes rubbed olive oil over their bodies to strengthen their muscles and women used it as a skin moisturizer.

Erbario Toscano began 50 years ago in olive-rich Tuscany and now offers natural oil products that pamper users from head to toe. There is liquid, bath foam, body cream, after-bath dry oil, and hair conditioner.

Many of the products are derived from the natural offerings of the Tuscan region, such as rose, lavender, cherry, orange, citrus, and red wine.

A VND600,000 gift set includes soap, body lotion and perfumed candle - everything you need to create a serene little getaway right in your bathroom.

Erbario Toscano products are sold at L'Apothiquaire Artisan Beaute®, 64A Truong Dinh Street, District 3, HCMC, tel: (08) 3 932 5181.

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