Captain Someone and I headed north to Sydney recently for a friend’s 30th. My hometown, St Clair, is at the foot of the glorious Blue Mountains so I took the Melbourne-born Captain up for a look around.

The Blue Mountains are spotted with art galleries, wellness centres, spa retreats, candle and incense distributors and tarot readers. My brother explained to the Captain in genuine bafflement, “it’s freezing up there but they all wear bright clothes, you know, *almost disgusted now* really bright clothes.” I think he was referring to the kind of rainbow clothing you find in a hemp shop.

Okay, I’m playing up to a stereotype here – it’s not all patchouli oil and folk music. There’s much more to the place than that. But that’s my favourite part.

Anyway, we came across a gorgeous little store called iKOU in the town of Leura and I was thrilled with the find. It’s the kind of store that puts you under an aromatic spell, music tinkling, you become convinced all your problems would be solved if you could just spend $500 filling your house with candles that smell like seasons and emotions.

iKOU is a japanese verb meaning to rest, relax and restore and their range will help you do this by burning scented candles or filling your home with beautiful organic linens. And here’s the best part: their products are not animal tested and almost 100% vegan (they use honey in their lip balms). Their candles are completely plant-based and sustainably sourced — no beeswax. Their makeup is 100% vegan and paraben-free. I thought I would try their natural mineral bronzer.

I’m really happy with it. It’s feels really light on and hasn’t given my super sensitive skin a reaction like most makeup does. I will be grabbing one of their foundations when I head home for Christmas.

iKOU is worth a look if you’re in the area. They also sell tea, perfumes, skincare and household cleaning products. It’s great to see a little Aussie business making a genuine attempt to be green.

Where it at? You can find iKOU on the main strip of Leura
What’s the damage? My bronzer was $39.95 — you can check out their 100% vegan makeup range on their website. Here’s the link.

What’s your favourite vegan makeup range?