We all know mums are amazing and deserve the very best. Give your mum a guaranteed Christmas treat of affordable organic luxury this year. Not sure what to get? Below is a round up of some of the most popular gifts from Weleda's 2017's Christmas gift range.
For the sporty mum
Whether she's a gym bunny or Zumba queen, she's sure to appreciate the muscle soothing power of Arnica. Weleda Arnica Gift Trio features a gym sized body wash, an exclusive 50ml Arnica therapeutic milk bath and the best selling sports massage oil in the world!
For the stylish mum
There's always one mum who looks like she could be gracing the catwalk instead of the school run. Weleda Tinted Lip Balms were a hit with make-up artists and models alike at London Fashion Week in September. Three subtle shades enhance natural beauty, whilst organic jojoba oil and shea butter soften and protect.
For the practical mum
Cult hero product Skin Food is the multitasking queen's dream. Apply to dry patches, use on the lips, cuticles, smooth away flyaway hair, use as a face mask, primer underneath make up ... just like this mum, there is nothing Skin Food can't do! Weleda Skin Food Winter Survival gift set pairs Skin Food with the equally handy Everon lip balm.
For the mum in need of a hug
Weleda Wild Rose Ribbon Gift is a hug in a box. For the mum who has recently separated, or been so busy caring for others that she's exhausted herself. The body wash, body lotion and organic perfume contain essential oils of damask rose, geranium and ylang ylang to restore harmony to body and mind.
For the new mum
Weleda Lavender Milk Bath is the perfect pick me up for the sleep deprived. The gift features a beautifully designed sleeve that lends itself to any occasion, not just Christmas. Can't find ten minutes for a bath? Simply soak a flannel in a basin filled with warm water and a capful of milk bath, apply to the face and inhale deeply.
For the well groomed mum
You'll never catch this mum sporting chipped nails or a monobrow! Give her the gift of Weleda Pomegranate Nail Pen to keep her manicure looking fresh. It comes with a handy travel-sized tube of celebrity favourite Skin Food.
Inspired? Click on the images to place your order!
What's on your Weleda wish list this Christmas?
So you think you know about reflexology? Yes, it's more than a simple foot massage; sure, it's super relaxing and of course it's been around for centuries. But did you know that it was actually an American surgeon who began to popularise the treatment in the West?
September 18th - 24th is World Reflexology Week - an opportunity for reflexologists to promote the benefits of the complementary therapy and to educate the public.
With that in mind, I'd like to share three facts about reflexology that you may not already know...
1) Modern day reflexology was made mainstream by the medical profession
American ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr William Fitzgerald is credited with devising 'zone theory' alongside Dr Edwin Bowers. They discovered that the body could be divided into ten longitudinal zones, and that by applying pressure in one part of the zone, an anaesthetic effect was created along the entire zone. Dr Joe Shelby Riley elaborated zone theory by adding a further eight horizontal zones. Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist colleague of Dr Riley, put the theory into practice by working on thousands of feet. She painstakingly created the first 'foot map', a reflection of the entire body on the feet. Ingham also discovered that applying pressure didn't just elicit an anaesthetic effect, but stimulated the healing process.
2) It's not all about the feet
Reflexes can be worked on the hands, ears and even the face! So if you've been put off reflexology because you don't like having your feet touched (or seen in public!), you have no excuses - go book a session!
3) Reflexology may lead to improved concentration, greater creativity and better decision making
This bold statement relates to corporate reflexology - the practice of companies providing reflexology treatments during work hours for their staff. With the cost of stress-related workplace absence increasing yearly, it makes good business sense to support the health and wellbeing of staff members. Not only does it allow businesses to get the best out of their employees, reflexology in the workplace has also been shown to improve morale, increase job satisfaction and loyalty.
Simply Therapies offers corporate reflexology and massage to businesses in the East Kent area. As a special offer for World Reflexology Week, we're offering a reduced introductory rate for our popular 'Wellbeing Wednesdays'. Get in touch for more information!
What comes to mind when you think of a natural perfume? For those from the flower power generation, it may be the sweet smelling scent of patchouli. Or maybe it's the fresh, green scent of a Provencal lavender field?
Natural perfumes are becoming ever increasingly more sophisticated, so as the nights begin to get lighter, what better way to celebrate National Fragrance Day on March 21st than by discovering a mood enhancing new scent?
In 2016, Weleda launched the Jardin de Vie range, a collection of organic fragrances designed to "stimulate harmonious emotions in the person wearing the fragrance". By returning to the origin of perfumery and using pure essential oils rather than synthetic chemicals, the fragrances may have an aromatherapeutic effect, having a positive effect on mood as well as pleasing the nose.
Organic perfumes are also free of phthalates, a group of hormone disrupting chemicals linked to diabetes, infertility and cancer. Those with sensitive skin may find that they are better able to tolerate natural scents. Plus, they're better for the environment too!
Interested? Let's take a closer look....
Agrume, based on the Sea Buckthorn body care range, is
"a fresh, vital composition with the fruity fragrance of grapefruit and mandarin and rich notes of sandalwood"
It's designed to stimulate the following attributes: carefree, cheerful, energy, vitality, joie de vivre.
Rose, based on the Rose skin care range, is
"a floral composition with the gently flowery fragrance of rose and geranium and the opulent notes of ylang ylang blossoms"
Spritz to promote sensuality, deep joy, self confidence, balance.
Grenade, based on the Pomegranate skin care range, is
"a sensual, feminine composition with the fruity fragrance of orange and davana and an oriental note of vanilla"
Wear to stimulate the following: inspiration, sensuality, timeless beauty, authenticity, luxury.
Onagre, based on the Evening Primrose skin care range, is
"floral notes of magnolia with the freshness of cardamom. Warm sandalwood notes leave a delicate and powdery scent on the skin"
It's designed to enhance the following attributes: serenity, elegance, sophistication, zest for life.
The stylish fragrances are small enough to be carried in a handbag so you can spritz away throughout the day.
Priced at a very reasonable £19.95, the scents are best worn layered over Weleda's super hydrating body lotions.
Weleda Jardin de Vie fragrances make the perfect Mother's Day gift and birthday present for the eco-friendly mummy. Or why not treat yourself?
January passed in the blink of an eye and February, the month traditionally associated with all things romantic, is already upon us.
If, like me, you're already jaded by the 'funky pig' card companies bombarding the media with ads for cards, flowers and gifts, why not put a spin on Valentine's celebrations this year? To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, begin a lifelong romance and treat yourself!
For the very first time, iconic natural brand Weleda have launched a range of organic tinted lip balms, available in three colours at a purse friendly £6.95 each. The shades are:
Berry red - a browny-red, the boldest of the three, to give that gorgeous 'just bitten' look
Rose - a dusky pink, girly and feminine with a bit of sparkle
Nude - a caramel buff shade to create a neutral lip (think Kim Kardashian)
Each squeeze of these beautiful balms provides lips with nourishment and moisture, courtesy of organic shea butter and organic jojoba oil. Most organic lip balm formulations contain beeswax, hence are unsuitable for vegans ... not these ones! (vegans rejoice!). As with all Weleda products, they are 100% cruelty free and free from potentially harmful synthetic chemicals - after all, who wants lead in their lipstick?
But wait! That's not the best bit! Knowing how much us ladies love a good deal, Weleda have released a limited edition lip balm gift set comprising of all three lip balms in a stylish, eco-friendly gift bag for just £15! Try each shade for yourself to pick a favourite, or blend to customise to your preferred look/mood.
Beauty tip - prime chapped winter lips with Weleda's Everon balm (£4.25) or Weleda's 'can't live without' handbag essential Skin Food (£7.50) before applying your chosen shade or combination of colours. For a glossier finish, add a dab of Weather protection cream and pucker up, princess!
Whether you decide to treat yourself, your other half or a friend in need of some love this Valentine's Day, get your gift set whilst stocks last! (The sets would also make a lovely Mother's Day gift, but they may be long sold out by then - so get in early!).
Have you tried Weleda's new tinted lip balms yet? Do you have a favourite shade or any useful tips on how to wear them? I'd love to hear from you!
Kefir, a fermented dairy drink that has contributed to health and vitality for hundreds of years, is about to hit the big time. Fans claim that regular consumption aids weight loss and results in clear skin, more energy and better sleep.
Want in? Read on...
"All disease begins in the gut" - some credit this oft quoted expression to Hippocrates, the father of medicine. What we do know for sure is that the gut is not only responsible for digestion, but is a big player in healthy immune function.
Chronic, inflammatory conditions such as cancer and heart disease are now linked to poor gut health. In light of recent findings about the human microbiome and it's role in immunity this is no surprise. Did you know, for example, that our intestines contain more immune cells than the rest of the body?
We share our body with a system of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. This system is known as the microbiome and contributes to good health and vitality. Ideally, it's considered that the ratio of 'good' to 'bad' bacteria should be around 85% to 15%. Illness occurs when the microbiome falls out of balance (dysbiosis) and this ratio is altered.
So how do we optimise our microbiome? One of the simplest ways is by adding fermented foods such as kefir.
What is kefir and where did it come from?
It's thought that kefir originates from the Caucasus Mountains, the area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea where East meets West. Some say kefir translates as 'good feeling' - and who doesn't want to feel good?!
The grains are a combination of bacteria, yeast, sugar and protein and have a similar appearance to cauliflower. By adding these grains to milk, a fermenting process takes place and turns milk into a nutrient packed superfood!
It's certainly an acquired taste, slightly tart, with a consistency somewhere between milk and yoghurt. Make it more palatable by adding honey, or blended with fruit in a smoothie.
9 evidence based benefits of kefir
DIY Kefir - easy as 1, 2, 3!
Whilst you can now pick up a bottle of kefir from most supermarkets, the optimum benefits are obtained by homemade kefir. It's so incredibly simple, you can even delegate this task to your least clumsiest child!
Step 1 - Get your hands on some kefir grains - a quick online search will find some for sale, or do you have any kefir making friends who have some to give away? (healthy colonies multiply quickly!). Add one to two tablespoons to a small glass jar.
Step 2 - Top up with milk - organic dairy milk works best, however non-dairy alternatives such as coconut/oat milk can also be used, but won't match the nutritional profile of dairy kefir. Leave an inch or so at the top of the jar.
Step 3 - Leave at room temperature for around 24 hours. You'll know it's ready when the grains clump at the top of the jar. Strain with a non metallic strainer; you may need the help of a wooden spoon (kefir doesn't like metal) and consume immediately, or refrigerate for up to three weeks.
Now repeat step 1! It really is that easy!
Start the day the healthy way by enjoying kefir poured over a bowl of granola, or in a smoothie. It's also lovely as a bedtime drink as it's rich in the amino acid tryptophan, known as a natural tranquiliser.
Are you a kefir fan? How do you like to take it? Perhaps it's something you're interested in adding to your diet in 2017? Comments below please!
The information in this article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure. If you have a medical condition, it's wise to seek advice from your doctor before commencing any complementary therapy or food supplement.
I love to support local business. There's something special about people who decide to go it alone, devoting their time and energy into following their dreams and passions. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting an accidental apple farmer, whose story inspired me to write this post....
Just a mile down the road from my clinic, in the tiny village of West Stourmouth, is Little Stour Orchard, a ten acre apple orchard run by Sarah and Michael Bowers. I'd already sampled their mouth-wateringly delicious apple juice from my local farm shop and was keen to learn more about their award winning raw apple cider vinegar.
I took a trip down to the orchard where I (eventually!) found Michael busy pruning the apple trees. Whilst my nine month old had a perfectly timed nap in the car, we chatted about the family business....
When Michael and Sarah took over the orchard in 2011, thousands of pounds were being spent on chemicals used to keep the apples blemish free. Michael was sure that there was a better way... He took a gamble and decided to return the orchard to the way mother nature intended - 100% chemical free. He was told by experts that this was a big risk, however that decision has obviously paid off, as demonstrated by their trophy cabinet! Little Stour Orchard apple juice won 'Best Kent Juice Producer' two years running at the Taste of Kent awards, and their apple cider vinegar (ACV) won two gold stars at the prestigious Great Taste awards in 2014.
Not only are they creating these superb products, the cessation of chemical sprays has resulted in a hugely positive side effect. Michael described how the wildlife slowly returned to the orchard, including bees, insects and rare birds. He told me:
I believe in the Japanese philosophy that there are two ways of living life - we can either work with nature, or against nature. Sometimes, nature will over power you, but most of the time, nature is giving.
This simple philosophy is evident in all that goes on at Little Stour Orchard. Three types of apple are grown - Discovery, Cox and Bramley, then harvested to make apple juice. The juice is then left to ferment naturally, resulting in cider. A second fermentation then converts alcohol into acid compounds, resulting in ACV, which is left to mature in oak barrels for two years or more. These live enzymes and healthy bacteria are known as 'mother of vinegar', and gives raw, unpasteurised ACV its distinctive murky appearance - and quite likely, it's health enhancing properties.
You may already be an ACV fan; it's popularity is certainly on the rise, however, it's not a new craze. Vinegar as a supplement to health can be dated to as far back as Babylonian times, and Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was extolling the virtues of ACV way back in 400 BC.
Read on to find out a few popular uses of ACV for health, wellbeing and beauty...
Acid reflux - ACV has been touted as a natural remedy for reflux. Although this is a popular remedy, its effectiveness hasn't been researched.
Arthritis - Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes credits a mixture of ACV and honey for curing arthritis in his hip and hands, enabling him to continue with his active lifestyle.
Diabetes - ACV may benefit people with type 2 diabetes. Two separate studies have found positive effects on blood sugar levels after people with diabetes took ACV before meals.
Immunity - Raw, unfiltered, unpasteurised ACV such as Little Stour Orchard's contains probiotics which may boost the immune system.
Sinusitis - ACV's antibacterial, mucolytic properties make it at effective aid to relieve sinus pain.
Sore throat - A simple, fast acting gargle can be made from antibacterial ACV combined with soothing raw honey.
Weight loss - Research suggests that acetic acid, found in ACV, slows down the accumulation of fat.
Deodorant - ACV helps eradicate odour causing bacteria, so if you're looking for a natural deodorant, simply apply ACV to your underarms or feet.
Glossy hair - Model Miranda Kerr has spoken of her use of ACV as a hair rinse after shampoo.
Clear skin - ACV is rich in alpha hydroxy acids, making it a natural exfoliator - actress Scarlett Johansen has confessed to using it as a toner and spot treatment.
Sunburn - Soak a flannel in chilled ACV and apply to soothe sunburnt skin.
How to use at home:
Just add water - For a daily tonic, just add one tablespoon of ACV to a small cup of water - add honey if this makes it more palatable for you. Drink twice daily or before each meal.
Drink neat - Be like Black Eye Peas singer Fergie, who proclaimed to take ACV shots to aid weight management.
In food - If you can't stomach the taste, how about adding it to a dressing for a rice or quinoa salad? It also gives soups a little kick - try it!
If you're looking for a top quality raw apple cider vinegar that is made with love for the environment, you'd be hard pushed to find anything better than Little Stour Orchard's! - www.littlestourorchard.co.uk
As with all other health supplements, consult with your doctor if you have any health conditions or are taking medication.
As a working mum of two children under the age of three, I struggle to find the time to take care of myself. Don't get me wrong, I wash every day (the reason for mentioning this will soon become apparent!), do a bit of yoga when the kids are in bed and get the occasional massage, but there is a distinct lack of 'me time' in my life right now.
So when I was invited to Weleda head office to hear about a stress relieving activity that can easily be squidged into the busiest of days, I was keen to find out more ....
Last week, Weleda launched a mindfulness colouring book as part of their 2016 Christmas gift range. The beautiful book features the intricate designs of talented artist Lizzie Hobbs, who spent a year researching lead plants and key ingredients in Weleda's extensive range of organic, biodynamic health and beauty products.
The book is made up of twelve pages to colour in, with each page telling the story of a particular ingredient; for example, Jasmine is an Indian flower that releases its intoxicating scent at night, so the henna-like pattern comprises of a striking mandala with stars, hawk-moths and peacocks. In contrast, Calendula has a strong heritage in English herbal medicine, so the flower is set against a backdrop pattern of medieval floor tiles and Tudor timberwork.
Mindfulness colouring books have been around for a while now, but what is mindfulness, exactly, and why does colouring help us to achieve it?
Or to put it simply, use your senses to experience the present moment fully. By doing this, we learn to switch off from the mental chatter that dominates the stressed mind. Any simple, repetitive activity focuses the attention and calms the mind. Colouring makes mindfulness easy and accessible.
"Filling a page with carefully and thoughtfully chosen colour, feeling the pencil in your hand, hearing the sounds it makes when it runs along the page, concentrating on your breathing and feeling the sensations of bringing the illustration to life."
Weleda's Mindfulness Wash Gift set, priced at a purse-friendly £17.95, partners the colouring book with five luxury body washes. The premise is simple; choose a body wash (my favourite is pomegranate, closely followed by rose) and start or end your day with a mindfulness meditation in the shower!
Having tried the two activities for nearly a week now, I have been thrilled at how better able I have been at coping with the demands of a busy, stressful life. The most common complaint I hear amongst friends is that there are not enough hours in the day. Time seems to fly by whilst our to-do lists only get longer. The simple act of mindful colouring and the enjoyable mindfulness shower meditation really help me to slow down and clear my head.
Mindfulness is associated with a whole host of benefits, including stress reduction, better memory, improved concentration, increased immune function and relationship satisfaction. Why wouldn't you want in?!
So if you know of anyone who could use a short cut to stress relief, consider treating them to a wonderful gift that will cleanse their mind as well as their body this Christmas!
It's National Curry Week (10th-16th October) and with the weather starting to get a bit chilli, I thought I'd rice to the challenge and show why we should all have the hots for Indian spices this season (sorry, I'll stop this silliness raita way ;-)).
Once hailed as Britain's favourite dish, curry has somewhat fallen out favour, especially with the clean eating crowd (a quick search on Instagram reveals #avocado beats #curry hands down).
However, an authentic Indian meal will be brimming with health enhancing spices rather than swimming in saturated fat. Read on as I reveal my must-have store cupboard spices and six simple ways you can use them at home...
Chilli - Want to lose weight and get rid of a stuffy nose? Meet your new best friend. Chillies contain capsaicin which can increase metabolism for up to three hours. It's also a potent painkiller and excellent for breaking down mucous and clearing airways.
Clove - Another spice that packs a punch as a painkiller, cloves contain the anaesthetic, antiseptic and analgesic compound eugenol. As well as being a traditional cure for toothache, cloves are also thought to rid the body of intestinal parasites.
Coriander - If you want a healthy digestive system, keep a pot of coriander to hand in the kitchen. It has been used for centuries as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid. Incredibly, it's also as effective at treating food poisoning as the leading salmonella antibiotic!
Cumin - The ancient Egyptians valued this spice so much, they used it in the mummification process! Cumin has been shown to improve digestion by increasing absorption of other nutrients. It is also thought to be an aphrodisiac.
Garlic - A real powerhouse of health benefits, organosulphur compounds give garlic its antibiotic, antifungal and possible antiviral properties. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and strengthens the immune system.
Ginger - Got a dodgy stomach or stiff joints? Ginger is well known for its stomach settling abilities, making it the perfect remedy for morning sickness or a hangover. The anti-inflammatory compound gingerol is cold and flu fighting and warms muscles and joints. Try adding a few tablespoons of dried ginger powder to the bath to relieve aches and pains.
Turmeric - Last, but certainly not least, it's the spice 'du jour', turmeric is highly antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, boosting immune system function to fight colds and flu.
Six simple ways to spice up your life
What's the one spice you couldn't live without? Will you be celebrating National Curry week with a home cooked meal or takeaway? I'd love to hear from you!
Is the miserable UK weather making you dream of sunnier climes?
This fresh scented shower gel has a rich, luxurious texture and is perfect for giving the skin a good clean after a day at the beach.
As with all Weleda products, it's free from sulphates and parabens. If you've never used a non-lathering shower gel before, you'll be amazed at how well it performs, leaving the skin squeaky clean and silky soft.
If you have coloured or dry hair, this product is a holiday essential. Organic Shea butter, coconut oils and Jojoba work to intensively rehydrate the hair, leaving it smooth, soft and shiny.
Although Weleda do not claim that the treatment should be used in this way, I will be using it to protect my hair from sun damage, as the oils in this product possess natural SPF properties. The balm-like texture is non-greasy and hair can be stylishly slicked back into a bun (remember to tuck ends in to avoid damage).
If you taste good to mozzies and midgies, this spray wil be your new best friend this summer,
Just one spray will take away the urge to itch, whilst soothing redness and irritation.
The set comprises of five organic oils, Lavender, Rose, Arnica, Pomegranate and Sea Buckthorn.
If you struggle to sleep away from home, a few drops of Lavender oil is sure to gently lull you to a restful slumber. Arnica is the choice for any bumps and bruises (one too many sangrias?!), whilst Sea Buckthorn is excellent when applied to areas of sunburn.
Last, but certainly not least, it's everyone's favourite 90 year old (move over Your Majesty), Skin Food.
This multi-purpose balm is a true wonder product. It was formulated for use in areas of dry skin, but can be used as a hydrating face mask on flights (how models and actresses use it, don't ya know), as a nail and cuticle cream, split end smoothing cream, lip balm, primer under make-up and much much more.
Is it any wonder that so many well known celebrities, who could afford to pay much more than a tenner, swear by this product?!
What are your organic summer beauty must-haves? Do you have a Weleda product that you simply can't leave at home when you go on holiday? Please share!
Hay fever is an allergic response to pollen found in the air during pollen season (March to November in the UK). This over reaction to pollen triggers a release of inflammation causing substances including histamines, resulting in the symptoms hay fever sufferers are sadly all too familiar with.
Anti-histamine medication works by blocking the action of histamine, reducing symptoms such as a stuffy nose and itchiness. Unfortunately, it can cause drowsiness in some people, due to the fact that histamines are needed in small amounts to help keep us alert.
Did you know, there are certain foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine substances? This easy to make, delicious smoothie combines a few of these foods - here's what's included and why:
Stinging nettles, small handful - Yes, those pesky plants found in most back gardens DO have a use! Nettles have been used for centuries to treat inflammatory conditions and allergies; more recently, a few small research studies have verified its ability to reduce sneezing and itching associated with hay fever. Pick the small leaves from the top of a plant away from the roadside (wearing rubber gloves!). The heat generated from the blender blades will take the sting out of the nettles.
Half an apple - An apple a day may keep hay fever at bay... Apples contain a natural anti-histamine substance called quercetin, which is thought to prevent the release of histamine from mast cells.
Papaya (frozen) - one of the most richest sources of vitamin C, an immune boosting nutrient that has been shown to have an anti-allergy effect by decreasing the amount of histamine released into the body.
Spinach, small handful - A good source of two natural antihistamines, vitamin C and quercetin. makes spinach a great anti-allergy food to include! However, those sensitive to oxalates may wish to avoid it - add a small amount of romaine lettuce instead.
Ginger - Used for centuries to warm and boost circulation, ginger root may enhance absorption of other nutrients by increasing blood flow. It is also a fantastic natural decongestant due to its anti-inflammatory nature - great for clearing a stuffy nose!
Chia seeds - These tiny powerhouses are chock-full of nutrients, including highly anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats which can help improve allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation in the mucous membranes.
Half a lemon - Citrus fruits, especially the white pith, contain a phytonutrient called hesperidin, which has been shown to have an antihistamine effect. Lemons are also a good source of vitamin C and quercetin.
Pineapple (frozen) - The core contains one of the most anti-inflammatory enzymes, bromelain, which is thought to enhance the absorption of quercetin into the bloodstream.
Green tea - Catechins in tea have demonstrated an ability to inhibit the function of the enzyme that converts histadine to histamine, resulting in a reduction of allergy symptoms. The high vitamin C content of this smoothie makes the catechins more readily absorbed by the body. Steep the leaves for five minutes and allow to cool, before topping up the blender jug to the fill line.
I'd love to hear what you think of this smoothie; post your comments below! Do you have any natural tips for allergy sufferers? Please share!
This article is written for entertainment and is not a substitute for medical advice. The reader accepts full responsibility should they wish to test this recipe. Those on medication should consult their physician as some medications interact with stinging nettle. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consumption of stinging nettle.
Complementary therapist and natural health expert. On a mission to sprinkle health and wellness wherever I go...