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!
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!
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!
Doesn't winter seem much more fun in December, when Christmas lights are sparkling, advent calendars give the perfect excuse to eat chocolate every morning and the excitement of spending time with loved ones is building?
Come January, it's cold, wet and dull and summer seems a lifetime away. It's a time of year when we make resolutions to better ourselves, but often get caught up in the trap of making unrealistic goals that we are unable to stick to. Rather than making lofty resolutions, try changing small things that may make a big difference.
Forget the detox and the expensive gym membership for now, and focus on the one area that is exposed all the time - your face. Whether young or not quite as young, male or female, we all want to look our best. Here are seven simple steps to achieving ravishingly radiant skin.
1 - Be religious about removing make-up
We've all bypassed the bathroom and thrown ourselves into bed after a late night, but just how bad is it to sleep with make-up on? Whilst the odd blip won't cost you, repeatedly committing this sin may aggravate skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis as well as contributing to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Why so? Make up forms a barrier that clogs pores and impedes the skin cell renewal process.
There's a simple solution - take it all off! Remember to double cleanse; first use a cleansing balm or oil along with a bamboo flannel soaked in warm water to remove make-up, then follow with a cleansing milk or facial wash.
2 - Switch to certified organic products
If you have never bothered taking notice of the ingredients list on the back of your beauty products, make 2016 the year you do so. Choosing organic is best for your skin, your health and the environment. Avoid known skin irritants such as sulphates, parabens, preservatives, mineral oils and artificial fragrances, as these weaken the skin barrier, causing worsening of many skin conditions, especially eczema. What we put on the skin is also absorbed by the body and some of these ingredients have been linked to infertility, neurological conditions and cancer, so why be a human guinea pig?
Which brands are best? There are many ethical brands with a long heritage of using natural plant extracts that work with the skin's natural processes. Founded in 1921, Weleda www.weleda.co.uk is perhaps the world's leading organic skin-care and natural beauty brand and carries the NATRUE seal of approval.
3 - Use the correct products for your skin type
Many of us over a certain age are guilty of using the same products, despite the fact that our skin changes constantly through the seasons and over the years. Faced with a bewildering array of products on the shelves, it certainly seems the safest option to stick to what you know. If you've been struggling with skin issues for a while, or if your skin often feels tight and uncomfortable, a professional assessment of your skin may be just what the (skin) doctor ordered.
For a free consultation, find a Weleda wellbeing advisor in your area (only available in the UK). They are trained to assess your skin and demonstrate products that will work with your skin to reinforce it's natural function. Three reasons why you should do it - 1) Wellbeing advisors are lovely, knowledgeable professionals 2) There's never any pressure or obligation to purchase products 3) If you do wish to buy, products are very reasonably priced, with over half of the entire range priced under £10.
4 - Schedule regular breaks from your laptop
Why is sitting at your laptop considered a skin sin? Long periods spent staring at a computer or laptop screen can result in frown lines as well as saggy jowls from looking downwards. It's easy to get engrossed in what we're doing and forget to move the muscles of the face, neck and shoulders, causing impaired blood flow to the skin and muscles.
The solution? Take regular breaks away from your screen to have a good stretch of your fingers and wrists; rotate the neck and shoulders. Pulling faces at nearby colleagues, children or pets is also recommended; as well as getting blood pumping to the facial skin and muscles for glowing skin, it also has a de-stressing effect!
5 - Keep hydrated
Dehydration can make your skin appear dull, dry and lined, so make sure you are getting enough fluids by carrying a bottle of water in your bag or keeping one on your desk at work.
Need some inspiration? Check out this ingenious product by Hydratem8 that is part BPA free water bottle, part health coach. It reminds you to sip throughout the day and even gives you praise for doing so! www.hydratem8.co.uk
6 - Wear sunscreen
As well as being constantly exposed to the environment, facial skin is thinner and therefore more susceptible to ultra-violet damage. Many dermatologists will tell you that the single most important thing to look after your skin is to wear sunscreen every day, year round. It's easy to avoid chemically laden creams by opting for natural mineral blocks containing titanium or zinc to deflect the sun's rays.
Green People offer a good selection of natural and effective sunscreens and tinted moisturisers www.greenpeople.co.uk. Also worth a mention is Bare Minerals natural sunscreen powder; perfect if you need coverage but want to let your skin breathe www.bareminerals.co.uk
7 - Get a good night’s sleep
There's a good reason it's called beauty sleep. Sleep is the body's rest and repair mode when cell renewal and tissue repair occur. Aim for 7-9 hours a night. Lack of sleep, either quality or quantity, may result in higher levels of stress hormone cortisol, which has been shown to aggravate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. It is also known to reduce production of collagen, leading to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
If you have trouble dropping off, aromatherapy may help. Add a drop of Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Neroli or Ylang Ylang essential oil to your pillow or add a few drops to a capful of full fat milk to use in a warm bath before bed. Remember to switch off all electrical devices in your bedroom and turn your mobile phone onto flight mode at least an hour before lights out.
Stick with these solutions for one month to look and feel better than ever! Happy New Year!
Complementary therapist and natural health expert. On a mission to sprinkle health and wellness wherever I go...