If life gives you melons then you’re probably dyslexic!

Firstly, (did I start my last blog post like this? – yes I think I did – oh well) before I get to the interesting stuff I wanted to say that I am no longer having my posts proofread for the many grammar and spelling mistakes that are sure to be obvious to the masses but often bypass my dyslexic self. I want to thank the lovely person who has been reading through my posts for me before I go live so I don’t embarrasses myself needlessly – but the big 40 is looming, it is about time I take the leap on my own.

summer sun

I love writing my blog. I love telling you all how wonderful it can be to use natural products and I hope that this will be enough to help you see through the mistakes. I hope I don’t lose any of you. Now onto the beauty part.

natural beauty

My last post was inspired by my friend’s question about why her skin was so dry. Leading on from that post she asked me to suggest body moisturizers.

I will confess that I am not a great one for slathering on body lotion everyday – life seems too short to me to bother. I also find now I use olive oil soap I rarely need added moisture. But for the days when my skin is looking a little flaky or feeling a little tight – especially when I have shaved my legs – I do reach for something to help. There are two products I would recommend.

Acure Organics, Advanced Triple Moisture System Body Lotion, Mandarin Orange

The first is a wonderful body moisturizer I picked up from this great shop in Brunswick, Maine, Morning Glory Natural Food’s. I was reeled into trying the tester by the gorgeous packaging and equally gorgeous smell: Acure Organics, Advanced Triple Moisture System Body Lotion, Mandarin Orange (phew, that’s a mouthful). I would classify this as a body moisturizer over a lotion as it is quite thick, but it absorbs immediately and makes you smell amazing. My legs are instantly smooth and flake free. I wish I had bought loads as even though you can buy it in the UK it is much more expensive over here. I bought mine for $9.99 in Maine, but on Amazon.co.uk it goes for around £13. This brand does make other body moisturizers but I can’t comment on those as I have only tried this one – mainly because of the heavenly orange smell.

Weleda_Baby_CalendulaLotion

The second body lotion – and I would definitely call this a lotion as it is much thinner – is Weleda Baby Calendula Body Lotion. Weleda products are a firm favourite of mine. They are extremely easy to find online and Waitrose stocks the Calendula baby range in its – yes you guessed it – baby isle. I have been using this for about 3 years. It is very reasonably priced around £8 and is wonderful. Calendula has the added benefit of being a calming ingredient something always welcome in my book having extremely sensitive skin. Babies you had better watch out us mothers are going to steal your products for ourselves.

weleda calenula baby lotion

A soupçon of advice on oils.

Firstly let me begin by saying I am sorry that I have been absent for so long. I have been very busy concentrating on one of my other passions – printing my own fabric.

swallows

Back to beauty business for a moment as I feel I have been neglecting my readers. I wanted to do a short post to show you I am still here and thinking of you all.

Today, I was talking to  a friend at the school gates and she asked me a question about coconut oil. She wanted to know why, when she is using the oil on her body everyday, that her skin seemed to be getting drier.

dry skin from coconut oil

I remember having the same problem when I used olive oil on my face as a cleanser. The reason behind this weird phenomenon, apparently, is – drum roll please – your skin believes the oil that you are slathering on your skin is being produced by your body. In response it slows your body’s production of its own natural oil and therefore dries out the skin. Make sense? Okay, please promise not to ask why this does not happen when you use my beloved rosehip oil – honest answer? – I have no idea. Might be because it has something to do with the consistency of the oil or the molecule size – your guess is a good as mine.

In conclusion to this tale of oils – use the rosehip oil as often as you like. For me that is every night and loads of it. But when it comes to the heavier, thicker oils like coconut and olive oil be sparing – treat your body maybe once a week and no more.

Hope that helps my sweet peas. I promise to write a longer post soon – but my printing beckons and I love it so.

paintbrushes

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” ― William Shakespeare

When I started writing this post in early June, the days were heavy with the heat of longed for summer. I felt a strong desire to tell you readers about a wonderful brand of sun lotion – so I began to write. But in a whisper the weather turned. Days were no longer heavy with the burnished rays of sun instead they were heavy with rain. How could I write about sun lotion when summer had been pushed aside by late wet spring days? But today I can feel the touch of heat on my white skin, see the insects buzzing about on the kaleidoscope of coloured flowers, smell the warmth permeating everything it touches. Yes, today I can write about sun lotion and readers I will.

natural sun lotion

I have made my way through many natural suntan lotions with not a great deal of success – most will not sink into your skin but instead leave unattractive white streaks on your body. Also pity those of you that get some of these lotions in your eyes – how your eyes will scream and cry and tell you what a fool you are. I felt disheartened at the natural beauty world. Why couldn’t they help me protect my skin against the sun? Suddenly a little green man tapped me on the shoulder and told me not to worry for he had the solution and he wouldn’t let me down. He handed me a bottle of Green People’s Children’s sun lotion and I knew he had not been telling me lies.

Green People Children Sun Lotion No Scent SPF25

Green People Children Sun Lotion No Scent SPF25 – Naturisimo £13.95

This scent free lotion sinks in beautifully, does not sting your eyes, has high UVA as well as UVB protection and generally ticks all the boxes. You can use this on your face and your body as it won’t clog your pores or cover you in nasty chemicals. They also make this in a lavender concoction and an adult version. But to me simpler and cheaper is best. The adult version is more expensive which baffles me as it takes longer to sink in and has no real added benefits in its ingredient list.

Thank you little green man, please thank your Green People and tell them they are welcome to my summer party anytime.

natural suntan lotion

A quick word in your ear please.

No reviews today, just some follow up comments on previous posts.

Firstly after four months of owning my silk bedlinen I am disappointed with the wear of the duvet cover in particular. It looks at least 2 years old and has bad pilling on the surface. This has happened to the sheet too but only very slightly. I spoke to Jasmine Silk and they were not very helpful. I wanted to say that maybe this was not the best quality bedlinen after all. I would suggest looking somewhere else if you wish to – maybe a large well known store such as John Lewis as they would have better customer service. I have not checked if they sell silk bedlinen, but I know they have great customer care.

I am still very much in favour of silk and will continue to use my lovely bedlinen, but in the future I will look else where when I need to replace them.

Secondly I thought it was important to mention that I always use my apple cider vinegar spray on towel dried hair, no matter what shampoo or “no poo” product I use. If I had to say hand on heart what was the most successful method of washing my hair it would be my “no poo” method using bicarbonate of soda and the apple cider vinegar spray – this makes my hair look and feel the best over any bought product.

Until next time.

marilyn monroe

A natural recipe for a bug repellent spray from la niña.

I have veered off topic again to reblog this post from the wonderful . I thought my readers would be interested to know this natural recipe as bug sprays are absorbed into your skin like any skin beauty product would.

 

Bug Bites!

Posted by

Mosquito

While tending my garden the other day, I was viciously attacked by these little monsters. Mosquitoes can be such a nuisance during the summer. They make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities.

Commercial bug repellants use Deet as their active which will kill these pests by paralyzing their nervous system. However, did you know that these repellants can also dissolve plastic and paint? So why on earth would we spray this on our skin? Deet has been know to cause skin irritations, mood swings, and impair cognitive functions. And the smell…. ugh!

Luckily, there are some natural solutions… here is one of them. There are certain scents that bugs don’t like, but are pleasing to us – lavender, vanilla, rosemary, clove, and lemongrass are among them. Use this recipe to keep the bugs away naturally.

20 drops of essential oil (whichever scent you like best)
4 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with water and shake to combine. Spray freely on your arms, legs, and any other exposed skin. You can even spray this mixture on your clothing for extra protection.

Hope this helps to keep those bug bites away. Enjoy!

Can part of my fairy-tale come true?

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a princess – live in a castle, sleep in the clouds in a bed made of silk  (no peas under the mattress though) and marry a handsome prince and live happily ever after.

the ordinary princess

(The fabulous illustration above and the one at the very bottom of this post are from the beautiful children’s book ‘The Ordinary Princess’ written by my grandmother MM Kaye)

Unfortunately I did not marry the handsome prince but the evil villain and certainly did not live happily ever after – my story is the cautionary tale we tell our children not the fairy-tale. I do though sleep in silk – maybe not in the clouds or a castle but in a beautiful house in the countryside so close enough for me.

If you only want to change one thing to help your skin fight against ageing, silk should be that one thing. Way before I jumped on the natural beauty bandwagon I had read about how sleeping on a silk pillowcase can protect your skin against wrinkles.

“It’s long been a secret of the beauty industry that silk pillowcases can make an amazing difference to the appearance of your skin. Wrinkles appear smoother and there are no creases or marks from the pillowcase.

Silk does not absorb face creams like cotton can. Instead it allows your night cream to work while you are asleep for maximum benefit and a more radiant, deeply moisturised complexion.(quote taken from Jasmine Silk website)

I didn’t really believe it but I wanted my princess moment so I went out and bought a silk pillowcase. I have been sleeping on silk now for over 10 years and I would never change.

83517-2952x2268

This year I decided to be extravagant. If I couldn’t have the fairy-tale prince I really could have the fairy-tale bed. I changed all my bed linen to the softest most beautiful silk. My pillow and duvet are also silk filled – maybe I am finally living in the clouds. It certainly feels like it when I close my eyes at night.

fluffy clouds

Not only is silk extremely good for your skin – you will no longer wake up with lines on your face or body where your bed linen has left its mark behind. It also helps reduce allergies. Bed bugs and nasties do not live in silk like they do in feathers and manmade hollow fibres.

“Silk is repellent to dust mites and moths so it’s perfect for anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies. It also resists mildew and mould. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic so it can also be highly beneficial for those suffering from eczema or sensitive skin conditions.” (quote taken from Jasmine Silk website)

It is not only fabulous for your skin but your hair benefits as well:

“Wake up in the morning with hair that’s smooth as silk. The natural proteins present in silk together with its amazing smoothness mean that your hair doesn’t get matted or dried out when your head rests on silk overnight. That’s why top models always insist on silk pillowcases.” (quote taken from Jasmine Silk website)

silky hair

Silk filled duvets or pillows regulate your body temperature.  They are cool in the heat of the summer and warm in the cold of the winter.

“ Breathable and comfortable, the natural properties of silk wick away moisture from the body to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone who suffers from night sweats or hot flushes. 

Silk is great in the winter too, especially if you want to feel supremely warm without being weighed down by heavy blankets. Silk duvets feel so light that it is almost impossible to believe they can effectively keep out the cold.

Sleeping under a silk-filled duvet is like sleeping under a light fluffy cloud. Even in the depths of winter it keeps you warm and snuggly. That’s partly because of the natural drape of silk that some people call the “hugging effect.” which also helps to keep in body heat when it is cold.“ (quote taken from Jasmine Silk website)

mulberry_silk

You never need to clean a silk duvet – every summer just air it in the sun for a day.

In fact I would say the only downside to this is that I feel uncomfortable sleeping on anything else. Cotton or manmade fibre sheets scratch and irritate my skin and I find it hard to get comfortable and a good nights sleep. I long for the feel of silk on my skin as I know how fabulous it feels and how good it is for me.

Maybe I should mention one other thing. I do find I can’t have a silk duvet cover and fitted sheet on at the same time  – the duvet slips off at night. Instead I alternate between a silk fitted sheet and a cotton duvet cover or a silk duvet cover and a cotton fitted sheet. This might not bother you but I found I spent most of the night pulling the duvet back over me otherwise.

It is expensive as it must be 100% pure silk – but once you have invested and you wash the bedlinen with care, it is the best investment you will make and you will never look back.

I have looked for the best quality and the best price on the Internet in the UK (sorry those of you in the US you will have to look for one over there) Jasmine Silk comes out on top at the moment. Quality is important; you must have silk that has a heavy momme weight. Mulberry silk for silk filled items and Charmeuse silk for bed linen are the best type to go for. Cheap lightweight silk will not last and will not work in the same way. Jasmine silk may seem more expensive than places like eBay but you are guaranteed quality and that is what you should be buying. Below is another rather long extract from their website but it explains the differences in silk quality clearly (no I do not work or know these people but I have done my research and I wanted to pass this on to my readers):

Mulberry Silk

Mulberry silk is the highest quality silk available. . . Jasmine Silk duvets, pillows and toppers are made by 100% grade A long-strand mulberry silk. Because of the rising price of mulberry silk, there are many suppliers selling cheaper silk duvets which are filled with a mix of polyester and silk, or chopped strand silk which is essentially off cuts of silk that can’t be used for anything else. . .

Momme weights

Mommes (mm) are units of weight traditionally used to measure the density of silk. It is similar to the use of thread count for cotton fabric. The usual range of momme weight for different weaves of silk are:

  • Gauze – 3 to 5 momme weight
  • Chiffon – 6 to 8 momme weight
  • Habutai – 5 to 16 momme weight
  • Charmeuse – 16 to 19 momme weight

Charmeuse Silk

Charmeuse is a luxury fabric made from silk with a satin finish. It has a floating appearance which drapes very well, especially for formal wear and luxury bed linen. We use the heaviest weight (19 momme) Charmeuse silk for all our silk bed linen.

For silk sheets a momme weight of 12-19 is considered good quality with silk sheets in the range of 16-19 being very high quality. Cheap silk sheets almost always have a low momme weight, because physically less silk has been used to make them. Anything lower than 12 momme feels lightweight and flimsy, and not particularly smooth or luxurious. It tears easily, is difficult to wash and doesn’t last long.

A-Grade Long-strand silk

Not only is our silk heavy in weight, but we also insist on using only long-strand silk. Although not often discussed outside the textile industry, the length of the strands makes a big difference to the feel of the silk and its strength and durability. Longer fibres produce smoother yarns. Shorter fibres have tiny surface ends which result in a fuzzier yarn that doesn’t feel as smooth.

Go on! Let the princess in you come out and play!

the ordinary princess

Send your nails a valentine’s card to show you love them.

The other day, while chatting with a good friend, we got onto the topic of why her nails are so brittle at this time of year. I can promise you that the cold and icy breath of winter will not be serenading your nails this Valentine’s day.

Broken-Heart

But before you coat your nails in some foul smelling toxic vanish give them the kind words and loving caresses they actually deserve.

Do not be duped by products that promise to strengthen and help your nails grow. They might give the appearance of stronger nails but to what damaging effect. I won’t go into the poisonous ingredients that are in these varnishes – how they are derived from formaldehyde (yes I do mean the liquid that is used to embalm bodies) – how the toxic ingredients can leach through your nails into your body ­– how they are suffocated instead of being able to breath in the fresh crisp air of a winter’s day.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Firstly keep your nails short in the winter –below the top of your fingernail is best. Secondly pop a rich moisturizing oil such as my favourite coconut oil in a little container and carry it around with you. Massage into the nail whenever you remember, your hands too which also will suffer in the cold. This should help them stay strong and happy during the Winter months.

I am not saying stay away from pretty colours over the winter – I love wearing a darker shade on my nails at this time of year.

black-nails

This isn’t me in the photo above – just a fabulous image I found to show you how great dark polish is on short nails.

But go for kind varnishes instead of nasty toxic ones. Many natural brands do lovely colours: Butter (I love that name), Beauty without Cruelty and the fabulous Zoya which has a rainbow of every colour and sparkle you could ever wish for. I promise to cover these brands in more detail in a later post. So love your nails as you do your hair and skin. They are part of you and deserve as much attention as everything else.

red-heart

Give your skin a present this Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I find with all this cold weather and central heating my skin becomes incredibly dry. Well never fear – I have a wonderful solution to bring back baby soft skin.

To achieve this I am going to use two, maybe three of my favorite products. The first is Weleda Skin Food. I buy mine from naturisimo but you can buy it in many places online or in the shops. This is such an amazing product which you can use all over your body. It is especially fabulous for feet, hands and elbows. The smell is heaven too – evoking strolls through sun drenched orange groves.

weleda skin food

Secondly Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda). I am especially enamored with Waitrose’s own brand at the moment. I believe it creates a smoother paste than the previous brands I have tried. Also the packaging is pretty. Arm and Hammer do a great one too.

waitrose bicarbonate of soda

And maybe some honey depending on how deep a scrub you want – organic please.

organic sainsbury runny honey

I usually save this treat for night time.

Start with clean skin – remove any makeup or dirt you have accumulated throughout the day. I use Oliva soap for this.

With your skin still damp tip about a tablespoon of Bicarbonate of Soda into your palm. Add water to make a smooth paste – not too runny – not too dry.

Gently please – your skin loves you so treat her well – massage the paste into your face – paying particular attention to the dry, flaky areas.

For an extra strong scrub use about a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda and substitute the water for a squeeze of honey. Be extra gentle with this as it makes a harsher, deeper face scrub.

Do not use either to scrub your skin around your delicate eye area – she will be very miserable.

Wash the scrub off with water.

You can follow with a wash of honey if you fancy it but you don’t have to.

You can also go with a wipe of witch hazel on a cotton pad – a similar ritual to my night time skin routine post.

Now I slather on – I really go to town here – Weleda Skin Food. It turns your face white and you look very silly – but it eventually sinks in.

If you are allergic to Lanolin this treat is not for you. You could try a generous amount of Rosehip oil or Weleda Almond Lotion instead. Lanolin is the main ingredient that lends its soft hands to repair your dry skin. There is some confusion surrounding Lanolin as to whether it can clog your pores. A very informative website I have referred to many times clears this up for us – zerozits – the name speaks for itself.

“Lanolin Oil confuses many individuals. Natural Lanolin Oil comes from the wool of a sheep and does not cause acne. Synthetic Lanolins (man-made) do cause acne and leave you feeling very oily!”

I have used this many times over the past two years and it has never once (touch wood) caused me problems.

Off to bed with you – sweet dreams – wake to beautiful baby soft skin.

Disclaimer: If something works for me I am not saying that it will definitely work for you. ­I do hope it does but I cannot promise or give any guarantees. Your use of these products or suggestions is entirely at your own risk. Please use any product or idea with caution and of course do not use anything with an ingredient that you know, or think, you might be allergic to. Thank you and happy reading.

You smell wonderful – thank you – it’s all natural of course.

As you hopefully all know by now, for just over two years I have been striving to go completely natural with my beauty products. I was doing so well  – but something was amiss. I could hear an evil snigger every time I went near my dressing table. Hoping this would go away I just ignored it. After a while it was beginning to grate – my only choice was to find the source. I looked through my stash of makeup goodies and they were pretty happy polishing their halos. My haircare and skincare all gave me a big grin and a pat on the back. So what was I missing?

Suddenly there it was – a beautiful bottle of Guerlain perfume sticking out its red forked tongue and saying the rudest things. I blushed a deep shade of pink and thought to myself “How could this beautiful bottle and its gorgeous smelling liquid be the devil in disguise?” I had to find out. Nothing though is ever as straight forward as you hope. Bottles of scent for reasons of secrecy, do not have to display their ingredients (more chuckling ensued from the bottle). So how was I to know what I was spraying on my skin – why was my perfume giving me the evil eye?

I found an article from the big leagues to help me out. Scientific American was a great source of information. Here is an extract from that article:

“Ahhh…the sweet smell of petrochemicals! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that, while many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they also typically contain a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. 

““ . . . The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label,” reports EWG, which analyzed the Campaign’s data. “Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.” EWG adds that some of the undisclosed ingredients are chemicals “with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.” Examples include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies, and musk ketone, which concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk.”

The bottle sobbed crocodile tears – but I had to be strong – off to ebay she went.

I now had to find my Angel. I though this would be easy – it isn’t. Most natural perfumes are extremely expensive. Many are wolves as the mineral powders were before them – not natural at all. I was beginning to despair – then one day I saw a bright light guiding me its way. It was guiding me to Marks and Spencer. My angel had come in to land in the shape and smell of a pretty little scent bottle smelling of vanilla and all things yummy – and Acorelle Vanille Ambrée was her name.

acorelle vanille ambree rassurante Eau de Parfum

Her autobiography is as follows:

“No nitrated musks, phthalates, parabens, phenoxyethanol, synthetic colouring agents, antioxidants, synthetic emollients or synthetic oils, synthetic fragrance materials, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, gmos, radioactivity, heavy metals, nitrates and raw materials of animal origin.”

I can’t promise you hand on heart that it is as natural as a freshly budded blossom – but it is as close as I can find – and I am not letting it go.

No longer do I hear those evil snickers – now only a choir of heavenly voices.

You can buy this brand from many other places on the internet – so don’t fret if you do not have a Marks and Spencer near you. Acorelle also has a number of other beautiful scents in her collection. I will definitely be buying Verveine Agrumes Eau de Parfum for the softer spring and summer months.

Olive oil on my skin – am I mad?

I am going to talk about olive oil soap in this post -­ not plain olive oil (but I have to say that that is an amazing product to use too. ­ I will post about it later on). From your local Holland and Barrett store you can buy Oliva soap for just over £1. I cannot find it on any websites in the US, but I know you can find something very similar as I did when I was on vacation there in the summer. I must stress that if you find another brand be very careful and look at the ingredients first. Many olive oil soaps are in fact a dash of olive oil mixed with SLS, parabens and other synthetic substances. Always try and buy any natural products with as little ingredients as possible. Oliva soap has only 2 ingredients: Saponified Olive Oil and Mineral Salts. Here is the description from the Holland and Barrett website – “Made from pure unrefined olive oil, Oliva is kind and gentle to the skin. Oliva is not tested on animals, contains no artificial colours or perfumes, is completely vegetarian. 100% biodegradable.”

oliva soap

I absolutely love this soap. It never dries your skin and has no nasty synthetic fragrances or chemicals. I use this to wash my face every day. I don’t splash out on expensive cleansers as this cheap, lovely soap does the trick and will not strip my skin of its natural oils or mess with its pH levels. I also use this as an all over body soap. I even use this to wash the delicate skin of my 5 year old daughter. I have in the past used this to wash my daughter’s hair as well when I didn’t have anything else to hand. It worked really well ­- left her hair soft and shiny.

The packaging is simple but elegant -­ I believe most of us would be happy to have this on display nestled on our sink.

Go on, ditch the expensive soap, body washes and cleansers and be kind to your skin with this lovely moisturizing very natural soap.

A quick side note for you all ­- I wouldn’t recommend chomping down on this soap or using it to cook with. A friend who took my advice and uses this soap on her family told me her husband had a quick bite and confirmed it wasn’t very tasty! It is a soap after all no matter how natural.