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

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“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

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your … totally natural, soft, shiny, beautiful … hair’

beautiful-hair-style161

A few months back I promised that I would write a post about my favourite natural shampoos – so here they are in no particular order of preference.

Lets start with a well-known organic brand – Neal’s Yard. There are two shampoos with their fellow conditioners that I really like. On a quick side note – I do not need to condition every time I wash my hair since going “no poo”, but I do when I have time as a special treat to myself. Firstly Neal’s Yard’s ‘Nurturing Rose’ twins.

neals yard nurturing rose shampoo and conditioner

This shampoo and conditioner was my first foray into this brand. I wanted something that would nourish my platinum dyed blonde hair. The rose smell is divine and it left my hair soft and shiny. The description on the bottle is as follows:

“Gentle cleanser combined with vitamin-rich rosehip, sea buckthorn and passion flower oils to nurture dry, damaged or coloured hair.”

After I made the decision to go back to being au natural with my hair colour – with  maybe a slight cheat of soft colour every now and then, but don’t tell anyone – I found that I didn’t need something so rich. I did find that after a few days my roots would become a little greasy with the rose so I tried another handsome one of theirs – Rejuvenating Geranium. Here is the bottle description:

“A cleansing infusion of apple vinegar, witch hazel and nettle to restore vitality and shine with geranium to balance hair and scalp.”

Neals Yard Remedies Rejuvenating Geranium shampoo and Conditioner.jpg

As you all know I am a huge fan of apple cider vinegar and witch hazel and I was not disappointed. This was perfect for days when I didn’t need something so nourishing and yet it still left my hair lovely and soft and well looked after with no greasy roots. The only downside to this – and this is just personal preference – I am not wild about the geranium smell. Neal’s Yard is a little pricey with all of these costing £11.50 each but I do think they are worth the money and they look so pretty on the shelf in their lovely blue bottles.

Now onto a totally unknown brand – well it was for me anyway. Essential Care Gentle Herb Shampoo.

essential care gentle herb shampoo

I buy this online at naturisimo for £10.50. Now this does not come with a partner but it does its job so well you don’t need to use any conditioner. I love that it has hardly any ingredients and really works. I also use this to wash my young daughter’s hair as it is so natural and makes her very long hair beautifully soft and tangle free.

Lastly, when my hair needs a proper cleanse – when it feels sad and overloaded – I find myself reaching for this wonderful cleansing shampoo and conditioner – the Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying duo.

avalon organics clarifying lemon shampoo and conditioner

My hair looks fabulous and fresh after one wash. I can’t use this more than once a week though as it is a tiny bit stronger than the others and my scalp goes into a strop. This is at the lower end of the price scale at only £5.99. Here is the description on the bottle:

“Gentle plant-derived cleansers enriched with Vitamin E, Wheat Protein, Aloe, Chamomile and Lemon wash away dulling residue and impurities without stripping for instantly renewed colour and shine.”

You may now be asking yourself why I have all these things in my shower – or you may not – but lets pretend you are. Well as you might have guessed I love trying new things and Neal’s Yard and Avalon can be picked up in my local Waitrose whereas Essential Care needs to be ordered – which can be a pain.

Now which one am I going to try tonight? Decisions, decisions!

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

The only reason for being a bee that I know of is to make honey…. And the only reason for making honey, is so as I can eat it. – Winnie the Pooh

Winnie might believe that honey is just for eating (I am sure many of you would agree) but the wonders of honey don’t stop there – honey is one of the best natural skincare products available.

People who have known me for years would never put the words ‘Mollie’ ‘love’ and ‘honey’ in the same sentence. When I was a little girl I hated the smell and taste of honey. I never thought it would be something that I would come to adore. I still hate the taste and the smell can be a little much sometimes but as a skincare product I love love love it.

You can use honey in skincare, haircare, for first aid, burns, blemishes – the list goes on and on.

If you have read any of my other posts you will know that I use it every night to wash my and my 5 year old daughter’s faces.

I wanted to let you know of another way to treat your skin using this lovely product – as a face mask. This will smooth your skin and treat any blemishes that are threatening to invade your prefect complexion:

Wash you face with Oliva. Use the bicarbonate of soda face scrub if you want to. Then dry off your face. Plaster on your chosen honey and lie back for at least 10 minutes, more if you can be bothered. I like to do this in the bath. If your skin isn’t dry when you apply the honey it will slide off your face. Wash off and reveal smoother, happy skin.

I have been experimenting with a new honey I picked up from Waitrose – Littleover Apiary wildflower honey with royal jelly. This lovely organic, wildflower honey has royal jelly added. I found this information about royal jelly on the dr organic website:

“The unique combination of nutrients, amino acids and plant hormones makes Organic Royal Jelly a superb ingredient to help maintain a youthful appearance. Throughout history this wonderful ingredient has been heralded as natures fountain of youth. It is ideal for rejuvenating and nourishing the skin, while its anti-aging properties help maintain the skins elasticity, texture and tone.”

Who knows if it is really adding anything special, but my skin is feeling extra smooth at the moment so this could be down to this royal additive. It is only £4.75 so I am happy to use it!

Littleover Apiary wildflower honey with royal jelly

A great tip if you feel a spot (zit) nudging away at your skin trying to get noticed, dab a bit of honey on it and leave it over night, the next day it should be gone or at least smaller. You can use manuka honey for this as it is super strong and has a higher concentration of anti-bacterial qualities to zap that spot. Don’t use manuka as a wash or face mask though, unless you have super strong skin, it can be too harsh and might reduce your skin to tears and tantrums.

On a side note, away from the golden elixir, this year I am trying lots of new things and will be working hard so my posts might be more infrequent – just a couple maybe even only one a month. I’ll still be here, trying new things and letting you know about them, just not as often as I have been. So don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while I promise I am still around.

“I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.”

At this time of year time runs away from me. I have not a moment to do all the things I want and my blog posts have taken a back seat to all the festivities. I do not want you to think I have forsaken my duties so here is a short but sweet post to keep you all going.

If you are going “no poo” with your hair but finding it needs a little pick me up – especially on the ends – coconut oil is the answer to your prayers.

It must be pure coconut oil. I buy mine from Holland and Barrett but many online stores sell it too. If you can find it buy organic but I found that harder to procure and this does the job just as well.

pure coconut oilpure coconut oil

This wonderful product will bring life, moisture and bounce back into your locks. You can treat your hair once a month, once a week – really however often you want to or have the time to spare.

Start with dry hair. Take a huge dollop of coconut into your palms and rub them together so it becomes a liquid. Saturate your hair from roots to ends with the oil. This can get a little messy so I recommend doing this in the shower or at least in a bathroom. If you want a quick fix wrap your hair in cling film (I think the Americans among us call it saran wrap). Then wrap it all in a warm towel. Sit down and relax. You can leave this on anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more. If you really want to go to town leave the coconut oil in all night – sans the wrap and towel of course.

Then wash it out as if you were washing your hair as normal. You might need a few goes to get it fully out but I find no more than two is needed.

Voila! Beautiful, shiny, soft, bouncy hair.

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.

I have been asked, on numerous occasions, what my daily evening skincare routine consists of. Most laugh heartily after I tell them – then look slightly embarrassed when they realise it wasn’t actually a joke. But those who take me seriously have thanked me numerous times and have become converts to the simple things in life.

I say simple things because I only use very simple products – no more than a couple of ingredients in anything.

Let me get it out the way now and say again  “no I am not joking”. It may seem weird but if you try it hopefully you will realise how easy and simple (there I go again with that word) it can be to have lovely, glowing, young looking skin.

You will need:

• Oliva soap – Holland and Barrett

oliva soap

• Organic runny honey (yes I did say honey). I use Sainsburys own brand just for convience but feel free to use any brand you take a fancy to.

organic sainsbury runny honey

• Pure 100% witch hazel – again good old Sainsburys comes up trumps for this.

sainsbury distilled witch hazel

• My organic apple cider vinegar and witch hazel spray (see previous post on my “no poo method”)

vinegar and witch hazel spray

• A’kin Organic Rosehip oil. It doesn’t have to be A’kin other brands do organic pure rosehip oil too – Trilogy, Neal’s Yard just to name two off the top of my head.  I just really like this brand. I buy mine from naturisimo for £14 which is an excellent UK website for natural products.

Akin Rosehip oil

Before you begin the routine make sure you have clean hands. This seems obvious I know but might not be to everyone. Also make sure you wash with a soap like the Oliva or a hand wash that is natural (most contain SLS and as many nasties as they can squeeze in there) – check the ingredients! A super expensive but wonderful natural one is Neal’s Yard geranium and orange wash – yum I could eat it. I bought this on offer at Waitrose today but you can buy it in loads of stores and online. Worth every penny if you ask me. Okay, enough with the obvious on to the routine:

  • Use the soap to wash off the day’s grime and any make-up from your face.
  • Then with your face still damp squeeze a generous amount of honey onto your palm and wash as if this was a cleanser. Lick your lips, yum honey (now you wouldn’t want to do that with your normal cleanser). Rinse off again.
  • Dry your face.
  • Lightly soak a cotton pad with witch hazel and wipe over your face to remove any residue of the honey. This is such a wonderful product. Do not be afraid to use it on your eyes as it won’t sting or dry. Witch hazel is actually very moisturizing. I believe it helps with bags and dark circles (just my belief though) and this could be because it is used to lessen bruising.
  • Spray the apple cider vinegar and witch hazel solution onto your face with your eyes closed. I then dab off any that has gone onto my eye area – I find it can sting the eyes if it gets in them.
  • A few drops of the oil and massage in – if your skin is feeling a bit dry you can add more oil.  For very dry skin add a moisturizer over the top. I thoroughly recommend Weleda products – their almond sensitive skin lotion is perfect for my skin. Don’t go and ruin it all by adding a rich moisturizer that is stuffed with parabens and coats your skin in silicone (plastic for us lay people) – any good work you have done will be ruined.

weleda almond lotion

Voila! You are finished. No fussy, expensive products. Everything you have just used is lovely and natural and cheap as chips (except the oil which is a little pricey – but probably the best anti-aging product you can buy and lasts ages).

If you are blessed with clear unblemished skin then you don’t need to use the spray. I like it as I can get the occasional blemish (hardly any now that I use this though) and this tackles it to the ground without even a’ how do you do’. I also find it helps reduce scarring  and spreads the oil further.

I would be really interested in hearing any of your stories about how you get on with this routine – if you take the leap and ditch the rubbish. Let me know.

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.

No more itchy, flakey scalp – let’s cook up a storm.

Don’t worry I haven’t decided to give you my secret recipe for fruit cake – I am still talking about natural beauty. This is going to be a long one though so do hold in there – I promise it will be worth it.

It was my hair that started off my obsession for natural products so I thought it was only fitting to write a post about my method of shampooing – or as it is known the ‘no poo’ method. If I was being totally true to this method it would mean that I would be advising you to never wash your hair again. Apparently the natural oils in your skin and scalp will cleanse your hair. It will become beautiful and natural just as it would have been if we were cavewomen (or cavemen for you males reading this). Firstly I see a major flaw with this. We live in a society with pollution – not running around in the forest with no exhausts being pumped in to the atmosphere. We need to have someway of washing this out of our hair and scalp. Secondly who wants to look like a cavewoman! What I mean by ‘no poo’ is – there is rubbish in your hair washing product.

One of the major ingredients in all shampoos (even baby shampoos) is Sodium Laureth Sulfate or its cousin Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). These ingredients produce that lovely foam that we associate with cleanliness and especially with shampoo. These ingredients are used in many other skincare products – something I will mention another time. To explain why this is a horrible ingredient and why we don’t want it anywhere near us or our children let me quote from the natural health information centre website:

Unfortunately, both sodium laureth sulfate and its cousin are also very dangerous, highly irritating chemicals. Far from giving “healthy shining hair” and “beautiful skin”, soaps and shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.

When you are washing your hair not only is this poison getting into your hair and scalp it is also running down your face and body when you wash it out.  So coating and drying out your skin – eczema anyone!

Shampoos not only have this ingredient but many other irritating and poisonous chemicals – the list of which is too long and boring to go into now. Alcohol is also another ingredient found in nearly all hair products – this is extremely drying on the hair and skin.

I do realise that some new products are now available in our chemist (drug stores) and supermarkets (grocery stores) that claim to be low in SLS or free from parabens (another nasty) but if you look at the ingredients you will be forgiven for thinking you are reading a chemistry table. To be totally sure you are not harming yourself or your hair I would recommend my method below.

I say in the title ‘let’s cook up a storm’ because most of the ingredients you need can be found in your very own cupboards.

Firstly let start with one of my favorite products – this can be used for more than just your hair – more another time though. Bicarbonate of Soda or Baking Soda for the Americans. This is not to be confused with Baking Powder.

This is the brand I use only because it is what they sell in my local store but you can use any brand.

bicarbonate of soda

You will also need organic (yes, it must be organic) apple cider vinegar, witch hazel and a little spray bottle.

organic cider vinegar vinegar and witch hazel spray

Again you don’t have to use the same brands as I do. I would recommend Sainsbury’s witch hazel – it is the only place I can find that sells witch hazel sans alcohol. You must buy the witch hazel without alcohol as this alcohol will only irritate your scalp and skin and make your hair dry. I am sorry to say when I was in America I found it nearly impossible to find any without alcohol – so good luck, I am sure there is some out there.

If this is the first time you are doing this I would recommend washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any build up of plastics and nasties from your other products. You can buy natural clarifying ones. Right – now onto the good bit or should I say weird bit as we are all so used to using foaming shampoos:

  • Wet your hair as normal.
  • Tip a good sized lump of bicarbonate of soda into your palm and add a small bit of water to make a paste.
  • Use it as you would a shampoo – really getting it in to the scalp. It might feel drying and horrid but trust me it won’t when you have washed it out.
  • Squeeze any excess water from your hair.
  • After you are out of the shower or wherever you are washing your hair then you need to add the spray. The reason for this is your skin is a certain pH and you want it to be the correct one. Bicarbonate of soda is alkaline and apple cider vinegar is acidic so the two complement each other. You make up your spray by using the ratio 1 of vinegar to 5 of witch hazel. You don’t actually have to use witch hazel; you could use water – I just like that witch hazel is moisturizing and I use this on my face too (again more another time). Mix together in your spray bottle and liberally spray your hair.
  • Then comb through and dry as you want.

I will warn you here that your hair which is used to being coated in plastic and stripped of all goodness will probably freak out. It takes at least a week for you to see the benefits (hopefully sooner for some). My hair looked a little strange at first – then it was fuller and bouncer than it had ever been. It was no longer weighed down by the strands being coated in plastic – no longer stripped of any natural and healthy oils. But best of all for me – no more itchy scalp!

Okay, I wish I could say that I was a total zealot about this and never used another product again – but I love the feel and smell of shampoo and conditioner and I am not quite ready to give them up. I will never use “high street” or big brand products. I am not fooled anymore by brands pretending to be natural. (Yes, Aveda I am talking about you among many others). I have in my arsenal some gorgeous smelling, wonderful, natural shampoos and conditioners that I use – I promise to let you in on the secret of those soon. I do though have to frequently come back to the baking soda method. This is because no matter how natural and how small the ingredient list I will still get the itchiness back and this is the only thing that cures it without fail every time.

Wow that was long – I hope some of you managed to get through all that. Happy natural hair washing – until next time.

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.

Pretty glossy eyelashes – but I think I see a spider over there – ekk!

I want to start of by saying, ‘Happy Birthday’ to me – la la la. Phew – now that is out of the way let me tell you about Organic Glam natural mascara. I was given this by my very generous sister-in-law and brother for my birthday – thank you!

organic glam mascara 1

Lets start with the good points. The packaging was beautiful. It has a wonderful brush that really gets in there and coats all the lashes. I thought the colour (black) was gorgeous – incredibly rich and glossy. It definitely created some length and a bit of fullness but not masses unfortunately. What I really liked about it was that it looked as if you had applied eyeliner close to the lashes – this intensified the colour and created a flick like effect. I think this was helped by the brush as you could get very close to the roots of the lashes.

organic glam mascara wand

Now the bad. It was really clumpy, which gave me spider lashes. First I didn’t wipe off the mascara on a tissue as I wanted to see what would happen – it was so messy! I tried it again and wiped off the mascara – this made a little difference but it was still very clumpy. It didn’t lengthen or thicken a great deal and only lifted the lashes a wee bit. Also it is pretty expensive at £20.95, a whopping $35 for those of you in the States.

I have had it on now for 4 hours and it has stayed very well – no smudging or flaking – so that is a bonus. The tiny lift that it gave in the beginning is still there too. It was a hard to take off – took a few goes (I should probably mention that I don’t ever use makeup remover, so if you do that might help)

Would I recommend this? No I don’t think I would. I liked the eyeliner effect and the glossy colour but the curl was disappointing – mostly the clumping and over all messiness of the mascara was just too much to handle, especially at that price.

I have taken a photo to show you how it looks on.

Organic glam mascara

Jane Iredale mascara all on its lonesome.

As promised I tried the Jane Iredale Purelash Lengthening Mascara on its own. It still adds length, curl and volume to the lashes, but I did find that it didn’t last as long as when I used the conditioner. After about 5 hours it started to flake and leave a tiny bit of mascara on the bottom of my eyes. I still think it’s pretty awesome, but I would definitely recommend using the conditioner first for super long all day hold.

Here is a photo just after I applied it in the morning:

Jane Iredale Purelash Lengthening Mascara