A month of change

A month of change

There’s something almost enchanting about September. As we say a fond farewell to the lush green woods, abundant wildflowers and long balmy days at the beach, and as summer fades away for another year, there’s often a sense of renewed energy, an emphasis on new routines and a chance to hit refresh. It’s time for new projects, and to prepare for the cold and long months ahead. But September feels welcome. That fresh early autumnal air mixed with the warmth of the fading sun never fails to create the most perfect September days. The start of a new cycle in nature and the most dramatic change in the seasons is often filled with anticipation. It’s a month for gratitude, to be grateful for warm days where you can still feel the sun on your face as well as look forward to what autumn will bring.

As autumn takes hold, we often seek out warmth and cosiness. We look to our homes to provide us with the opportunity to nest. While nature is busying itself with preparations for winter, we tend to do the same in our quest for comfort. It’s time for extra throws and soft blankets, ambient lighting and candles to really create a feeling of joy at home.

By the end of the month of September, the environment around us will have changed from the fresh and vibrant abundant bloom of summer to the bold golden glow of autumn. And with it comes the subtle earthy aroma mixed with the brisk breeze. It’s time to transition from the fresh, cool feminine and floral scents, to more rich, smooth, spicy or masculine notes that will warm up the home. The leathery aroma of Dumbledore’s Office and A Woodland Stroll with deep earthy undertones are beautiful options for autumn, or for a more sensual and uplifting scent which also works great as the seasons change, try our mood boosting Comforting Hug.

It’s time for sheepskin slippers, curling up in cosy cashmere and drinking hot chocolate by the fire - and to fill your home with the aroma of comfort!

Nicola Males
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The many benefits of dry body brushing

The many benefits of dry body brushing

The Many Benefits of Dry Body Brushing

If there’s one thing that you should add to your beauty routine to help with overall wellness, it’s dry body brushing. There are so many benefits to this regime and it’s proven to work better than any creams or oils for smoothing lumps and bumps in problem areas. Dry body brushing will help you feel invigorated, look firmer and can even help to boost your immune system (and your confidence!) Just adding it to your routine twice a week will really see results in a short time. It’s a favourite with celebrities and health gurus and I really would recommend giving it a try; you’ll be surprised by the results!

How will it help

Increases circulation

Dry body brushing increases circulation which is one of the most important functions of the whole body. It promotes healthier skin and cell growth but also has a plumping effect which reduces the appearance of cellulite. There are so many creams that claim to be able to do this, but it makes sense that stimulating the blood flow to certain areas will help to smooth out your skin, giving it a beautiful healthy glow.

Not only that, when you boost your circulation, you also stimulate the lymph nodes, which are there to destroy toxins in the blood. It stimulates the lymphatic system helping to drain away all those nasties, and in turn boosts your immune system and energy levels. Sounds great so far?

It’s a perfect way to exfoliate

We all know the benefits of exfoliating our skin. Getting rid of the dead skin cells helps our bodies to generate new ones which keeps our skin looking young, healthy and glowing.

In 2018, the UK government banned the sale of microbeads due to their damaging effect on the environment, which is a fantastic step forward, the natural alternatives however such as walnut shell now found in exfoliating products can be harsh on the skin. That’s where body brushing can be your savior. Our skin can become more sensitive as we age and is less efficient at shedding dead cells, so dry brushing is a fantastic addition. It also helps your skin to absorb creams more effectively, so chances are you will need less product.

The Technique

On dry skin, with your natural body brush - before you shower, start from your feet (even the soles) and work your way up the legs using long sweeping brush strokes, smoothing over each time with your free hand. Be careful not to put too much pressure, gently is key, moving quickly and in a flowing motion towards the heart to help stimulate the lymphatic system. Make sure to concentrate on the problem areas like your tummy and bottom. It helps to raise up the leg that you’re brushing so you can work over the problem areas more effectively.

Brush over the entire body, taking care to be extra gentle where the skin is more sensitive, and take longer over the areas that are prone to cellulite such as the hips, thighs, bottom and tummy.

Once you have covered the whole body, it’s great to take a hot shower, followed by a splash of cold at the end to close the pores, and then once dry, finish with an oil containing cellulite busting ingredients, such as grapefruit or rosemary. You can add a couple of drops of pure essential oil to a plain coconut oil which will do the trick nicely to moisturise and firm up the skin.

It’s usually recommended to dry body brush twice a week, but if you have particularly sensitive skin, you could cut it back to once every couple of weeks or increase it as necessary. It’s not something you would want to do every day though, as your skin does need time to replenish.

A word on the type of body brush to use.

Our Iris Hantverk bath brush is perfect for this regime because the horsehair and Tampico fiber are sturdy enough to exfoliate well but still soft enough that it won’t irritate the skin. It is also great to use when enjoying a long soak in the bath as well. This beautiful product is made in Sweden by visually impaired artisans and it could quite easily become a product you couldn’t live without!

 

Nicola Males
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For the love of lavender!

For the love of lavender!

For the Love of Lavender!

A few evenings ago, we had dinner with some friends – a long overdue catch up. It was a beautiful evening and we were sat down at the end of the garden by the river with a G&T enjoying the late afternoon sun. There was still the flurry of activity around us from the bees and butterflies and the conversation turned to the beauty of summer and those times you can just sit and relax and enjoy nature at its best. Those creatures, so purposefully and happily attending to the task at hand is always a joy to watch. With the backdrop of the cloudless sky, nothing in the garden was more vibrant and alive than the lavender bushes, buzzing with life. It made me stop and think about our love of lavender and where it all began.

My first memories of the smell of lavender are from my Grandma. There wasn’t a time when her bathroom didn’t smell of lavender. When I get a strong smell of it now, it always takes me back to childhood and summer days spent in her little garden with the steppingstones and vegetable patch. I didn’t enjoy that intense lavender smell then but now of course I have a deeper appreciation for it. I think that’s why I enjoy it blended with patchouli. Almost every perfume I own contains notes of patchouli, and the two combined fill the air with a scent that’s impossible not to love.

The Many Uses of Lavender

Lavender can be traced back at least 2500 years. The Egyptians and Romans used it as a scent for skin and hair as well as in cooking and discovered its medicinal purposes. It became hugely popular in England during the Victorian period and that led to commercial farming and cultivating of the crop.

There are so many uses for lavender. All parts of the plant from the oil to the flower can be used for an array of different things. The essential oil is well known for its healing qualities and you can turn to it for all manner of ailments. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties meaning its useful for minor burns, insect bites, and cuts as well as fungal skin infections and acne. It’s probably best known for its relaxing properties and is great for stress relief, anxiety and insomnia.

English lavender has endless culinary uses as well. It’s part of the mint family and has a herby flavor akin to rosemary or thyme which means it tastes amazing in both savory and sweet dishes. At the top of my list to try is a savory lavender bread, and a lavender sorbet. I also love the idea of an infused lavender sugar, which also looks stunning on the shelf!

The Essence of Summer

As lavender is in full bloom right now, I paid a visit to a local organic lavender farm in Surrey. Mayfield Lavender has been open since 2002 but the field itself is an original Victorian English lavender field.

Row after row of vibrant purple contrast beautifully against the luscious green of the grass and the blue sky above. You can see why it’s so popular and a perfect place for family photo ops. Standing at the top of the field looking down, there’s just a sea of purple. The air is fragranced with that sweet and fresh smell and you can hear the constant faint buzz of the bees.

It seems lavender has definitely become fashionable again and has long since shaken its old lady image. The shop at Mayfield Lavender has countless home and beauty products and honey made by their bees. Bunches of cut lavender are stacked high on the counter and the aroma is potent and powerful. The café there has an array of mouthwatering treats from lemonade to homemade scones, all infused with lavender. I picked up some lavender dark chocolate which I can’t wait to sample!

Back at home I lit and relax, while I got on with a pile of ironing. I have to say that even with my deep appreciation for lavender, the patchouli was a welcome aroma – more current and present. I’d been reminded of how powerful our sense of smell is once again. But although that intense smell is not something I’ve always enjoyed; it will never take away from my love of lavender. It really is the essence of summer. And next time I’m enjoying a G&T in the garden, I’ve made a mental note to remind myself to infuse it with lavender!

Nicola Males
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The power of scent

The power of scent

Scent is powerful and intoxicating, it brings to mind memories of our past or places we've visited.  It's a powerful tool to take us to a happier place, and can bring you peace and clarity when you need it most.
Nicola Males
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