Matcha+Manuka

Thankfully, my hay fever has not been too bad so far this year, but today’s sunny weather has resulted in my sinuses beginning to complain… So I decided on some pampering to make staying in doors more enjoyable.

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I started off with an organic matcha latté, using some lovely culinary grade matcha from new start up Mad Matcha. I felt in need of the skin loving, health bringing nutrients of matcha. I have a milk frother, which whisks the milk whilst heating it. It’s pretty much my favourite kitchen gadget. Mine is made by VonShef and will froth milk cold or heat and froth it. I’ve found that if you start the frother up and add a teaspoon of matcha as the milk is swirling, it disperses really well. I also added honey. Sometimes I add cinnamon or vanilla extract. In the morning I add a shot of coffee, I really like Organic Marley Coffee. I’ve made it with dairy and nut milks- all delicious.

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While I had the matcha and honey out, I decided to make a mask… I added a teaspoon each of matcha and manuka honey then a few drops of rose hip oil, all of which are renowned for their healing properties…

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… To make a very swampy, yet effective, mask! FYI, I tried taking face mask selfies with the cat next to me, with the intention of an amusing face swap, but the app did not recognise either of us as having a face. This is a shame, but suggests that a matcha facemask might offer adequate camouflage in a Predator type situation… As well as leaving your skin glowing. Also FYI- the bright, nourishing green of the matcha can stain your sink and fabric you might get it on, so be a little careful with it. 😉

I hope your Sunday had some space for play and self care, too.

No mud, no lotus x

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samples fun

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I picked up a new brow brush from Naturisimo and took that opportunity to pick up a few samples, which I am very excited about.
I have tried Tata Harper resurfacing mask before, but wanted to give it another go to weigh up whether it is worth the heavy price tag…
I have been bursting to try Bodhi & Birch’s bath and shower therapy range… I really wanted to try jasmine falls or mint thé, but unfortunately neither were available as trial sizes, luckily rosemary chi was available, so I am very excited about trying that later!
Finally, three Suti products… I am already in love with the cleansing balm, so I picked up another sample just to see how much I really love it… I’m torn between this and the Oskia renaissance cleanser (which I can’t find anything samples for…), so I thought giving the Suti cleansing balm another try might help me evaluate. I also picked up the purity balm (VERY similar to the cleansing balm at first look) and rejuvenate facial oil, which looks intriguing.
I look forward to trying these and letting you know how I get on.

Are any of these your favourites?

Lucy

No mud, no lotus

Starchild Original Magical Botanical

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After reading Amber’s amazing DIY floral facial steam post, I really wanted to get some flowers and herbs to try this for myself.

I initially had a look at Baldwins – which is where Amber picked up her supplies, but although they’ve got an amazing variety at great prices, they didn’t have one or two things I wanted in their organic range.

After scouting around on the internet for a while, I came across Star Child. Based in Glastonbury, looking at the virtual tour, their physical shop must be a delight. If I ever make it up there, I’ll definitely be hoping to pop in… again, too much Cadfael in my formative years, but it looks like my dream apothecary shop!

Being a bit of a hippy at heart, I loved the fact that the descriptions for each herb gave information about historical and metaphysical traditions for the herbs and flowers, in addition to info on modern day information about the beneficial qualities.

My package arrived today, which was brilliant timing as I was feeling very poorly. I had a cold and compounded this yesterday by ordering a take-away as comfort food… which gave me food poisoning. Yay! I know, I brought it on myself…

The Organic Lavender Flower Water, at £4.95 for 100ml is a god send. It smells incredible (luckily I’ve maintained my sense of smell) – It has a deep, almost fruity smell to start, with a gentle camphorish note to finish and I’m pretty much smitten. Even if you aren’t generally a lavender fan, I think this would still be worth a try – it’s a far cry from your grandma’s drawer liners. I’ve decanted a little into a spray bottle and have found it very soothing on my feverish face. I also used it as a toner on a pad after taking off my makeup… you appreciate the smell better that way, I think, although it’s less handy than a spray. It left my skin feeling smooth and comfortable. I’ll update this post if I notice anything particular with further use. I will definitely be ordering this again – the packaging is pretty and I can’t get over how gorgeously full and natural the scent is.

Also very handy was my impulse buy (I was looking for flowers, herbs and floral waters and deviated a bit…). Frankincense oil is a very useful oil, which I find infinitely comforting and soothing. When I got home and found my package, I made up a little bowl of sea salt, mixed with a few drops of frankincense oil to go in my bath. This helped with my breathing and hopefully the salts and the positive effect of frankincense on the digestion also assisted in calming my stomach at the same time as calming my mind. At £7.95 for 5ml, although it isn’t organic, the oil is good quality and reasonably priced.

The organic herbs and florals I will be writing about in future blog posts after I’ve undertaken some bathroom alchemy to transform them into bath infusions, perhaps salts and who knows what else! ; )

Lucy

No mud, no lotus

Smells like teen spirit… a deodorant odyssey

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One of the things that first got me into green beauty blogs was the endless search for a natural (or at least naturalish) deodorant that works for me – I found reading others reviews really helpful in finding out about potential products to try.

There are many that I’ve tried that have worked for a while, or what I like to call “weekend” deodorants – ones that work ok if I’m just kicking around the house and shops- but I struggle to find one that works for a busy, stressful day at work, even with the careful wearing of natural fibres. For reference, I never had any trouble at all with mainstream deos not working.

Tried and discounted have been (these are just the ones I can remember, there have been more):

Funk Butter by Oyin – this is a cream style deo. I had the coco-mango scent and although I loved the smell, got used to the application and it worked quite well for me (it struggled with stress sweat, though), it made my armpits sore after a while, I guess because of the abrasiveness of the bicarb, which I know doesn’t agree with everyone (although many people get along with it fine). The ingredients are good, straightforward and there is also a scent free option which is even cleaner. At £8.99, it was also quite pricey, although a tub would last quite a while. Also, much as I got on ok with the cream, it’s not so handy if you need to touch up at work (you’d have to wash it all off and start again, really and couldn’t really go over it with something else like a roll on…).

PitRok Crystal Spray – I’ve tried both the crystal and the spray. Both work okish for me, but I found – I don’t know if other people have the same issue – that it is almost like I develop immunity to it after a while… it just suddenly stopped working for me for no reason I can identify. However, whilst it worked, I liked it and found the spray handy for carrying around. The ingredients (especially for the stick, which is just alum) are simple and at around £4.99 and available very widely, including in Boots, it is also reasonably priced and easy to get hold of, which I very much appreciate.

Crystal Essence – this was a real disappointment. It smells gorgeous – delicate and elegant (I had the white tea and lavender scent) and worked amazingly for me for about four months… but then, like the pitrok, it just suddenly stopped working. Maybe it’s something to do with crystal based deos and my own particular bacterial makeup. Perhaps my armpit flora and fauna get tactical after a while and figure out how to defeat the evil crystal based deo after a lengthy seige… who knows, but I was gutted when this one stopped working. At around £3, it is very reasonably priced, the ingredients aren’t too bad and it would probably work well for people with less creative/dastardly armpit bacteria.

Bionsen – this was an emergency buy as I was on my way to London when my crystal essence suddenly stopped working… this was the only thing I could find in the train station Boots without aluminium. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only plus for this, other than the reasonable price (£2.35) – it just smells too strong for me and is hit and miss, effectiveness wise, so it’s relegated by my locker at work for emergency use.

Dr Organic Pomegranate Deodorant – this was a recommendation from the lovely Sandra at Beauty Balm. I like this very much, at £5.49, it’s not too badly priced for a natural deo and has the advantage of being available in Holland and Barrett… unfortunately, although I like the fresh smell – it really does smell like pomegranate, to an almost disconcerting extent (making me keep sniffing my armpits in wonderment)… this is a weekend deo for me. When I have a really stressful, busy day at work, it stops working by about halfway through the day and the scent mixes really unpleasantly with the smell of my sweat (too much information – sorry!). Told you my armpit bacteria were determined little critters. I do enjoy it for weekends, though.

Finally, I picked up two new deodorants from my local Knights pharmacy yesterday…

Firstly, Fresh Kidz by Keep it Kind – this can also be picked up at some Boots stores for £2.99. Knights had it in stock for £1.99. I have the unscented version. Obviously, this is intended for kids, but I wanted to give it a try as there aren’t many paraben, aluminium, alcohol and fragrance free deos available from high street stores. So far, I’ve only given this one days road test, so I will update after I’ve given it the working day test, but it’s managed a whirlwind, sweaty Sunday roast making session, which is a good start. The ingredients list is longer than I’d like, however, although I haven’t run them all, most of them seem pretty ok on EWG. It is, however vegan and despite the long ingredient list, if it works, I’ll be very glad to be able to pick something up locally and cheaply that looks pretty clean on the whole

Finally, this is my compromise deo… Sanex Zero – the ingredients aren’t great, there is talc in there and BHT, but at the moment, this is the best compromise I can find, given that it is aluminum, alcohol and paraben free, easily available, cheap (£1.26) and most importantly, it works no matter how stressed and busy I am. The fragrance isn’t too strong or offensive either (standard fresh/active deo type scent), so until I can find a truly natural deo that works for me, this is my work day option (unless the fresh kidz one works out).

What do you find works for you? Is it just me with clever pit bacteria that appears to be able to evolve to beat deodorants over time? It’s very annoying, especially as my boyfriend doesn’t wear any at all and smells effortlessly unsmelly.

Lucy

no mud, no lotus

Lyonsleaf Healing Blend Calendula Cream

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For the past year, every month or so, I’ve been getting eczema type dry patches on my upper eyelids, which have been red, flaky and generally pretty unattractive and a little uncomfortable. I’ve tried all of the oils, balms and creams in my stash and nothing much made a difference, with the odd exception of Suti’s cleansing balm which I found worked really well when applied as a cream… however at £28, although I loved it and it cleared up my dry patches, I couldn’t really justify the price once I’d finished my little sample pot.

My most recent bout was the worst, with really flaky, red, raised, sore looking skin. On asking around on twitter, the gorgeous Rachel from All Natural Aspirations got back to me and recommended that I try Lyonsleaf Healing Blend Calendula Cream.

At £14.95 for a very respectably sized 110ml jar, this is very reasonably priced. On opening the jar after tearing open my package in excitement and desperation, I instantly loved the gentle smell. To me, it smells like lemon drizzle cake. Warm, gentle, slightly sweet and faintly citrusy (this might be just me!), I find the scent very comforting and not at all overwhelming.

I applied it straight away to my eyelids and found it improved the appearance of my dry patches immediately. The flaky skin looked much better with the first application. As a bonus, it worked really well on my lips, which had become very chapped too (I think I need to have a look at my diet and lifestyle – my skin is rebelling) and were completely resistant to any lip balm I tried. My lips had got to that special level of chappedness where it looked like I was wearing red lip liner, without the use of any actual lip colour and were very sore.

After a week of use, my lips were back to normal and my eyelids were pretty much back to normal, with the exception of some redness where the skin was still healing. A couple of weeks on, my eyelids are still really wanting this, when I don’t apply it, I notice within a few hours that the patches are regaining a parchment like feel, but other than that and the shiny look of my eyelids from my over generous slathering, this has been amazingly good and has really helped to heal my skin.

As for the wet look eyelids… I’m just going to pretend I’m working one of those MAC eye glosses that I could never get to grips with back in my pre-green days!

I’ve barely dented the jar, so I think that this is a very good value for money product, with very clean ingredients, a lovely organisational ethos and a lovely smell. Thanks to Rachel for recommending it, it has really helped.

Lucy

no mud, no lotus