Check out my guest post at Pampered Prince!

I am so excited to have a guest post over with the lovely Andy of Pampered Prince.

Head over there to check out my review of the John Masters Travel kit and don’t forget to find Andy on twitter (@AndyMillward_). He is incredibly knowledgeable about skin care and very sweet to boot!

Thanks also to Amber, I was so excited to win the travel kit in a giveaway from her blog!

Advertisements

10 ways I use Bodhi and Birch Mint Thé Temple Balm

WP_20140827_00920140829002447

Since I wrote my first review about Bodhi and Birch’s Mint Thé Temple Balm, I’ve found that there are many more uses for it than I had first realised.

On reading about the individual oils (for example, clove, cinnamon, camphor, frankinsence, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, thyme) used in the preparation, I noted that they have a long list of anti-fungal, anti-septic, anti-bacterial properties, bring blood flow to the area applied, relax musles and have and anaesthetic properties. As a caution, do be careful not to get it in your eyes or on… erm… pther delicate skin/areas… For the metaphysically minded among you, I also noted that many of the oils used are traditionally felt to be strongly protective and cleansing. I absolutely love Starchild for their write up about each essential oil’s many properties.

As I’ve just ordered my second jar (its unusual for me to repurchase, so that tells you something!), it felt like a good time to give you a run down of the ways that I use it day to day…

 1. Meditation aid/mindfulness practice – I wrote about this in my original post, but it is still one of the things I love best. When I meditate, a dab on the centre of my forehead and below my nose creates focus and the coolness and scent make a good sensations to notice for mindfulness exercises.

2. Rub on my feet when I have a cold (and to reduce my boyfriend’s cold induced snoring!) – I found this out recently when I had an annoying cough and cold, which was making it hard for me to sleep. I rubbed some balm on my feet and chest and this really helped to reduce my coughing and eased me into sleep. I found that applying the balm to my feet gives a steady inhalation, with the warmth of my feet, that lasts longer than applying to my chest alone. I also found that I can rub some on my boyfriend’s feet if he’s snoring because he has a cold and it seems to help him breathe, consequently reducing his snoring. Win win! ; )

3. Rub on sore muscles or temples to ease aches and head aches – one of the most written about uses for this balm is also (predictably!) one of the best. I have a lot of issues with shoulder pain and have found that the balm is very helpful in easing my shoulder muscles. Part of the problem is my posture at my desk – so the cool tingling sensation also helps to remind me to think about how I’m sitting. I don’t often get headaches, but have found the balm to be helpful when I do.

4. Dab under my nose to aid breathing before sleep – after I started rubbing the balm on my feet and chest during a cold, I found that I actually found the cool sensation and scent soothing and relaxing and have continued rubbing a little dab under my nose before I go to sleep.

5. Dab on sore blemishes/spots to numb and ease swelling – a day or two after reading Sophie’s post on using clove oil for acne, I had a large and painful spot pop up on my chin – one of those where you can feel the blood pulsing in it when you lean forwards… I had planned on ordering some clove oil, but hadn’t got round to it yet, so as I was thinking about what I could put on it to relieve the swelling, I had a brain wave! On checking the ingredients, I realised that the mint thé balm contained clove oil. It really took the throbbing pain down and the cooling feel was very soothing. The following morning, the swelling had reduced, so another win for the mighty balm and a fantastic tip from Sophie about clove oil!

6. Dab on insect bites to stop itching – I remember my first grown up holiday to Kos when I was about 17 years old… I got bitten by everything, sitting outside a pretty restaurant. “You have honey blood!” – the waiter told me, which is possibly the most poetic way of referring to an innate tendency towards being slowly eaten alive that I have ever heard! Due to my “honey blood,” I have had a few opportunities to try using the balm for bites – a bit like with spots, the local anaesthetic effect is very helpful. The cool tingling takes the itching out and the balm also helps to reduce swelling and irritation.

7. Rub on temples to help remind me to stop clenching my jaw – as you’ve probably noticed by now, the physical sensation from applying the balm is something I enjoy and find helpful… much as I’ve found with my shoulders, I’ve found that applying the balm to my temples both helps to relax my muscles and also to remind me to relax my jaw and stop clenching!

8. Rub on my forehead and the back of my neck when tired or struggling to concentrate – this is like someone placing their cool hands on you! Come 3pm, when I’m struggling to stay focused and getting tired, a dab on the back of my neck really helps to perk me up.

9. Rub on my stomach for stomach cramps and trapped wind – as I mentioned in the intro, several of the oils in the balm help to reduce muscle cramps and additionally, oils like clove and peppermint are helpful in reducing nausea. I’ve found rubbing the balm on my stomach helpful for trapped wind and muscle cramps, especially at times/places where I can’t do my usual yoga pose for reasons of decency or convenience! hehehe…

10. Hay fever relief- eases breathing and reduces sneezing and sinus pain. I’ve found a dab under my nose and on my forehead helps to reduce sinus pain and ease my breathing. It also seems to help stop me sneezing as much.

Well, that’s what I do with it. You can see why I’ve already gone through one jar, right!

What are your favourite multi-purpose products?

Lucy

No mud, no lotus

Natural Being Foaming Cleanser and Toning Gel

WP_20141228_002 (3)

Well, sorry for the long break between posts… I finished off my coursework on 15th December and since then, I’ve mainly been lying around in a stupor, avoiding looking at computers. On the plus side, this has given me lots of time to try out some new products, so look out for some new reviews coming your way over the next few weeks! All of the products I’ll be reviewing are items I have purchased for myself.

First up is the duo pictured above from Natural Being. Natural Being are a New Zealand based company, who produce affordable products with good, clean, effective ingredients. The range centres around manuka honey and manuka oil – both of which are firm favourites for my oily/combination skin. The brand is cruelty free and certified as natural by the BDIH

Recently, I found that my pores were looking a little clogged, with a smattering of blackheads around my nose and chin and a few spots on my forehead. I decided to shake up my skincare routine a bit to address this, starting with adding in a foaming cleanser for my first cleanse (usually I use oils and balms only). I also wanted a new toner  – I was attracted to the Natural Being Toning Gel because I really hoped it would help to replace my Dr Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel – which I recently ran out of and frankly, although I love it, I couldn’t afford the £43.50 to replace it.

Both the cleanser and toner are available from mypure at £9.00 each for 100ml. This was my first order from mypure (I’ll be reviewing some of the other products I ordered soon) and I was very impressed with the quick delivery and free gift.

WP_20141228_015

The manuka foaming cleanser (left) is a clear gel. It smells very faintly antiseptic (due to the manuka oil, I guess) and the texture feels a little like aloe gel. I rub this into a foam in wet hands – the amount shown is about the same amount I use – and apply to a wet face. I find that it removes make up well, I’m fairly lazy, so I don’t tend to use a separate eye make up remover, but I’ve had no issues with stinging or dryness. The cleanser removes make up well and leaves my skin feeling soft and comfortable. I have started using this alone as my morning cleanser and use it as my first cleanser in the evening, following up with a balm.

I’ve been using it daily for about two weeks now, along with the toner (and a mask I’ll tell you more about in a future review) and have noticed an improvement in my skin, which looks clearer.

The ingredients are pretty clean, on the whole. With the exception of Limonene and Linalool, essential oil derivatives which I know some people avoid due to their potential to cause irritation (i’ve never had any irritation from products containing these ingredients, so it isn’t an issue for me at present), none of the ingredients score above 1 on the EWG database. The ingredients list also doesn’t go into details about which essential oils they use in their fragrance blend, however it isn’t strongly scented, which is positive as I don’t like strongly scented products.

The cleanser is gentle and effective and although it doesn’t feel luxurious, it is pleasant to use and feels light and refreshing. I think it will be particularly nice as a summer cleanser.

Ingredients:

Aqua (water), Decyl glucoside, Sodium lauroyl glutamate, Glycerin (vegetable glycerin), Sclerotium gum, Coco-glucoside, Glyceryl oleate, Galactoarabinan, Glucose, Mel (manuka honey), fragrance (natural essential oils), Phytic acid, Glucose oxidase, Lactoperoxidase, Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) oil, Limonene, Linalool.

The manuka toning gel (right in the swatch photo), is a light gel. It shares the light antiseptic scent of the cleanser. Now, this doesn’t feel as fresh as the Dr Alkaitis Soothing Gel, although to be honest, this may well be because it doesn’t contain alcohol, so it doesn’t have that cooling feel you get from alcohol evaporation on your skin. And obvisouly, I really miss the smell of the Dr Altaitis, which I could sniff forever. However, it does feel cool and soothing. I like that you can apply it without messing around with cotton wool pads or anything. As long as you don’t apply too much (if you overdo it, it can make your skin a little shiny, as if you’ve applied a mask and let it dry), it is fine under make up and seems to work well in balancing my skin. Again, the ingredients are pretty clean and unobjectionable, with the exception of the essential oil derivatives… to be honest, I’m not sure why they are added (anyone know why they are so widely used?), the scent of these products is mild, so it seems odd if it’s for fragrance. If it’s to mask the antisepticy smell, that seems unwarranted. If you buy a manuka product, you expect it to smell a little like that. I rather like the clean smell of manuka oil.

However, both the cleanser and toner are pleasant, effective and good value and I’m enjoying using them as part of my skincare routine. My skin seems to respond well to them. They are also really convenient for travelling, as you don’t need flannels, face cloths or cotton wool/reusable pads to use them.

Ingredients: Aqua (water), Glycerin (vegetable glycerin), Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, Sclerotium gum, Glucose, fragrance (natural essential oils)*, Mel (manuka honey), Glucose oxidase, Lactoperoxidase, Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) oil, Citronellol, Eugenol, Limonene, Linalool.

What cleansers and toners are you loving right now?

Lucy

No mud, no lotus

Meetup with Amber from Amber’s Beauty Talk

Yesterday I had a lovely stroll around Birmingham with Amber– unfortunately Ana from Ana goes green and Hephzibah from good for me, good for you couldn’t join us, I’ll look forward to meeting them another time.

As a blogging newbie, it was great to meet someone whose blog I’ve been reading for ages and to talk to Amber about her blogging experiences.

We had an amazing hot chocolate in the Harvey Nichols food hall and checked out Space NK. This was an interesting experience for me… I worked at Harvey Nichols many years ago in my pre-green days and used to view Space NK as having the most amazing natural brands. Revisiting now, it was interesting how many of those brands have the type of lux eco packaging that makes you think that they are really natural and clean, but don’t really measure up when you read the label. In between though, they have some excellent brands. I was disappointed that they only sell Oskia online, but this is probably for the best as it saved my bank balance!!

TK Maxx was in fine form with some unusual brands I’ll be doing some research on and possibly returning to make some purchases from.

All in all, it was just great to meet Amber and to have a chat about our free journeys and blogging.

Thanks so much, Amber. I’m looking forward to meeting more of you in real life too! 😊

Lucy

no mud, no lotus

Love & Sunshine Salts

WP_20141114_004

Love & Sunshine Spa Salts

With my haul of beautiful things from Starchild, which I wrote about a little while ago, I’ve been looking forward to experimenting and trying some recipes to make up as Christmas gifts.

Today I decided to try making some salts for the bath or for a foot soak.

WP_20141114_022

My Love & Sunshine Spa Salts are made up of frankincense, rose petals, cornish sea salt and epsom salts. I chose this combination for their emotional impact – rose petals and frankincense are joyful, reassuring and peaceful scents – and for the skin loving properties of the botanicals, combined with the beneficial minerals of the salt mixture. I love making bath salts as they are a good way of using essential oils in the bath (using them neat can be a little risky – I always remember a colleague of mine who burnt her behind when the little globules of oil that float on the surface of the bath water became hot, scalding her skin as she got into her bath), I particularly like that unlike when you make a bath oil mix, salts give the benefit of the oils without making the bath slippy!

In Greek mythology, rose was sacred to Aphrodite and it is said that roses sprang up from the blood that dropped from Adonis as he lay dying. Frankincense was sacred to Helios, the sun god, who transformed the body of his lost love, a Persian Princess, into a frankincense tree after her father buried her under the sand, furious about her affair with Helios… However, despite these blood thirsty legends, the fragrances of frankincense and rose blend beautifully together, so let’s just remember the love and sunshine bit!

How to make

Ingredients:

200g of your chosen salts (I used 1 third epsom salts, 2 thirds cornish sea salts – obviously you could make a bigger batch if you wanted to, with your choice of salts… Himalayan salts would be gorgeous for this, also)

a handful of red rose petals

5-8 drops of frankincense oil (to your preference)

(optional – you may want to add rose oil too. I felt the petals gave enough scent, but it depends of the quality of the petals and your own taste in terms of the frankincense/rose balance of your blend).

Method:

I crushed my rose petals lightly in a pestle and mortar, to release the oils a little and to break some of the petals down into smaller pieces.

Place all of your ingredients into a container with a lid (I used the empty epsom salt container which had a tight lid). Shake vigorously, until the salts start to take on a pink tinge from the petals.

WP_20141114_005

Decant into container/s of your choice… I put mine into individual glass mini jars (which I picked up from a charity shop) with about enough for one ample bath or a couple of foot soaks in each (approx 50g), to go into my Christmas present hampers. I’ll be adding other mixes to the hampers and will post any recipes that come out particularly nicely later on!

How to use…

WP_20141114_012

I kept back some for myself, adding about 50g to my bath, giving it a good stir to disperse the salts. It smelled wonderful and the petals were very pretty. I had fun playing with the petals, scooping them up and sniffing the mingled rose and frankincense scents.

However, if you don’t enjoy petals sticking to you a little or picking them out of the plug hole afterwards (this didn’t bother me, it was part of the fun), then it also would make a wonderful, luxurious foot bath for a home spa treatment, after a hard day or prior to a very swanky home pedicure.

I’m looking forward to giving these as gifts and will be picking out some pretty labesl from Graphics Fairy.

I had so much fun making these salts – what have you been making lately?

Lucy x

No mud, no lotus

samples fun

cropped-wp_20140829_00220140829215457.jpg

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

WP_20141107_002

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