Thursday 26 May 2011

Up, Up and Away!

Hello one and all.

Now then, the times they are a-changing. I have gone and got an actual job. A film job I mean. A proper one. So I am all up in the air at the moment. And soon I will literally be up in the air as I'm jetting off to Malta for a month (maybe more). I'm also up to my ears already with massive amounts to do before then and on my return I will be up to my eyes and beyond with yet more work! Sheesh!

I have so many things to write about still and I will definitely do my best to keep the posts coming, as and when I can grab a spare half hour. But with working 14 hour days (and that's being optimistic!) for the rest of the year I'm just warning you now this may not be as often as you expect!!

So, if any of you lovely readers have your own reviews for your favourite all-natural products, why not send them to me and I can publish them on your behalf... I think it might be nice to have some guest-writers on here and maybe we can all learn something! Or maybe you have been trying out something I have recommended in which case maybe you'd like to share your thoughts on that?

If you would be interested email me at or my regular email if you know it.

And I will try and keep you updated on my shenanigans in the meantime too!

I don't know the Maltese for goodbye so 'Adios' for now!!

Sunday 22 May 2011

Suti - Feed Your Skin


I came across Suti at the Natural Products Show in April and shortly after I was sent some lovely products to test out.

With facial cleansers and moisturisers being my most favoured products I was sent the organic Facial Cleanser, the Rose Water Facial Toner, and two of their hero products, the facial oils - a Rejuvenate Face Oil and the Nourish Face Oil for Night.

I was completely wowed by the look of the products (and the generosity of Tina, co-founder of the range, who sent me the products - thank you!) The glass jars and bottles are solid and serious whilst the design and colours are light and pretty. It's a beautiful range. And the contents all surpass your highest expectations. They are gorgeous...

Starting with the cleanser, this is a buttery balm that can be used to dissolve make up and daily dirt,  all removed with a muslin cloth (included), which is my cleansing method of choice. I love this texture, it's very luxurious, very rich and smells incredible thanks to the lime, mandarin, lavender and geranium oils. In a base of shea butter and avocado seed butter are yet more delicious skin loving oils - apricot, olive, sunflower and cocoa seed butter and calendula extract too. All these ingredients work to sooth, nourish and revitalise skin.

When applying this, by gouging a bit out of the pot with my finger (I'm not proper enough to use a spatula as recommended!) and working around in a massagey-motion, my skin actually starts to look even better mid-cleanse than it does still with make up on pre-cleanse. This is a weird point to make but it really does! If I could go around with this stuff smeared all over my face then I would! Sure I might look a bit greasy but also even-toned and radiant. Luckily, this effect does indeed last after cleansing!  I have been using it very happily for weeks now and my skin has loved it. It's smoother and more even and less congested-looking. And there is still loads left in the pot too. Glorious.

Following cleansing, I use the Rose Water Facial Toner which is a very juicy spritz of pure Rose Damascena flower water, cultivated and prepared under a full moon to harness the lunar energies! Cosmic. The pure flower water delivers all the benefits of rose and is not to be mistaken for water sprays with rose added for fragrance (where aqua is listed as the first ingredient). I love the feeling of spritzing it lightly all over my face, it's uplifting, calming, refreshing and provides a little moisture which helps to massage in the facial oil in the next step.

Another little beauty, the facial oils seems to be the signature products from Suti. This oil is my favourite out of the two I was sent simply due to the smell and that it can be used both day and night. And previously I would usually never use an oil in the day time, but I am well versed on how good oils are for the skin - much more understood and received into the skin than creams. I bravely ditched my moisturiser and opted for using only this, morning and evening. 

You know what, I'm hooked. It absorbs so fast it doesn't leave me feeling greasy, it certainly doesn't mean you feel oil-slicked half way through the day either. My skin loves it.  I love it. Pure magic. The oils in this blend include rosehip, frankincense, argan and evening primrose, all famed for their impressive effects on healing and repairing skin, improving elasticity and tone and dimishing lines and sun-damage. You can't beat it.

And the Nourish night oil provides equally delicious results but I have to say the smell, predominantly jasmine and patchouli, which ordinarily I would love, is a little too strong for me and I like something a little softer especially at night when going to sleep.  

The Suti range was created by Suzannah Jenkins (The Su- in the name), a homeopath, aromatherapist and alternative medicine practitioner and Tina Steadman (the Ti- in the name), graphic designer and brand manager. Knowing this, I can really see how each has had their influence on creating this gorgeously packaged and beautifully blended range. And I have really been enjoying using the products together as a holistic skincare system. All the products really compliment each other and have really changed what I regularly use, I wouldn't want to leave any of the products out of my routine. All the ingredients are so pure, ethically sourced and sustainable, certified organic where possible to be so and fair trade. The range is available to buy online from the equally attractive (and very informative) website as well as a couple of others but there are very few shops to stock it yet. Suti really is a skincare secret so get in there before the rest of the world beats you to it!

Suti Cleanse Facial Cleanser £26.00 for 50ml includes muslin cloth
Suti Rose Water Facial Toner £18.00 for 100ml 
Suti Rejuvenate Face Oil £28.00 for 30ml
Suti Nourish Face Oil £28.00 for 30ml

All available at

Sunday 15 May 2011

Eve of St Agnes

What a wonderfully poetic name for a natural skincare brand and in case you didn't know (which I didn't) it is in fact from a poem by Keats, The Eve of Saint Agnes.

So then, what has a saint got to do with natural skincare? Well, Aggie is the patron saint of virginity and it is the purity of nature that is at the heart of this natural, British brand. Obvious really! The poem references the rituals a young maiden performs on the eve of the feast of St. Agnes which is supposed to reveal in her dreams the man she will marry. Now then, I have been using the Palmarosa Nurturing Body Cream for several weeks and I'm not saying it's true, but I've been dreaming about Sir Johnny of Depp a lot recently. (I wish!)

Anyway, whether or not this range has the power to reveal to you your future husband, it is still worth a look to discover a new, very reasonably priced natural brand. 

The Palmarosa Body Cream is a very light weight, creamy, moussey kind of texture that quickly absorbs leaving skin feeling like...well, like comfortable skin. It doesn't leave you sticky, and it doesn't leave you feeling like a slippery eel either. In fact I can't really tell I've used it after several minutes, but I don't think that is a bad thing. I think that means my skin has done what it wanted with it and that's that. See, I don't have excessively dry skin and I don't really feel the need for body creams since ditching the SLS, so I can't comment on its performance for such desperately dry condtitions. But I'll still use a body cream in the name of research and this one is a kind of 'does what it says on the recyclable plastic tub' cream.  

It contains shea butter, the darling of natural body moisturisers, very rich and nourishing. Borage oil for improving elasticity, hemp oil for soothing and calming inflammation and aloe vera for even more of the same. These ingredients are the top four listed on the product, after aqua (water) which means they are in highest concentration and are therefore the most active. It smells very calming, quite a powdery sweet smell, with top notes of something or other and a base note of stuff. I'm not very good at describing smells but there is vanilla extract in there and it is very pleasant. 

Going back to that recyclable plastic tub, I like that Eve of St Agnes have taken a stance on sustainability and have aims to make all their packaging recyclable later this year. They have also phased out their use of unsustainable palm oil, the manufacture of which is having a grave impact on the deforestation of the rainforest, and have sought out suitable, sustainable replacements, like babussa oil. Very commendable.

I have also been testing a lip balm which I really want to comment on. I love the balm, which comes in a little slide - top tin, very discreet and easy to carry in pockets etc... 

Here he is nestling on the corner of Mr. Macbook. The formula is quite a hard balm that quickly softens on contact with the skin and doesn't leave lips feeling too sticky or glossy. It's very nourishing, very softening and, as the name suggests, smells like pineapple and coconut. Yum. The absence of nasty mineral oils means this balm will actually keep your lips soft and happy, as oppsoed to drying them out even further when the initial slick has worn (or has been eaten) off as so many standard balms do. I was quite impressed to find out its vegan credentials, opting for a base of almond oil instead of the common beeswax, so if you're into that then you can sleep easy with this lip balm. And maybe, if you are lucky enough you'll dream of puckering up with your very own Mr. Depp!!

Eve of St Agnes Palmarosa Nurturing Body Cream £13.50 for 175ml (currently on sale at £9.95)
Pineapple and Coconut Lip Balm £2.95 for 7ml
Available on the Eve of St Agnes website.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Balm Balm Face Balm

I love the name Balm Balm. It makes me think of Bam Bam from the Flintstones. And then makes me want to hit someone over the head with a club whilst shouting 'BAM BAM!' Which then makes me think of Timmy Mallet and the Mallet Mallet game. And then I forget what I'm talking about... Oh yes, why I really like the name is because it is a strident and happy declaration of exactly what it is, a range of beautiful balms. Simple.

The Balm Balm Face Balm is one of my favourite kind of products, one you can use everywhere for anything! Why stop at your face? Use it on any dry skin, anywhere; elbows, hands, knees, feet. Use it on dry ends of hair, on lips, rub into cuticles. The list goes on... I love a good multi-purpose product and if something doesn't say it is multi-purpose, I'll often end up using it in all sorts of ways anyway!

Once such bright idea came after getting a little too much sunshine recently, I used it on my shoulders and chest for a major boost of nourishing skin-loving oils that my dehydrated and rather cross skin was screaming out for. And it was very nice indeed, putting a sock in the mouth of my complaining skin! Take that, sunburn! BAM! (add your own sound effects)

The little tube (30ml) is great for travelling around although it isn't a measely size. The balm is fragranced with rose geranium which is gorgeous and there is also a tea tree one and an unfragranced version too. The balm is quite thick but happily squishes out of the little tube and when in contact with the skin, turns all melty and oily. It is quite a lingering oiliness so if I was to put it on my face I'd only use it on say, my cheeks at night, because I inevitably don't have time to wait for it to absorb properly before putting on make up. But I'd merrily use it on hands and feet etc... I squashed some into my hands when I started this post and although it hasn't fully absorbed yet I'm not leaving too many sticky finger prints all over the keyboard! It is also worth noting that this balm is 100% natural and 100% organic so that's a double whammy right there. BAM BAM!

What I like about Balm Balm most is the super-simplicity of their products. The range is very non-fussy, with few ingredients, of which all are certified organic by the Soil Association. The design of every product is clean and simple and although the packaging is appealingly candy-coloured, the products inside are as wholesome as could be. A great little family-run, British, ethical company. Go get 'em!

Balm Balm Face Balm in Rose Geranium is £6.99 for 30ml
Available in good health food shops and online from Balm Balm

Monday 2 May 2011

Spiezia Facial Cleanser

Spiezia are keeping it real. Very real and very natural. I can't believe I used that phrase. But it is true.

This brand, whose products are all organically grown and hand made from Gear Farm in Cornwall, are one of the purest and most green-hearted I have come across. With a mantra of "Made for Life" their philosophy is to breathe out in to the world that which you wish to breathe in. This means taking a responsible attitude to packaging, recycling, wastage, animal testing, the environment, organic farming and clean ingredients.

I met the lovely people from Spiezia at The Vitality Show back in March and they kindly gave me a tester of their Facial Cleanser. 

Cleansers are becoming my obsession. It's the first product I'll want to try out of any range and so I was a very willing guinea pig.

Let's cut to the chase. This is a very rich, beautifully smelling, gooey balm that massages into skin like a dream. A dream about Brad Pitt. It's a very buttery, melty texture and makes light work of removing eye make up as well as cleansing the full face. (Use dampened cotton wool for this.) Taking a moment with a hot cloth over your face (always the recommended technique with these kind of balm cleansers) is simply heaven. It not only gently wipes away the day's muck and make up,  but makes a great wind-down too, which I think is an important part in the 'getting ready for a good snooze' routine. In a base of coconut oil, a very nourishing oil for the skin, are essential oils of eucalyptus, clary sage and clove. This blend creates such a warm and restorative fragrance, perfect for inducing the Zzz's. And the ingredients are also selected to decongest pores, melt away impurities, regulate sebum production and avoid disturbing the barrier function of the skin, keeping it soothed and softened. It will not make your skin feel stripped of it's natural oils. It will make you feel like a hot cup of tea and crumpets. And a dream about Brad Pitt. 

There is far more to Spiezia than meets the eye. They make very lovely, very clean natural products and the whole range is 100% certified organic, but it doesn't stop there. The small scale production and green work ethic means this is a company with admirable credentials. Offering signature Spa treatments and even a campaign for complimentary treatments to women diagnosed with cancer,  there is a distinct dedication to improving and fostering a sense of well-being, above and beyond skincare. Which is pretty impressive and worth supporting. Well done Spiezia. 

Spiezia Facial Cleanser £22.50 for 50ml or £32.75 for 100ml