March Newsletter

Red and Yellow tulips on a blue wood background

And somehow it’s the March newsletter, with all that it brings. So we are going to be taking a look at some new product launches, a new skincare brand and all the latest news and feedback, of which there is quite a lot, but there always is.

I want to discuss our feature articles too, which have always been so very important to me, and as most of you know, International Women’s Day is on March 8th and I will be jumping onto ‘The Podium’ to talk about that and Chrissie Rucker, Founder of The White Company.

Additionally, there are one or two treats in this newsletter and I reveal the brand that has taken their prices right down, as opposed to right the way up, which is the normal occurrence as things go. Let’s do it:

C-Deep Vitamin C Serum

And so it was that we released C-Deep Vitamin C Serum on the February newsletter.  We honestly didn’t know what to expect because, as I wrote, Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid is our bestselling beauty product.  So did it crush the original?  No it didn’t in a sense.  But in another way it all went a bit crazy mad because C-Deep is the Vitamin C that doesn’t irritate and penetrates far deeper than any other form of C.  I’ll attest to that because I am happily using it without any ‘side-effects’ whatsoever, which is somewhat of a miracle bearing in mind my touchy-touchy sensitive skin.

Of course, we have had feedback of the most brilliant kind about C-Deep, but some have a Vitamin C dilemma, which one to use?  The answer is that so many of you are using both.  Vit C Serum 23% in the morning and C-Deep in the evening.  Actually it doesn’t matter which way round you do it, I’m just feeding back the majority view.  Happy.  Yes we are and thank you.  Another star is born. In a long line of them.
VH Editorial: Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Vitamin C Serum?C-Deep Vitamin C Serum £18 for 30 ml; Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml

Willowberry

Our mission to support niche brands continues; it is such an important part of the work that we do and so please allow me to introduce you to Willowberry skincare, founded by Jenny Retourné.

As most of you know, our curation of skincare brands remains pretty tight and I like it that way. It allows us to remain authentic rather than continually introduce new brands and products every other day of the week. And as we maintain that authenticity, so too Willowberry. Our values align and the trust is reflected in the efficacy of each of their three products.

In full transparency, these products contain essential oils; this means that I am unable to use them because of my intolerance and allergy to essential oils. That said, I had them tested by others and the feedback was so incredible, I couldn’t ignore it. With great trepidation, I tested a baby-bit of each product on the back of my hand just to feel the textures. Impressed.

So yes, just three products in the range, which of course follows the ‘simplicity in skincare’ zeitgeist rather magnificently. Here they are:

Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm: The word ‘balm’ conjures up thoughts of ancient apothecaries, lotions, potions and poultices. My fascination with ancient rituals has been with me for all time and this cleansing balm is loaded with natural ingredients. Vitamins, antioxidants, chia seed and Vitamin E are blended with coriander seed and geranium. In the here and now, this balm helps melt away dirt and make-up and its spa-like fragrance is rather divine. Indulgently so.
Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm £29.99 for 60 ml

Nutrient Boost Day Cream: Formulated to help nourish and protect, this is a hydrating, non-greasy face cream, which includes Hyaluronic Acid and the innovative antioxidant, Firewood.

Famed for its regenerative properties, Firewood, which is also known as the Epilobium Flower, is often the first plant to pop up in places where the ground has been burnt from forest fires, hence its name. With proven antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, Firewood deeply hydrates and reinforces the skin barrier function. It is joined by vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, including Rosehip, chia seed and Vitamin E.
Nutrient Boost Day Cream £27.99 for 60 ml

Nutrient Boost Face Oil: Face oils are often too heavy for daytime use, but this one isn’t. It is ultra-light and absorbs rapidly into the skin. It’s aim is to nurture and it does that with the help of Rosehip, chia seed and Vitamin E, as per the day cream. It can also be used as a base for make-up, which is all rather good actually.
Nutrient Boost Face Oil £26.99 for 30 ml

Finally, Willowberry have put together a Mini Skincare Gift Set, which contains mini sizes of each of the above products. This of course means that you can trial each of the three products before you commit to the regular sizes. It contains 30 ml of the Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm, 30 ml of the Nutrient Boost Day Cream and 10 ml of the Nutrient Boost Face Oil. All boxed in pink. Cute.
Mini Skincare Gift Set £39.99

Ionicell – The Treat

Short and sweet. Here is Ionicell, our current bestselling health product. This is the next-generation hair, skin and nails supplement that most of us take. Strengthens hair. Addresses hair loss. Supports skin integrity. Performs virtual miracles on nails. I take it. Shabir doesn’t. His loss. My gain.

The Treat: The regular price for Ionicell is £20 for 60 Vegicaps, but while stocks last you can buy the Ionicell Twin Pack for £30, which means you save £10. I would spend that £10 on the Fulvic Nail Cream; so that’s a double whammy treat as I’ve just swiped £2 off of the price of Fulvic Nail Cream. Because I can. All for a good cause. The dual route to amazing nails.
Ionicell Twin Pack £30 (Ionicell £20 for 60 Vegicaps); Fulvic Nail Cream £10 (while stocks last – which won’t be long!).

Basix For Seriously Dry Feet

What is this, I said to Shabir when I was standing spying by the side of his desk.  I didn’t wait for an answer, but just stole it and put it in my bag.  Anything that has the words ‘seriously dry’ is good with me and with the added word ‘feet’ it was a shoe-in (sorry!) to make an appearance in my bathroom.  It says that it exfoliates any calloused areas in order to remove the build-up of dead, dry skin.  It does. Oh happy day.
Basix Skin Defence Cream Foot Food £15.95 for 50 ml

Vitamins To Take In Your 50s

As most of you know, Shabir has been going through the decades and writing about the supplements he recommends.  And so we have reached the 50s and no sooner had he finished, I grabbed hold of it and told him I was sending it out on The Weekend Read because I didn’t want to wait for the newsletter to release it.

Not wishing to divert ourselves away from Shabir’s article, I just want to say here that the vision for us has never changed and education remains of the utmost importance.  As I continually write, it is just not good enough to load products onto a site, particularly health products, without the knowledge and expertise to address numerous concerns, which would include contra-indicating with prescribed medication.  We have a responsibility to each of you, whatever the product, and we will uphold that stance no matter what.

But it’s not only about education, it’s about lifestyle, emotions, wellbeing and so much more.  And it’s about friendship.  In our love and support for each other, I hope that the collective words from each of us on the editorial team reach you and touch you in the way that we all hope for.  We are ‘The Girls’.  And then there’s Shabir, and his articles. If you’re 50+, this is for you. 60+ soon (no pressure Shabir!).
VH Editorial:  Vitamins To Take In Your 50s

Lano – Two New Products

I can barely contain my excitement as I tell you about two new products from Lano. I don’t think you ever forget the brands that you launch and Lanolips was one of those brands. I vividly remember sitting in a café somewhere off Bond Street with Kirsten Carriol, the founder of Lanolips, as we discussed our excitement at launching the now-epic 101 Ointment in the UK. The rest is history.

So the two new products and, rather wonderfully, they are for the face. I think it was pretty inevitable that Kirsten would direct the brand this way and as fabulous as she is, so are her products. With a shift in brand name to Lano some time ago, here they come:

Lano Face Base – Day Cream: This, says Kirsten, is your short-cut to great skin and the base for your face is hydration. This product is all about a quality formulation minus empty promises and hocus pocus, which, quite honestly, we are all rather bored with. Well I am anyway. In a sense, this is deconstructed skincare. You can understand it and it doesn’t treat you like a fool, say Lano, and I concur. Too many brands think we are completely dumb. We are not and we can see right through you. No names. No dissing. But honestly!

Anyway, back to it and Lano Face Base has been formulated to deeply replenish and store skin lipids. You can layer under, over or mix with your favourite actives and serums, which will sit well with many of you. Its hero ingredients are lanolin, soothing colloidal oatmeal, glycerine, milk, vitamin E and antioxidants.

It glides on creamy, which then gives way to a distinctive grippy-feel when the lanolin locks down. It will then sink right into the skin, leaving your skin happy and prepped for what comes next. That choice is yours. Far be it for me to tell you to mix it with Neurophroline. Except I just have.
Lano Face Base – Day Cream £20 for 60 ml; Neurophroline by GoW for VH £18 for 30 ml

Lano Face Base – Aussie Jetlag Mask: For those who don’t know, Lano is an Australian brand and they know a thing or two about jetlag. Formulated to wake up your stressed dry skin, this leave-on mask gives a hit of lanolin, a zing of mint, a punch of caffeine and then there’s ginger. In other words it is packed with ingredients that specialise in deep hydration, skin repair, revival and defence.

Slather it on for about ten minutes, allowing your skin cells to drink up what they need. A slight tingling is normal and if there is any excess, just wipe with a towel. This is suitable for all skin types and if you are feeling brave, use during flying. Long haul just got more interesting and I’m about to do it. Shabir will die a thousand deaths and do his normal thing of pretending he is travelling alone. I mean heaven forbid he should actually know somebody on the plane. That would be the end. LA here I come.
Lano Face Base – Aussie Jetlag Mask £20 for 60 ml

Spacemasks

And talking of jetlag, a friend was about to do some heavy-duty long-haul flying and so I gave her a stash of Spacemasks to take with her. She suffers from insomnia at the best of times, so I thought they may help. And they did. They worked, she wrote from New Zealand. Glory be the day, I wrote back. Sleep awaits those who wear Spacemasks. In bed and on planes.

Weirdly, or otherwise, several days after that email exchange, I discovered that Spacemasks are now available on Virgin. Oh, I said to Harriet (Founder of Spacemasks). How wonderful. Are they giving them away in Virgin Upper, thinking that would be a brilliant initiative. Well, no actually, you have to buy them. I see.

Based on that I’ll do my own initiative. Buy a box of Spacemasks and we will send you one extra Spacemask, which you can save for when you fly. Or otherwise. Last time I did this it all went a bit mental. That’s why I’m doing it again. Oh and the friend was Lisa Armstrong of The Telegraph. As if she needs more fame. Queen of the Front Row and two times winner of the British Press Awards, Fashion Journalist of the Year. That’s my girl.
Spacemasks £15 for Five Spacemasks (Six, while stocks last, which won’t be forever)

The Podium

If we are doing friends, then let’s continue on the theme and it gives me the greatest pleasure to write about another friend, the very lovely (and very clever) Chrissie Rucker OBE. Chrissie needs little introduction, she is the Founder of The White Company and the Founding Patron of the #ChangeAGirlsLife Campaign at The Prince’s Trust. And it is the latter that I want to talk about.

The #ChangeAGirlsLife Campaign has been founded by a passionate group who are committed to changing the lives of young women that The Trust works with. These young women may have grown up in extremely challenging circumstances with issues ranging from abuse, addiction, bullying and homelessness. These early life experiences can often have a detrimental effect that can prevent them from fulfilling their true potential.

Recent statistics throw up some very disturbing facts. In the UK today,  over 100,000 girls become temporarily or permanently becoming excluded from secondary schools each year.  377,000 young women are not in education, employment or training and NHS data shows an unprecedented rise in hospital admissions because of self-harm among girls under 17 in the past decade.

We each have our passions and mine is specifically focused on cyber-bullying and the dangers of social media. This is something The Prince’s Trust has also seen major rise in. Once again, tragically, we have all watched in abject horror at recent sad events as yet another young life is lost. Cyber-bullying is happening every single second of every single day to hundreds and thousands of people, including our youth, which is abhorrent. That much I know.

In the words of Chrissie: ‘I am not sure I would be where I am today without all the incredible love and support I’ve received over the years from people who believed in me.  The young women we help at The Prince’s Trust simply don’t have this.  However, I’ve seen time and time again, that with a little bit of the right help at the right time, these incredible young women can go on to have happy and successful futures.  Their stories are so inspiring and there are so many more we need to help ’.

Love and support are the powerful energies that The Change A Girls Life Campaign enables and happily three out of four young women move forward into a job, training, further education or start a business after their time at The Prince’s Trust.  The statistics are high and the mission is to help make a positive difference and to change as many young lives as we can, one by one.

I have written incessantly over the years about using our platform for the better good. It is in this space that I am able to share and in so doing we will donate a percentage of our sales today and on Sunday 8th March (International Women’s Day) to Women Supporting Women. If we are able to change just one young life from this initiative, then we are happy; two lives and we will be over the moon. Thank you for reading.*

Glow – Illuminating Elixir

Sarah Chapman, herself a Patron of Women Supporting Women, has released a limited-edition product called Glow.  An illuminating elixir, it embodies Sarah’s dedication to rejuvenating skin at a cellular level.  This formulation boasts a unique cocktail of high-performance actives to help promote a rejuvenated glow.  Among them are Blumilight, a new-generation ingredient that tackles blue light pollution from digital devices and Nelpure, an extract inspired by the lotus flower.

The lotus flower symbolises purity, serenity and opportunity, which aligns with the charity, Women Supporting Women, as above. For every Glow sold, Sarah Chapman will donate £10 to The Princes Trust to support the Women Supporting Women initiative.
Glow by Sarah Chapman £64 for 30 ml

Preventing and Treating Stress Headaches

With stress levels at an all-time high, it is no wonder that increasingly more people are complaining about stress and tension headaches. We understand that they are linked to stress, but what actually happens when your head starts to bang.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and may appear once or twice a month, daily or anywhere in between. For the majority, these headaches are mild and short-lived, but for some the pain can carry on for several days. The pain tends to be throbbing, affecting the front, top and sides of the head.

Most people experience pain around the back of the neck and in the muscles between the shoulder blades. Although some people experience light sensitivity, tension headaches generally do not affect vision and balance. Shabir takes a look.
VH Editorial: Preventing and Treating Stress HeadachesNeuro-Mag £32 for 90 Capsules

Focus On A Product: Pore Cleaning Powder

For many of us pores are the bane of our life, especially if they are accompanied by blackheads. Ageing also causes pores to look bigger because of the diminishing amount of Hyaluronic Acid, which not only helps hydrate skin but also works to help strengthen the structure of your skin. On that, I swear that taking HA every day for nearly 20 years has made a vast difference.

But back to pores and unfortunately the number of pores we each have is governed mostly by our genetics. We cannot alter our genetics, but we can definitely take steps to help keep pores clean and free of dirt and debris, which will make them less visible.

If you have oversized pores, you can great improve their appearance with the use of Pore Cleaning Powder. Containing Light Pink Kaolin, Zinc Oxide, Aspen Bark and Calcium Carbonate, it works hard to cleanse and draw out excess oil, dirt and debris as well as gently exfoliating dead skin cells. The result. Refined skin.

To use Pore Cleaning Powder, just dampen a cotton pad and press onto the powder, and then spread it over your face, at which time you may look as if you are appearing in an advert for Germolene, but who cares really. Certainly not me, I love this stuff; actually it probably goes beyond love into the realms of being besotted.

Play with it too. And why not. Create your own mask by mixing a small amount of the pink powder into a paste with three or four pumps of HA Serum. Behold, a hydrating mask. And then if you want to create a skin brightening mask, mix the powder with three or four pumps of Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid. I mix mine in a pestle and mortar, with my apothecary thoughts peaking. Such fun.
Pore Cleaning Powder by GoW for VH £12 for 50 grams; Hyaluronic Acid Serum by GoW for VH £9 for 30 ml; Vitamin C 23% Serum + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml; Hyaluronic Acid Capsules High Strength £35 for 30 Vegecaps

Better You – Two New Products

So two more new products from Better You; the innovation continues with Folic Acid Daily Oral Spray and B-complete Daily Oral Spray. Let’s take a look:

Folic Acid Daily Oral Spray: This essential vitamin for pregnancy contains a highly bioavailable active form of folate. Scientifically formulated to deliver methylfolate directly to the bloodstream, it by-passes the primary processing by the gut. The tiny droplets within the spray absorb quickly into the buccal membrane and it does all of this with a hit of natural blueberry flavour. Dosage instructions are on the product page, so please read carefully.
Folic Acid Daily Oral Spray £14.95 for 25 ml

B-complete Daily Oral Spray: An expert blend of eight B-vitamins, these vitamins work together to help support your body’s natural energy metabolism, helping with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Included are Vitamin B12, Folate and Vitamin B5, which help contribute to normal mental performance. And spray. When you can.
B-complete Daily Oral Spray £14.95 for 25 ml (Pre-Order Only – Stock Should Arrive within 7-10 Days)

Scalp Respect

Adequately covered, but never blessed with an abundance of hair, I was always conscious of what should have been my crowning glory, writes Claudia Simon. In my 20s others would blame my ‘over’ washing as I whinged about my thin and limp locks. In my 30s they blamed the kids instead.

But five days after my 36th birthday, the thinning had become thinned and the attention was totally focused on one patch. As I got out of the shower and combed through my hair, I felt that unexpected chill of air touching skin.

Claudia writes about her experiences, her visits to a trichologist and then reports on her findings. In transparency (again!) Claudia is a much-valued member of the VH team, but her love of Fulvic precedes her recent arrival as content manager. If you have hair loss, or thinning hair, please do take the time to read this.
Scalp Respect by Claudia Simon; Fulvic Hair Trio £75 (Fulvic Acid Shampoo; Fulvic Acid Conditioner; Fulvic Acid Mist)

News and Feedback

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the product that just will not stay on the shelves. No matter how many we order, it is never enough and we have wiped the manufacturer clean of stock so many times, it’s a joke. Except it really isn’t a joke when you can’t get your hands on the product. As I write this, there is yet another long wait list, but we’ve ordered a huge stash, which should arrive any day now. Today would be good.

Our stock probably won’t last long, but if you love this product, may I suggest you buy one or two more than you need right now. By that, I don’t mean that you should order ten or twenty because heart failure could kick in. I’d rather like to see LA at least one more time. I also want to go and see The Light Salon at Nordstrom’s at The Grove and have a treatment if you don’t mind. Shabir will mind. Don’t care.
VH Editorial: The Health and Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar; Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies £15

The Light Salon

The segue, where I now talk about my ongoing love of the Boost At-Home LED Treatment Mask and the all-singing-all-dancing Bib, which we launched on the last newsletter. Such joy these products bring to me and to so many of you. By now, those who possess The Bib are no doubt wrapping it here, there and everywhere. It has no bounds and of course its healing benefits are pretty profound. But that’s what LED does, it helps heal and it can also diminish aches and pains.

After all this time, I still use my masks most days and I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty fickle when it comes to beauty gadgets and tools. I get bored ever so quickly, but I will never get bored with these or Sarah Chapman’s Pro Pore Refiner (I think this is the fourth time I’ve written about it!).

But back to The Light Salon and just as I’m a real advocate of all the above, I am that way too about the treatments available at The Light Salon. In the salon, or at home, I really don’t mind, at which point I will refer you to my experiences with treatments, and most especially Pressotherapy, in the article below. More is more.
VH Editorial: PressotherapyBoost At-Home LED Treatment Mask £395; Boost Advanced LED Light Therapy Décolletage Bib £445 by The Light Salon; Pro Pore Refiner by Sarah Chapman £128

Lebon Toothpaste – Price Changes

As I wrote at the top of this newsletter, it is incredibly rare that a brand actually takes their prices down, but Lebon, the wonderful brand hailing from France, has done just that. Who am I to question, but I’m guessing that their initial price points were just too high for their UK audience.

Some people are totally besotted with them, that would be Jo Fairley for one, but do take time to explore the range as there are some rather innovative flavours amongst them. I love Fearless Freedom and Rhythm of Love. There are a million miles separating Lebon from other toothpastes, but they are special. Prices now start from £10.95. Bathroom-porn. Probably.
Lebon from £10.95

Derma E

I actually don’t know why, but I never write about Derma E Skincare despite the fact that we have carried this skincare brand right from the very beginning of VH time. Without me even saying one word, it still has a huge fan-base. So for those of you who use Derma E, there are a few new products for you to check out. One is their Vitamin C Gentle Daily Cleansing Paste and the other is Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Water Eye Gel.

Look, Derma E is never going to be ‘up there’ with all the ever-so-smart brands available, but actually who really cares about the packaging. What matters is their efficacy and ability to deliver a range of products that are targeted for specific needs. And that they do really well.
Derma EVitamin C Gentle Daily Cleansing Paste £15 for 113 grams; Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Water Eye Gel £19 for 14 grams

Cholestsafe

Given that we are all different, it nevertheless thrills us when we get feedback from each of you. So this from a customer: ‘Just to give you some great feedback. After taking Cholestsafe for 90 days, my cholesterol has come down from 7.7 to 5.5. Just ordered some more’.

It would be wrong for me to suggest that this will happen to everybody who takes Cholestsafe, I cannot do that, but I can refer you to Shabir’s article, which may help if you have high levels of cholesterol.
VH Editorial: How To Lower Cholesterol NaturallyCholestsafe £25 for 90 Capsules

Right, let’s do two more new products:

3-In-1 Shoe Freshener by Margaret Dabbs

One of the most surprising bestsellers last year was the Shoe and Insole Cleansing Spray by Margaret Dabbs. It helps eliminate foot odour, cleanses and preserves the condition of your footwear, whilst helping to protect your feet.

Onwards and Margaret has just released her 3-In-1 Shoe Freshener, which is an electrical appliance with Active Oxygen (Ozone) technology. What a thing and we all swooped on it when it arrived. So three stages, and first cleaning; it refreshes shoes using the above-mentioned technology. The second state is purifying, as it helps eliminate bacteria and fungi that cause odour and the last stage is drying. This process happens from the inside out, which is much better for the shoes than drying them on the radiator.

But what is Active Oxygen technology? Well, it’s an environmentally friendly, naturally occurring chemical reaction when electricity is applied to moisture to produce high purity, high concentration molecules O2 and O3 Ozone. These molecules are safely released from the device and will ensure that bacteria and germs are removed.

To use, simply plug into a power supply and place the 3-In-1 Shoe Freshener into your shoes in the evening and the next morning your shoes will be fresh, dry and odour-free. You can of course use this with the Shoe and Insole Cleansing Spray. Double whammy foot care.
3-In-1 Shoe Freshener £64; Shoe and Insole Cleansing Spray £19 for 100 ml

Beat The Blues Drops of Gold

Most of you are familiar with the fabulous Beat the Blues Room Spray, so I am really happy to introduce you to Beat the Blues Drops of Gold. An uplifting, mood enhancing remedy, it helps induce feelings of happiness and joy, while helping to banish melancholy.

These happiness inducing drops contain homeopathic remedies and phyto-actives to provide multi-layering benefits. These include Gold (Aurum Metallicum) to nurture your emotional centre, boost energy and uplift the mind. Pulsatilla for when you feel emotionally out of control. Gelsemium to help with anxiety. Nat Mur to help alleviate feelings of deep sadness, St John’s Wort to help improve mood and Saffron to help enhance libido and improve memory.

In other words, this is a tincture of our time, but please note that this product is not meant to replace prescribed antidepressants, but to help uplift those in need of support, which is such a critical issue of modern times.
Beat The Blues Drops of Gold by Ilapothecary £29 for 15 ml

VH Editorial

Here come the girls:

Beauty Bible Stars

This year’s Beauty Bible awards took place on 19 February and yes, we were there cheering on Jo and Sarah and the brands that won a much-coveted award. We love the BB awards because they are about real women, who test and then rate the products submitted. And because we collectively believe in keeping things real, you cannot ‘buy’ an award and the winners are a collection of products that make a discernible difference. Jo and Sarah reveal five of their best, but I will also reveal that Spacemasks won a Gold Award too.  And in the middle of the room, Harriet and I did a happy dance together. Thankfully it wasn’t filmed.
The Beauty Bible Awards: Five Of The Best by Beauty Bible

The Power Of The Pause

Two years ago, my life took an almighty pause, writes Sue Peart. All the more almighty for being totally out of the blue. One minute I was hurling myself at life hell for leather, leaping out of bed before dawn and crawling back late at night. In the working hours in between, I would resemble the main character in a particularly frenetic kind of video game, ricocheting from task to task, dodging obstacles, clearing hurdles, avoiding explosions and spinning twenty plates (or was it 25?) while tap dancing on the desk. I loved every damned second of it. The next minute, it all stopped.
The Power Of The Pause by Sue Peart

Blowing Hot and Cold

‘On the off-chance that anyone fancies a cold dip and hot sauna after, bring towel and swimmers’ emailed my yoga instructor, two days before Christmas. With cabin fever already beckoning, I dug out my least awful swimsuit without giving the cold/hot message too much thought. Until I arrived at the local unheated lido to see that the water temperature was six degrees. Exactly how cold is six degrees Celsius? Jackie Annesley finds out.
Blowing Hot and Cold by Jackie Annesley

Lip Fillers In A Tube?

There aren’t many specific products I MUST have in my washbag at all times. Except one, and it’s a bizarre item to get so het up over on the few occasions it’s missing. It’s an antioxidant ‘lip complex’ by Skinceuticals and I’ve taken to using it as an anti-ageing lip cream overnight (which is technically incorrect, as antioxidants are primarily supposed to shield you from the day’s environment attacks). Inge van Lotringen talks all things lips.
Lip Fillers In A Tube by Ingeborg van Lotringen

An Apple (Or Rotten Tomato) For The Teacher

There is a Japanese proverb that goes: ‘Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.’ I don’t think that I ever notched up 1,000 days of diligent study – but unfortunately, the greatest teachers in my life came long after the school bell had tolled its last; people like the spiritual guru Ram Dass (who taught me to meditate), Anita Roddick, my friend and mentor (who taught me about bringing your sense of humour to work, because you’re really going to need it) and even my husband, come to that, who taught me to keep the faith at all times. (Not religious faith. Just ‘the faith’, trusting to the universe.)
An Apple (Or Rotten Tomato) For The Teacher by Jo Fairley

Ditch The Guilt

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt (I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither), I read another article in The Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia.  I don’t suffer from insomnia, but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.  Carolyn Asome investigates.
Ditch The Guilt by Carolyn Asome

The End Bit

So much love for Indeora, the natural deodorant we launched on the February newsletter. As with all magnesium-based products, when you first use them you may experience some slight redness and a prickly feeling. This is completely normal and it usually indicates a magnesium deficiency, which most of us have. I’ve put Shabir’s article underneath this where he looks at magnesium deficiency. It doesn’t include the deodorant, but you get the gist.
VH Editorial: Magnesium – The Most Important Mineral We All OverlookIndeora Healthy Magnesium Deodorant £16.99 for 75 ml

Play it again. The Ingenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen+ Gift Box contains three bottlers of 90 capsules (RSP £128.97) and a free pack of 45 capsules with a value of £21.49. That means you save £25.47. Limited time offer.
VH Editorial: How To Take Collagen SupplementsIngenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen+ Gift Box £124.99

The resurgence. I put the Rainbow Volume S Brush on 60 Seconds recently and the love started all over again. I still think it’s one of the most brilliant brushes ever. It makes me laugh.
Rainbow Volume S Brush £12

And finally we come to the end of another newsletter, so together with Shabir and the entire VH team, I thank you for your love, kindness and loyalty. It is something that I never take for granted and neither do the people who are closest to me as we stand side by side on the platform you have given us. This was always the vision.

I hope each of you have a healthy and happy March.
This Aries girl is sending love.

Gill x

* If you would like further information about Women Supporting Women, please get in touch with Gemma Craggs on 020 7543 1299 or gemma.craggs@princes-trust.org.uk

Scalp Respect

A curled hair snippet tied on yellow background

Why you should start treating your scalp with the same respect you treat your face.

Adequately covered but never blessed with an abundance of hair I was always conscious of what should have been my crowning glory. In my 20s others would blame my ‘over’ washing as I whinged about my thin and limp locks. In my 30s they blamed the kids instead.

But five days after my 36th birthday the thinning had become thinned and the attention was totally focused on one patch. As I got out the shower and combed through my hair, I felt that unexpected chill of air touching skin.

The size of a 20 pence piece it took centre stage about two inches back from my hairline. All I can say is thank the Lord alice bands were in fashion and I could be bald and stylish!

Once the drama had taken a back seat, I was able to think logically and booked an appointment to see a trichologist I’d been recommended by a male friend.

Whilst I do enjoy telling the story of how I came to own 30 hair bands and one wig (just in case) what’s more interesting are the three facts I uncovered.

Scalp care is set to take over from skin care and not before time. For too long now we have been fed with simple information whilst the professionals try to give us a one size fits all answer to that age-old question…How frequently should I wash my hair? It’s at this point I’m thankful I haven’t got much!

So, whilst many of you pride yourselves on the length of time you can stretch out a hair wash and revel in the magic of the latest advances in dry shampoo, are you doing yourselves a disservice?

Just as we understand the detriment clogged pores have on our complexion, the same is true of our scalp. An extension of our face, if left unwashed bacteria can grow. Where bacteria grows, healthy hair cannot.

Washing your hair and massaging your scalp at least every two to three days ensures the 100,000 or so hair follicles found on the average human head are kept clean and clear.

With the market flooded with shampoos and conditioners making larger than life claims it’s never been harder to commit. But I took the plunge and went for it landing on a range that has exceeded all expectations – The Fulvic Acid Hair Trio.

As the name would suggest each product contains Fulvic Acid – a mineral compound found in the earth’s soil which activates the nutrients that feed the plants. Hailed as natures ‘miracle molecule’ it was definitely worth a try and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Not only has my hair never looked or felt better but the smell of the conditioner actually turned what was once a chore into something I look forward to – relishing those seven minutes in the morning the family generously allow me to shower alone, I blissfully prepare for the day ahead as I breath in the relaxing manly scent.

So back to my seat opposite the trichologist, this was number one ticked off the checklist. To say I was relieved to hear I could continue the daily hair washing obsession is an understatement! Balding and greasy felt like a far worse fate than just bald.

Number two were my blood results. With one in five of us in the UK deficient in Vitamin D there was no surprise this would be my fate. With vitamin D being responsible for stimulating hair follicles I immediately prescribed myself a week away to sunnier climbs. My trichologist had other ideas and suggested a high strength vitamin D3 supplement.

My iron levels were next on her list of things I was lacking in. As a meat eater and keen green veg consumer, we looked elsewhere for my iron demons. Menstruation and heavy exercise looked to be behind this one. Unable and unprepared to give up either of these, another supplement was recommended. Iron supplements are notoriously difficult to stomach. Curing one ailment whilst creating another is a bitter pill so to avoid constipation I did my research and found Florisene  – an effective supplement without the usual associated problems.

Lastly, we discussed hormones. As we age our hormones levels begin to fall, alongside other things, and this imbalance is largely responsible for our thinning hair. I see my mother with her “I told you so face” when I sniggered at her pill box but alas another supplement had been added to my loot and this one’s a good ’un. Superior Hair is an all-round hair hero multivitamin, also containing my daily dose of biotin and zinc – two more minerals my blood work showed I was lacking in and crucial for optimal scalp health.

So…I have been following the good advice received; washing my hair, taking my daily supplements and throwing in the odd scalp mask for good measure when I find time on my self-care Sundays. I count myself lucky that the wig I purchased was never needed. As I try and take a more optimistic approach to life (apparently stress is a big contributor to hair loss) I imagine my patch was sent to me as an early warning sign to take better care of myself both internally and externally and suggest you do the same too. Perhaps it’s time we stopped wearing our 5-day dry shampoo hair as a badge of honour and start treating our scalp with the same respect we treat our face.

Blowing Hot and Cold 

Hot and Cold Tap heads cross design with chrome

“On the off-chance that anyone fancies a cold dip and hot sauna after, bring towel and swimmers” emailed my yoga instructor, two days before Christmas.

With cabin fever already beckoning,  I dug out my least awful swimsuit without giving the cold/hot message too much thought.  Until  I arrived at the local unheated lido to see that the water temperature was six degrees.

Exactly how cold is six degrees Celsius?

I know now that it’s colder than wading into the North Sea any time in March, when the temperature hovers around seven degrees.  I’d once swum off our eastern shoreline in December (when it’s weirdly a few degrees warmer) when I’d  been tasked by the Today newspaper in 1992 with finding Freddie the Dolphin. Injured and hanging out in Amble Harbour, north of Newcastle, he was apparently lonely and up for visitors.  I hired a boat whose skipper gave me a half wetsuit and pushed me into the freezing sea where the photographer kept me for 25 minutes,  first waiting for Freddie to appear from the inky depths (one of the scariest moments of my life) and then while he barked  “smile, smile, smile” while my shaking hands tried to stroke Freddie’s shammy leather back.

My only defence is that it was the Nineties.  Today’s millennials would have flatly refused, citing health and safety regulations. The whole extraordinary episode evidently sharpened my senses, a common side effect of cold water therapy,  because I  recall writing up the piece extremely quickly in a local pub and filing it over the phone.

Anyway, back to the waters of London’s Parliament Hill Lido which on that sunny December morning looked so very blue and so very freezing.  We followed the example of our north European cousins and went into its new sauna first for a quick warm-up, where the temperature was a cosy 80 degrees.  The bodies inside were as pink as newborns and one man was physically shaking, having  just completed twenty lengths in the icy waters of the 60 metre pool.  Mad.

I intended to do no more than jump in and scoot up a steps within seconds.

Geronimo!

The effect on the body of immersing it in freezing water is instantaneous, regardless of how much body fat you hold, and is one of the biggest jolts you can ever give it.   Otherwise known as the cold shock response, cold receptors in your skin are suddenly stimulated, causing an involuntary gasp, several in my case, followed usually by hyperventilation or very rapid breathing.  Your heart rate rapidly shoots up too – so step away anyone with high blood pressure or heart disease – as blood is diverted from extremities to your main internal organs.  Yet after less than ten minutes back in the sauna I wanted to repeat that surge of exhilaration.  So we plunged in one more time and then ran into the changing rooms, savouring that delicious feeling of your blood returning to the outer edges of your body as you warm up.

I felt invincible for the rest of the day and was back for more in the new year.  This time it was busier and everyone in the sauna seemed to be talking about cold water therapy.   Three young women were chatting to ‘James’ about their new addiction.  “I dreamt about it recently,” said one.  “It’s really helping me get over my broken relationship,” confessed another.  All three took cold showers at home (tap water comes out at around seven degrees) which prompted queries from  James about where they got their power showers, obvs, until the conversation switched to cold water therapy podcast recommendations.

I blame Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Fearnly-Wittingstall, both of whom have relayed  the wellness benefits of cold water in the last few weeks. Our favourite double-barrelled named chef tried it out on the TV show Easy Ways to Live Well  in a bid to tackle his anxiety.  He joined a group of cold water converts in a painful 4.3 degree lido and in between loud gasps for breath, was the only one screaming: “OH MY GOD this is so unbelievably cold, it’s SO cold”, while a gaggle of 60 year old matrons, casually treading water, giggled from afar.

There was less laughter but better swimwear on display when Gwyneth Paltrow sent her minions out to Lake Tahoe for The Goop Lab’s Cold Comfort episode on Netflix, which also aired in January (BTW you have to watch the one on female orgasms).  Could freezing  water stop their LA whining and general malaise?  With them to the lake went one of the world’s leading cold water protagonists, a Dane called Wim Hof, aka The Iceman.  He looks like the wild man of Borneo and has done some pretty wild things in his time, including running a half marathon on his bare feet in the snow and climbing Mount Everest in his shorts.  Within a few days, his deep breathing technique had turned a bunch of strung-out goopsters into hardy cold water swimmers who barely gasped as they came up from the freezing lake for air.

So how exactly does the cold-water therapy help? TV personality Dr Zoe Williams said on Fearnley-Whittingstall programme: “One way to think of it is that our stress ‘alert system’ has become over-sensitive in today’s world, and a short blast of freezing cold water every morning reminds it what a real threat feels like, and makes those everyday irritabilities less likely to trigger the full stress response.”

My second plunge into the lido, by now a balmy eight degrees in January, saw me jump into the middle of the pool and swim ten metres to the steps. Initially, all I could think of was that frozen water scene in the film Titantic. On the night of the real disaster, the water was something like minus two degrees and Kate Winslet’s Rose would have frozen solid alongside Jack with his memorably blue lips.  But puffing through that ten metre swim to the ladder felt totally doable. In fact I did the hot sauna/cold plunge routine three times and then strode across Hampstead Heath afterwards with wet hair plastered to my head, but feeling like I was luminous. That night I fell asleep instantly and woke up at 5 am instead of the usual 4 am. Result.

Apart from being mood-enhancing, cold water plunging can help achy joints by  constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation. It also releases brain positive endorphins,  which is good for depressives,  triggers the aforementioned sleep hormones, and there is even talk of it generally making you live longer.  Biologist and Harvard Professor David Sinclair, who looks a very young  51, explains that slowing down the ageing process may be connected with the cold turning bad white fat into good brown fat.

“Specifically, the sirtuin-3 gene gets activated by cold, which promotes the browning of fat, which we believe is good for us.  Brown fat is full of mitochondria that use energy and speeds up the metabolism.”

I am contemplating daily cold showers and in the meantime dunk my head into a sink of cold water after washing my hair in a bid to leave it super shiny. Add that to the cold pool therapy and I’m slowly getting there.

Wim Hof has said:  “At one point the cold will feel just as comfortable as wearing your favourite pyjamas.”

Well, maybe.  I’m just not sure Gill would ever agree.

An Apple (Or Rotten Tomato?) For The Teacher

A sliced and stacked red apple on white

There is a Japanese proverb that goes: ‘Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.’ I don’t think that I ever notched up 1,000 days of diligent study – but unfortunately, the greatest teachers in my life came long after the school bell had tolled its last; people like the spiritual guru Ram Dass (who taught me to meditate), Anita Roddick, my friend and mentor (who taught me about bringing your sense of humour to work, because you’re really going to need it) and even my husband, come to that, who taught me to keep the faith at all times. (Not religious faith. Just ‘the faith’, trusting to the universe.)

To be honest, I hadn’t given much thought to my teachers in years – before last summer, when I was asked to appear as Lauren Laverne’s guest on Desert Island Discs. (I know I’ve written about this before, but forgive me: I AM still pinching myself, and it’s 100% relevant to what I’m about to share.)

I share with Lauren (and, um, 3 million listeners) a particular, negative experience I’d had with my Scripture teacher. For some reason, the aforementioned teacher was also our Careers teacher, and one day a lesson turned from the Bible to discussions about what we were going to do when we left school. Well, Jackie Chapman was going to study Medicine at Oxford. My friend Stephanie Dodsworth was headed for teacher-training. The gloriously-named Dorcas Bird was, as I remember, thinking of Law. And yours truly announced that she wanted to be a secretary – an actual careers ambition, in those days.

My teacher narrowed her eyes and glared at me. ‘Jo Fairley, if you make so much as a Girl Friday, I’ll eat my hat,’ said Mrs. Wootton. (For readers at the lower age of the age spectrum, a Girl Friday was essentially a PA and several rungs lower on the career ladder than a secretary, probably only good for fetching coffee/dry cleaning/walking the boss’s Chihuahua.)

And my life could have gone in two very different directions, at that point. What actually happened was that I basically heard a Saturn Five rocket ignite under my chair, firing me up with the determination to prove her wrong. (Weirdly, it still drives me decades later – but I realise that if I’d been a different sort of girl, or even feeling less confident, on a different day, I might have bought into her predictions and set my sights perhaps no higher than running the Pick ‘n’ Mix in our local Woolworths.)

And an extraordinary thing happened after the Desert Island Discs was broadcast. No less than seven of that teacher’s other pupils managed to find a way to get in touch and wrote to me of similar experiences they’d had. In five of the seven cases, the impact was the same: it made them utterly determined to show her what they could achieve. But I literally cried at two of the communications, from women who years afterwards revealed to me that they’d bought into her put-downs and – as one told me – ‘my self-esteem has never recovered.’ (Another of the correspondents, meanwhile, hadn’t just been told she was going to amount to nothing, but that she’d ‘burn in hell’ – because a) her parents were divorced, and b) she’d been spotted dancing in the audience of Ready, Steady, Go!, then the must-watch music programme of the week.)

Reading their letters was an amazing and somewhat liberating experience for me, because of course I’d thought it was just ME. I didn’t realise that she had it in for all sorts of other pupils, in other classes and other years. Fired-up as I was at the time, I was also somewhat embarrassed at being singled out. But now I’m just hopping mad – because what an unforgivable thing to do to any young person who you’re supposed to be nurturing, teaching and encouraging.

And it really got me thinking about teaching, and the difference between good and bad teachers, and what huge responsibility teachers have for the kids in their care. Back in those days, there wasn’t the constant dialogue between parents and teachers that there is now (a once-a-year PTA meeting was about it, for my mum and dad), so my family didn’t have a clue about what had happened, and probably wouldn’t have dreamed of questioning the way that we were being taught and cared-for (or not). Parents today are much more ‘on it’, holding teachers to account. But even now, I hear stories from other women (often those who’ve not long left school), who’ve endured similar – and I don’t think it’s going too far to label it as a form of child abuse.

I did get out of school being able to read, write (and speak French), but the handful of teachers whose classes I did well in, looking back, were the ones who encouraged and engaged me – and when that happened, I bloomed like a little flower. I’m reminded of another great quote, from Benjamin Franklin: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’

Through my weird and wonderful parallel life as a public speaker, I am now sometimes invited by schools to share my story – and sometimes, I get to see how teachers should be. There was the prize-giving at the school in Hampstead where the most coveted honour in each class was the Kindness Prize, and the huge affection between the girls and their teachers was palpable, in the room. A few weeks ago, I was at a school in Guildford which was clearly working so hard to engage, involve and inspire its pupils. An evening there totally restored my faith in teachers – and made me completely rethink a phrase that I’d often repeated myself, that ‘Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.’ May I be forgiven for having bought into that, after some of my own school experiences. But after that night in Guildford, I came away thinking: actually, teachers are really cool.

So I apologise for the fact that it’s taken me till this late in life to grasp fully how hugely important teachers are. Underpaid, mostly, and under-appreciated. But how we turn out isn’t just nature, nurture or our DNA; it’s in part down to how good or bad a job our teachers did. I was unfortunate (if you don’t count Mrs. Wootton kindling my ambition to prove her wrong). I hope you fared better.

But to all the good (or even great) teachers out there, let this be by way of a shiny, polished apple – as a very belated thank you.

The Beauty Bible Awards 2020: Five Of The Best

Beauty Bible Awards 2020

We could be forgiven for having a bit of a lie-down at Beauty Bible – because we’ve just unveiled the winners across 100+ categories of product, trialled by REAL women in REAL time to help our readers find products that REALLY work. (Sorry for the shout-y capitals, but we’re feeling a bit over-excited!) It’s been our mission, for 24 years now, to help women take a short-cut to products that really work – and it comes as no surprise to us that many, many of the Award-winners can be found right here on VH, because Gill (like us) knows a good thing when she sees (and sniffs) something.

As a little taster of the results, we thought we’d share five of the top-scoring products – all of which feature on VH. And don’t take our word for their fabulousness – because the comments say everything.

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil

Here it is again! Our all-time favourite bath treat, one we give away to countless friends and colleagues, when challenged by sleep issues or having a tough time. We’ve lost count of how many times this extraordinary bath treat has floated to the top of our annual rounds of testing. It’s a legend in its own bathtime…

OUR TESTERS COMMENTS: ‘10/10. What can I say about this product other than WOW!? The fragrance is just beautiful and lifts my mood straight away, lasting a while after use. My skin was left feeling super soft and silky. It promises to be calming and promote good sleep and it exceeded the claims. It’s amazing. A little product goes such a long way’ • ‘I was tired before using this bath oil for the first time as we’d just travelled to America the day before. While running the bath I was a bit dubious if it would work or not, but I was blown away when I got in the bath, and relaxed that much I fell asleep!! My best bath ever’ • ‘Every time I use it, this trusty product deeply relaxes both body and mind, clearing worries and left my mood lifted and calm.’

Margaret Dabbs Foot Hygiene Cream

The cornerstone of award-winning foot expert Margaret Dabbs’ range, this is described as a ‘miracle in a jar’, whose effects go way beyond the cosmetic. In fact, it’s a semi-clinical formulation that targets athlete’s foot, food odour, painful and blistered skin and even verrucas. It doesn’t sound glam – but testers LOVED it!

OUR TESTERS COMMENTS: ‘My job entails me being on my feet much of the day and I have a baby. This left my feet feeling amazing after application, especially if they had a tough day; the main thing was how soft my skin was, refreshed and smelling lovely. One big thing was that the blistering on the sides/soles of my feet was greatly improved and overall I had much less dryness’ • ‘I’m a nurse and am on my feet a lot of the time; I also have children so am running around after them. I noticed the fresh feeling straight away – I felt like my feet were in a spa, they felt cool, swelling was reduced almost immediately.’

Temple Spa Sugar Buff

This has climbed the leader board to the top slot: Bronze two years ago, Silver last year and now (ta-dah!) in Gold position, with a fantastic score of 9.37/10 across our ten-tester panel. As the name implies, it’s a Mediterranean-inspired sugar exfoliator with a luscious texture, featuring moisturising and firming olive oil, grapeseed oil, fig and pomegranate extracts and vitamin C, with a wonderful, naturally relaxing aroma of lavender, patchouli, eucalyptus, rosemary, grapefruit and clove essential oils.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS: ‘I absolutely loved this product. I never really bother with scrubs so this was a nice me-time product. My skin is normally quite dry and ashy-looking after a shower so this has really changed the game for me. Super-soft skin almost feels like velvet to the touch, and I don’t need to moisturise at all’ • ‘I was not wearing skirts or shorts because of the dry rough condition of my legs, and my elbows also looked and felt rough. After I started using this, my elbows felt so soft that a friend of mine felt the need to tell me so! I got tons of compliments on how my legs look; they are glowing, even without any other moisturiser. This product has transformed my skin.

Temple Spa Eye Truffle Complete Eye Rejuvenator

Altogether Temple Spa scooped an amazing 14 Awards this year, so we don’t feel bad about including a second Gold here… In previous years, Skin Truffle was our highest-ever scoring miracle treatment). This addition to the line-up is an eye care all-rounder, tackling dark circles and puffiness, frown lines and crow’s feet and pigmentation issues, while bringing radiance to the eye zone. Testers’ verdict? It works a treat.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS: ‘The time of the miracle has not passed! I have some “expression” lines around my eyes, they are quite visible. Day 14 – I’m addicted! I look into mirror and cannot believe the improvement in texture, firmness and colour around the eye. I would not believe that just cream could do it, without actually trying it. Amazing product that has taken years off my face. I am still amazed when I look in the mirror. The best eye product I’ve used in years and believe me I’ve tried a lot at all price ranges’ • ‘By the end of testing my eye area looks brighter and smoother, with fine laughter lines significantly reduced. A luxurious product that does exactly as promised’ • ‘Absolutely in love with this rich but light eye cream. I’m a busy mum of three-year-old twins and unfortunately suffer with lack of sleep and not having enough time to introduce beauty regime in my life. After a couple of weeks of using this product, dark circles under my eyes are much less visible plus I don’t look so tired anymore. My work mates are asking if my kids have started to behave and I am finally getting enough sleep. Unfortunately not… but I have this miracle cream! It lives up to all the promises.’

GOLD (JOINT) AWARD Aurelia Refine & Polish Miracle Balm

One of the highest-scoring products we’ve ever had, in 24 years of Beauty Bible testing – a completely staggering 9.75 marks out of 10 (which basically means most testers did give it a 10), and something you’ll find on our own bathroom shelves, as it happens. In addition to gentle rice refining beads, there are enzymes to literally dissolve dead cells, in a balm-like base that you massage into skin, then emulsify with water to transform into a milk that can be swished away.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS: ‘My skin now looks so much cleaner, brighter and more moisturised, younger and very healthy. After using the scrub over a period of time, small blackheads have become lighter and fewer which this scrub is really cleansing my skin from a deeper level than my cleanser is able to do.  I couldn’t believe how soft and plump skin felt, too. I hardly needed any moisturiser’ • ‘After using for the first time my skin looked great – noticeably brighter, fresher and glowing. After seven days it looked radiant. After 28 days I was hooked. It made a noticeable different to my skin’ • ‘Using the product is a lovely experience, with its beautiful spa-like scent. After the first week – during which I used it the recommended three times – my skin just felt better and better. My skin was much smoother and softer and make-up was sitting much better and lasting longer. The improvements continued. People have noticed my skin is looking smoother and less congested.’

Ditch The Guilt

Household cleaning tools on a blue wooden floor

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt  ( I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither ), I read another article in the Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia. I don’t suffer from insomnia but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.

The big reveal was on its way:  what was Mariella going to attribute it to?  Hormones, the menopause, too much sugar, not enough sex… I can’t lie, I felt deflated when her answer did come.   For while anxiety and regular insomnia are synonymous with hormonal change in a woman’s 50s, it didn’t explain the nocturnal struggles experienced by younger women. On closer inspection she discovered, a picture starts to form that’s recognisable to any women who is knee deep in the mothering, marriage and career years. Read More…