Five Ways To Boost Your Wellbeing This Autumn


While the usual rumours of an Indian summer are circulating and temperatures are still well into double figures, there is no denying that summer is over and autumn is on its way. It’s getting dark at 7.30 pm and the days are certainly feeling shorter. Here are five ways to keep your energy levels high and boost your health this autumn…

Boost your immune system

In August, the NHS released its draft guidelines recommending we opt for natural remedies to support our immune systems rather than relying on medication to ease sore throats and common colds. If you’re prone to getting ill as soon as the weather changes start taking Daily Immunity now. With astragalus to boost your white blood cells and garlic to help fight off fungi and bacteria, taking two Daily Immunity supplements a day helps to support your immune system and protect against infections.

Switch up your vitamin D for autumn

Studies have been highlighting the link between vitamin D and the immune system, bone health and chronic illnesses for years. Yet, many of us don’t get the recommended amount of vitamin D, especially during the winter months. Experts tend to recommend anywhere between 2000iu and 4000iu of vitamin D per day should be sufficient. 

While it is possible to get vitamin D through a healthy diet, it’s thought that most of us only achieve about 10 percent of the recommended amount via this way. Therefore, lots of experts recommend we supplement vitamin D from October through to March. Better You’s D Lux 1000 Spray and the 3000 Spray are two of the most efficient supplements to top-up your  levels.

Avoid too much red meat

You might have lived on salads over the summer, but now autumn has arrived it’s time to start introducing warm food into your diet. Don’t over-indulge in hearty hot meals that can be hard to digest though. Chinese Medicine expert and acupuncturist Dr Phoebus Tian recommends avoiding red meat, particularly steak and opting for seasonal vegetables to ensure you get all the correct nutrients required at this time of year.  

Take time out

September and October are always a flurry of activity and then before you know it, it’s Christmas. Taking time out to switch-off and relax can make a whole world of difference. If you don’t have time to take a long, hot bath with Magnesium Oil Original Flakes, enlist the help of Magnesium Sleep Lotion. The lightweight lotion boosts your magnesium levels and not only helps to relax sore, tight muscles, but can also help you to drift off.

And, if you want to go the extra mile, invest in de Mamiel’s Anchor. The soothing balm includes watermelon seed oil and passionflower oil, which both maximise your body’s ability to absorb magnesium and B vitamins.

But don’t give up on the gym

A new study carried out by the University of British Columbia has suggested that our brains could be pre-wired to prefer lazing on the sofa and as a result, we’re getting lazier. As the evenings get darker it can be tempting to put-off going to the gym, but plenty of research has proven that exercising releases endorphins and can help reduce high stress and anxiety levels.

If you’re brave enough this autumn, one study has suggested that taking a daily dip in cold water can help fend off depression and anxiety. Writer Tina Gaudoin, who has written about her struggles with autoimmune disease, wrote about how wild swimming has helped keep her worries in check.

Takeaway Tips From Shabir And Trinny’s Facebook Live On Post-Summer Concerns

Shabir and Trinny

With summer drawing to a close and autumn just beginning, Shabir joined Trinny Woodall in the bathroom to discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments available for some of the most common post-summer health and beauty concerns. You can also watch the full Facebook Live below…

How to ease dry, dehydrated skin

Your skin has been exposed to the sun and the heat, as well as the salt or chlorine in the water. This can breakdown the ceramides in your skin, which keep your skin hydrated and prevent external aggressors. Ceramides are rich in omega 7 and can be food in seeds and sea buckthorn. Supplementing your omega 7 count will help boost your ceramides and lipids to rehydrate your skin, it will also soothe dry eye syndrome and vaginal dryness. Look to Pharma Nord Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn, £19.95 to top-up your levels and for a skin-specific supplement, try Skin Restoring Phytocermides, £25, from Life Extension.

For topical relief, look to 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil, £20, by GoW. It’s incredibly sought-after and expensive as you can only extract a small amount of oil from the seeds. Prickly Pear has the highest amount of vitamin E of any other natural oil and it’s 60% rich in linoleic acid, which penetrates your skin quickly and helps restore your skin’s elasticity. It works well on all skin types and concerns.

How to reduce post-holiday bloating

A bloated stomach and slow, sluggish bowel movement can affect your energy levels and mood. Post-holiday bloating can be caused by many factors, including flying, different water and food, as well as the stresses of different temperatures. Shabir recommends taking Super Enhanced Digestive Enzymes, £23.25, with food as these help your body to break down food.

Taking a good quality probiotic supplement, such as Mega Probiotic ND, £19.50, by Food Science, will also help support your digestion, as well as boost your immune system.

First and foremost though, it is important to chew your food properly. Shabir recommends chewing 12-to-15 times. Foods such as ginger and turmeric help to boost your digestion too – pure ginger tea is particularly good. Increasing your intake of green vegetables when your return from holiday as these are highly nutritious, rich in live enzymes, which help break down your food, and they help to rebalance your acidity levels. Shabir’s choice of greens is moringa as it has impressive levels of protein, calcium, fibre and magnesium. Aduna Moringa Green Superleaf Powder, £13.99, can be taken with water and juice or sprinkled onto food. You should notice improved energy levels over time after taking at least two teaspoons a day.

Why post-holiday bathing could improve your health

Over half of UK Brits could be deficient in magnesium, which is a mineral that affects our energy levels, sleep pattern and mood. Magnesium Oil Original Flakes, £9.95, by Better You help to boost your magnesium levels, as well as relaxing your muscles and smooth and soothe your skin.

How to beat the post-holiday blues

We’ve all experienced a dip in our mood after a week or so on holiday. Magnolia helps to block the stress hormone, cortisol and boosts your serotonin (happy hormone) levels. Taking one Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £26, in the morning and one in the evening helps reduce stress and anxiety and leave you feeling more relaxed.

If you struggle to maintain your energy when your get back to work after your holiday it is worth taking Benenox – Overnight Recharge, £12.49, which sustains your glucose levels and smoothes out your sleep pattern, preventing you from waking up throughout the night.

Watch the full Facebook Live below

Trinny and Shabir discussed everything from reducing your post-holiday bloat to rehydrating sun-parched skin. To watch more from Trinny, visit her YouTube page.


Why Changing When You Eat Could Boost Your Health


With summer done and dusted for another year some of us might be tempted to enlist in a quick fix diet to burn off the extra calories we picked up on holiday. Cue the endless fad diets and mind-boggling eating habits. The most bizarre one we’ve heard of so far is a diet that consists of just beef, salt and water.

For years we’ve been focusing on what we eat (or what we shouldn’t eat), but new research suggests that we should be just as concerned about when we eat. According to the Salk Institute, eating in a ten hour section during the day can actually help you to lose weight because it works with your body’s circadian cycle.

“For many of us, the day begins with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and ends with a bedtime snack 14 or 15 hours later,” Satchidananda Panda, a professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory and the senior author of the new paper told Science Daily. “But restricting food intake to 10 hours a day, and fasting the rest, can lead to better health, regardless of our biological clock.”

The study found that by working with our circadian cycle and eating when our digestion genes are most active. Impressively, the study found that eating within that time-frame also reduced the chances of obesity, high cholesterol and other diseases.

A similar study found that eating breakfast 90 minutes later than usual and having dinner 90 minutes earlier could also be beneficial to your health and help you lose weight. Over a 10 week period the study found that those who tweaked their eating times tended to have a reduced appetite and snack less throughout the day, compared to those who had unrestricted eating times.

“Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies,” Dr Jonathan Johnston, Reader in Chronobiology and Integrative Physiology at the University of Surrey, told Science Daily. “Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health.”

While restricting your intake of food to 10 hours might not be appealing to some, it’s certainly more feasible than living off beef, salt and water. Regardless of what diet you’re tempted to try, ensuring your body gets the recommended nutrients is essential for it to function properly. Shabir recommends that almost all of us take a good quality multivitamin, such as Alive Multivitamins. Deficiencies in iron and magnesium are fairly common in seemingly healthy adults, so it is also worth looking into these supplements. If you’re unsure of what to take, contact us and Shabir can advise you.

How Much Sleep Should We Be Getting?


Eight has always been deemed as the magic number when it comes to the amount of hours we’re supposed to sleep each night. Yet most experts cast the net wider and suggest anywhere between seven and nine hours will ensure you look and feel good. While some of us are lucky to get six hours of shut-eye a night during the week, earlier this year scientists revealed that you can catch up on lost sleep by pressing snooze at the weekend.

But, before you get carried away and whittle away your Saturday morning in bed, this week a new study revealed that you don’t need as much sleep as you think. According to new research presented at the ESC Congress, between six to eight hours of sleep is the healthiest amount necessary to ward off heart disease and strokes.

The study found that those who had less than six hours of sleep were 11% more likely to develop coronary issues, while those who got more than eight hours were 33% more likely.

Author of the study, Dr Fountas said: “Our findings suggest that too much or too little sleep may be bad for the heart. More research is needed to clarify exactly why, but we do know that sleep influences biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation — all of which have an impact on cardiovascular disease.”

So, how can you ensure you get the right amount of sleep regularly? Here’s some helpful tips…

How can you get a better night’s sleep?

First and foremost, stop worrying about the amount of sleep you’re getting. The more you stress about it, the less likely you are to drift off. If you struggle to switch off and stop your mind from whirling, we recommend taking Magnolia Rhodiola Complex. It’s a natural remedy to help reduce anxiety and relax your mind.

Other tricks, such as keeping your bedroom cool and banning any digital devices at least an hour before you go to bed can also help. Upping your magnesium levels will also help. Despite being a key mineral, a lot of us are deficient in magnesium, which can affect our mood, energy levels and sleep patterns. The best way to absorb magnesium is by taking a bath with flakes. If you don’t have a bath, try Better You’s Magnesium Sleep Lotion and massage it into your feet before bed.

What are the best natural remedies for a good night’s sleep?

Shabir has written several pieces on Cherry Night by Viridian and regularly recommends it for the simple fact that it works. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and the lightly flavoured powder helps to top up your natural levels over time. You do need to persevere with this supplement though as it takes at least two weeks to feel the benefits.

If you prefer taking a capsule, try Sleep Tight by World Organic. It has a blend of magnesium, magnolia and tart cherries to help you relax, unwind and drift off. You just need to take two capsules an hour before bed.

What if you’re getting too much sleep?

When it comes to sleep the focus is often on not getting enough, but there are some people who feel like they can sleep forever and yet still wake up feeling groggy and tired. “This is often because you have too much cortisol, the stress hormone,” says Shabir. It’s worthwhile taking Magnolia Rhodiola, or looking into adaptogens, which help to reduce stress and boost your energy levels. “Moringa helps increase resistance to stress, whether this stressor is physical, chemical or biological,” says Shabir. “It also helps to bring the body back into balance no matter where the stress is coming from and it does not interfere with the body’s normal functions.”

Adding a couple of spoonfuls of Moringa Green Superleaf Powder to your morning juice or smoothie will help you feel a little more energised. And, you can sprinkle it on your salad or mix it into your soup to recharge throughout the day too.

September Newsletter


Hello and welcome to the September newsletter where we exclusively launch a new product from one of my favourite brands, we continue our discussion about the health of our hair and I have a bit of an announcement to make about that (why does my life have to be so dramatic!). We also go back into our supplement and skincare wardrobes and we celebrate a product birthday.

Additionally, Shabir takes an in-depth look at vitamin C, we have a few words from Sarah Stacey and there are some editorial changes, which I will write about later. These changes were meant to coincide with the launch of our new website, but of course it isn’t ready and at this point I’m relying on all my supplements to keep me alive long enough to see that happen. It’s a debatable issue, so for now we stay as we are and let’s do this month’s news.

Softening Bath Milk Oil by Ameliorate

One of my favourite brands. Yes, absolutely and I make no apology whatsoever for saying that because this is the brand that has helped so many of you who have Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin), dry or sensitive skin (count me in on the latter).

I have always considered that the health/beauty crossover is extraordinarily important and we launched Ameliorate on a health platform all those years ago alongside an article written by Shabir, which is still so relevant. That’s the health side of things and on the beauty side, well there aren’t that many brands or products that tick all the boxes for me on body care. Ameliorate does.

So let’s talk about Softening Bath Milk Oil, or as I call it ‘Cleopatra’s Bath’. Well how else would you describe a fabulous milk bath and fabulous it is. Ameliorate say that this luxurious bath milk oil has been created to bring the joy of bathing back to sufferers of KP and dry skin. I say, glory hallelujah; not loaded with essential oils to irritate my skin, but  crammed with colloidal oats, sweet almond oil and Ameliorate’s unique skin hydration complex, which is called LaH6.

Ameliorate say that it has been clinically proven to moisturise for up to eight hours; I say that it does what it promises and I know that because I’ve been testing this product for several months.

Of course there was no need for me to test for so long, but I developed ‘a thing’ for milk baths, well this milk bath, and I want to give special thanks to Ameliorate for keeping me supplied over the past few months. There was one particularly difficult day when I had just had enough (don’t even ask!) and I came home and tipped an entire bottle into a lukewarm bath (it was during the heat); to say my skin was completely transformed is an understatement. I owned up and told Ameliorate about my excessively extravagant behaviour; they responded by sending me more. Brand support. At its finest. And I know the difference.

So all I will say is that whether or not you have KP, whether or not you have dry or sensitive skin, it doesn’t really matter because Softening Bath Milk Oil is amazing for all skin types. All you need to do is add one capful to your bath whilst the water is running and soak for up to 10-15 minutes. It can be used two or three times a week and we’ll leave it at that before I state the obvious and tell you what you already suspect about my daily habits.

Congratulations and thank you for the joy Ameliorate. I’m sure there is a list somewhere of iconic bathing products; if so, this should be added to it. Right now would be good.
VH Editorial: The Treatment of Keratosis PilarisSoftening Bath Milk Oil by Ameliorate £19 for 250 ml

Vitamin C and Healthy Skin

People who are keen on having healthy looking skin are often advised to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. The scientific basis for this advice is the supply of vitamin C, which is absolutely essential for skin health. Skin is composed of two layers, the epidermis, which provides a barrier function and the internal dermal layer, which provides elasticity and strength, but also provides nutritional support to the epidermis. But why is vitamin C essential for skin and what role does vitamin C play within skin?

Normally skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which supports important and well-known functions including collagen synthesis and providing antioxidant support to help shield against UV-induced photo-damage. Skin is the largest organ in the body and its appearance generally reflects the health of its underlying structures. We also know that vitamin C deficiencies within the body, and hence the skin, can result in significant skin disorders including skin fragility and impaired wound healing.

Taking an in-depth look at vitamin C, Shabir explores the important biological functions, which include collagen formation, photo-protection, hyperpigmentation and dry skin. But is a serum better than supplementation?

Since its discovery in the 1930’s, the role of vitamin C in skin health has been the subject of much discussion and this still remains today. Vitamin C is involved in countless enzyme reactions carried out within the body and this has led scientists to investigate if many of us are deficient, which we are. Most of us understand the importance of vitamin C and yet we simply are not able to consume the volume of fruit and vegetables which scientists have given as acceptable guidelines.

So supplementation, yes, if you can, and Shabir recommends Liposomal Vitamin C because using a liposomal form helps ensure that each and every cell of the body, including those within skin, receives vitamin C. And a topical vitamin C too, well yes please because it truly makes a difference and we are both huge advocates of vit C serums for several reasons, but ultimately it’s because mostly you can visibly notice a change in the health of your skin with continued use.

There are often questions about the stability of vitamin C in topical solutions, particularly as exposure to heat, air and/or light can degrade a product. Unfortunately the most effective form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid, is also the most unstable. The stability of l-ascorbic acid serums may be increased by the use of other antioxidants, such as ferulic acid, which is a potent plant-based antioxidant.

When Shabir was formulating Vitamin C 23% + Ferulic Acid Serum with Garden of Wisdom, he made sure that all the issues concerning stability and pH were covered. Studies indicate that the absorption of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid, greatly depends upon the pH of the topical being used. Topicals with a pH below 4.0 aid in transporting the uncharged form of vitamin C into the epidermis and into the dermis too. Vitamin C 23% + Ferulic Acid Serum has a pH of between 3.1-3.4.

Ferulic acid was added to the formulation to help protect the ingredients from oxidation and to work in synergy with vitamin C to help protect skin against free radical damage. We put it in an airless pump (we are now on version three, which is behaving itself) to help protect it from light and air and it remains the bestselling product from GoW for VH. In fact it is romping away so far ahead of the field, I’m not sure where the field actually is. But then it is £10 and it is being hailed as one of the best Vitamin C Serums all over the place. For this we give thanks.
VH Editorial: Vitamin C and Healthy SkinLiposomal Vitamin C £20 for 160 ml; Vitamin C 23% + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml

The Supplement Wardrobe – The Follow Through

I would just like to follow through on The Supplement Wardrobe, which appeared on the last newsletter. The response of course was truly amazing and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your comments and your support. There is something about all being on the same page and knowing that, in time, we will more or less be experiencing the same results.

But it’s more than that, it’s a knowing, a knowing that we are taking three incredible supplements that will help support our bones, our gut and our hair, skin and nails. Those three supplements were Ionicell, Mega Probiotic ND and Hyaluronic Acid High Strength and I promise you I am staying on them forever, well forever being until ‘next-generation’ products appear that supersede these three Holy Grail (HG) products.
Ionicell £20 for 60 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Hyaluronic Acid High Strength Capsules £35 for 30 Vegecaps

Having written the above and having said that the above three were my foundation supplements, the inevitable questions were asked about what other supplements I take. The answer is that it varies, but there is one supplement that I believe is life-changing too, well it is for many of us. That product is Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes.

You see the thing is that as with Hyaluronic Acid, digestive enzymes are naturally occurring substances in our bodies, except from the age of about 25 they start to decline rather rapidly. So in the most simplistic terms, I have been putting HA back into my system forever (like you really think I’m going to be aware of the decline without doing something about it) and the same goes for digestive enzymes.

I didn’t include Digestive Enzymes in The Supplement Wardrobe because I didn’t want to load you up with supplements, but if you suffer from bloating, stomach pain, constipation and other discomforts after eating, then do try these. And why does it seem to affect women more than men. I don’t know whether it is a scientific fact, but nearly every woman I know has an issue with constipation and/or bloating. And on the jeans thing, which we weren’t talking about, but we are now, let me say that I refuse to become a muffin, and I live in jeans; I’ll probably die in them too (pale blue skinnies will do thanks).

Back on subject, the thing is that I would probably go as far as saying that Digestive Enzymes are magic bullets for women, which is a bit of a loaded statement, but we need to talk about these things. Men sweep things under the carpet (generally speaking of course), but we tell it as it is. I mean we have to share, don’t we and it’s not all about lip gloss (Armani if you’re asking). If you don’t already take them, these enzymes may well become your new best friend, alongside Ionicell of course, but more on that next.
VH Editorial: Do You Experience Bloating, Gas or Indigestion?Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes £23.25 for 60 Capsules

At the beginning of this section we were talking about HG products and if we are honing in on another category, that category is hair and so now we are going to be talking about Trinny’s HG hair products.

I know she won’t mind me sharing with you, but her hair has changed drastically over the past few months and she went on Instagram to tell the world about the products that have made a huge difference to the condition and health of her hair. If you have fabulous, thick, healthy bouncy hair, skip this section, but if you haven’t, stay with me because those products are Biotin, Superior Hair and Ionicell.

We honestly believe that Superior Hair is one of the best supplements available for helping to encourage new hair growth, helping to stop hair loss and to help nourish the hair follicles whilst conditioning and strengthening existing hair; Ionicell, well I wrote about what it has done to my hair on the August newsletter and Biotin is renowned for helping to strengthen hair.

I promise that I didn’t tell Trinny to take all three supplements (neither did Shabir), but I love how OTT she is. And we love how her hair looks and feels (yes, I’ve touched it), but this won’t happen to your hair overnight. We say give it four or five months to really kick in and then shake your head (if you have longish hair), the way we all do (the girls, not Shabir!). Oh and one more thing, if you love Trinny’s curls, they come partly courtesy of Dream Coat Curl.
Trinny IGIonicell £20 for 60 Capsules; Superior Hair £26.50 for 90 Capsules; Biotin 5000ug £21.99 for 100 Tablets; Dream Coat Curl £24 for 200 ml

Dream Coat

Happy birthday to you; happy birthday to you, happy birthday fabulous Dream Coat – one year old today on this very newsletter – happy birthday to you. For those who want it straight. The one and only legendary Dream Coat.
Dream Coat Supernatural Sealant £24 for 200 ml

Some Words

Below are some words from Sarah Stacey, which she has asked me to share with you. Sarah, as most of you know has been Health Editor of The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine for the longest time and of course, together with Jo Fairley, she is Beauty Bible. From Sarah:

‘All the best things come to an end and I will no longer be writing my weekly Health and Wellbeing column for YOU magazine. After more than two decades, it’s time for me to step down and have a rest from weekly deadlines. But I will still be contributing often to VH in different ways – writing across health, wellbeing and beauty, and also (as a Big Birthday looms next spring) a bit about ageing gorgeously and gracefully – actually make that dis-gracefully! So it’s definitely not goodbye – please keep watching this space …. With love – Sarah’.

Together with Shabir, I would just like to thank Sarah for the privilege of helping to look after her readers for so many years. We have laughed, cried and helped to make a difference together for more than a decade. I thought you may like to read Sarah’s final column. The wisdom. YOU magazine – thank you.
Sarah’s Final Column

Right, let’s do some new products:

Natural Kids Ear Scrub

We like this. We like it because we know that so many children have ear problems and this gentle, easy to use formulation helps to clean the ears of wax and oils, without the fear of entering the ear too deeply. The mild liquid ear wash formula and soft sponge provide a gentle scrubbing action that will easily break down dirt and oils and quickly washes away with water. It will also comfortably clean the curves of the ear. Age four upwards only please.
Natural Kids Ear Scrub £12 for 60 ml

The adult version, with a bit of a difference, is of course Organic Ear Oil, which is formulated with garlic, mullein and tea to help calm the sensitive ear canal and comforts. Shabir has written an article about, of course he has!
VH Editorial: Ear Infections and EaracheOrganic Ear Oil £12.95 for 30 ml

Day To Night Collection by Pukka Herbs

Shabir wanted this on the newsletter because he likes the packaging. I’m serious. He also loves the concept of having five different teas to sip from morning to evening. They are, in order:

Ginseng Matcha Green tea, Turmeric Gold tea, Revitalise tea, After Dinner tea and Night Time. The pack contains 20 tea sachets and they are sitting on Shabir’s desk, alongside the 20+ supplements he takes every day.  Seriously.
Day To Night Collection by Pukka Herbs £3.29 for 20 Herbal Tea Sachets

Sea Magik Salted – Charcoal Salts

I take the greatest pleasure in abdicating sections of this newsletter to others. ‘Others’ in this instance are the Beauty Bible girls and within a couple of paragraphs, Sarah, together with Jo, is back with some words on Charcoal Salts:

‘(Dead) Sea Magik have been around – well forever (or at least as long as we’ve been working in beauty and that’s ages). But with a brand new collection of salt based products. Sea Magik (as they’re now known) have taken a giant leap forward and onto the shelf beside our baths.

Of course, bath salts, having been something your granny swore by, have swung seriously back into fashion in the last few years. Alongside the original Dead Sea Spa Salts there are now some really interesting additions to the line-up and our definite favourite is Activated Charcoal Salts.

The reason we’re drawn to this, in particular, is that so far it’s Sea Magik’s only fragranced bath salts product – a potent, nose-clearing, sense-awakening blend of rosemary and eucalyptus. We will so have this on hand for the next time we’re stricken with the sniffles.

We are told there are others to come, so watch this space for Rose & Pink Clay, Turmeric & Ginger, Moringa & Seaweed and Pine Tree & Cranberry. If you didn’t think it was possible to get excited about something as simple as bath salts, prepare to be blown out of the (salty) water.’ Amen.
Sea Magik Salted – Charcoal Salts £8.99 for 1 kg


Soursop is a fruit that grows in tropical areas, including South America, the Caribbean and parts of Africa. It is also known as Graviola and Custard Apple. It has a green skin and looks somewhat like a spiky mango with white flesh and brown seeds inside.

Soursop is having a resurgence at the moment and while it is relatively new to the western world, it has been used in herbal remedies and tincture for centuries in South America. The fruit is being championed as a wonder ingredient for your health as it is thought to help boost your immune system and fight off disease.

Since the Nineties, Soursop has been championed for its wide-ranging health benefits. The leaves and root are known to help boost your immune system, help soothe stomach ailments and help ease hypertension. Soursop is also a powerful antioxidant and a good source of vitamin C, B1 and B2. In recent years two studies have also highlighted Soursop’s potential to help block pain and reduce inflammation.
VH Editorial: What Are the Health Benefits of Soursop?Graviola Fruit by Rio Amazon £11.99 for 60 Capsules

Fabulous Feet Foot Wipes

After writing about Fabulous Legs from Margaret Dabbs over the last couple of newsletter, we have another new launch, Fabulous Feet Foot Wipes. Here comes the lowdown:

They have been expertly formulated to cleanse and refresh tired, hot and perspiring feet. Infused with Witch Hazel, Apple and Willow Bark, they are deodorising, but gentle, cooling, moisturising and of course they are antibacterial.

We love feet and several of us have a thing about feet. Whenever I talk about feet, mine or others, to Shabir he walks away. Seriously! Having studied Reflexology about seven hundred lifetimes ago, feet fascinate me and I had a long discussion with Denise Leicester (ilapothecary) about feet a few weeks ago and just in case you were interested, Jo Fairley always does a cleansing of the feet ritual every night before going to bed.

But I diversify, and more about the above two comments another time because for now I am loving these wipes and I think you will too.
Fabulous Feet Foot Wipes by Margaret Dabbs £12 for 20 Wipes

The Skincare Wardrobe – The Follow Through

There has been so much response to my words on the August newsletter about having a skincare wardrobe. One thing is very clear, we all love brand-crossing and we all love the different approaches, with the high-low approach receiving the most comments. This is where we mix high-end products with low-end products and we get such a kick out of doing it. So just two pieces of feedback here; the first from a very special friend who has fallen in love with Prickly Pear Seed Oil; she has since gone on to post here, there and everywhere on Instagram saying that she swears by it as a night-time moisturiser:

‘I want to say how much I’m loving the Prickly Pear Seed Oil. The heatwave had dried my skin so that it felt permanently parched and nothing seems to plump it up, so I tried the Prickly Pear Seed Oil on my face at night and my skin has miraculously recovered and is bouncy and gleaming with health’. I concur. Amazing stuff. Thanks Nigella x
VH Editorial: The Beauty Benefits of Prickly Pear Seed OilPrickly Pear Seed Oil £20 by Garden of Wisdom for 30 ml

And then:

‘I have just slathered on Anti-Aging MultiPeptide Serum, it is so smooth and silky and I’ve just put HA over the top. My skin feels like I’ve put on moisturiser, I am honestly gobsmacked. It’s like a luxurious serum with a budget price tag’. We agree. Thank you.
Anti-Ageing Multi-Peptide Serum by Garden of Wisdom £20 for 30 ml; Hyaluronic Acid Serum – Vegetarian by Garden of Wisdom £9 for 30 ml

Finally, I’m going a bit high-end because I love iS Clinical. I’ve written many times over the years that I won’t travel without Hydra-Cool Serum on my skin and in my bag. If I’m going long-haul, I apply it several times, but there’s something else too. Add one or two drops to your foundation and it will make your skin look completely incredible. I use more drops in summer and less in winter, but it’s a bit of a red-carpet trick in La-La-Land and I’m not naming names, but several celebrities swear by this little trick, but then so many of them use iS Clinical regardless of the brands they represent or own. Lips remaining sealed because that was a touch naughty. Don’t care!
Hydra-Cool Serum by iS Clinical £48 for 15 ml; Hydra-Cool Serum by iS Clinical £76 for 30 ml

The Questions, The Answers

Since the beginning of time, we have been answering questions on health, beauty and of course the health/beauty crossover. It is who we are, it is what we do. If we are talking health, it is absolutely vital that we (well Shabir) are able to support you with a depth of knowledge about contra-indications with prescribed medication and a whole series of other things. On the health/beauty crossover, our site is loaded with articles and information about subjects such as adult acne and a myriad of concerns on from that.

Each month I am going to take one question on health and one question on beauty, together with the answers which I hope will help many of you. I absolutely promise you these are very real, some of you may recognise yourselves, but I am deeply respectful of privacy laws and of course data protection, so these will always be anonymous. Health first:

Q: I am loathed to take medication for blood pressure and would like some ideas on how I can lower it naturally, either lifestyle or vitamins?

A: Without doubt, the supplement of choice to help maintain healthy blood pressure would be Cardio Peak with Hawthorn and Arjuna. Hawthorn berry extracts work to vasodilate arteries and veins and in this way help reduce high blood pressure. Arjuna nourishes the cardiovascular tissues and helps maintain healthy lipids in the body. Lifestyle changes are mentioned in the below article.
VH Editorial: High Blood PressureCardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna £32 for 120 Capsules

Q: I’ve bought the GOW Niacinamide Serum and Thyme Out as part of my strategy to deal with my blemish-prone and oily skin, which is detoxing after stopping two years of heavy medication. Already I can see an improvement with the number of blemishes reducing in size and an overall brightening in skin tone, however what regimen would you recommend for stubborn blackheads on my nose and open pores on the top half of my cheeks, as well as my skin’s ability to get oily every two hours?

A: As far as stubborn blackheads are concerned, we would recommend the use of Salicylic Acid serum two or three times a week in the PM regimen after cleansing and spritzing with Thyme Out. Salicylic acid works to help exfoliate the skin’s surface and also, being oil soluble, can enter the pores to deep clean these of dirt and congealed debris. In this way, the blackhead formation will be minimised over a period of time and especially when used with Niacinamide Serum, which regulates oil production. Its benefits increase over a period of time.

With reference to open pores on the top half of the cheeks, the gentlest way is through the use of Azelaic Acid Serum, which helps refine the skin’s surface and enhances skin renewal, albeit gently. A quicker approach would be through the use of Retistar Retinol 1% Serum, which is gentle, or a generic retinol serum, which may be slightly harsher, but quicker in action. Here is a suggested order of use:

AM: Cleanse; Thyme Out; Niacinamide Serum; Moisturiser if required.

PM: Cleanse; Thyme Out, Salicylic Acid Serum on areas prone to blackheads; Azelaic or Retinol; Niacinamide Serum (optional); Moisturiser if required.
Thyme Out £18 for 200 ml; Niacinamide Serum £9 for 30 ml; Salicylic Acid 2% Serum £9 for 30 ml; Azelaic Acid 10% Serum £9 for 30 ml; Retistar Retinol 1% Serum £9 for 30 ml

Azelaic Acid

Yes, there has been a lot of chatter about acids over the past year or so, and yes, there always seems to be a new one that you should be using.  But, according to Victoria, who loves an acid, Azelaic genuinely should be on your radar regardless of your skin type or concern because it has an impressive skill set and helps to soothe and smooth skin. Discover the facts.
VH Editorial: Azelaic Acid: Why You Should Be Using It by Victoria Hall

Phylia de M

This is the section I have long suspected I would need to write and it really isn’t cute. As many of you know, we have been having issues with receiving stock of all the Phylia products for the longest time.

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email to all who were on the wait list explaining the situation. I am not going to replicate it here, it was extraordinarily hard-hitting, but on that email I said that I would keep the products listed on our site in the hope that they would appear, as if by magic. They didn’t and they haven’t.

Basically, we haven’t had any communication whatsoever from Phylia for months, despite almost daily phone calls and emails. I have therefore delisted the brand from our site because all it does is give false hope to those who have always used it.

I don’t really want to write any more because I don’t trust myself not to have a massive rant about respect, integrity and responsibility in business. Instead I warmly remember the good times, the launch of the brand and the help it gave to so many of you who experienced hair loss and thinning hair.

Although several years ago, I will never forget the lady who had Graves’ Disease and had lost all her hair. With continued use of Phylia, her hair grew back in 13 weeks and she wrote that it had given her back her femininity. These things we will never forget.

So, with responsibility, we are in research and development. I cannot say anything more at this point, but please leave this with me. There is that wonderful saying from the film Dirty Dancing ‘Nobody puts baby in the corner ….’. And nobody will put any of us in any corner.

I have a secret little smile on my face. I hope to be able to share that smile on the October newsletter, but if not then, it will be shortly after that. Ful.Vic.Health. Soon.

Post-Holiday Blues

The weeks after a holiday can sometimes seem bleak with many people suffering from post-holiday blues. More than that, post-holiday periods are the busiest times for divorce lawyers, second only to post-Christmas. Shabir takes a look.
VH Editorial: Post Holiday Blues

VH Editorial

Nothing in life remains static, neither should it. We must always reach out for new things, new thoughts, new ways and over the coming months we will be introducing you to several of these things and I’m not talking about products either, that’s a given!  So please allow me to write about this month’s feature articles from some of the names you already know and some you don’t:

Frances Phillips is a nutritional therapist and she writes about seven easy additions to your morning routine for glowing skin; with vitamin C on her list, we are all saying the same thing.  Amy Lawrenson asks whether you would ditch oils for clearer skin – she did and Bianca Presto writes about her struggle with Endometriosis, which will touch you if you have this health concern.
Seven Easy Additions To Your Morning Routine for Glowing Skin by Frances Phillips; Would You Ditch Oils For Clearer Skin by Amy Lawrenson; Endometriosis And Me by Bianca Presto

Lisa Armstrong certainly started a thing about wardrobes on the last newsletter and Arly follows through giving her thoughts on how she found her skincare style.  Jackie Annesley tells it as it is with the beauty confessions of a 56 year old and the Beauty Bible girls lament with their post-summer SOS.
How I Found My Skincare Style by Detail Oriented Beauty; The Beauty Confessions of a 56 Year Old by Jackie Annesley; Post-Summer SOS by Beauty Bible

Carolyn Asome has been navigating her way through her bi-annual emotional wardrobe in her article entitled how to reset in September and finally, Jo Fairley has been mastering differing techniques to block out noise.
How To Reset In September by Carolyn Asome; The Sound of Silence by Jo Fairley

Just a few more things to say:

New products from Soapsmith are always exciting. So please allow me to introduce you to Hackney Hand and Body Lotion, Hackney Hand and Body Wash and Hackney Soap. Loaded with the scents of Bergamot, Sandalwood, Rosemary and Geranium, they are a homage to Hackney Marshes. Grassy and herbaceous.
Hackney Hand & Body Wash £16 for 300 ml; Hackney Hand & Body Lotion £16 for 300 grams; Hackney Soap £7

Marilyn Monroe allegedly went to bed wearing Chanel No 5; we go to bed wearing Magnesium Sleep Lotion because it works and because we can. No 5 on top. Well yes actually, or 19 if you prefer, which I do.
Magnesium Sleep Lotion by Better You £9.95 for 180 ml

If you missed it, Shabir was in Trinny’s bathroom again. They were talking about summer ailments, but as I’m writing this, there is no sun. Never mind, an ailment is an ailment basically. Bloating is one of them.
Takeaway Tips from Shabir and Trinny’s Facebook Live on Summer Ailments

And so we come to the end of another newsletter; together with Shabir, Victoria and the entire VH team, I would like to thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support, which is awesome.

So we head into September and I wish you all much joy, health and happiness.

With love

Gill x

Post-Summer SOS


It isn’t usually like this. We get through to the end of August feeling like we need to add tanning drops to our moisturiser, spritzing BetterYou Vitamin D spray to make up for the sun we didn’t get during our British summer, and lamenting money spent on swimwear not worn.

And then along came ‘The Summer of 2018′ – to go down in history, like ‘The Summer of 1976′ (only this time we weren’t, alas, cruising London streets in the passenger seat of a Triumph Stag with the roof down…)

Hasn’t it been quite extraordinary living in a country where everyone – but everyone – seems to have a tan? Because basically, all the wisdom we preach about shielding skin against UV light went out of the window, along with the intentions not to eat more than one ice cream cone a day. As a nation, most of us have soaked up every ray we could. We’re certainly guilty. (Though we think it’ll be interesting to see whether we all get fewer colds and ‘flu this winter.)

The bottom line is, even if you languished like a heroine from a Victorian novel under a parasol, it has been almost impossible to escape without some collateral damage from the sunshine – not just to skin but to hair. So rest assured: you aren’t the only person whose face, body and hair is suffering from post-summer skin stress, right now. Yes, we all headed into summer knowing full well that UV light’s the enemy, ageing-wise. But short of spending summer in a darkened room, almost everyone’s caught red-nosed/cheeked, this year. The solution? Once you’ve unburned your sunburn, you need to answer some other urgent beauty needs – and here’s how.

First, tackle dryness

When you’re actually enjoying the sun, skin can seem miraculously dewy and gorgeous. Then the minute you get back home – or to the office, where the air-con may be on (and we’re only weeks away from the central heating season) – something hideous happens, and almost everyone starts to look like a snake due to shed at least one skin. So: replenishing moisture and nutrients, top-to-toe, is No. 1 beauty priority – not least because moisture is essential for healthy cell communication and regeneration.

So: start by quenching skin with a boost of hyaluronic acid, the ‘buzz’ molecule which can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water, making it just about the best complexion drink we know. Garden of Wisdom Hyaluronic Serum can be layered under any other serum or moisturiser (and is suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive). We also love This Works Light Time Skin Plumper – and both of these can just be slotted, hassle-free, into your existing regime. Alternatively, power up the moisture factor by switching to Derma E Hydrating Night Creme with Hyaluronic Acid, perhaps, or – one of the richest, simplest rich moisturisers we know – good old Weleda Soothing Facial Cream.

Turbo-charge moisturisation with a twice-weekly face mask

They’re a great way to get back some of that dewiness – and we’re always happy to obey the command on the packaging of a face mask to ‘relax for 10 minutes’. We may not do much else we’re told to, but we’ll happily submit to teeny-tiny writing on the back of a sachet of Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion, a jar of Temple Spa Quench or a tube of Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Treatment Mask. (However, avoid mud and clay-based masks just for now; you want moisture, not skin purification.)

Treat your body to some TLC

If you’re anything like us, it isn’t just your face that’s suffering. (Jo noticed ‘shin dandruff’ on her yoga mat the other day, swiftly remedied by a generous application of This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil, which is nothing short of a miracle-worker. We love, love, love a rich body butter for everywhere else – the Soapsmith Butter Melts are gorgeous (and affordable), though requiring a tad more elbow grease to apply than Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter, which is coming to a desert island with us if we’re ever marooned (or invited by Kirsty Young). For the ultimate indulgence, there is Temple Spa Body Truffle, which rivals Fortnum’s food hall for luxurious ingredients (caviar, truffles, champagne, etc.), and which won a Gold Beauty Bible Award in the Anti-Ageing Body Creams category of our annual awards.

Secondly, tackle pigmentation. 

The most angst-inducing legacy of summer exposure isn’t flaky skin, however (even if it is a harbinger of lines and wrinkles to come). It’s the longer-term, tougher-to-tackle challenge of pigmentation, which women find so very distressing. In the Garden of Wisdom (GoW) range, you’ll find various products to target dark spots/sun spots/whatever you like to call them. GoW 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil, for instance, is charged up with super antioxidants, alongside vitamin K to help brighten age spots and hyperpigmentation. The most potent product in the range, however, is GoW Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% Serum, containing two ingredients considered to be a gentle but effective alternative to hydroquinone, alongside paper mulberry and vitamin B3, also known to help correct uneven skintone. As the name suggests, iS Clinical White Lightening Serum also targets hyperpigmentation. Invest as your budget allows, is our advice – but be aware that if you’re using a product to tackle pigmentation, you also absolutely 100% have to wear an SPF30 over the top, a) to give the product the best chance of effectiveness, and b) to shield vulnerable skin against future damage.

Whack on a hair mask

Absolutely the best way to get hair back in good nick – although we also prescribe a salon appointment, to snip off ends that are probably beyond repair. Unless you have the very finest hair, more is more when it comes to hair treatments. More product, more generously worked through from roots to ends after shampooing, and left on for more time than you’d imagine. Overnight, ideally (we cover a pillow with a towel when we do that, to avoid trashing a pillowcase). Alternatively, again shampoo first, smooth on your chosen product, wrap your hair in clingfilm, and let it work its magic while you devour your latest chosen boxset. (‘Big Little Lies’, anyone? Eighth, albeit Meghan-less, series of ‘Suits’? Just don’t bother with Matt Groening’s ‘Disenchanted’, is our advice. You’re welcome.)

You’ll find some great hair-boosting options on VH: we’d point you in the direction of Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, or 72 Hair Intense Replenishing Mask. Then simply invest some time over the next few weeks in putting back what ‘The Summer of 2018′ took out.

And if you follow this advice, your skin (and straw thatch) may just forgive you.