Weekend Read

Three slim girls in bed with towels and luxury interior

Saturday morning.  Again.  And as we gradually emerge into the unknown, because basically that’s what it is, we will continue to hold hands knowing that we must stay as close as we can.  I think it’s very easy to become complacent, but all aspects of our health and wellbeing are as critical now as they have been over the past few months.  I think the best we can do here is to continue to share the things that we love, across health and beauty, in order to support all things, including our equilibrium.  After the last Weekend Read, Shabir’s equilibrium is on the line.  Mine isn’t.  I carry on.  Regardless.  Let’s go:

There are several supplements that we consider to be extraordinarily special.  Fulvic Acid Elixir, as so many of you know, has been on my personal very special list for the longest time, perhaps it’s nine years now, and I never fail to take it daily.  It is my all and everything and I swear the potency and efficacy has kept me energized and well throughout this time.  In some ways I consider it to be my ‘health insurance’ and I know that thousands of you believe the same.  For sure, I once wrote that if I had my way, everybody would take it if they could and I’m about to help make that dream come true.

Because I am incessantly writing about it, most of you know the amazing benefits of Fulvic Acid Elixir.  For those who don’t, I am linking Shabir’s article below, which makes my life easier.  So without any further rambling from me, essentially because I need all the space I can get on this missive, for today only (Saturday 11 July), I am taking the price of Fulvic Acid Elixir down from £30 to £20.  So that’s a saving of £10.  No doubt Shabir will add up all the ten pounds and present me with the total that I’ve just given away.  It’s fine.  I’ll delete the email.  Ends at midnight GMT.  Go Fulvic, Go.
Fulvic Acid Elixir £20 for 480 ml (until midnight GMT today); The Elixir of Life

One word to describe last weekend’s launch of It’s A Ten.  Insane.  This is of course the haircare brand that sells 13 million, and rising, bottles of their Leave-In Conditioners in the US every year.  By now, many of you will know why because with every order placed for any of the It’s A Ten product, we included the Miracle Leave-In Conditioner Spray, worth £11, as a gift.  And as I wrote last week, this gift is ongoing for the foreseeable future.  We have several thousand of these gifts to share and I’m actually wondering what would happen if I asked It’s A Ten for a few million gifts.  These things serve to amuse me.  Constantly.

Anyway,  if you need to know, we had an almost immediate wait list for the Miracle Mask, now resolved thankfully.  It didn’t surprise me, but I was slightly disappointed because I had planned to dollop the mask onto Shabir’s head last Monday morning, much in the same way as I crushed a mung bean (just don’t) sandwich over his head many years ago.  Some of you will remember that episode.  Anyway back to it and I will just say that any product that has the word ‘miracle’ in its title, has to perform miracles.  This range does that.  And in case you missed it last week, I am linking Jo Fairley’s interview with Carolyn Aronson, the Founder and CEO of It’s A Ten below.  And just to say that the gift will not show up on your order confirmation or invoice, but will of course be included in your order.  It’s A Given.
It’s A Ten by Jo Fairley; It’s A Ten: The Products 

In the most simplistic term, most people don’t drink enough to help keep the body hydrated.  Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than we take in.  There are varying reasons where this can occur, often resulting in tiredness and fatigue.  Balance Daily Mineral Health Drink helps fight off sluggishness and it can be taken as a sports hydration powder after intense exercising, or to help balance your body after illness when the body needs to rehydrate.  The word ‘balance’ is used because when the water content of your body is reduced, it can upset the balance of electrolytes, which in turn affects the function of the body. 

Balance Daily is loaded with a balanced ratio of calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D3.  So a pretty comprehensive formulation.  It comes in sachets, it’s strawberry flavoured and all you need to do is mix it with water for that energy boost.  With so much more to write, perhaps I’ll take one right now.  Feel the need.  In me.
Balance Mineral Drink by A. Vogel £19.50 for 21 Sachets

The resurgence of Derma E continues.  It is somewhat remarkable that this skincare brand, which we’ve listed for at least twenty years, is re-appearing on our radar in rather a big way with some brilliant new formulations and products.  There are of course some of you who remember its first incarnation and that would of course include Sarah and Jo, the Beauty Bible girls who have always had a bit of a love-fest with the efficacy of their products.  So now another one.

Suitable for all skin types, Universal Cleansing Balm majestically transforms from a balm into a lightweight oil to help dissolve away daily dirt and make-up.  Being ‘universal’ it is not only a fabulous face cleaner, but it can be used on the scalp and body too, which is all rather fabulous in my book.  It includes four key ingredients, Camelia oil, Rose/Rosehip oils, Citrus oils together with Cocoa and Shea butters, which of course hydrate.  I don’t think I actually need to say anymore other than it delivers on promise. 

And another Derma E product that delivers on promise are the Vitamin C Bright Eyes Hydro Gel Patches.  They keep selling out.  We have had at least three wait lists.  So this is just to tell you that they are back in stock.  Until they are not.
Universal Cleansing Balm £15 for 100 grams; Vitamin C Bright Eyes Hydro Gel Patches £20 for 60 Gel Patches

This happens far too often, but yet again I need to announce the death of a product.  Up into product heaven goes Flight Spray.  Please don’t ask me why because I don’t know.  Notwithstanding the fact that most of us aren’t really flying anywhere right now, it has been replaced by CleanWash Saline Nasal Mist, which is a patent-pending, non-addictive nasal mist spray formulated to aid in the relief of irritation caused by pollutants, allergens, sinus congestions, rhinitis and nasal irritation.  So, in other words, it performs several different functions, which is all rather brilliant.  It can also help to kill germs, known or otherwise.  Another archived article from Shabir.  And another one for the medicine cabinet.
CleanWash (ChitoRhino) Saline Nasal Mist £13 for 30 ml; A Nasal Spray For Sinusitis & Hay Fever

If we are talking medicine cabinets, just a line here to say that last week when I wrote about the brilliant Healing Patches, I invited you to name that patch.  The previous week I had written ‘stock distress’ across mine and slapped it on my forehead.  This week, I slapped another patch on my forehead and named it ‘Fragile’ after I had bolted to the dentist for an emergency treatment.  As I keep saying, always a drama.  Surely it won’t be too long before I name a patch ‘Shabir’.  It will probably be very soon.  Most probably after he reads the next few paragraphs.  Waves.
Healing Patches by Ross J. Barr £15 for Five Patches

The winner of numerous Beauty Bible awards, Temple Spa products are truly sublime.  And this treat is rather sublime too.  It is in fact a collection of products known as ‘Absolute Truffle’.   It truly is a ‘veritable facial feast’ and it includes Trufflesque, an ultra-hydrating face mask; the Truffelesque Brush, for application of the mask; Skin Truffle, which helps nourish dry and dehydrated skin; Truffle Noir, a luxurious night cream; Eye Truffle, for helping to soften fine eye lines and TruffleLixir, a smoothing and plumping face serum. 

I honestly don’t know if we will get to the end of today before this sells out because instead of the recommended price of £65, I am reducing it by 50% to £32.50, whilst stock lasts.  All product sizes listed on the product page.  And breathe.
Absolute Truffle by Temple Spa £32.50 (whilst stock lasts)

Let’s continue.  I’ll make this short and sweet.  If you buy any Margaret Dabbs product, worth £15 and over, we will automatically gift you the Margaret Dabbs Repairing Nail & Cuticle Treatment Pen (15 ml), which is worth £12.  This is the vegan version of the original and it includes Jojaba and Buriti oils to help support healthy nails and cuticles.  There is only one gift per customer, this will not show up on your order confirmation or invoice and it will be over when it’s over.  I’m not second guessing how long this offer will last.  My brain is semi-mashed at this point.
Margaret Dabbs

The number of people affected by Lyme disease is growing all over the UK, including in town gardens and parks.  In this week’s Health Notes, Sarah explains this infectious condition and what you can do to prevent it and get treatment.  We touch on this subject every year because it is so very important and we also recommend that you may wish to invest in the Tick Remover Card, which does the job rather brilliantly.
Trouser Up To Prevent Lyme Disease by Sarah Stacey; Tick Remover Card £4.49

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is one of the most misunderstood health concerns and is characterised by persistent medically unexplained fatigue, which is not relieved by rest.  Other symptoms of CFS include muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint pain, bowel problems, unexplained headaches, poor quality of sleep, an inability to concentrate and poor temperature control.  Treatment options baffle doctors and scientists remain puzzled as the root cause of CFS.  And the incidence of CFS is growing.  As things stand, antidepressants and sleeping pills are often prescribed yet, for many, they are not resolving the issue.

In a far-reaching article, Shabir takes a look at CFS. The results of two major human studies have demonstrated the potential of a unique set of compounds, called roburins, which are found in oak wood.  It is thought that the potential of roburins may help mitigate the symptoms of CFS.  For the lowdown on these studies, please do read this article where you will also note the supplement Shabir recommends taking for three months.
Chronic Fatigue SyndromeEnergy Renew by Life Extension £30 for 30 Capsules

Staying with health concerns, it is estimated that between 10-15% of women suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) making it one of the most common hormonal concerns in women of reproductive age.  PCOS is yet another medical condition that is not understood fully and the treatment is usually aimed at alleviating the symptoms.  We know it is caused by elevated levels of the male hormone, testosterone, and also oestrogen.  The term PCOS refers to multiple cysts on the ovaries and a whole plethora of other issues which include a lack of ovulation, infertility and menstrual problems.  Another one of Shabir’s archived articles just about covers it.  And the products he recommends.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)Periagna by Bio-Health £10.75 for 60 Capsules; Myo-Inositol & Folic Acid by Viridian Nutrition £18.20 for 120 grams

Time for another treat and it may as well be the Saturday only treat.  So with every order placed today (Saturday 11 July) for £20 and over, we will automatically include a plumping and hydrating botanic fiber (it’s American) facial mask, which is loaded with Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen.  It’s called Sweet Glow and this mask makes me happy, so I hope you enjoy using it too.  Another rave-up in the bathroom is about to descend upon us.  Please be aware that this will not show up on your order confirmation or invoice.  Thanks.

A new supplement.  This time from Cysticlean.  I think many of you are aware of the original Cysticlean, but now they have released Cysticlean PAC + D-Mannose.  Formulated to help prevent and treat recurrent and frequent urinary tract infections, powerful compounds called proanthocynadins from the North American cranberry combines with D-Mannose.  D-Mannose is a carbohydrate that helps soothe inflammation in the urinary tract and attaches itself to various types of bacteria that may be the cause of infection.  It is thought that up to two million women suffer from this debilitating condition each year and if you are one of those, we recommend that you try this new product.  We like it rather a lot.
Cysticlean PAC + D-Mannose £34.99 for 30 Sachets

I have always thought that writing is extraordinarily cathartic, most especially when you have experienced a traumatic event.  There are times when we write just for ourselves and then there are times when we share our experiences and bare our souls in order to help others.  Over the years I have watched as several brave close friends have done this and this week it is the turn of Carolyn Asome.  Suffering a late miscarriage, Carolyn writes about her coping mechanisms, including acupuncture.
Miscarriage and Acupuncture by Carolyn Asome

Finally, I think it is important to acknowledge the fact that we are still living in extraordinarily difficult times.  The impact it is having on so many of us, in so many different ways, is both profound and damaging, most especially for self-esteem.  I have always thought that real beauty should be defined by a beautiful soul, heart and spirit.  It shines from within.  And in this context, real beauty can truly conquer all.  Standing as one.

My love to each of you for a restful weekend.
Be well.

Gill x  


Trouser Up To Prevent Lyme Disease

tick remover card by lifesystems

Down here in Dorset, we’re surrounded by footpaths by fields where sheep, cattle and horses graze and deer roam, foxes and badgers are rife – even the odd hedgehog, and mice and voles scuttling around in the grass and undergrowth. Yes, it’s rural bliss. It’s also prime hunting ground for ticks, the tiny critters that piggyback on all these beasts.

The problem is that the ticks feed on the blood of their hosts (little vampires!) and about 10% of them ingest the infectious bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that cause Lyme disease, which is virtually always transmitted to people by the bite of an infected tick.

Like many people living in the country, I used to blithely pull off ticks from my horses with bare fingers, squishing them under my nails. Then, some 15 years ago, I started to hear stories about neighbours being diagnosed with Lyme disease and suffering long-term debilitating symptoms. These can be serious enough for sufferers to give up working and may include neurological problems. Read More…

Miscarriage & Acupuncture


I have only seen my husband cry once. Not when his father passed away after an eighteen year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis but in the airless SANDS unit at St. Thomas’s where he howled like a baby as he held the body of our six month old fetus.

Swaddled in our two year old daughter’s blanket, our baby boy had died after a sudden placental abruption at twenty-four weeks. We buried him as Millar McDonald, several weeks later in the smallest white wooden coffin imaginable on the saddest day ever. Burying your child is not the order of life.

His little heartbeat had flickered on the monitor for hours after I’d gone to hospital with a heavy bleed. And then nothing. How naïve had I been to assume it would be an overnight stay at most.

Nine years later, I still recall the beeping of a jammed buzzer, drifting in and out of consciousness, being covered in foil blankets, haemorrhaging badly, blood transfusions and being whipped into the operating theatre to give birth to a baby who had already died inside of me. Read More…

Weekend Read

Green torn paper background with no. 10 text

It is the day of all days.  So hello 4th July and it’s Super Saturday, American Independence Day and Shabir’s birthday.  In no particular order.  And after last week’s missive where Shabir questioned my sanity regarding loading the Weekend Read with gifts and treats, I am about to do the biggest give-away in the history of VH as we launch a new brand.  Touché sweetheart, this one’s for you.  Timed to perfection.  By me.  Happy birthday.  To you.

Let’s go straight in.  It’s a haircare brand.  It’s called ‘It’s A Ten’.  They have products for every hair type and I will introduce each product range gradually over the next few months.  Known as THE ‘go-to’ haircare brand in North America, the name reflects the fact that each product combines ten benefits into an all-in-one gold standard formulation.  And gold-standard they are.  I will walk you through as we initially launch with ten products. But the first thing I want to tell you is that It’s A Ten’s meteoric rise to fame in the US was all achieved by sharing.  And we are about to do the same here.  Heaven help me.  I feel a drama coming on.  Strong.

We launch with five of the iconic Miracle Leave-In products.  I use the word ‘iconic’ because in the US the Miracle Leave-In range sells over 13 million bottles a year.  Yep, 13 million.  So what’s the big deal secret, well each Miracle Leave-In spray, by design, helps smooth hair, eliminates frizz, restores shine and also enhances the natural body in hair, dependent upon which formulation you choose.  And oh my, if we are going to shake up the haircare world, we might as well do it with this remarkable range which is like no other leave-in conditioning product in existence (thankfully).  Trust me.  And Jo Fairley.  And several million American people. Read More…

Let Me Count The Ways I Love Costco

Supermarket with the stock organised

I was out running the other day, as you do in lockdown. To make your head, and maybe even some body parts, feel marginally better. I happened to be listening to a Goop podcast which I hadn’t done for a while – they can be interesting but often totally woo-woo too.

One minute Goop’s chief content officer Elise Loehnen is talking about ending the war of self, whatever that means, and the next she and her guest segue into eulogising about Costco. Yes Costco, the world’s second biggest retailer after Walmart, with 95 million members and 731 branches – 28 in the UK.

Loehnen said something like, “I keep asking my husband – ‘When can I go back to Costco?’ ” and the other woman replies: “OMG, nothing brings me greater joy than a four pack of plastic-wrapped cereal”. Instantly I liked them more.

Read More…

It’s A 10

sparkle background with it's a 10 product display

I must have tried a gazillion hair masks in my day. You can virtually hear my bleached-to-high-heaven hair slurping them up from the next county. But just sometimes, I try a product that makes me do a double-take – and It’s A 10 Miracle Mask was one of them. From distressed to silk-tressed, in a few minutes: that’s the best way I can put it. Converted, delighted and surprised, I then figured I’d try something else in the range – the spritz-on conditioner that’s had the beauty world buzzing.

Now, no leave-in conditioner on the planet has ever managed to smooth and soften my monstrously hungry hair to my satisfaction – till It’s A 10 Leave-In Conditioner, which turned my feelings about leave-in conditioners upside-down. And I’m really not kidding here. (Which is of course, duh, why it’s America’s bestselling leave-in product, with 13 million sold every year.)

Who ARE these guys?, I started to ask. And then Gill – brand-sleuthing Indiana Jones of the beauty world that she is – told me It’s A 10 would be landing on Victoria Health, and would I like to interview the founder & CEO, Carolyn Aronson…? You betcha, I replied. So: one seriously fun Zoom call later (not something you can often say, actually), here’s the gen on this just-landed-at-VH haircare name and its dynamic founder.

What made you think the world needed ANOTHER haircare line?

My whole career was spent as a hairdresser, behind the chair for 20 years with my own salon. I started in beauty school at the age of 16, having been torn between being a nurse and a hairdresser; hairdressing won and I’ve lived and breathed hair for over 30 years. This isn’t my first venture – my first company completely failed and I lost everything, so I started It’s A 10 from nothing. It was born out of the fact that when I had my salon, I used to cherry-pick the best products from different lines; I could never understand why there wasn’t one range that did everything I needed it to. Well, now there is!

Why the name?

It comes from the idea that every single It’s A 10 product offers 10 different, easy-to-understand hair benefits. I wanted to create hair products that worked across many different hairtypes, rather than a complicated range with too many different collections that just bamboozled the customer. Working as a hairdresser with every type of hair on the planet from the finest baby blonde to black coils has given me an insight into how to create a hybrid hair product that would work across multiple hairtypes, something that was easy for the customer to grasp. Even hairdressers get confused by the ranges out there! I would layer products to get the results I wanted; my products do it all, in one. At the beginning, we had no budget for advertising or promotion, so we just got it into hairdressers’ hands – and it became a huge word-of-mouth hit, in salons and beyond.

What’s your fundamental philosophy for the range?

It all begins with healthy hair. We help you bring hair to its natural, healthy state, nourishing the scalp, protecting with antioxidants, protecting the hair shaft… When you do that, natural body is restored, hair will behave better – and I’ve had countless women tell me their hair grows better and faster, including many black customers who we’ve reunited with their roots because It’s A 10 has enabled them to return to their beautiful, natural hair state. Most haircare just delivers cosmetic benefits, but the idea behind It’s A 10 is that it really feeds the hair. So depending on the particular product, we pack it with ingredients like sunflower seeds, panthenol, silk amino acids, green tea leaf extract, sweet almond oil, linseed extract, marshmallow extract, oat kernel extract… It’s not an organic line but I am very particular about the ingredients within products, and we source these botanical wonder ingredients literally from all over the world.

How involved are you in the creation of the products?

I am very appreciative of the experts, I partake in their knowledge, but to me it’s like building a house: you want your dream house, and nobody understands what you want like you do. All my years behind the chair made It’s A 10 what it is. I am totally hands-on; I develop each and every product, pick every fragrance, every Pantone colour for the bottles – and incidentally, it’s no coincidence that the bottles are colour-coded, because I wanted to stand out from the other products out there.

You live in Florida now, but where did it all begin for Carolyn?

I grew up in Michigan, with lots of snow – and let me tell you, I prefer the Florida sunshine. But Michigan was a very diversified area, which meant I was working with many, many different types of hair. There are many, many different types of hair even within my own family, my own kids; I am Puerto Rican so I have brothers with Afros, and my blended family of kids have different hairtypes; my biological daughter is half-Nigerian and half-Puerto Rican, so they’re great for trialling products on a range of hairtypes, outside our own team.

Why IS our hair so bound up with our confidence?

It’s part of our identity. When we feel pulled-together and groomed, we just beam. It’s totally an expression of who we are. I got into hairdressing, to make people feel and look beautiful. And it just doesn’t matter who you are. I have several brothers, and during lockdown one of them drove across the border to Ohio, an hour south of Michigan, to get a haircut, because he didn’t want to have an Afro again. So this isn’t just something that impacts on women!

You’re a female founder and a mother of four, though. How do you keep healthy, so that you’re not running on empty while running your business?

It’s so crucial to stay at the top of your game when you have your own company, because so many people rely on you. Diet is very important to me. I’m not perfect, but I try to eat lots of protein and lots of veg, and stay away from sugar. If I drink, it’s limited amounts otherwise I really suffer the next day. I go through workout phases; sometimes I get busy and can’t work out but when I do, I like to build muscle. I watch my weight, but it’s more important to keep my body strong. My grooming routine is also a huge part of my mental wellbeing. So I get up every morning, wash my hair, do it properly, put oils on my skin, use body scrubs, style my hair and do my make-up. I am not very good at relaxing but I can relax in a bathtub in an oil bath, and breathe. I’m out of whack if I don’t do this stuff. My other solace is to float on the ocean in a boat. I love the outdoors, and I love the ocean.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I like to make people not only feel and look better, but feel empowered. Because it may be a cliché but when you have a Good Hair Day, it’s a good day, full-stop. And if it’s a Bad Hair Day, it puts a little cloud over you…

It’s A 10