February Newsletter

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Hello and welcome to the February newsletter where l lead with two new product launches from ilapothecary and I will follow through with a big Fulvic Acid treat. Additionally, there are a few other launches, a few more treats and we take a look at some very common health concerns. Let’s do it:

Beat The Blues

There are many reasons why there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to launch two new stunning products from ilapothecary. The first reason is because we celebrate the first birthday of ilapothecary. Launching on last year’s February newsletter, this beautiful brand has gone from strength to strength. My love and thanks to Denise Leicester (Founder) for allowing me to launch and walk beside her.

Infused with powerful natural ingredients, with a long history of healing, the bestselling product across the range is Beat the Blues Room Spray. It hits the senses in a very profound way using powerful oils to help uplift emotions and to help combat depression. Despite being a room spray, so many of us use it as a fragrance too, which will help so much during one of the darkest months of the year (if you are in the UK), February. Just to add here, I will write about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) further down this newsletter.
Beat The Blues Room Spray £28 for 50 ml

But back to Beat the Blues. In its first year it has become one of those iconic products that you didn’t know you needed until you had experienced its healing properties. Whilst of course it could exist as a stand-alone, we wanted more for Beat the Blues. We wanted it to evolve, we wanted to create a Beat the Blues journey to further enhance the heady experience. And so:

Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil

This is a transformative bathing experience, and I don’t say that lightly. It is an alchemical and mood balancing blend of essential oils formulated to soothe and uplift the senses. And it does. Loaded with Clary Sage and Petitgrain, these oils are known to help boost self-esteem and confidence, while helping to banish negative energies and releasing anger in order to help heal emotional wounds. It forms part of the Beat The Blues Ritual (love all things ritualistic), which I’ll explain below.
Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil £29 for 150 ml

Beat The Blues Pulse Point

Denise calls this ‘ridiculously divinely magical’ and of course it is. Denise knows how to create the magically divine and Beat The Blues Pulse Point has been formulated with Tuberose for upliftment, Geranium to help stimulate happiness, Clary Sage and Petitgrain. It does so many things, but primarily it helps stimulate happiness, which is a very good thing for all of us.

Beat The Blues Pulse Point can form part of the Beat the Blues Ritual, but if you are using it as a stand-alone, roll as needed over the pulse points on your wrists and neck. Yes, the neck.
Beat The Blues Pulse Point £27 for 10 ml (lasts ages)

The Beat The Blues Ritual

Before I write about the ritual, I’ve come up with a new way of being for those of you who are like me and are extraordinarily heavy handed with products. I mean the thing is that I’ve been known to pour the entire contents of an oil, salts and any number of other things into my bath because I want to test and feel the benefits.

Most recently I received a bath product to test; it was an oil and it was a small sample. I decided not to pour the entire contents into my bath, so instead I took the oil and massaged it into my body before I stepped into the bath. There is a part of my brain that decided that this was a more concentrated and therapeutic way of allowing the benefits to sink into my body and was far better than diluting the product in gallons of water. With that thought, I am suggesting that you use Beat The Blues oil this way; aside from the increased therapeutic benefits, it’s more cost effective, which matters.

The Bath Ritual: Anoint your body with Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil and step into a temperature adjusted bath. As an additional extra you may wish to add four or five drops of SOS Pearl Drops into the water. Soak for approximately 20 minutes (read a book in the bath if you get bored after two or three minutes or listen to music – that’s me!). Step out of the bath and use Beat the Blues Pulse Point, as directed above, and then spray your aura with Beat The Blues Spray.

The Shower Ritual: As above, anoint your body with Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil and step into the shower; alternatively, you can make an infusion of the bath and shower oil by adding a few drops to water and pour it over your entire body at the end of your shower.  Additionally, you may wish to take SOS Pearl Drops after your shower. Wrapped.
The Beat the Blues Ritual £84 (Beat The Blues Room Spray; Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil; Beat The Blues Pulse Point); SOS Pearl Drops £15 for 15 ml

Fulvic Acid: Complete

As so many of you know, I started writing about Fulvic Acid approximately eight years ago; I am still incredibly saddened about the loss of Phylia (I take these things personally) and to date I still don’t know what happened.  As I have written before, with thousands of people regularly using Fulvic Acid shampoo, conditioner and mist, we had to create our own brand in order to fill the huge gap that Phylia left.  And the response has been amazing, for which I truly thank you.

We’ve tweaked a few things, the first batch of conditioner was way too viscous (my final sample wasn’t that viscous) and there have been other tweaks, but that’s the beauty of having your own brand, we listen to what we are being told and we are able to change things.  There are times when I wish brands would listen to us, but mostly they don’t – the life and times of the beauty industry!

The Fulvic Acid Mist remains the bestselling product in the range, but then why wouldn’t it; we upped the ante on the formulation and, over time, it is giving incredible results for hair issues, such as hair loss, thinning hair and do spray it on your nails (and your face).  My ever-so-critical friend, Lisa Armstrong (The Telegraph) recently wrote about her ‘rubbishy hair’ (her words, not mine) and stated that she uses several squirts of the mist to boost her hair health ‘to make it thicker or look thicker, which is as good in my book’.  Several thousand other books too, thank you Lisa (who would throw a product back at me if it didn’t perform).

And Fulvic Acid Elixir.  If you didn’t get a chance to read what I wrote about this on the January newsletter, then please click here.  Of course I want everybody to take the Elixir because I think it matters that we do.  And after I wrote what I wrote, which included feedback about the Elixir increasing libido, the emails started to arrive; I won’t be sharing them!  I am so tempted to change the name of this to The Libido Elixir, but I’d better not – Shabir would pass out on the sidelines.

So, Fulvic Acid: Complete.  One of each of the products: Fulvic Acid Shampoo, Fulvic Acid Conditioner; Fulvic Acid Mist; Fulvic Acid Elixir.  All four products put together in celebration of their very existence.  The cost of all four products is £105 but until midnight on Tuesday 12 February 2019 the cost will be £80.  I’m putting it on a limited time period because product famines upset me, actually it’s not that limited! Anyway the thing is that you save £25, so get it whilst you can with love from me and Shabir.
Fulvic Acid: Complete £80 (Fulvic Acid Shampoo; Fulvic Acid Conditioner; Fulvic Acid Mist; Fulvic Acid Elixir)

Power Balm

This product was meant to be on the January newsletter, but I took it off because the newsletter was getting way too long, even by my standards.  Never mind that, it is here now and every so often an all-in-one balm comes along which has infinite uses.  Power Balm is that balm.  It can be used as a cleansing balm, a moisturiser, an intensive mask, a hand and foot cream, a beard, brow and hair balm and any number of other things that I haven’t thought of.

Calling itself an ancient healing remedy from the jungles of West Africa, it blends Red Palm, natural plant oils, shea butter and vegan wax.  This soothing balm melts into skin helping to repair and protect while providing long-lasting moisturisation. Making skin glow, it is loaded with amazing ingredients with the help of three super seeds, two miracle trees and one aromatherapy blend.  And it smells divine.
Power Balm £19.50

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also referred to as SAD, is a condition that affects over half a million people in the UK and impacts upon the mental welling of people during the winter months, often peaking in February.

Sufferers of SAD often experience low mood, varied degrees of depression, loss of energy, sleep problems, irritability, increased appetite, strong craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, as well as headaches and muscle pain. The defining characteristics of SAD are that the symptoms return annually and disappear during the three other seasons of the year.

SAD can affect any age and gender, although it is more common in females (typical!) and whilst the causal factor is not fully understood, it is clear that it is related to the amount of sunlight received. The body’s circadian rhythms are regulated by the amount of daylight and the lack of daylight during the winter months, which appears to have an effect on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus plays a key role in numerous complex functions within our bodies, including hormone cycles, sleep and wake-up cycle times, as well as our emotional state.

All hormonal glands communicate with each other using hormones as chemical messengers. An imbalance in any hormone can therefore have a wide impact on the body. In the case of SAD, the hypothalamus, the adrenals and the brain are all interlinked through a complex series of chemical reactions, with the result of increased melatonin during the day leading to the feelings of lethargy, a lack of motivation and a reduction in the production of serotonin, which is the mood elevating chemical in the brain.

If you have a milder form of SAD, you may benefit greatly from the use of Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, which is our bestselling supplement for stress and anxiety issues. It contains a potent extract of magnolia, which works to physically relax muscles; magnolia extracts have been shown to help reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

It is the increase in levels of cortisol in the body that prevents the uptake of the nerve-calming neuro-nutrient serotonin by the brain, so the benefits of taking this supplement are pretty fabulous.
VH Editorial: Seasonal Affective DisorderMagnolia Rhodiola Complex £28 for 60 Capsules

Honesty

I am stepping outside of products for the moment. On the January newsletter I made a promise that we would keep things real throughout this year, actually forever, whatever that means.

The theme of this newsletter is partly about self-care, self-love and self-healing and my mind went back to an article the late great Sally Brampton wrote about honesty a couple of years ago. Many of you may have read it then, but with mental health awareness issues so prominent in our minds, I replicate it here. Please do take the time to read it, most especially if you suffer from depression, or if you are close to those who are experiencing mental health issues.
Honesty by Sally Brampton

Being Loved

Coincidentally, or otherwise, Carolyn Asome has written an amazing article about the transformative effect of listening to music, which you can read on the link below.

If you read the VH awards on the December newsletter, you will have seen that I gave an award to the 432 Love Tracks, created by Denise Leicester for Soul Medicine.

I have written several times that my favourite track is Being Loved and I certainly know that it has impacted so many of you during times of extreme difficulty. It always makes me cry whenever I listen to it and I’ve been listening to it rather a lot recently.

Together with Denise and my beautiful friend, Anastasia Achilleos, I believe it is the birthright of those of us who have been hurt, traumatised or abused to listen to this one track. I have no more words to add other than to say that when you truly believe in something you have to share your truth. Being Loved is that sharing and from now, and for the entire month of February, you can download this track free of any charge. Please listen.
Being Loved (Password VHFEBLOVED); The Utter Joy and Transformative Effect of Listening to Music by Carolyn Asome

Ultimate Collagen+

We do love ‘next generation’ products, so please allow me to introduce you to Ultimate Collagen+, which contains just three ingredients. They are a marine collagen peptide, hyaluronan complex and astaxanthin. As an ingredient, Shabir loves astaxanthin and over the years has written reams about it.

Formulated to help replenish collagen and hyaluronic acid in the body, it also helps protect against UV damage. According to Ingenious Beauty, the manufacturers, its scientific advanced enteric approach has been proven to achieve a reduction of fine lines by up to 26% within 10-20 days and they recommend taking it before you go to bed on a relatively empty stomach for the best results. So does that mean that after about 20 sleeps we can look in the mirror and smile? Hope so.
Ultimate Collagen+ £42.99 for 90 Capsules

The Trinny and Shabir Show

A couple of weeks ago Shabir was in the bathroom once again with Trinny.  Some of you may already have seen it, but if you didn’t, they were talking about Body Cleansing and you can watch the video by clicking on the link below.  And suddenly they are building up a whole library of videos, mostly covering health concerns, but occasionally doing skincare too.

A VH Addict (no names) sent me an email saying she was hypnotised by Shabir’s voice.  I haven’t told him (I mean he doesn’t need to know everything!), but I responded by saying that he should really create a sleep app.  Go to sleep with Shabir.  Ahem, I digress, but for the fashionistas of the world, my jeans are J Brand and my shoes are from Jimmy Choo.  Excuse me, but my daughter is Head of PR (UK and Europe to be precise) at Choo.  Life is good.
Shabir And Trinny on Body Cleansing

Squalane Oil

When I’m writing the newsletter, my best moments are when somebody else has written about a subject and I can put my feet up and have a brain-rest for a few minutes. So thank you to Sali Hughes for writing, in depth, about Squalane in a recent article in The Guardian.

Describing it as a cheap, unfussy oil for all skin types, Squalane Oil has been Sali’s go-to for decades and she is delighted that it’s finally enjoying a big moment. And it is. We sold out within 24 hours of the article being published, but thankfully it is now back in stock. For ease I am linking the article below, which I hope you enjoy reading. For the record, I did a ritualistic happy dance when I read it.
A Cheap, Unfussy Oil For All Skin Types by Sali Hughes; 100% Pure Squalane Oil by GoW for VH £9 for 30 ml

Are Sugar Substitutes Healthier Than Sugar?

This from Shabir: With many health warnings about the amount of sugar we consume these days, it is not a surprise that many people are looking to use a sugar substitute. When the body metabolises sugar, the by-products of this process are very damaging to all the structural proteins within our bodies as well as having an impact on virtually every single system and gland within our bodies.

The increase in sugar substitutes, I believe, is because artificial sweeteners, whilst used extensively in beverages, are not really a relevant form of sweetener for deserts, cakes and other baked goods.

Natural forms of sugar including honey, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, fruit and coconut nectar, all have an impact on blood sugar levels. As soon as you ingest any form of sugar, insulin levels in the bloodstream increase in order to convert this sugar into energy or if it’s not utilised for energy then sugar is converted into fat for storage. This process applies to all forms of sugar and therefore it is always prudent to use sugar in moderation.

In his article, Shabir takes an in-depth look at artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes concluding with Palmyra Sugar, which he rather likes:

Palmyra sugar also known as Palmyra Jaggery is the crystallised nectar obtained from the flowers of the Palmyra palm which grows in Sri Lanka and India. Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar is nutrient dense and is a great source of B vitamins. One teaspoon of Palmyra Blossom Sugar provides 130% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin B-12; 200% of Vitamin B-6 and over 600% of Vitamin B-1.

Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar in comparison to sugar has a Glycemic Index of 40, sugar has an index of 100. The Glycemic Index is a rating for foods containing carbohydrates to show how quickly each food affects your sugar levels after ingestion. Refined sugar and processed foods have a higher Glycemic Index than wholemeal grains and pulses whose carbohydrates are broken down slowly.

SugaVida’s Organic Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar has a deep, warm caramel flavour. You can use it as a direct substitute for recipes that call for sugar and often you can use half the amount suggested. It is organic, ethically sourced and a sustainable business for communities who farm this.

I don’t believe that there is any place in our diets for man-made chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame K. For those who require sugar within their diet and through food, then Palmyra Blossom Sugar is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch of sugar substitutes.
VH Editorial: Are Sugar Substitutes Healthier Than Sugar?Organic Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar £8.99 for 250 grams

Eye Reboot Serum

We like this under-eye serum. Containing a high 6% concentration of ultra-pure caffeine, clinically proven to help reduce the dreadful puff, it also includes Hyaluronic Acid, Rosehip Oil, Niacinamide, Retinol, Green Tea and Calendula extract. It absorbs quickly and should be massaged onto the eye contour twice a day. It delivers.
Eye Reboot Serum by QRx Labs £12 for 30 ml

Hydrolific Serum

And another new product from QRx Labs. Hydrolific Serum is a highly concentrated Hyaluronic Acid serum which has been boosted with Pro-Vitamin B5. Helping to plump up the skin, the B5 element provides soothing and healing qualities for the skin.
Hydrolific Serum by QRxLabs £10 for 60 ml

The Beauty Bible Awards 2019

For the past 21 years, the mission of Beauty Bible has been to cut through the hype and help women take a short-cut to products that really do what they say on the tin/jar/tube.

I am thrilled that we list so many of the winning products, too numerous to mention here, but the Beauty Bible girls give some of the lowdown in their article below. I say that these awards go from strength to strength and so many congratulations to all the winners, not forgetting of course the ‘real women’ who tested these products over a period of four months. It is a mammoth task and as one award ceremony ends, the build-up to the 2020 awards begin.
The Beauty Bible Awards 2019

Comfort Cream D-Stress by Sarah Chapman

And did Sarah Chapman win a Beauty Bible award – yes, she did for Overnight Facial, which I’ll link below. But for now I need to tell you about a new product launch from Sarah, which is always a bit of an occasion. Sarah’s words before anything:

‘Sensitivity is complex and can be triggered by a number of different and changeable factors. From hormones and your genetic skin make-up to lifestyle and the environment.

Following careful research into the primary triggers of sensitivity and how to support the skin to minimise flare-ups, I created my Advanced Comfort Cream D-Stress to instantly relieve, support and protect, while boosting the skin’s natural-defence barrier in the long term’.

This nourishing recovery cream includes key ingredients, which are all listed on our product page. I am not going into the scientific significance of each of these here, but they are powered to perform and will help heal weakened skin, amongst several other attributes.

Before I end this section, I also need to tell you that after an absence of a year, Icon Night Cream is back. This is the night cream which features a revolutionary targeted drone delivery system and so many SC fans adored.
Comfort Cream D-Stress £59 for 50 ml; Icon Night Cream £98 for 30 ml; Overnight Facial £49 for 15 ml

Treating An Over-Active Bladder

Losing control of your bladder can be a very embarrassing concern with widespread ramifications. People who have bladder control problems have trouble stopping the flow of urine, which is classified as urinary incontinence or an over-active bladder. For others it may just be a case of a constant urge to urinate, which is often termed as sensitive bladder.

According to recent statistics, less than half of women and a quarter of men who suffer from an over-active bladder ever seek medical help. Two large studies indicate that one in six adults report some signs of an over-active bladder, with one in three having episodes of urge incontinence.

An over-active bladder affects one in six adults over the age of 40 and is defined as having an urgent need to empty the bladder during the day and night, along with incontinence. Those afflicted with an over-active bladder have to go to the bathroom frequently, leak urine into their clothes and report feeling depressed, stressed and sleep-deprived.

As early as 1578, a European herbal encyclopaedia mentions the use of pumpkin seeds to help treat urinary problems. In Germany, pumpkin seed extract is officially approved for the treatment of irritable bladder. We have known for years that pumpkin seed extracts are good for urinary problems, however most supplements use pumpkin seed oil, where in recent studies the water-soluble fraction of pumpkin seeds has demonstrated impressive results.

You can read the entire article by clicking on the link below, but for those seeking a natural remedy to help address urinary incontinence, an over-active bladder or the symptoms of prostate enlargement, we recommend Water-Soluble Pumpkin Seed Extract capsules, which is free from wheat, gluten, soya and other allergens.
VH Editorial: Treating An Over-Active BladderWater-Soluble Pumpkin Seed Extract Capsules £17 for 60 Capsules

African Super-Teas by Aduna

We have been extolling the virtues of Aduna’s Moringa Powder for the longest time and now they have released a range of Super-Teas. These teas have been specially crafted using the highest quality active botanical ingredients, including generous doses of African Superfoods, giving each tea a unique feel-good benefit.

Made with whole pieces of fruit, herbs, leaves, flowers and spices, these are available in five different flavours: Vitality (Lemon, Ginger & Baobab), Relax (Cinnamon-Spiced Cacao), Cleanse (Mint, Nettle & Moringa), Detox (Green Tea & Turmeric) and Radiance (Rosehip, Aloe Vera & Hibiscus).

A Treat: Priced at £4.99 for 15 tea pyramids, you can of course buy these individually, but if you purchase Moringa Green Superleaf Powder, we will automatically include one packet of the Cleanse tea with your order, while stock lasts. This will not show up on your invoice, but will be included automatically.
VH Editorial: Is Moringa Powder The New Superfood?Moringa Green Superleaf Powder £13.99 for 275 grams; African Super-Teas £4.99

A Few Things

On the January newsletter I wrote about the Vitality Revealed Masks, the dry masks from Nannette de Gaspe which are hideously expensive.  I didn’t think anybody would buy them (more for me), but so many of you did; Catherine Robinson of CN Traveller certainly did and you can read what she has to say about it below.

For those that indulged, a trick.  Once the mask is in place, you are meant to massage it for a couple of minutes to release the actives onto your skin.  I get bored doing that, so I take my Beauty Restorer and use it over the top of the masks.  Two birds, one stone.  Amazing skin.
Vitality Revealed Face Mask by Catherine Robinson; Vitality Revealed from £80; Beauty Restorer £35

Another new product from Viridian. Aronia & Cacao Frappe is a modern twist on Native American and Mayan traditions to create a pleasant tasting phytonutrient-dense beverage. Having powerful antioxidant properties, it is gastro-protective and it may help enhance circulation. The inclusion of Quinic acid, which is five times stronger than cranberries, can also help to improve urinary health.
Aronia & Cacao Frappe £30 for 30 grams

Several birthday celebrations: Happy 4th birthday to Sheald Recovery Balm. After all this time, nothing touches it for open-wound healing and the reduction of scars. Happy 1st birthday to Hayo’u, launched one year ago this month and it is one year since Trinny invited Shabir into her bathroom where they discussed Common Health Concerns. The next Trinny & Shabir show will be about sleep, a huge topic, which will take place towards the end of February I think. No known date yet!
Sheald Recovery Balm by iS Clinical £43 for 60 ml; Hayo’u; Common Health Concerns with Trinny & Shabir

VH Editorial

I have written about several of this month’s articles throughout the newsletter, but additionally Jackie Annesley writes about cats, two of them; Perdita Nouril informs us how to take the perfect bath (written before the advent of Beat the Blues!) and Jo Fairley discusses how to follow a social media diet.
The Kitten, The Vet And The Pet That Made Our Family Happy by Jackie Annesley; How To Take The Perfect Bath by Perdia Nouril; How To Follow A Social Media Diet by Jo Fairley (who has had her phone turned off for nearly two weeks!)

And through my tears:

Brandon Truaxe – A Tribute

There are no words to describe the sadness I feel at the recent passing of Brandon.  As many of you know, this past year has been so very difficult, not only for Brandon, but for the people closest to him.

Much was written, much was speculated, which in and of itself carried its own destructive energy. I am not writing these words staring through rose-tinted spectacles, because like so many who carry the vibration of a genius, he was flawed, but then to be flawed is to be human.

Over the past year Brandon went to a place where I couldn’t find him and I couldn’t reach him, no matter how I tried.  I was used to his erratic behaviour, he was difficult, he was obsessive, and you really didn’t want to be around when he was screaming (often), but his brilliance was breathtaking.

And then it all went wrong.  It is still too painful to talk about, but after three years of being as close as two people could ever be, he cut all ties on a personal and business level and I was left reeling.  More recently he told me that it was one of the worst decisions he had ever made and that we had shared more than most do in a lifetime.  That much is true.

The work we did together is well documented and I remain privileged to have launched NIOD and The Ordinary with him and for him, but my love for Brandon was not because of the obvious commercial success of those brands.  It came before that.  It came in the form of Avestan, Brandon’s long-held, now to be unfulfilled, dream, which touched me so deeply, a bond was made before we even met.

I always thought that I would see him again and we would do the things we wanted to do, but I was wrong.

I pray that his soul rests in everlasting peace.

Brandon Carrano Truaxe, I will never forget you.
https://avestan.com/about

With love

Gill x

How To Take The Perfect Bath

bathroom plug

In a bid to take charge of our own wellbeing many of us have made a personal promise to try and disconnect from technology when possible. Trouble is, phones are often found perched next to us, whether it’s the desk, sofa, dinner table or bed, making it tough not to scroll idly through feeds. Bathrooms however, are proving to be gadget free sanctuaries, which may be the reason that bathing is undergoing a renaissance as more of us opt to sit in the tub, rather than take a shower.

A quick glance at Instagram reveals thousands of #bathart #bathing #bath hashtags. Here is where you’ll find images of tubs teaming with floating lemon slices and colourful petals. Candles and crystals adorn bath ledges and just out of shot will be layers of Egyptian cotton towels, twinkling apothecary bottles and a burgeoning jungle of rubber plants. These shots are inviting; they epitomise cosy and self-indulgent, and unlike complicated eyeliner trends or tricky yoga poses, they are pretty easy to recreate.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasingly, bathing has gained momentum because we’re obsessed with experiences rather than ‘things’. This, coupled with the rise of global wellness and the self-care movement means that the bathroom is no longer just a place to just to get clean, but rather a haven where we can linger until an arduous work day recedes into the world of unimportance. According to a 2018 study by the Innovation Group, J. Walter Thompson, the recent fixation on bathing represents a sea change. “Even five years ago, the bath might have been seen as a form of indulgence. Now it’s recognized as a form of therapy, a tool in maintaining a healthy mental outlook,” explains Lucie Greene, a trend forecaster. Bear the below in mind, and supercharging your soak has never been more rewarding…

Body brush first

It’s wise to prep your skin for optimal soaking by buffing with a dry body brush first. This with help to slough away dead skin cells but also helps to encourage lymph flow and enhance circulation. Try Temple Spa Give It The Brush Off, £16. Start brushing at the feet and work up the legs, using gentle, sweeping movements towards the heart.

Reach for non-toxic candles

Burning some scented candles indoors releases airborne particles that can be as damaging as outdoor pollution, disrupting the skin’s barrier function and increasing sensitivity. Reach for Neom Organics Treatment Candles, £30. Formulated with just essentials oils and pure vegetable wax, their delicate fragrance gently soothes the mind, body and soul without polluting your set up.

What to add…

Tailor your bath to your needs. Bath oils containing lavender, chamomile or frankincense hit the sweet spot for deep relaxation and can be found in Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil, £48, and Soapsmith Lavender Hill Bath Soak, £14. Better You Magnesium Oil Original Flakes, £9.95, are the perfect antidote to a strenuous gym session or fitness class as it eases tension in the muscles. While This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak, £22, is the perfect choice for those who tend to get restless during the night, thanks to ho wood and vetiver oil.

What to do…

This may sound obvious, but for some of us just ‘laying there’ isn’t as easy as it sounds especially if you struggle to mentally wind down after a busy day. Instead, reach for a book that you can get lost in. Once you start to feel relaxed, you can begin to close your eyes and meditate or practice taking long, slow and deep breathes. You’re not likely to feel fully zen until you’re totally unplugged, so don’t forget to leave your phone outside, after you’ve taken a snap of your spa like surroundings of course.

The perfect temperature is…

Anywhere between 37-39°C because it’s the ideal temperature for muscle relaxation, yet isn’t hot enough for you to sweat and lose too much water, which can cause dizziness once you stand up. Room temperature also matters. Don’t have it colder than 24°C, else you’ll stress the body once you depart from the bath.

How long should you stay in it?

The pleasure lies in the moment so linger until you feel calm, relaxed and ready to either fall into bed or curl up on the sofa.

December Newsletter

victoria health awards

Voila. It’s the last newsletter of the year, so hello and welcome to the VH Awards 2018. As ever, nobody has voted, which makes me happy for several different reasons, not least because I have no desire to bombard any of you with ‘vote for’ emails when you could be watching a box set, having a bath or be sleeping in bed.

The awards are based on facts, although I have allowed myself some creative license here and there. There are treats attached to some of the awards, but not all awards have products attached to them. Each of the awards given are representative of the journey throughout this year, which has been interesting for many different reasons. Life works in mysterious ways and I fully embrace that as we uphold the thing that matters most to us, namely helping to make a positive difference in all that we do.

So having declared to the VH Addicts that there wouldn’t be any more product launches this year, I eat my words once again. Here we are and here we go: Read More…

Beneath The Layers: Winter Body Care

beauty-bible-feet

You know that saying, ‘Out of sight, out of mind?’ Well, that’s how an awful lot of women of our acquaintance regard the skin under their clothing, during the cold months. We pile on the vests, socks, gilets, gloves, scarves, tights – often all at once, resembling some kind of Michelin woman, when the weather’s bad enough. And unless we heat our houses to tropical levels (which at Beauty Bible we definitely don’t), there’s definitely no temptation to dance around naked, or even near-naked, at home.

All of which can be an excuse for not attending to the skin on our bodies. (At least until it’s time to start thinking about what it might actually feel like to be warm again, and want to peel off some layers – which usually happens around April, in our experience.) It’s easy to get lazy because that body skin is basically rarely on show except in the privacy of a steamy bathroom – because if you’re anything like us, you’re nipping into your flannelette PJs pronto, the minute you take your day clothes off.

Actually, those clothes themselves pose quite some challenges for body skin: fabric physically ‘wicks’ moisture from the body’s surface, drying it out. Thus the bottom line is that if you’re not lavishing lots of TLC from top-to-toe, you’re going to end up with skin that is dull, dry and flat-looking – and feels like nothing so much as sandpaper.

Aside from wanting skin that just plain feels nice to the touch – and isn’t tight or itchy – there’s another really good reason for continuing to give your body plenty of TLC, during the upcoming months. Well-moisturised cells allow for healthy ‘cellular communication’ – so your skin doesn’t just appear younger, when moisture levels are kept topped up; it actually behaves like younger skin, better able to renew itself. Our advice, then, is to turn on the heated towel rail, warm up the bathroom – and take a few minutes to nourish from neck-to-toe after showering or bathing each time, with the following favourite ‘finds’ of ours. They should transform caring for your body, year-round, from a beauty chore into a positive pleasure.

Start by using an oil scrub on knees, elbows, feet and shins, each time you bathe. The great thing about oil-based scrubs is that they literally leave a ‘slick’ of oil on the skin’s surface. (Often, a gorgeously fragrant one.) Work gently into areas that are particularly prone to roughness, in circular movements. Salt or sugar scrubs will dissolve in the water, leaving a fine layer on the surface that clings to skin as you get out of the water; we still like to moisturise afterwards, but this thin veil on the skin is a great ‘base coat’ for a rich cream. Our favourites include NEOM Organics Real Luxury Body Scrub, £34, with its divine scent of jasmine, lavender and rosewood; upliftingly-fragranced Temple Spa Sugar Buff, £23; and Green People Sugar Scrub, which nourishes with a blend of shea butter, rosehip, pomegranate and coconut oils.

If you skin is really bumpy and ‘chicken skin’-like, meanwhile, it may be Keratosis Pilaris (KP). Shabir writes very well about this here, – it’s a problem which affects nearly 40% of the population – but our go-to topical product for this is always Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion, £22.50, a great treatment for rough, bumpy skin, featuring a combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and a special hydration complex. Impressive stuff.

The cold weather watchword, pretty much regardless of skin type, is:  ‘more’. More moisturising, more often. We actually like to double-moisturise, applying first a body lotion, then maybe an oil or a richer butter to ‘lock in’ that moisture. Our faves include the incredible Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Enrich Body Butter (this jasmine-scented mega-treat seems expensive at £55 for 200ml, but we suggest you put it top of your ‘Dear Santa’ list right now); Soapsmith Bloomsbury Body Butter Melt, £12, and the super-affordable Jason Nourishing Cocoa Butter Cream, £6.99.

If you prefer an oil, or want to add another layer of skin TLC over your body butter, we’re fond of Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil, £24.95 (to Jo, it smells a little like Guerlain Shalimar!); Ilapothecary Feminine Happy Oil, £40, which has a mood-balancing blend of essential oils including heavenly rose – and again, there’s a bargain option in the form of good old Jason Vitamin E Oil 5000iu, £6.99.

Pay special attention to elbows, heels, cuticles. These can get actively scaly and flaky during winter. DO NOT PICK! That’s rule number one. Secondly, after you’ve scrubbed (see above), apply an ointment-style balm and work in circular movements to get under every raised cell. If you keep this on your bedside table, it will remind you to do this every night. Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-purpose Superbalm Lips + Hands + All Over, £10.99, is terrific for the task, while we’re also big fans of Pommade Divine, £14, with its wonderfully camphoraceous scent.

Be nice to your feet. You have pedicures in summer – why not winter? We almost make ourselves yawn afresh by repeating the mantra (yet again) that happy feet make a happy woman, but we believe in having year-round medical pedicures (from the wonderful Margaret Dabbs), to remove hard skin build-up and check in with foot health generally. In summer, we book in once a month – but once every six weeks minimum in autumn, winter and early spring, too. Because feet are closeted in lots of layers, inside shoes and boots, they can get sweaty – leading to problems of athlete’s foot. There will also be times – party nights, yoga classes – when your feet will emerge from those opaques and go on show. And how much nicer to be able to look at glamorously painted toenails and well-tended cuticles than feel embarrassed about getting your hooves out?

So: stay warm, stay snuggly – but underneath those cosy layers, be sure to stay smooth and soft, too!

The Wellness Formula That Helped Me Heal The Past

the-wellness-formula-that-helped-me-heal-the-past

At the end of last month’s article I mentioned some metaphysical “work” I had been doing to help with my current physical and mental health struggles and today I want to dive in to exactly what I have been doing and why because it has helped me so much. Everything I have been doing is completely new to me and will probably be to you too, but I have had such a profound experience with it that I had to share.

I consider myself to be a plausible believer (I’m a Leo) when it comes to my approach to life’s mysteries. I like a balance of science and philosophy, but tend to err towards philosophy as my experiences have taught me that science can only teach us so much about the human condition. A lot of the things we think, feel and believe, which make up who we are as people cannot be explained or fixed by doctors and medicine, at least that’s what I have found.

Saying that, I was skeptical of the new techniques my sister had discovered and very reluctant to give them a try. On the surface they seemed no different to every other new age/spiritual self-help jargon out there, but my sister (who is a Pisces) felt like she had found something special and she wasn’t wrong. The community is called Free & Native and the founder, Lacy Phillips, calls herself a Manifestation Advisor. I know exactly what you’re thinking because I thought them too, but bear with me.

One of the things I really liked about Phillips’ theories and approach is how different it is to popular “law of attraction” philosophies, which I found too contradictory to be reasonable. On the one hand the Universe is this all-knowing, magical entity, but on the other it doesn’t know the difference between what you do or do not want. Or my favourite one, positive thoughts are a thousand times more powerful than negative ones, yet one negative thought can stop anything good that was about to happen to you. Confusing, right?

Even though The Formula is essentially about manifestation, it goes far beyond using visualisation and positivity or gratitude to get what you want. It delves in to the core of our experiences and programming as children (0-14 years old) and how they shape who we are as adults. This is what really made a difference to me. My sister bought three “workshops”, but the one I want to talk about is “Reparenting”, which focuses on dealing with childhood trauma or negative experiences.

“Reparent” is a workshop “centered on filling the biggest gaps of limiting beliefs, lack and dimmed magnetism stemming from childhood” specifically between the ages of 0-14 years old, which Phillips believes is where a lot of low self worth conditioning and imprinting comes from. It includes journal prompts and “Deep Imaginings”, where she guides you into a hypnotic state to really open up your subconscious and re-programme neural pathways. This neuroplasticity is described as “forming new pathways by weakening old ones” and that “repeated and directed attention towards one’s desired change” can rewire one’s brain. The idea of rewiring my brain through the Deep Imaginings was something that seemed impossible, but it happened to me.

My experience with “neuroplasticity” came completely out of the blue. One afternoon a few months ago when I was feeling particularly sick, my sister set up a mediation room for me so I could rest until the pain had passed. I lied down and decided to listen to ‘Being Loved’ from Soul Medicine, which is one of my favourite of the tracks from the brilliant founder of ila and ilapothecary. As the sounds began to play I found my mind wondering to my Grandmother, a deeply damaged woman and someone who had caused me great pain up until her death and even beyond. Then without even meaning to I was seeing an alternative reality of her life where I picked her up at the hospital as a newborn, took her home, cared for her and raised her.

I have no idea where all that came from and I know it sounds pretty unremarkable in the limited way I can described it in this space, but it was truly one of the most profound and transformative experiences of my life. What I saw felt real/true and the emotions it evoked were vivid and authentic. I suddenly understood and knew so much more about her and our lives that years of logic and conventional therapies never touched.

Most importantly, my feelings about her and what she had done had completely changed. I still had the same thoughts and memories, but I couldn’t connect with them in the same way. They were detached from me and even now, when I think of her and what happened between us I know all the same things, but I just can’t feel the same way about them anymore.

I know this probably sounds very “woo woo”, but there is science behind this, especially when it comes to Soul Medicine. I believe it was the catalyst to my Deep Imagining because it’s based on energy, vibrations and frequencies. Not only that, the Sanskrit sound ‘ma’ is an ancient syllable of healing. You can read more about that here and if you haven’t tried sound therapy I highly recommend it. Soul Medicine has incorporated healing frequencies that deal with many issues like conflict resolution, deep relaxation, hormonal changes and more.

Going back to my change in “neuroplasticity” I can certainly say that something within me regarding this particular issue in my life has changed. It hasn’t been some mystical quick fix or anything like that, but there has been a palpable shift that has allowed me to let go of this past trauma. To use the language of Free & Native, I feel reprogrammed, unblocked and healed.

My experience created a significant change allowing me to work through parts of my childhood (and my adult life) which needed forgiveness, maturity, compassion and a new perspective. As I have done more of the work I have been able to “rewire” everything from a deep betrayal to life after death, to my relationships with the people who mean the most to me. And some of the most healing work has involved my adult self reparenting my younger self — working though traumatic experiences and being the source of understanding and compassion that I did not have at the time.

Sometimes I journal, which has been really healing but often times I imagine myself as I am now — with all the knowledge and life I have, explaining moments to myself as a child and rewiring my experience of each triggering instance, reprogramming it and allowing myself to heal and move on from it. It is definitely “outside the box”, but I don’t think it is that much different to practices like writing down your thoughts and feelings or breathing exercises that might be prescribed by a traditional counsellor.

Of course, this won’t be for everyone and it isn’t perfect (the price may be prohibitive to many people although there is a lot of free content), but the wellness trend is not stopping. Like Victoria just wrote about here, the concept of self-care is evolving into total wellbeing. For me, this is exactly that — another complementary tool to aid my innate desire to feel well, inside and out, in mind and body.

Overall, what I’ve found incredibly helpful and insightful in Phillip’s work is her focus on self worth, reparenting and working through any aspects of yourself that have been rejected and how that relates to the way you live your life. I have only just started my journey and I have already learned and experienced so much, which is why even if you have no interest in “manifesting” or new age self-help, the tools in this program are excellent for dealing with old issues in new ways.