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Hi, my name is Claire Gardner and I’m a VH Addict! About seven or eight years ago I placed my first order with VH, I have no idea what I ordered or how I found a company that I became rapidly addicted to. It was the start of a love affair that continues to this day and my passion for all things VH resulted in me asking Gill if I could become involved in some way, although I really didn’t know what I was asking for. I come from the corporate world; I’ve headed up teams at Razorfish and Accenture and I studied at Aston University in Birmingham. I have also been a wife and an ex-wife, and right now I am a mother, a girlfriend and, somewhat randomly (for me), a Pilates instructor, although that seems to be lapsing rather dramatically because I am now heading up a new section on VH, which we are calling ‘VH Community’.

Over the years VH has been a constant source of discovery and fun for me, I can honestly say I have never been disappointed by anything I’ve ever ordered. Products come and go, but I love the fact that there is always a new revelation and the overriding philosophy of ‘making a difference’ is what makes VH unique and personal to me. After all these years I still get palpitations when that famous black box gets delivered, even though I know what is inside. Over the last 18 months or so, we have seen the launch of more mind-blowing products than ever before and just when you think it can’t get any better, VH play another blinder and we are transported to the next level of ‘OMG-ness’!

If I look back over the years, there have been many instances that have changed my perception of what cutting edge products really mean and in some cases these products have actually made such a difference to my life that I am using this as my starting point and will now share some of my highlights and experiences:

I have to start with Yes to Carrots Pampering Hand and Nail Spa scrub. In all honesty if I had seen this in a shop I wouldn’t have given it a second glance. I remember vividly the first time I read about it on the monthly newsletter and I can still see the looks of amazement on the faces of all those bemused friends I marched to my sink to try it! It is a staple stocking-filler/birthday gift/cheer me or a friend up product. It punches way above its weight for the price and as such has a permanent spot in my kitchen cupboard.
Yes to Carrots Hand & Nail Spa £13.40

Next up, Maui Babe Browning Lotion. Ever since my first foreign holiday at the age of seven to Mallorca (aah, the early ‘package’ years, when you thought you’d won the Lottery if your parents let you have an Orangina!) certain bits of my body have refused to join in getting a tan. Most notably my lower legs, in fact I think they may have gone to other Continents without informing me because they never got really brown – so step in Maui Babe. Approximately four years ago, I was lying in the sun and wondering if I was hallucinating. I kept thinking it must be an optical illusion created by sunglasses, but lo and behold my shins were turning brown and after literally two days they were the colour I had never seen since I spent a whole summer crewing on a boat at the age of 18! I never, ever go on holiday without this glorious bottle of coffee scented liquid, I still have no idea how it works, the label on the bottle is, in all honesty, totally naff, but what is inside is genius.
Maui Babe Browning Lotion £24

I’m now going to fast-forward to the present day and Phylia de M. Beyond amazing, beyond epic, in fact beyond any superlative you could find in a thesaurus, so do try it if you can! For me there is a direct link to ‘hair happiness’ and a general feeling for the day because there is nothing like a ‘good hair’ moment to set you up in the morning.

There are definitely supplements such as Superior Hair that really do make a tangible difference, but not being blessed with the most patient of natures, the thing I adore about Phylia is that it makes a visible difference from the very first use and it really does get better day by day.. Apparently it takes approximately nine months for the full effects to show, normally I would think that was a bit tedious, but actually it excites me because my hair is getting thicker and healthier every day and I just can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like by Christmas!
Phylia de M

Last and by no means least I cannot end this first missive without mentioning iS Clinical and here I am slightly lost for words. The original range launched several years ago and was absolutely groundbreaking. The facial wash was a revelation, not cheap but so worth it. Imagine my horror when I found a newly purchased bottle almost two thirds empty! It didn’t take long to discover that my then husband had been blithely using it as handwash and was totally unconcerned when I told him what it was and how much it cost – probably a minor indicator of why he’s now my ‘ex’ (although we do laugh about it now!).

The new products that launched last month are nothing short of incredible and the Restorative Eye Complex is, for me, simply astounding. I have wasted more money on eye creams than any other beauty product; dark circles have bugged me for a long time and I have tried all sorts of supposedly cutting-edge potions to get rid of them with little success. Step in Innovative Skincare and it seems we may have found the ‘holy grail’. Quite simply it delivers on all levels and I absolutely love it.
iS by Innovative Skincare

Within the VH Community there will be opportunities for testing products and also opportunities to share. Neither VH or myself really know what this is going to look like going forward and I’m sure that over time it will evolve into something rather special. The important and rather wonderful thing for me is that VH have given me a blank canvas to build whatever I want to build, they don’t tell me what to write and all views are my own.

I can’t do this on my own, so I am calling out to all of you to send me your thoughts on products, your experiences and anything else that you would like to share within this community. It doesn’t have to be product related as I’m also quite fascinated to discover the common thread that we share as VH customers. I’m also open to suggestions on how you think we should grow the community and one of these days I might just persuade Gill to take us all out for tea, so that we can throw thoughts around the table. To finalise, I am not on the VH payroll, I am doing this because I want to be on the ‘inside’ of the exciting times ahead. You can contact me via the VH Facebook page or on Twitter, so do post your thoughts and I’ll report back next month.

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