I’ve been on the look-out for skincare that works for a while now. I have my requirements, of course: it should be gentle, natural, affordable and smell really good. It should also be simple and straightforward — what I don’t like are those brands which offer a million products to be used on top of each other depending on your specific skin type, age, mood, and financial situation. I mean, I’m never sure of my skin type, nor of my age, not even of my mood and surely not of my financial situation. I’d rather not know! Lastly, they should be available on my doormat. I’ve tried some French brands that I liked but had so much trouble finding them outside France, it was a disaster!
I recently discovered Liz Earle Natural Skincare, and I must say I’m a fan! Her face essentials line is as easy as 1,2,3 — clean (cleanser), boost (tonic) and repair (moisturiser). The cleansing part is done with the mulim cloths provided, and it does the trick wonderfully well, exfoliating at the same time! Oh, and the smell of the moisturiser is divine!
The products come with very clear instructions on how to use them, they are very affordable, all natural, locally sourced and as organic as possible, and best of all, they smell really good. They can be ordered on-line, and shipped worldwide. Easy does it!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Eastern Market
Is there anything more mentally taxing then applying sunscreen to small kids? I love the summer and all, but the one thing that really causes anxiety during the morning routine is when we have to apply sunscreen to the family. I hate it. The chase….The begging them to stand still…The sudden jerky movements while you try to rub the pasty lotion back to the color of skin tone. I am sure you have all been there.
In the past I have opted for the spray-on kind but I have found that they are very drying and don’t protect nearly as well as the thicker lotions. A friend of mine from home had told me about Coola Sun Care and I decided to pick some up before heading out on vacation this year… and so glad I did! It’s a lotion but it is not greasy and it rubs in very quickly! It’s also made with 100% organic ingredients but it’s not holier-than-thou about it. I really like the simple sleek packaging and they carry a full line for the body, face and lips. So far it’s the best sunscreen that I have come across and I am definitely loading up on it for the summer months!
Things change when you become a mum. You start behaving differently — you suddenly do things that you’ve previously thought you’d never do. Like changing a nappy in public. Or buying loads of pink for your little girl. Or letting them sleep in your bed. Or letting them use make-up.
I think if you had told me 3 years ago that I would allow my nearly-5-year-old girl to use nail polish, I would have fainted. How vulgar!
At least the nail polish my daughter has is completely non-toxic and safe for children, and the nail polish remover I use on her tiny nails is completely soy and corn based (infused with coconut, soybean esters, and essential lemongrass oils). No nasty aceton, no petroleum… And 100% biodegradable!
Both are from Priti NYC, a NY-based company that aims to decrease the amount of chemicals poisoning the earth and supports organic farmers. Check it out, they also have over 100 colours of grown-up nail polish available.
Through fabulous eco-boutique Shak Shuka (ships worldwide).
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Plush:)
My friend calls winter ’soft-play-season’ and she dreads it every year. Year one of having children I thought she was just being miserable, and I loved watching my baby boy smile as some slightly clownish adults sang nursery rhymes to him in a church hall. In Year two I was too preoccupied with the new baby in our lives to care much where we were or what we were doing. Now in Year 3, with two children and myself desperate to leave the house on these typical English drizzly days, I am pulling my hair out about where to go and dread the inevitable soft-play options. It is true — the kids have fun, but at the sacrifice of my sanity. I find myself looking around wondering sometimes what has happened to my life? I know that I’m lucky to be hanging out with these two brilliant people, but is it a requisite that places for children should totally alienate adults? I realise I’m sounding grumpy (seriously … if you could see the weather!) but do not fret, here I come to the good bit…
Since moving South I have often heard of the place ‘Cupcake’ (in Putney and Wandsworth) in association with descriptors such as ‘haven’ and ‘God-send’. And so last week I asked whether it was OK to come and check it out (Cupcake is a members only club and I’m not a member …. yet!). The minute I walked in I felt a sort of happiness come over me. This didn’t feel loud (from noise or from an interiors-carnage) — no this felt like being in a (stylish) friend’s living room… only a bit bigger and with a bar to order lattes, brownies, babyccinos or something for lunch — perfect! (more…)
I’m probably not winning any points for originality with our Australian readers, but before coming to Australia I had never heard of Lucas’ Papaw Ointment and it has since become our favourite Australian discovery. This natural remedy, made from an enzyme in papaya fruit, can be used on burns, boils, cuts, insect bites, open wounds, chapped lips, haemorrhoids, and the list goes on. And it is definitely the best treatment for nappy rash I’ve ever used.
After stockpiling these little tubes to take back to London with me, I discovered you can actually buy it in London (the creator was, in fact, British)! Dr. Lucas formulated the papaw ointment more than 100 years ago in Australia after leaving London for a warmer climate. Its natural antiseptic quality is great for preventing infection in wounds, it’s totally safe to use on babies and children, and it is so natural it can also be taken internally to aid digestion. It also smells nice — an added bonus!
Anyone who knows me will find it somewhat hysterical that I would be writing about my favourite ‘beauty’ product. I’m one of those girls who considers mascara and lip-balm “dolling myself up”. I’m pretty useless in that whole arena and since having kids even worse.
The only ‘area’ that I did try and spend a bit of time on was my hair — not because I love it all styled but because (as if being born with ‘mousy’ coloured hair wasn’t enough) the World at large also decided I should have that kind of hair that is neither straight nor curly — so, even after spending hours with the dryer and the straightener, it only needs to smell rain to turn to frizz. Great!
After having a baby I realised life was seriously too short to waste time with a hair-dryer so I cut off all my hair and attempted to go for a Meg Ryan-esque quirky messy look. It helped a bit but I still had my frizz problem — until my very good friend Caroline introduced me to Kiehl’s Silk Groom. I get out of the shower, scrunch some into my hair and go. I haven’t used a hair dryer or straighteners for 3 years and it is solely down to this little bottle of goodness that calms my hair down on a daily basis. It would now be the one thing I’d save from a burning wash bag (yes – even before my tooth-brush!).
Bubble Baths are considered a real treat at our house. Lately, my girls seem to go suddenly deaf when I call them to come in for an evening bath, but when I mention that bubbles will be present… it’s party time! That being said, I have spent countless dollars trying all sorts of “organic” and “all-natural” products from Whole Foods and the like… but to be honest, I really don’t like any of them. The bubbles are totally lame, they don’t smell all that great and they are expensive to boot! Look, my thought is… if you are going to take a bubble bath then you just have to make the commitment. Mr. Bubble didn’t kill any of us and it’s all going to be ok. I received this Lollia Bubble Bath as a gift and I absolutely love it — I mean, how cool that it’s in a wine bottle! A small quantity makes a ton of bubbles, it smells great without being too overpowering and my girls don’t come out covered in hives. I would give this to a mommy in need in a heartbeat as it is great for the whole family and even better as a housewarming gift for a new mom!
All those scorching Australian summers that I spent oiling myself with ‘Hawaiian Tropic’ –- how it makes me cringe! If only this product was around when I was in my late teens… okay, who am I kidding, I still would have ignored the facts, all for a deep bronze tan that didn’t ever last. The fact is that the sun ages your skin prematurely and causes cancer. Whilst I did come to my senses long ago, I am sure that I still wear the damage of those early reckless years. These days, I don’t leave home without having applied Invisible Zinc to each and every member of my family (husband excluded here, he is not partial to me assaulting him with ‘goo’ every morning — not for want of trying, mind you).
The concept behind Invisible Zinc is technology that provides a physical (not chemical) barrier between you and the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. They use a world patented form of Zinc Oxide that has been milled down so that it is no longer visible to the naked eye …fortunately you can banish all images of the white zinc-nosed, speedo-clad Aussie lifeguard, not quite the look I favor either when I head for the beach! Zinc Oxide is a natural sunscreen agent that sits on the skin reflecting dangerous UVA and UVB rays without unnecessary chemical sun-filters (incidentally, most chemical sunscreens offer little or no protection against UVA rays).
So Courtney, take note! This Aussie product is a must-have for you and your family over the coming months… and for those of you shivering in the Northern Hemisphere, as strange as it may seem, summer is just around the corner! (-:
Here’s a product that deserves a place in every family’s first-aid cabinet… Removeez is a natural solution which removes everything from sticky tar and sap to permanent marker, tattoos, bandages, chewing gum, etc. One little bottle with many different uses. (Have you ever had to get chewing gum out of your hair? It’s not fun –I still have nightmares!)
Designed by California beach parents, Removeez is 100% natural and dermatologist tested. It’s made from a blend of citrus oils and plant extracts, and naturally removes anything sticky or messy. I even used it yesterday on myself after a painting project left my hands a mess. And I gave it the ultimate test when I used it to take a temporary tattoo off my son’s arm. Works like a charm!
I thrash my hands. Hot water, cleaning products, using my fingernails as tools… you name it… most mothers will understand! As a result, my hands are often flaky and dry — not unlike sandpaper. Over the years I have tried dozens of hand lotions, but none have worked their magic like a potion from Australian skin care range Aesop. The lotion is called Aesop Ressurection Aromatique Hand Balm and I honestly think it is the holy grail of all hand creams.
I first discovered Aesop several years ago in the restroom of a local Melbourne restaurant. It smelled and felt so intoxicatingly good that I kept going back for more (really!), and I have been hooked ever since. It soaks in, leaving no greasy residue and you can literally smell the botanical and fruity ingredients permeating your skin (rosemary, mandarin and cedarwood……delicious). In our dry Australian climate it’s no wonder this product has become somewhat of an Aussie cult favorite.
The hand cream can be purchased online but Aesop also have lovely signature stores in London, Paris, Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and across Australia and these are definitely worth a visit.
Giving birth is exhausting, physically and emotionally, and once the baby is born the mother is typically not that free or in the mood to go to a spa. A new business in the Minneapolis area, which is expanding in other cities, has decided to bring the mountain to Mohammed!
Go Home Gorgeous will send a massage specialist to the hospital room to give the new mother the pampering she deserves. Apparently the massage therapists are also doulas so they’re quite trained in post-partum care. Their packages, not surprisingly, have proved to be excellent baby shower gifts.
A new business run by women to cater for women during an economic downturn — this is excellent news!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Merry go round
Way back before I had children, I used to love making homemade beauty products — I gave all my friends handmade lip balm for Christmas one year, and I’d make facial masks and other potions for myself. Now that time is of the essence and we are rushing to get out the door, I don’t do much of that, unfortunately. But the other day, I broke down and whipped up a batch of homemade baby hair gel for my 6-month-old with wild hair. I don’t mind the ’spike’ look most days, but nothing could keep the poor little one’s hair flat for picture time except for this magic potion. (Check out this recipe and many more great tips on feeding your baby in Super Baby Food.)
Baby Hair Gel:
Dissolve ½ teaspoon of unflavored gelatin powder in one cup of warm water. Poor into clean baby food jars, and keep refrigerated. [Add your own label, if you wish!] Use as you would normal hair gel — just a dab will do it– and the best part is that it doesn’t make fine baby hair all greasy.
I’ve been a fan of the Cowshed beauty products since my first trip to Babington House 5 years ago! So when Cowshed launched their new Baby Cow Organics collection just in time for my baby to be born, I knew I had to check them out.
The new collection, which includes a body lotion, baby oil, bottom balm and a cream, is 90% organic and is made from meadowfoam oil to suit baby’s delicate skin. (Meadowfoam oil is known to be one of the most stable vegetable oils, making it safe and long-lasting!)
I’ve been using the baby lotion and oil on my baby, and I love it! Smells much better than olive oil and is nearly just as natural!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Fortmason tea
This is one for us, girls. I have lately become a regular reader of the great blog MyLittleParis. I eagerly await the bi-weekly emails with the top tips on all that is Paris! The best way I can describe it is as a Babyccino for grown-ups.
It has great tips of what’s new, what to do, where to eat, where to stay and where to shop. The great thing is that they have just started an English language version and so even non-French speakers can get a piece of the action.
I especially love the fact that they always seem to be in the know about private sales of some of my favourite labels like Sandro, Maje and Paul and Joe where the clothes are up to 50% off. I do always love a bargain….
We had a little discussion about birthstones on Babyccino a while ago. It seems that the tradition of birthstones is much more commonly known of in the USA than in Europe. Of course it got me all curious and I did a little research…
In the Old Testament, detailed instructions can be found for the fabrication of a breastplate for the high priest. This ‘breastplate of Aaron’ is where the tradition of birthstones arose from. Twelve gemstones are described, to be laid out in a plate and to be set in gold, each of them representing one of the twelve sons of Aaron, being the commanders of the twelve tribes of Israel. They were said to be able to communicate directly to God through those gemstones!
The stones also corresponded with the twelve signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year – hence the tradition of the birth stones.
Unfortunately for me, there was just no avoiding stretch marks. I inherited the gene from my mom, and despite all the lotions and potions I tried, I ended up with a tummy that looked like a road map after my first pregnancy. I think you’re either going to get them, or you’re not. But I do think there’s still something nice about rubbing oils on your pregnant belly. Whether it makes your skin less dry and itchy, or it just encourages you to take a few minutes out of your busy day to pamper yourself, pregnancy oils definitely serve a purpose.
My favorite one by far, both for the smell and for the consistency, is the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Oil. My friend Britta gave it to me, raving about the lovely smell, and I couldn’t agree more. The smell is divine, and the oil is perfectly balanced to make your tummy soft without leaving your hands all oily. I really, really recommend it!
Last week my (architectural) business partner and I had some time to kill at the Manchester airport, and we happened to end up at the MAC make-up counter. We’d had some very important meetings with a new client, so I was pretty tired and beaten up. Also, I don’t know much about make-up; and I don’t use much of it either.
Which is probably why a nice shop assistant came up to me and advised me to immediately try out the MAC Strobe Liquid. This product would do wonders for my skin!! Skeptical at first (but intrigued), I asked her if I could have a try. Of course I could.
She applied some of the wonder substance to my cheeks, and hallelujah, the dull and grey complexion of my stressed-out and tired skin was immediately transformed to healthy looking skin with a real J. Lo glow! Needless to say, I bought the Strobe Liquid, along with some foundation (never used before), a brush to apply the foundation (I would have used my fingers) and a very natural looking blush powder. So, if you’ve seen me recently and thought that I was very ’radiant’ looking – it’s MAC, not me .
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Mon Doudou
I received a couple samples of the new Jergens Naturals range of lotions recently, and despite my lack of enthusiasm and (dare I admit my beauty snobbery?!) initial skepticism, I am loving it!
Jergens is a mass-market brand that has been a popular fixture in most American pharmacies for over a century… synonymous, in my mind, with low prices and synthetic ingredients… which is why I initially turned my nose up to it.
BUT, the new Jergens line offers four different body moisturizers which are 95% natural, free from parabens and silicones and made with natural ingredients like Jojoba oil, avocado, olive oil, soy extracts, pomegranate, etc.
And, for the first time Jergens is being launched here in the UK, available from Boots, Superdrug and most supermarkets. The best bit? The price. A natural body moisturizer that actually works… available for only £4.88? What a steal!
Every year at Christmas time my hairdresser gives away a little present to his customers. A very nice gesture indeed, but unfortunately he’s not very creative at finding new gifts; for the last 3 years the present has been a wooden back roller like the one pictured. I don’t mind though, because the car/massage roller has become the favourite bath toy my children like to play with while puddling around. They like to give each other back massages, or use the rollers as cars on the bath-rim. And I must say, they look rather cute on the side of the bath; much more Zen than many of the other bath toys we have!
The roller/car pictured is from The Wooden Wagon, but I also found cute ones here and here. Or check your local drugstore!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Teach your kids their shapes!
• To kiss or not to kiss and how many times? This is the question
I love Aveda. I have religiously gone there for my hair colour for over 9 years now, as their all natural dyes makes my hair look all natural brown!
I already wrote about my husband’s favourite Aveda product, the Control Paste, a while ago, but I thought I’d let all of you straight-hair-lovers know about one of my favourite Aveda products, the Brilliant Emillient Finishing Gloss. Wonderful stuff.
It’s really easy to use; just apply a tiny bit (one pump does the job for me) to dry hair and apply evenly. I like to use it after I’ve blow-dried my hair, and it makes it really smooth and shiny.
It might not look cheap at first sight, but trust me, the bottle lasts so long it’s as if it magically refills!
Available at any Aveda hairdresser, or in the US through Amazon…