Sunday, 30 November 2008

Christmas Gift Ideas & Extra Special Offers!!

Christmas is such a lovely time of year but for most of us, it can be a stressful one too, not knowing what to buy for someone special. Nothing quite compares to something that has been lovingly handcrafted and a number of members from the Fresholi Community have come up trumps, each offering very individual and unique gift ideas at exceptionally good value for money.

PLUS!! Make extra savings!! Enjoy some great exclusive offers when you purchase these or any other products from any of the featured sites:

For the man in your life….

From Essentially Soaps, a gift bag for the Man who has everything.

A Jute Tote bag (No pink in sight) with a lovely gift tag and packed with lots of goodies includining:

- 60ml roller ball bottle
- Herbal sage aluminium free deodorant
- 50ml jar Moisturising Soothing Sandalwood aftershave cream
- 'Spice of life' hand made hand cut soap fragranced with Essentially Soap's 'Spice of Life' blendof essential oils.

Only £14.00 from Essentially Soaps

PLUS!! During the Christmas period, all Essentially Soaps' soaps are only £2.00, perfect for extra stocking fillers or just a treat for yourself!!

And from Maia Skin Care, Rose Petal Bath truffles

Wildly decadent nourishing rose petal bath truffles to pamper, soothe the skin and elevate the mind. Each truffle is enriched with all natural creamy cocoa butter and shea butter, pure essential oils and hand rolled in luxurious rose petals.
Feel like a queen surrounded in a warm bath of rose petals. Don't want petals floating in the bath? No worries, an organza bag is included! Six beautiful truffles nestled in tissue paper and presented in a gorgeous gold gift box with ribbon.

Only £12.95 from Maia Skin Care

PLUS! Get 15% discount by using the code 'FRESHMAS' (expires 21/12/08)

And finally, from Natroma and Natural Soapworks...

The Blue Lagoon Hamper - Just £17.95 (Note: with aqua ribbon in above picture)

A hamper featuring a lovely new soap called Blue Lagoon which contains Monoi de Tahiti and a blend of essential oils (think sweet with woody tones). The hamper also includes:

- Blue Lagoon bath bomb – it’s truly luxurious since it’s enriched with Monoi de Tahiti and the same essential oil blend as the soap.

- A brand new coconut and frangipani salt glow body scrub. This is a fine grain salt scrub with Monoi de Tahiti, odour retained coconut oil, nilotica shea butter, honey, D-Panthenol and Vitamin E. The odour is boosted with frangipani absolute .... so it’s a heavenly aroma that leaves the skin feeling silky.

- The final item in the hamper is special since it’s a preview of one of the 2009 Natroma balm products. It contains Nilotica shea and mango butters with ricebran and jojoba oils, odour retained coconut oil, squalane, and is further enriched with sea buckthorn and calendula botanical extracts. It’s completely natural, protected with both vitamin E and rosemary anti-oxidant.

Christmas Spice soap only £3.25 (a little bird say this one is selling fast, and once it’s gone, it's gone!)

Containing a blend of sweet essentail oils (palmarosa, ylang ylang, sweet orange) with a dash of cinnamon for a warm Christmassy fragrance.

It’s naturally coloured with paprika and a deep cinnamon swirl.NSW also have 2 other Christmas soaps this year – the ever popular Frankincense and Myrrh, and another new one called Gluwein (cloves, orange and cinnamon).

PLUS! Enjoy one of 3 GREAT OFFERS....

At The Natural Soapworks:
All orders will receive a free gift: Christmas Mini. This is 3 of NSW Christmas mini soaps (25g each) wrapped with a gold and cream ribbon. The retail value is £2.85.

But if you spend over £30, instead of the mini soaps you’ll be upgraded to the Blue Ballotin gift set (see piccie).

This is a lovely little gift box which contains: a pretty cup cake goat’s milk soap (decorated with petals/rose buds etc), a mini soap bar, a round snowflake bath bomb, and some bath melts (these contain cocoa/shea butters, odour retained coconut oil, sweet almond oil and a blend of essential oils). There are various fragrances in each box, and it has a retail value of £5.50.

The Natural Soapworks: quote NATFRESH in the Paypal notes box at the checkout to receive your gift.

Receive 10% discount at Natroma by quoting NATFRESH at the checkout for a 10% discount!

Natroma gift packaging

Natroma are using high quality blue coloured cardboard gift boxes which are decorated with foiled silver stars, finished off with an organza bow. Pictured here (left) is the facial starter kit, and includes the cleanser, toner and moisturizer with a muslin cloth for £24.50.

The Natroma range includes mainly organic ingredients, luxurious butters and oils and the cream products are enriched with D-Panthenol, squalane and numerous botanical extracts. Natroma products have a light skin-feel, but are very concentrated.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Organic Virgin Cocoa Butter

The purity and decedance of virgin raw materials is something to behold. Rich, aromatic, unadulterated. Such purity seems almost magical and powers the senses, sending your mind off on subliminal journeys.

Organic Virgin Cocoa Butter. In its unfiltered state, it has the look and aroma of rich chocolate. Filtered, it is smooth, rich and has the most wonderful creamy colour. It is different and you know it is different with just one look.

Imagine, a lip balm, cream, massage bar or soap containing all the richly antioxidant properties that come from the unique method of product.
Most often, cocoa butter is a by-product of confectionary, but organic virgin cocoa butter is pressed from the whole bean, retaining the maximum goodies.
Fresholi's unfiltered virgin cocoa butter does not contain any other material and the colour comes from the naturally ocurring cocoa solids from pressing and is sourced from organic plantations where a fair price is paid to farmers and the community and environment is respected.

Among the skin care benefits of cocoa butter, it is said to:
- Have been used for centuries to help keep the skin soft and supple and has been called 'the ultimate moisturiser'.

- Excellent for use on very dry, dehydrated and chapped skin as it moisturises, soothes and protects.

- It is a natural source of vitamin E which has numerous skin benefits.

- Melts on skin contact and is absorbed slowly by the skin making it ideal in massage bases (especially when blended with essential oils), ointments, lip balms (chocolate taste without the calories - perfect!) etc...

- Contains tocopherols and polyphenols that have antioxidant properties to suppress free radicals soothe irritations.

- Cocoa butter is often added to suntan product as it can help to enhance the appearance of a suntan (although be aware that cocoa butter itself does not contain a SPF).

- Often recommended for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, not only for its moisturising properties but it also contains CMP (cocoa mass polyphenol) that inhibits the production of immuno globulin IgE, (which may exacerbate the symptoms of asthma and dermatitis).

- Helps to protect sensitive skin from external elements by providing a moisture-retaining barrier to the environment.

- Cocoa butter has a long tradition of being used by pregnant women to help prevent stretch marks as well as reduce their appearance.

- Recent researched has indicated the possible health benefits gained from eating chocolate but there has also been indications that massaging with cocoa butter may help to relieve stress and boost the immune system and could help to prevent cancer.
For more on Organic, Virgin Cocoa Butter, please visit Fresholi...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Organic Skin Care

I have been using a range of certified organic products from the triple award winning skincare company, Beyond.

Sea buckthorn features heavily throughout the range and Beyond are particularly interested in harnessing the unique properties of this wonder plant, since it “it is the only plant in the world known to include omega 3, 6, 7 & 9”. Beyond are proud to say their products “contain more than one hundred and ninety biologically active compounds”.

But what is it like to use? Well, I can say first hand that Beyond have created a range that is quite different. Despite their complexity at molecular level and the clever combining of biological actives, I feel it is a range that has been ‘stripped back’ and is a range that loses all the unnecessaries and ‘fluff’. I think Beyond have focussed most of their attention on really goes on at skin level and it is this that I think makes it a very different product to use.

A Closer Look…

The products I have been using include:

Rejuvenating Serum – An extremely concentrated oil-based serum that has a most powerful aromatic quality. The essential oils, combined with some pretty potent plant extracts, is constructed to deliver anti-oxidants, vitamins and bio-active compounds to work deep in the skin and help cellular regeneration (great for mature skins).

As I said, a most lovely aroma and really only a few drops are needed to soften and comfort the skin and can be applied to all areas of the face and neck (including the delicate eye contour area).

I wore this underneath the moisturiser but I really don’t think you would actually need to moisturise if your skin is not particularly dry. Although initially I was applying it morning and night, I soon realised that I didn’t need it during the day, so used it only at night after cleansing.
Generally, the serum leave’s the skin soft and supple with a satin-like look and feel and lovely healthy glow.

Firming Eye Cream – This is a light, unfragranced cream, containing soothing eyebright (a fave in eye products because it is renowned for being helpful in reducing puffiness), anti-wrinkle rosehip and toning cornflower.

Verdict: The smallest, most teeny, weeny amount is needed and it really does cool and soothe the eye area and absorbs fantastically. It is really good to use in the morning as it really helps to give the eyes an ‘I’m awake!’ look.

Moisturising Day Cream – Containing a powerful combination of minerals, fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 & E, this is a skin-loving preparation that has been designed to create a protective moisture barrier. It also contains soothing rose and cell regenerating seabuckthorn oil, so is a clever synergy ideal for sensitive, dry and mature skins.

Regenerating Night Cream – This award winning, incredibly rich cream contains cleverly blended bio-active compounds and is fortified with rosehip, seabuckthorn and macadamia nut oils. They works hard and in harmony with each other to help replenish and rebuild skin tissue.
Verdict: It is using the moisturisers that really demonstrates how Beyond strip back and get down to the real nitty gritty. This is no-fluff, extreme skin care.

Verdict: The moisturisers are different to apply and have a different skin feel. I have to honest, upon first application, they just didn’t behave like I expected a cream to. They were richer and, particularly true of the night cream, denser.

Unlike creams that I am probably more used to, spreadability was somewhat reduced. Was this a problem? Well, after all the cream had absorbed and my skin felt AMAZING, I soon realised that this cream could not be treated like most others. It is different because it is no-fluff purity. It would not contain substances to help improve spreadability or speed up absorption. This is bare bones skin food (and boy, does this stuff deliver).

Anyway, I found that by applying a small amount to each fingertip and tapping my fingertips over my face, a few light-touch strokes to evenly spread the cream and then a press-and-role action with the flats of my hands, the delivery is perfect and the skin feels alive from the massaging action.

Overall Summary: I just love how these products love my skin. Mine is not a particularly dry skin but I still have been blessed with fantastic results from using it as my skin feels enveloped in a comforting veil.

I think if you are going to use the range for the first time, forget what other products feel like when they are applied. This is unique. If I am honest, I think I have developed a bit of an addiction because I love how my skin is looking and feeling (especially in the morning after using the serum and night cream the night before).

A Final Word: The Beyond range is broad but product choice very simple. There is something for everyone (including a range aimed at professional salons and spas).

Other products from the range include (all organic):

Detoxifying Cleanser & Revitalising Toner
Rescue Salve
Enriching Body Butter
Boob and Butt Pick Me Up
Replenishing Hand Cream
Hydrating Body Oil
Stretchmark Cream
Baby Oil
Lip Balms

You can visit the Beyond Skin Care website at or call 0845 500 3550 (local rate) for sales and enquiries.

Tip! Try their Weekender kit £21.60, that contains all the products reviewed here and I would reckon that it would last a good 2-4 weeks of daily use, which I think is truly excellent value for money.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

First Time??

Sometimes I am just in awe of the skills and talents of others. Below are some pictures of a long-standing member of Fresholi who has just had her first ever craft fair. I know there's a first time for everything but, when you see these pics, it is hard to believe that this is the first. Liz (who you might see peeping from behind that wonderful display) from La Croix Roisin created the most wonderful dispaly don't you think?

Shhhh...... Apparently she had a bit of help though (from her son.... Aw.....)

Doesn't is look great? Very inspiring too, knowing that such a high level of professionalism can be achieved right from the get go. I hear she had a pretty successful two days (not surprising because I don't think I could just walk by without treating myself :o)).
I would like to say well done Liz and lets hope this is first of many successes :o))))

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Feet Treat - Step by Step

I am very privileged to be able to not only pamper myself in the most beautifully created products made from wonderful natural ingredients but I can also share this with my clients. As a practising beauty and complementary therapist, I often work with products that have been sent to me by the kind members of Fresholi. These products often stimulate new ideas for treatments/methods of application.

After being sent some lovely products recently, I decided to work on a foot pampering treatment and thought it would be a good idea to let members see how the products are being used and what sort of results can be achieved.


Please note that since this was the first time I have used these products in treatment, I wasn’t really sure how much I would require to complete it

Rosemary Soap - A handcrafted, cold process soap with rosemary & rosemary essential oil (a slither cut from a bar to maintain hygiene) – by a most wonderfully kind lady, Ruth, who incidentally hand spins, dyes and knits the most incredible scarves using the most exotic yarns such as angora - beautiful

Marzipan Scrublet - by Elaine from Briallen, who creates the purest and most carefully considered products and the most carefully crafted corn dollies. These come in a six pack and here you see two cubes that I have cut in half – I only needed to use one cube, half on each foot. Contains ground almonds, golden granulated sugar natural oils and butters including sweet almond butter and the gorgeous plum kernel oil

Chamomile and Apricot Buttercream – by Ruth (see above). Containing apricot butter, healing calendula, vitamin E, arrowroot and Roman chamomile essential oil (very soothing and healing – perfect for sore, cracked skin).

Normally I would begin a pedicure with a foot bath but occasionally, I void the foot bath if the skin on the feet is particularly dry and flaky – treatment, in my opinion is, much more effective (although if the skin has become thickened, then a foot bath is very much indicated).

As you can see, my client’s feet were dry quite dry (especially around the heels) with only small, isolated areas of thickening and in this case, I began treatment without bathing.

After wiping over the feet with antiseptic, I began removing the dry, flaking skin using a foot file. First working with the course side of the file and finishing with the finer side. I am not sure whether it shows clearly enough here but this part of the treatment generates an awful lot of fine powder (in which case a face mask is indicated).

Next I began exfoliating with the wonderful scrublets. I first warmed the scrublet in the palms of my hands to melt the butters and turn it into a kind of paste.

I then applied to the whole of the foot and the lower leg in circular motions working from the extremities towards the heart, paying particular attention to the dryer, flakier areas.

This was a real dream to work with. The sugar crystals and almond grounds spread so evenly and exfoliation was both gentle yet stimulating to the blood circulation. I then enveloped the feet in cling film to help the lovely butters and oils penetrate more efficiently.

I then wrapped the feet together in a warm towel (I kept them together to help maintain warmth).

Notice that I left the toes free to allow me to continue working on the nails and cuticles, first the nails are clipped….

Then filed…

Then the cuticle work (using a pumice stick, hoof stick and nippers to remove excess dead cells from the nail plate)…

After about 10-15 minutes, I removed the wraps from the feet and at this point, they looked positively drenched in lovely emollient oils/butters and felt so incredibly soft. Using dry cloths in sweeping downward strokes, I removed the excess scrub particles and then cleansed the feet and lower leg using the rosemary soap (with its lush, creamy bubbles and wonderful fresh scent). I removed the soap using hot cloths.

I then began massage with the lovely, aromatic chamomile and apricot butter cream which is an excellent massage medium for the feet. With its light creamy texture, healing and moisturising properties it provided enough slip to complete the massage but was both penetrative and non-greasy. The skin felt just divine afterwards.

As you can see, the result is just excellent. The feet look revived, moisturised and the flakiness remedied.

ith a touch of polish the feet look transformed from dry, tired-looking feet into totally rejuvenated, show me the dance floor feet. Brilliant!!

Although there are a few things I may change to the general application routine, to fine-tune it, the products were just wonderful to work with, very effective and made for a lovely, pampering treatment for my client. My client was thrilled with the treatment and remarked how soft and comfortable her feet felt.

My sincere thanks to my lovely client, Elaine and Ruth for their incredible kindness for sending me such lovely, quality products that are (as always) a joy to use and work with).