Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare blog

Our best just got better!

It’s been a big week for us here at Liz Earle! After no longer being able to responsibly source yangu oil for our haircare, we’ve been on the quest to find an equal to or even better botanical. Following a long journey to locate and source our new star ingredient, Kalahari melon oil, this week we’ve relaunched our Botanical Shine™ Conditioners and Nourishing Hair Oil. Best of all, by using this rare and nourishing golden melon oil, we’re helping to provide a sustainable income to the people of the Namibian desert while at the same time, helping them to protect their precious natural ecosystem.

Our brand new botanical

Part of my role as Ethnobotanist means making it my mission to source the finest botanicals that are absolutely right for our products, and it’s no mean feat! It took many months to find it, but when we heard how the local San people treasured the Kalahari melon seeds for their naturally high content of nurturing oils, we realised we were onto something. But the oil is only part of the story, our fruits are wild-harvested by local women’s cooperatives and sold via a fair trade organisation, which means the farmers receive a fair price for their precious desert crop.

UK friendly fruit

While the Kalahari melon might struggle to grow here, there are some new varieties that can handle our changeable UK weather. These smaller, early-ripening melons, like the variety ‘Emir’, have been specifically bred for the UK climate and will fruit outdoors quite happily given a warm, sunny site. Fancy giving them a go? These are the seeds you’ll need.

The perfect pickle

In the US, pickled watermelon rind is a tasty soul food delicacy enjoyed with roasted meat or vegetables. It’s actually really easy to make your own, all you need is the washed rind of 1-2 watermelons chopped into 1” pieces, some pickling vinegar, sugar and any seasonings you might also like to add (I like ginger and star anise for an extra botanical kick!). You can find the full recipe online here.

Posted by James on March 23rd, 2015
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Mothering Sunday is the perfect opportunity to spend time together, remembering and celebrating all that our mothers have done for us. I’m very grateful for all the wisdom that my mother has passed on to me in all areas of my life, but it probably won’t surprise you that I’ve learnt a particularly large amount in the beauty and wellbeing departments. This is why I love working with her on the new Liz Earle Wellbeing digital magazine.

The importance of skincare
As many little girls do, I loved pretending to be my mother. This usually involved prancing around her bathroom wearing my pyjamas, stylishly paired with some high heels and Cleanse & Polish™ on my face. Then, standing side by side in front of the mirror together, we would finish our cleanse, tone and moisturise routine (back in the days when the packaging was still pink!) before bed. I’m very thankful that I discovered the importance of having a good skincare regime from a young age, standing me in good stead for the rest of my life.

Giving back
Over the years I’ve been inspired by my mother’s work with cooperatives and charities across the world, providing those in need with a ‘hand up’ and not just a ‘hand out’, so that ultimately individuals and communities are able to support themselves. This has shown me the difference that we are all able to make by giving to others, even if it’s just giving our time, and I was honoured when she asked me to be a trustee for her charity, LiveTwice.

Tea and cake
My mother has also always encouraged me to enjoy life and all that it brings, including good food and especially cake! A love for cake and Earl Grey tea runs deep in our family and was a weekly tradition throughout my childhood and on special occasions, such as Mothering Sunday. We all get together, tuck into a delicious slice or two, and most importantly, enjoy each other’s company. You can find some of our favourite family cake recipes in the latest edition of the Liz Earle Wellbeing digital magazine.

Posted by on March 16th, 2015
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In celebration of women everywhere

The 8th March is a date I always remember – as well as being International Women’s Day, it’s the same day we first launched on QVC! From the female farmers working around the world to bring us the finest, ethically-sourced botanicals, to the (predominantly female) staff at your local counter, women are, and always have been, at the heart of everything we do. That’s why, this International Women’s Day, I’m nominating the wonderful women who inspire us to make the Liz Earle beauty brand the best it can be. Lastly, I’d like to extend my thanks to you, our loyal customers, the majority of whom are women too. Ladies, I celebrate you all!

The story of our shea

Two groups of inspirational women, on opposite sides of the African continent, harvest the softening shea butter. In Uganda, East Africa, we source the lesser-known Shea Nilotica, famed for it’s silky texture and found in our Superskin Body Cream, via a women’s cooperative which helps to provide a sustainable income in an area that’s suffered a long and difficult history of conflict.

Meanwhile in Burkina Faso, the rich West African shea used in our Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask is harvested by local women’s groups, helping to provide a fair income and vital means for mothers to send their children to school.

An inspirational lady

During my travels in Africa and as founder of my own charity, LiveTwice, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some truly amazing and inspirational women, Joanna Waddington, a founder of charity Ace Africa for whom I’m now a patron, is one such individual. Via innovative projects that provide practical help to people who desperately need it, she and her team are helping transform the lives of people affected by HIV and Aids in some of poorest regions of Tanzania and Kenya. You can find out more about Ace Africa’s work, including their ingenious rocket stoves project, here.

Our new desert jewel

Though my lips must remain sealed for a little while longer, I can tell you we’re working with an exciting new ingredient coming soon! You’ve been asking about it for months and now the wait is nearly over! Our new secret ingredient is sourced in Namibia via a partnership with PhytoTrade Africa, an organisation that works with rural women’s community groups to ensure fair trade of their precious botanicals. Stay tuned for further updates!

Posted by Liz on March 9th, 2015
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RHS Grow for Flavour released Monday 2nd March, available to pre-order through Amazon. RRP £20.00.

My latest botanical venture

Growing your own is great. But did you know that tinkering with how you grow plants can dramatically change their flavour and nutritional content – creating harvests of truly jaw-dropping quality! In a geeky quest to determine exactly how to do this, I’ve spent the last three years trawling through thousands of scientific trials, and running many of my own at RHS Garden Wisley, to create a simple set of tips and tricks anyone can follow. They’re all in my latest book, RHS Grow for Flavour, so I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at some of the highlights…

Sunny side up

An apple is an apple. Simple right? Well, surprisingly studies have shown that apples at the sunny top of the tree not only taste sweeter, but may contain up to twice the antioxidants of those at the shady bottom. A light pruning in summer to thin out congested branches allows light to disperse evenly across the canopy, giving you sweeter, tastier fruit all over the tree.

Power crop

Want sweeter tomatoes with 50% more vitamin C? Trials suggest that spritzing them with an aspirin solution (half a soluble tablet per litre of water) while the fruit are ripening can do just that.

Blueberry boost

Fancy blueberries with triple the antioxidants? Simply picking the ‘Rubel’ variety will give you a crop three times richer than supermarket staple ‘Bluecrop’. Pop them in a pie and this can double further, as cooking makes these natural chemicals more easily absorbable for the body.

Cherry nice

Love cooking with cherries but find stoning the fruits a chore? All you need is a chopstick and an empty wine bottle. Simply sit the cherry on the open mouth of the bottle, then poke straight through the centre of the fruit with the clean chopstick. The stone should be poked free and drop into the bottle, leaving you with a perfectly-pitted cherry.

Posted by James on February 27th, 2015
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My African adventures

Over the years my botanical fieldtrips have brought me into contact with many disadvantaged communities, especially in rural Africa. In fact, I’ve recently returned from visiting some of the charity projects I have connections with. My own charity, LiveTwice, offers opportunities to people in need both in the UK and overseas. It was great to spend time at our Kenyan projects which help orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV. The older teens involved have now been taught mentoring skills so they can go back into their communities and share their knowledge with others.

Inspirational women

It’ll be International Women’s Day on the 8th March – a date I always remember as it’s the same day we first launched on QVC! Joanna Waddington, a co-founder of charity Ace Africa for whom I’m patron, is someone who continually inspires me. She and her team are transforming the lives of people affected by HIV and Aids in some of the poorest regions of Tanzania and Kenya.

Style with heart

I’m also a proud patron of Restart Africa – a fashion initiative where women are given safe refuge from trafficking and abuse and make incredible bags, jewellery and accessories. One of my favourite British brands, Geronimo Jones, sell their beautiful Sanata silver beaded bracelets – we’re delighted to have one to give away in our current competition on the Liz Earle Wellbeing Facebook page. Enter here to win.

A safe haven

While I was away, I also discovered Imara, another amazing organisation that provides a safe home and refuge for teenage rape victims and their babies. This wonderful haven not only looks after these girls, but also provides education, skills training and healthcare. You can read more about Imara here.

Posted by Liz on February 24th, 2015
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Calling all natural romantics
Happy Valentine’s! What are your plans for this radiantly romantic Saturday? If cards and flowers aren’t your style (or you’ve completely forgotten it’s February 14th and need an idea QUICK!), let nature help you rev up the romance. You’ll find a list of mood-boosting, love-inducing foods in the latest edition of my digital magazine, Liz Earle Wellbeing. In the meantime, here are a couple of my favourites to get you on the right track.

Download now from Zinio, Apple or Amazon, for £2.99.

Choose Chocolate
Chocolate is full of feel-good properties (hurrah!) and contains the ‘love chemical’ PEA (phenylethylamine), known for its ability to stimulate our brain cells into releasing dopamine – a hormone that induces feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. If you’re staying in tonight, you’ll find mouth-watering ideas for a three-course Valentine’s meal in my digital magazine, including a perfect pudding of berries and cherries dipped into dark chocolate.

Get fruity
Watermelon is one of nature’s best aphrodisiacs and looks beautiful cut into pink heart shapes. It’s full of an amino acid called citrulline, reputed to increase libido, whilst lycopene is said to boost blood circulation. Not to mention being naturally low in fructose and full of antioxidants to boost your radiant Valentine’s glow.

Supercharge your romance
The pomegranate is not only a symbol of fertility in many cultures, packed full of potent antioxidants that can promote blood flow and increase sensitivity, it’s also one of my favourite skincare ingredients. The superfruit that supercharges our best-loved Superskin™ Moisturiser, it’s ideal for keeping all Valentines looking and feeling utterly radiant at this time of year.

Posted by Liz on February 13th, 2015
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Can you feel it?

Though we have a way to go, the subtle changes of spring are very much in the air. I love the fresh energy the new season brings to all aspects of life – from the hardy scented narcissi (one of my personal favourites) pushing their way through the frost, to the extra few minutes of daylight. My new issue of my Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine is bursting with brilliant ways to brighten the days, revitalise with feel-good-food recipes and give skin a seasonal boost, not to mention tips for bringing out your natural romance this Valentine’s Day!

Download now from Zinio, Apple or Amazon, all for £2.99.

Love tokens

There’s still time to get crafty with some adorable homemade Valentine’s gift ideas. My mother hand-makes me an embroidered scented sachet each year and even though it’s such a simple item, it’s something I always treasure. Why not show someone you care with a pretty handmade bookmark or keepsake lantern? You’ll find plenty of ideas in the Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine.

Posted by Liz on February 12th, 2015
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Earlier this week we launched our new video showcasing our magical island home. To complement the rugged natural beauty of the Isle of Wight, we chose a spellbinding, cinematic track entitled Shells by Laurel, a folk-inspired female singer from the south coast. Although only 19, Laurel has already made her mark on the UK music scene, enjoying huge success with her debut single Fire Breather and touring with the likes of John Newman and Dan Croll. In 2014 she released her EP To the Hills, from which Shells is taken. Below we meet the artist behind the voice and discover what it is that inspires her most…

What’s your biggest inspiration when writing music?

My life! I only write when I have first person experience of something. I’m a bit of an old romantic too, so they are mostly about love and relationships.

What do you love about the natural landscape of the Isle of Wight?

I love coming over to the island, especially for the festivals in summer, it’s a truly unique place. Also, at the end of last year I visited the Ventnor Botanic Garden and met the owner who explained all about the garden’s unique microclimate, meaning they can grow exotic plants from all over the world there. It’s an amazing place!

How important is your beauty routine to you?

Very, I love having a skin regime to follow. There are some products I use daily and others, on a weekly basis, to make sure my skin is always feeling fresh. I think it’s important not to overuse products though, your skin has its own natural oils that may be lost if you use too many harsh products.

What’s your favourite Liz Earle beauty product?

I just can’t choose! I use the Gentle Face Exfoliator every other day, which leaves my skin feeling super soft, followed by the Deep Cleansing Mask once a week.

How much does nature influence your work?

Hugely. I come from a folk music background where nature is very prominent in the lyrics and I think that’s always stayed with me. I reference the sea a lot too as my family live on the south coast.

Are you an outdoors person?

Yes, I love camping and walking, but since moving to the city I’ve become a bit of a wimp! It only takes a few days of being back home though before I lose the city girl and get back out into the nature again.

Who’s your female role model and why?

I hold the singer, Florence Welch, in high esteem. I think the way she’s dealt with her fame is extraordinary. She seems so natural and normal and doesn’t seem to have changed for other peoples’ appreciation.

Liz Earle is very much a family company, how important are your family to your singing career?

My family are very important. I’m currently living back home to finish writing my album and they’re all so supportive of me. My mum comes home from work every day and sits in my studio to hear what I’ve been up to. She is my main critic!

Where’s the most beautiful natural landscape you’ve visited on your travels?

Winchester Hill is my favourite place in the UK. I’m not sure why but I have a deep sense of peacefulness when i get to the top and look out over the view (after panting for half an hour trying to climb it, it is insanely steep!). My mum and I go there for walks regularly, through all the seasons.

Describe your ideal day on the Isle of Wight

I would definitely come over on some sort of boat, like a rig. I’ve done this a few times and it’s awesome, although I’m not a great driver! I would absolutely love to visit the Ventnor Botanic Garden again because there’s just so much to see, including the Liz Earle garden. I also have family on the island so I would be paying them a visit too. I’d love to end the day on Colwell Bay, having a few drinks by the water.

What’s your earliest memory of the Isle of Wight?

My uncle and auntie’s wedding! I think I may have worn a yellow and white dress but that is sadly all I remember. Trust me to only remember what I was wearing!

You grew up near the coast, are you a beach person?

I love the beach. I used to surf every summer with my dad and sister too, but now I’m not such a fan of being in the sea, I prefer relaxing and watching other people.

What’s your favourite botanical?

I love both eucalyptus and rosemary, like in the Liz Earle candle. It is honestly the best scent I have ever smelled in my life. If I had it my way, the air would smell like that all the time.

Shells, from Laurel’s To the Hills EP is available to download now via. iTunes [http://georiot.co/ToTheHills]

Posted by on February 3rd, 2015
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Relax and recharge

My Weekend Edition comes to you from Byron Bay, Australia where I’m taking some time out to further my yoga studies. Yes, the sunshine helps, but you don’t need an exotic holiday to supercharge your detox. Getting naturally active is one way to boost your energy levels, while clearing away mental clutter can have an equally positive effect, increasing your focus and clarity. Follow these simple tips, along with a healthy, balanced diet, and you’ll soon feel your energy levels soar!

Do the twist

Twists are my favourite yoga poses. They have a naturally detoxifying effect, gently stimulating the internal organs to help flush away toxins. Every morning, before you get out of bed, take a moment to hug your knees in, then release them over to the right while you ground both shoulders down into the mattress. Take a deep breath in this position, then repeat taking your knees over to the left.

Upgrade your sleep

A good night’s rest is my beauty holy grail, especially with the 5am calls on my yoga course! For better sleep, which naturally aids the cleansing process, take a digital detox at least one hour before bedtime and ban anything with a screen from your bedroom. For an extra dose of calm, massage our Superskin™ Concentrate over a cleansed face before lights out and breathe in the heavenly aroma.

Posted by Sarah on January 23rd, 2015
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Boost your body’s natural detox

I can’t stress enough how important it is to put our health first, but as a busy working mum who’s constantly juggling a packed schedule, sometimes it’s difficult to find that balance. That’s why my Weekend Edition reflects the small, attainable tweaks you can easily adopt into your own busy schedule to boost your inner and outer radiance, one day at a time.

Walk tall

It sounds simple but improving your posture can have huge benefits on the body. Sitting straight and walking tall (as if someone were pulling on a thread attached to the top of your head) nurtures more efficient breathing, which in turn floods the body with oxygen for a naturally healthy glow.

Morning ritual

Make dry body brushing your 2-minute morning ritual. As well as stimulating your lymph system and the natural cleansing process, it exfoliates dead cells so your skin feels soft and smooth. To learn the perfect body brushing technique, watch my helpful how-to video here.

Posted by Abigail on January 16th, 2015
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