Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare blog

Singing for a good cause

One of my favourite outings of the season is to our local carol concert on Christmas Eve. Each year, Liz and her LiveTwice charity team host a fabulous candlelit advent evening too. This year’s takes place in London on 4th December and proceeds will go directly to Community Kids Clubs run by HOPEHIV in Kenya. A limited number of tickets are available. Please visit the LiveTwice website for details. 

Personalise your presents

I love adding little extras to my Christmas gifts to give them a botanical beauty boost. With gloves, I tuck in a luxurious Hand Repair or conditioning Superbalm, or I make woolly winter socks a little more pampering by pairing them with our soothing Foot Repair Moisturiser. This year, I’m treating a loved one to a cosy new dressing gown with our Superskin™ Body Cream wrapped up inside as an extra layer of luxury!

Get crafty this Christmas

Crafting your own Christmas decorations is a great way to save the pennies and helps me get into the festive spirit – my two girls love being involved too! One of our favourite festive traditions is to make our own Christmas crackers, each with a mini handpicked gift hidden inside. To delight my beauty-loving friends and family, I pop in a treat-size botanical beauty favourite, or a Strengthening Nail Colour 12ml in our gloriously festive Golden Celebration shade.

Holiday helping hand

I’ve worked with Liz for the past 15 years and she really does live and breathe good health, in a positive, natural and inspiring way. As many of you will already know, Liz’s website lizearlewellbeing.com is a wonderful resource for trusted tips and delicious recipes. This weekend, I’ll be downloading the new Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine. This Christmas Edition is packed with expert and lovingly thought-through tips and traditions (recipes, decorations, crafting, gifting), and even an energy-recharging New Year plan.

My favourite winter warmer

I spend half my time outdoors, even in the winter, so I’m always thinking up new and warming creations to pack into a flask. My latest wonder is this hot smoothie. Not only is it an easy way to pack an antioxidant punch into your diet, by warming the ingredients, it may even improve the availability of their nutrients. Soak half a cup of dried elderberries – famed for their anti-viral properties and available online – in hot water to rehydrate, then mix with one cup of blueberries, two cups of freshly-brewed green tea, two tablespoons of elderflower cordial, a thumb-size piece of ginger and half a Bramley apple. Leave to steep for five minutes, then blend together for a deliciously warming immune-boosting cup.

Plan next year’s planting

Seed catalogues seem to be dropping through my letterbox on an almost daily basis. It may seem like ages away, but by planning out and ordering the seeds now, you’ll avoid a mad panic when March rolls around. Even a small patch or a windowsill wildflower garden will attract a steady stream of bees and butterflies once the weather warms up, helping to pollinate your garden and add to local honey stocks too.

Seasonalise your salad

Rethink the way you prepare hardy vegetables like kale and chard and use them raw in a winter salad instead. The vitamin C content of leafy greens depletes with heat so by consuming in their raw state, you’ll maximise their nutritional value. Add extra flavour and warmth with roasted tomatoes, crispy bacon and caramelised onions. Then dress with metabolism boosting apple cider vinegar and unfiltered olive oil. Who said a salad couldn’t be comfort food?

A naturally calming centrepiece

This festive season, instead of the requisite poinsettia on your mantelpiece, consider a hoop of indoor jasmine. Not only do the elegant white flowers make a beautiful seasonal centrepiece, according to research the chemical compound released in jasmine’s scent may even have an anti-anxiety effect, helping to keep you calm when all around you is in chaos!

Pure plant power

As winter approaches, it’s more important than ever to add pure plant oils into our beauty regime. Naturally rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) and easily absorbed, plant oils form a layer of nourishment. One of my all-time favourites is organic rosehip oil. Rich in potent plant sterols to help smooth and soften dry skin, it’s one of the star ingredients in Superskin™ Moisturiser and Superskin™ Concentrate – the perfect nurturing duo.

Love your lips

Cold winds outside and central heating inside have a very dehydrating effect on the lips. The skin here is some of the thinnest on the body with no sebum-producing oil glands to help protect it. If you’re suffering, a cause of this could be low levels of vitamin B. I’m also never without a pocket-sized pot of Superbalm™, rich in nourishing natural plant waxes. For more good-to-know lip tips visit Liz Earle Wellbeing.

Essential oils 

My first ever book Vital Oils highlighted the importance of natural oils in our diet, as well as our skincare. We’re much more familiar now with the health benefits of fish oils to promote a healthy heart and brain function, we’re also more savvy about healthy vegetable oils for cooking. My current favourites are cold-pressed olive oil for dressings and British-grown cold-pressed rapeseed oil for frying or roasting – learn more about their benefits at Liz Earle Wellbeing.

Super natural warmth

I’m so pleased to see Great British wool having a fashion moment once again. As a sheep farmer, I know first hand how important it is to support our local industries and what better way to keep warm naturally than by wrapping up in a cosy knitted sweater? As well as magically soft lamb’s wool, I’m a fan of alpaca wool and the Island’s own West Wight Alpacas create some of the most beautiful yarn for hand-knitting.

Have a great weekend,

Liz Earle

Best friends, co-authors of The Perfume Bible and acclaimed fragrance experts, Lorna McKay and Josephine Fairley are what you might call perfume professionals (Lorna even helped us develop all three of our Botanical Essence fine fragrances).

Both tell us Botanical Essence No.100 is one of their favourite Liz Earle fragrances, so what is it exactly that’s managed to capture the imaginations of two women who smell perfume for a living? Below, they share their fragrant musings about the comeback of a modern classic in the making. To find out more about the power of perfume, visit their website at perfumesociety.org

Sum up No.100 in two lines for somebody who’s never experienced it…

Josephine: It’s a good mood in a bottle which is probably due to genuinely high quality of the natural ingredients at its heart. I’d describe the scent as ‘sunny’ but despite such freshness, it genuinely lasts and lasts.

Lorna: Quite simply, wearing this scent recreates the same joy and sunshine I feel when I walk into a British florist’s shop. I’m delighted I can stop stockpiling the fragrance now it’s no longer a limited edition!

What makes No.100 totally unique?

Josephine: No.100 is an extension of my love affair with Liz Earle’s skincare, so it was always going to have a place on my dressing table next to my beloved Superskin™ Moisturiser (because a bathroom’s actually the worst place to keep perfume, with all those temperature changes!). Liz and I have become great friends over the years and I know she’s a perfectionist who would never put her name to something she didn’t believe in 1000% (yes, that’s a thousand!).

Lorna: Quality, quality and quality, as well as exceptional value for money. Creating a floral fragrance with 89% natural ingredients is no mean feat, but the craftsmanship of its talented Master Perfumer, Alienor Massenet, quite brilliantly succeeded at the challenge.

Explain why No.100 wows so many different woman…

Josephine: It’s a real crowd-pleaser perfume because you can wear it whenever, wherever – it’s defiantly ‘there’, but never overwhelms. I’ve given it to all sorts of friends who I’ve been unsure of, fragrance-wise, because I’ve barely met anyone who doesn’t love it and enjoy wearing it. Women often tell that when they’re wearing No.100, lots of other people ask what they’re wearing – and that’s always a good sign.

Lorna: Because the blend has such a high percentage of natural ingredients, it unfolds differently on everyone – so you’re giving the gift a signature scent that’s completely personal to the wearer. It’s uplifting, nature also makes it completely ageless – whether you’re 19 or 90, people need a little extra boost on occasions.

I always pop a Superbalm™ in my pocket on Bonfire Night. Not only is this brilliant as a lip balm, it’s also wonderful on my cheeks to protect me from the cold night air.  Before heading out, I also add a layer of nourishing Hand Repair™ to my hands, then slip on gloves to seal in its botanical goodness as we watch fireworks light up the skies.

Pack a winter picnic

The excitement of Bonfire Night is fast approaching, so I’m busy consulting my favourite cookery books for tasty homemade portable treats I can pack into a basket to keep the whole family energised while we watch the display. This tasty toffee popcorn recipe from Liz Earle Wellbeing is the perfect (occasional!) treat and a great way to keep the girls entertained while we watch the fireworks.

Tantrum-free cleansing

I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’ll be practising their face painting techniques tonight. My little ones adore fancy dress, but aren’t as keen on washing their faces afterwards. But don’t forget our botanical hero, Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser, is here to save the day. Our family-friendly favourite melts away face paint quickly and easily, especially on delicate skin.

Transform your bathroom with healing herbs

With a full house it’s difficult to avoid the coughs and colds that are doing the rounds. A wonderful, natural way I’ve discovered to ward away germs and keep us all fighting fit is to hang a generous bundle of eucalyptus and rosemary from the shower head to create a DIY healing steam room. Both plants are naturally antibacterial, so the cleansing steam helps to ease stuffy noses, naturally!

Have a great weekend,

Caroline x

Autumn is in the air, and the days are getting darker and shorter. As the weather cools, it’s all too easy to hit the snooze button, skip the gym or over indulge in comfort foods. But keeping active is so important as it really helps to lift your spirits and self-esteem – and means you’re less likely to comfort eat too! Here are a few top tips for happy, healthy Autumn.

Seed of an idea

I love Halloween and it is just around the corner. If like me you’re planning on some creative pumpkin carving, make sure you don’t throw away the seeds or the flesh this year. Roasted pumpkin seeds are simply delicious, whether sprinkled over soups, salads, or simply enjoyed as a healthy snack! They are also full of beauty-boosting nutrients, including zinc and omega-3 fatty acids – perfect if you suffer from dry skin during the colder months. Use the pumpkin flesh to make lots of seasonal dishes – my all-time favourite is pumpkin pancakes.

Get up and go

If like me you’re a runner, make sure that your route is well-lit during the colder months, and that you’re wearing brightly coloured clothing. In fact, updating your workout wardrobe is a great motivation-booster. Swap faded T-shirts and tired-looking tracksuit bottoms for some bright new sportswear that makes you look and feel great – and lay it out before you go to sleep so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning, making it that little bit easier to get up and go.

Sweet nothings

The colder, darker mornings can be tough – but avoid the temptation to grab a sugary coffee or pastry on your way to work. Starting your day with a quick-fix sugary breakfast will only make you feel tired, lethargic and depleted of energy a few hours later. This autumn, why not switch caffeine for hot water with a few slices of fresh ginger root? Ginger is fantastically winter-warming and has digestive benefits too – plus think of the money you’ll save on all those take-away coffees! My new favourite autumn breakfast is quinoa porridge made with almond milk and dressed with grated apple or berries.

Have a great weekend

Sarah Carr x

Wrap up!

Although it’s been a mild autumn so far, don’t let your garden get caught out by the temperamental British weather. Unlike us, plants can’t pull on a woolly jumper to keep themselves snug, but a cosy layer of horticulture fleece acts like the next best thing. I’ve already stocked up on rolls of it (available from garden centres or online), so I’m ready to dash out if a cold snap strikes.

Grow your own kitchen garden

The lawnmower may have been put into hibernation, but there’s no excuse for a bare veg patch over the coming months. Onions, leeks, asparagus, spinach and kale can all be planted now to ensure a plentiful supply of produce all year round. Tending crops is also one of the best ways to keep naturally active through the chillier months too, and comes with the incentive of a garden full of bounty as well.

Crunch time

Right now, it’s harvest time for apples which I like to slow cook in crumbles, pies and sauces. I always add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon as studies show this fragrant spice may help slow the absorption of sugar (preventing the post-pudding slump). It also pairs perfectly with apples’ sweet and sour deliciousness!

Down on the garlic farm

One of my favourite recent foodie finds has to be The Garlic Farm, based here on the Isle of Wight. Boasting varieties that are renowned for exceptional flavour and quality from all over the world, this is the place to power up your plate with garlic’s natural health-boosting goodness (especially when bugs are going round). My current go-to is their Luxury Black Garlic which is packed with antioxidants, but remarkably doesn’t give you ‘garlic breath’!

Have a great weekend,

James Wong x

Mushroom magic

This weekend I’m heading to my local farmers’ market for the wonderful wild mushrooms in season right now. I loved meeting the fabulous forager Antonio Carluccio on my Lifestyle TV show many years ago and picked up his passion for these fantastically delicious funghi, so healthily delicious sautéed in a little olive oil. Mushrooms are surprisingly nutritious – read more about them at Liz Earle Wellbeing along with one of favourite autumn mushroom recipes.

Nature’s bounty

I don’t know enough about mushrooms to pick them myself, but I do love to forage for other woodland treasures – and there’s plenty about just now. Conkers, acorns, oak leaves and more – all so pretty on an indoor nature table. Start collecting now for Christmas and festive table decorations (not too early to start planning!)

Hip hip hooray!

Loving the gleam of glossy red rosehips in the hedgerows right now. I add sprigs to my vases now that flowers are scarcer in the garden. I also make a simple syrup by simmering the hips with a little water and sugar, straining and storing in a small, clean bottle in the fridge. Packed with vitamin C, it’s a tasty daily tonic to help keep coughs and colds at bay. I’ve also long been a fan of rosehip oil, revered for its beauty benefits – you can discover why at Liz Earle Wellbeing.

Here at Home Farm

We’re busy prepping the fields for winter, sowing fresh pasture with deep-rooting herbs to feed our cattle and sheep as well as hedge cutting and ditch clearing. I love this change in seasons – a chance to pull on a pair of gumboots, get out into the crisp fresh air and kick up a few golden fallen leaves when no-one is looking…

Turn over a new leaf

Back indoors, my new favourite read is Garden Design Close-Up (Thames & Hudson, £25), a beautiful and absorbing book by my good friend, the award-winning garden writer Emma Reuss. Jam-packed with fabulous photos to inspire even armchair gardeners. I picked it up for a quick flick and was still engrossed an hour later!

To discover more Autumn inspirations visit Liz Earle Wellbeing.

We loved this insightful article from Liz Earle Wellbeing on how to preserve fresh herbs and think you will too…

Liz writes:

I’ve been enjoying a steady stream of herbs from my kitchen garden and with autumn coming, now’s the time to get preserving them for winter. Many herbs are sensitive to frost and will wilt away when the cold weather hits. By preserving our herbs now, we can enjoy their full taste and aroma even if the garden gets snowed under later in the year. There’s something very special about being able to enjoy home-grown herbs (even from a pot or window box), without resorting to shop-bought, out-of-season stems or packets of the dried stuff (their flavour fades over time). Below are some of my time-tested techniques, which I stockpile now to make tasty suppers over the months to come.

Drying

Home-drying is the simplest way of preserving herbs, providing a much fuller flavour and more colour than shop bought ones. To air-dry herbs, make sure they are clean and dry and remove wilted leaves, then tie them together in a small bunch using string or a rubber band and hang them upside down in a warm, well ventilated place until they start to crumble in your fingers. This could take up to a month. Above the oven is perfect and looks very romantic! Or if you’re short on time, spread your herbs out on a baking tray, or baking parchment, and put into the oven with the door slightly ajar at 150 degrees C (or leave overnight in the plate-warming oven of an Aga). Once your herbs are dry, store in an airtight container, such as a tin or jar.

As some herbs such as basil, parsley, coriander and rosemary don’t dry as well, try these methods below:

Freezing

Leafy herbs, such as parsley, dill, oregano and marjoram, all freeze well. Spread clean dry herbs on to a tray to ‘open freeze’ in the freezer. Once frozen, pack into freezer bags or boxes. The frozen leaves can then be crumbled into soups, sauces etc. as needed throughout the year. Note: don’t freeze basil as its tender leaves will bruise and blacken.

Herb butters

Herb butters are also an excellent way to freeze and preserve fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, coriander and mint. Simply mix a handful of your chosen freshly chopped herb into half a standard pack of softened butter (around 125g). Then roll your herb butter into a log shape, wrap in Clingfilm and freeze. Once frozen, chop your herby log into thick disks of delicious butter and wrap individually, before storing long-term in the freezer. Or to make smaller individual portions, pack the herb mixture into ice cube trays, ready to pop out little squares of botanical butter as needed.

My family favourite is parsley and crushed garlic butter, pre-made and ready to use. So tasty baked onto crunchy fresh baguettes to make the most delicious garlic bread.

Oil and vinegars

Plant oils provide an excellent way of preserving delicate herbs that would otherwise be damaged by drying or freezing, such as basil. Pack your chosen herbs into very clean, dry jam jars, layering the herbs as you go with cold-pressed olive oil. As well as preserving your herbs, you’ll get the added bonus of a wonderfully herb-infused olive oil, perfect for dipping breads or drizzling over cheeses and salads. To get even more of a culinary ‘kick’, this method also works well with white wine or cider vinegar. I love hunting out pretty vintage glass bottles and jars for my herbal infusions, always much appreciated as gourmet Christmas gifts (forward planning!).

This article was originally published at Liz Earle Wellbeing. For more of Liz’s advice and lifestyle features, click here.

Hello!

What a summer we’ve had… I don’t want it to end!

I’ve been spending most of my time on the Isle of Wight which has been dreamy, enjoying morning runs, evening walks and lots of fresh food. I also went to a music festival in Devon called Somersault which was magical – there was the most amazing wellbeing area where we could have treatments and practice yoga. Jack Johnson was performing, who I was actually really privileged to meet a few years ago when I treated him to a facial (a memory I could live over and over again!). The weather was absolutely on our side and of course I had all my LE essentials with me… I used up an entire Instant Boost Skin Tonic spritzer to keep cool and refreshed, and my Botanical Aftersun Gel was invaluable for our sun-exposed arms and legs.

I headed to Jersey for a friend’s 30th – what a party we had! It was on the beach at St Ouen’s with a BBQ (lots of fresh veggies and salad for me!) and fabulous company. I treated birthday girl Nina to some party essentials – our Radiant Glow Bronzer and Sheer Lip Gloss in Apricot, a gorgeous shimmering shade that’s perfect for summer.

This month’s lifestyle tip – My sprializer is working a treat! My favourite thing to make with it has to be ‘courgetti’ – ribbons of courgette cut to look like spaghetti! I’ve been adding pesto or homemade tomato sauces to mine. Has anyone else entered the world of spiralizing?

My latest healthy discovery is making my own flavoured water. I’ve been doing this either at home or in the office. My favourites so far are mint, cucumber and lime or strawberry, cucumber and lemon. They’re fun and nutritious!

This month’s skincare tip - Superskin Body Cream is my summer 2014 hero. This luxurious cream has given my legs and arms a gorgeous glow – and me the confidence to show them off!

This month’s make up tip - I’m still addicted to our Radiant Glow Bronzer. This multi-tasking bronzer can be used to give skin instant radiance, or individual sections can be used on eyelids or cheekbones to highlight and contour.

Here at Liz Earle, August was all about our Retail Conference. We brought all our retail teams home to the Isle of Wight to discover our amazing eco-friendly headquarters, meet the teams and unveil our vision for the next six months. I’m excited about what’s in store!

Enjoy the last days of summer,

Sarah x