Step-by-Step Guide: How To Do a DIY Natural Beauty Home Facial

weleda Skin Food facial review

If you’ve been inspired by the continued rise of natural and organic beauty then you’ll love this DIY natural facial massage from Weleda, one of my favourite natural and organic beauty brands. It’s also a lovely, nourishing treat to give skin at this time of year as the season and temperatures change.

The key product in this facial is Weleda Skin Food – an iconic skincare product that contains natural extracts of calendula, chamomile, rosemary and lavender, with natural waxes and plant oils (now also available in light version, lip balm and body butter) – alongside a few other Weleda products.

I was lucky to have this facial – also known as the 30-minute miracle worker by Weleda therapists as it’s so good at boosting the complexion – at Valley Fest in Bristol this summer.

Weleda Skin Food - Product Still

Valley Fest is a lovely family-friendly weekend of music, local food and fancy dress. Weleda had a corner with a fabulous van stocked full of products and therapy tents for the perfect post-party respite.

There were also talks and workshops on natural skincare, with special guest such as Emine Ali Rushton, sharing her wisdom on holistic and Ayurvedic living, following the launch of her book, Sattva.

weleda tent valley fest.JPG

If you’re not familiar with the community of Weleda therapists, they’re a lovely bunch who work remotely around the country and who are available for products, treatments, and knowledge-sharing on skincare and ingredients.

If you don’t live near a Weleda therapist then you can try this facial on yourself at home. Here’s a complete step-by-step guide to the Skin Food Facial – get ready for some personal pamper time…

weleda tent valley fest.JPG
Me enjoying my Skin Food facial at Valley Fest

Step 1.


Soak a face flannel in hot water with a little Rosemary Bath Milk, wring the flannel so it’s only damp but still warm and apply to the face to open up the pores and wake up/perk up the circulation. If skin would benefit from calming/soothing rather than stimulating, try the Lavender Bath Milk. If skin is hypersensitive, the gentle Calendula Baby Cream Bath could be used instead which is less aromatic.

Step 2.


Using the Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion on two damp cotton wool pads, remove grime and make-up. Use both hands simultaneously, mirror image, for a lovely balanced feeling. Around the eyes, gently cleanse with Almond Soothing Facial Oil to remove eye make-up. Warm or luke-warm cotton wool pads are preferable to very cold water on the eyes.

Optional extra.


If more time, an organic unbleached chamomile tea bag can be used to make as an infusion for an eye compress (lightly soak cotton wool pads in the tea which has been allowed to cool slightly in a bowl before applying; cotton pads can be folded into half moons) whilst the facial massage is being done or the mask is on (to complete the Skin Food experience). The calming chamomile fragrance relaxes.

Step 3.


Using the fragrance-free Almond Soothing Facial Oil, gently massage the face to stimulate the circulation and relax the soft tissues, tailoring the massage to the individual.

weleda skin food facial how to

Step 4.


Apply a generous layer of Skin Food, warming it between your hands to make it easier to work with, and leave on the face as an intensive treatment for five minutes (or longer if time allows). If you have combination skin with an oily T-zone, just use Skin Food on the cheeks and drier areas, to avoid overloading the skin.

Step 5.


Soak a face flannel in hot water with a little Lavender Bath Milk and apply to the face to melt and release the mask. Gently lift away any excess Skin Food with the flannel and gently wipe/tidy any remaining thick areas of cream using a damp cotton pad (this may not be necessary if it has been absorbed).

Step 6.


Depending on the skin, finish with a light application of Skin Food Light to moisturise (for younger/oilier skin, this may not be necessary if Skin Food has worked its magic), and a little Skin Food Lip Balm on the lips.

Would love to hear if you’ve had this facial with a Weleda therapist or if you give it a go at home!

Treatment of the month: Mindful Massage

Treatment of the month - Mindful Massage

I reviewed a very interesting massage treatment for Natural Health  magazine recently which puts a totally new spin on a traditional massage. Instead of switching off, therapist Belinda Freeman encourages you to tune in and turn the mind on. The Mindful Massage (at Third Space, London) may sound like it defeats the object of having a massage but it’s actually quite clever and totally unique.

Belinda talks through the massage in a quiet, soft and soothing voice to keep you focussed on your body and breath. It’s totally guided so there’s little opportunity or space to let the mind wander, working in a similar way to some meditation where  you just focus on your breath. As the mind starts to drift off, she brings you back to the present and to the sensations of her touch.

She’s cleverly combined elements from yoga nidra (yoga sleep where you stay consciously focussed but your body is in deep relaxation) with the concept of mindfulness (being aware of thoughts, actions and emotions) as well as drawing on her 25 years of experience in Tai Chi, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, hypnotherapy, counselling and more.

Recommended? Yes, definitely. Try this massage if you’re having problems relaxing and need to de-stress and settle the mind. Not only do you get an excellent massage, worth the session in itself, but may discover a new way to increase focus, clarity and emotional stability. It’s great if you have experience of yoga nidra too as there are several similarities to relate to.

Available at Third Space gym in London. Check out Belinda’s profile on Third Space or her website Mindful Mind for more info. Let me know if you’ve tried anything like this before?


Friday facial

On Friday I had one of the best facials I’ve ever had.  It was by Notting Hill facialist Una Brennan, who has had every beauty journalist and West London celebrity praising her unique style. She uses SkinCeuticals products on the face but for those who read my coconut oil post the other day, you’ll be pleased to hear this wonder woman facialist slathered almost half a pot of the stuff on my upper body too for a shoulder and back massage. The whole treatment was an epic, two-hour extravaganza.

She dove deep into the pot of coconut oil for an extraordinary back, shoulders and neck massage, while I was laying firmly fixed on my back. Somehow, Una managed to weasel her way through the minuscule space between my back and the bed and manoeuvre her hands and fingers in stunning, snake-like motions, up and down, up and down, up and down, releasing every bit of tension. This was meant to prepare the face for lymphatic drainage.

I loved hearing Una say everyone should have a pot of coconut oil in the kitchen and a pot in the bathroom; sometimes she said, she even sleeps in the stuff  (as long as you don’t mind the smell). That was music to my ears. :) . Look out for my review of Una’s facial in West London Living online mag in a few weeks time.


Tried and tested: New Year's day massage in Zanzibar

Local flowers at Mrembo Spa, Zanzibar

Me at Mrembo Spa, Zanzibar

Local flowers at Mrembo Spa, Zanzibar

Having just returned from my big Tanzanian adventure, I couldn’t wait to tell you about my New Year’s day massage by a local, blind therapist on Zanzibar (island off Africa’s east coast). This turned out to be an unbeatable way to see in 2011!

After a few too many drinks the night before in Stone Town – a sleepy tourist town with hundreds of years of Arabic and Portuguese history – I woke up to a wonderful invite by my friend, to go to Mrembo Spa – ‘mrembo’ meaning a woman who loves to pamper herself, in Swahilli – for a massage by Aisha, their blind therapist. An offer I couldn’t refuse as I’ve many massages but never one by a blind person.

Each appointment starts with a relaxing drink of ginger and lemongrass tea, while feet are gently washed in warm, flower-infused water. Local Taarab music (melodic and Arabic in origin with sweet vocals) plays in the background (no rubbishy windpipe music here!) reminding you you’re in one of the most exotic islands in the world.

The massage itself was perfectly gentle for my partied, safaried and travelled-out limbs. After weeks on the go, this was just what I needed. Traditionally, Zanzibari girls indulge in a full body flower scrub before their wedding day, made up of lots of crushed local flowers, cloves, sandalwood and geranium oil and rosewater. Delicious.

Local handmade crafts, Mrembo Spa, Zanzibar A big barrel of lemongrass at Mrembo Spa in Zanzibar

All the products are handmade and natural, using plants and ingredients from the local area, and they’re all available to buy in gorgeously presented bottles and wrapping. The spa also sells locally-made clothes using the famous ‘khanga’ – large, beautifully coloured, printed scarves used by Tanzanian women to make clothes and head scarves. Many of the spa’s furnishings, and even the knickers, are made of this so there’s less waste and more reuse.

Mrembo Spa, set up by a Dutch lady, has embodied so many elements of Zanzibari life, the females and their beauty rituals. On top of that, the staff have a very warm and gentle way about them.

If you ever find yourself down Stone Town’s eccentric, narrow and windy streets be sure to seek it out.

More info about the local traditions on the Mrembo website

Can a massage bust your fat?

Elemis-cellutox-body-concentrateLast week I tried two massages designed to pummel away my cellulite. The first one: a heavy duty, all hands-elbows-knuckles, sumo-style massage at Neville Hair & Beauty in Chelsea, London; the second:  a slightly more holistic experience at Elemis Day Spa in Central London.

While I’m no slimmer, a lymphatic drainage massage has a great effect on cranking circulation into gear and is worth any discomfort. I’m no wimp when it comes to body treatments – I have regular sports treatments with the most bruising of sports masseurs – but Tetyana at Neville’s came a close second as she kneaded my thighs until they were red hot and then used cupping to blast circulation even more.

Krisztina in NW London is another masseur with a ‘firm’ yet healing touch – she incorporates more emotional healing with her treatments though and definitely worth a booking in with (

Back to fat. The task at hand was to find ‘instantly slimming tricks’ for Women’s Fitness magazine. Tetyana’s persistent pummelling would reap benefits after a few sessions a week I’m sure – coupled with exercise of course – but the Elemis Body Sculpting and Cellulite Colon Therapy gave me a flatter tummy literally the next day. That was thanks to some firm prods around the belly which basically shifted everything around. So thumbs up there.

At home, I religiously reach for the body oil post shower and massage it in firmly, pretending I’m on the massage bed just without the bruises at the end. Eventually it all adds up and you end up with smooth skin all the time, leaving  you with less need to visit sadistic massage therapists too.

Review: Divine Retreats, Italy

Fattoria Mansi Bernardini, Tuscany Italy

Fattoria Mansi Bernardini, Tuscany Italy

Fattoria Mansi Bernardini Italy

Lucky me, I’ve just returned from a beautiful few days in the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy on a Divine Retreats yoga holiday. The setting was unbeatable – a 16th century estate restored but still seeping with history and original antique furniture, with several villas and farmhouses, vineyards and 200 acres of land. Welcome to Fattoria Mansi Bernardini.

The week-long retreat consisted of gentle, mood-enhancing yoga twice a day (with Francis D’Angelo from Special Yoga Centre in London) and sessions with holistic practitioners, such as Journey Healing (with Sandra Ferreira), Theta Healing (with Lorena Granata), Remedial Massage (with Krisztina Karanyicz) and Art Meditation (with Dalia Zermon). I also met Yogi Malik from Yoga Magazine, and Miss Eco Glam.

My visit was brief but it was enough to enjoy the fantastic food whipped up from the family kitchen every night as well as local cheese, biodynamic wine from the neighbouring vineyard and olive oil from the estate’s own olive trees. Amazing.

Look out for a more in-depth review in Natural Health magazine next year.

Thank you Divine Retreats!

The next trip will be in Spring 2011.Visit for more details