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.

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Review: Amchara Detox Retreat in Gozo, Malta

In August I visited Amchara Detox Retreat on Malta’s sister island, Gozo for a review in Health & Fitness magazine. I stayed for five sunny days, three of which I spent on a juice detox and two were spent on a raw food diet. After a summer of festivals, holidays and fun it was a welcome break but the no-food-only-juice days were a shock to the system, mainly mentally because I hate going hungry! But after day two I started to settle into the process and after a few treatments a more positive feeling took over. Amchara is a laid-back, down to earth, nurturing and the people (staff and guests) really make the stay extra special. If you’re a first-timer to detoxing or fancy a relaxed retreat this is a great place to start. Here are the highlights with snapshots of my stay…

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Spa at home

Health and Fitness magazine, Jan 2014 Spa at home, Yanar Alkayat
‘Picture this. You’ve just had a luxurious body treatment and are enveloped in a sea of warm aromatic water, petals and herbs scattered on its surface. There’s a cup of fresh mint tea at your side and a blend of fragrant essential oils fills the air with an uplifting scent. As you lie back and close your eyes, the distant sound of waves gently drifts towards you… No, you’re not relaxing at an exotic spa, this is your private retreat, right in your own home.’
Health and Fitness magazine,  Jan 2014 Spa at home, Yanar Alkayat
My piece in the January issue of Health & Fitness magazine is on creating the perfect spa experience at home, out now, featuring some of my favourite spa brands, Ila, Decleor, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Elemis, Balance Me, Ushvani, Elemental Herbology, Aveda, Sultane de Saba – the brand to turn to for an authentic Hammam-style black soap – and many more.
There is also expert insight and recommendations from Carole Jones of Germaine de Cappuccini,

Katharine Mackenzie Paterson from Spa Illuminata and Melissa Choi from Choi Time Teas, for creating the right ambience and setting as well as tools and spa rituals for a bespoke spa experience at home.
Now is definitely the season, weather and time for retreating indoors for a cosy, rejuvenating and pampering night in. Pick up a copy here. Enjoy!

A very shiny organic manicure

I feel slightly behind the times as I only managed to visit the new WholeFoods in Piccadilly the other week, several months after it opened, and wow what a difference a few square metres make. This large new home, just around the corner from the old, is impressive; spread across two floors with a mouth-watering fresh foods area, dining mezzanine and treatment rooms, you can fulfil every natural health and beauty need.

Treatment I tried:  Pink’s Boutique Organic Manicure

Why it’s great:

If you want a truly organic manicure, this is the only treatment you need. Nail varnish can never be truly natural or organic so this is by default, a polish-free manicure. But fear not style-seekers, you’ll step out with the shiniest nails ever and won’t miss polish one bit.

Wow moments:

– A 100% natural sugar, salt and jojoba oil scrub for hand exfoliation. Skin has never felt so irresistible to touch.  This was the softest my hands have EVER been.

– A slice of fresh lime to whiten nail beds and nail tips. This natural beauty tip works real wonders before your eyes. Try it at home – just take a slice of lime and smooth under your nails for a fresher look.

– Nail buffing for shockingly shiny nails. Who needs polish when you can have ten totally natural and eye-poppingly shiny nails? I was mesmerised.

Founder of Pink’s Boutique, Kirstie Allen was in town that day and I was lucky enough to have my treatment done by the queen-bee herself, a very down-to-earth and lovely lady. An inspirational entrepreneur at just 32, she finished a history degree at Oxford University and decided to follow her passions in natural beauty and wellbeing; she set up the company with her partner Luke.

Luckily, this no-polish manicure is not just available at Wholefoods in London. You can find a beauty salon doing Pink’s Boutiques manicures around the UK here.

Enjoy and let me know if you have also loved any Pink’s Boutiques treatments.

New spa opens in the heart of central London

W London Leicester Square Away SpaLast week, after dodging through Chinatown’s people-heavy streets, late and stressed, I got whisked upstairs to the sixth floor of the newest hotel in town – W London Leicester Square. The hotel’s dark and minimalist hallways and corridors are a complete opposite to the spa: bright white and slightly futuristic. Flushed lacquer furnishings, fringe curtains, a sleek central lounge area and staff (also in white) speaking in whisper-like tones.

The atmosphere is definitely serene which is exactly what was intended. The treatment menu tends to the needs of tired (or partied-out) travellers – facials and body treatments by Ren and Aromatherapy Associates with relaxation and rejuvenation in mind.

I had the Away Facial which was shortened slightly (because I was late, of course) but I still managed to walk out with younger-feeling skin – the fruit enzymes in the Ren products are excellent at smoothing skin without the use of exfoliating granules or beads.

Ren Omega 3 Night Repair Serum

In the goodie bag was my now-favourite product – Ren Omega 3 Night Repair Serum. It’s a lightweight serum that is meant to help skin repair overnight but I can’t resist its gorgeousness with a light and zingy lemon scent, so I’ve been slathering it on morning and night and some of the day in between too. I’m sure Ren won’t mind will they?!

New spa scrub for smooth skin

A new blog post is long overdue. It’s been a busy month at work, getting the third issue of Expert Beauty out the door but in a few weeks it will hit the shelves in WHSmith and it will all be worth it! In between the late nights and early mornings, I managed to squeeze in a visit to a detox event at The Organic Pharmacy, sneak a peak at their new product launches (more of that later) and discover a new body scrub that’s really worth its price tag.

Cinq-Mondes-Aromatic-Spice-Scrub

First up, is a French spa range that’s just launched in the UK – Cinq Mondes (cinqmondes.com). Award-winning in France, it’s one of those brands that’s less about the glamour and pamper and more about giving you results for your hard-earned beauty buck.  The Gommage Aromatique aux Epices – which is Sea Salt and Spices Smoothing Body Scrub – is an unusual scrub-experience for a few reasons:

1. it’s a dark, murky brown colour

2. it smells a bit like a forest

3. it goes onto skin like squidgy putty

4. and then washes off in a milky-water way

I haven’t painted a very good picture but this scrub is really very good for a number of reasons:

1. it’s made mainly with sea salt and oils, plus a good pinch of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla – ingredients that promote circulation, soft skin and the removal of skin-dulling dead cells

2. when you work it into skin you suddenly feel like you’re in a Turkish hammam – the aroma of spices and gritty-doughy texture that say smooth skin is about to be yours

3. a little goes a long way across each limb as it doesn’t disappear quickly like some scrubs do

4. the milky wash off feels lovely and smooth to wash off (but be warned the smell isn’t that hot)

5. there are no mineral oils, artificial colours, animal based ingredients or silicones

6. you get a cute leaflet explaining how to give yourself a ‘dynamic massage’ with pointers to pressure points across the body

I always so you can tell a good beauty brand by the quality of its scrub (face or body), which means I’m looking forward to trying other Cinq Mondes products. The Tropical Nuts Melting Balm looks particularly good – another one that seems like it means the business for smooth skin.

Tried and loved: New Year’s day massage in Zanzibar

Me 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.

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