Lucky Cloud skincare - a review

Lucky cloud cleansing balm and face oil my new skincare faves

I am normally very brand loyal when it comes to skincare. I have, for many years used natural skincare Dr Hauschka and Liz Earle being my favourite.

I came across Lucky Cloud skincare last year and have been stocking their body care range since Easter time.  I have loved their products from the start for their simplicity, and natural, plant based ingredients making them perfect to use everyday but equally perfect to use on troubled skin whether that be eczema or other types of irritated skin conditions.

When they developed a cleansing balm and face oil I was super keen to give it a go especially since they both contain Neroli essential oil, one of my faves.

Not only does Neroli smell lovely it is known to improve the elasticity of the skin and is traditionally used to treat anxiety.

I have never used an oily cleanser before so was a little concerned that I might feel a bit greasy especially using the facial oil. I was pleasantly surprised as my skin feels super smooth and very clean (I use a white muslin cloth and it definitely gets the grime off!!!) I have yet to find a toner that I can use every day but Lucky cloud are developing one, My sister who is a beauty therapist says she uses a simple oil to cleanse her skin in the evening I have to confess my evening cleansing routine is not really routine at all much to my sister horror!! This cleanser would certainly meet her approval.

I then either add a couple of drops to my normal moisturiser or use the oil on its own. The oil leaves my face supple and smooth and not greasy especially if you leave your face for 5 minutes before putting on make up. 

There are many facial oils on the market all claiming various different things. Luck Cloud's facial oil, amongst others contains rosehip seed oil which is full of fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins helping to combat the effects of ageing and along with the mixture of oils and vitamins, I believe has the perfect mix to allow it to hold is own without breaking the bank.

Verdict - brilliant, smells divine, gentle on sensitive skin and leaves skin, cleansed and silky smooth.

The facial oil is now an essential part of my daily routine, I love it and since using it for over a month I have not had any red or itchy patches near my eyebrows that I can be prone to.

I love this brand and look forward to see what other lovely products they develop.

For the full range go to www.luckycloudskincare.com

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Should we be dressing our age?

Last week I had a 92 year old customer in the shop buying a gift for her sister's 90th birthday. She bought her a top by Molly Brown, it was navy blue lace with a pattern trim on the bottom and sleeves, modern, handmade and dare I say it "younger". This got me thinking what does dressing your age really mean? Do I do it?  Should I be doing it?

The last time I was bothered about dressing in the height of fashion, I was wearing a rah rah dress, odd fluorescent ankle socks, leg warmers and deely boppers.  I was a teenager and it really mattered that I looked like everyone else. Now I choose my clothes not because I care about fitting in with everyone else my age, but how they fit in with my lifestyle and ultimately because I like and feel comfortable in them. (Although I did get married in a red wedding dress so perhaps less concerned than many anyway)

The great Vivienne Westwood said "Buy less, choose well, make it last" A great piece of advice, I still have dresses in my wardrobe that I bought in my 20's and would still wear today if only I got out more!!

What we choose to wear regardless of age should be about style and not age, it's about finding good quality pieces  that can be worn over and over agin, that suit our shape, colouring and lifestyle, and that we feel great in. Having read many articles about this, many very contradictory, the best advice about dressing your age I could figure was, as your body shape, hair colour etc changes adjust your styles and colours to suit, because your clothes can make you look 10 years older equally as 10 years younger. Other than that, wear what you like, life is too short after all isn't it?

Due to the locality I get a huge age range in the shop and sell the clothing across the board which makes me happy. As a mother of 2 young children and now in my 40's I most certainly am not going to change the way I dress because I am getting older,but might naturally change things as a consequence of ageing i.e high heels and sore backs after carrying 2 children about for years. So hold off getting that purple rinse ladies it's not quite time to hang up your miniskirts if you don't want to!!!

 

This Molly Brown top now belongs to a 90 year old lady x

This Molly Brown top now belongs to a 90 year old lady x

The business of being in business

So we opened our doors to Piccadilly Lilly 9 months ago, having made the decision to move the family 60 odd miles to start afresh.

After much planning and  many should we shouldn't we debates we decided to take the plunge. The planning was very exciting, not allowing myself to think too much about failure.

I likened it to having a baby for the first time, so much goes into the planning for the birth that we forget that we have to look after the baby when it arrives, and quite frankly (for me anyway) giving birth was the easy part. Well, opening the shop felt a bit like the same, now it is here it needs my constant attention, I worry about it all the time, is it going to be ok? Of course I am not that naive, I knew looking after children/starting a business was going to be hard work - but really? that hard? I mean I have the read books. Both have induced me to tears, made me grey, and driven me to drink way too much more wine that I should.

I suppose thats where the similarities end. I have discovered that whilst making sure all their needs are met if you let children get on with things themselves, this can help them grow. Psychologists believe there is a link between boredom and imagination and that children need to be able to cope with boredom, because lets face it life is not all summer camps and sports activities in adulthood. It also suits my type of parenting style!

If however you leave your business to get bored it is in danger of dying. I have had an amazing response so far, with lots of lovely comments and repeat customers, but having just limped my way through my first winter season I am beginning to realise the importance of marketing and PR when starting out and that giving it constant attention will help it thrive. Once people come through the door things are fine, mainly people like what they see and I have a high conversion rate, but it's getting folk through the door that I struggle with. I also  have the added complication of being in a very seasonal location. Here are a few things I hadn't thought about that may prevent someone coming in.

  • If its quiet people feel awkward and don't want to come in therefore vicious circle
  • Is it too exclusive/expensive for them (it isn't everyone welcome but how do I get that across)
  • People don't know where it is
  • It doesn't look open from the other side of the street

I sometimes feel I am on the wrong side of the street but if you have a good enough product people will come, it's getting folk to come.

I also have learnt to be patient and lower my expectations as this helps with stress levels!!

I keep reminding myself of the positives to motivate me as I have had many days hypothetically walking round and round in circles until I eventually find myself taking random quizzes that friends post on Facebook such as what type of dog would I be, discovering how good at grammar I really am and my personality type, I am a Poodle by the way.

So after being paralysed in fear and self doubt for a good couple of months, spending time wondering what the hell I was thinking, it is now time to start planning the next year. I am not ready to give up. A customer who was also a shop owner said to me that if I can hold my nerve during the quiet times I will be ok. Now I understand what she meant.

I need to shout louder that I am here, explain better what I am about, hold my nerve. I need to enjoy the things that made me go into business in the first place, there is so much more to develop and discover, so hopefully I will be here this time next year with another years worth of lessons learnt.

So remember its ok to ignore the children but make sure you look after the business!!! 

All free advice very welcome...

Photos by Duke Photography

Photos by Duke Photography

Staying well for Christmas

I find this time of year particularly stressful - not because it is Christmas and all the extra work this brings, not because I have started a new business and I am trying to figure out how to get more footfall into my shop and onto my website, but because it's that time of year when there is always a child at school getting struck down with the winter vomiting bug and whole host of other snot inducing viruses.

Those of you who know me will be aware of my total vomit phobia, for which I have had quite a lot of therapy!!!(but lets leave that for another time) So how do I keep myself and family bug free?

Before my venture into the world of fashion and creative folk I actually qualified with a BSc Hons in Herbal Medicine and MSc in Public Health Nutrition and since having my first child 8 years ago my skills and knowledge have been in constant use.

Firstly  my aim is not to prevent getting colds, because it is virtually impossible to stop yourself from coming into contact with these viruses, but my aim is to keep the immune system as strong as possible and remaining as well as possible whilst your body fights it off and protects itself.

So here are my top tips for keeping well this Christmas

  • Eat well - plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, a well balanced diet. I believe it is all about keeping the right balance and boring as it may seem but the governments recommendation on the Eat Well plate are as good as any advice to follow. I absolutely do not recommend fad diets especially those that involve cutting out certain food groups or eating only raw food, pineapples, lemons or cheese!!! Eating should not be stressful, but again I will save that for another blog post.
  • Include lots of immune boosting foods in your such as turmeric and garlic as well as Ginger which is great for nausea and tummy troubles so lots of home made soups, stews and curries
  • As a herbalist I obviously use herbal tinctures and always have one for the immune system and one for stress made up and in use. My favourite go to herbs that I love to use during this time of year are Elderberry and Elderflower, Thyme and Liquorice, turmeric and of course the most used one I am sure Echinacea. If I am needing something to pick me up and destress I quite often will combine Passionflower, St Johns Wort, Lemon Balm and Vervain.
  • A multivitamin could be useful - of course we should all be having a vitamin D supplement in winter, especially important for children. Vitamin supplements should never be a substitute for a balanced diet. Make sure you get a decent good quality brand. The government also provides free vitamins for those on low income via their Healthy Start programme.
  • Get some sleep and rest. If you are feeling run down and tired, get some rest it will make you feel stronger in the long run.

Some useful over the counter  remedies I find very useful having in the house.

 

Weleda Cough medicine  The herbal elixir is really soothing for irritating coughs and suitable for the family

Bronchostop another cough medicine based on the traditional use of herbal remedies

Sambucol This remedy is an easy to take remedy containing Elderberry. We use this a lot in our house!!

Potters Herbals have a range of medicines and remedies based on traditional use. Not so suitable for small children but great for adults.

Neals Yard Remedies is a great shop selling high quality herbal products and individual tinctures. They also offer great advice as quite often you will find a qualified herbalist working on the shop floor ready to give some advice.

Remember seek the advice of a professional if you are unsure or worried.

It is obviously fine to take over the counter remedies but nothing beats having a consultation with a qualified practitioner who will be able to make a remedy especially for you based on an in depth medical history. They will also be able to advise regarding any contraindications.

 

 

Elderberry

A dress for every day in December

I recently opened my boutique and have become more and more concerned about the high human and environmental costs we pay for cheap food and clothing. In my previous life as a nutritionist and medical herbalist, I have managed to strike the right balance of knowing where my food comes from, but what about my clothes?

In the shop I have tried to support local makers as well as sourcing brands that work with manufacturers that guarantee  best practices in the process. Conscience clear you might think? I like many others have been watching what is happening around the world in shock  but it has also given me the desire to do something positive to help redress the balance.

So when I stumbled upon the Dressember foundation it felt the right thing to do.

As women take on the challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women and raising the awareness against worldwide human trafficking and modern slavery.

According to The Fashion Globe 

"Slavery in the fashion world can appear in a variety of forms from harvesting the cotton for a t-shirt, spinning the fibre to yarn, sewing the garment and modelling the final product. The difference between slavery and extremely exploitative labour can be vague and the fashion industry walks a fine line"

http://www.thefashionglobe.com/modern-day-slavery-in-the-fashion-industry

I hope over the next 31 days I can raise awareness of this issue and raise some funds for the two charities involved, The a21 campaign who's aim is to end human trafficking and the International Justice Mission who work to rescue victims of slavery

Please support this worthwhile foundation, by spreading the word, raising awareness, donating money or send me a dress to wear and I will sell it at a fashion show I have planned. All the money from the dresses sold will be donated.

www.dressember.org

 

www.a21.org

www.ijm.org

Even our christmas tree is a dress!!