Anyone who knows me or has visited the Castle, would have to be the registered blind, if they didn’t twig within two minutes of entering, that they were not in the home of a normal person, in regards to the esteem held by occupant – for toiletries, make-up and perfume, henceforth referred to as TARTWARE.
Most people have pots, pans, food, cleaning gear in their kitchen. I have a top cupboard and double cupboard filled with unused tartware: the backup I will turn to when the world goes to pot – and when we all start eating each other like the cannibals in The Road, I will still have nice hair and smell good; a small comfort in such dark times. But hey, when the cannibal is eyeing me up and wondering . . . hmmm breast or thigh? I will go down feeling my best!
Because that is what good tartware should do, make you feel you best.
As a writer, you end up burning the candle at both ends. You end up staring at a screen and forgetting to blink and wondering why your eyes feel dry and sore in the morning. You face deadlines – real or self-imposed that interfere with your relaxation and your sleep. You wake up with that nagging edit or new idea and you can’t open your exhausted eyes, but you’re still feeling around for your pen and notebook in the dark, or you’re so beyond exhausted you’re dreaming you are writing it down when you are still fast asleep. YES I have done the latter. For real. I was gutted when I woke up to realise that the answer to the Meaning of Life hadn’t in fact been committed to paper. I’m actually not joking about that, it came to me in a dream. Like I said, gutted!
THIS is when great tartware can come to the rescue. And prop us up and keep us sane and hold back the ravages of stress on our minds and bodies until sanity returns and we start to sleep at night.
I wanted to review some recent offerings sent by Weleda, that have seen me through the stresses of publishing Gunshot Glitter, and seeing that we’ve enjoyed an indian summer and Bionsen whose bath products I adore, kindly sent me some funky new deodorants to road-test, I am also going to feature them too. In fact why don’t we start with them?
Bionsen makes aces deodorants
Traditionally, with deodorants, I’m a roll-on girl, I couldn’t stand sprays because I’d get engulfed in a cloudy fug I’d end up choking on. I’d never tried anything from the Bionsen range, but I was pleasantly surprised by their 24 hour deodorant spray (£3.29) because the spray came out in a nice, precise way and was instantly cooling and refreshing, it also had a clean, ionised air smell.
So big thumbs up from me. Their whole range is paraben-free and great for sensitive skin. Parabens were associated with cancer a while back and many companies now avoid using them in tartware. The thing that defines Bionsen’s range is that they use Japanese spa minerals copper, zinc and manganese to deodorise and neutralise the bacteria responsible for bad odours. So it means the products don’t act as an antiperspirant and don’t block the pores of the skin.
The roll-on (£2.29) from the range went on nice and cleanly, with a thin, non-sticky layer, and I really liked the smell, it was clean and fresh like the smell of the air on the beach. As the owner of almost a hundred perfumes ( at last count) I am fussy about that. Neutral smells are great as they don’t clash with the scent you are wearing. Bionsen’s offerings are also 100% aluminium free which means you won’t have it leaching into your body and potentially interfering with your brain. That bit isn’t a joke by the way, there’s been some real debate about it.
But the one I suspect they were most excited about me trying was the 100% natural deodorant Total Body (£4.49), which shook like a rattle in the box when it was delivered to me. I was a bit taken aback when I unpacked it. It was a bunch of salt rocks in a spray bottle. This is the first time I’ve come across a ‘make your own deodorant,’ it’s a novel idea. You fill up the bottle with water and are encouraged to use it as an all-over body deodorant and I mean ALL over your body, including the soles of your feet. You can even use it as an aftershave. And because it’s salt and water, it’s 100% natural.
The other cool thing is that the bottle can be refilled up to another four times, so effectively, you’ve got the equivalent of five deodorant sprays for the price of one, minus the dodgy chemicals which some boffin will probably come back and tell us is responsible for the evolutionary development of glow in the dark armpits.
I’ve got to say I was unconvinced to begin with. I’m from the ‘School of Scent is Queen’ and it just felt as if I was spraying myself with water. The instructions say wait a day. I’d advise waiting two to three and then you’ll notice the salt hit – and you know what? It’s quite pleasant! It’s like being misted with the scent of the sea left on your skin.
Plus, you don’t get the acrid, bitter stink (let’s face it is a stink) you get from a chemical-based deodorant reacting with your skin and fabric. The salt neutralises it. So that was a bit of a turn up for the books. It works better than the Lush rub on ones which to be honest just crumble and attract dust and dirt. Avoid those. And if you keep it in the fridge you’ll also get an especially icy hit. Watch out for the little crystals getting caught in the nozzle spray though.
So now we don’t smell absolutely minging, the other thing on my mind was my skin. Even being blessed with Mum’s amazing genes wouldn’t be enough to combat the stress I was putting this face and body through for Gunshot Glitter!
Weleda have been nourishing the mind, body and spirit since 1921
I’ve had a LOT of late nights and early starts in the last few months, so the least I could do was pamper my pores by way of compensation.
Weleda have a Wild Rose range of skincare which I adore. I got to trial the Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream (£13.95) and Night cream (£14.95). The creams were a real, genuine pleasure to use. I liked how silky the texture was of the day cream and the scent of rose wasn’t chemically pungent or artificial.
Weleda use real essential oils in their products, so you’re not wearing a load of artificial compounds on your skin. The oils actually absorb through your skin into your bloodstream. Both creams absorbed really quickly, to leave a light layer of hydrating protection on my face.
The Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream felt especially pampering, but not in a heavy-congest-your skin-kind-of-way-way. Just avoid applying it too close to the eye area to avoid puffiness and irritation. The smell of rose soon fades, but while you are applying it, the waft is lovely! It has Evening Primrose oil in it too, to aid skin regeneration and healing.
Bodywise, when I am tense, I love a good massage; my shoulders as a writer, always hunch up when I am focused and all my good posture intentions go flying out of the window! Body oils are really great for waking you up or calming you down. Plants have different properties, lavender is well known for soothing and healing. Weleda have a Body Oil range which excitingly also come in a wee travel/sample size box at £12.95. This way you get to get to try several and see what suits. I found the Lavender Relaxing oil really handy for a head, shoulder, back massage and Citrus Refreshing oil really perked me up too. The smell of lemons can invigorate your skin and lift your mood. Citrus is also detoxifying and good for brightening the skin.
The only thing I’d say is be careful, they’re not stoppered bottles and if you drop it, as I did with slippery fingers, you’re looking at a spillage disaster. Weleda use sweet almond oil as a base and I especially liked that the lavender had a smidge of frankincense in it add a depth of eastern warmth. It’s one of my favourite blends as lavender can be a tricky oil to blend right. Weleda’s gorgeous-smelling Wild Rose oil can even be used on your face for moisturising and massage. Little fact, it takes 3 tonnes of rose petals to make 1 litre of essential oil of rose. Along with jasmine, it’s one of the most expensive essential oils to procure.
Now for the BEST part . . .
The daddy, the King and Queen and all things in-between of relaxation for me, is the hallowed event which is the . . . bubblebath. I love them. I swear by them. I wouldn’t last two minutes living in a house which didn’t have a bath, unless of course I had the ocean on my doorstep (as I did from 2002-2003 in the Maldives). And my bath of choice is a corner bath or a lovely, retro Victorian bath. When I visit old country houses and observe the hipbath, I shake my head in despair, not only at how minging people were back then, but on how they missed out on the joy of feeling the beauty of water slip over their naked skin. It’s the closest we get to being back in the womb; such a sensual treat. I do some of my best thinking and brooding in the bath. And the potions that surround me are all picked to match my moods and needs. I use indulgent confections worth a mint and cheap and cheerful choices from the 99p store.
But when I write and I need a wake up, I reach for the citrus family. Weleda do a great Citrus Creamy bodywash (£7.95). Sometimes, I like using Body Shop’s exfoliating gloves in the bath. They’re brilliant; they get the blood circulating, remove dead skin and really work the scent and benefits of a product into your skin. You will be amazed at how soft and smooth your skin feels after a firm going over; just as good as a professional exfoliation treatment in a salon. If gloves are too aggressive for you, I completely recommend Bionsen’s Scrub Shower Gel (£2.79).
I’m not normally impressed with any kind of granular product in goo, but this one left my feet especially feeling smooth and soft.
And Bionsen’s Cream Shower (£2.79) wash for dry skin is amazing – and smells as mild and creamy as it looks. It will be your best friend, especially come winter, when central heating, wind and rain batter your skin. I first came across Bionsen several years ago when I tried their hydrating bubblebath. Soap based products can be drying. It was a pleasant surprise to discover this wasn’t and their range is wonderfully affordable too.
And if you are looking to chill-out, Weleda Lavender Creamy Bodywash (£7.95) is a wonderful night time treat if you need to mentally wind down and soothe your exhausted brain. It’s made using organic lavender and entirely biodegradable. Apparently Romans used to bathe in lavender scented water, the progressive tarts!
But they had the right idea. Tartware can be applied in a multi-layer effect for maximum benefit. A little body massage, followed by a relaxing warm bath or vice versa, should see you into a night of tranquil, rejuvenating deep sleep. Essential oil based products are a wonderful helping hand, seriously. I know they can be premium priced, but if you can afford them, splash out and get decadent you will definitely smell the difference.
So be good to your body, take care of that skin and that head of yours. Remember to go for a walk and a stretch to stave off Writer’s Arse, a technical term ; ) and give your eyes a break, and may your writing be filled with sparkle and wonder. I’m off for a bubblebath, not decided what I will plump for, but with a plethora of products in that little room of wondrousness, fairylights and feathers I am grateful to be spoilt for choice.
Spill the beans. Tell me what you enjoy using to make your feel good? Any favourites? Anything you think I’ve been missing? Spread the Tartware love. I’m, listening : ) Plus, look out for the formal launch of my new blog Tartware in 2013, I hope I have time to do It justice, but little secret, it’s already live now and if you want to get a head-start, and gasp, be featured – then head over there right now and find out what the deal is. Click here now and go take a mooch : ) Enjoy. I’m off to pick a potion.
Yasmin Selena x x
P.S. To everyone who has read Gunshot Glitter and been kind enough to spread the word – Thank you so very much! xxx. Please keep going, keep me in the loop. I get a thrill whenever I see a stranger mention they are reading it. I am on the case with print copies. There will be an update if you want one. Remember to write to me at GunshotGlitter2012@yahoo.co.uk if you’d like to reserve one and/or request a free sample of Chapters 1-7. You can also download the sample for free on Amazon Kindlestore world-wide.
For more information on Bionsen and Weleda including stockists visit:
Many thanks to Bionsen for the products and Weleda for the samples.