Healing Wonder // Magic Organic Apothecary

This post is a dream for me to write, hand on heart I use a MOA product every single day be it the magic of green balm or the soothing qualities of the fortifying green bath soak.   I don’t know why I haven’t written about this wonderful brand before as it’s been in my bathroom cabinet for quite a few years now.  I definitely need to be shouting rather loudly about it as I most certainly couldn’t be without it and I think if you don’t already know about MOA then you most certainly should.

It all starts with the humble herb yarrow or it’s Latin name Achillea Millefolium, I grow it in my garden but it can be found up and down the land growing in hedgerows all across the country.  This simple but beautiful plant holds amazing properties for healing and repair that go back centuries   It is steeped in history and folklore for it’s healing powers but has been slightly over looked in modern day skin care, until now.

I talked to Charlie the owner of MOA about how it all started and what plans she has for the future.

It all began after my first child Jemima was born, she suffered with horrible eczema as a toddler and so I started to look into the petrochemicals being prescribed and began to realise the scary long term effects of using these creams on a daily basis. Although I was lucky enough to have been brought up with home cooked meals, becoming a mum had opened my eyes to a more healthy plant based diet and I was more conscious about what we put in, and on our bodies and what to avoid!

I inherited a love of gardening and plants from my Father and Grandmother and had become really interested in herbology and was introduced to a humble herb named yarrow (Achillea Millefollium), this powerful, ancient healing herb has so many properties and I was astonished to find that very few skincare products contained this miraculous ingredient, despite being a favourite amongst many herbalists.  I was also particularly charmed and inspired by the wealth of magical folklore surrounding our plants and flowers. I draw all the illustrations and design the packaging and have always been fascinated by myths and magic and so these old tales have become an important part of the MOA brand. I am constantly inspired by nature and I love being outdoors appreciating the shifts in seasons and all the different flora and fauna that emerge throughout the year.

Our original product, The Green Balm harnesses the powers of our hero herb yarrow – Achillea Millefolium, it takes its Latin name from Greek hero Achilles, who legend has it, used it to heal his soldiers wounds after battle.  With its simple nourishing base and tea tree, nature’s powerful antiseptic, it creates a powerful healing synergy and can be applied to soothe a lengthy list of skin complaints from eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, bruises, minor burns and it also makes a wonderfully balancing facial cleanser, ideal for acne and problematic skin.  My whole family use it for everything at home, we have pots all around the house!  In the beginning I worked alongside a herbalist to create our organic Green Balm, but now I have gained more experience, I start the initial formulations at home and bounce ideas off my small team and my family.  The yarrow is grown at an organic farm in Somerset, which is where I grew up, I try and get down there to sow the seeds as I love the creative process of making a product from start to finish.

We already have new ideas in development for 2018, I am impatient to get them out there, but the process is so long and we are all so busy juggling the rest of the business, so it takes time.  All our newer products are all vegan and we are also looking at ways of becoming more eco, using less plastic and recycling our bottles somehow. So looking forward to revealing our next product launching this April”

I like to take care of my skin and my evening routine involves MOA, to relax and de stress I always take a bath using either the fortifying green bath potion or the dreamy mineral soak.  When I need to focus on my breath and relax my limbs then green bath potion is my preferred choice.  The heady scent of peppermint and detoxifying fennel help enormously, this revitalising herbal blend makes your skin tingle and is also brilliant if you are feeling a little under the weather.   If I’m wanting to wind down ready for a good nights sleep then the therapeutic qualities of a salt bath using the mineral soak is perfect.  The scent of lavender oil eases your mind and the antiseptic lemon peel gently brightens the skin.


I finish off treating myself to Hello Sunshine an energising zesty body oil hydrating and purifying my skin, the citrus sweet notes of antibacterial lemongrass and marjoram essential oils awaken the senses, kick-starting circulation providing essential minerals, antioxidants and vitamins to protect and tone.  It truly is sunshine in a bottle and makes me feel fabulous.

Of course green balm gets used for everything especially on a daily basis for keeping my hands and feet soft and subtle.  Ruby my daughter uses it as facial cleanser which helps enormously with her teenage skin.  I’m also starting to use Aphrodite facial oil to help ward off premature ageing especially my neck and to smooth fine lines around my eye giving my skin a radiant glow.

So yes I would be totally lost without my MOA products they make my skin feel alive.  Plus the added gravitas of the products being cruelty free by carefully selecting organic and botanical ingredients that improve overall well being.  Also creating mindful and conscious packaging using recycled board and vegetable inks for printing, everything that I hold dear in my every day life.

If you love MOA as much as I do or want to give it a try Charlie has generously given me a discount code for my readers to use to get 25% off all products until 30th April using TEA25 at checkout.  Let’s start the green balm revolution together!


  • With thanks to MOA for gifting products for the purpose of this post.


One Dark Wall

I’m not going to tell you how to decorate with dark paint, just a simple post embracing the darker shades just because I love them.

I lean towards dark walls in my home, even to the point of painting wall and ceiling the same colour which gives a wonderful cocooning effect, if you have decent windows natural light bounces off the surfaces without making the room feel claustrophobic.

I think its a total myth that dark walls make a room feel small, it has the opposite effect in my house.  I’m not suggesting to paint every surface black by any means. A balance of light and shade is good, such as painting an entrance hall in a dark hue revealing a bright living space. It definitely draws the eye.

Places to get inspiration for going over to the dark side are Abigail Ahern and Rockett St George. They both use dark elements to amazing effect and show you how it can be done well.

Some of the best paint brands do exquisite dark tones, Cassandra Ellis new paint range is delicious with names like Bitter Chocolate and Ink.  My old favourites Farrow & Ball who I have used extensively throughout my home, the latest dark colour I have used is Blue Black which is deliciously inky.  Bauwerk Colour do some wonderfully rich shades with their unique limewash paint also I can’t forget Little Greene and their deep colour choices.

So my advice is if you are thinking about dark paint and are a little reluctant, don’t be; give it a go and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Start small and maybe paint one wall at first but I know once you start you won’t be able to stop.   Another thing to remember is it’s only paint; if you really don’t like it then get the brushes out and change it.

If you need a little more inspiration come and follow my dark pinterest board, so many ideas all in one place.

Now what can I paint next, I’ve got my eye on Off Black and maybe some more dark tiles for our bathroom when we get around to changing it!


Images 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14



Snow Stops Play

Well not exactly, shall I say snow stopped work plans but how often do you get chance to have time off with your daughter when you work from home!

So my planned post for this week went out of the window sidelined for cuddles on the sofa, watching movies, drinking hot chocolate and being entranced by the snow swirl outside the window.

Normal services will resume next week, well that is if the weather behaves itself.




A Winter Weekend Break in Oxford

I think I’m going to let the images do the talking in this post.  I have no words to describe how much I adore Oxford, so our fleeting visit wasn’t long enough I needed more time, days, weeks, years!!

We treated ourselves and stayed in a pretty cool pub for the two days of our whistle stop visit, I would highly recommend The Head of the River perfectly placed beside the Thames and walking distance into the city.  The rooms are designed well with all the extra touches to make your stay feel like home.  The bar and food are superb too, I can’t fault the attention to detail and didn’t want to leave.

The weather was a bit brisk but we wrapped up warm and crammed in as many of the sights we possibly could muster.  We spent twilight listening to a choir singing in Christ Church Cathedral, wandered around Balliol College, went up the tower of St Mary’s to take in the aerial view of the dreaming spires and spent a couple of hours indulging in art and history in the Ashmolean.  We wandered through Jericho and visited Illyria Pottery  it was also joy to finally meet Katie the owner who let me go down to look at where the pottery magic happens in her studio below the store.  It’s a must visit if you are ever in Oxford.  Of course I indulged in a little retail therapy, a beautiful bowl from Illyria and a few purchases from Object of Use, the unique independent store that is a must visit. Also I couldn’t leave without a browse in Toast and treated myself to a new early Spring dress.

You are never very far away from some rather cool independent coffee shops and restaurants, the best coffee to be had at Society Cafe and the most delicious sourdough pizza at Franco Manca.

Apart from all of that there is still so much to see and do, we didn’t even scratch the surface but one thing you do get to see everywhere you go is the stunning rich warm tones of the sandstone architecture which takes your breath away.

I didn’t want to come home but alas I had to but until next time, Oxford you were a blast.



Cabin Escapes

Winter mood, makes me turn to all my wonderful interior books that are filled with homes that encapsulate the cabin vibe, Scandinavian style at its cosiest.  This time of year makes me want to disappear into the woods to my fictional cabin and weather out these darker months before Spring returns in a cocooned state of happiness.

I wonder if like me you feel exactly the same, piling up the blankets and throws, snuggling up in your chunky knit jumpers and warmest slippers creating that little bit of cabin style in your own home.  So settle yourself down and dream with me. Bring on all the wood, texture, sheepskins, blankets, tactile concrete, picture windows with cushion-strewn seats and the obligatory log burner with neatly stacked log pile.

Simple pleasures of a layered bed to sleep in, a warm inviting bathroom to thaw out in after being outside in the forest, the squishiest sofa to curl up in with a warming mug of hot chocolate to indulge in and more wood, more and more!

The best publications to give you that cabin high and ones that I turn to at this time of year are Elle Decoration Country and The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark,  let’s escape together.


Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11


January Skies


Well here we are January and I’m sat typing this still in holiday mode watching the rain pouring down outside and I have the lights on in the middle of the morning!    That said I quite like the feeling of hunkering down, laying low for a while gathering my thoughts not running head long into the year at a fast pace with a list as long as my arm of things I know I couldn’t possibly achieve.  I am a go slow kind of person, always have been but I get there in the end.  So no resolutions for me just keeping up with what I have been doing and improving on that.  Now that the Christmas decorations are packed away for another year I like the feeling of space and will take the time to stop and look around to fully appreciate all the wonderful things I have in my life and have achieved over the last year.

I find this month one of true reflection and self care.  I have planned to get outside more than ever this year, it truly helps clear ones head along with my morning swim.  I do pretty well on looking after myself, I make time on an evening to have a soak in the bath but this year I am definitely going to invest more in invigorating potions to add to the water, one of my favourite places to go is Magic Organic Apothecary, these guys really know how to self care the natural way.  Once out of the steamy bath I like nothing more than to wrap myself up in a luxurious gown and  Toast do the best ones around, one of my gifts this year was a Kimono style gown that I could honestly live in!  I adore anything from Aesop and have gradually over time added most of their products to my bathroom cabinet, a soothing face mask rejuvenates the skin especially at this time of year when you can feel a little sluggish.

Another great thing about the darker days is being able to curl up with a good book, wrapped up in blankets to lose yourself for a while.  Take the time to enjoy that pot of tea rather than drinking it on the go, things can wait. Nothing is more important than looking after yourself and one of the most beneficial things we can do is sleep, so after lingering over that cup of tea, taking a soak in the tub and wrapping yourself up in your linen gown, climb under the duvet and let your body rest, no phone, no laptop just pure sleep.  What are these darker days for if we can’t take time out to properly look after ourselves when the sun goes down.

I do hope that you are taking time out too to slow down and enjoy these winter days, simple and still is most certainly the way to do it.





Bringing in the New Year

Just popping in to wish you all a glitter filled New Year.  I hope that Christmas was magical and that New Years Eve will be a sparkly champagne fuelled affair.

Enjoy whatever you are up to, I will of course raise a glass to each and everyone of you and look forward to bringing you more interior joy in 2018 but for now I am signing off for the last time this year, happy and content.

Happy New Year


(Images via pinterest)

Sideboard Sparkle with Out There Interiors

I do love a bit of bling at this time of year, no need to go over the top but a few subtle touches makes all the difference.  I know it is a bit of a diversion from my usual monochrome paired back hues but it is Christmas after all and who can resist a white ceramic pineapple!

Let me introduce you to Out There Interiors, the place to go to get the Christmas look that you are after, be it colour coordinated accessories, retro glam or Nordic chic this on line store has it all.  Their easy to use site guides you to everything you need without the fuss.  You can find that perfect drinks cabinet and ultra stylish champagne glasses to the softest lambskin throws and luxurious cushions to create a cosy corner for these chilly winter days.

I thought I’d add a bit of glamour to my sideboard this year, a few little touches to create a subtle vignette of cool.  Whites with a hint of brass makes quite a statement on my white sideboard and dark blue walls.  The wonderful Too Glam to Give a Damn sign sums me up perfectly and one can never have too many candle holders, these perfect wire conical ones will look fabulous on my Christmas dining table on the big day.  I like creating different heights when it comes to grouping candles so these are an added bonus to my ever growing collection.  Nothing beats candle light at this time of year, creating all the magical sparkle within it’s flames.

It’s definitely not too late to get those last minute interior accessories to make your home even more homely and inviting than it already is, like I said at the beginning of the post who can resist a white ceramic pineapple!


Lighting the Way with Kovac Family

My passion for simple design is growing constantly along with sourcing brands that hold sustainability within their hands to create wonderful products that move forward with technology but keeping their integrity and ethos focused on the environment around them.

I can’t deny that I have been an admirer of Kovac Family for a very long time, such simple elegance in everything that they do.  The Sweden based multidisciplinary company is run by Camilla and Christopher Kovac, designing and running their business as environmentally friendly as they possibly can.  All their products are made in Sweden using sustainable materials and sold exclusively in their showroom and online store.

Their ambition is to create products that have the smallest impact possible on the environment by sourcing the materials needed and producing them locally.  The challenge was to be able to create something using a minimum amount of certified environmentally friendly materials as possible and also have the capacity to be easily recycled.

Their collection is simply called Numbers, each product named after the number of parts used to construct each form, yes as simple as that!   The inspiration behind it all comes from nature itself, the question asked is, how can we make this better in all aspects to improve the every day life and our environment, a question we should find ourselves asking every single day.

The versatility of these stunning lights is wonderful, the shape mimicking that of a shell can be placed anywhere, as well as hung creating a focal point where ever it is positioned.  They come with either 3 or 5 metres of cord giving you plenty of options to drape and hang to perfection.  I had great fun placing this stunning Ebonized Oak 25Lamp around my home, I think it’s final resting place with be hanging low over my kitchen table creating a delicate pool of light and added wow factor.

14Lamp is the new design, smaller than the 25Lamp but perfectly formed and still as striking, they would look fabulous hung low as bedside lights, hmmm now there’s an idea!

Each light be it oak, ash, waxed, striped, dip dyed, freckled or whitened comes delivered flat packed in a box smaller than one you would get a pizza in!   You ingeniously fold out the pieces to create the iconic shape, total genius.  Such simplicity in it’s beauty, bringing sustainability to our homes with clever design is something we should all strive for.


  • with many thanks to Kovac Family for the Ebonised Oak 25Lamp







A Considered Home

For a long time now as a family we have made a conscious decision to improve the way we live, taking into account every aspect of our daily life.  It takes no time at all to assess the every day things we do and make small changes to be more sustainable in our homes.

Arhaus featured a tip of mine in one of their infographics, quite proudly I could have given quite a few but this is the one I chose.

Arhaus are leading the way in sustainability striving to make the home wares industry more environmentally friendly for all as you can see above.  They make many of their products with organic fabrics and materials, including their earth-friendly sectionals.

So how can we make a difference, I say start small and build from there, the impact of just changing your your light bulbs to energy efficient ones has a massive effect, they don’t need to be utilitarian looking either the technology out there today is amazing, all my light bulbs are low energy led squirrel cage designed so look fabulous and use hardly any electricity.  As a family we made a choice to use a green energy company to supply our gas and electricity, they source all of their electricity from renewable sources and off-set the carbon emissions from the gas they provide.  We also have a smart meter which helps us keep track of the energy we are using.   Another great tip is to time yourself in the shower, it’s amazing how much water you can be saved by using what you need rather than squandering it.

When it comes to cleaning and washing think about the products you are using,  I use eco-friendly ones even down to my washing powder, no harmful chemicals involved at all.  I don’t have a tumble drier either, clothes dried outside in the fresh air is the best way, just takes a little more time but uses no energy other than what nature provides.  On those inclement days clothes airers in doors do just fine.

As a consumer try and think about the ethical benefits of all the items you buy for yourself and your home, even down to the clothes you wear, the bedding you sleep in, the towels you dry yourself on, the paint you use for your walls, the furniture you choose to have in your home.  Each and every one  of these small things add up to a larger picture, it’s not rocket science but a little time and effort can help change things for the better.  There are many wonderful companies out there today that are trying very hard to make a difference to how we live putting a great emphasis  on ethical values.  It’s the little changes we make that will most certainly have the biggest impact in the future.

I could go on and on, going into greater depth on each subject but for now, change your light bulbs, sleep in linen sheets, don’t use too much water in the shower and stop using that tumble drier!


  • Images 5, 7 & 9



The Unique Lily by Jessica Zoob

To own an original piece of art is a rare thing but something that I whole heartedly recommend everyone should aspire to have no matter how big or small.  Something unique to you that will bring years of joy when you look at it, a future heir loom if you will.

I am lucky to call artist Jessica Zoob a dear friend, her work is breathtaking, filled with emotion, passion and the most beautiful colours.  I had the privilege to visit Jessica’s studio earlier this year to view her most recent collection and to take a look at a new idea that she was working on at the time: printing a selection of original paintings onto metals.

These rather special limited edition artworks are so very different to anything I have ever seen, to take an original painting and print it onto copper, brass, or stainless steel with a white ink layer is quite something, this amazing technology directly fuses the ink onto the metal giving the colours a wonderful depth.  The metallic highlights seep through to create a truly beautiful and unique piece.

I shall let Jessica explain why a print is more than just a copy of an original below and you can find out more about this stunning collection on her website.

I decided to create this collection when I discovered the innovative method of printing high quality images of my work directly onto metals. This offers a completely different and creative outlet to my primary working method of painting with liquid oils. I found this hugely exciting!

Although creating a print involves reproducing an image, a fine art print is so more than just a copy of an original. This project has been a close collaboration with my print studio the DPC in Greenwich, a team of highly skilled technicians. My metal lily prints will never be mass produced. A limited number (editions) of only eight of each lily on each metal have been produced. They will only be sold directly through me, from my online store. As a result they are true works of art.”

Now the wait is over the Metal Lily Print Collection launches on Thursday 16th November and will be available to buy from Jessica’s online store.  I am also honoured to be able to give my readers a 10% discount (plus free shipping in the uk) if you choose to purchase one of these unique pieces, all you have to do is use the code teawithruby10 at the checkout.  The perfect Christmas present for the one you love don’t you think?



A Week In Pictures

I thought rather than me ramble on this week I shall just let you see why I adore the Lake District so very much.  I think I have said a million times that I leave a little part of my soul there when I leave and this time was no different.

I had time to stop and breathe in the cool air and mind blowing vistas, spent precious hours with my family enjoying each others company without laptops or mobile phones.  I indulged in books when it got too dark outside to see the view of the lake.  We huddled in coffee shops out of the rain, ran along windswept beaches, got wet under waterfalls, kicked autumn leaves in the forest and didn’t want to come home.

What are half term holidays for but a bit of down time away from what you are used to, I have a few more days to hold onto this magic.


A Few Days Away

Autumn holidays to be truthful I think are my favourite.  I’ve been counting down the days looking forward to our break in the Lakes.  At this time of year they are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the colours that nature brings which we reflect in our home for our well being.

So on that note, not really a full post this week but some Autumn inspired mood boards that conjure up the smell of wood smoke, warming hands on mugs of steaming hot chocolate, curling up under woollen blankets.  Bringing those warmer tones into your homes creating rich interiors for you to enjoy over the coming weeks.

See you all in a week, I hope you enjoy the end of this glorious month as much as I am going to.


All images via pinterest


Reflection // Time to Hibernate

Some weeks you just have to slow down.  The world that I work in can be full on if you let it, you don’t realise that you don’t take time out to have a break, even on weekends you are working.  So for the next few weeks I’m taking a little time to myself and not feeling at all guilty about it.

I’m going to finish some things around the house before Winter arrives, make our home cosy for Autumn.  Enjoy the half term holiday, taking the time to eat well and have lots of sleep.  I’m also going to indulge in reading, not just my usual interiors based magazines and publications but books, ones that I can escape into another world, ones that I can’t put down.

Time to switch off the phone and laptop and take care of me, to recharge those batteries and come back full of beans and inspiration to take on the run up to the Christmas break.  I have a few projects coming up in the next month that I’m very excited about and I’m looking forward to working with these wonderful brands Bauwerk, Mandarin Stone and Kovac.

But for now, the kettle is on, the book is open and the throw is waiting for me to curl up under, heaven.

Do you take time off to recharge the batteries, if so what things do you do to make you feel rested and rejuvenated?


Images 9, 10 & 11 the rest are my own