Seasonal Self Care at Home // State of Liberty

I find the beginning of the year to be one of reflection, nurture, using the time to look after yourself, your body and mind whilst the daylight is scarce and the weather a little cold and bleak.

I have been lucky enough to get to know Lizzie Jones from State of Liberty, who runs her company with our well being firmly at the fore.  State of Liberty retreats are designed so that you can enjoy a retreat experience in the comfort of your own home, how wonderful is that.  The retreats are inspired by nature and aligned with the seasons, each season supports, nourishes and prepares the body for the next season creating a constant cycle of well being.  All very clear and simple, and something we all forget about in our face paced lives that we have chosen to live and consume.  If we stop and take the time to think and compartmentalise we can often see the simpler picture.

Based on the the five seasons used in traditional Chinese medicine, each season correlates to one of the five elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water.  Influenced by these  five elements, Lizzie has created a retreat, a pamper box and an essential oil blend for each season.

The Seasonal Pamper Box compliments the online retreat content and has been designed specifically to deliver an overwhelming sense of calm directly to your door.  Every purchase you make comes with access to exclusive online content that is there to help you effortlessly incorporate State of Liberty products into you self care routine with ease.

I can honestly say that the Winter Pamper Box is one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received.  The older I get the more aware I am of looking after myself so I am pretty good at early nights, sleeping well, reducing my screen time and cooking nourishing home made food.  I also swim regularly and walk as much as I can.  One of the nicest things to my routine is bathing and looking after my skin.  So the Winter Pamper Box is perfect for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of making my own simple face mask, lighting the candle and having a hot soak in an epsom salt bath, being intoxicated by the wonderful aroma of the winter blend essential oil of Frankincense, Patchouli and Pettigrain.

To me it’s dedicating the time, going through the ritual of preparing that face mask or bath, switching off from the world and creating your own retreat that is just for you.  Emptying your thoughts concentrating on your breathing and giving yourself over to the sheer bliss of being relaxed and calm.  All of which we are capable of doing if we choose to notice and make an effort to do so.

What is also so delicious about State of Liberty is their attention to detail, the boxes are beautifully designed and crafted with care, all packaging used is eco friendly all bespoke and handmade in the UK using recycled materials.  It is also designed to be reused and you can refill any of the base ingredients in your box by simply returning your empty glass bottles or canvas bags, they will be refilled and posted back to you.  Along with this dedicated service you also have access to the Wellbeing Resource Library where you can get regular updates with expert advice on seasonal living, self care, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, seasonal food, pamper and sleep.  Its good to know if you are finding anything a little stressful that help is just a click away.

If you do find self care difficult you can sign up to the weekly wellbeing toolkit that will guide you gently into integrating wellbeing into your everyday.  What is not to like about having that friendly hand to hold to bring a moments peace and happiness to counteract the busy.

As a thank you State of Liberty are offering my readers a 15% discount on the Winter Pamper Box using the code SOL-TEAWITHRUBY a perfect gift to yourself for the New Year don’t you think?

Jx

With thanks to State of Liberty for gifting the Winter Pamper Box for the purpose of this post.

 

 

When the Week Goes Awry

Some weeks just have you beat, this being one of them.  All my grand plans for my post this week have gone out of the window.  The week started with me having a huge social conscience dilemma and has ended with one too.

I watched the BBC documentary Drowning in Plastic and it caused me great heartache and sadness that turned slightly to helplessness and despair.  I wrote about my thoughts on instagram which caused a large debate, fortunately everyone seemed to be in the same boat as me but I must admit I felt rather drained by it.  The discussions my husband and I had and the endless  research into how else we can reduce our plastic took many hours.  I have also been doing paid work for brands this week that I don’t shout about much. Along with this we decided to completely trash our bathroom.  Making a new bath panel and repainting the floor, eradicating DIY horrors from the previous owners (the bathroom is still not finished). Scrubbing dirt and fixing pipes wasn’t so pleasant.

My second dilemma of conscience came in the form of a fashion brand that launched a new collaborative collection yesterday.  My gorgeous 13 year old daughter Ruby has been waiting patiently for months for a certain dress in the collection in the morning before I had chance to wipe the sleep out of my eyes it was out of stock.  This on top of my conflict about whether I was buying fast fashion for my teenager made me really evaluate my beliefs.   It’s easy for me to buy ethically as I am an adult and I do try to increasingly live in a sustainable way but buying clothes for teenagers is so very difficult.  It bothered me hugely that I had been sucked in by this crass marketing ploy that left me feeling rather confused.

So a big sorry from me for getting this all off my chest, if you have any solutions for me I’d love to hear them.

Jx

 

Dreaming In French

Holidays are precious things.  Time to be with the ones you love without any distraction other than being with each other.  As a family we enjoy our holidays and are lucky enough to squeeze a few in now that we have a caravan, we can hitch up and go.  This post is a little ode to our recent break away in France, it’s not a travel guide, I didn’t receive anything for free, it’s not full of trendy Scandi style eateries or homeware stores just a simple post about the most beautiful eclectic, idyllic unspoilt corner of the world that we called home for two weeks.

I found peace in the little town called Le Pouldu, it usually takes me a few days to settle somewhere new and even more after a long journey like ours but within hours of setting up our mobile abode I felt a sense of ease which was rather refreshing.  This small town in Southern Brittany is unpretentious, it isn’t full of tourism or lots of Brits, no big hotels or camp sites that are all inclusive.  You have to fit in with the local French folk who live there and that is exactly what we did, it was so liberating.

We hardly went anywhere in the car, only if we needed a supermarket run for supplies we couldn’t get from the local grocery store.  We walked everywhere and explored a new corner every day discovering the coastal paths, through the streets and fields to the port, short cuts to the beach, back up the main street to window shop in the unique artisan stores.  The houses were dreamy and we talked of owning one to live in forever, especially the ones with sea views.

The proximity to the sea from our little camp site was just perfect, you could hear the waves as you woke on a morning calling to you.  I swam everyday in the Atlantic, floating, cloud watching trying to savour every moment to the memory bank for those winter days to come.   The beaches in small coves weren’t full of tourists just locals enjoying the sunshine, I felt part of something bigger, laying in the sunshine toes in the sand, catching up on many books I have been stockpiling.

Everything goes at a different pace over there, it was restorative to be part of it even if it were for only a short while. Breakfasting later with fresh croissants and coffee bought that morning,  even later lunches of crusty baguette and goats cheese with a glass of local cider to the sound of boules being played on our camp site.  Afternoons lazing on the sand, swimming, laughing, reading being with each other.  Evenings wandering markets, watching firework displays, drinking muscadet by the port, walking the paths of the town to watch the sunset over the horizon or enjoying a meal out learning more French and being treated by the waiters to after dinner rum.

I always like bringing home with  me a few things to remind me of places we have visited and this holiday has been no different.  We invested in a new piece of art, small and simple but by a wonderful artists called Marie-Laure David who has a gallery in Pont Aven the town of artists.  I treated myself to some exquiste ceramics in a cool store in Le Pouldu  La Station by ceramist Anne Huet Rapeaud and of course the obligatory wicker basket and a couple of monochrome hammam towels from the local market.

Whilst away I truly switched off, I didn’t think about anything apart from what I was doing that day.  I didn’t plan or work, I hardly posted anything I was just living in the moment which was refreshingly wonderful.  On my return it has made me think a little, wondering in what direction I want to go with when it comes to Tea with Ruby, I suppose I’m not quite sure, I’m not one for chasing the bright lights, scrambling for the next big thing or shouting about it constantly, maybe I’m getting left behind but hey c’est la vie.  What it has taught me is to live every moment in the now, I’m sure something will come along to engage me once again in this funny old world we live in.

Jx

 

 

Away Days

I work pretty hard most of the time, making sure everything goes to plan, be it with my work or home life.  So when it comes to taking a few days away I truly enjoy the peace and quiet, no checking in with work, all technology turned off and put away so I can totally be in the moment.

So on that note I hope you all have a great weekend what ever you are up to.  I will be soaking up the clean air, breathing it in deep and taking in my surroundings to the max.

Jx

Well Being For You and Your Skin // La Eva

Being mindful of how you are living and taking care of your self come hand in hand.  We as a family have been making big changes over many years to be better in our every day lives, reducing waste, being careful in what we buy and where from ,creating a balance that we are comfortable with.  Now I am focusing on my well being through daily exercise and looking after not only what goes in my body but what goes on it.  I am very lucky that what I do brings me into contact with some fascinating people and today I would like to introduce you to LA-EVA who are definitely transforming the way I am going to nourish and look after my skin.

LA-EVA  a juxtaposition of lae.va meaning left of centre and e:va the female name meaning life, living one, mother of life or full of life.  A natural evolution from specialising in cold process soap making in an artisan studio on the edge of a saw mill in Oxfordshire, owner Louise gradually worked on exploring palettes of scents and the care and attention needed to create something beautiful using natural raw ingredients.  Building relationships with farmers, suppliers and the Soil Association along the way.

By bringing in new elements, blending them with inspiration and collaborations with artists works who’s ethereal textured paintings now decorate the amber glass bottles that LA-EVA produce.  Through this creativity ideas were generated and a careful range of products has emerged, beautiful, organic, universal units of well being. All inspired by sensory experiences and a deep love of art.

I couldn’t put it more perfectly than this quote.

‘LA-EVA stems from a spirit of joie de vivre, builds on artisan roots, and aligns naturally with the organic movementLA-EVA comes together where the senses meet skincare, where luxury is aligned with simplicity and where body & mind are treated as one.’

Not only are the bottles extremely beautiful to look at the elixir inside them is wondrous.  I have had the pleasure to sample the Rosēum wash and lotion along with the Jasmīna oil or liquid gold as my friend describes it.  Both scents are intoxicating, you don’t rush when using them, you slow down, breath and enjoy the process of applying these lotions to your skin.  The integrity of caring for yourself and your overall well being in the knowledge that you are also caring for others and the planet is rather a wonderful thing.

The combination of wash and lotion work so well together, the wash leaving your skin deeply, naturally cleansed and the lotion to soften and hydrate the skin nourishing you with the gentle hue orfrose geranium and citrus notes of petitgrain fusing with warm clove awakening the senses.

I think my favourite is the lightweight oil, I never thought oil would work so well but it soaks into your skin leaving behind its wonderful more masculine scent of jasmine, green thyme and warming black pepper.  It is an amber bottle of joy that has many uses, not only hydrating the skin of your face and body but also can be used to nourish dry hair and nails.  Liquid gold indeed, with many talents.

There are two other scents in the collection, Blū which comes in wash and lotion has woody, smoky undertones of cedar and vetivert fused with the herbaceous aroma of chamomile blue a soothing combination offering peace and clarity.   Spīce is the scent available in shampoo and conditioner, with vitalising ginger blending with amber tones of patchouli and the warming aroma of cinnamon leaf, an invigorating treat for your hair and scalp.

The philosophy behind LA-EVA is simple, that delight can be found in everyday experiences and self care.  Their products are units of well being and recognise that they link body and mind via a sensory pathway.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything LA-EVA are achieving and urge you to take a look and try some of their beautiful, organic, universal units of well being, you’ll thank me for it.

Jx

  • with thanks to LA-EVA for gifting the products that made this post possible.

 

 

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!

Jx

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

 

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.

Jx

Inspiration

Sometimes I feel a little lost, this is when I try very hard to not feel guilty for stopping for a while.  Putting the phone down and turning it off, not going near the laptop and to tell myself it doesn’t matter that I’ve stepped away from the technology for a moment.   I get a bit frustrated with myself that I can’t muster good ideas or create good images for instagram but I also get a bit scared that what if it never comes back; what if I’ve peaked.

I do try very hard to be mindful, working through some of the knots I’ve got my head into, I spend a lot of time reading indulging in my favourite magazines and interior books hoping that a spark will appear.   Taking time away from the screens is good but I do let myself browse through Pinterest, a happy place where colour and images bring moments of joy.  Putting together mood boards that reflect what I’m seeing and feeling helps too.

So today this post features some of these boards; calming images in colour palettes that I find inspiring at the moment helping me to work through my anxieties a little and hopefully a little spark will be reignited once more.

  •  All images from here

TOAST

I have long been a huge admirer of the lifestyle brand TOAST, their clothes are modern and functional but thoughtful pieces for women and are always a part of my capsule wardrobe.  Their ability to promote a more mindful way of living is expressed through their beautifully curated clothing and home wares, all with a considered stillness of style that I adore.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Harrogate store to take photographs of the art installation Circular Openings, 2016.  Emulsion paint on canvas by Nic Pehkonen, that featured in the shop window throughout February.  Each store had a different piece displayed for The Work of the Heart project, 11 artists were chosen to feature their work in each of the 11 stores across the country.  It was wonderful seeing Nic’s piece so close, the detail and markings were remarkable and to have my images featured on TOAST Travels was equally as thrilling.

I couldn’t leave the store without having a good browse of the new SS17 Early Spring collection, so many versatile items to choose from all complimenting each other perfectly.  This collection has “easy drawstring shapes and textural volume in yarn-dyed linens, ticking stripes and quiet checks. Slate blues, grey chambrays and parchment” a statement summing up my style, so of course I came away with a new dress that will take me through the season.  A timeless stripe linen shirt dress that is now a firm favourite, comfortable yet versatile just the way I like to dress.

As I don’t  get to visit the TOAST stores that often it’s always a ‘YAY’ kind of day when one of their delicious brochures arrives.  I always make time to sit with a coffee and slowly go through them to read the thoughtful articles and look at the pared back styled images.  It’s such a treat knowing that there is a brand out there that speaks for so many of us, bringing us that sense of belonging and style.  Simple moments of thoughtfulness and a reflection of  how we want to live our lives.

I applaud you TOAST.

  • with thanks to TOAST for providing some of the images for use in this post

 

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