Gardeners: you’ll really dig these
For those of you who get your hands dirty (and the rest of us!), these botanically charged treats guarantee TLC
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson. Paper set: Lou Blackshaw
You don’t have to be into gardening (or be great friends with someone who is) in order to appreciate the products on these pages, but it could definitely help. Because the inspiration for this selection is to provide some TLC to the pruners, planters and weeders among us; the ones who stoop, kneel, crouch and tend to get their hands dirty or simply those who are involved in some form of heavy-duty manual labour.
Equally, of course, they can work for anyone who is feeling some aches and pains, is in need of a reboot, or simply wants to give their very-washed hands some much-needed extra nourishment.
My initial inspiration came from the In The Garden range by that always charming brand Heathcote & Ivory. The whole collection comes with a delicate scent of rhubarb, with a dash of lilac blossom. And the packaging is decorated with garden-inspired illustrations by Clare Therese Gray, a young British artist. More than that, much of it has an eco-conscience. So the Barrier Cream (£7, heathcote-ivory.com), a rich shea butter formula with thyme essential oil, comes in a pot that can be repurposed for planting cuttings and seeds. The All Purpose Balm (£8), with lavender, sage and rosemary essential oils, is housed in a pretty tin with illustrations embossed on the lid and can be turned into a useful little storage container (or what my brother would call hoarder’s delight).
The Muscle Soak Bath Salts (£5) contain eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender essential oils to add a delicious scent to a good old wallow in the tub, and their paper wrapping is a pretty addition to any bathroom shelf.
As if that weren’t enough of a garden theme, Heathcote & Ivory has also produced its annual collection in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, using botanical extracts of wisteria, lilac and lavender essential oils plus packaging designs inspired by botanical drawings from the RHS’s Lindley Library. It’s a lovely offering full of washes and lotions but I’m a sucker for the RHS Flower Blooms Lavender Garden Scented Soap Bar (£6).
For an alternative bathing option, go to Batch #001 and grab some of its truly fantastic Salt & Oil Bath Soak with organic sweet orange and bergamot (£22, batch001.com). You won’t find anything finer than this in even the most luxurious of spas: the mix of pink Himalayan and Dead Sea salts smells glorious and will instantly transport you to relaxation land, help you unwind and soothe dry skin. Plus the understated brown glass bottles and labels all feel super-chic while full of apothecary-style goodness.
If you’re a shower person worry not, for I’ve got you covered. Or perhaps more accurately Aromatherapy Associates has. Already famed for its wellness oils that can be used in both the bath and shower, it has now launched specific Shower Oils (£26, aromatherapyassociates.com) in all of its signature aromas: De-Stress Calm & Focus, Revive Energise & Awaken, Rose Enrich & Uplift, and Muscle Ease & Recover.
These are seriously superior body cleansers: they feel rich as you apply them and once they meet water they create a very delicate lather. And the powerful aromas of the essential oils are like mood therapy – Muscle Ease & Recover includes rosemary, ginger and black pepper to warm and ease muscle tension. These come in recyclable plastic bottles and use 50 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic.
For extra muscle aid, look to Greek brand Kear’s lovely Calm Revive Arnica Body Oil (£39, kearlife.com). This comes with arnica blended with sweet almond oil, extra virgin olive oil and beeswax – just rub it in to ease any tired muscles as well as to moisturise.
Finally, Crabtree & Evelyn The Gardeners Ground Exfoliation Powder (£28.50, crabtree-evelyn.co.uk) is an all-over body scrub but also great for an extra-thorough hand wash. It’s made from coffee powder and finely ground raspberry seeds – simply add some to your favourite body cleanser and it will do the rest to slough away dead skin and/or dirt.