I’m going all natur-elle

I’m going all natur-elle

 

Contrary to popular belief, there are a range of natural products that can do the job of maintaining your beauty regime just aswell if not BETTER then your current commercial staples. There is almost no product that can’t be replaced with a natural one, which is just aswell as I’ve decided to go all natural. With my recent transition of going natural with my hair (meaning no texturisers, relaxers or chemicals of any kind), I’ve started to see the benefits of being completely natural.
Also, though it can be a little time consuming, it’s less maintenance overall.
I’m no longer having to go to the hairdressers to get them to treat my hair as I can do it at home, using my own homemade products. For styling I simply use a homemade blend of water, glycerine and essential oils to soften and lightly scent my hair and then I grease my scalp and hair with Coconut oil. Coconut Oil is great for the hair and skin, it aids with hair loss, strengthening the hair and imparting a natural sheen. It helps with loss of protein and provides a cooling sensation on the scalp for people with sensitive scalps. It’s also a very good conditioner and lessens the build up of dandruff. Melted and applied to the hair and used as a hot oil treatment is another great way to keep the hair soft and moisturised and the scalp healthy.

The following products can be made at home, using products from your kitchen cupboard! Do you know any great natural recipes for any of them? – if so post your recipes below for a chance for it to be featured in the next I’m going natur-elle blog post!

Hair Shampoo

Hair Conditioner

Hair Moisturiser

Face Mask (See our wonderful Manuka Honey and Bentonite clay recipe here: https://silklafox.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/bentonite-clay-manuka-honey-face-mask-recipe/

Face Cream

Body Butter (We make a wonderful Body Souffle’ that you can buy from notonthehighstreet): http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/rose-geranium-or-lemongrass-body-souffle

Exfoliator/Body Scrub: You can buy our Himalayan Pink Salt Body Scrub Souffle here: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/rose-geranium-and-jasmine-salt-scrub-souffle

Deodorant

Soap (The Secret Scent Societe’ is working on perfecting our Meadowfoam Soap recipe so that we can make it available to buy in time for Christmas!)

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Books, Glorious Books!

Books, Glorious Books!

 

Reading has become somewhat of an addiction for me. Even though reading (and writing stories) was very much a part of my life when I was younger I stopped at some point and didn’t start reading regularly until a few years ago, and now I can’t stop!

It started off after reading the trilogy of The Game of Thrones by George Martin, which I rented from the library and I enjoyed so much that when one book had come to an abrupt and unexpected end (due to the fact that about 50 pages at the end of the book were lists of the individual characters and their respective ‘houses’), I actually travelled to different library’s on the same day after work in order to get the next book in the trilogy. The thought of not having the next book to read immediately filled me with such dread that I was prepared to do anything that was necessary to acquire the next instalment. Indeed I even named my new kitten after a character in the book: Sansa. When the books came to an end (because good ole George hadn’t finished writing them all yet!), it was an almost painful experience. I was SO engrossed in the characters and the story that I just couldn’t comprehend the thought of having to wait another year or so to continue reading. So I began looking for another trilogy, not necessarily fantasy, because I couldn’t imagine that any other author would catch my imagination as intensely as George had, and my boyfriend suggested that I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I had seen lots of people reading the book on the tube on the way into work, but had just assumed that it was just another boring, overhyped book of which I was likely to put down after the first 2 chapters. But it turned out to be a wonderful read, past paced, intriguing and adrenalin pumping, also, I had never read anything like it before. I was hooked. Alas, just like the Game of Thrones, it came to an end far too soon. Next, I ventured into the world of historical fiction. I was talking to my boyfriends Mum about my frustrations with never knowing what book to read next, as I hate being disappointed with books, and have absolutely no patience with reading dull, predictable and unimaginative stories and she suggested that I borrow one of her books which was based on the Tudors. The author was Philippa Gregory. I’d never heard of her before but from looking at the front cover of the book (it was The Other Boleyn Girl), I wasn’t all that keen. It looked like it might be dull, very dull indeed. I didn’t have an interest in reading romanticized stories, I was more interested in stories that had grit and intrigue, featuring interesting characters that had interesting personality’s. And I was not convinced that a story based in the 15th century  would suffice. Alas I was wrong. The story, but mainly Philippa Gregory’s way of writing about the story and all of the historical characters that she featured was riveting stuff. Infact it was quite hard to believe that some of it actually went on! It seemed even more dramatic than I’d ever hoped for, with adultery, womanising, incest, murder, witchcraft and torture paying prominent parts. That it was true, with a few fictitious adornments was amazing to me. And it was by no means boring. I was completely won over.  After reading the story about the Boleyns, namely about the scandalous behaviour of the Boleyn sisters Mary and Anne, I went onto read The Boleyn Inheritance. It was hard for me to get the books when I needed them so that I could read them in order so on the occasions when I couldn’t get the next story in the trilogy I would replace it with another. I was following the story quite well though, and of course some of it I remembered from my History classes at school (I loved History). But I had never studied The Plantagenets before so it was interesting to read about there position in history, and how and in what order they were related to the most famous king (perhaps of all time) Henry VIII. Perhaps my favourite book of them all was The Other Boleyn because it was just so scandalous and unbelievable (whilst mostly being real), that I couldn’t put it down.

I also really liked The Lady of the Rivers, the story about Elizabeth Wydeville (Lady Grey) and her rise to becoming The Queen of England. Some of it was a little fantastical, as I’m sure the magical element to the story was a little overexaggerated if not added in for effect, but overall it was a very fascinating story with some really strong characters.

The Kingmakers Daughter was written about the daughter of  Richard, Earl of Warwick and her surprising (but shortlived) rise to be Queen. She was only Queen for 2 years.

The White Queen, not to be mistaken with The White Princess, (which is about her daughter Elizabeth Plantagenet who married Henry VII), is about the reign of Elizabeth Wydeville, the York Queen who married Edward VI of York.

The Constant Princess is the story about Queen Katherine of Aragon, who had the well documented marriage with King Henry VIII and who consequently was pushed aside to marry Anne Boleyn. It was a great story of steely reserve and endurance. Speaking as a woman in the 20th century, it’s almost completely inconceivable for me to think that women weren’t allowed to do or indeed say anything back then. They simply were not heard. They were considered inferior in every way and therefore their thoughts and opinions didn’t matter. The only thing they were good for was breeding. And that’s not me being crass, that’s me being real. I loved the fact that all of Philippa Gregory’s books were about women in the historical era, and there absolute strength and resilience. Through her it showed how inequality was allowed to manifest, and how much (though not completely) it’s changed since then. I kept on thinking whilst reading that I just wished, I wished I could be there in that time (not to be part of it because I have a great love of cleanliness, beautiful smells, warmth and comfort), but just to SEE. Philippa gets your imagination going but if just for a moment I could be there like a fly on the wall looking down, I would love that.

The Queens Fool, a story about Edward VI’s fool Hannah Green was okay. I didn’t enjoy it all that much because it seemed a little unrealistic to me. She was employed by Edward to amuse and entertain (as his holy fool) and got caught up in the sisterly rivalry of Elizabeth and Mary I.

The Virgins Lover is about Queen Elizabeth I and her ongoing, distructive obsession with Robert Dudley. It sees her undecided as to whether she should marry against her will as she was in love with Dudley, or marry down (Dudley) and disobey and anger her advisors and people. Elizabeth was a very strongwilled and stubborn person, and in the end she dies a virgin and thus leaves no one to succeed the throne. I liked this book but I did find all of the sordid things she got up to with Dudley and the supposed intensity of there love a little over the top and thus unrealistic.

The Red Queen is the story of Margaret Beaufort, the strongwilled and  influential Mother of King Henry VI, and her efforts to get Henry VI the throne of England, despite him not having the strongest claim to the throne and being in exile in Brittany for many years.

The Other Queen is the story of Mary The Queen of Scots following her fleeing Scotland on Queen Elizabeth I (her cousins), false promise of sanctuary, and the suspicious and unsteady relationship between the two monarchs. Philippa goes into detail about the strained relationship between Mary, and her guardians wife Bess of Hardwick. This book is a great read.

I have now finished all of Philippa’s books in this trilogy, bar one which was only just released a few weeks ago: The Kings Curse http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-king-s-curse but I will definitely be acquiring it soon!

 

Listed in order of reading (I think, please don’t quote me on this):

 

The Lady of the Rivers http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-lady-of-the-rivers

The White Queen http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-white-queen

The Kingmakers Daughter http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-kingmaker-s-daughter

The White Princess http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-white-princess

The Constant Princess http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-constant-princess

The Other Boleyn Girl http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-other-boleyn-girl

The Boleyn Inheritance http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-boleyn-inheritance

The Queens Fool http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-queen-s-fool

The Virgins Lover http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-virgin-s-lover

The Red Queen http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-red-queen

The Other Queen http://www.philippagregory.com/books/the-other-queen

 

If you haven’t read any of these books already, then you should definitely pick yourself up a copy, and let me know what you thought. And if you have already read one or some of them then please let me know your thoughts.

I think I’m going to move onto another fantasy trilogy next as I can’t seem to get any books from similar authors from my library on this subject matter. I am reluctant to buy anymore books when I can get most of them from the library. I’ve just finished reading a biographic novel by Alison Weir on Elizabeth of York. It was pretty good, but FULL of detail (which I understand for the purpose of authenticity needed to be done but it could be a little tedious at times). But the book was good in that it gave such a detailed account of the period that you were left in no doubt that the characters did exist as they were described.

Elizabeth of York  http://alisonweir.org.uk/books/bookpages/eliz-york.asp

Aromatherapy Candle Properties Revealed! Grapefruit & Lime

Aromatherapy Candle Properties Revealed! Grapefruit & Lime

limegrapefruit

Our exquisitely scented Aromatherapy candles are handmade using soy wax and a blend of finely balanced Essential Oils that impart not only beautiful fragrance but harmony and purity to your environment. Our candles are made to order so that they retain there optimum freshness and quality.
All of the candles in our Aromatherapy range have a variety of holistic benefits, here we reveal not only what goes into our Grapefruit & Lime candle, but why it’s so good for you:

Grapefruit: Antiseptic, Lymphatic, Antidepressant, Stimulant

Lime: Restorative, Tonic, Bactericidal, Disinfectant

Grapefruit and Lime also share many properties such as there antiseptic, tonic and antibacterial benefits.

Our Grapefruit & Lime candle is available to buy online here at notonthehighstreet:
http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/aromatherapy-white-grapefruit-soy-candle

Grapefruit Candle 2

Bentonite Clay & Manuka Honey Face Mask Recipe

Bentonite Clay & Manuka Honey Face Mask Recipe

The perfect homemade detox clay mask curtesy of The Secret Scent Societe’

You will need:

2 tsp Bentonite Clay (it should be grey/off-white in colour and very finely powered).
2 tsp Floral Water (I used Orange Blossom/#Neroli, but you can use any floral water you like, or just use normal tap water)
1 tsp Raw Honey (Native to New Zealand, Manuka Honey specifically is the very best honey that you can buy and you preferably want to go for one that’s been UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) certified as that means that it’s been tested by an independent laboratory for it’s superior quality.
1 tsp Vegetable oil (Olive oil, Grapeseed Oil or Jojoba Oil are good ones to use)
A small plastic tub to mix your clay mask in
A plastic spoon
(You can also add Essential Oils but I hardly see the point considering you’re going to wash it off)

Instructions:
– Using a plastic spoon (DO NOT use a metal spoon as Bentonite clay has unique properties that allow it to absorb not only toxins and impurities but also metal if it comes into contact with it, causing it to be less effective), measure out your water, oil and honey and stir.
– The clay should always be added to the water/oil/honey mixture, not the other way around as it will be easier to work with this way.
– Then using your spoon you want to add the clay to the mixture a bit at a time mixing thoroughly until it turns into a paste.
– Using clean fingers (or a clean makeup brush), apply the mixture, wait about 10 minutes (during which it may make your skin feel a little tingly or tight (this is normal), then gently remove with a warm wet face cloth.

Lastly: Moisturise. Argan Oil or Jojoba Oil are the best oils to use for this job.

And Voila!, you have made your very own face mask!
Your skin will feel as smooth as velvet. This recipe is packed full of amazing natural ingredients that will do absolute wonders for the maintenance of your skin. Use this mask once or twice a week to clear up any impurities and to take your skin to the next level! The mask must be discarded after each use and made anew each time you want to use it on your face because it won’t stay fresh for long.

Enjoy!

More on the benefits of Bentonite clay soon!

 

Bentonite clayJOJOBA OilNeroli WaterManuka Honey

Aromatherapy Candle Properties Revealed! Ginger & Sage

Aromatherapy Candle Properties Revealed! Ginger & Sage

 

Each of our Aromatherapy candles have been handmade with 100% natural ingredients: A combination of Soy Wax (a vegetable based wax), and harmonious and beautifully scented essential oil accords that have a variety of highly effective Aromatherapy properties. The clean burn and spicy, herbaceous, earthy fragrance of Ginger and Sage make this candle a wonderful gift and addition to the home.

The essential oils used in our Ginger & Sage Aromatherapy Candle have the following health benefits:

Sage: Euphoric, Centering, Hormone Regulating, Disinfectant (to name just a few)

Ginger: Anti Inflamatory, Antioxidant, Aphrodisiac, Digestive (to name just a few)

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/aromatherapy-ginger-and-sage-soy-candle

Ginger Candle 2

Fragrance Profile: Vanilla

Fragrance Profile: Vanilla

 

Vanilla, inci name Vanilla Planifolia, is found primarily in Mexico but can also be found in places like Madagascar, Indonesia and the southwestern Indian Ocean. Vanilla is a dark, resinous substance extracted from vanilla bean that is best known for it’s versatility in sweets, desserts, and perfume. In addition to being tasty it is also used as a remarkably versatile perfume ingredient. It’s distinctly sweet, warm, soothing and creamy aroma is well liked and has some very good health benefits too.

Afrodisiac: Vanilla stimulates hormones that bring about sexual arousal and desire. It has an effect on erectile dysfunction, frigidity and loss of libido.

Antioxidant: A powerful antioxidant all rounder, Vanilla protects the body from wear and tear and infections.

Antidepressant: Works well to combat the feelings of stress and anxiety and uplift.

Relaxing: Vanilla Essential Oil provides a calming influence on the brain and relief from feelings of anxiety, stress and restlessness.

Vanilla is used frequently in perfumery to add sweetness and warmth to perfume creations. It blends well with almost all florals, particularly Jasmine and works well with woods and citrus oils also.

The Secret Scent Societe’s Ylang Ylang and Vanilla Aromatherapy Soy Candle embodies all that is great about Vanilla: It’s effortless ability to provide a sultry, smooth sweetness, and blend with the exotic flower Ylang Ylang to create a delicate and feminine ambience.

Ylang Ylang Candle 3

Our Ylang Ylang & Vanilla candle is available for purchase on notonthehighstreet: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/aromatherapy-ylang-ylang-soy-candle