Find Your Inner Warrior.

A guest post from Flossie McGhee.

The first time I remember thinking “wow, rugby is brilliant” was in 2003, wrapped in a duvet very early one morning where I was taught the basic rules of the game by my flatmate’s boyfriend as he watched the World Cup on a portable TV in our communal living room. That was to begin my love of rugby, which has grown over time to an almost religious following of the National and International game.

A family member kept telling me I should take up rugby, and I kept laughing it off. As much as I wanted to my head was filled with self-doubt; I’d be terrible, I’m too slow, I’m too old, I’ll get hurt. Then, about a year ago, my good friend Emma came to me, and said she was setting up a ladies team locally and would I want to give it a go. I said I would, thinking I would show some support a friend, but never intending to do more than a session or two.

IMG-20190903-WA0050One night last November, I traipsed down to the rugby field, and proceeded to spend an hour and a half getting a crash course in the basics of ball handling, tackling and the rules of rugby in the dark, under floodlights. And I fell in love with playing the game. The other women there ranged in age from 16 to 49, and from there, our team was born, affectionately known as The Mother Ruckers. Over the past year, we have trained in all weathers; one particularl night we started off dry but cold, before progressing to hail, then snow, then torrential rain. We’ve gone from the basics of running forward but passing backwards (MUCH harder than you think) and tackling, to more recently set pieces like line outs and scrums.

IMG-20190904-WA0000Do not for one moment think I am super fit; I like cake and Netflix far too much for that. I’m now 36, and my only previous experience of team sport was at school where we would play hockey, netball or rounders on an annual calendar, only the really sporty girls would actually play matches and rugby was “for boys”. What I found was a team that was welcoming and inclusive, where success is not about who is the best, or the fastest, but about what we can achieve as a team. These women encourage when you’re flagging and recognise when you have made even the tiniest amount of progress. All shapes, all sizes, all fitness levels and ages, because one person’s weaknesses are another’s strengths. It’s completely exhilarating, great fun, great fitness and the bruises are spectacular. I’m stronger and fitter than I was when I started, more resilient, more likely to get up and go again when I get knocked back. When anxiety and self-doubt told me that I didn’t belong on the team, my team rallied round and brought me back. Every week I attend, and every week I surprise myself.

If you’re 18 or over and want to try ladies rugby, look out for Inner Warrior days held by
local clubs in partnership with England Rugby. If you’re local to the West Dorset/Somerset area, Crewkerne Ladies RFC have been selected to hold an Inner Warrior Day on Sunday 22nd September from 2pm onwards. It’s completely free, and will introduce the basics of rugby in a fun way. There’s even a cream tea at the end for all who attend.

Crewkerne Ladies RFC play on Monday nights, 7-8.30pm and have their very first Development match against East Dorset Ladies in Bournemouth on 6th October; so if you’re free, any and all support appreciated!

Crewkerne Ladies RFC is very proudly sponsored by Lovegrove Essentials Ltd.

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Our Toning Mist and all its uses

At Lovegrove Essentials HQ we want to make sure you are getting the most out of your products. We aren’t the cheapest product range on the market, but we are pretty reasonable, once you know the quality of what you are getting! But what if you don’t actually know what you’re getting? With this in mind, and with our upcoming campaign for Organic September, we thought we would do a series of blogs on our products, so that you know just how many different uses each one has. How do we use them? How do our customers use them? What are the ingredients and what do they do? Over the next few weeks we will be posting all this information, plus testimonials from happy customers, bloggers, and celebrities.

Toning Mist

What does it do?

Our Certified Organic Toning Mist refines the pores, is astringent and anti-bacterial and prevents cell damage. It has a light and refreshing unisex aroma, making it great for all to use. Using a toner ensures all last traces of cleanser are removed and prepares the skin for the next step in your skincare routine. This one adds a fine, cooling, soothing mist of moisture with fine droplets of essential oils which is wonderful in a hot or dry environment. It’s great over or under your make-up and can be used to refresh your face and body throughout the day, and is alcohol-free and suitable for all skin types.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What are the ingredients and what do they do?

Organic Rose Floral Water – adds and helps to retain moisture, it is suitable for normal, dry, mature and sensitive skin. Mildly astringent and cooling, it has a lovely smell.

Organic Geranium Bourbon Rose Floral Water – multi functioning, balances oily, dry, problem and sensitive skin. It’s also great for any issues resulting from hormonal imbalance.

Organic Witch Hazel – a strong antioxidant and a classic astringent skin toner, beautifully refreshing and ideal for reducing large pores or acne prone skin. Has many protective and healing properties, including reducing swelling and inflammation and is good for bruises or abscesses.Organic Lavender

Organic Lavender Floral Water – antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, its balancing and soothing qualities make it ideal for irritated skin. It is also calming for the mind.

As a water-based product, the Toning Mist also requires protection against mould, yeast and bacteria, and for this we use an eco friendly preservative blend made up of: Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Glycerine, Sorbic Acid – a widely accepted blend, all of which can be included in natural and organic skin and hair products.

 

What can it be used for?

Can be spritzed all over the face, after cleansing, before make-up or to set mineral make-Me time with the Mini Essentialsup and powders.

Also can be applied to cotton wool and swept over the face after cleansing.

Lovely and refreshing on the pulse points, neck and arms to cool down the skin.

Use as a soothing and brightening eye mask by spraying onto cotton wool pads and placing over the eyes, lying down, for up to 15 minutes.

Spray onto tired of puffy legs to revive and refresh, after the gym or a long day.

Try keeping in the fridge during hot weather for an extra-cooling effect.

We have also had great reports for this being used as a postpartum soothing and recovery spray, for your hard-working lady parts.

 

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Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Organic September with Soil Association

This September, as part of our ongoing work with COSMOS and Soil Association, we are looking at making #OneSmallSwap that makes a world of difference. But what if your #OneSmallSwap could do more than one thing? Keep your eyes on the blog and our social media channels to find out about the green skincare swaps you can make, and how you can make these products work harder for you, helping you to save money and help the environment.

Healing Touch Serum – small but powerful. 

At Lovegrove Essentials HQ we want to make sure you are getting the most out of your products. We aren’t the cheapest product range on the market, but we are pretty reasonable, once you know the quality of what you are getting! But what if you don’t actually know what you’re getting? With this in mind, and with our upcoming campaign for Organic September, we thought we would do a series of blogs on our products, so that you know just how many different uses each one has. How do we use them? How do our customers use them? What are the ingredients and what do they do? Over the next few weeks we will be posting all this information, plus testimonials from happy customers, bloggers, and celebrities.

First up:

Healing Touch Serum

What does it do?

HTS Shahnaz Islam
Credit: @ShahnazIslam on Instagram

A light and penetrating serum containing the highest quality natural organic oils, easily absorbed and highly effective with a lovely almond smell. Deeply nourishing, this facial massage oil smooths fine lines, heals and rejuvenates. It counteracts the effects of ageing, is packed with antioxidants and it repairs sun damage and scarring. Gently and deeply hydrating on dehydrated skin, and balancing on oily skin.

What are the ingredients, and what do they do?

 

Organic Plum Kernel Oil – very rich with excellent skin penetrating abilities, yet does not leave a greasy residue behind. Very high in essential fatty acids that are key to keeping skin bright and healthy. Powerful antioxidants help to protect skin from damaging free radicals.

Organic Apricot Kernel Oil – non-greasy emollient, with high vitamin E content. A softening and stable oil especially suitable for sensitive and dry skin, can also be used for mature skin. The oil is semi-fatty and is easily absorbed by the skin.

Organic Rosehip Seed Oil – an powerfully rejuvenating oil, that is high in vitamin A (retinol). Smooths fine lines and wrinkles. Useful in the treatment of scars, wounds, stretch marks, burns and eczema, where skin regeneration is a key factor.

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@LouiseRoe on Instagram

Organic Argan Oil – a moisturising carrier oil, high in essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E, with powerful healing and hydrating properties.

Organic Pomegranate Seed Oil – the only known botanical source of Omega 5, it has strong anti- inflammatory properties and is a good antioxidant. It tackles free radicals so delays skin ageing making the oil very regenerative and even helps to stimulate collagen production. Studies show that it provides protection from sun damage.

Sea buckthorn Oil – protects skin from external factors, well-known for its healing and rejuvenating effects on the skin, can also help heal burns, cuts, wounds, sunburn, rashes and other types of skin damage.

Organic Vitamin E – moisturising, easily absorbed, protects cellular membrane from free-radical damage, enhances blood circulation in skin, anti-inflammatory. A classic antioxidant, it protects against the destruction of the connective tissue caused by free radicals.

 

What can it be used for?

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@LouiseRoe on Instagram

For oily or combination skin use a five-pence sized amount and massage into the skin for 2 minutes. This will balance any oiliness caused by dehydration.

For dry skin use a one-pence sized amount and massage all over face, neck and décolletage for 2 minutes, or until the product has been absorbed. To maximise absorption, follow with the Lovegrove Essentials Moisture Cream.

Apply under your moisturiser as a night-time booster for dry, mature skin, or add a few drops to your day or night cream.

Use as a massage oil for face, scalp and Indian head massage.

Massage into scars, stretch marks and burns.

Excellent for environmental damage, sun burn or wind burn. Think skiing, sailing, surfing!

Use on dry scalp or on the tips of your hair to hydrate, smooth and prevent damage.

 

Organic September with Soil Association

This September, as part of our ongoing work with COSMOS and Soil Association, we are looking at making #OneSmallSwap that makes a world of difference. But what if your #OneSmallSwap could do more than one thing? Keep your eyes on the blog and our social media channels to find out about the green skincare swaps you can make, and how you can make these products work harder for you, helping you to save money and help the environment.

Healing Touch Serum
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Cider Poached pears with spices and toasted almonds

At the July residential yoga weekend, I wanted a dessert that would be light, yet full of flavour and would round off a fairly substantial meal without leaving guests with that “heavy” feeling. This was a huge hit, and I’m delighted that this recipe will be featured in the December issue of Bee Green Magazine, but just for subscribers. In the meantime, here’s a sneaky peek:

This is such an easy recipe to make. It would be a lovely way to end a meal with friends and it doubles (or triples!) up easily too. The orchard on the farm is full of pears, plums and apples right now, and I can’t wait to make the most of the season’s bounty at our next Yoga weekend in October. There are still places left, so if a weekend of yoga and delicious food in the depths of the Dorset countryside sound good, do get in touch.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 firm ripe pears (Conference pears work well)
500ml bottle cider (medium/dry)
50g demerara OR golden granulated/caster sugar OR Honey/Maple Syrup/Agave
1 cinnamon stick or 1tsp ground cinnamon
6 cardamom pods (swap for cloves, all spice or ground nutmeg for a more “festive” vibe)
1-2 tsp pink peppercorns
60g toasted, flaked almonds
Extra thick cream, greek yogurt or coconut yogurt, to serve.

Method
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks on and set aside. Place the cider, sugar and spices into a large saucepan with a lid, give it a good stir, then place the pears in and put the lid on. Simmer over a medium heat for around 20-30 minutes, or until a round bladed knife passes easily through the thickest part of the pear. Carefully, remove the pears from the poaching liquid using a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm. Turn the heat up under the poaching liquid, and with the lid off, reduce until thickened and syrupy. Remove the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick but keep the peppercorns in. Put the pears into individual serving dishes, spoon over the syrup and sprinkle with toasted almonds then serve with a dollop of cream or your favourite yogurt or dairy-free alternative on the side.

 

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Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta

Last week we tried out our pasta machine (purchased from a charity shop over a year ago) for the first time, and made buckwheat pasta. It was a great success, and it was much easier than I thought it would be. We used two eggs, buckwheat flour and a little bit of water, then rolled it through the pasta machine in the usual way. After this, we left it to dry for about 5 mins, then rolled again through the spaghetti cutter, and blanched in boiling salted water for maybe 5-6 minutes. Then we rinsed it in cold water and drizzled olive oil over it and set aside to be heated in the pasta sauce, which I will get onto now. You can obviously just use normal dried pasta, as you probably have better things to do, especially on a weeknight. Also shop-bought dried egg-free pasta makes the dish vegan.

I’m not vegan, but I don’t eat meat or dairy, and I can’t eat wheat. I had been eating a lot of shirataki noodles and pasta, in order to keep my carb intake down, but because they come shrink-wrapped in plastic, we have decided to stop buying them and try to also reduce our plastic consumption. This sauce idea came to me after craving a creamy-tasting risotto. I thought I would experiment with trying to create a vegan version of a rich, Italian dish.

Ingredients:

Dried Porcini Mushrooms (I got these from Lidl), soaked in hot water for 40 mins

Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced

One Onion, finely chopped

Three garlic cloves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea Salt

Olive Oil (or similar)

Splash of White Wine (optional)

The Mushroom Water (from the dried mushrooms)

200ml (ish) unsweetened Soya Milk

2 Tablespoons of Vegan Protein Powder

One Teaspoon of Gluten Free Flour (or similar)

 

Method:

Gently fry the onions until they are soft, and then add the garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes. Cook them on a medium heat and make sure you don’t let the garlic catch or burn. Once they have softened, remove them from the pan and put them to one side.

Using the same pan, fry the chestnut mushrooms in a little more oil or vegan butter, with the salt and pepper (to taste) until they have a nice golden brown colour to them. Set these aside with the onion and garlic while you prepare the rest of the sauce.

In a jug, mix together the soya milk, protein powder, flour, white wine and some of mushroom water (about 100ml but make sure it’s not hot). Beat the mixture until it’ is smooth with no lumps, then heat the mixture in the frying pan and whisk it gently as it heats. It should start to thicken into a creamy-looking sauce. Once it has started to thicken, add in the cooked mushrooms, the softened porcini mushrooms, and the onion and garlic mixture, and continue to heat the sauce. Once you are happy with the texture (it will continue to thicken the more you heat it) then you can remove it from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Allow the pasta to heat up in the sauce before you serve it, and be sure to check the seasoning.

Serve on warm plates, with freshly chopped basil, more black pepper and truffle oil for extra flavour and richness.

 

HDB xx

 

Hannah & Hayley’s FAQ

How long has Lovegrove Essentials been up and running, and why did you decide to set up the business?

HDB: The brand had been an idea we had discussed for a number of years, but the company as you see it now is about 3 years old. We wanted to create a beautiful range of skincare that harnessed the natural therapeutic properties of essential oils, but still looked stunning and felt luxurious to use. Something that would sit alongside the big-dogs of skincare quite easily.

HML: After many years as a body and facial therapist, I wanted to create a range of natural products for professional therapists to use, products that support the body’s own capability for healing and regeneration.

 

Why did you decide to focus on luxury and natural products?

HDB: For me, having worked with many luxury brands, I felt there was a huge gap between luxury and natural. So many luxury customers associate natural with something not “backed by science” and that might not work as well as a more chemical-based product, and that’s simply not the case with Lovegrove Essentials. I think we fill this gap.

HML: I agree – I have seen much better results on the skin from naturally active ingredients, and of course their aromas can benefit the psyche through the olfactory system.

What was the first product you made and how did you set about selling it?

HDB: The initial selection of products we had made was huge! Such a big range. We actually didn’t sell any of these, but mum used them for her treatments.

HML: I think the first were the massage balms and an after-wax soothing lotion.

 

How did the range of products grow from there?

HDB: We looked at each product and worked out which ones we liked best. I wanted to start with a much smaller range, like a ‘core-line’ and expand from there.

HML: We realised that we were both happily using the same four key products, but because of the difference in our age and our skin, we were using them in slightly different ways. This proved to us that the intelligent use of good-quality natural ingredients is the key to long-term skin care.

Why did you also decide to produce a professional range? What’s the difference between this and your main line of products?

HDB: Hannah? I think this is your area of expertise!

HML: The key products are the same, but there are therapeutic techniques that I incorporate into my treatments, and active natural ingredients that you can’t produce and sell in a pot because they have to be used immediately, things like strawberries, cucumber, papaya and oatmeal.

 

Do you actually make the products yourselves? Where are the products made and packaged?

HDB: Yes – we actually make the products ourselves. We have a small team to help with manufacture, and everything is made at our HQ in Thorncombe. We have a production lab which has been hygiene and safety checked where we make and package everything.

HML: We’re very particular about quality and like to check each product before it goes out. We can also keep an eye on each batch of ingredients, which being naturally produced can vary in smell or colour.

 

Are you constantly coming up with new ideas for products?

HDB: I definitely am, I love blending new things and trying them on myself. I love finding a new ingredient and working out how we might incorporate it into our next product. We try to listen to our customers when it comes to New Product Development.

HML: It’s perhaps not obvious how much has to go into product development, the rules and regulations involved in getting it formally certified and onto the shelves. But we enjoy the trial and error, refining the texture and smell to get just the right effect for the whole body.

 

What has been your best-selling/signature product and why?

HDB: It’s difficult to say – perhaps the Cleansing Balm or the Moisture Cream. They are the two best-selling individual products. Also the Mini Essentials is great, our starter kit.

HML: Yes, certainly the Cleansing Balm, but people beginning to realise how fabulous the Moisture Cream is too!

 

How has it been working as a mother/daughter team? Do you have the same visions or is there sometimes a clash?!

HDB: Hahaha! Well, of course its been hard. Our relationship is very strong, luckily, so we always work things out eventually. My main thing is to be really vigilant about separating work and play, as otherwise we just end up talking business all the time and we forget to have fun as mum and daughter.

HML: And I missed her so much when she was up in London! I’m really pleased we can finally work together now, instead of at a distance.

 

What’s next for Lovegrove Essentials?

HDB: Lots more events next year, and new product launches. We will be bringing out our fabulous Aromatic Face Mask as a retail product, after some amazing feedback from our most recent round of user surveys.

HML: And I’m refining the body massage and facial treatment courses for therapists, and of course running the Yoga and Wellness Retreats.

 

Anything else you particularly want to mention?

HDB: We are looking for super-star therapists, massage therapists, boutiques and salons that might like to offer our treatments or retail range as of 2018. If this is you, or if you know of anyone who might be interested, send an email to info@lovegroveessenials.com

 

Hayley’s Oat Bran Bread

IMG_2873-1As a wheat-free foodie, I love this ‘bread’ and I make this probably twice a week. It’s become a big part of our diet, which is really saying something when you live the man who literally wrote the book on bread! What Daniel Stevens doesn’t know about baking isn’t worth knowing, so the fact that he’s adopted this recipe into his repertoire is a pretty big deal for me. It’s super high protein and wheat free, packed with fibre and can be topped with sweet or savoury things. It has a dense texture, similar to rye or pumpernickel bread, and also makes great crostini or bruschetta.

Ingredients:

200g Oat Bran (you can get this in most supermarkets now, in the cereal aisle, or Holland & Barrett do a fine cut one which is my favourite)

2-3 Eggs, or vegan equivalent

2 Tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt or vegan equivalent

Pinch of sea salt

Baking Powder

1 Table spoon of Olive Oil (or similar)

Seeds, nuts or dried berries (optional)

Method:

Pre-Heat your oven to about 180*C and line a tin with baking paper. I usually use a round 8 inch cake tin, and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment.

Use two large or three medium eggs, egg replacer or aqua faba (chick pea or bean water) of an equivalent amount and beat with a fork or whisk.

Add the oat bran in table spoons, starting with about six. Keep adding until you have a thick paste.

Then add the greek yoghurt, or vegan alternative (almond or Soya milk is fine) and mix in, loosening the paste. Beat in half a teaspoon of baking powder at this stage also, and add some salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Once you have the basic mixture, you can add seeds (I use sunflower, linseeds and pumpkin seeds), nuts or dried berries to create different flavours of bread. Goji berries would work really nicely and would add a delicious sweetness.

Once you’ve added your extras, scrape the mix into your baking tin. You can add more seeds to decorate the top before you pop it in the oven if you like.

Bake at 180*C for about 30 mins. I have yet to burn a loaf of this bread – it seems you can cook it for quite some time before it even begins to colour! You may a get a little rise from the baking powder and eggs, but not much.

Check after 20 mins and see if you want the top to colour more. Once it’s golden brown, remove it from the oven and tip the bread out onto a wire rack to cool. It doesn’t slice very well when it’s still warm, so you’ll have to be patient before you try it!

 

Top with organic grass-fed butter or avocados and tomato salsa, smoked salmon, peanut butter and homemade jam, marmalade… The list is endless!! I’ve yet to find something it doesn’t go with 😀

 

Hayley x