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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Go with your gut!

Gut feelings and our sense of well-being.

We have all experienced the connection between emotions and our digestive system – we call them gut feelings – and we know that our emotions can affect how our intestines function. The same is also true the other way around – conditions in our intestines can influence our mental state, and even the development of mood disorders – and we’re now beginning to understand how this works.

I have first-hand experience of this. About 15 years ago, fed up with suffering from IBS, I decided to try cutting out some food groups, starting with dairy and wheat. I didn’t notice much at first but after about four weeks the pain and bloating subsided, and I felt a great deal better. Then I noticed that the mood swings I had always put down to hormonal changes had also completely gone. These mood swings could be quite extreme, and included feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, low-self-esteem, and poor self-image.

I tried re-introducing the foods, first dairy without any problems. But when I introduced wheat, I had the most profound reaction. The next day, I was almost suicidal and could hardly put one foot in front of the other – it was all I could do to get through that day. I held onto the thought that this had to be something outside of me, something external because nothing had changed from yesterday except that I had eaten wheat. This reaction persists even now, and even a tiny amount of wheat – ordinary soy sauce, or crispy-coated chips – will give me a dreadful ‘low’ about 24 hours later.

Our intestines are naturally porous. With conditions such as IBS there is a certain amount of inflammation and therefore swelling, hence the bloating and backache. Undigested food particles can pass more easily into the blood stream. The chemical balance of the fluid between the cells changes. All this affects the Vagus nerve, the messenger between our intestines and the brain. It’s the longest cranial nerve in the body and it has a role in the interplay between autonomic regulation (the unconscious functions of the body like heart rate and digestion) and the limbic centres which govern emotional expression and control.

We used to think of the Vagus nerve as simply the carrier of commands from the brain to glands and organs, but because it actually has more afferent neurons (taking messages from the body to the brain) rather than efferent neurons (taking messages from the brain to the body) it’s an important mediator of the connections between conditions in the abdomen and our emotional state.

This research is so important that it’s now being described as the third division of the autonomic nervous system and scientists are carefully studying the connection between our emotions and the role of the Vagus nerve. For example, a human has more serotonin receptors in the gut than in the brain. Understanding this relationship has many implications and explains why new medication guidelines for many chronic intestinal disorders recommend antidepressants over traditionally used drugs.

A recent study found that facial massage causes transmission along the Vagus nerve and into the limbic system, producing feelings of being soothed and cared for. In abdominal massage, it’s likely that stimulating the Vagus nerve help to shift the body into a parasympathetic state, giving us those feelings we experience after a good yoga class or a meditation session. So, the use of abdominal massage for mood disorders, relaxation and sleep promotion is an excellent reason (if you need one) to include abdominal massage in your treatments.

Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms.

GENERAL INFORMATION

What does it do?

  • The balm conditions the skin with no oily residue.
  • Can be used all over the body.
  • Practical and economical with no spillage or waste.
  • Ready-blended with essential oils for different therapeutic effects, or unscented.

How to use:

  • Scoop some balm from the tub into your hands. It will ‘melt’ on contact with skin and is then ready to apply to the area to be massaged. Add more as necessary.

Other ways of using it:

  • Use a small amount on your skin before shaving.
  • Use as a nourishing massage treatment for the head and hair.

Who is it for?

  • These balms are suitable for all skin types.

Olive Massage Balm:

  • Olive Fruit Oil – an unscented massage balm, it is extremely effective on dry, chapped skin, useful for eczema or psoriasis, and especially good for hands, elbows, knees and feet. Nourishing and softening, it provides excellent protection from weather and water. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Rice bran wax is a skin conditioning and protecting agent with high antioxidant properties.

Lavender and Clary Sage:

  • Lavender – relaxing calming and soothing, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. Known to relieve toothache, neuralgia, rheumatism among many other ailments. It has been used as an insect repellent and was used in hospitals during the first world war to disinfect floors and walls.
  • Clary Sage – reduces skin inflammation and regulates the natural sebum production, making it suitable for all skin types. Has an uplifting effect and is known for its positive effects on mood swings, balancing female hormones and facilitating restful sleep. (NB: Clary Sage Essential Oil is not recommended during pregnancy.)

Black Pepper and Rosemary:

  • Black Pepper – warming and stimulating, used to ease muscle and joint pain, often used in blends for sports massage. May be used for skin inflammations and superficial wounds and to treat stomach and digestive issues.
  • Rosemary – healing, astringent, toning, tonic, refreshing, stimulating, deodorant, anti-septic, reactivating, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, softening, invigorating. (NB: Rosemary Essential Oil is not recommended during pregnancy . )

Spike Lavender, Ginger and Marjoram:

  • Spike Lavender – stronger than lavender, it has a wide range of therapeutic properties. Deeply relaxing for the mind and body tissues, anti-septic and revitalising, can be helpful for a range of skin problems including abscesses, acne, athlete’s foot, boils, bruises, eczema, spots, sores, wounds, sunburn, insect bites and stings.
  • Ginger – healing, tonic, anti-inflammatory, it is very soothing for aching joints and muscles. Helpful when combined with other oils in massage blends for after sport and relaxation.
  • Marjoram – anti-spasmodic, calming and sedative, known for its soothing and relaxing benefits on the mind and on tired, aching muscles. Often added to sports massage blends.

KEY INGREDIENTS IN ALL BALMS:

Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil – an excellent carrier for other oils, it is extremely effective on dry, chapped skin. It is especially good for hands, elbows, knees and feet. Nourishing and softening, it provides excellent protection from weather and water. Quickly absorbed by the skin it also helps regulate sebum production.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil – a good emollient, easily absorbed it leaves the skin smooth and nourished. It is odourless and colourless and won’t stain linen or towels during massage. It is naturally antibacterial and antifungal and can penetrate hair better than other oils.

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax – a skin conditioning and protecting agent with high antioxidant properties. Provides a protective, non-comedogenic barrier. It is not hydrogenated, is Ecocert, Cosmos approved and vegan friendly.

Tocopherol – natural Vitamin E, moisturising, easily absorbed, protects cell membranes from free radical damage.

Massage Balms – FAQ

Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms – the top five FAQ.

As massage and facial therapists, we all want our clients to have the best experience we can provide for them. In my treatment room, I use our award-winning aromatherapy massage balms, not only for their therapeutic benefits, but also to lift the quality of the experience for the client and add another dimension to their treatment.

Changing from your normal massage product can be a bit daunting, so we have compiled the most frequent questions we receive from massage therapists about the Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms.

We’d love you to try them for yourself – send us an email for our current prices and special offers!

1. What are they made from?

The four ingredients are Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Rice Bran Wax and natural Vitamin E. As a combination, these natural ingredients are moisturising, easily absorbed and protect cell membranes from free radical damage. They keep the product solid at room temperature and turn to liquid on contact with the skin. Each one also has its own special function – you can find out more about them HERE. To these, we add essentials oils, so each blend has a specific effect. We also leave one free from essential oils. The ingredients are completely natural, vegan, COSMOS-approved and cruelty-free.

2. Are they more expensive than oils?

Basic massage oils are made from a variety of base oils, such as grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, and fractionated coconut oil (meaning it’s refined so that it stays liquid at room temperature), all of which are relatively inexpensive. Many cheaper blends also contain artificial ingredients, such as ‘parfum’. Using liquid oils for massage can be very wasteful – the oil is left on the skin, on towels and clothing, and bottles are prone to spillage – so it’s difficult to compare prices weight-for-weight. Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms are similar in quality to Weleda, Aromatherapy Associates and Elemis products.

3. How many massages will I get from a 100g pot?

The Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms use unfractionated coconut oil and rice bran wax to give a product melts easily in contact with the skin and provides just the right amount of resistance and slippage. So you will use exactly the same amount of massage balm per massage as you do with an oil. However, unlike oils, you will use every gram from each pot for your massages – no spills or waste.

4. Are all the blends safe for pregnancy?

Used under proper dilution, and on an as-needed basis (rather than every day), most essential oils should not cause any problems during a healthy pregnancy, however it is always best to err on the side of caution.
• The Olive Oil Massage Balm is completely safe for use as it contains no essential oils at all.
• During pregnancy, use essential oils sparingly for health support, such as calming anxiety (Spike Lavender), relieving nausea (Ginger), or supporting sleep (Marjoram).
• Essential oils of Rosemary and Clary Sage are generally to be avoided during pregnancy, but could be helpful once labour has started, and only if all is well. We would encourage you to consult your doctor or midwife and discontinue use of the “to be avoided” essential oils.
• If you are a massage therapist and expecting a baby, you will need to consider how often you are using any products containing essential oils. The more you use, the more you absorb, so don’t use essential oils every day during pregnancy.

5. Can I use them all over the body?

The Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms have been designed for use all over the body, including the scalp and hair, with the exception of the facial skin. We have conducted trials with therapists who have used the balms very successfully for treatments such as reflexology, and as cuticle softeners during hand and foot treatments. For facial massage we recommend our lighter Healing Touch Serum, which contains Argan oil, also useful for the scalp and hair.

 

Summer Refresher

The weather this summer is very thirsty work, and with Wimbledon and the World Cup looming, we all need a thirst quencher to slake our thirst before we start the celebrations.

Whenever friends and family are around, I make this big Jug of Summer from the herbs outside the back door. I make it a few hours beforehand, or leave it overnight in the fridge, so the taste of the lemon balm and mint really does come through.

Put a large sprig of lemon balm and mint in a jug. (You could also use lemon grass.)

Fill two thirds with water.

Add 6-10 thin slices of cucumber, half a lemon (thinly sliced) and squeeze in the rest of the juice.

If you like a little sweetness add a dash of elderflower cordial.

Leave to steep for a few hours.

Top up with ice before serving.

And if you haven’t heard about the magical effects of cucumber water, may I present Macka B: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVfNrNcvlto