Could This Be More Portable? Pure Potions Arnica Rescue Salve

As regular readers know, I ride horses, and I often review beauty products in the context of that pursuit. SPFs get a good workout during a lesson in high summer; anything that claims to be waterproof, from mascara to foundation, will find its claims challenged in the saddle.

Then, there’s those random little nicks and bruises that appear as if out of nowhere. Like this one.

Yeah, no idea. Could have been anything. Maybe I scraped up against a buckle, or the door to the loose box. Who knows! All I know is, I didn’t have this handy little tin — ha, ha — to hand.

Part of their First Aid range, pure potions arnica rescue salve is accompanied by tea tree, lavender and calendula & comfrey salves, and all are about the size of a lip balm tin. It couldn’t be easier to pop one of these in a pocket, especially if you’re me and have become so inured to bodily injury that you don’t even notice straightaway that you require some sort of intervention. Any one of these are a good thing to have hanging around.

As a quartet, they’ve got you covered for minor burns, stings, cold sores, insect bites — admittedly small ones, as while their small size enhances their portability, you’re not going to cover a whole body’s worth of excessive sunburn with your tin of lavender.

They are also organic, with no added nasties.

How I wished I’d had this on me the moment I noticed that scratch. Once home, I lashed on the arnica and in a day and half, the scratch was healed.

I’ve learned my lesson! Into the rucksack it goes…


Set of four rescue salves are £16.99. Check in your local Holland & Barrett for any and all, or see


Haaaaate Being Sick? Pukka Organic Elderberry Syrup Sorts it Out

I haaaaaate being sick, and I haven’t suffered a cold in yonks. PUKKA elderberry syrupI’ve got all sorts of bits and pieces about the place – one decongestant pill in a blister pack, some throat spray, and loads of arnica due to horseriding — but I hadn’t any cough stuff, which I wanted to take as a preventive measure. If I haaaaaate being sick, the thing I hate even more is coughing in the night.

And then lo, and behold: I found a bottle of Pukka Organic Botanicals Elderberry Syrup in the press in the kitchen! I had interviewed Sebastian Pole here, and when we’d met, had not only been gifted with skincare products, but also some tea, and apparently, this!

Elderberry sounds awfully old-fashioned, and something that would pop up in a Regency romance novel — not that I’d know that for sure — and I was afraid that it would taste awful, too. It certainly doesn’t! I mean, you’re not going to slip a bottle in your handbag just in case you get a grá for a snootful, but it is pleasantly fruity, and the texture of the syrup is thick and soothing. It’s also got Manuka honey, ginger and thyme in it, adding to its pleasantness.

And it helped loads. I didn’t get a cough, even when I felt the ick migrating for me lungs, and even though its a bit pricey at €15, it is totes worth it. I’m almost back to 100% brightness, and I credit this with helping the recovery.

I may hide this back in the press, just so I don’t start nipping at it…


Order from, or check in your local health food shop.


B&B! Q&A: Sebastian Pole and Pukka Ayurveda

Sebastian in a field of organic Marigolds copyWay back in April of 2012, I came across some press info about Pukka Ayurveda, and its founder, Sebastian Pole. I ended up taking a quiz on their website that informed me of my dosha, the designation of which would then inform me as to how to improve my life.

A lifelong taker-of-quizzes-in-magazines, I wasn’t surprised by the result, but I was intrigued by the resulting tumble down the ayurveda rabbit hole. The Hindu system of medicine is ‘deals with physical health, mental balance, spiritual well-being, relationships and environmental issues’, as described on the jacket of Pole’s 2011 book, A Pukka Life.

Pukka Ayurveda offer a line of teas and other health remedies, as well as skincare. ‘The essence of Ayurveda fits perfectly with what we want to share at Pukka,’ says Pole. ‘We want to plant, grow, harvest and blend herbal teas and remedies to enhance life.’

There’s natural, and then there’s organic: could you talk about how Pukka Ayurveda is an industry leader in the latter?
The organic movement is our religion and we pray at the altar of the compost heap! Organic stands for sustainability. You put back in what you take out. You regenerate the soil that feeds you and your family. You try and improve what you have been given.

The principles of organic farming are also embodied within the essence of Ayurveda. They support and nourish the health of the whole: air, sun, water, soil are all equally interdependent in the well-being of our ecosystem and society. Respect for the billions of microorganisms in the soil is as important as practising the highest animal welfare standards. Nurturing wildlife is as important as not spraying toxic chemicals.

Organic farming really does stand for life. One of the best ways to tell that a farm is really organic is by the amount of ‘weeds’ that you can see. Weeds are an indication of the health of the ecosystem: attracting insects, raising nutrients from the deeper layers of soil. Of course weeds are often healthy herbs themselves, just think of dandelions!

Everything we make is certified 100% organic. The Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic charity, says ‘consumers who purchase organic products are not just buying food which has not been covered in pesticides (the average apple may be sprayed up to sixteen times with as many as 30 different pesticides), they are supporting a system that has the highest welfare standards for animals, bans routine use of antibiotics, and increases wildlife on farms.’

Can you talk about how you have created a sustainable community for your growers, and by extension, for the brand?
Realising that we could contribute to conservation through commerce was a light bulb moment for us. It seemed clear that if nature has more value ‘alive’ than ‘dead’ then we will protect her. And rather idealistically — from our spare bedroom in Bristol — this is what we wanted to do with Pukka.

We saw a society in need of a deeper connection with nature, and communities seeking a more natural life. It was something we craved ourselves, and realised that it was something many other people wanted too. Our dream was to create a pukka-quality company that would bring people and plants together. Our passion for health, for nature and for the wisdom of Ayurveda was the catalyst for founding Pukka Herbs and it still is today.

Through making organic Ayurvedic products we could bring some value to these threatened forests. By paying farmers and collectors above market prices for the herbs we use at Pukka we could help protect the dwindling eco-systems. By making organic farming practices worth more than soil-destroying conventional methods we could incentivise conservation of the earth. Commerce could lead to conservation.

I think that many people may be glancingly acquainted with the principles of Ayurveda – could you explain its essentials for us?
Ayurveda is amazing. It’s India’s ancient system of health, and yet so much more. It’s a way to live and a way to understand and transform your life. It is often translated as ‘knowledge of life’ and encompasses the idea of how to live wisely. In particular it is the knowledge of how to live according to your unique and individual constitutional make up that puts the choices of how you exist firmly in your court.

At its core, Ayurveda teaches respect for nature and an appreciation of life, by showing how we can empower ourselves as individuals. It understands that our individual health cannot be considered as separate from anyone else’s — from our family, work, society and planet’s health. It describes in intricate detail how you can fulfil your potential.

What could be a better guide for us to have at the centre of Pukka’s values? The wisdom of Ayurveda is an anytime, anywhere, anyone sort of wisdom. It is expressed as a way of life that flows with the changes of the seasons, weather, time and place. It teaches dietary and behavioural adjustments that can be adopted as you mature from childhood through to adulthood and into old age.

It also gives advice on how to prevent illness as one season becomes another, and specific recommendations on how to adjust your daily habits. This way of wholesome living prescribes a routine for all the different climates and geographical regions of the world.  At the root of Ayurveda is its focus on the uniqueness of each individual. As such it is a universal system applicable to every individual living in any part of the world. It is personal medicine at its best.

I don’t like toners, but I love the Uplifting Toner. I love to moisturise, PUKKA productsand I have been using the Deep Moisture Day Cream to great effect. What’s particularly special about both?
What is particularly special about these two products, as well as our whole skincare collection, is two main things: the excellence of the ingredients and the brilliance of Ayurveda at rejuvenating the skin.

The Uplifting Toner is 100% organic and like all of our skincare products is certified by the Soil Association. It firms, uplifts, repairs and encourages cell renewal. It’s also anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and the toning and soothing effects are all due to the benefits of the delicate flower waters and plant extracts.

The Deep Moisture Day cream contains premium pressed seed oils and butters with a superior fatty acid profile to hydrate and enhance absorption deep into the skin. Skin active anti-aging plant extracts are used to target mature, dehydrated skin whilst also nurturing, deeply hydrating and restoring.  The exotic, sweet scent of ylang ylang and  uplifting and regenerating neroli blossom immediately lift your spirits.

I’ve tried the teas, too! The Pukka ethos seems to be holistic, and health as an inside-and-out proposition seems to be a big part of it. Can you talk about we can actually find better balance in life?
A simple way to find a more balanced life is to learn more about Ayurveda. It contains many insights into wise living.

I realised in my early twenties that there is no difference between our health on the inside and that of the world around us. Working towards a deeper awareness of each helps to nourish the whole of your life.

The best thing to do is to make sure that you spend as much of your life as possible doing what you love and being surrounded by people that you respect and enjoy being with.


See to take that quiz! Specific info re: skincare can be found at

Pukka Ayurveda Upliting Toner is €22; Deep Moisture Day Cream is €32.60

A Pukka Life by Sebastian Pole is available where good books are sold.


The Scrub of a Lifetime: VOYA Organic Lavender & Seaweed Sugar Glow

I exfoliate a lot. Like, I am pretty sure that I have exfoliated all the hairs off my arms. Plus, I use the gloves along with the exfoliant, which is cray-zay, I know, and I’m surprised I haven’t scrubbed myself down to the bone.

Exfoliant and me, yeah, nothing new there. But you know what? There is absolutely something to be said for getting a professional treatment.

I very happily found myself once more at Therese R Wellness and Beauty in Rochestown Lodge Hotel, Killiney. I had forgotten my togs — clients of the spa may avail of the leisure centre, which includes jacuzzi and sauna and steam room, oh, my — so I stripped down, bundled up into a beautiful spa robe, headed into one of the well-kitted-out treatment rooms* and lay myself on the plinth.

Okay: did you know that when you exfoliate, it doesn’t have to be like you are keelhauling a ship? It’s no surprise that I’ve scoured all the hair off my arms {if only it would work on my legs!} I lash away with the stuff like I am scraping barnacles. Susie, my massage aesthetician, applied VOYA’s amazing concoction with all the gentleness that one would bring to tending a little baby.

At right is not me, but that is a true representation of the colour and texture of the scrub. A combination of organic ingredients,with the main players being hand harvested seaweed, lavender buds, and cane sugar, there’s a bit of a pong off it at first because, hey, there’s no fake rubbish in this bad girl. Once you get used to it — if you have to, it mightn’t even register for you at all — it’s nothing but gentle application and the feeling that dead skin cells are going on to a better place.

After the scrub is showered off, Susie applied VOYA’s Softly Does It Body Moisturiser, again, in a professionally massaging manner, not in the slapdash way I would do it. I’ve used this moisturiser in the past and wasn’t crazy about it, but my mind has been changed: the combo of the scrub and this was excellent.

This is not a total, float-away-into-the-ether thing: it is relaxing, sure, but it is primarily a very functional treatment, and you come out with astonishingly smooth skin — I made my friends touch my arms the next day, and they were gobsmacked.

Pretty perfect! Although… if there had been a wee facial exfoliation to go along with it? Just something to think about, VOYA…


The VOYA Organic Lavender & Seaweed Sugar Glow treatment is €55 at Therese R Wellness & Beauty, Rochestown Lodge Hotel, Killiney, Dublin.

*OMG, remember the hydrotherm mattress?!?

Haiku Review: VOYA Organic Marine Eye Treatment

Voya’s seaweed treat:
The eyes have it, and also?
Hydrotherm mattress!

I have been fairly blasé about eye creams, eye treatments, and the entire eye area in general. This view {ha, ha} has been altered somewhat since the great Botox/Restalyne adventure. Areas that have been plumped up are now highlighting, in an averse fashion, areas that are not so plump. Which is the first step down the slippery slope to pillow face.

In a bid to delay injections of stuff into the eye area, which just makes me go ‘Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’, it seems like a good idea to A} start using eye cream, and B} check out a treatment that targets the delicate area, and see what kind of improvements can be made organically.

Organic being the key word when it comes to VOYA. You can read all about their use of seaweed here, and as I’ve said in the past, I adore a good marine-based therapeutic experience. There is nothing like water for healing what ails you, from the physical to the emotional. I was delighted to avail of the leisure centre in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel before my Organic Marine Eye Treatment. Got some laps in, in the 15 metre pool, sat in the steam room, sat in the sauna, sat in the Jacuzzzzzz — ah, God, hot, bubbly water. Best. Thing. Ever.

Already completely relaxed, I entered the hotel spa, Thérèse R Wellbeing and Beauty. I chilled for a bit in the room on the left, and then in the room on the right:

Both proved to be excellent venues for putting up one’s feet and almost falling asleep.

The 45 minute treatment, like all good ones, involves more than the eyeball area. Whilst they were, of course, the focus {ahhhh}, I also got some decolleté action, and a scalp massage. A scalp massage!

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.

>First: general cleansing, of the face and the chest area, followed a misting-by-toner, which was great. Christine, the beauty therapist, sprayed it like, four feet over my head, and the anticipation of it wafting down on to my skin was half the pleasure.

>Second: lymphatic massage. Still haven’t really satisified myself as to what the lymphs are, besides glands. I am sure I looked this up before, and probs even posted about it. It has not sunk in. Whatever it is, it felt great when Christine administered it, all around my eye socket and then down to my neck and shoulders.

>Third: Seaweed eye patches. Seaweed eye patches! Now these — I definitely want these for home. The patches are loaded with vitamins, and they were so cooling and soothing… just what I’d like to lay on my lids after a hard day’s blogging. They did their job during my scalp massage, which is just the next best thing ever, after hot bubbly water.

>>>Meanwhile, let us not forget the hydrotherm mattress, which gently supported me, warmly and whooshily, throughout the whole process.

>Finally, the application of VOYA’s Bright Eyes cream. Why does it feel so much more effective when someone else applies it? My eyes looked amazing after, and I never thought I’d ever recommend something like this, but this would be the perfect treatment to get on the day of a big event. I would never recommend doing anything after a treatment, apart from going home and napping, but this was relaxing without being completely … emptying, if you know what I mean? This would be an excellent bridal thing, on the Big Day.

I hope I get into the habit of this eye cream thing. I have, somewhat, since I am testing a bunch for the Herald, and I’m lining up a few that seem to make a difference. We’ll see. {Sorry.}

The VOYA Organic Marine Eye Treatment, €52, is available in spas nationwide, ring VOYA on 071 9168956 for more information.

Okay, Two Words: Hydrotherm Mattress


So, up I got, onto one of the massage beds in Therese R Wellness and Beauty, in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel, preparatory to receiving Voya‘s latest treatment, and holy wow: the plinth was warm and it was moving.

‘What is this?’ I gasped, and my consultant replied, ‘It’s a hydrotherm mattress.’

A hydrotherm mattress. A mattress that is filled with water that is warm. So you lay there, and whilst your face and decolleté are getting their treat, your whole entire back is warm and floaty.

I will write more after the weekend about the treatment itself, which uses the Irish brand’s Bright Eyes cream, and involves lymphatic massage and seaweed eye patches, but wow, seriously: the HYDROTHERM MATTRESS*.

*Clearly, I have a thing for therapeutic furniture: I waxed lyrical about Zeba Hairdressing’s massage chairs only t’other day. Also, click the link for info regarding their fundraising event this Sunday!