It's no secret that I'm fond of Oxfam. I spend around nine hours a week there. I also spend money there.
As well as the traditional second hand goods your local Oxfam shop probably sells some good new stuff too. Each one is different but we regular hit Oxfam for environmentally friendly cleaning products, fair trade and organic chocolate, and - of course - books. New books that is.
The Ultimate Natural Beauty book was on my list as soon as I saw it. Stephen and I want to have a go at making our own soaps soon and I thought this would be an easy introduction to home made beauty products. Add to that sensitive skin and a love of baths and you have a winner.
There are tones of recipes and even more little sidebar suggestions. One thing I appreciated is that the equipment and common ingredient list was kept to the back. It's useful and necessary information but - let's face it - dry.
What I didn't like was the focus on how non-natural cosmetics where incredibly unhealthy. Several things where listed as having a 'health question-mark' about them, talc is referred to as being 'related to aluminium', and natural cosmetics are referred to as being chemical free.
The health question marks would have been better elaborated upon so the reader could make a judgement. And it is worth remembering that everything is made of chemicals. Including herbs, including me and you.
Nevertheless I have a waiting list of these recipes to try. I appreciated that Fairley is approaching the subject from a gardeners standpoint and, as such, also have a list of seeds to order. I though I'd try out one of the more simple recipes today though.
This is just an apple put through a blender. As apples are one of the 'dirty dozen' if you are going to try this I - and Fairley - recommend using an organic one, mine is from the box. It's a toning facial mask said to improve acne and break-outs. After my first treatment I can't say I've noticed that much of a difference but it was cooling and relaxing. Even if it looked like puke.
And really what other blog offers you a picture of the writer with apple puke on her face?
Ultimate Natural Beauty Book: 100 Gorgeous Beauty Products to Make Easily at Home from Amazon.co.uk (but try Oxfam!)