Review: Rosa Fina Skincare products from Barefoot Botanicals

Facecream In my continuing search for the perfect skincare range, I've been trying out the Rosa Fina range from Barefoot Botanicals. The company creates organic skincare products that are choc full of essential oils and natural plant extracts, avoiding petrochemicals and other potentially harmful substances. The Rosa Fina products are produced using "oil expressed from the macerated seeds of a wild rose growing only in the Chilean Andes" (so not good news for your global footprint, I'm afraid). According to the blurb, "Rosa Mosqueta oil... has been used by the indigenous population for all kinds of skin problems related to ageing" and the products are touted as being good for wrinkles, stretch marks and scars. So how did I get on with them? Find out, after the turn.

The colour of the Rosa Fina Intensive Facial Radiance Cream (£19.95) is truly a sight to behold. Bright yellow is not a colour I tend to associate with moisturiser, and the smell offered a similarly arresting sensual surprise, which won't suit those who prefer more delicate scents. I quite liked it, however.

Rfbodyconditioninglotion When it came to using the moisturiser, I found it reluctant to go on and clingy. It certainly left my face feeling smooth, and it wasn't oily, but a slightly sticky finish made putting makeup over the top difficult. However, if you don't wear foundation, you may find this moisturiser suits you perfectly. Getting it to absorb into your skin may take a bit of persuasion, but it does leave you with soft, matte skin.

The Rosa Fina Body Conditioning Lotion (£24.95) suffered similarly clingy tendencies, leaving my skin feeling soft, but without that nice glowing lustre I like from a body lotion.

Rffaceoil_1 But while the moisturisers disappointed, the Rosa Fina Intensive Radiance Face Oil (£24.95) was sheer bliss. It makes your skin feel lovely, leaves you with a nice glow, and (slightly counter-intuitively) doesn't make your skin oily. While I wasn't sold on the moisturisers, I really did like the face oil and I'd certainly recommend you check it out. [Katie Lee]

Rosa Fina Skincare range from Barefoot Botanicals

Related: More product reviews on Hippyshopper | More Health & Beauty on Hippyshopper

Used the Rosa Fina Range before? Tell us what you thought of it!

January 16, 2007 in Health & beauty, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reviewed: The Toxic Consumer

190460142101_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_v37814945__1The Toxic Consumer; How to reduce your exposure to everyday toxic chemicals. Karen Ashton and Elizabeth Salter Green. Impact Publishing Ltd.

They are nasty and they are everywhere - chemicals, I mean.

Chemicals used in everyday products - to make things non-stick, bendy, flame retardant or stain resistant - are implicated in a staggering range of health issues including birth defects, lower sperm counts and rising rates of certain cancers.

I don't know about you, but I reckon it might be good to limit my exposure to these nasties, and this book gives advice on how.

It is a concise and easy-to-read guide, which offers a thorough explanation for the contents list of most household products.

Having explaining what the common toxic chemicals are and where they are found, there is a handy chapter on reducing indoor pollution in your home. And although I consider myself to be fairly-clued-up on this subject, it made hair-raising reading.

The Toxic Consumer is priced £7.99 and is available from bookstores or direct from the publisher.

December 30, 2006 in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Review: The Truth about Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why

088192748101_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_v57288836_

The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn't and Why
by Jeff Gillman (Author), £9.89

We've all heard dozens, probably hundreds, of home gardening remedies that "really work".  Well, Jeff Gillman has taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of these remedies and brought in the science.  Does putting ammonia in plant water provide helpful extra nitrogen?  (Not unless you know what you're doing, and even then, probably not.)  How about gravel for drainage?  (No.)  Do Hydrogels mean you don't need to water as often?  (No.)  Do ground brussels sprouts control weeds?  (No.)  Does dosing your plants with B1 help?  (Only the tiniest plants, such as cuttings in scientific test tubes.)  Gillman does an excellent job of explaining what the remedy supposedly does, what it really does, and a round-up paragraph of "what it means for you".  The book is packed with sensible explanations of why you shouldn't do most things your grandmother told you - but smile, and be nice about it.  Only flaw?  I finished it and wanted more.  4/5.  [GT]

The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn't and Why

Related stories: Review: Melissa's Great Book of Produce | Review: Redux: Designs that Reuse, Recycle and Reveal | Review: It's Easy Being Green

December 25, 2006 in Arts & information, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reviewed: Verdante organic cotton kitchen cloths

Verdante_cut_outConventional cotton farming uses only about 3% of total global farmland, yet consumes 25% of all pesticides. Vote with your purse and buy organic cotton wherever possible.

We've shown you organic undies, organic cotton soft toys, and organic cotton shopping bags. Now you can make sure even your kitchen cloths are organic, too.

Verdante dish cloths are made from 100% organic cotton. They are pleasingly thick and soft, so much so, in fact, that I immediately cut mine in half to make two very useable cloths from one.

They smell very fresh, with none of the usual nasty chemical odour and they are washable and fully-biodegradable.

My only reservation is how hard-wearing they will prove to be.

£1.69 for a pack of three from Waitrose and Sainsbury's.

More green reviews

December 19, 2006 in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reviewed: Green Parenting

190460139102_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_v53021144_

Melissa Corkhill, editor of The Green Parent magazine and mother of two, has written an informative guide to parenting in an ecologically aware way.

It's a slim volume, but is chock-o-block with advice, information and tips for every stage of parenting - from pregnancy and birth through to parenting teens.

The book favours short pieces and snippets of information, set out in an easy-to-use style, so it is great for sleep-and-time deprived new parents to dip into.

All the usual suspects - natural cleaning products, organic food, washable nappies, natural birth - are covered, as well as some I knew less about such as holistic health and green education.

There is also a very interesting chapter on the positive effects of watching less or even (gasp!) getting rid of your family's television.

None of the subjects are covered in great depth, but as a practical, inspirational guide to ecological parenting, this book is a winner.

Green Parenting by Melissa Corkhill, £7.99, published by Impact Publishing.

Related stories: Juno parenting magazine | Melissa's Great Book of Produce | A Life Stripped Bare

December 15, 2006 in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Review: Dryer Balls

Db_03_240x190

Dryer Balls are small rubbery spheres covered in nodules. They promise to reduce drying time by up to 25%, reduce creasing of fabrics and increase softness - without the use of disposable dryer sheets.

Now, my tumble dryer rarely gets used. I bought it in a fit of panic when I moved to Scotland, having heard that the weather could be - ahem - challenging. It is a Hotpoint combination washer-dryer and an average mixed load takes two hours to dry. Not an efficient use of energy, you could say.

Feeling, I'll admit, sceptical, I chucked the Dryer Balls in the machine with a mixed wash of clothes and one bath towel.

The clothes were significantly less creased, the bath towel was properly dry and, here's the shock, soft and fluffy. Plus, the load took fifteen minutes less than usual. One ex-sceptic reporting for laundry duty...

Dryer balls cost £9.99 from Woolworths or JMLDirect and are reusable.

Related stories: Dryer Balls

November 27, 2006 in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Find local shops with theSHOPPERSbible.com

Local_shop_3

Last week I drew your attention to a story about supermarkets selling their green credentials.  One of the things I mentioned was how your local grocer was likely to be hugely more energy-efficient than the supermarket, and someone very kindly drew my attention to curiously-cased theSHOPPERSbible.com.

theSHOPPERSbible was set up by a businessman who goes by the delightful name of David Croissant.  His favourite local shop (we're not told what it sold but I like to think it was a boulangerie) shut down after competition from the larger stores nearby proved too much for it.  As a result, he decided to fund and promote the creation of theSHOPPERSbible, which acts as a kind of portal for independent retailers.  Shoppers can use the site to search for local shops for local people in their local area, and use the site to contact the retailers directly if they have any questions.

It's a good idea and anything that makes it easier to find an alternative to the energy-guzzling supermarket is, of course, welcome.  There are some limitations to the site, however.

The search function doesn't allow a search by postcode for local stores.  The concept of 'local' suffers, too, since the site only groups retailers at the county level, not town.  This might be down to the fact that there appears to be few shops currently listed on the site.  The press blurb claims more than 2,000 retailers have signed up but by my reckoning 1,690 of these are listed in the 'Internet and Home Based' category - not really very local.

Retailers need to pony up to get listed on site, which may explain the sparseness of the listings.  To be fair, theSHOPPERSbible is trying to remedy the situation by offering free basic listings to the first 999 shopkeepers - the ones with actual bricks and mortar shops - to sign up.  At the time of writing, there were 622 free listings still up for grabs.

theSHOPPERSbible is a nice concept but it needs more shops in its listings.  Even then, it needs to add more information about the ethical and environmental aspects of each shop if it wants to get the full Hippyshopper seal of approval.

November 20, 2006 in Reviews, Utilities, services & misc | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BBC's Planet Earth

B000exzl4i01_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_v65308009_

Thanks to David Attenborough, the BBC, and a 40-strong camera crew, I have seen lions hunting elephants, migrating Mongolian gazelle and, last night, a parasitic fungi that feeds on its insect host before bursting out of its body, Alien-style.

If you didn't catch episode eight of the wonderful Planet Earth - and, frankly, you should be ashamed of yourself - you get a second chance on Saturday night (25 November, 7pm, BBC 2).

And if that isn't enough, a five-disc DVD box set, featuring the entire series (plus extras) is released on November 27. Planet Earth is a spectacular achievement; five years in production, over 2000 days in the field and across 200 locations.

Put it on your Christmas list; you deserve it.

Related stories: TV Scoop

November 20, 2006 in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New Fairtrade Chocolate Bars

ChocolateVenture Foods has added two new organic, fairtrade and vegan confectionery bars to their range, bringing the total up to six.

My favourite's the 'Swiss Dark Chocolate Bar with Mint Crisps', a dark chocolate (65% cocoa solids) bar containing crispy mint crystals.  It's a perfect guilt-free after-dinner alternative to the likes of Nestlé's Matchmakers or the Cadbury Schweppes-owned Green & Black's range.  This bar tastes so good, it didn't even occur to me that it was specially formulated to make it suitable for vegans.

I tend to shy away from white 'chocolate' but the Premium Organic White Bar is similarly tasty.  It's not at all obvious that Venture Foods use rice milk as a dairy alternative and it's a great choice for vegans who prefer white chocolate.  (Back-of-the-pack obsessives can see the ingredients list here.)

Both bars are organic, gluten free, vegan and non-GM, and approved by the Soil Association and Fairtrade Foundation.  More importantly, they're both mouth-wateringly tasty, so give one a go, even if you're not vegan or gluten-intolerant.  You can pick a bar up at Waitrose or online at The Natural Grocery Store.  They'll set you back around £1.79 each.

November 16, 2006 in Food & drink, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Review: Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House

Natural_remodel_cover_new

Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House
by Kelly Lerner and Carol Venolia, published by Lark Books, £11.77

Starting with a non-organic product of any kind and trying to make it green is always difficult, and a house is one of the most difficult (as well as most common). Result: this book was received with great enthusiasm. Contains lots of useful definitions for the novice would-be hippyshopper and a mix of obvious (yes, we know cooking with lids on the pots makes you use less heating energy) and non-obvious (putting the bathtub by a window really does make the bathroom look larger). Unfortunately, too much seems contingent on large design decisions (information on where to put windows implies one intends to move them) where more emphasis on small changes with good bang-for-the-buck impact would've been appreciated. However, it is called Remodeling - not, say, Tweaking. On the whole it's a slightly strange mix of specialized information (tables of the various virtues of different flooring, wall finishes, etc) and overly simplified (indictions to 'pick energy efficient windows'). Nonetheless, if you are undertaking a renovation of any kind it's worth at least a look, and at only £11.77, most likely worth buying. 3/5. [GT]

Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House

Related stories: Review: Redux: Designs that Reuse, Recycle and Reveal | Review: two from William H. Kemp - take one, it's big | Review: Green by Design

September 19, 2006 in Arts & information, Do It Yourself, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack