Ta-Dah…SkinsMatter 2014 Award Winners Announced!

logoAs you know, I am a judge at the first stage of the Skinsmatter FreeFrom Skincare awards. It’s me and another couple of people who ultimately decide who is good enough to even get through the first stage assessment to enter the awards process. If it doesn’t fit the criteria, it don’t go through, simple as.

Working blind so we aren’t influenced by packaging (which is a good thing for me as I am a sucker for a lovely-looking pot), we then decide what we think of the ingredients, whether it is likely to do the job claimed, is it innovative in some way or is it a standard much-like-any-other mix? What’s the value like, would the pot be big enough for slathering on an eczema-prone body or only be enough for a patch or two? Is the labelling clear, could they have done a better job for freefromers (invariably yes, but it is getting better), do I need a magnifying glass to read the ingredients, are they using INCI and common names to meet both legal and customer requirements?

So you see: we don’t just stick a pin in and choose products – and I’ve only described the bit I’m involved in! After that, we meet in London with other consumer, allergy and professional experts to cogitate, trial and discuss, choosing the best of the bunch in each category, and finally they are sent out to our team of trusted testers for their comments. The whole lot is then analysed and the winners discovered.


So, without further ado, here are this years’ winners for you; I hope you find something new and lovely. Drum roll, please….


Best ‘Free From’ Product



Tropic Skin Care, Smoothing Cleanser with Organic Bamboo Cloth



Blend Collective, Unwinding Soap Bar

Elixirs of Life, Gardeners Life Hand Cream

Green People, Cell Enrich Facial Oil

Herbfarmacy, Mallow Beauty Balm

Lavera, Lavera Men Sensitive Moisturising Face Cream


Best ‘Free From’ Brand






Green People




Tropic Skin Care


Category Winners and Medallists:


1. Family Skincare – sponsored by NATorigin



Nom Nom Skincare, Organic Pregnancy Stretch Butter Camillia and Vanilla



Kosmea, Skin Clinic Rescue Balm

Moa, The Green Balm

Nom Nom Skincare, Organic Baby Butter Calendula and Evening Primrose



Spiezia Organics, Calendula Ointment


2. Men’s Grooming



Lavera, Lavera Men Sensitive Moisturising Face Cream



Adam and Eve Skincare, Refreshing Face Wash



Green People, Itch Away Shampoo


3. Hair Care



Faith in Nature, Coconut Shampoo



PurelyPuti Products, StarShine Luxury Hair Serum



Weleda, Millet Nourishing Shampoo


4. Body Care (Leave On) – sponsored by Spiezia Organics



Toulou Organics, Nourishing-Vanilla Pod, Aloe Vera & Baobab Body Creme



Eve of St Agnes, Hydrating Body Cream



Pure Lakes Skincare, Gardener’s Skin Repair Bar


5. Body Care (Take Off)



Odylique, Coconut Candy Scrub



Botanicals, Revitalising Body Polish



Beatitude, Joy Bath Oil


6. Oils and Oil-based Serums



Green People, Cell Enrich Facial Oil



Barefoot SOS, Intensive Treatment Oil

The Rose Tree, Radiance Facial Essence with Rose & Marula



Dash Skincare, Rebalancing Facial Oil

Mel Millis, Rosehip & Pomegranate Repair Serum

Tropic Skin Care, Organic Elixir Oil


7. Make-Up



Jane Iredale, Eye Pencil



NATorigin, Compact Face Powder



Neal’s Yard Remedies, Lengthening Mascara


8. Hand, Nail and Foot Care



Elixirs of Life, Gardeners Life Hand Cream



Botanicals, Foot Softening Balm

MuLondon, Organic White Chocolate Elbow, Knee & Heel Cream



Bakewell Soap, Foot Soother


9. Hard Soaps



Blend Collective, Unwinding Soap Bar



All Natural Soap Co, Coco Castile Soap Bar

Bentley Organic, Calming & Moisturising Bar Soap

Ruth Romano, Handcrafted Natural Lavender Soap Bar



All Natural Soap Co, Oatmeal Soother Bar Soap

Madara, Birch and Algae Balancing Face Soap

Spiezia Organics, Lemongrass and Marigold Soap


10. Face Care (Leave On)



Herbfarmacy, Mallow Beauty Balm



Aurelia, Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser

Lyonsleaf, Beauty Balm

Purely SKINful, Anti Ageing Night Cream with Celligent



Suti, Honour, Coconut & Roses Face Cream


11. Face Care (Take Off)



Tropic Skin Care, Smoothing Cleanser with Organic Bamboo Cloth



Aurelia, Miracle Cleanser

Botanicals, Gentle Cleansing Melt

Organic Surge, Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser



Jane Scrivner, Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleanser

Kinvara Skincare, Absolute Cleansing Oil

UrbanVeda, Purifying Exfoliating Facial Polish


12. Problem Skin



Lyonsleaf, Healing Calendula Balm



Apicare, Manuka Therapy 30% Honey Cream

Bloom Remedies, Daily Detox Moisturiser with Palmarosa & Tea Tree

Green People, Daily Solution – Anti Blemish

PHB Ethical Beauty, Skin Repair Gel with Aloe and Lavender



Chuckling Goat, Pro-Biotic Skin Food for Troubled Skin

Kris d’Amour, Soothing Body Treatment Butter

MuLondon, Organic Marigold, Frankincense & Myrrh Moisturiser

Weleda, Aknedoron Purifying Lotion

My Latest Article On Gluten Related Disorders

I have just written this post on the TrulyGlutenFree blog, but my aim is to start getting more people to consider gluten as a factor in their seemingly gluten-unrelated health issues, so here it is for you too. Just in case.

As promised, after listening to, analysing, chin-stroking, whooping, nose-wrinkling and eventually pulling out the practical bits from the recent (ish, sorry!) gluten summit, here’s the first in my series of articles, published by Coeliacs Matter.

I will eventually put the whole series together as a free download for you on TGF, but for now, enjoy the mini-series as it comes out. Here’s number 1. Enjoy:

CoeliacsMatter | Gluten Disorders E-summmit – January 2014 – Introduction.

Mobiles in Pockets Affects Sperm

Keeping a mobile (cell) phone in the pocket can damage sperm, and affect a man’s fertility.

Sperm number and movement, or motility, is affected by electromagnetic radiation when a mobile phone is carried around in trouser pockets, say researchers.

Researchers from the University of Exeter analysed 10 studies, involving 1,492 men, and found that nine of them had discovered deterioration in sperm quality.

The overall decline was around 8 per cent, the researchers say, which is probably not significant in a healthy man, but it could be an important factor in any man who is already suffering from poor fertility.

(Source: Environment International, 2014; 70: 106-112) WDDTY enews.

You can read more in the BBC story below too.

Free From Food Daily Listings

where to buy spanish chicken  If you want to keep up with what new special diet, freefrom foods are coming out, how do you do it? I know I struggle.

So, I was pleased to see our friends at FoodsMatter.com have launched a new daily freefrom food listing service, which I think will be really useful. Here are the three most recent ones, for example:

16th June 2014
 dairy free coconut milk yoghurt will be available in 416 Tesco stores across the UK from 16th June as well as Tesco online. Three of CO YO’s yoghurts will be listed in Tesco: Mango, Raw Chocolate and Natural all costing £1.99 for a 125g tub.

15th June 2014
Amisa have added a new gluten, wheat & nut free fresh ravioli with cheese and spinach to their range, and are also launching a dairy free, vegan cheese, Vegana, available from mid-June. The Vegana range will include grated cheese and cheese slices. Amisa products are available from various independent stockists nationwide and online.

13th June 2014
Kallo have introduced brand new wheat free super seeds rice cakes – the two new varieties are buckwheat super-seeds low fat multigrain cakes – available at Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, RRP £1.29 per pack, and quinoa & seeds multigrain cakes – available at Sainsbury’s, RRP £1.89 per pack.

How fab is that? You can check the site page whenever, but also subscribe to the fortnightly newsletter and you’ll get a reminder then to have a peek for something new and tempting.

GM Crops Given Tacit UK Go Ahead

This is not good news as far as I’m concerned:

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, Dr Helen Wallace, co-founder of GeneWatch UK and Liz O’Neill, director of GM Freeze have reacted with fury after the government backed an EU vote allowing the planting of two types of GM maize in Europe. The vote was passed by agriculture ministers in Luxembourg and the concern is that this could lead to GM maize being grown in England next year.

Read more here:
The Daily Mail (12 June 2014)
EU ruling paves the way for GM farming in England The Daily Telegraph (12 June 2014)
EU go-ahead for GM crops The Ecologist (12 June 2014)
EU could allow member states to rule over GM Farmers Guardian (12 June 2014)
GM crops could be planted in the UK next year Farming UK (12 June 2014)
EU allows its member countries to define GM policy on their own Voice of Russia (13 June 2014)

The Soil Association campaigns against GM

The Kind Of Morning I Like!

I’ve had a lovely morning today. Nice emails, success stories and a donation: makes all the work worthwhile when you hear it’s hitting the mark.

First, I helped a lady yesterday with her chronically-poorly daughter just by giving some ideas in an email for her to think about. She replied:

Crumbs. I feel as if I’ve opened a treasure chest of information. Thank you are two words which seem totally inadequate. THANK YOU SO MUCH.  AL June 14

And gave me a £20 donation, which I immediately spent on a thyroid webinar I needed :)

A had come to me through a friend of a friend who she said had done really well. Intrigued, of course, I wanted to know more:

My lovely friend L told me how they had had blood tests done through you. A virus had been diagnosed and they had then gone to see an endocrinologist for treatment. K, a keen rock climber who had completely lost all quality of life through his illness is now back …..climbing rocks! AL June 14    

Another story also in emails today from a chap with a teenage son who has been off school for months with chronic fatigue. We tested his nutritional status (he had just had a growth spurt before it came on and I guessed he would be nutrient deficient most likely as there is such a massive need for growth hormone, zinc etc at that growing time) and I suggested a high dose corrective strategy in his test report. I heard this morning, after just 3 weeks, he is back in school :)

And a bonus one – the other day I read a review of my new Gluten Plan by C on the Lulu site (where you can buy a printed copy). C said:

This Plan is absolutely brilliant and covers everything required if you suspect you have coeliac disease or a sensitivity to gluten. It is clearly laid out, is bang-up-to-date and makes a very complex subject understandable. It provides full plans on how to test and heal yourself – no matter how far your illness has progressed. I am so glad I bought it as for the first time in years, I have some hope of getting relief from my symptoms.

Aah, I shall sit back and bask for 5 minutes. No longer as I need to keep it up then don’t I?! Thank you all for your comments; they do keep me going and give me a song in my heart :)


Allergy Hospital Admissions Rising Significantly

Bit concerning – anaphylactic and general allergy admissions are up:


The number of people admitted to hospital for potentially life-threatening allergic reactions is rising.  The Health & Social Care Information Centre say that 4,070 people were admitted between March last year & February this year, suffering an anaphylactic reaction – a 9.9% rise on the previous year.  Hospitals in England admitted 20,318 patients for general allergies in the 12 months – a 7.7% rise.

Pollen Nasal Filter

  I couldn’t resist showing you this drug-free innovative way of reducing hayefever symptoms! Great for cyclists, gardeners etc, although I’m not sure I would want to wear it to a garden party, if you know what I mean! Prefer some Haymax or I use coconut oil to do the same thing – catch the pollen before it goes up your nose.

Great idea. Check it out: Allergy Best Buys.

I need to do this year’s bit on hayfever prevention and am just waiting for a new Hayfever guide leaflet to come out, but here are some pieces from previous years to help you.

Non-Drug Hayfever Solutions

Allergy/Hayfever Prescription

Hayfever Tips