Month: June 2010

Green tea – the wonder stuff

Is there anything green tea can’t do?  It’s been feted as a weight loss miracle, melting away the pounds.   Research suggests it might lower the risk of heart disease and prevent certain types of cancer.  Acne sufferers daub it on their skin while others swear it works a treat as a mouthwash.  Just recently it was reported that drinking green tea could even protect us from glaucoma and other eye diseases.  Its celebrity following is vast – from Oprah Winfrey through Jennifer Lopez and Lindsay Lohan to Courtney Love and (inevitably) Gwyneth Paltrow.  But is it just another over-hyped fad or should we really be ditching our mugs of builders’ finest and playing green tea ceremonies instead?  ‘Green tea has become a ‘must have’ drink with its own fashion status,’ says Ross Hutchison, MD of The Teahouse (www.theteahouse.co.uk), speaking from a tea garden in China.  He points out that green tea isn’t actually that mysterious.  ‘All the major types of tea (white, green, oolong, black) all originate from the Camellia Sinensis tea bush. The difference …

Are lava shells the new hot stones? No, they’re much better

Nothing much surprises me when it comes to massage. I’ve been pummelled with hands, elbows, feet; on the floor, in swimming pools, on beds of hay.  But when I heard about a new massage using hot tiger striped clam shells I rolled my eyes.  The Lava Shells massage sounded perilously like the ‘next hot stones’ – and, if I’m brutally frank, hot stones just never really set me on fire.  So I had my cynical hat rammed firmly onto my head when I walked into Body Image in Taunton.  ‘Oh, you’re in for a treat,’ said the owner, Richard Butt.  ‘It’s absolutely amazing.’  Yes, but he would say that, wouldn’t he?  My therapist, Gemma Impey, took a brief case history (the treatment is not suitable for pregnant women, anyone who’s recently had an operation and  anyone with active cancer) and explained about the shells which were sitting, looking pretty unprepossessing, on a small table.  Palm-sized, they come from villages in the Philippines where the tiger clam is part of the daily diet (so effectively they’re …

In praise of Argan

Do you really need to spend the earth on fancy moisturisers and serums?  In a word, no.  Argan oil will be a friend to your face and your purse – this cheap as chips facial superstar is probably the best-kept beauty secret going.  Argan rescue serum by Wild Wood Groves costs just £14 (for 15ml) while the Argan, neroli and sandalwood blend will set you back a mere £12.50.  I dabbed one on in the morning and one at night and after just a few days I noticed my skin was feeling noticeably softer and smoother.  After a week, I was hooked.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Sophie Dahl is a fan, and a very enthusiastic one.  ‘I love love love Wild Wood Groves’ Argan oil blends,’ she says. ‘The Lavender is magical in the bath, and the Baby blend is perfect for even the most temperamental of skins. Gentle and ethical, they are total bliss for the skin.’ Argan oil’s anti-ageing properties are due to high levels of Vitamin E and …