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Three green ways to lose weight

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vegetables-2013.jpgIt's a brand new year, which means a lot of us will be thinking about making an effort to lose those extra pounds we've always wanted to.

Reducing your weight and waistline to a healthy level is great for both body and mind, as long as it's done in a good way. Fad diets that tell you to eat just one thing (cabbage, soup, fruit, protein to name a few) are not the way to battle the bulge. These crash diets are more likely to do more harm than good, and many find that they're piling on the pounds and more as soon as they go back to 'normal'. What is needed is a change of lifestyle. And if you're in no rush, there are plenty of green and healthy ways of losing weight.

This January why not make three changes to your habits that will not only help the environment, but also help you lose weight naturally and healthily.

1. Ditch the car and take up walking or cycling

If you're used to driving to whichever place you are going, make an effort to leave the car at home and instead walk or cycle. Both provide a great workout and you'll soon find a new spring in your step. There's no better way to lose weight than burning calories through exercising.

2. Sign up to volunteer at outdoor activities

If you take a look around you'll probably find lots of volunteering groups involved in outdoor activities such as picking up rubbish in your local park or planting trees. Not only will this get you out of the house and moving, but you'll also be helping the environment.

3. Try to eat more vegetables

Many of you may already be following a vegetarian rich (or only) diet. But for those that are not, replacing meat with vegetables will help you reduce consumption of certain fats. This ought to help you fight the pounds. Just make sure that you don't fall into the trap and swap the meat for beige carbs (pasta and bread). These are the less healthy carbs and often have lots of unnecessary salt and sugar in them. Make your meals from scratch and ensure you have a healthy and balanced diet.

By making small adjustments to your daily life, you'll soon find yourself a lighter, healthier you.

[Image Source / Creative Commons ]

Pukka launches Ayurveda skincare collection

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You might have read my first experience with Ayurveda previously, the ancient Indian philosophy of health and wellbeing which advocates skin detoxification and nutrient replenishment known to improve external vitality and radiance.

Now the people behind Pukka teas have expanded their offering with the launch of Pukka Ayurveda Skincare, a naturally active organic skincare range made with Ayurvedic herbs such as amla (a plump, glistening fruit with potent antioxidant properties), gotu kola (an elegant leafy plant that for a long time has been associated with skin toning and regeneration), and the neroli flower which has been used to rejuvenate the skin for centuries.

Containing highly concentrated, sustainably harvested oils, fruits and herbs, the range is produced using a sophisticated CO2 extraction process that gives a richness that reaches deep into the skin. The products are made free from parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances and colours, and concentrated ingredients that makes a little go a long way.

Formulated by Pukka's Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist Sebastian Pole the new range features ten natural skincare classics have been organically certified by the Soil Association.

Read more about the collection here (you can also buy the products by clicking on the link!).

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Organic month: bath & beauty

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Whenever you mention organic most people immediately think of food. Truth is that you can lead a very 'organic lifestyle' these days from food and clothes to beauty essentials. With September being Organic month, we've had a look at some of the many products out there which are produced according to organic principles. First up: bath and beauty.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and whatever you put on it can be absorbed - much like you are what you eat. As people have become more interested in using more naturally sustainable products in their lives we've seen a growing number of organic skincare and beauty products hit the market - and they're not too badly priced either! However, unlike food, there are no legal standards to follow for organic beauty products so if you're really after living an organic lifestyle you should check each product before you buy it. Look out for brands that follow the COSMetics Organic Standard, or Cosmos-standard and will be labelled with one or more of the following:

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Here are our four picks from the bunch that lets you introduce a bit more 'naturalness' into your bath and beauty regime:

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Organic Surge Peach Passion Shower gel (£3.99/250ml)

An everyday essential - who doesn't shower - the Organic Surge peach passion shower gel is packed with organic peach extract and almond essential oil that will calm and condition your skin.

The scent itself makes you want to eat this shower gel. Blended without the use of parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate and synthetic fragrances, it also contains Vitamin E so leaves your skin feeling smooth and soft and ready for the day. And if you are prone to irritated skin, the gel is clinically certified for sensitive skin so it is perfect for all skin types.

Available in Wholefoods, John Lewis, Ocado, Fresh & Wild and Waitrose.

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OCS Aqua Boost Shampoo and Conditioner (£10.95)

A favourite of celebrities, OCS's haircare and styling products are the ultimate choice for your tresses. Using Soil Association and ECOCERT certified organic ingredients (and carrying the Bunny Logo) the products use gentle, nourishing and natural ingredients like sunflower oil (a natural UV inhibitor), fennel seed, comfrey and wheat for conditioning and bergamot fruit oil for antiseptic properties.

We've been testing the Aqua Boost shampoo and conditioner on our over-treated, over-coloured locks for a few weeks now, and our hair is definitely feeling softer and looks more shiny! And the fact that it smelled like a sweet shop makes the experience even... well sweeter.

For stockist details call 01590 613 490 or visit the OCS website.

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Aubrey Organics Collagen & Almond Enriching Moisturising Lotion (£11.72/237ml)

When you're nice and clean, don't forget to treat your body to some added protection against the harsh environment - especially important during winter - with a good body lotion. You can be certain you're in safe hands by going with this one from Aubrey Organics. The brand was set up by US ecologist Aubrey Hampton and was the first brand in the world to receive organic accreditation.

Made with collagen and elastin, proteins found in your skin, plus rich moisturising almond oil, this replenishing body lotion promises to smooth and hydrate, leaving your skin soft, youthful and delicately fragrant.

Available online at www.aubreyorganicsuk.co.uk

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Mádara Deep Moisture Cream (£24)

Add a bit of luxury to your daily organic skincare regime with Mádara's moisturising cream. Part of a range of eco-friendly skincare products that is certified by ECOCERT, the Deep Moisture Cream promises to hydrate, firm and nourish the skin. It contains Baltic algae, oats, plantain, rosehip, sea bucktorn as well as rose water, avocado, cocoa and jojoba.

But ladies be aware: the sleek design and fresh fragrance makes it a favourite with men too, so don't be surprised if you find you're running out quickly!

Available in Wholefoods or online www.madara.co.uk

(Image from here)

De-stressing with Ayurveda Pura, London

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spa3.bmpWorking and living in London can certainly take it out of you; you're constantly switched on, connected and trying to run your life with military precision to make sure you can fit everyone and everything into your schedule. Between work, networking, meeting friends and simply living, it's no wonder that one of the most common ailments these days is stress.

You might not even realise you're stressed until someone points it out. For me it was the periodical insomnia that tipped me off. Instead of reaching for over the counter sleeping aids to help push my imaginary sheep aside, I decided to look into alternative, more natural, treatments. For de-stressing isn't about a quick fix, it's about changing your way of life.

This desire to discover how and what to do in order to reduce my stress levels, sleep better and in turn be more awake brought me to Greenwich, to Ayurveda Pura and Dr Deepa Apte, a specialist in the field of Ayurveda treatments.

Ayurveda is the ancient holistic health system of India, which comprises of diet, yoga, massage treatments, detoxification, herbal remedies, meditation and daily lifestyle changes to create harmony between a person's body and his or her environment. It is the science of life.

doshas.jpgDr Apte explained that in Ayurveda they believe in "mind over matter", that anything that affects your mind - be it your family, work or social life - as well as your geographical location and environment will have an effect on your body. But how you react is down to your body type. Ailments, like stress, are a result of an imbalance in your physical or mental constitution, and Ayurveda seeks to restore the balance and works based your body type. The three types are Air (Vata), Fire (Pitta) and Water (Kapha).

To determine which type you are one of Ayurveda Pura's practitioners will conduct a consultation that comprises of a questionnaire, an analysis of your tongue and taking your pulse. Yes that's right, they are specially trained to connect with you through your pulse! Each consultation takes around one hour after which you'll receive a detailed programme explaining the changes they recommend you making in terms of diet, nutrition, treatments and general lifestyle.

Following my consultation Dr Apte established that I was very much Fire (very focused, determined and ambitious types) with some elements of Water (friendly and flexible). My imbalance - which seemingly is causing my stress - comes from Air (restless and active people). I certainly know a few airy types...

spa23.jpgTo kick start my 'healing' process I had also booked in a whole body massage - any excuse for a bit of pampering! In a calming, dimmed room, Linda, my therapist used long strokes that followed the way the energy flows through the body. And as the hot sesame seed oil warmed my body, I felt my muscles unwind and my thoughts gradually slowing down until the music was only a distant hum. Dr Apta later explained that the touch helps reduce air movement and the hot oil therapy helps calm down the mind as it pacifies Air as well as Fire.

Being Scandinavian I am used to Nordic massages - think more strength - so this was a different, yet very enjoyable experience. I left the clinic feeling like I was floating on air and filled with advice on how to improve my lifestyle. Ahead of me the buildings of Canary Wharf towered, reminding me of the real world that still existed outside of the calming Ayurveda Pura.

Then my phone rang.

A one hour Ayurvedic consultation costs £50. and the Abhyanga - Ayurvedic whole body massage (1 hour) £55. The clinic also has a range of beauty products, herbal teas and food supplements all created by Ayurveda Pura.

Ayurveda Pura
T: 020 8312 8383 (Option 1)
www.ayurvedapura.com

kiehls_pharrell_williams_eco-tote.jpgWe like it when celebrities put on their environmental boots and help raise awareness about issues.

The latest to do so is US rapper Pharrell Williams who has teamed up with Kiehl's to create a Limited Edition Eco-Tote, to help raise awareness for World Earth Day, 22nd April 2011. The eco-tote is made using Bionic yarn technology in which fabrics are created from recycling plastic bottles. How cool is that!

Unfortunately it is only US customers who take part in the Kiehl's 'Recycle and Be Rewarded' scheme - recycling their empty product bottles, jars and tubes at their local Kiehl's stores from April to June - that are eligible to receive the complimentary bag. We kind of wanted one for ourselves... Is it too late to relocate across the pond??

Have a Lush Easter with a chick and an egg

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Easter is not far away and we're getting quite excited about the thought of chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies and chocolate... well everything! But Easter doesn't have to be all about chocolate if you're watching your figure or simply don't like the stuff.

If a relaxing bath and pampering is more your thing, these cute Easter inspired ballistic bath bombs from Lush are perfect.

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btn_bunny-wrap.jpgThe Hippy Chick (£1.90) is a pale golden ballistic with a refreshing grapefruit fragrance, while the Fluffy Egg (£2.95) is a bubble-gum pink ballistic for those who like sweet and indulgent moments in the tub.

And if you want to give someone a chick and an egg for Easter, Lush can wrap your lovely treats in a limited edition Bunny Knot-wrap for only £2.50.

We know where we're heading this lunchtime.

Sainsbury's awarded BUAV's Leaping Bunny logo

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BUAV_Leaping_Bunny.jpgBUAV have tested all of Sainsbury's own brand cosmetics and toiletries, over 200 products in total, and have found all to be free from animal testing and will now carry BUAV's Leaping Bunny logo.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of BUAV, stated: "As one of the leading supermarkets, we are delighted to award Sainsbury's the BUAV Leaping Bunny logo. By applying for this standard, Sainsbury's has demonstrated its commitment to producing products which are free from animal testing and have enabled their customers to make their own informed choices when shopping for themselves or their families."

The BUAV's international no-animal testing certification, symbolised by the Leaping Bunny trademark, enables consumers to easily identify and purchase cosmetics and toiletries with ingredients which have not been tested on animals. Qualifying for the BUAV's Humane Cosmetics Standard is a rigorous and stringent process. As well as guaranteeing that no product or ingredient has been tested on animals from a verifiable date, each applicant must also be open to an independent audit throughout its supply chain to ensure that they adhere to their animal testing policy and the Standard's strict criteria.

The Leaping Bunny logo will initially appear on all of Sainsbury's shower and hand care products and is scheduled to roll out across the entire range throughout the year.

Please visit www.gocrueltyfree.org for a complete list of BUAV approved products.

Miranda Kerr's essential Rosehip oil

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miranda_kerr.jpgMrs Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr counts Rosehip oil as one of the essential products every woman should keep in their handbag.

The Australian model and mother-of-one finds the essential oil is particularly useful as a make-up remover and that it can also be a useful tool to protect against the effects of exposure to the sun and ageing.

Miranda said: "Essential Fatty Acids main function is their ability to counteract the drying effects of sun exposure and other environmental influences that lead to signs of aging and age related skin damage.

"I use this under my moisturiser of an evening and as a makeup remover around my eyes. I also use it more frequently if my skin is particularly dry at any time."

Miranda endorses a brand of Rosehip oil through her KORA Organics range, which she says has a particular blend of ingredients designed to give the optimum care for skin.

Looking in my bag there is no Rosehip oil to be found, but I have heard about its positive effects before so might just have to invest in some...

BUAV Approved Leaping Bunny Logo.jpgBeing a compassionate consumer has never been easier with the latest edition of the BUAV's Little Book of Cruelty Free, enabling shoppers to make ethical choices and buy cosmetic, personal care and household products that haven't been tested on animals.

Contrary to popular belief, products that are tested on animals are still on sale and widely available throughout the EU, including in the UK. The latest Little Book of Cruelty Free lists over 100 companies which have all been awarded the Leaping Bunny logo and are guaranteed by BUAV to be free from animal testing.

BUAV is campaigning to end animal testing for all beauty products sold in Europe with the No Cruel Cosmetics campaign backed by BUAV Approved companies including Marks & Spencer, Bulldog male grooming, Neal's Yard, Suma and BM Beauty.

Over 16,000 supporters have already signed the No Cruel Cosmetics campaign petition to the European Commission. Please join them at www.nocruelcosmetics.org.

Download your free copy here!

Ethical Valentine's Day Gifts For Him

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Thinking about what to get your man this Valentine's Day that it both romantic and eco-friendly? Hippyshopper has put together this gift guide to make your shopping easier, even if buying for Mr Have It All.

Ethical Valentine's Day Gifts For Her

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Need inspiration for a greener Valentine's Day gift for the lady in your life?

If you're looking for something a bit different than the traditional chocolate and flower combo for your darling, check out our gift guide for her this Valentine's.

Get kissable lips with Burt's Bees lip balm

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Burt's Bees lip balmWhen it comes to handbag must haves, lip balm is high up on my list. Whatever the situation, there is nothing worse than dry, cracked lips that are desperate for some TLC. Not only are lips a focus feature of your visage, but soft, hydrated lips are much more kissable - worth thinking about with Valentine's Day just a month away.

For the past month, I've been testing out three Burt's Bees lip balms: nourishing beeswax, moisturising honey and rejuvenating pomegranate, and my lips are now feeling and looking ultra-soft and healthy!

These natural lip balms are loaded with coconut and sunflower oils, rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids to soften your lips, as well as beeswax that helps lock in hydration. Prettily packaged, the lip balms can be bought as a set that comes in a handy tin that can be used for small keepsakes or buttons once you've placed one lip balm in your three most used handbags - best way to make sure you're never without your nourishing Burt's Bees lip balm!

The lip balm tin is available from online retailer Lucy Rose for £9.99.

No Nonsense in Fight Against Dry Winter Skin

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image001.jpgDuring the cold winter months many experience dry skin caused by moving from hot to cold environments throughout the day, and it can be difficult to find a moisturiser that works. And if you're an eco-bunny you probably want your skincare products to have all the green credentials as well as provide long-lasting hydration.

No Nonsense has launched a Real Skin Cream range specially developed for your face, body, hands and feet - all with no nasties. In fact, their face and body creams contain only four ingredients each, and they're all organic: vitamin-rich fair-trade shea butter, two natural plant oils and one essential oil.

With a delightful scent, the cream has a mousse-like consistency which melts into your skin, providing immediate hydration. The entire range is hypoallergenic, perfect for sensitive and problem-skin, and suitable for vegans.

Creator of No Nonsense Dawn Lyle says:
"Many skin problems are caused by the chemicals contained in over-medicalised skincare products which can cause damage, dry skin and premature ageing as they accumulate over time. I decided to call this product Real Skin Cream because it avoids all the rubbish that isn't needed and simply delivers the concentrated moisturisation that skin cries out for."

No Nonsense creams are available in Rosehip & Shea, Apricot & Shea and Hemp & Shea, and are priced at £15 (100ml).

You can even try before you buy, so head over to www.nononsensebodycare.co.uk to request a free sample or to invest in a face and body cream that truly works!

The Body Shop Coconut Gift SetIf you're at a loss of what to get your loved one, why not opt for this indulgent gift set from The Body Shop?

Perfect to de-stress after Christmas Day, everyone would love a bit of 'me-time' with these delightful luxury gift set with the tropical scent of fresh coconut.

The set contains:
- Coconut Shower Cream 250 ml
- Coconut Body Butter 200 ml
- Coconut Soap 100 g
- Coconut Body Scrub 200 ml
- Two-Tone Bath Lily

Available through The Body Shop's website for £23.00.

The Body Shop believe there is only one way to beautiful, nature's way. They constantly seek out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and bring products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty and express your unique personality. Against animal testing, all products and ingredients are sourced responsibly.

Photo: The Body Shop

all for eve lipstick pure designFor anyone wishing to add a bit of Old Hollywood glamour to this year's Christmas parties, red lips are a must.

This deep, timeless red lipstick designed by Daniel Sandler for 'all for eve' is the perfect choice. A blue based red; it is suitable for most skin types.

'all for eve' is a stand-alone beauty and lifestyle brand that works together with some of the leading brands in the beauty and fashion industry, and donates its net profits to The Eve Appeal, which supports women's cancers.

The crimson lipstick is designed to create a feeling of courage and poise in celebration women's strength.

It is available from Pure Design for £10.00 + delivery.

Pure Design has chosen to match 'all for eve's' commitment by donating 100% of Pure Design profit from sales to The Eve Appeal.

Photo: Pure Design

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