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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Mini Wildflower Meadows

The importance of bees and pollinators to our survival can't be overstated. Bees alone (that is honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees) pollinate around 75% of the crops, fruit and vegetables that we eat, but the other pollinators, like butterflies and hoverflies shouldn't be forgotten.  Unfortunately due to loss of habitat and the use of harmful pesticides, these creatures are more at risk than ever.  That's where we can help.  Plant a few bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers in your garden.  If you don't have a garden a plant pot on a windowsill or a window box will do.  And if that's not possible either then scatter a few seeds over the next patch of open ground that you pass.  

That's why I'll be including a wildflower seeded paper heart with every lip balm order until the end of September. The ideal time for Spring planting is just about over, however seeds can be planted in September so hang on to those hearts and plant them up in the Autumn.  According to the paper company's website, the "handmade paper contains British Wildflower meadow seeds...- Birdsfoot Trefoil, Black Snapweed, Black Medick, Common Vetch, Meadow Buttercup, Musk Mallow, Ox-eye Daisy, Ribwort Plantain, Red Campion, Self Heal, White Campion, Yarrow, Browntop Bent, Red Fescue, Crested Dogstail, Meadow Fescue and Smooth Stalk Meadow Grass."

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

5 Tips to Help You Make Lifestyle Changes That Stick

We're well into February and the New Year might seem like a distant memory.  Chances are you made some resolutions back in January, and I'd be willing to bet that one of them was to get healthy.  Anyone can change their habits temporarily, but for long-lasting results you need to make a lifestyle change that sticks, so here are 5 tips that will help you make healthier lifestyle choices for good.

1.  Ease into it.

One of the things that people do when they've decided to make a change is to make sweeping changes to their diet or lifestyle all at once.  I think that is a recipe for disaster.  It's likely that you've been eating and living in a particular way for years, so it's unrealistic to think that you can simply make huge changes and carry on as normal.  It's best to ease into it and make changes gradually so that you have time to adapt and form new habits.

I'm trying to significantly reduce my meat and dairy intake but rather than throw out every meat and dairy-related item all at once, I've been making small changes and cutting down gradually so that it's less of a shock to the system, and so far it's working.

If your issue is over-eating, start off by reducing the amount of food that you prepare, gradually over the course of several weeks.  A little less for a few days, then less again for a few days and so on, until you eventually reduce your portion size to a level that is healthy but still comfortable for you.  This will give your body time to adjust to your new eating regime, reduce the hunger pangs and minimise the likelihood of falling off the wagon in a major way.  

2.  Get your head right.

The success or failure of any change in habits is largely determined by your mindset.  If your head isn't right then your chances of succeeding are drastically reduced.  When making lifestyle changes, particularly if they're fairly major changes, it's important to identify and understand why you are making those changes and how important they are to you.  Why am I doing this?  What is it that I want to achieve?  What am I prepared to change and what am I not prepared to change?  Be honest, with yourself and also be realistic.  Set realistic timescales, or don't set any timescales; just keep on making small changes until you reach a point that you're happy with.  It all depends on what sort of person you are and what conditions you respond best to. You know yourself better than anyone so make a plan that will work for you.

3.  Make healthy substitutions.

I'm a grazer.  Given a choice I'd prefer to eat small amounts throughout the day than three big meals.  I used to graze on sweet biscuits, cakes and chocolate, but now I choose savoury crackers, fruit and nuts (Deliciously Ella has some great tips for healthy snacking on the go).  The funny thing is, that the more I apply these small changes to my diet, the less I naturally want to eat anyway.

When you're out shopping, think about whether there are healthier alternatives for what you are buying.  For example, wholemeal or half-and-half bread instead of white, plain cereal instead of the sugar-coated kind, semi-skimmed instead of whole milk, non-dairy instead of dairy and so on.  Also, if you can, try to move away from pre-prepared foods and cook more meals from scratch.  Try to allocate a day or two to particular goals, for example meat-free Monday.  In our house we have teetotal Tuesday.

This can apply to other areas of your life, not just eating.  If your only source of exercise is the school run, take a more circuitous route, or pick up the pace, or even try wearing light weights.  If you catch a bus, try walking one bus stop further than you normally would.  Make the most of the time that you have.

4.  Review your achievements.

I've been making changes to my lifestyle for a little over a year.  At first I lost a lot of weight, but for a long while now I've been at the same weight.  I noticed that I was getting really hung up about that, but then I looked at how far I have come and it helped me to shift my perspective.  I'm eating much less and much better food, I'm SO much stronger and fitter than I was this time last year, I'm sleeping better, my digestion is better and I think that my mood is better too.  That's a lot of progress, but I was in danger of overlooking it all because of some arbitrary number.

It's so easy not to notice the small, incremental differences, or to notice what hasn't changed and what you haven't achieved and to forget about how far you've come, so every now and again it's worth taking the time to think about what has changed and what you have achieved; and I don't mean stepping on the scales every day! Instead think about how your eating habits have improved, how much stronger or fitter you are and how other aspects of your life have changed for the better as a result of the steps that you have taken.  Focus on the positives.

5.  Don't beat yourself up.

Falling off the wagon to some extent is very likely, especially at the start and when you're trying to make big changes.  If it happens, it happens.  It doesn't make you a bad person or a failure and it doesn't mean that you can't carry on with your new lifestyle.  Try to look at the situation objectively - were there any particular reasons or circumstances that contributed to your lapse?  Were you feeling particularly stressed, or happy or were you around a particular person/people?  If you can identify the trigger for your lapse then you can make a plan to deal with it differently if it comes up again.  Acknowledge it, learn from it and move on!


What little steps have you taken to change to a healthier lifestyle?  I'd love to hear your stories and suggestions.

Monday, 7 December 2015

8th Birthday Giveaway - Results!

OK, the results are in! There were over 40 entries but unfortunately I had to disqualify a few who missed the deadline or didn't follow the rules - sorry!

So @oszcarr, Colin Anderson, Christine Hinton, @RosemarySprenge, @sneraw, @Orangealleycat, @S9Kel and Jemma Sandell you win!

Please get in touch with your details. Either send me a message through Facebook or by email to

Thank you so much everyone for taking part! 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

We are 8! (and a giveaway)

Fairfield Gardens is 8

Happy Birthday to us,
Happy Birthday to us,
Happy Birthday Fairfield Gardens,
Happy Birthday to us!
Hip, hip, hooray! 

It's great to be 8!  8 years ago today we officially started trading as Fairfield Gardens at the Cardiff Christmas market.  Many heartfelt thanks to all our customers and supporters, old and new, but a special thanks to those of you who've been with us from the start. ♥♥♥

In honour of our birthday, there are 8 Lip Balm Trio Gift Sets up for grabs.  Just leave a comment here for a chance to win.  For extra chances to win head over to Facebook, and Twitter.  You have until noon (12pm) on Friday 4th December to enter. Good Luck!


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Lip Balm Gift Sets Now Available!

Fairfield Gardens Lip Balm Trio Gift Set
Well, I finally got around to putting a lip balm gift set together.  In it you will find 1 each of Rosemary & Lemon Balm, Spearmint & Fennel and award-winning Orange lip balms, all wrapped in a custom-designed sleeve.

Group of Fairfield Gardens Lip Balm Trio Gift Sets

A perfect little gift in its own right, but also ideal as an addition to a gift hamper or as a stocking filler.  Just £10.99 (a saving of almost 6% compared with buying three individual tubes) and available to buy on the website now.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Why is Nobody Talking About Beauty Miles?

Chances are you've heard of food miles, but for the uninitiated, that's the distance that food has travelled to reach you.  The Farmer's Market was essentially born from an increasing awareness from customers about the cycle of food production and supply, which led to an interest in buying locally produced, seasonal produce to support communities and to help the environment.

But what about beauty miles?  How far have the ingredients in your skincare and cosmetic products (and the products themselves) travelled to get to you?  Skincare ingredients can travel from thousands of miles away - shea butter from West Africa, cocoa butter from South America, coconut oil from The Philippines to name a few - and sometimes it seems that in skincare circles, the more exotic the ingredient the better, not to mention the products imported from abroad.

(image source)
If you wouldn't buy apples from New Zealand or South Africa when there are apples from Kent to be had, then why choose foreign imports over home-grown skincare products?  I suspect that it has something to do with availability, convenience and choice.  Despite the fact that there are hundreds of British skincare producers, both small and large scale, making high quality and effective products, that is not reflected on the High Street, which is awash with big-brand imports.  Take lip balm for example.  Head into your average High Street store and you might see Burt's Bees, Nivea, Chapstick and Lypsyl - none of which are British, and only one of which uses all-natural ingredients.  Even the local health food shop will probably offer Badger Balm, Hurraw or Lavera, which are also not made in Britain, although they are more likely to stock locally-made products if approached.  Perhaps the only exception to this on the High Street is Dr. Organic, which is made in Wales (and Italy) and sold exclusively through Holland & Barrett Stores.  So it's up to us to change our shopping habits and demand more from our High Street retailers.

Fairfield Gardens started in 2007 but it was the issue of beauty miles that made us stop and reconsider our direction.  The dream is to create a line of products not only produced in the UK, but which contains a high proportion of ingredients that are grown, produced or manufactured in the UK – something that you just don’t see on the High Street.  Our multi-award winning range of lip balms are the first step on the way to realising that dream.  We use at least 78% British ingredients in all of our lip balms, and we are always on the lookout for new home-grown ingredients to help us push that percentage ever higher.  But it’s not just a gimmick. We are committed to producing quality products that are effective.  Our awards and positive feedback from our customers can attest to that. 

There’s no denying that there are some amazing ingredients and products that come from abroad, but there is a wealth of untapped natural goodness that is being under-used right here.  Fields of oil seed rape are a familiar sight in the summer, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see more fields of lavender, calendula, chamomile, cornflowers, borage and the like?  And with food farming being increasingly pressed by supermarket practices leading to high volumes of waste and causing many farmers to give up farming, who knows, creating a demand for home-grown skincare might even help to revive the British farming industry!

It might take a bit of looking to find the right products, but there are wonderful websites out there like Sophia's Choice and Love Lula, which have brought together some great British skincare brands.  Also sites like Make it British and Britipedia list all manner of British-made goods - from clothes to appliances.  So try to seek out natural, skincare (and other) products that are made in Britain and ideally, if you can find them, choose products that use British ingredients too, like Fairfield Gardens Lip Balms.  

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Don't Let a Cold Wreak Havoc on Your Skin

Cold and Flu season is approaching fast, and having a cold or the flu can wreak havoc on your lips and the skin around your nose.  Breathing through your mouth when you've got a blocked nose can leave your lips dry and chapped.  Constant wiping of a runny nose can leave the skin around your nostrils red and raw.

So what can you do to help minimise the damage?  Use a good lip balm.  The best lip balms provide a good balance between moisturisation and protection.  Some of the balm is absorbed into the skin to moisturise, soften and soothe, and enough of the balm remains on the surface to provide a barrier against the elements.    

But don't limit your lip balm to your lips.  Rub some into the skin around your nostrils to help soothe and repair rawness and damage caused by constant wiping.  Or better still, apply the balm at the first signs of a cold to help prevent any skin damage from the outset.

There are other ways to help your skin during a cold.  Try a steam bath - pour freshly boiled water into a large bowl and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes then position your face over the top of the bowl and cover your head with a towel.  The steam will have the dual benefit of helping to unblock a stuffy nose and easing congestion, and also softening and refreshing the skin by opening pores and increasing blood circulation, which delivers oxygen and nutrients that can aid in the repair of damaged skin.  For extra skin benefits add a couple of teaspoons of herbs or a herbal teabag (e.g. peppermint, chamomile, rosemary or lavender). 

For a great selection of natural lip balms take a look at LoveLula or Sophia's Choice.  

Friday, 3 July 2015

It's Silver for Orange Lip Balm in the FreeFrom Skincare Awards!

Orange Lip Balm has won Silver in the “Face Care (‘Leave On)” category (sponsored by Barefoot SOS) in the fourth annual FreeFrom Skincare Awards presented at the Love Natural, Love Organic Show at Olympia, London on Friday 3rd July. 

The Awards were founded to encourage and reward manufacturers of skincare products that are ‘free from’ many of the allergens, chemicals, additives and fragrances associated with skin sensitivities, allergies, and ethical, environmental and health concerns.

I was thrilled to be shortlisted, so actually winning Silver is fantastic.  The fact that we were up against all sorts of facial skincare products, not just other lip balms, makes the achievement even more gratifying.  In fact, we were the only lip balm amongst the winners, so technically you could say that we won Best Lip Balm!  I’m proud that I can now say that my Orange Lip Balm is multi-award winning!

The announcements followed a long judging process which included a rigorous month-long assessment by testers recruited by the Awards’ associates, the Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible, and concluded with several days of expert judging sessions.  Some of the comments from the Beauty Bible testers: 

“I would buy it to carry in my bag during those walks across the moors - it will be invaluable. Love the plumped-up lips. Packaging is simple and effective, great little tube... And the ingredients - rapeseed oil (so good, local stuff and a welcome change from olive oil), oat kernel oil, rosemary and orange oils, simple and so effective.”

“A very efficient lip balm. It delivered moisture and relief from dry lips immediately. I would definitely buy this. I loved it.”

The awards were presented by ‘Imperfectly Natural’ beauty and holistic health guru and author, Janey Lee Grace. Head over to the Skins Matter website for a full list of winners.

Buy Fairfield Gardens Orange Lip Balm from here.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Lip Art

I recently came across these pencil illustrations by Christo Dagarov.  He's taken lips and given them some interesting textures.

lip forest
Lip street map
Lips with bars

The middle one could definitely use some lip balm!  You can see more of his other work here.

Monday, 16 March 2015

5 Ways to Celebrate Your Lips This Lips Appreciation Day!

Have you heard of Lips Appreciation Day?  It's a day to celebrate our lips and appreciate all the wonderful things that they allow us to do – eating, drinking, smiling and kissing to name a few and it’s today - 16th March.

Here are 5 ways to celebrate your lips this Lips Appreciation Day:
  1. Give them the lip equivalent of a high-five, with a nourishing and moisturising lip balm. (I suggest Fairfield Gardens lip balms of course!)
  2.  Eat something delicious.
  3. Smile at a stranger.
  4.  Give lots of kisses.
  5. Pout in a photo.
In honour of the day I'm offering 50% off all Fairfield Gardens lip balms for the next 24 hours.  Use the code #loveyourlips at checkout.

Why not share your lips appreciation today?  Post photos of yourself showing some lip love on Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook?  Use the hashtag #loveyourlips and tag @FairfieldGdns (Twitter) or @fairfield_gardens (Instagram).

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