The 8th Annual NYC Honey Fest will take place on September 15, 2018 at Beach 106th Street in Rockaway Beach in Queens. As one of our favorite long-running food festivals in NYC, the Honey Fest transforms the boardwalk at 106th Street into a “bee marketplace” featuring everything from local and raw honey to bee pollen, wax goods, beauty products, speciality sauces and other condiments made with honey, demonstrations, and much more.
As always the event is free and open to the public.
In addition to the bee marketplace, this year’s NYC Honey Fest will include a honey tasting competition, a costume contest, honey extraction demonstrations, and more. Guests will be invited to taste all the honeys provided by NYC beekeepers and vote for the best honey vintage. Prized will be awarded to the beekeeper with the most votes– a subtle but thoughtful way to support your local beekeeper.
(Tip for first time visitors: If Mike’s Hot Honey happens to be selling in the marketplace, buy some! This delicious honey infused with chilis can be thought of as a healthier alternative to Sriracha– with a much more nuanced and locally-sourced flavor profile. We love it in stir-fries, drizzled on grilled peaches, and even topped over ice cream!)
The Rockaway Boardwalk can be accessed by land or by sea.
Directions from the event website: “Honey Fest 2018 is conveniently located a few blocks south of the new NYC Ferry stop. If you’re taking the train, hop on the A and get off at Broad Channel, where you can transfer to the shuttle and get off at Beach 105th St.”
For more information, visit the event’s official website. We hope to see you there!
Situated deep in the Bregenzer Forest– a unique valley in the Austrian Alps where herbal healing is an age-old tradition– Hotel Post Bezau offers a serene getaway that’s as picturesque as it is peaceful. And now, it is quickly becoming known as one of the most charming wellness spas in the Alps.
The fifth-generation hotel and spa is currently helmed by natural skin care innovator Susanne Kaufmann, who conceived the spa as a place where nature, wellness, and culture collide.
The property is now home to a variety of nature-inspired features and amenities, including an on-site gourmet restaurant featuring the best of regional cuisine; a chestnut garden; a sunbathing meadow; a bathhouse and sun deck; a garden sauna; an aromatic herb garden; a yoga studio with the most stunning view of the mountains; and world-class indoor and outdoor tennis facilities used by the European Tennis Academy.
The hotel has 58 rooms and suites that are uniquely designed to incorporate natural materials that are found in the Bregenzerwald area, from wood and leather features to pine-stuffed pillows to felt and hand-woven linen accouterments that give each room an elegant, minimalist feel– but perhaps the biggest draw is the incredible on-site spa and bathhouse, helmed by Kaufmann herself.
Capitalizing on the abundance of Alpine plants to create innovative modern treatments, the Susanne Kaufmann Spa is staffed by a team of pharmacists and dermatologists who combine local healing traditions with Eastern wellness philosophy. All treatments are plant-based using over 60 products from Kaufmann’s signature line, from the innovative St. John’s Wort Calming Bath Salts to the luxurious Nutrient Concentrate, which contains essences of marigold and thistle oil.
The spa itself has an almost Feng shui devotion to incorporating natural elements into the decor: brilliant glass walls emit abundant mountain sunshine, and open-air sunroofs infuse the kind of fresh Alpine air that visitors to the area rave about. Those interested in all-natural skin care will love getting their treatments straight from the source.
And then, of course, there’s the view.
Austria is renowned for its beautiful mountain vistas and super clean air, and at Hotel Post Bezau, guests can enjoy both without even having to leave the comfort of their bedrooms (though with thousands of miles of biking, running, and hiking trails at the hotel’s disposal, they’ll definitely want to).
Guests can participate in hotel organized activities or venture out on their own– time seems to stand still here, and the days culminate in the longest, most dazzling sunsets that last, in the summer, until around 9 PM.
The bathing pools, like the rest of the property, look out onto the mountains and feature a suite of innovative features, including a brine pool, a whirlpool, infused saunas, and a rotating cast of alkaline peels and other daily offerings that take place in the steam bath.
Back at the spa, travel skin care kits and hand soaps, divine smelling lotions and anti-aging teas line the shelves in the main foyer, which branches off into treatment rooms where guests can receive medicinal healing baths, body wraps, massages, facials, pedicures, scalp treatments, and a dozens of other healing treatments experienced in conjunction with the baths. The exhaustive spa menu reads like a wellness obsessive’s daydream: alkaline facials, Dorn Breuss massage, Mallow blossom bubble baths, and more.
The hotel also offers yoga and Qi Gong in some of the most beautiful glass-walled rooms we’ve ever seen– a feature that is pulled through to the conference rooms with the same view.
Overall, from the Susanne Kaufmann Spa to the stunning views outside every window on the property, the inherent joy of Hotel Post Bezau is that every aspect begins and ends with nature– and for a wellness resort in the Alps, that’s exactly how it should be.
Milan is Italy’s fashion-forward metropolis; the country’s answer to New York City in that it has a fabulous restaurant scene, a robust banking sector, and a rich design scene to match. But what about environmental awareness? Like the rest of the world, Milan is moving in the direction of sustainability and botanics, one green hotel and community garden at a time. Here’s where to stay, what to eat, and what to see on your next “green” trip to Milan.
Starhotels Milan E.c.ho.
Starhotels Milan E.c.ho. is a luxe, minimalist, eco-friendly hotel located right next to Milano Centrale, a mere 3.2 km from Milan Cathedral, aka Duomo. What better way to explore one of the world’s most fashionable cities than to commune in a beautiful green hotel? With 143 chic rooms that don’t skimp on the creature comforts, you can feel good about knowing that your room has been furnished with recycled materials, sustainable fabrics, energy-efficient heating and lighting systems and a garden terrace for minimal environmental impact. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi and a lovely breakfast is also complimentary, featuring fresh local produce, meats, and artisan cheeses and eggs as well a suite of locally-made baked goods.
We love the stylish bar and the gorgeous rooftop fitness center with panoramic city views– but above all we love the hotel’s dedication to true sustainability, even in the smallest details. Hotel wallpaper boasts a “Nordic Ecolabel” certification while all paper-based materials are certified with the FSC. External walls are thermo-insulated, while stoneware flooring features a “Livegreen” certification, and floor corridor carpeting has a “Solution Q” certification. hot water is produced by cooling plant heat recovery and grey water is recovered for WC flushing and plant irrigation. To top it all off, the space is beautiful– exactly the kind of refine elegance you’d expect of a dream Italian getaway, without the negative impact on the environment. What could be better?
LùBar‘s unique brand of slow street food is a little unusual for Milan– a city that loves long, luxurious, multi-course dining. But with easily accessible locations on via Palestro and in Milano Centrale (Central Station), the cafe and coffee bar is accruing more and more attention from locals and tourists alike. LùBar has what is, in our opinion, the best avocado toast in the city, and beautiful botanical decor that keeps popping up on Instagram.
Villa Necchi Campiglio
Villa Necchi Campiglio is the beautiful estate and garden featured in Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love thriller featuring Tilda Swinton and music by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Today, Villa Necchi is an oasis of calm in the centre of Milan, featuring a beautiful villa built between 1932 and 1935 by architect Piero Portaluppi, as well as a swimming pool, garden, and tennis court that belonged to Angelo Campiglio and his family– a prominent Lombard industrial family. The decor as well as the garden have been maintained in the style that would have featured prominently in the villa in the 1930s.
Joia‘s “high vegetarian cuisine” is a rare find in veal-obsessed Milan, but Michelin-starred chef Pietro Leemann handles vegetables with aplomb. Expect a micro-gastronomic take on rich European haute flavors, as well as flawless plating and the best and most colorful local produce that Milan has to offer. Enthusiastic parties should make a reservation for weekends or during tourist season, as there can be a wait.
Bosco Verticale is a landmark that every “green” lover should see on a trip to Milan. Located in Milan’s Porto Nuova district, this pair of tree-covered residential buildings contains more than 900 trees! Originally designed to fight air pollution, the buildings have become a tourist attracting in their own right, standing as a symbol of the way in which Italy’s architects are setting an example for how to live in concert with nature without destroying the city’s architectural past. Principle architects include Stefano Boeri, Giovanni La Varra, and Gianandrea Barreca, who won the International Highrise Award for this achievement in 2014.
Fondazione Prada is an interactive art exposition space dedicated to preserving and championing what is considered some of the most future-forward art in Italy– which is to say that it is a little eccentric, conceived around the idea of promoting “dialogues with acclaimed contemporary artists.”
Since 1995, Fondazione Prada has been co-chaired by Miuccia Prada (she of the clothing line) and Patrizio Bertelli, who together organized over 24 world-class solo shows at various exhibition spaces around Milan until they opened this permanent space in the city in 2015.
Milan has no shortage of trendy bars, but the Wes Anderson-designed Bar Luce might be the most special. Located just inside the Fondazione Prada, the cafe features a set of Bill Murray-inspired pinball machines, retro wallpaper, and even a jukebox, the culmination of which make the place feel like the set of a real Wes Anderson movie. The sandwich menu and bakery are also excellent– opt for a slice of the iconic “pink” Bar Luce cake, order an espresso, and bask in the perfect afternoon.
The best grass-fed gelato in Milan can be found at Terra, whose name– “earth”– is the operating credo. One might think that all gelato in Italy is local, but not all of it is produced from antibiotic-free, grass-fed cows. Not so at Terra, which was recently voted the best gelato in Milan. You can’t go to Italy without experiencing boutique gelato, right?
God Save The Food
This trendy neighborhood staple is a great place to go for a modern take on locavore food. God Save The Food is a young Milano’s preferred hang out, with heathy veggie-heavy options with an Italian twist. Try the fresh, local caprese salad or their ricotta-filled take on a burrito, or simple opt for a colorful green salad with fresh avocado and turmeric-olive oil dressing (you get the idea). Stay for the people watching at the Brera location– it’s very young and hip.
For gorgeous objet and conscious, local design, visitors to the city need go no further than C&C Milano, one of the city’s original design hubs known for their incredible, elegant linens, ceramics, and assorted homewares. Whether shopping for home, a hospitality environment, or (lucky you!) a yacht, C&C has all your design needs taken care of– from their rich archive of locally made heritage textiles to the timeless wallpapers and accessories that keep design lovers coming back for generations.
Connecticut has always been somewhat uncharted territory to people living outside the state– but with a new Hartford-via-New Haven line of Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Corridor opening up the transport lines between New York City, Boston, and Hartford, places like West Hartford, Simsbury, and beyond are becoming more and more accessible to weekend travelers and foodie tourists alike.
Below, we spotlight some of our favorite classic and emerging destinations in central Connecticut– in particular, West Hartford, where new luxury hotel offerings, lovely gardens, and an incredible local food network continues to evolve and inspire.
Artisan West Hartford
Fresh off its one year anniversary, Artisan West Hartford continues to inspire patrons with finessed neo-New England fare served inside of what is, no doubt, a real-life version of The Secret Garden. Located in the heart of Blue Back Square at the Delamar Hotel, Artisan is open 7 days a week and features an expansive 1500 square feet of outdoor pergola and garden space– the first of its kind in the region.
Designed by gardener Renee Giroux (of Bouley Botanical fame), the concept is about as wholesome and idyllic as it gets: chefs grow the vegetables they cook with in the garden that surrounds the restaurant, harvesting items like patty pan squash, eggplants, and tomatoes just moments before they are cooked into elevated dishes that are served to diners in the same garden where they grew. (That’s about as farm-to-table as it gets.)
Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer’s menu is influenced by the seasons and as such is constantly changing, but Fall 2018 patrons should look out for the restaurant’s stellar crab meat and tomatillo gazpacho, which features a bed of succulent crab meat topped with avocado sorbet and a gorgeous bright green soup that they pour table side for added flourish. Seafood dishes, moreover, are excellent, while the wine list is selected with aplomb and dessert is thoughtful and tailor-made (items like local salted caramel goat cheesecake are offered alongside homemade ice cream and olive oil cake).
Those organic ingredients that cannot be supplied by the on site garden are sourced from area farms, so that Artisan can continue to offer fresh, artful cuisine year-round. In design as well as in practice, Artisan honors local craftsmanship and agriculture by paying homage to Central Connecticut’s tobacco farms with a series of oversized murals featuring flowering tobacco plants that echo the lushness and intimacy of the garden just outside. The result is a setting that is refined yet welcoming. To quote the restaurant itself: “The ambiance of a lush, romantic garden is transportive.”
Elizabeth Park Conservancy is a 102-acre historical city park listed in the National Register of Historic Places that straddles both Hartford and West Hartford– a shared gem among the two municipalities. With a beautiful dahlia garden, a charming duck pond, and a world-class rose garden on site, it’s a great place to take the kids or dogs out for an afternoon spent in nature, and a lovely spot to run, walk, or picnic amongst the flowers.
The Elizabeth Park Rose Garden is the oldest rose garden in America– renown for its lush alleys of blooming heritage roses and it’s copious, expertly maintained espalier. Visitors to the garden can enjoy a meal at the nearby Pond House Cafe (which also hosts events and weddings) or do as the locals and get a takeaway lunch from Popover (see below) to enjoy a perfect outdoor meal in the park.
Part of what makes Artisan so appealing is The Delamar Hotel, where the restaurant is situated. Not only is the Delamar the area’s premiere luxury hotel destination (featuring the work of local artists, a delicious complimentary breakfast, and local transportation services powered by a Tesla) but the on-site Spa is fabulous, offering a variety of bespoke esthetician services powered by Biologique Recherche and Valmont skin care products.
Services at The Delamar Spa range from non-invasive facelift treatments that use triple micro-current technology to manual lymphatic drainage, collagen eye masks, blow outs and deep conditioning treatments, and deep tissue massage, all of which are administered by highly trained, friendly staff. Many of the spa treatments also take place on an Amethyst BioMat, which offers the benefits of far infrared heating, which is thought to improve circulation, immune function, and fight inflammation.
The Medspa at the Delamar, meanwhile, offers Coolsculpting, Botox, Juvederm, and Kybella, among other medically approved health and beauty treatments. Locals can get treatments before heading down to Artisan for the perfect stay-cation, but visitors to the area will also enjoy the relaxed, restorative offerings.
We’ve had many good popovers in our day– but none seemingly as inspired and inventive as those sold at Popover Bistro & Bakery in Simsbury. Popover’s Mission is synonymous with its name: they specialize in popovers (again: why doesn’t every city have one of these?!) and salads that are made from farm-fresh ingredients daily.
Popover aims to source local, healthy, organic products whenever possible, and they take special care to create allergy-conscious food with universal appeal. Fortunately, the bakery is also open late (as far as bakeries are concerned, 8 PM is late) and on the weekends. It’s a truly modern operation that knows what it does well, which is why people keep coming back.
Located in an old mill on top of a beautiful waterfall in picturesque Simsbury, Millwright’s is the vision of nationally renowned and James Beard Foundation nominated chef Tyler Anderson, whose reputation as an incredible chef was well known even before he appeared on Season 15 of Bravo’s Top Chef (the most recent claim to his foodie world fame).
Since 2012, Millwright’s has been serving seasonally inspired New England cuisine that includes micro-gastro triumphs like Chef Tyler’s signature tapioca custard, “All The Flavors of Clam Chowder,” which is now a guest favorite. Special care is also given to actively use ingredients that would have been available in New England historically– and with the exception of citrus and a few seasonal necessities that can’t be grown in the winter, they’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to their source bioregion.
As a result, the Chef’s Tasting Menu is certainly the best way to get the quintessential Millwright’s experience, but even those who sample individual menu items will find a reason to keep coming back. Just be sure to save room for pastry chef Kristin Eddy’s signature desserts, which by now have a reputation that causes all who visit Millwright’s to desperately advise others to please save room for dessert.
Not surprisingly, over the years Millwright’s has endured bouts of critical acclaim from review heavyweights like the New York Times— but more recently, Anderson has expanded his offerings to include The Cook & The Bear in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square (where he serves chef-inspired BBQ) and Porrón & Piña,a new tapas-style restaurant in Hartford, both of which continue to establish themselves as local staples.
Emerging Wine Scene, Hiking, Architecture, and Beyond
Towering above the beautiful woods of Central Connecticut, the 165-ft tall Heublein Tower is a stone landmark located atop Talcott Mountain, a state park that attracts hikers seeking beautiful views from the 1,000-foot summit. The mountain’s foliage is particularly gorgeous (and distinctly New England-looking) in the Fall.
Connecticut has historically not been on the national map when it comes to wine tasting and agro-tourism, but Rosedale Farms & Vineyards in Simsbury offers both. Stop by for fresh roadside veggies and Chef-To-Farm dinners in the Summer, or go in the Fall for pumpkin picking and classic New England hay rides with the whole family.
If you don’t have time to venture outside, the historic homes on Prospect Ave and the University of Saint Joseph make for lovely sightseeing while driving around West Hartford, and the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge in West Simsbury is enduringly charming in peak bloom. All in all, experiencing any of the area’s beautiful indoor-outdoor offerings makes a great idyllic weekend escape for city dwellers, and for those who live nearby… well, what are you waiting for?
Rosh Hashanah (also spelled Rosh HaShanah and Roshashana) is the Jewish New Year celebration that takes place this year from the evening of Sunday, September 9 to the evening of Tuesday, September 11th (it’s based on the lunar calendar, so dates vary year to year).
Rosh Hashanah, which means “the head of the year” in Hebrew, is also frequently associated (at least to those who are only vaguely familiar) with apples and honey.
What is the significant of apples and honey during Rosh Hashanah, you ask?
Well, the tradition of dipping an apple in honey and consuming it as part of a meal is to welcome the beginning of the year with “sweetness” and to wish that the rest of it will be the same. According to Chabad, honey, which is also sweet, is nevertheless produced by bees that can sting– an ample metaphor for the ups and downs of life (e.g. sweetness and pain). The recognition of “bittersweet” realities and the premonition that the start of a “sweet” new year bodes well for the year to come is symbolized by the arrival of apples (and to a lesser extent, honey) at local farmers markets, as apples are a Fall crop.
Like Persian New Year, many of the foods served during Rosh Hashanah have a symbolic meaning. Round challah bread symbolizes the circle of life, while the head of a fish, according to USA Today, may symbolize the “‘head’ of the year and reflect the prayer ‘let us be the head and not the tail.’”
Depending on local customs, pomegranates may also be served during Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a fruitful and abundant year (as pomegranates are rich with many seeds). So, now you know!
Vitamin C figures crucially into the synthesis of collagen, making it an essential part of any skin care routine, whether you’re ingesting it or putting it on topically. According to research conducted at Oregon State, “Dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photo damage.”
In speaking with dermatologists about the necessity of wearing sunscreen every day, we’ve come to view Vitamin C serums as a necessary ally of sunscreen– and also as a great topical ingredient for anyone looking to shake up a skin care routine that isn’t yielding results. Whether you’re after a youthful glow or just looking to preserve the glow you already have, topical Vitamin C has benefits for everyone. Below, we spotlight a few of our favorite skin care formulations that are taking the market by storm.
One Love Organics Vitamin C Line
One Love Organics’ fabulous set of Vitamin C body polish, body oil, and facial serum are the perfect post-shower triumvirate of products for tired, aging, or dull skill. We love this line because Vitamin C is beneficial not just for the face, but for the entire body (i.e., anywhere you have skin). We also love that these are all Eco-Cert verified organic cosmetics (one of the highest designations a “natural” skin care brand can achieve).
The body polish is particularly effective on heels, knees, and elbows, as it’s formulated with Vitamin C ester– a potent, stable form of Vitamin C that boosts radiance and counteracts that dreaded “ash-y knee” look. Follow with One Love’s Vitamin C body oil, which is made with the same compound of Vitamin C and papaya enzymes, which help nourish and soften. For face, apply a small pump of Vitamin C Serum underneath sunscreen for maximum radiance and protection– and, when in doubt, drop One Love’s Skin Savior multi-tasking wonder balm into your bag, for concentrated moisture on-the-go.
Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum
When it comes to getting a quick fix for tired, dull skin, look no further than Joanna Vargas’ Rescue Serum, which is our absolutely favorite corrective Vitamin C serum for travel. Formulated with Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, a gentle form of vitamin C that is suitable for all skin types, JV’s rescue serum brightens skin, boosts radiance, mitigates hyperpigmentation and protects against oxidative damage from harmful UV rays.
We love using it as a mid-flight skin refresher and detoxifying agent. The gentle, skin-softening formula deeply hydrates the skin’s lipid layer while protecting against the negative effects of pollution and sun. Skin is left with a fresh, dewy glow that we love— and the subtle fragrance is divine.
ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican Ampoules
We first became aware of ISDIN’s cute little antioxidant rich moisturizing ampoules when researching their sunscreen, and have since fallen in love with them. Formulated with 5% L-ascorbic acid, this antioxidant serum helps combat the effects of UV ray exposure, enhance firmness, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten the skin’s complexion.
The formula comes pre-packed in tiny glass ampoules whose cap is broken off to access the serum; each box of ISDIN ampoules comes with a special tool to do this safely, as well as a bespoke cap to seal off the remaining serum to minimize oxidation. (Each ampoule contains about two “servings” of serum, which is best used within 24 hours of opening.)
The small size of each ampoule makes them ideal for travel, and we love the beautiful glow we get from the signature “ultraglicans” in this formula, which are a combination of dermatologically formulated proteogylcans that increase hyaluronic acid production and stimulate cell growth to boost moisture from within.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum
One of the most trusted serums in the industry that’s often recommended by dermatologists, Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is sort of the Rolls Royce of protective Vitamin C serums. While we much prefer the fragrance of say, Joanna Vargas’ Rescue Serum (above), Skinceuticals’ critically acclaimed serum has a lot of evidence demonstrating its protective qualities, as it works synergistically with sunscreen to prevent UV damage from the sun. (Which means: fewer nagging age spots and more data to support its efficacy!)
This is our go-to serum for layering underneath sunscreen before a day spent at the beach, hiking, or anywhere where we plan to have a lot of sun exposure. Because of the strength of this formulation, you’ll only need to use a few drops– otherwise, sensitive skin might experience an “itchy” or tingling sensation, which just means you’ll need to use less of it next time around.
Lily Diamond of the lovely Kale & Caramel blog has a new book out that celebrates farm fresh ingredients like herbs and flowers, and the many ways they can be used in the context of dining and beauty. While the idea of farm-to-table eating has been popular for years, few foodies in the space have managed to eloquent relay the multiplicity of uses that many of the world’s most popular herbs and flowers can provide– lavender and rose, for example, can both be used to make skin-softening beauty treatments, but they also add finesse and intrigue to desserts.
Why not combine both ideas into a single, easy-to-reference book?
With the publication of Kale & Caramel, a collection of 80 vegan and vegetarian recipes for sweet and savory foods, Diamond accomplishes just that.
Each chapter of the new book celebrates a single aromatic herb or flower and organizes it’s uses into recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert… and plant-based infusions, face and body masks, exfoliation, and moisturizers. (Think: lavender oat milk baths, blackberry basil healing masks, brightening citrus scrubs, and the like. Ingredients you can pronounce, in combinations that nourish the body, mind, and spirit.)
Image courtesy of Lily Diamond
With beautiful photos and easy-to-follow instructions, the book is must for anyone looking to (literally and metaphorically) get back to the roots of eating well and prioritizing self-care– without too much fuss or time expenditure.
We love Diamond’s recipe for Fig & Honeyed Thyme Ricotta Galette (above) just as much as we love her recipe for the endearingly-named two ingredient “Night Night Oil” (captured in the gallery below), which is so simple and satisfying to make that you’ll never spend money on expensive aromatherapy oils again.
Check out more images from inside the book, below.
Kale & Caramel is available for purchase now. To get your copy of the book, go here.
In the crowded world of beauty and cosmetics, a few trends have emerged with striking clarity in the past half-decade. First, there’s an obsession with all natural, botanically inspired ingredients, and second, consumers also harbor an obsession with asian skin care– a sector of the industry that was quick to embrace the idea of layering products and the ever-popular sheet mask.
In an attempt to unify these twin obsessions, Patchology, a U.S.-based skincare company, has emerged as a popular choice among millennials, as many of the brand’s all-natural ingredients are sourced from Korea.
In an article written for American Spa, Kristin Vukovic explains:
“In April, the company launched a SmartMud No-Mess Mud Masque infused with the detoxifying benefits of volcanic mud, sourced from Jeju, a South Korean island. ‘Our innovation was to put mineral-rich volcanic mud right into a sheet mask, so the mud is easy to apply, comfortable to wear for 10 minutes, and virtually mess-free to remove,’” CEO Chris Hobson told Vukovic at the time.
“‘You get all the benefits of mud, but without the mess.’ Last spring, Patchology launched its FlashMasque sheet masks featuring HydraSurge5, which delivers hydration in five minutes versus 15– a perfect adaptation for the impatient American consumer. The innovative mask material virtually disappears when applied to the skin, and the shape and serum levels are customized for the U.S. market.”
Lip Service is a lip balm and treatment that nourishes, conditions, and protects lips’ delicate skin with a physical barrier and an antioxidant-rich barrier. Goji fruit extract (lycium barbarum) is a powerful anti-aging antioxidant that slows cellular degeneration. The gloss has a nice shine and fresh, almost minty tingle (so you know its working).
The Restoring Night Eye Gels— known as “flashpatches”– contain arnica extract, peptides, retinol, and evergreen bark extract to counteract dark circles and wrinkles– beautifying, synergistic ingredients that we love because they can be worn so many different ways: under the eyes during makeup application, over the eyes to counteract upper eyelid puff, over makeup for a mid-day refresh, or even skinny-side-in to target crows feet specifically. (They are the consummate multitasking treatment that can be worn for extended periods, when you have the time, for a deeper treatment.)
Patchology recommends each of these styles of wear with cute, sassy names: The Dollface; The Scarecrow; The Minotaur, etc.
It’s one of the many reasons we like the brand: Patchology is keyed into the trendy, millennial-friendly branding that is necessary to secure a following in the natural beauty world of 2018. The packaging is on point, as is the branding, but most of all, the ingredients are forged from plants that consumers already recognize for their health benefits. What’s not to love?
There are, of course, the top show gardens, where the budget is way over anything you or I could manage.
The fountains at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show – it’s a beautiful setting.
But even those have ideas you can copy without breaking the bank. Here is my pick of the best budget-friendly ideas at this year’s ‘Hampton Court’.
Update your garden with vibrant colour
The Bizzy Lizzie, formerly the most municipal of bedding plants, has had a makeover, courtesy of B&Q.
Blocks of inexpensive bedding plants – the new Busy Lizzies – teamed with large leafed ‘exotic’ plants for a contemporary jungle look.
No-one mourned when it disappeared from the shelves due to a virus. And I wasn’t particularly interested to hear that B&Q had developed a virus-resistant variety, the Imara Bizzy Lizzie.
Bizzy Lizzies teamed with fashionable spikes…
But top marks to the B&Q team for showing what you can do with standard bedding by planting it in big blocks and teaming it with exotic plants.
Resurrect old favourites
Are there other plants you’ve begun to take for granted? Fuschias, for example, or dahlias? The great fun of today’s gardens is that ‘knock your socks off’ seems to be replacing quiet good taste. Go for it. Add a few new varieties of familiar, easy-to-look after plants to add instant zing to your garden.
Dahlia ‘Fashion Monger’ from the National Dahlia Collection’s stand. Is it time to say goodbye to restraint in the garden for a while….?
Fuschias from Roualeyn Fuschias fairground carousel-themed stand.
Make an impact with size
A huge pink tub of matching pink Bizzy Lizzies on the B&Q show garden at RHS Hampton Court.
Fill one large planter and make a statement, rather than planting lots of little ones up. It’s also easier to water, as small pots need watering daily. Big ones hold water better.
You could also paint any big plastic pot in a vibrant colour. Use a specialist plastic primer, such as Rust-oleum Plastic Primer Spray Paint . You can then paint any colour or brand of paint on top.
(Note: links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I may get a small fee if you buy through them, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay. Other links are not affiliate.)
Paint your fence or shed a stunning colour
There were some wonderful fence and wall colours this year at Hampton Court. This is a look that we could all mimic.
A strong sunshine yellow makes a dramatic backdrop for a courtyard. In the Santa Rita 120 garden.
And duck egg blue is still a garden favourite. From the Community Brain ‘vegetable box’ garden.
Update your garden with a spiky plant (or two)
The jungle look has well and truly arrived, and there were spiky plants everywhere at this year’s RHS Hampton.
You could buy an agave…although it might poke you in the bottom as you bend over to weed.
The Santa Rita 120 ‘Living La Vida’ garden at RHS Hampton Court, complete with agaves, agapanthus and other sculptural planting.
Buy a smaller agave, such as this Agave parryi from Palms-Exotics, and keep it in a pot.
Buy ‘exotics’ that will survive your weather…
The most budget-friendly way of acquiring exotic plants is to choose ones that will survive, so you won’t have to keep replacing them.
The Chusan Palm, or Trachycarpus Fortunei is less prickly and will over-winter in most UK and Northern hemisphere gardens, provided that it is sheltered from winds. Around £10 for a small one from Palms-Exotics.
And you can find cordylines very reasonably in most markets. And they seem to survive anything, judging by the neglected cordylines I see on the streets.
Carex ‘Feather Falls’ is an exotic-looking grass but it will withstand heat and frost, and it grows well in most environments.
If you can be patient, it’s always cheaper to buy smaller and let it grow – but there is the worry that ‘exotic’ may have passed by the time it gets large. Pick fast growers like Carex ‘Feather Falls.’
Pines are back…
Pines used to remind me of my parents’ home in Camberley (Surrey) rather than fashionable exoticism. But they are beautiful sculptural plants that have been over-looked, perhaps because they’re evergreen.
It’s definitely time to add a pine or two – buy them small and keep them in pots. Then you can plant them out – if you like – when they have grown.
Pines in pots are affordable and even spiritual…From Limes Cross Nursery stand.
Anything can make a stunning ‘garden feature’
Don’t take those old kids’ bikes to the tip. Paint them and use them as garden features.
A row of children’s bikes, painted and used to edge a garden at RHS Hampton Court.
The full row of bikes…
I loved the RHS Primary School children’s scarecrow competition.
Buy (or find) extra water butts
One water butt really does not save you money on water. It only lasts about a week into a drought. But I like these four tiers of water butts from the RHS Grow Your Own with Raymond Blanc Gardening School. I’d have lids on the butts in case small mammals fall in, though. You may be able to find old water butts via Freegle (or Freecycle).
Four tiers of water butts at the Raymond Blanc Gardening School at RHS Hampton Court.
This ‘self-watering’ guttering system looks fun. I’m not convinced it’s practical, but let me know if you’ve tried it. Also at the Raymond Blanc Gardening School.
Embrace your inner ‘cottage garden’
The big message from the shows this year – from Ascot Garden Show right through to RHS Chelsea and beyond, is that flowers are really important now.
Echinacea ‘Lelani’ from Hardys Cottage Garden Plants at RHS Hampton Court – echinacea and other cottage garden plants are brilliant for wildlife.
If you want your garden to look contemporary, fill it with flowers. Lots of the same sort, or lots of different ones…it’s hard to get it wrong. Choose flowers that do well for you or try experiments.
Alcea ‘Halo Apricot’ from Daisy’s Roots.
I have a stylish garden designer friend who refers to gardens with a mix of flowers and colours as ‘fruit salad gardens’. It does not sound like a compliment. Not the way she says it, anyway.
But a riot of colour, attracting birds and pollinators, is what gardens are about now.
Ann-marie Powell’s planting for the Countryfile 30th Anniversary garden at Hampton Court.
And if you have to update your garden on a budget, plants can be the most cost-effective way of doing it. Swap, grow from seed or pick up bargains in nurseries and the market.
More ideas from Hampton Court in this video.
It is such a huge show that I could have spent all week there – and still not seen everything.
I’ve recently been asked about plants and solutions for a windy garden.
Sue Marling and Fay Sweet’s Suffolk garden is in a windy area, but it is colourful and feels sheltered. The plants which love the conditions – the low-growing Alchemilla mollis and the tall spikes of Phlomis russeliana, along with salvias, have spread.
Even if you don’t have a windy garden, you probably have a windy spot. Our walled garden gets windy in the middle, which is quite common.
I’ve made a mistake with planting a young tree there by buying one that was too tall. We’ve secured it with several stakes. But it gets pushed over again when the wind changes direction. I actually chose the right type of tree – a Liquidambar – for a windy spot, but I should have bought a much younger, shorter tree.
Check the gardens in a windy town
And not long after being asked about plants for windy gardens, I went to the charming beach town of Southwold.
It’s always useful to look at what grows naturally – here on this windy Southwold beach, there are lots of grasses.
Southwold is a delightful former fishing village on the Suffolk coast, and it dates back hundreds of years. But Suffolk is quite flat near the coast. And all seaside towns get their fair share of wind.
The Crown Hotel at Southwold. It was a Georgian and Victorian fishing town, and is now a well-loved holiday place.
A garden in Southwold is definitely a windy garden. So as I was visiting in midsummer, I thought I would see what was flourishing in the Southwold gardens, and along the beach.
I saw lots of clumps of these very low growing asters (now known as Symphotricum) everywhere in Southwold. Even though they’re a common garden centre plant, they look good in groups.
The RHS on trees and shrubs for windy gardens
One important thing to understand about wind is that it whips up a solid fence or wall, and then drops down creating turbulence on the other side. That’s why hedges and shrubs, which break up the wind rather than block it, are better than fences and walls.
And a very thick line of evergreens can act more as a fence or block rather than a filter, so the RHS recommend choosing a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.
Sue and Fay have a hedge between their garden and the fields beyond. Then there are a number of trees, many deciduous, on the perimeter of the garden and also some lower shrubs. The wind is filtered several times as it whips across the Suffolk countryside, so the heart of their garden is much more sheltered.
Trees and shrubs won’t grow as tall in windy conditions but they are so important for breaking up the wind. The RHS has a page of recommendations for trees and shrubs that do well in exposed sites. These include some pines, hawthorn, Norway spruce and holm oak, all of which I love. Good shrubs include black elder and pinus mugo (dwarf pine).
Rosy had three pieces of very useful advice as well as suggestions for plants. ‘Choose shorter varieties of your favourite plants if your garden is windy,’ she suggests.
‘Or you can choose plants which are meant to blow about in the wind, such as grasses or gaura,’ advises Rosy Hardy.
Sue Marling and Fay Sweet, whose garden is featured here, have created a successful garden near Southwold. They have found that salvias, Phlomis russeliana and fennel have all done well in their garden. They are all plants that can sway in the wind.
And they also have Alchemilla mollis, which fits into Rosy Hardy’s ‘low-growing’ category, as do the asters all over Southwold beach.
Gaura ‘Rosyjane’ is one of Hardy’s Cottage Garden plants and is ideal for a windy site.
And thirdly,’ says Rosy: ‘Plant trees and shrubs dotted about the garden to break up the wind. Don’t plant in a line.’
Specific plants she recommends for a windy garden include hardy geraniums, especially the Oxonianum ‘Lace Time’. Amongst the grasses Stipa Tenuissima always looks good’, she says. And she also recommends the long slender stems of Gaura Rosyjane, which is an elegant flower with a picotee petal.
Japanese anemones are also tough enough to survive windy conditions, and Rosy suggests you try an unusual variety such as the ruffled ‘Swan’ series.’
Japanese anemones (Anenome x hybrida) do well in a windy garden, so choose a special variety such as this Ruffled Swan from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.
Hardys Cottage Garden plants stock all these.
Roses do well in a windy garden
One thing that really surprised me as I walked round Southwold was how well roses were growing. They seemed to be blooming in every garden.
This white climbing rose seems very happy amongst the winds of Suffolk.
So I contacted Michael Marriott of David Austin Roses. He confirmed that that roses often do very well in windy places. Some original species roses came from quite inhospitable places – Rosa rugosa came from Northern Japan and Siberia, for example, and the spinossisima roses (often called ‘Scotch roses’) are basically coastal plants.
Rosa rugosa tumbling over a front garden wall onto the beachfront at Southwold.
Roses in windy gardens won’t grow as tall, he says, and you do have to pick and choose your varieties, but they are a great plant to add.
Rosa rugosa from David Austin roses – will do well in windy gardens.
This is David Austin Roses’ Dunwich Rose. Dunwich was a sea port just along the coast from Southwold, Most of it was reclaimed by the sea, so only a few houses now remain. Not surprisingly, the Dunwich Rose does well in exposed sites!
But choose your rose carefully
When choosing roses for a windy garden, Michael suggests you firstly think of the flowers – single flowered or semi-doubles will be better than big showy blooms of hybrid teas.
‘Kew Gardens’ rose from David Austin Roses is recommended for windy spots.
And think about how the plant grows – a rambling rose will create a lot of body which can be buffeted in the wind. The stiffer and more individual stems of a climbing rose will give the wind much less to blow about. And keep tying a climber in if you have a windy garden.
Roses growing over Sue and Fay’s windbreak-cum-wildlife home (see later on in this post). This is a small single-flowered rose with a few stiff stems that can be tied in. Good for a windy garden!
Break up the wind for a sheltered spot
In terms of a sheltered spot to sit in, consider a broken screen rather than a solid one. There is a terrific range of laser-cut screens around these days, such as this one from Stark & Greensmith.
This corten steel laser-cut screen from Stark & Greensmith breaks up the wind and offers privacy, but it isn’t a solid barrier.
And I’ve seen some great screening ideas at the garden shows this summer. For example, I like this slatted wooden screen inscribed with poetry from The Oak & Rope Company.
This is a slatted screen so it filters the wind. From the Oak & Rope Company.
Sue and Fay have created a wildlife-friendly screen by building a curved wall out of inexpensive roofing battens. It filters the wind, and offers a hideaway for insects. Fay built it herself, although she admits it was quite hard work.
Fay built this high semi-circular windbreak wall herself out of roof battens, laying them in a criss-cross pattern. The wall is about seven feet high, so it provides lots of shelter as well as supporting climbing plants like roses and honeysuckle.
And here is another easy DIY broken screen. These wood posts and strips of corrugated iron shield a washing line in this Australian coastal garden, while filtering the wind beside a seating area.
Corrugated iron and wood (possibly fence posts or railway sleepers) used to create a broken screen in coastal Australia.
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