posted by on The Body Shop

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Argan oil is a very big deal. It’s also an extremely precious oil. Not only because it’s been used for centuries in protecting and nourishing skin and hair, but because the argan tree only thrives naturally in the foothills of the Atlas mountains of Morocco and it takes a colossal amount of argan nuts to make a small bottle of oil.  I forget how many but it is A LOT. You will never find 100% pure argan oil in shops (it will cost too much for a start) and organic, natural argan oil is a bit whiffy too.

I know everyone and their mother has been jumping on the argan oil bandwagon but the Body Shop is an exception with their new Wild Argan Oil* Bath and Bodycare range. I would go as far as to say it’s my favourite from them. And I know I said this about Honeymania and the Gingerbread one but honestly, this one is the bomb.

There are a eight products in the collection and I’m sure you’ll want them all:

♥ Body Butter (200ml/£13)
♥ The Radiant Oil (150ml/£14)
♥ Bubbling Bath (250ml/£8)
♥ Rough Scrub (200ml/£13)
♥ Body Lotion  (250ml/£8)
♥ Shower Gel (250ml/£4)
♥ Miracle Solid Oil (50g/£8)
♥ Solid Oil Lips (20g/£4)

I got my hands on the Radiant Oil, the Body Butter, the Rough Scrub and the Miracle Solid Oil. The Radiant Oil is one I’ve been reaching for frequently, spraying it on my legs to give them a nice sheen but not in a shiny way. This is a dry oil that leaves skin looking silky and not a greasy residue so you can rest assured it won’t stain or absorb your clothes, or that you will have to wait an hour for it to dry.

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The Rough Scrub defines a proper body scrub. It’s wonderfully gritty to polish the skin from head to toe and the Body Butter’s reputation needs no further explanation. The Miracle Solid Oil is a clever pot of goodness, perfect for smoothing onto extra dry areas like the elbows or heels. And everything smells beautiful. I’m not sure how to describe the scent of cosmetic argan oil – it’s not strong but it’s distinctive and won’t disappoint.

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Once again the Body Shop’s commitment to the  Community Fair Trade programme is at the heart of the Wild Argan Oil collection, this time with Targanine,  a local cooperative created by women, for women to help find buyers for their oil and to help the industry develop in a positive way. Targanine is the Body Shop’s 26th Community Fair Trade partner as well.

Every sale of a Wild Argan Oil product directly empowers local Berber women, allowing them the ability and independence to provide for their families with a stable income while Targanine invests in social projects such as schools for children and adult learning, crèches and doctors’ visits to name but a few.

On holiday last year in Morocco I visited a Berber community and saw how the ladies make argan oil. Each stage of the long and arduous process they commit themselves to is traditionally done by hand and with absolute perfection from picking the fruits that have fallen from the argan tree, drying them, smashing the pulps open to extract the nuts before they are ground and pressed from which the oil is expelled from. This doesn’t include the time it takes for the fruit to be harvested. Also not a single bad nut will make it to the end – they can’t afford to contaminate the oil with a dud one.Tedious, manual, painstakingly slow. I will never take argan oil for granted when it’s made with such dedication, love and care.

The Body Shop’s range has had me reminiscing about my trip so I found my photos of how argan oil is made and thought I’d share them with you:

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Wild Argan Oil is love. It’s a wonderfully enticing range and is a little bit of hammam heaven in your bathroom. Now I want to go back to Morocco.

The Wild Argan Oil collection from the Body Shop is out now nationwide and online.

posted by on Lifestyle

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roofdown

Today’s post is a special one. A diversion from the regular dose of beauty, it’s about what I got up to at the weekend. With the wife.

It was Leanne‘s birthday yesterday (Happy birthday, petal!) and to mark the occasion, we set off on a road trip the day before to Scotney Castle in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The weather forecast promised endless sunshine and that is precisely what we got.

I am personally fond of this region of the country because it is steeped in history with castles and stately homes and quite rightly lives up to its name of the garden of England. It’s also convenient and easy to get to by road from London in under 90 minutes.

We rocked up to the soundtrack of Michael Bolton’s ‘How Am I Supposed To Live Without You’, grabbed our cameras and went for a wander around the grounds.

Scotney Castle, which is owned by the National Trust, is more than you could bargain for – a country house, a romantic garden and a 14th century fairy-tale moated castle surrounded by 770 acres of woodland and parkland. It’s a haven for photography enthusiasts. It also served as the ideal spot for our picnic spread.

I thought I’d share some of the shots I captured. For more images, I suggest you visit Leanne’s post.

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There are still many places I’ve not covered in Kent alone and I am strongly considering becoming a member of the National Trust, which will allow me unlimited free entry to all their sites in the country for an annual fee while the organisation can maintain these beautiful and historical sites. Even if five places are covered in a year, you’ll get your money’s worth.

We are already planning the next road trip…’citing stuff!