Hi everyone! This has been a busy week but I wanted to share this post with you.
This past weekend, I went to my first A&P show in New Zealand. As a Ribatejana, I am no stranger to agricultural and pastoral fairs, but was pretty curious to see how it worked here.
The best thing about smaller, more regional versions of A&P shows is that you get the chance to meet and help out local businesses and producers.
In this show, I got to try NZ made olive oils, conserves and wines. While I am more liberal with conserves and wines, I am very particular with olive oil. I don’t like buying just any kind and if I can choose, I’ll have my favourite Portuguese brand. While I managed to bring enough over the last time I was in Portugal, I recognize that this attitude may be unsustainable in the long run. So, I figured, if I find a good extra virgin olive oil from New Zealand, I will start going for that one while I’m here.
I got to try First Drop olive oils, which were ok. I wasn’t much of a fan of the different infusions as I prefer a natural and genuine olive oil, but I like their business attitude. So, when my Portuguese olive oil is over, I’ll probably replace it for something local like First Drop.
Unfortunately no cheeses around, and that was a big shame. But, my sadness over the lack of cheeses was quickly forgotten when I came to meet Wes and Laurel Martens and their soap products. I am a big fan of soap bars, particular those filled with natural ingredients and they had exactly what I was looking for: something that would help me stock up on my favourite Ach Brito soap.
Yet another thing I usually bring from my trips to Portugal, this pumice soap is my favourite exfoliator. I wouldn’t recommend these for facial exfoliations if you have dry, acne prone or sensitive skin, but I would definitely recommend it for tougher areas such as legs or feet. They are also great to get any dirt off your hands if you happen to like gardening without gloves.
I brought three from my last trip to Portugal and there’s only one left. I had already started to wonder how my legs and feet would survive Summer without them, since my next trip to Portugal is still a few months away. So you can imagine my relieve when I came across Wes and Laurel’s version – the Gardener’s Soap (I bought it for $6NZD).
Not only are those made as natural as possible, but it’s a local company too. Sounds like an enviro win-win situation to me!
I can’t comment on how that particular soap works yet because I only bought one and gave it to my father-in-law. He’s always working around the garden and uses a hand brush to get rid of dirt. But I did buy a couple of their other soaps which I have tried and can comment on.
The “Native Plant Fusion” soap smells beautifully but, most importantly, does not leave your skin feeling dried out, as many soaps do. I used it to shower, but also tried it on my face.
Now, what you need to know about my face is that its skin is very temperamental. It is sensitive and prone to break-outs. It is oily in places but dries easily on others. So, it is no only difficult to find something that works for me but I have to be very careful with the products I use to clean it.
Although I tend to prefer soaps, I always expect to be disappointed. In the past, even the ones that say they have moisturising properties, have left my skin feeling dry. But this soap was a pleasant surprise. In fact, it has the opposite effect: it leaves my skin feeling moisturised.
Finally, I bought the “Clematis Soap” for my hair. I have had trouble finding a shampoo I’m comfortable with (ethically wise). For instance, I love how my hair feels with Pantene, but don’t like their lack of leaping bunny stamp.
A few months ago, I shifted to LUSH solid shampoo. First of all, the product itself has lasted months! I bought it when I was last in England, in the end of August, and I still have a lot of product, even though I wash my very long hair every two days. Definitely good value. On the other hand, this particular solid shampoo leaves my hair and scalp very dry. I use conditioner afterwards, but still, I noticed my scalp is increasingly flaky, which it wasn’t before.
I have only tried the Clematis soap once since I bought it last Saturday but I am pleasantly surprised with it. I expected it to be very similar to the LUSH bar in that it would leave my hair and scalp dry but no, that didn’t happen. Maybe was the coconut oil…I still used my current conditioner afterwards. But that feeling of dryness most soaps leave behind, was simply not there after I rinsed my hair and before I applied the conditioner.
I am excited about these products. They smell great, have had a lovely effect on my skin and hair, are handmade by a local, small company and have no nasty stuff in them. I will definitely re-purchase. Give Wes and Laurel a call if you want to learn more about their products. They also have a pet shampoo which I thought was great! Thinking about getting one for Kenny for Christmas!
I know many people have a distaste of soap bars, particularly regarding notions that they might be less hygienic. What about you? How do you feel about soap bars? Yay or Nay?
Thanks for reading!