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Movember 2014 – A Guide To Using A Straight Razor

With Movember soon to get underway, men (and their Mo Sistas) around the world are going to be helping to raise awareness of men’s health issues by growing out their facial hair.

With over 4 million moustaches nurtured since the beginning of the scheme, the long-forgotten art of using a straight razor has recently seen a renaissance.

The straight razor can help you style your nose neighbour or simply free your face from follicle confinement: here is our guide of how best to use it.

Whilst a modern safety razor offers ease there are a number of advantages to using a straight razor:

  1. A superior shave – Safety razors blunt after roughly 14 uses compared to six months for straight razors. A sharper blade will mean a closer shave.
  2. Save money – Whilst the initial outlay will be about £100, you will save money by not needing to buy replacement blades.
  3. The joy of learning a new skill – Using a straight razor is a real art form. Whilst it will take a little longer than your old razor, the shave will be closer and more enjoyable.

A Guide To Using A Straight Razor

How to sharpen your razor

  1. Lubricate the whetstone
  2. Lay the whetstone on a flat surface with the coarse side facing upwards
  3. Place the blade flat on the stone
  4. Move the blade side to side to sharpen
  5. Turn the blade over and repeat
  6. Aim for 8 strokes on each side

A Guide To Using A Straight Razor

Holding your Razor

Whilst there are different schools of thought on the best grip, this illustration demonstrates the recommended grip for beginners. Simply rest your first three fingers on the back of the blade and support the razor with your pinkie and your thumb. You may want to alter your grip as you go around your face so be prepared to adapt your grip as you hone your own technique.

A Guide To Using A Straight Razor

The Shave

There are certain rules to obey to ensure you get a close shave with your straight razor.

  • Make sure to perform slow, even strokes which follow the direction of hair growth.
  • As long as your razor is sharp you shouldn’t have to apply too much pressure.
  • Make sure the skin is pulled tight whenever you make a stroke.
  • Make sure to reapply shaving oil or cream if you want to do multiple passes. This will keep your face lubricated and avoid irritation.

The only additional consideration with a straight razor is whether or not you wish to become an ambidextrous shaver. Many people find it easier to switch hands when swapping cheeks but this is simply a matter of taste.

Of course it would be remiss of us not to mention our male grooming range at this point! Our range of products can help men at all stages of the shave. You can see the all the products on our dedicated page but here is a selection of our favourites http://www.baldwins.co.uk/beauty/mens

A Guide To Using A Straight Razor - Men's Shaving Products

A Movember Glossary

 

The final step in preparing for Movember is ensuring you know how to refer to your facial hair when asked. Here is our quick guide for the best colloquialisms:

 

-          Best Friend

-          Bristle Batons

-          Bro-merang

-          Bro-stache

-          Caterpillar

-          Crumb catcher

-          Dirt Squirrel

-          Face Fitting

-          Face Furniture

-          Flavour Savour

-          Grass Grin

-          Handlebars

-          Lip Doily

-          Lip Foliage

-          Lip Sweater

-          Mr. Tickler

-          Nose Neighbour

-          Snot Mop

-          Snail Trail

-          Tea/Soup Strainer

-          Whiskers

 

 

To all those taking part this year…GOOD LUCK!

Movember Shaving People

 

The Baldwins Herb Map Of Africa – Download & Share

Welcome to Africa!

Birthplace of Man-(and Woman)-Kind!  The second largest continent on Earth, Over 11 MILLION square miles and over 1 BILLION people!

Africa has such a huge variety of geography, flora, fauna and people that make it one of the most fascinating mix of cultures and traditions stretching back over 150, 000 years of evolution.

With the culture of folk medicine, cooking and the incredible array of native plants Africa is truly a jewel of wealth when it comes to herbs.

Thyme, a hardy drought resistant plant, grows in the dry landscapes of Western Sahara.

The Democratic Republic of Congo with 80 Inches of rain a year, the highest frequency of thunderstorms anywhere in the world and the second largest rainforest after the Amazon, The Congo Rainforest, alone holds more plant life than any other African Country.

We find Devil’s Claw, one of our best selling herbs, used in the treatment of pain from both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis growing in Nimibia and the deserts of the Kalahari.

Somalia in East Africa, known by many as the birthplace of modern humans, has the beautiful gums & resins of opoponax, Myrrh & Frankincense.

The island of Madagascar, off the Eastern Coast of Africa is far too rich with unique species of herbs, trees and animals to even begin to discuss.

Many people are searching these places for the natural beginnings of cures for all sorts of diseases and health problems.

Check out our beautiful Herb Map Of Africa for more treasures and share with people who you think will find this continent as incredible, diverse and wonderful as we at Baldwins do!

Baldwins Herb Map Of Africa - Download And Share

 

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‘Who in your life deserves a relaxing treat?’ – Facebook Competition

Everyone needs a break now and again. We’ve been highlighting relaxing tips in our recent Relaxation Month content – but now it’s over to you. Who in your life deserves a relaxing treat? Like this status and comment by tagging in your loved one who could do with a boost. We’ll randomly pick 2 winners, who will grab themselves a relaxing gift for both themselves and their nominated friend! We’ll also send out some relaxing treats to three lucky runners up and their nominees plus a special gift for one lucky entrant when we pass 5,000 followers.

How to Enter

  1. Choose a friend who you feel is in need of a bit of pampering
  2. Like our Facebook post and tag your friend in a comment describing why you feel they are a deserving winner.
  3. Sit back and wait for the winners to be announced! Easy as that!

Prizes

2 winners will be picked at random. The winners and their nominated friends will each receive a glass teapot and a great selection of loose leaf teas

Relaxation Month Competition Main Prize - Relaxing Teas & Oils

3 runners up will receive a hand-selected collection of our most relaxing oils and treatments.

Relaxation Month Competition Runner Up Prize - Relaxing Oils & Treatments

There is also going to be a special winner of a mystery prize when we reach 5,000 likes. All you have to do is enter this competition and you will be immediately eligible to win!

Dates

The competition will run between 12th September – 22nd September. The winner will be announced and contacted via Facebook.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Entries are limited to one per person
  2. Prizes will be shipped to the winner within 30 days of the winner being announced
  3. Prizes will not be exchangeable
  4. We will make an effort to contact the winner for 14 days. If at that point, we have still been unable to make contact we will select a new winner.

We’ve Been Published… Sort Of! Great Health and Natural Lifestyle Books We’ve Been Mentioned In

There are plenty of books out there pertaining to health, natural beauty, relaxation and mindfulness – and we’re luckily enough to have been regarded by some of these helpful tomes as a good source of products that can help you on your way to living a fulfilling natural lifestyle. From cookery books to self-help books to books dedicated to shopping, our name has popped up in the resources section to advise readers to explore our ranges of oils, herbs or beauty products, and we’re ever so grateful!

We thought we’d pick out a few of the books we pop up in in case you’re looking for an inspiring and motivational new read. They must be good if they’re citing us as a location for the best natural products!

 

Everything I’ve Ever Done That Worked by Lesley Garner

Everything I’ve Ever Done That Worked by Lesley Garner

Lesley Garner is a renowned journalist and social commentator who has written several motivational books that she calls ‘self-help memoirs’. Motivational and inspiring, she writes from her own personal experiences which makes for a compelling and relatable read. We were lucky enough to be name-checked in her first book, ‘Everything I’ve Ever Done That Worked’ as a source for a wide range of essential oils ideal for assisting you in living a calm, happy and fulfilled life. You can find the book here.

 

 The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger

The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger

The very unique and original ‘Classical Cookbook’ takes ancient gourmet recipes from 750 BC to AD 450, and recreates them for the modern cook as well as providing historical background. Examples include an olive relish as mentioned in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’. It’s a great read for foodies and history buffs alike, that also happens to cite us as a source for the more unusual herbs and spices that these recipes call for.

Lavender: Nature’s Way to Relaxation and Health by Philippa Waring

 

All about lavender as one of the best known (and most beneficial) ancient remedies, Philippa Waring’s book tells a reader all about how the herb can be used in its various forms to create relaxation and a calming atmosphere. She also explains the processes behind extracting essential oils from lavender plants, and even how to grow your own. We’re listed in her recommended suppliers of lavender essential oil, and we have plenty of options for not only the oil itself but also products that incorporate it here.

The Shopaholic’s Guide to Buying Beauty & Fashion Online and The Shopaholic’s Guide to Buying for Mother & Child Online both by Patricia Davidson

The Shopaholic’s Guide to Buying for Mother & Child Online by Patricia DavidsonThe Shopaholic’s Guide to Buying Beauty & Fashion Online Patricia Davidson

The Shopaholic series of books provide invaluable sources for shopping online for pretty much anything you can think of. We’ve been very lucky to be included in both Patricia’s Fashion & Beauty edition and the Mother & Child edition because of our ranges of natural beauty products. Both books would make brilliant gifts for fashionistas or mums-to-be as encyclopaedic fonts of information!

It’s Not Easy Being Green by Dick Strawbridge

It’s Not Easy Being Green by Dick Strawbridge

You may recognise Dick from TV – he started out on Scrapheap Challenge and eventually ended up being part of his own programme, which ran for three series. It followed him and his family as they tried to live the greenest life possible, including exploring the possibilities of reducing waste and sustainable fuel alternatives. The series was accompanied by a book which you can pick up here if you’re interested in learning more about living a lifestyle that is more respectful of our planet. We were included in the resources list relating to his chapter on ‘Luxuries and Living the Good Life’, in which he discusses luxurious yet natural skincare treats incorporating many of the delightful essential oils in our collection.

How we made the Herb Relaxation Art

Due to the phenomenal response to our recent herbal artworks, we thought we would create a behind the scenes look at how the herb art was created. We have also has a number of enquiries about the ingredients that went into making these beautiful images so we will look to answer all your questions about the herbs and their relaxing properties in this post.

Whenever we had the chance to show guests around our store and our produce people would always remark on the incredible textures and vibrancy of colours in all of our loose herbs. It had always seemed like a great opportunity to take advantage of these attributes by commissioning an artist to create something on behalf of Baldwins. When we came across Mustashrik we immediately knew that we would be the man for the job.

Here are some of the unedited photographs that were taken during the production process. They allow you to see in greater detail all the materials that have gone into making each mixed media artwork.

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

 

Some of our herbs (and a healthy dose of artistic talent) went in to creating stunning images like the one below but what are the individual herbs and what benefits do they have?

 

 Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

 

 

Rose Buds

Rose buds have been used to create the top of the dress and make a gorgeous bodice. Rose buds have a number of applications which make them a great topic for relaxation month.

Rose buds are used to fight headaches and as a tonic for the nerves. They are most commonly used to create teas and are a good source of vitamin C which is used to help support the immune system. Another side benefit is that they aid in the production of collagen which is a pivotal part in the maintenance of healthy hair and skin.

Here is a quick guide to making Rose Tea:

For dried petals:

  1. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves for 1 cup.
  2. Add buds to water which has been heated to just before boiling point
  3. Allow the tea to steep for 2 to 3 minutes.

Baldwins sell both red and pink rose buds so be sure to experiment with both!

 

Rose Petals

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

Rose petals are the next down in the creation of the dress and are another great natural product to help relaxation.

Taking a bath with rose petals is a great way to fight anxiety and aid natural sleep. It is also an incredibly romantic gesture which you can treat someone with if you know they are under pressure. Another benefit of using rose petals in the bath are their effects as a natural skin toner which will help retain moisture in the skin.

Rose petals also have uses in cooking. If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen this can be another way to use rose petals to unwind. If you want to try something unusual, why not try baking Levantine Ma’amoul. After baking, sprinkle on some rose petals for a beautiful dessert which will impress all your friends and taste delicious. Here’s a recipe to get you started.

You can buy rose petals in a variety of sizes starting from £2.45 for 25g

 

Jasmine Flowers

Jasmine, also known as “moonlight of the grove”, is a proven sedative to treat anxiety. We have a number of products that use the restorative power of jasmine.

Jasmine Oil is one of the most versatile forms of jasmine and can be used in a number of different ways to help you relax. Using the oils in a bath or in a burner are two of the most popular methods but you can read more about the applications of jasmine oils here.

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

You can also buy Jasmine incense sticks to create a thoroughly relaxing atmosphere at home.

Jasmine is also available to buy in its dry form either as one of Dr. Stuart’s loose leaf teas or Baldwin’s own dried Jasmine Flowers.

 

Blue Mallow & Cornflower

Blue Mallow and Cornflower have been combined to make the deep blue mid-section of our model’s dress. Both of these can be made into a soothing tea. Blue Mallow also has the added benefits of helping to combat sore throats. Just boil it up with a bit of honey and gargle for a soothing treatment.

 

German Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the best known herbs when it comes to relaxation and therefore was an essential ingredient during relaxation month.

Here is a list of Chamomile’s main benefits:

- Sedative
- Carminative
- Anti-spasmodic
- Analgesic
- Anti-inflammatory
- Antiseptic

It is often used as an infusion, as a tea and aids sleep but, like most of the products featured, can also be used as an essential oil.

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

Passion Flower

Passion Flower completes the bottom of the dress and is the last ingredient in our relaxation artwork. Passion Flower is well regarding in its ability to relive anxiety. You can buy this in loose leaf; as a tincture or as capsules.

All of the herbs included in our artwork have beneficial properties that provide natural ways of soothing and calming in times of stress, discomfort and anxiety. Check out our previous blog posts in our Relaxation Month series of content if you’re looking for more ideas for ways to create a restful environment in a natural and healthful way.

 

 

 

Staying Cool & Calm in the Heat – Iced Herbal Teas for Coping with Summer Stress

August is Relaxation Month here at Baldwin’s, and we’re writing lots of blog posts all about how to bring some calm into the hectic summer months when you’re running around trying to make the most of the little sunshine we get!

This post in the series follows on from our recent aromatherapy tips for dealing with summer stresses from sunburn to restlessness. This time we’ve got a few suggestions on how to sort yourself out if you’re feeling a bit hot and bothered.

For some, a cup of tea is a perfect way to wind down if they’re feeling stressed. But for others, a hot drink on a hot and sticky day is the last thing on their mind regardless of the health benefits it may bring. Luckily, there is a solution – so you can get all the antioxidants and calming properties of tea, but in a cool and refreshing drink that will help to revitalise you if you’re flagging… Iced tea!

Making iced herbal tea is just as simple as brewing a normal cuppa, but instead of drinking the tea straight after brewing, you can either leave it to chill in the fridge or pour it over ice cubes. With the addition of some honey or natural sweetener, you’ve got a lovely drink to enjoy that will also help encourage calmness and tranquillity on a busy summer day.

We stock a variety of teas that would be great for brewing up and drinking iced. Here are a few options.

Dr Stuart’s Tranquility tea

Dr Stuarts Tranquility Tea Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

These tea bags contain limeflower, hawthorn berries, yarrow and fennel, all of which are ideal for soothing you in times of stress or agitation.

Dr Stuart’s green tea with coconut

Dr Stuart Green Tea & Coconut - Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

This loose leaf tea has an exotic flavour perfect for summer, and will make an uplifting cooling drink when iced. Brew it exactly the same way you would for a hot cup, but use double the amount of leaves for a fuller flavour.

Higher Living organic mint

Higher Living Organic Cool Mint - Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

Peppermint is a great tea for relaxing, as the menthol in mint encourages muscles to relax. It’s also a natural coolant – which is enhanced when you create an iced brew.

Eleven O’Clock Rooibos tea

Eleven O'Clock Rooibos Teabags - Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

Rooibos is known for its plentiful antioxidants, as well as being thirst-quenching and refreshing. It’s a great choice for a cold drink that also has many health benefits.

When you make your tea, you need to sweeten it while it’s still hot in order to ensure the sweetener absorbs properly into the drink. While you could use sugar, there are plenty of natural alternatives that actually have their own health benefits. Manuka honey is one example. It has natural antibacterial properties, in contrast to the negatives of sugar. Another option is to use a natural sweetener made from xylitol which is derived from the fibres of plants including berries and mushrooms. As well as sweetener, you may want to add some slices of lemon when serving your tea for a bit of extra flavour.

Explore our collection of teas here and see if any take your fancy – either for a hot brew or a summer-ready iced drink, all with their own health benefits!