As we move through what feels like a long winter (in the northern hemisphere), with many of us facing tighter lockdown restrictions and missing social interaction, we wanted to help shift the mindset and connect with our friends and peers who are experts in their field, and ask them to share with us how we can find mindfulness at home during these not so normal times.
We spoke to our friend Katie Fisher, the founder of Harvest Skincare and came upon the idea of creating a "Wellness Kit" together. Katie's vision is to "evoke a sense of calm and well-being, bringing the power of nature, natural ingredients and sustainability together", which we think sounds great.
We got to know more about Katie, how and why she started her company, and she also gave us some helpful tips as to how we can practice mindfulness through scent at home.
Head here to view Harvest x Universal Works.
Katie in her Birmingham workshop & store.
Hi Katie, tell us a little about yourself and how Harvest Skincare came about?
I trained as a holistic beauty therapist working in the industry for 15 years and became totally fascinated with the skin.
I then went on to train in cosmetics and having suffered from eczema and allergies for most of my life, I became frustrated at not being able to find effective products that were not laden with chemicals.
This led me to research and develop my own products at home, using only natural and organic ingredients. I was so relieved to find that they soothed and repaired my skin conditions. This was the catalyst that drove me to formulate entirely natural and plant-based products for others in a similar position, and so I created Harvest Skincare.
This year has been a toughie, to say the least, how can we practice being mindful with smells at home? Any tips and tricks?
Burning essential oils at home gives me great comfort, using your sense of smell prompts your brain to release serotonin, inducing feelings of happiness. You can pick and choose your oils depending on how you feel; for example, I burn Bergamot, Eucalyptus and Rosemary when seeking encouragement and find the combination of fragrant Bergamot and Lavender particularly therapeutic.
A great tip if you have a log burner is to collect orange peel, sage or herbs from the garden and place them on top of the burner, the oils will defuse and scent your space wonderfully. Or add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to your firewood before burning. I like and use Grounding Juniper Berry which cleanses the air. Or if you're looking for a quick fix simply place a few drops of essential oil onto a radiator, as it heats up, it will diffuse.
Growing fresh herbs on the windowsill is another great way of bringing nourishing scents into the home. I grow scented Geraniums in my kitchen, which always gives me a little pick me up. On a daily basis, I use woody/ floral Ho Wood oil (Botanical name Cinnamomum camphora). It's emotionally uplifting and calming for the mind, high in Linalol which is known to support and nourish. I find this oil very grounding and always makes me feel better. I like to think of Ho Wood as a cuddle in a bottle!
Do you have a daily routine/ritual to kick off your day that helps encourage good vibes?
My daily ritual... I like to start my day by cleansing my skin. I fill my sink with warm water and add a few drops of Rosemary essential oil into the water, which really helps me to wake up and feel good! I then kick off the day with a Chamomile tea and a slice of fresh and uplifting lemon. Burning Incense is a daily practice that I regularly do throughout the day at home and at work. We can use scent to trigger specific responses, such as to aid sleep or stimulate creativity. I burn Earthy Agarwood, also known as oud, which is deeply nurturing. Before I go to bed, I drop soothing Lavender into the water for my evening cleanse, which helps me to relax.
Tell us a little more about the ingredients you use in your products? Why is using natural materials important to you?
Natural products are sustainable. Skincare products that contain chemical toxins are destructive and have a damaging effect on the environment and the manufacturing process that takes place to create them. Natural ingredients are gentle on our skin and the planet. By natural I’m talking skincare made with herbs, plants and flowers that will nurture and nourish our bodies. I always say if you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin!
Is there any science behind nostalgic smells? Do you have a favourite nostalgic smell of your own?
Scent sparks emotional memories. When a smell enters the nose, it travels through the cranial nerve through the olfactory system bulb, which helps the brain process smells. Inhaling essential oils stimulates areas of the limbic system that plays a role in our memories and emotions.
A nostalgic scent-memory of mine has to be the smell of my Nanna's freshly baked bread and tomato soup! My Nanna is French, and when I was growing up, we'd often visit her and family over in France. A fond memory of mine is going to the bakery every morning to collect some delicious bread. Whenever I smell freshly baked bread, it brings me right back to the delightful scents that filled the street of my Nana's local bakery.
Do you have a “go-to” scent when seeking calmness and relaxation?
When I'm looking to unwind, I often run a bath and light a candle. At present I’m burning our Harvest Dark Patchouli candle, deep, warming and cosy, a perfect companion for bath time.
Having a bath is a restorative ritual that clears my mind and helps soothe my skin. I drop 4-6 drops of a mix of Lavender and Cedarwood essential oil, with 1 teaspoon of base oil, Jojoba or silky Camellia for their hydrating and repairing properties.
We have partnered with Harvest to create a special Wellness Kit. Within the kit are carefully considered natural products to help you feel a little more zen (and cleansed) at home.
'Vetiver + Olive' handmade soap, a 30ml hand sanitiser, and an 'Amaranth Seed + Apricot Kernel' calming face cream.
You can view the Wellness Kit here.