April Newsletter 2011

April Newsletter 2011

It’s going to be one of ‘those’ newsletters, I can feel it in my bones, so I welcome you to the April newsletter where we take a look at what is trending in America, we release a whole load of new products, including the much-awaited arrival of Yes To Cucumbers, some pretty outstanding new releases from Life-Mel honey and a new treat from Valerie Beverly Hills. With the hay fever season almost upon us, we recommend the products that really do work, there is a brand tribute from me and we have a very special person on The Podium this month, so please read and share. On top of all of that, we have literally just launched our new site and I can barely contain my excitement as I introduce you to The VH Editorial Team. Finally, there is a cautionary tale from me after I went ‘awol’ for three weeks recently (probably the happiest moments of Shabir’s life) and I have BIG news about HA (my life-saver), so let’s start with that:

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

This is one of those ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ stories, so I need you to read this very carefully. As half the world knows, HA is the one supplement that I would crawl on my hands and knees for. I have taken it for over eight years (so have most of you!) and I swear that it has kept me from the knife and helped stop my face travelling south. Not only does it plump up your skin rather magnificently, but it also helps prevent creaking joints and I’m sure it would sing and dance for us if we asked it to.

Since the beginning of time, we have all taken the same HA supplement, so imagine my face when we received notification from the manufacturers that the cost of the raw ingredients had risen so dramatically that they were going to increase the price per unit by £10. I thumped my desk so hard that it nearly fell through to Australia and I told Shabir that there was no way on this planet that the price increase was acceptable. Furthermore I would not be held to ransom by anybody in this life, so there!

So what does a girl do? Well she smiles sweetly, whilst seething beneath the smile, waves her magic wand (sometimes called Shabir!) and he finds us one of the most outstanding HA supplements on the market. Here comes the ‘silver lining’ bit. The original HA was 140 mg and the new one, hold your breath, has a staggering therapeutic dose of 200 mg of sodium hyaluronate, the most active form of HA. This does of course mean that it is far more powerful, will work even faster and stuff like this makes me really happy. We absolutely have to take the very best of the very best otherwise I’m just not interested, so let’s celebrate the arrival of Hyaluronic Acid High Strength from NHS Labs (er, not ‘the’ NHS – it’s an American product!) and I’m saying glory hallelujah!
Hyaluronic Acid High Strength from NHS Labs £35 for 30 Capsules

Lichi Super Fruit Diet

Please allow me to introduce you to a new supplement that is going a bit bonkers in California and is perfect to help kick start weight loss in time for the summer months. The Lichi Super Fruit Diet represents a synergy of clinically proven natural ingredients renowned for their effectiveness in weight management and overall body health. The prime ingredient of Lichi Super Fruit Diet is Litchi Chinensis in the form of the lychee berry extract. This is because of its ability to help target common problems dieters encounter, including feelings of hunger, slow weight loss, nutritional deficiency and an overall lack of energy.

Lichi Super Fruit Diet takes a four-pronged approach to looking and feeling better as it helps enhance fat metabolism and fat oxidation (visceral ‘belly’ fat), helps appetite suppression, aids digestion and nutrient absorption and helps enhance improved skin elasticity. This supplement has been formulated with 17 natural ingredients including lychee berry extract, acai fruit, various tea extracts, and resveratrol, a plant-based substance that combines additional anti-oxidant strength with anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and weight-loss properties. In addition, Lichi contains cinnamon bark extract, cayenne pepper, niacin, L-carnitine, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Each year, thousands of new weight loss products are introduced to the market, most of which we eliminate without a second glance, because however sensational their claims are, we can see right the way through them. There is a reason why this supplement is trending in California and that is because if used in conjunction with a sensible diet (no starvation diets please, they don’t work) and a gentle exercise programme, this does what it says on the bottle, so based on that, it gets the ‘VH seal of approval’!
Lichi Super Fruit Diet £30 for 90 Softgels

Pucker Up From Valerie Beverly Hills (VBH)

My longstanding love fest with all things VBH reaches a new high as I tell you about Pucker Up, an ever-so-fabulous lip plumper that I have had the privilege of testing and using over the past three months. Ever since we launched Bee Sting Lip Plump in the UK several years ago, it has remained one of our top five bestselling beauty products, often grabbing the Number 1 slot, which is quite an achievement. We could never, ever replace the original Bee Sting because this is in a lip plumping league of its own, and if I had £1 for all the people who are convinced I have had my lips done (I haven’t!), I would be a very rich girl indeed. So I am here to tell you that Bee Sting has a sister, and she is really rather magnificent:

Pucker Up is liquid Bee Sting in a tube with a diamond on the top – look, it’s not a real diamond, but a girl can dream. It was borne from a multitude of requests from Valerie’s A-Lister clients, to have a product they could throw into their purse (make that handbag in our language) and slick on during the day as a top-up. So this is what we do. We still use the original Bee Sting Lip Plump in the morning, applying it with the brush that comes with the compact, this is our base. Then at timely intervals, or whenever you feel the need for a bit of an extra pout, we use Pucker Up. Read on for the treat:

As a special launch offer, good until the end of April, you can buy Bee Sting Lip Plump and Pucker Up for £35, which will save you £6. Both of them last for absolutely ages, so if you want big lips without resorting to those dreadful needles, which more often than not give outrageously ugly results, then this is luscious-lip-investment at its very best. I hate to tell you, but I’ve developed a habit of applying Bee Sting and then putting Pucker Up straight on top of it every morning. It kind of keeps me happy and makes my lips look incredibly healthy. In fact I am all ‘huge sunglasses and lips’, morning, noon and night, it’s my claim to infamous fame.
Bee Sting Lip Plump & Pucker Up Launch Exclusive £35; Bee Sting Lip Plump £21; Pucker Up £20

Yes to Cucumbers

Over the past year, I have received a stash of emails asking when Yes To Cucumbers will be released in the UK and finally the range has arrived. If you love the fresh, cooling feeling of organic cucumbers, you will love these products. Formulated for normal to sensitive skin, the skin products will help ease redness and irritation caused by sensitivity, the over-use of aggressive beauty products and changes in weather conditions, whilst the hair products have been specifically blended for colour treated hair. So I’m going to write about the skin products first and then later in the newsletter I will introduce you to the hair and shower products.

Formulated primarily with organic cucumbers, Aloe Vera and Green Tea, there are five products in the skincare range. The Daily Gentle Cleanser helps lift away dirt, reduce puffiness and helps remove dead skin cells; the Daily Calming Moisturiser contains proteins and nutrients to help regenerate the skin; the Soothing Eye Gel says NO to tired and puffy eyes and includes Chamomile to softly soothe delicate under-eye skin; the Calming Facial Mask naturally draws out impurities and we are hearing great things about this treatment mask. Finally I just love the Facial Towelettes and I can think of several hundred reasons to have a few packs of these around. I’m thinking that everybody will want to take these to the beach, when the time comes, let it be soon!
Daily Gentle Cleanser £8.99 for 100ml
; Daily Calming Moisturiser £12.99 for 50ml; Soothing Eye Gel £12.99 for 30ml; Calming Facial Mask £11.99; Facial Towelettes £4.99 for 30 Towelettes

Famous Dave’s Gradual 10

As we are heading towards sunnier days, I am just a bit over-excited to introduce you to a new product launch from Famous Dave’s. This is the brand that you all went a bit crazy for when we launched it on our site last year, most probably because all of their products are pretty spectacular, so you are going to love this one. This season it is all about the subtle glow, so we welcome Famous Dave’s Gradual 10, an all-natural luxury everyday moisturiser with a hint of Famous Dave’s legendary self tan. Combining significant skincare benefits with a healthy glow, this easily absorbed non-sticky formulation is loaded with the finest natural active ingredients and antioxidants, including Aloe Vera, Cocoa butter, Vitamins A & E, and infused with organic ingredients such as Rosehip Oil, Sunflower Oil and Sweet Almond Oil, which all work beautifully together to help transform and care for your skin.

It’s so easy to use and you can gradually build up a natural-looking, streak free tan from the very first application and control the level of colour that is right for you. Before the first application we recommend that you exfoliate well (we love Famous Dave’s Body Buffer) and then massage the lotion onto clean dry skin from top to toe using a circular motion, paying special attention to elbows, knees, feet, neck, wrists and fingers. Re-apply over a number of days for a darker tan, but do exfoliate regularly as this really helps maintain an even tan. Just as an added bonus, Gradual 10 can be used to extend an existing tan and we all know the very best tan accelerator ever, ever, ever, so in its first appearance of the year, a great big wave to Maui Babe all the way from Hawaii; my, how we love you!
Famous Dave’s Gradual 10 £17.99 for 250 ml; Famous Dave’s Body Buffer £12.99 for 250 ml; Maui Babe Browning Lotion £23

A Cautionary Tale For Girls

There are only a few people who know that I went ‘awol’ for three weeks recently. It’s not a cute story, but I am writing about it here because I don’t want the same thing to happen to any of you. It was a Monday afternoon and I had just finished writing and editing the March newsletter, which was due for release the following day. I didn’t feel well at all and so I came home at about 3 pm and went to bed, but woke up at 1 am in excruciating pain and was then promptly sick. I will own up to being a bit of a drama queen, but I didn’t need to call upon my acting skills for this scenario because I actually thought I was dying.

I’m going to cut to the chase here because this newsletter is going to be long enough, without reading about the life and times of me. I was rushed to A&E with suspected appendicitis, except a CT scan later revealed that it wasn’t my appendix, I had an acute pelvic infection caused by my coil (IUD). Smart. At the time my coil was fitted, I was told that it was the new type of coil, I could forget all about it, it didn’t need to be checked and it wouldn’t need to be changed. So I forgot about it, literally forgot for about 15 years.

And so it came to pass that I screamed my way through several hours in A&E (with apologies to anybody living in the vicinity of The Royal Free Hospital) and then got transferred to another hospital, where they kept me on several drips for a week. I was sent home with a collection of the highest strength antibiotics, which were so vile, they knocked me sideways for two weeks and made me violently sick. Actually, I came across a wonderful article about being ‘drug-mugged’, which I posted on our Facebook page recently. Do read it, because it is my story and a million others too.

I feel rather ridiculous writing about this, because of all people, I should know better, but several of my friends have also forgotten about their coils, so I’m not alone. I was lucky, I am over it, but toxic poisoning is a really serious issue and a high percentage of cases do not have a happy ending. So please, if you have a coil and it is over five years old, do get it checked because without exaggeration, it could save your life.

Trending in America

Following on from the above, I was meant to go to LA on a research trip, but I didn’t quite get there for obvious reasons. So Shabir went without me. I have already written about the Lichi Super Fruit Diet, but here are two more products that are seriously ‘in vogue’. The first is Baobab Fruit Powder, which makes me rather delirious with joy because I wrote about it last August and Shabir loves this stuff. The second big trend is all about Vitamin D3, for reasons I will explain in a moment. So first, I am going to replicate what I wrote on last August’s newsletter about Baobab because if something is trending heavily, then there is a very good reason for it and the reason is probably because it is excellent. Here we go:

African Baobab Fruit Powder

Over the past few years we have seen the emergence of many ‘superfoods’ including Goji Berry and Maqui Berry to name just two. How we loved Goji, we still do, but Shabir has discovered a new ‘superfood’ and he is having several moments about this because he thinks it is completely wonderful and is recommending it to everybody he talks to. It is called African Baobab Fruit and the Baobab tree is known as ‘the tree of life’ or ‘the upside down tree’ and is a symbolic icon of the African landscape. Found in 31 African countries, it is the most abundant tree on the continent and the Baobab fruit is highly nutritious and extremely versatile.

Baobab fruit powder is a pale powder that forms naturally inside the fruits of the Baobab tree and is one of the most nutritional fruits in existence. It has an exotic tangy flavour, often described as ‘caramel pear with subtle after tones of grapefruit’ and it contains high natural levels of Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium. With an ORAC value of over 650/g, the Baobab fruit powder has an antioxidant level of more than double that of Goji berries and more than six times that of cranberries, blueberries and blackberries, so it’s a bit of a superstar!

African Baobab Fruit Powder is delicious in smoothies, sprinkled on cereal, added to plain yoghurt and ice-cream. So here is a recipe for a quick and refreshing Baobab Smoothie, just whisk it all together in a blender and drink it for breakfast: 200 ml apple juice, 100 ml natural yoghurt, 1 frozen banana, 180g blueberries and 10-20g Baobab Fruit Powder. Voila!
African Baobab Fruit Powder £12.30 for 250 grams

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 has been absolutely massive in America for many years, but there is something about the UK market that just doesn’t get it in the same way that they do over there. Over here we recommend 1000 iu of D3 should be taken daily, but in America, they are way ahead and many US experts are now advocating 10,000 iu should be taken daily. I have been writing about the advantages of D3 for over five years, or actually it could be longer, but I think it is best summed up in a really strong article that recently appeared in Sarah Stacey’s Health Notes in YOU magazine. If you missed it, then please click here to read it.
D Lux 1000 Spray by Better You £7.15 for 15 ml; Vitamin D3 1000 iu from Life Extension £17.50 for 250 Capsules

Life Mel Honey

Several years ago, we launched Life Mel Honey, which was released after 30 years of research and was specifically developed to provide the recognised health benefits of pure honey in combination with specific therapeutic herbs. The herbs include Siberian Ginseng and Echinacea, which are blended with a selection of natural ingredients including, iron, protein and vitamins. Life Mel Honey is produced from bees fed on a special food mixture, which enables them to make a unique form of honey without any artificial treatment. Used primarily to help boost the immune system, Life Mel is a pretty extraordinary product with a remarkable following. As a general immune booster, we still recommend the original Life Mel, but we are really happy to be launching four new targeted products from the brilliant research and development team at Life Mel.
Life Mel Honey £37.50 for 120 grams

Each of the following four new products are unique beehive products and are part of the Life Mel range of food supplements, which are naturally made by bees fed on a specially prepared mixture of nature’s herbs. The herbs differ in each of the blends, each having a distinctive aroma and flavour. Please note that these products should not be given to children under two years of age or used by pregnant and breast feeding women without prior consultation with a doctor.

RelaxMel: RelaxMel has been blended to help calm and balance the nervous system by helping to soothe and ease the mind of worries and tension. It may also help in stabilising sleep patterns and although the optimal effect will be after a week of usage, the researchers claim it may be effective within 30-60 minutes.
RelaxMel £20 for 120 grams

LadyMel: This is a twin pack of LadyMel Day and LadyMel Night and these are the two that I’ve been waiting three years for. I knew they were coming, but I just didn’t know when. I think they are completely brilliant if used as an adjunct to Sage Complex for all women from the age of 35. Both products have been formulated to help balance hormone levels, help cool hot flushes, help calm restlessness and unease associated with poor hormonal balance and they may also assist rest and sleep patterns, which are frequently disturbed by hormonal imbalance. Additionally, they can help calm the symptoms of PMS, so that just about has it covered for all of us girls.
LadyMel 120 grams and LadyMel Night 120 grams £50 for the twin pack; Sage Complex £23.95 for 90 Capsules

EnergyMel: The name says it all. This is the honey with the kick and all round boost and is particularly beneficial for those recovering from an illness as it will help support and speed up the healing process. Like all the Life Mel products, EnergyMel is safe for long term use as it is 100% natural.
EnergyMel £20 for 120 grams

GastroMel: Tested in laboratories, results indicate that GastroMel has an efficient antibiotic effect that will help eliminate the helicobacter pylori bacteria that may be the cause of stomach ulcers and gastritis. It also helps balance the digestive system and digestion related discomfort, including indigestion and reflux issues caused by an imbalance of stomach acids. It can also be beneficial to help ease the symptoms of IBS. The researchers claim that mild symptoms can be relieved in a relatively short period of time, but more severe symptoms will take longer and they are suggesting a time frame of around 7-10 days.
GastroMel £25 for 120 grams

The Podium

Step right onto my podium Caroline Hirons, because you are one very special lady and the founder of one very brilliant simple concept that is helping to enhance the lives of many under-privileged women and children. Each week, two women in the UK are murdered by a partner or an ex-partner. One woman in four will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, which is an appalling statistic.

Give and Make Up is a non-profit initiative whose sole purpose is to get everyday essentials into the hands of the women and children who need them the most via Refuge and Womens Aid who protect the lives of thousands of women and children every day. They ask for everything from shampoo, hairdryers, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products to skincare, make-up and baby products. You can go to the website to get further details, but the general rule is that if you would happily give something to a friend, such as a lightly used product, then they will take it, with the exception of anything with a wand, such as mascara. Gift with purchase sizes are fine as are good quality bedding and clothing for the children.

I am just the latest voice to add support, many have gone before me, including Home Office Women, who have asked Caroline to speak at their conference in May. If you can even imagine for a moment what it must be like to have to flee your home, sometimes in fear of your life and leaving everything behind, then please do support this initiative because every single product you contribute, will make all the difference to these women and children. Caroline, together with many others in the health and beauty industry, I salute you.

Focus on Hay Fever

The hay fever season can start any time soon and for hay fever sufferers this will mean the inevitable onset of a streaming nose and puffy red sore eyes. Hay fever can last from spring, right through summer to autumn depending upon what pollens, flowers, weeds and mould spores your immune system reacts to. When the body comes into contact with the allergen, cells in the lining of your nose, mouth and eyes release a chemical called histamine that triggers the systems.

Writing recently for the Beauty Bible Beauty Clinic on hay fever, Sarah Stacey said that she is a hay fever sufferer and she swears by Aller-DMG. This is the product that Shabir has been recommending for several years because quite honestly it is the best natural supplement on the market and the feedback we have received has been pretty amazing. This supplement contains a blend of herbal extracts and nutrients aimed at reducing histamine and the other inflammatory compounds that cause the symptoms, as well as easing breathing. Additionally, Aller-DMG helps modulate the immune system response to all types of allergens, including pet dander and problem foods. The recommended dosage is one tablet, twice a day.
Aller-DMG by Food Science of Vermont £15.90 for 60 Tablets

For streaming eyes, we recommend Similasan Eye Drops for Allergy Eye Relief. These drops help to stimulate the eye’s natural ability to fight symptoms of allergies due to pollen, pet dander and mould spores. They also help relieve itching, burning, redness of the eyes and watering eyes which are all associated with hay fever, but also eye problems such as conjunctivitis.
Similasan Eye Drops for Allergy Eye Relief £9.95 for 10 ml

Eyes Wide Open

I wrote about this spectacular product from Temple Spa on the March newsletter and it immediately leapt straight into our Top Ten Best Selling product list, which you will find on the home page of our site. It occurs to me that in addition to what I have already written about it, click here to read, this might just be completely fabulous for streaming hay fever eyes. Actually, let’s correct that, it will be completely fabulous, so I recommend you stash a few bottles in the fridge for the moment when. For the rest of us, it’s love!
Eyes Wide Open by Temple Spa £15 for 150 ml

A Trio of New Products

Little Luxuries from Aromatherapy Associates: The minute this landed on my desk, I started screeching because firstly it is completely adorable and secondly I know that you will all love it. It is a collection of three miniature (3 ml each) bath and shower oils containing powerful natural blends. Light Relax is perfect for those who need to slow down and take time for gentle relaxation; De-Stress Mind helps clear your mind and helps focus your thoughts, easing the stresses brought on by a busy lifestyle and Revive Morning, helps invigorate and energise the body. Completely perfect as a gift for friends and family (thinking Mother’s Day too), and close your eyes Shabir, because I am just about to self-gift myself rather generously, just because I can!
Little Luxuries from Aromatherapy Associates £12

Pampered Toes: Long story, cut short. Approximately four years ago, samples of a very similar product to this landed on my desk. Three of us tested them and we absolutely adored them. Problem. The product would have retailed at £30, which I thought was too expensive and the manufacturers annoyed me in a major way, which is never a good thing. Cue, Pampered Toes, a big treat for tired feet. Every day our feet take a serious beating and they hurt even more when we force our feet into tight shoes. This rather miraculous foot therapy helps transform tortured toes and the secret is the spa-quality flexible gel, which delivers cool, soothing therapy to your feet. You just poke each toe through each individual section (go and look at the picture to see what I mean) and relax. I put them on when I’m watching trash TV (think Brothers & Sisters, the Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire et al) and it’s another one of my addictions because when I take them off, my toes feel like they have been massaged for an hour. One size fits all and they are suitable for men and women. That’s a wrap then.
Pampered Toes £9.99 for One Pair

Bumpits: I’ve always loved Bumpits, especially when I fancy having ‘Dusty Springfield’ hair and I actually need to examine my brain, because I don’t know why I haven’t put them on our site before. Bumpits are leave-in volumising hair inserts that help give you amazing lift and body. They come in three different colours, blonde, light brown and dark brown/black and I’m not writing anything else, except to refer you to the video about them.
Bumpits £9.99 For a Set of Three

Annee de Mamiel

Some of you may recall that in last October’s newsletter I wrote all about the brilliance of Annee de Mamiel who is one of the UK’s leading authorities on acupuncture, specialising in facial techniques. First things first, you can read what I wrote about Annee here, but I now need to tell you that Annee is about to launch two new products and I’m delighted to have a little part of Annee to share with you. Additionally, I will be writing about the VH Editorial Team very soon, but I will tell you now that Annee is our guest contributor for April, so do read her thoughts and recommendations for each of you as we shift from winter to spring.

Spring Facial Oil: Annee is delighted to announce the launch of her seasonal face oil for Spring 2011. The oil combines a detoxifying and cleansing blend of juniper, grapefruit, lavender, geranium, thyme, rosemary, clary sage, spikenard, lemon myrtle, rice bran, marshmallow, meadow foam seed, calendula extract, arctic blackcurrent and refreshing spearmint. Phew, hope I didn’t miss anything out!

The 100% organic blend, packed with antioxidants and Omegas, is designed to restore and rejuvenate the skin while emotionally preparing the mind as it stirs from the darker months of a more challenging season. Blended therapeutically, the Spring Facial Oil helps balance both mind and body as the transformation at this time of year brings us to a more active state of mind. This is a Limited Edition, as are all of Annee’s seasonal oils.
Spring Facial Oil by de Mamiel £59

Vitality Tea: This very special tea has been designed to work on a deeper level, supporting the body and striving to achieve balance. Vitality Tea has been therapeutically blended to help invigorate and nourish the body from within, helping to achieve inner harmony and a more balanced flow of energy. The ancient Chinese believed that we should live in harmony with the natural cycles of our environment and after the winter months, the power of springtime surges through nature and through us. It takes us from ‘being’ to ‘doing’ and enables us to move forward with vision, determination and purpose.

Vitality Tea harnesses a blend of lemongrass stalk, peppermint leaf, dandelion root, juniper berry fruit, comfrey leaf, orange peel, goji berry fruit, Chrysanthemum flowers, Rosemary leaf and Gotu kola leaf. To serve, infuse one heaped teaspoon for eight minutes in fresh boiling water. It is recommended that you drink this tea whenever you are in need of energy and inspiration. If I’m allowed to say, I love the packaging, even though I know you can’t drink the packaging, it makes me happy just looking at it. Is that sad? Actually please don’t answer!
Vitality Tea by de Mamiel £15 for 50g

A Personal Tribute

I would just like to say a very special thank you to the Better You boys for being so incredibly supportive and wonderful. I love working with them and we have some new and fabulous products to launch over the next few months. They know I would probably roast them alive if we didn’t get to launch them exclusively, so just to say thank you and whilst we wait, I am going to list a few of their triumphant products. Femergy, which I think most women in this country can’t live without. Loved and adored by most of the leading health and beauty journalists (and me!), this is the one that gives us the energy to do what we have to do; Magnesium Oil Spray for the almost instant relief of pain and of course Magnesium Oil Original Flakes. I don’t care if I write about it on every single bulletin and newsletter, nothing, but nothing can touch these therapeutic bathing miracle flakes and they help ease psoriasis too. There we are, tribute over!
Femergy £10.25 for 60 VegiCaps; Magnesium Oil Original Spray £12.30; Magnesium Oil Original Flakes £9.95

The VH Editorial Team and Our Website

Before anything, I need to tell you that what I am about to write is the beginning (yes, just the beginning!) of the fulfillment of a vision I have held for nearly ten years. I know I’ve written this before, but the most important thing to both of us (that would be me and Shabir!) is to share. We have always seen VH as a ‘destination’ for excellence, both in the products we recommend and the depth of knowledge and advice we share. I have never listed a brand for the sake of it, I would rather die than guide you incorrectly and given that we could list almost any brand in the world, we choose not to because in the majority of cases the products just don’t live up to their claims. I’m at my happiest when we support niche brands because more often than not they knock the socks off the big names.

Having set the scene, I am about to walk you through some major website changes and then I am going to announce our new editorial team, so prepare yourself for that section because let me tell you, I am humbled by their presence and support.

The Website

Over the past couple of weeks we have been making some subtle changes to our site and we started at the bottom of the homepage, which is why we have looked a bit disjointed recently. Today we release the full first phase of changes and if you haven’t seen it yet, the homepage looks rather different! Starting at the bottom of the page, you can see both of our Twitter feeds and Facebook. Our health feed brings you all the latest health news from around the world and some of the articles are quite fascinating. Our beauty feed brings you a bit of everything from beauty to health to fitness and a little touch of madness along the way. Facebook allows you to talk to us in real time, which actually continually spooks me out a bit! This means that every time you go onto our site and refresh the page, you will be able to follow us minute by minute on Twitter and Facebook.

You can also click on our Twitter accounts and receive your own personal updates. We have only been tweeting for a couple of months and although it threw me into complete overwhelm when we began, it has got a whole lot easier over the past couple of weeks, which is just as well as we have over 14,000 people following us on both accounts. So please join us, because despite my initial reservations, it really is a fabulous way to hold hands across the ether.

Just above that, we have our top ten best sellers of the week. We change this every Friday, so you will be able to see exactly what is trending (seem to be using that word rather a lot) for the week. It’s a constant fight for the sacred Number One Slot and I will tell you that for the third week running, The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible comes in at Number One. Suppose that would be because it is a pretty awesome book and VH-ers gets a signed edition, of course!
The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible £12.99 (Recommended Retail Price £19.99)

The VH Editorial Team

This section sits just above our top ten best sellers, so please excuse me whilst I take a deep breath, because I am to reveal the team, but firstly let me explain how this is going to work. For the most part, our editorial will change on a monthly basis in line with the release of the newsletter, with a couple of exceptions, which I will indicate below. Let’s go:

James Duigan: James joins VH as our lifestyle expert and I have been continually pinching myself over the past few months because James has the reputation of being among the best personal trainers in the world and he is going to share all his secrets with us. He has been changing lives around the world with incredible success over the last ten years and has a unique ability to get people looking and feeling amazing. He is the founder of Bodyism, a centre of excellence that delivers cutting edge protocols to help achieve long, lean, athletic bodies for all of his clients and with a bi-monthly column, there is hope for all of us to achieve the same.

James has been trying to get me into the gym for absolutely ages, but I haven’t quite made it yet for two key reasons. The first is because I have never owned a pair of trainers (I’m quite proud of that) and the second thing is that I’m petrified he will train me alongside Elle Macpherson and I might just have to kill myself before that happens. James trains Elle and she says ‘I go to Bodyism when I want to get my body into peak condition. I’ve been working with James for 10 years now and wouldn’t trust anyone else. There is simply no-one better in the world’. In his first column James writes all about how stress can make you fat, which clearly doesn’t apply to Ms Macpherson. Ahem!
James Duigan

Shabir: You are not seeing things, I promise! Shabir is writing a column. At this point I’m not sure whether this will be on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, I suppose it depends which way the wind blows, but in his inaugural appearance, he is writing all about Bergamonte, which he loves with a passion and he also gives five of his best tips for hay fever. Go Shabir!

Sarah Stacey’s Health Notes: As featured in YOU magazine, Sarah’s Health Notes are replicated on our site each week with the kind permission of The Mail on Sunday, YOU magazine. Always informative and fascinating, you will also find the Health Notes archive here just in case you missed something or you need to look something up.
Health Notes

Beauty Bible: Sarah and Jo have been long-time contributors to our site, but this is a brand spanking new column, as each month the girls will be writing about the life and times of Beauty Bible. So for their first column, we start right at the beginning; how they met, the dawning of Beauty Bible and the birth of a legend. They also reveal why they do what they do. All rather fascinating.
Beauty Bible

Kate Shapland: Kate has also been a long-time contributor to our site. She is the Beauty Editor of The Telegraph Magazine and she has a ‘leg’ passion. Kate’s extensive research in her specialist subject has taken her all over the world and with decades of knowledge at her fingertips, she is a leading expert on all things legs. We follow Kate on her journey and we start on the Island of Capri at the world-famous ‘Leg School’ in the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa.
Kate Shapland

Jo Fairley: This is Jo’s new stand-alone monthly column where she reveals all her secret beauty tips with us. The author of too many books for me to mention here, Jo founded Green & Black’s with her husband Craig Sams, is totally bonkers about beauty, laughs at my emails and was one-time Beauty Editor of YOU magazine. Aside from that, she owns a bakery, Judges in Hastings and a wellbeing clinic, The Wellington Centre, also in Hastings. This month Jo becomes a scrubber and don’t I just love her for that!
Jo Fairley

Health Stars with Shelley von Strunckel: This month Shelley writes all about Mercury going retrograde, which happens on 30th March, so if you are reading this on the day of release, that means tomorrow! Additionally Shelley writes the monthly health stars for each sign of the zodiac and of course we have now entered the first sign of the zodiac, Aries. Hurray. Happy birthday to me!
Shelley von Strunckel

News and Feedback

I wrote in the opening paragraph, that this was going to be one of ‘those’ newsletters and actually I feel like I am about to write the final chapter of a book because it’s so long. So if you are still with me (please don’t let me be writing into the ether!) we are on the final section and I am going to start with the second half of the Yes To Cucumbers launch:

Yes to Cucumbers Color Care Shampoo: I promise you that I know how to spell ‘colour’ but in America they spell it differently, so I just needed to say that. Right, I know how difficult it is to find a good shampoo for colour treated hair, but I think we just may have the answer to all your prayers. Formulated with Centaurea Extract, a botanical extract from the Centaurea flower, Organic Cucumbers and Aloe Vera, this shampoo will help nourish, refresh and hydrate colour treated hair and will also help make it shine. Good!
Color Care Shampoo £8.99 for 500 ml

Yes to Cucumbers Color Care Conditioner: The conditioner has all the same ingredients as the shampoo, but with an added dose of Green Tea for protection and shine. I think you are also going to get rather addicted to the smell too!
Color Care Conditioner £8.99 for 500 ml

Yes to Cucumbers Calming Shower Gel: Get your morning zen with this gentle cleansing and calming shower gel. Loaded with Green Tea, Dead Sea water, Olive Fruit Oil, Aloe Vera and Sweet Almond Oil, this shower gel with give your skin an extra moisture boost and if you prefer to have a bath, then a great big dollop in the bath at night will send you into cucumber heaven.
Calming Shower Gel £8.99 for 500 ml

The response to the March newsletter was so incredibly amazing, that I feel like replicating the entire newsletter right here, but enough is enough and so I am just going to run through the highlights and refer you back where appropriate. So here we go, with added comments from me and a few other things thrown in too:

Skin Restoring Ceramides: Instantly catapulted into our top ten best selling products, I’m not surprised because alongside HA, this is my new best friend and I do not intend to live without this little miracle worker either. Particularly beneficial in restoring hydration in dry, flaky, itchy skin, read what I wrote here and I invite you to join me on my wonderful skin journey.
Skin Restoring Ceramides with Lipowheat by Life Extension £25 for 30 Liquid Capsules

Lanolips LemonAid Lip Aid: Now officially and exclusively launched in the UK, thank you for all of your emails telling me how much you love this. It tastes delicious and I just know this is going to be a summer-must-have-product because it kind of kills cold sores.
LemonAid Lip Aid £8.99

Nail Magic: Another product straight into the top ten best selling products. I knew that it would be popular, but I didn’t get just how wanted it would be. The girls in the office are all using it and waxing lyrical about its brilliance. In fact it’s virtually all they talk about. I love it even more because it was recommended by a VH Addict, so read what she said here and just know from me that we can barely keep this on our shelves because it is literally flying out the door.
Nail Magic £9.95

Complete Fiber Cleanse: After I wrote about this product, click here to read, we received a lot of emails and phone calls asking what I meant by ‘one course of Complete Fiber Cleanse’. I think I was having a dim moment (it happens all the time), I meant one pot of Complete Fiber Cleanse. Sorry!
Complete Fiber Cleanse £17.95

Lash Extender: Not sure that I have any words left. How on earth does a 30 year old product remain in our top ten for weeks on end. Suppose it’s because it’s fabulous and we all love long, full lashes.
Lash Extender £24.50

Konjac Sponges: If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that alongside all her other business interests, Jo Fairley owned a Konjac sponge factory. I know she loves them, but I can’t stop her writing about them. Actually, why would I want to. In the current edition of Beauty Bible, she is at it again on the ‘We Love’ page. I’ll just ignore the fact that she wrote I was off my trolley. Takes one to know one sweetheart!
Konjac Sponges £12

Fire Angel: A few weeks ago Sarah Stacey wrote a powerful lead article in Health Notes about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. The response from her readers was pretty overwhelming, so if you missed it, please can you read what she wrote here and if you don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home, please consider installing one.
Fire Angel Alarm £24.99

Mega-Probiotic ND: I have often written about the necessity of taking a good probiotic and we think this is currently the best probiotic on the market. Whilst I was on my antibiotic stint, I was taking three a day and I am convinced they played a major role in lessening the recovery period when I came off the hateful drugs. We have limited stock of the value sized pack, which contains 120 Capsules, so if you take this supplement on a regular basis, then you could save £7, but when they are gone, they are gone!
Mega-Probiotic ND £18.50 for 60 Capsules; Mega-Probiotic ND Value Pack £30 for 120 Capsules

With daffodils sitting on my desk, we come to the end of the April newsletter. I promise you that I’ll keep it shorter for May, but in the meantime I thank each of you for reading this and for continually supporting us. Your loyalty is amazing, so with a very special thank you to all ‘my girls’ who made sure that nothing slipped when I went ‘awol’ and an extra special thank you to Andrew and Kahrina for helping Shabir and I realise our vision, I send you love and hope you have a wonderful April.

Gill x