Weekend Read 11 December 2021

Weekend Read 11 December 2021

Look what we are doing today, the VH Awards.  I love writing and creating these, purely and simply because they more or less tell the story of this year and they recognise the brands, products and people that are so often ignored by others.  And by others I am of course talking about the money-spinning awards that dominate the health and beauty industry.  So although I very easily could, I don’t really want to have an entire rant on that subject because I’ve written many words in the past about the duping of consumers with paid-for awards, so let’s leave it there for the moment as we champion some authentically true heroes.

Before we begin, a few things to say.  And it needs to be said that we will never list brands and products just for the sake of it.  The criteria has always been that the products we endorse and recommend have to make a positive difference, otherwise they just don’t make it onto our site.  Of course not every product will work for everybody, but our overriding mission is to ensure, as far as we can, that in each category of health, beauty and wellbeing, we have chosen best-in-class products as we remain unbiased about the products we list, but at the point of listing we do become biased based upon the research, development and efficacy of these products.

So just to be absolutely clear, these awards have been chosen by me and Shabir, with no outside influence whatsoever.  Well actually there couldn’t be because I don’t announce these awards anywhere, they just appear as and when I feel like it.  Which, quite honestly, is the way it has always been and I like it that way.  And I like it this way because at the end of the day, or night, these awards are essentially based upon your feedback and statistics, with a few sprinkles from me thrown in here and there.  So, here we go as I invite you to join me for the annual VH Awards from the comfort of your own bed.  Which is where, I guess, most of you will be reading this.  Let’s do it:

Bestselling Supplement of the Year Award

I am almost embarrassed to write this because I detest self-congratulatory events, yet all three contenders are our own products and with Ionicell just about to go under VH branding, the other two contenders are of course Hyaluronic Acid Capsules High Strength and Fulvic Acid Elixir.  I take all three of these supplements, so as I ran the stats, I thought it would be HA, but I was wrong.  With no real discernible difference between all three of them, Fulvic Acid Elixir just edged it.  So the bestselling supplement of the year is Fulvic Acid Elixir and in recognition of its status, with every bottle of Fulvic Acid Elixir bought across the weekend, we will include the 240 ml size, which is worth £15.
Fulvic Acid Elixir 480 ml + Fulvic Acid Elixir 240 ml £30 (Offer ends at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December or whilst stock lasts)

Bestselling Beauty Product of the Year Award

Compounding my embarrassment even further, the bestselling beauty product of the year is another one of our own products, which was formulated by Shabir.  It is of course Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid by Garden of Wisdom.  It was knocked off its perch last year by C-Deep Vitamin C Serum, but it is back again, despite going through a whole big packaging trauma, which we eventually managed to overcome.  Such a difficult year for certain products but, in the here and now, it is in stock and with that said I am taking the price of Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid down from £10 to £8.  Also across the weekend.
Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid by Garden of Wisdom for VH £8 for 30 ml (Offer ends at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December or whilst stock lasts)

The Pioneering Brand of the Year Award

With two new products launching early in the New Year, the award for Pioneering Brand of the Year goes to Non Gender Specific (NGS).  Founded in 2018 by Andrew Glass, NGS is a small brand trying to make big changes within the beauty space.  Their goals are simple, as they want to create safe environmentally conscious products for all humans that are multi-correctional, drastically decreasing the amount of products needed to get noticeable results.  The mission of NGS is to source the world’s finest ingredients with the most active properties, in the belief that these will make a difference to our skin.  And I believe they have succeeded rather magnificently, so does my skin.

Our curation of skincare brands is very tight, it always has been, mostly because I have never felt the need to list hundreds of different skincare brands and products, which so often leads to disappointment and confusion.  In my personal opinion, it would actually undermine the loyalty and trust that we hold for the brands that we choose to support, which I’m sure you can understand.  With that said, I could actually do a double award here because Everything Cleanser from NGS deserves so many accolades and if I had to choose my favourite new cleanser of the year, it would be this.  So NGS,  Pioneering Brand and Best Cleanser awards are bequeathed upon you and we’ll celebrate with a price drop, as below.
Everything Cleanser by NGS £20 for 237 ml (drops from £25); Everything Serum by NGS £42 for 50 ml (drops from £49); Everything Mask by NGS £28 for 50 grams (drops from £34); (Offers end at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December or whilst stock lasts)

The First Treat

The Weekend Read would not be the Weekend Read if I didn’t throw in a few treats, which are obviously outside of the awards.  So here is the first one and it’s a Christmas cracker from Margaret Dabbs.  It is actually called Fabulous BonBon and it contains Margaret’s Repairing Nail & Cuticle Treatment Pen, which helps hydrate and protect weak, dry and brittle nails.  I’ll leave you to decide whether you want to gift these crackers, lay your table with them, or use them as stocking fillers, but whichever you choose, I am taking the price of this cracker down from £12 to £5.  No time limit on this offer.  It will end when it ends at which point they will no longer be available.  Amen.
Fabulous BonBon by Margaret Dabbs London £5

The Newest Product of the Year Award

Please can we have a big round of applause for this innovative new product, because we think it is rather fabulous.  It is a water bottle, with a twist, and being twice winner of the European Product Design Award, we have now given it a third award.  So let me introduce you to the YOS Bottle, which stands for Your Organized Supplements.  Holding 375 ml of water, this is a water bottle with a tablet box, which makes life a whole lot easier because you can load the pill holder with the supplements and medication you need for the day.  In other words, click and go because the pill holder on the water bottle comes off via a magnet so you can fill with ease.

There are four separate compartments on the pill holder and the bottle is pretty robust.  It is made from high-quality, recyclable material and is BPA and phthalate free.  Additionally it is dishwasher safe and you can of course use it at home too, which means you are less likely to forget about taking your medication.  Well that’s the idea.  I have another idea, which is a bit naughty, but who cares because I’m thinking of loading mine with orange Smarties, alongside my supplements, because that would make me happy and orange Smarties are the best, in my humble opinion.  Anyway, back to it and the YOS Bottle comes in two colours, pink and green.  I’ve got green.
YOS Bottle Pink £13.95; YOS Bottle Green £13.95

The Health Brand of the Year Award

Shabir and I didn’t have to think too long about this one, and in fact the decision took about five seconds, if that.  So please allow me to announce that the Health Brand of the Year Award goes to Viridian Nutrition.  Founded by Cheryl Thallon, her ethics and values are in line with our own and that really matters.  All too often brands forget where they have come from and as their success increases, the moral stance they built their brand upon goes flying out of the window as their once perceived values are replaced with crass marketing initiatives, which quite frankly I will not support.

It has been a particularly difficult year for Viridian, because in line with so many other businesses, they have been struggling hugely with raw ingredient issues, but they have come through by upholding their founding principles of purity, environment and charitable contribution.  Cheryl is the girl who told me about three or four years ago that she refused to enter the CBD arena.  And that speaks volumes about who and what she is.  For that alone I would give her an award, but actually Viridian win because they are consistent in their far-reaching research and development of cutting-edge supplementation.  And we love Cherry Night.  An award of ongoing excellence.  So deserved.
Viridian Nutrition; Cherry Night by Viridian Nutrition £24 for 150 grams (drops from £27.75) (Offer ends at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December or whilst stock lasts)

The Beauty Brand of the Year Award

Notwithstanding the fact that I have given NGS The Pioneering Brand of the Year Award, as above, this is a completely separate award where we recognise a skincare brand that has consistently demonstrated their expertise in delivering outstanding formulations.  That brand is of course Derma E.  All I really want to say here is that I believe that Derma E can more than hold their own in the fiercely contested skincare category.  And I have thought that for over twenty years.  Actually, over twenty years ago one of their products, which has now been slightly reformulated, was featured in The Sunday Times as being the product that would scare the big boys. 

See, see, I never forget these things, but that was then and this is now.  And just so you know that product was Astaxanthin & Pycnogenol Night Cream, which has since had a name change to Anti-Aging Regenerative Night Cream.  There are of course many Derma E stories, but the story this year is that two of their products have particularly excelled for so many reasons, not least their efficacy.  They are of course Crepey Skin Repair Treatment and Vitamin C Bright Eyes Hydro Gel Patch.  So as the brilliance of Derma E continues, I am doing price drops on the latter two products in order to celebrate the importance of powerful niche brands.  Let’s embrace, with no time limit on these offers, unless we run out of stock.
Crepey Skin Repair Treatment by Derma E £16 for 180 grams (drops from £20); Vitamin C Bright Eyes Hydro Gel Patches by Derma E £16 for 60 Gel Patches (drops from £20); Anti-Aging Regenerative Night Cream by Derma E £33 for 56 grams

The Second Treat

In truth, there is an award lurking in this second treat, but without wishing to complicate matters, let me just tell you that not only am I dropping the price of Beat The Blues Room Spray from £29 to £25, but I am including a gift with this treat.  And that gift is a sachet of the rather magnificent Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak (40 grams).  This bath soak has strong sedative properties to help calm a racing mind, which can only be a good thing in these strange times.  And the lurking award, well Beat The Blues would win The Best Room Spray of the Year Award if there was such a thing.  Except there isn’t.  So let’s move on.
Beat The Blues Room Spray 50 ml + Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath 40 grams by Ilapothecary £25 (Limited Edition Offer)

The Beauty Tool of the Year Award

Well, this one is easy.  The award does of course go to the brilliantly innovative Heated Eye Wand.  Spectacular in its efficacy, this at-home treatment was created to help soothe and hydrate dry, tired eyes and at the press of a button, a clever LED light works hard to help promote collagen and elastin to help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.  Being a health-led product, the feedback about its ability to help combat Dry Eye Syndrome was phenomenal, but those were the days before we put reviews on our site, so unfortunately I can’t share them.  What I can share is the fact that for one day only, today, I will drop the price of the Heated Eye Wand from £60 to £50.  So that’s a wrap.  And a gift.  Perhaps.
Heated Eye Wand by Peep Club £50 (Offer ends at midnight GMT tonight, Saturday 11 December)

The Best Serum of the Year Award

There are two contenders for this award, with absolutely nothing coming between them.  The first is Everything Serum by NGS, but as Everything Serum comes under the umbrella of NGS winning The Pioneering Brand of the Year Award, I will bequeath this award upon Neurophroline Serum.  In a year when stress has dominated so many of our lives, Neurophroline continues to excel in its ability to take the stress out of our skin.  And because that’s no small thing, it wins this award for its continued relevance, even though we launched this serum three or four years ago.  I’ll do a price drop in a minute, but a few more things to say.

And what I want to say is that I am not doing a separate award for the bestselling stress supplement, because it is of course Magnolia Rhodiola Complex.  The ongoing loyalty and support for both of these products really is quite something, as they strive to help make a difference to so many of you. And in support of your support, I am taking the price down of Neurophroline Serum from £18 to £15 and Magnolia Rhodiola Complex drops from £28 to £23.
Neurophroline Serum by Garden of Wisdom for VH £15 for 30 ml; Magnolia Rhodiola Complex £23 for 60 Capsules (Offers end at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December or whilst stock lasts)

The Sharing of the Year Award

This is not a product, this is a person, and although there are going to be a couple of product mentions, it is completely relevant to do this for reasons that will become obvious.  So with a bit of a tra-la-la, this award goes to Ross J. Barr.  I think it is an established fact that I adore Ross, a fact that his wife, Eva Birthistle, knows and understands, mostly because she reads everything I write about him.  And there is a lot to write about Ross, not least his warmth, compassion and understanding.  To say that I am incredibly honoured to work so closely alongside him in launching his innovative range of products, is an under-statement.  I feel blessed.

But with all of that said, it is the sharing of his profound knowledge about the connection between our emotions and our organs which is the thing I really want to talk about here.  With our emotions running high, Ross guided each of us by explaining that from a TCM perspective, the liver aligns with depression, resentment, frustration, misplaced anger and injustice.  I don’t really want to make this about a product, but as a result of his teaching, we understood that Milk Thistle could help balance these emotions.  And with the world completely out of balance, I give my personal love and thanks to Ross for all that he is and all that he does for all of us.  He is my hero.
Milk Thistle Complex by HealthAid £11 for 60 Tablets (drops from £12.99); Healing Patches by Ross J. Barr £12 for Five Patches (drops from £15); Calm Patches by Ross J. Barr £12 for Ten Patches (drops from £15) (Offers end at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December)

The Hero Product of the Year Award

Well, that led neatly into this award, the Hero Product of the Year Award.  And in full transparency I am at a loss as to what to do here.  We have launched some exceptionally heroic products this year and these would include Runway Ready Foot Treatment, Bare Biology’s Rise & Shine Omega-3 Plus Vitamin D3 and of course the 2021-2022 version of Triple Flu Defense+, which stuns with its continued efficacy in helping to combat infective viruses, with my usual caveat included in that I am not referring to COVID here.

And yet, no matter what, Fulvic Acid Nail Cream continues its heroic journey because it remains our most-talked about product. It not only reincarnates nails, but it deals with fungal infections, skin tags, warts and any number of other things, which so many of you share with us.  So for balance, I think I really do have to give this award to Fulvic Acid Nail Cream, but by way of recognition I will do price drops on all the products mentioned.  With a very special mention to Melanie Lawson, founder of Bare Biology, for her tenacity in an extraordinarily difficult industry.  She is an inspiration.  As are her cutting-edge products.
Fulvic Acid Nail Cream £9 for 30 ml (drops from £12); Runway Ready Foot Treatment by Dermalect Cosmeceuticals £17 for 103 ml (drops from £20); Rise & Shine Omega-3 Plus Vitamin D3 by Bare Biology £26 for 60 Capsules (drops from £29.50); Triple Flu Defense+ (2021-2022) by Dr Nenninger £24 for 30 ml (drops from £27) (Offers end at midnight GMT Sunday 12 December or whilst stock lasts)

The Third Treat (Incorporating The Gratitude of the Year Award)

It is nearly five years since we launched Spacemasks.  That was 2017 and together with Harriet Inglis, the Founder of Spacemasks, we rocked that launch and watched as Spacemasks went stratospheric.  The thing is that you never know what will happen when you launch a brand, but you can only hope that you, and the brand, will be understood, and trust me this doesn’t always happen.  We have launched some of the biggest brands in the world, but in many instances these have been taken away from us with acts of plagiarism, bribery, blackmail and greed, the likes of which would make your eyes water.  But that’s for another time.

What matters here is that Harriet has stood by my side throughout.  She is a rare breed in this industry, in that she has never forgotten the early days, something I referred to above.  I think you all know that I can be over-emotional at times, and this is one of those times.  I am not sure if Harriet knows the depth of my gratitude (she will in a minute) not only because she allowed me to launch Spacemasks, but because of her unwavering love and support throughout.  In so many ways, it is not only about the products, it is about trust, integrity, love, support and acknowledgement. 

I think I may have had a bit of a soapbox moment there, but never mind that, I hereby invite Harriet to stand on my soapbox with me as I plonk a tiara on her head and announce that she wins The Gratitude of the Year Award.  And to celebrate Harriet and Spacemasks, I am doing that Spacemasks treat again.  You know the one.  It’s all about buying a box of Spacemasks and getting a free single Spacemask, whilst stock lasts.  And in so doing, perhaps we should dedicate a specific evening when we all put on a Spacemask and take ourselves out of all and everything around us.  I’m thinking New Year’s Eve.  Actually.
Spacemasks £15 for Five Spacemasks + One Free Spacemask (whilst stock lasts)

The Saturday Only Treat

Here we go, into the Saturday only treat and this week with every order placed for £30 or above, excluding p&p, we will gift you with a YourZooki trial pack*.  I honestly can’t tell you which pack you will receive because these gifts are computer generated, so it could be Vitamin D Zooki, or it could be Collagen Zooki.  And if both of these gifts go before midnight, then we will of course send you a different gift, but once again, I really don’t know what this will be.  Life works in mysterious ways.  As do our gifts.

The End Bit

As most of you will have realised, the image used today is of the magical Ever After Garden in London’s Grosvenor Square, which I wrote about last week.  So, if I may a few more words as our dedicated bed of roses continue to shine like the brightest star in the sky.  To each and every one of you who sent such touching words, I thank you, and for those who made their own personal dedication, I know that the sharing will help bring the warmth and comfort, which is so needed at this time of worry and isolation. 

And because I am big on acknowledgement, I invite you to join me in acknowledging Camilla Morton (she is one of us) and Anya Hindmarch for creating the Ever After Garden, which was inspired by the loss of a mutual close friend.  And a message to each of you from Camilla: ‘The true beauty of the Ever After Garden is that it is lit with love.  This garden is for everyone; we didn’t want somewhere sad or intimidating, but somewhere which is as beautiful as the love and friendship that will always remain in each of our hearts’.
The Ever After Garden

There is nowhere left for me to go this week, other than to say that we must continue to hold onto each other whatever life throws at us.  And it seems to be throwing an awful lot at the moment.  But there is one thing that I do know and that is that together we will continue to try to seek the resilience and strength of our collective love and friendship to overcome adversity as best we can.

I think it’s pretty obvious where I’m going with the Saturday song.  It is of course Bed Of Roses, and all I really want to say here is that it’s not so tragic to sit and gaze at Jon Bon Jovi for six minutes early on a Saturday morning.  Leaving it there.  My children, Nicholas and Lara, read this.  Your mother loves you.
Bed Of Roses by Bon Jovi; The VH Playlist

With my love and thanks for your ongoing loyalty and support.

Gill x


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*Free gifts will only be granted if the items purchased are physical products and your total basket value exceeds the required amount noted.  Saturday only treats are subject to change should the specified gift run out prior to your purchase and are only included in orders placed between 7.45am (GMT) and Midnight (GMT) on the Saturday the Weekend Read is sent.  VH Addicts membership is a digital product and therefore will be excluded from the basket value.  Some gifts are blocked from international shipping due to local limitations imposed based on the country destination.  If this is the case, we will replace the gift with one that is able to be shipped to your destination.