Thursday, 18 December 2014

Nordic Beauty Style - Emma Coleman

I first became fascinated by the countries which dare to edge into the base of the Arctic Circle as a little girl when I went on a mini cruise to Denmark, Sweden and Norway with my family one Christmas. It was bitterly cold, the snow was thick and we were fed on a bottomless Smorgasbord of new and exciting foods for my young taste buds, including smoked herring, delicious Vörtbröd (malted bread), and Gravlax. I realised then that these countries had a tradition of using the natural produce which surrounds them in their diet, (hence their flawless skin - you cannot beat a good fish oil!!)

When I returned just over a year ago, it was on a slightly different mission; I was planning to research the botanical side of things in Norway and Finland; the types of plants, trees and flowers which grow wild across these landscapes, and if, as with their diet, the locals use these natural resources as part of their beauty regimes.

My sauna in Finland
Finland is the most densely forested country in Europe - first stop: Helsinki, October. It was dark, as if a black blanket had been thrown over the hills, and so very cold that the end of my nose went red and stayed that way for two whole days. I immediately understood when the cab driver explained the important role sauna plays in Finnish culture as a way of warming up, but what I also learned during my stay is that sauna is very much a social event, a place to relax and connect with friends and family. Finnish business meetings often end with a debrief inside a deep heat sauna. The scents used inside these little log cabins are generally tar-based, emitting an intensely warming, smokey, slightly masculine scent. The tar is derived from roots and wood of pine and spruce trees - which are everywhere exuding their fresh scent -  is thought to have anti-bacterial properties and was once used in sauna construction to make the logs more airtight and so is deep-rooted in Finnish history. One family I met explained how tar-based products are everywhere; they personally use only tar soap, and even eat tar ice cream. Personally, I grew to love this grounding scent and will always associate it with this time in my life. As the Finnish say: 'If booze, tar or the sauna won't help, the illness is fatal."

The beautiful Fjord beach at
Lakselv, Norway
Next stop: Lakselv, Norway, a beautiful village with a Fjord beach, supplying me with a wide variety of wildlife to observe. The first thing I noticed was how the outdoors life is embraced, and most people I met were either regular skiers or had a boat of some kind. 

Alf and Marianne
I was lucky enough on be taken under the wing of a local couple, Alf and Marianne, who included me in a trip on their little tug boat around the beautiful Fjord, where I saw fishermen hoping for one of the native gigantic crabs for their kveldsmat (supper). Marianne explained how the export of the naturally organic Kelp found on these shores creates big business for the village, known for its stabilising effects on the endocrine system and as a soother of muscle and joint pain when added to baths. They also prepared me a wonderful meal which included jam made from juniper berries and cranberries. A wide variety of Norwegian berries are found throughout the seasons of the year - whilst I was there, Arctic blueberries and Norwegian Raspberries were still in the hedges. The owner of the little guest house overlooking the lake where I stayed, told me that her mother used to crush the berries and put them directly onto her skin like a mask because of the naturally high Vitamin E and C content.

Common Norwegian Berries: Cow, Cloud,
Blue, Rasp, Juniper and Cranberries

I came away from my little tour with more inspiration and knowledge than I could 
 ever have hoped for, leading to the launch of Inner-Soul Organics' Nordic Range, including Scandinavian Decadence Bath and Body Salt Scrub, Shower Serum and Nordic Berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve. I was determined to pack these products with as many of the native ingredients as possible to make them nourishing and results-driven for skin and was lucky enough to find an England-based organic supplier who could get me everything I needed.

Today, Arctic Oat, Norwegian Kelp, Thistle, Juniper Berry and Birch - which has a woody scent, not dissimilar to tar - are all found in the Scandinavian Bath and Body Scrub as well as the Scandinavian Shower Serum, to soften, quench skin with Vitamins A,C,E and Omegas 3 and 6 whilst sealing moisture in.

Inner-Soul Organics' Bath and Body Salt Scrub contains
Arctic Oat, Norwegian Kelp and Juniper Berry

Those Norwegian Blueberries, Raspberries and Arctic Cranberries can be found in 20% volume in the new Nordic berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve, a rich, luxurious cream designed to deliver nourishment, hydration and softness to last. This has a heartwarming scent, with high notes of Pine and High Altitude Lavender, and grounding Nerol
91% Organic Inner-Soul Organics' Limited Edition
Nordic Berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve available until January 1st
Why not take a peek and let me know what you think! Emma xx

Inner-Soul Organics are official supporters of Katie Piper Foundation and the Burgess Autistic Trust

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

"What I do doesn't feel like work" - Sonia White, director of Amarya and

Sonia White - a true woman to inspire
What's it like being a natural beauty retail pioneer? 
Inner-Soul Organics founder Emma recently met Sonia White, director of Amarya and to find out more.

In a marketplace which can sometimes be confusing, Sonia has made shopping for truly natural beauty products an easy and simple task through her online and high street stores. Read on to find out about Sonia's motivations, passions and what a typical day is like for this inspiring lady.

Connect @Love_Lula and for news 

Emma: Amarya was founded in 2008 and this eventually led you to take over the helm at in 2013 - was there anything in particular which led you down this path?

Sonia: My son was born with severe eczema and not wanting to put prescribed steroids onto his skin I went in search of a more natural alternative. It quickly became clear that the term ‘natural’ was being widely mis-used; finding a source of truly natural and organic products was a real struggle – so I set to establish my own. I had already run a company selling beauty products online but Nicholas was the impetus to change.
I launched my retail business Amarya Ltd in 2008 selling natural products from our high street store in Cheshire. Then last year I acquired and re-launched the two businesses as one.
LoveLula was already an established natural beauty website but I invested a huge amount of time re-branding and re-structuring it to make it bigger and better. I simply wanted shopping for natural products to be a positive and easy experience and seeing how we have grown has been testament that we are doing something right! seeks out the finest natural and organic beauty brands
AND offers free worldwide shipping

 Emma: In a competitive marketplace how has LoveLula succeeded and what activities do you plan which sets you apart from other online retailers?
Sonia: I hope that what makes us work is that no matter how much we grow we still provide the same personal service as when we had our shop. We are a small, passionate team who care about the choices our customers make. We are always available to answer questions and have trained beauty therapists on live chat. We encourage honest feedback and like to keep customers up to date with the natural world through our blog. Our loyalty scheme, free worldwide deliveries and free-phone service are all part of this ethos.

Emma: Describe a typical work day in the life of Sonia White
Sonia: Nicholas is now in school and I am fortunate in that my husband has joined me in the business so we can alternate when it comes to childcare. From the outside I might appear to be a work-aholic but to me it’s not work! Weekdays, weekends and evenings are all equal – but that’s what happens when you have a passion for what you do. also offers a monthly Beauty Box subscription
oozing with natural goodies to try

Emma: What aspect do you most love about your work?
Sonia: What I do doesn’t feel like work – it is my passion and an integral part of my life now. I never have the Monday morning blues or feel I have to struggle through a working day. It has enormous up-sides because I genuinely love the products we sell and I am continually surprised and delighted by new brands and product developments. Meeting the people behind the brands and hearing their individual stories and sharing their passions is a great source of inspiration. It’s also hugely rewarding to be in touch with customers on a daily basis and feel that we are helping them in making informed choices.

Emma: What piece of advice would you give someone about the daily running of a business?
Sonia: Running your own business is nothing like working 9-5. The pressure is relentless and there is really no let-up. But then the rewards are proportionately great so don’t give up. I am fortunate now, after 5 years of solid work, to have a great team around me and feel for the first time that I can take a day – or even a week – off! The key is to be organised as multi-tasking is a prerequisite.

The team includes
qualified beauty therapists available on live chat

Emma: What's next for 
Sonia: We recently launched a Boutique section of our website, where small and growing brands can bring their products to market. This has hugely increased the range of products and choice available to customers and is a positive step in encouraging and supporting the natural and organic community.
The next step is to launch a men’s version of LoveLula – not quite so pink! And also we are in the final stages of developing our own natural brand – so watch this space.

Emma: If you could arrange to meet anyone you chose who would it be and why?
Sonia: Absolutely anyone who has been successful in their field, regardless of industry, income or power, as everyone has their story.

Emma: Which people have most inspired you in your life?
Sonia: My own family – for always thinking big and giving me their unending support.

Emma: What is your favourite way to relax?
Sonia: Playing Minecraft with my son.

Sonia loves spending quality time with her son to relax
and is able to navigate her way around Minecraft too! 

Emma: What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self?

Sonia: Enjoy the freedom!

For more Women to Inspire and natural beauty tips follow @EmmaInnersoul

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Women to Inspire - Meet Fiona Klonarides, founder of

"Trust in life, it'll be grand"
Fiona Klonarides

         Each month we touch base with a special lady forging a pathway to make a difference in our world today. For April we chatted with award-winning beauty journalist and Green Queen, Fiona Klonarides, founder of unparalleled information hive 

         As well as running the site's prestigious annual skincare and beauty awards, Fiona knows a thing (or ten), about beauty and PR. Here she shares her inspirations, philosophies and loves:

ISO: We love that offers a refreshing hit of information on leading and niche beauty brands and all that is new beauty-wise, in an unbiased and honest way - tell us more about what inspired you to set up this unique site and how it all works?

FK: I started The Beauty Shortlist as a “consumer-centric handpicked beauty edit” to highlight some of the products I’d come across as a beauty journalist – many of them by new brands - which I thought really deserved a shout out and which I felt people would love to discover…and it all developed from there, essentially. Since then it has become a well known “launch pad” for baby brands, which is one of the aspects of running the site which I personally love most

ISO: What are the top 3 main philosophies behind your site?

FK: Ethical. Organic (as in how it’s grown). Honest

ISO: What has been a professional highlight for you since you started the site in 2009?

FK: Being shortlisted for last year’s inaugural Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards and getting voted into the Top 10, in this year’s Who’s Who, Natural Beauty Yearbook.  But also on a personal level, meeting Kate Shapland, a beauty editor I respect enormously – and Jo Malone, whose Jo Loves brand I’ve watched grow and absolutely adore

Fiona was named in the Top 10 for 2013 in this
place-to-be for the natural beauty industry

ISO: Explain a little about the annual Beauty Shortlist Awards and how they came about

FK: In 2011, I was looking back at some of the real highlights among the products and brands we’d featured, and I kept thinking “seriously, some of these products deserve an award”.  So we launched the Awards in 2012.

Next March, the 2015 Awards will be our fourth. They’re exhilarating and exhausting, pretty much in equal measure and they just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  The awards give me a really in depth eagle eye view of the current beauty market thanks to the enormous span of products that come in, which is very useful for me as a consultant, as a brand developer. This year for the first time I’m also working with a handful of really special brands to get them into retail

ISO:Did you always have an interest, for all things beauty and nature?

FK: Nature – a deserted beach, a long walk in the woods – is my sanctuary and I remember my Greek granny used to give my sister and I a Lancome gift set every Christmas. We live in a more difficult, complex world than a generation or two ago, and beauty and nature are soul soothers

Fiona harks back to nature for peace and inspiration

ISO: What piece of advice would you give someone considering setting up their own blog – for instance, how to get inspiration and keep it fresh?

FK: Let your voice shine through and never say something is good just because someone offers to pay you for that because your credibility will hurtle downhill.  I have turned away thousands of pounds because of that.  If something isn’t brilliant it just will not get mentioned on the blog and perhaps that’s why The Beauty Shortlist has grown pretty quickly as a credible beauty influencer. I think “fake reviews” are quite easy to spot – and I find them pointless; they undermine the work of other bloggers.

Keep it fresh, feature what you love and be honest – I like reading reviews that highlight the flaws of a product because that’s useful to know.  Find an angle, find your USP. I’m not sure there’s one secret to success? Blogging is ridiculously time consuming! 

 ISO: Tell us about your latest news for

FK: There’s something in the pipeline but it’s too early to mention anything yet! Other than that, we’re keeping it a mix of green, glam and growing organically – we’re very “indie” at heart and I’m pretty sure we’ll stay that way

ISO:If you had the power to change one key thing about the world, what would it be?

FK: I wish everyone in the world would drink some sort of peace potion. We’re all living for the same thing – a roof over our heads, love, health, to feel loved and needed and perhaps make a difference. Yet there’s so much turmoil going on.  I don’t watch the news any longer and highly recommend not watching it! I’m very intuitive and absorb a lot, so I find it’s better to stay away from the bad news every night – it’s not a good thing to watch before bed.

ISOWhich people / person have most inspired you in your life?

FK: Without a doubt, all the women I know who are mothers.  They are amazing and they do the world’s most important job.  After that – on a totally different note - the American transcendentalists like Walden and Thoreau and their philosophies really strike a chord with  me.  And celebrities who are activists like Eva Longoria, Angelie Jolie and  George Clooney. If you have massive influence and use it positively and wisely, you have a ‘megaphone to the world’. You’re doing good things

Henry Thoreau, an American writer and philosopher,
is best known for his writings on simple living and nature

ISO: Which special things do you do for yourself to relax?

FK: Long dog walks – I love that feeling of being out in all sorts of weather (except rain!) and getting home for a cup of tea or glass of wine. 
Some of the best times of my life were when I worked in the music industry – the rehearsals, the small, secret gigs in a dive bar.  Making a Greek salad with crispy lemon and thyme mini pittas for an al fresco summer lunch. The really simple things can be the ultimate luxuries

ISO:What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self? 

I’d probably say: “Trust in life – it’ll be grand”.  Things have a way of turning out how they should, even if there’s heartache along the way. Life flows when you’re doing the right thing.  When you’re not, it gets “sticky”.  Be aware of your internal GPS, your gut, it will guide you

Everyone is different and the best path in life is the path that’s right for you, so don’t follow anyone else down their road…and don’t forget to blaze a trail of your own and help others along their way, too.

There’s a-l-w-a-y-s someone thinner, younger, richer, more successful in conventional terms, etc., etc. than you or me…so being thankful for what we have is important because chances are we’ve got a whole lot more than 80% of the world’s population.  Less “I want, I need”…more “thank you”.

One of the best beauty products I know is gratitude.  And at the end of the day, despite the lotions, potions and facials, real beauty is not age specific