Re-use, recycle and packaging hiccups

You need to be a bit creative, resourceful and crafty to re-use and recycle and still produce an aesthetically pleasing result, but it can be extremely rewarding to do so!
Sourcing cosmetic packaging, specially for soaps, can be quite a daunting and frustrating task for the small scale producer. It’s hard to find exactly what you want, in quantities you can afford and stock. Trying to be an environmentally friendly, green business just makes options even more restrictive.
In my quest to improve my soap ‘presentation’, and trying to be all green and eco-conscious, so I was quite delighted when I came up with this!

Upcycled castile soap packaging

Upcycled castile soap packaging

The purple tissue paper was the only thing I had bought.
The strip around the soap is recycled wall paper sample from a catalog which was tossed away (there are loads of décor shops in Chiswick, I keep an eye on their rubbish!).

Recycled wall paper sample catalog for packaging

Recycled wall paper sample catalog for packaging

The dried flowers are re-used from a bunch I got from friends who came to stay over New Year’s.

Re-used dried flowers

Re-used dried flowers

It was a bit of a stretch to my creativity (believe me, I usually suck on it!), but I’ve been reading a lot of craft websites and blogs where I got some inspiration from. I even joined Pinterest recently to get new ideas and help me with this packaging malarky. (If you want to check it out, this is the link to my packaging inspiration board, you’ll see I have a long way to go!)

For once, I’m really pleased with the result, and very happy to be reducing the amount of rubbish I put out every week.
And just to show you the organic castile facial bar soap inside…

Organic castile soap facial bar

Organic castile soap facial bar

And you, what do you think?



Filed under Castile soap, natural skin care, Packaging

Dates for your diary

Apologies for being off the radar! I’ve been really busy trying to catch up with the season upon us…

So this is a quick post just to tell you not to miss out on the sales and pampering events.

Pin these dates on your diaries now!

14 Nov, 6pm – The New Inn, 62 St. Mary’s Rd, W5 5EX – Ealing
Christmas gifts for sale, 15% off and no p&p!

16 & 17 Nov – Pampering days at Things British (Carnaby St). If you show up between 3-8pm on the 17th, you get a massive 20% discount on most (if not ALL) shop products.

19 Nov, 2:30-4:30pm – Making natural beauty products with I made it myself (Chiswick).

So you have no excuse to get to know Skin Bistro better… Come along and benefit from these offers and our outstanding handcrafted products.

See you around!

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Filed under Events, natural skin care

Making natural gorgeous perfume

I absolutely love perfume… But hate the sneezing fit, watering eyes and running nose that ensue after spraying a bottle of a fine synthetic fragrance onto my skin. I just can’t do strong smells, be it bleach or Channel no. 5!

So, I got really excited when I found out that Karen Gilbert was teaching a natural perfume course just ‘down the road’ from me. I had to take it!

Discovering scents

I have asthma and allergic rhinitis (all year long), my nose and my skin are quite sensitive and get irritated very easily – one of the reasons why I’ve turned to essential oils and aromatherapy, a more ‘natural’ way of keeping my skin healthy and glowing.

Don’t get me wrong, essential oils are very potent and they too may irritate my nose and throat! When I’m making products, I usually wear a mask just to avoid unnecessary exposure.

First impressions

So I dragged my poor foot along (yes, it’s still broken) and had a blasting day! The class was very structured and a lot of fun. Karen has a wealth of knowledge about perfumery and a vast experience in hands-on training, the perfect recipe for an outstanding practical workshop. The best part is that you make your own natural perfume!!!

We started with a bit of background but it wasn’t long until we started smelling strips and identifying the scents we liked to build our perfume from. All ingredients were natural, basically essential oils or absolutes diluted in perfumer’s alcohol base. It makes it a lot easier to work with.

We started with top notes, followed by middle and base. We ‘built’ each of these mixes separately first, and at the end, mixed them together to create the final fragrance.

Fine tuning

My creation included:
– top notes: grapefruit, green mandarin and black pepper;
– middle: litsea, wild rose and linden blossom;
– base: vanilla, patchouli, vetiver.
I’m totally in love with my natural perfume! It’s quite heady, dense, warm and involving, just perfect for winter time. It left its scent on the bag I used when I went to the course, and my notes are all fragranced too.

Final fragrance, the long-awaited prize!

Despite its obvious impregnating power, I didn’t sneeze, not even once. So guess what I will be getting my hands into more often?!


Filed under Bespoke skin care, Natural perfume, natural skin care

Breast cancer awareness month

It’s ‘Pink October’!

The Breast Cancer Campaign ‘was established in 1988 with the aim of researching the cure for breast cancer’, as stated on their website,

There are many ways to participate in the campaign and donate.

Bed of Pink Roses Home Spa Soak

This year, Skin Bistro is donating a prize, the Pink Bed of Roses Home Spa Soak (100g) to Nicoletta’s big charity event.

Please go to her website to find out why she’s taking such an active role in raising money for this campaign, and of course, also find out which fabulous prizes you can win if you donate too!

If you feel like helping even more, let everyone you know about it!!!

Thanks for supporting and sharing the pink love!


Filed under natural skin care

I’m at Things British in Carnaby Street!

Yay, my goodies are now on offer at Carnaby Street! This is where Things British first shop has opened.
I heard about Things British through UK Handmade, and thought it would be a great opportunity to ‘exhibit’ my products. They offer a new retail concept, where British designers rent shelf space to showcase their handmade goods.

What grabbed my interest was the fact that they would only be selling crafts by British makers. I’ve been avoiding retailing for a number of reasons, the main one being that I don’t really want to be selling my products where there’s only mass produced products without character or where retailers have little appreciation of or knowledge about my crafted skincare range.

So, I’m thrilled to have my products retailing at Things British. I think their idea and support are highly appreciated by fellow crafters like me. Having just recently expanded my skincare range, it will be an excellent opportunity for people to feel and smell my products before choosing what to buy.

Skin Bistro’s products are the first (and only so far) organic skincare range available at Things British. To celebrate this partnership, I’m planning a few tester and demonstration days at the shop. For more information on events dates, please check the events page on the website or subscribe to Skin Bistro’s newsletter:

Support British crafters by visiting Things British, located at Unit 1.11 Kingly Court, 49 Carnaby Street, W1B 5PW, Mondays to Saturdays between 10:30am and 7pm or Sundays between 12pm and 6pm.
Hope to see you there!

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Filed under Castile soap, natural skin care

Facial treats, bespoke skincare

These last few weeks have been frantic, lots of bespoke orders! As I’m off to Berlin tomorrow, this is a quick post just to show you my latest creations.

My clients trust me well… Often they ask me to put a gift box together for XX amount – and it’s up to me to come up with the contents!

Most of the ingredients I use are organic and fairtrade. I always chose the right oils for your skin type and season. Hydrolats (water by-product of essential oil distillation) are used rather than just water (‘aqua’). Essential oils are only added if needed, as we’re overloaded with fragrances and perfume far too much on a daily basis.

So, this time, here is what I made (two sets, 1x sensitive & dry skin, 1x oily skin):

Surprise, surprise

– Cream cleanser, packed with nourishing & cleansing oils to remove even make-up; use with organic muslin cloth

– ‘Traditional’ moisturiser for dry & sensitive skin (with gorgeous plum kernel oil that smells like heaven!), or gel moisturiser (very light, ideal for summer) for oily skin

– Night serum with organic rosehip & meadowfoam oils

– Body butter scented with rose or tuberose wax.

So, would you trust me too?! 😉 Please drop me an email if you’re interested in my bespoke service:

To find out more about my bespoke service, please visit:


Filed under Bespoke skin care, natural skin care, Natural x organic

Wheat- and dairy-free coconut pancakes

I absolutely love desiccated coconut in food, especially ‘sweet’ food.  In Brazil, coconut trees grow everywhere and we consume coconut in various ways.

Fresh coconut water is what I miss most! It’s delicious and packed with potassium and some other electrolytes, fat- and cholesterol-free.  It’s the perfect drink to cure hangovers or for a day on the beach, as it keeps your body hydrated.

So, when I read John Limpus’ ( post promoting desiccated coconut pancakes as an elimination diet friendly breakfast, I decided I had to try it.

Let me just warn you, these are highly addictive! But they’re healthy too, so, who cares?!

Here’s my recipe.  It makes 4 medium crepes (thinner and lighter than pancakes):

Mouth-watering pancakes

2/3 cup of spelt flour

1/3 cup of desiccated coconut

1 tsp of dark brown sugar (optional)

1 egg

approx 1/3 cup of rice milk (just to make the batter liquid enough for cooking)

I mix everything together and use raw coconut oil and a non-stick frying pan to cook the crepes, and I usually have them with a bit of honey (therefore the optional sugar).

You can use other types of flour or ‘milk’. I choose these ingredients to make the pancakes as healthy as possible, alkaline diet friendly and also dairy-free.

Thanks, John, for pointing me in this direction!

And if you guys try these or other ingredients, let me know how it works, I’d love to hear from you!

From a drooling blogger… 😉

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Filed under Recipes