I recently had a desk-visit from Davina Peace, a very inspiring and refreshing woman who has created her own eponymous range of organic bodycare and homeware products. If you're looking for something luxurious to prep your skin with for your wedding but would prefer to buy something with a conscience, this will be right up your street. Although I have to admit, at the very beginning it wasn't up mine...
I get a lot of these types of visits and I have lost count of the number of organic and natural brands that have crossed my path. They are usually made by a woman (or a husband+wife combo) over a stove in a kitchen in a pretty cottage in the countryside, because they needed a cream for their very dry skin and couldn't find anything that wasn't natural. Then their friends wanted it. Then dad gave them a bit of money and they put a label on it. Then they designed a website. That's when they come to me, and as lovely and sweet as the story sounds I'm afraid I've heard it too many times. Unfortunately these brands simply don't deliver the results needed to justify their £50+ pricetag, and (as I've had to misfortune to witness), only last a few months on a shelf in a pharmacy then get dropped and go into administration because no one is re-purchasing. The product meanwhile is on one of my pages (because I trusted their claims and thought some readers would love to discover it) but by the time the magazine arrives in the letterbox, the brand has fallen off the face of the planet and my readers are left confused. So when I was asked if I could meet Davina, you can understand why the shields were up.
Well, I'm pleased to report that Harrods have taken her on, which makes me feel confident this is a brand with long-term potential. I've also tried some of the products and they really are fantastic. I know these things are subjective, but the body cream kept my skin extremely soft all day through to the following morning, and the body oil is clearly very high quality as it sunk into my skin rather than leaving a greasy slick. The hand cream (currently number 1 on my desk) is light but quenching and the scent throughout the range is fresh, lemony, herbal and clean. It's decadent too: think chic glass bottles and jars, heavy lids and the most gorgeous packaging I've ever seen (everything comes boxed and bagged in ethical www.Turtlebags.co.uk).
Speaking of ethical, this is one of the brand's key USPs. Every ingredient is either organic or fair-trade and all the components of the packaging are considered, from the vegetable starch glue to seal the boxes to the recyclable jars and lids.
I particularly like Davina's organic candles. They're named after simple ideas rather than specific ingredients (like Memory 3: Spiced Punch on a Winter's Afternoon) and would work beautifully within a wedding reception depending on your theme or season. Even the wick is organic and doesn't contain that little wire thread that I've seen in many organic candles (to keep the wick straight), which ultimately burns and produces hideous carcinogens.
Without sounding contradictory, Davina's own personal story adds passion and value to her mission. You can read about it on her website: www.davinapeace.com. It's a really elegant website actually, which I know sounds a bit shallow but I think it's so important for a brand's reputation.
And thankfully, there isn't a stewing pot in sight.
Buy online at www.davinapeace.com or from Harrods, London.