Category Archives: good stuff

Review: Essence of Arcadia Essential Oil Sets

I’ve been using essential oils for over 20 years, so was very pleased to be recently asked to review this new distributor of oils. Essence of Arcadia sent me a 6-oil and 14-oil set to review, both of which I am happy to recommend to anyone looking to start out with aromatherapy at home, or boost an existing oil collection. Either set would also make a lovely gift, as they are very smartly packaged. Replacement and additional individual oils are readily available from the company’s website or from Amazon.

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Tightly-packed bottles, all beautifully and clearly labelled.

The 6 oil set contains:

Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Frankincense and a card with a weblink for the company’s VIP club to get recipes and usage information.

The 14 oil set also contains:

Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang, Orange and their own Healing Blend, as well as a recipe booklet.

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Smart packaging complements the luxury feel of the products.

Each set is packaged in a high quality heavy duty black cardboard box, which will clearly work well for long term storage. The oils are all clearly labelled and presented in dark brown glass bottles with dropper caps, so they are protected from light and easy to use. I like that each oil has its own different colour label – my teen daughter and I have quickly learned which colours to reach for.

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My trusty wise hermit diffuser, protecting us with the Healing Blend.

The oils are described as ‘therapeutic grade’ and they are clearly high quality. I have used them in a standard tealight-powered diffuser and in a carrier oil, and they could also be used in a warm bath or foot soak, or in toiletry making. Just be careful about quantities, as these are potent little products – don’t be fooled into thinking that as natural items, they’re always safe. Some shouldn’t be used with children or animals, or in early pregnancy, but some usage information is available on the Essence of Arcadia website.

We particularly appreciated the healing blend, which incorporates anti-infection and cold-fighting oils and was a very welcome arrival in November! (It also smells considerably nicer than many other more commercial preparations wafting through the house, thanks to the sensible inclusion of Cinnamon and Ginger.)

Both sets include sufficient variety to treat common conditions and create different moods within the home, including the multi-functional Lavender and Tea Tree and the cornerstone of infection-busting, Eucalyptus. I was also really pleased to see Frankincense in both sets, as it’s so useful as a base note in relaxing blends: it has a regulatory effect on the breathing, which is perhaps why it’s been associated with ritual for centuries. The addition of the brilliant mood-buster Bergamot and other citrus oils in the larger set were also a really welcome sight. In terms of oil selection, I would suggest that Roman Chamomile would have been a good addition, but that may just be a personal preference – I do use it in a lot of my blends.

Overall, I would definitely recommend these sets if you are considering starting out with aromatherapy or gifting someone else with some oils to get them started.

The 6-oil set is £19.99 from the Essence of Arcadia website and £16.99 from Amazon at the time of writing.

The 14-oil set is £39.99 from the Essence of Arcadia website and £29.99 from Amazon at the time of writing.

Please note that I received oil sets for an honest review; this did not affect the opinions expressed here.

Gorgeous Goodies with Heart #2: The GOOD Box

You may remember me posting about the lovely The GOOD Box people before: ethical and socially conscious goodies in a delightful package. Well, here is their second delivery – quite different to the first, showcasing different ethical businesses and products and themed around Springtime.


Isn’t that felt strawberry brooch cute? It’s from Amica Accessories, who work with fair trade felt from Nepal and the Phillipines.

The Pineapple and Cashew bar from Tropical Wholefoods (fair trade and both environmentally and socially responsible) was delicious – definitely recommended!

The beeswax candle is handmade in the UK using Dorset beeswax.

The seedballs caused a lot of excitement here. These little clay balls contain wildflower seeds and compost, protected by the clay and a little chili powder. You don’t ‘plant’ them as such, more just chuck them on a patch of ground (like, say, in the back corner of your garden where the dogs have done for the grass) and the clay will release the seeds when they’ve got moist enough.

Seedball is run by Project Maya, a non-profit eco-social enterprise founded by scientists, working to build a global network of urban sustainability reserves. 40% of all Seedball profits are directly used to fund these ‘Maya Reserves‘ and also to run ‘Maya Campaigns‘, which aim to help make the world a better, happier, and more sustainable place. (

These particular seeds are apparently a bee-friendly mix, so there’s an awful lot of good in those little balls!

As with the first box, there are also Team GOOD goodies: stickers with cheery quotations promoting kindness and positivity. Yay for Team GOOD!

If you want to know more about Team GOOD, their website has some nice ideas and information on it and one-off boxes are available now, with a subscription service due to launch very soon.

Gorgeous goodies with heart: my first GOOD Box

A few weeks ago, I signed up to be a tester/reviewer for new ethical subscription service This GOOD Box and on Monday I received my first box.

I was so excited, I forgot to photograph it at first (sorry!) but here you can see the lovely (recycled) tissue wrapping and coordinated tape and string used.

JpegThe contents are all from ethical and/or socially responsible traders and it was great to be able to find out more about these brilliant companies.


In my package, I received:

a yummy white chocolate lolly from Chocolate Memories, a social enterprise run by Autism Initiatives in County Down. The factory provides people with Autism Spectrum Condition with training and work opportunities. The chocolate was thick, creamy and indulgent – definitely recommended!

a lovely mint lip balm from Raw Skincare, a company offering chemical-free skincare in recycled/compostable packaging. The balm smells gorgeous and is really tingly on my lips. I love it!

a bracelet of recycled paper beads made by Sarah Namaganda of Awamu, a social enterprise working in the slums of Kampala to improve the lives of women and children in particular through education and business opportunities. I love that it’s possible to see the specific person who crafted the product and even see a video clip of her working and talking about her work – plus it’s a really nice bracelet!

a lovely greetings card on recycled stock, produced by designer and illustrator Jenny Jackson. This is very high quality and feels luxurious.

team GOOD badges, both saying “be the reason someone smiles today” – gJpegood advice indeed 🙂

team GOOD postcard, with “Kindness is always fashionable” on one side and a set of random challenges on the other. I’m trying to remember these as I go about my week.

So, all in all, a lovely thing to receive. If you want to know more about Team GOOD, their website has some nice ideas and information on it and one-off boxes are available now, with a subscription service due to launch in the Spring.