Over Easter, the clocks went forward, giving us lighter evenings, blooming daffodils and a proper feeling of spring. Hurrah! I’ve been using Amanda Saurin’s gentle, flower based A.S Apothecary skin products since I discovered her last year. She lives by the seasons, since she is gathering flowers and herbs all year. I asked her to write a few words on how she views this time of year.
Spring is coming. Magnolias are gradually opening their cup shaped flowers on the ends of long sturdy branches, the daffodils are everywhere shining yellow, Hellebores nod their perfect heads, Chestnut buds plump and sticky are fully ready to burst into leaf. As a plantswoman and distiller this marks the end of a long dreich winter and the start of planting and seeding. It is the quiet before the growing season gains momentum and life becomes utterly hectic – days not determined by the Roman calendar but the flowering season.
For us, at A.S APOTHECARY we are intimately connected to the changing seasons, our work is dependent on growing or foraging for plants in perfect condition at exactly the right moment. For our particular skincare we believe that the more we do ourselves the better, so we seed, nurture, feed and harvest our plants to distil into essential oils or to macerate, infuse or enfleurage depending on the needs of the plant – both therapeutic and scent. We forage in Sussex, Cyprus and the Outer Hebrides. We walk mountain, lowland, machair, meadow and beach to find our plants. It is a privilege and a pleasure.
This is a life determined by seasonal change, subject to the influence of weather, insect and human instinct, it is never dull. Whether it is sorting seeds into little piles, guessing how many will germinate, pruning our beautiful Roses or sitting pulling the petals off the sticky heads of Calendula, their tone of orange uplifting the spirits on an overcast day.
Our gentle methods of working relate directly to our approach to the skin, we are believers in ritual, in slow beauty. In this busy world, we have created a range of products to savour, to experience rather than just to use, textures and scents that nourish the skin and feed the soul – so much more than a reductionist prescription for wrinkles.
As an older woman, I love the idea that we can, and should find the time to care a little for ourselves after so many years of caring for others, a very particular quid pro quo. As many of us will be working well into our 60s, with older parents to consider and children needing time and attention, carving out time to nurture our spirits (and skin) seems ever more important.
There is something so magical about the human touch, both as the maker in terms of making products by hand with good intention, but also as the beneficiary, gently applying a Cleansing Oil, Face Cream or Body Lotion. Cleansing is transformative, the rhythmical circular movements of fingers on skin, the washing away and finally the application of an oil or a cream that disperses the remnants of the day, brings peace and welcomes in the quiet of the night.
See more of Amanda’s fabulous skincare at A S Apothecary. I’d recommend the First Aid Kit as a useful cure-all cream for chapped lips and broken cuticles and the Body Oils as an aromatic balm for rubbish days.