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Rude Wonders

Ask Away: independent health store advice on Christmas gifts and treats

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Sundara O’Higgins, a qualified yoga instructor and reflexologist with a keen interest in nutrition and herbal remedies. She is the manager of Nourish in Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

As Christmas beckons, think of your local health store for festive gifts and treats – you would be amazed by the impressive range of products on offer.

Every health store across the country will have a wide range of natural, organic and biodynamic skin, hair and bodycare products on offer. Why not mix and match across product ranges for the perfect personalised gift then let a member of staff gift wrap it for you, or choose from some of the beautiful Christmas gift boxes that are available?

Treat your lips with gift selections consisting of lip tints, balms, shines and shimmers all containing hydrating natural oils and extracts of flowers and fruits. With colours ranging from frost, to rose, to party pinks you will be ready to blush, wink and flutter your way to the nearest Christmas party.

For a more dramatic party look check out vegan and cruelty-free make-up ranges which will help you to create fantastic party looks and contain medicinal herbs and plant oils that leave your skin glowing inside and out.

If you simply enjoy trying out new scents why not try a mini bath oil or body wash gift box? With a choice of five natural and functional fragrances such as calming lavender, hydrating sea buckthorn, nurturing rose, regenerating pomegranate and invigorating citrus you can match your body wash and body oil to your mood for the ultimate body pampering experience.

Why not enjoy your own facial, manicure or pedicure in the comfort of your own home with cuticle and foot creams containing lemon or coconut, organic rosehip oils or kaolin clay mineral masks.

Health stores also cater for the needs of men – check out a great selection of natural shaving creams, gels, oils and moisturisers. From natural skincare products you can expect healing and balancing ingredients such as essential oils, herbs, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, plant oils and amino acids. Oils such as avocado are rich in vitamins A, D and E while jojoba oil absorbs easily, softening and conditioning lacklustre skin. Plant-derived hyalauronic acid is another wonderful ingredient which plumps up the skin helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

If you like the luxurious scents of essential oils, why not bring that festive feeling to your home by trying some of the warming seasonal blends on offer. Curl up beside the fire while warming aromas such as cinnamon, clove and orange fill up the room with festive spice and cheer. Or light a natural candle, with scents such as pink champagne, jasmine, clove and apple to create the perfect ambience. Many health store candles are made from natural plant wax, burn for 50 hours and are kosher and halal certified and use only natural essential oils with no overpowering artificial scents.

When the fire is lit and candles are burning it’s the perfect time to sip on some non-alcoholic fruit punch sold in your local health store for the festive season. Healthier gluten-free and dairy-free mince pies and sugar-free chocolates all help to make Christmas more enjoyable for guests with allergies. Christmas boxes of raw chocolate are a great alternative to dairy and sugar-laden traditional chocolates. Raw chocolate retains its magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and antioxidants too. Carob Santas and reindeers are a fun sugar-free and dairy-free chocolate alternative. Naturally sweet and nutritious, carob is caffeine-free and contains calcium, B vitamins and selenium.

There’s no need to traipse from shop to shop in search of the perfect gift, simply pop into your local health store and the friendly knowledgeable staff there will help with all your Christmas list conundrums.

Who's who and what's what at Nourish in Donnybrook

“I have been the manager in Nourish, Donnybook since it opened in 2010,” says Sundara O’Higgins.

“Before that I worked in Nourish in Wicklow Street.

“This store is in a residential area in a strip of local shops – people actually live across the road. We’re not in a shopping district or centre so we get a lot of locals dropping in on their way home from work. Many of our customers are families and people who work in the local area.

“We had a big run on matcha tea a while ago and coconut oil is still very popular at the moment. Almond butter, fish oils and multivitamins all do very well. We find quite a few people come in looking for something for stress and not sleeping well, so valerian and multivitamins can help. There are a few gyms around here, so sporty types come in to buy something for muscle relief and magnesium soaks and Dead Sea bath salts can be very useful for this. Essential oils are also very popular.

“We stock a wide range of stuff even though we are smaller than other Nourish stores. I am constantly looking for new things and every week would order something new in supplements, food or skincare.

“Natural skincare products are popular because of our fluctuating weather in Ireland and the most popular are moisturisers, dry skin and anti-ageing products as well as night creams. Products with rosehip are doing well at the moment.

“In food we stock coconut products including oil, yogurts and water, raw chocolate, sugar-free and wholefood treats, protein bars, raw food powders such as wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina and cacao.”

Visit: 97a Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
CHECK OUT: Special offers on fish oils, milk thistle tinctures, echinacea, vitamin C and sleep aids. Regular in-store tastings and promotions. Skincare days with free facials and makeovers.
SPEAK TO: Any member of the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

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