Beauty: Why I’ve always got time for tea

It’s the new star ingredient perking up skincare

Do you want more tea, Vicar? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. That phrase is the only thing I know how to use when I hear tea. And the thing is that it’s actually an appropriate notion, since more tea is very much the order of the day here. However, these tea-focused beauty choices aren’t about the regular cuppa. Maysama is an example of a skincare brand that uses a green rooibos oil extract. Bev May Sanderson, the founder of Maysama noticed benefits in drinking more rooibos so she began to investigate its use for topical purposes.

Working with The South African Rooibos Council and researchers at the Nelson Mandela Institute, they discovered that it is indeed a powerful antioxidant – helping to protect skin from the ageing effects of stress and pollution – and great for skin clarity. Sanderson also uses a different extraction process to make the rooibos 70x more potent than the normal. You get the idea. Maysama GreenRooibos Pressed Skin Serum (£41.40, really packs a punch. By the way, don’t be put off by the brown colour – once rubbed in all it adds is a slight extra glow. And, in case you’re wondering, yes it does have a faint smell of tea.

Marko Lens of Zelens’ new initiative is centered on defence skincare. This means that the goal of Dr Marko’s skincare program is to protect skin from outside stressors. Zelens Urban Defence Serum Tea Shot (from £35,, too. The formula took him almost three years to develop. A blend of rooibos, green, white, black, kombucha and matcha tea, it’s made using a biofermentation process that increases the product’s efficacy. ‘There is now a wealth of research around the topical use of tea,’ says Dr Lens, who believes we’ll be hearing a lot more about it in skincare. It also protects from blue light caused by excessive screen time. Matcha is the natural ingredient that gives green color to this serum.

Matcha is the star of Le Labo Thé Matcha 26 fragrance (from £60, Alongside creamy fig, sandalwood and vetiver notes, it’s a warm dose of mellow in a bottle.  




‘I take a deep breath and step on the scales for the first time in 20 years’

This was a magazine that featured me a couple months ago. Why? Why? There was a massive response to the article: I’ve lost count of the number of women (and some men) who messaged me saying how every word resonated with them and I’d described their life too. It can be found at It was overwhelming. I resolved to dedicate some time on these pages regularly to documenting my continuing journey.

So I’ve been trying to take more active steps to create change. It was time to shift my eating habits, and to change my emotional connection to food. My mind played many deceitful tricks on me. It made it seem almost impossible to make changes and kept me trapped in an unhappy holding pattern. I’ll let you know if I can.

After witnessing a friend use the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) app and have phenomenal success in transforming her relationship with food, I thought I’d try a similar route. In the past I avoided such matters, believing I shouldn’t have to do it myself. I also resist becoming a food logger or calorie counter. But seeing her so happy I realised that it’s OK to ask for help, to lean on a support system, and to simply make myself more accountable for the food I consume. Although I love solitude, the truth is that I emotionally eat when I’m alone, not when I’m in company, so I’m aware I need assistance in this area.

Noom was the app I selected to be mindful of my eating habits. The ads claiming it can help you change your mindset about food enticed me. So far so good: it’s only been a few weeks but I’m more aware of not just how much and when I eat but also what – they’re big on understanding calorie density and explaining that not all calories are created equal.

It has made me realize how badly a lack confidence in my body can affect how I see myself. This was what I realized when I started to weigh myself again. I’ve avoided scales for years and fully intended to keep doing so. Noom has a catch: you have to enter your goal weight and current weight when you register for Noom. The app will calculate the length of your journey.

Because I was afraid to answer the question, I decided to guesstimate mine. But what I imagined was such a scarily high figure that I couldn’t bring myself to input it so I lopped off three stone. It’s all numbers, I reckoned – as long as my weight goes down, why torment myself with the depressing details?

Noom wants you to be friends with your scales so that they can log your daily weight. It’s a scary thought! After about a week of trying to dodge this, I decided to face the horrible truth. I changed the batteries in my digital weight scales, then went on. Not only was it not as bad as I’d thought but I was three stone lighter than the fake weight I’d input. That’s because I believed I was six stone more than I really am. SIX STONES! This is the pernicious thing about a lack of body confidence – you end up with a skewed idea of yourself. The struggle to overcome body dysmorphia and its mental and physical consequences can feel overwhelming.

I’ve already had debates with friends about whether a daily weigh-in is a good or a bad thing and opinions vary. But after avoiding it for years, I’m finding myself more in touch with my body because of this new morning ritual – and the mental load to my evolution already feels much lighter. I’ll update you again next month with how I’m getting on.