About five years ago a staycation took me to The Beckford Arms, a pub with rooms in the fabulously named village of Fonthill Gifford in South Wiltshire. It was July but, as so regularly happens with our unpredictable climate, an unstoppable deluge meant I spent two days curled up by the fire and taking long bubble baths rather than roaming the countryside. Good things came out of the bad weather though.
Firstly, I managed to sample an extensive amount of their incredible food menu while sinking fishbowls of red wine, and secondly I discovered Bramley, a glorious collection of bath and body products created by Chloe Luxton, who owns the pub with her husband Charlie.
It’s one of those wonderful ranges that puts the plants at the heart of everything and since my early encounter with the range, it has exploded across the country – you’ll now find it in more than 350 hotels, pubs, restaurants and stores.
Luckily, nothing has been lost as its popularity has boomed and the bubbles, cream and washes are still packed with therapeutic plants, all chosen for their remarkable properties and moreish scents.
The Body Lotion (£14; 01373 813100, bramleyproducts.co.uk) blends juniper, sweet orange and bergamot essential oils in a nourishing, lightweight moisturiser.
Of course, harnessing the power of plants is nothing new, so the important thing as a consumer is to make sure you choose brands which do it well, using interesting, natural ingredients to the best of their potential, rather than simply bunging a rose bud on the bottle and asking each other, “Will that do?”
Around for more than 30 years but only recently arrived on these shores, Sanoflore has an impressive line of products made with scrupulously organic credentials. The ingredients are largely sourced from the Vercors Regional Natural Park and Drôme in France, which has been organically farmed for almost half a century and has incredibly pure air to boot.
Check out the Crème Magnifica Anti-Imperfections Moisturiser (£19.50; 0800 046 1683, feelunique.com), which manages to leave skin silky without needing to use silicone. It contains organic mentha piperita, a patented complex of nine essential oils including antibacterial peppermint oil and peppermint floral water for a clearer complexion.
Another French company, L’Occitane, has long been singing the praises of immortelle, a flower than grows in Corsican scrubland and never fades, hence its name. L’Occitane patented it over a decade ago and…