natural beauty : book review and giveaway

November 17, 2011  in homemade, news

natural beauty

I’m very excited today to bring you my first book giveaway courtesy of CICO Books! This is the new book by Karen Gilbert and is called A Green Guide to Natural Beauty. It contains 35 step-by-step projects for homemade beauty and if you love making then this is a great book to add to your collection.

I had the pleasure of styling all of the images in this book earlier this year to help create the look for it, working with the wonderful photographer Stuart West in his studio. It was a really fun and informative few days and with Karen making the projects in front of us, it was like receiving our own private tutorials.

natural beauty

There are so many projects in the book that I would definitely make myself, even as a total beauty product-making novice. Many require no heat, but for the ones that do you simply follow the steps like a recipe and it is just like cooking, but you end up with beauty products at a fraction of the price of the high street. As Karen says: “making your own beauty products is so simple once you know how – it really is no different to cooking. In most cases it’s actually easier – if you can make a sauce, you can make a lotion”

natural beauty

Karen is a natural skincare and fragrance expert and runs artisan perfumery and natural beauty workshops. She originally trained as a make-up artist and cosmetic scientist at The London College of Fashion and went on to work as a fragrance evaluator for one of the world’s largest perfume manufacturers. After many years she decided to pursue her lifelong passion for natural health and beauty by training in aromatherapy and joining the product development team at Neal’s Yard Remedies, helping to create many of their award-winning products. A Green Guide to Natural Beauty was published in August and is her first book. If you have a moment pop by Karen’s website.

natural beauty

We also spent a few days in different beautiful locations photographing the finished projects in charming surroundings and it was great to style the book from cover to cover. Stuart is a fantastic food photographer and regularly works for clients including Waitrose, John Lewis, Costa Coffee, Delicious Magazine and many more.

All the photos above are shown courtesy of CICO Books – check out all of their craft books on their website. The photos below are mine that I took for this post.

natural beauty

The book is fab with 35 recipe projects, 144 pages and 200 colour photos. It includes a chapter on getting started and then projects falling into three categories: ‘for the face’, ‘for the body’ and ‘bath and shower’. Karen shows you how to make your own beauty products in your kitchen at home, using easy-to-obtain, natural ingredients and easy-to-follow methods. For the face, there are moisturisers, face masks and cleansers; for the body there are scrubs and shower gels, soaps and body lotions. And when you need some extra-special pampering, there are recipes for lip balms, massage bars, bath oils and eye gels.

You can try your hand at making a neroli hydrating spritz or a jojoba and aloe vera moisturiser, mango and lime body butter or lemon and tea tree foot balm, bergamot and grapefruit wake-up wash or cocoa butter lip balm – the hardest part is choosing which project to try first! Each recipe has clear step-by-step photographs to guide you, and there are numerous variations.

I was naturally drawn to the bath chapter of the book, the chocolate bath melts smelled divine whilst we were making them and would be wonderful gifts to give away too, as would many of the other projects in this chapter. This book would make a great gift, perhaps accompanied with some beautiful empty bottles and raw ingredients for the recipient to start making their own beauty products straight away. Or just keep it all for yourself and make lots of things to give away as gifts.

And here is the good news, CICO Books have let me have one copy worth £14.99/$19.95 to give away to one of you and it’s open to everyone, worldwide!

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and simply tell me – what do you like making?

The closing date for entries is midnight 1st December 2011 and I will enter everyone’s name in a draw and select a winner by random. The winner will be notified by email.

Great, hey? So you could be getting an extra Christmas present this year if you’re the lucky one!

If you can’t wait that long then the book is available to buy now on and which also has a ‘look inside’.

Please comment now to enter. One entry per person. I won’t pass your email addresses to anybody else.



Comment (RSS)  |  Trackback



  1. Jane says:

    Oh Sania! What a fabulous book – I love the concept and it looks beautifully executed. Your styling is just sensational. Please throw my hat in the ring! J x

  2. Tami B. says:

    What a delightful book…it looks so beautiful! For holiday gifts one year, I made lip balms with handmade labels. The recipients loved them 🙂 Happy Holidays to you!

  3. Jenna says:

    Just what I need! Great for making gifts or making yourself some lovely potions without all the usual chemicals – well done! X

  4. jo says:

    What do I like making?
    looks a beautiful book

  5. Aubrey says:

    I love love love this. Just in time for the holidays, too! I love the idea of making beauty products for both myself and my loved ones.

  6. gorgeous book. wonderful approach.

    LOVE your site and your design aesthetic. simply beautiful.

  7. elisa says:

    sania it looks ever so beautiful, you’ve all clearly done spectacular work. i love these sorts of recipes, for things you’d usually buy – that’s exactly what i like to make myself! x

  8. Emma Hintz says:

    As a new stay at home mum I would love your book for some inspiration. As a former gallery manager I am craving creativity in my new work place – my home! As a child I loved making potions and lotions – time to bring that inner child out I say!
    I love your styling and adore your updates to see what you have been up to and I must say I am a tad jelious of all of your wonderful things you do!

  9. Anneline says:

    I love anything handmade and love doing various arts and crafts but my passion is textile and surface pattern design which also means that I love to sew. This book would be perfect to help me with my handmade Christmas as I’m aiming to make all presents myself this year.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I love to bake gluten free cakes & cookies for my son and I love to make seasonal decorations in my home in the Netherlands. Your blog is a great source of inspiration!

  11. Lesley says:

    What a beautiful book. Would never have thought making beauty products was like cooking but makes it seem much more accessible that way. I’d love to have a go at making some of these so name in the draw please! Could be great presents for the kids to help make too. And am thinking of a new possible line for our school’s Christmas Fair…

  12. Ana says:

    What a great book. I’ve been thinking of making some home made sugar scrub, I never would have thought that I could make so many other home made beauty products. I would love to win it, if not, amazon here I come!

  13. Elaine Bissett says:

    Having just retired I love the ideas shared on the blog and books. So many great ideas, especially useful for this time of year – and particularly when ‘making’ is better than ‘buying’ in my new financial circmstances!! This new book is fantastic. Thank you for enhancing my recent retirement!!

  14. Juliette says:

    How fun! I love creating little decorations with bits and bobs.

  15. M Salam says:

    I love making from food to decorations.
    I love the excitement in people’s eyes when they
    The book looks fantastic I can’t wait to try out
    Different things! My neices are waiting for another
    Craft day that has to be exciting of course!

  16. Chi (BYW) says:

    I love making nameless bits and pieces out of old magazines and empty boxes for my daughter to play with.

    This sounds like such a wonderful book, Sania. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win it! 🙂

  17. Carrie says:

    What don’t I like making?! 🙂 We make our food from scratch and do lots of crafty projects home. I really like making nature based activities for our three year old daughter. Right now I am particularly interested in LEARNING to make candles and I’ve only make simple skin care products. I’ve always been interested in learning to make salves and natural lip glosses… anyhow, that was rambling! Cheers!

  18. jenni says:

    i love making lino-cuts at the moment, but i am planning a carrot cake for the weekend…the book looks amazing, and i too have never thought that making lotions…as being similar to cooking…

  19. allesistgut says:

    This is really wonderful. The photos are awesome and so delicate. I love them. And of course I would like to win this beautiful and helpful book. 🙂

  20. Grace says:

    I love making decorations to beautify my home!

  21. bonitarose says:

    I love making colorful art in bright bold colors. The color makes me happy.
    xo bonitarose


  22. Cara says:

    Hi, Sania! Popping over from BYW. What a wonderful concept for a book and it makes a lovely prize! I love making paper crafts-cards, scrapbooks, party favors but sharing them I love even more.

  23. leah says:

    I love making! Cakes, Softies, Christmas decorations, cards…. I’d love to make my own beauty products. Gorgeous styling Sania!

  24. Viv says:

    Looks like a beautiful book – and yummy too. I like making…. quilts, anything that involves sewing and baking plenty of cakes for the kids. Just discovered your website and am going to try your Xmas tree ornaments very soon.

  25. Jessica Marie says:

    what a wonderful book! i am currently in the process of switching my skincare and makeup to natural products 🙂

  26. Debby says:

    I have tried my hand at many things in the last year or so. Knitting, crocheting, baking but my favourite has been learning to sew. A great deal of that has to do with your book The Homemade Home, truly!!
    I can see a whole new world opening up to me, hobby-wise, if I were to win this book!!
    It looks amazing!!
    Kind regards
    Debby xx

  27. Iva says:

    love the book and your blog:) greets from Croatia:)

  28. Hannah says:

    i love making stories.
    this book is beautiful, and although i don’t deserve it as much as the other commenteers, i’d love to have a chance at it. 🙂

  29. Tina says:

    Sania! What a beautiful blog! I really like your layout and the graphics (the buttons, tape measure and vintage key). Good job on the giveaway. Tin,a BYW

  30. DEar Sania! this book looks amazing! I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to make my own lotions! Your styling work is SUPERB!!!!!BEAUTIL BEAUTIFUL book! THANK YOU for the giveaway!!!

  31. Rhiannon says:

    The book looks gorgeous and I’ll definitely have a look out for it next time I’m in a book shop. It is a long time since I’ve tried to make any lotions or potions but was a favourite entertainment when I was a kid ! Nowadays I make images and textiles and generally play with colour a lot.

  32. Mariana says:

    I would start doing my onw moisturizer, it is so hard to find a really good one that really moisturizes instead of just making your skin soft!

  33. Petra says:

    Oh, what an awesome book must this be! I’ve been experimenting with making my own cleaners for housekeeping and would also love to try those exciting stuff from the beauty department!

  34. Toni says:

    What a beautiful blog. It feels fresh as a spring day! Great giveaway too – I want one. Toni BYW

  35. Inge says:

    Gorgeous styling Sania, congratulations! What I would love to make someday is a body scrub and some lipgloss. And what I’m really good at is baking cake! 🙂 And making our house a home…
    Great giveaway, I’d love to win the book! 🙂 Love, Inge x

  36. Sally Cross says:

    What a beautifully presented book which I can’t wait to have a proper look through and try out some of the ideas. I am constantly reading about new crafts and ideas and constantly want to try them out (my latest being silver clay as I had the opportunity to work with a potter who had diversified into jewellery) but nothing beats making my own preserves and Jams…
    Love your blog and am always checking for updates 🙂

  37. Kavita says:

    The book is beautiful and the styling is soothing. I follow Karen’s newsletters and your site, great to see both coming together. 🙂

  38. Milla says:

    I’ve taken some courses with Karen and know she’s good at what she does. If the way she teaches is anything to go by, this book is bound to be easy to follow and useful!

    I’d love to win the book!


  39. Masha says:

    I like to make simple gifts for my family and friends. Yesterday I sewed Christmas gift for my mom. It is little house with Xmas tree.
    Thank you for the chance to win inspiring book!!!

  40. Julie Mangum says:

    I love making simple but beautifully presented gifts for friends but sometimes they are just too good to give away!

  41. I like to make as many things as possible! I make clothes, beauty products and food for daily use, always going for practical application over pure aestheticism. I’m really lucky that as a multi-skilled crafter and aromatherapist that I now get to combine all my skills in running The Create Place a community arts and crafts centre in East London! I love Karen’s book – I reviewed it for the UK Handmade website. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  42. I love making wreaths or anything really where I’ve gone outside and gathered the materials myself to use. Its very satisfying and rewarding. Your book looks wonderful, I know I would thoroughly enjoy it. Thankyou

  43. Sharon says:

    At last! A book that is easy to understand, gorgeous to look at, and an asset for the coffee table 😉

  44. Bea says:

    I like to make hand creme as it’s easy! With this book I’d learn more, it’d be so wonderful! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂 The book looks gorgeous too…

  45. Paula says:

    I love to give any handmade gift. For holidays and birthdays is says to my friends and family that I am spending extra time and love on them.

  46. Tanja says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this lovely book… I like to make earrings for my friends.

  47. Karen says:

    Hi Sania
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for your gorgeous styling in the book (I learned loads from you during the photo shoots)for this blog post and to everyone above for their lovely comments. I obviously am not entering the competition as I have plenty of copies already 😉
    Good luck everyone
    Karen xx

  48. Wow, I have an obsession with skin care. No really…I need help 😉 I love making cards and stationary using ink pens.

  49. Emma says:

    Looks fantastic. I love the colours and the style of the book. Would definitely like a copy of this book.:)

  50. Beth says:

    This book brings me back to the days when I studied herbology and made all kinds of herbal things. As a new mom to twins, I am in need of some pampering. I would love to make my own body and hair products. This book would be the best holiday gift to my self! Just the beauty of the book would be uplifting.

  51. Christa says:

    oh the photos above look divine…totally gorgeous! What a beautiful book. I love making all sorts of things, from cakes to cosmetics… bath bombs are one of my fave things to make, off to make some lovely lavender ones now so I can have a relaxing soak in the bath later!

  52. Gabriella says:

    I love making body lotions, they smell so divine I could just eat them up!

  53. Sian Thomas says:

    I love making lip balms as they are so easy to make and are lovely to give as gifts! I’ve made lots with different scents and they are great to carry around in a handbag.

  54. Admittedly, I haven’t attempted to make body products yet, but I really enjoy baking (so there’s something I love to make)! I also love eating, and those two go together so well…

    🙂 Cheers!
    Something 2 Write About

  55. I love the photos! I really like making lots of different things (food, cushion covers, altering clothing – though skills are lacking!) but have never tried making my own beauty products. This book makes it look so easy that I’m dying to read it. Step-by-step photos are always a winner. If I won it, I would use it to make a range of interesting products for my friends and family. Carla

  56. Constança says:

    I love sewing, baking, decorating, flower arranging… (I’m starting to sound like a 1950s housewife!)

    I’ve made soap once and would love too give it another try. This book looks absolutely fab, I’d love to have it! 🙂

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway, Sania!

  57. Paula says:

    I am really looking forward to trying some of the recipes from this book!
    I like to keep it simple and make my own stuff; particularly fennel seed and lemon toning water or anything with greek yogourt.
    Congrats for the blog and the book.

  58. Julia Graf says:

    What a wonderful blog and book. I would love to make those lovely things with my children as a christmas present for friends, grandmas, aunts……that would be great fun.


  59. jonahliza says:

    hi.. the book looks amazing. thanks for the great giveaway. i love your work and inspirational blog <3 i like to make a lot of different things, especially hand carved and block printed greeting cards. last night, i dyed some wooden beads (for necklaces), clothespins and fabric scraps (for a garland). im quite excited to finish. happy holidays.

  60. Laura says:

    I love the fact that you have styled and taken photographs of a book that you have styled the photographs for. All of the photographs are beautiful. I like making chocolate truffles and macarons.

  61. Aneta says:

    I love making birthday and seasonal greetings cards, homemade gifts and quirky wrappings.

    I find your blog so inspired and tasteful – it’s always a great aesthetic pleasure to visit.

    The giveaway book is really beautiful – I would love to receive it and use the ideas for my Christmas gifts this year.

  62. Nicole says:

    I love making whatever mood strikes me! De/reconstructing clothes, cakes, food, hair masks…etc

  63. where to begin? i love creating art, making gifts and cards for others, and making music with words.

    would love to win the book!


  64. Claire says:

    Hi Sania,

    What a fab giveaway. I love making food items to give away as gifts and also items for around the house – cushions, blankets, lavender filled minature pillows – you name it I love to (try) and make it!

  65. hannah says:

    i like making stuffed toys

  66. Cindy Griffin says:

    I love making drizzle castles at the beach. My son and I have done this for years. We sit close to the edge of the water and dig our hands into the gooey sand and let it drizzle from our fingertips. We do this repeatedly, adding layer upon layer onto the same spot until we have what looks like snow laden pine trees…which eventually melt away when they get too tall…then we start the whole process over again 🙂 It’s very relaxing.

  67. jackie says:

    shoot – one more thing to add to my Christmas wish list, but if I won it then that doesn’t count, and I could use the recipes to make gifts for others. win win!

  68. Tina says:

    Toad in the Hole. Can’t beat it!
    The book looks fab and very inspirational. Would love to learn how to make natural beauty products; jeez I need them! x

  69. Vincent says:


    I love making food, eating is one of my favorite past-times 😀

    I’m really excited about trying some of these recipes. Bolstered by my recent successes in the kitchen, I feel like my success will transfer into the beauty arena as well (right in time for holiday gifting, I might add!).


  70. Kirsten says:

    Stunning pictures making everything look so tempting, what would you make first? I love to make and the giving of something handmade with love makes the gift all the more thoughtful and special! x

  71. Katie says:

    A mess! No seriously I love doing little bits of lots of things: crochet, sewing jewellery etc. It is a beautiful looking book, what a joy to try the recipes. I would give it to my daughter as she already loves to mix up natural face packs and whatnot and then she could make things for me too!
    Cheers Katie xxx

  72. i know i don’t have a chance at winning this book, but i’ll plan to add it to my christmas shopping list for my husband. your blog has such stunning pictures…. looking forward to your pics from amsterdam.

  73. Kinga says:

    The winner of this book is going to be one lucky little duck! What a gorgeous book and I sooooo need a natural beauty overhaul so I just might have to pick it it up either way. xoxo

  74. Nóra says:

    Beautiful book, and a great review. What a pity! I cant buy this book in Hungary.

  75. Susanne says:

    Love it – simple, soothing and natural. As much as I love to cook, I would like to make some beauty products for my girlfriends and myself. Girls love natural products !!! Thanks for sharing. Susanne

  76. jaxine says:

    What a beautiful and useful book! I love making….people happy! Tis the season!!

  77. Carla Huysmans says:

    Hi, I would love to join the draw for the beautiful beauty book. I love baking so i think i can do this too !? Wouldn’t it be fab to make a great body lotion with just the scent i love, and then give it as a present…
    take care,

  78. Sania Pell says:

    This competition is now closed. Thank you so much for all your comments!

    You can see who won the prize draw here

    Thank you!


  79. Tory Badua says:

    Love your blog!

  80. Kate Marshall says:

    I would love to start making my own face creams! What great gifts too 😉

Leave a Reply



Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, art/creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 20 years, and is well known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for architects and property developers. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.

To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.

Read biography



To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the form below.

Please note we do not accept advertising, sponsored posts or guest writers on the blog.

Please click here to agree to be contacted by Sania Pell. Your data will not be shared with third parties. View the privacy policy via the link below.