In the Mail From Graham Gardens

I had promised a Sunday post, and I'm just squeaking in under the wire here. My plan was to write and schedule this ahead of time. That didn't happen, but an epic hike day did.

We do that once in awhile, have an epic hiking or backpacking trip. Something that pushes our limits.

Today it was a 17 kilometer (10.5 miles) mountain hike. The longest distance we've ever done in one day. I'm beat. But I really wanted to post this before I crash for the night.

Look what came in the mail this past week from Graham Gardens.

In my never-ending quest for 100% natural and thoroughly effective bug repellent I contacted Graham Gardens earlier this year to ask if I could trial their BugBar. Bug repellent is one of the few skin care items I don't make for our family. Sunscreen is the other. (I would love recipes for both, if anyone has any.)

Along with the BugBar from Graham Gardens, Christopher and Gina sent soap, lip balm, body scrub and body oil. 

Some of these goodies went straight to the girls, as I requested the items specifically for them. But the ipanema body scrub is all mine and good gracious is that heavenly stuff. 

Can you believe that I've never used a scrub like this before on my skin? I feel so pampered after using it. And I smell good enough to eat. (I actually had a teensy taste of the scrub, it smelled so good.)

And their soap? Oh my. My favorite so far is Bella Luna. I've been making my own soap for years but I keep it pretty simple - with the least expensive essential oils and basic carrier oils. Graham Garden soaps are luxurious and smell so incredibly good. I'm tempted to just keep them wrapped up in the bathroom, looking and smelling so pretty. 

The girls got these balms. Mom has to borrow. 

I'm leaving a review of the BugBar for later, but I will say the bugs don't like it. 

Thanks Gina and Christopher. Check out Graham Gardens for yourself. Their stuff is luscious, beautiful and their service is great (you get organic candies with your order - my kids loved that.)

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • Laura

    Laura on July 23, 2012, 12:15 p.m.

    Renee, this is totally off-topic. Don't you rent out your house in the US? How is that going? We moved 11 hours from home last year. We have had our house for sale, but it is not selling. We are now considering doing what we do not want to do ~ renting out the house. I just picture it being destroyed or big things tearing up and us having to repair them long distance. If you have time, would you leave a quick note letting me know if this is working well for you? Thank you! We are looking at possibly downsizing, so I am reading back through your old posts. Love your blog!


  • Melissa

    Melissa on July 23, 2012, 6:36 p.m.

    Earlier this year I made a spray bug repellant. I'll have to dig through my supplies and notes to see what the breakdown was and add to this note. It was a riff on the recipe posted by Mountain Rose Herbs (June '07 newsletter, you can find it online). The base was a mix of distilled water, some tree tea hydrosol and a bit of witch hazel distillate (I figured if I had any scrapes I'd make the thing soothing and anti-bacterial) . Really the distilled water is the thing needed IMHO.

    My essential oils, in descending volume, were a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella, and lemongrass. All reported to ward off biting insects. If I could have located the correct botanical catnip essential oil, I would have added it too. I'm growing it just to infuse now. was tested starting in May. We could actually see the critters fly up to people in our group and then stop and hover anywhere from 6-12" away from their intended snack. I've used it since and have been bite free.


    • renee

      renee on July 24, 2012, 10:35 a.m.

      That's awesome. I made some mixes in years past that haven't worked so well. How often do you have to re-apply? Ie: if we're hiking and sweating a lot does it lose effectiveness fast?


      • Melissa

        Melissa on July 24, 2012, 8:01 p.m.

        I'm not able to say how much sweating affects its effectiveness with regard to re-applying it. I have always been one of those people that applies bug spray every hour or two, even the DEET stuff, because I really don't want to take the risk of getting bitten...I have an autoimmune issue and bug bites can become badly infected, quickly. So, I've used the same timeline with the DIY spray. When I can't smell the stuff anymore I assume it to have worn off and I spray some more.

        That said...I used to get bitten overnight when I obviously wasn't up spraying myself. We sleep in our trailer at motorcycle racetrack campgrounds (trailer is similar to yours), vs. a tent, and a few mosquitos always find a way in before we close up for the night. This year has been good. So, the spray may have more power than I give it credit for.


  • Gina Graham

    Gina Graham on July 24, 2012, 3:29 p.m.

    Hey Renee!

    Your pictures are lovely - thank you for the kind words, we're just tickled that you are enjoying your goodies.

    I can't wait to hear your BugBar report. I know those Canadian mosquitos aren't kidding around!

    Have a great day with your dear ones.


    P.S. Ipanema is my favorite, too. I was never a scrub kinda' gal, but these have been really fun to create. And, they sure do make my skin feel yummy! You crazy girl, tasting the scrub!! We've tasted them, too, but we'll do anything in the name of product safety . . .


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