Hello Europe!

A new exhibition opens in Chorlton on the day we’re due to leave the European Union (though who knows what may happen?). Linsey Parkinson meets one of its creators, graphic designer Dave Sedgwick.

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People: Julia Walker

Julia Walker made Cillian Murphy’s trademark flat cap in Peaky Blinders and worked on Russell Crowe’s body armour in Gladiator. Now the theatre maker is picking up her paintbrush to pursue new creative adventures. Interview by Deborah Grace.

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Facing Out

Portraits of people who have experienced face-changing cancers form part of a new exhibition at The Whitworth. Deborah Grace speaks to one of its subjects, Trudi Proctor.

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Natural Beauty

Natural Skincare expert Wendy Teall (pictured above) talks to Open Up about the benefits of making your own beauty products using natural ingredients

I love DIY – no, not that kind! I love the making-stuff-from-scratch kind: rustling up delicious meals, crafting household goodies, and – most especially – I love whipping up natural skincare products.

For some years I’ve been on a voyage of discovery to ditch household chemicals, processed foods and synthetic skincare items. I’m aiming to lead a cleaner, healthier and more planet-friendly life. So when I left my NHS job a couple of years ago, training in the Formulation and Teaching of Natural Skincare seemed an obvious step for me to take.

What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our mouths – even more so in some ways, because around 60% of what is applied to the skin is reckoned to pass into our bloodstream. Unlike the process of eating, there are no stomach acids to protect us from contaminants or undesirable chemicals, so the old adage: ‘Don’t put it on your skin if you wouldn’t eat it,’ makes good sense.

In fact natural ingredients such as essential oils, shea and cocoa butters, beeswax or jojoba wax, oils of rosehip, starflower, coconut, pumpkin, avocado, and many more, can provide us with much of what over-the-counter skincare products promise, without the mysterious synthetic ingredients, environmental concerns and big price tags. What’s more, it’s brilliant fun to make your own, and you learn so much about what suits your skin.

Making your own skincare products means you can tailor them precisely for your skin type; you can make seasonally-appropriate recipes (lighter skincare in summer; richer in winter, for instance); you can use the best ingredients you can afford – organic if you care to – and you can name everything you put in there. No more unreadable labels with unpronounceable names! And no more hefty prices for products that could be as much as 80 or 90% water!

Are you imagining you’ll have to convert your kitchen into a science lab? Not at all! All you need are some basic utensils such as accurate scales (which can measure one-gramme increments); a double boiler (bain-marie); a few bowls, spoons and spatulas. You can get started with just a couple of recipes, a small range of ingredients, and a little know-how. It’s that easy!

And what about products? What can you make at home? Well the answer is pretty much anything you fancy. From delectable whipped body butters to relaxing massage oils, from toning body scrubs to skin-softening bath truffles, from anti-ageing facial serums to cleansing face masks, from all-natural make-up removers to gentle cleansers, from richly-hydrating night creams to light and lovely facial lotions… The list goes on and on. Imagine opening your bathroom cupboard and seeing all your own beautiful natural skincare products gleaming back at you!

Wendy Teall is a Natural Skincare Expert at Mollie’s Coddles, running workshops in Chorlton and Stretford. 07376 923794  

Didsbury Arts Festival 2017

DAF’s back! With 100 amazing events packed into nine days, this year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever – and it’s all right on your doorstep! With live music, visual arts, film, drama, comedy, family fun and much, much more, there’s certainly something for everyone.

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