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Karen J. Gerrard Blog

Behind the SEAMS  

HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR HANDS WHILE GARDENING

It's easy to get carried away whilst gardening, bringing nature to life is a wonderful thing but whilst your garden is blooming it's not so great on your hands. I like to have a potter in the garden myself but soil absorbs moisture so is extremely drying can over exfoliate and it's full of bacteria if you have any split skin it can cause infections. Thorn pricks, digging with hands ( we are all guilty of that at some point) and being exposed to the elements will leave your hands worse for wear and they will age faster. Then if you are not careful aching hands can lead to receptive strain injury, stiff joints and strained muscles. So here's my tips on how to keep your hands blooming whilst working in the garden - WEAR GLOVES - this is obvious but make sure your gloves are dry, the skin on our hands is thinner than any other part of the body and damp gloves causes damp skin which will split easier as tools rub against your hands. A little tip put on SEAMS Hand Cream before you put on your gloves to help protect and keep them supple. The Shea Butter and Macadamia Oil will help soften and sootheCHANGE POSITION - Being bent over for long periods of time will cause back pain and shoulder pain and a pinched nerve or tightened muscle in the shoulder can lead to hand pain. Stretch your shoulders whilst working a quick exercise is to stand upright and lift your shoulders to your ears and back down five times. Or cross your left arm over your chest with your left hand touching the right shoulder and right hand gently stretching your left elbow. Do this 5 times on each side.DON'T HAND DIG - Use a spade, trowel or fork when digging, not your hands.SHARPEN YOUR TOOLS - Makes sure your secateurs, pruners, shears and any tools you use are sharp so as not to put extra strain on your hands.RE-OCCURRING SORES - These are difficult to keep under control as we naturally will hold in the same position but if you do have any areas that you know will wear, then put a protective plaster on before you start and target with SEAMS before you sleep.KEEP WRISTS WARM - If its cold outside keep your wrists warm so that the blood flowing into your hands will keep your hands supple. Wrist warmers are a good solution.DON'T FLEX - Keep your hands relaxed and not flexed this actually improves your grip and stops tightening that can strain your muscles and tendons.WEAR A WRIST BRACE - if you have any type of arthritis or hand problems wearing a wrist brace will help reduce the stress and lead to more comfortable gardening.KEEP NAILS SHORT - Long nails will easily break and can rip skin in the process.WASH HANDS - We've been doing a lot of this lately but washing hands directly after gardening will reduce the chance of any infections and use a nail brush to get any soil out from under your nails.DRINK PLENTY OF WATER - there's no point keeping your plants fed and watered but letting yourself wilt! Keeping hydrated will also stop skin from becoming dry. CUTICLE CARE - Split cuticles apart from looking unsightly will let in water under the skin and can damage the new nail growing underneath. If you do get a hang nail very gently snip not too close to the nail and use a cuticle oil regularly. SEAMS Hand & Nail Oil has Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Echium Oil, Monnier's Snow Parsley, Peony Root Oil and a special extract from Pomegranate Oil to nourish and condition cuticles & nails fast! It can also be used underneath Couturiers Hand Cream as a treatment. KEEP AN ANTISEPTIC OINTMENT CLOSE TO HAND - fast use of an antiseptic cream on small cuts and insect bites could nip in the bud a future infection.MASSAGE THE PALMS OF YOUR HANDS - paying particular attention to the pressure points below each finger to relieve tension, moisturising at the same time will help to soften any callouses. Do you garden? Our luxury hand cream will be a wonderful experience to use, it's not greasy and really does help to mend, moisturise and protect hands. Ideal as a gift too with our SEAMS Original unisex scent it's suitable for everyone and all skin types. You create let SEAMS take care of your hands.


WHY SUMMER HAND CARE MATTERS

Taking care of hands in the winter when they are dry and chapped is a given, but in the summer hands suffer too just for different reasons, during the day the sun creams and moisture from sweating deceives your skin into feeling soft and hydrated, but actually its the opposite happening and at night your hands can feel tight, dry, the skin start to flake and nails become dry and split. WHY?EXCESSIVE SWEATING: Not only causes the body to dehydrate but also the skin. Lack of moisture in the skin will causes dryness and speed up the signs of ageing. Drink plenty of water at least 1.5 Litres a day.Wear breathable fabrics with plenty of ventilation.Avoid spicy foods that make you sweat,Eat fruit and vegetables such as watermelon, strawberries and cucumber that have a high water content.Moisturise hands at least 3-4 times a day and before you sleep. AIR CONDITIONING: Draws humidity from the air and moisture from your skin, drying out the epidermis (top layer) of skin, hands can start to feel tight this means you are loosing elasticity from your skin and skin can start to shrivel up, unless you replace the moisture throughout the day wrinkles will start to appear and speed up the ageing process. Hands are our biggest indicator of age! Avoid washing hands with hot water as this dries the skin further.Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables especially with Vitamin C which is important for collagen production. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats to keep skin supple. Moisturise hands at least 3-4 times a day and before you sleep. CHLORINE FROM SWIMMING POOLS: Swimming is so good for exercising many muscles at the same time but the chlorine and other chemicals in the water can irritate the skin, they strip the seban and natural oils from the top layer causing skin to become dry, itchy and wrinkly. Not only that they leave an unpleasant scent on the skin and can cause skin conditions like eczema to worsen. Shower immediately after swimming and reapply sunscreen.At night treat your hands with a rich hand cream, the Shea Butter in SEAMS will help to soothe and moisturise skin. whilst the Biomimetic Lipid Complex can hold in the moisture and help restore the skins lipids offering an extra layer of protection ready for the next day. Our signature scent will also help with the Chlorine smell.THE SUN: Dries the skin and can cause excessive flaking, your skin will feel tight as the elastin is broken down then wrinkles and sun spots will quickly appear, not a good look! Its not always possible to cover the skin whilst in the sunshine, gloves are not an option like in winter! If at the beach then hands are constantly in water, touching porous towels, sand although a natural exfoliator it will also dry the skin, generally the moisture will be zapped out all day long. I used to love lying in the sun the UK is so wet that when the sun did come I rushed out to soak in the vitamin D. I now cover up and stay in the shade and have noticed a vast difference to my skin as the collagen is naturally replenished without being broken down. If you already have sun-damage stay out of the sun a much as you can and wear a factor 50 SPF, you will notice that your skin starts to look younger and feel softer. Eating vegetables such as carrots and spinach which are full of antioxidants will also help to protect skin.Eat chocolate (the darker the better) it's not only high in antioxidants but can help to reduce inflammation! Use SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream at night the Macadamia nut Oil will help to restore, Rosehip Oil nourish and Oat Bta-glucan moisturise so you will wake with hands feeling soft and supple. There's lots you can do for your skin in the warmer months, get to the stage where keeping skin soft is just a daily 'up keep' ritual' that you can enjoy. Karen J.


Karen J. Meets Tessa Prince

I feel hungry just looking at the food creations of Tessa Prince, yet it almost looks too good to eat, time after time Tessa's hands bring beauty to the freshest of ingredients. I was intrigued to find out the inspiration behind these food masterpieces and the ability to visualise a taste 'Tessa held a pastry fork before a pencil' so all the way from the sunny isle of Ibiza here's Tessa's story - You have a very hands on job and are hugely creative - where do you draw your inspiration from? (The truffle looks incredible)I draw my inspiration from the seasons - although people assume that the produce is just mediterranean sun-soaked tomatoes and aubergines we have very distinct seasons when it comes to fruit and vegetables. It's a joy to see the wild asparagus and samphire in late winter, nisperos (loquats), wild garlic and rocket in spring, pomegranates, persimmons, carob and figs in Autumn, and obviously the iconic almonds, Sal De Ibiza (sea salt) and citrus trees all year around. It's literally a foodies's paradise. What did you want to be when you are growing up?I wanted to be a nurse, but I always gravitated towards food, I had a pastry brush before a pencil! Then went to catering college and the rest is history! Who is your biggest creative inspiration?I try and get inspiration from all different creatives: Artists, food photographers, interior designers, florists. In terms of food icons - Diana Henry, Gordon Ramsey and there are so many Instagram food bloggers, it's a close knit community where we all encourage one another. When creating do you lead with your head or your heart?Oh good question, I would say heart! I want to bring beauty to the ingredients I'm so blessed to cook with. The food you create is art and totally unique - how do you keep all your new ideas fresh?That's such a lovely compliment. I don't see my style as unique, but I always intend to make food look natural, beautiful yet achievable. As a chef you can never be complacent or stop learning and i'm always interested in getting tips and ideas from other chefs, nutritionists and of course Mother nature. Also great props and service-ware can tell a story. I was collecting vintage crockery and china in my teens when my girlfriends were buying shoes and handbags! When you are creating a new recipe do you know what the taste will be like? In much the same way a designer knows what a dress will look like are you able to visualise the taste?I have a very good idea before I start developing recipes, sometimes it's a modern take on a classic dish. The use of certain spices, herbs, a squeeze of lemon can totally elevate a dish into something incredible! I have a fabulous new book called Thee Flavour Of Thesaurus which is a great guide to food pairing - its super helpful when developing recipes. If you could choose 1 person to cook for who would it be?The Queen! I love her. Makers and creators can often be bad with balance - how do you practise self care?Yes indeed but on this paradise island I can easily stay grounded, simply by my daily morning walks on the beach or strolling through the pine forests, it feeds my soul. I'm the resident cook for Soul Adventures Kundalini Yoga run by my dear friend Trish Whelan and we do yoga twice a week with a gong bath sound healing. All of this keeps the vibes high! What's the best piece of creative advice you have ever been given? Probably from my great friend Shirlie Kemp who is an extraordinary stylist and photographer. She encouraged me to show my personality through my food... get people to know the real me! To find out more head over to www.lovefoodibiza.com You have a very hands on job and are hugely creative - where do you draw your inspiration from? (The truffle looks incredible)


GIVE YOUR HANDS A HAND AROUND THE HOUSE

Are your hands feeling taught and dry by the end of the day? The cold weather and the drying effects of central heating have brought an xtra burden into the skin of our hands, together with the constant hand washing and sanitising what chance have our hands got to stay in tip top condition without a little help! Here's my tips to help keep hands soft and supple whilst minimising the spread of germs whilst at home 1. Wear rubber gloves for washing up and housework to protect from the harsh effects of chemicals in cleaning products. Hot water maybe good for getting marks out of dishes but it also strips the oils from your skin. Not only that but grime is full of germs think about that when you are scrubbing to get marks off the sink and bath! The inside of wet gloves is a haven for bacteria if they get wet hang them upside down to dry before using them again. To minimise the spread of germs do not share rubber gloves, buy each member of your family a different colour. 2. Be careful when taking things out of the oven. Be sure to use oven gloves when handling anything hot, don't grab a tea towel you may get burnt. Sharing gloves can spread germs, buy each member of the family their own.  Like the rubber gloves if they get wet dry them fully before using again. I recommend washing your oven gloves once a week on a quick cycle in the washing machine then drying on top of a radiator. Not only do the outsides get caked with food but hands can be in and out of the gloves many times whilst cooking a meal and often oven gloves are shared. 3. Sometimes forgotten are the handles of the vacuum cleaner, broom and mop. Even if you have been wearing gloves when moping and hoovering chances are you will use the appliances again when bare handed, they can be covered with chemicals and bacteria which transfers onto the palms of your hands. Wipe and sanitise the handles of your appliances regularly,  If all the household are doing their fair share of jobs around the house which I hope they are, then it's especially important to keep them pristine during this pandemic. 4. Always fully dry your hands, damp hands can become sore. I like to have a roll of paper towels handy in the kitchen, they are more hygienic to use than sharing a family towel. 5. Protect any nips or scratches with a plaster, left open water and bacteria can get in underneath, causing the skin to split further which can eventually lead to eczema. 6. Use a gentle soap to help avoid irritations and wash with warm water, hot water can leave hands feeling dry and sore. 7. Keep nails shorter and square and clean under nails with a nail brush that’s a haven for bacteria. 8. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise at least 3- 4 times a day especially before going to sleep. SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream absorbs instantly and isn’t greasy so perfect for busy hands. 9. Gently smooth SEAMS Silk Touch Hand & Nail Oil into cuticles at night to stop them splitting, full of fatty acids this nourishing oil will quickly sink into your skin to soften and smooth. Use alone or as a treatment under SEAMS Hand Cream 10. Take a minute to give yourself a hand massage, rubbing the pressure points in your palm will keep the blood flowing and help to keep hands supple. 11. Regularly drink water at least 1.5 litres a day. Pinch a small piece of skin on the top of your hand and let go if the skin doesn't quickly bounce back then chances are you are dehydrated. Keeping hydrated will help the skin stay pump and supple. Karen J.                


How To Apply Hand Cream

HOW TO APPLY HAND CREAM This has to be the shortest blog i've written, but it really doesn't take long to apply Hand Cream although if done regularly the effects will be seen in years to come. Place a small drop into the palm of your hand and gently rub hands together massage pressure points below each finger with the opposite thumb to help de-stress your hands. Smooth into each cuticle. Any excess cream work up into your wrists. Karen J.  


Our Hands Are In Water More Than 20 Times A Day!

Every time your hands come into contact with water, natural oils and moisture are being taken speeding up the onset of fine lines and saggy skin. The skin on our hands is thinner than any other part of the body so its not surprising that they are the first to show the signs of ageing. On average our hands are in water and detergents at least 20 times a day! Heres but a few - 4x Washing up / filling the dishwasher 1x Laundry 3 x Meals 1 x Coffee breaks 4 x Bathroom 2 x Shower 1 x Housework 4 x Extra hand washing Then there's washing hands during crafting, gardening and add in the use of hand sanitiser, our hands really do take a daily bashing. Just like we often don’t realise how thirsty we were until we drink some water, so we can be unaware of  how dry our hands are becoming until they are sore, chapped and the damage is done. Using SEAMS daily will help boost moisture and combat the signs of ageing. Don’t wait until your hands feel dry and the damage has already been done, daily use of hand cream helps keep skin in good condion, which means that if your hands do overwork the softness will bounce back quickly after just one use. It's also worth following these 6 handy tips 1. Although I always advise to wear rubber gloves when at the kitchen sink or when doing household jobs unless you are a hand model its just not practical to put on gloves every time you want to rinse a coffee mug, or wash some vegetables. Keep the water warm not hot, use mild detergents and make sure your hands are completely dry afterwards its important to stop skin becoming damp which can lead to sore, chapped skin. Oh and if the gloves get wet inside turn them inside out to dry thoroughly before the next use. 2. Cuticles are the first to split when constantly washing, keep any loose skin trimmed back, and use a good cuticle oil twice a day. SEAMS Silk Touch Hand & Nail Oil is full of fatty acids to help nourish and soften cuticles, nails and dry patches of skin. 3. If your finger tips are showing white lines then for sure they are feeling dry, massage in some extra hand cream to keep them moisturised. When the tips get dry even using a touch screen on a mobile phone becomes difficult to operate. 4. Keep nails shorter and as square as possible slightly rounded at the sides. Dirt and germs will often stick underneath long nails, pointed nails are more likely to scratch up dirt from any surfaces you are touching. The constant washing of hands can cause water to get under any chips in nail polish again a haven for bacteria to get in. 5. If you are using ant-bacterial gel and it stings chances are you have an area of distressed skin that needs attention. SEAMS was originally created to help heal the pinpricked hands of seamstresses without stinging and will be sure to help. 6. It takes just a couple of seconds to apply hand cream  yet makes a massive difference. SEAMS has been created to absorb instantly and it’s not greasy so the goodness is going straight into your skin and you can carry on quickly with whatever you were doing. Filled with natural ingredients such as Macadamia Oil, Rosehip Oil, Shea Butter and a Biomimetic Lipid Complex you can apply SEAMS as often as you like during the day and before you go to sleep to help look in moisture. Karen J.                


How To Keep Your Hands Clean & Soft – Hand Washing Tips

With all this extra hand washing and sanitising hands are getting extremely dry, we should be washing our hands like this anyway, so here's how to keep hands clean & soft - Wet your hands first then add soap and work into a lather rubbing your hands together. Interlace your fingers and then with your thumb massage in between finger. Work your way over and around each finger and don't forget your thumb the outside edge often gets left out and thats the part that has the most contact when on a keyboard, picking something up, turning  a page... Rub the tops of your hands together paying special attention to your knuckles. The don't forget you wrists, they lean on a table when we are at our desks and we often rub our wrists with our hands. Dry with a paper towel and then use the edge of the paper towel to turn off the tap so as not to pick up any germs. Make sure your hands are fully dry, damp hands can cause the skin to chap and also will be more porous to any dirt. Moisturise well, SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream absorbs instantly its not greasy so you can carry on with whatever you need to do. Fingertips are usually the first to become dry this can reduce the sensitivity when using touch screens, if white lines are appearing be sure to massage in some extra hand cream. Keep nails shorter and file to a  square, the underneath of our nails can become a dirt trap! If  you have any loose bits of skin around your cuticles, do not pull on it but trim it back gently with some nail scissors. If  your hands sting when using an antibacterial gel it could mean that the skin is beginning to chap. Split skin lets in bacteria and can be cause for infection. To help prevent this happening  use Silk Touch Hand & Nail Oil as a treatment under SEAMS Hand Cream at night before you go to sleep. Regularly clean any nail tools, keeping nails scissors sanitised is crucial to stop the spreading of any bacteria or fungus. Be Safe - Be Well Karen J.


HANGING OUT ON SEWING STREET

It was great to be on set in Sewing Streets first week on air talking hands and hand care with Vicki Carroll. The studio is in the most beautiful country manor deep in the British countryside in Redditch, sharing their building temporarily with Jewellery Maker, meant precious stones and creations in progress were dotted over desks, photocopiers in the sound studio and it was a head pin  to the rescue in wardrobe i've found out head pins are the go to when a safety pin is not available! Although there was a trade off with SEAMS which was greatly received to look after the dry hard cuticles of crafters hands! Karen J.        


A quick blog today just to say we opened up Simply Knitting Magazine to see SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream as the editors choice chosen by SK Editor Kirstie McLeod. I am so pleased to see  SEAMS helping the hands it was created for. Knitters hands get especially dry as wool is extremely porous, I know from experience how a bit of dry skin catches on the wool and feels uncomfortable when knitting. SEAMS Hand Cream can be used whilst working as its non-greasy and so doesn't transfer on the knitting. Karen J.


A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

Dealing with a problem right away will prevent it from getting worse and more difficult to deal with later, there is nothing like the now! Some say that "A stitch in time" was first said by mothers weary of mending their children's clothes, and mending a tear right away would require only 1 stitch instead of 10 stitches later. Others that making 1 wrong stitch whist embroidering can mean unpicking a whole section later. Embroidery has been around since 3rd Century BC with the earliest examples found in China. You may have thought that embroidering was something Elizabeth Bennet did in Pride and Prejudice to while away the hours whilst waiting for Mr Darcy to sweep her off her feet, but the art of embroidery is enjoying a huge renaissance, with global designers such as Erdem using embroidery to create the most beautiful floral designs on his pieces, every high street retailers embroidered bomber jackets flying out of the doors, and this season Valentinos legendary Rockstud bag has been embroidered with a Jungle print. At SEAMS this week we are looking after hand sewing the creations for London Fashion Week and I know there are going to be many fabulous embroidered pieces on the catwalk. There are many reasons to sew there is nothing like creating something timeless with a personal touch. Type embroidery into Google today and you will find embroidery groups and courses springing up everywhere. There are Facebook groups where you can chat to Romanian Grandmothers who will show you their country's traditional techniques, and clubs you can go along to socialise and swap tips. Embroidery has come back in fashion in a big way Gwen Stephani loves to sew and says she learnt the craft from her mother and grandmother. Britney Spears has tweeted herself having sewing lessons from her wardrobe mistress. Chris Martin from ColdPlay says he and his band members love to sewing their own clothes. Julia Roberts has been taking sewing lessons to keep her brain active as she grows older. George Clooney once made his own clothes and stepped in to fix a broken zipper on his girlfriends dress backstage at The Academy Awards. Rumour has it that Judy Dench creates the most ornate and beautiful pieces of embroidery but of the most foul language and them gives them to people as gifts! It was my love of sewing that lead me to create SEAMS Hand Cream, knowing from first hand experience the problems that this addictive craft can cause. From pin-pricks and burns to dry, sore and aching hands we needed a hand cream that could be used whilst working as a sewer never wants to stop! That is why SEAMS has a special fast dry formula and doesn't transmit grease onto fabric. Moisturised hands really do 'feel' the material better. With your skin 'a stitch in time saves nine" is so true, meaning it is better to smooth on SEAMS before and during everything you do than to try to repair damaged skin afterwards. Keep your hands soft and beautiful with SEAMS Karen J