Doing Things Properly with land&water
As we edge towards a new season (albeit very slowly), there is a collective feeling that we're well and truly ready to come out of hibernation. Our Doing Things Properly interview with land&water therefore couldn't have come at a better time.
land&water is a brand rooted in capturing and sustaining a feeling of invigorated wellbeing - or 'active relaxation' - that is feeling better and restored inside from time spent outside. For land&water, relaxation is about so much more than a candlelit bath (although, it helps!). Awakening the senses with time spent out in the elements is the very feeling that land&water have so wonderfully captured through their products.
"Sea, lake or river; beach, cliff or shore. land&water grew from many joyful moments spent on the threshold between dynamic and restful; a place and a mindset that informs everything we do."
Inspired by being in, on, or looking out over water (no surprises given Founder Pix Ashworth's roots at the Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall) and the invigorating and restorative effect it has on us, the collection of products that land&water have created have captured that emotion perfectly.
With nature being the very reason land&water came into fruition, it goes without saying that protecting it is at the forefront of every decision founder Pix Ashworth makes. It shapes everything they do, and we can't wait to introduce you.
Can you tell us a little bit about land&water - where did it all begin and what was your inspiration behind creating these beautiful products?
We are really lucky to work and live in a beautiful part of the British Isles. Our family business, Watergate Bay Hotel, set on a wide sandy bay on the North Coast of Cornwall, and its sister hotel, Another Place, on the shores of England’s second largest lake, Ullswater - poured ample inspiration into shaping land&water’s philosophy, lifestyle and culture.
Amidst our everyday lives we are able to carve out moments of ‘active relaxation’ - getting out amongst the elements, blowing away the cobwebs and finding that wonderful sense of exhilaration and calm that goes hand in hand with spending time outside. So I guess it’s the experience of that enjoyment, as well as many years witnessing the warm glow of guests coming inside after days well spent, that acted as our spark to create land&water. We wanted to bottle the essence of that sweetspot of emotion - invigorated, yet calm.
“Nature is what we hold most dear” - how do you ensure that your products have as little impact as possible on the natural environment that you are so closely connected with?
By prioritising sustainability from the outset. For me, the principles of sustainability should not be a USP, but a given. We had invested in our own natural products for our business since 2012, and then from January 2018 I spent two years researching and developing how we could take this further. It was the beginning of some exciting new technology, both for our products in the world of bio-technology, and for our packaging - we were one of the first onto the market with 100% recycled plastic, and now a step further with prevented-ocean-plastic. I’ve discovered there is a rarely a ‘right answer’, more a ‘right mentality’ to push the boundaries, improve and do the absolute best you can amidst the growth of a small business.
Can you talk us through some of your key ingredients and their therapeutic benefits?
Yes! In our fragrances (natural through and through), we create chords that recreate that sense of exhilaration and calm that we get from spending time outside, particularly on the threshold of land and water. Our top notes are exhilarating citrus and mint, and our bottom notes are deep, woody fragrances such as cedarwood and frankincense.
Our actives in the formulations carry our land&water DNA. That means that all our washes contain spike moss, known as the ‘resurrection plant’ (I love this nickname) for its ability to recover and rehydrate after dry spells. Spike moss’s hydrating extract, hydranellys, uses the same biotechnology to restore your skin’s lipid balance and retain water. Our lotions contain samphire (Salicorne), again a super hardy plant growing on the fringes of land and sea, with impressive capabilities for protecting itself from dehydration – despite the high salt content of its environment. Samphire’s oily extract, hydrosalinol, helps moisturise, restructure and smooth out skin. And then, an essential ingredient in our oil, scrub and balm is sea buckthorn oil. The oil comes from the ‘wonder berry’ of the sea buckthorn plant, which clings to rocky sea cliffs and thrives on sunshine. High in vitamin C, it’s a natural antioxidant with skin rejuvenating properties.
Tell us more about the ‘warm glow effect’ (and how we go about achieving this, please!).
It begins with the idea that time outside makes us feel better inside. And what’s so interesting is that whilst time in nature, breathing fresh air and feeling closer to the elements means something different to each of us, the feeling of being uplifted (resulting in that warm glow) seems to be a universal thread that draws our perspectives together.
When I picture my own warm glow, I think of the very moment that I open the door to our house, arriving back home after a walk. Hot air against cold cheeks. It’s a life-affirming moment, full of positivity and simple happiness.
In 2021, we published our first printed zine, collaborating with the award-winning portrait photographer Danny North. His ‘Warm Glow’ series captures nature’s transformative power and our six subjects discuss what that warm glow means to them. Words like ‘unburdened’, ‘at peace’, ‘fireworks in every cell’, ‘the joy of companionship’, and ‘balance’ ring out and resonate every time I read them.
What impact can choosing the right products, such as the range from land&water, have on our daily lives - both physically and mentally?
The physical and mental are very much intertwined. Our fragrances are made from 100% pure essential oils. Used sensitively and in meaningful quantities, they are fresh, alive and powerful and so they give emotional and therapeutic benefits that synthetic fragrances simply can’t match. We view the creation of our products in the same way as cooking wholesome, nutritious food; in fact our senior technicians are all ex-chefs who we have sponsored through biochemistry degrees. And just in the same way that a chef carefully selects and then nurtures the freshest ingredients, so we do too with our products. Our bodies absorb so much through our skin so it makes sense to take as much care in what we put on our skin, as we do in feeding ourselves.
Also, I think the choice to ‘buy better’ feels right and freshens our resolve to look after our planet. It’s not easy as it can feel overwhelming trying to make the right decision. That’s one of the reasons we’ve invested in applying for B Corp accreditation. So that our customers can identify easily that we are actively working to use our business as a force for good, both environmentally and socially. B Corps balance profit with people and planet - reaching the highest environmental and social standards and we’ll be legally required to report on our impact every year, with a new assessment every three years.
Doing Things Properly is something we work by, as well as talk about outwardly. What does ‘doing things properly’ mean to you?
I love this concept as it resonates so well with our ethos. And, as I mentioned, B Corp helps to bring that together so our customers know that we are indeed doing things properly; showing our planet and people the respect they deserve. Our wonderful team all share an innate drive to do things in the best and right way. There’s no ‘good enough’ - we want our product and brand to sing!
As we know through our own research, choosing the ‘right’ packaging is not straightforward - with that in mind, can you tell us a little more about the packaging and materials you have chosen to use across the range and why?
You’re right, it’s definitely not straightforward! That’s why we spent so long researching and developing land&water.
Our packaging ethos centres on re-use, recycle and refill – replacing virgin materials, contributing to the circular economy and reducing waste / landfill. We considered bio-plastic, recycled plastic, aluminium and glass to house our products. All have their place, and we made our choices based on criteria that covers the practical (for example safety and usability), the ethical (for example land use) and the sustainable (for example energy use and transport). And of course, we look to everything we use, including our outer packaging - all of which is made the UK from recycled and recyclable materials.
And while this in-depth process has informed the decisions that have got us this far, it’s a never-ending journey, as technology and society evolve, and new options emerge. Last year we launched our 5L refills and now we are able to source our recycled plastic from a prevented-ocean-plastic scheme, supporting both people and planet in at-risk communities.
How does tea play a part in your own daily rituals and routines?
A Good & Proper peppermint tea is my daily ritual. The location doesn’t matter - garden, kitchen, sofa or beach - and nor does the timing - it’s just instinctive - but always mint. Uplifting and warming.
What does a weekend at home look like for you?
Our weekends vary depending on what’s going on for us at work and for the children at school, but the best weekends are the empty-diary ones, spontaneous and full of time outside with family and friends. And then coming in, eating well, sleeping well, and that happy feeling of time well spent.
Nurturing partnerships with likeminded brands is an important part of our mission in showcasing what it means to do things properly. It's so much more than shining a spotlight on great brands, but also offering and introducing new ways for you to experience them. That's why our friends at land&water have been kind enough to offer £10 off your order of £30 or more from their full bath & body collection.