Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Aveda and the Eden Project

My sister got me hooked on Aveda over ten years ago, with a wedding gift set of toiletry products. I have fine, frizzy hair, and Aveda's hair products are the only thing that can make me even nominally presentable, especially in humid weather.

No Aveda hair day (Normandy coast)

Aveda hair day (Cornish coast)


Aveda - the environmental company

Aveda is a relatively environmentally friendly corporation (to the extent that corporations can be environmental). They don't make a fetish out of organics (though some of the ingredients they use are organic), but instead focus on a more holistic approach of promoting environmental sustainability, including using recycled packaging and wind energy to power their manufacturing facility. But the main reason I use Aveda products is because they work, they smell nice, and ok, I'll admit it, the bottles are my favourite colour - green.

Over the years my addiction has gradually expanded, and now I buy most of my toiletry and makeup products from Aveda. I'm especially a fan of their lipstick, which actually moisturises your lips instead of drying them out, like most other brands.

Quite early on I joined their Pure Privilege scheme, whereby you earn points each time you spend money on their products. Over the past five years of increasing Aveda purchases, I earned enough points to reach tier 6 (the second highest), where one of the rewards was a Cornwall escape. Consequently, this past weekend we enjoyed two nights accommodation at the three-star Cliff Head Hotel in Cornwall, including dinner, breakfast and tickets to the Eden Project just around the corner.

Eden - the environmental project

The Eden project is a garden created in an old china clay mining pit in Cornwall. It has outdoor gardens and two greenhouse structures, or biomes, the largest (in the world) for tropical plants, the other for warm temperate and arid plants.

Eden Project biomes

A unique feature of the Eden Project is their environmentalism. They use sanitised rain water to humidify the tropical biome and wind energy to power their facilities. In addition, one of their aims is environmental education focussing on the interdependence of plants and people. So unlike many gardens, they don't just grow decorative plants. I really liked being able to see everyday plants like rubber, rice and coffee in the tropical biome, and olive and fruit trees in the Mediterranean biome. And ok, the decorative flowers were also wonderful.

Hibiscus Schizopetalus (Japanese Lantern or Coral Hibiscus)
in tropical biome

Bougainvillea in Mediterranean biome

But I'd have to say that my favourite part of the visit was seeing the hemp plants growing, because hemp is one of my very all time favourite eco fibres. Here's a nice little educational video from the Eden project.

And finally, Eden also has the longest and fastest zip line in England, so my husband spent much of our visit trying to take pictures of the crazy people flying by overhead.

If I keep buying Aveda at the same rate, within ten years I may have enough points for the highest tier prize, a three-night stay at the Sugar Ridge Antigua resort. Though I'm probably more likely to go for the other tier 6 travel prize - two nights at a hotel in the Lake district. After my reaction to the temperature in the tropical biodome at Eden project, I'm not sure I'm up for those kinds of temperatures anymore.