The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Edition

Summerdown Mint

21 Mar 2017

What is it about a long, hot soak? Like some Japanese tea ritual; the strike of the match, the sound of running water, signalling loud and clear that wind-down time is nigh.

Then that first heavenly muscle-relax when you ease yourself into frothy bubbles (*Waves at Mills&Boons publisher, asks r.e. deal*). So before I ditch the writing and scoot off for a cheeky dip, let’s talk bath-products, more specifically Hampshire’s very own Summerdown Mint producers of gorgeous mint bath-soaks, hand and body lotions, candles, reed diffusers, chocolate mint creams… oh, the list goes on.

You might have seen Summerdown on Country File back in Autumn? Waving the flag for good-ship Hampshire with Anita Rani, Muddy Hants’ official style-crush. But I digress. Mint and beauty products, really? Toothpaste OK, but beauty lotion? Bath products?

Now your favourite Muddy Editor has been writing about natural beauty for a good long while, and we’re talking the wacky end here: kefir, matcha, bee venom… but never mint, which is ridiculous because this fast-growing herb is a household essential, wonderfully calming AND a renowned muscle relaxant, exactly what us gals need when stealing a precious half-hour in the bath.

It turns out that Summerdown’s line is the first natural beauty collection to harness peppermint’s chill-the-beans, let’s-not-guzzle-ever-more-wine properties, and said mint is grown right here in the Hampshire Downs.

Truth be told, there are other products that contain mint essence, but nothing that stands against this pure, single-estate peppermint oil produced in-house.  Sounds like an artisan coffee doesn’t it? Well, yes. Farm Manager Ian has spent 33 years perfecting his distillation technique and carefully stores each batch until it is fully matured.

This is what I love about these products: unbelievable attention to detail, from the heart and small, yes, but punchy with horizons way further than Farnborough (we’re talking winners of a Beauty Shortlist award, the most respected clean beauty blog in the UK).  Still though, there’s nothing like buying local.

We’ve all heard of food miles, but what about beauty miles? Or lack of. What I appreciate most about using these products is that they are absolutely grounded in their locale.

Summerdown Mint is a founding member of that visionary Hampshire cohort of growers and producers using traditional crops to create groundbreaking businesses: Twisted Nose’s gin distilled with watercress (geek fact — the Latin for watercress is nasturtium, meaning… yup, twisted nose); Parsonage Farm riding the charcuterie revival with its home-reared pork; and, of course, Cottonworth Wine with its award-winning fizz — let’s not forget that the Roman’s cultivated vines on Hampshire’s chalk seam.

In ye’ olden times, Black Mitcham Mint was another local agricultural staple. Summerdown’s owner, Sir Michael Colman, re-discovered the herb in America, bringing it back to its native ground twenty years ago.  And the rest as they say, c’est l’histoire.

And on that note, I’m off for a cheeky mid-day soak.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Hampshire Edition