Certified organic Neal’s Yard Remedies now at Rustan’s
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Neal’s Yard Remedies, the world’s first health and beauty brand to score a perfect 100 for ethical practices by the global Ethical Company Organization, is now in the Philippines, brought in by Rustan’s.


Started over 30 years ago in Covent Garden, London, the independent and family-owned Neal’s Yard Remedies is a pioneer in natural and holistic health, beauty, and well-being in the UK.
It’s also the first certified organic health and beauty company and the first high street retailer to launch certified organic essential oils.


To officially welcome the British brand, Rustan’s invited guests and media to a ribbon cutting ceremony, led by Director of International Sales for Neal’s Yard Remedies Calum Mackay and Rustan Commercial Corporation VP for Store Planning and Expansions Michael Huang, along with Assistant International Partnership Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies Amy Wise, Rustan’s VP Operations Val Khodaverdi, Rustan Commercial Corporation Division Manager for Key Brands April Marquez, and Brand Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies Aiem Ong.


After the ceremony, the group headed over to Sonya’s Garden, Cavite, where guests were treated to a healthy and organic lunch, as well as informative and pampering activities where they got to try some of Neal’s Yard Remedies products.


Labeling a beauty product “truly organic” means it must have legally acquired certifications and complied with laws and regulations enforced by various agencies, such as using ingredients that have been grown and processed under a very strict code of cleanliness, naturally without pesticides or fertilizers, and without synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms, among many other requirements.


A label can’t just claim it is organic without acquiring such certifications.
Neal’s Yard Remedies products have always adhered to these strict standards, apart from ensuring its ingredients are sustainably sourced.
Discover the award-winning, certified organic health and beauty products of Neal’s Yard Remedies, exclusively available at Rustan’s Makati.

How to declutter your closet and donate to H&M’s recycling program
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One day I hope to move to a big house with a walk-in closet just for me. But for the time being, I have very limited closet space. I constantly need to remove old or unused clothes to make space for new ones.
Here’s what I usually do:
1) Garage sale but usually the maids get first dibs and send to the province.
2) Donate to my friend Rem.
3) The stranger pieces of designer clothes I used to consign to my friend JP.

But JP is always traveling. Some of my clothes cannot be garage sold because nobody gets them.
What to do with threads you no longer need?
Luckily, Dan Mejia from H&M Philippines told me about their recycling program.

H&M has special boxes at their stores where you can drop off any kind of fiber—be it one sock, a placemat, retaso, unused fabric, pieces of clothing, scarves, etc. which they collect, clean, and transform into new fibers to make new garments. Much better than ending up in landfills.

H&M recycling program

I decided to drop off my first batch during World Recycle Week at H&M Megmall last April.

H&M recycle

The recycling box is located on the 2nd level.

H&M recycle

Best to go on a weekday. No tao.

H&M recycle

There’s the recycling box.

H&M recycle
H&M recycle

In exchange they gave me discount coupons worth 15% each. That means each coupon can be used to get a 15% discount off one item when you shop at H&M.
I ended up using mine at H&M Magnolia because I adore H&M Home.
My designer friend Patrice donated tons of unused fabric she no longer needed and got two booklets of discount coupons.

World Recycle Week is over, but you can donate any time of year to H&M’s recycling program.
If you’re a fashion designer who wants to unload fabric or samples you no longer need, I can hook you up with H&M Philippines. Just email me at

Watch this video to understand better what happens next to the donation process.

To know more about H&M’s recycling program, click HERE.

Happy Father’s Day to the one who shares my load
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You know those old movies where the husband typically demands a son from his wife?
The opposite was true for me and my husband.
My husband Jeroen grew up with just one brother and always wanted a sister. He even begged his parents to adopt a girl, but it never happened.
When we got married 15 years ago, I really wished I could give him a baby girl. We even had a name for her. Then Ben was born.

Newborn Ben

Ten months later, I was pregnant again. We really prayed for a daughter. Imagine the tears when the ultrasound once again revealed a scrotum.
Markus was born.


After my second C-section, my doctor said I couldn’t carry any more babies, but I still wanted another one.
We decided to adopt a baby girl. But then things don’t always happen as we plan. When we went to the orphanage, I was drawn to yet another pair of balls.
We adopted Christian.


In the beginning, I was scared to have boys. I was afraid to screw them up. I even bought books on how to raise boys, but Jessica Zafra told me not to read them. She said I would just figure it out, and I did. But to be honest, I couldn’t do it without my husband.

My husband is Dutch so you can imagine we were raised very differently.
I grew up with maids and learned how to do chores only when I went to college in New York.
I learned how to cook, clean, wash dishes, do laundry, commute, pay my bills, among other things.
Jeroen, on the other hand, grew up without maids, but his mom did most of the cooking, laundry and cleaning—on top of being a nurse.
Jeroen helped out by taking out the garbage, cleaning his own room and bike, mowing the lawn, feeding the rabbit… (he is actually dictating this)

As a married couple, I’d say we are a great team. We divide responsibilities. While I take care of most of the kids’ needs, Jeroen is there to do the stuff I can’t, such as sports and morning activities. He also cooks a lot for them. Jeroen is a hands-on dad. He’s not afraid to show his love, and though he scolds the boys, I have never seen him lay a hand on them.

Ben still sleeps on our bed when there's no school the next day
daddy love
Back at home!

He can also tell when I’m sad or having a bad day. That’s when he takes time out to comfort or pamper me.
Marriage is a partnership. If there is one thing I wish for our kids, it’s to be like their Dad. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner for me, so this coming Father’s Day, I want to thank Jeroen for helping me raise the kids and #ShareTheLoad.

I recently saw this touching #Ariel video that shares the same idea.
Set in India, a tired mom comes home from work and goes straight to taking care of her family’s needs. Her visiting father sees it and starts to think about what kind of children are we raising by example?
Should the women do most of the work and serve the men in the family, or should the load be shared by all?

Why aren’t gender roles evolving with the times? Maybe it’s time to #ShareTheLoad

Posted by Ariel Philippines on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Happy Father’s Day from #Ariel.

The smiles are worth it! Look how your Php 25 can brighten a kid’s future through NBS Project Aral
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I’m such a lucky girl. I feel this more whenever National Bookstore sends my care package of gift checks, so I get to visit the store every time I feel like it.
Usually I go straight to the imported stationery section before heading towards school and office supplies, and the occasional magazine.
Whenever I pay at the cashier, they always invite me to buy school set for Php 25 pesos each. It includes a couple of notebooks and writing materials.
I make sure to put a friend’s name on the donor sticker—a friend who has passed away, for their memory and in hope that the whoever receives the donation will pray for the person whose name is on it.

Project Aral

My cousin Chelo died in 2008, so this is just one of the ways I keep her memory alive.
After purchasing the kits, you drop them off in the donation box next to the cashier.
This year I have probably purchased 20-30 kits and wondered where they went.
Luckily National Bookstore send photos for sharing. Just look at all these happy faces.

National Bookstore Project Aral
National Bookstore Project Aral
National Bookstore Project Aral
National Bookstore Project Aral

Makes your Php 25 pesos worth it.
I’m proud to support a brand that I’ve relied on for years, that also goes out of its way to improve the lives of school children.

National Book Store’s Project Aral began eight years ago, when a during an outreach program in Antique, one of the chieftains asked the NBS team if they had brought a sharpener.
“Ma’am, tanong ko lang gani may sharpener po ba kayong dala? Kasi po sa halos isang daang bata namin dito, iisa lang ang sharpener namin.” 

Right then, they thought of a project that would give to school children. Project Aral was born. It is a direct, simple and easy way for National Book Store customers to help less fortunate kids to be motivated and go to school.
The annual staging of Project Aral has already donated to nearly a million of school children all over the country—from Itbayat, Batanes to Babuyan Islands, and even in conflict-affected areas in Mamasapano, Mindanao.

National Bookstore Project Aral

This year, more than 550,000 kits have been donated so far.
Last year, close to 800,000 Project Aral Kits were donated and distributed to children in far-flung areas that can only be reached by foot.

Purchase and donate Project Aral Kits for only Php 25 at National Book Store.
Each kit contains two notebooks, two pencils, a sharpener and eraser, or two ballpoint pens.
Project Aral kits are available until June 30, 2016 at all National Book Store, National Book Store Express and Powerbooks branches.

Call 8888-NBS (627) for more information.
Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert).

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