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Written by Vicky Clements


‘Steeped in Beautea’

Janine Langdon-Lee

August 2014

Being partial to a cuppa— especially when brewed in a teapot—and having tea parties with friends inspired Janine Langdon-Lee to start a business; when she combined her love of drinking tea with her joy of making pampering products, the outcome was the creation of ‘Steeped in Beautea’.

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“When I turned forty I had a tea party. It gave me the whole concept of having friends round for a tea party and having some kind of crafting workshop. Playing round with names I came up with Steeped in Beautea, combining those two things—come to my workshop, create a product for you or someone else whilst having a cup of tea”.

With her cheerful nature and optimistic mind-set Janine set to work on forming a business that would bring women together in a pleasant and relaxing setting; where they could learn to make something simple using natural ingredients whilst socialising and of course having a cuppa!

In 2013 renovations began in her home in Wellington where she resides with husband Mike. She planned to design a space in their house that’s pleasing on the eye and welcoming, with a peaceful feel, and that’s exactly what was achieved. The workshop has its own entrance and bathroom that separates work from home as well as giving her clientele an accessible and comfortable venue.

Mandi Lynn

Steeped in Beautea mainly focuses on running 90-minute-long workshops for women, especially mums. More recently mother and daughter workshops were introduced and were a huge hit. Workshops are categorised in to ages: 6 to 11 year olds and 12 to 16 year olds. “My dream has always been about looking after mum”. The tea (or coffee if you prefer), pamper and learning experience takes place in the weekend during wintertime and expands with mid-week bookings after daylight saving starts. “What I’ve discovered is that people don’t want to come out in winter, not when they’ve come home from work. People like to hibernate, I know I do”. Janine plans to start workshops for adult mums and daughters, which will take place every two months starting later this year. There will also be new workshops coming up! — look out for these on the Janine’s Website.

So what do you experience with Steeped in Beautea’s DIY bath ‘n body workshops?

“Quick and easy products and variations” starting off with talking about the ingredients you will use before making the actual products. All components are organic and natural. Workshop one: two types of fizzing bath salts, which are made scented and unscented. Workshop two: lip balm — “The lip balm is quite interesting because what I’ve found is that with the daughters it is all about the flavour whereas with mum it’s the essential oils”. When complete the new creations are poured in to a choice of containers and decorated with labels. In both workshops, she talks about where the ingredients can be sourced from, the benefits of using the product, including any tips or suggestions. Next year Janine is intending to extend workshops to 2 or 3 hours and probably some half day workshops too, giving the opportunity for more learning and the crafting of more products.

“It’s time together and time to create”

Coming from an administration and training background working within Government offices is quite a divergence from Janine’s present-day job of owning her own unique business, which she absolutely loves. She adores working in and on her business—creating, thinking and putting her ideas and goals in to action has been a journey of self- discovery and achievement, “I’m always learning something new … I‘m not a numbers person, I hate numbers, I’m a creative and so my darling husband who’s also self-employed did my books for me until this year. I’ve turned a corner and I’ve become more interested in that part and that’s a biggie”.

There are times when she steps back and re-evaluates too. “I’m a person who would rather be in the background doing it. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I was scared to promote my business because it’s safer to stay in your comfort zone. I look at what I’ve done and think that’s pretty good going!”

Steeped in Beautea succeeds with Janine’s down-to-earth persona, passion, enthusiasm and her attention to detail to provide her clientele with a time well spent experience, bringing mums and daughters together and away from the everyday busyness of life. Plus they take away wonderful handmade creations. Janine stands by the notion that also taking time out to pamper yourself doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it have to take much time. “Pampering doesn’t have to be a whole or half day at a spa. Scheduling in time one day a week with boundaries and being realistic— is half an hour a week enough for you? It doesn’t have to be a face mask, it could be a book, you could go to a café and do that, it’s about finding that ‘something’ that gives you that joy”.

A huge part of what Janine is all about as well as her innovative business is positivity, supporting businesses, supporting women and reminding them that they are important and taking even ten minutes a day or one hour a week just for them is beneficial to well-being —“if you can do something that makes you tick and makes you feel happier”.

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Plans and ambitions are apparent and being thought out all the time in Janine’s headquarters with a proposal to host information evenings or afternoons with guest speakers, talking about makeup, woman wellness and interior design. An inspirational idea has evolved and the ideas keep coming with an online shop impending where pre-made products and DIY kits can be purchased, and dreams of a beauty crafting café—it’s without a doubt there will be other projects lying in wait for Steeped in Beautea in the future. “I’m using this year to explore and see what works and doesn’t work. Next year wonderful amazing things are going to happen”.

“Spring is the perfect time to get your skin silky smooth for summer by body brushing and exfoliating. Take some time out and follow these steps and easy recipe at home” – Steeped in Beautea

Dry body brushing:

  • Stimulates blood and lymph flow
  • Increases circulation
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Encourages new skin cell growth


If you don’t possess a natural bristle brush, simply use a dry flannel instead


  • Start from the ankles and work up using long upward strokes
  • Always brush up towards the heart
  • Avoid brushing where the skin is broken


Follow this up once or twice a week with a scrub!

Janine’s Sugar Scrub recipe:


3 large tablespoons of raw sugar

1 – 1.5 tablespoon of cold press oil (I use sweet almond), you could use sesame or grape seed oil

6 – 12 drops of essential oils (Lavender, is a good safe oil and suitable for all)

To Make:

Measure the cold press oil into a small glass container and add essential oils.

Add the oils to the sugar and mix.

Place the mixture into your chosen container.

To use:

Use this scrub before turning on the water in your shower. Gently rub mixture over your elbows, knees, legs, and feet in circular motions and then rinse off— never use the scrub on your face.

Steeped in Beautea ‘make and take’ every second Friday of the month. Ladies can drop in anytime from 10am to 12.30pm to create a product of the month for only $10. Ideal opportunity to pop by, make a product have a cuppa and it only takes 20 minutes!


Private bookings are also available for birthdays or small groups of friends in which a workshop can be tailored to suit your interests.


For bookings and enquiries telephone: 04 901 6408

Follow Steeped in Beautea on Facebook at:!/SteepedInBeautea


Written by Vicky Clements

Copyright © 2014 Vicky Clements

All photographs supplied. Copyright © 2013 2014 Steeped in Beautea.

Photos taken by: Tanja Dove, Little Doves Photography & Mandi Lynn





Cat Rescue & Battery Hens

Written by Vicky Clements


A thoughtful, considerate and compassionate animal lover who grew up in Christchurch with pets such as dogs, cats, birds and fishes, hopes that one day she can do more to help animals. But with limited space, funds and time, Erin does what she can from volunteering her time to Cat Rescue Christchurch— to saving battery farmed hens—to running her small business Creature Comfort. She lives with her supportive husband Andrew and 7 year old daughter Sophie and 5 year old son Lachie, who has just begun the journey of school life, which is challenging with the special needs that Lachie has.

Life is hectic in the Maxwell’s household with Erin helping in the animal welfare community, Sophie’s horse riding lessons, Lachie’s physiotherapy and not forgetting their 8 year old Huntaway cross named Ave. They adopted Ave and she’s a huge part of their family. Erin remembers her first pet—it was a goldfish she named Jellybean—she chose the pale and poorly looking fish from the tank to take home, but sadly it didn’t live very long. She persisted and each fish she chose from then on when her dad took her to the aquatic centre, also looked unwell—perhaps a sign that at the tender age of five years old she was going to mature in to a commendable advocate for the welfare of animals.

It was after the time of the February earthquake in 2011 that Erin became a volunteer at Cat Rescue Christchurch, assisting them (alongside many other volunteers) to humanely trap un-socialised stray cats or kittens that are being fed on the streets by people. When they are capture the cats and kittens they are fasted overnight and then taken to a vet the following day for de-sexing. Erin abets with the trapping of these displaced felines all over Canterbury. After their visit to the veterinarian she takes them back home to desensitise them and teaches them social behaviours, and they get very used to children with Sophie eagerly helping to feed them, sing to them and talking to them—perhaps a future animal carer in the making? Her little brother is okay with animals, but he has a tactile sensitivity to furry things and doesn’t find them as interesting as his older sister, “and that’s fine, he doesn’t have to”, says Erin.

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It was through a friend also working at Cat Rescue Christchurch that set off Erin’s interest in the welfare of battery hens. “The more you look in to it, the more depressing it gets, so I focus on what I can do”. As her knowledge expanded she realised the large scale of culling that was involved after approximately eighteen months of egg laying. Erin was horrified and wanted to do something—anything—within her means to help. She began by contacting a farmer and offered to take a few hens with the intention of rehabilitating them and finding them a new home as pets. She started with five. The next time it was ten. It became apparent after a while and because of limited space it would be better for the hens to have a short transition period between being collected from the farm and rehomed, reducing the amount of stress on the birds. She created a Facebook page: Battery Hen Rehoming Christchurch, and requests came flooding in to take on these ‘lucky’ chickens. People were excited to have the chance to do something positive for their welfare and provide them with the opportunity they deserve, to simply do what is natural to them: eat bugs, dust bathe, run, flap their wings and lay their eggs comfortably.

There was an occasion after the small rescues had begun when the passion for the birds exploded and blew up in to further determination to help when a Dunedin farm closed. To rescue every bird was unfortunately improbable, yet she managed to work with the organisation HUHA (Helping You Help Animals) as a team and save three hundred birds. New Zealand’s biggest ‘No-kill’ shelter (HUHA) hired a truck and drove from Wellington all the way down to Dunedin. Three hundred hens were rehomed from the vast, continuing-to-grow-list Erin keeps from people contacting her, either through her Facebook page or from word of mouth. “People share the Facebook page… people deciding whether they want to get chickens and if they can rescue some they are really keen, because these hens are still laying they are only 80 weeks old . The reason the farm culls them is because in their contracts they are not allowed them older than that because their egg shell gets a little bit brittle, so even though it’s fine to be collecting the eggs they can’t withstand the packaging and transport process as well. So it’s just a QC thing for them I think”.

While battery hen farming continues to be controversial and it persistently gains media interest and coverage, Erin hopes that one day more people will have backyard chickens to decrease the demand for battery farmed eggs and in turn reduce the magnitude of the industry. “It’s the welfare side of it, because you look at the Animal Welfare Laws and very basically it is that the animal has to be able to express their natural behaviours. They need food and shelter as well. I don’t understand why battery farms and free range farms are allowed to do this sort of thing when the chicken’s obviously, cannot express their normal behaviours. They can’t even stand upright, they can’t scratch… they can’t flap. And the fact that they have to trim their beaks to stop them attacking each other shows that they’re in a situation where they’re not happy. So I don’t see how the cruelty on a massive scale can be okay when you know if I kept my dog in a way that restricted behaviours the SPCA would be on me and she’d be removed”.

Erin brought some ‘free-range’ hens home yesterday and by the end of the day they will have all gone to new homes. They are in good condition in comparison to cage hens that have pale faces, combs and wattles as well as typical baldness. Nevertheless free-range chickens still live in cramped conditions with 10 hens per square metre. There’s a pecking order with hens and when it comes to getting food it’s the weaker less dominant hens that would suffer most in a free-range environment. As soon as Erin receives the go ahead phone call from the farm she gets her list out and starts contacting everyone to arrange a unified collection for the following day. She only collects the amount of hens from the farm she can rehome. “The odd person changes their mind and gets them elsewhere. We don’t guarantee eggs. Eggs are a great bonus but if you have five chickens I can’t say you will get five eggs every day and when they first get them they won’t lay for a week or two because of the stress of moving”.

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I asked Erin: What does she think her children have learned from the experience of living with a mum who rescues hens? “I think Sophie is learning the value of her food. She knows out of the five Bantam hens we have, we might get one egg a day, there not consistent layers, so for her that’s so treasured and she’ll guess the weight. She’s definitely learning the value of what you’re consuming and it’s actually good to value your food more, then the expensive stuff you tend to eat less… so if you’re buying true free-range eggs they’re a bit more expensive, you’re going to be thinking a bit more about how your consuming them”.


Written by Vicky Clements

Copyright © 2014 Vicky Clements

All photographs taken by Vicky Clements. Copyright © 2014 Creative 1975


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