It was during a rather hung over secret santa that I found out about local beekeeping collective, Nature’s Little Helpers. Among the polite smiles and baffled looks, I was genuinely pleased with my present.
And what had the triumphant secret santa produced, you may be wondering. Well, santa had taken himself off to the farmers’ market and found a honey lip balm, made from local beeswax. (And within the £5 price limit, I might add!)
Nature’s Little Helpers was started by three friends, Tim Wright, Pete Shaw and Nigel Harris, on an allotment site in Cardiff, five years ago. The website says: “The company was set up as a result of many cups of tea and conversations around a picnic bench on our allotment.”
Mr Harris said: “We love growing our own veg and have ventured out into other things, such as keeping honey bees, producing honey, handmade candles and also skin care products from our own beeswax and honey.”
He added: “Bees have been having a hard time of things over the past few years, so we intend to give them as much help as possible, by increasing their numbers and providing people with products from these wonderful insects.”
In fact, according to the Bee Part Of It Campaign, honey bees are worth around £200m a year to British agriculture. However, poor summers have caused enormous damage to bees and a third of all colonies were lost in 2008.
Figures show that there are 250 species of bee in the UK, and most of these are in decline. According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, two species have become extinct in the last 70 years, and more are seriously threatened.
Mr Harris said: “The idea of helping Mother Nature appealed to us. We have gone from two hives to 80 and our plans are to expand to eventually have around 400 hives in the South Wales area.”
I can certainly recommend the lip balm. It smells sweet and natural, and doesn’t suffer from that overpowering chemical smell that so many skin care products have today. The wax is quite hard, but can easily be applied to the lips and has made my skin wonderfully soft.
To find out more, take a look at the Nature’s Little Helpers website.