People of Halcyon Naturals: Karen Arthur talks ageing with Style, Self Isolation & Self Care

We thought it would be fun to bring you some real life reviews of our products, and info on how they incorporate Halcyon Naturals into their self care routines. Here is the first of this series - the beautiful and inspirational Karen Arthur....

We thought it would be fun to bring you some real life reviews of the wonderful people who use our products, and info on how they incorporate Halcyon Naturals into their self care routines. Here is the first of this series – the beautiful and inspirational Karen Arthur.

Tell us your name and a bit about yourself?

My name is Karen Arthur. I’m a 57 year old  woman of Barbadian heritage. I am fashion designer, sewing tutor, stylist, speaker and sometime model. I also write. Basically I do things  that I love and feel called to do. I’m a fluid creative. Is that a thing? It is now. I am mother to two daughters, and a new grandmother as of last year. I was a secondary school teacher for 28 years, starting teaching dance, moving across to textiles and finally as a pastoral leader in a large boys school.

Tell us about Reddskin.

Reddskin brand was evolving before Rona hit. I am primarily a fashion designer who makes beautiful handmade clothing for women with an appreciation for slow fashion and personal service. Self isolated last week just before lockdown announced. After making a face cover for myself and gaining a  positive response on twitter I am now making ankara face covers in true freelance business swerve fashion. See more HERE

Reddskin is the name I run my fashion design business under. Borne from a nickname I picked up when I first visited my parents home country Barbados when I was 21. I started a bag making business as a hobby when I was a teacher but didn’t take it at all seriously. It was actually a cathartic way to manage the stress of teaching but, in hindsight, it was also a distraction from my deteriorating relationship at the time. Too much too soon? Maybe so. But it’s true. When I left teaching in 2015 I had to take time to really decide on what I wanted the rest of my working life to look like. I evolved into making bespoke clothing for women as my primary mission. I create beautiful handmade garments for women who appreciate slow fashion and attention to detail. I still love teaching and passing on my love of sewing as a sewing tutor was a natural fit. 

One of our favourite things about you is that you’re a real advocate for the things you believe in, Tell us more about your Wear Your Happy® campaign. How can people get involved?

Wear Your Happy® is about making conscious clothing choices to lift your mood. You’d think it would be simple but there are a myriad of reasons why we, women especially, don’t consider this.

I’m not saying that Wear Your Happy® is a cure for poor mental wellbeing. Not at all. But making a conscious decision to choose clothes that YOU love rather than dressing to another rule – society, trends etc – can be liberating. But it takes some confidence and unlearning. Women have so many restrictions placed on our bodies. Fashion can be confusing when you feel you have to ‘keep up’ and societies fixation with ‘youth’ doesn’t help. By the time we reach middle age or menopause (which can start earlier than your 50s) and our bodies often change it can be easier to say that you’re not interested in fashion and give up trying. But fashion is FUN. Dressing up can be delightful once you stop giving a hoot what others think. Wear Your Happy® is a nod to doing what you want and choosing to put YOU first.  I have simple tutorials on my Youtube channel and give workshops at my events but you can search out others too. 

What is your self-care routine?

Oh gosh. So much! Putting my self first has been my number one aim since I left teaching. I credit my routine as having saved me and helped me to lift myself from depression. At first, five years ago, I had the time to spend on doing ALL THE THINGS. These days I am busier (and much better) so I have pared it down to non-negotiables. I will say that I do love a routine. So much so that I will ensure I continue as regularly as possible when I’m away. But I’m more gentle with myself too so that if there are things I can’t do then so be it.

When I wake up I drink water, journal a few pages and read for 10 minutes. I’m reading A New Earth by Eckhart Toile at the moment. Either The Outliers or Daring Greatly is next up. Then I go downstairs to pop the kettle on for a daily hot fresh lemon and ginger tea. Or lemon with rosemary (I have some in the freezer) – good for my menopausal memory. A yoga-esque stretch, a 10-minute meditation then I step outside to tell the tree at the bottom of my garden to have a chat. One-way obviously. Affirmations, what I’m thankful for and sending some love out into the world. Right. I know I sound absolutely billy bonkers. But this works for ME. Some things fall by the wayside if I’m in a hurry but a moment of silence and an attitude of gratitude has changed my perspective on life and helped me through some shitty times over the last few years. I must add that are at least two loo breaks in there. All that water, tea and a menopausal bladder. Are you kidding me?

What is your favourite Halcyon Naturals scent?

I’m currently using the Relax Signature candle with Eucalyptus, Lavender and Lemongrass. I tend to light candles to sit and sew in the evening or to have with my bath.  This scent creates the perfect atmosphere and mood and helps me to exhale.

What do you feel most grateful for and why? 

My good health. Mental and physical. Age is a privilege. Movement is a joy. And vice versa.

What’s the best life lesson you’ve learned?

That what won’t kill you really will make you stronger. That if you believe, it will come. That worrying about things won’t change a thing. (I’m still working on that one). I am aware that’s three. 

What’s your proudest achievement?

Walking away from situations that no longer served me – relationship and career – are the hardest and best things I’ve ever done for myself and for my daughters. And look! I’m still here! 

Halcyon Naturals has a playlist on Spotify (Halcyon Vibes)  to compliment people’s self-care. What are your go to tracks to make you feel good?

Anthony Hamilton – Everybody or Mary J Blige – Just Fine. The former is a feel good track and the latter is a get up and dance track – which makes you feel good. Endorphins win!

Quick Fire

  • Favourite book? Who said red – Mary Serfozo. I loved reading this to both my girls when they were young and look forward to reading it to my grandson. Children of Blood and Bones by Tomi Adeyemi. Un-put-downable.
  • MUSIC: Who are you listening to at the moment? I’m crap at new music. I couldn’t tell you what’s in the charts and the only Brit award winner I knew was Stormzy! Most recently listened to D’Angelo Voodoo album. He’s a G. Classic fm on my radio whilst I dress in the morning. Calming until the news comes on.
  • Which food dish is the quickest way to your heart? Currently Vegan Pad Thai. But a good fish finger sandwich on brown seeded with mayo will do nicely too. Anything made well and with love is good, right?
  • Favourite quote? “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Eleanor Roosevelt. 
  • Where can we find you? 
  • @ReddskinUK twitter 
  • @TheKarenArthur Instagram 
  • @Reddskinuk Facebook
  • YouTube – Karen Arthur
  • Style like U – Getting dressed video


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Our hand poured luxury candles are a blend of natural vegetable waxes with pure essential oils specifically designed to lift your moods! Our candles are vegan friendly, and contain no paraffin or other toxic nasties.

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