The story of the estate. São Lourenço do Barrocal has been in the same family for more than 200 years, and it was José António Uva (who is eight generation of the same family) who had a vision to turn the family property into a farm retreat he could share with others. The passion and dedication behind José António’s dream, and what he has created, is incredibly inspiring.
The interiors. Perfectly simple and calming. The interior design was led by José António’s wife Ana’s design studio, AnahoryAlmeida (also responsible for the interiors of many of Lisbon’s finest restaurants) and it is a dream.
Hortelão, their outdoor restaurant. The most beautiful place to dine between Spring through Autumn, this slow-food, farm to fork restaurant is located next to the pool, right by the organic kitchen garden, and is the perfect place to enjoy a dinner under the stars.
On Lockdown in Sydney.
If you haven't yet met Jeannie Bourke, founder of Sydney's Venustus, you really need to. This kind, energetic, effervescent, passionate soul is the master of all things organic skincare and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to self-care, aromatherapy, and spirituality. It is an honour to feature Jeannie here.
(As part of our #ItsBeautifulHereinIsolation series)
Introducing Sydney's queen of organic skincare, the very wonderful Jeannie Bourke, founder of Venustus Beauty & Body Lab.
I first met Jeannie when I was living in Sydney and one of my best friends (thank you, Kristen!) gifted me one of Venustus' 4-handed massages. Can you even believe something so wonderful exists? I couldn't. Basically, two therapists work on you at the SAME time. It is one of the most blissful experiences in life (and now, Jeannie and the crew offer a 6-HANDED one as well!!). I fell instantly in love with Jeannie's joyful energy. She is so passionate about what she does, loves sharing her knowledge, and her enthusiasm and kindness is contagious. She is hugely generous (always loading me up with her products - goodies for my travels), and a truly authentic spirit. If you are ever in Sydney, I can't recommend a visit here more highly (just be sure to book well in advance!). It's Beautiful Here.
Name: Jeannie Bourke
Star Sign: I’m a Sag.
I decided to make some horoscope perfumes after some lovely editors suggested I do so. The horoscope perfumes are for you to connect with you, to look at what’s going on for you in the now. We add every ingredient that will help, and you just roll on and inhale. Sagittarius are the wandering seekers - eternally optimistic and enthusiastic with an inability to sit still; a flight risk. They bore easily, but others will never be bored by them.
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Where do you live now? Sydney, Australia
Describe yourself in 3 words or less… others have said “Authentic, Generous, Inspirational”.
Describe Sydney in 3 words or less… Cool, Innovative, Beach.
How long have you been isolating for now? I live my life around what I love - family and work. We started isolating at home from mid-February.
Who are you isolating with? Gary, our son Zac, and our dogs and chickens. I feel my best self when I am with my family. They are the true loves of my life, my whole heart belongs to them.
Tell us a bit about your work… I feel truly blessed to have found what I love early in life, because it has allowed me to master my craft over time. Venustus, Paddington is a space where people gravitate to for various reasons - to surrender / to want to look ten years younger / to decompress after a huge week / escape from their children (who they love dearly), and/or they feel the need to connect with me. We offer an extensive list of treatments, and launch a new treatment twice a year (with products to perform these and follow-up use at home). My Venustus team have worked with me for over two decades, which is extraordinary, considering the standard 2-4 year staff turnover in the beauty industry. To ensure staff longevity and a superior team, I realised I had to put the time and energy into attracting the right ones that would want to stay and evolve with me and the business. It is incredible when you do find the right person, because you can keep investing, keep teaching, and keep growing them both personally and professionally. What that means for our clients is that every member of the team has a broad beauty and body skillset and can do every treatment at the highest level, both energetically and physically.
I believe it is essential to know what you are good at, and be ok with what you’re not. I am great at my work and I truly love it. I design bespoke treatments to aid the ailments we are feeling as an overstressed culture. I then design and make the products required for the treatments. My darling Gary works with me in the production of these Australian-owned and made, cruelty-free organic Venustus products. I give consultations to clients before treatments to check in with how they are going in life, and I do card and energy readings to better understand how I can help them - that one-on-one time helps me provide bespoke treatments that really change people and really raise the bar. What I’m not great at is cooking and keeping my desk and bedroom tidy!! Although I do love it when someone tidies these for me….
Do you have any tips you can share for sticking to, or starting a new kind of daily routine? I say these words to myself everyday (all day if necessary): “Be present in the flow of change”. They were given to me by my Shaman. I like to teach clients to treat their skin intuitively, meaning if you wake up and feel dry, treat your skin that way. If you wake up and see pimples, treat that - many of us are now working/living in a different environment, so it is a perfect time to start a new routine. I would like to offer to all of our loyal Venustus clients a consultation with me. I am not charging Venustus clients for this. I believe we need to help each other, and I can do so by sharing my knowledge specifically with them, especially as they already have supported Venustus in the past by buying our organic skincare, body care, essential oils & crystals over time and hopefully will continue to do so.
Do you have any daily rituals? Yes. I perform my morning gratitude prayer in bed before I open my eyes: I reach under my pillow where a crystal lives, hold on to it, and run through in my mind what I am grateful for. It sounds a bit like this:
I am so grateful I can see,
I am so grateful I can hear,
I am so grateful for this amazing body with all the bits,
I am so grateful for Gary laying next to me,
I am grateful for Zac in the other room,
I am so grateful for the puppies that lick my face & the chickens running around our yard,
I am so grateful for living in this beautiful country,
I am so grateful for my perfectly amazing team, my beautiful clients, my incredible friends, my extended family (add on whatever you like)…
Then I get up, go to the bathroom (and read the notes on my mirror – how can I be the best mum, how can I be the best boss, how can I be the best partner to Gary & how can I be the best me); and then use a warm face flannel and exfoliant, (jasmine exfoliant if dry & extra strength if normal), spray some air time mist, and apply our 2020 facial serum, eye serum (lymphatic direction with hands or jade roller) and authentic body serum - just on legs and arms (lymphatic stimulant) - from toes up legs to bikini line and from fingers to underarms.
I then go on to smudge with sage, and then Palo Santo, in the living room, calling in light energy, ancestors, and animal spirits. I then focus on what I want to bring to this world, right now, right here. BE present. I like to share, to give away everything I have learnt and gathered along the journey. I like to create altars everywhere. Now it’s cold and flu season, it is essential to use an oil blend in burner for prevention. I have ceremonies often.
Every night I have a bath and light candles. Gary and/or Zac always get this ready for me for my return from work around 8pm. I use calming and sleep-enhancing ingredients for night - belief body serum, god bless on the sheets, FACE cellular regeneration facial serum + eye serum (and then dinner!).
Are there any home remedies you can recommend / we can prepare ourselves? There is nothing like manuka honey massaged into the face & a spoon in the bath (for healing).
Are you finding more creative inspiration in this time? Yes, I find I am at my best when I can help people. I am always looking for what’s needed. My staff always say “we just launched a treatment and you are on to the next”….! All our systems need attention but for right now it is the Lymphatic, Nervous, Respiratory & Skin - I am thinking, feeling and creating the new for when we return - treatments to boost, and the important factor of touch, that is currently missing for so many people.
What other creative outlets do you turn to? I believe I am here (this journey on earth) to live an ethical life and to help as many people as I can in my own way by sharing everything I know and everything I have found on my journey. I began seeing healers from the age of 18 and as a result, it has been an incredible life. I have had as many challenges as most people and at times cried for months, usually in the bath, but after that, I have always managed to get off the mat and keep marching through life. I have found what I need, so I don’t need much else.
What is on your stereo? Lots of music for treatments. When I design my treatments, I spend time finding the music to go with them. I also love listening to fun music from my past, which takes me to that time when I used to listen to those particular bands and songs.
These ones are currently on heavy rotation:
Call On Me - Starley
Underdog - Alicia Keys
Giant - Calvin Harris, Rag & Bone
Can I Be Him - James Arthur
Say You Won’t Go - James Arthur
What books are you loving at the moment? Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell, and re-reading both Tribe of Mentors, and Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris.
Have you still been getting out and about for movement/exercise? No, just at home, in the back and front yard, maintaining, dancing to music. Maybe after a few weeks I will introduce more.
What about mindfulness/meditation? Yes I do 20mins of Integrated Meditation twice a day. I learnt from Jacqui Lewis at The Broad Place, and this has been a game changer for me. Check it out!!
When this blooming virus goes away, where will you be travelling to next? I have always loved travelling. In this order - Cronulla beach to swim everyday; Booti Booti National Park on the beach, near Boomerang Beach; and Maldives (looking a few years ahead) as it’s our favourite dive spot.
Are you a window or aisle seat kinda gal? Aisle, I like to get in and out and up and down the aisle, without bothering anyone, which is great because Gary loves the window.
What 3 things are always in your suitcase? Venustus travel size everything!! BabyAnything special pieces, and Elle Effect tan (for me things have to have a special meaning… a story behind something I use or wear). Every product I have designed has a meaning.
What are your 3 favourite hotels in the world? Como Maldives; Four Seasons Maldives; Raes Byron Bay. Gary is a diver and Zac our son is an advanced diver, and I like to make them happy (which happens to make me happy), so it’s all about the ocean - diving for them and swimming and laying around reading for me. We save for two years and then go for two weeks. In between the two years of saving, it’s Booti Booti National Park (tent) & Byron Bay Atlantic and Raes.
Words you live by…
“Ethics, honour, love and courage”
“Be the truth seeker in your own life, for yourself”
“Help good people be extraordinary”
“You need to be, beyond reproach”
“Behave as though you already have it”
“Hand it over to the universe and wait, just wait”
“Love of self, love of another, communal love and universal love, in that order”
And lastly, who are you most looking forward to hugging when all of this is over?!! My team! I love my team all so much and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. Together we can and do achieve remarkable things. I never, ever, give up on helping my team achieve – and maintain a level they never thought was possible. They are then amazed at what incredible work they can do. I saw their potential before they did. I truly love my work.