A range of short blog stories will follow in the next several weeks about beautiful long old-fashioned train journeys across Europe. The goal? To find the world’s very best natural and organic cosmetic ingredients.

For Paul Penders products, the ingredients must be simply the ultimate in quality. I go out myself regularly to search for them wherever in the world I may happen to be, and… by train! China, Southeast Asia, India, North America, Eastern Europe, or as 5 months ago and again this month, Southern Europe.

My last travel experience was in Italy. I was searching for the best olive oil and actually found it! Sitting in the fast train from Paris to Rome! In our cabin, the right person appeared; he was sitting right across from me in a comfortable chair. We started talking (what else one can do on a train in Italy!) and I discovered he owned a small organic vineyard. Then he mentioned he had a small organic production olive oil farm – family-owned in Sicily! We visited him a few days later. It turned out to be the best olive oil we could ever find and…. we made great new friends as well.

As I write this blog in May 2013, I am still traveling, now in Marseille, France – importantly to me, it’s the largest natural soap capital in the world.

Our search for the newest and best ingredients has brought us to France and Spain on this journey. The objective this time is to find the very best essential oils.

We found some very intriguing places in Southern France; near Avignon, there is in a small town, a “Musee de la Lavande.” Visiting the museum was a real pleasure and a learning experience as well. They gave us insider information about the highest quality organic lavender and lavender essential oil, as well as the growing and production processes.

We journeyed on to Spain in search of sea plankton at the Atlantic coast, as described by a friend from the US but I couldn’t find the source. However, there I also looked at rock mountains that yield mica the color of gold. This mica is an ingredient we can use in our natural color cosmetics. How much more organic can that be?

While in France, I talked to upscale hair salons in Paris and Aix-en-Provence about washing hair naturally.

We are developing a totally new and exciting natural shampoo; the best I have ever made in 40 years in the natural beauty industry. It has two separate layers and the bottle must be shaken before use to mix the ingredients. It is simply the best for moisturizing hair. An unusual feature, at the bottom of the container, you will see a little mineral mud that comes from a jungle waterfall in Malaysia. We got wonderful reviews of the new shampoo from a selected test panel from several different countries. Dr. Gatot is our experienced senior cosmetic chemist who is working hard on the many little details involved in making the final formulation.

Many stories emerged on this trip. In between the 6 weeks of traveling, I also visited some of my family and friends as well. And there is a real story in itself about the train! To me a Eurrail pass beats flying, hands down. In one of the next blog issues, I will tell you more about this amazing rail pass and how to take advantage of it – it’s luxury 1st class traveling and very cheap actually!

All these interesting experiences have had the same ultimate goal – finding better quality cosmetic products, more natural ingredients, and ultimately the best skin care, hair care, body care and mineral beauty products possible.

We never have wanted to be the largest company but we are trying to be the best!

Lastly, I am asking you to rate us — how are we doing?

  • Do you read most of our blogs or only seldom?
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  • Would you like to have other topics covered?

We always love hearing from you.

Thanks for your trust in our 100% vegetarian natural herbal cosmetics made with organic ingredients and proudly carrying the official Halal certificate for each and every one of our products.


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A Hoax or a Help?

Thanks to people willing to take action — like one of our heroines, Brigitte Bardot — cruelty to animals can and must be stopped wherever you find it. She has become a leading advocate for an end to one of the most spectacular and longest standing examples of torturing animals for entertainment – bullfighting.

Because of the growing sentiment against bullfighting, this ancient entertainment is gradually disappearing. The picture below has been circulating all over the internet for several years. But it’s not quite what it appears to be…

    “And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven…”

This picture has moved thousands of people to stop the cruel practice of bullfighting. It circulates on the internet and Facebook, and credits Álvaro Múnera Builes as the matador who despairs at the agony of the dying bull and as the author of these words. The truth is a little more complicated.

Known around the world as “the vegetarian matador,” at 17 years old, Álvaro Múnera won an international tournament in his home country of Colombia. “The less you move, the greater the risk.” He stayed very still and was awarded the top prize for his bravery. He became known as “El Pilarico,” and was invited to continue his career in Spain. When only 18 years old in September 1984, he was thrown into the air by a powerful bull. When he landed, the bull gored him again, severing his spine and rendering him paraplegic for life. Now an activist for animal rights and disabled people, he speaks out against the practice of bullfighting.

It’s a wonderful story, isn’t it? But it’s a hoax.

Múnera’s biography is true. To this day, he is in a wheelchair. He does work to end the practice. An eloquent and moving audio interview is posted on the internet done by Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW, October 2011). As one commentator wrote: “Have a listen. he’s a human being just like you and me. not bombastic, simply telling his story.” Go to: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/vegetarian-bullfighter.

He recounts meeting an elderly woman who said, “I’m really happy to see you in a wheelchair. You are a barbarian. You are cruel. And you don’t deserve to ever walk again.” He realized that “It is unethical to torture and kill animals for entertainment.” He remains haunted by dreams of bulls he has killed and says, “I hope they will forgive me for the wrongs I have done.”

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says the Chinese proverb. When is it right for a hoax to continue? Perhaps, as in this case, when it helps bring awareness.

The photograph is actually of an exhausted matador, Francisco Javier Sánchez Vara, simply taking a break while waiting for the bull to collapse. The words come from an article by the author Antonio Gala Velasco in the Spanish newspaper El País in 1995. Alexander Fiske-Harrison, author of Into the Arena, The World of the Spanish Bullfight blogged about this misinformation in July and once again the photo is circulating widely on Facebook. For the true story, see “This Photo is Not What It Seems” on http://fiskeharrison.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/this-photo-is-not-what-it-seems/.

Things are changing in Spain and throughout the world. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) UK has an online petition to Spain’s government which asks, “Please heed the 72 per cent of Spaniards who have no interest in bullfighting and would prefer their beloved country to be seen as a compassionate place that respects the lives of all its inhabitants.”

The Spanish animal rights group “Prou!” (Catalan for “Enough”) collected 180,000 signatures asking the Catalonia Parliament to end the practice. In September 2011 in a packed arena in Barcelona, Catalonia ended its 700 year history with the last bullfight in that state.

If you agree as we do that bullfighting should be stopped, sign it here:

By Teviot Fairservis.


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Brenda’s stories – Meet Hannah Montana

Did I ever tell you before how I got to know all these friends of mine in all kinds of countries? I don’t believe I did.
Before I settled down, got married and children I used to travel a lot. That already started when I was in college. I spent some time in Europe as an exchange student. After that I went back many times for my job as a wine merchant. As you will know, Europe is still the heart of wine production in the world. France obviously, but also Italy, Spain and Germany. I was always looking for fine wines for my company to buy and sell. That is how I got to know another of my friends that this story is about.
Aziza lives in Dortmund, being married to a German man called Manfred, but she actually comes from Malaysia. From Dortmund to the Southwest of Germany there are large wine estates, one of them being owned by Aziza and her husband. They produce a very fine white wine that I immediately decided to buy for my company.
As it turned out, Aziza and I got along really well so I went back as often as I possibly could. I was there when her daughter Sophie was born!
Sophie is now 5 years old and well aware of her background. One evening Aziza, keeping her Asian heritage alive, had died Sophie’s hands with henna. Something very common in Asian and Arabian culture, but not that much in Germany.

When Sophie went to school next day naturally her girlfriends asked about the painting on her hands, so Sophie explained to them it was henna. Her girlfriends, completely astonished all shouted out: What? Were they done by Hannah Montana? They all wanted to meet her and Sophie had to ask Aziza for help to explain she did NOT know Hannah Montana, but that she does know henna and how to dye hands with it.
After the girls had overcome their disappointment of not getting to meet Hannah Montana, they all went to school the next day with a beautiful henna painting on their hands.

Finally Adios to Bullfighting?

Finally, and a “Grandioso Bravo!!!” to Catalonia’s parliament who had the guts to vote to ban bullfighting from 1st of January 2012 becoming the first region in Spain to act against this century old cruelty and total madness.

Of course, the move was watched across Spain. The motion tightens Catalonia’s animal protection law and the vote came after strong animal rights activists that have been tiredless campaigning for long time to end these terrible events. “Prou” (or “Enough” in the Catalonian language) collected some 200,000 signatures calling for the assembly to decide on the ban with 68 votes in favor and 55 against.

Many supporters and opponents of bullfighting gathered outside of the assembly during the lawmakers debate and vote. “Stop Animal Cruelty” read the signs of the anti-bullfighting crowd while those in favor of the practice said “Bulls Yes, Freedom Yes”.

We at Paul Penders hope that the Catalonia’s animal protecting law sets an example for the entire country and for the entire world to stop unnecessary, barbaric “sports” (or shows some call them) involving innocent animals being taken advantage of just for profit without though of their wellbeing and their rights (!) and can be exploited by anyone. .

In God’s name….
please stop the cruelty of innocent animals.

In God’s name…..
take people in stead but ask them permission first what can’t be done in the case of animals! For that it is cruel and total barbaric behaviour.

Hats off for Catalonia !!