When Caryn Hibbert opened a cookery school as the founding ingredient of Thyme in 2007, her mission was to inspire a slower pace and a reconnection with nature and the land. Thyme has evolved considerably since then, but this ethos has never faltered.
Caryn and her husband Jerry moved to Southrop Manor in 2002 and soon after acquired the adjacent derelict buildings. Caryn began a slow, thoughtful restoration with her father Michael Bertioli, a physicist and engineer, building on their mutual passion for architecture, conservation, sustainability and design. Today, Thyme is an entirely family-run, hugely sought-after destination in the heart of the Cotswolds, renowned for the high quality of its sympathetic restoration, totally in tune with the surrounding environment. Thyme comprises 31 bedrooms dispersed across its houses and cottages, the Ox Barn restaurant and Baa Bar, Swan pub, Cookery School and Meadow Spa, plus boutiques and Tithe Barn for events and exhibitions.
In the last two years, Covid not only disrupted business for Thyme but radically compromised people’s connection to nature and consequently their mental and physical health. In 2021, in an effort to improve people’s well-being via breath and smell, Thyme’s sibling brand, Bertioli, launched Bertioli Beauty with a new collection of products. Rooted in a love of nature and a belief in the beauty of simplicity, Bertioli Beauty harnesses the power of breath, scent and nature to nourish mind, body and planet. The products are designed to help people switch off their automatic stress responses, calm down and engage instead in the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
‘We describe this process as the “healing circle”’, says Caryn. ‘Imagine you are standing in a wild meadow of long grasses, flowers and herbs, their fragrance filling the air to create a scent that embodies that place. Enveloped in these healing botanicals, you naturally take a deep breath, drinking in the scent of nature. Your body will react as contentment floods through it, instilling a sense of calm and focus. Switching off the body’s stress response has profound effects on our wellbeing and understanding how to do this gives you a powerful tool for life. Immersing ourselves in nature, scent and conscious, deep breathing can trigger this phenomenal wellbeing response and inspire a deeper connection to the natural world.’
The collection comprises eight products. The breathing balm, applied to wrists, chest or neck, encourages deep breathing and calm. The hair and body bars reduce plastic waste and are made using a unique, condensed, entirely soap-free formula, delivering highly effective but gentle cleansing and conditioning for hair and body. These are complemented by the super conditioning bar for deep nourishment. The products are now positioned in the bedrooms at Thyme, encouraging guests to engage in conscious breath work for a more positive mindset.
‘We are at a moment when we and our planet need help,’ says Caryn, ‘and Bertioli Beauty products inspire a love of nature. Those who engage with nature are more likely to take action to protect it, preserving wild spaces. We hope using our products can consolidate the understanding that in nurturing nature we nurture ourselves.’