SPENDING school holidays walking in the Bulgarian mountains that border with Greece while she helped her granny pick herbs sounds like the setting of a wonderful fairy tale.

It was the dreamy days of Thea Caldwell's idyllic childhood that inspired her burgeoning beauty business.

Now she is making inroads in the ethical and eco-friendly corner of the market with an ever-growing collection of natural, hand-crafted products.

"Smell this," she says as she hands me a bottle of beautifully scented rose water. In most of my products I use Bulgarian rose water, as unlike many others in the market it is 100% natural.

"Because of the climate over there, it has the best properties and is really highly valued. It is exported to French perfumeries as the fragrance is deeper than other rose waters.

"It invigorates the senses, it's anti-depressant, it brightens the skin and is really beneficial for dry and tired-looking skin.

She adds, smiling: "If you're feeling a little bit down, use it on the face and you'll feel so much better."

What started as a hobby has turned into a growing business for Thea, who moved from Bulgaria to Glasgow six years ago when she married a Scot.

Husband Bill and daughters Desi and Neve give her lots of support and she launched Dermafood (food for the skin) from a small workshop at home with plans to move into premises this year with a shop in the West End to follow.

She is now on the lookout for shops who could stock the collection.

All the products can be bought online at www.dermafood- handmadecosmetics.co.uk, on the Dermafood facebook page and the company's eBay shop.

Sales have been growing through enthusiastic word of mouth support of customers.

The hero products of the range are the hydrosols, steam distilled organic flower waters that are enriched with beneficial properties.

Soothing and hydrating, use the lavender for acne-prone skin, mild irritation, insects bites, skin redness and itchiness.

While chamomile water is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Use them as a make-up remover and a toner.

A sugar scrub packed with mouth-watering mango, papaya, melon and peach, the Tropic Soft Luxury Bubble Butter is the perfect start to the day, leaving skin soft, moisturised and invigorated.

"I make products I enjoy using and they are really beneficial because they are packed with herbal extracts," explains Thea.

Packed with plant extracts, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins, use the velvety soft Moisture Rich Cream with aloe vera, mango, watermelon, sea algae and jojoba oil extracts morning and night for a glowing complexion.

Black & Grey is a men's face wash with charcoal, fresh, citrus notes of grapefruit and lime leading to the heart note of blue agava. amber and vetyver.

Cruelty free and suitable for vegans, all the products use vegetable proteins.

The latest range Thea is working on, a collection of raw creams, have no water so they are 100% natural, preservative and chemical free, fragranced with essential oils.

"I had the most amazing childhood," recalls Thea.

"My grandfather was a qualified beekeeper and my granny made a magical salve - we would go out into the mountain and collect pine tree sap, then she would purify it and combine it with goose fat and honey, and she would add lots of herbal extracts.

"We used it for everything, from treating bruises and cuts to healing skin. People came from far and wide to get it.

"She wouldn't take money but would exchange it for farm produce."

It is that deep-rooted family ethos that is instilled in Dermafood: thoughtful, sustainable living and a small footprint business. Always eco-friendly, return five empty container and get a free product of your choice.

"There are so many people in my shoes and they don't always feel brave enough to do something with their ideas," says Thea.

"I do believe if you persist, things happen.

"We are growing and have been doing really well the past six months."

www.dermafood-handmade cosmetics.co.uk

angela.mcmanus@ eveningtimes.co.uk