A SMALL independent skincare brand run from a workshop in the tiny village of West Bagborough has scooped a clutch of awards.

Boo Cottage Botanicals, which specialises in producing handcrafted natural soaps and skincare products with plant-based ingredients, took home five awards from the European-wide Free From Skincare Awards.

The company won gold for its Coastal Lotion Bar, which was also overall runner-up; silver for its Goat’s Milk, Oats and Honey Soap and for its Botanical Balm; there was another silver in the best overall category

The accolades acknowledge products that are free from many of the allergens, chemicals, additives and fragrances associated with skin sensitivities, allergies, and ethical, environmental and health concerns.

Thrilled Boo Cottage Botanical’s founder Nichola Penn said: "We’re completely blown away. To even have been shortlisted was a brilliant achievement and we would have been amazed to have won even one award - to win what we did is beyond our wildest dreams."

Joint-owner Ben Bryant said: "We’ve put so much effort in over the last couple of years that it just feels brilliant to get some recognition, and on an international level too.

"The last few months have been incredibly tough, so to get such positive results has been a huge boost for us and really helps put us on the map."

Boo Cottage Botanicals was founded in 2014 after Nichola learnt how to make soap and decided she wanted to make a skincare range that was completely natural, free from synthetic preservatives, foaming agents and artificial colourants and, instead, produce items packed full of plant based goodness.

She said: "We are members of the Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers, which recognises companies that are compliant with all the relevant legislation and who can confidently call their products skin safe.

"We are committed to minimising our environmental impact and use recycled card, glass and tins to form the basis of our packaging.

"We attempt to source ingredients as locally as possible and are moving to using more British ingredients in our range.

"We’re aspiring to be totally plastic free, something we’re very close to achieving, and we’re looking at establishing a packaging return scheme."