Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Rose Water Toner for Dry Skin

Another easy to make toner recipe. This one is best suited to dry or sensitive skin.

Rose Water Toner

To make this you will need:

  • 100 mls rose water
  • 1 drop chamomile essential
  • 1 drop rose geranium essential
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin

Combine all ingredients in a small glass bottle and shake well. Apply with a cotton pad avoiding the eyes. Will keep up to 10 days in the fridge.

You may also like to try:

Almond Milk Toner for combination skin
Black Tea Toner for oily skin
Lavender Toner for teenage skin

I link up here.

Friday, 24 April 2015

ANZAC Biscuits recipe

Anzac biscuits are entwined in popular lore with ANZAC Day and Gallipoli. As tomorrow is ANZAC day it seems like a good time to share a recipe for this classic New Zealand biscuit.

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup coconut
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats (not quick cook)
3/4 cup flour
115g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. In a saucepan slowly heat the butter and golden syrup until melted. Put the baking soda in a small bowl, then add the boiling water. Mix until the baking soda has dissolved then add to the melted butter. Stir to combine, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The mixture should look a little crumbly, but not dry.

Drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture on to a lined baking tray leaving 2-3cms between as the biscuits will spread. You may need two trays. Makes approx. 35 biscuits

Bake at 180C (350F) for 10-15 mins until golden. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Almond Milk Toner - for combination skin

This simple 3-ingredient toner is well suited to combination skin.

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup rosewater
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin

Combine all ingredients in a clean bottle and shake well. Apply with a cotton pad or cotton balls, keeping away from your eyes. Will keep for up to two weeks if stored in the fridge.

You may also like to try: 

Black Tea Toner for oily skin
Lavender Toner for teenage skin
Rosewater Toner for dry skin

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/60879087@N02/5605239684">Almonds</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Monday, 20 April 2015

Chocolate Cake in a Mug

My teenage daughter made this at the weekend and it's pretty good - the consistency is more soft brownie than cake.

To make this you will need:

  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips or chocolate drops
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons oil (sunflower and rice bran both work well)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of vanilla essence

Mix all the ingredients carefully in a standard sized coffee mug. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Enjoy.

Note: you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on the wattage of your microwave.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/80093862@N00/6682068741">Chips</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Ten More Ways to Use Lavender

1. Dried Lavender

Use dried, pressed lavender blooms to decorate handmade cards.

2. Moth proof your clothes

Fresh lavender flowers in a wardrobe or drawer can help to deter moths and silverfish.

3. Massage Oil

Add 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil to 250mls of a carrier oil (sweet almond or jojoba oil both work well) for calming, relaxing massage oil.

4. Lavender Water

You can make your own lavender water to use as a room spray by adding 5 drops of lavender essential oil to 150mls of water. Store in a small spary bottles and shake to disperse the oil before use.

5. In the Bath

4-5 drops of essential oil added to a warm bath before bed may help you to fall asleep.

6. Make a Lavender Salve

The recipe for a simple salve for dry skin can be found here.

7. Make Lavender Toner

An easy recipe for lavender toner using essential oil and dried lavender buds.

8. Carpet Deodoriser

Combine 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil with one cup of baking soda. Sprinkle on the carpet 1 hour before vacuuming. Vacuum as usual.

9. Cake Decorations

Use organic lavender bloom to decorate a cake.

10. Itchy Bites

A few drops of lavender oil can help ease the itch of insect bites. Always take care when applying essential oil directly to skin. Not all oils should be used in this way.

Photo Credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=35947&picture=lavender-blossoms

I link up here.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sea Salt Scrub recipe

Scrubs made with either salt or sugar are a great way to exfoliate and give your skin a healthy glow.

Sea salt can be healing if not over-used, but can sting if skin is sensitive, irritated or thin. Do not use a salt scrub on skin that has just been waxed or shaved.

Sea Salt Scrub

2 cups of sea salt (finely ground is best as coarser salt may be a bit abrasive)
¾ cup olive oil
40-60 drops essential oil – rosemary, peppermint, sweet orange, grapefruit or rose geranium all work well

Combine the salt and olive oil in a bowl using a whisk to blend. Add the essential oil a few drops at a time whisking as you go.

Spoon into an air-tight container with a good lid. Use within 6 months.

To use:  using a circular motion massage ¼ to ½ a cup of scrub into damp skin. Rinse with warm water.

Not suitable for sensitive or damaged skin.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53503060@N06/5120986803">Sea Salt</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Monday, 13 April 2015

Brown Sugar Scrub recipe

Scrubs made with either salt or sugar are a great way to exfoliate and give your skin a healthy glow. Generally sugar scrubs are the gentler option, but should still be used with care if you have sensitive or damaged skin.

The sugar in this scrub recipe isn't just acting as an exfoliant, Glycolic acid occurs naturally in sugar and can help to remove dead cells and clarify the skin.

Brown Sugar Scrub

½ cup fine brown sugar
½ cup olive oil
4 drops vanilla extract (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well to make sure the sugar is well coated in oil. Store in a tightly closed container for up to two weeks.

To use:  massage over face and neck for 2-3 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.

My next blog post will look at salt scrubs.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53326337@N00/2806883231">Brown sugar</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Skin Care from the Fridge

These beauty treatments all have one thing common - they all include ingredients you'll find in the fridge!

Egg Yolk Hydrating Mask

This is excellent for dry skin. Makes enough for one mask.

You need:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch turmeric

Mix to a paste. Apply to clean, dry skin. Leave for 20 minutes then rinse off. Turmeric can give this mask quite a vibrant colour,  but will not stain your skin.

Black Pepper Deep Cleanser

Black pepper helps clear blackheads and deep cleans pores.

You need:
  • 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
  • 1 T liquid honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Blend until smooth. Apply to clean dry skin. Leave for 20 minutes then rinse with warm water. Follow with moisturiser.

Yoghurt & Lemon Cleanser

For oily skin. In a clean, lidded jar or other container combine 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt. 

Apply to you face and neck, then gently wipe off with a cotton pad. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Chocolate Facial

This does smell good enough to eat. The cocoa and oats act as gentle exfoliants. The cream nourishes and the honey soothes.

Combine the following until smooth:
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground oats

Combine all ingredients until well blended. Apply to clean, dry skin. Leave for 15-20 minutes then rinse off with warm water.

I link up here. 

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/34168666@N07/7023825007">Egg yolk and white</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Make your own Black Tea Toner for oily skin

Black Tea Toner

This is a simple three ingredient toner that works to remove the last traces of makeup and help clear pores.

To make this you will need:
  • 1 cup witch hazel
  • 1 cup strong black tea
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 250ml glass bottle
Combine the first three ingredients in the glass bottle and shake well.

Apply using a cotton ball, making sure your avoid the eye area. Follow with moisturiser.

Will keep up to 12 months if stored in a cool, dry place with the lid on.

You may also like to try:

Almond Milk Toner for oily skin
Apple Toner for oily blemished skin
Lavender Toner for teenage skin
Rosewater Toner for dry skin

Notes on witch hazel: Witch hazel in its liquid form is a blend of an alcohol-based witch hazel extract and water. It act as a very gentle astringent, but is not suitable for very dry, sensitive or sunburnt skin.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21941784@N03/6028506292">Classic Black</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Thursday, 2 April 2015

More plants for your natural remedies garden

There are a number of easy to grow plants which can be used in natural remedies and skincare. These are some of the ones I use.

1. Feverfew

Feverfew (also called bachelor's buttons or featherfoil) is a small, bushy perennial with daisy-like flowers that can be useful in the prevention of migraines. The fresh leaves can be picked and added to a salad or sandwich, but they are a little bitter and not to everyone's taste. It is widely available in capsule form.

Feverfew is easily grown from seed and does well in a sunny spot.

Traditionally feverfew has been been used to help arthritis, tinnitus and in preventing blood clots. Historically it's been utilised as a 'women's herb' - Culpeper called it "a great strengthener of the womb". In ancient Greece and Rome it was known as Pathenion and used to treat problems associated with child birth.

2. Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) 

Native to North America Echinacea is a herbaceous flowering plant from the daisy family Asteraceae. It is a hardy perennial that grows to around 60cm tall.

It is said to encourage the immune system and to be effective in reducing the symptoms of cold and flu. Echinacea has a complex mix of active substances - some of which are said to to anti-microbal.

3. Comfrey

Comfrey is an easy to grow plant that needs good soil and plenty of room to spread - at least a metre between plants. 

The most common use of comfrey in herbal medicine is in the treatment and healing of swelling, sores and inflammations - usually in a poultice.

In the garden comfrey works well as a soil conditioner and a plant tonic. The leaves can be dug into the soil or added to the compost bin.

4. St John's Wort

St John's Wort has historically been used to treat nervous disorders and is probably best known today as an anti-depressant. It has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Culpeper described it as " a singular wound herb ... it healeth inward hurts, ... opens obstructions, dissolves swellings, and closes up the lip of wounds."

The plant is a perennial that does best in a light sandy soil in a partly sunny spot. It grows to approximately 1 metre and can be grown from cuttings or seed.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a perennial that likes well-drained, moist soil. It can take-over a garden so give it plenty of room to spread. Lemon Balm has ant-viral properties and has been traditionally used to soothe an upset stomach.

Lemon Balm Vinegar c an be used as a hair rinse. To make it fill a jar 3/4 full with fresh leaves. Fill the jar withe either apple cider or white vinegar. Cover the jar with a plastic lid (vinegar will corrode metal) and leave to steep for 4-6 weeks.

Please note that this article is an overview only. It is not intended as medical advice.

Nicholas Culpeper, Complete Herbal, first published 1653 (I have a 1992 reprint)
Available online: https://archive.org/details/cu31924001353279

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Five Uses for Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a culinary herb that can be used in skin and hair care. Essential oil is extracted from the leaves.

1. Hair Care

Rosemary is said to stimulate hair follicles for longer and stronger hair. An infusion of rosemary leaves can be used as a rinse for dark hair. It can also cleanse an oily scalp and may help to relive some of the symptoms of dandruff.

2. Skin Care

Rosemary has anti-microbal and antiseptic properties that may help in the treatment of skin irritations such as dermatitis and eczema or oily skin and acne. When included in massage oil blends it can help alleviate dryness.

3. Mouth Wash

Rosemary oil can act as a disinfectant and is often used in or as a mouthwash.


4. Mental Stimulant

In aromatherapy rosemary is often used for stress relief. It is said to aid concentration and help with mental fatigue and forgetfulness.

5. Health Benefits

Rosemary is said to strengthen the immune system, stimulate blood circulation, help with respiratory infections and relieve pain.

NOTE: Do not use rosemary essential oil if you are pregnant,  breastfeeding or epileptic. It may cause allergic reactions so use with care.

You may like to try: Peppermint Rosemary Foot Scrub

I link up here.