Monday, 30 November 2015

How to make Soothing Oatmeal Bath Bags

Like most of my skincare recipes this one isn't complicated.

To make the bath bags you will need:

  • 50g rolled oats (not quick cook)
  • 2 tablespoons calendula infused oil (see note below)
  • 6-8 drops chamomile essential oil
  • 6-8 drops lavender essential oil
  • muslin 

Place the rolled oats into a non-metallic bowl. Add the infused and essential oils. Mix thoroughly to disperse the oils through the oats.

To make the bags take a piece of muslin approximately 18cm by 14cm. Fold in half and stitch along the sides three sides (leaving the top edge open) so that you have a bag approximately 8cm by 12-13cm. Turn the bag the right side our so that the stitched seams are on the inside. I leave the top edge of the bag unfinished as I like the look of the raw edges, but hem the top if you prefer a neater finish.

Spoon the oat-oil mixture into the bag leaving about 3cm at the top. Tie the bag shut with ribbon just above the level of the oats.  For a more rustic look tie the bags with thin garden twine.

If you're not a sewer you can make a bag by cutting a piece of muslin approximately 18cm by 18cm. Lay the muslin flat. Place a couple of tablespoons of the oat mix into the centre of the muslin. Draw the edges up together and tie off tightly.

To use: drop the bag into the bath. Once it's quite wet the bag can be used as a bath sponge. Discard after use.

Storage: Store the unused oat mixture in an airtight container in cool, dry conditions. 

Rolled oats have excellent skin soothing properties. 

Calendula Infused Oil : If you'd like to make your own infused oil the instructions are here.

I link up here.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Apple Sauce Facial Scrub

This is a very simple recipe for a scrub using ingredients you probably already have in the pantry or fridge.

In a small bowl mix together:

  • 2 tablespoons apple sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive or rice bran oil.

Gently massage into you face and neck. Leave for a minute or two then rinse with warm water. Follow with your usual moisturiser.

This makes enough for one scrub. Discard any scrub mix you may have left over.

You may also like to try:
Milky Oatmeal Scrub

I link up here.

photo credit: <a href="">Apple</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Monday, 16 November 2015

How to make Elder Flower Cordial

Earlier this month I shared a recipe for Elder Flower Toner. Traditionally elder flowers have been used to treat all sorts of ailments and skin conditions, but they can also be used to make cordial. Our elder tree is a mass of flowers at the moment so over the weekend I made Elder Flower Cordial. It's simple to make and tastes pretty good.

The recipe I use is based on one I found in an old magazine a few years ago. I've reduced the amount of sugar used in the original recipe as we found it made the cordial just a bit too "sticky" even when diluted. Adjust the amount of sugar you use according to taste.

Elder Flower Cordial

To make this you will need:
  • 25 freshly picked elder flower heads
  • 500g -750g sugar
  • 1.5 litres boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • a food-safe bucket
  • bottles 

Place the flower heads in the bucket and pour over the boiling water. Cover and leave to stand overnight. Next day strain the liquid making sure you have no "bits". I lined a large sieve with a piece of muslin to make sure none of the tiny flowers made it through into the strained liquid.

Put the elder flower liquid into a large saucepan with the sugar and citric acid. Heat gently while stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour the cordial into sterilized bottles and seal. The cordial can be used as soon as it's cooled and will keep for several months in cool , dry conditions.

Makes approximately 2.5 litres of cordial. To use dilute to taste with either still or sparkling water.

I link up here.

photo:<a href="">elderflower</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Monday, 9 November 2015

Cinnamon & Thyme Sore Throat Tea

Herbal teas can be a useful way to soothe some of the symptoms of colds, flu and sore throats. 

The cinnamon in this tea has a warming effect, plus it aids digestion. Thyme is anti-microbal and is said to strengthen the immune system thereby helping to prevent recurring infections. 

I make this using common thyme, but if you have other varieties use them.

Cinnamon Thyme Sore Throat Tea

Place 2 teaspoons of dried thyme and one cinnamon stick into a small teapot. Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the pot to cover the herbs. Allow to steep for 6-8 minutes (you can adjust the steeping time depending on how strong you like your tea).

Pour into a tea cup or mug through a strainer. Sweeten to taste with honey.

Makes 2 cups.

Drinking two or 3 cups a day may help to relieve cold symptoms

You may also like to try: Simple Herbal Tea Recipes

Please note that this article is not intended as medical advice. 

I link up here.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

How to make Chocolate Icing

A few weeks ago I shared a recipe for Weetbix Slice. The slice is finished with chocolate icing. I've been asked for the icing recipe so here it is.

Chocolate Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar (approx)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • water

Place the butter, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and slowly melt over a low heat. Do not let it boil.

Once the butter has melted remove from the heat. Using a spoon or a small palette knife (I prefer to use a knife) mix in one cup of the icing sugar and the cocoa powder. The mixture will be a little dry and lumpy. 

This is the point where you start adding water tablespoon at at time. Alternately add water and the rest of the icing sugar until you get a smooth, spreadable mixture. If the mixture is too wet add a bit more icing sugar. Add a little more water if the mix is too dry.

This is a very forgiving recipe so don't worry if it takes some time to get the consistency right - just keep adding water or icing sugar until it smooth and spreadable. The icing should be firm enough that it clings to the knife, bit not so firm that it look dry. 

Once you're happy with the icing spread it onto your slice or cake. Here it is on the Weetbix Slice with a little coconut sprinkled on top before the icing set.

NOTE: It's important to use pure butter as the icing will not set if an oil-based butter substitute is used.


Vanilla Icing - use the same method, but omit the cocoa powder.
Lemon Icing - using the same method. Omit the cocoa powder and use lemon essence in place of vanilla. 

I link up here.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Elder Flower Toner for sensitive skin

Elder flower have been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It can also be used for treating colds and sinus infections. In his Complete Herbal (1653) Culpeper describes elder flowers as as being "of much use to free the skin from sunburning, freckles ... or the like; and taketh away the headache [and] it taketh away ulcers."

We have a large elder tree in the back garden that is just beginning to flower. I'll be making some of this toner with fresh flowers; plus I'll be drying more flowers to use later.

This toner is very gentle, making it particularly suitable for sensitive or delicate skin. 

Elder Flower Toner


Place 1 tablespoon of fresh elder flowers (or 1/2 tablespoon if using dried flowers) into a heatproof bowl or jug. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the flowers. Cover and leave to cool and steep for about an hour.

Pour the cooled infusion into a glass bottle. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerine and 5 drops of lavender essential oil (if using). Cap the bottle and shake well to combine. 

Makes approximately one cup. The toner will keep for one week stored in the fridge.

To use: Shake before using. Apply with a cotton pad avoiding your eyes. Follow with your usual moisturiser.

You may also like to try:

Almond Milk Toner for combination skin
Apple Toner for oily, blemished skin
Black Tea Toner for oily skin
Lavender Toner for teenage skin
Rosewater Toner for dry skin

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

I link up here.

Nicholas Culpeper, Complete Herbal, first published 1653 (I have a 1992 reprint)
Available online: