Thursday, 29 December 2016

The Top Ten Posts for 2016

A look back at the 10 most read posts from the last twelve months. Just click on the title of each post to read more.

1. Apple Sauce Facial Scrub

A very simple scrub made with just three ingredients.

2. Six Easy Scrubs

A collection of six easy to make facial scrubs.

3. The Made in New Zealand Christmas Gift Guide

A spotlight on 9 small businesses based in New Zealand making, doing and creating something special.

4. DIY Foaming Hand Soap

Making your own foaming hand soap is really quite easy and it's not hard to tailor the recipe to suit.

5. Seven Ways to Use Chamomile

Chamomile is an easy to grow annual spring-flowering herb which self seeds readily. It does best grown in a part-shaded, well-drained spot.

6. Homemade Foaming Facial Cleanser

A gentle foaming cleanser which combines essential oils, clays, apple juice and liquid castile. It can be tailored to suit most skin types.

7. Six Favourite Toner Recipes

A collection of six toner recipes together in one place for easy reference. There's something to suit almost everyone's skin.

8. Banana Walnut Bread

Banana bread is a favourite in our house and this is a recipe I make quite often. It's not difficult to make. The secret is not to over mix.

9. Vanilla Honey Lip Balm

This lip balm has a sweet, warm, but subtle fragrance. It takes a little more effort to make than some lip balms, but it's worth it.

10. DIY Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer doesn't take the place of washing you hands, but it's useful when you don't have have little or no access to clean running water.

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

I link up here.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Bedtime Tea

The combination of three herbs known for their soothing, calming properties makes this tea good choice before bed.

Bedtime Tea

To make this you will need:

Place the dried herbs directly into a tea pot or infuser. Pour over 1 cup of boiling water and leave to steep for 5-6 minutes. Strain then add 1-2 teaspoons of honey to sweeten. Sprinkle with a little ground nutmeg (if using). Sip slowly. 

You may also like:

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Friday, 16 December 2016

Citrus Kitchen Cleaning Spray

The essential oils in this cleaning spray work with the vinegar and vodka to cut through grease and grime and to neutralise odours. 

Citrus Kitchen Spray

To make this you will need:

Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before using.

To use spray on kitchen surfaces like sinks or bench tops, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Stored in a cool, dark place the spray will keep for at least 12 months.

You may also like to try:

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

DIY Paw Balm

A hot, dry summer, a cold icy winter, footpaths or salty, sandy beaches can all be hard on a dog's feet. Our dog is getting older, but she still loves going for a walk in all weathers (especially the rain). This paw balm helps to create a barrier between the sand, snow, ice and grit that can be be hard on the pads and get between the toes of your dog's paws.

DIY Paw Balm (for dogs)

To make this you will need:

In a double boiler (or similar) slowly warm the first five ingredients until the shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil have melted. Squeeze in the contents of one vitamin E capsule and 6-8 drops of essential oil (if using). Stir to combine. Pour into a small pot or jar and leave to cool before sealing.

The paw balm will keep for at least 12 months if stored in cool, dry conditions.

Makes approximately 115g (4oz) of paw balm

I've chosen lavender essential oil for its anti-bacterial, analgesic and calming properties. Peppermint essential oil is cooling, calming and anti-microbal. Lavender essential oil works well in this balm on its own or blended with peppermint

If you chose to use a different essential oil please ensure that it is safe for dogs.

You may also like:

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Friday, 9 December 2016

The Tea Drinkers Gift Guide - 21 useful and unusual gifts.

The Tea Drinkers Gift Guide - 21 useful and unusual gifts.

Here, in no particular order, are some gift ideas for the tea drinkers in your life.

Tea Infusers

The Tea Shirt Tea Infuser comes in its own eco-friendly tea cup. Just pop loose tea into the infuser, put it in a cup, pour in boiling water and leave it to steep. Also available in black.

For something more traditional this stainless steel set comes with two strainers, drip trays and a tea scoop

Or the Elegant Ball Infuser made from easy-to-clean stainless steel mesh

Books about Tea

The Tea Drinkers Handbook - tasteful guide that explores the pleasures of tea.

Available from The Book Depository and Amazon

Really Wild Tea Cosies - For the tea drinker who also likes to knit - a collection of 20 easy to follow patterns to create some fabulous tea cosies.

Available from The Book Depository and Amazon

The Tea Book - a guide to all things tea. From the estates where tea grow to the rues for brewing the perfect cup.

Available from The Book Depository and Amazon

The Story of Tea - a cultural history and drinking guide.

Available from The Book Depository and Amazon

Tea Shirts

Cosies, Caddies and Boxes

A classic quilted tea cosy in grey or red

An elegant silver-toned tea caddy

A bamboo Tea Storage Box

Tea Pots

For Whovians a Tardis Tea Pot or a Tardis Mug or Tea Infuser

A Japanese-style cast iron tea pot

A glass infuser tea pot


Red Thunder Autumn Oolong Tea - a Darjeeling Oolong with clean, sweet floral notes

Try a gourmet selection of 9 assorted loose teas including: green tea, black tea, white tea, herbal and rooibos teas.

Try a monthly Subscription Box from the Tea Box - 3 plans to choose from.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Rosemary Foot Spray

Last month I wrote about Deodorising Powder for Feet and Sneakers. Today I'm sharing a recipe for a deodorising foot spray.

This Rosemary Foot Spray has a fresh, green aroma. Rosemary, cypress and patchouli all have anti-bacterial properties which will help to neutralise odour-causing bacteria that love the warm, moist environment created by shoes and socks.

Rosemary Foot Spray

To make the foot spray you will need:

Place the rosemary in the spray bottle. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake the lidded bottle, then leave to steep for a couple of days. 

Shake before using. Spray on feet once or twice a day.

Note: If you don't have access to fresh rosemary substitute 10 drops of rosemary essential oil. Dried rosemary can be used, but it tends to clog the sprayer.

You may also like to try this simple foot soak:

Lemon & Vinegar Foot Soak - In a small basin (big enough to pop your feet in) combine about 10 cups of warm water, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 a cup of sea salt. Stir well then add the juice from two lemons to the bowl. Pop you feet in and relax for 10-15 minutes.

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Friday, 2 December 2016

Gentle Almond Scrub

This almond scrub is simple to make and gentle on the skin.

It incorporates honey to hydrate and soothe the skin and ease inflammation. Finely ground almond meal gently exfoliates. Peppermint oil to cool. Jojoba oil is non-allergenic, antibacterial and chemically very much like human sebum.

Almond Scrub

To make this you will need:

Blend all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. You may need to soften the honey a little to make it easier to work with.

Add water a few drops at a time to make a spreadable paste. Massage into the neck and face. Leave for 5-10 minutes then rinse with warm water.

You may also like to try:

Lemon Exfoliating Scrub
Apple Sauce Facial Scrub
Milky Oatmeal Scrub

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Made in New Zealand Christmas Gift Guide

This Christmas why not shop small and support local artisans from all over New Zealand. There are so many talented makers, doers, creators and artisans out there producing some amazing things - in sheds, spare rooms, home offices and workshops.

Here, in their own words, are just a few:

 My Pink Basket

My tiny business is handmade toys. I make them out of socks, but they're bot standard sock-toys. I create my own patterns and make them look really pretty and stylish. I also take great care for every detail to make them absolutely safe for babies (such as no buttons, doubled seams etc). Though I believe my Sleeping Buddies are good enough for any age! You are very welcome to visit my Facebook page -

Puzzle Beetle

Puzzle Beetle puzzle and crossword books - great little Christmas presents

Volume 2 is jam-packed with theme-based crosswords to keep the brain cells whirring. Plenty of fun wordy challenge.

Volume 3 is a fiendish mix of original word puzzles, with a couple of crosswords thrown in for good measure. Bound to put a bright spot in the day.

Only $14 each (plus P&P). Perfect gift for summer holiday chill-out - for friends and family or just for you.

Uku Chic

Uku Chic is synonymous wuth creating kids clothes ans home decor, but I have recently branched out into decoupage and upcyclying of household detritus.

Take a wooden dish, used NZ stamps, paint and the dish no longer looks like something from the 70s. Sticking down stamps is no fun, but loving this style of decoupage and no luck finding scrapbooking paper it was time to make my own. Two themes of NZ stamp collages are now available to papercraft fans everywhere - as a digital download. Expanding on this theme I now offer my first set of "kiwiana" cards see

Classic Cool

Classic Cool started with a pair of Hightops and a word of encouragement. I had a love of Crochet and I wasn't 80 years old! I found a pattern that incorporated the Classic art of Crochet, with the Cool fashion of a Converse look-a-like Hightop boot. After a friend saw them and asked if I sold them, it was then that Classic Cool was born. Over the past 3 years that we have been around and my babies have grown, we have broadened our range from just baby shoes and sandals to Cowl Hoods, Beanies, Christmas creations adult wear. The latest range being soft toys - Maarley has been a hit!

My Pinterest boards are jammed full of idea to expand Classic Cool into the realms of jewellery, scented toys, high-end crown and so much more, It's just about finding the time - Always the way! 

Little Lil - lil' bit knotty

Little Lil - lil' bit knotty is a small business making unique handmade necklaces which are suitable for every occasion. The necklaces are simple in design, yet striking in appearance. This is especially due to the contrast of bronze metal and brightly coloured cord. The inspiration comes from past and present cultures as well as current happenings and nature. The are certainly fun to wear.

Mud Mates

The Mud Mates personalised Swim Bag is a multifunctional drawstring bag ideal for togs and towel, using as a sports or activity bag, a library bag or even an overnight bag.

Available in a range of bright colours to stand out from the crowd and customisable with your child's name to help them identify it easily and others to return it to them if it gets lost!

Proudly handcrafted in New Zealand.

Busy Me

My love affair with tie dye stemmed from a trip to America. The festival stalls selling baby tie dye caught my attention. They were completely different to your average baby clothes. I decided then that that's what I would like to do.

Three years later I delved in. Busy Me was born and I haven't looked back. Please visit my Facebook page:

Alba Rosa

Alba Rosa for carefully handmade small-batch soap and skincare products.

Soaps to create an indulgent bathing experience - creamy and bubbly. Naturally coloured with herbs, flowers, spices, teas and clays. Fragranced with pure essential oils.

Balms and salves to heal and soothe. Beard oils and balms for manly grooming. Luxurious bath treats.

The Hive

The Hive - New Zealand's buzzing online shopping destination. One shopping cart - one checkout, but more than 140 Kiwi businesses and over 1500 products to choose from.

Home Decor, Gifts (for kids and adults), Toys, Jewellery, Health and Beauty, Books, Photographers, Accountants, Clothing and more. So much choice from an amazing collections and makers and doers, backed up with amazing customer service from The Hive Team.

And you can shop in your PJs!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Calendula Tea for Sore Throats

Calendula is most widely used for it's anti-infammatory and skin-healing properties, but here is the base of a throat soothing tea.

Calendula Tea

To make this you will need:

  • 1/4 cup of fresh (spray-free) calendula petals or 1/8 cup dried petals
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange peel (peel thinly so there's no white pith - it's bitter)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teapoon runny honey
  • cayenne pepper (optional)

Place the calendula petals and orange peel in a diffuser or in a strainer over a cup and cover with one cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes. Strain then add the orange juice and honey. Stir well. Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper (if using). Sip slowly.

The colour of the tea will vary from pale yellow through to orange depending on the colour of the calendula petals used.

You may also like to try:
Cinnamon & Thyme Sore Throat Tea
Elder Flower Tea for allergies
Calendula Cleanser

Pieced Pastimes

Featured on Morsels of Life: Inspire Me Monday

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Soothing Chamomile Toner

To make this you will need:

Infuse the tea bags or chamomile flowers in just boiled water for 5-7 minutes. Strain as required and allow to cool.

Combine the cooled tea with lemon juice (if using) and witch hazel and stir well. Add the essential oils and stir again.

To use: apply to clean, dry skin with a cotton pad. Do not rinse. Follow with you usual moisturiser.

Soothing Chamomile Toner will keep for one month stored in the fridge.

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

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

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Friday, 18 November 2016

Book Review: A Year in a Bottle - Sally Wise

A Year in a Bottle is a collection of over 100 recipes for making your own preserves and conserves - jellies, jams, chutneys, pickles, drinks, fruits pastes, sauces and vinegars.

The book begins with a section on practical tips and advice covering topics like sterilising jars and bottles, pectin, and testing jams and jellies for set. Included here are a few recipes for sugar free jam.

The two main sections of the book. One is focused on jams, jellies, maramaldes and conserves. The other chutneys, relishes, pickles, sauces and vinegars.

A useful troubleshooting section follows.

There are also short sections on freezing and bottling. Near the end of there is a selection of favourite recipes including soup, curry paste, potted meat, rhubarb cake and fruit shortbread.

The recipes in the book are well laid out, with clear instructions. I've made several of these recipes with great results - including Homemade Lemonade, Apricot Chutney and Onion Marmalade. As well as the usual recipes covering stonefruit, berries and the like you'll find recipes for pickled walnuts, sloe cheese and rosehip syrup. I'm planning to make the intriguing sounding Tomato Jam soon! 

If you're interested in preserving - either as a beginner or as an experienced bottler looking for new inspiration - A Year in a Bottle is definitely worth a look.

Available from The Book DepositoryAmazon and Kindle

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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Deodorising Powder for Feet and Sneakers.

Unfortunately sometimes you just can't avoid smelly shoes - especially sports shoes or sneakers. This recipe for a deodoriser is (like most of my recipes) simple to make and does the job well.

Deodorising Foot Powder

In a bowl combine:

Stir to combine. 

Now add essential oil. You need to add about 100 drops of essential oil for this quantity of powder. Add the oil a few drops at a time whisking after each addition to make sure the essential oil and the powder are well combined.

These essential oils, either on their own or in combination, work well:

Two combinations I really like are:

50/50 blend of peppermint and sweet orange
60/40 blend of peppermint and tea tree

Allow the mix to steep for 3-4 days so that the deodorising powder fully absorbs the essential oils.

The powder can be sprinkled into shoes every couple of days or onto clean feet as needed.

Stored in a lidded shaker, similar to the one seen here, the powder will keep its freshness for up to a year. 

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I link up here.