Snowshill Lavender

It’s that time of year again when I make my annual pilgrimage to a lavender farm – you just can’t keep me away!

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Although the weather was rainy and cool this year at Snowshill we still had an enjoyable walk through the lavender fields.  They have so many varieties here, it’s like a sweetie shop.

Interestingly they plant wildflowers in the adjacent meadow to attract bees.

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The views across the fields are amazing and the scent of lavender assaults your senses (in a good way!).

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As you can see, the lavender harvesting had already started as the plants in the foreground have had a good shearing.  The distillery onsite was busy making essential oil.

As usual, I bought a lavender souvenir: some essential oil, soap and a recipe card for lavender shortbread which I intend to make this weekend.

If you get chance to go to a lavender farm, please go, you won’t be disappointed.

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The Flowerpowerlife Aromatherapy Kitchen Garden

Since I last wrote about the importance of aromatherapy in my life,  I’ve been inspired by some wonderful medicinal herb gardens and have made some decisions.

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Aromatherapy massage is just a very small part of this huge world and it’s one that I won’t be venturing into.

Instead I plan to bring aromatherapy into my kitchen and garden!

1. Grow as many medicinal plants as I can fit into my tiny plot (I already have quite a few but it’s an excuse to buy more plants I know).

2. Experiment with more essential oils in candles, scrubs, lotions etc.

3. More research on plants and their uses.   RHS Tatton next week here we come!

4. Make beauty products with herbs and flowers.

I know that I’ve finally found the right path on my aromatherapy journey and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Using Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine or Jasminium officanale is one of the oils I’m most likely to put in the burner simply because its heady fragrance reminds me of summer nights in exotic locations.  For the same reason, I’ve planted it right outside my back door so that the scent wafts in, as well as in my quiet corner, where it trails over a garden seat.

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The essential oil is non toxic, non irritant and generally non-sensitising.  Like all essential oils, it should be used with caution especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition, and this one should be avoided in early pregnancy.

Jasmine has many uses but this week I’ve been using it for its sedative properties.  Just two drops in the oil burner is enough to scent the bedroom.  I leave it to burn while I read my book for an hour, and by then, my eyelids are dropping.  It can also be used to increase sexual desire, so if reading isn’t on the agenda but a little cuddle time is, then it’s a good oil for creating the right atmosphere.

Jasmine blends with virtually anything, but for a relaxing massage blend, I tend to combine it with one of the citrus oils (such as mandarin)to add a bit of edge to the sweetness.  For a PMS blend, you could add it to clary sage: add three drops of clary, three drops of jasmine, and one drop of black pepper to a tablespoon of carrier oil (such as sweet almond or grapeseed) and slather it on after a warm bath.  It helps with menstrual cramps, as well as reducing that ‘antsy’ feeling you get just before your period.  This restlessness (especially in my legs) has increased for me as I head further into menopause and massaging in this oil is a great relaxant.

I know I’ve said this before,  but don’t be tempted to add more essential oil to the carrier to make a stronger blend.  Use sparingly.  Less is more!

If anyone has any essential oil blends for menopause, I’d love to read about them.

Aromatherapy: Becoming a Practitioner

I’m a fully trained and qualified aromatherapist, yet, aside from massage for friends and family, I don’t practice or charge for treatments.  When I first qualified in 2005 after a year’s full on training, and with many hours of case study under my belt, I was absolutely sure that I would become self employed and leave my desk job.  However, I still needed an income, so couldn’t just plunge straight in.  So, it went on the back burner until I figured out what to do, and to all intents and purposes, that’s where it has stayed.

The itch to practice however, has never gone away.  I love the feeling of heat in my hands when massaging.  I love the study of the plants, the essential oils and their uses.  I periodically dream of setting up in business and seeing clients in their own homes.  Yet, I don’t actually do anything about it.  I know I can’t work from home because my house is just not practical in its configuration.  I worry about the cost of hiring a therapy space and then finding no clients coming through the door.  I guess I’m just super cautious and clearly not a risk taker.

So, what can I do to share my love of aromatherapy?  Well, I can write about it, that’s for sure.  I can grow medicinal plants and herbs in my garden.  I can get creative, making lotions and potions as gifts (I’m thinking teacup candles in vintage china).  I can read all the latest professional journals and keep up to date with what’s happening in the aromatherapy world.  And of course, I can still offer massage to my friends and family when they need it!

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I’d be interested to know if any other therapists have faced this dilemma and how they approached it.

A Few Aromatherapy Favourites

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I’ve been pampering with a few aromatherapy treats lately, adding my own spin to some products and just enjoying the others as they are!

 Neom Complete Bliss Candle

This is my second purchase of the same aromatherapy blend, so it must be a good one.  I love anything with rose in it and this doesn’t disappoint.  It’s quite a subtle fragrance and I love to light it for an hour before bed while I’m reading.  It’s perfect for setting your brain into sleep mode.

MuLondon Organic Chocolate Truffle Moisturiser

This smells good enough to eat! Seriously, it smells of chocolate! I’ve been using it on my hands and feet at bedtime.  It has a nice thick formula and feels very comforting. It’s organic, cruelty free and handmade in London. It contains a base of shea butter and jojoba and is scented with cocoa and bourbon vanilla.  It’s formulated as a facial moisturiser, but my preference is facial oil hence my alternative use.

Tisserand Coconut Oil

I’m using this as my night oil (applying it after serum).  There’s no fragrance so I’ve added some neroli essential oil which is a very feminine oil and excellent for a sensitive complexion. I want to use good quality products on my face and Tisserand is a brand I trust.

Base Formula Massage Oil

I won this sample on Twitter and have been using it as an after bath moisturiser just before bed.  This is a relaxing blend of lavender, neroli and frankincense essential oils in a base of sweet almond oil.  At this time of year, when prepping my skin for the big summer reveal, I never miss the opportunity to add moisture and prefer oils to lotions as long as I’m getting straight into my PJs!

As you can see, I just love a plant based formula!

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil: Review

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I was interested to try this facial oil from Indie Lee as I’d never heard of ‘squalane’.  The Indie Lee website describes its use as follows: Protects your skin from ultraviolet rays and moisturizes to prevent dryness and chapping which results in a finer, more textured skin. Squalane oil is also an excellent carrier of additional nutrients because it penetrates the dermis layer much more deeply than other topical creams.

Further googling tells me that squalane is an organic compound, derived, in this case, from olives, which according to Wikipedia is a natural and vital part of the synthesis of all plant and animal sterols including cholesterol, steroid hormones, and vitamin D in the human body.

I took it on holiday to use as a night time moisturiser.  I always use a facial oil at night and textures tend to vary across products.  This one is beautifully light and a pleasure to use – ideal for use in a hot climate.  It’s unscented and if I was using it at home I would be tempted to add a drop of rose, or neroli, or maybe frankincense to send me off to sleep.

I’m always on the lookout for beautiful natural products and I think this one is a keeper!  The packaging is really attractive too – I like the clean simple lines and the glass bottle.  Of course this means I’ll have to try out some of the other products in the range now, so watch this space!

Holland & Barrett Chester Store Launch

Last night I was one of the lucky people invited to the launch party for the new Chester branch of Holland & Barrett which has moved down the road to the spot that Waitrose occupied.  It’s a huge store with so much choice that it’s hard to know where to start.  DSCF1518

The store showcases the ever growing Free From range of foods which are fab for anyone with allergies or food intolerances.  Luckily I don’t have this to contend with, but as readers of my blog will know, my number one focus is looking after my heart and trying to find ways of minimising my premature atrial contractions, so I’m researching foods that will keep my blood sugar stable throughout the day. The sugar free foods are of great interest as are the different types of grains on offer.

I was motivated and inspired to hear how important it is to H&B to extend their Free From offering because the people behind it really care.

I had a good wander round the shop and see that there are some really fun things to do, like make your own scrubs (right up my aromatherapy street!) and get fresh juices made to go.  Everything is beautifully presented so it will be a joy to shop there.

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It was great to meet some other bloggers and some of the Free From food suppliers.  Always good to chat with some like minded people!