Flax Seed Cracker Recipe – with a sprinkle of lavender flowers.

This is a Super Simple Flax Seed Cracker Recipe…

A slightly strange post for an essential oil site but I’m sharing this recipe after several requests because I usually make them for my Perfume and Aromatherapy Workshops to have as a snack during the ‘fragrant’ tea break. They are literally just made with flax seeds and water as follows:

Ingredients
2 cups ground flax seeds,
1 ½ cup water
That’s it!

…but you really need to add some spices and herbs (2-3 tea spoons) to the recipe other wise they would be pretty bland.
I usually sprinkle lavender flowers on mine (which smells amazing when they’re baking!), and a few spices like turmeric and caraway seeds. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds give them a bit more bite. Black pepper and rosemary is a nice combination, but really you can add anything you like – chilli powder, lemon zest, fennel seeds – (Check out my blog ‘The Art of Blending Essential Oils’ for some more tips & inspiration).

Method
♥ Preheat oven to 160⁰ C
♥ If you have whole flax seeds put them in a blender and grind to a fine dust.
♥ Blend the ground flax seeds with spices and herbs (and other seeds) in a bowl and then add the water and mix until it becomes a gooey mess.
♥ Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the seed mixture in the centre. Cover with another baking sheet and flatten with a rolling pin. Try to make it as thin as possible but be quick or the mix will stick to both sheets..
♥ Once flat, you can sprinkle with sesame seeds, lavender flowers etc., press down with your hands so they stick and place in the oven.
♥ After about 5 minutes, remove from the oven and run a knife or a pizza cutter along the tray to score your desired cracker shapes.
♥ Bake for one hour then turn the oven off and leave the crackers in there as long as possible as this dries them out further.

The crackers are tasty on their own but really useful with dips here are some recipes for delicious accompaniments:

Guacamole recipe
Hummus recipe
Parsley, lemon and macadamia dairy free pesto recipe
Beetroot dip recipe

If you have a sweet tooth you could turn them into healthy biscuits by adding things like dried fruit (very small pieces), vanilla or cinnamon powder, desiccated coconut and even orange zest. Let me know how your experiments go…

Click here to see up and coming workshops (which generally include fragrantly themed healthy snacks).

When you can’t see the Roses for the Weeds – Appreciation is the Key!

Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of working at Hever Castle, in Kent, during their summer event: ‘Hever In Bloom’ -it’s a week in their calendar when the gardens are in full bloom and I gave daily talks to visitors about essential oils as a prelude to my Natural Perfume & Aromatherapy Workshops running at Hever’s ‘Handmade and Homegrown‘ event in September.

I could not help but appreciate my surroundings here and every day I enjoyed a walk around the walled rose garden that smelled so heavenly in the warm sunshine. And here I was reminded of an anecdote on the importance of appreciation that Natalie Benhayon shared at a presentation for women earlier this year…

You have the most beautiful rose garden, you’ve put lots of work into it leading up to the summer and there is an entire rainbow of coloured flowers on show, delicious scents that make you swoon and an abundance of wild life enjoying the full blooms in all their glory. It’s a stunning sight and everyone that passes by is impressed and can’t help but enjoy it.

But – there has to be a ‘but’ – and that ‘but’ is a very small patch of weeds, tiny infact, just a few sprouts, but they’re really annoying you, so when anyone pays you a compliment about how beautiful your rose garden is, you respond with “Oh, but look at those weeds, I really need to get on top of them”, and when the person responds with “What weeds? I hadn’t noticed any.” all you can do is remain focused on the weeds: “Oh they’re all over the place, those darn weeds!”. And, yet, the garden is breath takingly beautiful. Yes, there are a few weeds to deal with, and if they were ignored they may begin to affect the beauty in the rose garden, but by bringing all the focus to them, you miss out on all the beauty and joy in the garden – When you can’t see the roses for the weeds, even a few weeds have taken over the show…

It’s worth considering how much we bring appreciation into our daily life. How often do we bat away a compliment by playing it down, ignoring it, completely denying it, or possibly admitting it with a ‘Yes, but…’ deflection. What would happen if we actually accepted that compliment and realised the importance of showing and sharing our natural, unique and lovely qualities? We are taught to not blow our own trumpet, but what if the more we blow our own trumpet, the more others will realise it’s ok to blow theirs and before long we’ll have a full blowing orchestra of people shining. The music is then enjoyed by many, just as the beauty of the rose garden is, and we too can enjoy and cherish ourselves with out holding back or playing small.

If it feels a little awkward to accept a compliment and enjoy the rose garden in full (while still taking care of the weeds) then we can start to bring appreciation into our daily life. This can be as simple as taking a moment in between the day’s tasks and recognising the completion before rushing onto the next task. We can easily get caught in the overwhelm of ‘things to do’ but if we were to appreciate each little step along the way, then the whole day doesn’t need to pass by under the pressure of trying to get a ‘to do’ list done, with a view to only appreciating and feeling satisfied if we complete it -which never happens as the ‘to do’ list is always never ending!

Appreciation can then begin to really bloom, with our rose garden showing the depth of the beauty that resides in us naturally, what ever kind of day we are having.

‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, but there is no trying to be sweet, the sweetness is just there, so take a moment to stop and enjoy it.

Click here if you would like to book a place at the Natural Perfume & Aromatherapy Workshops at Hever Castle.

If you enjoyed this post then you might like to check out details on a ‘Rose Retreat‘ in Bulgaria, May 2018 – an opportunity to deepen your understanding of appreciation in a place that will constantly reflect this. Click here for more details, bookings will be available in the Autumn.

   

 

Chamomile Blend for Hay Fever and Allergies

Last week I ran a natural skin care making workshop and the client was suffering from hay fever. It was obvious they would not enjoy the few hours we had together when suffering with congestion in the nose and sinuses, sneezing, eyes watering and itchiness. They did have anti histamines, but I suggested we make a chamomile essential oil blend first to apply around the eye and nose area to see if it would ease the symptoms.

Chamomile essential oil is very potent, so you just need a tiny amount, we used 1 drop of oil in 5ml of carrier oil (e.g. apricot oil) and applied around the eyes, across the nose and cheeks. We continued the workshop and the symptoms eased in a few minutes, leaving behind just a little sniffing for the rest of the morning and there was no need to use the anti histamines which often have other unwanted side effects (fatigue, dry mouth). It was a great confirmation to observe for my self how the chamomile blend eased and calmed the allergies swiftly and effectively.

Chamomile is great for calming allergic reactions, such as rashes, inflammation and hay fever, it also calms the nervous system which is useful because when suffering from the symptoms it can make your mood quite irritable, aggravated and upset.

Caution: You must blend the chamomile essential oil with a carrier oil before applying to your skin, you can use any of the Carrier Oils listed for sale in my shop or simply use a little olive oil from your kitchen cupboard.

Click here to order a Bespoke Chamomile Blend to help with hay fever and other allergies.

Click here to buy Chamomile Essential Oil.

You may also like to read: Lavender and Chamomile for Hay fever

TESTIMONIAL:

‘My hay fever symptoms have improved a lot thank you. I still get itchy eyes and a little blocked and sneezing but thats usually in the mornings or evening when I need to re-apply the blend.
Your bespoke blend is really beautiful to apply thank you. I think in the first few days as my symptoms were so strong I applied quite a lot and then felt a bit greasy as I’m not used to using oils (I’m also quite heavy handed sometimes with things). I am now applying less (3 drops to my face and neck, twice a day unless I need during the day) and it’s working really well thank you. It’s so nice not to be taking medication, which I always avoid if I can.
I have also had dry patches of skin across my cheek bones for months despite applying moisturiser daily and they are now beautifully soft! ‘ Michelle Foulser

Cooking with Geranium Essential Oil

Cooking with Geranium Essential Oil

It’s the leaves in the Geranium (Pelargonium) plants that yield essential oil and they come with some incredible scents, including orange, lemon, rose and even chocolate peppermint!

To use them in baking, clean the leaves and lay them at the bottom of a cake or bread tin, pour in the mix and whilst baking, the essential oil held in the leaves, will infuse giving a delicate scent and flavour. Turn the tin upside down to remove the leaves before eating (you can leave them in for show, but don’t eat them).

scented leaf pelargonium
Scented Pelargonium Leaves.

This would work really well with any cake or bread recipe that has a fairly delicate flavour to allow the scent of the geranium to come through. Here are a couple of delicious options I’d recommend:

gluten free orange and almond cake
Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake – Recipe by Healthy Cooking for Beginners.
sugar-free-gluten-free-nut-free-cake-recipe
Sugar Free Coconut Cake – Recipe by Live Love Nourish.

 

gluten-free-bread
Gluten Free Breads – Recipes by Live Love Nourish.

Fibrex Nurseries stock a range of scented leaved pelargoniams that would be suitable for use in baking.

Attar of Roses - Scented Leaf Pelargonium
Attar of Roses – Scented Leaf Pelargonium from Firbrex Nurseries.

Coming Soon – make sure you’re ‘following’ the blog more tips on Cooking with Essential Oils, (click ‘follow’ button on top right of page). Click here if you missed the previous blog on Cooking with Essential Oils – An Introduction.

 

Connection, Rituals and Nurturing – How I use Essential Oils in my Daily Life.

Essential oils are a potent tool to support health and well-being, from chronic illness to the common cold. There are an array of oils to choose from, each with powerful properties that help ease many symptoms both in the body and the mind. There are a myriad of ways they can be used too, which can actually be a little overwhelming, but no matter what my symptoms may be, or what essential oil I feel like using, there are three main ways that I incorporate them into my daily life:

Connection – to support a consistent connection with my body and to reconnect to myself when I feel out of sorts;

Esoteric Healing Eye Pillow
Taking a moment to reconnect with a scented healing eye pillow.

Rituals – to use the oils in daily rituals that support me to live with a steady rhythm and stay connected with what’s around me;

Simply lighting a scented candle when taking a shower makes all the difference to my morning.
Simply lighting a scented candle when taking a shower makes all the difference to my morning.

Nurturing – to use essential oils in a nurturing way that supports developing a deeper relationship with myself.

Feeling what part of my body I want apply cream to.

These ways can look quite different for each individual person, so here are some practical examples of how it can play out for me:

Connection – If I’m feeling a bit stressed, tired or distracted, I may take five minutes to sit and massage my wrists with some hand cream or massage oil blended with myrrh essential oil. This area feels particularly delicate to me and this action allows me to feel how tender my body is, so quite quickly it brings me back to myself which gives me a chance to address what ever is going on that resulted in me feeling out of sorts -hence the re-connection.

Using myrrh essential oil on my wrists.
Using myrrh essential oil on my wrists.

Rituals – In my daily tasks I like to bring a little touch of magic to what I do, I might add a sprinkle of lavender oil into my laundry powder or a few drops of lemon oil onto kitchen surfaces when I’m cleaning. It’s a way of bringing my innate quality to every day life and recognizing each moment as precious.

Appreciating the lavender bags in my wardrobe each morning when I choose what to wear.
Appreciating the lavender bags in my wardrobe each morning when I choose what to wear.

Nurturing – The more I build the connection with myself and the daily rituals in my life, the more deeply I feel I naturally nurture myself. It seems that if I care enough to commit to the other two, the nurturing builds by itself. It’s like I have more respect and time to care for myself. Rose is my favorite oil to use in this way, at the moment its in my face cream which also gets applied to other areas of my body that need attention, it’s likely to be in a perfume that I make (that I quite often just wear to bed) or a few drops in my shower gel which means my skin gets massaged with rose each morning –very delicious.

Adding a little rose oil to my face cream & cherishing myself as I apply it.
Adding a little rose oil to my face cream & cherishing myself as I apply it.

These are all simple ways that I use the oils and they don’t take too much time up. Everyone could use essential oils in their day to day life, perhaps in different practical ways depending on what they like and the practicalities of their day. But by bringing the focus to connection, rituals and nurturing, it tends to avoid the oils becoming just another quick fix for ailments and supports addressing the route cause of the issue. It also allows me to appreciate the real beauty and power in the oils, but also how important my part is in supporting my health and wellbeing.

If you would like to discuss how essential oils can support you or request a Bespoke Blend you can email me directly at laura@essenstialoilsandyou.co.uk.

For more inspiration on how to use essential oils read Nurture, Cherish, Adore – inspired by Natalie Benhayon.

Click here for more tips on developing Self Care Rituals.

Taking Care of your Clothes with Essential Oils.

A change of season means a change of wardrobe, what ever side of the planet you’re on you are bound to be experiencing the change in seasons, whether it’s time to pack away your warm jumpers and winter coats or say goodbye to summer dresses and cool T-shirts, essential oils are a sweet smelling and practical way to look after your clothes.

IMG_5390

If you’ve ever experienced an attack of moths on your favourite cashmere jumper then you will be sure to take extra care when you store your knitwear and silks away for several months. Here are a few tips to help protect your clothes and ensure they reappear in one piece, smelling fresh when you unpack next Spring/Autumn…

It’s advisable to give everything a wash before you pack them up and as a side note, if you haven’t worn them all season, consider getting rid of them, there are so many benefits to de-cluttering your wardrobe! I add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my washing powder for a little touch of freshness and since lavender oil deters moths it is a great smelling start to the process.

I then take several lavender filled bags or pillows that contain dried lavender flowers, if the scent has faded I add a few drops of lavender oil to freshen them up. I also sprinkle a few drops of cedar wood essential oil as this is another oil that deters moths, (cedar wood oil is dark brown in colour, so you may want to avoid staining the material on the lavender bags, in that case just add a few drops to tissues). Tuck the lavender bags evenly among the clothes in their suitcase or storage bag and close securely.

I don’t think anyone likes the smell of mothballs and even if you’ve never had moths this is still a worthwhile ritual as it keeps your clothes fresh and smelling lovely when you bring them out next season…

If you don’t have any lavender bags you can sprinkle the oils onto tissues and place them in the storage bags. Alternatively, you can purchase some from BySally or Mayfield Lavender.

 

These ones are way too pretty for me to pack away so I generally keep them in my draws, with my bed linen or on hangers in my wardrobe so I can appreciate them daily.

Since lavender has so many other amazing properties including supporting a restful night sleep, I also hang a lavender bag on my bedpost, or under my pillow so that I breathe in the scent as I lay down to sleep.

Click here to read more on how to use lavender oil to support sleep and how to scent your car naturally.

Lav bags group 1 small

For tips on de-cluttering your life check out ‘Simplicity in Living‘.

How Essential Oils work in our Bodies.

 

Christmas wreath

One of the many things I love about essential oils is how the effect on our body is connected to the plant itself and that plants action in life. Trees produce oxygen by their mode of respiration which supports us with our respiration, so, it seems natural for the essential oil to support conditions that affect our respiratory system, like colds and coughs. When you breath in essential oils you can feel an affect on your body straight away, and this is very prominent with tree oils such as eucalyptus and pine. You can feel them cleaning and clearing as they pass from the tip of your nose  deep down into your lungs, I feel my chest expand, even my posture changes.and I will naturally be more open and stand taller – just like a tree. Everything is connected so it goes beyond the respiratory system, but it’s a good example of feeling for yourself in your body, how the oils can support.

Frankincense & myrrh have a less fierce action on the respiratory system, much more calming, helping to bring a gentleness back to your breath. They are a great support for conditions such as asthma, panic attacks, stress, anxiety and for use in meditation.

Click here for links to free gentle breath meditation audios, they are quick, simple and a very practical support for real life.

Meditation_A-B0014-000481-CL-LR
Image care of Unimed Living

Frankincense is a great oil to scent the room with when you’re taking a moment to breath gently. Myrrh has a much subtler smell so doesn’t work that well in a burner, I prefer to massage this into my wrists to support connection with myself. Click here to read my blog on using myrrh in this way.

Frankincense and myrrh are also  examples of how essential oils can act on our bodies in the same way they do so as a tree in life. The essential oil comes from the resin that is produced by the tree when the bark is cut or injured. The resin is a sticky, thick, goo that covers the affected area and then hardens to seal and protect the damaged site, it’s a bit like the way humans form a scab to protect their bodies when the skin is broken.

Can you see why frankincense and myrrh are used in skin care? The resin is healing the tree and the oil that is produced from the resin is used for it’s healing properties on our skin. Frankincense is one of the most popular ingredients in many skin care products. Myrrh is particularly affective in helping festering and difficult to heal wounds, especially in the mouth -it’s useful for mouth ulcers and popular in oral care for this reason (see my blog on gargling with myrrh for more details).  I also like to use myrrh on dry, hard, cracked skin, it’s the base of my blend for scars and usually appears in the skin care products I make -it has recently been working wonders for a client with bed sores.

rose creams

Benzoin is similar to frankincense and myrrh, it is a tree that produces a resin that is made into an essential oil. It is very protective to the skin but has a very pleasing vanilla like scent that makes it particularly comforting to use for stress and anxiousness as well as in skin care.

I find that even the character of trees confirms how they work on the body. Large, tall strong trees like pines and firs and huge eucalyptus trees with tonnes of leaves are very expansive to the respiratory system, powerfully cleansing and clearing. Whereas the more delicate small trees like frankincense and myrrh work in a more gentle way, supporting reconnecting when you feel out of sorts. Both are very powerful but very different in action, a reflection of ourselves as humans; we all have different strengths and qualities that offer support in different ways.

You could not compare the delicacy of a flower that may last a few days or weeks to the strength of a huge oak that could live for generations. One is not better than another, for each brings a natural beauty that is needed. In this same way, we can appreciate each other for our natural qualities, we all have something to bring to this world of value and it is a true gift for humanity when we share these in full.