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.

   

 

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.

 

Cooking with Essential Oils – an Introduction

You may not be aware of it but you’re likely to be cooking with essential oils on a daily basis.

Essential oils are made from an array of plant material that contain highly scented volatile parts. This could be eucalyptus leaves, cardamom pods, lavender flowers or rose petals. To make them into an essential oil the plant material goes through a process called distillation. This involves steam passing through and releasing those molecules then capturing the oil as the steam turns back into water.

There are many plant materials containing essential oils that are commonly used during cooking and when you apply heat to them this releases those oils that make for delicious smells in your kitchen:

Spices: When you heat up seeds like coriander, cumin and fennel,  in preparation for something like a curry or a tagine, it makes for a mouth-watering atmosphere. The essential oils also have an effect on your digestive system by stimulating digestive juices, (hence the ‘mouth-watering’).  Try this Garam Masala Recipe to experience the affect of releasing essential oils when preparing a spice mix.

Moroccan Tagine with 12 Spices!
Moroccan Tagine with 12 Spices!

Herbs:  With some herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, the heat on a sunny day will be enough to initiate a waft of essential oil as you pass by, and on cooler days you may need to rub the leaves with warm fingers to release the scent.

Flowers: You can use many flowers in food for their perfume and delicate taste such as roses, orange blossom, geraniums and of course lavender.

Rose Petal Salad
Rose Petal Salad

More to come on Cooking with Essential Oils…

I have been experimenting with cooking with essential oils and scented plant materials recently and will be sharing some of my recipes and tips in future blogs. It can be as simple as sprinkling some rose petals on your meal or adding a drop of lemon essential oil to your bottle of olive oil for dressing salads. It doesn’t take much for a magic touch*.

Here are a few teasers to tantalise your taste buds.

IMG_5448
Fruit & Nut Balls
Rainbow trout and lavender
Rainbow Trout with Lavender & Lemon
cooking with essential oils
Lavender Seed Crackers

Make sure you’re ‘following’ the blog so you don’t miss out on some unusual ways to cook with scented leaf pelargoniums; a delicious alternative to chocolate brownies using peppermint or orange essential oil; and lots of ways to use lavender, including lavender lamb, lavender loaves and lavender & beetroot!*When using essential oils in cooking you need to be very sure that you are buying from a trust worthy source, where the oil is not diluted, adulterated or synthetic. Get in touch to buy Essential Oils by Laura Hoy.

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.

Natural Perfume and Aromatherapy Workshops – Summer 2016

Natural Perfume Making Workshops this Summer, make your own unique & completely natural, organic perfume, with the finest quality essential oils.

Audrey Hepburn
Stop, breathe gently, smile and appreciate.

There are so many beautiful scents in the air at this time of year here in the UK, walking down the street or through the park, the air is perfumed every now and then by some flower or other coming into bloom. It always makes me stop, breathe gently, smile and appreciate… nature has such a sweet way of reminding us of simplicity, joy and bringing us back to the present moment.

I’m also appreciating the magical venues I have picked for my Natural Perfume Workshops this Summer; firstly there is Mayfield Lavender Farm just outside London. The scent at this venue will be obvious before you even arrive at the farm, as the fresh, lovely smell is carried in the air around the field. You will also be blessed with the truly stunning sight of the iridescent lavender as well as the gentle humming sound of bees. It is a truly inspiring setting for learning about essential oils and making your own unique perfumes, in the midst of the beautiful purple flowers under the gazebo -featured in this image:

Lavender Perfume Workshop
Mayfield Lavender – venue for Summer Perfume Workshop in Surrey on Saturday 23rd July, 2016.

The next venue for my Natural Perfume Making Workshop is at my favourite florist – Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio in Brighton. The reason I’m so in love with this place is because of the unusual scented varieties of many plants and flowers she supplies, many of which yield their own essential oil. Not only does she have some incredibly beautiful scented roses (quite rare in florist these days) but I’ve manage to purchase pink peppercorns and scented geranium leaves in the past. It is a joy to be surrounded by such a gorgeous array of seasonal flowers when making our bespoke perfume blends.

Kate Langdale Florist Brighton Workshop Venue Kate Langdale's Flower Studio - venue for Summer Perfume Workshop in Brighton
Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio – venue for Perfume Workshop in Brighton.

Here are the full details for the workshops this Summer, spaces are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment:

Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey on Saturday 23rd July, 2016 -10am -1pm

1 Carshalton Road, Banstead, SM7 3JA (15 miles from London).

Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio in Brighton -date to be confirmed (get in touch to set new dates to suit you).

84 Bath Street (just off Dyke Road), Seven Dials, Brighton BN1 3JD

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Cost: £60*
  • Price includes
    • 2 x 10ml bespoke natural roll on perfumes to take home, made by you, using the best quality oils.

To book a place, please contact me by email at:

laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk or telephone 07828954020

For more information on this workshop read my blog post on Natural Perfume Making.

I also run perfume workshops for private groups and parties, they are a really lovely opportunity to be with friends, family and even colleagues while enjoying making your own beautifully scented perfume to take away.

Audrey Hepburn flowers

For a little inspiration on breathing gently and appreciation, check out the free meditations on Unimed Living health & wellbeing website.

Healing Eye Pillows by Feather Light Productions

Feather Light Healing Eye Pillow Red FlowersFeather Light Healing Eye Pillow Pink Blossom

These beautiful silk healing eye pillows, scented with quality essential oils, are now available to buy from Essential Oils & You’s new Shop – this blog will share a little of how they can be used…

I’m choosing to sell these because they are truly exquisite, deeply supportive and made with such love and care, you can really sense the integrity that has gone into making them.

There are two designs to choose from: red flowers or pink blossom, the silk cover is removable, so you can hand wash it if need be, with soft black silk on the underside that feels gorgeous on your skin.

Inside the silk cover is an inner bag containing flax seeds which feel light across your eyes, yet mould around the contours of your face so it sits snug and blocks any light out as you rest. This makes it useful for headaches, migraines and for helping to get to sleep if you’re disturbed by light.

In cooler seasons I recommend warming the eye pillow on top of a radiator or ideally in a towel warmer if you have such a thing.  It is very supportive for restlessness, sleeplessness, anxiety and stress. For symptoms such as aching joints, period pains and back ache you can place the eye pillow on the appropriate body parts.

I like to place one over my eyes each night as I go to sleep, or if I feel stress, tension or tired, I lay with one across my eyes and one on my heart for 5-10 minutes to refresh myself.

Esoteric Healing Eye Pillow

These pillows are also a great accessory for therapists to use in various modalities such as massage.

Click here for details on how to purchase them from the website shop or contact me directly by email: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

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.