All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning these precious oils (or a pair of your choice*), is share a picture via social media that captures your ‘favourite scent’. You can use any of the following platforms:
Email – email your images to firstname.lastname@example.org (note images may be shared on social media platforms.
The photo doesn’t have to be related to essential oils, it can be of anything that gives a sense of the smell you like, from your favourite flower to ingredients in your favourite meal, it could even be a person who you love the smell of…
Feel free to enter more than one image if you discover you have lots of favourite scents.
*You may choose another pair of essential oils as a prize if you prefer with a value up to £40.
The competition closes at midnight on Christmas Eve and the winner will be announced on Christmas Day. Open to all.
More Treats for November & December 2020: If you need to stock up on essential oils or aromatherapy accessories before the end of the year please take advantage of my £5 gift voucher, just enter the code CHERISH at the checkout. You can also request free gift wrapping, just let me know in the notes section if you require this.
The lead up to the end of the year can often feel a little fretful rather than festive, so here are some recommendations for essential oils to support you as the ‘silly season‘ takes over:
Orange & Clove for a warming, comforting scent that has a powerful cleansing & anti-microbial action, a perfect combination for using in a burner or diffuser* to scent your home and ward off winter bugs. You can get a similar effect by piercing cloves into the peel of an orange which releases their essential oils – as well as smelling delicious it will sanitise the atmosphere. Place them around your home, especially close to the fire as the heat will encourage more essential oils to be released.
Fir & Pine for supporting the immune system & respiratory conditions during vulnerable times. Use these Christmas tree oils on a tissue and inhale throughout the day, or blend them into a balm* to massage across your chest – you can use them in this way if you have come down with a cold, flu or virus and also if you want to avoid them.
Cardamom & Grapefruit to help soothe, digest & detox – these would be lovely made into a blend* if you happen to have over indulged over the Christmas period. Find a comfortable place to lay down, massage the ‘digestive blend’ around your tummy in gentle anti-clockwise circles, begin just under your ribcage and massage around the centre of your tummy covering the small intestine, gradually moving down towards the start of the ascending colon, follow this up the right side of your body, as it becomes the transverse colon across the body under the ribs and then onto the descending colon down the left side of your body. Finish with a few large anti-clockwise circles and take a moment to rest.
Frankincense & Myrrh – these two oils come with extremely precious qualities, they support moments to stop, breathe gently and come back to yourself – especially useful during times of stress and overwhelm. I like to use them in a roll-on perfume blend* to keep in my pocket and apply when ever I feel to.
You can use all of the recommended blends in a burner or diffuser* to scent your home, or dilute in a carrier oil to massage into your skin and add to a bath*.
Any oil you choose to use with the intention to truly nurture and take care of yourself will support on some level, so enjoy experimenting and feel free to get in touch if you would like assistance.
Natural Perfume Making Workshops, make your own unique & completely natural, organic roll-on oil perfume, with the finest quality essential oils.
There are so many beautiful scents in the air to appreciate, especially in summer, 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 connect back to my body and how I’m feeling… nature has such a sweet way of reminding us of simplicity, joy and bringing us back to the present moment.
This is one of the many reasons I love to run my events at beautiful, nature filled venues, so that participants get to appreciate the magic of the plants that yield the essential oils we then use in perfume making, and the perfumes more likely to support in the same way nature does.
Some of the amazing places I run workshops, courses and retreats are as follows:
Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Scotland, an absolutely stunning venue in the centre of Glasgow. The workshops usually take place inside the South Wing of Kibble Palace glass house which has a ‘Canary Island’ theme, so the temperature is kept at 18 degrees. I find it gets too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter, so workshops are usually in Spring or Autumn, although there is an indoor venue on site too which can be used. The Botanic Gardens are free to enter all year round. For more details on the beautiful venue see the website: www.glasgowbotanicgardens.com
Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) Gardens, currently I run workshops at RHS Rosemoor in Devon and at RHS Wisley in Surrey. They are usually day workshops, which include lunch and refreshments, and allow you some time to enjoy the exquisite gardens. I usually run them in July, when the rose gardens are still in full bloom.
Upper Vobster Farm, in Somerset – Plant to Perfume is part of the weekend retreat I run at this heavenly space in North Somerset. It is possible to come for the morning of the retreat for this workshop only, but I would recommend giving yourself the whole weekend to enjoy the alchemy on offer. Upper Vobster Farm is a beautiful country property lovingly restored and created to help you take a rest from the stresses of life, somewhere where you can allow yourself to have a moment to be yourself again. They have 60 acres of land, including a 6 acre wood, which is a nature conservation area and preservation area for birds of prey. Nature, the woods and the sounds of the birds will make you stop in your tracks and feel the magic around. As well as the buzzards you may well see the resident kingfishers on the stream or by one of the ponds, or hear the woodpecker at work in the ancient oak tree. Tricia Nicholson, the owner of the farm with her husband Michael, has a fondness for roses, as do I, so this retreat takes place early in July, to catch the final bloom of the many roses planted all over the farm. In fact, this event was set to offer an alternative to the Rose Retreat I run in Bulgaria, as I know not everyone is able to travel or make that investment.
Mayfield Lavender Farm, in Surrey, just outside London. The scent at this venue will be obvious before you even arrive at the farm, as the fresh, floral smell is carried in the air beyond 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.
Seckford Hall in Suffolk – with its enchanting history & glorious gardens, a 16th-century listed country house with a unique combination of comfort & luxury, completely steeped in Tudor charm & history, located in 34 acres of Suffolk countryside. This place is bound to bring a sense of the past into your perfume.
Borde Hill Garden in West Sussex – the workshops here have a focus on health & wellbeing and include a short walk through the gardens covering how the aromatic plants were used in Tudor times, with specific reference to the physician from Borde Hill who treated Henry VIII. As well as a stunning Italian Garden with aromatic herbs it also has rose gardens with over 750 David Austin Roses.
Kate Langdale’s Flower Studio in Brighton, Sussex – my absolute favourite florist. 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, chamomile 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. The flower studio is usually a venue available for workshops by request, and only during Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons at Winter can be a little chilly.
For more information on what happens at a Plant to Perfume workshop, read my blog post on Natural Perfume Making – it also gives you instructions on how to make your own perfume with essential oils.
I also run Plant to Perfume workshops for private groups and parties by request, 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. I am always happy to arrange events at new locations or suggest some in your area.
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.
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 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.
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 from trees to support conditions that affect our respiratory system, like colds and coughs. When you breath in essential oils you can feel it in your body immediately, and this is particularly 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.
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 is not so prominent in a burner, it’s quite sticky too so may be best avoided in diffusers incase it damages. 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 bleed and 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.
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 gentler way, supporting reconnecting when you feel out of sorts. Both are very powerful but 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 ourselves in full.
Fruit & Nut Balls (AKA Mini Christmas Puddings) – Recipe
These delicious fruit & nut balls are super simple to make with the added benefit of being raw (no cooking needed), gluten free, vegan, dairy free & sugar free! (the dried fruit makes them sweet enough).
80g – golden sultanas
50g – dates
60g – dried cranberries (without added sugar)
50g – dried apricots (brown ones if you can as the orange ones have preservatives in)
A dash of Cinnamon, Clove, All Spice and Nutmeg (powder)
1 table spoon Ground flax seeds (optional)
A sprinkle of finely ground desiccated coconut to decorate.
You could use any essential oil* you like to flavour these, some other suggestions that work well include peppermint, mandarin or geranium. You could also try a combination e.g. orange & geranium, lime & peppermint but keep the total number of drops as 8.
Place all of the fruit & nut ingredients into a food processor.
Add 8 drops of the orange essential oil to a table spoon of olive oil. This helps even distribution of the essential oil.
Add the oil to the other ingredients in the processor and blend until the mixture comes together. If the mix is too dry and not sticking together, add another dash of olive oil.
Shape in to balls by rolling in the palms of your hands and place into mini cake cases. I weight out about 30g of mix to get even sized balls.
Finish off by using a sieve to sprinkle finely ground desiccated coconut over the tops or roll in sesame seeds.
*Essential oils must be 100% pure, organic and unadulterated to be suitable for use in flavouring foods – Essential Oils & You are suitable. When flavouring food, the amount of essential oil needed is very tiny. Never ingest essential oils for health purposes without advice from a professional and remember they are not water soluble, so do not drink drops in a glass of water. Gargling for oral care is fine, but do dilute the essential oil first, so you don’t have neat essential oil touching the very delicate lining of your mouth. For more details on Gargling with essential oils click here.
Inspired by the sprinkling of sunshine over the UK this week, it’s time to share some summertime essential oils, essential for taking on holiday.
Essential oils come in very small bottles so they are a practical addition to your luggage, even if you’re only taking cabin bags. However, it’s still worth considering which are the most useful ones to take with you, so this blog is to help you weedle it down to just a few essentials that will come in most handy.
The main issues or symptoms that are commonly experienced when travelling are: around the journey itself; skin care; insects and first aid, so here I have listed some specific symptoms, some appropriate essential oils and simple, practical ways to use them.
How to use – make a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below) to roll across your wrists and tummy, or sprinkle a couple of drops on a tissue to keep in a pocket or in your bag and gently breathe in as a preventative measure or at the time of feeling the symptoms.
After sun skin care – lavender, palmarosa, chamomile (roman*)
Sun burn – lavender, chamomile (german/blue*), peppermint
Insect repellent – lemongrass, citronella, geranium, lavender or tea tree -use one or a combination of those you like the most.
How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel, add to your aftersun lotion, (see my previous blog for How many drops should I use?) or make a blend in a rolette bottle (see how below). Some of these essential oils combined would double as a perfume – I like geranium, lavender & lemongrass.
Insect bites – chamomile (german/blue*), lavender
How to use – apply directly to the affected area or as a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below).
FIRST AID – Lavender
If you only take one essential oil on holiday make it lavender, it’s the most useful essential oil for most minor first aid situations.
It’s antiseptic, anti microbial & cleansing so ideal for first aid, it is particularly effective on burns, so great for skin care and after sun, it’s ‘insecticidal’ so will deter insects and is very relaxing and calming so it helps with easing travel sickness and tension.
It’s also nice to sprinkle a little in hotel rooms if they don’t smell lovely, especially on the pillow.
Rolette Bottles – here’s how to prepare a rolette bottle:
Using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical as you can keep it in a pocket or handbag and it is easy to use. It comprises of a small glass bottle (10 or 15ml), a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.
Fill the bottle with a base oil eg. olive oil, then drop appropriate essential oils directly into the bottle, if you have a 10ml bottle, then you will need between 2 and 10 drops of essential oil, see my previous blog for more details on How many drops should I use? Fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly. Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.
Holiday tip: Rather than take bottles of essential oils you could prepare the blends that you are likely to need in rolette bottles and take these with you instead.
* Chamomile roman or blue/german – There are two types of chamomile essential oil: roman chamomile is more gentle, and german/blue chamomile, which is deep blue in colour, is more powerfully anti-inflammatory in action. I have recommended the german/blue chamomile for sunburn and insect bites, but the roman chamomile is also suitable in each instance.
I had a lovely email from a friend last week who was inspired by a previous blog (‘Lavender, Essential First Aid‘) to use lavender essential oil when suffering symptoms of hay fever. I asked if I could post it here since it was so timely for me, as I’m sure it will be for others, so thank you Catherine Jones for sharing your experience.
‘I felt to share how lavender oil is helping me right now, as it has taken me by surprise. I have hay fever, and so have very itchy eyes, an itchy & runny nose, and my face is generally congested and reactive all over. I don’t have any drugs yet, and last night I felt to try dabbing some cool wet cotton wool on my eyes to calm them down. I added a drop or so of lavender oil, and it made such a difference. I used it a few hours ago, pretty much all over my face, but paying attention to the area around my eyes, and across my cheeks, and down the gall bladder lines from nose to chin. It was amazing. I often use lavender in things, but it had never occurred to me that it might ease an allergy. Right now I am not sneezing, nor itching, and I am breathing freely. ‘
Her message inspired me, as I was experiencing similar symptoms at the time, and I have since tried the same technique using roman chamomile essential oil, as it is specifically good for allergies and particulary soothing and calming. For more details on chamomile essential oil see ‘Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions’.