Cooking with Geranium Essential Oil

How to Cook 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.

 

How to Make Your Own Natural Oil Perfume and Aromatherapy Blend

Here are the notes from my Natural Perfume & Aromatherapy Workshop, for those of you who would like to make your own unique, natural fragrance, but are unable to make the workshop in person.

Introduction

It’s actually very simple to make your own natural perfume as there is no need to use any alcohol, fixers or preservatives, you can just use natural essential oils for the scent, and a nut or seed oil as the base. It really is that simple, and the rest is just play time.

So this workshop/ blog post is really about introducing you to the endless array of possibilities involved in making your own natural perfume and to let you experiment and get confident with the ingredients. There are so many amazing essential oils to choose from and the real beauty is that they actually have a huge array of benefits, way beyond the scent that you create -which in itself can have dramatic effects on the way you feel.

How to make your own natural perfume blend

Container ~you can make your perfume blend in any container you like, there are lots of lovely bottles to play with, I’m often searching for old vintage perfume bottles in antique shops, or waiting for friends to finish there branded fragrance so i can use the bottle but I find using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical. 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.

Lasting effect ~Natural perfume does not have the same staying power as an alcohol based fragrance, so you can carry these little bottles around in your handbag or pocket and retouch the scent throughout the day.

Recipe 

~5% blend strength for 10ml bottle

 10ml base oil e.g. apricot or jojoba ~you can choose just one or blend as many as you like.

0.5ml essential oils (10 drops) ~you can choose just one or combine as many as you like (see below for how to choose essential oils).

Essential oils are very concentrated and a 5% blend strength should be plenty strong enough. However, if you have sensitive skin or are making a blend for children or someone with fragile skin, then I would drop the percentage to 1% or 2.5% (2 or 5 drops in 10ml).

Instructions

Measure the quantities of base oil (eg. olive or almond) and pour directly into the bottle, then drop approximately 10 drops of essential oils directly into the bottle, fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly. If you’re using resinous essential oils like myrrh or benzoin, you will need give the bottle a shake each time you use it as they can sink to the bottom.

Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

perfume bottles

Ingredients

Essential oils and base oils have a multitude of health and wellbeing benefits, so you can either design your perfume with the focus completely on the fragrance you want and then check out the added health benefits, or vice versa: choose oils for their properties and let the scent come together that way.

Choosing Base oils

Apricot oil

I like to use cold pressed vegetable oils as they are more natural with more nutrients but they can have varying degrees of smell to them so I go for something with a light scent so as not to interfere too much with the fragrance. I would recommend almond, apricot or jojoba. You can use ‘refined’ oils which have usually been heat treated to high temperatures to remove the scent, in this case olive oil would be just great.

For help choosing a base oil click here for my webshop.

Choosing your blend

To make your unique fragrance, you need to choose the essential oils you want and the number of drops of each to use. Use some ‘smell strips’ (I get mine from a company on ebay called Scent Blotter Strips) or unscented tissues to put a drop of the oils you like on, and then see how they smell together. To avoid wasting too many drops of precious oils, use separate strips or tissues for each oil you try and write the name of the oil on them, then put the strips together under your nose to see if you like the combination. If you add an oil that you don’t like with the others, you take out the strip, and try something else, rather than have to start again.

Now the playing around really takes off, you might find that you put 3 oils together eg. rose, lavender & myrrh, you like the smell of the lavender and rose  but you can’t really smell the myrrh, in this case you could try 2 or 3 drops of myrrh as it is more subtle in scent compared to the others.
It pays to be organised here, so that when you have your perfume ready on the strips, you know which oils you want and how many drops of each to add to the bottle. Depending on your ratio you can go a couple over or a couple under the 10 drops, the drops sizes can vary anyway so it is just a guide.

If you only have one or a few essential oils to play around with, then this is not a disadvantage, start with a couple of your favourites and build from there.

Keep it simple. There are so many possibilities and different essential oils to choose from that it can feel a bit overwhelming, don’t make it complicated. Try using 3 oils to begin with and pick a top, middle & base note, this is a good formula used in perfumery to give a well rounded scent (see my previous blog for details on top middle & base notes). If you start to get confused get some fresh air, and come back to it.

Don’t aim for perfection, the magic of using these natural ingredients means the blend will change with time, different people will pick up different scent notes, and when you wear it on your skin it will unfold throughout the day, so just trust when you’ve put something together that it will be great.

The following blogs will help you to choose which essential oils to put into your fragrance:

The Art of Blending Essential Oils

A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions

Blending Essential Oils using Top, Middle and Base Notes.

 

Workshop

If you would like to attend a Natural Perfume Making Workshop in person, or arrange one for a group then click here for further details and up and coming dates.

natural perfume making workshop      IMG_4026

Recipe inspirations and practical uses for the ‘rolette’ bottle:

You can use this exact same principle to make oils for health related purposes that  still smell amazing. I have used the 5% blend strength in the recipes, but if you are using on children, people with a delicate disposition or sensitive skin I would use 2.5% (5 drops in total).

See if you can spot the top, middle & base notes in these examples:

Nail oil ~apply on the skin just before the nails begin to grow, this area supports healthy nail growth, as it is where the new nail is being formed.

nail oil

Nail oil recipe, this for a 5% blend strength (10 drops of essential oil in 10ml base oil).

Ingredients

5ml organic macadamia oil*

5ml organic almond oil*

4 drops of myrrh essential oil (helps to heal dry, hard and cracked skin)

3 drops of rose essential oil (deeply nurturing, nourishing and hydrating)

3 drops of mandarin essential oil (great for the skin and gives the scent a lift)

*If you can’t use nut oils due to allergies then I would suggest using organic apricot, olive or argan oil instead.

 

Anxiety, stress, panic attacks ~with a soothing, calming blend you can roll across your wrists or even under your nose as a preventative or when you feel symptoms coming on.

Ingredients

10ml organic olive oil

4 drops of neroli essential oil (soothes & calms nervous system)

3 drops of lavender essential oil (relaxing, clearing & calming)

3 drop of frankincense essential oil (supports breathing gently)

 

Hay fever ~ with a soothing, calming blend you can roll across your chest or even under your nose as a preventative or when you feel symptoms.

Chamomile

Ingredients

10ml organic apricot oil

5 drops of benzoin essential oil (soothing, comforting)

2 drops of chamomile essential oil (anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, soothing, calming, helps with itching)

3 drop of orange essential oil (to give the scent a lift)

 

Nausea, morning sickness ~ with a soothing, calming blend you can roll across your wrists, tummy or even under your nose as a preventative or when you feel symptoms. The recipe here is for a 2% blend strength which is suitable in pregnancy, but you can increase it to 5% if it is for perfume use.

Ingredients

10ml organic apricot or olive oil

2 drops of neroli essential oil (soothing, relaxing, calms nervous tension)

1 drops of cardamom essential oil (refreshing, soothing, calming)

1 drop of spearmint essential oil (refreshing, soothes feelings of nausea)

 

Colds & sinus problems ~with a blend of powerfully clearing respiratory oils you can inhale the blend or roll across your chest & neck, e.g. eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme.

IMG_4499

Ingredients

10ml organic olive oil

4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (clears respiratory system, very anti-microbial)

2 drops of peppermint essential oil (clearing & calming)

4 drops of thyme essential oil (powerful anti-microbial, clears mucus and great for chesty coughs)

How to Use Essential Oils in Hand and Nail Care

How to take care of your hands and nails with essential oils and carrier oils and make your own nurturing nail oil.

I had the most divine manicure and pedicure recently with Shami Duffy from ‘Beauty With Shami‘. I’ve only had two in my life, and the other was with my 6 year old niece, both left me smiling every time I looked at my nails, which is quite often with regards to the ones on my fingers, and so a constant reminder of the really gorgeous time spent together.

I had spoken with Shami about 3 months previously about using vegetable oils and essential oils on the nails as they can be very nourishing and support healthy nails.  It was very inspiring as I had never really considered using oils on my nails, although I had always recommended almond oil to people if they wanted to use something, I hadn’t actually used oils for that purpose myself. I always cut my nails down to the absolute minimum since I had had eczema in the past and wanted to avoid scratch damage, it was also recommended to keep them short when I was studying massage. So, when Shami mentioned how much more delicate you naturally became with longer nails, I decided to experiment and grow my nails a little.  I became much more aware when using my fingers in various ways, for example, shutting doors, lifting things, opening cans etc., and I became more delicate in the way I did these things, which really felt gorgeous.  If I was rough with my hands then it would be more obvious and show me I wasn’t being so delicate, I flipped my nails back a few times which really stopped me in my tracks.

Be delicate, tender and gentle with your hands.
During the treatment she used a gentle exfoliating cream, using palm grains, which are very fine, so there was no rough feeling on the skin.  My hands looked stunningly bright afterwards (I will post a recipe shortly…).  She then used a massage cream with arnica, lavender and chamomile in to massage my hands and feet, completely divine.  Next was a heat treatment which involved painting my hands and feet with a blend of melted beeswax and macadamia oil with a few drops of frankincense essential oil, which quickly solidified and was left on with some heated socks and mitts for intensive moisturising.  At this point I was so relaxed I was almost sleeping. When the masks were removed she painted my nails and I had the most amazing feeling hands and feet.

Nail oil

Just before I left, she applied a blend of macadamia oil with a few drops of rose essential oil, around the nails and on the skin just before the nails begin to grow. Applying it to this area supports healthy nail growth, as this is where the new nail is being formed.

It is very simple to make your own up and I use something called a ‘roulette’ bottle to dispense the oil, which works in the same way as a roll on deodorant.  It comprises of a small glass bottle, a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

rolette parts

They usually come in 10ml bottles, and the recipe below is for a 2.5% blend strength, but you can adjust the recipe if needed using the charts on my previous blog post ‘How many drops should I use?’:

Ingredients

5ml organic macadamia oil*

5ml organic almond oil*

2 drops of myrrh essential oil (helps to heal dry, hard and cracked skin)

2 drops of rose essential oil (deeply nurturing, nourishing and hydrating)

1 drop of orange essential oil (to give the scent a lift)

*If you can’t use nut oils due to allergies then I would suggest using organic apricot oil instead.

Instructions

Measure the quantities of base oil (macadamia and almond) and pour directly into the bottle, then drop essential oils directly into the bottle, fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Myrrh is quite thick and gloopy, so you may see the drop of oil sink to the bottom, so you will need to shake it well to ensure it has mixed through. Roll the oil just under the nails each day, and enjoy. Ensure you put a label on the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Ingredients to make your own nail oil blend are available to order from my webshop or Click here if you would like to order a ready made nurturing nail oil blend.

Beauty With Shami

Shami Duffy works in Frome, Somerset, and you can contact her using the following email address if you would like to book a session for your hands and feet: beautywithshami@gmail.com

It is a truly nurturing experience, and well worth making the trip, so if you’re not local then I can recommend staying  at the Lighthouse bed & breakfast in Tytherington, near Frome, Somerset: Tel: 01373 453585 Web: www.lighthouse-uk.com

How to Take Care of your Hands with Essential Oils

Be delicate, tender and gentle with your hands.
Be delicate, tender and gentle with your hands.
A few years ago I noticed my hands getting a little bit cracked and battered, I have very sensitive and soft skin and it was starting to split around the finger tips from all the bottling and pouring I do at work.  I had experienced this on and off before, but this time I was a little more conscious that it was showing me I hadn’t been taking care of them.  I had stopped using moisturisers on my hands years earlier, as it is an area I’m prone to getting eczema on, and many contain perfume, alcohol and other potential irritants.  But, now they were shouting out for some nourishment, so I made up some simple moisturising creams and ensured there was one in my bathroom, and one at work, so each time I washed my hands throughout the day I gave my hands a little love. I was absolutely amazed that within 2 days, my hands had literally transformed, completely soft and smooth again.  Such a simple addition to my daily routine and of course the action of massaging a lovely cream with essential oils in was another nurturing moment in my day. It was only a short moment after a trip to the bathroom or washing up so it certainly wasn’t taking up a lot of time in my day, but the difference made a huge impact on my day and the way I look after my hands, especially the way I do things with my hands, like unscrew caps, and shut doors, I generally just want to be more careful and gentle with them.

Here are a few blends that I particularly like for the hands; I have specified the number of drops for adding to 100ml container of cream, if you have very sensitive skin then half the amount of drops.

Protective and soothing blend, so great for sensitive skins.

Benzoin 10 drops, mandarin 20 drops and chamomile 6 drops

Deeply nourishing blend, so perfect for very dry, cracked hands in need of some serious care.

Myrrh 16 drops, palmarosa 10 drops and rose 8 drops

Cleansing and anti-microbial blend, great for really mucky hands.

Lemon 10 drops, lavender 20 drops and thyme 5 drops

For various sized pots of cream you can refer to the following blog post link for the amount of drops to use: Blending Instructions or make your own cream using my recipe in the following blog post on Cream Making.

I love playing around with different creams and flavours but even choosing a lotion you fancy from the supermarket will make all the difference to your lovely, well used, hands and fingers.

Top tips for taking care of your hands:

ALWAYS use washing up gloves when washing up, even if it’s just one cup or spoon, as putting your hands in and out of water especially with washing up liquid in can dry them out! My favourites are from the brand Bizzybee and the ‘satin touch’ type feel absolutely gorgeous inside, it is a real treat putting my hands in them.

ALWAYS use gardening gloves when gardening.

ALWAYS be delicate, tender & gentle with your hands.

This is a beautiful article that helps us recognise what gentleness feels like in our body and asks Why is Gentleness Important?

Why is gentleness important? photo care of Unimed Living
Why is gentleness important? photo care of Unimed Living

How to Make a Bath and Massage oil Blend

I have come up with a few favourite bath and massage blends over the years and I like to make a bottle up so it is ready to use when I’m in the mood.

You can make your own blend up with the following instructions or use the recipes I have shared below:

100ml Bath & Massage Blend Recipe

100ml of your choice of vegetable oil (eg. almond, apricot, or simply olive oil from your kitchen!)

50 drops or 2.5ml of your choice of essential oil

~these can be one or a combination of oils, but keep the totals to 100ml for the vegetable oil and  2.5ml (50 drops) for the essential oil.

Directions: If the vegetable oil you have is in  a 100ml bottle, then you can simply add the essential oil(s) to this and give it a shake to disperse evenly.  You may need to pour a tiny amount of the vegetable oil out first to allow room for the essential oils.  If you have a larger container of vegetable oil you can either adjust the amount of essential oil you add (eg. double if you have a 200ml container), or measure out the 100ml in a kitchen measuring jug, add the essential oils and stir, and then pour into a 100ml bottle or container.  Ensure the container you use is completely dry, as if the oil blend mixes with any water it will go off.  You can usually buy empty bottles at chemists, department stores, or Muji in London, or you could try antique shops for some elegant glass containers.

Use: Add 1-2 tea-spoons in the bath (add just before you step in for maximum benefits).  See ‘Essential Oils in the Bath’ blog post for more on using your bath blend.

Delicious Bath

Turkish Delight Bath and Massage oil Blend ~Nurturing, relaxing and refreshing.

100ml Argan oil

Rose essential oil, 5 drops

Black Pepper essential oil, 25 drops

Cardamom essential oil, 20 drops

Vanilla Orange Bath and Massage oil Blend ~Soothes and eases tension, and great for the skin.

100ml Almond oil

Benzoin oil, 27 drops (this is quite a thick oil so you will need to shake well for it to mix evenly)

Orange essential oil, 16 drops

Neroli 7 drops

Each recipe above gives you a blend strength of 2.5%, which is appropriate for most skin types.  I would recommend dropping this blend strength to 1% (20 drops/100ml) for children, elderly and those with  sensitive skin.

These blends should last for 12 to 18 months, but keep them in a cool dark place to ensure they stay fresh because the oils are sensitive to heat and light (so a bathroom cupboard would be suitable, but not a sunny windowsill or shelf above a radiator).

They can also be used as a massage oil directly on the skin, or for moisturising  after taking a shower, you should notice it makes it easier to apply the oil to slightly damp skin and you also seem to use less of it.

As I cover more of the properties and effects of different essential oils, you will develop more of an idea on how to mix a blend up for specific purposes, in the mean time, please feel free to ask any questions or advise on making your own blends.

How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath

Delicious Bath

Using essential oils in the bath can be a deeply relaxing and nurturing experience.  One important point to be aware of is that the oils must be diluted before you add them, this is because they are very potent and can irritate the skin in their neat form.  I have heard many stories from clients who have sprinkled drops of oil straight into the bath and experienced anything from tingling sensations to nasty skin reactions, even unable to use that particular oil again, after developing sensitivity.  So, even though you may be adding the drops of oil to an entire bath full of water the drops do not actually mix with water (because they are hydrophobic), and will stay in droplets on the surface of the water, clinging to your skin as you enter, which is just like putting neat oil onto your skin.

To dilute the oil you must mix it with carrier oil / vegetable oil, a tea spoon of olive oil would work just fine (see ‘A list of Carrier Oils & their Uses’  for more options).  To make it easier to prepare I often pour a tea spoon of olive oil into an egg cup add and then add the essential oils to this.  I would suggest adding between 3 and 12 drops of essential oil depending on the oils you use and how strong you want the scent/blend.  To start with, you could use 6 drops of lavender.  You can use more than one oil, but keep the total number of drops of the oils combined between 3 and 12.  So you may like to mix 4 drops of Orange with your 6 drops of Lavender and perhaps a further 2 drops of Black Pepper (so 12 in total).  This would make a relaxing, warming bath blend, great for aches and pains at the end of the day. Give the mixture a little stir so the essential oils are evenly blended in the olive oil.

Now your bath blend is ready.  Wait until the bath is run and at the appropriate temperature for you and that everything else is prepared, e.g. towels warmed, candles lit etc. (how ever you like to set the scene).  Just before you’re ready to step in, pour the oil blend into the bath and give it a little swoosh to help it disperse, then lay back and enjoy.  Adding them at this moment ensures you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of the oil especially the scent.  If you were to add them as you start running the water (as I would with bath bubbles) the heat and steam created would evaporate a lot of the oil and by the time you lay in the water there would be little left to appreciate.  After bathing notice how nourished your skin feels, just a tea spoon of oil manages to envelope your whole body leaving it soft and smooth.

Simple Bath Blend Recipe:

1 tea-spoon Olive Oil,

3-12 drops of Essential Oil, eg. 6 drops Lavender, 4 drops Orange, 2 drops Black pepper.

Mix together and pour into the bath just before entering.

CAUTION: Be careful not to slip as you step out of the bath, as the olive oil can make it a little slippery.