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    How To

    Making Rosemary Water

    Today is another one of those videos which is really, really simple, but I want to cover it so that I don’t have to cover other things like sage and thyme water, which I’ll be using in future skincare videos.

    Rosemary water is something I use a lot, especially for skin and hair care. It can be used in the bath (great for soothing tired irritated skin) it’s great for your hair, a DIY air freshener/linen spray, but my main use for it is as nappy water for baby’s cloth wipes. It’s absolutely great for soothing irritated skin or nappy rash! 

    Normally each bottle I make will last around a week to a week and a half before the scent starts to get weaker, so I never make a huge batch unless I’m likely to use it up very quickly.

    Although I mention it in the video, I’d like to mention this again; don’t use rosemary that has been sprayed with any kind of weedkiller or garden sprays! If you don’t have a bush growing in your garden, or don’t know anybody who has one in their garden, then the dried herb version will also work, or rosemary tea.

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    Food

    Gluten-free Banana Cake

    Today let’s talk about cakes.

    Specifically, I want to share a recipe for a gluten-free, sugar-free cake that I would happily eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has no gluten or sugar in it – not even honey- so I can eat it as much as I like! But if you prefer something more sugary, feel free to add a teaspoon of sugar to the mix, or a tablespoon of honey.

    Recipe: 

    • 1 Ripe Banana
    • 100g Desiccated Coconut
    • 100g Almond Flour
    • 1 Egg
    • Vanilla Extract (optional) 

    If you haven’t seen it already, I have a video on how to make vanilla extract here.

    The portions above will make a small cake with enough food for four people to have a slice.

    1. Pre-heat the oven at medium heat 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
    2. I  normally mash the banana first into a pulp with a fork – you can use a mixer if that’s what you have. Take your time on this to make sure the banana is a lump-free mash.
    3. Add the coconut, the almond flour and the eggs. Mix together till it’s a fluffy paste and then mix in a dash of vanilla extract.
    4. Put the final mixture into a pan of your choice, I cook in cast iron, but any stainless steel pan will work.
    5. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

    I have also made cookie versions of these. There will cook in 20-25 minutes, depending on how cooked you like them.

    If you want to cook larger portions, then you need to add an extra five minutes each time you add to the amounts listed. But I wouldn’t go further than doubling the portions above unless you want to cook in a few separate pans. Once you triple the portions, the inside of the cake can stay a little too moist and crumbly, I tried it twice to check how it would cook, and it was not ideal for a firm cake. But f you prefer more of a crumbly consistency, then go right ahead! Drown it in cream and it’ll still taste delicious.

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    How To

    Making My Own Perfumes (From Whiskey Bottles)

    Yup, you read that right. Whiskey bottles.

    Early last year I did something I never thought I’d do; get rid of all my perfumes and start making my own. The reason for this was that I’d noticed that they triggered my hayfever really badly. You know when it gets so bad that your sinuses are puffy, your eyes are watering and can feel your throat and ear’s itching constantly? Yea, that.

    It got to the point where my wedding perfume would leave a red mark if any of it touched my skin. So I gave away some of them, sold the more expensive ones and started from scratch.

    As it is – and I’m sure you know if you’ve been following me on Instagram – I like my essential oils. At the moment I have two boxes, one for oils which I used more medicinal (pain management, skin soothing etc.) and some which are purely for their smell.

    Today I’ll be sharing the two perfumes I really like wearing, my daily perfume and my special occasion/weekend perfumer.

    Before I start though I want to make two things clear; One, I am not a professional perfumer. This is purely something I do for fun for myself, I enjoy experimenting, failing, and trying again until I find a mix I like. This is in no way up to a professional standard.

    Next thing I need to note is that if you think you may be allergic to any essential oil, don’t use it! I cannot stress this enough. Just because it is natural (as much as a super distilled version of anything can be natural) it does not mean it can’t hurt you. I am very allergic to clove bud, ginger and cinnamon for example. While it won’t send me into anaphylactic shock, I will get a rash from hell if it ends up on my skin. Oh, and if eat the edible versions of those plants my intestines will start to bleed, so there’s that…

    Anyway, I think you get my point. Check you’re ok with an oil, or the original ingredient before you use it, and consult a good aromatherapy book if you want to check the safety data.

    The Basic Ingredients:

    • 80-90% Vodka – This can be any kind, it doesn’t have to be the expensive stuff. In fact, I use the cheapest brand I can get from Alidi. I have used an expensive vodka in the past, but to be honest, I didn’t notice any difference in the final product to warent the price difference. If you can perfumers alcohol is a better alternative to vodka if you want the oils to mix well, but as vodka is all I have to hand right now, that is what I’m using.
    • 10-20% Essential Oils

    One thing I like to do before making a new scent is check Fragrantica for ideas if I want to try and replicate one of my old perfumes. It fantastic for listing the top, heart and base notes of perfumes, and even if I don’t end up replicating anything, sometimes just looking through different perfumes gives me some new ideas I want to try out.

    My Daily Perfume:

    My Special Occasion Perfume:

    I’ve linked where I bought everything above (please note that any Amazon links are affiliate links) but don’t think that you have to use exactly what I use. If you want to use different brands go right ahead!

    How To

    How To Take Old Labels Off Easily

    As someone who re-uses and collects a lot of jars, taking old labels off is something that drives me nuts. I hate having to spend ages scrubbing away at a bottle, only to find I missed half of the sticky gum and need to wash it all over again. Turns out there’s a much easier way, that is using Lemon essential oil.

    Actually, it’s not just lemon. Most citrus essential oils will do the job. All you have to do is put a few drops on the label, leave it there for a minute or two, then rub it off. If I’m feeling really lazy – which, if I’m being honest, is most of the time – I put the oil on the label right before I go to bed and then wipe it off in the morning with a towel. Simple!

    How To

    Making a Bees Wrap (Plastic-Free Clingfilm Alternative)

    Ever since I started my no-disposable-plastic policy, one of the first victims was cling-film.  At first, I thought it was going to be hard to find a replacement, but it ended up being really quite easy! Even better, since I design my own cloth it allowed me to be a bit more creative with the project. But if you’re not a DIY type of person you can just buy a Bee’s Wrap.

    These normally last 3-6 months, or to a year – depending on how much you use it – and once they’ve become loose and floppy you can either re-wax them or just throw them in the compost pile.

    How Do You Use Them?

    Wrap it over or around whatever you want to be covered and hold it in place for a few seconds. The heat from your hands will mold the cloth into the shape you want it to take, and stay there till I want to take it off. The same for loose fruits, vegetables, fresh bread and anything else you would normally keep protected in cling film. Just wrap it, hold it in place for a few seconds you’re done.

    What You’ll Need To Make It: 

    • Cloth (I make mine here)
    • Bees Wax 
    • A Stainless Steel tray
    • A Cheese Grater (only needed if your beeswax comes in blocks and not pellets)
    • Pinking Shears (optional)

    How To Make It

    You need to start off with a piece of material. I would recommend that you have a few different sizes, some small pieces, some medium sized and a few large. Avoid using a material which is very stretchy as it will deform quite quickly. Cotton, hemp or linen is your best bet.

    This part is optional, but I like to go around the edges of the cloth I’m using with some pinking shears so that the edges are less likely to fray. To be fair, I’ve found that once it’s cased in beeswax the edges don’t tend to fray much anyway, but I prefer the look, and the slightly neater edges when I do it this way.

    Now take your tray, place the cloth on it, and if you have beeswax pellets, sprinkle them over the cloth. If you just have blocks of beeswax then get your cheese grater and cover the cloth in shavings.

    Once you’ve covered the surface of your cloth in enough beeswax, stick it in the oven till the wax has melted and spread over the cloth. When the beeswax has melted, quickly take it out of the oven and hold the cloth up by the corners so that it dries with the cloth roughly flat. I normally use a fork to lift up the edges. If you think you missed a few areas put the cloth back on the tray, grate more beeswax over the areas you missed, put it back in the oven till melted, and take it out again to cool.

    What If My Cloth Is Bigger Than The Tray? 

    Just fold the cloth so that it fits in the tray, and cover it in a little more beeswax than you would have had it been a single layer.

    How to Clean Them

    Give the wrap a quick clean with soap under cold water once it needs a wash. You can use lukewarm water to clean it if you want, but it’s better to stick to cold water. The more heat the beeswax is exposed to the faster it will lose its stiffness.

     

    Disclaimer: Items linked on Amazon are affiliate links.

    How To

    Making My Own Floating Bedside Table

    A few months ago we realized that we’d downsized so much that we didn’t really need our bedside tables, and in fact, they were more of a nuisance than anything else. My main issuse was that they blocked the storage drawers under the bed, and dust bunnies loved to collect under them. As someone who really doesn’t do well with dust or dirt, that was the last straw. But we still needed some kind of bedside table, just enough space to hold a book or an alarm clock, so I decided to make one.

    I’d found a broken up Sheesham wood tv unit on facebook marketplace recently, and even though I ended stabbing myself more than once, I took the whole thing apart to use the lumber for various house projects. The first thing I used it for was a few shelves and then the floating bedside tables.

    Then the only other thing I needed were brackets and some screws. The brackets I found in the sale section of aldi (£1.99) and the screws we already had. So other than the time, building both these bedside tables cost me less than £3, and the floating bedside tables I had been looking at cost £21.99 each. Maybe it’s just because I’m a complete sucker for a bargain, but I absolutely love how these turned out!

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    How To

    DIY: Making A Cloth Nappy Shelf

    This is one of those projects which has been on my list pretty much since we moved into our house six months ago, and last week I finally got it done – mostly.

    The nappy shelf was my main priority. Having to stuff the nappies we had into the two small top drawers was just not a very good system. It was far too easy to run out of nappies and not realize it, plus, I’d spent a good amount of time selecting nappies with weird and wonderful patterns on them. I didn’t want them stuffed away in a drawer.

    If you want to make something similar but don’t think you could make a cube shelf another alternative is to buy a CD tower, or use towers like this and mount it on some brackets.

    There’s not much more to add to this post other than sharing the video, so I hope you enjoy!

    How To

    Making a Cleansing, Exfoliating and Moisturising Face Balm

    A few months ago I wrote a post showing how I make my eggshell exfoliating powder and today I thought I would follow it up with a balm I love to make. This cleansing/exfoliating balm has gone through a few different versions using different oils and butters, but the main mix of oil, butter, clay and exfoliating powder has stayed the same.

    The Recipe:

    Whatever the size of the jar or pot you want to use, divide that up into four portions and make the mix above with any face oils or butters you want to use. My go-to oils for this recipe tend to be a mix of rosehip, jojoba, evening primrose oil and vitamin e oil.

    As for the butter, so far I’ve tried hemp oil and mango butter, but don’t think that you have to use exactly what I use. It’s not the type that matters, it’s the consistency. That thick heavy butter is what stops the exfoliating powder and green clay from just sinking to the bottom of the pot and being an oily nightmare to apply. Once you melt it down and mix it in with the other ingredients it holds them all together beautifully and gives you an even amount of all the ingredients. If you don’t have green clay then feel free to use other alternatives like bentonite clay, rhassoul clay, pink clay – you get my point. Any skincare clay.

    Once or twice a week I’ll use this balm to clean, exfoliate and moisturize my skin. A few minutes massaging, another fifteen minutes sinking in and once minute wiping it all off with a warm wet towel. My skin feels so soft each time, and I love that I can get everything I want – cleaning, exfoliating and moisturising – in one quick go. No messing around with multiple balms, oils and products. Quick, simple and effective.

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    How To

    Making Vinager/Citrus Concentrate For Cleaning

    Again, one of those tutorials which have been done to death on YouTube, but maybe I’ll be lucky and some of you won’t have seen it already. If you haven’t, today I’m going to show you how to make a citrus vinegar concentrate for cleaning.

    You just take the peels of any citrus fruit; lemon, tangerines, limes, oranges, put the peels in a bottle of vinegar and let it sit. What I normally do is have a half-full bottle of vinegar on the sideboard, and each time I eat a satsuma or orange I drop the peels into the bottle, close the lid, give it a shake and leave it.

    I’ll leave it until the whole bottle is packed full of peels – a process that can take up to a month and a half – and by that point, the liquid inside is a syrupy orange liquid. The vinegar smell is pretty undetectable too, unless you stick your nose right over the bottle. If the smell of vinegar is something you really can’t stand then I’ve found lemons are the best citrus fruit for completely covering the vinegar smell.

    If you want you can even be adventurous with it and add rosemary or a sprig of mint into your jar of vinegar for a few different scents, though I normally stick to just citrus peels.

    What Do I Use It For? 

    • Cleaning the windows.
    • Descaling glassware that has a limescale problem (yay living in a hard-water area)
    • Descaling and polishing stainless steel
    • Cleaning the washing machine.
    • Fabric softener.
    • Brightening white washes.
    • De-odoring tough smells – like sweat – from clothes.

    Once a month I’ll put my washing machine on a rinse wash with two tablespoons of the citrus concentrate in it to keep everything running smoothly. I found that when I started doing this the washing machine functioned so much better. I have quite an old second-hand washing machine, so anything I can do to make sure it functions efficiently and lasts a little longer is fine with me.

    Whenever I use it to clean stainless steel I always make sure that everything has been dried thoroughly, if I leave it to sit I do run the risk that over time I could corrode the metal a bit, so what I normally do is spray some of it onto a cleaning towel and then wipe down the sink.

    For de-odorizing and whitening clothes, all I do is add a tablespoon of the concentrate to the wash along with the washing liquid, put the cycle on and let it do its thing. Nice and simple, and as an added bonus the clothes have a nice orange smell to them too.

    Lifestyle

    How I Get Glass Spray Bottles (Without Spending A Fortune)

    A sad as it sounds, cleaning has become something I quite enjoy. Once I started to make my own products and stopped using the regular house cleaning products that really, really didn’t agree with me, I started to enjoy the whole process. I especially love having everything in glass spray bottles, it just looks beautiful!

    A few years ago and I’d bought one glass spray bottle but never bought another since simply because I was squirreling every. spare. penny. into my savings – buying a house is expensive! Spending £12 on a glass spray bottle wasn’t something I was about to do. It was only about 6 months ago that I noticed that the glass distilled vinegar bottles I’d seen in Tescos happened to fit perfectly with the nozzles of most regular house cleaning products perfectly.

    I didn’t have to buy any new plastic and I could use most of a finished product which would otherwise just get thrown away. My family still use regular house cleaning products, so once they were finished with one or two bottles, I was able to take those and repurpose them.

    A Few Notes: 

    • It’s not just this brand of vinegar bottles which work. The bottle top width is a pretty standard size, so if you keep an eye out you’ll find that a lot of other brands that work.
    • If you don’t buy standard house cleaning products maybe ask friends and family to save you a used up bottle?
    • You can buy the spray tops on their own, but so far I’ve found it’s more expensive and the pump power is a lot weaker than in the normal house cleaning products.

    What Do You Use The Bottles For? 

    1. The grey bottle for cleaning any countertops or floor tiles. A small teaspoon of regular washing up liquid, water, 5 drops of peppermint essential oil and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil. The peppermint smells great to me but smells awful to spiders, which is fine by me, anything which keeps them out of the house! Tea tree is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, fungicidal and a parasiticide. Exactly the kind of thing I want to kill any nasties on the kitchen surfaces and floor.
    2. The blue bottle for laundry, dusting or a quick spot clean. This one is just water – hence the blue spray top – makes cleaning stains out of any clothes much quicker and easier too. A vanish bar, a quick spray to wet the area and a quick scrub.
    3. The green bottle for cleaning stainless steel and windows. A 50/50 mixture of citrus distilled vinegar and water. This is the one that’s made the biggest difference to me. The regular stuff I used to use would make my head spin hours after I used it, not to mention if I accidentally got any on my self my skin would crack open and bleed. Hurt like hell. This mix works much better for me.