Flaxseed: Benefits, Uses & Recipes

82679114-56a5c2505f9b58b7d0de5963I have recently discovered the wonders of Flaxseed, otherwise known as Linseed and cannot praise it enough.

Flaxseed is high in minerals and vitamins, good for your immune system, good for your digestive system and for losing weight.

They’re an super easy way to give your body an omega-3 boost without going through the trouble of eating salmon or sardines.Omega 3’s are excellent for reducing inflammation and are known for promoting heart and brain health.

The healthy fats in flaxseeds also help to hydrate your skin, and a daily dose will leave your skin soft and supple.

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How To Make Flaxseed Hair Gel

 

Ingredients

  • Strainer or clean tights
  • Wooden spoon/Bowl or air tight container
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 or 1/2 cup of flax seed (linseed) depending on how thick you want it
  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel (optional)
  • 3 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  • You can also add a teaspoon of Vitamin E oil which will help make it last longer

Method

Pour 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of flax seed into a pot on low/medium heat

Bring it to a boil stirring flax seed often with preferably a wood spoon.

Turn off heat when a white frothy gel like liquid forms (it will have a raw egg white consistency).

Continue stirring while it simmers.

Place strainer or clean tights on top of your bowl or container and pour mixture into it.

Let it cool down, add aloe gel and essential oil

Place the rest of the gel in an air tight container. The shelf life is 12-14 days in the refrigerator

Place used flax seeds in a container and place in fridge to use them again :).

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Benefits of Flaxseed Hair Gel

  • Leaves hair soft, shiny, and moisturised
  • Promotes hair growth
  • You can reuse the flax seeds
  • Cost effective (more for your money)
  • Nourishing for the hair rich in omega 3
  • Gives great curl definition
  • Gives hold with no crunch/non flaking/not drying to the hair/doesn’t cause breakage/or shedding
  • Fast drying
  • Great for wash n go’s/sleek styles/twists and twist outs and sets the twists once dry for a lovely twist out
  • Mixes well with oils/conditioners/ many products
  • All natural..organic.
  • Great for all hair types

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How To Make Natural Personal Lubricant from Flaxseed

Ingredients

  • Strainer
  • Wooden spoon and bowl
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 or 1/2 cup of flax seed (linseed) depending on how thick you want it
  • 1 tblsp pf aloe vera gel
  • 3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil or
  • Geranium Essential Oil
  • Jasmine Essential Oil
  • Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
  • You can also add a teaspoon of Vitamin E oil which will help make it last longer

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Method

Pour 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of flax seed into a pot on low/medium heat

bring it to a boil stirring flax seed often with preferably a wood spoon.

Turn off heat when a white frothy gel like liquid forms (it will have a raw egg white consistency).

Continue stirring while it simmers.

Place strainer or stocking sock on top of your bowl or container and pour mixture in.

Let it cool down, add aloe gel and essential oil

Place the rest of the gel in an air tight container. The shelf life is 12-14 days in the refrigerator

Place used flax seeds in a container and place in fridge to use them again 🙂

**Warning** Do not use this lubricant with condoms as the essential oils are not compatible with latex and will cause the condoms to break***

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Did you know that Linen, that essential summer staple in your wardrobe is made from flax?

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Flaxseed is also used to create those wonderful warming neck pillows… I will be making one of these in the near future and will let you know how it goes.

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Flaxseed is great in smoothies, on yoghurt, in baking…

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How-to-Make-a-Flax-Egg

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon (7 gram) flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp (37 ml) water

  • Add flaxseed meal and water to a dish and stir.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Add to recipes in place of 1 egg

It’s not an exact substitution in every recipe because it doesn’t bind and stiffen during baking quite like an egg does but it is still good if you run out of eggs.

*This is not my original recipe, but one I discovered on many vegan baking blogs and have since adapted for my own use.

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How To Make Flaxseed Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 medium overripe banana
  • 1 cup flax seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons of raisins (or other dried fruit)

Method

Preheat oven to 160c

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease a cookie sheet.

In a bowl, mash the banana until it gets to a sticky texture.

Add in flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins into the bowl and mix thoroughly.

Drop about 1/2 tablespoon drops of the batter onto the baking sheet. Flatten the batter into a round cookie shape.

Place the cookies into the oven and bake for about 20-22 minutes or until the edges turn into a nice brown colour.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

 

 

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Sustainable Storage: What to do with Glass Jars of all Shapes & Sizes

If like me, you might wonder what am I to do with all those old Jam Jars, Sauce Bottles, Wine Bottles, Vinegar bottles and other Glass containers that pile up in your kitchen after using up the contents??

Whatever, you do, don’t just toss them in the nearest bottle bank!!
Empty glass containers are literally the bomb, as there is so many ways to reuse them and best of all they are a great sustainable storage solution, totally recyclable and free! 🙂

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**Recommend you buy some cheap labels on a big roll and keep a nice pen handy to label and date everything!**

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In The Kitchen

I use empty glass containers to store:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Dried Fruit
  • Tea – Loose & Bags
  • Coffee
  • Bread Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Coco
  • Cereal
  • Dried Yeast
  • Oats
  • Hazelnuts
  • Linseed
  • Soup Mixes
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Stir-fry Mix
  • Pulses
  • TVP mince
  • Ground EggShells
  • Ground Dried Beetroot Powder
  • First Aid Plasters
  • Freezer Bags
  • Cutlery

 

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  • White Willow Bark
  • Arrowroot
  • Bay Leaves
  • Rose Petals
  • Camomile Flowers
  • Calendula Flowers
  • Calendula Oil
  • Plantain Oil

 Fridge:Healthy-Options

  • Honeysuckle Syrup
  • Meadowsweet Syrup
  • Homemade Hair-masks
  • Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Various Drinks
  • Fresh Fruit

Under The Sink:

Sink-Scrub
Easy Surface Cleaner
  • Bread Soda
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Homemade Disinfectant
  • Homemade surface wipes
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Elastic Bands
  • Pens
  • Cookie Cutters

D.I.Y:

  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Thumb Tacks
  • Hooks
  • Spare Fuses
  • New Batteries
  • Old Batteries
  • Spare Plugs

In The Bedroommy_jar_of_wishes_by_mydeviousdeathbox-d59mhv6

  • Buttons
  • Beads
  • Ribbon
  • Organise Meds
  • Plants

 In The Bathroomgallery-1489594961-spa-in-a-jar-1

  • Homemade Toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Moon Time Containers
  • Cotton buds
  • Homemade Chocolate Orange Bath Bombs
  • Homemade Dry Shampoo
  • Homemade Gardeners Salve
  • Homemade Wild Rose & Lavender Hand cream
  • Homemade Peppermint Foot cream
  • Homemade Fresh Mint Scrub
  • Homemade Insect Repellent
  • Homemade Deodorant
  • Homemade Toner
  • Reusable cotton rounds
  • Make – up
  • Homemade Shower wash

You can also use them for…

  • Drinks

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  • Treats

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  • Lights

  • Gifts

 

  • Centrepieces

  • Mini Terrariumslarge_5.jpg

The possibilities are endless… 🙂

I would to end tonight’s post with something that always reminds me of my wonderful husband, when its time to make dinner and I take out his favourite jar of Italian Spaghetti 🙂

Bon Appettit! xx

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How to make Nourishing Calendula Night Cream for tired, dry, sensitive skin. Also How to make Eastern Spices & White Willow Cream to take Pain Away

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Nourishing Calendula Night Cream

Ingredients:

  • Calendula Oil [Recipe at end of post for this] 1 Cup
  • Shea Butter – Half a Cup
  • Coconut Oil – One Cup
  • Avocado Oil – Half a Cup
  • Coconut Cream – Half a Cup
  • Beeswax – One chopped standard bar
  • Vitamin E Oil – 1 -2 Capsules
  • Lavender Essential Oil – 7 – 13 Drops [ Tangerine Oil is a good option also]
  • Rose Water – 7 – 13 Drops

 

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The Magic of Calendula

 

Method:

  • Place the Coconut Oil, the Shea Butter and the Beeswax in a glass bowl over water in a saucepan and simmer until melted
  • Let it cool
  • After a hour, add the Calendula Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Cream and Vitamin E Oil to the bowl
  • Gently stir together all the ingredients for a few minutes and then stir in the Rose Water
  • Place bowl in fridge until the mix is solid
  • Take out of fridge and using an electric whisk, beat until the mix is soft and creamy
  • Add your chosen essential oils and whisk again
  • Once you are happy with the scent and texture of the cream, carefully spoon into glass jars and label.

 

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To Use:

Cleanse skin and gently massage in some Calendula Cream over your skin using your fingertips. Leave on overnight as an intense nourishing face cream.

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How to Make Calendula Oil

Place dried Calendula flower heads and petals in a glass mason jar. Pour either organic Sunflower Oil or Rapeseed Oil over the flowers until the jar is full. Close lid and place on your windowsill in a sunny spot for about a month. Filter, bottle, label and use.

 

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Calendula Oil can be used to make salves, face cream, hand cream, body butters, cuticle cream, eye wash…the list goes on. In the coming days, I will be trying out different ways to use my incredible calendula oil and will let you know how I get on.

 

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The Power of Natural Healing for Sore, Painful and Inflamed Joints: Herbs and spices have been used since ancient times to heal and soothe and the knowledge of their remarkable properties and abilities is being rediscovered. This is the start of my journey on the long spice roads of the Far East and all the wonders that await me there.

 

whitewillow

 

Eastern Spices and White Willow Pain Cream

Ingredients:

  • Half a cup of ground Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons of ground Cloves
  • Half a cup of ground Cinnamon
  • Half a cup of White Willow Bark
  • 2 Tablespoons of ground Turmeric
  • 1 standard bar of Beeswax
  • 1 cup of Olive Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil – 2 Capsules
  • Half a cup of Coconut Oil
  • Frankincense Oil – 10- 20 drops

 

Health-benefits-of-turmeric

****Important Note! Turmeric WILL stain everything it comes into contact with, including your skin, clothes, china, plastic…Be super careful using it or else you will spend hours cleaning up after as I did!****

 

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Method:

  • Melt the Coconut oil and Beeswax in a large glass bowl over a double boiler or saucepan of water until it is fully melted
  • Place any of your spices that are not ground into a blender, along with the White Willow Bark
  • Pulse for a few seconds until the mix is a fine powder
  • Add the Olive Oil to the Bowl of Oils and stir with a wooden spoon
  • Slowly add the spices, one at a time into the mix
  • Allow to cool for a hour and then place the mix into the fridge until hard
  • Using a electric whisk, beat until rich and creamy
  • Add in the essential oil and Vitamin E
  • Whisk again until fully blended
  • Spoon into a sterilised glass jar and keep in a dry dark place such as a cupboard until needed. This will extend the potency of the spices.

 

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To Use:

Carefully scoop out some cream and rub into area affected. Add another layer and then cover with either a piece of old muslin or a cloth and secure firmly with either first aid tape or ribbon. Leave on overnight and wash off in morning. Repeat if necessary.

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A super easy way to get turmeric and other spices into your diet is to add them to smoothies and hot drinks.

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Next Time:

Muscle-Relief-Bath-Bomb-Recipe

I will be looking in more detail at what herbs, spices and foods help with Fibromyalgia, since I was diagnosed with it last year after having suffered the last four years with constant pain and a myriad of other exhausting and painful symptoms.

I will also be making Bath Bombs, Scrap Apple Cider Vinegar and Golden Milk, so watch this space! 🙂

Xx

 

Soul Space, Transform your Home, Transform Your Life, Creating Your Own Eco – Sanctuary, One Drawer at a Time!

Since I started taking action to live in a more sustainable eco-friendly manner, I have become astonished at the cumulative, domino effect of change. The more I changed how I lived my life from simple things like buying bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic to learning new skills from preserving seasonal food to making my own cosmetics, I feel not just more and more empowered but also excited at how my life is transforming. It might sound cliche but if you start small, like a snowball rolling down a hill, your endeavours will take on a life on their own and become an incredible catalyst for change.

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I decided the most logical way to tackle my home was to take a fresh look at every single thing I own and to apply the simple yet remarkably powerful advice of William Morris: ‘Have nothing in your home, which is not useful or beautiful’. A wise soul who created immortal works of beauty, which still inspire us today.

 

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Its a work in progress and takes time. Do not be surprised at how your emotions will be stirred, the possessions that we gather around us affect us in many ways and often it is not the object itself we find hard to let go of but the memory or emotion attached to that object.

 

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Early on in my life, I was introduced to the concept of Feng Shui, a fascinating philosophy and guide on how to live the best life through our control of our surroundings. It is known as ‘The Art of Placement’ and is a life changing practice. I will talk more about this in the coming days but today I would like to share with you how I tackled my own project ‘Transformation’ !:)

 

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I live in a tiny one bed apartment with my husband, hamster, fish, plants, books and pictures and like most people, I have collected many possessions, too many over the years. Its time for a change. So room by room, here is my plan:

 

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The Hall

  • Change artificial plastic like lamp shades to recycled paper shades
  • Paint walls with low emission environment friendly paint
  • Replace plastic umbrellas with a good rain mac that will last you years
  • Bulbs

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Utility Room

  • Replace detergent, softener and stain remover products with homemade natural products such as Castile soap, essential oils, lemon, bread soda and spirit vinegar [On-going]
  • Change plastic Laundry baskets to hemp or reed natural fabric baskets
  • Throughly clean out and sort through boxes [on-going]
  • Dispose of safely broken hoover & iron
  • Give old crutches and unwanted gifts to charity

 

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Bathroom

Replace usual cosmetic and hygiene products with natural homemade products [a daunting task to say the least!]:

  • Shaving Gel
  • Liquid Hand soap [Done, replaced with natural organic handmade soap bar]
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant [Done]
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothpaste [Done]
  • Face wash
  • Toner
  • Shower Gel
  • Suncream
  • Shower Cleaner
  • Toilet Cleaner [Own made with essential oils, vinegar and lemon juice]
  • Toilet Brush [ceramic with steel or bamboo]
  • Toilet Tissue [to recycled bulk bought]

 

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Replace Makeup with either Fair Trade, not tested on Animals products from companies like ‘The Body Shop’, ‘Lush’ or for men, ‘Bulldog’ or own homemade:

  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Day Cream
  • Night Cream [Done]
  • Body Lotion [Done]
  • Foot Cream [Done]
  • Hand Cream
  • Primer
  • Masacra
  • Lip pencil
  • Eye Shadow
  • Eye Brow pencil
  • Eye liner
  • Lipstick
  • Make-up remover wipes

Eco-Friendly

Replace plastic with natural materials such as Jute, Sisal, bamboo, ceramic, glass…:

  • Neti Pot
  • Toothbrushes [Done, replaced with Bamboo toothbrushes found on Ebay]
  • Feminine Time of the month essentials storage box [Done, changed to glass]
  • Small bin
  • Bin bags
  • Four storage baskets
  • Shower mat
  • Chair
  • Sponge
  • Plastic razors to stainless steel
  • One-use only cotton wool pads to organic cotton cloths

 

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Replace artificial feminine pads with reusable organic cotton/ bamboo pads [Done]

I have two plants in our small bathroom, which were in plastic pots but are now in terracotta pots on terracotta saucers.

1f1138f16a213f573808cec827904561Bedroom

  • Plastic clothes hangers to be changed to wooden
  • Plastic gift bags to be changed to paper
  • Replace all lampshades with recycled paper shades
  • Change from plastic folders and plastic pockets for filing to going digital
  • Sort out wardrobe and if it hasn’t been worn in the last year, give it away
  • Plastic Plant pots [Done, changed to Terracotta]
  • Plastic Hamster cage change to wood and glass home [Done]
  • Bed linen to be changed to organic cotton
  • Repurpose old clothes into handy Tote bags
  • Consider ‘Swap, not Shop’ events

Hot Press

  • Storage boxes, clothes bags, baskets all change from plastic to natural material
  • Sort through linen and reuse old bath towels as t-towels or rag cloths

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Long long list of plastic that needs to be changed:

  • Kitchen Brush
  • Brush & Shovel
  • Mop
  • Bin Bags [Change to biodegradable]
  • Water jug
  • Gloves
  • Dish dryer rack
  • Wash Basin
  • Chopping Boards
  • Lap trays
  • Water bottles [Changed to Copper, see past post for more info]
  • Bucket
  • Storage baskets
  • Food containers [Done, changed to Mason jars]
  • Oil containers
  • Cereal container
  • Salt & Pepper Grinders

 

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Cleaning Products:

  •  Dish Soap
  • Window Cleaner [Done, Vinegar and lemon, wiped down with old newspaper]
  • Oven Cleaner [Done, Salt and Baking soda]
  • Floor Cleaner [Tea Tree oil, water and Vinegar]
  • Disinfectant
  • Counter tops wipes  [Done]

 

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Other kitchen items made from plastic need to replaced with a biodegradable option:

  • Highlighters
  • Pens
  • Spatulas
  • Kitchen Twel
  • Cellotape
  • Pegs
  • Freezer bags
  • Ice – cube trays
  • Batteries
  • Bulbs
  • Plastic cutlery for picnics to be changed to either bamboo or stainless steel
  • Plastic straws for smoothies to be replaced by stainless steel straws

images (1)Living Room

  • Conventional Candles [Need to replaced with Beeswax or Soy as conventional candles are made from the same material that makes tires, not healthy to burn!]
  • Plant Pots [Done, Changed to terracotta]
  • Bulbs
  • One use only tissues to be replaced with cotton reusable handkerchieves
  • Markers
  • Lampshades
  • Sort through books, dvds & cds & give away unwanted items

392ec7321156fb4804e2a9111db1145bBalcony

  • Plastic plant pots replaced with Terracotta
  • Growing my own veg and herbs organically; Rocket, Mangetout, Lettuce, Rocket, Thyme, Mint, Chamomile, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Calendula, Roses and sage

Okay, if you have made it this far, well done!! Even I feel exhausted after just doing up this list! 🙂

I think the most fascinating if horrifying thing to come out of all this is a new awareness at just how much plastic has invaded and taken over nearly aspect of our lives. I was shocked when I realised the true extent and am so glad I started now.

Changing our home to a more sustainable environmentally friendly sanctuary is not going to happen over night. Its taking time, effort and to a certain extent, money. The change over from plastic to glass food containers took me about two months and has cost me a small fortune in mason jars. However, I now keep all glass jars that I bought with sauces or jams in and am reusing them for not just food but even small things like pegs, spoons, biros…the small things that gather in our kitchen drawers and can usually never be found when needed! The great thing about glass is that its completely recyclable.

Well, its the tip of the iceberg but I hope I have inspired you to even make one small change. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be able to open my kitchen cupboards and see at a glance, what I have, what I’m running low on and when it goes out of date. I’m better able to plan meals, have less food wastage,  more space and feel…lighter.

slI feel less weighed down by countless possessions, I feel more able to make the changes I want to see in myself, to be more relaxed, calmer and clearer. If you ever feel stuck in your life, just take one drawer, any drawer in your home and clear it out and external events in your life will change, truly.  It might sound crazy but it works! The power of Feng Shui!

Xx

 

 

 

Going Green in the city

weltkugel_handDear Readers, as many of us live in the city including myself, Ive been looking at ways to live in a more environmental way, if by necessity on a small scale, what with living in a compact one bed apartment. So here are some of my endeavours so far.

I started by looking at replacing that most of insidious of substances that is everywhere around us, in the very air we breathe, the water we drink, the food that we eat and the oceans we swim in, plastic.

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We have all heard of how plastic is turning up in the stomachs of birds, dolphins, whales and other sea-life, as well as strangling and killing smaller animals such as seals and turtles.

33264-sealsall4Plastic micro-beads in all types of packaging, make-up, shampoo, shower gel…these end up in our water and eventually everything imaginable.

endangered-wildlife-trust-bottle-topPlastic is a source of toxins and takes many hundreds of years to be broken down. Plastic in all its forms is causing disease and death and if left unchecked, will be one of the factors in the destruction of our home, our planet.

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Looking at how plastic is everywhere, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the task ahead and then I remembered that if you are going to try to change the world, you need to first change yourself and how you live and where better to start than my own home.

I started by looking at my kitchen and how I store food. Previously I had stored all food in the plastic bags they came in, which on consideration was an ineffective, wasteful, dodgy and dangerous method. Food goes stale more quickly on exposure to air, sunlight, moisture and heat and ends up been thrown out, thus wasting valuable resources and causing more expense. All types of insects and creatures like mice and rats will be drawn to any food left unprotected.  I’m not a fan of insects and rats and would rather not have them in my home and definitely not in my food and since I would never use mouse traps or deadly insecticides, prevention is really better then cure.

diy-pantry-organization1I have discovered the wonder of mason jars and glass storage, clean, effective, safe and pleasing to the eye! 🙂 There is literally no downside! Glass is completely recyclable, durable and is a millions types better then plastic. I have been steadily building up my collection of glass mason jars in a variety of sizes, some with typically mason clasps and other with vacuum style lids.

There is so much that you can store in mason jars, dry food like beans, legumes, grains, rice, pulses, cereals, dried herbs, spices…pickled vegetables, chutneys, jams and other preserves.  You can make up ready to go mixes for breads, cakes, pies… which save time in the long run.

downloadYou can use them to create beautiful homemade gifts such as layered bath salts, herb infused vinegars and oils, freshly baked cookies or sweets…the list is endless, limited only by your imagination. Best of all is that the container is completely reusable so in effect its the gift that keeps on giving.

In terms of cost, there is a bigger outlay for glass as opposed to plastic Tupperware but in the long run, it will benefit your health, your diet and the planet.  You can search for mason jars in car boot sales, charity shops, discount stores and often friends and neighbours may be happy to give you their unwanted jars. Your cupboards will gleam with cleanliness and order and allow you at a glance to see what provisions you have.

Last tip for changing from plastic to glass is to buy affordable label stickers to mark the contents and best before date, which can be simply washed off when the jar is empty and then the jar is reused.

Ultimately I would love to go trash free with a mixture of recycling plastic, paper, glass, tins and also composting left over food scraps, as well as finding new ways to reuse trash. One lady who is doing this already is Lauren Singer, creator of Trash is for Tossers, an excellent website with loads of inspiring ideas.

IMG_5162I want to find out where locally I can go to buy my food using my own containers such as hemp or organic cotton bags from bulk containers, thus cutting down on waste. I know co-ops often over this type of shopping but I think in my city, health shops might be my best bet for the moment. Will keep you up to date on my progress.

fb_1470481770_800x420Another way to replace plastic in ones own home is to change to sustainable wood for everything from cooking utensils, chopping boards to furniture such as chairs, tables, bookcases and to smaller items like toothbrushes.. Yes it is more expensive but you will start to think more about what you buy and why.

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Fair-trade and sustainable goods are something that is critical for people to think about and choose. Its not just about the product but how it arrived in your home, what it is stored in, the person who made it and their lifestyle.  It is about raising awareness and consciousness of the effects of the choices we make as consumers.

homemade-laundry-detergent-products-banner-680x362Coming up in the next few weeks, I will be talking about making household cleaning products from spirit vinegar, lemon juice and bread soda, making your own beauty products from natural ingredients you can find in most kitchens, the healing power of herbs and plants from improving our air to improving our health and mood. I will be testing out all these recipes on myself and those of my family and friends willing to be guinea pigs.bigstock-Natural-homemade-facial-masks-29237924-747x560

I will be investigating the surprisingly shady world of the majority of ‘honey’ brands on our shelves, the importance of raw honey and its many amazing properties for conditions such as skin burns, wounds, hay fever, coughs etc…  I will be reflecting on my own experiment with feeding menses blood to my plants and the pros and cons and I will be finding new ways to reuse items that cannot be recycled and doing extensive research on ways to go more green in the city.

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I attended the Galway Food festival last weekend and went to fascinating talks from beekeepers, to chocolate makers, to foraged foods and the many ways they can be utilised, so will talk more about this next time.

I’m really excited at this and amazed at how the few small changes I’ve done so far have had such a positive effect on my quality of life and solidify my passion to live a kinder, more compassionate and more thoughtful life. Saving the planet doesn’t just feel like a marketing slogan but something meaningful and obtainable. The more I change how I live, the more I feel empowered. If I can make these simple changes, anyone can.

Dreaming of gleaming copper and soft sheepskin rugs you sink your feet into…

puresheepskin-1180x550Spring is almost here and as the earth begins to warm and winter releases his icy embrace, I sip warm goat’s milk in a gleaming copper cup and sink my toes deeper into the luxury of a sheepskin rug.

In the last few months, I have discovered the pleasure and the benefit of drinking water from a copper jug, the nature of copper to act as a filter, its healing properties and its ability to keep liquids chilled. People in the west have worn copper bracelets for years to help arthritis and other medical conditions.

mauviel-copper-12-piece-cookware-set-2015-alt2_imgzEvery night I fill up my one litre copper jug with water and in the morning, I drink 3 glasses before breakfast. This is an ancient practice throughout the vast country of India for many centuries. Copper’s ability to remove impurities and toxins, its refreshing spring water taste and its healing properties are well documented.

I bought a copper flask first which came with two copper cups to use at my desk in water and quickly became converted. I used to use a plastic flask until I became aware of how bad drinking water from plastic containers is, I then tried a BPA free flask with a filter but found the taste unpleasant and always at room temperature. I now use a large covered jug for water at home, the flask at work and am starting of collection of secondhand copper pots and pans from France.

Using Copper drinking ware and pots and pans can help arthritis, inflammation, asthma, allergies…I personally have noticed a substantial drop in my pain levels which has come as such a relief. Living in the city, the water is not as pure as I would like and often smells of chlorine but after one night in a copper jug, it tastes divine, as fresh as if I had just dropped my cup in a clear mountain stream bubbling joyfully down the hills.

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Water is such an essential part of our lives but is often unappreciated. It is only when there is a lack of clean fresh water that people truly begin to understand what an important resource it is. Our bodies are made up of two thirds water, the same proportion as the earth, we can live without foods for weeks but only a few days without water.

In Ireland, there has never been a shortage of rain, not for nothing is Ireland’s fields so very green. With the introduction of water rates two years ago, a new awareness is growing for ways to save water.

I shall in the coming weeks talk about water barrels, rainwater, using waste water in the garden and other ways to better use this resource.

The last few years have been hard to say the least as my health crashed and burned and my soul sank into a deep abyss of despair but one thing that helped get me through that time, was discovering the comfort and pleasure of a real sheepskin rug.

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I started off with a small one I bought on Ebay for beside my bed. It was wonderful to sink my feet into on waking up to a bitter cold morning or winding down in the evening. I then bought a large rug and after a few weeks of airing [genuine sheepskin rugs have a very strong sheep odour at first from the tanning process but if you have made sure to buy one from a reputable seller who tans the rugs naturally with salt, this wears off quickly] I put it on top of my sheets under my duvet.

The luxury of going to sleep on a soft sheepskin rug is a describable pleasure. It calls to long forgotten buried memories of a primordial world, the world of our ancestors.

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The benefits of real sheepskin rugs and natural wool are too numerous to list but their ability to support weary or sore bodies, their natural antibacterial action helps create a micro climate around your bed of healing and their nurturing power to cherish premature babies to flourish and grow is remarkable. The quality of sleep is greatly improved thus further improving your body’s ability to heal during rest.

I recommend doing some research and buying your rugs from a seller who farms in a sustainable and conscientious way. Rugs can be pricey but they last for many lifetimes and will become family heirlooms of comfort and joy to every member of the family at all stages of life.

In many ways, buying and using copper jugs, cups, flasks, pots and pans and real sheepskin rugs is not just purchasing a product but a way of life. I still marvel at how two simple changes in my life, from plastic to copper and from cotton & polyester sheets to a sheepskin wool rug in my bed have enriched and nourished my life.

 

Belated Photos of my Christmas cooking

Aisling 004So at long last,I’m finally uploading the photos from the christmas cakes I made with a traditional dundee recipe, then a layer of marizpan and finally royal icing and of course the edible sprinkles,ribbon and decorations.

It was an awful lot of work over several weeks and surpisingly expensive but great fun and very rewarding. I will definately be making my own christmas cakes from now on.

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This is the second cake I made for christmas:

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I also include a photo of a large box of chocolate truffles I made, milk chocolate with baileys and dark chocolate with brandy.

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Our christmas dinner: free range locally sourced roast turkey,my own home grown roast potatoes,parsnip and sweet potato, steamed carrots and brussel sprouts, chestnut stuffing&cranberry stuffing with my own plum sauce and fresh herbs, served with Bellini to start, frascati for the main and a merlot with desert, which was a selection of sherry trifle,creme carmel with coffee, christmas cake and truffles to finish! Truly a feast!:)