13 Ways to Grow Your Hair Long Faster Naturally

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So I don’t know about you but in the last four years, I’ve being having a lot of bad hair days, not just every other day or once in a while but like everyday, all the time.

Unfortunately, I’m not Rapunzel, no matter how hard I wish, quite the opposite alas.

Four years ago this September, I had a near fatal anaphylactic shock to kiwis in a smoothie [ah, the irony, trying to eat more healthy almost killed me!], which caused both physical and psychological trauma, which had a dramatic effect on my hair. To cut a long story short, on that day, my hair stopped growing.

Not just growing quickly or healthily but point blank, stopped growing at all.

In the last four years, I have tried diet, vitamins, fancy expensive hair treatments and even more expensive trips to hairdressers for professional advice.

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I changed my supermarket hair colours to health shop natural more gentle plant based hair colours.

I have tried alternatives such as energy healing, reflexology, aromatherapy, meditation and even affirmations and listening to metaphysical healing videos at night.

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I have soaked my hair in oils, creams, mud masks..practically half the contents of my fridge!

In the last year, I have been trying DIY methods to grow my hair, here are 13 of the things I’ve tried and how they worked out.

1) Rice Water

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I heard that in Japan, Rice water is all the rage and is in everything from skin creams to hair tonics, so I decided to try it for myself.

I cooked my rice as usual, then took the cloudy water left behind in the saucepan, put it in a jug and let it cool. After washing my hair as usual, I poured the rice water over my hair and wrapped a towel around it and left it on for a hour as recommended.

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I went to rinse it out and my hair was a matted mess. It took two rounds of shampoo and conditioner to finally detangle it. So, not one I shall be trying again.

2) Coconut Milk & Coconut Oil

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I love the scent of coconuts and have became a BIG fan of Coconut oil and use it all the time. I have tried several variations of the above hair mask using coconut as the key ingredient and have had very mixed reactions.

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My hair looks all glossy and satiny soft for a few hours after but by the next day, it looks like I haven’t washed it in weeks.

My hair does feel better but so far, using coconut milk or oil once a week hasn’t made any difference to my total lack of hair growth.

3) Bread Soda

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I have grown to love Bread soda and use it for cleaning the house, stains on clothes and brushing my teeth, so it sounded like a good idea to use it for my hair.

If you use a lot of products, its good to detox or clarify your hair every few weeks and bread soda is supposed to be super for that. Some people love it so much, they have stopped using shampoo and only use bread soda day in, day out.

So, I found the simple recipe above and gave it a go. After rinsing out, my hair is bizarrely frizz central and I resemble someone who has stuck their hand into a live socket! Epic Disaster!

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4) Henna

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I have used Henna for years off and on but decided to go back to it, in the hopes it might help.

I applied the henna paste as usual and washed out and then conditioned as usual.

Result? Thick matted hair that took several washes to detangle, many hours of painful combing out and brittle ends the full length of my hair 😦

Totally bizzare as in the past, Henna used to make my hair look and feel awesome but not anymore I guess…

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5) Red Onion

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I keep coming across articles from fellow bloggers raving about using onion juice to stimulate hair growth and how amazing it, so although I don’t like onions in general, I decided to give it a go.

I peeled the top layer of my two red onions and then washed and roughly chopped them. I put them in the blender with some water and blended until it was a smooth texture.

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The first thing I noticed putting it on my hair was that it reeked to the point of making my eyes water.

After only 15 minutes, my scalp started burning and I had to wash it off.

It took several washes to get the smell out of my hair and any benefit from the onion must have been well washed off!

I tried mixing it with coconut oil, I put essential oils in it…but it still reeked and still burned so that was that.

6) Eggs

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I have only two words for this – Epic Fail!

I whisked up the 2 eggs and rubbed it into my scalp. Left it on for twenty minutes and then tried washing it out and washed and washed…and washed!

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***Rookie DIY Tip: Only use very cool water to rinse your hair after using a egg mask, or else you will literally end up with cooked egg on your head!***

 7) Apple Cider Vinegar

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Using my own scrap apple cider vinegar recipe, after shampooing my hair as normal, I rinsed my hair with the vinegar and towel dried.

It was quite refreshing and my hair felt cleaner and softer, while my scalp felt pleasantly cool.

I didn’t like the scent but some essential oils helped with that and I have to say, I use this rinse once or twice a week and quite like it. My hair isn’t growing but it feels better.

Hopefully one day, my hair will be like this:

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The Dream

8) Yoghurt

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I know yogurt is packed full of protein and other good things so I tried the above as masks for my hair but again, really didn’t like the smell and found it very drying, so not for me alas.

9) Banana

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Bananas always sound like a good idea, yummy to eat and packed full of nutrients but oh my word, they are a total nightmare to wash out of your hair!

They smell fabulous and they are easy to make it onto a diy hair mask but after many washes to get it out of my hair, I ended up looking like this:

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10) Honey

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So honey, seemed a good idea but apart from turning my hair into something resembling a birds nest, it didn’t help at all, which was very disappointing as I had high hopes for it.

11) Rosemary Oil

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One essential oil I have been using a lot for my hair is Rosemary. It smells nice and is super easy to use, I simply put a few drops into my usual shampoo, conditioner and hair masks or for extra benefit, occasionally, mix coconut oil and rosemary oil and rub it into my scalp, leave on overnight and then rinse in the morning.

Hopefully with time, my hair will look like this girl’s mane:

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12) Aloe Vera Gel

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Aloe vera is supposed to be really moisturising for your hair so since I usually have some in the fridge, I tried it one evening. It felt very sticky but washed out easily enough. I didn’t see any difference, good or bad, so will maybe try this one again and see how it works out.

 

13) Horsetail

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I have become a passionate forager for horsetail and out of everything I’ve tried, it is the best. It grows near water or marshy areas and is instantly recognisable.

Its so easy to use, wash under the tap, twist the stems and place in a glass bowl. Pour boiling water over it and then use as a simple rinse when cool. Don’t throw your horsetail away, as you can usually get a second bowl from it.

I’m not sure if it has helped my hair grow at all but it’s gorgeous verdant green colour and fresh clean scent make using it a delight.

Conclusion

I still have many things to try yet for my hair, herbs like Amla, Beer, Fenugreek seeds, Castor Oil, Garlic juice…maybe I need to take a page out of John and Yoko’s book and have a ‘Bed In’ for Peace and maybe just maybe, if I get enough sleep, my hair might start to grow again…

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And one day, my hair will be like this:

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How to make Lush Inspired Shower Jellies & The Many Remarkable Uses of Egg Shells!

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So having a shower is just about getting clean as fast as possible? Nope! These days, its a way to wake up, soothe the senses, nourish your skin and more recently to awaken your childhood sense of wonder and play!!:)

One awesome way to bring more joy and fun into your shower routine is to make your own DIY Lush inspired Shower Jellies! Super easy to make and they look, smell and feel great πŸ™‚

Ingredients

  • Gelatin Powder [I used two Sachets 12mg each] There are vegetarian options available also.
  • Water
  • Hand Soap or Shower Gel
  • Food Colouring [Optional]
  • A Mold
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spoon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Essential Oils (Optional)
  • Glitter Or Eyeshadow Pigment (Optional)

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Method

  • In a mixing bowl, first add the gelatin powder and then the water. …
  • Add the shower gel to the gelatine mixture. …I used Original Source Shower Gel which is not tested on animals but you can use any favourite shower gel
  • Add an essential oil of your choice and/or a drop or two of food coloring, if desired. .
  • Mix in the salt.
  • Pour the mixture into the silicon mould, then put the mould in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy! πŸ™‚

I recently learnt a mind-blowing fact, did you know that eggshells are a great, inexpensive, natural source of calcium & have many awesome uses?

An egg shell is made of calcium carbonate. Each medium sized egg shell has about 750-800 mgs of calcium.

***Important, buy only Free Range Organic Eggs, farm fresh if possible***

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Eggshells can be used in:

  • Homemade Toothpaste to remineralise your teeth and heal cavities
  • Face Masks
  • As a totally natural calcuim supplement
  • To start off Seedlings
  • To deter slugs and snails
  • In Art
  • To enrich your compost

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    How to Make Eggshell Calcium and Why You’d Want To

    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body.

    While most of our calcium resides in our bones and teeth, it’s also important for muscle contraction, nerve health, enzyme activity and cell formation.

    In fact, our bodies need ample, daily amounts of calcium… and if we don’t get what we need, our bodies have no problem pulling excess stores from our teeth and bones, which is obviously not a good thing!

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    Method

  • Use up your eggs as you usually would, keeping the shell in the carton to make your supplement
  • When you have your dozen shells, rinse them well in water. Remove any whites that might be stuck but don’t remove membrane as these have extra nutrients.
  • Fill a stock pot with approximately 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Carefully put your eggshells into the water. (This will kill any harmful pathogens)
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Drain shells.
  • Spread the shells on a baking tray and let dry overnight. In the morning, put in a warm oven for about 10 minutes to completely dry out.
  • Once they are dry, put a few shells into a coffee grinder and run until they are pulverized into a fine powder. Continue until all of your shells are powder.
  • Store in a tightly sealed glass jar in the cupboard away from heat or moisture.
  • How to Consume Eggshell Calcium

    1 tsp. contains approximately 800-1,000 mg. of calcium. Consume by mixing in a small amount of water with a meal or with a smoothie or yoghurt.

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There are so many ways to use eggshells, I will keep you up to date on all the ways I test out myself.

On a interesting note, I came across a a belief in folk lore, that eggshells were buried or burned in healing spells (often after having been carried by the patient so the eggshells β€œabsorbed” the illness). Eggshell powder can be used for protection spells too.

Eggshells also make a good womb symbol in which energy can be nurtured to maturity. Be sure to consider the colour of the eggshell. For instance, use blue eggshells to nurture peace and joy.

Next Time

21et20nI will be talking about the role and significance of Magic in our lives, my endeavours to convince my hair to grow and the importance of enjoying your food! πŸ™‚

Xx

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On The Importance of Good Friends & Six Other Ways I Stay Grounded in a World that Won’t Stop Spinning

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Does anyone else feel like the world is spinning too fast, that the day is gone in an instant and you don’t remember what happened yesterday, much less today? Do you feel as if you are on a constant rollercoaster and you just want to get off? Do you feel snowed under, overwhelmed, lost or that everyday is a struggle?

I often feel this way and suspect others do also. We live in a world of 24 hour live News Coverage. We are bombarded with information every second of everyday. The world has never been smaller or more connected, you can communicate instantly with anyone anywhere and yet isolation, depression and suicide continue to rise.

It is so terribly easy to lose sight of who we are really are but if we don’t take time to reflect, to breathe, to dance, laugh or just sit still, we will all be lost.

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I have been thinking about what helps me stay grounded, brings me back to my fundamental truths, to freedom, joy and peace.

In the hopes this may help another find their way, here are

My Seven Ways to Ground Yourself

1) Friends

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I am very fortunate to have a few close friends and one BFF or Boo, as I like to call her. When things get crazy and the world becomes too much and I don’t know how I will cope or get through this, my BFF has always been there for me. She is the sister I never had.

I know, no matter what, she is at my side, my rock. She is the keeper of all of my secrets. The first person I think of when I have news to tell or need advice or just want to spend time with, whether that be on great adventures exploring foreign lands or just sitting together on the sofa at home, it doesn’t matter what we do, the main thing is we do it together.

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Countless hours talking on the phone, talking through the night, sorrows and joys shared, so many years of wonderful memories. Many of the best moments of my life have been with her.

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She helps be me more then I am, to be more me. So many times, amidst great change and dizzying turns of events, I felt uncertain & unsure but she brings me back to reality and always, always keeps me grounded.

Apart, the journey is long and often scary and confusing but together, the impossible becomes possible. I cannot express my gratitude enough for having her in my life.

2) Hugs

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One of the most wonderful and simple ways to ground yourself is to hug another, whether that be a family member, a friend, a colleague, a pet or a tree. The benefits of hugging cannot be emphasised enough.

article-2332853-1A0E4C03000005DC-283_634x418There is a lady in India called Amma The Hugging Saint, who brings joy and happiness around the world through hugs. She came to Dublin last year but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it there but definitely next time.

Amidst all the terrorist attacks of the last few months, a young muslim man blindfolded himself and stood on a street in Paris with a sign, saying ‘I’m Muslim, I trust you, Do you Trust me, Give me a Hug’. This brave young man wanted to show the world that love is the answer, not hate and war. He was quickly surrounded by hundreds of people who wanted to give him a hug. A simple gesture with profound ripple effects throughout the world.

 

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In Ireland, we are not the best for hugging, we can tell a story, dance up a storm or bring the house down but not so good at hugs. However times are changing and I am determined to hug more, one person at a time, so remember, hug often! πŸ™‚

3) Going on Adventures

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There is nothing like the joy of going on an adventure to remind you what its like to live fully in your skin, to remember who you really are and why you want to be.

You don’t have to climb the highest mountain or travel the seven seas or leave Earth’s orbit and step on the moon to find adventure. Adventure can be found in a turn of the road or a path you haven’t gone down before, a view never seen before, a glade never walked in before…

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The very best adventures are the ones that are unexpected, where strange and wonderful things happen and you meet people you will never forget, experiences that change you forever and all because you decided to take a slightly different path.

The heart delights in new horizons and in this case, I cannot recommend going adventuring enough, as when you come home, you will not just be refreshed and energised but you will also be grounded.

4) Take off your Shoes, your socks and Dare to walk on Bare Feet

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There is nothing like the sheer pleasure and tactical sensation of bare feet on sand, almost all my best memories are when I was up to my ankles in the cold Atlantic sea, walking across a summer meadow full of wild grasses that tickle, sinking my toes into warm sinking sand the colour of moonlight or feeling the silver cool bark of my favourite Ash Tree I used to spend countless hours in growing up.

To touch the earth is to literally ground ourselves, to reconnect with the great earth mother, to be renewed and to instantly be in our own body again. The power of bare feet to instantly transport you into the present moment is truly wondrous. Give it a go and see how it makes you feel.

5) Dance

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One of the greatest pleasures in life surely most be locking the door, turning off the phone,  turning the music up loud and dancing your heart out. In dance, I find a place, a way of being, that allows me to express things I could not express in any other way. I lose myself in the music and it is only then that I find myself.

So many people are afraid of looking silly or feel they have two left feet but the benefits of dancing are so numerous I urge you to be brave. It is true what they say, dance like nobody is watching and you will become one with the music. In the centre of the dance floor, when you can feel the beat drumming in your chest and feeling becomes movement, let yourself go.

Two of my favourite dance videos are below if you would like some inspiration:

6) Yoga & Meditation

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I’ve talked about yoga and meditation before and all of their the wonderful health benefits but one of the most rewarding aspects of yoga & mediation is how your thoughts can be chaotic and all over the place at the beginning but gradually you become calmer, your breathing slows and you remember what it is to be in your body, to be present, how that feels and how to let it go.

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Mediation and yoga can both seem daunting or even intimidating practices to learn and even if you don’t want to go to local classes, with so many books, dvds, cds and youtube videos, there has never been a better or easier time to start.

I find it difficult to allow regular time for these things but even a 15 minute video practise can be incorporated into our hectic lives.

7) Laughter

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My last recommendation is laughter and lots of it. There is nothing like laughter to lift the spirits, to bring back joy into ones life, to share a connection with another person. I came across this video of a man laughing on a train and how quickly his joy and laughter spread to the whole carriage even though they were all strangers and did not know what the man was laughing about. It didnt matter what caused him to laugh but the infectious nature of joy and laughter can bring us all together.

So these are seven of the ways I ground myself, I hope you find them useful or at least thought provoking. There are so many ways you can ground yourself, I wish you a fabulous journey discovering them πŸ™‚

Xx

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Foraging on the Banks of Lough Atalia in Galway, How to make Honeysuckle Ice Cream and other Nectar of the Gods

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Last Sunday, I went foraging in the lush wild meadow that runs along the side of Lough Atalia, the small lake that runs to the sea in Galway harbour. It was a stunning day, I felt almost light headed with the scent of wild flowers, fresh running water and the earth warmed by the heat of the midday sun.

Two swans followed me for a while and the meadow hummed with the sound of happy bees drinking nectar. A ladybird landed near me on a patch of clover and small wild birds called and flew overhead. 

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Everywhere I looked, I was overwhelmed by the incredible bounty of nature, I felt like how a child must feel in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I didn’t know where to start, so many colours, scents, textures called to me. My attention was snagged by the most magnificent bush of Wild Roses and braving the thorns, I gathered some petals to make Rosewater, a recipe which I will include in my next post.

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The flowers were as big as a child’s hand and the petals as soft as pure silk and the scent, oh my word, the scent, if only I could breathe in that scent all of my days…

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The heart of the meadow was a sea of colour composed of every shade of red and pink and green and all the colours in between. Red Clover was all around me, as far as the eye could see. I gathered several stems and the flower heads.

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I will be using Red Clover to make a healing tea, cream, salve, syrup…So many things, it is such a remarkable herb.

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There was also White Clover, not as profuse and much more delicate then its red cousin but also beautiful. It has a subtle sweet taste that makes for a lovely syrup for use in a cordial.

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Its late in the year for Dandelion but I found some clumps in the more shady areas of the meadow and harvested the young leaves for smoothies, salads and the flowers to make honey. Once autumn is here, I’m going to dig up as many dandelion roots as possible for making coffee.

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I found Plantain along the waters edge, its distinctive narrow leaves and long seed laden heads nodding in the breeze coming off the lake. I have started a mason jar infusion of Plantain and Oil for healing creams but Plantain has so many other uses as well. I will talk more about this next week.

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I was lucky to come across a patch of Horsetail, which often grows near water and has been around since the time of the Dinosaurs. It has many uses but one of its most well known is its wonderful ability to stimulate hair growth. A simple hair rinse can be made by washing the stems of horsetail to get rid of any soil or insects, place in a large glass bowl and pour boiling water over the plant. Leave overnight,compost the stems and then after washing your hair, pour over your head and dry hair as usual.

Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet otherwise known as the Queen of the Meadow was scattered here and there. I made a syrup from the flowers to use to create a sorbet or simply to pour over ice cream or pancakes as a delicious treat.

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One of my most favourite wild flower are Daisies. They can be found everywhere, in all shapes and sizes and colours but their purity and innocence instantly transport me back to my childhood and memories of making daisy chains as crowns and garlands. Daisies make a lovely addition to any homemade skin creams.

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I found several sprays of Milk Thistle and am currently drying these and some of the other herbs I gathered for use. I am looking forward to finding ways to use Milk Thistle to heal both myself and those I care for.

Smiling Mouse on YarrowThe next herb I came across was Yarrow, one of the most ancient and sacred of all plants in the lore of herbs, a plant with many fascinating abilities. I have dried the small amount I found and will be keeping a keen eye out for more to stock up before the winter.

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Another lovely herb I across was Self Heal, a plant long used for healing wounds and infections, as well as sore throats.

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I spent three wondrous hours beside the lake and by the time I returned home, I was suntanned and windswept, all my cobwebs blown away. I laid my herbs out in the sun on my balcony to dry and for any insects to flee.

In the end, I found over thirteen different herbs in the space of an afternoon in just one of the meadows on the banks of Lough Atalia. I was awed by how only a short walk from my apartment in Galway city, I was able to find so many remarkable healing plants. I think, living in a city, many people forget to look, to seek out the wilderness that grows up from between the cracks and finds itself a home in even the most starkly urban of places.

It is truly amazing what you can find and all this goodness, beauty and healing is free. I love to go foraging but always remember to only take what you need and to give thanks for its blessings.

Its late and I grow weary but let me finish this feast of the senses with all things Honeysuckle.

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I will leave you with two divine recipes I found online using this most exotic flower with its otherworldly nectar and golden blossoms.

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Honeysuckle Ice Cream

From the website: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/

Ingredients

  • 1 and a half cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms (this is approximate)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean

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Method

  • Put the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the honeysuckle flowers into the pan and and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off the heat and let the mixture come to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, strain the blossoms out and add the vanilla bean seeds. Mix well to break apart any clumped seeds.
  • Process the cold mixture in your ice cream machine according to its directions.
  • Put the soft ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

 

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Honeysuckle Sorbet

Ingredients

5 cups cool water

4 cups honeysuckle blossoms, tightly packed but not smashed

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

Few drops lemon juice

Dusting of cinnamon

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Add cool tap water to flowers. Place in a glass bowl and leave overnight.

The next day, make a simple syrup by heating sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat until the mixture is clear, then boiling it for a minute or so, until the syrup begins to appear lustrous and slightly thick.

Remove from heat and add a few drops of lemon juice to prevent the sugar from recrystallizing. Cool the syrup.

Strain the honeysuckles, gently pressing the blossoms so as not to waste any of your efforts.

Combine the honeysuckle and the simple syrup and add just the merest dusting of ground cinnamon β€” a hint will enhance the honeysuckle flavor; even a bit more will overpower it.

Put the mix in a glass baking dish, let it freeze a little, stir and smash with a fork. Wait another couple of hours and do the same thing until it’s almost frozen through, then put it all in a blender. It needs to be taken out of the freezer a few minutes before you serve.

Bon Appetit! πŸ™‚

Xx

What it means to Be A Wild Woman

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When I was little, I wanted to be a Knight, a Healer, a Explorer…and when I grew up, I realised I could be all those things and more for it is only recently, I have discovered that my heart is that of a Wild Woman.

What is a Wild Woman you ask?

  • She loves all creatures great and small
  • She loves to be in nature, whether that be the forest or the lake shore
  • She feels the need to help others
  • She has no time for oppressive beliefs or governance
  • She believes in Equality, Freedom and Justice
  • She does not blindly follow the Status Quo but questions anything that causes another harm or limits freedom

 

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  • She vows to not judge or preach but asks the same in return
  • She keeps her heart open to love and forgiveness, her mind open to new possibilities and her soul open to the universe around her
  • She is a person of integrity and honour
  • She keeps any promises or vows she makes

 

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  • She will fight with her last breath for those she loves, for the helpless, the innocent, those with no voices or rights and for the earth beneath our feet
  • She dares to shine a light into the darkest corners of the human mind
  • She fears not the dark, for without the dark, there would be no light

 

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Throughout time, there have been so many wise and wonderful Wild Women, who have changed the course of history and have handed down a treasure trove of knowledge and learning.

 

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We must not forget those who went before us and the legacy they have left behind. The bravery, courage, sacrifice and integrity of these women who dared to follow their hearts, listen to their soul and love without borders. These women are our heroines, our ancestors, our soul sisters and will help guide us on our path.

I make this my vow, to find true freedom, true peace and my reason for living through Rewilding myself, my quest to find the Wild Woman Within.
 

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My personal journey began in the magical west of Ireland. I grew up amidst the trees, near a castle on the lake, with the call of the Sparrow-hawk in the sky above me and the limestone plateaus beneath my feet and deeper still, far below, hidden rivers rushing through the earth.

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I live in Galway city now, for now. I must admit, that I find it at times, almost unbearably hard, for I miss my home so. Yet Galway is where I rest my head at night, where I work to pay the bills and where I have made good friends, met people from all over the world and seen so many remarkable plays, films, parades, concerts, ballets, operas…For someone who loves the Arts as I do, it is a great city to live in. 

One day, I will go home and there I will stay but until then, I shall open myself up to all this city has to offer.

One of the best things about living in Galway is living so close to the sea. Another wonderful thing about Galway is its willingness to accept people as they are, no matter how strange or unusual. So in many ways, it is the perfect place for me to find the Wilderness within my heart, to see where this path, the road less travelled leads me.

 I feel so excited, thrilled and utterly alive for the first time in ages and it is all because I am rediscovering the truth of who I am and I am slowly but surely turning this truth into reality.

I invite you to join me on this journey of the soul and let me know how your Rewilding is going, the truths you find along the way, the people whose lives touched your own…the whole schubang πŸ™‚

Rock on Sisters! Xx

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Foraging in the City: How to make Herb & Flower Infused Oils at home, as well as Uplifting Eucalyptus & Mint Shaving Cream

l1.jpg.galleryForaging in the city can be truly enjoyable, challenging and always rewarding. The joy and satisfaction of making your own remedies, cosmetics and food from herbs and flowers you gathered yourself  is immeasurable.

The heart of summer is an excellent time to gather your herbs for making creams, balms, salves, oils, tinctures, tonics, teas and other necessities for the winter ahead.

I recommend going out at midday when the sun is at the highest point, as this is when the flowers will be fully open and at their most potent. Living in the city, foraging is a bit more difficult but parks, small patches of wilderness and river sides are all good places to search. Make sure to only pick flowers away from traffic fumes.

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How to make St. John’s Wort Oil

Ingredients

  • Two to three handfuls of fresh St.John’s Wort Flowers
  • Olive Oil or Rapeseed Oil

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Equipment

  • Glass Mason Jar
  • Muslin Cloth for straining
  • Sieve
  • Glass Jug
  • Glass Bottle to store Finished Oil

Method

  • Gather two to three handfuls of Fresh St.John’s Wort Flowers
  • Wash throughly
  • Leave to dry overnight on a Tea Towel
  • Fill your clean Mason Jar with the flowers
  • Pour enough oil to completely submerge the flowers
  • Close lid and place on a sunny windowsill for a month
  • Clean the lid every second day to prevent mould
  • After a month has passed and your oil has turned a bright cherry red, it is time to filter
  • Place muslin cloth over a sieve over a glass jug or bowl
  • Pour the oil in
  • Squeeze out any oil left from the flowers using the muslin cloth
  • Pour into Clean Sterilized Glass bottles and label with the date bottled.
  • Store in a cool dry place.

Uses

  • Use the oil directly on skin for inflamed painful joints
  • Use the oil as the base for healing creams, salves and ointments

 

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How to make Plantain Oil

Ingredients

  • One to three handfuls of Wild Fresh Plantain Leaves
  • Olive Oil

Equipment

  • Glass Mason Jar
  • Muslin Cloth for straining
  • Sieve
  • Glass Jug
  • Glass Bottle to store Finished Oil

 

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Method

  • Gather two to three handfuls of Fresh Plantain Leaves
  • Wash throughly
  • Leave to dry overnight on a Tea Towel
  • Fill your clean Mason Jar with the leaves
  • Pour enough oil to completely submerge the leaves
  • Close lid and place on a sunny windowsill for a month
  • Clean the lid every second day to prevent mould
  • After a month has passed and your oil has turned a dark green,  it is time to filter
  • Place muslin cloth over a sieve over a glass jug or bowl
  • Pour the oil in
  • Squeeze out any oil left from the flowers using the muslin cloth
  • Pour into Clean Sterilized Glass bottles and label with the date bottled.
  • Store in a cool dry place.

 

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Uses

  • Use as a healing First Aid cream and salve
  • Use as base for own homemade Soaps
  • Use as base for lotions and body butters
  • Use in Body Scrubs

 

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Eucalyptus and Mint Shaving Cream

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Ingredients

  • Half a cup of Organic Shea Butter
  • Half a cup of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Half a cup of Olive Oil
  • One Tablespoon of Witch Hazel
  • One Tablespoon of Aloe Vera Gel
  • Ten drops of Eucalyptus essential Oil
  • Ten drops of Mint essential Oil

 

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Method

  • Place the Shea Butter, Coconut oil and Olive oil in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water
  • Stir gently until it is fully melted
  • Allow to cool for half a hour
  • Stir in the Aloe Vera Gel, Witch Hazel and essential oils
  • Place in your fridge until solid
  • Using an electric whisk, beat until light and fluffy
  • Spoon into a clean glass jar and label
  • Use as needed as you would any shaving cream and enjoy clean fresh and moistened skin! πŸ™‚

 

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Next Time

I will be going foraging again tomorrow, weather permitting along the lake and will be talking about all the wonderful plants I’m sure I will find! πŸ™‚

 

What it means to be a Fibromyalgia Warrior and How it Feels to Live with Constant Pain Everyday and Still Smile

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Last March in 2016, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after four long years of constant pain, constant chest infections, constant exhaustion…The relief to finally know what was wrong with me was overwhelming.

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The relief to finally be believed, that the pain was real and not in my head. The relief to know that for the first time in four years, I had an answer to all the questions I’d tormented myself with the last four years: why I woke up every day in pain, why I couldn’t sleep, why sometimes just brushing my teeth hurt, why the idea of even leaving the house sent me into a tailspin, why my faith in the medical profession was almost totally eroded, why I didn’t feel better after trying countless combinations of pills…The relief was truly amazing.

I had never heard of Fibromyalgia until I was diagnosed with it, I knew no-one who had it and support groups in the west of Ireland were non- existent. I felt utterly alone and lost in a world of pain.

Thankfully I found support groups for fellow Fibro sufferers online, ‘Fibro Warriors’ as I learned we were called. I cannot express my gratitude for their compassion, acceptance and kindness. I learnt the beauty and necessity for ‘Soft Hugs’. I found a place where I could talk freely about how I felt and what I was going through.

Now I knew what was wrong,  I started reading everything I could find on Fibromyalgia. My doctors tried different meds, steroid injections and other therapies with some success at the beginning but unfortunately my body then started rejecting the drugs and the side effects came to drastically outweigh the benefits.

 

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In the last few months, I have been having such bad side effects that after slowly weaning me off the Fibro meds, my doctor and I had to take the decision today to stop taking the meds altogether and see what happens.

I am blessed to have one of the most remarkable and compassionate of physicians I have ever met and cannot stress how important it is to find a doctor who will listen to you.

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I know there is no cure for Fibromyalgia but I am going to do everything I can to feel better, to try to live again and not just exist. So here is what has helped me so far:

 

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Heat

I cannot emphasis how much heat can be such an effective pain killer.

  • The days I cannot breathe without pain, a Hot Water Bottle on my chest can make all the difference.
  • A hot Shower can restore you after an exhausting night tossing and turning.
  • A hot Bath is pure luxury, toss in some epsom salts and the relief is wonderful.
  • A Hot Beverage can warm you from the inside, my personal favourite is Full fat goats milk heated to just before steaming point and then sipped slowly.
  • I have found that a Electric Blanket in the winter can do wonders for all over body pain at the end of the day and for helping me get up the next morning.
  • A Sheepskin Rug on my bed on top of my sheet gently cushions your whole body in a way that nothing, even memory foam can emulate.
  • A good Scarf to keep your throat and chest warm when outside, even in the summer, can make a huge difference to pain levels.

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Herbs

  • Chamomile: I have been drinking this tea since I was little but it is only recently, I have rediscovered how well it can help with your ability to cope with pain, to cope with stress, to sleep, to feel calmer….
  • Nettle: nettle is full of antioxidants and silica which helps repair damaged tissues and improve your immune system.It also tastes fab! πŸ™‚
  • Lavender is super soothing, calming and has a gentle sedative effect.
  • Valerian can help with sleep and stress.

 

Medicinal-Herbs

Spices

  • Turmeric: I take one to two capsules of this every day and find it really helps
  • Ginger: is great for those days and weeks and months when it hurts to move

 

aa88d763e65df64de7f789be854f93dfYoga

I have found yoga to be a marvellous help, not just for de-stressing and coping better but for having less pain. Its a gentle discipline that helps the mind and the body. The key to doing yoga when you have Fibromyalgia is to stop immediately if a movement or posture gives you pain and to be kind with yourself. A little is better then nothing at all.

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Mediation

I cannot recommend Louise Hay’s books and cds on self-healing enough. Often at night, when I cannot not sleep, I go to youtube and play one of Louise Hay’s visually guided meditations and after years of listening to her, I can feel my heart slow down and my breath come easier just hearing her voice. There are so many wonderful mediation apps and videos out there.

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Nature and Sunshine

I find that if I don’t spend at least 15 minutes to half a hour outside each day, I start to suffer from S.A.D and my physical and mental health suffers. I cannot recommend enough spending time in nature, even if its just growing some herbs on your windowsill. The sound of waves breaking on a beach, the call of a curlew at dusk, the wind tugging at my hair, the trees rustling and talking in the breeze, the joy in a blackbirds song…All these things, I could not live without.

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De-Cluttering

I have talked in other posts about the importance of de-cluttering your home, your work place, your digital life…the more decluttered you feel, the more energy you will feel and new choices and opportunities will arise that would never have been possible before. If you feel stuck in your life, start with just one drawer and only keep what is useful or beautiful. If you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away. It is only by letting go that we can give ourselves room to grow.

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Music and Singing

I cannot recommend enough just taking some time each day to listen to music, to turn the volume up high, to sing out loud and clear and to dance around your kitchen. Singing, dancing and just listening to music can relax you straightaway, liberate you from your woes and rejuvenate your soul. The gentle work out from dancing can help with muscle pain, circulation, stiffness and lack of energy.

Somedays when the pain is too great to move, just listening to music can change how you feel and help aid your healing. We have only one life so live it loud! πŸ™‚

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Other Treatments I’ve Tried

  • Reflexology: really soothing and relaxing and tried it for three months but I didnt find it helped my pain levels much.
  • Acupuncture: tried this twice and found the whole experience incredibly painful
  • Cupping: tried once, left me with horrific bruises for several weeks and even more pain then I started with.
  • Energy Healing: tried Reiki, angel therapy and crystal healing but unfortunately I didn’t notice much change after.
  • Massage: I used to love having massages but when I went for one recently, I was shocked at how much it hurt during and after. I bought a Shiatsu massage chair for home and find this helps occasionally, particularly on the heat setting but there are times its just too much stimulation.

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What I will be trying out next

I am going to look at what is in my kitchen cupboards already for what might help. I’m going to see which of the incredible natural resources around me have pain relief and healing benefits and I will be posting how making my own cider vinegar worked out and include the recipe. I will also be looking at how I can find ways to fight the pain and exhaustion everyday in every way I can and I invite you to join me on my journey. Together we are stronger, together we will make it.

Until then, sleep well and Gentle Hugs! πŸ™‚

Xx

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