Thoughts on The Total Solar Eclipse 2017 & The Illumination of Ancient Ireland, Land of The Rising Sun

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Todays Full Solar Eclipse was a remarkable event, which wont be repeated until 2090 based on the latest estimates from NASA. The States were extremely luck to have perfect viewing conditions and I watched the live footage from Oregon absolutely fascinated. Unfortunately here in the West of Ireland, it had been raining all day and the cloud cover completely obscured any view we might have had.

This is my third Solar eclipse, the last was about two years ago and I remember how blinding bright it was beforehand and how everyone left the library I was working in, to go outside and observe this rare opportunity.

tumblr_m9m1u0YtGb1rfnh9co1_500The first Solar eclipse I remember was when I was quite young and it was a hot summers day. My mum and brother had prepared a pin hole camera from a cardboard box and we set it up in the back garden, which is on a hill so has a good vantage point.

I remember the awe and wonder I felt, the same I felt today at seeing how the flickering fires of the sun was slowly devoured by the moon, the shock of total darkness and the joy, when we saw the sun emerge again unscathed.

lunar-eclipse-december-2010-nasa-keithburns.jpgI have seen a few Lunar eclipses, which are vastly different to a Solar eclipse and will be talking more again about how the moon affects us.

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Today’s Solar Eclipse has excited an interest in space and astronomy that hasn’t been seen in a long time. I hope it inspires people to think more globally, rather then insularly.

The excitement has been such that bands, celebrations and eclipse viewing parties were held all over the world and a new drink was even invented for the occasion!:)

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The wonderful thing about todays eclipse is that it encourages people to look up from their phones, to pay attention to all the wonder and beauty around them and to live in the present moment.

I freely admit, I could not live without my phone. Like almost everyone, it is so much more then just a phone to me. I use it to make calls and texts of course but it is also my alarm clock, my meditation app, my weather app, period app, my email, news, Facebook, blog, camera, recorder,  internet browser, google drive, documents, notebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, Files, Gallery, Calendar, Music, Videos, Calculator, Radio, Mirror, Torch…

 Mobile phones have become everything to us and because of the very nature of their portability, they have become an essential part of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone, I depend on my phone. It is an absolute necessity to me living in the 21st century and in so many ways, I cannot emphasise enough how mobile phone technology has enhanced our lives.

I can apply for a job, write a blog post, take photos, videos, talk to anyone anywhere in the world and a million other things but there is a dark side.

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By spending all our time on our phones, heads down, gaze concentrated between our hands, we miss so much. We miss seeing all the beauty around us, the look of love a mother gives her child, the silent caress of a lover, a stunning sunset, the joy in a good meal…

We forget to live in the present moment but maybe we can find a middle ground. If we even took a few minutes each day to set aside the phone, to just be present, the rewards will be immeasurable.

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Todays Solar Eclipse made me think about the rich heritage we are fortunate to have here in Ireland. The eclipse has reminded me of how people have always looked up to the sky and wondered in awe.

Ancient monuments built by our ancestors remind us of how universal and deep is the fascination of humans with the movements of planets and celestial bodies, the cycles of the Moon and Sun and their effects on our planet.

Newgrange is without a doubt, Ireland’s most famous monument built by the ancients to mark the day of the winter solstice using the light of the rising sun to pinpoint the exact place to build their astonishing monument. Every year there is a lottery of Irish Citizens who wish to stand inside the inner chamber and witness this marvel of light and stone, and hopefully, I too will see it for myself someday.

 

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Newgrange solstice 3D model Sean Doran 1

The Hill of Tara is another famous site built around the ancient’s fascination of the moon, sun and stars and their great knowledge of astronomy. The depth and scale of these sacred places leave a lasting effect on all those who visit there.

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The famous Dolman in Co.Clare in the Burren is another example of this advanced understanding of our ancestors off the cosmos.

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Coming closer to home, I remember being blown away by learning the fact that the beautiful village of Cong is based on an axis of Ley lines, [great lines of energy crossing the earth], a nexus point of vital earth energies.

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If you stand at the top of Ballymacgibbon Cairn in Cong, you will realise that it was built on a direct line with Crough Patrick, a important place long before Christianity existed.

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The cairn lines up with Cong’s Stone Circle and if you were to draw lines connecting the cairn, circle and mountain on a map, you would start to realise the importance and significance our ancestors paid to the turning of the seasons, the movement of the stars and the sacredness of the land.

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Another example of the incredible attention of our ancestors to their surroundings below.

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In conclusion, I just want to say how glad I was to see the eclipse today, if not with my own eyes, at least live on tv and how glad I am that every one of you who took time out of their day, to stop and stand and stare, were there also.

Although the total Solar eclipse is over and wont be happening for another seventy years, it is important not to forget the many other wondrous cosmic events such as meteorite showers, solar flares, lunar eclipses and other phenomena that occur so often but apart from a very few, go mostly unnoticed.

The breathtaking beauty of witnessing the rise of the life-giving sun casting its luminous light over stone, illuminating that which cannot be seen at any other time of year, is in a word, magical.

I will bid you goodnight, gentle reader and leave you with this stunning photo of a remote forgotten hilltop, where the wild grasses grew and dance in the breeze and where stone kisses the sun.

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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.

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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 — 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! 🙂

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 🙂

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! 🙂

 

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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! 🙂

 

From the Depths of the Ocean, ‘Mermaid Tears’, An Ode to the Sea

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Midsummers Night Eve has passed and we are at the height of summer and as the weather improves, my thoughts turn to the sea and all its wonders. Living as I do on the edge of the Atlantic, the sea has been a constant presence in my life.

The sea for all our advances in technology is still very much a mysterious place like no other. The world beneath the waves is utterly unlike that of those who live on land. It can be terrifying, overwhelming and deadly but it is also achingly beautiful, healing and magical.

616719f4591facc441c4c8c6e6ce9026I am never more happy then when I am at the beach or on the sea. The pull of the moon on the tides, the rise and fall of the waves, the feel of sand between my toes and the taste of salt on my tongue make me feel alive and at peace.

All life came from the sea. The earth is made up of two thirds water, as are we. The ocean is in our blood. Without the ocean, there would be no life on this planet.

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I grew up hearing stories of Poseidon, Mannann Lir, Selkies, Mermaids, Sirens, Sea Dragons and other magical beings from the depths. One of the most wondrous moments of last year was during the Galway Arts Festival, a group of singers and musicians had gathered on a old moored sea trawler and as the sun set, the seals came…Throughout time, it is well known that Seals love the sound of music and especially love singing.

We are fortunate that there is both a Seal Sanctuary and a Whale and Dolphin Rescue group in Ireland.

I will write again about the importance of the Ocean, the incredible benefits and uses of Seaweed and other sea vegetables in another post but for today, I wish to talk about how Salt, a substance that once used to cost more then gold, that is essential for so many aspects of our life and our health, has been maligned in the last few decades. We have all heard about the importance of cutting salt out of our diet but what most people don’t know is that, yes table salt is terribly bad for us but Sea Salt is crucial for our well being.

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The Benefits of Sea Salt

Sea salt is wonderful for so many things:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Prevents muscle craps
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Clears sinus and the lungs
  • Natural Antiseptic
  • Natural Exfoliant
  • Natural Deodorant

 

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Mermaid Tears Ocean Sea Salt Scrub

Ingredients

  • Coconut Oil 500 gram
  • Course Sea Salt – 500gram
  • Fine Sea Salt – 500gram
  • White granulated Sugar – 300gram
  • Fresh Rosemary – 3 Tablespoons
  • Catmint Flowers or Dried Lavender Flowers – 1 Tablespoon
  • Blue Colouring from Red cabbage and water – 200ml [Instructions on how to make this at the end of the recipe]
  • Essential oils: Eucalyptus, Lavender and Citrus – 10 drops each

 

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Method

  • Mix the Sea Salts snd the sugar together, then add in the coconut oil.
  • Stir well and then add the Fresh Rosemary finely chopped
  • Stir in the Blue Colouring and then add the essential oils
  • Stir again until you are happy with the consistency and scent
  • Spoon into your glass container
  • Sprinkle the flowers on the top of the Scrub
  • Place in fridge overnight and then use as desired

 

c88b25c4164ad9fa1149dbba8a0fe60dFood Colouring

  • To make, simply chop a red cabbage into small bits and place in a large saucepan.
  • Pour water over the cabbage until the saucepan is almost full
  • Leave to come to a boil and then simmer for a half a hour
  • Strain the cabbage and pour the liquid into two different glass bowls
  • In the first bowl, slowly add tablespoons of Baking Soda, one at a time until the liquid turns dark indigo Blue
  • In the second bowl, add white spirit vinegar to the liquid until it turns a beautiful shade of violet purple.
  • Store the two lots of natural colouring in sterilised glass containers away from sunlight

 

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DIY Salt Spray – The Beach in a Bottle!

Mix the above ingredients together in a empty spray bottle and use as wished for that just back from the beach look.

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Sea Salt is wonderful for your skin whether in a facial wash, face mask, body scrub, foot scrub…

 

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Maybe in the future, there will be colonies beneath the sea, providing of course, we stop poisoning our planet, not tomorrow or next year but today. Maybe in the future, we will unlock the key to understanding how Dolphins speak and Whales sing.

So many species of whales, dolphins and other sea creatures are being hunted to extinction or poisoned by pollution. If we don’t act now, I very much fear that soon, the gentle giants of the sea will be lost forever and the world will be a much much poorer place for it.

Listen to the sound of the sea and all those who live in and on it, for it echoes in the furthest reaches of your mind, caresses your heart and resonates in the depths of your soul. Listen to her voice, hear what she speaks.

Blessed Be. X

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How to Whip up a Luscious Body Butter and other Decadent Delights

otp52j4lergibvy3hniapwlxzxq5jich3eggyrsfech5nazddsr9izvxrsn81nrj-Dear Reader, I would like to invite you on a journey of the senses, to a world where you can feel beautiful inside and out, to a world where you can easily make your own sensational body butters, creams and lotions for a fraction of the price of similar products in retail stores and you can make them from completely natural and cruelty free ingredients. One of the most divine of these natural ingredients is Coconut Oil.

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I have utterly, helplessly fallen in love with Coconut oil. Coconut Oil has almost magical properties and can be used to make everything from body butter, face cream, lip balm, toothpaste, deodorant, hand and foot cream, hair masks…the list is endless. Never mind all the gorgeous food stuffs coconut is in from ice cream to chocolate to sorbets.

In the last few weeks, I have seen the difference from using coconut oil every day as opposed to the more conventional products I used to use. My skin is effortlessly moisturised, my hair is soft and shiny and my teeth look cleaner and whiter with each passing day.

The scent of coconut instantly transports me to a place where sea, sand and endless azure skies meet and bliss is but a bite away…

 

Here is a delicious recipe using Coconut Oil I tried out today.

Decadent Body ButterThe Best Beautiful Natural Skin Care for Your Body

Ingredients:

  • Organic Coconut oil
  • Organic Coco Butter
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Organic Shea Butter
  • Essential Oils of your choice [I choose Lavender, Camomile and Vanilla]

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Method:

  • Place equal amounts of the ingredients into a glass bowl
  • Place over a saucepan with water to create a double boiler effect and heat until the mix is fully melted
  • Place in the fridge for a hour until it has hardened
  • Using a electric whisk, beat the mix into a soft but firm foamSuper-Glowy-Body-Butter
  • Add five to ten drops of an essential oil of your choice
  • Whisk again and then place into a mason jar/glass container
  • Enjoy 🙂homemade_body_butter

 

Other Possible Body Butter Combinations:

 

  • Coco Powder
  • Natural food dyes
  • Honey
  • Ground Oatmeal
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Other essentials oils: Rose, Peppermint, citrus…

In the coming days, I will be trying my hand at making lots of wonderful and exciting recipes for creams, lotions, salves, scrubs and other essential beauty products, all from natural ingredients and will be posting these recipes here, so don’t forget to click the Follow button at the end of the page for more updates and please Share 🙂

Its very late here, well into the darkest hours of the night and I can hear the rain dripping down the windows and the cold Atlantic wind knocking my pots of herbs on the balcony against the glass. My dreams of tropical island bliss seem very far away but will sustain me until the sun breaks through over the Clare hills across the bay at dawn.

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