I started this journey towards zero waste about 3 years ago and have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go. I thought it might be helpful if I documented some of the milestones, so I could have a better sense of where I am and where I want to go.
Changes I’ve Made
In The Bathroom
Conventional Toothpaste to Homemade
Plastic disposable toothbrush to compostable Bamboo Toothbrush
Plastic disposable razor to Stainless Steel Safety Razor
Shower Gel to Bar of Soap
Microbead scrubs to homemade salt/sugar scrubs
Feminine Hygiene artificial pads for reusable Bamboo menstrual pads
Factory produced lotions and creams in plastic containers to Homemade
Disposable cotton face wipes for washable reusable bamboo face wipes/pads
In The Kitchen:
Disposable artificial J-Cloths and scrubbers to Coconut Scrubbing brush and wooden brush
Artificial Sponges in kitchen and bathroom to Loofahs
Foraging for wild foods
Artificial coasters to wooden coasters
Artificial placemats to Slate placemats
Cartoons of Soya, Rice & Oat Milk to homemade Oat milk in glass bottle
Cartoons of various creams to homemade Chickpea cream
Plastic bin bags to Compostable bags
Tea bags to Loose Tea
Tupperware containers to glass and tins
Plastic electric kettle for stainless steel hob kettle
Out & About
Plastic Water Bottles to Stainless Steel & Bamboo Water Bottle
Plastic disposable Straw for Glass straw [waiting for bamboo straw to arrive]
Plastic disposable Cutlery for reusuable compostable Wheat Straw Cutlery set
Plastic bags for cotton & linen tote bags
Disposable Tissues for reusable cotton Hankies
Other Changes I’ve Made
Using 2 litre plastic milk containers as funnels, jugs, storage, planters…
Cereal boxes now recycled as drawer dividers and sorters. also reused as gift boxes
All glass jars reused for storage, organisation, homemade cosmetics…
Cardboard Egg cartons used to start off seeds
Resealable plastic bags used as freezer bags
Horse Chestnut soap used instead of conventional detergent [seasonal]
Changes I still want to Achieve
Swap plastic disposable biros for reusable bamboo&steel fountain pens
Start using Shampoo and conditioner bars
Make my own Beeswax Food wraps
Buy Tiffin tins/stainless steel canisters
Acquire a Glass tea infuser bottle
Make my own soap from left over oil
Acquire an oil lamp for emergencies
I’ve had as many failures as successes over the last three years with my endavours to live in a more sustainable way but learnt as much from the failures, as I did the successes.Its been a remarkable and fascinating journey, often not easy but always rewarding. The sense of self-sufficiency, greater connection with the world around me and a greater awareness of how everything and everyone is connected.
I look forward to sharing my continuing adventure on the zero waste journey with you. xx
P.S. Here is a short video of one of the inspiring zero wasters I follow that sum up how I feel perfectly!
Storm Emma is finally over here in Ireland and most people are recovering from serious cabin fever, freezing pipes, electricity lines down and food shortages. Its been a long few days of artic winds, snow and ice but the thing everyone has been talking about is that most vital of necessities, Bread!
Supermarkets were mobbed in the hours leading up to the storm and all around the country, as the weather worsened, our national love of slice pan grew to new heights with dozens of memes on facebook, twitter and instagram about the bread crisis, so I thought a post on how to make your own bread would be timely.
Sourdough bread is one of the most nutritious and expensive of breads but couldn’t be easier to make yourself at home and once you know how, you need never be without again! 🙂
Why Wild Yeast SourDough is Good For You
Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index — a measure of how high and how quickly blood sugar spikes after eating a food — than bread made with commercial yeast. This makes it a better choice for people with, or at risk for, diabetes.
Sourdough makes certain minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium, and others) in whole grains more available for absorption by our bodies by facilitating the breakdown of phytic acid, a compound in grain bran that inhibits mineral absorption.
Once you have a start of natural yeast, you can have it for the rest of your life. You can dry it, freeze it, keep it in the fridge, or grow it on your kitchen counter.
To Make a Sourdough Starter/ Mother, you will need:
Clean glass or enamel bowl
2 cups good quality white flour
1 1/2 cups good water
More flour and water on hand to feed the starter for the first week
On Day 1
Mix your 2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water in the bowl, with the spoon, and cover with the dishtowel. Leave it out on the counter in the kitchen.
If there is any wild yeast floating around in your kitchen (and there probably is), it will begin to grow in your yeast trap, also known as your bread and water mixture.
Bubbling indicates the yeast is growing, feeding and respiring. Those bubbles are what make your bread rise.
On Day 2
Feed your starter 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup water. You won’t get it perfectly smooth, just a few swipes with a clean spoon to incorporate the flour and water is good enough; the yeast will do the rest.
If you see a clear fluid on top of the mother when you check it, that is fine, just stir it back in when you feed her/the mother/starter. The fluid is alcohol which is a result of the metabolism of yeast and acts as a natural preservative for your starter and adds flavor to your bread.
On Day 3, do the same as day one and day two.
Keep on doing this until you have reached Day 7. At this point, you should use or discard some of the starter, and refrigerate the mother in a glass container.
IF you see any kind of mold or pinkish fluid on your starter – it is no good! Throw it out at once! The lovely trap of flour and water is desirable to many microorganisms, but the only one that we want to catch is the wild bread yeast. You may unwittingly catch some other kind. Just throw it out and try again with fresh and very clean bowl, spoon, and towel.
Taking Care Of Your SourDough Starter/Mother
Once you’ve successfully created your starter, you’ll need to feed it regularly.
If you bake a lot of sourdough treats, you may want to keep it on your counter, at room temperature. While this means feeding it twice a day, it also means your starter will be ready to bake with at the drop of a hat (er, oven mitt).
However, many of us don’t want the commitment of twice-a-day feedings. If you’re a more casual sourdough baker, it’s possible to store your starter in the refrigerator, feeding it just once a week.
Maintaining your starter at room temperature
Room temperature is the best environment for the yeast and lactobacilli that inhabit your starter, and you can learn a lot about your starter by observing a twice-a-day feeding regimen with the starter at room temperature.
If you’re willing to maintain your starter at room temperature by feeding it twice a day, here’s how:
Stir the starter well and discard all but 1/2 cup (4 ounces). Add 4 ounces water and 4 ounces All-Purpose Flour to the 1/2 cup of starter. Mix until smooth, and cover. Repeat every 12 hours.
A note about room temperature: the colder the environment, the more slowly your starter will grow.
Maintaining your starter in the refrigerator
For most home bakers, daily feeding is impractical; so you’ll need to store your starter in the refrigerator, and feed it once a week.
Take the starter out of the fridge. There may be a bit of light amber or clear liquid on top. Either drain this off, or stir it in, your choice; it’s alcohol from the fermenting yeast.
Remove all but 4 ounces starter. Use this “discard” to make pancakes, waffles,cake, pizza, flatbread, or another treat; Or, simply give to a friend so they can create their own starter.
Add 4 ounces lukewarm water and 4 ounces flour to the remaining starter. Mix until smooth, and cover.
Allow the starter to rest at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours; this gives the yeast a chance to warm up and get feeding. After about 2 hours, refrigerate.
Getting ready to Bake Your First SourDough Bread
If you’ve been maintaining your starter at room temperature, you may want to increase the volume of starter to the amount needed for your recipe. You can do this by feeding your starter without discarding; or by discarding, and feeding it 8 ounces flour and 8 ounces water.
If your starter has been refrigerated, you’ll want to both increase its volume, and raise its activity to a more energetic level. You can do this by giving it a couple of feedings at room temperature.
Take the starter out of the fridge, discard all but 4 ounces, and feed it as usual with 4 ounces water and 4 ounces flour. Let it rest at room temperature for about 12 hours, until bubbly. Repeat as necessary, every 12 hours, until you notice the starter doubling or tripling in volume in 6 to 8 hours. That means it’s strong enough to leaven bread.
For the final feeding, make sure you add enough flour and water to use in your recipe, with a little left over to feed and maintain the starter for the next time you bake.
For instance, if your recipe calls for 1 cup (about 8 ounces) starter, add 4 ounces each water and flour. If your recipe calls for 2 cups (about 16 ounces) starter, add 8 ounces each water and flour.
Once the starter is bubbling and vigorous, remove what you’ll need for the recipe and set it aside. Feed the remaining starter with 4 ounces flour and 4 ounces water. Mix until smooth, and allow the starter to work for about 2 hours at room temperature before putting it back in the refrigerator.
How To Make Sourdough Bread
Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, until it’s doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Gently divide the dough in half; it’ll deflate somewhat.
Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10″ to 11″ logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
So now you know how to make your own bread. Its the most simple and basic of human skills but once you have this skill, self sufficiency and the joy and pleasure of freshly baked homemade bread is yours forever.
Aquafaba almost sounds like something you’d say to cast a spell. Fitting, because this is indeed a magical ingredient. But what is it? Simply Chickpea juice!
In my last post, I talked about my discovery of the astonishing countless uses of chickpeas. I continue to explore its many possibilities including gorgeous cream…
Aquafaba has some unique properties, one of which is the ability to be whipped into stiff peaks like heavy cream or egg whites.
This whipped topping is plant-based, making it suitable for vegans and those who may be dairy-intolerant.
1 can unsalted chickpeas
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
Add the cream of tartar and vanilla and begin whipping at medium speed. Slowly add the sugar and continue to whip for about 10 to 15 minutes, until firm peaks with slightly softened tips form.
You can use this cream to make vegan meringues and pavlovas.
This cream is best used immediately, as it can begin to collapse quickly. If you’d like to make it in advance, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours and re-whip it for a few minutes to reform the stiff peaks.
How To Make Carrot and Black Pepper Hummous
1 can chickpeas (roughly 2 cups drained, cooked chickpeas)
2 Roasted Carrots
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon), plus more to taste
1 small clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Drain and rinse the chickpeas: Drain the chickpeas into a strainer and rinse under cool running water. If time and patience allows, pinch the skins from each of the chickpeas; this will make your hummus smoother.
Combine all ingredients in the food processor: Combine the chickpeas, roasted carrots, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of the food processor or blender.
Blend hummus until smooth: Process the hummus continuously until it becomes very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to integrate any large chunks.
Taste and adjust seasonings: Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to taste. If your hummus is stiffer than you’d like, add more lemon juice or olive oil to thin it out and make the hummus creamier.
Transfer to a bowl and serve: Scrape the hummus into a bowl and serve with pita chips or raw vegetables. Hummus will also keep for up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
How To Make Tahini
Making tahini at home is easy and much less expensive than buying from the store. Tahini can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.
Makes approximately 1/2 Cup
YOU WILL NEED
1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) sesame seeds
2 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil such as grape seed or a light olive oil
Pinch of salt, optional
Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly coloured (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely.
Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute.
Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times.
Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable.
You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in
Over the weekend, I will be making Homemade Ketchup, vegan Aquafaba Butter and Creamy vanilla Chickpea Bean Ice Cream, so stay tuned for more healthy yummy recipes! 🙂
I recently discovered the many amazing benefits and uses of Chickpeas and the more I find out, the more I’m amazed. Chickpeas really are a wonder food.
Chickpeas help to increase satiety(feeling full), boost digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, increase protection against disease and more. Called Besan or gram flour, chickpea flour is naturally gluten free, and if there’s one food trend we think everyone can agree is here to stay, it’s gluten-free eating! It’s also high in protein, iron and fibre.
Look for dried chickpeas in the “bulk bin” section of your favourite health food store, where you will likely be able to find organic dried beans for sale at a very low cost. Dried beans remain fresh for a long time, so you don’t need to worry about buying too much and having them spoil.
It’s best to soak all dried beans overnight prior to cooking them, which helps to make them more digestible, to aid in absorbing their nutrients, and to decrease cooking time. Keep some dried beans in your kitchen for whenever you have some extra time to cook.
Tofu sets in about an hour and is soft and pillowy, with that slightly nutty chickpea flavour that I love.
The wonderful thing about this chickpea tofu recipe, apart from the fact that it’s a wonderful soy free alternative to tofu, is that it is also budget friendly too. Chickpea flour is relatively cheap especially if you are able to source it from an Indian grocer.
How To Make Tasty Chickpea Tofu
Chickpea flour is mixed with water to form a smooth batter. The batter thickens into a thick custard like consistency which sets and can be easily sliced.
You can use it as a substitute for soy tofu in many recipes. It does well in curries, tossed in dressing, in wraps, salads, also makes a great morning scramble, or egg salad!, breaded tofu etc.
Blend the chickpea flour water and spices into a smooth batter.
Cook over medium heat. the batter will start to get lumpy after a minute or so.
Keep stirring frequently.
The batter will eventually thicken evenly and become custard like.
Cook for another 2 minutes so the chickpea flour is cooked through.
You can taste the mix carefully at this point to ensure that the chickpea flour doesn’t taste raw and adjust salt if needed. the mixture will also start to come away from the pan
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and even it out using a spatula if needed. Let it cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour to set.
Remove the set slab from the pan.
Slice into cubes.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
The tofu can leak some moisture while it sits. drain and use.
Zero Waste Nourishing Chickpea Hair Mask
Top 10 Hair Care Benefits of Chickpeas/Besan
#1 Hair cleansing
This all-natural product is an excellent hair cleansing agent.
Make a runny paste of besan and water, and apply it to your hair.
Wash it out after 5-10 minutes for clean, shiny and chemical-free hair.
Make sure the paste isn’t too thick, or else you’ll have lumps stuck in your strands.
#2 For hair growth
Besan is a chemical-free product and it helps nourish hair in ways that no hair-growth shampoo will. Use gram flour for hair that bounces with health and beauty.
Make a thick-ish besan pack and apply it on your hair.
Wash it off thoroughly after 15-20 minutes.
#3 To prevent hair fall
Besan is not only good for hair growth, but it also prevents and stops hair fall.
Just whip up a hair pack using besan and half a bowl of curd
Apply this mixture to your hair
Do it regularly and you will notice a dramatic reduction in hair fall.
#4 For Healthy Hair
If you want nourished, healthy hair and do not believe in off-the-shelf treatments, try besan.
#5 For Long Hair
If hair is healthy and strong, it will grow long. By using besan regularly, as a cleanser or as a hair pack, you can get the long hair that you’ve always dreamed of but didn’t manage because of damaged strands.
You can make a deep-nourishing hair pack with besan, almond powder, curd, and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Coat your hair with this mask and wash off after it dries.
Do this twice a week for quick results.
#6 To fight dryness
Besan and curd is also a good way to beat dryness. Use this mask regularly for softer hair.
#7 For shiny hair
You can’t beat the result of hair coated with besan and washed with water drained from cooked rice. The shine that you get is unbeatable.
#8 As a natural conditioner
When you wash your hair with the besan runny paste, you don’t need to use a conditioner. The natural properties of besan will leave you with soft, manageable hair.
#9 To control frizz
If most shampoos and conditioners leave your hair frizzy and dry, opt for a besan wash instead to control frizz.
#10 To fight dandruff
Besan fights and controls dandruff, making it an essential component of your regular beauty regime. You can also use Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky Shampoo for severe dandruff and then continue to use besan.
To Make The Hair Mask
Make a besan hair pack by mixing 1 egg white, 2 teaspoons besan, 1 teaspoon curd and ½ a teaspoon lemon juice.
Apply this paste to your hair all the way to the tips.
Wash it off with water after it dries. It may take several rinses to remove all the residues.
If any residues remains,it will brush out easily once the hair is dry.
How To Make Fabulous Flax Milk
1/2 cup (150g) flax seeds, any colour
4.5 cups (~1L) cold water
Maple syrup, vanilla, or dates for sweetening (optional)
Rinse flax seeds.
Place the seeds and cold water into the blender.
Blend seeds on high for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute.
Blend for 2 more minute, rest for 5 minutes.
Blend for 30 seconds.
Pour liquid through cloth or sieve and into large bowl, separating the pulp and the milk.
Be sure to squeeze the pulp by hand or using a spoon to ensure you extract all the milk out of the cloth/ strainer.
Rinse out blender and pour strained liquid back into blender.
Pulse milk for 30 seconds.
If you wish to sweeten the milk, add a dash of maple syrup, vanilla, or 1-2 dates to the milk and blend together until well combined.
Using a funnel, pour milk into an airtight glass container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Shake bottle well before each use
No Waste!! To Use The Pulp left over:
Spread the flax seed pulp onto a metal cookie tray.
Bake the pulp in the oven on low heat (~150° F/ 65° C) until dry, between 1-2 hours.
To make flax flour, transfer dry pulp to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Store flax flour in airtight jar in a cool, dark place.
Add to smoothies, cereals, or baking recipes for a great source of fibre!
I will be making sensational Chickpea Cream, Homemade Hummous and talking about Aquafaba: a revolutionary tale in the world of veganism! 🙂
After a long winter, I felt inspired to start writing again, today, on the first day of spring, the Celtic festival of Imbolc. I look out at the Daffodils, Hyacinths and other spring flowers on my balcony, the catkins or ‘lambs tails’ on the Hazel trees and the first green shoots in the garden below and feel joy in my heart and my spirits lighten.
Let me tell you a little about Imbolc and Brigit’s Day, an important day, not just in the Celtic calendar but for all. The awakening of new life, the start of spring and the celebration of this, is of the utmost significance.
The term ‘Imbolc’ derives from Old Irish and means “in the belly,” or alternately “ewe’s milk’. Imbolc is a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young, all overseen by the goddess Brigid.
The date of Imbolc is thought to have been significant in Ireland since the Neolithic period. This is based on the alignment of some Megalithic monuments. For example, at the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, the inner chamber is aligned with the rising sun on the dates of Imbolc and Samhain.
It is one of the four major “fire” festivals, referred to in Irish mythology. The other three festivals are Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.
Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fire (the forge and the hearth), poetry, healing, childbirth, and unity, is celebrated in many European countries.
She is known by many names, including that of Saint Brigid who is, perhaps, the most powerful religious figure in Irish history.
It is said that wherever she walked, small flowers and shamrocks would appear. As a sun goddess her gifts are light (knowledge), inspiration, and the vital and healing energy of the sun.
Born at the exact moment of daybreak, Brigid rose into the sky with the sun, rays of fire beaming from her head.
The love and respect for the Goddess Brigid brought unity to the Celts who were spread throughout Europe. Regardless of their differences, they all agreed upon her goodness and compassion.
The holiday was a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations often involved hearth-fires, special foods, divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permitted.
Fire and purification were an important part of the festival. The lighting of candles and fires represented the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. A spring cleaning was also customary.
Ireland is full of springs and wells named after the goddess Brigid. Symbolically, water is seen as a portal to the Otherworld and as a source of wisdom and healing.
It is said that if the weather is bad on Brigit’s Day, that the goddess still sleeps and winter will continue for another few months but if the weather is good, the goddess walks the land and winter is over.
At her most famous shrine Brigid taught humans how to gather and use herbs for their healing properties, how to care for their livestock, and how to forge iron into tools. As a goddess of childbirth and protector of all children, she is the patroness of midwifery.
This shrine, near Kildare, was located near an ancient Oak that was considered to be sacred by the Druids, so sacred in fact that no one was allowed to bring a weapon there.
The shrine is believed to have been an ancient college of priestesses who were committed to thirty years of service, after which they were free to leave and marry.
The Christian monastery eventually built upon the site of her sacred shrine continued this tradition and became known as a great European centre of learning and culture. Indeed, it was instrumental in preserving much ancient learning and literature during the Dark Ages.
Inspired by the Pagan symbol of sun wheel, the famous Brigid’s Cross can be distinguished with a woven square at the centrepiece with four dials extended and tied at the end. To this day, many people weave her cross on the first of February.
While Brigid is the primary deity that is honoured on Imbolc, other deities like Aengus Og (God of Love), Aphrodite (Goddess of Love), Bast (Cat Goddess), Ceres (Goddess of Agriculture), Eros (Fertility Deity), Hestia (Goddess of Hearth), Athena (Goddess of Wisdom and Warcraft), Artemis (Goddess of the Moon and Hunt), and Gaia (the Great Mother of all) are also celebrated on this day.
‘This is the time of the feast of torches, When every lamp blazes and shines
To welcome the rebirth of the God.
I celebrate the Goddess,
I celebrate the God;
All the Earth celebrates Beneath its mantle of sleep.”
It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house, if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honour of the Sun’s rebirth.
If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.
”Hail, Brigantia! Keeper of the forge, she who shapes the world itself with fire, she who ignites the spark of passion in the poets, she who leads the clans with a warrior’s cry, she who is the bride of the islands, and who leads the fight of freedom. Hail, Brigantia! Defender of kin and hearth, she who inspires the bards to sing, she who drives the smith to raise his hammer, she who is a fire sweeping across the land.”
Recently I have been thinking more and more about how I need to do more as regards recycling. Its not just enough anymore to wash my cartons out and sort them for the trash, I want to find ways to reduce the amount of waste I produce and one way of doing that is to find new ways to reuse stuff I would usually throw away.
I have been paying more attention to what goes in our recycling bin lately and the biggest culprits are:
The odd magazine
Packaging from store bought products
So I have started finding ways to upcycle these things. The first I looked at was Juice Boxes
You can make Juice Boxes into Storage containers, wallets, bags, gift boxes, toy boats…
Cereal Boxes make great Filing containers for envelopes, papers, study notes…
Tissue boxes are great as gift boxes, for flower displays, for seasonal decorations and childrens toys.
Milk Cartons are useful for so many things. you truly are limited only by your imagination.
Plastic Bottles can be made into pencil cases, bird feeders…
Some Gift Boxes I’ve made so far using recycled materials: [not very exciting or professional looking but practice makes perfect!]
I will be looking at ways to reuse Tin Cans, making DIY Autumn and Halloween Decorations and talking about autumn wildlife.
So Autumn is most definitely here and in a ideal world, it should be something like this:
Instead its usually more like this:
So if your autumn is more like mine with long damp days and dark chilly nights, we could all do with a little warmth and cheer. Solution, make your own fabulous heat packs to stay toasty all the year long! 🙂
There are a number of choices for what to use as filler for the heat packs, from rice to wheat to cherry stones to flaxseed.
You can also add herbs and flowers such as lavender, chamomile, mint…As well as your favourite essential oils but remember a little goes a long way, as when the heat pack is heated, the scent will be much more intense.
After much research, Flaxseed seems to be the most popular choice for stuffing your heat pack.
WHY FLAX INSTEAD OF OTHER GRAINS?
Flaxseed provides a gentle, moist heat which promotes healing.
Flaxseeds are flower seeds, rather than grains, so they contain 30-40% oil which remains inside the seed to be warmed again and again. Other products lose their ability to retain heat as the water cooks out of them over time.
When heated, flaxseed pillows retain half their heat after an hour. Under covers (think about those toes…) the pillow will still be warm hours later.
Flax never has that “cooked grain” smell other grain based products have when heated over and over again.
The weight of flaxseed is gentle and comforting.
Flaxseed pillows can also be chilled in the freezer to sooth fevers or slight inflammations, though they don’t get cold enough to provide the numbness needed for things like sprains and back injuries.
Choose your fabric. Something heavy but not too stiff, like brushed canvas or cotton ticking, works well.
Its best to use 100% cotton if possible as artificial materials are more likely to burn in a microwave.
Decide what size you’d like your finished pillow to be. Customize it to suit your needs, but a rectangle about 6 inches by 18 inches is a good place to start. (This is long enough to drape around your neck.)
Cut your fabric. You can cut two pieces of cloth, adding about half an inch for a seam allowance all around. Or you can cut one piece of cloth that’s twice the width you want the finished pillow to be plus half an inch seam allowance on each side. (In this case you’ll fold the fabric in half lengthwise and sew three rather than four ends closed.)
Place right sides of the fabric together and sew, using a half-inch seam allowance on each side. Leave one short side open for filling.
Turn your pillow right side out.
Fill your pillow about two-thirds to three-fourths full of flax seed.
Add about 1/4 cup of dried lavender flowers. Don’t overdo the flowers, because the scent will become stronger when heated. And don’t overfill the pillow or the seeds won’t be able to move around and the pillow won’t drape comfortably.
Sew the last end closed. (You can fold the ends in and sew by hand or by machine.)
To use your pillow, warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Shake and warm for another 30 to 60 seconds, until the desired warmth.
To warm it in the oven, place in cold oven and turn heat to 200 degrees. Shake pillow after five minutes, then replace for another two to five minutes, testing often.
Note: Be careful not to overheat the pillow! It can get hot enough to burn you or even start a fire!
Design your pillow in the shape of a “U” to fit around your neck. Or make a muff to put your cold hands in.
Make a no-sew version using tube socks. Just fill with flax and lavender and knot the end
Sew a liner to fill with flax and lavender and a removable cover for washing. Simply make the cover just a bit larger than the liner, for easy removal. And be sure to prewash and preshrink your outer fabric. (You don’t want it to shrink so that it no longer fits over your liner.)
Choose a liner fabric that’s lightweight and a bit open weaved but tight enough to hold the contents.
Use dried rose petals, mint, or other dried herbs that you enjoy for scent in place of the lavender flowers.
Use your pillow over your forehead, or under or over your feet, too.
Try chilling your pillow in the freezer when you need to cool rather than warm an area.
Flax pillows make wonderful gifts. Choose fabrics that are appropriate for the recipient, and tie with a pretty ribbon or raffia. Include a little card with directions.
You can even make them into stuffed animals or incorporate them into slippers but I will be talking about that again in the future.
If you have Sore wrists and spend a lot of time in a chilly office, you can make simple Keyboard and Wrist Support Heat pads.
Or if you you have a old flannel shirt, it would be perfect for making some seasonal hand warmers…
I have made one neck pillow, one heavy pillow for sore tummies and one comforting hand warmer and have tested them all in the microwave with success! Hurrah!
These were made from material I had on hand, heavy denim from a old pair of jeans and a lighter cotton from too long summer trousers.
I plan to make a lot of them in the coming weeks, as I hope to have a stall at a local Christmas market for the first time, so lot of work to get ready for that!
In the meantime, if you try making a heat pack yourself, curl up in bed and enjoy the many days and nights of warmth and comfort you will have from your very own fabulous DIY Heat Pad 🙂
I recently came across a video on youtube about making your own plant milk and was astonished at how easy and how cheap it is to do and wanted to share it here with you.
There are many reasons why more and more people have stopped drinking dairy and are turning to alternatives.
A considerable proportion of the population are lactose intolerant and so for health reasons need to avoid dairy.
Others choose to give up dairy for ethical reasons [calves are taken away from their mothers as soon as they are born so humans can drink the milk], environmental reasons [plant based milks need far less land, water and other resources then dairy] and some people stop drinking dairy simply to lose weight.
Whatever the reason, well done and welcome to a world full of exciting new tastes and flavours! 🙂
The only true downer about dairy alternatives is the price tag…here in Ireland anyways, soya milk, rice milk, coconut milk are all quite pricey, usually averaging about three euro per litre. As for oat or hemp milk or nuts milks, they are much harder to find and just as dear.
The good news is that making your own milk is super easy and super cheap!
Coconut milk is made slightly different to other milks in that, it needs hot water but that is the only difference.
I find coconut milk quite sweet so don’t recommend adding anything for extra sweetness such as dates, as it doesn’t need it.
If you want a healthy warming treat on these cold autumn evenings, a cup of Hot Chocolate Coconut Milk is just what you need!
Simply combine the ingredients together in a saucepan and heat until it starts to steam. Pour into a mug and enjoy. For extra yumminess, add a sprinkling of caca powder on top.
In my last post, I talked about the many wonders of flaxseed and all its incredible uses and here is another.
Flaxseed makes for a lovely mild milk full of nutrients and is made by soaking the seeds in water overnight, place in the blender until smooth, then sieve and filter and bottle.
The flaxseeds can be used again one more time, as they are so full of natural goodness and plant oils.
One of the first milks I made last week was Oat milk. The first recipe I tried was just plain oat milk and as simple as could be. I put a cup of oats in water, left it to soak for half a hour, then blended until smooth, sieved and filtered and then bottled.
Result, a rich creamy milk but a trifle too bland for my tastes. This recipe would be more suited for soups, smoothies and sauces.
So onto the next recipe: this time I added three pitted dates and half a teaspoon of vanilla essence and only used half the quantity of oats.
Result, a smoother sweeter milk that tasted delicious nice & cold straight from out of the fridge and onto my cereal. Definite winner! Lovely in cereal, in your tea or on its own and full of natural goodness!
One popular dairy alternative is Almond milk, which has many health benefits and for those who like almonds, is a must!
It is important to use raw ideally organic almonds and if you don’t like the slightly earthy colour, use pealed almonds.
Simply soak a cup of almonds overnight in water, discard the water in the morning and then add fresh water to the nuts, place in the blender and whizz…sieve and filter using a muslin cloth or cheese-bag.
Enjoy as a hot drink with a sprinkling of cinnamon or coco powder or add to smoothies for a nutrient boast.
One recipe I tried today was Hazelnut milk. I soaked a cup of blanched raw hazelnuts in water overnight. This morning, I changed the water, blended and filtered. Delicious! For extra sweetness add a pitted date or two.
Another tasty option is to add organic cacao powder to make a delicious chocolate substitute drink.
I recommend a few drops of vanilla essence and two pitted dates for extra sweetness.
Another popular dairy alternative is Rice milk. Below is the easy to follow recipe. Best of all if you have rice left over from last night’s dinner, it wont go to waste!
We come at last to the most popular and most readily available of the plant milks, Soya milk.
Soya milk is everywhere these days and available in a wide variety of flavours from vanilla to chocolate to strawberry.
However most soya milk is long life milk which has been so treated that most of the nutrients have been destroyed in the process. Fresh really is best.
To make Soya milk, you need raw soya beans, ideally organic, water, vanilla essence and if desired either apple juice or three pitted dates.
½ cup white soybeans
2-3 cups water for soaking
4 cups water for blending
Three pitted dates or two tablespoons of Apple juice to sweeten
Soak soybeans in 2-3 cups of water overnight.
Discard water and rinse soybeans.
Remove skins as best you can.
Add soybeans and 4 cups water to blender.
Blend until smooth.
Strain the blended mixture using a piece of muslin or A tight-weave cloth is preferable, as twisting the top tightly enables you to continue squeezing out more milk.
Heat the strained milk in a heavy-bottom pan to 180ºF (82ºC). Hold this temperature for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cool the milk and store.
Refrigerate up to 4 days.
Another variant of this simple recipe is to use the raw green soya beans:
*Important note: the material left over after filtering your plant milk can be used in baking or smoothies.*
Some suggestions for what alternative milk works best for cooking, baking etc.
I shall finish tonights post with a recipe for Death Wish Irish Coffee:
What you need:
Strong Coffee, brewed [There is an actual brand called Death Wish Coffee that you can buy]
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk [ *Refrigerate coconut milk for at least six hours.]
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon of very hot water
Mason Jar, frozen for 15 minutes
Shake heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup in freezing cold mason jar for two minutes straight. Freeze for up to 15 minutes before serving.
Brew strong coffee.
Just use the excess water from the kettle to preheat your glass in the next step.
Melt brown sugar into hot water and swish. Since the whipped cream that we made is only lightly sweetened, this is your opportunity to add more sugar if you enjoy very sweet coffee.
Pour your glass 3/4 of they way full with Coffee. That should leave the perfect amount of space for whiskey and cream
Add a shot of Irish whiskey
I will be making Flaxseed warming neck pillows, Rice heat pads and other natural products to keep you toasty this winter! 🙂
I 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.
How To Make Flaxseed Hair Gel
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
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 :).
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
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
Great for all hair types
How To Make Natural Personal Lubricant from Flaxseed
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
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***
Did you know that Linen, that essential summer staple in your wardrobe is made from flax?
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.
Flaxseed is great in smoothies, on yoghurt, in baking…
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.
How To Make Flaxseed Crackers
1 medium overripe banana
1 cup flax seeds
2 Tablespoons of raisins (or other dried fruit)
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.
Autumn is officially here, it rains everyday, the air is becoming bitter cold in the mornings and its dark by dinner time.
Our winters are marked by ever increasingly fierce storms, such as we have never seen before. These storms uproot, flood and destroy all before them and such storm defences as was in place for centuries, are no longer enough.
Thousands of people made homeless, hundreds die, lives destroyed in minutes. You might ask yourself, why is this happening??
The answer is Global Warming. Yes, it exists and its getting worse everyday and its effects are becoming more and more apparent.
You might ask but what is global warming? in the most basic of terms, it is the global temperature of our entire planet rising. It is caused by carbon emissions and it is changing our planet rapidly.
The ice caps are melting and as they melt, the level of the oceans rises and continues to rise. Soon many hundreds of thousands of people and animals will be displaced in a desperate search for higher ground.
In Ireland, we have had some shocking weather in the last ten years, weather which hasn’t been seen in centuries or in some cases never seen before.
There was ‘The Year of The Flood’ in 2009, when bridges, roads and homes were swept away… where the main road from Galway to Connemara became a causeway…
‘The Year of The Snow’ in 2010, months of below freezing temperatures, frozen pipes, downed electricity lines, impassable roads…a time of isolation and fear.
I remember getting up in the dark and wrapping myself in my warmest clothes, strapping on my ice grips and using my mountain walking sticks as skis to get down the two hills to the village below…
I should stress for those not from Ireland, snow is a rare event and usually on the rare occasions it does arrive, it normally only lasts a few hours and is gone again in the morning but this was a year where it snowed, and snowed and kept on snowing….
There was more flooding after the year of the snow and I’ve no doubt there is more to come…
We are not prepared for these massive global changes and we are not doing enough to stop global warming, We need to do more and to do it today for time is running out.
Its a good idea this time of year to try and prepare as much as possible for the winter ahead, lay in extra provisions, a thick pair of wellingtons, extra blankets…Irish weather reporter Teresa Mannion has also this advice:
On a happier note, there are several ways to up-cycle all those broken umbrellas from being out in this stormy weather.
They make great outdoor or indoor light features. Simply string lights through them or run a light bulb through the centre to create a striking effect.
They are useful in the garden as a planter or as a mini greenhouse!
The handle can be used as a coat hook, door handle…
Since it is almost October and you might start thinking of dressing up for Halloween, why not use a old umbrella to give yourself impressive bat wings! Best of all, if it rains [and it always does] you will stay nice and dry! 🙂
I leave you with a favourite song of mine from my childhood, which fits perfectly for the day that is in it…
Dogs love treats and when your dog is part of the family, healthy tasty food and treats are essential.
I will talk more about making dog food in another post but today I thought I would focus on treats today. Treats are an important training tool, a motivational booster, a way to bond and provide much happiness and pleasure.
Commercial treats for dogs are shockingly expensive and full of dangerous ingredients, loaded with salt, sugar, preservatives and colours.
Ask yourself, if you wouldn’t eat something yourself, why would you give it to your beloved pet?
The good news is that natural wholesome treats that will boast your dogs health are easy and affordable to make usually from ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
There are many recipe books for dogs out there [make sure to buy only those written by vets] and the choices are increasing all the time. I bought the book ‘Cooking For Your Dog – Healthy Recipes – Seasoned with affection by Ingeborg Pils, published by Parragon.
So break out those cookie cutters and get baking! 🙂
How to Make Carrot & Linseed Crunchie Bones
Two large Organic carrots
50gm Organic Linseed
Two Cups of Extra Course Wholemeal Flour
Two cups of Plain Flour
One cup of Organic Oats
Two Free Range Eggs
One Pint of milk
One Heaped Tablespoon of Marmite or Chicken Stock with 100 ml of hot water
One tablespoon of rice bran oil [or olive oil]
Mix the dry ingredients well in a large bowl
Grease two flat baking trays
Mix the marmite well into the milk
Rub the margarine into the flour
Pour the milk, marmite/chicken stock mix into the bowl and mix well
Add the two carrots well grated
Using a floured board and biscuit cutters, roll out your dough
If wished, you can coat the biscuits with milk or egg yolk
Place in oven at 200c for half a hour
Cook until golden brown
Leave in the oven for a hour with the door slightly ajar[to allow moisture to escape] to Harden the biscuits
Turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool
Once cold, place in a tin to keep fresh
They will last about a week
Your doggies will love these treats, which are full of fibre, B vitamins and oat goodness! 🙂
The hard part will be resisting those sad puppy eyes, when they want yet another!
Some Other Healthy Treats
Salmon Skins – cooked
Cooked Brown Rice to mix with dry dog food
I will be sharing with you more yummy treats and healthy dishes for your furry friends, so watch this space! Xx
You might be familiar with the story of ‘The Princess and The Pea‘ by Hans Christian Anderson? It was one of my favourite fairytales growing up, the story of how a prince searched the world over for a real princess and then one stormy night, a girl half drowned, turned up at the castle door claiming to be a real princess.
His mother, the Queen had a bed made up for her of twenty mattresses and many feather beds and at the very bottom placed a pea. Long story short, the poor girl didn’t sleep a wink all night and so,the next morning was proclaimed a real princess, married the prince and lived happily ever after, without any more peas in her bed to disturb her sleep…
I have spent most of my life trying to get to sleep…and have lost count of the nights I’ve tossed and turned until the red sun rises in the east…
I have lived with the constant exhaustion, that numb feeling of unreality…when the lines between the waking world and that of sleep start to blur…
I cannot tell you the amount of times I almost fell asleep during school, college, work, concerts….
At night, almost every night, my brain just wont switch off. My mind goes into overdrive and thinks about everything and I do mean EVERYTHING!!
I’ve tried Yoga with some limited benefit. Yoga is wonderful for calming a person down, for helping you feel more present in your body and more able to live in the current moment but the ability to stay in the moment is not one of my strong suits, so something to work on!
I’ve tried Herbs such as Valerian Root [kept me awake for days], PassionFlower, Wild Lettuce, Chamomile…you name it, I’ve probably tried it and while they all helped make me feel calmer, I still can’t sleep…
I have never drank coffee or tea so alas, giving up those before bedtime wont help me but did you know that green tea has just as much caffeine as ordinary tea, so best to stick to herbal tea.
A hot cup of Goats Milk [I’m lactose intolerant so grow up on goat’s milk] will sometimes help me in the winter months to put me to sleep.
A hint of cinnamon is supposed to also enhance the restful effect of hot milk.
A warm bubble bath is a personal favourite of mine but alas where I currently live with my husband, there is no bath so that’s not a option sadly… 😦
I have tried Aromatherapy using Lavender Oil on my pillow, my skin, in a diffuser, oil burner, rub…smells great but still no sleep!
I have tried making our bedroom a sanctuary with gentle lights, calm colours, soothing water bubbling in a little fountain outside the window, plants, natural fabrics…and it helped a little…
I have tried Mediation and since I have listened to Louise Hay, [first on tape, then cd, then digital]since I was very young, my brain is hard wired to relax, listen and follow her directions.
Her voice is without a doubt one of the best sleep aids I have ever used and I can’t recommend her enough.
There are still the nights that sleep will not come, no matter how hard one tries to relax but for the nights, sleep does come…it is bliss.
In today’s hectic chaotic world, it is more important then ever, to find out who you truly are and to live your truth.
From the moment, we are born and become part of society, we are inundated with labels, roles…things we are told to be or should be.
Advertising alone has had a terrible effect on the world with its bombardment of its constant message that you must be thin, fashionable, beautiful, wealthy and perfect to deserve happiness.
I don’t know about you but I’ve struggled to remember who I am, who I truly am inside and its been a epic quest to try to live an more authentic life, a happier life, its a journey, not a destination.
I remember when I was very little and how carefree I was…I used to love spending all my time with our pets or up trees or in a world of my own happily singing the whole day through.
That little happy girl disappeared rapidly due to circumstances beyond my control and that it is the way it was, the way I needed to be at the time but I’m 35 years old now and after so much time, I need to rediscover her, that happy little girl.
The key to this quest is finding the Goddess within, that sense of divine, of sacredness, of purpose, joy, change and power…
I truly believe that finding the Goddess within will not just transform my health, my sense of contentment, sense of peace…but my whole life.
It won’t be easy, far from it but nothing worth doing is. I’m challenging not just society’s expectations of me but my own, which are harder to shake off, so deeply ingrained they are.
One way to help find the Goddess within is to spend time alone in nature. Simply watching soft summer rain falling and living fully in the moment can bring you closer to Her and to you your true self.
You don’t need to go to church or on a expensive retreat with Tibetan monks to find Her [but if you want to, thats okay]. All you need do is to step into a garden, wander down the path, take off your shoes and feel the grass and the warm earth beneath your bare feet.
Just stand or sit and listen quietly to all the life around you and you will start to feel more relaxed, more calm and more in harmony with not just the universe but also the Goddess within…
Any time spent in nature is not wasted but quite the opposite. It will heal your weary soul and its calming effects will linger for hours afterwards.
Nearly all of my most treasured memories are, when I think hard about it, set outside in nature…
You live more outside. You are more alive and closer to the whole universe.
I would like to finish today’s post with an affirmation [in the time honoured tradition of the great metaphysical healer Louise Hay] and a prayer to the Goddess within.
I hope you continue to walk with me on my quest and I send you my love and light for your journey.
It’s been a strange start to September, hot and humid and now cold and wet, all in the space of four days but thats the west of Ireland for you.
I had some raw ginger root in the house and thought some natural fermented Ginger Ale is just what I need, something that will hit the spot perfectly!
There are quite a few ways to make this simple but delicious and healthy drink but this is the one I usually use. You will need:
3 – 4 nodules of Raw Ginger
1 – 2 Lemons or Limes
1 teaspoon of Vanilla [Optional]
3 – 4 Tablespoons of Sugar
Container to store the ale while its fermenting
Grate the ginger. Leave the skin on, as this has wild yeast and bacteria on it, which will help with the fermentation
Place the ginger, water, sugar, lime or lemon juice and vanila into a mason jar or large container
Add some hot water [but not boiling], about a third of the container and then add cold water to fill up the rest of the container
Cover the top with some kitchen paper towel and a elastic band or you could use a strong pressurised glass jar like the below
Leave in a cool place away from sunlight for a week
Bottle and enjoy! 🙂
Ginger Ale makes a great base to make other gorgeous and refreshing drinks such as Fizzy Turmeric Ale, The Victor’s Drink [Brandy, lime & Ginger Ale] and Ginger Ale with vodka, lemon and pineapple for a tropical feel.
Another delightful possibility for a late summer/early autumn drink is Jack Daniels whisky and ginger topped with lime…Divine… 🙂
This time of year, I find myself thinking of the girl who waited and how no matter how old we get, she is always still inside of us.
For those of you not in the know, the girl who waited is Amelia Pond in Doctor Who, a remarkable girl who dared to dream, who went on many incredible adventures and saw the universe in all its splendour and glory and all because she waited, all night long, for twenty long years for her ‘Raggedy Man’.
This is the time of year, when the night skies grew clearer and the stars are scattered across the milky way like diamonds and the air whispers of the turn of the seasons.
I fell head over heels in love with the new Doctor Who series and in particular, with the character of Amelia Pond, her bravery, her faithfullness, her belief, that one day, the Doctor would come back for her, as he did, if a little late.
I think the girl who waited, is the child inside us all, the girl who had such faith and hope. Her strength, sense of purpose and perservance comes from this place of remarkable faith, hope and belief, that as adults, a lot of us have lost.
As we grow older, we lose sight of this girl, we forget her. She becomes the past, an undiscovered country, where you believe in six impossible things before breakfast, where dragons roam and magic lives in the heart of every living thing.
Yet, it is now, more then ever, that we need her. In this exhausting, bewildering chaotic fast paced world, where burnout is the norm and even the youngest of children is cycincal to the bone, we need hope.
Amelia Pond is the wellspring of hope and belief, that bubbles up from deep within the soul and gives new life and meaning to our existence.
She reminds us of all that is good in this world and the importance of having faith in your dreams, for it is only then, that they will one day come true. She reminds us of the things that truly matter; friendship, kindness, courage and above all, love.
So if you are out walking some evening and you look up at the magnificance of the night sky above, think of her, of Amelia Pond, The Girl Who Waited, The Doctor and that Blue Blue Box…
Another month, another period. Yet again, not pregnant.
Nothing. Not even a flicker of hope.
Sometimes it feels like I must have been Genghis Khan in a past life, life has been such a struggle, every small victory paid for dearly, in blood, tears and heartbreak.
After the miscarriage in 2016 and a million scans, tests and being poked and prodded until I felt like a pincushion, it was a shock to hear, that since I’m 35 years old with PCOS [Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome], my chances of conceiving are slim and the older I get, the more the odds fall against me.
Yet, there is still hope. If Bella from Twilight can conceive after marrying a vampire, who is technically undead, then surely there is hope for me??
Okay she is a fictional character in a very unlikely scenario but as even the most cynical of people, Hamlet says ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy…’
I have struggled to be patient with myself, with life…but sometimes I’m just so tired of waiting for my life to start, of waiting for my dreams to come true.
I don’t need a big house, fancy car, or designer clothes, all I want is a child of my own. Just one is all I ask.
So we have decided, that its time to take our fate into our own hands and do everything in our power to increase our odds of having a baby.
I had no idea that trying to have a baby was so complicated…I often feel I need a Masters degree in Biology to even understand what I’m reading!
Ive talked to my doc, bought books, researched, studied and studied some more.
In the coming days, weeks and months, we shall be changing our diet, getting more fresh air and exercise, trying to destress more, stop drinking alcohol, detox…you name it, we shall be trying it.
If its ‘Legs up the Wall’ yoga pose, drinking water blessed by the moon or tea brewed by monks in Tibet, I will try it! 🙂
Here is the link to the Youtube videos I’ve saved so far on how to get pregnant naturally.
The moon is full on Tuesday the 5th, so I shall be leaving out water for the moon to bless and hopefully in no time at all, I shall be holding my own child in my arms.
It was a gorgeous day today, so after doing some errands in town, I decided to come home the long way along Lough Atalia [Galway city] and through the wild meadow beside it. The sun was shining, there was a brisk breeze and the air seemed alive with sound.
I recommend always being prepared, if you think there is any possibility you might end up foraging. Gloves and a heavy duty scissors are handy as are the below.
YOU WILL NEED
A park, backyard or wilderness area near you
A basket & some bags, such as the handy totes I made earlier in the year
A foraging guide
A Hawk’s eye
A taste for adventure
Never eat any wild plant unless you are 100% sure that you have identified an edible species.
Always cross-reference the information you find on the internet with an expert, a foraging group, or several reference books.
Make sure you are harvesting from non-polluted sources, away from roads, and where no pesticides or other contaminants may have been used.
Have fun, but be responsible. Identification is entirely your responsibility. . . and it can also mean your life!
Within a 15 minute walk from the city, I was beside the water, up to my hips in grasses and I could feel my breathing slow down and the usual stresses leaving me.
Going foraging is like going on a mini-adventure, you don’t know who you will meet and what you will find. It’s one of the most satisfying experiences you can ever have.
The pleasure of being outside, that sense of exploration, one’s senses being open and focused…there is nothing like that.
One little guy you might come across is the field mouse, they are shy gentle creatures, so best to just leave them be.
A large thrush followed me around for a while, when I was picking blackberries, no doubt hoping I would drop some. Thrushes love berries of all sorts.
If you are out early enough in the morning and/or near the countryside, you might catch a glimpse of the Irish Hare, a beautiful and sacred creature.
One of my favourite creatures is the endangered and very rare Dormouse. If you come across one, leave it be, unless its in a dangerous place or if you see a predator nearby. In that case, very carefully lift up the little guy and move him to a safe place.
I was delighted to find a large Rowan tree with goblets of fruit hanging down and have since washed and frozen them and plan to make Rowan flour, once I have more berries.
Although its only the end of August, there are already Hawthorn berries on the trees, so I gathered a full bag of these. I will be making them into a tincture and possibly a wine.
I found a fantastic patch of wild blackberries in a sunny semi-sheltered part of the meadow bursting with goodness and black sweetness.
Although I suffered some scrapes and thorns along the way, I collected three pounds of fruit, which I intend to make into wine and other tasty delights for the winter. For now, I washed, sorted and froze them.
I also found some plantain, rose petals and dandelion leaves.
One of the best parts of foraging is when you get home and then can make delicious foods and drinks with the bounty of your endeavors!
I find that when I am eating or drinking something I foraged, I don’t just enjoy the taste, or the knowledge that its packed full of nutrients, that it was free or just something unusual, but also the memory of the happy hours spent foraging across woods and dales…
Below are two recipes for you to enjoy 🙂
Wild Green’s Quiche
Pastry dough for a 9-inch pan
½ cup chopped edible greens (dandelion, wood sorrel, very young nettles, bittercress, wild watercress or whatever is available)
1 cup of Mushrooms, sliced very thin
1 cup shredded cheese
⅓ cup minced onion
2 cups whipping cream
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
Heat oven to 250c.
Blanch the greens for 30 seconds, then plunge into ice water and wring out in a dry dishtowel. Sprinkle cheese, blanched greens, mushrooms and onion into a pastry-lined pie pan. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs slightly, then beat in whipping cream, salt and sugar.
Pour egg mixture into pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 250c, then reduce heat to 150c and bake an additional 30 minutes.
You can garnish cakes and tarts with edible wild flowers such as roses, violas and borage for a stunning desert to serve after dinner.
• Blackberry – infused vodka
• Wild mint
• Apple juice
• Tonic Water
• Ice cubes
Infuse quality vodka with Blackberries.
Pour a measure into a glass filled with ice.
Top with apple juice and tonic Water.
Add Viola flowers and wild mint to enhance the flavour.
I will be foraging at the Beach, deep in the countryside and in the woods, so will let you know how that goes 🙂
I will also be talking about making various recipes from lavender flowers and how to harvest and store herbs for the winter.
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.
The 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.
I 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.
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!:)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The famous Dolman in Co.Clare in the Burren is another example of this advanced understanding of our ancestors off the cosmos.
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.
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.
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.
Another example of the incredible attention of our ancestors to their surroundings below.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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…
5) Red Onion
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.
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.
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!
***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
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:
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.
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:
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
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:
12) Aloe Vera Gel
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.
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.
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…
Why because the world would be a poorer place without magic, without Fairytales, without wonder, mystery and the power of the Imagination.
Because we live in an age, where it seems everything can be explained by science, by facts that are taken as ultimate truths and yet many of these facts only become facts, if we believe in them, which leads me to wonder are they really facts at all?
Can the truth be fully known, be fully discovered? Is one person’s truth another’s fiction? Are universal truths constructs of society, of mass belief?? Maybe.
I’m a child of the 21st century, I’ve grown up in a world of mass media, social media, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch…where everyone is online, all of the time, where everything is knowable and any question can be answered by Google in seconds.
We know so much and yet there is still so much left to discover and this is what will save us.
Many years ago, my brother wrote in a birthday card: ‘May all your dreams come true, save one, so you always have something to strive for’ and those words have stayed with me to this day and I wanted to share with you the thoughts they inspired in me.
Despair, depression, self-harm and suicide continue to prevail in our world despite all the advances in human rights, medicine, technology and all the other marvels of our modern age.
Speaking as someone who has known the dark abyss of the human soul, I have come to believe that the answer may lie in our lost sense of wonder.
It is only when we look with eyes anew at all the daily marvels around us, that a sense of hope, of empowerment and excitement can start to emerge. Think about how marvellous it is that with some taps on my laptop in a tiny apartment at the edge of the shore, I can communicate instantly with anyone, anywhere in the world. It is truly amazing.
Belief in the extraordinary, in magic and fairytales can inspire us to strive to create a better word, a better future, to dream beyond the present, to dream beyond the blue sky to worlds amidst stars undiscovered as of yet.
Neil Armstrong would have never set foot on the moon if we hadn’t looked up at the night sky for hundreds of years and wondered and dreamed.
Belief in Once upon a Time, in heroes and heroines, who will rise from the ashes, defy the odds and save the day inspire us all and give us hope.
When times are at their worst and the world is bleak and dark and all seems lost, stories of those who don’t give up, who fight for those they love, for freedom, for justice help us carry on, help us become more then we are, to be the best we can be, for one and another.
Every child grows up hearing of once upon a time and how the prince finds his princess and they all live happily ever after and that is the dream. It can be a dangerous dream in that we may miss what is right in front of us but it can also motivate us to seek out adventure, romance, love, magic and without these, life would be meaningless. Love, hope and belief are as essential to life as breathing.
The popularity of shows such as ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and films like ‘The Hunger Games’, the Marvel series and the many remakes and new interpretations of ageless fairytales show us that there is still something in us that wants to dream, to believe.
Fairytales are not so much about dragons, magic or fantastical lands but about us, about our deepest desires, fears and hopes.
They help us make sense of a world that can be overwhelming, chaotic and seemingly random. They give us a sense of purpose, of destiny, of possibility.
Often people dismiss fairytales and talk of magic and mystery as being for children or the gullible and naive but it is quite the opposite, for it takes a brave heart to believe in something that can’t be proven.
It takes a open mind and clear eyes to see the beauty all around us and even clearer eyes to see the beauty that is yet unseen.
I urge you to look up to the skies, to see beyond the horizon, to let yourself dream…
And if someone asks me ‘Do you believe in Dragons, in Once Upon a Time and Fairies living at the bottom of the garden?’ My answer will be ‘Always’.
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 🙂
Gelatin Powder [I used two Sachets 12mg each] There are vegetarian options available also.
Hand Soap or Shower Gel
Food Colouring [Optional]
1 teaspoon of salt
Essential Oils (Optional)
Glitter Or Eyeshadow Pigment (Optional)
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.
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***
Eggshells can be used in:
Homemade Toothpaste to remineralise your teeth and heal cavities
As a totally natural calcuim supplement
To start off Seedlings
To deter slugs and snails
To enrich your compost
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!
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.
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.
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 “absorbed” 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.
I 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! 🙂
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! 🙂
**Recommend you buy some cheap labels on a big roll and keep a nice pen handy to label and date everything!**
In The Kitchen
I use empty glass containers to store:
Tea – Loose & Bags
Ground Dried Beetroot Powder
First Aid Plasters
White Willow Bark
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
Under The Sink:
Homemade surface wipes
In The Bedroom
In The Bathroom
Moon Time Containers
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
Reusable cotton rounds
Make – up
Homemade Shower wash
You can also use them for…
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 🙂
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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! 🙂
3) Going on Adventures
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…
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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…
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.
I will be using Red Clover to make a healing tea, cream, salve, syrup…So many things, it is such a remarkable herb.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
Another lovely herb I across was Self Heal, a plant long used for healing wounds and infections, as well as sore throats.
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.
I will leave you with two divine recipes I found online using this most exotic flower with its otherworldly nectar and golden blossoms.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂