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Sharing Zero Waste Eco-Friendly Tips, Inspiration and Success.

Updated: Sep 17, 2020


I LOVE the smell of roses, and would be happy to find it just about everywhere. Lucky for me, rosewater is very natural, easy to make and super versatile!


I’ve tried two recipes: simmering (easier and quick but not long lasting), and distilling - more involved, but resulting in a clear hydrosol with a longer shelf-life.


Now I can use my homemade rosewater in so many ways, and free myself of artificial fragrances (the commercial beauty product industry uses “chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products” especially in fragrances!)


Better to use homemade rosewater as a versatile base. So get ready to delight your home with these do-it-yourself recipe.


(Note: Both methods use fresh or dried petals. Make sure they are organic--you wouldn’t want to spray chemicals along with your precious homemade rosewater. Good to know: roses release their fragrance when they are ready for pollination, which occurs when the flowers are half open. That happens during the early morning hours (and best at the onset of summer) so do your picking then, if you can!


Simmering


You will need:

  • Fresh or dried petals

  • Filtered water

  • Saucepan

  • Dark, sterilized bottle

  • Cheesecloth for straining

  • Funnel, maybe

In your saucepan,

  • put about ¼ cup (about 115g) dried rose petals or ½ to ¾ fresh (55 to 75g) with 1 ½ cup water (355ml)

  • Cover and bring to boil

  • Lower the heat and simmer until the petals fade - should take less than 10 minutes.

  • Once the mixture is completely cool, strain through a cheesecloth into a dark bottle (you may need your funnel here.)

This simmered rosewater will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.


Distilling


You will need about 1 ½ cup (approx. 300g) dried petals or 3 to 5 cups (700g to 1kg, yes!) if fresh,

  • Filtered water

  • Ice

  • A brick (a nice clean one)

  • Large stock pot with lid

  • Metal or heat-safe glass bowl

  1. Prepare your homemade distiller: place the brick at the bottom of the stock pot and the bowl on top of the brick.

  2. Sprinkle the rose petals around the brick making sure not to get any into the bowl.

  3. Pour water into the pot over the petals until it comes almost to the top of the brick.

  4. Invert the lid and place it over the stock pot. The inverted lid becomes your distilled water catcher by collecting the steam and letting it drip down to the center and into the empty bowl.

  5. The ice now goes on top of your inverted lid: this helps the steam to condense. Tip: use a heat-proof container for the ice so that you can keep on replacing it. The more steam hits the cool lid, the more rosewater!

  6. Simmer on lowest heat possible for at least 30 minutes. Keep replacing the ice.

  7. Remove the pot from heat and let it cool completely.

  8. Remove melted ice from the lid and remove the lid.

  9. The water collected in the bowl atop the brick is your distilled rosewater - pour it into your dark bottle and enjoy! This hydrosol will last at room temperature for a few months, or even longer (if you don’t use it all up!) in the fridge.

Now it’s time to play:


Add rosewater to natural shampoo: mix 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract with essential oils in a 4 oz glass spray bottle, then fill to the top with your rosewater.

  • Spray and leave on wet hair, or freshen up in between shampoos.

  • Spray on bedsheets

  • Use in skincare: add to your reusable washable bamboo cotton pads as it is great as a toner! Rosewater is said to balance PH, reduce redness and irritation, and tighten pores. I like to mix a drop of lavender essential oil (also calming for the skin) with my rosewater for a facial toner, and either mist it on or apply with a soft bamboo-cotton round after washing.

  • I find it helps with mood too. (Add it to the bath for an aromatherapy treat…)

  • And in the kitchen? Experiment with adding a few drops to herbal tea, or a teaspoon in yogurt, or a splash in your lemonade. Have fun smelling the roses!

(Thank you Wellness Mama for the beautiful teachings)


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Updated: Oct 4, 2020


Foraging and eating wild food is a fantastic way to build your appreciation for nature, not to mention a learning experience that comes with rewards right now and in the future.


Eat something wild everyday! In the UK, September is a great time to enjoy public footpaths leading through the British countryside where you can find hedgerows and fields decorated with edible wild food. Read on to learn typical finds during September.


I'd like to share with you what can be easily discovered and what useful things you can do with what you find. A point worth noting is that there are many wild fruits recommended for picking only after the first frost however, you can mimic this by placing your foraged goodies into the freezer for 24 hours, defrost and then use in your recipes.


Sloes (Prunus spinosa)

A blackthorn best known for its wintry drink, sloe gin.


What can I do with these?

Again, it is recommended to pick sloes just after the first frost as it allows the skin to soften but you can also pick early and freeze. My partner & I enjoy harvesting and bottling these blue beauties in an ordinary bottle of gin, placing the date on the bottle & storing them away. You can also try sloes in whiskey, jams and vinegar!


Key observations: the best picking is between September and December for sloes. Also note sloes have a more of a dull matte blue appearance, not a shiny surface.


Wild Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Wild and delightful self seeded raspberry hedgerows are a fantastic find and surprisingly widespread in the UK.


What can I do with these?

Better and sometimes smaller than shop bought varieties. Packed with antioxidants you can eat raspberries on their own, add them to a salad, your home made yoghurt pot sprinkled with broken up flapjacks, freeze to make smoothies, or include in tarts and jam.


Key observations: raspberries are a rich red colour and can be found in open woodland, heathland, scrub or hedgerows. They can also be found growing on drier ledges of basic crags and ravines. You only need to squeeze and pull down gently but be certain to check for any insects and of course blow and wash them off before eating. Watch out for earwigs! They love eating overripe raspberries.


Beech nuts (Fagus sylvatica)

These tasty nutrient dense nuts with their brightly coloured spiky velcro pods can be easily sighted among leaf fall near to the distinctive grey beech trunk. They contain 50% fat and 20% protein and once they are ripe the husk will open exposing a triangular shell and a small nut. You can crack open the shell covering by quickly biting it or simply peeling it with your nail. If you have quite a few, rub them together between towels and remove the white nuts, leaving them to dry out for 2-3 weeks before cooking.

What can I do with these?

Whilst eating a few beech nuts raw is OK it is better to wait until they have been roasted. This is because they contain a toxin called saponin glycoside that can cause gastric issues for some people. Roasting not only destroys the toxin but helps improve the flavour. Check out this beechnut muffin recipe by Practical Self Reliance.


Key observations: Beech trees have ovate leaves with points along the sides, about 2 to 6 inches long. These leaves are shiny green in summer, and turn copper-colored in the fall.They have distinct pairs of veins coming off a central vein, each ending in a tiny point at the leaf edge. The husks have spikes, but unlike chestnuts, the spikes are not particularly sharp but more of a velcro husk. When harvesting you will sometimes find empty shells which is a result of furry or feathery friends eating them first or due to the common beech tree disease.


Rosehip (Rosa canina a.k.a the Dog Rose)


A famous vitamin C packed flu fighter as well as an important oil ingredient for youthful glowing skin.


What can I do with these?

All rose hips are edible and serve a variety of edible purposes including jelly, jam, wine, tea, rosehip syrup for cordial or pouring onto pancakes or even cosmetics. Vitamin C is water soluble therefore be sure not to discard the juices after cooking rosehip. Remove the rosehip hair inside the hip to avoid irritating your throat


Key observations: Found growing on thorny branches in hedgerows and fields in the countryside. Be sure to grab the rose hip at its base and gently pull or snip. Whilst some species of Rosaceae contain small amounts of cyanide there are no scientific journals to suggest the rosehip seeds are poisonous.


Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Very nutritious and rich in Vitamin C and plant compounds that can help heart health and blood sugar control. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and also contain decent amounts of folate (vitamin B9) and potassium.


What can I do with these?

Pick, wash and eat as is, blend in smoothies fresh or from frozen. They make the perfect compliment to most dessert dishes especially with cream. Strawberries also contain a tooth-whitening enzyme called malic acid. Its a win, win!


Key observations: September is a fantastic time to find these sweet small little red treats have seeds on the outer surface. They are found mostly close to the ground and like shady scrub in woodlands. They can also self seed quite well, which is good news. We have quite a few scattered across our garden here in the Cotswolds.


All you need to do now is enjoy your foraged treats by a natural wood burning fireplace. Use eco-friendly firestarter rolls, for a faster chemical free light.



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Updated: Aug 20, 2020

A Gorgeous Gift that can save you money!


Homemade soap is fun and satisfying and there are a tonne of useful interesting recipes to be enjoyed!

Why Make Your Own Soap?


You get to control the combination of quality ingredients whilst saving money and enjoying a bit of down time.


Get creative, play some tunes and liven up your lathering experience-to-be with your favourite essential oils and decoration!


Tip - from Waste to Worth: use an old milk carton instead of buying a new soap mould. Whilst Tetrapak is technically recyclable it’s debatable whether it is worth the effort so why not reuse it before recycling it and save money?


Decision Making Time...


There are four common popular methods to making homemade soap and it is worth familiarising yourself with Youtube videos on each of these, as some are easier than others. Are you ready to add home made soaps to your natural lifestyle and goodies arsenal?

  • Melt and Pour - pre-made and simple to make. No lye.

  • Cold or Hot - make from scratch. Both involve working with lye.

  • Rebatching - reuse and recycle. It takes more time and effort but its a way to save all the ingredients.

The process of soap making is called saponification - the result of a chemical reaction between fats or oils and lye.


Recipes


A Rustic Earthy Blend

Smokey swirls of masculine magnificence. This is a real treat, teaching a beginner how to experiment with additives. It uses coconut, castor, sesame and canola oil as a base and blends in Shea and kokum butters with lime, vetiver, and cedarwood essential oils.


Charcoal & Vetiver Soap Recipe from Tweak and Tinker

Photo by Tweak & Tinker



Refresh & Revitalise

Male or female. Feel like an artisan by adding flare to this simple goats milk melt and pour recipe and leave the mess with Lye for another time. Reduce, reuse and recycle your Dried Orange or Lemon slices by adding them after the base has cooled otherwise they might sink to the bottom of a watery thin mix. Add a tiny bit of Orange or Lemon oil to emphasise the refreshing natural citrus notes.


Handmade Goat's Milk Citrus Soap by Hello, Wonderful

Photo by Hello, Wonderful




Smile & Exfoliate

That’s right! You can re-purpose and reuse that natural loofah to reduce waste in your home. Cut your loofah to the size of your mould or even reuse an old muffin tray. Be sure to use a glycerin soap base (melt & pour) for a translucent finish. Afterall, exfoliating is what helps your skin to absorb the moisturising oils. Add natural colourant from frozen berries as an alternative.


DIY Rose Loofah Soap by A Pumpkin and a Princess

Photo by A Pumpkin Princess




For Sensitive or Acne Prone Skin

Cold press cruelty-free soap doesn’t need to be as challenging as people believe. Keep costs low by using less additives. I try to avoid palm oil altogether as it is linked to deforestation, climate change and obesity (junk food!) however using sustainable palm oil is arguably not a bad thing. Go natural and use Aloe Vera as your main ingredient. If you would like to be even kinder to the planet and animals use a vegan recipe that includes organic oils.


Aloe Vera Soap by The Nerdy Farm Wife

Photo by The Nerdy Farm Wife





For the Kiddies

There is help for child-minders, parents and older siblings! Kids love getting involved and what better way to encourage more creativity and enjoy spending quality time offline? Get creative making a rainbow coloured soap or insert a small toy or trinket into your see through soap as a reminder to your child of the positive experience.


Eco Friendly Soap for Kids by Instructables

Photo by Instructables







I hope you enjoy making these wonderful soaps at home. Once you have tried them please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!

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