Love for Lavender


We are well into spring now and lavender is one of our garden’s beauties to unfold its splendour. The colour, the scent, the bees busily buzzing around, it is hard not to love lavender. There aren’t many herbs around which can claim being as well known and widely used throughout centuries and cultures. With its both relaxing and stimulating energy, lavender seduces one at the first sight, enchanting both the body and the spirit.

Used in and on the body, in cooking and around the house (ah, those aromatic linens!) or just for the pure pleasure of the eyes, lavender has countless benefits and qualities. It is soothing, calming, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-microbial, healing and rejuvenating. More on its properties here.

Lavender is my go-to for wound nursing, headaches, respiratory issues as well as a sleeping aid, to perfume my daughter’s bathwater, for a lovely evening tea or when I feel under pressure or a bit down. And if you haven’t tried a fresh lavender champagne, it should be on your must-do list this summer. 😉

 

Lavender is amazing in itself, but it also blends beautifully with bergamot, sage, peppermint, chamomile, geranium, rosemary, eucalyptus, palmarosa, juniper. No wonder it’s so widely used in mists and nourishing balms for skin. And, of course, you can find most of these combinations in our facial oils.

Stay fresh and enjoy your spring! 🐝 😇

PS. Pictured above it’s a flamboyant Victorian bred lavender called The Princess, which is the first lavender (or shall I say pink?) bush to bloom on our property. 😍

 

Summer throughout

It is the midst of the summer here in country Victoria and it may seem like we have more of an idle time since we don’t do any markets. It is however the busiest time of the year on the backend of Thornhill Lane. We pick. We dry. We bottle up. Then we strain and start again.

Summer is when timing is really essential as we have to pick the herbs at their maximum potency, generally leaves right before the plant gets into blossom, while flowers are to be picked when they are fully open. Usually late morning, after the dew dries up. Then straight on the drying racks on single layers, in the dark. For a few days or until the plant material is crisp-dry. Followed by 6-8 weeks of sun-infusing. Or sun-blessing.

This is a time when we are delighted with the most amazing scents and colours. Which are later imparted graciously to our herbal oils.

If our products are so loved and revered, the secret is no doubt intrinsically hidden in these luscious herbal oils. They are the true heart of our handcrafting.

Ps. Above pictured is St. John’s wort freshly wildcrafted from a clean local source. The herbal oil obtained from these gorgeous flowers is insanely dark red with a sweet berry aroma. More like a syrup than an infused oil. Cheers! ????

Healing Powerhouse – Comfrey

Comfrey is a plant we widely use in our garden and household, from nourishing fertiliser for plants to dressing bandages for wounds and inflammation. It really works wonders!

We started with a few root cuttings a few years ago and we now have plants all around our garden fence in an effort to keep the gum roots away (still to be proven). Both the root and the leaves are useful, we collect the leaves in summer and roots late in autumn. Leaves are best harvested right when the plant gets to the flowering stage.

As for its skin-loving properties, comfrey is vulnerary, which means it helps with closing and healing the wounds. It is also called ‘knitbone’ due to its ability to stitch the bone tissue, so it’s also helpful in fractures and sprains.

Comfrey is also great for inflammation – applied as an ointment or fresh leaves poultice, it reduces the swelling and stiffness as well as the appearance of bruises.

Plenty of reasons for me to dry comfrey and make it into a herbal infused oil which I use in our wonderfully scented healing balm.

I totally love comfrey! I believe it is one of the best healing plants around and it shouldn’t miss from anyone’s garden. At least for its beautiful bluebells-like flowers. Have a closer look at their exquisite growing pattern.

Comfrey is easy to grow, I should however add that it is very hard to get rid of. When established, even the tiniest bit of root will shoot back. But once you find out about all its wonderful uses, this is not a drawback any more.

Comfrey flower

All you need is less

images-1It’s raining, raining, raining and I am in the mood for making confessions today. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve thought I had bad-tempered skin, ugly breakouts, acne scars, oily nose and front, dry patches, uneven dull appearance overall. Nothing to be proud about. Or at least ok with.

And makeup wasn’t the answer for me either.

So I had to accept that I wasn’t lucky to have porcelain-soft skin. I just wasn’t gifted with that. It took me many years but eventually I gave in. I thought it was just an over-extended adolescence, which would eventually pass. But even when I was pregnant well in my 30’s I didn’t have the glowing skin that everyone talks about. So I surrendered, I wasn’t going to ever have happy-go-lucky skin.

And then, years later, ta-dah: I began realising my face started being even, supple and smooth to the touch. I started loving my skin, a totally new and unexpected feeling. I really felt blessed. Even if still having breakouts every now and then. :)

You’ll ask me what actually happened. Nothing over night. It took about one year of consistently following the same skincare ”routine”. It wasn’t actually a routine, but rather the lack of a laborious routine. I only washed my face with water and a bit of honey sometimes. And massaged a few drops of my herbal infused oils in the morning. Nothing else. Nothing more.

For me it was all about simplifying my skincare routine. The new look of my skin was a bonus. A HUGE one! And I am immensely grateful for it.

 

Benefits of using facial oils

This is an introductory article on the awesomeness of facial oils I wrote recently for a larger online community with keen interest in all-things natural. I thought I’d share it with you too. 

We have seen various facial oils popping up on the market for years, but what are they? How are they different from creams or lotions? And why would you use them instead? Will they leave your skin look oily? 

All these are valid questions, so let’s answer them one by one.

 

Facial oils are basically a blend of carrier oils (think macadamia, almond, olive, rosehip, coconut) or infused oils (my absolute favourite Calendula, Green tea, St John’s wort) enriched with essential oils. Some manufacturers add some other less natural ingredients like gliding agents, preservatives (tocopherol), fragrance, emollients (lecithin) and even parabens, however a good quality facial oil doesn’t require the addition of such synthetic ingredients because carrier/infused and essential oils love each other and mix beautifully together.

 

Are facial oils different from creams or lotions?

Cream = water + oils. While tipically a facial oil is 100% oils. A cream is about 30-40% water, with lotions scoring 60-70% water. Nothing wrong with water, but water and oil don’t mix together and that means you need an emulsifying agent to bind them together. And emulsifying agents are plain synthetic. 

Coming back to the water content in creams and lotions, another issue is that water is a good environment for bacteria to develop and that is why various preservatives need to be added to creams. The good news is bacteria doesn’t like oil. So if you are after a pure moisturiser, without synthetic ingredients or preservatives, your only bet is the oil. Plant-based oils that is, not mineral/petroleum-based oils. 

 

This gets us to our next question: why would you use facial oils? 

Because they can be 100% pure, natural. 

They are cost-effective – they come in small bottles because they go a long way, you only need a few drops at once. 

Oils are exactly what your skin needs for a healthy glow – the nourishing, moisturising and rejuvenating properties in a cream come from the oil content only, not from water. So why buy water so dearly?

Last but not least, you can use a facial oil as a moisturiser, a toner and a cleanser. This saves time, money and bathroom shelf.

 

Would facial oils leave your skin look greasy? Not at all! Facial oils are for everybody, not only for people with dry skin. They come in different formulations for various skin types and needs. From the rather heavy ones (like avocado or castor seed oil) to the lighter ones (like jojoba, which is actually a wax), there is a large range of nutrient-dense oils to suit every skin. The key is to massage the oil for a couple of minutes so it doesn’t just sit on top of the skin but penetrates deeper into the layers of the skin. And best is to use your facial oil on wet skin as the water will help the oil sink in quicker. Your face will feel fabulous then, no doubt!

 

One last thing, if you ask yourself whether facial oils and serums are different, the simple answer is no, they are no different. :) 

So happy to get this feedback

 

IMG_20160617_120603Happy over the moon to get such wonderful message about our baby balm today. Thank you Rebecca Boyd:

Hey Stefania

Hope all is going well with you.  Just wanted to let you know something interesting about the baby balm you gifted me (thank you so much by the way)

My daughter recently had some pretty bad cradle cap that had made its way onto her forehead and eyebrows (apparently this can be normal with newborns) it looked horrible!  I tried a couple of things without success (including almond oil which I used with my other daughter) with no luck.

One day when changing her nappy I thought I’d give your baby balm a go – more out of interest and knowing it contained all organic ingredients.

Within 12 hours the cradle cap was almost gone, and within 2 days there was nothing there at all!  It worked tremendously!  I’ve since used it behind her ears which get quite dry and on some other dry skin on my husband and with both it has cleared up within a day.

So you have a multi use item there that you may want to look to promote as things other than baby balm!!

You’re onto a winner there…

 

Put her name on it

Facial oil for your special ladySay thank you to your mum, wife or yourself with a very special gift mentioning her name on it. She deserves to be given a star treatment. And a treat to her wonderful face!

Limited time only.

Buy any facial oil or a pack containing a facial oil and we’ll put your loved-one’s name on it. Just let us know her name at the checkout.

Offer available until Mother’s day.

Love and joy,

Stefania

Dry skin? Moisturise in the morning

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Have you got dry skin?

Then put your moisturiser on in the morning, instead of at night. The reason why? Because the body is busy producing all the natural oils during the night. So if you moisturise before going to bed you are sending a message to your body that it got enough oils, and it will produce less.

No doubt the natural sebum is best and you want to keep your body producing this wonder, so no point in competing with your own body. Rather help replenish the missing oils in the morning.

And remember, best is to put your moisturising facial oil on damp skin – it will sink into your skin in no time and all the nutrients will reach the deeper layers.

Make the most of your facial oil

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While I don’t like water in my products (think bacteria and preserving issues), water is the best companion when using my products. As they are oil based, the water helps with the absorption of the beautiful oils into the skin and, bonus, leaves an awesomely velvety feel.

Water + oil = love for skin

So before applying your facial oil or hand/body butter, give your skin a splash of water and then massage oil or butter onto skin for a couple of minutes. All the nice nutrients will penetrate deeply into the skin instead of just sitting on top. Plus, a vigorous massage will increase the bloodflow, facilitating nutrient absorption further. So don’t be too shy when dancing your fingers onto your skin.

Love,
Stefania