Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Lemon Balm Healing Salve

I've been looking to create a really rich and moisturising hand balm or salve (same thing really!). After a few experiments I think I've come up with a really good recipe.

Initially I had in mind a balm for gardeners, something deep and penetrating that would nourish and protect the hands, also adding an antiseptic element by way of the essential oils.

The formula I'm most happy with contains extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, watermelon seed oil, hemp seed oil (yet again!) and Vitamin E. These have been melted and then whisked to give a softer consistency and finally I added essential oils of tea tree, rosemary and Melissa (Lemon balm). It smells divine and works a treat!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Choccywoccy lip balms!

There's nothing quite as satisfying as whipping up a batch of homemade lip balms and now I've discovered DARK cocoa butter things have reached a high point in the kitchen.

I've used cocoa butter for some time now. Unrefined, it's a pale yellow colour with a strongly enticing aroma of chocolate. Until recently I didn't know there was a dark variety and oh it good!

I've experimented with a few recipes before finding my perfect combination of ingredients.

This delicious lip balm contains olive wax, Jojoba and castor oils, shea butter, dark chocolate and of course.............. meltingly gorgeous dark cocoa butter.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tilly Mint comes to town!

Meet Tilly Mint and her new range...or box of tricks as she prefers to call it.

And Tilly Mint herself...

Perhaps I should explain to non-Northerners. Tilly Mint is simply a term of endearment, probably originating in Liverpool which is where I grew up and was called Tilly Mint most of the time by my Father! I didn't really give it much of a thought and went on to call my own daughter, and now my grand-daughter, Tilly Mint - at various times.

When I came across this image on a vintage postcard Tilly Mint sprang immediately to mind - I know not why!

So there you have it and Tilly now has her own range....and box of tricks!

And thanks to the photo editing skills of my clever cousin Philip, Tilly now has her own beach!

Wish you were here?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Cat's Whiskers of lip balms.........!!!!!

I'm so excited!

Admittedly, it doesn't take much but today I think I've made my best lip balm so far.

The secret?

Hemp seed oil! According to my skincare 'bible' hemp seed oil is "restorative, soothing and healing". What more could you ask for in a lip balm? (Oh yes, it's also rich in Omega-6 and Vitamin E).

Along with the hemp seed oil I have added coconut and sunflower oils, shea butter and beeswax.
A few drops of peppermint essential oil have given it the final magic touch!

What's it called?

You didn't need to ask!!!  


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The fig glut!

We are fortunate enough to have a very mature fig tree in our garden. It's been here for years, since we moved here in fact, and most years has given us a glorious crop of what I think are 'Brown Turkey' figs although I stand to be corrected as to the variety. These are the latest pickings...

Having run out of people to give these short shelf-life beauties to I decided to investigate their use in soap! To my surprise figs are highly valued as a soap ingredient and when teamed with honey they act as a 'humectant' which attracts moisture to the skin, whilst the seeds make a great exfoliant.

I've made a batch this morning using an olive oil base and a high proportion of shea butter. I was interested to see that when adding the pulped fig and honey it has turned the soap a gorgeous orange colour.

However, previous experience tells me that this may well fade as the soap cures and I'll have a better idea when I unmould it tomorrow. this space!

3 days later....

It's unmoulded and cut. It looks and smells gorgeous. It has faded in colour as I expected but has an appealing look and has far exceeded my expectations largely due to the fact that when adding 'botanicals' to soap, the saponification process so often results in a rather grey unattractive bar.

Now I have to wait four weeks before I can test it!!!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Apropos of nothing....

I just had to post this photo taken today in the garden...

These beautiful flowers belong to a rogue potato plant that has seeded itself under our composting bin! Aren't they fabulous!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Making a Rose & Mallow Cream

Many people ask me how I actually make a cream so here's one I made earlier in pictorial form!

1. Infuse marshmallow root in boiling water.

2. Leave for half an hour and then strain. Weigh infusion and other ingredients (see my recipe below).

3. Place both beakers in a bain marie and bring to 75 degrees

4. Combine infusion with oils and plunge beaker into bowl of cold water so that it cools quite rapidly.

5. Whisk to combine (I use a coffee frothing whisk) and when the temperature reduces to 35 degrees I add a small amount of Vitamin E oil, a useful anti-oxidant with many other benefits for skin care.

6. After cooling further to approximately 30 degrees I add my essential oil - in this case the wonderful rose absolute (rosa damascena) - perfect for dry, mature mine!

7. By this time the mixture has thickened and is ready to pour into my sterilised pots, with a small amount into a tester. 

8. So there we have it, two 50g pots of glorious rose mallow moisturiser which will continue to thicken as it cools.  

Friday, 12 July 2013

The joy of lavender!

Now we finally have some Summer sunshine I headed off yesterday to the glorious Mayfield Lavender Farm in Carshalton, Surrey. It could not have been a more perfect day, the temperature was soaring, the sky Grecian and I stood in wonderment looking over the 25 acres of blooming lavender.

I contemplated how lucky I am to have this wonderful place practically on my doorstep.

Needless to say, the smell is heavenly and I came away with a bottle of their essential oil, one of three varieties that they process and sell - Lavendula x Intermedia - Grosso. Just fabulous.

Of course I couldn't wait to try it out in a hand cream and made a small batch of the mini tins which have become so popular at craft fairs.

It's a really good cream, intensive but non-greasy and leaves your hands beautifully soft! I'll be making some more for my online shop later today.
Can't wait!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Saturday 15th June St Mary's Church Caterham

This was the Church's annual Summer Fair, a small but established event. I met so many lovely people who were interested in my products.

The rose geranium mini hand creams sold out!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Making comfrey infused oil...

An Aunt of mine suffers from an itchy skin condition, primarily on her hands. She asked me if I could suggest or make a cream for it. Never one to shy away from a challenge I made a rich hand cream using comfrey oil as the main ingredient. Shea butter and beeswax made up the oils and at the end of the process I added a few drops of lavender and geranium essential oils.
This it seems has proved an absolute winner which isn't altogether surprising since comfrey (used externally) has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties and makes a good oil for creams when used in conjunction with others.

Better still, we have a huge amount of comfrey growing beautifully at our allotment and this early growing period is the perfect time to harvest it so this morning before nine I was up, out and cutting...

...then weighing....



...and finally simmering in sweet almond oil, in a bain marie....

Later I hope to bottle it and make some more nourishing and healing hand cream.
Watch this space!

3 hours later...

My recipe made just over half a pint of dark green, sumptuous-looking infused comfrey oil. Can't wait to try it in a hand cream!

Tuesday 11th June 2013

Here it is...

I created my recipe using safflower oil and shea butter as well as the comfrey oil. The safflower oil makes a lovely non-greasy cream that is easily absorbed. I added essential oils of lemongrass and lemon to the final mix to give it a light citrussy fragrance.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

NEW...NEW...NEW...Online Shop

At last! I have now added an online shop to my website. It's well overdue.

With the development of the creams and balms it's been an exciting time of late but I've not neglected the soaps and I continue to experiment with different oils and fragrances. The seed oils have been a revelation, both rosehip and pomegranate and these are especially good in skin creams where none of the therapeutic properties are lost.

I've also discovered the marvellous benefits of safflower oil - particularly in balms and creams. Safflower oil (from seeds of the safflower plant) contains a natural emollient which means that when applied to the skin (in a cream or balm) it will help the skin retain its moisture. As such, it's particularly beneficial in lip balms. It's also a great ingredient for skin creams and will suit dry and mature skin in particular. I'm presently working on a new moisturiser incorporating safflower oil and the early results are good. Speaking personally I've found it's a makes a gentle cream with a velvety feel and you can almost feel that its keeping in all the skin's natural moisture. Watch this space!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

New Products for a New Year

I really can't believe it's March and this is my first post of the year! The Khandala Soap kitchen has been busy with plenty of new soaps and a couple of new balms.

My favourite new soap has to be the Rosehip Seed Oil soap which is a lovely vegetable soap and the rosehip oil lends special properties especially for older skin and it's also good for stretch marks.

On the rose theme I've also made a rather old fashioned English Rose soap and tried out some vintage labelling to go with it.

The soap making process and use of essential oils has inevitably led me to research the therapeutic value of essential oils. This is an area that interests me greatly as I'm a firm believer in making use of natural products where possible. So perhaps it's no surprise that I've turned my attentions to balms and salves and my first experiment in this direction has been sleep balm. I have made several different versions of this but the main ingredients have been the same - lavender, camomile and bergamot. These oils all contain properties to soothe, calm and relax and thus promote better natural sleep. In addition to these staples I have also added bay, rosemary and frankincense.

Perchance Sleep Balm

In the same vein I've also created Andante, a stress relief balm.

Andante Stress-relief Balm

March 7th

My first experiments with making creams has begun and I'm really excited! 
Making creams and lotions has its own challenges but one great advantage of creams is that the use of essential oils will provide definite benefits unlike soap-making where the saponification process can sometimes eliminate the therapeutic properties - although not the fragrance.

Despite what the cosmetics industry would have us believe, there are really only two types of creams - heavy and light and to these you can make no end of variations but the underlying principles of manufacture remain pretty much the same.

So far I have made a heavy cream - designed for softening and soothing feet. This is delicately scented with tea tree and rosemary essential oils...

...and an ultra-light, almost whipped, moisturiser incorporating aloe vera, jojoba and rosehip seed oil. 

I'll be testing these out over the next month together with my trusted gang of guinea pigs so I'll let you know how they go!