Lip Balm Giveaway!!

I used to sometimes listen to Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 with Kirsty Young. Celebrities are asked to imagine they were castaway on a desert island and to name their 8 favourite pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they couldn’t do without. I’ve often wondered, in the unlikely event that I were inadvertently stranded on a desert island, what on earth would my luxury item be? It’s changed over the years from blue/black volumizing mascara and wonderbra, to hair straighteners, complete set of Friends DVDS and TV to Bodyshop kiwi fruit lip balm. Yes lip balm. In all honesty my luxury today would be lip balm but not as I knew it 15 years ago oh no. My luxury lip balm of choice today would be my own home made one. What my former mascara wearing self would say to that I’m not sure; it’s all part of the journey and my journey has decided to come almost full circle. I used to be pretty eco conscious in my teens; save the whale, anti-vivisection, save the ozone layer and a paid up member of greenpeace. Then I went to uni, graduated, got a job, got married and had children and forgot about the whales in the midst of being Generally Busy With Life. My eco self has had a chance to re-emerge albeit in a slightly different guise; growing my own veges, reducing the toxins in my house, reducing my carbon footprint, leading a simpler life and, most recently, making my own beauty products. I’m not a huge consumer of beauty products but I do like a good moisturiser and lip balm. I thought I’d start with Lip Balm.

Ingredients

I recently swapped some freshly chopped deciduous tree logs with a friend (she wanted to grow mushrooms) in exchange for bees wax and honey so I had two of the ingredients already for this recipe. Had a dribble of sunflower oil left in the bottle (just enough yippee) and peppermint essential oil. That’s all you need.

Bee Beautiful Lip Balm
20g beeswax
25g sunflower oil
10ml honey
Few drops of essential oil, peppermint or orange

Melting

Measure out the ingredients in a bowl that isn’t too precious to you. Melt the wax, oil and honey together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

Awaiting oils

Once melted carefully decant into your little pots and add a couple drops of essential oil per pot and stir through with a cocktail stick. Do this quickly as the the liquid can set really speedily! Leave to cool with the lids off and Hey Presto! You have lip balm that is free from nasty preservatives and horrible chemicals hurray! It’ll last about a year or give some away as gifts.

Finished

Mmmmm a little bit of minty luxury in a pot.

I am doing my First Giveaway! I have two little black pots of this lip smackingly yummy balm ready and waiting to go to two Good Homes!

Lip Balm Giveaway

All you need to do is answer this question….”If you were Castaway on a Desert Island and could have one luxury, what would it be?” Post your answer in the comment box below and the Winners will be announced here and on my Facebook Page on Monday 25th November. Closing date is Sunday 24th November. Winners can Message me their postal addresses on my Facebook Page. Good Luck! If you feel like returning the love then please Follow Me for more tips and hints on Living a Greener Life!

Luscious Mango Body Butter

In the southern Hemisphere we are all busy getting ready for summer; sowing seeds for the vege garden, writing lists for Christmas and revving up the beauty regime to get our bods Summer Ready! The best way to do this is Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise again. However, typical shop moisturisers are full of Total Rubbish; some of it is Quite Scary Rubbish too. Your typical moisturiser is an emulsion of fat, or oil and water designed to hydrate the skin and leave a coating of emollient fat or oil on the skin. Most contain petrochemical by-products, alcohol and animal fats – even the ones that are so-called Natural. These ingredients are masked by the scariest ingredient of all labelled Fragrance or Parfum on the product; this could be absolutely anything and companies are not legally obliged to divulge what it is. An alternative way is to try making your own Body Butter. This is the simplest type of moisturiser as it doesn’t contain water so will keep for a few months quite happily. You can also tinker around with the types of butter and essential oil you use making it very personal and a touch of luxury Every Day. Am I persuading you to have a go?

Ingredients

I think the trickiest bit to making your own cosmetics is sourcing the ingredients. If you live in New Zealand you will be well and truly spoilt having access to Go Native. Otherwise get a cup of tea and settle down to a session on the internet….you’ll be surprised how many companies are now meeting the demands of customers requiring such ingredients. Once you’ve found a source you are away and laughing.

Luscious Mango Body Butter (lasts about 6 months)

50g mango butter
50ml avocado oil
30 drops of essential oil eg ylang ylang, geranium, tangerine

You will need an old glass bowl, whisk and saucepan to make this body butter.

Add the butter and avocado oil to the glass bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water and melt.

Melting  Molten

remove bowl and allow to cool.  The first time I made this I thought I’d added too much oil as it Just would Not Solidify. Be Patient and it will….

Solid

Once solid have a brisk whisk to make it all fluffy and that’s it. Honest. That really is all there is to it.

Jar   Close up finished

Decant into a little glass jar. I found these at Mitre 10 (like B&Q in the UK). They are just the right size. You don’t need a big jar as this butter will only last for 6 months so just make a small quantity each time.

Labelled

Label Very Clearly and include the date. You don’t want to put rancid butter on your pins.  I think I Could Do Better with my labelling…it’s a work in progress! This Body Butter literally melts into the skin. Just gently smooth on and let it sink in. Best to do this after a shower or bath and when you have a bit of time because I’d advise leaving it to totally sink in to avoid buttery stains on your clothes.

Last photo

It goes without saying that these little pots of goodness would make a gorgeous Christmas Gift. A pretty ribbon, sequins, feathers. Go Mad and Enjoy!

Boulevard Day in Havelock North

Havelock North

Buying local feels like the right thing to do in this Crazy Consumer driven World. We can get strawberries in Winter, toys from China and Robinson’s Orange Squash in the English section of the supermarket yet at what cost to the Environment? Whenever I get a chance to support the Local Economy I do and last Saturday I was spoilt rotten with Boulevard Day in Havelock North. This is a day when shops put out trestle tables groaning with books, jewellery, clothing, toys and everything inbetween. You can nab a good few bargains and I’m sure Christmas was on everyone’s minds! The lovely,  bubbly Kristen from Visage was selling Smashbox makeup at a huge discount so I nabbed a couple of nail varnishes here. Christmas shopping is underway…..

Kristen

Phoenix cards were doing a roaring trade with their lovely cards, wrapping paper and advent calendars. I bought a couple of Door Hangers for the Figlets. I’m sure they’ll love these as you can tell people to Keep Out! The Phoenix Trader, Mandy, started selling through Phoenix since arriving in New Zealand a good few years ago. It was a great way to meet new people and she sells at all the local markets and fairs throughout the year. I used to buy Phoenix cards in the UK and loved their fresh designs and price point. Phoenix cards started out as a “Kitchen Table” operation by two Mums!

Phoenix Cards  aDvent

Then I got chatting to Tessa who was selling some wonderful Eco Food Pouches for sandwiches and cookies and anything else you think you might want to eat on the go. Ditch the cling film and wrap your sandwiches in one of these safe in the knowledge that you’re doing Something Good for the planet. Tessa is part of the Young Enterprise Scheme which is so commendable that  I had to snaffle up a couple of the cookie pouches for the Figlets.

Tess Tess 2

The lovely Helen was out in force for Te Mata Figs. Helen and Murray started Te Mata Figs after being spoilt for choice for fresh figs in Australia but unable to find them when they returned to New Zealand. They now grow 23 varieties of fresh figs and use them in some mouth watering products like fig salami and Spanish Fig cake. They have won awards for their Just Fig Jam which, amazingly for jam, only contains 25 per cent sugar. I can vouch for their Fig syrup drizzled over ice cream too – yum!

Te Mata Figs

The Handmade Market was bustling with talented locals selling their creative products.

Handmade Market  Handmade MArket View

I had to laugh because eldest Figlet told me to try and find a panda hat for her friend who is having a birthday next week. I raised my eyebrows thinking who will be selling panda hats at a market? Look what I found…..

Hats

……a panda hat along with a whole range of beautiful, soft animal hats. Sue makes these hats purely out of enjoyment and it shows in the attention to detail and the quirky little designs like the seaside themed hat complete with starfish and seaweed! Just gorgeous! Another serendipitous find was Lynda, also known as the cushion lady!

Lynda

Lynda’s cushions tick so many boxes for me. She recycles pure wool blankets and transforms them into cushions and blankets with native bird/owl designs. I love the way she remembers where she got each blanket from; makes for a personal and thoughtful gift and I bought two of them – couldn’t resist!

Live Music

Saturday was also a hive of activity at the Hawthorne Market where you can chill out with a coffee from Hawthorne’s and amble around the market which is stuffed to bursting with top quality, quirky and downright gorgeous products.

Hawthorne MArket

You can always find something that catches your eye and my eye zoomed in on this adorable paper dress bunting.

Dress Bunting  Skyla

Aren’t they gorgeous and I’ve never seen anything like it before. Skyla is the creative genius behind the bunting which she started making for a school project. She then thought about trying to sell at her friend’s stall to raise money to get to Canada with her friend. Another young entrepreneur; very inspiring!

Skyla Paper Dress

I then stumbled upon one of my favourite local sellers…..

Floss  Tosh

Now there is a story here as to why they are one of my favourites….. when I arrived all those years ago to New Zealand I lost my Shopping Compass. You know…I just didn’t know where to shop or which shops were “cool” so I had to start from scratch and would often try and find Substitute Shops. I first saw Flossy and Tosh at a Christmas Market and as soon as I saw their pyjamas my shopping compass whispered “The White Company!” to me. I took a closer look and yes, their pyjamas were as beautiful and top quality as The White Company pjs I used to buy the Figlets. Then things got even better….I started searching through the racks of dresses and tunics and my Shopping Compass whispered “Boden!” and it was right. Bold, modern prints mixed with florals in vibrant colours; lovely details like buttons and gatherings; I felt as if I had Come Home! The Creative Geniuses behind the brand are the delightful Lissie and Jeannie….

J adn L

……who both have a great eye for detail and quirky knack of searching out the best fabrics. I really have Flossy and Tosh to thank for helping me manage my Boden habit and save heaps on postage!

Hairbands  Hair Ties

There are so many other things for sale like jewellery, handmade cosmetics and lotions, children’s toys and adult clothing I may have to do another post but here is one more stall that I was drawn to…

Peonies

There’s only one thing I love more than Buying Local and that is Buying Seasonally! These peonies are the last of the season and they are beautiful. Remembering what Linda Hallinan said at The Edible Garden Show about the chemically drenched commercial flowers I snaffled up a couple of bunches and was told how they would open up and gradually fade form a deep pink, to paler pink to peachy. What a delight! It was this stall owner’s first market and she had a gorgeous array of goodies on display.

Seedlings Stone Pot Pourri       Herbs

So in the mad run up to Christmas try and visit as many Local Markets as you can and support those creative locals that add a bit of colour and cheer into our lives!

Hawthorne MArket view

Garden Share Collective November

End shot

Last month’s Garden Share post was all about the Figs and ripping the paddock apart to make room for them. The paddock has been ripped and tilled and nearly ready to be grassed and planted up so I’ll leave that for next time. This post is all about the growing action that has taken place in just a month. The weather has really warmed up here in Hawke’s Bay and the plants are having a field day. Before I get to that here is a little Before and After shot of the vege garden. I love the gravel paths inbetween my beds but the weeds have been driving me crazy because I don’t use a weedkiller anywhere near my precious produce so we decided to weedmat the paths; a mammoth job but thankfully Mr Fig took over and told me to (in his Best Elvis Impersonation) “Step aside Little Lady!” Oh the fun we have! But look at the great job he did!

Weedmatting  After Weedmatting

Immaculate pathways that’ll make harvesting very easy. The Green house is all action with many punnets of seedlings desperate to be planted out so they can stretch their roots out and get Big and Strong. Some tomato plants are happily ripening. I’m going to try and weigh everything that I harvest this year just out of interest really.

Inside Greenhouse  Toms ripening

The Sunflowers are proving to be a bit tricksy and ever so slightly sulky. I’ve had to molly coddle them a bit as I really, really want to harvest the seeds to toast them and cover them in spices. I think they’ll be fine once I put them outside.

Sunflowers

I’m going to show you something that I’m very proud of so please don’t laugh!

Lady's Mantle

What do you man you can’t see it? It’s to the left of the label; a teeny tiny little Alchemilla Mollis. I’m treasuring this because it’s the only one to sprout from a whole packet of seeds! I was told they were hard to grow and I can confirm that they are indeed. Other reluctant seeds have included most of the spices I want for my Spice bed. I’ve re-sown them and have them inside the house and pop them outside in the day. The chamomile is doing well but not a whisper from Caraway, Anise, Anise Hyssop or Hyssop; I’m not a very patient gardener it seems….

Spices

Here’s the Spice bed complete with Kaffir Lime tree and two little patches of Lemon Graass and Black Cumin.

Spice Bed full  Black Cumin

I’ve had great success growing Artichokes and Asparagus Peas. I’m a bit reluctant to plant the Asparagus Peas outside in case I get a repeat performance of The Masacre of the Sugar Snap Peas that occured under cover of darkness two nights ago…..Slug….you know who you are.

Artichokes  Asparagus Pea

Other success stories include my beetroot and red bunching onions, Florence Fennel, tomatoes (planted with Calendular)…. They’re all small but perfectly formed!

Toms Root Bed Florence Fennel

….oh and my courgettes and butternut squash planted with Nasturtium ‘Peach Melba’; can’t wait to see that combination! Remember the Pimm’s Bed I was creating?

Pimms Bed  Borage

It’s working quite well but I need to keep on top of the over-enthusiastic Borage! It’s really attracted the bees so so I can forgive it! The Mini white cucumbers that I planned to grow in the Winter are set around the teepee and looking strong.

Mint and pelagonium Lavender

Some cheeky mint has pushed it’s way through the veranda creating a rather striking combination with the burgundy Pelargonium and the lavender is going mad which is just as well as I have lots of plans for it; my sister sent me a fab book for my birthday all about making your own beauty products and I need some dried lavender for some of the recipes!

My plans for this month include sowing more and more seeds and hopefully I’ll have a Fig Orchard to show you. So everything in the garden is looking rosy!