When the weather outside is frightful my skin becomes particularly dry. I turn to my favourite sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, and essential oils to keep my skin and lips healthy over the winter season.
A playful, crafty mood and a shot of curiosity led me, several years ago, to create a recipe for peppermint lip balm that smells beautiful and works wonders. In addition, it can be made at home in under 15 minutes with a few ingredients:
Beeswax. I purchased a large 1 lb block of beeswax from a local online pharmacy two years ago, and still have plenty remaining. If using a block of beeswax, you will need to utilize a knife on a wooden chopping block to chip approximately 3/4 cup of beeswax. You may also purchase smaller beeswax pellets, which would save you some time and an arm workout.
Cocoa butter: approximately 1/2 cup.
Sweet almond oil: approximately 2/3 cup.
Peppermint essential oil: a few drops.
You will also need a few small containers for the balm. With this batch, I filled 12 small plastic containers that I found in the craft aisle of the local dollar store. I keep one for myself and gift the rest to family and friends.
The preparation is simple:
Melt the beeswax, and cocoa butter in a metal bowl over boiling water (double boiler technique), using a metal spoon to stir constantly, then carefully add the sweet almond oil.
Melting beeswax and cocoa butter over a double boiler.
2. Add a few drops of peppermint oil. I added approximately eight drops to this batch and some might find it a bit spicy. The mint certainly will feel slightly cooling upon application.
3. Carefully and slowly pour the mixture into the prepared containers, dividing evenly. Allow the mixture to cool completely before screwing on the lids.
Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
At 11 o’clock on Sunday, the stands at the local farmers’ market are abuzz not only with the greedy wasps that land on the juiciest ripe peaches. Shoppers with large cloth bags tucked under their elbows stroll leisurely along the lane, their eyes lit with pleasure as they inhale the fresh, colourful scents that surround them. Late summer’s harvest bounty is on full display. There is nothing demure about it. The plump eggplants and oversized zucchini are sensually bathed in light in golden straw baskets, the vendor knowing all too well that before long, they will be picked up gently by large warm hands that will appreciate their weight. The vegetables will be admired by eyes that will grow hungry at the sight of the deep velvet aubergine and green colours. They will feed many a mouth at today’s dinner.
“Mommy, can we buy strawberries?” the eldest Wanderlust Junior’s eyes smile at mine as we pass the perfectly shaped heaps of shiny berries glistening in the sun. It occurs to me that I can actually smell them from several feet away in the open air. I yearn to taste those berries.
The next moment, my gaze darts to the florist’s stand with its smorgasbord of colours, and I am inevitably pulled toward them. Beautiful food and flowers are two of my beloved simple pleasures.
“Sunflowers! I want to buy sunflowers!” they are the youngest Wanderlust Junior’s favourite. Amidst scarlet gerbera daisies, they will be the perfect delicate decoration for our small round dinner table.
We buy 250 g of freshly roasted coffee beans to bring home for Mr. Wanderlust. The after-lunch espresso fills our home with an irresistible aroma. I mean it! I rarely drink coffee these days, but I give into the temptation of a delicate cup after our lunch of freshly baked bread with smoked trout, soft chevre, and a salad of spinach and multicolour baby tomatoes drizzled with a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, coarse Hawaiian sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, with those succulent strawberries for dessert. Simple. Delicious.
Last week, I read Elizabeth’s Bard 2010 memoir Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes, in which she documents her move to the city and exploration of its culinary delights, the recipes for many of which are also shared in the book. As a Francophile, this book had been on my To Read list for the past few years, and I was glad to finally pick up a copy from the local library. I was familiar with recipes for several of the French staples, and ratatouille is on my annual rotation for the harvest season.
For dinner, I slowly sauté coarsely chopped onions in a generous amount of olive oil, gently moving them around the skillet until they are translucent and their sweet aroma cascades through the kitchen. I add chunks of aubergine, red and yellow peppers, and beefsteak tomatoes. I omit the zucchini today, since my preference is for the more flavourful smaller varieties, which weren’t to be found at the market this time. I sprinkle the beautiful medley with sea salt, black pepper, and a couple of pinches of oregano. After a few more minutes, the ratatouille is ready, the vegetables simmering in a perfectly thickened sauce. I serve it alongside fresh young potatoes coated with melted butter and chopped chives from my garden, then add a few pieces of leftover chicken breast. For dessert, we enjoy a yogurt cake made with ripe local nectarines (see photo above). The yogurt cake is a staple in many French homes, easy and quick to bake with basic ingredients that are likely already waiting in the pantry of the fridge. I enjoyed Bard’s version of this classic and will return to it over and over again.
I have long been a fan of French cuisine, and not only for the recipes and variety of dishes. It’s the French attitude to food that inspires me, with an emphasis on slow cooking and eating, enjoying every bite. This style of food preparation and consumption celebrates each meal, whether it is a dinner served in honour of a special occasion or a simple lunch for one. I must say that weeknight dinners in our home tend of be rushed, but even then, I do my best to make every serving appear beautiful on the plate, presented with gratitude and tenderness. Weekend dinners are an opportunity for us to slow down, linger, and reconnect once again.
The weekend trip to the farmer’s market is itself an occasion, inviting us to browse, to caress, to close our eyes and smell the peaches, the tomatoes, to delight at the warmth of the corn nourished by the late August sunlight as an image forms in our minds of what we will prepare and serve for dinner. For me, a grocery shopping trip often feels like a chore, which is a perfect invitation to move slower, more mindfully, with complete presence as I purchase provisions for the school and work week. An excursion to the farmers’ market is different. It does not require coaxing. Later, after we return home, comes the meditation of stirring the onions in the skillet and observing their changing colour, listening closely for the subtle sizzle of the hot oil, breathing in the sweet scent. I smile as I adorn the table with flowers that tell their own story while eavesdropping on our pleasant dinner conversation. The entire experience is slow, intentional, inviting all our senses to join in the dance.
What’s not to celebrate?
Do you enjoy shopping at the farmers’ market? How do you cultivate presence while shopping for groceries and preparing meals at home?
My goal is to maximize my time at home and be happier as I go about being the best mom and partner I can be. I stand behind research findings that state that our will powder is finite resource that depletes throughout the day after we have expended it on various task. This is precisely why I do my best to discern from among the many tasks on my list and choose the ones that most require my attention. For this reason, also, it is best to do our most important work in the morning. And yet, I also remind myself to conserve my energy for the evening in order to continue give it to those who matter most: my family. With that in mind, here is what I learned by tracking my time in the morning before work and in the evening:
I am in a much better mood if, after I arrive at home, I have 10 times to eat dinner without speaking with anyone. Typically, when I walk through the door, I feel tired after the commute. On most days, I do not have 10 minutes to recharge before having to step into ‘mommy mode.’ However, on the days when I do have that luxury, I am a happier, more efficient mom.
The more time I spend analyzing how tired I feel after work, the less I want to spend time on preparing dinner for the following day. For me, this is akin to decision fatigue. The more time I spend on thinking about how much I do not want to do something, the less energy or willpower I have to actually get up and tackle the task. The key is to get up and do it. If I can also have fun while preparing dinner, it’s a bonus.
I can make mundane tasks more enjoyable by singing as I go through the motions, or challenging myself to move a bit quicker as I clean the toilet and wipe the counter in the powder room. This might not be a good mindfulness technique; nevertheless, it allows me to get things done when I feel tired but must get through a few core tasks.
Often, there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to or want to accomplish. However, I can always compartmentalize my ‘to do’ list, then pick and choose from those categories. Under the ‘Cleaning’ category, for instance, I list the powder room; the upstairs bathroom; the basement bathroom; and general dusting of the surfaces. Mr. Wanderlust takes care of washing the floors and vacuuming the carpets. Given that I have those four tasks on my list under the subtitle ‘Cleaning,’ I break them down into 15-minute time slots throughout the week. Monday is for dusting. Tuesday is for cleaning the powder room. Wednesday is for the upstairs bathroom. You get the idea.
Given that I have more energy in the morning, following my 5:30 a.m. workout, I squeeze in 15 minutes to quickly tidy the house in order to avoid having to do so in the evening. This also means that I do sometimes go to bed with the choice to ignore the mess until the morning, but I insist on having Wanderlust Juniors put away their games, toys, and books before the end of the day.
My parents are currently staying with us on weekdays and my mom serves dinner to Wanderlust Juniors before Mr. Wanderlust and I arrive at home from work. Immediately after we return from work, we are off to karate practice. After that, Mr. Wanderlust and I have dinner while Wanderlust Juniors enjoy a snack. The key, at that point, is for me to avoid procrastinating about getting the boys to brush their teeth, shower, and choose their books for bedtime reading. It’s easy for me to distract myself and the boys with something that seems much more fun than brushing one’s teeth, showering, and reading books. Yet. I also know that if I stay with our schedule, not only will I have more enthusiasm to read to the boys, but I also will have more time to chat with Mr. Wanderlust or knit, read, or write after they have gone to bed and before my own bedtime approaches.
Some nights, it’s more than okay to turn in early. I wasn’t feeling well earlier this week and went to bed at 9 p.m., immediately after Wanderlust Juniors. This means I did miss out on the opportunity to read or craft, but on that day, sleep was my top priority. In fact, it should be a top priority every day.
I could fill my entire day with activities that I love to do. The majority of those days would involve hiking, spending time on the beach, reading, or crafting. Hobbies are classified as ‘Me Time’ and the list is a long one. On most days, it’s not realistic for me to fill my time with these activities. So, I choose the one to which I am most drawn on that day. Again, there may not be enough hours in the day for everything, but there are enough hours in the day for everything if we choose from among the several items in one category.
Big time wasters for me are Googling — even if at times I do genuine research into yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, writing, literature, etc. — and social media. I have noticed that the only time I truly tend to ‘surf’ social media, scrolling through my newsfeed, is when I feel tired in the evenings. For that reason, I do my best to avoid technology in the evening. If I must use the computer for research or writing, I set that intention before flipping open my laptop, reminding myself to focus on the task at hand and not be swayed by something I might have suddenly remembered about what someone posted on Facebook.
I also have been tracking the time I spend on various tasks while at the office. Doing so has helped me to be more mindful of my approach to those various tasks, reminding me that I do my best work in the hours before noon, and that the more I procrastinate and analyze my procrastination, the less energy I have to jump into any task, including those about which I’m enthusiastic.
Have you tried to track your time at home, at work, or both? What were some of the most surprising lessons you learned as a result of logging your time? I invite you to leave a comment.
On Sunday afternoon, as we enjoyed an hour of quiet time, Mr. Wanderlust and Wanderlust Juniors built Lego creations while I retreated to a different room to knit and listen to a podcast. As I listened to Michael Stone speak about the habit of multitasking and its negative effects, I laughed at the irony of the situation. There I sat, listening for entertainment, however educational, while knitting. I was in the midst of creating something while listening to a dharma talk about the importance of giving ourselves space to sit and do nothing.
Many knitters enjoy clicking their needles while watching a TV show or listening to a podcast. In fact, many even bring their knitting to the movie theatre, family dinners, and other social events. It has been said, half-jokingly, that knitters can’t stand to have their hands empty. I can attest to that. Once upon a time, I was the knitter whose fingers probably used to move in her sleep as she dreamed of knitting a sweater. I was in undergrad at the time and when I would visit my parents and my sister on weekends, my sister would get upset about watching me sit on the living room couch with my knitting. She said that although I could easily carry a conversation without looking at my yarn and needles, she felt as though I wasn’t fully present. I now understand how different a non-knitter’s perception could be from that of the seasoned multitasking crafter. In truth, we cannot be truly present while we multitask.
It can seem natural for us to listen to music while preparing dinner, or listen to a podcast while cleaning our homes.
What happens if we turn off the noise? Will the sound of our thoughts become amplified? What narrative will we start to hear? Can we learn to be comfortable with that narrative, to acknowledge it without attempting to silence it?
Can we, instead, turn up the soft sound of our breath at the back of the throat? Can we enjoy the feel of the rubber gloves on the skin of our hands as we wash the bathroom sink?
Can we fully experience the scent of the baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils that we use to clean the sink?
Can we stand at a bus stop without mindlessly glancing at our phones every two minutes, if only to check the time or, perhaps, to avoid the gaze of the people who surround us?
For the past few months, it has been my practice to spend one day per week without screen technology, never glancing at my laptop or phone, and sometimes without listening to music (TV never enters into the equation because I only watch an hour of TV per week, if at all). In addition, I refrain from approaching my laptop or phone after the end of my workday. I feel guided to deepen my practice. This spring, I choose to mindfully focus on one activity at a time instead of pairing it with technology and the possibilities with which it presents us. I am also making the choice to not share my experiences as frequently, however exciting they might be. I choose to keep certain stories and photos to myself and my family, instead of sharing them on Instagram. Maybe, I will tell a friend about my fun experience sometime later, when I speak with her on the phone or in person over a cup of tea.
Discernment frequently shows us in my life in the form of yoga, asking me to choose between a strong Vinyasa and a quiet Yin or Restorative practice. I can apply similar discernment to knitting and technology, choosing whether to listen to music or a podcast while I work on a garment, or to set aside time to knit without any background noise as an entertaining distraction.
Some say that ‘knitting is the new yoga.’ Both yoga and knitting are opportunities that show up in my life as reminders to practise awareness. May we give ourselves permission to enjoy the pleasures of living with presence.
Does this story resonate with you? Please leave a comment below. Thank you for sharing this blog with a friend.
About two months ago, I shared with you my recipe for delicious lip balm to keep your lips soft throughout the winter season. That season is still going strong in Ontario, and I have been playing with my new Young Living Essential Oils, combining them with staple ingredients from my kitchen pantry to create a lip scrub that smells beautiful and further helps to keep my lips healthy (and kissable). This recipe takes less than five minutes to create and is also a great quick gift idea for someone you love (just be sure to double or triple the amounts listed below to make a larger batch). I keep it in a small jar on the bathroom counter and Wanderlust Juniors have started using it as a hand scrub. Creativity at its finest!
*** A note about Young Living Essential Oils: I have never been one to give into trends. However, after hearing many praises sung in the name of Young Living Essential Oils, I decided to try it. Having been a regular user of essential oils for the past several years and enjoying their many benefits, I am familiar with many brands that are on the market. I was very impressed with the quality of YLEO and decided to sign up as a distributor. If you are looking for excellent pure essential oils, you have my recommendation for a great brand. If you would like to support me as a distributor by placing an order, please use my number: 3565905. Thank you in advance for your support.
I love playing in the kitchen, cooking intuitively, chopping and tossing a bunch of ingredients into a large pot, then, stirring up some magic by sprinkling in a pinch of pixie dust (shhh, it’s actually salt and pepper, but we won’t divulge that culinary secret). Sometimes, I plan in advance, soak black beans or kidney beans in a large heavy pot the night before, then cook them in the morning. The pragmatist in me reminds me that soups and stews with some plant-based protein are more likely to keep me well satiated.
On a chilly Sunday, I naturally choose to prepare chili for dinner, and make plenty more for the next few workday lunches. The black beans are freshly cooked and are temporarily resting in a bowl on the counter. I don’t enjoy washing large cooking pots, so of course I intend to use the same pot I used for cooking the beans to cook the chili itself. The EVOO on the bottom of the pot sizzles joyfully, threatening to become menacing lest I take my time chopping the yellow onion and mincing garlic. So, I rush, then carefully sweep the onion and garlic off the bamboo chopping board and into the pot, and reduce the heat of the burner to medium-high. The aroma of the golden onions is comforting, reminding me to breathe deeply as I chop the green peppers, yellow peppers and button mushrooms, adding them in batches to the pot. I grind a few peppercorns in my mortar and pestle, then add a generous amount of fine sea salt and, affecting my best impression of Tinkerbell, sprinkle it all into the pot, watching the magic transpire before my eyes as a I slowly stir the delicious contents with a large wooden spoon. Oh, but I almost forgot the chili powder! How much shall I add? Too much spice, and the youngest Wanderlust Junior would need plenty of convincing and a tall glass of water before reluctantly attempting to eat his spicy meal. Not enough spice, and the chili would taste like a bland stew. I settle on one heaping tablespoon, then grab the packet again and shake in a bit more of the coppery powder.
I open a large can of diced tomatoes, add some boiling water to cover the vegetable and bean mixture, plus an inch more, and increase the heat to ‘high’ bring it all to a boil, stirring occasionally simply to satisfy my olfactory senses. I lower the heat to ‘simmer,’ replace the lid, and allow it all to cook for about 30 minutes.
At dinner, I serve the delightful concoction with purple tortilla chips on the side, then watch as the chips quickly start to disappear. “Eat the chili itself,” I remind Wanderlust Juniors who gaze at me sheepishly from beneath downcast eyes, grinning mischievously as the rhythm of their crunching slows for just a moment. I inhale the steam that rises from the bowl before me, then ask my family, once again, to ensure that their own servings, prepared well in advance before mine, are cooled enough for them to eat. I am the only one in our family who enjoys piping hot foods and drinks.
We’re all here, and we are warm. These people at this cozy pine kitchen table are my inspiration for playing in the kitchen. They are the reason I continue to craft dishes that warm our bellies all through the winter season. They also remind me that there is always an opportunity to practise awareness, setting true intentions, all while allowing my imagination to sparkle!
What is your favourite winter meal? Please leave a comment below, and thank you for taking a moment to share this blog with a friend!
Several years ago, when Wanderlust Juniors were younger, we attended a playdate at which I met another mom with whom we commiserated about the eating habits of toddlers, seasonal sniffles, night-time coughs, and the resultant lack of sleep. As we continued chatting, she complimented my son on the blue and yellow soft angora sweater he wore, and I responded that I knit it for him.
“How do you find time to knit?”
“Knitting helps keep me a sane mom,” I replied with a smile.
These days, I don’t have much time to dedicate to knitting and other ‘me’ activities that nourish my soul, but if I can carve out just 20 minutes out of my week to soothe my creative aches by keeping my hands busy with needles and yarn or plucking at the strings of my harp, I feel satisfied. It’s not about completing a project but about dedicating a bit of time to it, continuing to move along for the simple reason that it makes me feel fulfilled. The same can be said for parenting. No matter what else is taking place in our lives, we show up every day and make the most of our time, reminding ourselves to be the best versions of ourselves for our children. I continue to remind myself to savour each moment with my family, especially at the end of a long, tiring day at work.
If I could say something more to the mom I met at the playdate, I would tell her that I don’t have advice that I can recommend to others. I don’t believe that any of us are able to offer practical hands-on advice to other mothers and fathers about how to run our household while making time for ourselves. Every parent is different and every child has his or her own unique needs. There are days on which all we can do is hold our babies — of any age — close to our chests while breathing deeply and daydreaming of the possibility of a long nap. Thankfully, there are also days on which we feel energized, joyful, and happy to create something amazing. I love the cliché statement ‘one day at a time.’ I repeat it because it continues to remain true for me. Not only do I try to face one day at a time but also one moment at a time; those moments careen too fast from one type of mood to the next. I remind myself to stay present and open to opportunities to carve out creative time for myself and remain present to my children’s needs while flowing through the motions of the day. Right now, it works for me. What works for you?
How do you make time to nourish your soul amidst the daily flow? Please leave a comment below.
Are you enjoying this blog? Please share it with a friend!
My grandmother is and always has been a talented knitter. She also used to crochet, cook marvelous meals and bake desserts from scratch while conserving every last little morsel of each ingredient and putting it to good use in feeding our family. Seated in the living room and reading books or watching a favourite cartoon, I used to watch with fascination as her fingers moved elegantly on the two needles that clicked almost melodically, all the while producing an intricate pattern out of a mere strand of woolen yarn, creating sweaters to keep us warm through the winter season. Enchanted with this magical, alchemical process, I begged her to teach me to knit. And so, on a cold afternoon in early January, my grandmother sat down with impatient five-year-old me, attempting to teach me the knit stitch using the Continental method. That episode ended in tears, but I never gave up.
Two years later, after moving to live in a different country with my parents and sister, I walked into a local stationery store that also stocked a small selection of needles and yarn on a demure shelf. Immediately, I was seized with longing memories of my Babushka, and my mom purchased the materials for me: red acrylic yarn and golden metallic 8 mm needles. I continued to practise every day, or whenever I missed my dear grandmother. When she visited us, three years later, I was ready for her to teach me the purl stitch and continued to make and unravel simple scarves for the next few years, whenever Nostalgia paid a visit to me. Those scarves were peppered with missed stitches and other blatant errors in spots where I should have purled instead of knitting. Having tried numerous times and become frustrated with the cast-on method Babushka taught me, I created my own cast-on technique; although it wasn’t the easiest technique, at the time, it served its purpose and allowed me to start making yet another red acrylic scarf.
We moved once more since then, and many years later, while in undergrad, I discovered that knitting had somehow become a chic hobby. I became a bit bolder in telling my peers that knitting is one of my hobbies. With a skip in my step, I returned home from several shopping trips to the bookstore, giddy about learning new techniques from the ‘how to’ books, ready to move beyond making scarves using dollar store acrylic yarn. I continue to refer to those books for tips on stitches and techniques that remind me that, although I may be an intermediate-level knitter, I’m still a beginner in some respect. I’m comfortable with that notion.
Today, in-between work and family responsibilities, I am fortunate to spend just 30 minutes per week with my yarn and needles, usually while watching a family movie with Wanderlust Juniors. I hope that for my children, the scarves and hats I make for them will continue to keep them not only warm in the snowy winter months but will also remind them that love often shows up in the smallest details, in the finest stitches. Love is spherical, moving beyond time and generations, knitting together stories and memories that culminate in one special piece gifted selflessly to someone special. To me, that is the definition of magic.
Do you knit? How did you learn? Please share your story by leaving a comment, below. Thank you, also, for sharing this blog with a friend!
As promised last week, I wanted to share with you my quick go-to recipe for an all-purpose disinfectant spray. I use this spray on everything: my yoga mats; bathroom mirrors; wiping sticky hand prints and dust from surfaces; door handles; kitchen counters, and so on. I will confess sheepishly that the pleasant, clean scent of the spray alone makes me want to pick it up and clean everything around me. All you need is a few minutes and a few basic, clean ingredients to create this magical product.
DHARMA WANDERLUST YOGA MAT CLEANER AND ALL-PURPOSE DISINFECTANT SPRAY
Small spray bottle
Pure white vinegar
A few drops of essential oil (I recommend tea tree oil for its disinfecting properties, but I also enjoy calming lavender; eucalyptus or fir needle have a clean, fresh scent)
Fill about 2/3 of the bottle with water.
Fill the remainder of the bottle with vinegar.
Add a few drops of essential oil. I like to add about 3 drops of tea tree oil and then one or two drops of lavender and/or other oils. I don’t recommend mixing more than two oils at a time.
Screw on the lid, shake well, spray your mat or any other surface in your home, and enjoy a chemical-free cleaning experience!
Do you have a favourite DIY cleaning recipe? Please share it in the comments below.
Do you know someone who would enjoy this blog post and the recipe? Please share it with them via social media or email.
In the colder months of the year, I am susceptible to very dry, itchy skin and chapped lips. After years of trying the different specially formulated lotions and lip balms available on the market and ending up with disappointment (at the best) and a bad allergic reaction (at the worst), I started using natural, pure moisturizing ingredients. I enjoy playing with my collection, creating my own skin care products. Here are my go-to items:
Sweet almond oil: An excellent overall moisturizer. I use it as a massage oil, eye makeup remover, and facial moisturizer. We recently discovered that our cat also is a big fan of sweet almond oil and I often find her on the bathroom counter, licking the bottle. Since the bottle is usually hidden inside the cupboard, she goes to great lengths to try to lick the oil off my face!
Shea butter: The richest moisturizer of which I know. I slather it on my hands and feet at bedtime and wake up with incredibly soft skin.
Castor oil: I have to confess. I haven’t had a ‘real’ haircut in a salon in the past six months. I’m in the process of growing out a pixie cut and my hair is finally starting to resemble a short, layered bob. To keep those pesky short layers healthy in the process of patiently growing out my hair, I turn to castor oil for a deep conditioning treatment. After brushing my hair before bedtime, I work a small amount of the oil into my hair and massage my scalp. It’s not an attractive look, but I leave the oil on overnight and wash it off in the morning shower. Castor oil is not only a great ingredient for soft hair but also for soft skin. Instead of washing my hands after applying the hair treatment, I simply let it absorb. I have also, under the direction of my Naturopath, used castor oil in conjunction with a heat pad to relieve muscle cramps and other aches.
Essential oils: I love aromatherapy and the wonderful effect essential oils have on the nervous system. My favourite soothing oils are lavender and/or lavandin. I have a tiny bottle of pure lavender oil that Mr. Wanderlust and I purchased during a tour of a lavender factory in Provence more than nine years ago while on our honeymoon in the region. I use it sparingly, as just a drop of the oil goes a long way. I also enjoy fir needle oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, patchouli, sandalwood, geranium, and tea tree oil. I use these oils in conjunction with shea butter or sweet almond oil, adding them to my DIY scented moisturizer, massaging them into the soles of my feet at night, adding them to my bath, or simply using them as perfume. I stopped using conventional perfume years ago, replacing it with essential oils.
I use essential oils and a couple of basic kitchen ingredients to make a ‘universal cleaning spray’ for disinfecting everything from my yoga mat to the bathroom counter. I promise to share the simple recipe with you in an upcoming blog post.
A combination of coconut oil and shea butter makes an excellent moisturizer for the lips. About a year ago, I started to concoct my own lip balm using a few of my favourite clean and natural ingredients. I use it myself on a daily basis and gift it to others at Christmas to help us enjoy the winter season with healthy skin.
DIY LIP BALM
200 mL pure shea butter
100 mL pure coconut oil
approximately 100 g pure beeswax
5-6 drops of pure peppermint essential oil
1. Chop the beeswax and allow it to melt over a double boiler, stirring constantly using a metal spoon.
2. When the beeswax is almost completely melted, add the shea butter and coconut oil. Continue to stir.
3. Add the peppermint oil. Stir. Remove from heat.
4. While the mixture is still hot, pour into small plastic containers, filling them about 3/4. I use plastic containers purchased at the local dollar store.
5. Allow to cool completely before twisting on the lids. The balm should be solid.
6. Enjoy, and pop a few containers into Christmas stockings! One batch is enough to fill 10 containers.
What are your favourite DIY skin care recipes? Have you found innovative ways to use oils? Please share them in the comments below.