Thursday, 3 July 2014

Home Made Lotions and Potions

image of Happiness is Homemade banner Within the last few years I've noticed how really dry and crinkled my hands have become. I guess it does have a little to do with being in my forties but years of constant hand washing after nappy changes, scooping doggy poop and food prepping have also taken their toll...
 I know I'm fighting a losing battle but when my skin feels dry and scratchy it can frustratingly affect the flow of the yarn through my fingers when crocheting. Slip, snag, slip, snag...hardly conducive to speedy, enjoyable hooky time is it? Hand creams only give a temporary moisturising fix for me now which means I have to slap it on every hour or so, and who's got the time to do that?! Not only do they feel dry but they look pretty awful too. It was quite a shock to see just how bad a condition my hands were in when putting together my last photo-tutorial so I decided against including them in the shots because they looked so awful. It is so true when they say the camera never lies - each and every dry looking crinkle on my hands looked too in-yer-face magnified and highlighted...

With limited time and money I had to do something about it pretty darned quick so I raided the kitchen cupboards to see if I could make my own hand scrub. These are the ingredients that were to hand (sorry)
image of ingredients for homemade hand scrub
I half filled a small jar with some sea salt flakes (don't use the coarse type as it's too abrasive for the delicate skin on the back of your hands). Or you could use ordinary table salt which is O.K. but doesn't have quite the right consistency or scrub-action for my liking, but if it's all you've got in then it'll do. You'll need to use an emollient/oil of some description - Olive or Sesame oil are really ideal. Add a large glug at a time and keep on mixing till you think it's the right consistency. To give it that final 'spa' touch add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. I love Lavender so added 2 - 3 drops of this and just 1 drop of Lemongrass, this combo of oils really harmonize well together, and adds that 'spa' aroma. Don't add too much essential oil as they can irritate the skin, plus they are concentrated so you only need a little at a time to add the necessary perfume. Give it a good stir and that's it! 
Image of home made hand scrub
When the need to pamper yourself arises wash your hands first then take a spoon full of your yummy scrub and massage it into your hands paying particular attention to any dry problematic areas. Then rinse all the salt away, pat dry - making sure you do not wipe the oil away, now massage the oil into your hands. Your skin will feel so soft, smooth and will look glossy - an instant improvement. I can't recommend it enough!

If you want to make your spa scrub that little bit more special or if you are thinking of making these to gift to friends and family (great idea for teacher presents too) then you need to invest in some luxury ingredients that won't cost the earth...
image of hand scrub ingredients
I chose Sweet Almond oil but you could use Wheatgerm or Jojoba instead. You can easily find these ingredients at any health food store or online.
If you change the essential oils to peppermint or tea tree oil then you have created an indulgent smoothing spa treatment for your feet - ideal if your poor piggies are aching at the end of a long day.
image of home made hand scrub
Cute and thrifty Spa jars found at the local charity shop
I made two batches, one for downstairs and the other is upstairs in the there's no excuse for not taking care of my hands anymore!

I've also been dabbling in the art of Elderflower cordial making. This is the first year I've had a go at it and I couldn't believe how easy the whole process was. (I made Elderflower juice last year from the berries which you can read about on this post). I've made two separate batches over the last three weeks so that's 4 litres in total, and now it's all gone! Although I do still have some Elderflower lollies in the freezer which are so refreshingly perfect on a hot sunny day. The second batch I reduced the amount of sugar by half and it was still sweet and delicious.
image of homemade elderflower cordial
There are so many recipes and methods online that I ended up choosing the River Cottage one in the end mainly because of the small amount of citric acid they used but also because they advised not to wash the flowers but to pick any bugs off by hand - this is so crucial as it's the pollen which gives the cordial it's distinct aromatic flavour. There's also some good advice on there about when is the best time to pick the flowers. 
image of homemade Elderflower cordial
The taste of Summer in a bottle
Regrettably I wished I'd harvested more of the flower heads which grow in abundance throughout the local countryside here but the season is now coming to an end, and they are sadly on their way out. Mixed with sparkling spring water it really was the perfect summer drink, and feeling suitably confident, and just a tad smug with myself I may just dabble in a spot of Elderflower champagne or wine making next year.

This is my third attempt  in writing this post and each time I've deleted it. Do you ever get like this were the words just don't flow? I'm blaming it on my hay fever which is particularly bad this year due to the corker of a Summer we are experiencing at the moment. Even with tablets my brain is 'fuggy' and it feels like I've been clobbered between the eyes with a rubber mallet full of pepper. By 8pm I'm beat and my eyes and head have had enough, so if any of you kind folk out there have a homemade remedy/lotion/potion for hay fever which works for you then I'd be much obliged if you could share it with us.
Thank you muchly my yarn-loving friends.
Till next time X


  1. A wonderfully informative post Amanda, thank you, I've enjoyed it.You did well with your hand scrub - I have seen a very similar idea here for which they are charging around $90 a jar!!! It probably doesn't even work as well as yours either. Well done!
    Sorry to hear of your hay fever problem but don't have any advice to offer - my hubby uses non-drowsy type antihistamine pills as he has a huge problem and nothing else gives him relief. Take care, xoJoy

    1. Wow $90 - that's daylight robbery!! I'm so glad to report my hayfever is so much better now, no pills but just the occasional sneezing fit :-) Thanks for your kind words as ever Joy.
      Have a great weekend.
      Amanda XX

  2. I hope that your hand scrub works for you and does the trick to restore your hands to youthful beauty!! Hope that you can find some relief for your hayfever as well! xx

    1. Thanks Amy - my hands don't have that horrible sandpaper quality to them anymore. Yay my hayfever has gone!
      Enjoy your weekend.
      Amanda XX

  3. A 'must try' ... thank you! I am a hayfever sufferer too, can make you feel pretty mis! Hope you feeling better today xxx Pat

    1. Hope you give it a go Pat - it really works wonders! Sorry to hear you suffer too, but thankfully the worst is over so I'm feeling much better thank you :-)
      Have a fab weekend
      Amanda XX

  4. That hand scrubs sounds interesting, I just use a simple lotion - olive oil, first thing in the morning and before I do any gardening, keeps the hands soft, I have a friend who adds sea salt to the mix and she has beautiful soft hands too. I made elderflower cordial this year and love it. I suffer hay fever in summer too, and the only thing that relieves it for me is a head sauna ( bowl of very hot water, with eucalyptus oil added, lower your head over and cover with a towel, it clears the gunk!) works for head colds, but then I use vicks in the water.

    1. Olive oil has so many amazing qualities and as you have proven we don't need to spend a fortune on hand lotions. Sorry to hear you suffer too - there seems to be quite a few of us! I will definitely be trying out your gunk-be-gone method, and I don't know why I didn't think of that as I'm trained in Aromatherapy - thanks for the advice.
      Enjoy your weekend
      Amanda XX


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