Making Jasmine Hydrosol

Before we dive into making our very own hydrosol, first let’s get clear on what hydrosol actually is because there is a lot of misinformation around it. I first thought botanical infused waters & hydrosols were just a fancy or scientific name for the same thing but it turned out their properties & extractions methods are different.

Hydrosol: Hydro (water) + Sol (solution)

Hydrosols, hydrolats or hydrolates & distillates generally refer to pure hydrosols. Hydrosols are generally produced as a byproduct of essential oil distillation but it can also be intentionally produced which is fantastic for botanicals that don’t produce essential oils. A few botanicals that don’t yield essential oils are:

  • Calendula
  • Aloe
  • Vanilla
  • Jasmine
  • Apple

There are 2 types of distillation when making floral water or floral infused waters:

Hydrodistillation:

Plant matter that’s boiled in a covered pot or vessel to form a rich infusion.

Steam Distillation:

Plant matter is boiled in a vessel & the steam or vapour rises into a separate chamber that, when cooled, returns to liquid to form a pure water based solution or hydrosol.

This residual water contains certain compounds like antioxidants & minor elements that are similar to essential oils which is what makes hydrosols a fantastic alternative to essential oils for those with acute allergies or skin sensitivities.

While hydrosols have a delightfully delicate scent, they also have a few beautiful benefits for your skin.

💧 Applying hydrosol before moisturising helps replenish the moisture content to your skin, which is vital to keep your skin fresh, tight & healthy.
💧 Hydrosols contain antioxidant compounds
💧 They can balance the skin’s pH & regulate sebum production, preventing breakouts.
💧 Fresh hydrosols (unpreserved), like the one I made, can be stored in the fridge & kept up to 1.5 months

The leftover infused floral water can be used for food & drink! Add a little sweetener like honey or sugar & drink it. Add it to desserts or other dishes for an herbal or floral delicacy.

How can you use a Fresh (unpreserved) Hydrosol?

💧 Skin Toner: Spray onto clean skin until it’s damp or dewy. Pat in if you need. Follow up with a moisturising cream. It has a delicate scent, so use a plant you like the scent of & are not allergic to!
💧 Hair Rinse: Pour or spray some onto your scalp & massage into damp hair. Follow up with a leave-in conditioner or hair oil.
💧 Mood Boost: Spray a little onto your outfit for the day & carry the subtle scent with you.
💧 Room / Car Fragrance: Spritz onto curtains and / or carpets in your room that need a little livening up or even on the carpet in your car for a subtle freshening up. This isn’t a cleanser! It’s just for a touch of fragrance that can liven up or calm the space!

**PLEASE NOTE, THIS RECIPE IS ONLY FOR PERSONAL USE AS IT’S MAKING AN UNPRESERVED HYDROSOL WHICH LASTS UNDER SPECIFIC CONDITIONS FOR A VERY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME**

Alright, now we’ve gotten some of the basics out of the way, let’s get to cooking!

If you like a visual aid, you can watch me make it!

CLEAN ALL YOUR UTENSILS

You’ll need:

  • Strainer & tea strainer
  • Bowl to catch water under strainer
  • Large Pot with Lid (make sure to clean the top of the lid very well as we’ll be inverting the lid to help the distillation process
  • Heat proof bowl
  • 1 – 1.5 Liters of boiled water or boiled distilled water
  • 1 Water Jug (to let hydrosol cool in before bottling)
  • Funnel
  • 2 bottles: 1 for hydrosol (with spray top if you have one) & 1 for infused water
  • 1 – 3 hours (don’t let the time daunt you! it can be left on it’s own as long as it’s away from kids & animals! It’s a wonderful practice to take part in on a self-care day.)

1. PICK YOUR PLANT

I have pink jasmine in abundance, so that’s my pick. Use herbs or flowers that are safe for you & you have plenty of. You don’t need too much but you’d save a penny if you grab something from your garden that’s overflowing or that’s cheaper to buy from a market.

A few popular plants are:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Citrus flowers & leaves
  • Basil
  • Calendula
  • Rose

2. RINSE

Grab a bowl, a strainer & your herbs. Pop your strainer in your bowl & gently rinse your plant matter with cold water. If you’re using running water, make sure it’s on low pressure to avoid damaging your plants or overflowing your bowl. The bowl will catch any excess dirt or small insects that can be thrown back into your garden bed or compost.

3. HEAT YOUR PLANT MATTER IN A LARGE POT

Heating your plant matter with boiled water or boiled distilled water helps break down the plant walls & build condensation a little faster. Stir it around for a few seconds on low heat.

 

4. POP YOUR BOWL IN THE POT

If you have a metal stand that fits easily when your bowl is standing on it with your lid turned upside down, use that so it stays still. Make sure no plant matter or boiled water falls in. If it’s not weighted enough to sit comfortably at the bottom or if the water content is overflowing, surround the bowl with the plant matter in a ring to act as a gentle barrier to hold your bowl in place.

5. COVER THE POT WITH AN INVERTED LID

Inverting the lid created a convex where the distilled water can be guided to the center and drip into the bowl. It also makes it easier to pop your frozen block of ice or ices cubes on.

6. PLACE YOUR FROZEN BLOCK OR ICE CUBES

I didn’t have a bunch of ice cubes so I just froze some water in a zip-lock bag overnight. The ice increases the level of condensation so you can get as much out of the distillation process as possible.

7. LEAVE ON TIL YOUR ICE HAS COMPLETELY MELTED & YOUR POT HAS COOLED

This can take between 0.5 – 3 hours depending on how much you’re making. I left mine on low heat for 2 hours and let it cool for 1 hour without removing the lid. Letting it cool allows for more distilled water to drip into the bowl.

8. REMOVE ICE PACK OR CAREFULLY REMOVE WATER FROM LID

If you used loosed ice & have a little pool of water, this water can be thrown into your garden or compost.

9. REMOVE BOWL OF HYDROSOL

It may still be warm so ensure you’re protecting baking gloves or it’s cool enough to touch, if you left it to cool completely before touching it.

10. POUR HYDROSOL INTO JUG OR BOTTLE

If it’s still a bit warm, pour it into the jug to cool. If it’s cool enough, pour it into the bottle. You may need a funnel to avoid spilling.

11. STRAIN INFUSED WATER INTO THE OTHER BOTTLE

If it’s still a bit warm, pour it into the jug to cool. If it’s cool enough, pour it into the bottle. You may need a funnel to avoid spilling.

12. LABEL WITH THE NAME OF THE BOTANICAL, DATE YOU MADE IT & WHEN TO USE IT BY

It lasts 1.5 months from the date of distillation when stored in the fridge. This is an unpreserved product so it will go off faster & must be stored in the fridge. If you’d like it to last longer you can divide it and store small amounts of it in the freezer & take it out when required. Once thawed, please do not refreeze.

I wanted to show the cold hydrosol but my label with my information is on the other side!

Retinol: The Basics

If you feel like you’ve seen Retinol everywhere in cosmetics recently, it’s because it’s another trending ingredient! If you’re sitting here wondering what exactly is it and why do we need it in skincare, we first need to understand what Retinol is and what it can do for us.

Retinol is a fat soluble derived from Vitamin A that assists with a few functions:

  • Vision
  • Cell development
  • Maintenance of mucous membrane
  • Immune system function
  • Reproduction development

There are 2 forms of Vitamin A: Preformed Vitamin A & Provitamin A or Carotenoids

Preformed Vitamin A (Retinol & Retinyl esters) is found naturally in animal sources

  • Cod liver oil
  • Liver of beef, pork, chicken, turkey & fish
  • Eggs

Provitamin A (Carotenoids) converts into Vitamin A during digestion in the intestines. Carotenoids are found in

  • Carrot
  • Squash (particularly potent in pumpkin but generally found in yellow squash)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Capsicum (most potent in red capsicums)
  • Mango
  • Kale & Spinach
  • Orange

For those with dry, eczema or sensitive skin types, it’s best to avoid retinol products because there are a few side effects:

  • It doesn’t add moisture to the skin
  • It can cause itching, redness & burning
  • It’s photosensitive: it’s sensitive to light & can cause adverse effects in sunlight.

Due to its sensitivity & side effects, there are many companies claiming they have retinol alternatives that do the job just as well or they have organic retinol alternatives, some of which are fantastic & some that are honestly, just a lie.

Rosehip oil is a popular ingredient in formulations, with the increase in retinol trends, rosehip oil is hoisted as an organic retinol alternative because it contains retonoic acid, however it only contains 0.00004% of retinoic acid! It’s an incredible ingredient because it is moisturising and helps soothe the skin but it is definitely not a viable retinol alternative.

Wile retinol & other trending ingredients like Niacinamide certainly have their benefits, before picking up a product that’s marketed as “anti-ageing” or “contains 20% Niacinamide (which, by the way, more than 5% and you’re just paying more for no additional benefits or a worsened skin condition), first figure out what you want from your self-care routine & what you actually need.

We’re constantly bombarded with amazing marketing that promises us the world while keeping us in fear about certain things that are essentially unavoidable, like ageing; wrinkles appear, hair goes grey, we decay, it’s part of the circle of life. What is in our control is taking care of our mind, body & soul, so that we continue to show up at our best every day for ourselves & our communities.

Kokum: An Ancient Treasure

When I first heard about Kokum, I was intrigued. As I began my research into this mysterious relative of the famous Mangosteen tree, it proved to be quite difficult to see why it had such a long history in Ayurvedic medicine; with a limited amount of research papers available & a lot of online blogs saying all the things that is generally said about almost every ingredient, I started to lose hope in this plant:

  • It restores moisture to skin + hair
  • It treats inflamed skin
  • It’s non comedogenic
  • It reduces/prevents aging

On the surface, it’s not obvious if it’s any different to other skincare ingredients & products. I found myself researching until my eyes crossed trying to find even a basic outline of its chemical components. I needed to understand how these properties attribute to skin & hair care, maybe that would help me understand why it’s an esteemed ingredient in Ayurveda. Initially shrouded in old value hype & a bunch of causation = correlation with no tangible value, I really didn’t know if it was worth the time I’d already invested in it. I almost gave up on it & its ancient existence but it turned out to be a beautifully hidden gem.

Kokum is as magical as it is mysterious.

It’s an old world tree native to the Western & Southern regions of India. Garcinia indica is also known as Kokum (Hindi + English), Goraka (Sinhala), Murgal (Tamil), Vrikshamia/Vrikshamla/Amlabija/Raktavikshamla/Amlashaka (Sanskrit). There are many more regions & languages that I haven’t covered but these are the most popularly known where the fruit is still revered.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it’s used to heal certain ailments:

  • Skin issues, ulcers, dermatitis
  • Bowel issues, digestion & balancing gut health
  • Infections & muscle function
  • Cell regulation, repair & function

What are the main components of Kokum that make it nutritional & why is it an esteemed plant in Ayurveda?

  • Kokum Butter is 80% Stearic-Oleic-Stearic Triglycerides which is potent to maintain moisture levels keeping the skin thoroughly moisturised while strengthening the skin’s barrier to keep moisture in.
  • Kokum contains Citric Acid which is a gentle cleanser that goes beneath the surface & removes excess oils whilst balancing the skin’s pH levels.
  • It contains Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) that works as a natural antioxidant. It’s an essential nutrient required for collagen production, tissue repair & strengthens resistance to infections.
  • Kokum is also rich in Vitamin E which is popularly known to be a wonderful skin conditioning agent.

How is it consumed & used? Leaves, fruit (rind & flesh) & seed are all used for different purposes.

  • Fruit:
    • It can be peeled & eaten as a deliciously juicy fresh fruit.
    • The flesh can be squeezed to be drunk as juice.
  • Peels/Rinds + Leaves:
    • The leftover rinds leftover can be filled with sugar & soaked with  its leaves & water before being left in the sun for several days which will eventually provide you with a potent syrup.
    • You can use the juice & steep the peels in & let it set in the sun for a natural syrup without any added sugar:
      • The syrup can be mixed with salt, spice & water as a drink
      • Or leave the water out &  it use it as a medicine
    • The leaves can be cooked in a variety of dishes.
  • Seed:
    • The seeds are dried in the sun then milled leaving you with a hard butter. This butter is then melted in water where impurities sink to the bottom. The purified Kokum Butter is skimmed from the top & left to harden. The hardened butter is melted down again until it’s refined further & mixed to thicken before it’s set in a block. This block of Pure Refined Kokum Butter is now ready to use in food as standard butter or for topical application for skin & hair.

Alright, after months of research I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting hyped about it but I still need to try it out for myself.

  • Is it as good as they say?
  • Is it suitable for my skin?
  • Is it going to be heavy or does it actually “melt to the touch”?
  • Is it actually as “lightweight” as they say?

Simply, hell yes!

  • It’s harder than Mango Butter but it melts faster.
  • It’s lighter & smoother than Shea Butter.
  • It slips along the skin easier than Cocoa Butter.
  • It melts to the touch & is as moisturising as Coconut Oil without the weight or greasiness.

I took it one step further & formulated it as a Butter Cream, similar to my Mango Butter Cream, I kept it simple to bask in the glory of Kokum.

How well does it mix with other ingredients? 

Like an absolute dream! It formulated into a deliciously light & ultra creamy concoction! It absorbs faster & is a touch lighter than the Mango Butter Cream but ultimately they both apply deliciously. I now also use kokum butter for my creamy eye shadows.

Are you convinced yet? Try it out for yourself!

While all of these are incredible claims, we have to remember that there is no one cure for all. Everyone’s situation is different; what works for one person won’t always work for someone else, so if you suffer from severe ailments or are unsure about allergic reactions, please check in with your health professional before diving into living off of Kokum or substitutes. Make sure you know where your kokum comes from! There are Western and Southern regions in India that sustainably source and make the butter using traditional methods that don’t harm the environment they live in as the Kokum tree and fruits grow in absolute abundance.

Research for the benefits of Kokum based on:

Mocha Hand + Foot Scrub

DIY Mocha Hand + Foot Scrub

What better way that to start one of the chocolatiest times of year with a scrumptious Mocha hand + foot scrub. This easy DIY Hand + Foot Scrub leaves your skin silky soft and hydrated.

Cocoa powder contains manganese, magnesium phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc, Vitamins A + E. All of this essentially means:

🍫 Cocoa powder assists cell regeneration
🍫 It improves nervous system and cellular function
🍫 It contains fatty acids which retain moisture in the skin and keeps the lipid layer tight making the skin appear taut, vibrant and plump
🍫 It repairs skin rashes and controls sebum production

In Ayurveda, cocoa, more specifically raw cacao, is believed to warm the hears and abdomen and elevate mood. The caffeine in chocolate stimulates neuron activity. When it comes to its emotional value, as we all know there’s plenty of research proving its affect on mood, in Ayurveda it is said that mixing rose and cacao could soothe a broken or lonely heart.

So, we know a little bit about cocoa powder but what about coffee?

Apart from the exfoliation benefits the ground coffee provides, coffee is packed with B Vitamins which are essential for cellular metabolism (the chemical reactions within cells to keep it functioning)

☕ Coffee dilates blood vessels which increases blood flow and assists circulation; this soothes the nervous system but also brightens and tones up the skin
☕ It reduces inflammation, redness and hyperpigmentation
☕ It’s packed with antioxidants which fights free radicals (free radicals: unstable molecules that can damage our cellular structures and functions thus causing skin and barrier issues causing dry skin, acne and other skin issues.)

Need a visual? Watch how it’s made

How often can you use it?

Daily or between 1 – 3x a week

How long does this mixture last?

2 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer

Ingredients:

∷ 200mls / 3/4 cup Coconut Cream (boiled)

∷ 1 Heaped Tablespoon of Cocoa Powder, or cacao if you have the means to get it

∷ 2 Heaped Tablespoons of ground Coffee (I used the excess ground coffee from my partner’s morning coffee – Freeze the ground coffee and let it thaw out when it’s ready to use). If you don’t have coffee, you can use Black Tea leaves. If you have neither, use granulated or raw sugar but don’t mix it in until the mixture is completely cool – you want to avoid melting it to get that delicious exfoliating scrub.

Method:

⌖ Boil the coconut cream on medium low til til it starts to bubble

⌖ Pour the boiled coconut cream into a heat safe bowl or jug

⌖ Add Cocoa Powder + Coffee

⌖ Mix well, it will thicken as it cools

⌖ Scrub a generous amount into hands + feet

⌖ Rinse off

⌖ Pat dry and follow up with moisturiser; I use my Mango Butter Cream because it’s absolutely one of my faves.

Quick tip

Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze it. When you want to use it, pop out 1 – 3 ice cubes and let it thaw before scrubbing your hands and feet into silky softness. If you’d like, you can heat it up for a warm and soothing scrub.

a 14 day journey

Valentines & Self Love

Self love is more than indulging in peaceful days and tangible self-care rituals. Self love allows us to face our fears, learn what holds us back and work with our darkest thoughts that can be a predecessor to negative behaviors. Self love allows us to get to the core of these behaviors and issues before it blindsides us into living our worst lives. If we’re already stuck in a rut, it allows us to find a crack in the pit of darkness and slowly break free to live a life we may have never known was possible. Starting from Tuesday 14th February, I will be embarking on a 14 day self-love journey. Join me for daily journaling prompts and more.

The price we pay for lack of self love is our lives. Keep reading for a brief outline of what’s to come in the next 2 weeks of our self love journey.

But first, let’s learn about Valentine’s Day.
But…why?

Learning the history behind Valentines Day took away the gross commercialisation of it. I never understood the point of Valentine’s Day and it seemed odd to have one day to remind yourself to show someone you care. I’m cynical by nature and as a brash teenager it was 100% too mainstream and dumb; this brings me to my tainted relationship with self love. I believed love, of any kind, was shit. I wasn’t worthy of love from myself or anyone else. I was, in a way, proud of hating myself – I didn’t know at the time that this was how I guarded myself. It didn’t matter where I ended up or how I hurt myself because I deserved it. I deserved to be hated and treated like shit because I was filth. I searched for situations that would continue to make me feel that way, all the while saying to myself “it doesn’t matter what they do or say because I hate myself more”. It was a way for me to get ahead and gain back control of how I treat myself. Instead of learning how to love myself or face the demons that made me feel like I didn’t deserve to be in my own body, telling myself I hated me more than anyone gave me power over malicious intent. It was a nasty cycle that I repeated until a couple of years ago.

If you resonate with any of this, I want you to know that you are deserving of love. If that gave you a visceral reaction, that’s a pretty good sign you need to start slow. Take it day by day and fight the words in your head saying you don’t deserve to be here. Join me on this 14 day self love journey to learn how to be comfortable with you.

So, let’s learn a little bit about the origin of Valentines Day before it turned into the commercialised day of love bombing and insane expectations.

Valentines Day: The Origin

Although named after a Christian Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, ‘Valentines Day’ originated as The Feast of Saint Valentine to celebrate a Christian Martyr and suppress an ancient Pagan Roman festival. This festival being Lupercalia which was celebrated in honor of the God of Fertility known as Lupercus or Faunus. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of Spring (not to be mistaken with Spring Equinox).

Lupercalia was annually celebrated on February 15th to purify the city, promote health and fertility. In the Roman calendar, February is sacred to Juno or Februa who is the Roman goddess of fever, love, marriage and women.

Valentines Day is named after the Christian Martyr, Valentinus of Terni, who was executed on 14th February 269 CE for practicing Christianity and marrying young couples at a time when both were banned. Claudius II banned marriage in an attempt to increase the number of soldiers in the Roman army. At that time only single or unmarried men were able to enter the army and it was believed men were getting married to avoid being drafted to the army.

Valentinus of Terni is said to have worn a ring with an engraving of Cupid (the son of Venus and Eros); this made him recognizable to couples marrying in secret but also to the soldiers that were after him. During Valentinus of Terni’s imprisonment, he was inundated with letters and visits from young couples that wrote to him about the importance of love over war. It is said that he fell in love with a jailer’s daughter whom he would write letters to. On the day of his execution on 14th February, he signed off his letter with “From your Valentine”.

Fast forward a few centuries after Emperor Theodosius ruled Christianity as the official religion of Rome in 390 CE and we get to Pope Gelasius who was the Bishop of Rome in 492 CE. Pope Gelasius is the reason we celebrate Valentines Day on February 14th. He successfully suppressed the Festival of Lupercalia as it opposed the Holy views by openly celebrating other gods with displays of sensuality and eroticism. He granted Valentinus of Terni with the title of Saint Valentine establishing February 14th 496 CE as the day of The Feast of Saint Valentine.

How did I start my self love journey?

Drawing and writing. It was the only way I could hear or see myself when I was overwhelmed with voices, thoughts and images. Drawing and writing helped me physically process intangible thoughts and emotions that I thought I had no control over. Over the next 2 weeks I’ll be taking it slow and steady. Join me on this 14 day journey to self love. If at any point you feel like you’ve gone too far too quickly, that’s okay. Take it back a day and repeat those actions. All you need is you.

Here’s a very brief sneak peak of what we’ll be diving into over the 2 weeks. Get on it.

If you missed the date, don’t fret! You’re still able to take part in the 14 Day Self Love Journey because there’s no better time to start than now.

You’ll get morning & evening journal prompts, a physical mindfulness exercise and more with daily reminders. If things get a little tough, take a break and repeat the tasks from the previous day. This is about you and only you. A little self love goes a long way. These tools and lessons will be with you for the rest of your life.

Did I mention it’s completely free? What have you got to lose?

Day 1: Journal

Day 2: Let light in

Day 3: Cleanse

Day 4: Soften

Day 5: Exfoliate

Day 6: Tone

Day 7: Reflect

Day 8: Nourish

Day 9: Abhyanga

Day 10: Move

Day 11: Limitless

Day 12: Renew

Day 13: Strengthen

Day 14: Honour & Celebrate

Makers Midnight Musing

Makers Midnight Musing

I put out a poll to my little Instagram community asking what they look for when they shop small; If they looked for everything handmade, big brands reselling items through small business owners or either as long as it was a small business.

Everyone that took part in the quiz picked “everything handmade”, a few said they specifically look for brands that practice sustainable and ethical methods. I took that discussion a little further and found they leaned toward handmade businesses. Why? Because handmade businesses function at a smaller scale and have a tendency to practice more sustainable or ethical methods.

Sure, there are some makers that don’t go out of their way to attain sustainable methods but the majority search for raw materials and ingredients that can be up-cycled or harvested in a more ethical manner, if they’re not able to grow or make it themselves.

I’ve only been professionally part of the world of makers for a little over a year. When I first dipped my toes in the makers community at the end of 2021 to test out the scene, I was expecting ruthless mindsets but Incube8r turned out to be a completely different world filled with supportive makers who were beyond excited to cheer any new creator on from the sidelines. Maybe I was lucky with the community I found in Incube8r and all the insanely hardworking members.

It was incredible to stumble upon this world of creators that weren’t mindlessly competing and genuinely supported you simply because they could. It seemed like every maker willing to put the work in, went a long way and continued to grow within themselves. Incube8r goes beyond supporting makers as business owners, the community supports you.

In all honesty, without Incube8r Bunny’s Formula wouldn’t be here and I couldn’t imagine what else I’d be doing. I’ll never forget the incredible way I came across the store; I moved to Prahran with my partner and walked past this gorgeous boutique two times a day that whispered to me but I was working full time so I never saw it open. Fast forward a year and I got to one of the darkest times in my life where I eventually had to quit my job. Getting out of bed was hard enough, let alone functioning at work or stringing a sentence together.

One day my partner came home with a brochure – it was from Incube8r! Supporting Melbourne artists and makers. I started painting little bits and sporadically took part in 3 exhibitions. Alongside making time for art and figuring out what I was going to do for work, I learned about Ayurveda and self care to keep myself in the present moment. Eventually a few people commented on my homemade scents and I figured I had nothing to lose, why not sell it? That was the birth of Bunny’s Formula, back then it was known as Oily Bun. Many trials, formulas and new additions later as well as mentoring sessions with Elle-May, I learned how to walk in this magical new world.

After a year of building my foundation, I bit the bullet and took part in my very first market. I was more than excited to be part of this incredible experience. It turned out to be the best way to learn the audience, biggest selling points and room for improvements. One thing I didn’t realise was the expectation I had to be surrounded by like-minded makers. A lot of stall holders were reselling from large businesses marketing their products as “eco-friendly”, “green” and “clean” using “100% organic” materials.

Within the makers community, regardless of similarities, we know our products are completely unique from branding right down to the ingredients and materials. Our stories are so different that it’s exciting to learn about another maker and how they got there. There’s huge support in lifting each other up, working together and acknowledging the work we put in. I found a lot of our products compliment each other even with similarities.

I didn’t find that level of support or understanding with the businesses that resold big brand items. Desperation filled the air as owners ran around leering into other stalls. Whispers of another stall selling the same item for a lower price a few stalls down. Peeking around the corner figuring out if you’re a friend or foe but oh, what’s this? Everything handmade? A raised eyebrow and masked amusement that a few handmade stalls were doing it all themselves. Toward the end of the day they’d check everything out to see what was similar and how they could sell it in a similar fashion.

Some of these business owners didn’t understand that no matter how much you try to fashion something similarly, there’s nothing quite like a handmade product. Even if we make the same thing, it’s always a little different because we poured our souls into every single thing we’re selling, be it art, fashion, skincare etc.

I can’t speak for everyone but I can say that every maker I met and continue to meet, learned how to survive doing what they love and put themselves in a position to follow through. Their businesses began with a will to live and make the world a better place. No matter the similarities, it’s never the same because the story behind every item is completely unique to the soul that created it.

we put our feet through a lot

Coconutea Foot Scrub

We put our feet through a lot! It’s easy to forget showing our feet tender loving care. I’m a barefoot baby, if I can be around without my shoes, you know I’m not wearing any. My feet are particularly thick-skinned but to ensure they get the best treatment, sometimes a simple foot scrub is all we need to ensure our feet are soothed and relaxed. Toe squats, ankle stretches and laying down with our legs up against the wall are wonderful exercises to to alleviate pressure, tension and assist circulation in our feet.

Another wonderful way is massaging a scrub that’s moisturising, soothing whilst removing tough, dead skin. This is easily my favourite foot scrub recipe, it’s simple and does the job well!

Need a visual? Watch how I made it here + Watch the application here

How often to use:

Weekly

Perfect for rough skin.

Sensitive skin – add 1 cup of coconut cream or almond milk to easy the roughness of the tea.

Ingredients:

∷ 2 Tablespoons Black Tea (Loose leaf)

∷ 2 Tablespoons Almond Meal

∷ 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

Method:

⌖ Mix Black Tea, Almond Meal + Coconut Oil

⌖ Massage scrub into feet, ankle and legs

⌖ Rinse off with cool or lukewarm water

⌖ Towel dry then moisturise with a butter, cream or lotion

Lighter than air deeper than skin

LIGHTER THAN AIR ⌱ DEEPER THAN SKIN

No one who is born, is free from ageing and death

In The Buddha’s Words, Edited and Introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Self-care is the process of releasing toxins from the mind, body and soul to prevent the spread of illness and disease or causing destruction to ourselves and the wider community we live within. Some fashionable self-care trends can be harmful, dissolving our natural physical and mental state. Self-care allows us to accept unchangeable imperfections as part of our story and our being. Self-care doesn’t strive for perfection, it strives for improvement. Self-care helps us build a stronger foundation where our imperfections can be laid bare and sorted through as we let go of what is either out of our control or no longer required for our growth.

The beautiful chariots of kings wear out,
This body too undergoes decay.

Scent can take us to a memory, bitter or sweet, induce a world of fantasy, bring us down to earth and alleviate tensions. Olfaction can dictate our interactions with the people around us, bringing us closer to the ones we’ve been searching for and help us drift through life.

When we are stuck in a whirlwind of thoughts, distracted from our current reality or brought to a grievous moment, self-care practices like cleansing and self-massage can release physical tension, assist blood circulation and regulate our nervous system. A combination of fragrances can allow deep insight whilst uplifting our spirits and bring us back to a more pleasant state of awareness. When self-care and scent come together we are able to open ourselves up and let go of the grit we get stuck in and take a step forward even when we think we can’t see the path ahead.

One aspect of self-care is dependent on topical applications that assist cell regeneration or, to simplify, soothe and energise us from head to toe. Other aspects of self-care include sticking to a nutritious diet that suits our bodies and lifestyles, unfortunately there is no “one-size-fits-all” and no matter what fad diet or craze is out there, we still have to amend it to our bodies and lifestyle. Juice shots, like any glucose spike, gives us a rush of energy. Just because we’re using fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean we’re getting the best nutrition out of juicing. Eating salads and limiting calories just before and event before diving into carbs for the weeks after negatively impact our bodies. Our bodies like routine even if we don’t, consistency is key in any and everything we do.

We’re consistently looking for quick fixes instead of staying consistent with what we need to do for ourselves. It’s easier to jump from one thing to the next looking for imperfections that we blame on someone else or get someone else to fix instead of working through the bubble of shit that grows before it bursts.

A lot of self-care talks about sending love, light and peace, following the sweetness and getting in touch with our inner child. What we don’t often see are the darkest roads that we need to dredge through before we can truly feel the warmth and peace of the light. Routine in self-care is incredibly important because as the road gets darker and it feels like there’s no point in this because…[insert any reason that applies to you]…we need to have that routine to fall back on to remind our mind, body and soul that we’re okay, safe or at the least working toward a better, safer situation or environment.

No matter what our situations or past experiences were, as an adult we have to take responsibility for ourselves. If we constantly tell ourselves the little child within is hurt and needs love or base our actions on our inner child’s needs, we allow ourselves to act as hurt children well into adulthood. We repeat patterns, demand love, seek attention and blame others, from the past or present, for situations we put ourselves in.

Understanding and learning from the past helps us move forward but it’s easy to become attached to it, stopping us from being able to stand strong in our present moment. Once I was talking to someone about part of my past and I was advised to “know, love and forgive that little girl” which in that moment and phrasing, honestly made me detach a little because to me that “little girl” is dead. Even though I carried guilt and shame for things that happened when I was young, as I worked on myself I realised knowing, loving and forgiving who I became as an adult was what would actually help me move forward in my life.

We’re afraid of death or anything to do with facing our darkness that it’s completely normal to pay thousands to help us stop ageing or shut down at the thought of letting go of a part of ourselves, instead we hold onto it even tighter which stops us from growing. It is important to play and have fun like children do but it’s not necessary to hold onto that inner child to do so. We can play and be light as an adult, we can know that there was heaviness our child had to carry but as an adult we have the freedom to let go and have fun without destruction.

Who I became as an adult was unstable and harmful because I was obsessed with that hurt child within me and I never knew what to do with the information until it completely took over me in the form of a darkness I’m not willing to return to. It took years of reflection and tight self-care routines to get to the core of who I am now and I don’t know who I’ll blossom into within the next 5, 10 or 20 years because we are ever changing. The beauty in ageing naturally is knowing that we are, hopefully, wiser and smarter than we were before. When we delve into self-care, we ensure that we are where we’re meant to be.

There were countless times where I fell out of routine and had complete melt-downs which left me recovering for more than a week or so. As I built my foundation, the need for tight routines dissipated as it turned into habit. I wasn’t living second to second with my schedule. I became less judgmental about myself and the world I was within which opened a portal to seeing the world in a whole new light. There are still seasons where things get darker but it’s easier to spot; first comes judgement, then sleep patterns waver and moodiness starts before paranoia sets in. It used to hit me out of nowhere but with meticulous tracking of my daily activities, the weather, food and my moods, I was able to pin point when I became misaligned. When things start to get a bit awry, I know that means falling back into a tighter routine.

Tight routines, schedules and journaling is definitely not for everyone, especially at the start but you have to find a way to track your daily lifestyle and learn what your body does before it overpowers you. Quick fixes promise us so much but all they really do is mask the issue and allow us to lie to ourselves.

It is our responsibility to better ourselves before we are able to spread love and knowledge to the rest of the world. If we don’t, we put ourselves in positions where we turn a blind eye to certain discussions, thoughts or ideas and search for what we want to hear which puts us in an echo chamber that does more damage to ourselves and the world we’re in.

Neem Rice and Honey Mask Recipe

Neem, Rice and Honey Mask Recipe

A divine Neem Rice and Honey Mask Recipe for a gorgeous glow. Perfect for a deep cleanse using nourishing ingredients that scrub off dead skin without scratching the skin’s surface and penetrating deep enough to push out excess dirt and oils without removing necessary natural oils. What’s great about this hair and body mask is the ingredients used are perfect to help sebum control; the combination of ingredients assist in bringing balance to your skin and hair. Generally, with oily hair, the scalp is secreting too much oil which then spreads through the hair fibers. A big mistake is over-washing hair, as we continue to wash our hair, it strips the natural oils which results in more moisture being secreted on top of flaking, dry skin. Neem Powder and Rice Flour are fantastic for removing the dead skin and providing a deep cleanse. Honey is a wonderful mosituriser that also tightens the pores and locks in necessary moisture.

This is an indulgent mask so please only use it on the scalp & hair once a fortnight and weekly on the face and body. It has a wonderful result after just a few (3 – 5) uses. Keeping on masks for longer than the recommended time doesn’t improve the quality and can worsen your skin. Make sure in between the use of this mask, you’re also moisturising daily and not over washing skin and hair. If you can, reduce washing your hair to once every 3 days.

Wonderful things take time and the natural self-care process is all about patience. Take it easy and treat yourself.

Need a visual? Watch me make + apply it here

Suitable Skin & Hair Types:

🌵 Dry
💧 Oily

How often to use:

Face – Once a week
Hair – Once a fortnight

Ingredients:

∷ 2 teaspoons Neem Powder

∷ 2 teaspoons Rice Flour

∷ 2 teaspoons Honey

∷ ½ Cup Hot Water

Method:

⌖ Mix Neem Powder, Rice Flour & Honey

⌖ Add Hot Water, mix in well or until smooth

⌖ Massage onto skin & scalp

⌖ Leave in for about 5 – 10 minutes or before it starts to dry

⌖ Wash out of hair with shampoo and rinse off skin with warm soapy water

⌖ Finish off your routine with a deeply moisturising cream or lotion