You know the weather’s bad when even your two-year old collie dog refuses to go outside. The recent gales have left havoc behind them, with fences and trees down and debris everywhere, and our list of jobs on the farm and around the house is about as fierce as the wind was. In among it all, we have a puckle of pure breed Suffolk sheep lambing in February - except for one, who has already had a perfect wee lady, born in the wind. A reminder that everything comes in its own time, and so will the spring and eventually summer.
The signs of spring are everywhere, if you turn your face away from the snow and hail: lambs,
snowdrops and tiny buds on the trees. Today the soap room even smells like spring. Making a fresh batch of whipped body butters, I can indulge in the scents of rose, ylang-ylang and orange blossom, of patchouli, lavender, and camomile. If I close my eyes I can see a garden, I can feel the sun on my face and I can ignore the sound of the wind, for a little while. Essential oils are a blessing, capturing the true essence of plants and flowers and the goodness they offer our bodies and minds.
The benefits of using essential oils are well documented, and you can take advantage of these benefits by choosing natural products like the Shepherds Cottage body whips and bath melts, which contain quality essential oils.
If you are looking to match essential oils with a particular skin type, here is a handy guide:
For oily skin, you could try citrus oils like orange, mandarin and lemon, or geranium, as it can help to re-balance oil levels.
Flowers are the key for dry skin: choose calming rose or moisture-retaining neroli.
Chamomile is the universally soothing go-to essential oil for sensitive skin, and for problem or
blemished skin you could try the oils known to be deeply cleansing, like cedarwood atlas, geranium (which is said to balance sebum production) or grapefruit, which can aid detoxification.
Rose and patchouli both have anti-inflammatory properties, and lavender is a trusted all-rounder – calming and balancing for your body and mind.
And Valentine’s Day is almost here, a celebration of love and lovers just when we need something to chase the winter blues away. For a quick DIY gift this Valentine’s Day, you can use essential oils to make a romantic massage oil that both you and your partner will love – not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day. It contains Sandalwood essential oil, which adds an exotic, sweet depth to the spicy florals and earthy tones of rose and patchouli.
It is important to dilute essential oils before applying them to your skin, and a little research will tell you how to do this safely. Here though is a wee recipe made with oils you will probably find in your local health food shop or chemist.
Valentine’s Day Special Massage Oil
15 drops rose absolute
10 drops sandalwood
3 drops patchouli
250ml sweet almond oil, or a blend of sweet almond and jojoba oils.
Combine in an opaque bottle 24 hours in advance to give the essential oils time to blend.