(DIY) Coconut and Lavender Night Cream

So I know it’s not Monday but this post is linking in with Trish at Love, Laughter, and Insanity for Inspiration on Monday because I love the idea of getting to share a little bit of the rest of my life – including my recent attempts at do-it-myself skincare. If you are feeling creative or crafty, head over and share…

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It seems everywhere you look on the internet and in magazines at the moment, someone is extolling the virtues of coconut oil. There is nothing, it seems, it can’t be used for, from cooking your tea to boosting your energy levels; helping you lose weight to being the cream in your coffee.

Its skin care benefits are some of the most often quoted and it was these that caught my eye as I have been slowly replacing my store-bought lotions and potions with home-made ones. So, always one to jump on a bandwagon and in need of a new night cream, I thought I’d give this wonder oil a go*

Initially, I used the oil neat. My skin did feel skin softer the next morning but I found that it didn’t absorb as well as I had hoped/expected. Marks on my pillow seemed to suggest a fair bit wasn’t absorbing at all. I don’t know if this is because of the type of oil I bought (though it was recommended for hair and skin) or if my skin isn’t dry enough to soak up the amount of oil I used.

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Next, I tried cutting it. I use Sweet Almond Oil as a carrier for essential oils and have actually found it does a good job moisturising my skin when added to my bath. Liz Earle, who I am a huge fan of, recommends it in her book Skin Secrets. Sweet Almond oil contains vitamins E and D, is lightweight and doesn’t clog pores. It is also very mild so non-irritating for sensitive skin.

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This worked much better. It felt lighter on my skin and absorbed much more quickly. Again, my skin felt softer on a morning and there was no marks on my pillow, suggesting more had been absorbed.

The only other issue I had was the smell. It smelt vaguely of coconut but only just. I must admit to liking my products to smell nice (although, strangely, I don’t like to wear perfumes). It makes them feel a little bit more special, so I added a favourite, lavender. This also seemed appropriate for a night cream as it helps you relax, unwind and get to sleep.

I’ve been using this “recipe” for about four weeks now and it seems to be working well…at least for me. I can’t say my wrinkles have disappeared (another claimed benefit) but it’s possible my skin is a little firmer, especially around the eyes, and no new lines have appeared so that can only be a good thing.

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If you would like to try, simply combine:

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sweet almond oil
3 drops of lavender oil

This should give you a two week supply.

As coconut oil is solid (hence me calling it cream), you will need to melt it before use. I simply put the mixing bowl I’m using in a slightly larger bowl of warm water and it melts in minutes with a little gentle stirring.

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Once combined, put in an airtight jar and let solidify – this will take a couple of hours.

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To use, take a pea sized amount, rub between your palms to melt then apply to your face as you would any other cream/lotion.

The next day, wake up looking 20 years younger ūüėČ

Emma

*I say jump but it was more a cautious step. Because there was so much information out there it was hard to know what to believe so I made sure I read up on coconut oil on sites I know and trus before using it. The consensus on these was that whilst most claims are unproved it is known to be good for dry skin and has no known side effects when used as a moisturiser and the like.

Library Love: Library Challenge Update

I am a huge fan and user of my local library and, earlier this year, I signed up for Sheila at Book Journey’s Library Challenge. There weren’t any check-ins or requirements other than committing to reading a certain number of library books and supporting your local library as a result. I went for 30 books and, halfway through the year, I’m feeling slightly chuffed to be just over halfway towards my goal. You can find the full list of books here but, as I’m six months in I thought I would pick and share my favourite six books to date…

1. Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood. To be fair, Margaret Atwood can do little, if anything, wrong in my eyes and this collection of stories were no expection. A real mix of dark tales.

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2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I had heard a lot of positive comments on this book before I read it and had half expected to be disappointed as a result because my expectations were high. Thankfully I wasn’t. Instead I got completely lost in a post-apocalyptic future where people still performed Shakespeare and had hope.

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3. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. A book I first read 25 years ago and was happy to see has stood the test of time and memories. A dark and compelling tale.

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4. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro. This was the first Alice Munro I had read (I’ve just finished my second) and I wish I’d discovered her sooner because I love the way she tells a story and how she writes powerful female characters.

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5. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. Another I’d heard a lot about and wasn’t disappointed by. A different take on a detective story (if you can call it that) and an insight into what it might be like to have dementia.

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6. Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway. I picked this because of the title and the cover – a guitar pick – with no idea what to expect. I loved every minute of it and Claire DeWitt is one of my new favourite characters, a complete one-off.

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With a big stack of books from the library still to read, I should make my goal no problems. Hopefully there will be some more great reads in there!  Wish me luck.

Emma

(DIY) Yoghurt and Honey Cleanser

I have to admit I love lotions and potions, anything¬†to make me look younger, prettier, brighter (…you get the picture) and can’t resist buying more than I need most times. A few years ago, I started to use organic products when I could and noticed a real difference. They do, however, tend to make my bank balance groan and I have been feeling particularly broke of late. So, following on from my success at making my own bath oil, I decided to try making something else. The only criteria was that it was easy….which is how I came to start using my own yoghurt and honey cleanser.

One of the most difficult things I actually found was finding the right recipes out there – there are so many. A lot also seem quite complicated. As I was new to this I wanted simple. I also wanted to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. In the end, I decided if I couldn’t find the ingredients in my local Sainsburys or Holland & Barrett, it wasn’t for me. The Yoghurt & Honey cleanser was, therefore, a perfect starting point. This recipe is my own but a result messing around with a number I found on Pinterest.

To make your own mix:

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Use a pin to burst the vitamin e capsule and squeeze into the mixture.

The lavender oil I added as I didn’t like the smell of the cleanser otherwise and is optional.

Store the mixture in an air-tight container in the fridge. I have kept mine for a week. Some sites I have seen say to make larger quantities and to keep it for longer but I wasn’t comfortable with that.

Use about a teaspoon and massage into your face. Wipe off using a muslin cloth and warm water.

Emma

p.s. I have worked out that this costs me about 50p a week or ¬£26 a year…not bad at all!

Linking in with Trish at Love, Laughter, and Insanity for Inspiration on Monday.
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(DIY) Indulgent Bath Oil

Recently, I got a sample set of Balm Balm bath oils for my birthday. I love bath oils (possibly because I’m lazy and it means I don’t have to remember to moisturise separately) and these were great; they smelt amazing and my skin felt really soft afterwards. My three favourites were Relax, Calm, and Indulge. Unfortunately they were tiny – there was really only enough for a couple of baths each.

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Because I’m feeling more than a bit broke at the moment thanks to having recently booked two holidays, I have been doing my best to recreate them at home. So far, I think I have “Indulge” pretty much there. Thankfully, the oils they use are listed on the web and I played with the combination until it was as good as I could get it. I didn’t have the same carrier oils but grapeseed oil works just fine.

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So, if you would like an indulgent bath tonight, you will need:

30ml of grapeseed or other light carrier oil, e.g. sweet almond
6 drops of Clary Sage
5 drops of Ylang Ylang
4 drops of Patchouli

Mix together in a glass bottle, ideally dark, or store in a cool dark place when not in use. You should get about five baths from this.

The oils themselves are all “soothing” but work in provide slightly different benefits:

Clary Sage: Soothes the nerves and aids a deep and restful sleep
Patchouli: Grounding, reviving and therapeutic (in times of shock). It is good for dry skin.
Ylang Ylang: Sensual and floral, it soothes the nerves and relieves emotional stress.

Enjoy!

p.s., although I have taken a course on aromatherapy and use essential oils regularly, I am no expert. If you haven’t used oils before or want to know more about how best to use them safely, I’ve found this site really useful: www.aromaweb.com

Linking in (belatedly) with Trish at Love, Laughter, and Insanity for Inspiration on Monday.
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