DIY Uplifting Geranium and Orange Candle

DIY Uplifting Geranium and Orange Candle

I’ve been keeping these little blue glass jars aside for making candles for what must be six months, and I’m proud to say that I finally got my act together and used them, as intended, to make candles! I’ve been such a fan of sleepy scents recently (see my lavender and bergamot sleep spray) but with these candles I wanted to try something a little different, creating an uplifting, reviving aroma rather than a totally calming, bedtime one. I must admit I’ve taken total inspiration from Neal’s Yard here, one of my favourite products of theirs is the geranium and orange shower gel, so I gathered the ingredients (plus the necessary essential oils from my collection) and set to work making a candle that would bring my desired scent to life.

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One-Minute, Emergency Meditation Routine

One-minute, emergency meditation routine

Most of the time I’ll meditate because I feel like meditating. I’ll meditate in the morning before work because I feel like it. I’ll meditate in the evening before bed, again, because I feel like it. The times where I actually need to meditate, where I need to take a few moments to step back, breathe and reset myself are more rare, but I have to say that it’s at those times I find that meditation comes into its own, truly showing me what an indispensable part of my life it’s become. Moments of anger, frustration, confusion or sadness can come at the most inconvenient points in the day, points at which I don’t have instant access to my Headspace app or the time to sit for twenty minutes with my eyes closed. When my brain feels as if it’s about to implode but a full meditation session isn’t possible, I turn to this one-minute, three-step, emergency meditation routine; I’ll slip away for a few moments, carry out the steps, and come back with a clear head and refreshed mindset.

Before you begin, find a safe, private space where you’re comfortable meditating and know you won’t be disturbed. Sitting or standing, close your eyes and work your way through the routine, spending however long you like on each section – as little as 20 seconds per step can work wonders! 

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Almond, Cinnamon and Goji Berry Granola

Almond, cinnamon and goji berry granola

I’ve tried and failed so many times to make my own granola. To be fair, I’ve never taken the process that seriously, quite often simply stirring up a bunch of oats with a few almonds, coconut oil and honey, shoving it all in the oven and hoping for the best. Each time I’d somehow expect a different outcome, but without fail I’d end up with a flavourless, sometimes-burnt mix that’s only destiny was to be thrown directly in the bin. Seeing as my oven-made granola was turning out to be a failure, I thought I’d give making it on the hob a go; turns out, I wildly prefer this method. Here you’re totally in control, able to watch over the mix to prevent it burning and only adding in ingredients exactly when they need to be added. This creates a gloriously nutty, cinnamony mix (the smell while cooking is just heavenly), the addition of goji berries giving the perfect amount of chew. Enjoy!

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DIY Lavender and Bergamot Sleep Spray

DIY lavender and bergamot sleep spray (with printable labels)

Towards the end of last year I realised that, in order to fully embrace life and appreciate every moment, I needed to sort out my sleeping pattern; for too long I’d been sleeping late and rising early, spending my days in this permanent zombified state, constantly wishing I was back in bed. I’ve already written a post on my quest to create a healthy bedtime routine, at one point mentioning how I love to use lavender, primarily via a sleep spray/pillow mist, to prep me for bed and send me into a calm, relaxing night of sleep.

I’ve used and loved a number of pillow mists in the past, most containing lavender as one of the primary ingredients but, though these are certainly lovely and I’m not ruling out using them again, on closer inspection they also tend to contain a whole array of other random, synthetic stuff. Though I’m sure these ingredients aren’t going to be harmful, it struck me how easy it would be to create a pillow mist myself from scratch, using only essential oils and water. Making my own mist would mean that I knew exactly what I was spraying onto my pillow each night, also allowing me to experiment with my own scent combinations. Lavender was of course my starting point, but I’ve also incorporated bergamot essential oil into my personal sleep spray; it’s an uplifting scent that blends so well with the lavender to help you feel calm and content as you fall asleep.

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Energising Avocado, Spinach, Kiwi and Lime Smoothie (with Chia Seeds)

green-smoothie

Following on from last week’s chia-up your smoothie post I’ve got the recipe for the beautiful green smoothie I used to illustrate it… it’s a good’un!

Ingredients (serves two)

– 1 banana
– 1 avocado
– 2 kiwis
– handful of spinach leaves
– juice of 1 lime
– 2 tbsp chia seeds (+ some to sprinkle on top!)
– water/coconut water
– ice

green-smoothie-2

Make

1. Chop up the peeled banana/kiwi, de-seed/scoop out the avocado and add it all to the blender along with your spinach leaves, lime juice and chia seeds.

2. Switch on the blender, adding a quick splash of water (or coconut water if you have it) to ease the blending process. For a nicely chilled smoothie, chuck in an ice cube or two.

3. Serve with a sprinkling of chia seeds and, as always, enjoy!

Chive Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs & Coconut-Oil ‘Hollandaise’

salmon-egg-chive-hollandaise-pancakes-3

Pancake day is right around the corner, so I wanted to share a pancake recipe… but not just any pancake recipe. This recipe needed to be utterly spectacular. I’m talking blow-you-away, audible “mmmm” levels of delicious. So I gathered my favourite brunchy flavours and created this: American style chive pancakes with smoked salmon, poached eggs and a beautiful coconut-oil ‘hollandaise’ sauce, finished off with a sprinkling of lamb’s lettuce and black pepper. So, grab your friends this Pancake Day/Sunday/any day, serve these up with a few Bloody Marys and enjoy your epic brunch. Cheers!

Makes roughly 6 medium pancakes. Serves 2.

Ingredients (pancakes)

– 2 medium eggs
– 100g plain flour
– 70ml milk
– ½ tsp baking powder
– ½ pinch salt
– handful chopped chives
– vegetable oil (to cook)

Ingredients (coconut-oil ‘hollandaise’) – adapted from Cook.Nourish.Glow by Amelia Freer

– 2 egg yolks
– ¼ tsp dijon mustard
– 50g water
– ¼ tsp mild curry powder
– 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
– ½ tsp lemon juice
– zest of ¼ a lemon

Ingredients (poached eggs)

– 2 eggs
– 1 tbsp white whine vinegar

Everything else

– 120g smoked salmon
– lamb’s lettuce, to garnish
– black pepper

salmon-egg-chive-hollandaise-pancakes salmon-egg-chive-hollandaise-pancakes-4

Make

1. First off, make the pancake mixture. Begin by separating the eggs, putting the yolks into your mixing bowl and the whites into another a smaller bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and milk into the mixing bowl with the yolks and mix to form a smooth batter. Now, in your separate bowl containing the whites, whisk them with the salt until they form stiff peaks (be patient, this will take quite a while!). Fold this into the batter, along with the chopped chives. 

2. Now we’re going to begin the ‘hollandaise’. Heat a medium-size glass bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Add the egg yolks, mustard, water and curry powder and whisk continuously over the heat for a few minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. 

3. Once the mixture begins to thicken, slowly add the melted coconut oil and continue whisking until you have the ‘hollandaise’ sauce. It should coat the back of a spoon and be of pouring consistency. Take the bowl off the heat before whisking in the lemon juice and zest. Set aside, covering the bowl with foil to keep the sauce warm. 

4. Set up a small pan of water just under ½ full on the stove and begin bringing it to the boil. This will be for the poached eggs.

5. While the water is beginning to boil, heat a medium frying pan over a medium-high heat. Using kitchen paper, wipe the pan with vegetable oil (you want an even, light covering). Once hot, spoon on 2/3 dollops of the pancake mixture and fry for a couple of minutes, before flipping over and frying the other side. Continue until you have used up all the pancake mix.

6. The water for the eggs should be boiling by now, so it’s time to add the vinegar and lower the heat so that the water is simmering gently. Crack eggs individually into a small bowl or ramekin before sliding them into the simmering water one at a time. Leave to cook for around three minutes. If you’re a multi-tasker, carry out the egg steps towards the end of the pancake frying, though if you’re a novice poacher (like myself, this was my very first time) I’d suggest taking it slow.

7. To serve, layer up your pancakes, alternating each with a slice of smoked salmon. Remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, and perch on top of the pancake/salmon pile. Pour on the coconut-oil ‘hollandaise’ and garnish with a few leaves of lamb’s lettuce and a sprinkling of black pepper. Enjoy!