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.

DIY lavender and bergamot sleep spray (with printable labels)DIY lavender and bergamot sleep spray (with printable labels)

Ingredients/supplies

spray/mist bottle (can probably be found in the travel section of your supermarket)
– filtered water
lavender essential oil (I recommend Holland & Barrett for all essential oil needs)
bergamot essential oil
A4 single label sheets
– printable labels (small or large)

Make

1. Remove the lid of the spray bottle and add the essential oils. For my 50ml bottles, I’ve found that 30 drops of the bergamot and 20 of the lavender works well, though experiment with ratios/amounts to suit your own preferences (I suggest keeping it subtle rather than overpowering).

2. Fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water.

3. Shake well before using and spray sparingly to avoid a damp pillow. Sweet dreams!

(4.) If you’re planning to give these as a gifts (or simply want to jazz things up for yourself!), feel free to use my bottle labels! Download the labels (small or large) and print the page onto an A4 label sheet (not one with separate labels, a single label per page one, like these) before using a ruler, craft knife and board to slice along the dotted lines. Attach the individual labels to each bottle and you’re good to go.

4 Time-Saving Kitchen Essentials

4 time-saving kitchen essentials

There is little I find more relaxing, exciting and inspiring than a couple of hours spent in the kitchen. I love experimenting with new flavours and ingredients, conjuring up ideas for my next blog post, and I could quite happily spend all my days surrounded by pots and pans, only stopping to eat/photograph my latest creation.

Despite my love of preparing food, I will admit that I’m absolutely more than willing to take a few shortcuts here and there. Nothing that’ll impair the taste or nourishment of a dish, but I can appreciate any tool or trick that’ll make my life easier and/or spare a bit of time. Here are my top 4 time-saving kitchen essentials:

1. Measuring cups/spoons I don’t know how I managed before I bought these! So many recipes I come across and want to try out/adapt are measured in cups, tablespoons or teaspoons, and it’s a pain (complete and utter headache) having to convert these measurements into grams according to each ingredient. Investing in a set of measuring cups and spoons will make recipes using those measurements a total breeze, removing the need to faff around with converting and weighing ingredients. 

2. Herb scissors If you’re not familiar, herb scissors are just like regular scissors but with multiple blades. They make the fiddly job of chopping herbs so much faster, let alone easier! Lakeland have a pair very similar to mine for just under £8.

3. A tea timer Not quite a cooking essential, but one that has come to form an integral part of my daily routine. I used to be a ‘pour in the hot water, squeeze the teabag against the side of the mug for a few seconds and move on’ kind of tea drinker, too impatient to let the bag naturally do its work. I won’t lie, there is the odd day where I’ll revert back to this habit, but on the most part I’ll now set my JING tea timer to count down the three minutes needed for the teabag to infuse the water with flavour; I get a moment to stop and relax, and my cuppa is perfectly brewed each and every time.

4. A spiralizer Yep, I gave in to this cult tool. Mainly because I wanted to make my banging recipe for avocado spaghetti even healthier. Simply pop the veg into the spiralizer, turn the handle and soon you’ll have a curly mass of spaghetti-like veggie strands. Squashes, courgettes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, beetroots and so many more can all be transformed within seconds. 

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!