We moved house and we have got a beautiful terraced garden as part of the package. It is a lot of work to do to maintain it, to plant and re-plant, but the rewards are great. There is such a nice feeling when you see your lettuce growing, your strawberries ripening, small trees with new green leaves and so on. It is also quite expensive to look after a garden like that, but it is worth when you know that you planted once and you keep harvesting...
We feel blessed with what we have.
You could find mint in over 30 varieties including spearmint, peppermint, mountain mint, lemon mint, apple mint and chocolate mint.
Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, smoothies, cookies, candy, chocolate and ice cream. Mint is also used in mouthwash, breath fresheners, toothpaste and chewing gum.
How to make mint tea
To make fresh mint tea, pick fresh leaves and steep in hot water for ten minutes before drinking. Always use honey to sweeten your tea, do not use sugar! Apart from the great taste you'd like to have after dinner, mint tea is used to stop stomachache and indigestion. It is a digestive tonic that helps prevent vomiting and promotes bile flow, so good in pregnancy. Mint relaxes the peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, increases urine flow and cools the internal organs.
I know you use your wheat bags, but mint also is useful as a compress on inflamed joints and painful muscles.
The essential oil of mint is good for bug bites, stings and other itchy skin irritations. The mint oil may also be used as a mosquito repellant.
Mint essential oil is also used in massage for relieving tension
headaches, fevers and menstrual cramps (always dilute with carrier oil before using in massage).
Mint is a fast growing perennial that spreads by underground runners. Mint grows well in pots or other out-of-the-way areas such as along fence lines.
Mints make good companion plants, repelling insect pests and attracting
MInt drink recipe
A few slices of cucumber, a bit of sugar, a few leaves of mint and a blast of soda make a refreshing, homemade soda pop.
There are a few varieties of basil. Sweet basil is a flavour most commonly associated with Italian dishes. It has spicy overtones of aniseed. Basil complements tomatoes, green vegetables, soups, salads, fish, eggs, cheese, lamb, pizza and pasta sauces.
Basil goes very well with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and a grind of black pepper. This is a Caprese salad - great in summer when tomatoes are red, jucy and full of flavour! See recipe below.
Back to our basil now- there is also ice cream made with basil - give it a try when you find it, I heard it is very refreshing.
Basil has proven strong antibacterial and antispasmodic properties. In the past it has been used as a remedy for bladder and kidney ailments, and as a remedy for chronic diarrhoea and dysentery.
Sweet basil applied to insect stings or venomous bites is said to draw out poison and reduce itching.
Insalata Caprese is one of the simplest and most delicious of salads. It requires only the right ingredients and the right season. This is basically a summer dish: it should be made only with local vine-ripened tomatoes that are red, juicy and flavorful but not overly soft, and preferably unrefrigerated.
The next ingredient should be truly fragrant, flavorful young basil: green basil grown in the earth and sun. The next essential ingredient is good quality fresh, moist mozzarella. Good fresh cow's milk mozzarella does just as well. Finally, you need genuine extra-virgin olive oil. With a good quality fresh bread and a glass of cool or slightly chilled white wine, this makes an excellent summer lunch or, in a small portion, an ideal first course for a summer meal.
A while ago an Australian woman died when a wheat bag placed in her bed started a fire. This has generated a wealth of media coverage. Fire Services investigated the fire cause and the wheat bags risks and warned people to be careful when using these devices. Choice, a consumer advocacy group in Australia, did a couple of extreme tests in order to highlight the dangers wheat bags can pose when misused.
The wheat bags have been used for many years as an inexpensive, convenient and reusable heat treatment for sore muscles, aches and pains and also as a winter warmer.
The wheat bags can be heated in the microwave oven between 1 to 3 minutes depending on the microwave wattage and size of wheat bag. You usually find the instructions in the manufacturer's package.
However, wheat retains heat for a long time and the bags can be dangerous if used incorrectly.
If a wheat bag is over-heated the likelihood of ignition is enhanced if the wheat bag is insulated with blankets or a quilt when being used to warm a bed.
In addition, burns to the skin may occur with an over-heated wheat bag especially if it is being used on a baby, young child or an elderly person as they have a high level of skin sensitivity.
WHEAT BAGS - 13 RULES FOR SAFE USE
I was thinking to write about the things I hate the most when I get a massage during winter.
But now I think it is best to write about the most amazing massage experience I can get when the cold season is on.
Well, here are some highlights:
1. I like to have a hot tea while I wait to enter the massage room.
2. I like the whole place, but especially the massage room, to be heated and smell nice. This is how my body rests and relaxes.
3. I like the massage table to have a soft and warm cover on. I know some massage businesses even use wheat bags/heated packs to warm up their massage tables. Good on them!
4. I love when the massage therapist has warm and soft hands.
5. I like when the therapist uses pre-massage and during massage warmth (wheat bags, heat packs, towels). Especially when they are placed on my neck or my back or even both! This is how muscles can relax and prepare for a better experience.
6. My hands and feet are almost always cold during winter. I love when my feet and hands are wrapped in something warm (wheat bags, heat packs, towels) during the massage.
7. I feel great when I can close my eyes and even get half-asleep. That's why an eye pack filled with grains which can be slightly heated makes wonders. It carefully soothes my eyes. Lavender infused is even more magical.
This is my ideal massage experience during winter. This is how I believe massage therapists would make me feel nurtured and taken care of during these so unfriendly and cold months of the year.
What about you? What are your good or bad massage experiences during winter?
Suggest your favourite massage therapist to have a look at my products. They might find some interesting products to make you feel great.
I also have some specials for them because we both care about them!
I knew lavender has a relaxing effect, but haven't realised until yesterday how true this is.
I was wanting to make some lavender infused wheat bags and I got well prepared: I bought a nice purple fabric and the best smelling and purest lavender essential oil.
I've only made a couple of wheat bags to gift to some friends and test the market but this was enough to inhale lavender for about an hour or so. Magically I felt so refreshed and relaxed the whole day, not to mention that everyone in the house got to smell the unbelievable aroma. This is how I got curious to find out more about this amazing plant, to share with you.
Lavender = mint?
Lavender is a calming, sweetly aromatic and refreshing herb that comes in 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family.
The only one
Someone said that if you are to use only one essential oil that should be lavender. Here are just a few benefits and uses:
Some bake with it. Some drink lavender teas or lemonades.
Some use it as an insect repellent because moths and mosquitos hate lavender scent.
Some always have lavender oil in their first aid kit. It heals minor burns, insect bites and headaches. It is also good for cuts and wounds as lavender soothes pain, prevents bacterial infection and aids scar-free healing.
Lavender is also a great relief for cold and flu and when you have a blocked nose. Just inhale a few oil drops poured on a tissue. Or do a lavender steam inhalation: add 4 to 6 drops to a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head and breathe in the vapour while keeping your eyes shut. That's highly recommended by aromatherapists in case of sinusitis as well.
Do you have tired feet?
Add 5 drops of lavender oil to a hot foot bath and relax while your feet soak in it.
Massage a few drops into the forehead, temples and nape of the neck and you will feel better right away.
Stressed and anxious?
Aromatherapists recommend you to pour some lavender oil in your oil burner as lavender is one of the most useful essences for the relief of anxiety and stress.
Aching muscles and feeling tired?
When you have tight and sore muscles just massage the lavender massage oil into your skin.
Or you can take a lavender bath - just add 5-6 drops of essential oil in the running water and mix well. This is great for aching muscles, stress relief and relaxation.
Whenever you feel tired, have sore muscles and need a bit of "pick-me-up", use a lavender wheat bag. A couple of minutes in the microwave and is ready to be put to good use. Order now your one!
Note: If you are pregnant or have other medical conditions, ask your doctor before using lavender.
Massage is always good, almost a blessing for tired bodies and stiff muscles.
Massage helps reduce muscle tension and stiffness by increasing blood flow to your muscles. It also helps you relax and improve your mental energy.
Massage therapy can be effective for a great range of conditions such as back and neck pains, arthritis, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, circulatory problems and recovery from sports injuries.
Unfortunately we don't always have time and money to go to a therapist.
Lucklily we have some help right here, always with us: our hands.
I am sure all of us have done self-massage even without knowing. When you have a headache what do you do? Rub your forehead, right? When you wear high heels, what do you do from time to time? I personally take them off and quickly massage my feet. Same when we use hand cream - we feel like insisting a little bit on our hands.
Well, let's learn some simple massage techniques for neck and shoulders.
Before you start your self-massage, use your wheat bag to warm up the area and prepare the muscles for what's next.
Every now and then, take a break from working at your computer. You feel tired and stiff? Clasp your fingers behind your neck, pressing the heels of your palms into your neck on either side of your spine. Massage the heels of your hands up and down slowly. Then place the fingers of your right hand on your trapezius muscle along the left side of your neck just below the base of your skull. Press into that muscle, with your head to the left, and rub downward until you reach your shoulder. Repeat three times, then switch sides.
Finish by stretching your head back as much as you are comfortable. This also stretches out the front of your neck, which tends to get tight during deskwork. Hold for 20 seconds.
Give yourself a bear hug to relax away shoulder tension. Cross your arms
over your chest and grab a shoulder with either hand. Squeeze each shoulder and release three times. Then move your hands down your arms, squeezing and releasing until you get to your wrists. Three times again.
How are you feeling now?
Buy now a wheat bag if you don't have one, it will fast relieve your pain and relax your muscles for your self massage.
Did you know there is an yearly national cherry spitting championship in Cromwell, New Zealand? Well, the record of this year was 11.5m and the winner was a Cromwell resident. ''You know it's a good spit when you hear it whistle past your ear,'' group chairman Adrian Somerville said as he measured how far the stones had been propelled (Otago Daily Times). Ok, this is the funny side of the cherry stones, let's see what seriously good things they can do.
I know I could fill my therapeutic bags with cherry stones as well. Actually I would love to find a source in New Zealand for these wonderful heat and cold keepers :-). The effect of a warm bag filled with cherry stones uses the same principle as for the wheat bag and is based on the fact that the absolutely dry cherry-stone loads heat and gives off this heat totally well-directed to the affected parts of the body. Well, while searching on the internet, I found a nice little story about the Swiss tradition related to this matter. In Switzerland, they've been using cherry stones filled
pillows as hot therapy pads for ages. The cherry stones are a natural by-product sourced from the manufacturers of jams and kirsch liqueur. Yumm! Traditionally, the Swiss distilliery workers would place small bags of cherry stones on the factory stoves to use at the end of the day on their stiff shoulders and aching backs - and probably to keep their hands warm on the way home too.
Furthermore the cherry-stone bag is suited as helping device for laying older people or pregnant women as well as for finger or feet massage, especially if it is the matter of restoring the limbs' movement ability, respectively activating it for children.
Until I find a good source of cherry stones, my wheat bags - New Zealand traditional thermal pads - are the ideal natural pain relief just at your fingertips.
I am passionate about healthy and ecological living, simple and natural things that give pure happiness and children's laughter.