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Last weekend I enjoyed two fabulous days on Aromantic’s Natural Skin Care Courses  which are run by the very knowledgeable owner; Kolbjorn Borseth.  He is a man on a mission to reveal the secrets of how natural cosmetics and skin care products are made, empower you to make your own at home, affordably, ethically and naturally, he provides up to date information on the natural raw materials and aims to help as many people as possible with their different skin conditions and problems. You can find out more from his website here.

I attended the Beginner’s day and Intermediate day. Having learnt so much and being inspired by it all I have even booked myself onto the Advanced Day course in a few months time. There are many more courses that cover specific products or theory in more depth including the cosmetic legal regulations when making your own products to sell.

There is a lot of information to take in during each day and you then realise that you are learning just the basics and that you can go much deeper into the raw material properties, methods used, product variations etc.

The basic format was to learn about the theory first, then make a product in groups (four in each group for this particular course), then a question and answer session was held on that particular product.

On Day One we learnt about the raw materials used in skincare products, then we made creams, shampoo,  aloe vera gel, eye gel and lip balms. We could experiment with different essential oil blends for many of the products.

On Day Two we learnt about various methods of treating eczema including how to balance acid and alkaline foods in our diets to help prevent various ailments/diseases -this was a fascinating topic. We also covered how to use herbs to treat eczema including how to make a compress which was actually demonstrated on one of the course participants who had eczema. We then went on to make two types of cream; one to treat ‘dry’ eczema and one for ‘weepy’ eczema. After lunch, we made face cleansers and face masks using green, red and white clays. We then made two types of eye gel and some hair conditioner.  Phew!

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The photos above shows all the different products we made over the two days: shampoo for dry hair, shampoo for oily hair, conditioner, 4 lip balms, aloe vera gel, dry skin cream (2 pots), eye gel, vitamin A cream (for dry eczema), active cream for eczema, green, pink, whie clay face masks, eye gel, chamomile eye gel.

So far I’ve tried out the shampoo and conditioner which were great, the dry skin cream and eye gel and I can’t wait to have a go at making some fizzy bath bombs, liquid soap and lots more!

My aim is to replace all the shop bought toiletries with my own homemade ones, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now I know even more about some of the potentially damaging/ineffective constituents they contain.

If you’re interested in this topic or want me to post more about this area, feel free to leave a comment below or let me know what in particular you’d like to know/are interested in.

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My new hop plant seems to be settling in well into the herb garden. I’m training it to grow up and over the arbour to create some cover and shade. This variety is a dwarf one called Prima Donna but it will be tall enough for this purpose.

I’m looking forward to having some hop flowers next year to dry for use in various craft activities.

I had to buy dried hop flowers this year when I made the hop and lavender pillow featured in the series ‘Grow Your Own Drugs’. It did turn out well and my mum tried it recently and declared she ‘slept like a log’. Hops have historically been used to treat insomnia and I have some flowers left over so will be making myself one too with hopefully the same results!

I bought the plant shown above and the dried hop flowers from Essentially Hops, they are great quality.

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Just wanted to let you know about a free herb plant and vegetable seed collection on offer from the Guardian newspaper today.

It’s on page 28.  You get five herb plants (parsley, oregano, mint, sage and thyme) plus 5 packets of vegetable seeds (spinach, lettuce, carrots, broccoli and radish.  You just pay the cost of postage and packaging £3.49.

There are also some other plants available if you’re interested, eg  Coleus Canina Scaredy Cat – apparently the scent deters cats – I’ve yet to try this one.

You can order my telephone if you’re interested in ordering at least £10 worth of the other plants on offer. To get the free herb plants I think you need to use the order form in the newspaper.

You can see more photos and details here.

In tomorrow’s Observer you can claim five free tomato plants and fertiliser.

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