06 Sep Holidays: sun, henna, travels & herbs (:
I’ve had a wonderful and amazing holidays at the Croatian seaside which explains why I wasn’t able to keep you up to date with my herbal stuff. It was so nice that the only thing I could do was to embrace and enjoy the nature 🙂 If you don’t believe me, just look at this photo and see it for yourself 🙂 I’ve been diving into the sea in the quiet mornings, walking onto the hills and eating amazing sea food as well as enjoying the culture. But that is not all I’ve been doing …
In this post you can find beautiful photos from above the France and Croatia, nature and herbs from Slovenia, info on the making of the henna tattoos, macerated oils on the REAL sun (and by real I mean really strong sun on the south), and review on my natural sunscreens and how and why to use Aloe Vera. Here we go! 🙂
The last thing I did before I left for my holidays was sent this wonderful parcel to the customer abroad. I really hope she enjoys the contents. This is my first box of natural products to land in Germany 🙂 I have sent my products before to Italy and Slovenia but always through friends. Fingers crossed that Royal mail does the job. 🙂
Soon after packing it was time to get on the plane and here are two lovely photos from the above.
On the first one is lovely France …
… and just before landing there’s a beautiful view on the Kornati, Croatia’s National Park consisting of islands.
The second I unpacked and was able to breath the fresh air at the sea side, I got on to work: I prepared macerated oils of Calendula (Calendula officinalis), St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) and Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) to use them both as oils and as part of healing creams and balms. Why only use the heating method when I was down in the South where sun is really strong and on top of that, my vacation was for 2 weeks? That is the time the oil needs to gather the healing properties form these lovely herbs. I exposed them on the terrace and when the sun was becoming more gentle, I would place them on a windowsill to get the best out of the herbs. 🙂 This is the first time I was using Mullein; I’ve read about its amazing properties for the ear infections, piles, wounds and eczema. Can’t wait to try it out; I’ve got an order on this one but will store a small quantity for myself just in case 🙂
While enjoying the sun, the trees and the sea, I managed to make a henna tattoo on my foot. I loved it! But being a lot in the sea, it lasted only for a couple of days. It’s very easy to make it: all you need is henna powder, water, something to draw it with (I’m still discovering the best tool for that) a calm hand and a relaxing environment where it is ok to lean on something even if that means that it will leave a stain. Being on the beach, I figured it’s a perfect spot to do it 🙂
Review on my natural sunscreens
Remember the post on my recipes for the natural suncreens? I managed to test them in practice, on the strong sun in the south. The high SPF (SPF 14 – 21) worked amazingly! The only downside I noticed was a lot of acne on my chest area. However, I also used it on my shoulders and face and these two areas were completely fine, no present acne whatsoever. I used this one throughout my exposure on the sun and started using the medium SPF only later on for the face and chest. The medium SPF (12 – 18) was mainly used for the arms and the back. I was really happy with this product as well. Unlike the above mentioned sunscreen, this one was an oil and not a cream. It had a refreshing scent of a peppermint and my tan is amazing. The last, but not least was a cream with low SPF of 7 which was easy to use and spread but I would recommend this one only to those who already have a lot of tan and for the last couple of days, when your skin is used to being exposed. I used it only for the arms and legs in the last five days. That being said about the natural sunscreens, I also included tomatoes and white & green tea in my diet to protect me even greater. It was yummy! 🙂
Unfortunately I made a mistake of applying the low SPF onto my legs in the first few days of my vacation. Despite being exposed on the sun for only 30 minutes (give or take 10 minutes), I could feel that it was too much of a strong sun for my skin. On top of that, it was between midday and 1 pm when sun is the strongest. It is easy to forget that the sun is so strong if you just came out of water and love the feel of the warm and slightly hot sun rays on your skin. It’s like a nice and welcome touch of a sun and it does feel amazing. That being said, I haven’t been on such a strong sun for two years, therefore next time I’ll be more careful about the exposure at that time in the day. Anyhow, it turned out ok due to the
Aloe Vera I had with me. My mum was so kind to lend it to me and I absolutely adored having an adult Aloe Vera. Check out the gel on the pictures! I cut off the leave, placed it in the fridge and used it later on whenever needed. As seen on the last picture, that is how I used it, to make the best out of it. Remember:
Aloe Vera is amazing as a first aid remedy for any sunburn, burns or irritated skin, however, it will not heal your skin of the irritation and nourish it sufficiently. Which is why I almost used up my Calendula body butter and First Aid Balm that I made with Calendula and St. John’s Wort oils. I would recommend it to anyone who has a history or suffers from redness and irritated skin; it helped a lot after sunburn.
The only thing to watch out when applying the products with St. John’s Wort is to apply them in the evening, 12h before you will be exposed to sun as it can be photosensitive. If you’re not familiar with the term, read my Article on Everything on SPF and UV you need to know.
Soon my holidays at the sea side (too soon!) were finished and I visited beautiful and smog-free Slovenia, a neighbouring country of Croatia. This is in a walking distance of my home. Pretty amazing right? 🙂
No better place to harvest herbs than here, I thought …
I made a list of the herbs I wanted to harvest and I mainly harvested those that I knew and couldn’t get them wrong. Always make sure you either know the herbs or know the details of the herb and plant (how tall is it, where is it growing, how do the leaves look like? etc.) and if possible, check it with some books written from experienced herbalists. This is what I managed to harvest during my short stay at this beautiful place.
There’s lavender and oregano from the garden, Dandelion, Red Clover, Calendula and Echinacea (also from the garden), Chicory, Mint (also from the garden) and Nettle. I wanted to harvest many more, but I run out of time.
In the plastic bottles you can see the macerated oils. I am not a fan of the plastic, but since I was limited with my luggage and on top of that, glass can break easily, this was my best choice. Not only do I have all these wonderful herbs now, I also managed to persuade my mother and grandfather to take a couple of books on herbal medicine that have in depth information and details on the traditional use, history and how-to-use the herbs for the medicinal purposes that were owned by my grandmothers. Some are traditional and focus only on the local plants, and other two are more of a general books on the traditional use of herbs. The oldest book dates back to the 1978! I’ve got so much to read and it’s so exciting to be able to go through traditional uses and knowledge of our (great) great grandmothers! Aaa, I love it 🙂
Just before my departure I had some work to do: a “Smells like Coconut and feels like Calendula all-in-one body scrub” for a customer. In the background you can see the nettles and red clover drying up 🙂
That is a quick summary of my amazing and somewhat busy holidays 🙂 I discovered that my natural sunscreens work, that Croatia and Slovenia are still absolutely amazing and that flip flops and bare feet are no longer enough. Summer is coming towards the end (or should I say that it’s over?) and despite loving summer, I also love to put on my warm, fluffy winter socks, cuddle up under the blanket with hot water bottle and read a book or watch a good movie 🙂
Next post will be about Sundays’ workshop in the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden by Gone Wild Herbs. Stay tuned 🙂
“It’s so amazing to take time for yourself. Relax, enjoy and just be.” – Tina Suklje
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