Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Sunday 2 November 2008

An aromatic hour ----------later version with additions!

I have added some stuff...it is in bold!

Pamper time!

I am feeling very achy and stiff at the moment, a combination of the virus and general stress of life at the moment I think. I can't do much outside at the moment so I decided to make up a new batch of skincare oils and toners.

The toners are floral waters mixed together and stored in a dark bottle, I like to use Witch Hazel, Lavender and Geranium floral waters (also called hydrolats/hydrosols if you are looking to order any) in equal proportions....I find this to be refreshing and to remove any trace of oil left from my cleansing routine. I have mainly dry ish, VERY sensitive skin (especially in winter) so I have developed a recipe which suits me, but it would be a good general toner for most skins I think. If your skin is oilier use more Witch Hazel probably.

I then got out some of my essential oils from the dark, locked cupboard where they live:

sorry that you can't see which bottles are which! IF enough people are interested I will post a list of the oils I use most often...I have at least 2 other boxes with other oils in, some for household use ( I use up any which have gone past their use by life for putting down drains!)

I keep a few bottles of essential oils out on my dresser, Lavender and Geranium mainly as I get through such a lot and they are relatively harmless if spilt BUT Essential Oils are potent and are best kept in the dark, out of reach of children!

I have nearly run out of my facial oil and I needed to make up a slightly more rich version to use on my face in winter, so I used more Jojoba and less Sweet Almond oil than I use in Summer, with some Rosehip and Apricot Kernel oil as well as a base. I then added a total of 6 drops of essential oils to the 30 ml of base oils
( the proportions of the base oil were 10 ml Sweet Almond, 10 ml Jojoba, 5 ml Apricot Kernel, 5 ml Rosehip oil), I don't want or need any stronger a blend as it is for my face but for body use I would use 4 drops per 10 ml base oil, rather than the 2 drops per 10 ml base oil I use for my face. Today I used Lavender, Rose Geranium and Rose Otto oils, all wonderful for facial blends and oils I personally love......later on in the Winter I might add some Frankincense, good for all skin care!

I often find I tend towards floral oils when I am low and more earthy oils when I am feeling more grounded ( like Vetivert! Oh how I LOVE Vetivert! the scent of leaf mold in a woodland! ) which goes against accepted wisdom...usually we are supposed to be drawn to the oils which are likely to do us the most good in healing us ...but I find I am drawn towards the oils which reflect how I am feeling....but as they all have potent healing powers, who am I to judge?

I then moved on to making my all purpose soothing massage oil, a blend of Lavender, Neroli and Yarrow in a base of Jojoba and Sweet Almond oil. This is what gets massaged on to any stiff, or sore place at Compost Mansions!

The blue of the Yarrow is SO intense, you can't really see it well in this photo ( I tried but couldn't capture it!) Its the colour of india ink!

If you are wanting to cut costs then Petitgrain can be substituted for Neroli and Chammomile for Yarrow....Yarrow IS cheaper BUT harder to find....

Later on I may make up some more anti viral oil blend, I have just bought some Lemon Eucalyptus which has the most wonderful aroma and I shall add in some other virus busting oils.

Compostman has just informed me I put " anti vital oil" the first time around...oh well..thats how I feel at the mo...anti vital!!

So a nice, productive hour I spent at my bench today making up potions.......continuing on with the Samhain theme? ;-))

******PLEASE remember though, *I* know these are the right oils and strengths for *me*, if anyone reading this wants to make up a similar blend and has ANY medical condition or is pregnant or nursing PLEASE check with your Doctor or a qualified Aromatherapist first. Most of these oils would do no harm to anyone but some seemingly innocent oils can cause problems with ( for example) high blood pressure.*****

Thank you!

I have added in some extra information and reposted this ( the edits are in bold ) so people will know it is added too...I hope I haven't confused anyone!


  1. Hope you coping with everything?
    I do hope your home-made esstntial oil remedies will help. I am sure the oils will make a difference in many ways. As you know I am a great lover of aromatherapy and I am great believer in their powers. I do use them for bathing and burn oils according to my mood, or too improve my mood, and just generally dabble. When I say dabble, I mean safely dabble!! I know as you quote how powerful they can be and although they may seem very innocent you do need to know how and when to use them as regards pregnancy and health issues. I love your recipes and you post has given me lots of inspiration to make up some skincare and toners for myself. We are on a tight budget and I am running out of some of my organic skincare products that I can longer afford to purchase so maybe this would be the way to go so to speak. It would satisfy my aromatherapy urges and quite honestly why I did not think of using them for this purpose before I do not know... maybe I have had the ostrich in the sand syndrome!!!!
    (((((((( BIG HUGS))))))))))) and lots of get well wishes for you!!!
    Keep taking the tablets as they say and rest up and you will soon be on the mend!!
    Love Jane xxxx

  2. Hi there!

    you could substitute Petitgrain for Neroli and Chammomile for Yarrow to reduce the cost,(I think Yarrow is cheaper, but harder to find) in the "stiff muscle" blend and just use Sweet Almond Oil as the base! It is also a VERY good " send you to sleep" blend!

    I also make my own rich body and face butters from shea butter,base oils and essential oils, sometimes with a little beeswax, but I have to be careful with even beeswax as it can give me a rash!

    Shea butter is WONDERFUL stuff...you can get it and everything else I use (organic) from Aromantic,.....perhaps you could get together with a friend to do a big order and save on P and P?

    Toners are easy...and are usually MUCH cheaper than their bought version... I love the Spietzia range but sadly I only ever get some as gifts... :-(

    (whispers) and I can make up similar at home for cheaper....

    BUT that is only because I have the stuff to make it in stock!

    and I DO love to buy or have bought for me things like this...even though I can make them myself, its lovely to get a gift of something I REALLY will use and like!

    Am feeling marginally less crap today, have done very little beyond the essentials, am using LOTS of essential oils and herbal remedies along with the various prescription stuff ( all checked for interactions of course!)

    have vaccumned the house today, tidied up, had a LONG hot shower, eaten roast chicken and watched the F1 race, ironed Copmpostgirls school stuff and prepped her bag for tomorrow and done hen stuff...and that is ALL I have done...which is actually a light day for me...and in between I have had a lie in, dozed on the sofa, sat and read a book, caught up with Desperate Housewives and had a sort out of my sock drawer whilst lieing on my bed....

    such an exciting life I lead!

  3. Before it goes wrong again, I think you meant "anti-viral".........

  4. Ah...thank you dear! ( gods above and below...he is sitting 5 feet away from me and we are communicating via computer.....)

    rolls eye ( only one...the other one is still sore!)

  5. It was your idea.

  6. Yes dear....

    Time for bed I think!!

  7. Oh my, you have just cracked me up so much!! Your banter is fantastic!! Hi Mr CW you rock!!!
    How about talking to each other in the same house via a mobile phone... my son has rung me from his bedroom to ask me if I would mind very much been a supermum (grovelling language!) and make him a cup of tea as he was in the process of getting up and was in a bit of a hurry!!!! I think your computer banter wins hands down though! I shall chuckle over that for hours!!!!!
    THANK YOU so much for all the changes you have made to your post it does make the vital points stand out... ( shhh, whispers.. I said vital!!) And the extra information will be brilliant. Would it be okay for me to print a copy off?
    Its funny how our oil moods change. I adore lavender, ylang ylang, patchouli, jasmine and rose otto but at the moment I am loving chamomile.
    I recently went to visit an Abbey in Elgin Scotland and wanted to sit in on one of the Sunday services to listen to the chanting of the monks and I was told they also burned incense during the service. Sadly they had a full house so to speak so we just sat outside and we could see the monks through some glass doors performing the service and also hear the chanting. I could smell the incense and although I recognized the aroma I could not place it. I think my nieces thought me a little strange as I kept on sniffing and inhaling desperately trying to put a name to the delightful aroma...... personally I could have sat and listened and watched for ages it was very moving to me... but the other family members wanted to move on so I did not have much choice... ah well. Whilst we were their we visited the monks shop. You went in and picked out what you wanted to purchase, wrote the said item in a note book and the cost of said item and then left the money in pot. No one was in the shop to serve you. I thought that was really nice and apparently they have only been robbed once! I picked some chamomile cream for my chapped hands and it has helped a little. The chamomile is apparently grown in the monks garden. I just keep slathering it on so I can get an extra fix of chamomile! I guess what I am getting at is just how powerful essential oils, incense and the sense of smell is... it invigorates, relaxes, heightens ones mood and much, much more.
    Would love your list of oils and do you have any recipes for hand cream. I have been looking all my life for a hand cream that continues to work. I find the best I can get is a hand cream that works for a while and then its as if my skin gets used to it and then rejects its uses.. if that makes any sense.
    Thanks for all of your wonderful advice CW its REALLY appreciated!!
    I am really glad you have had a restful day.... Loved F1.. it had me on the edge of my seat at the very end!! Well done Hamilton!!!
    You are pacing yourself well... little bit of work, with a bit of rest.. sort of keeping your hand in so to speak and yet having some much deserved me time!! Keep it up and you will soon be fighting fit!
    At least you are in the not so busy time of the year.. its almost as if your body waited for the winter slow down before delivering its nasty virus....
    So rest up, keep up with the holistic remedies and keep taking the medication and your recovery will soon speed up!!
    Love and Hugs, Jane xxxxx
    (sorry for the long comment... love a good old natter!!)

  8. Hello Jane!

    I am glad you liked the changes, I felt the post needed some more info!

    I will make up a list of my oils and post them up when I get a moment!

    On your incense question, traditionally church incense was made with Frankincense, an essential oil which amongst other wonderful properties helps to connect us with "sprirituality"

    so it could well have been Frankincense. its a really good oil for " mature" skin, also.

    I LOVE it.

    I find the same thing with hand creams/balms...what happens I think is that your skin adjusts to the moisturising effect, imroves and then really one needs to switch to a different one for a bit..I use Jojoba oil on my hands and also a hand and feet butter ( basically Shea Butter and some Sweet Almond oil plus some essential oils)

    which I find works wonders on my trotters and paws...

    Doing the sort of stuff I do and loathing wearing gloves with an almost pathalogical hatred, I get very chapped hands!

    I will try and find the recipe and see if it will help..

    I have lots of recipies for bits and bobs, I tend to make more stuff in the winter...don't have much time in the summer months!

    take care and have a good Monday

    Sarah x

  9. Hi Sarah,
    So thats what it was... Frankincense... I should have known. It was gorgeous aroma anyway, thanks for putting an end to that mystery....
    It was a lovely place to be stunning views all around, the gardens were immaculate a real aura about the place. It was calm and peaceful and a good place to go and think. I wanted to return before we left Scotland but never got the opportunity.

    So thats what keeps happening to the handcream... so will have to find two hand creams and maybe use one sort one week and the other another (did that make sense?)
    My hands and heels get so painful. I seem to just shrivel up in the winter and all my extremities suffer. I have fissures in my heels and chaps in my hands and its dam painful. I hate the chap that comes at the top of the thumb just above the nail (not that I have any nails to speak of!) when you catch that its agonizing!!!
    I hate wearing socks... I just potter around in my sandals (mainly in the house)and when I am outdoors its usually in my gardening clogs or wellies.....
    All recipes would be most welcome when you have the time..
    I hope you are ok today and you are in less pain? Keep on resting and stay in the warm. Its blooming cold outdoors a real nip in the air.
    Thanks so much for everything!
    Thank you also for the comments on my blog they are very appreciated.
    Love Jane xxxx


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.