Monday, 30 September 2013

back to the 5:2 step

Okay I admit it. I'm ravenously hungry! Day one of the return to fasting and it's been a struggle. The fact that I had a summer - and a very long one - it's the 1st of October tomorrow - of indulgence is something I only reluctantly admit. 
Today I have eaten half an apple and a spoonful of goats yoghurt, 1 bowl of vegetable soup (home-made from garden vegetables minestrone spiced up with lots of chilli powder), 1 orange and 1 rice cake. I salivate as I write because under the grill sizzles a small salmon steak which I'm going to devour with some boiled vegetables.  Then, before I remember I'm still hungry, I'm going to work to give an aromatherapy treatment to one of my lovely clients. After that I'm rushing to bed, via a hot cup of herbal tea and going straight to sleep because, in the morning, it's time for TOAST!! with butter and home-made blackcurrant jam - I promise to stop at two slices....promise....

My one consolation is that I haven't regained the weight I lost last time I did a consistent bout of 5:2 fasting.  One more stone to lose and I'm done, it'll just be maintenance.  There's a long uphill slope to Christmas, will I make it?

Autumn hawthorn harvest

It's time to pick hawthorns.  Not superabundant this year, compared to last but considering the awful winter we've had inbetween, perhaps this signifies a mild, short winter.  I wish!  But folklore says that if there are plentiful berries in the hedgerows you can expect a harsh winter.  We found that the hawthorn trees that grew in sunny spots still had plenty of berries last week here in south Wales.  Of course, as is the rule with these harvests, the best berries were out of reach of us humans and at bird level so we left plenty for them.  My old walking stick came in handy though!

Before adding the alcohol solution it's important to bash the berries with a rolling pin to release their chemical properties.
Hawthorn is an important herb in my pharmacy.  It helps a tired heart to pump more efficiently.  It is energising in nature and can help to lower blood pressure that is a bit high.  Full of vitamin C too, as you can tell from its glorious red colour.

Here is my friend Kate hooking down the branches so we could get the juiciest berries.  Kate is a qualified herbalist too and it was so lovely to have her company on our sunny walk.  We each ended up with about 3 lbs or 1.5 kilos of haws which we brought back and tinctured.
All that needs to be done now is to shake the solution every day for two weeks and then rack it off, filter out the haws and bottle in amber bottles.  Then, most importantly, label and date the tincture.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

workshop pictures now available

Pleased to announce that the photos of the first Gower Hen Party Bathtime Goodies workshop are now up on the site.  Our lovely photographer, Ed, took hundreds of shots and it was really hard to select half a dozen.  We felt that these pictures really demonstrate the fun and spontaneity of the event and how hands on it was.  It's a pity viewers on the web can't also smell the results - the room had a heavenly scent!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Chilli Festival - hot, hot, hot!

Wasn't just the chillis that were hot at the highly successful festival on Gower, South Wales yesterday.

I was privileged to be part of the team that is launching at the event. We sold lots of craft items - my own bath goodies and novels, Tricia's funky lavender bunches and Jane's beautiful beachcraft garlands.  Donna took loads of pictures of beautiful babies wearing her wonderful fascinators and chilli themed hats too.

Photos of the event can be seen at

Thanks to the team who organised it. The sun was hot and warm but a lovely sea breeze took the edge of the heat. Perfick!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Pictures of new Bath Goodies Workshops on Gower

Here is a picture of our workshops on Gower making various beautiful bathroom goodies. 

We made bath melts - unctuous little hearts of moisturising cocoa butter and beeswax, scented with Tangerine and Sweet Orange oils and delicately coloured yellow with a gentle sprinkling of gold dust.

Then we made fabulous soap by hand. Everyone designed their own little beauties.

Next we made individual bath bombs and lastly aromatherapy massage blends.

Everyone took their hand-made products home with them in their funky brown paper bags, complete with full instructions and resource sites.

It makes a fun creative and money saving workshop for hen parties. Perfect for weddings, birthdays and any celebration for thoughtful, inspiration people.

book your place on

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

National collection of aquilegias (columbines)

Yesterday I had the joyful privilege of spending time with my lovely friend Carrie Thomas.  Carrie is a woman of great depth and sensitivity.  She  lives in a pretty cottage on the edge of some venerable woods with ancient trees (which are currently under threat of development but that's another story).  Carrie is amongst many other things, a fantastic gardener.  Her patience and delicate artistry are the backbone to the dedication she gives to her collection of aquilegias - which has now been recognised as the national collection of this beautiful flowering plant.  A cottage garden perennial aquilegias, under Carrie's care, form three main morphologies in their flower shapes.  The 'crinoline ladies' as Carrie dubs them, are many petalled flowers in cascading skirts, the 'pom pom' flowers are rounded and jolly orbs of colour and the traditional trumpets can be bi or even tri-coloured.  Carrie meticulously recordeds all genetic variations and cross pollinates by hand to produce new and exciting varieties .  You can see by these photographs how many colours and varieties she has crammed into her cottage garden.  The garden is open to the public during the columbine season.  I'll leave you to read Carrie's own words about contact details and more specific information.


If you like visiting cottage gardens, then you should enjoy visiting Touchwood in Killay. And if one of your favourite plants are aquilegias (granny’s bonnets, columbines) then you MUST visit, because this is the BEST place in the whole of the UK to see them in flower, as Carrie Thomas has BOTH the UK National Collections of Aquilegias.

The garden is open whenever the aquilegias flower, which this year should be until the end on June. You can email to arrange a convenient day and time (usually 7 days a week including evenings) or go along to the Open Garden sessions each weekend from 2-4pm.  You will see a greater range of these plants than you ever knew possible. Full details of garden openings, directions etc is found on  ...and I recommend peeking at the aquilegia seedlist page as you’ll see the range that is grown there. 


It’s been on TV Too! Having appeared on Gardeners’ World a few years ago, you can actually watch what went out on S4C last year on this link:  Byw yn yr Ardd  


thanks Alex!


Best Wishes, Carrie Thomas Tel 01792 522443
'Touchwood', 4 Clyne Valley Cottages, Killay, Swansea, SA2 7DU South Wales, UK : Seeds & plants by post. Aquilegia specialist. : Help & healing for body, mind & spirit. Flower essences.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Launch of new hen party/wedding craft workshops, Gower, South Wales | PRLog

Launch of new hen party/wedding craft workshops, Gower, South Wales | PRLog

Follow the link to read the latest press release about thoughtful, creative and downright crafty hen parties now available on the beautiful Gower peninsula from