Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Blackberry and Sloe berry Codial

Hello dear friends!

Blackberries and sloe berries go so well together! that sweet and wild mix will make a delicious drink, or why not even use it in a cake? Sloe berries are well known for their dry, bitterness so you can surprise yourself and others with delicious sweet sloe berry cakes!

The recipe:

1 kg of mixed Sloe Berries and Blackberries
1 liter Water
600 grams Sugar

How to do it:

Bring to boil the berries and water. Then simmer for 10 minutes. The sloe berries will pop and the skin will split, the blackberries will become very soft and turn red. Mash them up with a potato masher whilst still on the heat. Then boil again.

Sieve the mixture into a big bowl, use a fork to help squish as much as possible through the sieve. There should be a lot of liquid but it's nice to get some pulp too, it makes it more "home-made".

Then pour the liquid back into the pot and add the sugar. Heat up gently whilst stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to a boil again.

Cool down and funnel into a couple glass bottles.

Keep refrigerated and drink/cook/eat/use within 10 days.

Photos to help (remember the steam gets on the lense but I'm sure you can see well enough):

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Sloe Berry Cordial

Hey there friends!

I picked some beautiful sloe berries from my garden and made some delicious cordial out of it. It's sweet and refreshing, so fruity and satisfying. I drink it with water but it would be great added to cocktails or juices or even just lemonade and ice! Or if you're feeling cosy then why not try it with ot water or added to hot wine for a wintery treat! Delish!!!

The recipe:

1 kg of Sloe Berries
1 liter Water
500 grams Sugar
1 lemon (juice)

How to do it:

Bring to boil the berries, water and lemon. Then simmer for 10 minutes. The berries will pop and the skin will split, mash them up with a potato masher whilst still on the heat. Then boil again.

Sieve the mixture into a big bowl, use a fork to help squish as much as possible through the sieve. There should be a lot of liquid but it's nice to get some pulp too, it makes it more "home-made".

Then pour the liquid back into the pot and add the sugar. Heat up gently whilst stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to a boil again.

Cool down and funnel into a couple glass bottles.

Keep refrigerated and drink/cook/eat/use within 10 days.

Photos to help (remember the steam gets on the lense but I'm sure you can see well enough):

Sloe berries

After boiling in water and lemon, the skins have split

Mashing the sloe berries

The mixture s fully mashed and ready to sieve

Now pour the liquid back into the pot and add the sugar

once cooled a bit, pour into a clean, sterilized bottle and store in the fridge.

I had a bit left so I made iced cubes with them to add to cocktails

Friday, 31 August 2018

Jam into chutney

Hi there!

Last week I picked loads of plums from the garden and made a LOT of jam! I decided to take some and make it into chutney...

It was so simple and took less than 20 minutes in total.

All I did, was cut up some onions and ginger, fried them in olive oil, added some spices and when the time came, I simply poured the jar of jam into the mixture and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then poured all the mixture back into the jam jar. There was more now because of the added ingredients so what didn't fit in the jar, I put in a glass to eat up today. I didn't sterilise the jar because I know I'll be using this up pretty fast, but you should if you're doing more than one jar and if you'll be storing it. Here are some pictures (the steam makes the pictures look a bit misty but you can see enough, I'm sure):

Add caption

cut the onion and ginger

I chose to add cumin, coriander and paprika to the mix too

start by frying the onions in oil

after a few minutes, add the spices

once the onions have softened and taken on a beautiful brownish colour, add the ginger

fry for another few minutes, then add the jar of jam to the mixture

funnel back into the jar, i used a chopstick to push the more lumpy onion and ginger bits through

there was a bit left over due to the added ingredients so I put it into a glass

I'll be using this today and tomorrow before using what's in the jar. 

Loads of love,

Joanna xx

Sunday, 13 August 2017

3 and a half years without using shampoo or conditioner

Hello my people,

Long time no see! I have no idea when the last time I wrote was but I have so much to say... As usual the topic that really brings me back is my hair. What a surprise!

I didn't have access to my laptop or any computer for that matter is such a long time, also my life got quite messy and I went pretty far off track and lost sight of my goals. Anyway! I'm back now, or trying to slowly come back to myself.

Three and a half years ago I decided, for several reasons, to stop using shampoo. One of my goals back then was to try and see if I could live happily without all the modern comodities and the 'necessities' or town life. I wanted to be able to live - if needed - in a forest with nothing but what nature had to offer. My first step was to reinitialise my hygiene and relearn how to be a natural human being. It was one of the most insightful and life changing moments of my life, and from that day, I went down a path of discovery and rebirthing. I got to find out what my body needed and wanted and how to listen to it and understand it. There were no longer foreign products coming in the way of my body communicating with me. I could philosophise and ponder the amazing mysteries of the universe or I could simply get on with my Hair post! hahah

So here it is folks, I haven't used shampoo or any non-natural products in my hair for about 3 and half years now. You can read my 1st year's journey on the blog, I wrote several updates throughout my first year. All I need to say here is that I use Shikakai powder. I wash my hair with shikakai powder every 5 to 7 days and wash with water only in between if needed.

Here is my hair washing timetable;

Day 1 - wash hair (mix 2 table spoons of shikakai powder with warm water, blend well with fingers - pour on head - massage roots and crown - leave on for a few minutes while i have my shower - then rinse off thoroughly, making sure all the shikakai powder is out of hair - rinse and rinse again until you are sure!! or else hair will be dry and ugly erg) Comb well when dry. Hair looks amazing, feels great, fresh and light, smells delicious, is soft and shiny.

Day 2 - Hair is still soft and shiny, light and fresh, and still smells great.

Day 3 - Hair is still as above, but towards the end of the day some natural oils start to flow through. Either tonight or tomorrow morning do a water wash. (Rinse hair thoroughly under running warm water, massage roots and crown of head. comb well when dry)

Day 4 - Hair is well refreshed after the water wash and smells great again, no oil is visible and hair feels and looks and IS clean and beautiful!

Day 5 - Hair is still as above. A water wash will make my hair great for at least 2 whole days. At the end of the day or the next morning, my hair will either need a water wash if its the weekend or I'll start the routine again from today if I'm back at work with the shikakai powder wash.

It's so simple to have naturally beautiful looking hair. You can find more info on the shikakai powder on my water-only update where I mention and explain why instead of going fully water only, I have decided to use shikakai powder. Enjoy, and be inspired!! <3

Loads of love, Jo xxx

Saturday, 27 June 2015

WATER ONLY HAIR - or not (shikakai)

Hi guys!

Well it seems like years since I last wrote a post here. And guess what brings me back? Hair! Obviously! Always banging on about the hair! It could get boring, yet somehow there are always questions and answers arising through this hair journey.

I really thought that was it, water-only for the rest of my life. Maybe it would be possible for me as it has been, apparently for many other women (and men - but that's easier...) and yet I just can't do it. I went water-only for a good few months and eventually my hair needed a good wash. So I wondered what I could use. I didn't want to get into a bicarb routine again (baking soda - for Americans) so I remembered the delightfully light and natural Shikakai powder I used a while back. It's great for washing hair, it's completely natural and easy to use (it's a dried fruit from India - crushed into powder - buy it, mix it with water and massage into hair and scalp - rinse - done). What's especially great is that when your hair is already really natural then this will give it the most beautiful look. It makes my hair clean, soft and smells fresh. It looks as though I've done what every person does: shampoo and conditioner.
Only completely natural. But if your hair isn't fully natural yet then this might not work so well. I used it when I was still using the baking soda once and it didn't do much. The baking soda is still a strong alternative and it's too strong for the Shikakai to work with. But if you're water-only or maybe you use clays or something else that is lighter and more natural than baking soda then you can use/transition into shikakai very easily. Shikakai apparently means "hair fruit" and is widely used to wash hair in India. It has a very light, yet effective, natural saponification.




So what I do now is go water only for about 3 or 4 weeks. I go as long as I can, and if I see my hair needs a little something more then I'll use shikakai powder.

How do I use it?

1 -Buy your box/bag of shikakai powder online or in stores (I get it in Asda, cheap and easy to find in the hair and beauty section where they have the Indian, African and other natural products. It's just over £1 for a box that'll last at least 10 washes - so a year for most of us LOL!)

-Open up your box, cut open the bag, get a jug and put 2 tablespoons of powder then add 1 cup of water.

2 -Get in the shower as you usually do.

-Wet your hair and massage your scalp under the running water as if you were washing your hair. Then turn the water off !

3 -Start pouring a little bit of shikakai liquid over the areas where the most grease accumulates (for me it's the crown of the head and the front roots above my forehead). Put the jug down, massage the areas well. Pick up the jug and carry one pouring over a little area at a time, put the jug down and massage. Do this again until you have no more liquid. If there is still some powder at the bottom of your jug, add some water to it and carry on.

-Massage your whole head and really wash it all over, it will start to feel clean under the gritty powder. Now scrub down the ends of your hair. Leave in for 1 minute or 2.

4 -Then rinse your head very well until all the powder is gone.

-Now you must rinse or wash your shower. This has made your bath or shower very brown, but no panic, it washes away completely with water. It does not stain at all! Just grab your shower head and rinse down the walls and curtain of your shower, you'll see it goes away easily.


So here you have my alternative to being completely water-only, still with the satisfaction of your hair not being addicted to any chemicals (even baking soda). You can still be water-only and use Shikakai in extreme situations without having to go through any detox period after it. It's lovely, really, you should try it!

Another awesome thing - no denying - is that I get to pamper myself a bit, I was a bit bored with water-only. I wish it wasn't so but I guess I'm still a little materialistic...

Take good care of yourself and your lovely Earth xxx


Thursday, 26 March 2015

WATER ONLY hair care (3 lessons)

Hi guys!

Big Question: How do you care for your hair when on a water-only hair "diet"?

Well... I've been doing this for 2 months now so I have a little insight but not yet a full life experience of it! But let's talk about my experience so far. First of all I published a post yesterday with the FULL description of my weening off the traditional "no-poo" (baking soda washes) into water-only, which took 30 days. You can read it right here. The transition was not as radical as my weening off store-bought shampoo and conditioner, but it did have its ups and down anyway (you can read my original transition into no-poo; my first 6 weeks without shampoo: right here).

Half way through those 2 months of Water-only, I decided I wanted to lighten my hair (using a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide: natural hair lightening tutorial coming up) and this threw me off the water-only path and I had to start all over again, almost a whole transition again.

Lesson number 1: If you use a product, even a natural product, even only once, it will throw you off and you'll have to start all over again. Once your hair goes natural, it expects to stay natural and starts hating anything else. So if you wanna do anything less natural than water, that's completely fine but be prepared to go through another detox period after it.

Daily Hair Care:

I comb my hair every morning and every evening for a few minutes. This serves to detangle the hair as well as remove dust and dirt that might be there, and also spreading the natural sebum (hair oils) onto the rest of the hair so that it doesn't just stay at the roots.

Then after combing, I sometimes wet my roots lightly with water to freshen them up then towel dry, and comb again. I do this very rarely, only if my hair is not dirty yet but I've been out the night before and my hair smells of cigarettes or if I've been active and my head got sweaty. In that case I'll wet the top of my head just lightly and quickly put my head under the shower head, so that my hair is only slightly wet but not soaked. After my shower I will towel dry my hair and this will remove all smells and make my hair fresh again. Comb it when it's dry.

Lesson number 2: If hair is still clean but needs a freshen up then a little bit of water and towel drying + combing is largely enough.

Weekly hair wash: 

Once a week, or even every one and a half weeks, I will wash my hair. To do this I stand under the warm water in the shower and massage my hair thoroughly with my finger tips - not nails - then wash my ends. Then I towel dry my hair and comb it once it is completely dry. I massage my head and roots often to keep the sebum flowing through and to keep my roots healthy in order to grow long, strong hair.

Lesson number 3: When hair is natural, it is more resistant and self cleansing, which means much less purpose cleaning is in order. A full water-wash is only really necessary once a week or every 1 and 1/2 weeks. This is great! Saves time, water, money, energy and makes hair care so much easier. You might think your hair would be more greasy or oily but truthfully, once you have detoxed your hair and it is fully natural again, you will see that it just doesn't produce as much oil as before because it learns to regulate itself and is not interrupted / confused by the chemicals.

CONCLUSION: I love water-only washing. My hair grows so fast, is beautiful, smells fresh, feels lovely and is completely natural! I'm so happy I took this next step. It might seem like not much but going through those transitions isn't always easy, so achieving the desired goal and result really feels good. I'm so happy I have managed to sacrifice my wasteful pampering for the sake of my beautiful Earth. Thank you!! and I love YOU!

Hope you learned something, please share your experience with us!
Lots Of Love xxxxx


Saturday, 21 March 2015

HAIR: Weening off the baking-soda into Water Only

Hi guys! and welcome to yet another hair post!

My no-poo hair!!!

I'm still so amazed at how much I care about my hair these days, since going no-poo. I used to not care at all. I washed it every 2 days and used a LOAD of conditioner, so that it was so soft and silky that it didn't need any brushing or caring. Nowadays, I don't use any products which means it's much more natural and healthy but at the same time it means I need to comb it everyday (or as often as I can remember) and tweek my routine every now and then to move with the seasons and what my body naturally lacks or has excesses of at any given time (which will show in my overall health and my hair included - rather than being hidden under a tone of conditioner). I love that I can really be in touch with my body and know what's going on inside and out, as well as letting nature lead me and show me what I need to do next to keep in best shape.

Nature's calling :)

Nature is telling me it's time to leave the baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) behind and just wash my hair with water only (I also wash my body with water only). I have a new routine, which I started in January, at the turn of the new year. I think that this will really simplify my over all hair routine (once my hair adjusts) and let me be a little more care-free again in regards to my hair (I'm still care-free actually but maybe I miss being totally careless about my hair... it was easier).


Weening off!

 You can follow my 30 day process below, where I have listed a day-by-day recap of what to do based on my own experience, what your hair should look like on certain days etc. (I comb my hair, but if you brush then simply replace combing with brushing anywhere I've mentioned it.)

Every time I washed my hair, I highlighted it in red, so you can easily see what day to wash your hair, if you can't be bothered to read all the details (even though they are very helpful in order to see if your hair is reacting the same as mine did, because if it doesn't then you'll have to adapt the process to your own hair).

day 1: in the morning: the bicarb (baking soda) and lemon wash that I describe in my 1 year update. (The last time I use bicarb hopefully!)

day 2: comb - great hair

day 3: comb - great hair

day 4: comb - great hair

day 5: comb - good but starting to look oily.

day 6: comb (in the evening, the hair is oily and soft, give yourself a dry head massage and really massage that scalp to help the oils detach)

day 7: in the morning: water only wash. Once your hair is dry, it might not look fully clean and feel a little greasy. Your hair is used to getting squeaky clean with the baking soda and even though it's less drastic than coming off shampoo, coming off the bicarbonate (baking soda) is a detox and your hair will take a little while to adjust. If your hair is going through that at this point then add some arrowroot powder to your hair, as a dry shampoo and comb through. Check here to know how to do it properly.

day 8: comb - great hair

day 9: comb - great hair

day 10: comb - great hair

day 11: comb - great hair

day 12: comb - great hair

day 13: comb - great hair

day 14: Hair still looks good but might start to smell. If that's the case then do a Water Only wash. After this wash, as it happened with the first water wash, the hair might feel and look greasy. This time, instead of using the arrow-root dry shampoo, just wait until it fully dries and comb it a lot. It will stay greasy for a a few days but trust me it will eventually be fine! Keep smiling and wear a hat or a bandana.

day 15: hair still feels greasy on top but the rest of the hair feels much less greasy.

day 16: hair is greasy on top, and has formed what feels like a grease patch on the crown of the head. Comb or brush a lot to get it away from the crown. Take a few drops of oil (argan, sunflower or other soft, warm oil) and spread it into the grease patch. It will hep the grease to detach from the hair and scalp. (Oil is the only way to get rid of oil and grease - that's why soap is made of fats and oils) Do not comb or brush your hair or get the oil anywhere else than on the grease patch for the rest of the day.

day 17: hair is a lot less greasy and starting to soften - no more grease patch - now comb!

day 18: no greasy feel. Hair is staring to feel oily instead - this is a good, positive thing. Keep combing or brushing.

day 19: Now that the greasyness has gone, it has left a soft, oily feel. This oil, we can wash off with water. Do a Water Only wash today, then towel dry your hair. Towel dry as much as you can - at the same time, the towel will also 'scrub' away some of the oil - then let air dry naturally, and give it a towel dry again every 10 minutes until the hair is fully dry. Today finally you should start to see some real, positive effects of water only washes. Your hair might still have an oily or maybe even greasy look (the touch of it shouldn't be oily though), but no way near as much as before, and your hair now looks and feels strong and soft.
Now do not brush your hair at all today. I suggest plaiting it or putting it up in a bun and forget about the whole day. Leave it tucked away and don't touch it. In the evening, open up your braid or bun and check your hair. It might have a slight grease to it. "Towel dry" your hair. Even though your hair IS dry, still take a towel and act like you are drying it. This will spread the needed oils over all of your hair as well as soaking up any excess. Now your hair should feel and look better.
I know it's not yet quite perfect, just wait a few more days :)

day 20: Hair is very soft this morning but still looks a little greasy. Finger comb in the morning to get rid of knots but don't brush or comb with hair-utensils or it will spread the grease in undesired places. In the evening, now that the grease or oils have softened even more throughout the day, you can brush or comb your hair to your heart's desire. Hair is really looking up.

day 21: Wake up with "lovely" hair (the most lovely it's been in a while). Brush or comb in the morning and see if your hair is beautiful now. It seems to me, that although my hair feels and looks good, it's already getting oily. The oilyness is what makes it soft, at least it's not grease and waxy.

day 22: Today my hair is still nice - the oil is coming through though. Brush/comb to spread the oil. Massage scalp with fingertips - give yourself a really good, intense head massage and make your roots sizzle, this will get your hair growing and healthy. I want my hair to be more oily before washing. I remember when I was washing with baking soda and lemon, I sometimes tried to do water only washes for a coupe weeks, and the water would wash the oil off better if the hair was purely oily and not greasy or waxy or still clean. So I'm going to wait for my hair to be really soft and oily before washing it.

day 23: Today hair is SO soft... and oily of course. I combed and also 'towel dried' just because I want to wait an extra day before washing, so in order to get rid of excess oil I did the 'towel drying' technique. My roots are too oily for show, so I'm braiding the hair and wearing a bandana to cover the roots. The rest of the hair looks nice.

day 24: Water wash this morning. Make sure, again, to really massage your scalp before washing, while still dry and also while washing under running warm water. Once your roots are well washed, wash the rest of your hair. Towel dry and let out to dry off. Once your hair is completely dry, brush or comb it with a very clean brush/comb. Hair smells so clean and fresh! Feels good. There's no oilyness and no greasiness but a teeny tiny waxy feel. But still, best ever yet since going Water Only. I'm predicting the next wash will be the best. I hope

day 25: lots and lots of brushing/combing. I've been massaging my scalp a lot too, which has turned the teeny waxiness into oil, so I'll wash my hair tomorrow morning.

day 26: morning water wash, towel dry and when completely dry, comb very well with a clean brush/comb. I braided mine, as I often do. My hair looked good all day. In the evening I took out the braids, and combed my hair through again. It feels clean and normal, which awesome actually. I now know that this water only washing is definitely working for me.

day 27: Today my hair looks and feels good. Lots of brushing/combing again. There is a slight waxy undertone at the roots but the rest of the rest is completely fine.

day 28: I wet the top of my hair, because I wanted a little freshener, but it wasn't a necessary move. Comb and comb again today. Hair is really good.

day 29: lots of combing again. today my hair is awesome, I love it. Am I really fully weened off all products? Even baking soda/ bicarb? and even lemon? Can I really go on washing my hair with water only?? well... I'll keep you in the loop!

day 30: hair is so lovely today. so happy! well nothing but water has touched my hair for 30 days now. I hope that no longer will I ever use anything but water on my hair ever again... but I don't know that is going to happen, I can only try my best and pray that nature is on my side this time ;-)

There you have it! 30 days to ween off the no-poo hair 'diet' into Water Only! I pray you also make the move for your sake and for the sake of the Earth! And I pray that the transition is easy for you and that you can take advice or help from my description/experience.

Bless you,
Love x