Self Sufficiency

Nature and Nurture Retreat with Sarah Fox

Nature and Nurture Yoga & Foraging Retreat, Kilkenny

How did you celebrate St Patricks’ Day?

I took myself along to Kilmacow in Co Kilkenny which is located on the the Waterford border for a unique restorative day with Sarah Fox of Shining Light Wellness.  Sarah runs a number of Yoga and Herbal Medicine Retreats throughout the country and teaches Yoga at many venues including Earthwise Yoga in Bree,Co Wexford where I recently did my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Having trained with Sarah I knew about her indepth knowledge of plants and herbal medicine and this, along with ‘Yoga by the fire’ is what attracted me to this particular event. 
So, having arrived bright and early (thank goodness for Google Maps!) Sarahs’ lovely mum Mary welcomed me into the house where there was some very excellent coffee and homemade oat, orange and chocolate treats awaiting. Once all the guests had arrived we relaxed and had a chat over coffee/ homemade herbal teas, getting to know one another. I was personally delighted to see the lovely Orlaith, one my ex Yoga student colleagues there and without further ado we headed into the beautifully high ceiling Yoga room for a few hours of Chakra chanting and Yin Yoga.
Now, I for one was not a huge fan of chanting as it takes me outside my comfort zone, however, as Sarah explained each ‘seed’ word for each Chakra and what it related to I found myself enthusiastically joining in and literally began to feel my heart lighten and inner strength begin to vibrate and grow. When you attend a retreat like this it is good to remember that everyone is feeling a bit awkward at first so I do find it best to leave the ‘ego’ at the door and just jump in. 😉 
Bija ( Bija means seed) Mantras- The Sounds of the Chakras: LAM VAM RAM YAM HAM OM

  • “LAM”- chakra 1 (root)
  • “VAM”- chakra 2 (sacral/navel)
  • “RAM”- chakra 3 (solar plexus)
  • “YAM”- chakra 4 (heart)
  • “HAM”- chakra 5 (throat)
  • “OM”- chakra 6 (third eye/brow)
  • “OM”- chakra 7 (crown)

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Chanting was followed by some gorgeous Yin Yoga for joint and nervous system health, flexibility, mobility and integrity. We also used relaxation and breathing techniques where we held certain positions for a while enabling a full stretch and strengthening of the body before it was time for lunch.
Lunch was a delicious spread of homemade breads, fruits, banana pancakes (make using one banana, 2 eggs and a handful of oats), locally sourced jam and natural yoghurt. Seriously Yum! 
After lunch we headed out across the road to a nearby river for a spot of herbal medicine foraging. Sarah explained the uses of many plants including daisies – aerial parts all edible but also our national arnica (to relieve bruises)
She also explained how Plantain is good for tissues and anti-inflammatory thus also good for lung health and how Navel Wort (looks like a belly button plant) can be used as a natural Aloe Vera type plant. We gathered (after asking the plant first) some young nettles and headed back to the house for the creative part of the day.
Cosily ensconced in the kitchen dining room by a roaring fire Sarah proceeded to explain and demonstrate how to make a beautifully rich skin cream using dried marigold flowers, beeswax and organic sunflower oil – (she mentioned how grapeseed oil can help acne prone skin as an alternative to sunflower oil) which was blended together (again you will need to join Sarah on one of her workshops to find out the exact method) to form a delicious deep moisturising skincream- one which I lathered all over my body that evening and had the most restful sleep EVER waking up to feel supple and beautiful. Yay! 
We also made some amazing pesto using the nettles gathered earlier and mixed with some basil leaves, salt and pepper, cashew nuts, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan. Mmmm.  Sarah spoke of alternative ingredients as well as tinctures that can benefit a number of ailments including migraines. 
The conversation was of sharing and we swapped many recipes amongst ourselves one of which was a delicious sounding port for those of us who make sloe gin – using the gin soaked sloes after the sloe gin has been decanted and adding them to a mix of good quality red wine and brandy then leaving for 6 months or more for a stunning port. One I shall try this year….
After our homemade remedies we retired again to the Yoga room for a spell of active Yoga followed by a restful Yoga Nidra meditation to end the day. Dinner was to follow but I had to leave early unfortunately however it looked and smelt delicious – all vegetarian food – what a spread. Was gutted I had to leave but duty called. 
All in all I had a fantastic day and came home feeling inspired and happy. I recommend you check out Sarahs’ events on her Facebook page here as she offers a range of unique workshops and events sure to be of interest to many of our readers including one like this on April 14th – Booking essential!
Tell her we sent ya! 
Namaste! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Celt Traditional Skills Galway

CELT – Promoting Sustainable Living and Nature Conservation

CELT, founded in 2001, is a national charity for environmental education and training and is an award-winning
provider of training in traditional and ecological skills, focused on promoting caring for the environment and living in a sustainable manner by using locally sourced natural and recycled materials to make the things we need – tools, buildings, furniture, utensils, sports equipment and toys. 
The CELT ‘Weekend in the Woods’ events are held 2 – 3 times a year at Slieve Aughty Centre (Loughrea, Co. Galway) attracting 100’s of participants interested in learning ecological and traditional skills and knowledge and also because of the scenic rural location and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in between learning modules.
CELT is a member of AONTAS (National Association for Adult Education), achieving Special Commendation in their
Star Awards (2007) and has won numerous awards from the Heritage Council for traditional skills training and for
biodiversity projects (every year, 2002 – 2014) and were also first runners-up in the national Green Awards 2013
and in the eco-communities section of the national Pride of Place competition 2014.

Weekend In The Hills, Festival of Traditional Crafts.

Join us for two days of traditional skills courses taught by some of the countries leading craftspeople.
May 11th and 12th 2019 at eco and organic destination Slieve Aughty Centre in county Galway. 

Book your place or give someone you love the gift of a CELT Gift Voucher for a course of their choice! 

Shop Online Here >>
Courses include:

In the meantime connect with us on:
Twitter: @celtnet ; Facebook /celtskills or visit us online at www.celtnet.org
 

Forage Wild Food and Herbs on Your Own Land or Garden

Land Foraging Survey Service for Wild Edibles

I’ve been on a quite a few wild food foraging events with a variety of expert foragers both here and in the UK yet I still walk about my large garden and wonder what wild edibles are right under my feet! In fact a circle of mushrooms suddenly appeared a week ago and whilst I was 99% sure they were edible field mushrooms I just wasn’t that 100% that you need to be. 
I do know how to identify a fair few berries and wild salads but I know from my foraging experiences that there is SO MUCH MORE food right there on my doorstep if only I could be sure. So imagine my delight to discover that local forager and herbalist Vivienne Campbell offers a ‘land survey service’ where she will walk your land with you and show you how to identify edible and therapeutic wild foods and flowers growing in your space. 

Did you know that many wild and cultivated plants are edible and therapeutic? Wild plants such as meadowsweet and sorrel make tasty additions to the dinner table as do some cultivated plants such as lavender and roses. Plants are not ornaments! Learn to identify plants that are safe to use at home. Enrich your life, expand your palate, enjoy the process!
Do you have your own garden or land (field, wild space etc.)?
Would you love to be able to use the plants that are on your land but are afraid to because you don’t know which plants are poisonous and which are edible?
Would you love to know what’s growing on your land?
Have a farm? Want to know what is growing there that you can use to improve the health of your animals.  ~ theherbalhub.com/land-survey-service

It sounds like a service I want to try out so I will be booking her for a space in her May-September schedule next year! 
Discover more about Viviennes’ service and sign up for her online foraging courses at theherbalhub.com

How To Make Natural Cosmetics – Rosehip Infused Oil

Natural Rosehip Infused Oil

how to make rose hip oil with ecoactiveirelandA beautiful natural facial moisturiser, Rosehip Oil is packed with anti ageing goodness and it costs quite a bit  in the shops. Whilst it is not possible to make rosehip seed oil at home you can make a herbal infused oil that is also rather nice for the skin so why not give it a go yourself at home.

If you fancy trying the infusion oil which is rather lovely then just follow our steps below – If you can wait until November do so as the hips will be softer after the first frosts. (It also makes lovely Christmas Gifts!)
Here’s how to make Rosehip Infused Facial Oil:

  • Quantity: 2 parts oil to 1 part rosehips
  • Collect rosehips (preferably after the first frosts) and trim any excess flower head remains/leaves.
  • Put them in an ovenproof bowl and give them a good bashing to break them open.
  • Add natural almond oil ( I get mine in ‘Mrs B’s Healthy Options’ health shop Gorey for around 3 quid)
  • Leave in the oven at its lowest temperature (eg 50 degrees)  for 4 – 8 hours to infuse.
    Note – I left mine overnight at the absolute min temperature that my oven offered last time I made this and it was fine – however today I have lot’s of time until the oven is in use again so I will be leaving it in for about 5 hours. 
  • Strain through muslin into a large jug or bowl and allow to cool.
  • When cooled add vitamin E oil (2-3 capsules) if you like for extra nourishment (again available at your local health store) and / or 5-10 drops of your favourite essential oil if you wish.This is great facial oil best used sparingly – once a fortnight for example. Simply dab a few drops onto face and massage lightly. 

MWAH! Beautiful! 
If you fancy trying out actual rosehip seed oil have a look at this video to see just what to expect! (It’s rather industrial) 
We recommend The Herbal Hub’s Online Courses if you want to learn about using local wild plants as herbal medicines and nutritious wild foods. Check them out here >>

 
 

Cinnamon Apple Ice Cream Recipe

Autumnal Tastes for Ice Cream Lovers! 

Having an abundance of homegrown apples I’ve been looking for recipes online and stumbled across this delicious sounding ice cream recipe from the fabulously named www.forkknifeswoon.com website. So I decided to give it a try.

Homegrown apples

Make sure your ice cream machine has been frozen overnight!!

This recipe can take 2 hours with refrigeration before adding to ice cream maker so plan ahead! 

The US ‘cup’ measuring system can be hard to figure (must buy one of these ‘Measuring Cup Sets’ ) plus I am pretty sure my little ice cream maker is about the half the size of theirs, so I halved everything thus so:

Ice Cream Base

 

Ice Cream Base:

240ml heavy cream

120ml milk

75g caster sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Apple mix
 

Cinnamon Apple Swirl

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced into bite sized pieces

25g soft brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

small pinch nutmeg

small pinch ground cloves

Method:

In a mixing bowl whisk the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Covet and refrigerate for 2 hours

Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat, toss apples with brown sugar and spices and heat until tender -about 2 to 3 minutes. Let it cool then refrigerate along with the above cream mix

2 hours later:

Give the cream mix a whisk before pouring into your ice cream machine. Churn away as per ice cream machine instructions adding the apple mix about 5 minutes before end. (ie before it will be too thick to mix in) 

My ice cream machine generally takes 10-15 minutes before it’s thick and ready to be put in a tupperware container and left in freezer until serving. 

ENJOY! 

(Just had a sneaky taste and OMG it’s delicious!! Gonna serve it later with Ginger & Orange Cake) 
Ice Cream After Churning

 

Wellness Mama Natural Dry Hand Cream

Natural Cosmetics for Dry Hands

I Love the Wellness Mama website! She offers such lovely recipes for all sorts of ailments and beauty treatments all using natural ingredients, many of which you can grow yourself. As winter has landed so too has dryness on my hands so when I came across her latest blog on Google Plus  simply HAD to share it with you:

Gardeners Hand Salve
This particular salve contains many soothing herbs that help nourish dry skin and quickly heal any small cuts from gardening. It also leaves hands silky and soft, even if you aren’t a gardener. The dark green color of this salve comes from the many herbs that are infused into the oils and it has a delicious earthy and medicinal scent.
I prefer to make salves with dried herbs, as this reduces the chance of spoilage since no water is introduced to the oils from the leaves of the plants. Salves can also be made with essential oils, but I’ve found that this infused version is more effective and less likely to sting eyes if you accidentally rub them. It is also much less expensive than an essential oil version.
Any herbs can be used in this recipe, but I used these:

Read Wellness Mamas full blog here to find out how to make this wonderful salve! 
wellnessmama.com

Chill Out This Autumn

Chilled Out Seasonal Events This Autumn

Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the colours, the feeling of settling down for the winter and the slowing down of everything.
This does not mean an end to activities though as I love to take this reflective time to create and learn. With this in mind there are some lovely events coming up that may be of interest.
Autumn

Seaweed Cookery Demo with Marie Power

On Wednesday, the 14th of October at 8pm Marie Power, the Sea Gardener, will be giving a cookery demonstration and talk on the benefits of seaweed at Brownes Farmhouse Dungarvan. In response to requests from seaweed enthusiasts, she has developed a range of innovative sweet & savoury foods using seaweed, under The Sea Gardener label.
These will be available on the night!
More Details Here >>

Natural Cosmetic Making Workshops:

Vivienne Campbell is a much sought after herbalist who gives workshops on the uses of natural ingredients for cosmetics and wellbeing. She is holding two natural cosmetic making workshops this November, one in Gorey Co Wexford on 7th and one in Ennis Co Clare on the 1st November. These make great personal Christmas gifts too!
More Details Here >>

Natural Soap Making Workshop

I have a friend who makes her own soap and swears that it is addictive!  Nature lover & Holistic practitioner Angela Healy of Willow Cottage at Wells House is giving a one day soap making workshop on November 8th where you can learn how to make your own 100% natural moisturising coconut and olive oil soaps using the traditional cold process method.
More Details Here >>
sloes

Incidentally it’s also the time of year to make sloe gin and elderberry liquors... great gifts at any time of the year! Yum!

Here’s a great video on how to make Rose Hip Oil for your face too:

 
 

Learn About Wild Food, Foraging and More

Wild Food Summer School 2015 #WFSS15

Blackstairs Ecotrails are holding their second Wild Food Summer School this September – 11,12 & 13th at the lovely ‘Old Rectory in Killedmond, Carlow.

They have added a number of new events and made it a much more family friendly event this year with a brilliant line up for kids on the Saturday and for all you foodies out there!
he-Forager-Handbook-Edible-BritainThere’ll be the chance to forage with  Miles Irving Author of the Forager’s Handbook – The Bible for foragers, on Friday at 11.20am, cheese making workshops, use of herbs and wild foods in cooking workshops, artisan food stalls, as well as GIY talks and Wild food & Craft Beer pairings!
For more information or to book your place visit  www.blackstairsecotrails.ie/wild-food-summer-school/
Tickets cost €60 (Friday only), €80 (Saturday only), €60 (Sunday only) or €190 for the full weekend. 

Wild Food Summer School 2015

More foraging, more great speakers, films, music,  Artisan Food stalls, Cheese making and  events for children. We also have a retrofitted ambulance  giving workshops on Up Cycling, Composting etc., facilitated by the Community Reuse Network Ireland (CRNI)
wildfood-summer-school

Family Fun Willow Day

Learn how to make a Willow Dome & More!

Crann Og in Gort are holding a fun event for all the family to enjoy on March 7th, details below. Crann Og Eco farm is a great place to visit especially if you’re looking for creative ideas for upcycling and eco friendly living!
To Book email crann.og.gort@gmail.com or call +353 (0)91 631602
Read More About Crann Og Here >>
family willow day
 

Basket Weaving Workshop

Basketry at Beechdale Garden Centre, Enniscorthy

If you’ve been watching 10,000BC on Channel 5 you will be more than aware of the importance of knowing how to create your own basket for foraging and collecting food!
Barbara Kelly will be teaching a basketry workshop at Beechdale Garden Centre on Thursday February 26th 2015
Date: Thursday 26th February 2015
Time: 10.00 – 16.30
Cost: €60 – A non refundable deposit of €30 is required to secure a place.
Places are limited so booking is advised!
Incidentally, Beechdale GC are running a number of FREE events this spring for the home gardener – Check out their Facebook Events for all the latest updates.
In the meantime, for your listening pleasure I recorded their ‘Woodstock’ Apollo Windchime – It is amazing! You can buy a variey of Woodstock windchimes via their online store here >>