DIY fruity Strawberry lip balm

A all natural tinted yummy lip balm.

I know Ive previously done two other lip balms but this weekend I had lip balm on my mind. I wanted something different and yummy, something that will leave you wanting to lick your lips whilst nourishing them at the same time. Ive come up with a fruity strawberry lip balm using freeze dried strawberries (NEVER use fresh/frozen). After seeing the sites of Amsterdam, I came home and made these at 11pm, thats just how Rock ‘N Roll I am!

The hardest part of this easy to follow tutorial is cleaning out the coffee grinder to remove all the pink dust! (you’ve been warned)  You can use any freeze dried fruit for this recipe if you’re feeling adventurous, I bought it at my local grocery story but you can can buy it online or at local health-food store.

DIY Strawberry Lip Balm

Makes: 7 lip balms Making time: 30 mins  Dry time: 24 hours minimum Overall time: 25 hours

  • 1 tablespoon (14g) grated beeswax or beeswax pellets – I used yellow beeswax because its what I had
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) shea butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon castor oil
  • 5g Mango butter (I used a small piece from the pot)
  • 1 tsp ground freeze dried strawberries
  • 5 drops Vanilla essential oil (optional and honestly I cant tell that it makes any difference at all)

Now to make these nourishing balms

1.  Over  a ban marie or double boiler (or cheat like I do and use a milk jug in a pan with water) add the beeswax, shea butter, almond oil, castor oil and mango butter in a small heat proof bowl. Bring the water to the boil and then allow to simmer, until the mixture is just melted. You can stir the mixture but you dont need to stir it constantly.

2. Whilst your oils and butter are melting together, get your lip balm containers ready. I find it easy to put five (5) together and wrap a rubber band (loom bands work perfectly) around them, this stops them falling over when filling them. I also like to put them in a small plastic container, so that if there is any spillage, its contained. I find it easier to use my Pyrex jug making lip balm, as the spout on the jug allows for easy pouring.

3. Grind down your strawberries. (Remember you cannot use fresh/frozen strawberries, they must be freeze dried) I used a coffee grinder but a pestle and mortar also works. My coffee grinder is specifically for my hobbies but cleaning it after the strawberries was quite the mess – be sure to scrape it all out! As you can see, the strawberries didn’t entirely grind down, so you will need a small sieve for the next step.

4. Once the lip balm mixture has fully melted, turn off heat and take container out of the pan. Put your small sieve over the container and pour in the ground strawberries and sieve them, discarding any left over chunks you may have. Give it stir. Allow your mixture to slightly cool, now add in the vanilla essential oil if using.  If it you let it sit, you will notice it starts to seperate, STIR IT.

5. Pour the mixture into the lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely. Between Do NOT pour all of the mixture into the tubes (leave 1-2 teaspoons spare). As your mixture cools, A (small) depression will form in the center, use the spare balm that you didn’t use to fill this in, leaving a even finish. Simply reheat the leftover balm and top up the tubes. Allow your lip balms to set over night.

Technically now you are done with your lip balm, HORRAY.  Like last time, I decided to take it a step further and created the labels for the tubes. I have glossy adhesive sheets, which were perfect for this! Be sure to clean the outside of your tubes before applying the labels! You will have drips and this will affect the adhesion!

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These are my finished all natural tinted yummy strawberry lip balm.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂

DIY Moisturising Body Butter for ladies

Recently I did a tutorial on body butter for men, it’s a great whipped body butter and I’ve been told that it works a great and also works well for psoriasis by my aunt.

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I’m currently in the states for turkey day (sorry turkeys) and decided that not only would I bring a LOT and I mean a LOT of soap that Ive made (as per the above picture) and I would make various lotions for the family. Just a quick note to say that whilst Europe seriously doesn’t seem to care about the transport of soap in your hand luggage, America’s TSA take personal offence at them (apparently the shape and weight make it very suspect), be prepared for questions and searches, even when you’ve already cleared two other security points! I decided that not only would I make lotion for my dad but Id also make some whipped body butter for my nana and mother (and secretly Id make something for myself). I made three versions of this (yes, I made a LOT of body butter for the lay-deez), geranium (Jesus, this is a scent that I honestly did not get on with, it actually made me gag and smelt nothing like roses! I was literally turning my head away as I whipped it trying not to breath), lemongrass, and tea tree and eucalyptus body butter.

Why this whipped body butter is good for you?

  • Shea butter: It contains vitamins A and E and is rich in fats that make it an excellent emollient and skin moisturising agent.
  • Coconut oil: It has antibacterial properties, protects against fungal infections and can prevent premature ageing.
  • Sweet almond oil: Enriched with vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium, zinc, and a number of other minerals and vitamins. It is a mild, hypoallergenic oil, it moisturises the skin without irritating it further, its good for eczema and psoriasis.
  • Castor oil: Heals inflamed skin, reduces acne, moisturises skin, fades blemishes, prevents stretch marks and reduces pigmentation.
  • Mango butter: Due to its rich minerals and vitamin content, it can heal scars. It is high linoleic and oleic acid content, making it good at maintaining the skin’s elasticity and flexibility.
  • Vitamin e oil: Can improve the appearance and texture of rough and dry skin due to its role in maintaining skin barrier function and helping the skin to retain water.

What is the difference between body butter and lotion? Good question and one that is frequently asked. Immediately you’ll notice that body butter is much ticker than lotion, this is because it has no water content (mine doesn’t). This  means a little goes a long way with body butter and provides longer lasting moisture. As lotion has a high(er) water content, it feels and applies lighter and absorbs much more quickly into the skin.

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DIY Whipped Body Butter For Ladies

Makes: 210g(ish) Prep time: 5 mins Cooling time: 3+ hours Overall time: 4 hours minimum

  • 1/2 cup (110g) Shea butter
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Mango butter
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Sweet almond oil
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Castor oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops essential oil – as above, I made 3 batches which were geranium, lemongrass, and tea tree and eucalyptus – I added a few more drops to get a more intense scent
  • Clean pots to put your product into or when all else fails, tupperwear!

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How to make this girly body butter:

1. Over a double boiler combine the shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and mango butter. Once its all completely melted, combined and no lumps at all, remove from the heat. 20171115_133035.jpg

2. Allow your mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes. Once it has cooled down, add in your essential oil and vitamin e oil. If you add the essential oil whilst its melting or still very hot, they can be damaged by temperatures in excess of 100F (38C). This can result in reducing their therapeutic value and may cause skin irritation.20171115_134850.jpg

3. Now the waiting game starts, you need to wait for it all to cool down and start to solidify before you can start whipping it. For me, this literally took HOURS and HOURS. I tried beating it a few times in hope that it was ready and it just really wasn’t! In the end, I left it overnight (bottom left), and it was solidified and ready to be whipped. The top left and top right picture are the various stages of it solidifying and me trying to whip it and it just not working. Now that I have made so many of these, it really does whip best once its solidified. Once it is good to go, use your hand mixer and whip it good! I whipped mine for easily 5 minutes but probably closer to 10, you want medium peaks but not soft floppy peaks.

4. Now to take your whipped body butter and put it in a pot and label them. When putting it in the pot, you will need to tap the air out of the pot where you’re putting it in the pot. I lightly (or not so lightly) tap the pot against a counter top to release any air bubbles in the pot, yes, this does make the lotion slightly less airy but not enough to make a difference and it ensures you fill your pot entirely.

I created labels for the pots, so that there wasn’t a mystery as to what is in them. I used a glossy self adhesive printer paper (for laser, as thats what I have), measured the pots and changed the font according to the size of the pot. As with anything you’re giving to someone, its best to list all the ingredients to avoid any allergic reactions.

The great thing about this whipped body butter is that you dont need much at all, a little really does go a long way. I use it as a day and night cream for my face, along with as a lotion for my hands and body, so it really is an all in one body butter/cream. I personally like lemon grass as a face and body butter, as its not overly strong in scent and doesn’t seem to affect the scent if I wear a perfume. Tea tree and eucalyptus are also great for the same reason but does smell slightly more strong.

This is a great example of how truly easy it is to make your own products or products that will moisturise and nourish you and your family.

*Notes: you do not have to whip this body butter, you can use it as is once its solidified, however, whipping it gives it a fluffier and lighter texture.

*When making body butters, potions, lotions, soaps or any body product, always make sure that the equipment, spoons, bowls etc you use will NEVER be used for edible purposes again and are only used to make body products with.

*When using any essential oils directly or indirectly on skin, ensure that you stay out of sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after application. This might sound quirky but as per this article, the combination of sun and essential oils can cause the skin to severely burn and blister.

Remember to share with friends or just keep it all for yourself! 🙂

DIY Gift: Hot Chocolate on a Spoon

Does being a hostess mean I have the mostess? Since starting my social group for expats, I seem to be hosting far more gatherings and events than I ever have, from parent and baby groups to ladies who chat over coffee and adult evenings where chat is had over a lot of beer. Having a sense of humour and being able to laugh at my own awkwardness helps a lot, I host parent and baby groups and yet have no children. The other parents naturally ask, ‘Do you have children?’, I awkwardly smile and say ‘No, I’m a crazy cat lady, just cats for me.’ I do get a lot of strange looks but they seem to be grateful the meet up has been arranged, so I get a pass, even if it is a slightly awkward one.

I recently hosted an expat event, it was equally horrifying and exciting. I decided that pizza and beer would be a great theme, its casual and yet combines two things adults love. I would make the pizza and the people would bring the beer (the irony here is that *I* dont actually drink beer). Then I secretly prayed that I wouldn’t have any gluten-free attendees. The pressure one person can put on themselves to host an event is incredible! I decided it wasn’t enough to open up my home (spending a day in advance cleaning it to be pretend like Im some sort of organised and tidy adult), to buy all the ingredients and make the pizzas from scratch, along with brownies and snacks, no no, I also needed to give a thank you gift to the attendees who came. Yes, Im sure its party planning rule 101 – one must give a gift of thanks for those who take the time to attend. Right! Great, now I need gifts, what gift do I give? Homemade gifts are the best gifts to give, it shows you’ve taken the time and initiative to make something, because clearly everything you’ve done above simply isn’t enough. 🙂 I thought, its practically winter, cold, rainy and what is something I can play on with that, and then like any good idea a light bulb went off, HOT CHOCOLATE!!! As I shouted ‘giddy up’ and fist pumped in the air, I started to make the list of things to buy to make these gifts.

Ive previously made hot chocolate on a spoon (normally I give it to close friends at Christmas with their gifts) and have learnt what I like and what preferences people seem to like. Hot chocolate on a stick is VERY popular, its all over Pinterest and other internet locations. However, Im not a fan of sticks, I think of sticks and have visions of dogs running across a field with a large dirty muddy dribble soaked stick in its mouth. Oh hell no! Im equally awkward when I go into coffee chains and they only have the little wooden stirrers and I think ‘surely be an adult means Im capable of using an actual spoon!?”, I know, environmentally friendly, rah rah rah blah blah blah, just give me a spoon! I also find the texture of a stirrer weird on my tongue but we wont get into that.

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Makes: 15 shot sized glasses   Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 20 mins   Mixing and Filling time: 15 mins Total time: 50 mins

What you need to make these really great drinkable treats:

  • 9 oz. milk chocolate (not chips)  – I used 3 x100 gram bars
  • 7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (not chips) – I used 2 x 100 gram bars
  • 1/2 c (59g) cocoa powder
  • 1 c (115g) powdered sugar/icing sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 2 (10g) teaspoons ground cinnamon (or go wild and use pumpkin pie spice!)
  • 15 large marshmallows or 150 mini marshmallows
  • 7 mini candy canes (optional) – I put a mini candy cane in every other hot chocolate made, some people dont like them, so lets not force them to eat it.

Supplies

  • Plastic spoons
  • Plastic shot glasses (approx. 15) – you can use glass shot glasses ( you can use them to mould the mixture or you can give them away as part of the gift.
  • Cellophane to wrap each gift
  • Ribbon to wrap around each gift and to attach the label with

*Please note that I doubled the recipe for the pics below as I knew I wanted to make a lot and I couldn’t find shot glasses but I found double shot glasses instead, sure lets do that!

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Now to make these awesome drinkable treats:

1.  Chop chocolate into small pieces (or you can grate it if you really fancy it) and combine in a glass bowl. You can either microwave in 30 second bursts on 50% power, stirring between each burst, or you can use a double boiler (as I did) and allow it to melt over slowly over simmering water.

I was a bit of a idiot and thought super hot water = quicker melting time and actually seized the chocolate. Not going to lie, I didn’t even realise that you could ‘seize’ chocolate. I was able to rescue mine (hooray!) but play it safe and melt it slowly.

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2. In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. You need individually grease each shot glass (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!!), I used vegetable oil on a paper towel (kitchen roll) and lightly greased the inside of each shot glass.  This allows easy removal of hot chocolate once its set.

3. Once the chocolate has completely melted, mix in the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Mixture will be very thick, similar to brownie batter.

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4. I used two teaspoons and spooned the chocolate mixture into each cup or you can spoon the mixture into a piping bag (no coupler or tip is needed) and pipe it into the cups. I find the mixture too thick if Im honest and thought it easier just to spoon it into the shot glasses.

After you have filled all your shot glasses, shove a spoon in each one, ensure that it is straight, this will allow for easier wrapping. I then took a large marshmallow, cut it down the middle half way through (NOT all the way through) and then shove it over the spoon. When using mini marshmallows, I put 4 around the spoon and then just before I tie the bag up, I shove in about 6 more, as 4 mini marshmallows isnt enough!

Leave chocolates to dry a few hours.  Once all shots are dry, you can remove carefully from the glasses, the heat from your hand should be enough to release them from the glass, (obviously plastic is thin and this takes longer with an actual glass shot) wrap hand around glass around 10-15 seconds. I released each glass but put them back in the glass, to make it easier to remove when the giftee receives them and uses them.

I created the attached template that I use for labels on every cup. I print it back and front and it works great!

hot chocolate on a spoon

After everyone was full of pizza and beer and heading on their way out the door into a cold wet Dutch autumn evening, they were delighted with little gems.

Ive decided to work out the prices for these so you can see how affordable these great edible gifts are, all prices are based on prices at Albert Heijn unless otherwise stated (where the cheapest option has been chosen):

  • 3 x100 gram  milk chocolate bars  = €0.49 a bar = €1.47
  • 2 x100 gram  dark chocolate bars = €0.49 = €0.98
  • 1/2 c (59g) cocoa powder = €0.45
  • 1 c (115g) powdered sugar/icing sugar = €0.40
  • 2 (10g) teaspoons ground cinnamon = €.14
  • 15 large marshmallows or 150 mini marshmallows = €0.83
  • plastic spoons = €0.53
  • Plastic shot glasses = €1.29
  • Above total is €6.09
  • Total price per shot glass gift = €0.41

Remember to share with friends (and maybe take one for yourself to enjoy)! 🙂

DIY Nourishing Winter Lip Balm

Not that long ago I posted a tutorial on making a chocolate lip balm, whilst this was indeed a tasty treat for your lips, it didn’t feel very nourishing or last very long (this could be as a result of constantly licking ones lips constantly because it was so sweet). I decided to take inspiration from Reform Stead and make something a bit more hearty for the winter. 20171115_135912

I also realised that its possible to melt down lip balm that didnt work, with my chocolate lip balm, the top layer went funny as it was basically honey and cocoa only, making it gooey and not in a good way. I decided to melt it down, clean out the tubes and make something else. I put it in a double boiler, water outside and inside the pyrex dish, it took about 20 minutes to melt but totally worked without affecting the tubes at all.

This lip balm is firm and when you put it on, it feels waxy but in a good way, you can tell its providing a protective shield.

DIY Nourishing Winter Lip Balm

Makes: 11 lip balms Making time: 1 hour  Dry time: 24 hours minimum Overall time: 25 hours

  • 2 tablespoons grated beeswax or beeswax pellets
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1 teaspoons sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoons castor oil
  • 10g Mango butter (I used a small piece from the pot)
  • 20 drops cherry essential oil

Now to make these nourishing balms

1.  Over  a ban marie or double boiler (or cheat like I do and use a Pyrex jug in a pan with water) add the beeswax, shea butter, almond oil, castor oil and mango butter in a small heat proof bowl. Bring the water to the boil and then allow to simmer, until the mixture is just melted. You can stir the mixture but you dont need to stir it constantly.20171115_204505

2. Whilst your oils and butter are melting together, get your lip balm containers ready. I find it easy to put five (5) together and wrap a rubber band (loom bands work perfectly) around them, this stops them falling over when filling them. I also like to put them in a small plastic container, so that if there is any spillage, its contained. I find it easier to use my Pyrex jug making lip balm, as the spout on the jug allows for easy pouring.

3.  Once fully melted, turn off heat and take container out of the pan. Allow your oils and butters to cool.  If you add in the essential oil now, it can damage it. You dont want it to solidify but just to be cooler. Once it has cooled down, add in your essential oil and stir well. You may decide to add more or less the recommended amount, thats ok. Once you get a scent you are happy with, call it done. 20171115_205531

4. Pour the mixture into the lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely. Do NOT pour all of the mixture into the tubes (leave 1-2 teaspoons spare). As your mixture cools, A (small) depression will form in the center, use the spare balm that you didn’t use to fill this in, leaving a even finish. Simply reheat the leftover balm and add it to the tubes. Allow your lip balms to set over night.

Technically now you are done with your lip balm, HORRAY.  Like last time, I decided to take it a step further and created the labels for the tubes. I had a few glossy adhesive sheets, which were perfect for this! Be sure to clean the outside of your tubes before applying the labels! You will have drips and this will affect the adhesion!

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So here are a few resources that I found and were SUPER helpful (ish). Whilst I dont sell my products I still want to present them in a professional way. Labeling Your Products : Lip Balm gives great advice on how to create labels that meet a USA legal standard, even offering a free downloadable template. I wasn’t sure how to even create a template, as I wanted mine to be unique and this free template was the right size for small lip balm tubes. I tried using it but Word and I started getting into a fight and my images were shifting and yeah… In the end I measured my tubes, length and width (kind of guessed here) and then went into word, made four columns, sized them accurately for the tube and went from there. Oh and if you didnt know, you can get all kinds of great royalty free photos at Pixabay, a great selection you can use across all your crafts!

Notes: You can change the scent by using a different essential oil, I would actually suggest sweet orange oil but I think cherry works well for winter or any season.

I bought my lip balm tubes on Ebay but they can be found a variety of different stores.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂