Vegan & Sustainable Living Festival!

Exciting things are happening at Bishton Hall this month – join us for our first Vegan & Sustainable Living Festival! Come along and try some fantastic vegan street food, shop sustainably, discover amazing local makers and crafters and join me in the Wellbeing Tipi for some retail therapy, self-care therapies and workshops.

Main Marquee

We have so much going on at the Vegan & Sustainable Living Festival, it’s hard to know where to start!

On the lawn we have a large marquee housing around 30 vegan and sustainable living traders. Here you’ll find things such as candles, bath and body care, pies, Turkish food, jewellery, general stores, wood crafts, sauces and pickles, eco gifts, recycled and up cycled crafts, wines, doughnuts, preserves, flowers…the list goes on.

There is also a presentation area in the main marquee where you can hear traders talk about their sustainable projects, vegan living and see demonstrations and taste products. There will be a new speaker every hour on each day of the festival, including our very own Charles Hanson at 3 pm each day giving talks on antiques and buying sustainably.

Holistic Wellbeing Tipi

Take a walk around the grounds and you’ll find a magical Nordic Tipi housing the Yoga and Wellbeing area. Come and see me there for retail therapy, mini holistic treatments in the Tipi, sustainable themed workshops and a chance to win prizes.

You can shop all things yoga and meditation – mats, yoga blankets, yin pillows, blocks, carry straps, meditation cushions and eye pillows. A vast supply of incense and incense holders, diffuser oils, oil burners, bath and body care, mala beads, mandala cards, salt lamps, candles and gifts!

On offer during the festival will be mini holistic treatments such as hand massages and Indian head massage. Workshops on creating your own natural deodorant and aromatherapy body scrubs. There will also be Sound Baths to relax and unwind.

Artisan Courtyard and Street food

Come and visit our wonderful artisan courtyard of shops and makers:

The Quirky Emporium for sustainable furnishings, gifts, handmade candles and items for the garden.
Mercia Spirit Lab for tastings, artisan gin and whisky, cocktail masterclasses (!), gift vouchers and experience days.
LuvFelt for fabulous handcrafted works of art, clothing and accessories, bird house pods, cards and tea towels.
S&P Watercolours for wonderful works of art inspired by the natural world as well as cards, mugs, cushions and tea towels.
Earth & Fire Ceramics for classes and workshops in pottery and throwing techniques as well as handmade works of art, sculpture and gifts.
Ivy House for a huge range of homewares and gifts, cards and handmade candles.
Kate Bennett Fine Art Photography for wonderful landscape photography, inspirational and occasion cards and giftware.

For the vegan festival there will be street food from Nelly’s Delhi (gorgeous Indian food), No Baloney (vegan sausages), Where’s the Catch (vish and chips), Hugo’s Bar (ice cream, jacket potatoes, hot and cold drinks, milkshakes), stews and soups from Mercia Spirit Lab. Yum!!

Children’s Crafts

Did I mention there will be FREE children’s crafts all weekend? Wander over to our fabulous historic orangery and find Outdoor Answer offering children’s crafts throughout the weekend. Let your little ones try making seed bombs, making leaf pledges for Earth Day (Friday 22nd April) and connecting to nature. Bishton Hall has fabulous grounds including a Temple Garden, woodland and amazing historic trees – let their imaginations run wild.

Cannot wait to see you there!

Letting Go and Manifesting the New

Halloween isn’t just about costumes and sweets. Samhain, as the festival is traditionally known, is a wonderful time for acknowledging the past and letting go before calling in your hopes and dreams for the future.

October’s unique workshop will bring together the best of the season and the energetic changes to give you a boost into the Autumn with a fresh outlook and high spirits. The workshops uses aromatherapy, sound waves and yogic sleep to help you relax deeply before calling your hopes into being.

Your body, mind and spirit all benefit from this practice of aroma, relaxation, meditation and sound therapy. It’s a complete package for renewal! This year, Samhain falls between the date at which Venus is closest to the earth (29th October) and a new moon (4th November) making it the perfect time to cleanse, release and turn our energy towards the new.

This workshop will be an opportunity to use ritual and relaxation to make the most of the spiritual and celestial energies available to make a new start. We will begin our workshop session by crafting a personal blend of bath salts, essential oils and natural ingredients to take away and use over the next 30 days to repeat our intentions for the future whilst practicing self-care. You will be encouraged to set intentions and affirmations for the future as you build your self care bath ritual blend.

We will then begin a yoga nidra session – deep relaxation bringing us to the cusp of sleep so that our consciousness becomes susceptible to creativity, intuition and release on a deeper level. This is a passive practice, so no physical postures are practiced – it is a guided visualisation and relaxation practice. Get comfortable under blankets and drift away.

We will then transition into a gong bath to let the sound waves wash over us, cleansing the mind and body and allowing us to start anew.

The focus of this workshop will be based around the energies available to us from the cosmos at this point in time:
Samhain/Halloween – a time of transition from the old to the new. A slowing down of one cycle and the beginning of another. Coming into a deep rest before calling our dreams and wishes into reality.
Venus – A focus on the heart chakra and self compassion. Looking deeply at our own happiness and how we gather and expend our personal resources. We will be able to utilise the divine feminine/shakti energy of the provider, nurturer and fierce protector to help manifest our goals
New moon – Heart chakra energy from the new moon helps us to align for a new beginning and cleanses us of whatever has just past or is no longer beneficial. This energy is a powerful force for helping us to let go.

Everybody will be able to create their own blends using salts, oils, plants, natural ingredients and the fruits of nature. You will take away the bath blend in a kilner jar to use at home several times as part of your own bathing, cleansing and intention setting ritual. You will also receive a free gift to take away.

Spaces are limited on this small, cozy workshop. All materials are provided…get yourself booked in!

Essential Oils for Fighting Colds

As the nights get longer and colder and the days get damper, the inevitable cold and flu season approaches. Chances are we will all suffer from a seasonal cold; whether it’s a head cold that lasts a few days or something a little more persistent that knocks you back for a few weeks, it’s good to know how you can help yourself to recover.

Waging war on the common cold often seems like a lost cause with most of us resorting to over the counter remedies that allow us to ‘soldier on’ at home and at work. Keeping warm and drinking fluids is good advice, but what if there was something more you could do?

Essential oils have some powerful properties to fight the common cold and can be used as part of a self-care routine that in itself can help you feel much better. Although I wouldn’t recommend casting aside medical advice in favour of home remedies, there are things you could try to complement medical advice that could help you feel better physically and mentally and get you back on your feet sooner.

So what can you do? There are a number of essential oils that have been used for centuries (and proven in modern trials) to combat the symptoms of colds.

Oils you might like to have in your basic care kit:

Cinnamon, clove or rosemary – if mixed with warm water, can be effective as a surface cleanser or room mist to combat bacteria, viruses and fungus

Chamomile (Roman)– excellent at relieving cold and flu symptoms as it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It also has calming and sedative properties

Eucalyptus (Radiata) – Excellent in fighting respiratory tract infections

Lavender – Excellent calming effects and helps with sleep. Can also be used to treat headaches

Lemon – Has stimulating effects on the digestive system and is great at relieving headaches. Is generally good at uplifting mood and has antiseptic properties (making it great for room mist)

Peppermint – A wonder oil with analgesic, antiseptic, cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. Can relieve mucus and catarrh and relieve headaches

Tea Tree – An all-rounder for cold fighting; antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal. If you find the scent too antiseptic, it can be easily blended with lemon to disguise it.

Thyme (Linalol) – Great at fighting infections or contagious conditions and also at stimulating the immune system.

How to use the oils:

Steam – add up to 4 drops to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam (placing a towel over the head). This is particularly useful for mucus, catarrh and headache relief. Alternatively, to get the benefits of steam and topical application, add a blend to the bath and soak yourself until you feel relief.

Topical application – a foot or hand massage is a great way to get the benefit of the oils and the relaxation of a massage. Add an oil blend to a carrier oil (such as coconut or grapeseed) and massage into hands and feet before bed. Blend the oils in the following quantity: 5 ml carrier oil, 1 drop of essential oil. 10 ml of carrier oil, 5 drops of essential oil.

Room mist or surface cleanser – Adding drops of a blend (up to 6 drops to 500 ml water, test on surfaces before full use) to warm water and shaking well (in a misting spray bottle) can make for an effective surface cleanser or room mist to clear away infectious microbes or bacteria.

Oil burner – get the benefits of the oils while relaxing in front of the TV or a good book. Add drops of essential oil (up to 5 drops) to 10ml of water and heat in an oil burner (over a candle). The room will be cleansed as well as your airways.

Experiment with blends that appeal to you as fragrances as well as for their cold and flu fighting properties and you will find something that works well for your mind as well as your body. Instead of fighting through and carrying on as normal, take some time to care for yourself through bathing with essential oils, giving yourself a massage or relaxing in a candle-lit room with an oil burner. Colds need not be the struggle that they usually are.

How to Sleep Well and Rise Well in the Darker Months

Regulating your body clock can be a difficult task in the winter months as we set off for work in the dark and come home in the dark. It starts to become a struggle to get out of bed and sleep is often disturbed and unrefreshing. Add in the potential for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it can feel like a real challenge to find motivation.

Women are often more susceptible to SAD but also more likely to struggle on without any help. The good news is, that there are some simple essential oil remedies that can both relax you in the evening for restful sleep and energise and motivate you for the day time.

Lavender  (lavandula augustifolia) 

The champion of champions in the aromatherapists kit bag. This wonder plant is very well known for its sleep inducing qualities. It also has the ability to reduce anxiety and emotional stress and is a strong antioxidant making it excellent for pain reduction and skin replenishment. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a lavender filled pillow or bag and hang it near the head of the bed. The relaxing, floral aroma will help you drift off.

You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to water and using a mist spray bottle, mist your bedding so that the aroma is an encompassing experience.

Lemon (Citrus Limonum)

A long-time favourite of mine, this zesty essential oil is great for enlivening you when the afternoons and dark evenings are dragging and for enhancing concentration. Although lemon is a stimulating oil, it is also calming and works well as a pairing for lavender or on its own. As an extra benefit, lemon is great for calming the digestive system.

Add a few drops to a burner mixed with water to freshen the air after a long day at work (this is when mixing lemon with lavender would be a winning combination) or for use during the day, add a drop or two to a tissue and inhale the refreshing aroma while at your desk or in the car. If you don’t like the fragrance of lemon, you can try grapefruit essential oil instead.

Jasmine (Jasminum Officinale)

Jasmine has a distinctive sweet and flowery fragrance which can be quite heady for some. It does however, have great properties for relieving the blues that often come when the darker months are dragging on. When vaporised (by placing in a burner with some water) Jasmine stimulates the autonomic nervous system and enlivens and awakens the mind and body. It is also excellent as a room fragrance and can be mixed with water for use in a mist spray bottle.

Rose (Rosa Damascena) 

Known for its strong but pleasing floral fragrance, rose essential oil is excellent for calming anxiety or stress and is a friend to those who struggle to regulate sleeping in the darker months. Inhaling rose essential oil through vaporisation (by placing in a burner along with some water) will relax the mind and body. Not a scent to be used when looking for alertness, the properties of this oil are all about relaxation. It has a beneficial uplifting effect on the mood, but really helps sooth the body into a good night’s sleep.

Sandalwood (Santalum Album)

Sandalwood has been used for many hundreds of years for its antidepressant and anti-anxiety qualities. It is also recognised for its properties of focusing the mind. By adding a few drops of sandalwood to a tissue and inhaling throughout the day, it can help to improve the mood and attentiveness but also calm and relax the body.

Sandalwood makes an excellent room fragrance when vaporised, but has the same beneficial properties when burnt in the form of cones or incense sticks. The fragrance can be a little overpowering for some, so as an essential oil it should be used sparingly.