Today was supposed to be an ‘all about me’ day! That doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly turned into one of those self centred ‘me, me, me’ people who demand attention all the time and annoy the hell out of me. It means a whole day devoted to looking after myself. The first project was to make a big batch of body butter. Because I suffer with eczema I go through tons of the stuff and it’s so expensive in the shops I started to make my own a couple of years ago to save a few pennies. All the ingredients are cheap as chips on tinternet and I love messing about with different essential oil combinations. I’ve got quite a collection of different scents now, again cheap as you like on eBay. Every so often I have a little essential oil buying binge, average cost £5 for a 100ml bottle, although some, like neroli or sandalwood are way more expensive.
Yesterday I mentioned on WLR that I was going to make some more and Joey asked for the recipe. I never really thought about it being a proper recipe before but I guess it is and as such I should probably share it. So here goes…
150g Shea butter or cocoa butter (I prefer Shea butter)
100ml olive oil (you can use almond oil but I’ve always got olive oil in the kitchen so that’s what I use)
30ml (or 2 tablespoon) glycerine (you can get this on eBay too or from a good chemist)
Essential oils (make sure you use essential oils rather than perfume oils or you could have allergy problems)
Jars to put it in (I have some little kilner type jars that were once Body Shop body butter jars but any clean jar with a lid will do)
Weight out your Shea butter and olive oil then add the glycerine. I find it easiest to use a measuring spoon for this as it’s a bit like treacle.
Melt the Shea butter. I melt mine in a big glass bowl in the microwave but you can use a saucepan if you like, just make sure you wash it well afterwards though!
Give it all a good stir. Make sure it’s mixed up really well.
Choose your essential oil. You can use a single oil or a combination, whatever you have or what takes your fancy.
Add the oil a couple of drops at a time until you get the strength of smell you want. I find between ten and twenty drops does the trick depending on the oil I’m using. Less is more here as you can add but you can’t subtract and you don’t want it too overpowering.
Stir it all really well then leave to cool. Go and have a cup of coffee or something, actually go and have several because this bit takes ages
When it’s cool but not completely set I get your whisk out. You’ll know when it’s ready because it will have changed from a clear liquid to a creamy colour but it will still be the consistency of soft butter when you dip your finger in. I have an old electric whisk I keep specifically for body butter but you can use your normal kitchen whisk just make sure you wash the beaters really well afterwards!
Whisk the body butter up, use a slow setting at first to avoid it splashing everywhere (voice of experience speaking here!). Once it is really creamy leave it for a while to set further (about ten minutes or so). Now it will have gone even paler than when you stopped whisking and will have begun to harden. Give it another good whisk and you’re ready to transfer into your jars.
The body butter will bulk up when it’s whisked, a bit like double cream. It looks good enough to eat but don’t be tempted! It will set a little more once it’s in the jars so don’t worry if it seems a bit too thin at this stage.
Now all you have to do is wash everything up (I normally wash everything I’m going to use for food twice just to be safe) then you can start slathering it on! I do this while I’m still wet from the shower as it keeps the moisture in and my skin feels silky smooth and smells lovely.
Actually the body butter wasn’t strictly the first project because I had to dash up the Big Hill before that. I seem to spend half my life marching up that hill and coming back with big bags of shopping. Today, as I was waiting at the crossing, a woman joined me.
“You look like you have a heavy load there,” she smiled.
“I always do.”
“You live in The Crescent don’t you? I’ve seen you walking up and down the Little Hill past my house.”
Turned out she also lived in The Crescent, right at the top on the corner, so we walked back down the road together. Because it’s basically a great big circle with over two hundred houses The Crescent is a bit of an odd place. Everyone knows everyone but only in their own half, very us and them. This lady, Faye, has lived in the same house for almost forty years and, as you know, I’ve lived here almost all my life, but we’ve never spoken before and I’ve never even seen her as far as I remember because she lives at the top and I live at the bottom. She’s obviously seen me though, once seen never forgotten, it must be the flappy eared hat!
Once I got back I thought I’d have a quick look round the garden, seeing as I had my shoes and coat on. It was a pretty dull, grey day so I didn’t really fancy getting out there digging or anything but I’d noticed some fluffy buds in some of the front gardens as I came down the hill so I thought I’d see what was feeling spring like in my own garden. There were some flowers on the white heather near the side path but the heaters have been flowering on and off all winter, every time things warm up they come out. A little more encouraging were the daffodil buds pushing their way through the earth by
the path at the front, when they come out I’ll know spring is here. Then there were the Iris’s by the front window, a welcome splash of blue with their tiger striped petals looking like they’ve been painted on. The berries on the Spotted Laurel beside the wall are fat and remind me of some wooden beads I had as a child. I’m surprised the birds haven’t had them. There are even some flower buds on the Quince, maybe there will be more jam in the autumn.
Round at the back the herb tubs are coming to life. Yesterday I cut a few garlic chives for the pasta. There is one surviving pac choi in the tub by the washing line and some of the khol rabi are looking
quite healthy, not sure what I’m going to do with them when they’re ready but still. There’s something else in the tub too, other than the garlic I’ve planted in every available gap, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it is. I really must get some more plant labels before I start sowing seedlings again. Most of the hardened off seedlings I planted out before the snow are gone, but a few tiny Beetroot seedlings have survived. Still no sign of any flowers on the broccoli worse luck, I give up on it.
I’m very excited about the elephant garlic, it is coming on a treat, I do hope the bulbs are growing under the ground. On the flower front not much is happening yet, although the Skimmia Japonica has some red buds. The dogwood stems are a spot of brightness in the dull corner by the ivy arch but I’ll have to cut those down soon if I want a good crop this winter. Happily the palm doesn’t seem to have suffered any lasting damage from the snow, there are even new leaves coming through.
Once I’d had a spot of lunch I finally got round to making the body butter. At least I melted everything and added the essential oils. I chose a mixture I’ve used before, grapefruit, lime and black pepper, it doesn’t sound particularly exciting but it smells lovely, very citrusy but with an earthy undertone from the black pepper. Then it was a matter of leaving it to set before the whisking started. I’d planned to do the eyebrow thing and the hands and feet thing while this was happening but it didn’t quite work out that way.
While I was in the kitchen working on the body butter I’d been playing my iPhone on the dock Because Commando had my iPod to test it out on the new gadget in the car. A while ago I download a couple of albums and I’d never got round to syncing them to my iPod although, due to the wonders of iCloud they’re on my phone and iPad. The iPod doesn’t work with iCloud as it’s an old iPod classic, probably an antique by now. One of the new albums was playing in the kitchen and it reminded me that I really should get round to doing it.
This syncing business should be a quick enough thing, just fire up the laptop, plug the iPod in and leave it for a while to do its thing. Of course nothing is ever simple. As soon as I plugged it in it told me I had to do an update. I was kind of expecting that because it must be at least six months, probably longer, since I last synced it. So I did the update, which took ages. Then I synced it. It said, time left two hours! Oh dear. Because the laptop autmomatically goes on standby after a bit if you don’t press anything I had to sit there and move the curser every so often to stop it. Grrrr, why can’t these things just work without my input? So I dashed out into the kitchen, made a hot chocolate and sat there moving the cursor from time to time while it did its thing, or so I thought.
After two hours it said it had finished. Ho bloody ray! Then I went to disconnect the iPod and it wouldn’t let me. It said it was being used by another application. A few more tries and I gave up, shut down iTunes and disconnected using the safe disconnect on my laptop. I switched the iPod on to check it had downloaded the new albums and I couldn’t believe it. Not only had it not downloaded them, it had wiped all the music off! I was beside myself. What was I going to take walking with me? I always use the old iPod because the battery lasts for ever, I can go for weeks without charging it and the iPhone battery seems to run out within a few hours when I play music, especially if I’m using the camera and the WalkJogRun too.
In the end I just left it and went out to whisk up my body butter and cook dinner because I didn’t want to waste any more time on it. I wondered if it was a ploy by Apple to get me to buy a new iPod, make the update self district all hardware over ten years old? As if I haven’t put enough money in the Apple coffers already. I was not a happy bunny at all. Commando suggested Googling to see if anyone else had had the same problem after doing the update. Clever old Commando. There were loads of articles about the same thing and loads of suggestions as to what to do.
What a performance. First I tried syncing it again ticking lots of extra boxes like one suggestion told me to. It took ages but finally it said the sync was complete, only problem was, when I went to eject the iPod, it said there was no iPod! Grrr. I was seriously considering taking the whole lot to the apple shop tomorrow and telling them to fix it. I clicked a few random things and managed to find the iPod again but now it said it didn’t recognise it and suggested I do a master reset. That sounded a bit worrying, especially as a big warning came up when I pressed the button to tell me that all the music on my iPod would be wiped off if I continued. Ummm, what music exactly? The whole problem was that there was no music on there!
So, in desperation and feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing I did the master reset which took about three minutes. After that things got a bit weird. A message came up to congratulate me on purchasing a new iPod. New? It must be at least ten years old! I had to set everything up again from scratch and then, crossing my fingers, sync it again. Eventually, after what seemed like about a week, it said it was synced. This time it even let
me disconnect it. I was a teensy bit scared to turn the iPod on and and look to see if there was any music on it to be honest. If there wasn’t there was a good chance I was going to cry, or throw the iPod at the wall, or both. Thank heavens I didn’t have to. When I turned it on all the music, including the new albums were on there. How wonderful, I actually grinned, and it only took four hours!
Moral to the story. Never expect technical things to be simple! Still, at least it kept me from nibbling and I do now have all my new music on my iPod ready for my next walk. I guess the eyebrows, hands and feet will have to wait until tomorrow now though.