Monday, August 21, 2006

As I walked into my village Fish & Chip shop, the owner said ..
"Hello Love... what can I get you?"
my reply..
"A bottle of your finest Malt vinegar, please, it's for my hair."

Oh the shock - horror expression on his face was.... PRICELESS!!!

Obviously he didn't know that vinegar has been dubbed a "Beauty Bargain in a Bottle".

Vinegar contains minerals & trace elements like potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon, fluorine, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, vitamins C, E, A, B1, B2 and B6, beta-carotene and Vitamin P (bioflavonoids).

Acetic acid, propionic acid, lactic acid, enzymes, amino acids and roughage (made up of potash, starch or apple pectin - in the case of Apple Cider Vinegar).


It's ALL good!

Apple Cider Vinegar (aka: ACV or cider vinegar) made from - yup you guessed it - cider apples. It's often unfiltered and has a brownish-yellow coloured liquid.

Coconut and Cane Vinegars which are very common in India, the Phillipines and Indonesia.
Coconut Vinegar is made from the sap of the coconut whereas Cane Vinegar is made from the sap of the sugar cane. Both are used in cooking, both have a cloudy white appearance and a sharp acidic taste.
Honey Vinegar also known as honeygar, it's a blend of apple cider vinegar & anti-bacterial Manuka honey.

Beer Vinegar created from beer brewed in the Netherlands, Germany & Austria. The flavour depends on the type of beer, hops & barley used and of course where & how it's made.

Chinese black vinegar which is made from a combination of rice, wheat, sorghum and/or millet with an inky black colour.

Fruit vinegar which is an infusion of whole raspberries, blueberries, figs, blood red oranges & pears added to red wine vinegar.

Sweet & Savoury Herb vinegars are an infusion of whole herbs, such as thyme, basil, chamomile, rose buds, lavender, rosemary or oregano.

These vinegars can be made at home all you have to do is add a couple of sprigs of fresh or dried herbs to store-bought wine or white distilled vinegars. This will usually leave you with a light colour.

Malt vinegar which is the result of grain, softened by steeping in water and then allowed to germinate. Germination causes the natural enzymes to become active.

White Wine Vinegar created through the acetous fermentation of a selected blend of white wines. It's clear and goldish with a distinctly acidic taste and an aroma.

Rice or Rice Wine Vinegar
obtained from the fermentation of sugars derived from rice.

Red wine vinegar, which is created by the fermentation of a selected blend of red wines.


Balsamic Vinegar of Modena in Italy which are made from the white sugary Trebbiano grapes. The grapes are cooked and then matured by a long and slow vinegarization process of natural fermentation and aging. This process takes place in a series of casks made from different types of wood from around the region. Balsamic Vinegar has a dark brown colour, with a distinct, complex and sharp acidic flavour.

I have yet to use Balsamic Vinegar in my hair or on my skin but when I do I will provide an update and more importantly a recipe!

.. and I'm sure there's more..


Tried & Tested:

1. Use either Apple Cider Vinegar OR Coconut Vinegar as a final hair rinse to get rid of scalp build up to help remove the sticky stuff that commercial (SLES or SLS layden) shampoos can leave behind.

2. Use undilluted Beer Vinegar to cure toe nail fungus (eeekkk!!! - I know but it worked for a friend of mine)

3. Add one-half cup of Sweet & Savoury herb vinegar to warm bath water for softer skin and a cleaner bath tub!

4. To relieve dandruff add a few tablespoons of Honey Vinegar or Honeygar, a dash of Organic Nettle or Horsetail herbs and half a cup of warm water to a bowl.
Stir well for 10 minutes, strain and pour the liquid on your hair.
Massage it well into your scalp
Wait a few minutes, then rinse & wash hair as normal.
After a few days you'll notice the dandruff disappear.


Here are some more hints, tips & recipes:

My favourite blast from the past is the Honey Rose & Vinegar Hair Rinse - which can be used as a pre OR post rinse to restore the natural pH balance & rejuvenate your scalp.

Suitable for all hair types.

60ml of Apple Cider Vinegar OR Coconut Vinegar
945ml of Water
10g of Dried Pink Rose Petals & Buds (add more if you wish)
1 drop of honey (add a few drops more if you wish)

Prep Time: 20 mins

What you will need:
* 1 Large Pyrex jar or bowl
* Cling film
* 1 Clean & dry glass Jar with lid
* 1 Strainer
* Kettle to boil the water

1. Put the Dried Pink Rose Petals & Buds into the bowl & add Honey
2. Boil the kettle. Once boiled pour the hot water over the Rose & Honey mix, then add the Apple Cider Vinegar.
3. Stir the mixture, cover the bowl with cling film and let steep for 10 minutes or until cool.
4. When the mixture has cooled sufficiently strain the herb from the liquid into the jar.
5. Pour the liquid over the scalp allowing the mixture to saturate your hair, message gently for 2 minutes
6. Rinse with cold water to seal the cuticles
Only make enough for 1 rinse and use it FRESH on the day you make it.

Keep your eyes closed when using the Honey Rose & Vinegar Hair Rinse also do not use if you have broken skin.


You're healed!

Smooth a little Honeygar on cracked, dried skin to help it heal.


Dishwasher Love..

Just put one cup of vinegar in your dishwasher and let it run for one cycle. Do this monthly to reduce soap build-up on glassware.


A spot of Tea or Coffee, perhaps?

If you're a tea or coffee drinker and you have a dirty tea or coffee pot simply boil 1 part water and 1 part vinegar in your tea or coffee pot and while the liquid is warm wipe away the stains.


Don't make a spectacle of yourself..

Use a drop of vinegar on a cotton cloth to clean your eye glasses.


Antz and I don't mean the movie!

Last month we were over-run with Ants. So in the morning before hanging the clothes out to dry I poured vinegar all around the back garden doors and the results were brilliant. I just bent over and watched those pesky critters approach the house and then retreat.


Laundry duty..

To brighten those whites add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.


Grease just ain't the WORD!

To remove grease from clothing just dip a toothbrush in vinegar and gently brush over the greasy spot.


Tights or Hose?

For longer-lasting pantyhose or tights (as we called them over here) add one tablespoon of vinegar to the rinse cycle.


Get Fresh!

Make your own airspray by mixing two cups of White Wine vinegar with one cupful of your favourite crushed herbs like lavender, cloves, pine needles, ginger, cinnamon etc.. Place the ingredients in a saucepan and boil gently for 10 minutes then leave to cool.
Pour into a large jar with a close fitting lid.
Leave to stand for three weeks. Strain and add the mixture to a spray bottle or atomiser
Use it in the same way as you would with any other commercial air spray.


Treat your achy, breaky feet!

Dilute one part ACV to five parts water and use it as an antiseptic to soothe achy blistered feet or better yet - use the same combination as a foot soak.


Out of the sun..

Cool down a painful sunburn by gently applying full strength vinegar to your skin.


Flower Power!

Excellent for fresh cut flowers
add 2 tablespoons of vinegar & 1 teaspoon sugar to 150 ml of water.


Listen up..!

For clean ears dip a cotton cloth in a mixture of ACV and distilled water and wipe around your ears and you're sqeaky clean again.


THE best Steam Clean you'll ever have!
Loosen the daily dirt and grime.
Suitable for Oily skin types

Floral Facial Steam & Tone
Enough boiled water to fill half of a large Pyrex bowl
10g / 0.35oz of Organic Rose Petals & Buds
10g / 0.35oz of Organic Chamomile Flowers
10g / 0.35oz of Organic Lavender Buds

1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

Prep Time: 20 mins

What you will need:

* 1 Large Pyrex jar or bowl (3 litre bowl if possible)
* 2 Big cotton balls
* 1 medium to large towel
* 2 small plates
* Kettle to boil the water

1. Place 2 cotton balls in a little Apple Cider Vinegar & cold water leave one out and place the other in the fridge or freezer
2. Take a teaspoon of dried Organic Chamomile & Organic Rose OR dried Organic Lavender & Organic Rose
3. Put it into the Pyrex bowl.
4. Boil some water
5. Carefully pour the hot water over the herbs
6. Hold your head over the bowl & drape a towel over your head. Allow the herbal steam to open your pores to loosen oil & dirt.
7. Lightly pat your skin with the Apple Cider Vinegar cotton ball that was left out, making sure that you avoid the eye area.
8. Then take the Apple Cider Vinegar cotton ball that was chilling in the fridge or freezer and pat your skin to close the pores avoiding the eye area.

Overtime this natural toner will even out your complexion and prevent unsightly breakouts.


I'm on holiday but I'll be back with some more recipes as we look at the benefits of milk & honey on your skin and in your hair. In the meantime don't forget to visit our sponsors & get mixing!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

OK Let's SPARTY! are my top 5 homemade spa recipes for August..
(or until I mix up some more yumminess ;O) )

Chocolate Milk Bath Soak - Decadence for your body


235 grams of Either Dried milk powder OR Coconut milk powder
145 grams of 100% Pure Organic Cocoa Powder

145 grams of Bicarbonate of Soda

100 grams of Cornstarch
5 drops of Essential oil(s) of choice (Optional)
An old glass milk bottle or glass jar.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Pour all the ingredients in a bottle or jar & cover
Shake the dry ingredients.

Add the Essential Oils and shake again

Cover and let sit for 30 mins.
Add 100 to 200 grams of your Chocolate Milk to your hot bath water & enjoy.
As your skin just drinks in the moisture leaving you feeling soft and smooth.

Cleopatra move over!!!


Detox Seaweed Wrap:

This is a great way to replenish lost nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, protein, vitamins, amino acids, and more.

Seaweed is a great detoxifier - try and use fresh seaweed but powdered and dried are just as good.


225 grams of seaweed (either powdered Kelp or dried Irish
An infusion of:

3 stalks of Fresh Lemongrass

14 grams of Fresh Ginger root (grated)
475 grams of water (spring or distilled)
These 2 herbs have invigorating and antiseptic properties that are great for skin and both have a pleasant spicy-citrus scent. Large beach towel(s) Plastic wrap or cling film

Prep Time: 20 minutes

* Take the Fresh Lemongrass & Ginger root & put it in a big ol' mug or Pyrex jug b
oil some water
* Pour the hot water over the Fresh Lemongrass & Ginger root and cover

* Let it brew for at least a few minutes

* Strain Lemongrass & Ginger with a strainer so that you only have the nourishing infused liquid

* Pour the strained infusion over the dried seaweed

* Use enough water to make a thick paste.

Fill your bath tub with hot water this is to heat the bath tub, leave the water in the tub for at least 15 minutes.
Drain the bath tub.

Place the large beach towel(s) inside the tub.

Place the cling film inside the large beach towel(s)

Place yourself in the bath & begin to cover your body with the seaweed mixture.
Wrap the cling film & large beach towel(s) around you, then cover with an additional large beach towel(s).
Close your eyes & relax for 20 to 25 minutes.

Unwrap & rinse with warm water.

Dry yourself & enjoy the silky soft feeling!


Eucalyptus & Rose Bud Bath

If you've had a hard day or a grueling work-out, this bath will help to relieve sore muscles, headaches and/or the first stages of the common cold.

Prep Time: 10 mins or less

Drizzle 14 grams of Baking Soda to your bath water.

Then sprinkle a pinch of each of the following herbs into your bath:

Dried Organic Rose Buds

Dried Organic Eucalyptus

Dried Organic Peppermint

Dried Organic Sage
Add 5 drops each of Eucalyptus & Lavendar essential oils

Slide in & relax for as long as you want!


Pineapple Face Mask for dry skin

The active enzyme in Pineapples, cleanses and rejuvenates dull, dry skin while the Papaya gently exfoliates dead skin cells.

1 Slice of pineapple
cut into chunks & with the skin on
28 grams of Organic Papaya oil

1 drop of Honey (optional)

Prep Time: 15 mins

Blend the ingredients until smooth.

Spread the mask with your finger tips over your face & neck area using upward strokes.

Avoid the eye area.

Relax from 15-30 minutes - preferably lying down.
Remember don't fall asleep! When the mask has dried, rinse off with warm water.

Then say HELLO to the youthful glow sealed with the fruit scent of Pineapple.


Cool as a Cucumber Face Peel

To help heal sunburn & puffy, irritated skin.


1/2 small Juiced Cucumber

10 grams of Dried Organic Chamomile Flower

10 grams Dried Organic Lavender Flower

1 packet Unflavored Gelatin

5 grams of Arrowroot
255 grams of water

Prep Time: 15 mins

Boil the water over a low heat
Combine dried Organic Chamomile & Lavender
Let it brew for at least a few minutes
Strain with a strainer Stir in the juiced cucumber
Add the gelatin or arrowroot until it's dissolved.

Refrigerate for 25 to 30 minutes or until it starts to thicken.

Spread over your face with your finger tips (avoiding the eye area) & allow it to dry for 20 minutes.

Peel off and rinse with warm water then seal in the pores with a splash of cold water
Pat dry and enjoy!

On Monday the 21st of August we'll be getting down right vinegary...
By the time I'm done you'll be looking at vinegar in a whole new light...
See ya then & Happy Mixing!