Rose Hips in January

Winter time

I foraged rose hips this week and searching for the last few made it more exciting. I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I found any.

When foraging I ensure that I;

  • Am allowed to forage on the land.
  • Only take enough for my own consumption.
  • Leave plenty for the wildlife.

I bought Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal’s wonderful “Hedgerow Medicine” book. When I’m going foraging I always take this and their “Wayside Medicine” book with me because they identify a herb from its leaves, flowers or fruits with ease.

I use “Hedgerow Medicine’s” suggestion to make and use rose hip vinegar because it works for me. I had a very sore throat recently so mixed a tablespoonful of rose hip vinegar with a little warm water, gargled and swallowed. My sore throat had completely gone when I awoke the next day!

Be Prepared

Watch out for those thorns!

I take gardening gloves with me because they are useful when dealing with thorns. Rose hip thorns are extremely sharp and therefore I take care not to snag my clothes on them.

My rain mac is kept handy in case there is a shower. It never matters when it rains because I really enjoy a good forage regardless.

Preparing the Rose Hips

First of all I remove the rose hips stalks and dead flowers and throw away any rose hips that feel squishy.

I wash the rose hips in a colander and leave them to dry on the draining board.

Cider Vinegar

I love cider vinegar for many reasons. Above all because it’s said to help destroy harmful bacteria in the digestive tract, and for that reason I drink a teaspoon of cider vinegar in a glass of water each evening before my main meal.


  • Do not take cider vinegar if allergic to yeast.
  • Taking cider vinegar may cause problems if suffering from candida.

My tip is to  buy supermarket’s own label cider vinegar due to their good prices.  I add 20 rose hips to a 350ml bottle and 25 to a 500ml bottle.


Opening the cider bottle I pour a little cider vinegar out of the bottle into a jug because this leaves room to add the rose hips.


Adding the Rose Hips

The bottles will need topping up with the “everyday use” cider vinegar again after the rose hips are added.

I place the bottles on my sunny kitchen windowsill for a month to brew. When the weather has been dull I need to increase this brewing time by a week or two.

The colour of the rose hip vinegar when ready



The bottles are then labelled because vinegar based preparations are recommended to be used within six months. Its important to thoroughly filter the plant sediment because this can extend the use by date.

I filtered my first batch with a tea strainer which left sediment and for that reason I now use a cheesecloth whilst filtering like this one;

The vinegar is filtered into a jug so that it is easier pour back into the bottle. Finally I throw the rose hips and sediment away.


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My labels include;

  • date it was filtered
  • expiry day (six months on form when it was filtered)
  • uses of the preparation
  • dosage
  • ingredients

If you decide to make your own rose hip vinegar be quick before the rose hips have gone. Then you will be ready for any colds or sore throats that may strike.

If your new to foraging take a look at my foraging tips for beginners post;


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Beautiful Pink Rock Salt Desk Lamp/Oil Diffuser

Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils to change or modify the mind, body, or spirit. They mainly have a psychological effect and the oils are most effective when inhaled or used for external application.

My first experience of using smells to relax was many years ago when I had breast cancer. I would lie on the sofa, close my eyes and listen to gentle music. My choice of music to relax to back then included the sounds of rain forests and whales. I would light an incense stick and candles to create a relaxing ambience because this worked really well for me.

If you or someone you know is dealing with breast cancer, and you would like to see more of my tips take a look at my “Tips to deal with a mastectomy and breast cancer ” post;

My favourite scent now is sandalwood. Whilst learning about aromatherapy I realised why and that sandalwood was the perfect intuitive choice for me. I will briefly talk about chakras to explain why.



I read about chakras when I started my spiritual journey. They are energy centres within the body which help to regulate organ function, the immune system and emotions.

The seven main chakras are;


Located inside the top of the head hence essential oils used here are ones to help with spiritual enlightenment.

Third eye

Located between the eyes therefore essential oils which are used here help to connect with higher functions of consciousness.


Located at the Adam’s apple, for that reason essential oils are used here are those to help with communication and self-expression.


Located in the chest meaning that essential oils for this area are those to help with loving and caring and a strong sense of love for yourself.

Solar plexus

Located in the stomach area so essential oils used here are ones which are linked to the digestive system.


Located 3 to 4 inches below the solar plexus and for that reason the type of essential oils used here create an affinity with the reproductive organs.


Located at the base of the spine so essential oils for this area are ones used for grounding and strengthening to allow the body to connect to the earth.


When chakras are too open or blocked they can effect emotional balance. When I burn sandalwood I always feel calmer and more at peace and looking at chakras explains why. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person and oversensitivity can be a sign of a blocked Sacral chakra.  I’m also fearful at times because my health makes it difficult for me to go out. This can be a sign of a blocked Solar Plexus chakra.

I looked at the suggested essential oils for Sacral and Solar Plexus blocked chakras and they both have sandalwood in their suggestions to help. How amazing that I was already attracted to sandalwood and burning sandalwood incense sticks on a regular basis!

If you are interested in finding out more about the suggested essential oils for yourself using the chakra system send me your details via the “contact us” page.

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Using a Diffuser

I use a couple of diffusers but my favourite one is the pink rock salt burner because it gives off such a beautiful glow. Switching it on creates the right ambience when I meditate.

I wanted a pink rock salt lamp for a long time and as a result I was very excited to learn that it was possible to get one which also burns oils. The top of the lamp has a small metal bowl which I three quarters fill with water. I then add 2-3 drops of my desired essential oil. When the lamp bulb heats up the essence disperses into the room. For best results I close the door and windows of the room that I’m using the burner in.

A photograph of the bowl in the top of the diffuser.

Lavender Essential Oil

I prefer to use lavender essential oil in my rock salt burner which is located by my bedside. The oil is burned at night before I go to sleep and again first thing in the morning while I meditate. Lavender brings together all of the chakras and balances the aura which maybe explains why it calms and relaxes me.

One of lavenders many properties is sedative and can be used for insomnia and for that reason it is an ideal choice to use before I go to sleep.

Other suggested uses for inhaling lavender oil are;

  • to uplift the emotions
  • bring calm at times of stress and tension
  • asthma
  • migraine
  • nausea
  • sunstroke


  • Some people with low blood pressure may feel a bit dull and drowsy after using this oil.
  • It is a oil that stimulates or increases menstrual flow and is therefore best to avoid during the early months of pregnancy.
  • DO NOT use with psoriasis because of its ability to generate cell growth.

Essential Oils

If my post inspires you to try out essential oils and their effects for yourselves it is first of all best to purchase pure essential oils which are natural plant essences. Try to avoid oils advertised as nature identical, isolates, perfume compounds, and aromas.

I found reasonably priced and good quality pure essential oils from a company called Fresh Skin. I bought their winter essential pack and they provide packs for each season;

It’s noteworthy that essential oils must be kept in brown or dark coloured bottles, kept away from the light, and kept tightly closed when they are not in use. Consequently if they are not some of the oils can evaporate very quickly if they are not stored correctly.

Warning for Epileptics with Regards to Essential 0ils

 Some essential oils may trigger epilepsy and these include sage, rosemary, fennel, eucalyptus, hyssop, wormwood, camphor and spike lavender.

On the other hand essential oils which have a calming and relaxing effect may help. These oils include jasmine, ylang ylang, camomile, and lavender (not spike lavender).

To find out more about essential oils and epilepsy take a look at the following article from The;


Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. In fact I believe its best to try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.


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Amazing Aloe Vera Plants


I believe aloe vera plants are amazing and this blog shares why I have come to this conclusion.

A couple of years ago I was lucky to have been given an aloe vera plant by a colleague. However it wasn’t until I started my Master Herbalist course that I began to realise just how amazing this plant actually is. I can’t believe I just left it sat there on my window sill when there was so much more I could do with it.

Uses for Aloe Vera Plant Gel

When I break one of the “meaty” aloe vera plant leaves I see a sticky gel seeping out. This gel has amazing properties to assist the body to heal itself. My experiences of these are;


Last summer during cutting the hedge with our electric trimmer I cut through the lead. Fortunately the trimmer cut out but not before it had left a small contact burn on the inside of my right hand – Ouch!

The burn was only 3 or 4 millimetres round but it was sore. Smearing on antiseptic cream for a couple of days was of no help. Still hurting and continuing to seep the burn did not appear to have any interest in healing. 

Then I had a brainwave!

I remembered reading somewhere that aloe vera was good for burns. Therefore I decided to break off part of a leaf from my aloe vera plant and dab the neat gel onto my burn. Immediately the pain ceased and I couldn’t believe it! The seeping also stopped and the burn started to heal at long last.

Amazingly there isn’t even a scar now where the burn once was.

Insect bites

I have also used the neat gel on insect bites. I always swell up very badly when I get bitten and the bites seem to take forever to heal. The gel reduces the pain and redness, and they do not appear to swell up as much.

Bite sites can take well over a year to heal with me. However using the aloe vera gel my bites from last year have already started fading and disappearing.

If your having trouble with bothersome biting insects take a look at my “Natural Mosquito Repellents and Bite Relief” post;

Skin Conditions

Aloe vera gel is suggested to support the body for all manor of skin problems. I would be very interested to hear if anyone has had any success with using the gel for any skin conditions. Please comment below if you would like to share.

I have very rough heels on my feet but smearing the aloe vera gel onto them does ease this problem.

Growing Aloe Vera Plants

My original aloe vera plant had many offshoots growing which I laughingly call its “little babies.” My pot was getting so full that I decided to replant the offshoots.

Replanting “babies”

I replanted my “babies” by gently pulling their roots away from the mother plant and replanting them in small terracotta pots with potting soil for succulents.

The pots have holes in the bottom to drain away unwanted water which is collected in trays underneath. I wait until the offshoots are at least an inch long before separating them from the mother plant and repotting them.

I must be doing something right because I have already had to replant some of them into larger pots. Here is a photograph of a couple of new “babies” I have replanted.



The importance of pot size

Aloe vera plants are succulents whose roots grow shallowly and horizontally. This means that a shallower pot would be best for an aloe vera plant. Despite this I have found that they tend to be sold in the standardised pots like the one shown below;

With these types of pots aloe vera roots can’t reach the bottom. Therefore I searched for wide and shallow pots for repotting my “babies” as they grew. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find these.

My local garden centres didn’t have any. Therefore I continued my search online and found the following on eBay which were perfect for my needs;

This is a link to the trays I bought to go with them;

I have also found cheap trays in discount shops such as Bargain Buys.

Here are two of my “babies” growing up in their new pots.


I take special care not to overwater my aloe vera plants. Watering them once a week in spring and summertime but less often in the colder months seems to work well.

Pots with holes at the bottom sitting on trays are ideal. When I water the plants as soon as I see any water seeping onto the tray I stop. Then after a few minutes of allowing the plant to drain I throw the rest of the water sitting in the tray away. 

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Air Purifying

Before I end this post I just want to share another amazing fact about the aloe vera plants. They are also air purifying because they remove formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a by product of chemical-based cleaners. 

Recently  I sprayed a window frame with mould remover. Afterwards I put one of my aloe vera plants onto the windowsill. A couple of days later looking at my aloe vera plant it looked like it was dying! The plants leaves had gone very grey in colour.

A few days after moving the plant onto another windowsill I saw that the green colour was returning to its leaves. It is now very healthy again and growing new “babies” of its own.

This clearly shows me that aloe vera plants do remove toxins from chemicals in the air because it was clearly taking in the toxins from the mould spray.

These air purifying plants are now all over my house.


Even my beautiful neighbour loves sitting next to the aloe vera plants!

Important note:

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any suggestions don’t contradict them.


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