May 2, 2015

Batch 2 - dehydrated skin

batch 2 of the moisturizer includes

essential oils--certified organic: helichrysum, roman chamomile, lavender,  frankincense.

Hard oils--mango butter, organic unrefined coconut oil, 100% unrefined African shea butter.

Oils--certified organic: jojoba, vitamin E, sweet almond, evening primrose, and carrot seed.

water--distilled, rose water and aloe gel.

Also includes veg emulsifying wax and Geoguard plus (preservative) + IPM.

Ratio water, oils/solids 75:25

process-- Heat water and oils separately to 70C for 20 minutes and lower to 45C for addition of GP and EO.

for dehydrated skin.

April 16, 2015

Organic Body and Facial Products

I'm starting a new project, well, along with the writing one. Over the last 20 odd years I've spent a fortune on moisturising products. A few months ago, I made my first body butter and gave samples out to friends and family. Feedback suggested it was a nice body butter, very moisturising, good on body and even hair, but it took a while to soak into the skin.

RECIPE tip: * made of unrefined African Shea Butter, organic Coconut Oil, jojoba, vitamin E oil, sweet almond oil and a few drops of essential oils.

The process used the heat, cool and whip method.

I'm now looking at diversifying into facial moisturiser and will also try a new whipped body butter recipe that uses emulsifying wax and preservatives.

From the research, it seems that once you add water to any product, you really need a good all-round preservative (and you should probably use a preservative for non-water based recipes, too). I've discovered that many products claiming to be 'organic' contain a lot of non-organic preservatives and emulsifiers. While we need the preservatives to keep bacteria at bay, over coming months I will be searching for an organic replacement. Until then, safety first. So although it won't be 100% organic, I will use certified organic where I can find it. Research and results will be posted on here, both to keep track of progress/mistakes and help others on their journey to creating home made/organic body products.

Batch #1 First batch is an anti-aging face cream using certified helichrysum essential oil, organic carrot oil, organic frankincense essential oil, certified organic rose hip oil, rose infused water, emulsifying wax NF, Cleopatra's Choice 100% pure African shea butter and organic sweet almond oil. I'll also add a little cornstarch to help it soak in and Geoguard ultra to keep the bugs away.

I'll start cooking up in a day or two, and we'll see how it turns out.

December 6, 2011


Love these gorgeous botanical original collage drawings from artist Susan Black on Etsy.

The artist uses coffee stained paper, ink, gouache, vintage paper and drawings on cold press water colour paper.

November 23, 2011

Natural body products

I've been checking out different ideas for Christmas and birthday presents. My mum loves hand cream and given she has just about everything, I'm on the lookout for something natural for this year's present. As luck would have it, she really likes the Kangaroo Island hand cream I purchased while on holidays earlier this year. I'll have to see if I can get a tub by post. I'm so over the department store products that cost a fortune and last half the time the sales assistant tells me they should. I've heard good things about these products and will try them out over coming months to see how they measure up on the skin.

NOUGAT LONDON (she loves this one)




and my favorite tags for gift boxes

March 13, 2011

It's been a while

Yes its been a while since I've posted. I've finished Illusion ... well almost. Last chapter is imminent. Also doing my Masters in Creative Writing, a real buzz.

That aside, the house is cooking along. We need to do some gardening and of course the floors for some reason could do with a thorough cleaning. I can't seem to get the boards clean enough - what with two dogs, a cat, an 8 year old and her friends and our noisy Alexandrine.

Michael has put up shelves in the garage which has helped with the clutter. Given its our laundry as well it all helps.

I'll post some pics when I get around to it.

Tonight we had a great dinner at Gaucho's in the city. Steak and prawns ... yum.

signing off


September 7, 2010

Illusion 1,2,3

Chapter 1-3 Illusion

feedback welcome!

July 31, 2010

Sleeping beauty

Sleeping beauty at its best. But it's not our favorite bedtime story.

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty from Darragh O'Connell on Vimeo.

Product previous amazon

Praise for Shiver: "A lyrical tale of alienated werewolves and first love... Stiefvater skillfully increases the tension throughout; her take on werewolves is interesting and original while her characters are refreshingly willing to use their brains to deal with the challenges they face."

Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2)ShiverShiver

July 24, 2010


I've been delving into urban fantasy of late and love it. As a genre it would have to be my favourite. Before we left for Borneo I sneaked into Borders and purchased a couple of hundred dollars worth of books and tried hiding them in the bottom of my hybrid trolley but Michael found them (after my luggage weighed in at 30 kgs) and pulled them out. So I repacked them again but this time split them between three cases.

I read the Robin Hobb trilogy which was great but ended on a bit of a grim note IMO.

Latest great read has been Ilona Andrews.. she has kick ass heroines, great mystery and action.

Love it.

July 23, 2010

For something cute

Have been wanting to get Amelia one of these for a while now and they sell pretty quickly so haven't managed to get my hands on one.

They are Nooshka dolls and as cute as pie.

I'm looking for unique items for Amelia's birthday .. a year has gone past so quickly. So far she's asked for a science kit, girls lego and a pool (in the middle of winter!)

and my favourite

We'll have to see.

2 years later!

We are back from Borneo which was as hot as Hades but we had a great time.

It is a lovely place to live and I must post some pics soon of our garden which is growing well.

We ended up building sleepers up against the back fence (reinforced of course so the fence doesn't fall down) to create a layered effect in the backyard. We planted magnolias against the 15 metres of back fence so when they get big it should look beautiful. Most of the plants are living well and we haven't had many losses so I guess digging down and getting rid of most of the crappy soil worked for us after all.

The lawn is looking a bit yellow given its winter and one thing we do regret is laying couch instead of buffalo but you live and learn! Eventually we will pull up some more of the lawn and put in a pond but that is a way off yet.

The deck is a bit of a pain, especially where it gets hit by the elements. Even if we use the good stuff we have to oil it more than every 6 months or it begins to look tired. Some of the Malaysian timber boards are warping a bit so we wish we had gone with an aussie hard timber for the deck.

Neverthless the rest is holding up well. No major leaks or problems with the house now we've had the floors finished again. We don't use a lot of the space upstairs so it is interesting that we built a big house and ended up using 2/3 of it. But it is nice to have!

February 19, 2010

Visiting Borneo

We're off to Borneo soon for a month or so. So far we've booked 4 nights in Singapore, 10 in Kuching, 4 in Mulu, 4 in Danum Valley, 6 in Kinabatangan and oh the joy 10 nights in Kota Kinabalu.

Don't know what I've done but for most of the trip we are staying in national park accommodation .. very basic. At Bako the toilets don't flush and you have to tip water into (dunno what we sit on actually ... hope its high enough or my leg muscles wont hold me up ... and then oh god I'll fall into....) the hole but they don't provide you with water because the National Park is a bit dry atm lol. Then there are the macaques who are downright mean and steal your stuff. Given there are large gaping holes in the screens of all the rooms we won't be taking much luggage. They can take Michael's trekking socks coz they'll make the room unbearable anyway.

Amelia was frightened to hear about the large apes and asked what would happen if one abducted her up a tree. Despite her light weight (making her easy to transport) and orange hair (almost orangutan-like) I assured her they would return her immediately once they realised how hard it is to get her to eat and how many toys she desperately needs to keep her happy. She thought about that for a while, nodded and thought it made good sense. My theory ... no decent ape would take my girl if they knew what they were in for.

Ok sounds a bit basic but its the leeches that really terrify me. I hate needles so I'm hardly likely to be inspired by any blood sucking bugger attaching itself to any part of my body. Some intrepid traveller was bitten by one on his stomach. He was pissed because it wouldn't stop bleeding for a week (leeches release an anticoagulant) and it wrecked his expensive tshirt. Damn ...if I have to pry one off my darling daughter I'll go quietly hysterical.

That being said (distraction needed)... I took Mia to the museum during the holidays and we happened upon the Borneo exhibition. Amelia was terrified .. ok the organgutans looked bigger than expected but I doubt we'll have an Asian elephant, rhino, male and female orang, 5 species of macaque, bearded pigs, wild boar, probiscus monkey and gibbons all together in 6 square metres! Plus they were up on a stand (she says trying to stay calm). Her sympathetic gf suggested she stay with them while we are away but nope ... all for one and one for all.

On the upside I've found some great homestays and eco huts to stay in. So for all you doubting Thomases that think you know me well and are giggling and thinking I can't live without life's little luxuries .. you're in for a surprise. Coz unless I'm attacked by a man eating crocodile .... I'll never confess to having a crap time.