Naff off Nits! Natural head lice repellent

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Here in the UK the kids have just started back at school, and no doubt it won’t be long before word of “an outbreak” is given. Head lice, or nits, have always grossed me out and I’m scratching my head just thinking about them. As the old adage says, “prevention is better than cure” and with that in mind I’ve concocted a balm which can be dabbed behind little ears which should repel those itchy little critters. The rationale behind this is that the lice hate the smells of certain essential oils.

I made a huge batch, but to make your own manageable amount I suggest using the following:

1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
1 tablespoon shea butter
1/2 tablespoon beeswax
Tea tree, lavender, camphor and eucalyptus essential oils to your liking.

Put the wax and oil ‘s in a ban marie and heat gently. Remember, I did a huge batch, you’ll only have a tiny amount so it won’t take long!

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While the mixture is melting prepare your container/s. I chose lip balm tubes which are pretty hard to fill, so to make life easier, I covered a shallow baking tray with foil, made little slits with a knife and pushed a tube into each slit to stop them toppling over.

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Once the oils have melted they’ll be a rich amber colour.

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Now add your essential oils a drop at a time until you’re happy with the fragrance. I added more tea tree and lavender than the others, but it’s personal choice really.

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Once you’re happy with the aroma, fill the tubes or pots… I ended up using a piping bag to do this but it was messy (and rather hot)! Think I need to rethink my method!

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Let them set, then put the lids on and label.

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Dab behind your child’s ears each day to help keep the lice away.

If you liked this post, check out my Frankincense and Cinnamon Winter Balm post for another homemade, natural idea.

Watermelon "Cake"

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On my eternal quest to provide healthy but interesting cake alternatives at the social action and outreach events our church puts on, I had a go at a watermelon “cake” I’d seen on Pinterest, adapting the recipe to use a healthier buttercream alternative.¬† I say “cake” as it is actually just fruit, yoghurt, vanilla bean paste, cream cheese and toasted flaked almonds.

Cut a watermelon into a rough cake shape.

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Beat 100g light cream cheese then add 250g fat free Greek yoghurt and a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.¬† Taste the frosting and if it’s not sweet enough for you add in one or two tablespoons of icing sugar. I don’t think it’s necessary¬† really as the vanilla sweetens it beautifully.

Cover the melon with the frosting.

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Lightly toast a couple of handfuls of flaked almonds in a dry pan, allow to cool then sprinkle on around the base. Decorate with whatever fruit you fancy and leave in the fridge for the frosting to set a little. Slice and enjoy… Guilt free!

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Rose hip and Manuka Honey Syrup

Rose hips have long been used as an immune system booster, reportedly containing 50% more vitamin C than oranges. It’s no wonder these shiny little autumnal powerhouses have been made into syrup and gleefully spooned into mouths winter after winter.

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Instead of using just sugar for the syrup I decided to experiment with Manuka honey to really give this syrup a health boosting kick.

Unfortunately, I only had a small amount of rosehips, but that’s part of the fun of foraging I guess, making the most of what the land gives you.

Wash the rose hips and cut in half removing the furry whiskers where the stalk attaches (don’t worry too much if you miss a few as we’ll be straining through a muslin later). Throw them into a saucepan, seeds and all, and cover with boiling water. The exact amount really doesn’t matter too much at this stage. Boil for 15 minutes before breaking them up a bit with a potato masher (obviously do not drain). Once mashed, boil for another 5-10 minutes. Add more water at any time during this process should it be evaporating too quickly.

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After 20/25 minutes line a sieve with a clean tea towel or muslin and drain the mixture. Let it sit there until the pulp is cool enough for you to squeeze the remaining juice out of.

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Now, pour the flavoured water into a measuring jug and take note of how much liquid you’ve got. How much sugar and honey you add depends on how sweet and thick you want the syrup. I ended up with 250ml water and added two tablespoons of sugar and two of honey. I poured the water back into the pan with just the sugar and allowed to come to the boil and reduce. I purposely didn’t add the honey at this stage as I wanted to limit the amount of damage done to the goodness of the honey through the heating process.

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After about ten minutes I added in the two tablespoons of honey and allowed it to melt into the mixture without boiling.

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The result is delicious! I put it in a sterilised jar and will be looking forward to enjoying a teaspoon or two a day be it over yoghurt, in my morning smoothie or simply off the spoon.

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