• Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Heather   Heather or ling, Calluna vulgaris, is a short, evergreen, bushy shrub with stalks of tiny purple, pink or white flowers, prolific on moorland or heathland. It’s native to Europe but has been introduced to many countries across the world. It often indicates areas of deforestation, where trees have not been allowed to grow back, so the heather and other shorter plants take over. I asked my three-year-old which plant I should explore for this month, and she said, “A pink one!”. After some pondering, I showed her some pictures of pink, purple, and white heather stretching across the moors, and she was delighted. So,…

  • Crafting Articles

    The Kitchen Witch

    Applesauce Custard Pie It is my personal tradition to make something with apples for Samhain. Whether it’s an apple pie, a yummy apple kuchen, German apple cake or just simple baked apples, my home is always aromatic with the smell of apples and cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar at the end of October. To be sure – the smell of apple and cinnamon is present almost all year long! I had made applesauce earlier in the week and I wanted to make something with the batch of applesauce that I had. I have more than one recipe for applesauce cake – including the famous one that Olivia Walton makes in…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Clover     Clover is also called trefoil, literally “three-leaves”, and grows in most places around the world. Although many clover plants look similar, there are around 300 species of Trifolium and they’re in the same plant family as peas. Both the round, joyful flowers and the iconic triplet of small, round leaves have a ton of folklore around them – and some surprising modern research, too.   The Kitchen Garden Red and white clover are the most common where I live, and often pop up in lawns without any encouragement from gardeners. As well as being a fantastic food source for bees and other insects,…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Stinging Nettles     Called nettles, stinging nettles, or common nettle, this jagged-leafed plant is a hardy little medicine cabinet packed with folklore and magic. Urtica Dioica is the scientific name for the most commonly recognised species, and it’s found all over the world in hedgerows, woodlands, and anywhere where there is space for it to grow. Gardeners may hate nettles for stinging their fingers unexpectedly when weeding, and anyone who has been out hiking in shorts knows what a nettle sting on the leg feels like! But these feisty and fierce “weeds” have more uses than you would imagine, and can easily be forgiven for…

  • Crafting Articles

    The Sacred Spoon

    Balancing Meals – Throat Chakra     Blueberry Lemon Pie The throat chakra controls our ability to express ourselves and live our truth. An unbalanced throat chakra may express itself in an inability to speak one’s mind, even when offered a platform to do so. Also creative issues such as writer’s block, or not having the wherewithal to work on an art project. In family settings this can be witnessed as a child backing away from a club they’re just not feeling into right now or a spouse procrastinating a work project when they’re usually very strict about a timeline. Even something as seemingly small as your child not writing…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Lilac     Lilac is a flowering shrub in the olive family, Oleaceae, cultivated in many parts of the world including all across Europe and North America. Robust spikes of delicate yet strongly scented flowers come in colours ranging from purples and pinks through to blues and whites. I’ve been writing Notes from the Apothecary for over 6 years now, and some months I struggle to think of a plant that’s magical, seasonal, and of interest to our readers worldwide. I had no such struggle this month, thanks to the wonderful fragrance that stopped me in my tracks as I was out playing with my 3-year-old…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Blackthorn   Prunus spinosa, literally meaning a spiny fruit tree, perfectly describes the beautiful yet oh so spiky blackthorn. Blackthorn is a familiar sight across much of Europe, and in Northern England where I live, the blossoms are one of the most impressive displays of spring. Blackthorn blossoms really stand out in the hedgerows because the flowers arrive quite some time before the leaves; white, delicate yet profuse blossoms perched on dark, spiny twigs. Blackthorn is also intertwined with folklore, otherworldly beings, and magic. It truly is a worthy addition to our apothecary.   The Kitchen Garden Many people will know the blackthorn for its beautiful…

  • Crafting Articles

    The Sacred Spoon

    Chakra Balancing Meals Solar Plexus Chakra Chamomile Lemon Loaf with Lavender Glaze      The solar plexus Chakra is located in the gut and thus aids in who we are as a person, spiritual & mundane. It’s where we receive guidance that helps us make decisions, and is the core of one’s power. Much like with the heart Chakra, when our solar plexus is imbalanced we find it difficult to connect, accept on a more spiritual or personal sense instead of emotional. The stones associated with the solar plexus chakra are yellow calcite, tiger’s eye, pyrite, citrine and rutilated quartz. Kyanite can also be used as it helps align all of the…

  • Crafting Articles

    The Sacred Spoon

    Chakra Balancing Meals Sacral Chakra Healing carrot soup The sacral chakra is one of creativity, emotion, and connecting with others. When this chakra gets blocked you can experience a lack of creativity and confidence, as well as difficulty forming meaningful relationships with others. In families this can be difficult to deal with. On the other hand if your sacral chakra is overactive you can still experience creativity but have no outlet for this creativity. For a long time I didn’t write or learn many new skills. After much thought and retrospect I realized that it all boiled down to self doubt. I didn’t do things because I assumed I would…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Primrose     Primroses are a hardy, perennial plant which means they’re tough and come back year after year. They’re also absolutely gorgeous and often around in winter, lending some welcome colour to gardens, windowsills, or containers. Originally a woodland plant, primroses or Primula vulgaris will grow just about anywhere as long as there’s drainage so the roots don’t get waterlogged. Finding primroses in the wild can be a sign that you’re on ancient woodland. However, some “wild” blooms can be escapees from folks’ gardens! Either way, even in November and December, their blooms make a gorgeous, colourful addition to the winter landscape.   The Kitchen…