Before the hard work begins to get your garden in good order for planting and the soil ready for sowing, you should prepare your hands, and feet, to heal and moisturize any cracks and dryness that will only get worse when the wellies are on and the gloves are off.
No matter how careful you are about washing the soil from your hands, unless you wear gloves, you will rinse away the skin’s natural protective oils, allowing it to dry out. Unfortunately for some jobs like taking cuttings, pulling up tiny weeds and pricking out seedlings, only your bare hands will do, so you will need to apply hand cream to keep your skin soft and supple.
Gloves will protect your hands whilst gardening but you need to use hand cream to keep them soft and supple
To prevent your hands becoming chapped and sore from exposure to soil, frost and even sun, Beauty specialist Angela Lopez from AngelasBelleToi (angelasbelletoi.com) in Bournemouth has come up with a hand cream that uses fresh herbs, which can be made at home. She recommends making a large batch that can be kept in the fridge, which will last for the whole growing season!
Angela’s healing hand cream
Angela’s chosen ingredients have long been used in medicinal remedies but as always she recommends dabbing a small amount of the cream on the inside of your elbow and cover it with a bandage for 24 hours to check for possible allergic reactions such as redness, swelling, or itching.
Comfrey, also known as knit bone, which has been used as a poultice for centuries to heal wounds, bruises and broken bones, so is one of the main ingredients of Angela’s healing balm. Lavender not only makes the cream smell nice but has antiseptic properties as does Aloe Vera, which was a favourite with Cleopatra for preserving her youthful skin and also with Alexander the Great who reportedly used it to heal the wounds of his soldiers. Rosemary too is an age- old rescue remedy and been used to ease pain and swelling
6g rosemary leaves
10g comfrey leaves
5g lavender leaves
32ml olive oil
250g Anhydrous Lanolin
Aloe Vera gel (optional)
With a mortar and pestle, bruise the herbs with a small amount of olive oil. Melt the lanolin on a low heat with the remaining olive oil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then stir in the herbs and Aloe Vera gel.
Strain the mixture through cheesecloth then blitz in a food processor until a smooth consistency before pouring it into heat-resistant jars. Store in the refrigerator.
Angela’s Revitalizing Foot Scrub
Angela uses peppermint in her foot scrubs because it not only leaves feet smelling fresh and clean but helps to relieve itching, reducers inflammation, release muscle tension and invigorates tired feet.
¼ cup Epsom salts (sea salt is a good substitute)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of finely chopped mint leaves
3-4 drops of peppermint oil
Place the salt into a large glass bowl
Stir in coconut oil and olive oil
Add the peppermint oil and mint leaves then mix well
Adjust the oils if too wet or to dry
Use the mixture as a scrub. Gently rubbing the mixture on your feet then put on a pair of clean, cotton socks let it rest for around 15-20 minutes before rinsing and patting dry your feet. Finish by applying a creamy moisturizer.
NOTE: Never use this foot scrub on your feet in the shower because the coconut oil is slippery and you risk falling.
DIY Peppermint essential oil
You can buy peppermint essential oil or try making your own by washing some peppermint leaves, then crushing or chopping them and placing them in the jar with some grape seed carrier oil.
After a week, strain the oil and add more chopped peppermint leaves and carrier oil, then reseal and repeat this process for five days.
After which, remove the peppermint leaves by straining and pour the oil into another container ready for use.
When you next wear your wellies, talc your clean feet and wear thick thermal boot socks or soft, fleece wellie liner socks over a thin pair of socks, which are higher than the wellies to avoid the rims rubbing your legs.
Fit memory insoles inside your boots too as these will act as shock absorbers and stop your feet slopping about inside your boots, whilst digging thus reducing the risk of blisters
At the end of the working day, fill the boots with some scrunched up newspaper to help absorb the sweat, so they are dry for next time.
After a day on your feet in hot, sweaty wellies you will be glad to give your tootsies a good soak and pampering
Angel’s herbal foot soak is a mixture of fresh mint leaves a sprig or two of fresh rosemary and a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with Epsom salts in warm water, and is guaranteed to help recover and rejuvenate aching feet and dryness. She also recommends filling a muslin bag with fresh rosemary or fresh lavender and hanging it under the hot water tap to ease your weary body, and mind, after a day in the garden.
Rescources: Anhydrous lanolin from www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk