The Chamomile Lawn

One of my favourite books is The Chamomile Lawn, so when I first began to ponder the fruitful possibilities of a large garden, I knew that chamomile would play an important role in my longed for herb garden. But my love of chamomile goes further than its connection to an oft-reached-for novel. Chamomile is probably the most famous of all herbal teas, and is known for its nutritional benefits. Chamomile has been shown to soothe ailments such as insomnia, digestive complaints, anxiety, and menstrual cramps. In my former job as a stressed out, anxiety-prone doer of all tasks (my official title), I would always make sure that I had a stash of chamomile teabags within easy reach, and I also found the herb to be a wonderful soother when my son was teething (I was breastfeeding and drank and couple cups of chamomile tea a day).

Chamomile is a member of the Asteraceae family of plants, and while there are many different species of the daisy-like plant, the two most common varieties are German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile (Marticaria Recutita and Chamaemelum Nobile). The herb was widely used in Ancient Egypt and Rome, before gaining further repute as remedy for numerous ailements, such as respiratory problems and nervous conditions, during the Middle Ages. Chamomile flowers contain oils and flavonoids (particularly the compound apigenin) which are known for their naturopathic qualities. As well as a tea, chamomile can also be used in soothing balms and tinctures. If you like further information and a few wonderful recipies, then check out Herbalist Lucinda Warner's brilliantly informative blog Whispering Earth

Keep reading for the Lori and the Caravan super simple guide to harvesting Chamomile! 

Here are my flower-laden chamomile plants, already a teeming force to be reckoned with in my herb garden (I recently found a patch beginning to grow amongst my french beans, some 25 foot away). And here too is a confession, I probably waited a little too long to harvest the flowers (hey, I'm a novice gardener and I have a rather boisterous toddler!) Best to strike when the flowers are completely open and the petals fully extended. Wait for a nice dry day, as soggy flowers can easily become mouldy flowers, and nobody want to drink a mouldy tea. 

If you're right-handed like me, simply pinch the stem between the thumb and index finger of your left-hand, catch a flower between the fingers of your right-hand, and gently pull and pop the flower from its stalk. Leave behind any flower heads that are not yet in bloom - you can return for them when they're ready (and full to the brim with therapeutic oils). Your plant will thank you with many many more blooms!

Spread the harvested flower-heads over a tray lined with tissue or muslin, and cover. Place in a dry position...

...and leave them until dry. (I think this was about ten days, and by that time my plant was heavy with more flowers ready to harvest - amazing!)

Store your dried flowers in a air-tight jar or container, and enjoy! I'd like to hear your tips on growing chamomile (and other herbs) and how it has benefited you! 

Bathroom-arama

First off, an apology for being so absent recently. Life is certainly crazy at the moment, but I'm hoping that now all of the 'big things' are out of the way I can get back to blogging and relaunching the shop. If I am ever blessed with an hour of child-free time that is. 

Anyhoo, back to this house of ours. You might have noticed over on the ol' Pinterest that I've created something of a bathroom themed mood-board. While we're lucky enough to have a functioning bathroom suite, the room is lacking a door, finished walls, actual walls in places, and mountains of builders dust that seem to defeat my hoover at every step. So, there's still some way to go. I think I know what I want - our suite is quite 'classic' (think roll-top bath), so I'd like to stick with a vintage-esque theme. Plus a few pops of colour, obviously, maybe in the form of some natty tiles. I do love a tile. 

Here is some of my favourite bathroom inspiration. Take a peek at Pinterest for more! 

Summer Thoughts, 70's Vibes

Recently I was lucky enough to catch Inherent Vice at the flickers, and it filled me with thoughts of summer, and sunshine, and blistering hazy days of lazing about with the warmth of the sun on your skin. It's also a crazy yet brilliant film, and if you like your films completely bonkers but dripping with style, you might just love Inherent Vice. 

© 2014 WARNER BROS

© 2014 WARNER BROS

It's always at about this time of year that I start thinking about my summer wardrobe, when the relentless gloom of winter starts to feel overbearing, and endless, and just, well, a bit dull. I was in need of inspirations, and the costumes in Inherent Vice piqued my interest because not only is the 1970's one of my favourite decades for style, it's floaty, hippy vibes are going to be all over the High Street this summer. 

© 2014 WARNER BROS

© 2014 WARNER BROS

In terms of how this translates into a workable wardrobe, I think the 1970's is actually surprisingly accessible. Think loose, floaty pieces, like smocks, kaftans, and maxi-dresses, and you've got yourself a look that manages to be bang on point, yet comfortable and cool for summer (which we're all hoping is going to be a scorcher, am I right?) 

Photo courtesy of style.com

Photo courtesy of style.com

I really love this denim dress from Gucci's SS15 collection. This shape is going to be everywhere this year, so keep your eyes peeled on the High Street (unless Gucci happens to be in your price range, in which case I am infinitely jealous). Asos have got a ton of laser-cut woven-look tan sandals in stock already, most for under £30. I really love these

Here are a few of my fave 70's pieces from my own wardrobe. Expect to see a lot more of these items once the weather picks up! 

Yellow fringed jacket. 

Yellow fringed jacket. 

Blue jacket, mustard skirt, wicker and fabric bag. 

Blue jacket, mustard skirt, wicker and fabric bag. 

White mini-dress, straw hat, patent loafers. 

White mini-dress, straw hat, patent loafers. 

And if you're feeling brave, why not scoop up that mini-dress, or those tiny shorts? Go on, I dare you! 

Style Ideas: Thinking about Kid's Rooms

We're well into decorating our new house now (Hooray! Finally!), and obviously when I was thinking about ideas for our interiors I headed straight to Pinterest, that safe haven of wanderlust and slightly naff craft projects. 

Here are some of my favourite images I found when style hunting for ideas for the boy's bedroom. 

What do you think? I'm so in love with that last image! Head over to my Pinterest for more.