The summer of 1991 my grandmother left Cape Town, South Africa, and came to stay with my family in Osterley, England. It was a fair summer, I seem to recall. The red hot pokers in the garden grew tall, the rhubarb overtook the vegetable patch, and our lavender bush buzzed with honeybees from dawn to dusk. Memories of sunny days and school holidays are hazy, but I vividly remember the scents of that summer. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting upstairs every morning from my grandmother’s cafetière, the scent of hay bales and horses breezing across the air from Osterley Park, the fragrances of cut roses and lavender harvested from our garden for making flower waters and pot pourri.
That was my introduction to aromatherapy – and the start of a life-long interest in nature and her remedies.
And so I began my journey as an aromatherapist, drying out herbs and spices to make beauty tonics for skin and hair, experimenting with burning fragrances from ‘sea breeze’ to ‘strawberry and vanilla’, mixing cucumbers and witch hazel and stirring oatmeal with honey to create face masks…
Fourteen years later, I decided to put my amateur practice to good use and took up a course of study with Neal’s Yard (Natural Remedies) Ltd. A year spent self-indulgently learning about essential oils, massage, healing and the body, and I completed my diploma in aromatherapy and essential oil science in December 2005.
Living with essential oils has become second nature, like seasoning food with salt and pepper. They accentuate life and enhance its colours. Knowing the oils and how to use them is like having a friend for every occasion. Aromatherapy is a beautiful art that can be practised by anyone, anywhere. It can provide a useful adjunct to conventional medicine and is versatile to use with other complementary therapies. Living with essential oils is easy and I hope that this blog will inspire you to try the wondrous fragrances of myrtle, sweet marjoram, rosemary and cedarwood for yourself.