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How we made the Herb Relaxation Art

Due to the phenomenal response to our recent herbal artworks, we thought we would create a behind the scenes look at how the herb art was created. We have also has a number of enquiries about the ingredients that went into making these beautiful images so we will look to answer all your questions about the herbs and their relaxing properties in this post.

Whenever we had the chance to show guests around our store and our produce people would always remark on the incredible textures and vibrancy of colours in all of our loose herbs. It had always seemed like a great opportunity to take advantage of these attributes by commissioning an artist to create something on behalf of Baldwins. When we came across Mustashrik we immediately knew that we would be the man for the job.

Here are some of the unedited photographs that were taken during the production process. They allow you to see in greater detail all the materials that have gone into making each mixed media artwork.

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

 

Some of our herbs (and a healthy dose of artistic talent) went in to creating stunning images like the one below but what are the individual herbs and what benefits do they have?

 

 Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

 

 

Rose Buds

Rose buds have been used to create the top of the dress and make a gorgeous bodice. Rose buds have a number of applications which make them a great topic for relaxation month.

Rose buds are used to fight headaches and as a tonic for the nerves. They are most commonly used to create teas and are a good source of vitamin C which is used to help support the immune system. Another side benefit is that they aid in the production of collagen which is a pivotal part in the maintenance of healthy hair and skin.

Here is a quick guide to making Rose Tea:

For dried petals:

  1. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves for 1 cup.
  2. Add buds to water which has been heated to just before boiling point
  3. Allow the tea to steep for 2 to 3 minutes.

Baldwins sell both red and pink rose buds so be sure to experiment with both!

 

Rose Petals

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

Rose petals are the next down in the creation of the dress and are another great natural product to help relaxation.

Taking a bath with rose petals is a great way to fight anxiety and aid natural sleep. It is also an incredibly romantic gesture which you can treat someone with if you know they are under pressure. Another benefit of using rose petals in the bath are their effects as a natural skin toner which will help retain moisture in the skin.

Rose petals also have uses in cooking. If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen this can be another way to use rose petals to unwind. If you want to try something unusual, why not try baking Levantine Ma’amoul. After baking, sprinkle on some rose petals for a beautiful dessert which will impress all your friends and taste delicious. Here’s a recipe to get you started.

You can buy rose petals in a variety of sizes starting from £2.45 for 25g

 

Jasmine Flowers

Jasmine, also known as “moonlight of the grove”, is a proven sedative to treat anxiety. We have a number of products that use the restorative power of jasmine.

Jasmine Oil is one of the most versatile forms of jasmine and can be used in a number of different ways to help you relax. Using the oils in a bath or in a burner are two of the most popular methods but you can read more about the applications of jasmine oils here.

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

You can also buy Jasmine incense sticks to create a thoroughly relaxing atmosphere at home.

Jasmine is also available to buy in its dry form either as one of Dr. Stuart’s loose leaf teas or Baldwin’s own dried Jasmine Flowers.

 

Blue Mallow & Cornflower

Blue Mallow and Cornflower have been combined to make the deep blue mid-section of our model’s dress. Both of these can be made into a soothing tea. Blue Mallow also has the added benefits of helping to combat sore throats. Just boil it up with a bit of honey and gargle for a soothing treatment.

 

German Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the best known herbs when it comes to relaxation and therefore was an essential ingredient during relaxation month.

Here is a list of Chamomile’s main benefits:

- Sedative
- Carminative
- Anti-spasmodic
- Analgesic
- Anti-inflammatory
- Antiseptic

It is often used as an infusion, as a tea and aids sleep but, like most of the products featured, can also be used as an essential oil.

Herb Relaxation Art www.baldwins.co.uk

Passion Flower

Passion Flower completes the bottom of the dress and is the last ingredient in our relaxation artwork. Passion Flower is well regarding in its ability to relive anxiety. You can buy this in loose leaf; as a tincture or as capsules.

All of the herbs included in our artwork have beneficial properties that provide natural ways of soothing and calming in times of stress, discomfort and anxiety. Check out our previous blog posts in our Relaxation Month series of content if you’re looking for more ideas for ways to create a restful environment in a natural and healthful way.

 

 

 

Staying Cool & Calm in the Heat – Iced Herbal Teas for Coping with Summer Stress

August is Relaxation Month here at Baldwin’s, and we’re writing lots of blog posts all about how to bring some calm into the hectic summer months when you’re running around trying to make the most of the little sunshine we get!

This post in the series follows on from our recent aromatherapy tips for dealing with summer stresses from sunburn to restlessness. This time we’ve got a few suggestions on how to sort yourself out if you’re feeling a bit hot and bothered.

For some, a cup of tea is a perfect way to wind down if they’re feeling stressed. But for others, a hot drink on a hot and sticky day is the last thing on their mind regardless of the health benefits it may bring. Luckily, there is a solution – so you can get all the antioxidants and calming properties of tea, but in a cool and refreshing drink that will help to revitalise you if you’re flagging… Iced tea!

Making iced herbal tea is just as simple as brewing a normal cuppa, but instead of drinking the tea straight after brewing, you can either leave it to chill in the fridge or pour it over ice cubes. With the addition of some honey or natural sweetener, you’ve got a lovely drink to enjoy that will also help encourage calmness and tranquillity on a busy summer day.

We stock a variety of teas that would be great for brewing up and drinking iced. Here are a few options.

Dr Stuart’s Tranquility tea

Dr Stuarts Tranquility Tea Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

These tea bags contain limeflower, hawthorn berries, yarrow and fennel, all of which are ideal for soothing you in times of stress or agitation.

Dr Stuart’s green tea with coconut

Dr Stuart Green Tea & Coconut - Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

This loose leaf tea has an exotic flavour perfect for summer, and will make an uplifting cooling drink when iced. Brew it exactly the same way you would for a hot cup, but use double the amount of leaves for a fuller flavour.

Higher Living organic mint

Higher Living Organic Cool Mint - Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

Peppermint is a great tea for relaxing, as the menthol in mint encourages muscles to relax. It’s also a natural coolant – which is enhanced when you create an iced brew.

Eleven O’Clock Rooibos tea

Eleven O'Clock Rooibos Teabags - Staying Cool & Calm In The Heat

Rooibos is known for its plentiful antioxidants, as well as being thirst-quenching and refreshing. It’s a great choice for a cold drink that also has many health benefits.

When you make your tea, you need to sweeten it while it’s still hot in order to ensure the sweetener absorbs properly into the drink. While you could use sugar, there are plenty of natural alternatives that actually have their own health benefits. Manuka honey is one example. It has natural antibacterial properties, in contrast to the negatives of sugar. Another option is to use a natural sweetener made from xylitol which is derived from the fibres of plants including berries and mushrooms. As well as sweetener, you may want to add some slices of lemon when serving your tea for a bit of extra flavour.

Explore our collection of teas here and see if any take your fancy – either for a hot brew or a summer-ready iced drink, all with their own health benefits!

 

Herb Art: Mixed Media Artwork Using Dried Herbs

You can now read about the making of the herb art and all the ingredients we used in another blog post. Read more here.

We’re now just about coming to the middle of our Relaxation Month, during which we’ve been giving you plenty of top tips on how to handle summer stresses in natural and healthful ways. This blog post features even more of our favourite calming and comforting herbs, but this time in an unusual and really quite beautiful way.

We worked with the amazing artist and director Mustashrik, who took a selection of our dried herbs and formed them into three striking portraits. Featuring flowing herbal dresses and a mane of aromatic hair, we’ve never seen blue mallow, rose buds and cornflowers look better!


Rose buds, when steeped in tea for example, are brilliant sources of natural antioxidants including vitamin C. This aids in collagen production which can be great if your skin or hair is suffering from the elements – perhaps if you’ve been swimming, with drying chlorine or salt water, or as a result of sun-damage.

Blue mallow is ideal for soothing dry throats as a result of allergies that can rear their head come summer time. Cornflowers have a concentration of anti-inflammatory properties, which are great for using in conjunction with blue mallow. If your eyes have become itchy or swollen because of hay fever for example, it’s an ideal herb for soothing and reducing pain or irritation. Put together in a tincture, these herbs are perfect for summer use and will make you feel as relaxed, carefree and light-hearted as our three gorgeous herbal ladies above – or perhaps the one below:

If Mustashrik’s work with our herbs has inspired you, check out and follow his Instagram for more pieces of stunning illustration, and browse our extensive selection of herbs so you can make your own relaxing tinctures or refreshing herbal teas.

3 Ways to Relax in London This August – Baldwins Relaxation month

As part of our Relaxation Month, we’ve picked out some lovely ways to relax around the capital. Soak up the sun while you can and enjoy the beauty of nature and the great outdoors while taking a much-needed breather.

Epping Forest: Lifewalks

Epping Forest Lifewalk - ways to relax
Image Credit

Walking is more about going inwards than going outwards. The rhythm of walking allows for introspection and generates processes and thoughts that aren’t available in any other state. It also provides the walker with the feeling of strength as they are actively encountering the world.

Epping Forest is just a stone’s throw away from London and can provide a much welcomed break from the city’s hubbub. Measuring 339 km2, it is large enough to lose yourself in and fully unwind. One of the activities you could try to help you relax this august is to explore Epping Forest by Bike. The group bike ride will take place on Sunday 31th August between 10.45-4pm. It will be a free event and you can call 0207 332 1911 for more details.

If you opt to go for a walk instead of a ride, you may want to take Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking with you. It is a wonderful read which provides an insight to some of the most prolific walkers in history and fiction.

You can see a full list of activities taking place in Epping Forest during august here.

Great Garden Quest

Great Garden Quest - ways to relax
Image credit

For families, one of the key ingredients to enjoying a relaxing august is keeping children entertaining. With that in mind The Royal Horticultural Society Garden in Wisley will be hosting the Great Garden Quest on Monday 11th August. Children (and parents) will get a chance to take part in a variety of activities including making clay pendants, storytelling and birds of prey demonstrations. Visitors can also explore the barefoot trail where you can stimulate your souls (and soles!) with a range of textures including timber, bark, water, grasses and pebbles.

The Sky Tonight

Greenwich Observatory - ways to relax
Image credit

The night sky is one of the most beautiful things in nature but is too often hidden from us in London by cloud, smog and light pollution. Using a mix of real satellite images and advanced CGI, The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is runs daily shows at their planetarium to help reveal the wonders of a starry night. An adult ticket costs £6.50 and an under 16 ticket is £4.50. We would advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

Let us know if you have heard of any interesting ways to relax in London this August.

 

 

 

 

Natural Ways To Survive The Stresses Of Summer

Many Baldwin’s customers come to us with issues that are caused by the very things people highlight as being positives of the warmer months. Because of this, we decided to create our own Relaxation Month, where we will be offering plenty of advice, competitions and surprises during August to help you deal with stress.

 

The first of our blog posts dedicated to Relaxation Month centres around coping with the unseen challenges of an English summer.

Natural Ways To Survive The Stresses Of Summer

Source

Higher temperatures and plenty of sun can bring about seasonal allergies that can make spending time outside stressful and uncomfortable. Pollen, air pollution and exposure to allergen grasses like ragweed can cause symptoms like runny noses, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing.

The longer days can feel even longer when the kids are off school, especially if you’re trying to pack them full of activities. Studies have found that people actually sleep significantly less during these months – mainly due to rushing around making the most of the sunlight, and having difficulty sleeping when the temperatures are higher. If you’re trying to balance childcare while still working, the pressure of organising this plus financial stress can add to the list of things worrying you and stopping you from enjoying yourself.

Many people may see a holiday abroad as an answer to this – family time together, a break from work and lovely weather. However, if you let the organisation of your holiday overwhelm you, it can be yet another thing that contributes to feeling agitated and frazzled when you should be relaxing on your sun-lounger.

With all these things in mind, we’ve compiled a few natural remedies and helpful aromatherapy guides that you can put together to aid you in remembering what summer is really about – and allowing the stresses and strains to take a back seat while you enjoy the sunshine and chance to spend more time with loved ones.  Read our selection below of aids for physical troubles like sunburn and hay fever, or emotional supports for you or the kids which are all from natural sources. Just keep in mind that you should avoid using essential oils on children under 2 due to their sensitive skin and the extremely concentrated nature of the oil.

Hay fever

Place 3 drops of essential oil onto a tissue and inhale. Any of the following would be ideal for calming allergy symptoms:

Chamomile, helichrysum, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, pine

(See our Hayfever Post For More Great Tips)

Siberian Pine Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Sunburn

Using a carrier lotion as a base, mix in any of the following oils and apply gently to the skin to soothe:
Frankincense, sandalwood, helichrysum, geranium, lavender, yarrow
For dilution, use 0.25% for children aged two to six (1 drop per four teaspoons of carrier lotion), 1% for children over six (1 drop per teaspoon of carrier lotion) and 2% is ideal for most adults (10-12 drops per ounce of carrier lotion).

Helichrysum Essential OIL At www.baldwins.co.uk

Insect bites

1 drop neat of any of (or if using on children, dilute in a carrier oil using the dilution guidelines above):
Chamomile, bergamot, ravensara, lavender, tea tree, niaouli

Ravensara Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Travel sickness

Place 3 drops of essential oil onto a tissue and inhale. Use any of the following oils to help calm nausea:
Peppermint, cardamom, coriander, lavender, Melissa, ginger

Ginger Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Stress

The following essential oils are brilliant for bringing a sense of calm to your surroundings:

Marjoram sweet, cedarwood virginia, juniper berry, sandalwood, clary sage, geranium, vetiver, basil

Vetivert Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Irritability

If summer anxieties get too much, consider aromatherapy using oils such as:
Roman chamomile, orange, ylang ylang, peppermint, clary sage, spikenard, geranium, neroli

Spikenard Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Tantrums

To help ease tantrums, turn to:
Roman chamomile, clary sage, bergamot, lavender, mandarin, yarrow, rose

Yarrow Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Restlessness

Encourage peace and quiet with a blend of:
Marjoram, frankincense, clary sage, spikenard, lavender, vetiver, neroli, myrrh

Myrrh Essential Oil At www.baldwins.co.uk

Baldwin’s & The Great War – Harry Dagnell’s Story

Telling a Soldier’s Story Through Original First World War Documents – Harry Dagnell & the Great War

On our 170th year, we thought we would delve a bit deeper into the history of Baldwin’s. As well as our blog post exploring our home of Walworth Road, a look in our archives found documents relating to Harry Dagnell’s experience of war. Harry joined Baldwin’s just after the end of the First World War, just as the business was scaling down from shops all over to London back to its original site on Walworth Road. Harry eventually became the manager of the shop, and later purchased the company and enlisted his son, Harry Dagnell Junior, to help him. Together, they purchased the current site of 171 Walworth Road with the aim of expanding into health food, as well as maintaining a strong focus on natural remedies.

Today, Harry’s grandson Stephen is the owner of the business and continues to keep up the family tradition of purveying natural products from agar agar to yellow dock root!

In honour of this legacy, we thought it was fitting to highlight Harry’s war story as told through the remaining documents found within the Baldwin’s archives.

Harry Frederick Dagnell signed his attestation document and enlisted within the British army on the 16th April 1917. He was 17 years and 9 months old when he signed the document, and had previous experience as a clerk. He wasn’t married, and had never served within the forces before.

During the war, Harry served for the 5th London Regiment and by the end of his service was awarded two war medals – the British War Medal 1914-1919 and the Victory Medal, which are listed above on his transfer to reserve certificate.

The British War Medal 1914-1919 (pictured on the left) was presented to men who had taken part in service between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. Soldiers were required to have either entered an active theatre of war, or left the United Kingdom for service overseas between those dates as well as completing 28 days mobilised service. Out of the 8.7million men who served in the British Army during the First World War, 6.5million were issued with this medal – including Harry.

On the right is the Victory medal. This was awarded to anyone who had been mobilised in service and had entered a theatre of war between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. Around 5.7million of these medals were issued.

A soldier could receive a total of three medals following their service, and there were three main medals including the Victory and British War Medals. The remaining medal was the 1914-1915 Star, given exclusively to those who served in those years. If Harry had enlisted in 1914, he would have been 14 at the time – which explains why he missed out on the last of the medal trio.

Together, the three medals were known as Pip (1914-1915 Star), Squeak (British War Medal) and Wilfred (Victory Medal) based on a popular cartoon series in the Daily Mail at the time. Harry was therefore the proud recipient of both Squeak and Wilfred!

According to his transfer to reserves certificate, Harry luckily remained in the health category A1 – soldiers were rated by letter with A being the fittest category, and 1 showing the highest level of health within that category. By the time he was transferred on the 12th November 1919, he ranked as a Guardsman.

Following the war, Harry joined the Coldstream Guards, a Foot Guard unit, in October 1919 according to both a stamp on his Certificate of Demobilization and his membership card shown above when he became part of the former members’ association.

The Coldstream Guards were originally founded in Coldstream, Scotland in 1650 and when Harry joined they had been one of the first British regiments to reach France after the declaration of war. Harry became part of the Guards just under a year after the war was declared over, and then became a member of the Old Coldstreamers’ Association in 1926, subscribing to the London branch of the association with other ex-guards. To this day, the Coldstream Guards are the oldest serving British Army regiment and still in service with two units. One is part of a ceremonial Battalion that takes part in both royal and state tasks in the UK, and the other has been deployed in service to Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland.

Within the documents from the Baldwin’s archives we also found a cut-out from a newspaper which showed a war map planned by the Senior British officer Earl Haig, which was printed with his signature at the bottom and the message ‘In memory of the Great War’. Another sentimental cut out is the print of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s poem ‘The Guards Came Through’, which specifically mentions the Coldstream guards, Harry’s reserve unit.

‘Our throats they were parched and hot,
But Lord, if you’d heard the cheer,
Irish and Welsh and Scot,
Coldstream and Grenadier…
But I’ll tell them in Blighty wherever I be,
How the Guards came through.’