I LOVE comments, so please, if you have an opinion or would like to ask a question, do so. But do check back as I shall answer any questions in the comments of the relevant post - that way, everyone can benefit from everybody's knowledge and advice.

Monday, 23 May 2011


Apologies for the long delay in getting the promised 'foot care' post online.  Needless to say, with two allotments and the garden to boot, time is very limited at this time of year.... and if you could see the state of my feet you would wonder why I bother to post this at all!  So, it is a timely reminder to myself as well... that you really should take more care of your feet.


Because we often neglect them, and because they take a lot of hard wear and tear, it is true to say that many of us have particularly ugly feet.  You can be honest with yourself, look at your naked feet and decide, are they pretty or not?  If you decide the latter then it is very important to follow a foot care routine for at least 3 months in order to bring your feet up to the healthiest condition possible.  Even if you decided that your feet are pretty, in order to keep them that way a foot care routine is important.

  1. Wash your feet carefully when in the shower or bath (daily foot washing is important, twice daily if you suffer from athletes foot or any other foot maladies.  At least once a week soak the feet in a warm bath and use a pumice stone to remove dry dead skin on your heels.  Do not scrub overly at hard skin, it has taken a long time to build up and will not disappear after only one or two soakings, this will take time to remedy.  There are no shortcuts, you are in this for the long haul!  You can buy some pretty powerful creams to remove this dry skin however they also take diligence in application on a daily basis and if you stop using them the dry skin returns fairly quickly - one winter will show your feet to be the same as before, so it is wise to get into a footcare habit and simply stick to it.

  2. Occasionally you may prefer to use a sugar scrub on your feet.  This will moisturise and help remove loose flaky skin cells.  Once a month it is a good idea to use a foot mask.  This is exactly the same as using a face mask only you will choose ingredients for very dry skin.  Pop the feet in a plastic bag and put them up for 20 minutes while you watch tv or catch up on some light reading.

  3. Rinse off the foot mask with warm water and dry the feet very carefully.  Pay particular attention to the area between the toes.
  4. Now moisturise the feet with a rich cream or oil.  Or ask a partner or friend to do it for you, a foot massage can be very relaxing.  Raw Shea Butter is excellent for this purpose and if used at bedtime will work its magic during the night while you sleep.  It isn’t necessary however to buy a special cream or lotion for the feet, any vegetable oil such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed will work almost as well – you may need a couple of applications before bed to achieve the same results.  A pair of light cotton socks can be worn to bed to save the sheets getting oily!

Sugar Scrub for Feet

A quantity of dark brown sugar (about a handfull will do)
Vegetable oil to moisten (just enough to make the sugar like wettish sand)
4 or 5 drops of peppermint essential oil (or find a different blend to your liking - look up the essential oil links on this site for some suggestions)

Mix these ingredients together and leave covered in a bowl for a few hours to allow the essential oils to infuse properly.  Then massage the mixture onto wet feet paying particular attention to your heels and any areas of dry skin.  Take your time to do this (it is better to be sat on the edge of the bath with your feet in the bath or in the shower).  Finally, rinse your feet with warm water and pat them dry.  Follow with a good moisturiser or a moisturising foot mask.

Foot Mask Recipe 

20g Clay (Argiletz, Dead Sea Mud or Rhassoul)
1 tablespoon Jojoba Oil
Enough warm water to mix to a paste
A few drops of essential oil of your choice
To Vary
1 egg yolk and a tablespoon of honey
A handful of organic oats

Mix the oil into the clay and then add enough water to make a paste.  Add any extra ingredients if desired and mix well.  Apply to damp previously soaked feet, pay particular attention to areas of dry skin.  Leave for 20 minutes and then rinse.

Toe Nails
If you have ugly feet you may prefer to keep your nails as natural as possible so as not to draw too much attention to them.  Careful choice of summer shoes or style of sandals can go a long way to disguising unattractive feet.  Take the opportunity to try on lots of different styles, even ones that you normally wouldn’t want to wear.  Always look in a mirror rather than straight down at your feet to ascertain the full affect.

If your toenails are especially thick you may wish to soak the feet BEFORE cutting and filing them, however if it is easier, you may cut and trim the nails first and soak the feet afterwards.  The choice is yours.  To avoid problems with in-growing nails always cut straight across the nail.  The length of nail you leave is again your choice but for comfort when wearing shoes and socks the nail shouldn’t extend beyond the end of the toes.  File any rough edges left by the scissors or clippers.

Rub a little nail oil (recipe below) onto the surface of your nail and allow it to soak in for a few minutes.  Gently push the cuticle down to expose as much nail as is comfortable.  The surface of the nails can be polished in exactly the same way as the nails on the hand.  Buff them up vigorously for a few minutes and try on your sandals and look in the mirror.  If you decide that you would prefer a higher shine on your toes then you could apply some nail lacquer.  Clear nail varnish is pretty without drawing too much attention to the feet.  Or a French manicure, where the ends of the nails are coated with a white varnish, can give a ‘natural’ look. 

Nail Repair Oil

50% Jojoba oil
50% Avocado oil
 A few drops of Essential oils of Carrot seed and Lavender 

Combine the oils together in a bottle and apply frequently to strengthen and condition the nails.  Carrot seed essential oil is expensive but it is possible to get an olive or sunflower oil that has been macerated with carrot, this could be used instead.   
If you do apply a coloured varnish remember to remove it after two days and allow your toenails to breathe for at least a day before re-applying.  This is very important, nails that have been painted for too long a time are inclined to turn yellow.

Having fish eat the dead skin from your feet seems to be all the rage at the moment.  It is expensive and I think it must be effective or it wouldn't be so popular, however, I have no direct experience of it so I cannot say for sure - I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has had a go of this novel approach to footcare.  I suspect that afterwards you would still have to continue with a routine in order to keep your feet clear of dead skin so you are still back to square one really.

A Railway Incident
(Home Notes February 1895)

She sat beside me in the train,
Her eyes were shut, her face was fair,
Her lips were red as cherries ripe,
Of soft brown colour was her hair.

Her face a look of sadness wore,
I spied a tear upon her cheek.
Alas! I, too, was sad at heart,
And so resolved to speak.

“Fair maid”, I said, “I, like to thee,
Am suffering from an aching heart,
My sympathy I’d gladly give,
Then pray thy secret woes impart”.

“I thank you kindly, sir,” she said,
“I am enduring pain, tis true,
But tis no trouble with my heart,
It’s only that my boots are new!”

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

More Bicarbonate of Soda

Now that the better weather is beginning and we are considering sandals (well I am) it may almost be too late to start worrying about the look of your feet and toes (if you do want to begin a foot care regime check back regularly because my next post is about footcare).  But if you suffer from Athletes foot then using bicarb as a powder on your feet and between your toes after your shower (dry carefully first of course - even to the point of using a hair dryer on your toes for a few minutes) can be helpful.  As with all natural solutions it can take several weeks of daily application of bicarb to clear up a bad bout of athletes foot.  You should continue the treatment (daily) for several weeks after the affliction appears to have gone, this will help prevent re-infection.  After this a once a week treatment may be sufficient.

Sunburn - to relieve the pain of sun or wind burn.  dissolve 100g of bicarbonate of soda in a tepid bath and soak for about fifteen minutes.  Pat the skin dry and apply an after sun cream.

Bath Bombs - These are very popular nowadays and so easy to make at home - well I say easy, but I have often had problems with getting them to set but if they do crumble it's just as nice to put them in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin into dust - fizzy dust sprinkled onto the bath works just the same as the bath bomb.

Ingredients: 4oz bicarbonate of soda, 2oz citric acid, 1 tsp sunflower oil, approximately 10 drops essential oil. (some other recipes call for dried flowers or lavender buds etc... I hate bits floating in my bath so I leave these out).  A mould - plastic cups or silicone cup cake moulds will work.  I do not like to colour my bath bombs, preferring them natural, but any cosmetic grade colourant will work (most suppliers will advise you on which are the best - but remember when it comes to colour, less is more).  You could even give a little vegetable colourant a try just be aware that it could make your mixture a little wet (in this case work fast and use less vegetable oil).

Method:  Mix the bicarb and citric acid together well.  Add the vegetable oil and the essential oil and mix with your hands until really well incorporated.  The mixture should start to clump together when you squeeze or press it with your hands.  It should still be very crumbly and only sticking together when you squish it very hard.  Begin to pack it into your mould.  You need to really pack it tightly - squishing and squashing. Once you think you have it dense enough leave it somewhere very dry for an hour or two and then carefully remove it from the mould (a bit of gentle tapping should do it) then leave it for 24 hours in a nice dry airy place.  Your bath bomb is now ready to use or to wrap up as a gift.  If youa re giving it as a gift do remember to list the ingredients so that the recipient knows what you have put in it.