Tutorial: The Ultimate Lavender, Milk and Honey Pedicure

Since I was little I've loved soaking my feet. After a day in the garden, running around barefoot, playing tricks on each other with the hose and building birds nests out of cut grass and twigs, my sister and I would take turns to plunge our feet into the washing up bowl, always full slightly too hot water and with a cloud of fairy-liquid bubbles spilling out onto the carpet. 

As an adult, I like to make more of a ritual of the foot soaking process - I can't be the only one who still likes to indulge in these cosy warming practices even in the summer right?  I'll build myself a sofa-nest of pillows and blankets and surround myself with a satellite of requirements: snacks, a warm drink, slipper socks, a foot scrub, moisturiser and a towel (which is obvious yet quite often forgotten, resulting in me having to send someone upstairs to retrieve one for me)  

I've also moved on from the fairy-liquid bubbles, and love to make my own sugar scrub and foot soak. This lavender milk and honey variation is perfect at the end of the day, post shower and just before bedtime. 

First, we'll make the sugar scrub. These ingredients make enough for a 250g jar but you could make enough for one use by reducing the quantities:

Lavender oil is well known for its calming and relaxing properties, so it features in both the scrub and soak recipes. The sugar in is a gentle exfoliator, and the coconut oils serves to not only bind the ingredients together, but also to act as a moisturising mask. 

First mix the lavender flowers and sugar together. This ensures the flowers will be nicely distributed throughout the scrub and not get clumped together once you add the coconut oil.

Gently melt the coconut oil and leave it to cool - too hot and it will start to dissolve the sugar! Add it to the sugar and lavender flowers along with 5-10 drops of lavender oil depending on how strong you would like the fragrance. I'm a big fan so I went with 10. 

Mix all the ingredients together really well. It should have the consistency of wet sand and just start to clump together. 

Leave the scrub in a cool place for around an hour, stirring regularly. This helps to make sure the coconut oil has begun to solidify and won't just run to the bottom of the jar. If you're only making enough for one use you can skip this step an use it straight away. 

Spoon into a jar and, as long as you don't let any water get into it it should last for a couple of months.

Now for the foot soak! This isn't really a recipe, more some additions to add to your bowl of warm water. (I should probably add here that my adult self now has a separate washing up bowl reserved only for foot soaking and air plant watering - you know you've made it in life when that's a thing!)

I like to start with the water really quite hot. That way by the time you've applied your scrub and let it sit for a while the water will have cooled to just the right temperature. So, boil the kettle and add enough cold water so you can just tolerate your hand being in it. 

The first addition is milk, and I choose to buy organic even when I'm not actually consuming it. The fat in the milk makes the water lovely and silky and it also nourishes your skin, so it's good to add to your bathwater too. Milk also contains lactic acid which acts as a gentle exfoliator.  Add about 250ml (or a small glass worth) to your warm water and marvel for a moment at the swirling patterns it makes. You could also use powdered milk which works well, but as I prefer organic it's quite hard to come by. 

The next ingredient is a generous tablespoon of raw honey. Raw honey has a whole host of benefits including aiding healing and acting as a moisturiser, as well as having anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-inflamatory  properties. You can use whichever honey you like or usually have at home, but I'm really enjoying this lavender honey from Hilltop at the moment. It's made from lavender flowers so has a lovely subtle lavender taste. Obviously that makes no difference whatsoever here, but it's the honey we're using at the moment! It's best to use raw honey regardless of whether you're eating it or dunking your feet in it as honey which has been pasteurised loses most of its beneficial properties. 

The last thing to add is a handful of lavender flowers along with a couple more drops of lavender oil. You can either sprinkle the flowers into the bowl which looks very pretty but can be a bit of a pain once you come to dry your feet. If I can't be bothered to deal with the mess, I like to place the flowers inside a paper tea filter, but you could also use a tea infuser, or tie them inside a square of muslin.

So, now you've got everything ready you can settle on the sofa, making sure you have a towel, your favourite moisturiser or body butter, tea, snacks, the TV remote, a good book...you get the gist! 

First, using a generous handful of the sugar scrub, scrub your feet and ankles paying particular attention the the heels, the outside of your big toes and anywhere else that gets especially dry or cracked (You can rinse your hands in your foot soak bowl)

Leave the scrub on your feet for about five minute to let the oils soak in. If you like you can wrap your feet up in cling film and a warm towel, but mostly I just like to rest them on the edge of the bowl. 

Once your water is cool enough, plunge your feet in and relax for as long as the water stays a pleasing temperature. When it starts to get too cool, rinse off any scrub that's still on your feet and dry them thoroughly. 

Apply your moisturiser. I like to refer to a reflexology chart to pay particular attention to any areas of my feet that reflect areas of my body that might need some attention. I often find the inside of my big toes, which relate to the neck especially helpful. 

Put on your slipper socks, curl up under that blanket and don't move for the rest of the evening! Bonus points if you can persuade someone else to empty the bowl for you! 

I think a jar of the sugar scrub would make a really lovely gift, especially packaged up with some cosy socks and some treats or tea to enjoy while you soak. I've made a gift tag to add to the jars which you're very welcome to use. Just copy the image below and resize to your liking before printing out on some card...


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