Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Willow Cottage Lotions & Potions Workshop

Willow Cottage Business Card
Today I'm writing about my day at Willow Cottage in Wexford. I attended a natural skincare workshop on Saturday 11th March. It was my first time doing a long drive on my own and I was extremely nervous. I left at 8.30 am and arrived at Well's House and Gardens at 9.45 am. When I drove onto the premises I felt like I was in a movie. It was a dull, rainy morning, there was nobody around and I was driving down a long pathway approaching a big, old house.
Well's House & Gardens
Willow Cottage is based in a little craft courtyard to the left of the main house, which also houses other little boutique shops.

When I first walked into the shop, I was greeted by a lovely young lady who gave me a name badge. The cottage was warm with an old fire place, cosy low ceiling and beautiful wood paneled walls. Little tables and lovely old cabinets displayed the gorgeous Willow Cottage product selection and there were little plaques with positive quotes all around the shop. As we waited for everyone to arrive, I browsed the products and admired everything about the shop. I felt completely at home there!

Angela Healy, the founder of Willow Cottage, is a beautiful, bubbly, charismatic and friendly woman who made me feel even more at home the moment she started speaking. She brought us into a little kitchen at the back of the shop where there was a huge table all laid out with molds, mixing bowls and containers. Angie made us all tea and coffee while explaining how the day would unfold. One by one we all explained a little bit about ourselves and how we ended up at the workshop. Angie then told us about her time on The Late Late Show and gave us a brief history about her and her business.

To kick-start the day we began by making Detox Bath Bombs. Angie is a wealth of knowledge and gave us a lot of tips that one only learns from experience. She demonstrated how to make the bath bombs, with perfect description of what she was doing, and then invited us to get our hands dirty.
What I loved most about Angie's method of working was that she used her hands! She told us how important it is to her to feel the product and really put her energies into it. After all, her skincare range is Holistic, and energy and intention are at the forefront of this.
Having feared even attempting to mix products I was so excited and after watching Angie I knew I was well capable. I got stuck in and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We put our mixtures into little heart shaped molds and added some lavender buds for a bit of colour.

We broke for lunch at about 1.15 pm, which was included in the cost of the workshop. After a lovely lunch we got straight back to business. We then started to make the Frankincense & Orange Blossom Velvet Skin Cream. With this recipe we worked with butters, oils and essential oils. We measured out our recipe, melted the ingredients together and added our essential oils. then we poured our mixtures into containers and left them to set.

All the recipes we used are created by Angie herself and are exclusive to her workshops. She uses all natural ingredients, works with butters, oils, herbs, essential oils, and most importantly, no water!
When adding water to a product you create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, therefore adding the need for preservatives, which in natural skincare is something you want to avoid where possible. So all Willow Cottage products are free of water and any other preservatives, chemicals or perfumes.

Everyone was so interested and involved that we had Angie talking and telling us stories all day. This ate into our time just a little so Angie made our lip balms and eye serums while we got started on our perfumes. After some essential oil knowledge we sampled all the essential oils in order to choose our blends. Angie smelt them all individually and with her expert senses was able to tell us what ratios of each oil we should use. That's what I call a professional!
We mixed and bottled up our perfumes and passed them around to each other to see what others had chosen. And I must say there were some beautiful combinations.

With all our products made and our head bursting with information, we were tired! Angie brought in the foot baths, filled with hot water and fizzing, tingly peppermint bath bombs! She shut the blinds, turned on some music and left us to relax. We had some lovely chats with each other about the day while the toxins were pulled from our feet. The peppermint gave the loveliest cooling sensation and my feet tingled the whole way home! As Angie said, ''I had a pep in my step!''

When we finished up there was a whole trolley full of mini bags of ingredients for us to buy. Willow Cottage doesn't sell ingredients but they make up small batches for guests of the workshop so that they can make some more products when they go home.

My favorite purchase was my Essential Oil Diffuser/Humidifier/Chakra Night Light! At just €48.50 this was worth every penny. I had wanted a diffuser for some time but couldn't justify spending up to €70. This 3-in-1 however was the perfect price and I have been sleeping like a baby since I got it! I also bought a few little bags of ingredients so that I can create more products at home myself. We were given the products we had made in a beautifully wrapped basket with a little gold ribbon.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at this workshop. Everything about the day was exciting, calming and restorative. I felt at ease in Willow Cottage, it was welcoming and warm and exactly the kind of environment I feel most at peace in, Angie was just amazing, she was friendly, bubbly, funny and knew exactly what she was talking about. If Wexford wasn't over an hour away I would have asked for a job!

I went to Willow Cottage in order to get some hands on experience making products. Like I mentioned above, I feared even attempting to mix my own products. I learn best when I am shown how to do something, so although I have previously studied in skincare formulation, I never had the hands on experience that I felt I needed to get started. This workshop was exactly what I needed to give me the confidence to start making my own products, in order to clean up my skincare routine and get closer to better self care.
I highly recommend the Lotions & Potions Workshop!  Whether you want to create your own skincare, get some knowledge for starting a business or just have a lovely day out, You'll get your moneys worth at Willow Cottage!

Jessica, GymSkin.x

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