Tag Archives: christmas

Whipped Shea Butter

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

As I have promised in my last post, here is the recipe for the whipped shea butter. As it was already snowing outside, it was about time for some nourishing body butter against dry and itchy skin. Whipped shea butter is also supposed to be good for atopic rashes, dry hair and can also be used in the face. It is really easy to make and kind of reminded me of making a ganache. You melt oils together and whip them to a shiny, soft cream. And that is really all to it!

The base recipe is made up of 75% hard oils and 25% liquid oils. You can choose whatever oils you like or have at home like olive-, sunflower- or rapeseed oil. For the hard oils I used, besides shea, some coconut fat and my liquid oil of choice was macadamia. Any kind of ethereal oils can be added to that if you want a different smell and to preserve it longer some vitamin E. Don’t worry if you don’t want to buy E vitamin just for that. Since there is nothing but oil in it will stay good for a long time. If you use coldpressed oils you can make a completely raw body butter. Shea starts melting pretty quickly and together with the coconut I had it completely melted at 37°C.

My recipe contains 100 g of oils in total which makes around 140 ml of whipped shea butter. You can easily double the recipe if you want to give it away as a gift but beware not to make too much. Only really little is needed on the skin.

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

Ingredients

50 g shea butter
25 g coconut fat
25 g macadamia oil
a few drops of essential oil (I used honey oil)
E vitamin

Melt the shea and coconut together in a bowl in a hot water bath.

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

Let it cool down for around 20 minutes. After it has cooled down add the macadamia or oil of your choice, a few drops of the essential oil and 4 drops of the vitamin E. Let everything set in the fridge.

Once it has set you can start whipping the oils with a hand mixer. It will get white and shiny! Store the whipped shea butter in little tins or plastic jars.

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

If you want to prevent bacteria from getting into it, you can use a spatula or spoon for taking it out. It will immediately melt on your skin! The butter will stay whipped so you don’t need to store it in the fridge but I guess it depends on how warm it gets where you live.

Stef

2women2cats: Whipped Shea Butter

 

 

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(Mostly) DIY Christmas Decoration

I love holidays like Christmas, Easter and Midsummer’s Eve – you can eat lots of good food and decorate the house! Not that it feels that Christmas-y in here that much though. It has been quite a warm winter so far and we don’t even have snow and ice at the moment.

2 women 2 cats -- Blueberry twigs

This year we didn’t want to spend a lot of money to spend on decoration, so we decided to be creative. We got some twigs to put in our vases and I made some paper ornaments. Since we’re not planning on getting a Christmas tree at all we didn’t use that many of our old glass baubles. Last year’s tree died for some reason after a day and the amount of needles it dropped was unbelievable. We just found one in our bedroom the other day, almost a year later!

2 women 2 cats -- Christmas vases

2 women 2 cats -- Decoupage Christmas ornament

I got some styrofoam stars and balls from a crafts store and découpaged little strips of newspaper and pieces of an old book on them. The book page pieces were a pain in the ass – they were so thick they just wouldn’t stick. In the end I put a little bit of water on them to bend them more easily. Maybe next time I will use wheat paste or wallpaper paste, the kind that  is used for pâper maché.

2 women 2 cats -- Christmas wreath

I used the star ornaments also for a little Christmas wreath I made for the front door. The wreath itself is made from heather and blueberry twigs and everything is bound together with lots and lots of metal wire.

2 women 2 cats -- Old book ornaments

2 women 2 cats -- Old book ornaments

I made some paper ornaments for my Monstera as well, after all it’s almost big enough to be a Christmas tree! I used an old book with these again. It’s a perfect use for the ones that have ended up in your book case but you’ve never enjoyed that much – especially if you’re like me and just can’t throw away books.

2 women 2 cats -- Christmas Hyacinth

A must-have in my Christmas is also a hyacinth. I’ve heard it’s not used as much in other countries as a Christmas flower, but in here the amazing scent of a hyacinth is always associated with Christmas. Too bad the flower doesn’t last longer than a few weeks. If I had my way we would have fresh flowers every day in the apartment.

2 women 2 cats -- Christmas Hyacinth

Taking these pictures was really annoying by the way – it’s just too dark nowadays! The sun is up less than six hours a day and when it is up, it’s so low you can’t really see it behind the not-even-that-tall buildings. I could moan and vent for hours about the lack of sun and its negatives to Finnish people’s health, but what I’m really trying to say is that I should clearly get a tripod for winter time photography…

2 women 2 cats -- Heather in a vase

2 women 2 cats -- Mushroom bauble

The apartment might be ready for Christmas, but unfortunately I’m not. I still haven’t bought and made all the Christmas presents! Today I’m making some Finnish gingerbread cookies and next week it’s time to hurry-hurry-hurry with the rest.

2 women 2 cats -- Alternative Christmas tree
Our alternative Christmas tree

Tiia

A Brief Visit To Tallinn

On the weekend we spent a whole day in Tallinn. For us it’s only a two hour ferry ride away but I would definitely recommend it to anybody. Such a lovely town and so much to see!

We arrived pretty early since our ferry left Helsinki at 7:30. The weather turned out really lovely so we decided to take some pictures and walk around in the city.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

We had a long list of things to do and going to handicraft stores was part of it.  Jolleri was recommended to us by a friend so we paid a visit. It’s a really nice, cosy little store with lots of yarns and a separate section for wools made in Estonia. The owner recommended some made out of dog wool but we didn’t quite have use for that (yet).

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

Afterwards, and finally paying attention to our rumbling stomachs, we decided to go to III Drakoon which serves meat and vegetarian pastries and some fantastic elk soup. It’s located in the town hall and almost everything costs 1€. It’s one of our favourite places. People wear medieval gowns and everything is only lighted by candles. No spoons or forks: only wooden benches and historic earthenware for the food and drinks.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

Filled with hot elk soup, and a veggie cabbage pastry in Tiia’s case, we walked around some more. The Christmas market was already open and offered lots of hot glögg. I have to admit that the American Christmas songs seemed to be a bit out of place when you look around and everything seems to be from a different time.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

Another nice place to eat is Olde Hansa . A medieval restaurant in the old town and former merchant house. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the food is amazing and the atmosphere even better. We went there last year on my birthday.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

Olde Hansa also has a small shop where you can buy all things medieval. (Historically the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th – 15th century so basically it belongs to Modern History.) Glasses, earthenware and even clothes. As an archaeologist I am always happy to find something that is really authentic and doesn’t sell fictional artefacts for touristy purposes. The glasses, jugs and pots are all pretty good replicas of 16th-18th century artefacts.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

Since Tiia had a terrible cold we decided to get a big pot of tea. The best place to do this was Café Matilda . We just love this café and it has really good prices and awesome cake. A big pot of Early Grey was 2.90€ and the cakes were each 2.40€. We opted for a lemon meringue cake and a mascarpone-berry one. Lemon meringue is something we both wanted to make for a while but didn’t have the time for.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia
2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

As I’m looking at this post it’s seem like we’ve only been eating and drinking all day! This is somewhat true but we did walk a lot also!

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

So, after a hot glögg on the Christmas market we went to an Indian restaurant called Chakra. In the meantime it started snowing heavily and by the time we got there we were quite soaked. Gladly we managed to get a table in the fully booked restaurant without a reservation. We ordered some naan and roti bread along with Mattar Paneer (Indian cheese with peas in tomato) and Shahi Paneer (Indian cheese in tomato-almond-cashew sauce). It was delicious and a vegetarian main course costs only around 9€.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

Sadly, it was almost time to return to the ferry. On the way we stopped at Scotland Yard for a cider and Guinness.

2women+2cats: Tallinn, Estonia

It was a long, exhausting day but totally worth it. After 12,5 hours in Tallinn this little journey came to an end and we arrived in Helsinki after midnight. I can’t wait to return soon!

Stef

DIY Bath Bombs

Christmas is coming up and as I’ve gotten older it has been getting more difficult to find something nice for everybody. So every year I’m looking for nice little things that I can do myself.

I love bath bombs and they make pretty presents but unfortunately they are quite expensive in the stores. So I looked for a cheap alternative and decided to make them on my own. Sadly enough we don’t have a bathtub anymore so someone else has to enjoy them. For a few days now I couldn’t decide if I should publish these on the blog or not since friends and family with a bathtub will now know what they’ll be getting for Christmas. On the other hand people might read it and decide to give away some bath bombs themselves. Either way, I am sure people will enjoy them nonetheless.

Since this is the first time I tried making bath bombs, I used a simple recipe. It was enough for 14 hearts and three bath bombs.

2 cups baking soda
1 cup corn starch
1 cup citric acid (you can buy that in the baking section of bigger stores or in the pharmacy)
oil of your choice (I used coconut oil)
spray bottle with water
herbs, fragrances and food colouring (powder or liquid)
moulds (I used acrylic moulds from the craft store which are used for Christmas baubles etc.)

Mix all the dry ingredients together on a big plate. Using your hands will be easier with determining the right amount of moisture later. If you want to make two batches you can split the mixture in half. Then you can add the colour and fragrances. I added some green colour, herbs, Christmas spices and some drops orange oil which is normally used for baking. When everything is mixed properly, add spoon after spoon of melted coconut oil (or other oil) and spray the mixture with a bit of water. Be really careful with the amount of liquid you use. It should only be moist enough to stick together in the end. Don’t spray too much water on it or it will start to fizz a lot! The mixture is moist enough when it feels like wet sand. It’s just like building a sand castle!

2women+2cats: DIY Bath Bombs
If you’re working like me, it will be a bit of a mess

Take a small hand full of the mixture and press it really firmly into a mould. You can make a half, like I did with the hearts, or you can use a whole mold to make balls for example. Just make sure it’s really firmly packed! Then put the mould with the “dough” on a tray with baking paper. The bath bombs should come out easily. You can squeeze the acrylic mould a little to let it slide out. If it crumbles you can start over again or even make it a bit more moist.

2women+2cats: DIY Bath Bombs

2women+2cats: DIY Bath Bombs

For the pink ones I put some lavender oil and for the colour some red mineral blush. Mineral make up in general is fine and works really well.
Let everything dry at least overnight. If some shapes happen to get little cracks, you can rub your finger over it and make it disappear. None of mine broke so far but the balls have gotten some cracks where they’re moulded together. They still seem to hold up pretty well.

Stef

2women+2cats: DIY Bath Bombs