As we turn our attention evermore towards sustainable ways to live, there are many aspects of daily life that are set to change. The packaging, associated waste, and the harmful impact of the chemicals we use in our homes are all being called in to question. Enter Handmade Apothecary. The brainchild of Vicky Chown and Kim Walker, who met while studying Herbal Medicine BSc at University of Westminster in 2012. Handmade Apothecary is an excellent entry point into the world of sustainable living. The duo forage and grow all their ingredients for delicious meals, herbal remedies and even beauty products.
Vicky worked for Neal's Yard Remedies and specialises in consultations for health, wellness and beauty as well as running a community garden, where she grows ingredients for Handmade Apothecary and for Queen's Wood Cafe in Muswell Hill. Kim works as a PhD student at Kew Gardens looking at 19th century drug development from plants and specialises in biocultural history. They are both plant-mad and incredibly knowledgable. They share their knowledge via videos, their Instagram page, two cookbooks, guided foraging walks and now, they are starting workshops on their 'Floating Apothecary' - the canal barge that they call HQ and have custom built the inside for the specific purpose of these workshops.
At the House & Garden Festival, Vicky and Kim will be doing a talk on herbal remedies, bringing their natural health boosters to ticket holders who want to forage and make their own tonics. Here, they share a recipe for a homemade descaler or brilliant bathroom and kitchen cleaner, when diluted with water...
Four thieves vinegar: a homemade natural cleaning product
2 tablespoons fresh or dried lavender
2 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh or dried sage
2 tablespoons fresh or dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh or dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
Around 500ml (18 flo oz) vinegar (a low-scent type, such as white wine or apple cider)
Place them in a 500ml (18 fl oz) jar and cover with vinegar.
Leave to infuse for a month in a cool, dark place, shaking occasionally.
Strain into a clean bottle, label and date.
For household cleaning, add mixture to a spray bottle and use neat for descaling areas in the bathroom or kitchen. Leave to soak for 10 minutes, scrub and rinse the area well after use.
Alternatively, dilute with water to a 50:50 ratio and add 20 drops of essential oil such as thyme or lavender and place in a spray bottle for a natural surface cleaner. Shake well to use. Wear gloves.
Neat, up to 1 year in a cool, dark place. Discard if mouldy.
Written by Charlotte McCaughan-Hawes.
This article originally appeared on House & Garden UK.