Nathan and I ventured to the Blenheim Palace food festival this summer, and stopped by The Oxford Honey Company stand. We tasted all the honeys they had on offer, and I have to say it really opened my eyes to just how different one type of honey can taste from another! It reminded me of the thrill of wine tasting but with an added wholesomeness, particularly as many of the honeys were local to Oxfordshire. My favourite was the heather honey which was floral and rich, and was the one we ended up buying.
Since then I’ve gone slightly honey mad, and have also become a bit obsessed with the idea of keeping bees when I get to the point in my life where I have a big enough garden! There are no honey bees left in the wild, which means it’s down to beekeepers, both amateur and professional, to keep the population of this incredibly important insect alive. I love the idea of the mutually beneficial relationship the bees that beekeepers have, and working that closely with nature appeals to me more and more. We went to a Croatian apiary on our holiday (see post here) which only encouraged me further – whilst the owners were clearly very hard working it seems like a rather wonderful life.
I bought a second jar of honey from The Oxford Honey company’s website, creamed cotswold honey (Nathan’s favourite from the stand at Blenheim) and also some beeswax lip balm and hand cream. It’s totally converted me to the use of beeswax and honey in beauty products! The lip balm is very glossy, and smells subtle and natural. You can tell from the consistency of the balm how natural the product is, which is great.
Whilst the hand cream smells amazing, it doesn’t absorb into the skin all that well and means your hands are a bit waxy for a while after application. I keep it in my drawer at work and it serves me well enough during the day.
I also have a honey based ‘honeymania’ hand cream from the body shop – whilst it’s less natural and local, it does smell great and is very silky on the skin, and is also good value for money in comparison.
I came across The Collins Beekeeper’s Bible by Philip Et Al Mccabe and had to buy it. It’s a huge full colour manual on all things bee and honey related, and includes recipes, beauty and other home uses of honey and beeswax. It’s my favourite coffee table book at the moment, and is a joy to just pick up and flick through.
I know that my beekeeping days are a long way off, and possibly even then it’s just a pipe dream, but until then I can continue to enjoy eating honey, supporting local honey producers, using honey related beauty products, and ensuring my garden is a bee-friendly environment.