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  1. I recently went to visit Joanna, founder of Mallow + White at her home workshop in Hertfordshire and we made some of our collaboration product, Blossom Balm, together! I thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes to show exactly how our natural balm is made from beginning to end – from the raw ingredients to the making process to the final product! We worked together to come up with the idea from start to finish – I love balms so I knew that would be a product I’d love to make with Joanna, so it was very exciting to make some together! 

    Blossom Balm Mallow and White

    Whilst there are only six ingredients inside Blossom Balm, they are all chosen for specific reasons as they have wonderful benefits for the skin. 

    I’ll start with sunflower oil – a lovely, gentle & moisturising oil that’s high in vitamins, then we have camellia oil which is rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and omegas 3, 6 & 9.

    The next ingredient is beeswax which is a wonderful nourishing ingredient that locks moisture into the skin and apricot kernel oil as it helps to nourish skin and retain suppleness. To finish, we add a few drops of lavender essential oil which helps to cleanse the skin and rosemary essential oil. The beeswax is melted down from pellets into an oil, and the other oils are carefully added before the blend is poured into jars and left to set.

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    We chose ingredients that are not only wonderful for the skin but also that bees love – you’ll often spot bees buzzing around lavender, sunflowers and camellia flowers! 

    There are so many uses for this balm too – as a cleanser, overnight mask or simply anywhere else that needs a little bit of nourishing! To use as a cleanser, gently massage a small amount onto dry skin in small circular movements. It will turn into a lovely oil on application with the skin. Remove by wiping away with a warm damp cloth. As a replenishing overnight mask simply massage the balm into face for a softening, restorative boost.

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    As there is no water inside the product, it means there’s no need for preservatives or any extra ingredients to keep it fresh. Once opened the jar will last six months and you only need a small amount each time as it’s so concentrated with natural ingredients.

    To finish, we added the labels by hand and waited for them to set. The end result; a beautiful, natural, handmade balm, made in small batches & with love!

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    Amber

  2. We don't just love bees here at Nectar & Bumble, we love all wildlife! We've got a fantastic guest post for you all today from Gabby at The Garden Crowd, an online store who stock natural wild bird food & seed. Enjoy!

    Garden Crowd Blog Birds

    Lots of people feed the birds throughout Winter, it has long been accepted that it is a good time to supplement their diets because of the lack of foods in nature.

    Now that we understand more about birds though, we know it is important to feed them all year around. Supplementing their diet throughout the year can help to increase numbers and make a difference to their lives. Weather conditions mean that berries and natural foods are not always as abundant.

    Feeding garden birds to supplement their natural food supply can increase their life expectancy, help the colour of their feathers to grow brighter and they sing and learn different songs quicker and better. All these things support birds throughout their lives; helping them to have the best territories, find the best partners and live a better life.

    When to feed your birds

    In spring, feeding birds is a great way to support breeding pairs. The additional food can help the parents to keep up with the hard work during the season as well as helping them to raise their young chicks successfully.

    Summer is also an important time, although there is more food around there are often droughts and a lack of rainwater. The ground can be more solid, and water is not abundant. Birds can find it hard to find additional food such as insects, worms and fat which they naturally need.

    You might find that at the end of late summer, early autumn migrant birds are arriving at the feeders. After their long journeys, extra food supplies can be brilliant. Along with these extra visitors, your little birds will be will be preparing for cooler months by building up their fat supplies.

    In the later summer months, birds start to shed their feathers, you might have noticed them looking a bit bald already, making way for winter feathers. The winter feathers will help them to say warmer in the winter months. Moulting can take up a lot of a little bird’s energy. Providing energy-rich foods can be a big help during this time.

    As well as the benefits for the birds, it can also benefit us too. By feeding birds in your garden, they are more likely to visit. It will bring more varieties and they will eventually see it as part of their feeding routine, visiting your garden and feeders.

    Depending on the food that you put out and where you are situated you could find lots of different visitors outside from Sparrows, tits, nuthatches, finches, blackbirds and of course Britain's favourite bird the Robin.

    Garden Crowd Blog

    Garden Birds are in Decline

    We know from previous results from the Big Garden Birdwatch that garden bird numbers are depleting across the UK and have dropped by 70% since 1960. According to The Bird trends report, published in December 2014, surveys 120 species of birds in the UK and the results are extremely worrying. 28 species of birds appear to have suffered a decline of over 50% in the last 45 years.

    Encouraging birds to your garden and supplementing their diets can be extremely important for them and will help to increase birds across the UK.

    It isn’t just about the food that you provide though, it is also a good idea to also keep wild lawns growing, adding wildflowers to your garden and creating insect hotels. Lots of birds are declining due to the lack of nesting sites so putting up nesting boxes can be a great support.

    Garden Crowd Plastic Free Packaging

    What to feed them

    Spring — food that is suitable for fledglings and parents — try adding fats, soft foods, insects and no peanuts (these can cause baby birds to choke).

    Summer — birds need insects and fats.

    They can be unable to find food under hard ground from drought so supplementing their diets in this way is useful. Spring/Summer seed mixes are also lighter and support them with moulting.

    Once the fledges have all left the nests you can add peanuts to a peanut feeder (don’t put them out whole on trays).

    Autumn — Keep the fats topped up and make sure there are plenty of insects.

    You may get more migrant birds at this time of the year so adding more than usual to supplement this increase in birds is important too.

    Leaving fruit on trees instead of picking them all can be a great way to support them — blackbirds and robins love apples!

    Winter — These can be the hardest months for birds.

    There is very little natural food is around and they can struggle to find good food and water supply. Berries, nuts and high-energy foods are a great way to supplement their diets.

    Make sure as well that you are keeping bird baths from being frozen — they need to be able to access water and it can be particularly hard at this time of year.

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    Garden Crowd is an all-natural garden bird food. We blend food that is 100% free from wheat and filler and only has the natural seeds small garden birds need. You won’t find Wheat, Dari or Maize in any of our mixes. Our packaging is also 100% plastic free and recyclable – we are the only UK bird food to offer our mixes like this.

    We are an ethical small business, passionate about taking care of garden birds based in Scotland, UK.

    You can find out more about us at www.thegardencrowd.co.uk or on our social media: @gardencrowd