How My Healing Hobby Turned into a Happiness Business
Sitting on the steps of my twenty-year-old, two birth caravan at the bottom of my parents garden whilst my baby was sleeping, I hugged a cup of fresh herbal tea, inhaling the aromatic steam from the herbs was like meditation.
A moment away from the mess my life was as I visualised a cosy home for my baby son with somewhere safe for him to play.
My grandma had given me the herbal tea to steady my nerves and help me stay focused. I was a broke, homeless, nineteen-year-old high school drop out with a sixteen-month-old baby.
I’d never settled into mainstream education taught in schools, drifting off in lessons to the fields and riverbank near my grandparents’ house, thinking about the wildflowers and animals that lived there and wishing I could spend all my days outside in nature instead of being penned up in a sweaty classroom learning about Tudor dresses and algebra.
My wayward spirit got the better of me, I dropped out of high school before my exams and went off riding horses, got married and divorced whilst earning my keep as a waitress.
As I sat on my caravan steps sipping my steaming sweet tea, I was heartbroken as the life I’d imagined was gone. It was October the nights were getting longer and colder, I could only dread the winter months that were fast approaching.
I knew I had to do something, but my only assets were a rusty old caravan, the clothes on my back and less than £10 in my bank account. How does one go about “doing something” when there’s so much surviving to do?
Squinting back my tears I begged out loud, “God, you have to help me out here! Tell me what to do!” Silence. As I sat there waiting for the answer a feeling of knowing came over me, I just knew something good was about to happen. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, this feeling had come from my desperate mind, not from the Almighty.
A few days later my Grandma found my son and me a little cottage in a village close to her, she’d taken pity on me and paid the deposit and first months rent and we moved into our first home. The day we moved in, as she was walking out the door she turned and said to me in a kind voice, “I’ve done this for you because I believe in you, it’s in your hands now, don’t let me down.”
That was it. That was the catalyst. All I ever needed to hear was that someone believed in me.
I stepped up determined not to let my Grandma down, determined to make something of my life. I went out that first day in our new home with my baby in his pushchair to all the village businesses looking for work. The village pub gave me a cleaning job four mornings a week and a bar job two evenings a week.
I enrolled in college and started driving lessons but before I could pass either of these endeavours my Grandma passed away. I was devastated, I wanted her to see how far I’d go but, I knew she’d always be with me watching over us.
Both my Grandparents houses had such wonderful gardens full of old apple trees, soft fruits, herbs, flowers, vegetables and a greenhouse filled with tomatoes and seedlings. It was my favourite place to be as a child and growing up, every time I visited it seemed different with new places to explore.
My Grandma would pick fresh mint leaves and other botanicals to brew into some medicinal concoction for any condition or ailment, she’d sometimes sweeten with honey or spice up with peppercorns and turmeric. My love for healing herbs came from watching this age-old process and sipping the aromatic blends that were always guaranteed to make you feel better.
I missed those quiet spaces terribly. The scents of flowers and herbs as you walked out of the back door, it was like walking into a magical place far away from the world. I set about recreating that magic in my tiny back yard planting pots, window boxes and hanging baskets with herbs, flowers and strawberries and my tea blending journey began.
It wasn’t until years later when I moved to my first smallholding with a big garden and orchard that I started studying herbs, botanicals and aromatherapy as a part time therapeutic hobby. I learned to incorporate herbs in our food more, I made healing herbal bath soaks, started drying herbs and making fresh herbs and flowers into oils and balms.
Five years ago, when I found myself in deep depression my family tried to gently persuade me to see my GP but I was afraid of addictive prescription drugs and I wanted to heal not mask what I was feeling.
So, I started studying herbalism and aromatherapy again, throwing myself in to healing in a natural way, spending hours in my garden, developing delicious blends, healing bath soaks, natural aromatic candles I could burn around my home, sensory delights of warmth and nourishment.
I’d give my blends to anyone and everyone that needed a lift or time to relax and conjure up images of people all over sipping my blends in colourful cups and just enjoying the moment as I had always done.
It was a coping mechanism, a dream that lifted my spirits and made me feel happy.
By now I had hundreds of different blends, my gardens were bursting with aromatic flowers and herbs I’d filled pots and baskets and had a collection of botanicals I couldn’t grow bought in from the finest suppliers.
I knew enough to start a little herbal tea company and feeling so excited I started to develop my business. I was so happy, my heart was full again, I was well and hadn’t felt so good in years.
Then disaster. The rug was pulled from under me when I found out I had £17 to my name and was heavily in debt. I couldn’t launch – I couldn’t breathe! I started slipping very quickly to the very place I’d just dragged myself out of.
I couldn’t let this happen to my family, I wasn’t prepared to lay down and do nothing, we’d gone through too much and come too far for this to be the end of the road.
My Grandmas face came into my head as I sat with tears streaming down my face and my head in my hands feeling desperate and not knowing what to do. Then it came to me, sell my car. It was the only way.. the only hope.
My car was sold the next day. It gave me enough to launch my herbal tea business and leave some money in the bank to float me for two months whilst I figured everything else out.
I took my teas out all over to markets and exhibitions; I was relentless and refused to sink back into the place I feared the most – depression!
As I write this my little tea business has grown into something I could never have imagined. My website is getting an overhaul and new blends are being added to my collection. I also teach others the art of herbal tea blending in workshops and my online courses, some people learn for pleasure and therapeutic benefits others learn how build their own herbal tea business.
Sitting here sipping my fresh favourite blend of lavender and chamomile, smelling the aromas I can’t help but reminisce about the importance it had for me when I was first starting out. It’s the blend my Grandma gave to me all those years ago, I taste hints of hope.
Whoever would have thought all those years ago whilst sitting on my caravan steps, it would lead me to start my own tea company and possibly even succeed.