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Aromatherapy Basics

Definition of Essential Oils

An essential oil is a fragrant, volatile oil which makes up the essence of the plant. Essential oils are derived from various areas of the plant including fruit, seed, bark, flower, root and stem. The molecules of essential oils are very powerful and have been used for healing purposes over thousands of years.

Methods of Extraction:
Expression: used mainly to extract essential oils from the rind of citrus fruit. The surface of the fruit skin is broken and the sacs that hold the essential oils are extracted.
Distillation: Through a process of condensation essential oils are collected through the distillate.
Enfleurage: Mostly used for exotic flowers that are very fragile. A glass surface is coated with odourless fat and oil and the flowers and blossoms are placed on these oils. As the flowers wilt, they release their fragrance and it is absorbed into the fat, then extracted. 

 Evolution of Aromatherapy
 
Ayurvedic medicine has been used from 3000 – 5000 BC. Practised in India, plant extracts were used to achieve a balance between the body, mind and soul. It was believed that each person should be treated individually for their aliments.

In ancient Egypt, aromatic substances were used for their medicinal purposes, perfumes and in cosmetology. Herbs were used for incense and oils and resins were used for embalming. The Greeks brought essential oils to Greece after visiting Egypt. They started to incorporate oils into celebrations, rituals and religious traditions. The Greeks were instrumental in advancing the use of aromatherapy for medicinal purposes as they had discovered that the use of aromatherapy had a significant impact on the internal organs.

In the 1500′s the foundation of modern medicine was laid and although both traditional and holistic practitioners used essential oils and herbs, medicine began to advance towards chemical science and synthetically mimicing the healing properties of the essential oils. 

Methods of Essential Oil Application
Compress:
Essential oils are dissolved in a solution and applied to wounds, bruises, abscesses or pressure points.
Inhalation: Direct inhalation is when you inhale the aroma of essential oils directly.
Massage: 1% – 5% is diluted in a carrier oil and the oil is rubbed into the skin.
Toiletries: In lotions and creams, essential oils are absorbed into the body via the skin, and also through inhalation.

Essential Oil Families 
Citrus: Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Tangerines etc.
These oils are known to be highly antiviral and they fight cold and flu germs that are in the air. They are uplifting oils that can be used for their antidepressant qualities, as natural diuretics and to reduce cholesterol levels. You should avoid being in direct sunlight when using these oils.
Herbs: Rosemary, Peppermint, Thyme
Herbs are known for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also good for the respiratory tract, for muscle and joint pain and for hives and itchy skin. Antifungal and antiseptic.
Woods: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood 
These are grounding oils and are used as aphrodisiacs for eczema, psoriasis, chapped and cracked skin. Good for varicous veins and circulation.
Flowers: Jasmine, Rose, Lavender, Geranium
Natural antidepressants, hormone balancing, tension relieving, sedative. If you like florals, these essential oils are among the most luxurious oils in the world. Natural antibiotics.
Root and Spice: Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove
Digestive aids and promote circulation. Analgesic and antiseptic, antifungal, antihistamine, antibiotic.



Team Building

The term “Team Building” conjures up various definitions to all of us, and what one individual considers “useful”, “relevant” and “motivational”, another may not agree.  When Team building is  done  effectively, we can consider this positive process as “Building a Team within a Workplace”. Why?  To promote office harmony; employee understanding; improve performance and working towards a shared goal.

We believe the purpose of team building is to encourage each team member as individuals and the group as a whole.  Providing on-going and annual evaluations are key to employee growth, however team building reaches a new level of individual and team engagement.  Goals and expectations must be made clear, otherwise working towards a team goal can get derailed if individuals work towards their own objectives.  

Team building is often thought of as being expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are numerous programs and ideas for every budget.  Don’t confuse team social activities with team building activities.  A structured environment giving direction and encouragement during a team building exercise, will infuse your team with energy and creativity.    

At the Old Mill Toronto, our team building partner is the “Frontier Team Building” group who label their programs “Edutainment”.  Their unique one of a kind team building experiences take full advantage of our indoor and outdoor surroundings.  Team building is a sure way to foster effective relationships, elevate morale and make your meetings experience unforgettable!



Smoked Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole & Red Chili Salsa

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4 lbs ripe tomatoes
olive oil
2 onions chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 6oz. can tomato paste
5 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper as needed
1/2 cup sherry or port
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 t. crushed garlic

Prepare 3 handfuls of wood chips, hickory might be best, by soaking them for 1/2 hour to an hour. Spray the 4 lbs of ripe tomatoes with olive oil and place in a grill basket, preferably one that can be turned. Add 1/2 of the  wood chips over the fire and wait for them to begin to smoke. Roast the tomatoes checking to see when the bottoms begin to blacken.When they have remove the basket and add the rest of the wood chips and roast the other side of the tomatoes until done. This process should take approx. 10 – 20 minutes. The secret is to make sure they get smoke without burning up. They can be covered and used 1 or 2 days later.

Saute 2 chopped onions in olive oil. Add the tomatoes, cut in half, with the tomato juice that has accumulated, 3 bay leaves and 2 t. crushed garlic. Cook together about 10 min. over moderate heat. Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, 1 t. crushed red pepper, 1 1/2 t. cinnamon and 1 6oz can tomato paste. Cook a few minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of sherry or port and 5 cups chicken broth. Adjust the soup with salt & pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and then puree in batches. Reheat when ready to serve.

Goat Cheese Guacamole
1/2 cup Goat Cheese
1 Avocado (peeled & pitted)
1 lime juiced
salt & pepper
In a bowl break avocado into small pieces, add goat cheese, lime, salt and pepper. Mix until folded in but still a little lumpy.

Red Chili Salsa
2 tomatoes (deseed and chopped)
1/2 shallot finely chopped
1 serrano chili or red chili chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped
Mix all ingredients together

Place Guacamole on bottom of bowl, then a large table spoon of salsa, pour hot soup over and enjoy!!!

Antioxidants are present in foods as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among others. Antioxidants have anti-aging effects because they are scavengers of free radicals which are linked with human diseases. Tomatoes are fast becoming one of our favorite modern foods, and for good reason–they can ward off certain kinds of cancer, prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, and help maintain mental function as we age. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a relatively rare member of the carotenoid family, also found in pink grapefruit and twice as powerful as betacarotene. Other studies suggest lycopene can help prevent lung, colon and breast cancers. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant glutathione, which helps boost immune function.



Robbie Burns Supper Celebration

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Robbie Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in Ayreshire, Scotland.  Best known as the national Poet and lyricist of Scotland and  famously synonymous with “Auld Lang Syne” that can be heard on the last day of the year, every year since its inception.

Famous for his political views and his love for the lassies, Burns poems were also inspired by the beauty of Scotland. Although Burns only lived to the age of 37, he enjoyed a eventful life and produced an astonishing amount of great literary work during his career.

More than 200 years have passed since his death and Burns still remains one of the most celebrated figures in Scottish history and culture, demonstrated by the annual Burns Night Celebrations held on or near his birthday of January 25th.

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry by Robert Burns.  Suppers may be formal or informal and a standard format is usually as follows;

1. Host Welcoming Speech
2. Parade of the Haggis
3. Supper
4. Immortal Memory
5. Appreciation
6. Toast to the lassies
7. Reply toast to the toast to the lassies
8. Other toasts and speeches
9. Works by Burns
10. Closing

The closing is where everyone is asked to stand and join hands to sing Auld Lang Syne bringing the evening to an end.

A Robbie Burns Supper Celebration is an evening of more then just Kilts, Haggis and Scotch, it’s a celebration of one’s life!

 



Are Meeting Delegates Expectations Changing?

  

Are meeting delegates expectations changing? This is a common question we hear from both meeting planners and meeting delegates.

Every meeting is different. Every market is different. Every client has unique expectations. A meeting planner has to juggle many balls at once, including managing budgets that may or may not be realistic.

Some key points to consider and to help understand the relevance of changing expectations are as follows;

The age of the audience and how you connect with them will dictate the delivery method of the content you want to convey. This can change quite dramatically depending on the age group attending.

Technology has and will continue to play an increasingly important role. This is not new news, as it is an ever changing technical environment. However, focusing on personable interaction during meetings will allow the meeting planner to “Communicate” the message with a more “human” element.

The line between personal and business is ever more blury. Timing of meetings; downtime during meetings; networking in meetings are all important points to consider when deciding what the ultimate goal is.

Now, more then ever,  there are increasing special menu requests for allergies and preferences. We are also asked quite frequently if the food & beverage is “Locally” produced? This seems to be an upward trend.

Of course the location and style of venue remains very important. You need to question how the setting; versatility and ambiance will play a role?

In conclusion, the venues who are more flexible and have a better understanding that change is a constant, will inevitably be more effective partners to the meeting planning industry.



Christmas Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you the everything has to be perfectly in sync with colour and shape, synonymous with the rest of your year round décor or are you the type that can never part with the sparkly popsicle picture frames and the ornament from 1969?

Every year I drag out the many boxes filled with décor dating back to my child’s first Christmas. My decorations are a real mixed bag of sentimental things I had growing up, new items I seem to pick up every year, and handmade ornaments from my little one who’s not so little now.

Out comes the painted Santa’s, the candle holders encrusted with sparkle dust that’s seems to get in every nook and cranny~ the stuffed reindeer and the all time favorite snowman dressed in a cross country ski outfit  complete with a set of skis…he stands beside the fireplace every year.

While I admire and sometimes desire the perfect tree with every cylindrical ornament sparkling away and matching the colour scheme of the year, I find myself reaching for the same ornaments and décor year after year, unable to part with them yet once again.

Christmas Décor is what ever brings you happiness, what ever fills your heart with Joy and makes your home feel festive for the holidays.

It’s a once a year thing where you get to show your sentimental side. So put that garland up the rail of the stairs and of course every decoration your children ever made must go on the tree or mantle or somewhere in the house. I think it’s not about following principals of design but more about giving in to the sentimental side of the season.

The Flower shop at The Old MIll has great festive seasonal decor and classic ornaments and with every gift ware purchase over $30 you will receive a mini Holiday arrangement or an ornament.

Happy decorating everyone!