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How To Make Your Own Blue Gin

If you are wondering how to make blue gin you’re in the right place! You can turn your favorite gin blue with the addition of edible flowers, we recommend violets and clitoria flowers (available here). Dried flowers come with the advantage of being storable although fresh flowers can look stunning in the glass. If using dried flowers the time required is reduced dramatically.

How to make blue gin

Instructions: Simply pour a little gin into a glass to make room for your flowers. Add about six flowers to a 70cl bottle (more for darker blue, less for lighter) and wait as the colour percolates throughout. After ten or so minutes you can invert the bottle to mix the colour. Don’t shake or you risk roughing up your flowers and they won’t look as good.

With fresh flowers you may need to leave them for a couple of days. Keep an eye on the condition of fresh flowers and remove them at the slightest hint of wilting or browning (this shouldn’t be a huge problem as long as the whole flower has been submerged in the preservative gin).

And that’s it, you have blue gin!

But why stop there? Clitoria flowers go through a dramatic and beautiful colour change. When you add citrus, your blue gin will transform into pink gin! Give it another twist of lime, It’s gorgeous!

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Why Wool? -Because at the end of its long and useful life, it has the good grace to rot away.

Why Wool? -Because at the end of its long and useful life, it has the good grace to rot away harmlessly.

Wool has qualities that man can only dream of recreating artificially. The first attempt was made in 1855 and we’ve been trying in vain ever since. Not only does wool wick moisture and retain heat (and all those other good things we have come to associate with wool), but it also has the good grace to rot away harmlessly into the environment when we are finally done with it.

Campaigners from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation reckon a full rubbish bin lorry load of man made fabrics are dumped or burned every second. Much of this is the clothes we no longer wear, but also… Our homes are decorated with carpets, rugs and curtains…

At Dartmoor Sheepskins we’ve written before about the waste of sheepskins from the meat industry, (less than one in two hundred are tanned, the rest are buried or burned). To further compound the illogic of this we then extract oil from the ground and make plastic fur out of it. This causes a multitude of problems, including microfibers in our own bodies.

At the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil, or the marine environment where it decomposes, releasing valuable nitrogen-based nutrients into the ground/ocean.

Campaign For Wool

Green, in unexpected ways

Step forward the Campaign for Wool with a series of short videos extolling the virtues of wool vs its synthetic counterpart. Take a look, we’ve worked with sheepskins for years and some of these videos surprised us. More available on the Campaign for Wool YouTube page.

Wool is a hygroscopic fibre. As the humidity of the surrounding air rises and falls, the fibre absorbs and releases water vapour. Heat is generated and retained during the absorption phase, which makes wool a natural insulator. Used in the home, wool insulation helps to reduce energy costs and prevents the loss of energy to the external environment, thus reducing carbon emissions.

Campaign For Wool

If you are already in love with natural fibers you may want to check out our specialist subject, and if that is your thing, you may like our range of natural plant dyes too! Keep it real – keep it wool.

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Behind the scenes at Dartmoor Sheepskins

Behind the scenes at Dartmoor Sheepskins

“People sometimes think we live in a huge house surrounded by sheepskins”

Wonderful natural products

All our products are sustainably sourced and natural. They are *exactly* as described – ground root bark will be ground root bark with nothing added or taken away, for example. When you and your children have worn your sheepskin down, and even the dog prefers something softer… at least it has the good grace to biodegrade, rather than sit in landfill for decades to come. I guess this goes some way to explaining why we do what we do.

“After a while we realised that our friends and family knowing our products were good wasn’t enough. We could tell people how good they were until we were blue in the face. People only really believe their own eyes, we have to show them.

British Sheepskin

While a Dartmoor sheepskin can always add a touch of luxury to any room, their practical durability make our fleeces suitable for year-round use.

Natural Dye

Roots and shoots plain and simple. Our powders are ground for days at a time, our flowers are picked at their peak. Nothing has been added or taken away.

Natural Incense

Fresh and vigorous fragrances to destress a modern home. Used for hardcore spiritual practice and beautiful for decluttering and mindfulness.

Gin Flowers

Make your own blue gin with these delightful Clitoria flowers, so named after their feminine shape. We love the colour they infuse in our favourite gin.

Palo Santo chips are excellent for smudging.

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Come home to a sheepskin, wherever you are.

Hard wearing and fully machine washable. Sheepskins are great to come home to wherever you are.

British summer often to throws a wobbly and that’s why it’s good to know sheepskins are easy to clean. Long-haired types will pick up twigs and other woodland detritus, so save them for bedtime. Keep newer sheepskins on a ground sheet or enforce a strict no-shoes policy. Housekeeping matters, wherever you sleep.

Machine washable at 30 degrees

Instant luxury seating, right by the fire.

As a sheepskin gets older you get less fussy about where you put it. It’s still the same sheepskin that was there at the birth of your new arrival, if no longer needed. It is still the same rug that helped you get out of bed on a cold morning. It’s just that tomorrow morning your day might not be starting at home.

Whilst a sheepskin might be nice on a trek, rolling into a sleeping-bag sized object is no excuse for the extra weight. Whilst we might boast about how easy sheepskins are to wash and dry, getting one wet in your rucksack won’t be fun to carry.

Where you can afford the luxury of a sheepskin is where you have a car. It’s no hassle to carry a rolled up sheepskin some distance, as long as you aren’t also lugging around everything else you need for the next three days at the very same time.

Where will you take yours?

A rug like the one above really comes into its own during a picnic, where bowls of food can be nestled into the fleece and stabilised even on the roughest moorland. The real question isn’t so much what will you use your sheepskin for, but where you will be when you use it.

Image with sheepskin washing instructions

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Can sheepskins keep babies cool in the heat?

It seems counterintuitive, but many people claim that sheepskin can keep babies cool in the heat. It’s a claim that’s sort of true.

Nothing will keep you cool like being well hydrated with appropriate shade, but for everything else there’s sheepskin.

Can sheepskin lower a baby’s temperature? Of course not. But unlike any man made fiber it works by wicking moisture away from the skin. This makes sheepskin ideal for babies in the heat.

Does sheepskin keep babies cool in the heat? Yes. Can sheepskin lower their temperature? No. – Use shade, fans, damp cloths if necessary. What sheepskin will do is wick sweat away from your baby’s skin and help maintain a steady temperature.

Use sheepskin as a bed, seat cover, picnic blanket or even emergency changing mat (easy washing instructions here).

a very young baby in white vest laying on a sheepskin to keep cool in the summer heat
Good to come home to

Sheepskins also make a great addition to a picnic, giving you an instant soft bed for a flaked-out tot. Lay it out under a tree and baby should be fine with just a light cotton sheet on top. Pack water, obviously, and check baby’s temperature regularly – sheepskins help regulate temperature but they are not fridges.

From the NHS “Things you can do to cool someone down”
Follow these 4 steps:
1. Move them to a cool place.
2. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
3. Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
4. Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too.
Stay with them until they are better.
They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.

More from the NHS
Wash and Dryable at 30 degrees Celsius

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Make Your Own Blue Gin – 100 Free Packs of Flowers to Give Away

We have 100 free samples of Clitoria flowers for gin, click below to get yours!

You will receive enough flowers for two bottles of gin for the cost of post and packing (£2.79). Limited to one per customer, UK and Europe only, strictly first come first served.

There’s a bunch of different flowers you can add to gin to make it blue, we recommend clitoria flowers not least because they are delicious, but also because your gin will go through a beautiful colour change when your add tonic and lemon.

Cliteria earns its name from the shape of the flowers, and when rehydrated in your favourite gin you can admire their feminine form and delicate flavour.

Beautiful Blue – Make Your Own!

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Sheepskins for prams, are sheepskins cool on hot days?

Keep baby cool in summer on a sheepskin

Sheepskin differs from man made fibers in that they wick moisture away from the skin, trapping air as they do so. Both these effects help stabilise the temperature for young and old alike. For young babies you will want a sheepskin shorn fairly short, leaving no long hairs to get in the way. Another benefit of short hair is the speed of drying, which can be surprisingly quick in a tumble dryer (full instructions here).
Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.

BREATHABLE
Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.

Campaign For Wool

Cool as a cucumber

Sheepskins make a great addition to a picnic, giving you an instant soft bed for a flaked-out tot. Lay it out under a tree and the baby should be fine with just a light cotton sheet on top. Pack water, obviously, and check baby’s temperature regularly – sheepskins help regulate temperature but they are not fridges.

Sheepskins have a range of applications where keeping cool is important. Bed bound folks find relief from sores as the soft cushioning effect spreads out pressure. The wicking property plays a key role. What many people don’t realise is that sheepskin can be washed and dried in the same time it takes to wash and dry a pair of jeans.

Tough and versatile

Motorcyclists too use sheepskins on long-haul journeys, finding the added comfort valuable and much preferable to the hard plastic standard issue bike seats. It goes without saying that sheepskins are also warm in winter.

“What makes them so good? Sheepskins are cooler than vinyl or leather saddles when it’s hot. Usually they’re pale in color and reflect heat. There’s shade between the strands of wool and, with aeration, heat dissipates fast, also wicking away sweat.”

– Adventure Motorcycle.com

Sheepskins are not magic and cannot make anything cooler. But they can be shaved short and serve as incredibly useful pram liners, ad hoc beds, seat covers and a multitude of other things. If you want one for a small person in your life simply write ‘SHAVED PLEASE’ in the delivery notes when you place your order. If you have a special use in mind don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll serve you just as we like to be served ourselves.

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Are Sheepskins Sustainable?

Fake fur presents an apparent solution to the ethical issues with real fur. I cannot and will not defend the fur industry. But we are at a place in history where the reality of our situation must be acknowledged. We eat meat in the UK. This means we kill a lot of sheep, 15.5 million a year (PDF). Sadly, we destroy nearly all of the sheepskins – a madness only properly appreciated when considering the damage caused by the man made microfibers we create to replace them.

Our textile industries have responded to the public demand to ditch fur. A demand to end fur farms and needless slaughter. The trouble is we still wanted ‘fur’. People cleverer than this writer have created faux fur, which approximates that of animal origin but is made instead from plastic, derived from oil. Some of it is pretty good and feels authentic. Most doesn’t come close. All of it is damaging to life on earth.

Setting aside the serious global issues that we face because of oil, let’s look at the garment from the moment we first wear it.

As soon as you first put them on, your clothes start shedding fibers. This rate increases massively during each wash, Friends of the Earth claim that a single wash load can release up to seventeen million micro fibers. Micro fibers have entered the ecosystem, they’re in our food, in our water, and they are even in us.

Washing machines and wastewater treatment plants aren’t designed to trap the minute plastic fibres that our clothes shed during washing. Many of these fibres sneak into our waterways and ultimately the oceans. And lots are caught up in sludge at the treatment plants – which is then sprayed over our soils as fertiliser.

Friends of the Earth

Modern fake fur really came into being in the 50’s with the introduction of acrylic polymer fibers. These made man fabrics are easy to work with and can come close to feeling like fur. However, like all plastic, they have a useful lifespan. They also have a much longer decidedly not useful lifespan.

Microfibres have been found in air, rivers, soil, drinking water, beer and table salt.

Friends of the Earth

Broken faux fur fibers join trillions of tiny pieces of plastic waste that are literally entering the food chain. Man made garments take nearly a thousand years to degrade in landfill, or release damaging gasses when burned. Natural sheepskin simply biodegrades, happily we have on hand millions of sheepskins each year. Sadly, we don’t use them.

99.5% of sheepskin is destroyed as a waste product of the meat industry. We then manufacture fake fur to replace what we have wasted.

Just 0.45% of sheepskins go through the tanning process, the rest are regarded as hazardous waste. If the public were to look at the issue of waste they might well grow more affectionate towards sheepskin. It is, in my opinion, better than faux fur (it stops ice from melting and refreezing, essential on Dartmoor at sub zero temperatures, and it lets skin breathe). The shear waste is bad enough to make you wince, but to then manufacture a fake replacement for what you have wasted it is just plain wrong.

We are going to have to make different choices if we are going to make this life-on-earth thing work out. We are told our dietary choices need looking at too, with a reduction in meat. That is fine by me. But right now as at this moment we are manufacturing a plastic product to replace the natural one we are wasting in ridiculous quantities. Happily, the natural one is also better.

At the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil, where it decomposes, releasing valuable nutrients into the ground. When a natural wool fibre is disposed of in soil, it takes a very short time to break down, whereas most synthetics are extremely slow to degrade.

Campaign For Wool

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Tpyos, Google searches and the quirky effects of algorithms

Despite the best efforts of spellcheck, and often because of spellcheck, we are all very familiar with typos; annoying, funny, cute or even occasionally R rated we see them all. I type the word ‘Sheepskins’ a lot and love some of the variations I have seen, my personal favourite has to be sheepkins, but I have also mashed shepskins , shepkins and even deepskins into the keyboard. It’s a good job that Google searches often correct our ineptitude, which if anything gets worse on a mobile phone.

Where did it all go wrong?

When texting became more of a thing the outcry was of fear for the sanctity of our language. It was as if the abbreviated messages were undermining all communication. Would growing illiteracy inevitably destroy of the very fabric of society? Despite the huge risks posed by texting, the young folk still persist in growing up and becoming police officers, GP’s and annoying daily reminders that my skin is less elastic and that my knees hurt. Their spelling has improved too.

Cry for help

Pls sum 1 do sum fing 2 hlp plzzzzzz

On the backend of dartmoorsheepskins.co.uk we can see some of the searches that bring people here. There are some great typos and we come up on some unusual search terms. Terms we have never put any effort into. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take internet traffic from anywhere. Just as long as people don’t get annoyed when they arrive and find it’s just us selling sheepskins. Which brings me to the oddest search bringing folks here right now: “amazon”.

Seek and ye shall find

Google searches for dartmoor sheepskins, British sheepskins for the UK with free delivery

Mimosa searches make perfect sense as it’s one of our best selling products. We specialise in sheepskins and natural dyes. But I can only wonder how many pages of search results one has to scroll through before finding us rather than Amazon?! So I checked our site for mentions of the word amazon and found… just one:

“We have no dreams of competing with Amazon or any high street brand, what we want to do is find people like you who enjoy natural products, sourced responsibly.”

– Some bloke on dartmoorsheepskins.co.uk

Whatever brought you to our site I hope you like it. We have a mailing list where subscribers get to hear about any special deals and money off coupons. Sometimes we run competitions to win sheepskins, that sort of thing. Please feel free to add your name here. We also post pictures on Instagram (mainly of our chickens, for some reason). And we would naturally love you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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How to choose the best sheepskin

British sheepskin has always been of world-class quality. Despite massive changes in the industry, we still lead on quality. Featured image by Ayse Rifat

Most sheepskin in the UK is destroyed as a waste product of the meat industry, very few go through the tanning process (read more here). Buying British sheepskin makes a lot of sense. The climate in the UK is perfect for the development of a thick fleece with fiber in at least two layers; a very soft inner down beneath a longer thicker outer coat. It is the inner down that provides that soft snuggly feeling you want to plunge your hands into.

Ethics matter, the life of the sheep is relevant. None of our sheepskin come from sheep that were killed to make our sheepskin. Dartmoor sheepskins come from animals that have lived a wild life on Dartmoor. Our sheepskins are a byproduct of the meat industry.

Hardy breeds develop thick hides and strong fleece out in the open, they also eat lots and are quite large. The only sheep that are bigger are generally from America, where regulation of growth hormones is less strict than in the UK.

Raised outside, without fences

A minority of British sheepskin will come from animals raised indoors – we do not supply these sheepskins. The reason that these sheep are kept inside is to prevent the animals damaging their skin on the barbed wire commonly used to control animals for meat production. Ironically, the most likely animals to be given this more expensive treatment will be those with extra valuable sheepskin, rare breeds in other words. This is not to say that all rare breed sheepskins come from animal husbandry of this kind, but a single tear in a hide will render it unfit for tanning.

We have no problems with barbed wire on Dartmoor as the sheep can roam freely across thousands of acres of wild beauty. So little of the sheep that we eat are turned into sheepskin (just 0.4%) that the quality is exceptionally high. No one in the UK goes through a value-adding process on sub standard starting material.

Turkey and Australia produce a lot of sheepskins, often of high quality, but do check that you are getting a single skin rather than pieces stitched together. You may wish to spend your money more locally, supporting British farmers as you do so. With prices from £59 delivered, Buying British need not cost more.

Reduce waste and petrochemical consumption

Environmentally speaking we should be using all the sheepskins instead of disposing of them as hazardous waste. Add to this our love of faux fur, made from petrochemicals and lacking in the qualities of real fur. Fake fur has a place in saving animals lives, there is no doubt about that, but destroying fur from an already slaughtered animal only to replace it with an artificial recreation is illogical. Buying faux fur is a perfect way to help animals that are raised solely for their fur. Want a mink coat? Get faux fur. Want sheepskin? Buy British sheepskin.

What to look for when buying sheepskin

How to choose the best sheepskin: Look for; thick hide, no thin patches or holes. Symmetrical shape. Different layers of fleece, inner fluffy, and outer thicker with greater variety of pigment. No bald patches. Uniform density of fiber across hide. Attractive patterning. If buying for a baby get a shearling sheepskin with the longer hairs shaved close (just request this in the order notes at the checkout if ordering from Dartmoor Sheepskins). If buying for endurance use (as a motorbike seat cover, or to help with someone who is bed bound) choose from our standard or “seconds” products. For all other purposes, pick the one you fall in love with. Got any questions or preferences? Contact Us.

British Sheepskin
Grade A
From £
79
  • Dartmoor Sheepskin
  • Flawless Quality
  • Free UK Delivery
speckled dartmoor sheepskin
The utmost quality British Sheepskin

British Sheepskin Seconds
Grade B
£
59
  • Dartmoor Sheepskin
  • Hard-To-Spot Fault
  • Free UK Delivery
Your guests won’t notice a minor blemish and the chances are, neither will you

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