You would probably never guess - but a tussie mussie is a small bouquet of leaves and flowers from different herbs.
The idea dates back to medieval times but became very fashionable in the Victorian era.
Another name for a tussie mussie is a nosegay - and they were often given as gifts to be held or worn attached to clothes.
Why nosegays were used
Nosegays were originally intended to be put to the nose either for the the pleasant sensation of sniffing something nice - or to mask unpleasant odors.
With open sewers running down the streets and poor sanitation, such odors were very common in historical times.
How to make your own Tussie Mussie!
- Pick a selection of herbs - using both the leaves and the flowers.
- Ideally, they should be about 8 inches or 20 cms in length.
- You will also need some natural string.
- Gather your herbs on a dry day, remembering to give them a shake to dislodge any bugs that are hiding among the foliage.
- While holding them in a bundle, tightly wrap the string around the stems to create a pretty bunch.
- Leave enough string to make a loop for hanging when drying out (see below).
- Then when running a warm soothing bath, add your tussie mussie to release the fragrant herbal and essential oils from the bunch. You can also use it as a gentle body exfoliator.
The tussie mussie can be reused for about three days before it is past its best and can be added to the compost bin. After each day of use, just hang the bunch on the faucets so it can dry out.
Keeping for the winter
You can also keep tussie mussie bunches (by drying them out) for use in the winter.
Hang the bunches in a warm and dry place, where the air can circulate, using that all important loop you made in the string.