Explore

wellbeing

wellbeing

Using the right language can change your life

March 20, 2021
using the right language can change your life

Language matters

The way we talk to ourselves

We all have stories we tell ourselves; that we’re not quite good enough, clever enough, confident enough. And sometimes, we convince ourselves that these stories as fact. We can start to hold ourselves back, keeping ourselves safe, never stepping out of our comfort zones so we don’t get the chance to reach our full potential.

The frustrating thing is, the personal narrative we often have for ourselves isn’t how other people see us at all. How many times have you coached a friend to apply for that job, message someone back, or push themselves out there in some way because you can see what they’re capable of, even though they can’t?

The language we use with others

None of us are born with self-deprecating qualities. We pick this up through our interactions with the world. 

I was born in an era where there weren’t a lot of positive reinforcements in childhood. I don’t remember anyone ever talking to me about my talents or wanting to try and nurture them. I’m not trying to cry me a river here; I feel like my experiences are pretty similar to most people my age. It just wasn’t a thing.

If we compound childhood with other life experiences; toxic relationships, bad workplaces, mental health issues, then it’s not a surprise we start to create negative stories about ourselves. And actually, I don’t think a bit of self-criticism is necessarily a bad thing; the issue is when the balance tips so far towards the negative, you lose all sense in who you are.

Now, if I spoke to other people in the way I spoke to myself, I would rightly have zero friends and be a person you’d cross the road to avoid. 

That doesn’t give me a free pass. There have been countless times when I’ve made little digs because I’ve felt a bit jealous or insecure. Or I’ve felt the need to take a snipe back at someone. It’s not behaviour I’m proud of. But, this is something really crucial to recognise – it was always about how I was feeling, never about them. People who feel good about themselves, are more compassionate towards others. They don’t tend to behave like dicks. 

The impact of using the right language

Now, colour me needy but I respond (as I suspect nearly all of us do) far better to positive, empowering language than lots of criticism. That’s not to say there’s not a place for feedback, I don’t think it’s healthy to misguide people either but commenting on my strengths goes a long way with me.

Think about it. Most of us tend to work far harder for bosses that are encouraging, rather than bawling us out every 5 minutes. We want to spend time with people who raise us up, not knock us down. 

Language really matters. The words we use to others have an impact; not only on the way we make people feel – but we can literally change the neural pathways in their brain. Talk down to someone and eventually you’ll chip away at their self-esteem. Use the right language and watch someone fly. 

The science behind positive language

As humans, we’re predisposed to keeping ourselves safe. This is one of our primal responses; we’re hardwired to recognise fear. This is one of the reasons why negative language resonates with us, it’s a fear-based response. And like anything, the more you hear it, the more it starts to stick.

However, the more positive language you hear, the more it starts to retrain those beliefs, actually changing the neural pathways in your brain and the way you talk to yourself. In other words, surrounding yourself with the right people, can actually change how you feel about yourself. 

How can you rewrite your personal story?

We’re only responsible for how we behave, we’re not responsible for the behaviour of others. I can’t always control who I spend my time with or if they use the right language towards me. Sometimes, we’re able to recognise a toxic situation and either leave it, or understand someone’s opinion is not fact. However, more often than not, these things have an impact and we have to spend time getting ourselves back on track and make a conscious effort to reframe some of our negative beliefs.

Oh sure, I hear you say… Undoing years of put downs and not being recognised by the world? How am I supposed to do that? Well, science shows it takes approximately two months to retrain your neural pathways, which are responsible for sending signals to your brain. These are the signals that tell you, you’re not good enough or you can’t do that (amongst other things). They are unconscious habits so you’re not necessarily aware all the time that it’s happening. But, like any habit, you can change it.

Affirmations

Affirmations are a way of reframing a situation to help you change the way you feel about yourself or about a a particular issue. The way I like to do is to take a situation that I find challenging and write a statement to encourage me to feel differently. I like to write them down and really reflect on them. Other people say them to themselves in the mirror. One of my friends puts post-it notes up around her house so she has a constant reminder of her positive points. The trick is to look at your affirmations little and often so you start to retrain your brain.

Speak it into existence

We all know the phrase, ‘fake it, til you make it’. I actually think there’s an element of truth in that – the more you do something, the easier it becomes. Speaking it into existence is also another way to focus on your strengths and can give you the confidence to go ahead with things. I had thought about writing a blog for years, but never did it because I was worried about what people would think. I mentioned the idea to a friend and once I said it aloud, it suddenly seemed possible. That’s what speaking it into existence can do.

Human Design

Human Design is a way of understanding our own energy and how we should respond to the world. An in-depth reading can also help you understand a lot more about yourself, why you might respond to certain things when other people don’t, what’s important to you and your life purpose. It gives you a blueprint to understanding who you are.

Using the right language yourself

Using the right language yourself is almost one of the hardest things to do. But every time you catch yourself making a negative statement, try and pause. We all have periods of self-doubt or lack confidence especially after having a bit of a knock. These things don’t have to be our life story though. We’re all capable of more.

wellbeing

Understanding your Human Design

December 16, 2020
human design

What is Human Design?

Human design is a system which helps you understand how you respond to the world – and the role you’re designed to play in it.

It brings together the principles of I Ching, astrology, kabbalah, the hindhu-brahmin chakra systems and quantum physics using the date, time and location of your birth to reveal your unique human design.

Still with me? Good. So, what Human Design really gives you is a practical guide to who you really are. It’s almost like being given a road map to yourself. 

Learning to understand your Human Design means you’ll start to become in alignment and live your life in the way that you’re designed to. It won’t make your life easier in a sense because we will all have struggles and challenges to deal with, however, it will help you understand how you should respond and make decisions enabling your life to flow.

We’re all born with our own unique design and the more we go through childhood, the more we lose the essence of our real self. Human Design brings us back to ourselves so we can start to live life as we’re meant to.

Making decisions based on our Human Design

I think we’ve probably all been in situations where we’ve felt we’ve pushed into a decision and it hasn’t been right. Or wanted something so badly, we’ve tried to force it to happen and felt like we’re swimming in treacle. What Human Design does is show how best to make decisions aligned with who we are – so we’re going for what’s right for us at the right time, rather than chasing what isn’t. 

Human Design is a really complex system that can give you guidance on pretty much every aspect of your life: relationships; careers; diet and what you’re here on earth to do. 

You can have your full Human Design read by an analyst. However, there are also some free tools you can access to give you some information about your design. These tools include your Human Design type and your strategy, which gives you an introduction to your energy, your aura and how best to use both.

Human Design types and strategies

Finding out your Human Design type helps us understand our energy and how we’re designed to move through the world. We all have different levels of energy and some of us can keep going and going – whilst other types are not designed to do this. Human Design helps us understand this and determine what works best for us.

There are four different types that each have their own Strategy. Your Strategy gives the information we need to make decisions most aligned with who we are.

So what are each of the Human Design types?

Generators

Generators represent about 75 percent of the population. They have a consistent energy source which means they can keep going when they’re doing work they’re aligned to. The flip side is, they can also get burnt out when doing work that they’re not.

Generators have a big powerful aura which affects the people around them. So when they’re doing work or living in a way that lights them up, then it lights up other people too. But the harder question really is, how do you identify what lights you up? Generators should try to listen to their gut (sacral centre) and make decisions from your instincts, trying not to overrule it with your mind. They’re here to master a skill and sometimes that means feeling fed up or stuck, however, mastering something does mean sticking at it. Generators should listen to their sacral response before making a decision as to stick or leave what they’re trying to learn.

Generator strategy

The strategy for a generator is to wait to respond. So rather than going out there hustling and trying to make things happen, generators should just wait and see what happens. Now, I’m a generator and this goes against everything I know. I feel like the only way things have ever happened for me is when I’ve worked for them. But, is that really true or is it just a story I’ve told myself? I’m learning to take a step back, set intentions and put ideas out there – whilst giving space for opportunities to come to me, rather than trying to force them to happen.

Manifesting generator

The design of a manifesting generator isn’t dissimilar to that of a generator. They have the energy to keep going when they’re doing something that’s right for them. Again, their work lights them up and they have the ability to keep going. They move faster than other people and can juggle lots of plates at once but they have to be careful not to overcommit. They should use their sacral response to guide them to the right decision.

Manifesting generator strategy

The strategy for a manifesting generator is slightly different though. Like a generator, they should wait to respond but they should also think about who else might be impacted before taking action and then inform them. This isn’t about asking for permission – it’s just simply letting other people know what you’re going to do because this will lead the way to less resistance.

We’ve all been taught that we should choose one thing and stick with it. This is different for manifesting generators who are designed to try lots of things and let go of the ones that don’t work. They just need to inform people when they do.

Manifestors

Manifestors are here to initiate. They’re the ones who get the ball rolling. They don’t need to necessarily finish what they started – other human design types are here to help with that. Their role is to act as a creative force and get things going. Don’t feel bad if you start something and don’t finish it – this right for you. You’re designed to initiate and then move on.

Manifestors can have a powerful aura which sometimes causes people to react. This isn’t your fault or something you should feel the need to control – just be aware of it so you learn not to take it personally. Manifestors actually don’t require external input or inspiration – it all comes from within. This means you need to maintain a constant connection to your internal voice and find peace within.

Manifestor strategy

The manifestor strategy is to inform others before taking action. Just like the manifestor generators above, this isn’t about permission, it’s just letting people know what you plan to do. It’s about creating less resistance so you can move forward with ease. You may also find your relationships become easier too.

Projectors

Projectors have a focused and penetrating aura which gives them the ability to see deeply into others. They need to be thoughtful about how they use their energy. Society has told us that we need to be always go-go-go. However, this isn’t always the best way to be for a projector and can lead to burn out. Projectors work in bursts of energy, which allows them to get a lot done in a short space of time. However, they need to also take some time to recuperate. 

Projectors are at their best when steering and shaping the ideas and energies of other people. They’re good at seeing the big picture and are able to recognise talents and gifts in other people bringing them together. 

Projector strategy

Their Strategy is to wait to be invited to share their wisdom. They should wait for big life decisions such as relationships, career/work and where to live until they get an invitation. This is so there’s the right energetic exchange. Don’t worry about not getting an invitation, the Projector’s aura is so powerful, it drives the right people to you – and once you’re in, then you can start manifesting and intitating and driving things forward.

Reflectors

Reflectors represent about 1 percent of the population. They process and experience energy very differently from the other Human Design types. Reflectors are here to be wise observers by sampling, magnifying and reflecting people’s auras back at them. They’re really gifted at being able to detect when something is out of line or unusual. In an ideal world, each community would have a reflector who can act as a barometer for the health of the collective.

Reflectors are able to read other people’s auras and understand who they truly are. This makes them extremely empathetic. However, their own aura is actually quite resilient. It’s important though that they have the right environment and community to call home. They need the right people about them who will listen and support their decision making. 

Reflector strategy

For reflectors, their strategy is to connect to lunar energy. So this means waiting 28 days before making any major decisions and use this time to discuss your options with trusted friends. A good peer group is really important for reflectors so they can discuss decisions and use them to reflect ideas. 

Where can you find out more?

You can get a simple and free Human Design birth chart from:

https://www.ihdschool.com/get-your-chart

https://freehumandesignchart.com/

You can also ask me any questions.

wellbeing

Best essential oils for motivation

May 3, 2020
essential oils for motivation

I don’t know about you, but some days my motivation is sky high and I feel I can take on the world, and on others, every little thing is a struggle. Whilst, I do think this is natural (we can’t maintain working at a fast pace 365 days a year); there are certain things I do to raise my energy on days when I feel a bit flat. I use essential oils for motivation; using them to kick start my day and upping my productivity levels.

How essential oils work

Essential oils work through our olfatic system, the part of our body responsible for our sense of smell. Our sense of smell evokes memories and feelings. It also triggers our emotions and can really impact our mood. There’s been lots of scientific research on the power of essential oils and how they can help with both our physical and mental wellbeing. This is what makes them such a great item to have in our self-care tool kit.

Creating good habits

A lot of our lives are built around routines and rituals. We start the day with a tea or coffee looking for that caffeine fix to get our brains into gear. We walk to the station, get into our car without really thinking too much and spend most of our day operating on auto-pilot. The current situation with COVID-19 means a lot of our routines and rituals have been thrown up in the air. We can’t operate on autopilot at the moment – and that’s exhausting. So please be gentle with yourself if you’re not firing on all cylinders right now. However, this is also giving us the opportunity to reset some of our old patterns and get into new habits because we’re being forced to think about what we’re doing.

Starting the day with an essential oil blend

I start my day thinking about the mood I’ve woken up in and how I want to either maintain it or improve it. If I’m feeling a bit down, I’ll think of an essential oil blend to help raise my spirits. If I’m feeling tired and sluggish (also occasionally hungover…) then I use oils to make me feel more alive. I set my intentions for the day: do I want to feel relaxed or do I want to be motivated? What do I want to achieve?

I either put my essential oils into a diffuser or I light a candle infused with oils. You can also make an essential oil blend into a little bottle mixed with a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil or even olive oil will work too) and add to your pulse points so you can carry it around with you.

Essential oils for motivation

There are lots of reasons why your motivation might need a boost: you might be tired, feeling down or just lower energy than usual. Let’s be honest, there are also some tasks that just aren’t that exciting: tax returns for one…

Best essential oils for motivation when you’re tired include:

  • peppermint
  • sweet orange
  • spearmint
  • rosemary
  • lemon

Personally, I like rosemary and peppermint together and find it really uplifting to start the day.

Best essential oils for focus and mental clarity are:

  • pine
  • eucalyptus
  • black pepper
  • lemongrass
  • sage
  • petitgrain

I love pine and eucalyptus first thing in the morning and it gives me such a boost. I really associate it with getting things done.

Lemongrass and black pepper are a great combination for people moving on from old situations and will help you focus on what’s coming ahead.

Best essential oils for lifting your spirits

Essential oils from citrus fruits are great for helping to lift your spirits. They’re the first oils I turn to when I’m just feeling a bit below par. I mix sweet orange and bergamot for a boosting blend. I also really love grapefruit.

How to blend essential oils

You don’t need to be an aromatherapist to blend essential oils. As a general rule of thumb, oils from the same family work together. Citrus oils pretty much work with anything. You also don’t need to always have a blend – sometimes it helps to make one scent too over powering – but focus on how you want to feel and choose an oil to support that intention.

wellbeing

Natural ways to maintain calm

April 20, 2020

With so much stress and worry in the modern world, it can be tough to uncover ways to stay calm and collected amongst the chaos. Leading a natural life can lead you to seek out alternative options to the common stress reducing solutions – but how and where do you start? If you would like to find out a little more about how you can utilise natural steps to improve your positivity and keep a level head then you’re in luck, as there are a few simple tips and tricks that you can make the most of to ensure to start reaping the benefits in no time at all. 

Get In The Mood For Meditation 

One of the very best options that you might like to explore to increase your levels of calm is meditation. Meditation is a practice that has been utilised by millions of people for thousands of years, and the tradition hasn’t gone out of fashion for many good reasons. You don’t need any special equipment or skills to start your meditation journey, just a quiet spot to sit comfortably and the determination to focus. Start off by closing your eyes, letting the tension go from your body by unclenching your jaw, relaxing your muscles and breathing deeply. Next move onto your mind, letting all passing thoughts drift out of your head, potentially picturing a calm setting such as a beach to help stay focused. Meditation isn’t something that can be mastered on your first go, but the patience you must develop to be persistent in your efforts is part of the process. Regularly meditating will help you to keep a balance, calm aura and aid you in dealing with situations in a rational and thoughtful manner. 

Explore Some Modern Methods 

In recent years there have been many new inventions and discoveries that have allowed us as a society to advance forward and uncover different methods to deal with stress, and experimenting with one or more of these options could be the perfect solutions for you. One particular topic that’s gaining more attention is CBD products, as their ingredients are being made legal and somewhat readily available in many states and countries across the world. A CBD beginners guide is the best source of information to aid you in finding the ideal product for your individual needs, so always do your research before investing in any related items. There has also been an increase in studies related to the benefits of essential oils, as well herbal and fruit infused teas such as chamomile, so there are many more companies popping up that offer relaxing blends.

Hopefully this guide can help you to uncover the best natural options that can encourage a feeling of calm, from those that have been around for many years to new age options that have recently gained popularity. Meditation is the perfect practice after a long day, whilst a calming cup of chamomile can help to soothe your stress at any time!

wellbeing

How to stay sane when it feels like the world is falling apart

April 14, 2020
how do you stay sane when it feels like the world is falling apart?

This post was written during the coronavirus crisis. However, the advice on how to stay sane when it feels like the world is falling apart can be applied to most challenges in life.

It’s ok not to be ok

When we first went on lockdown in the UK, hundreds of posts appeared on social media suggesting we use this new found time on self-development. I saw posts on learning a new language, decluttering your house and finally doing the creative project you’ve been dreaming about for the last two years.

The posts made me feel angry; partly because the nature of my job means I’m really busy so I don’t suddenly have lots of hours free. Mainly though, because my brain felt like it was swimming in treacle. I’ve been utterly exhausted, had brain fog and any motivation went completely out of the window. Getting through the day felt like an achievement in itself. 

The simple truth is none of us have ever been in a coronavirus lockdown before. It’s a completely new situation and there isn’t a coronavirus rule book on how to handle this well. Some people will focus on being busy, others will need to rest, and most of us will flip between the two. It’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster. We just need to get through it the best way we can trying to stay sane even though it feels like the world is falling apart.

We need to recognise life is really hard right now

I can spend the day working away in my office and other than the fact that I’m sat at home on conference calls with the sounds of my husband and son in the background, life could almost be normal. But every time I read the news or step outside, I’m starkly reminded that it’s not. Waves of anxiety wash over me and I feel moved to tears really easily.

I don’t think there’s a perfect antidote to this. It’s not ideal to keep yourself so busy that you’re blocking your feelings because all you’re doing is stalling the inevitable. It’s also exhausting to live in a permanent state of fear. We need to recognise life is really hard right now; we’re dealing with the unknown and trying to get through it the best we can. This is new to all of us.

So how do you stay sane when it feels like the world is falling apart?

Control only what you can

It’s really difficult when you’re used to having a good degree of control over your life to suddenly have that relinquished. Try to control what you can (how often you go outdoors, what you eat (unless it involve flour and eggs) etc) and let the rest go (as much as you can).

Structure your day and get into a routine

Getting into a routine is pretty easy when you have a job you can work from home to do and a child that wakes you up in the early hours. However, for some people, lockdown has completely thrown their lives up in the air. Try to get up at a similar time, see some daylight and put some structure into your day even if that just involves maintaining a regular tea break.

Aim to do one thing a day

I really admire people who have the mental focus to start their own podcasts and novels during this period – but they are not my people. I have all sorts of ideas on things I’d like to achieve. However, I can’t say I’m a fountain of productivity right now… In my case, I do have a full time job (I know that makes me extremely fortunate) and a family so I don’t have hundreds of hours spare. I try to do one thing per day outside of my work so I feel a sense of achievement. Lockdown isn’t about getting as much done as you possibly can; it’s about getting by.

Build in time for self-care

Now more than ever is the time to invest in a bit of self-care; by which I mean, look after yourself. Make sure you rest and build in time to give your brain a break.

Be kind to yourself and those around you

We’re all living through an uncertain time. Lower your expectations and give yourself a break. You don’t have to deal with this perfectly. Watching the entire back catalogue of Netflix doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things… You were following government advice by staying indoors and that makes you a legend my honey p.

Do remember though that everyone else is in the same boat so this doesn’t give you the licence to be an arse either. We’re all trying to stay sane even though it feels like the world is falling apart and it’s not fair to add additional stress on to others. Be kind to everyone else too.

And breathe

One of the best techniques I use when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to focus on my breath. I breathe in for four seconds through my nostrils and exhale for four. It makes a whole heap of difference.

And for anyone suffering with indigestion or acid reflux (which is often stress-related), then breathe in through your nose for two seconds and exhale for four. Repeat until you feel better. You will thank me.

wellbeing

Essential oils to help with stress

April 7, 2020
essential oils help with stress

We all go through stressful periods: relationships, work, home, all come with their ups and downs – and part of the human experience is to learn how to navigate the rough with the smooth. Right now though, the coronavirus situation means we’re all collectively experiencing stress, admittedly with varying degrees. For some this, is living through one of the most challenging periods of their lives, but for many of us, it’s recognising that we’re living with continual underlying feelings of discomfort and uncertainty.

Stress manifests itself in physical ailments or mental symptoms, or both. Since the onset of the coronavirus situation, I’ve experienced tremors, headaches and brain fog. I’ve had to really think about my stress levels and put measures in place to help ease them.

So what can we do to alleviate stress?

One of the best things we can do (in my non-medical opinion) is recognise life is really tough now. We’re all grappling with a very different way of living and worries for our loved ones. We don’t know when or how this is going to end. This is bringing up lots of emotions and our stress levels are higher as a consequence. We all have various coping mechanisms and some people will be able to deal with this better than others. However, if you can, try to think about self-care and how best to look after yourself.

Above all though, be kind to yourself and those around you.

How essential oils help with stress

We’re all aware of the power of music and how listening to a song on the radio can transport you back to a different time in your life. Blondie will always remind me of long car journeys to the south of France listening to it over and over again because my parents only had one cassette tape and it was the 70s.

Our ability to smell is linked to our limbic system, which triggers emotions and evokes memories. The sweet sticky scent of suncream will always remind me of holidays. Dew of the first days of spring. And cinnamon of Christmas time. This is why certain smells trigger emotions in us, which is where essential oils come in.

Essential oils help with stress because they influence our emotions and our mood. They can lift us up, energise us and equally help us to relax, all through the power of smell.

Stress can make you very tired, and where possible then I would suggest leaning into your body and resting. However, that’s not possible for everyone. I’m still working full time, I have a child and I need something to help me focus during the day. Essential oils can revive us, as well as calm us down.

Best way to use essential oils

To build up a collection of essential oils is expensive and most people right now will be experiencing some sort of financial hit so I’d suggest buying just one or two. You don’t need several. Just look for pure grade essential oils. Tisserand, Absolute Aromas are brands that can either be bought directly, from a health food shop online or another big retailer.

Use one or two in a diffuser if you have one, add a few drops to a bath, mix with a carrier oil (you can use olive oil) and massaging into your skin or add a few drops with water into a spray bottle and spritzing yourself and the air around you. Remember with essential oils that a little goes a long way.

Best essential oils to help with stress

Below are some suggestions of essential oils that are known to alleviate stress – some will help revive you and bring around feelings of joy. Others will help you sleep better at night when you might be struggling to switch off. I’ve also included oils that are good for day and night. Most oils are fairly versatile.

Keep well.

Essential oils to help lower your stress levels during the day

Scent from citrus fruits

Any ‘zesty’ essential oils such as bergamot, lemon, mandarin, orange and grapefruit are all great at lifting your mood and making you feel more positive about life. Citrus fruits tend to be a little bit cheaper so are a good buy. I prefer to use these first thing in the morning to set me up for the day.

Rosemary

Rosemary has a reviving effect, which is useful for people feeling overwhelmed by tiredness or stress and great to use during the day.

Patchouli

Patchouli is a natural anti-depressant and is useful for treating exhaustion, stress and anxiety.

Basil

Basil is good for clearing the air and refreshes the mind. It helps to calm anxiety and revives the body combatting exhaustion, anxiety and depression.

Essential oils to help you switch off at night

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most versatile of essential oils. It helps alleviate stress, reduce anxiety and help with sleep. Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on your pillow and bed sheets for a restful night’s sleep.

Ylang ylang

Ylang ylang helps ease feelings of anxiety and will help you feel calmer overall. It’s also the base for Chanel no 5.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood has a restorative effect on our emotions helping to dispel anxiety and lift depression. It’s a good sleep aid and can help reignite a passion for life. Sandalwood is endangered so check that any essential oils you use are from a sustainable source.

Clary sage

Clary sage is great for moods. It lifts feelings of depression, calms nerves and creates a sense of peace.

Vetiver

Vertiver is from a grass native to India and works on an emotional level helping people feeling distressed or panicky. It’s a natural sedative so helps promote relaxation and restful sleep.

Marjoram

Marjoram is a gentle sedative that is good for dealing with anxiety, reducing insomnia and helping with a restful sleep.

Good for day and night

Frankincense

Frankincense is really good for lifting spirits, increasing energy and focus. It’s ideal when feeling stressed, overwhelmed and overtired, which is me about 90% of the time…

Rose

Rose is the scent of love and creates a sense of relaxed wellbeing, taking the edge of stress-related conditions.

Geranium

Geranium is both calming and uplifting, making it a really good oil to help ease anxiety and is also said to reduce feelings of restlessness. It’s actually one of my favourite oils. I think it has a really gentle scent, which leaves you with a feeling of gentleness – much needed at the moment.

wellbeing

Use citrus essential oils to add zest into your life

March 10, 2020
citrus essential oils

Do you ever have those days where you wake up and feel a bit blah? You’re not tired because of a late night – but your energy is low. Nothing is going particularly badly but you’re still not feeling great. You just can’t really identify why your mood is lower than usual?

This is the time to reach for a citrus essential oil. They’re characterised by their ability to uplift, energise and invigorate our senses. Plus citrus essential oils tend to be a bit cheaper to buy than some essential oils so they’re an easy way for a quick wellbeing boost.

One of the rules I live by is, if it’s a zesty fruit, then it’s going to fill you with zest. Yes, I really am full of pearls of wisdom… However, it’s an easy way to remember what essential oils are good for mood boosting. 

Citrus essential oils are best used first thing in the morning (rather than last thing at night), or when you’re feeling below par to lift your spirits and put a spring in your step.

What are citrus essential oils?

Citrus essential oils are:

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Bergamot
  • Petitgrain
  • Tangerine
  • Mandarin (red or green)
  • Bitter orange
  • Blood orange
  • Yuzu

Blending scents with citrus essential oils

The scents from essential notes are characterised as top, middle and base notes. Citrus fruits are top notes which means whilst their initial smell is strong, they do evaporate quickly. It’s worth mixing with a middle or base notes to help the scent last longer.

Spices and citrus blend well together, such as ginger and lemon, cinnamon and sweet orange.

Woody scents and citrus also work well together. Try rosewood and bergamot or cedarwood and lime.

Seven benefits of citrus essential oils

  1. They’re antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body, which can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body. They’re linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. However, free radicals also serve important functions that are essential for health such as fighting infection so we need them too. There are lifestyle and environmental factors that can promote excessive free radicals so antioxidants help balance them out.
  2. They eliminate germs. Citrus essential oils are a natural disinfectant. Mix with water for a natural cleaning spray or you can use orange peel and vinegar too.
  3. They act as a natural air freshener. Mix citrus and peppermint essential oils with distilled water and grain alcohol and add into a spray bottle for a natural air spray.
  4. Use to wash off insecticides and pesticides from fruit and vegetables by adding a couple of drops to water.
  5. Ease anxiety and irritable moods by creating an uplifting blend to use in a diffuser. Orange and bergamot are one of my favourites.
  6. Improve circulation by adding to a carrier oil such as argan oil and massage on to the skin.
  7. Give yourself an energy boost by either adding to a carrier oil or I add a few drops to a crystal I wear around my neck. What can I say? The hippy life chose me… 😉


wellbeing

Why we all need to be a bit kinder

February 23, 2020
be a bit kinder

Like most people, I felt really shocked and sad about Caroline Flack’s death. In all honesty, she wasn’t someone I had a huge opinion on. Yes, I knew her from Love Island but my focus has always been more on the contestants and who I think will stay together long term.

I felt particularly sad though because it seemed so easily avoidable. If only there’d be less press attention, trolling on social media, cancel culture and speculation about her life. If only people had been a little bit kinder.

How do we become kinder?

In my opinion, most people set out to be kind. I think it’s a rare beast that wakes up in the morning thinking, I’m going to be deliberately unpleasant today. 

Most of us can be both. I may write a wellbeing blog, but I’m not Gandhi. I get frustrated and lose my patience just like everyone else. There are hundreds of conversations that I’ve walked away from, thinking I could have handled that better. 

We can probably all make gentle steps towards being a bit kinder – me included. So how do we do this?

Others judge our behaviour, whilst we judge ourselves on intent

How many times has someone apologised to you using the words, that wasn’t my intention? The truth is, it doesn’t matter if your intentions are as pure as freshly driven snow; you’ve still hurt someone’s feelings.

Take two seconds to think about how you’re coming across. Do I really need to send this tweet? How will my email come across to the recipient? Maybe you’re intending to be funny, but your joke makes someone feel flat? 

Of course there are always going to be misunderstanding and miscommunications in life – but let’s try our best to choose our words with kindness. 

Opinion overload

Many years ago, I had a manager who would regularly say to me: I’m not interested in your opinion. What a rude man, I hear you say. How could he have said such harsh words to you? Well actually, he did me a favour. For the purposes of transparency, he also said it nicely.

He did me a favour because I was in my first job and whilst I thought I knew everything, I didn’t. I had lots of opinions on how we could do things better but I couldn’t substantiate them because I had nothing to base it on. Basically, I was trying to tell people far more experienced than me how to do their job and it must have been incredibly annoying. We live and learn…

The rise of social media has made it easier for us all to share our opinions. We can tweet and share how we feel in seconds. For the most part, that’s useful. I like to know recommendations for books, films and places to go. There are certain topics though that I question why we should feel it’s ok to have an opinion on? Is other people’s weight really a topic of conversation? Should other people’s problems become our entertainment?

Now, what I’m not saying is, we should all keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves until one day we explode and no one knows why… I’m just saying do we always need to vocalise our opinions? Could we try and be a bit kinder?

Check your privilege

One of my personal bugbears is rudeness towards people in the service industry. I’m talking about being short with waitresses, not taking off your headphones when buying a coffee and getting shirty at cabin crew because we’re late to take off. Paying for a service doesn’t give you the right to be rude. 

There are power dynamics at play in most situations in life. I’m sure some of us have been in relationships where one person likes the other one more. In work, the higher up the food chain you go, the more influence you have over people lower down. Age, class, sex, race all come with their own dynamics. 

There are absolutely times when you do need to assert authority. There are just ways of doing it where you can be a bit kinder. Treat people as you’d like to be treated.

Putting other people down does not raise you higher

Honestly, whenever I witness someone putting somebody else down, my reaction is not, what a clever person that is. I just think, you’re a prat. It’s not a nice character trait to humiliate someone in front of other people.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not perfect… I find it cathartic to have a bit of a moan behind someone’s back from time to time and get a few things off my chest. Where I try and watch myself though is where it goes from a one-off into becoming a bit of a habit. It’s easy to comment on other people’s relationships, children, lifestyle choices – but personally I don’t feel I’m winning at any of those so I need to remind myself to wind my neck in.

Putting someone else down does give you a momentary boost but not to other people. It just makes you seem overly judgemental. 

Think about your personal brand

I know talking about personal branding makes me come across as though I’ve just read a ‘How to be a CEO’ handbook. However, I think there are principles we can apply to everyday life. Personal branding is essentially reflecting on a) how you come across to other people; and b) how you want to come across to other people. 

Let’s face it, humans are complicated creatures and we tend to have all sorts of light and shade within us. None of us are perfect. It’s worth reflecting on if there are parts of your character you’d like to dial back on and others you’d like to share more. What is your personal brand?

Your vibe attracts your tribe

I know your vibe attracts your tribe sounds like a motivational quote that circulates on instagram. I do believe strongly in it though: like attracts like.

So if you raise your vibrations, treat people like you’d like to be treated and focus on the good things in life; then you should meet more people like yourself. And you’ll have less time for those that don’t. Simples.

5 simple ways to be a bit kinder

  1. Say thank you. Two small words that make a big difference – try to say thank you as much as you can.
  2. Practice gratitude so you get in the habit of noticing the positives in life.
  3. Focus on good intent, rather than looking for reasons to criticise.
  4. Compliment people and recognise good deeds and behaviours.
  5. Smile.

wellbeing

Protecting yourself against energy vampires

February 14, 2020
energy vampires

Do you have someone in your life that has the ability to take the wind out of your sails? They seem to suck the joy out of any situation – and you end up walking on eggshells around them all the time…? Well that, my friend, is an energy vampire.

The problem with energy vampires

Energy vampires essentially drain all your energy. They tend to be selfish – because they only care about their feelings, and not the impact on yours. They manipulate, gaslight and deflect so they don’t have to acknowledge their own behaviour, instead making out they’re reacting to you. In my experience, they tend to have Jekyll and Hyde personalities; turning on the charm when it suits so you’re never quite sure what version you’re going to get. 

Frankly dealing with energy vampires is exhausting.

Behaviour is a mirror of internal feelings

One of the most crucial things to remember in life is that people’s behaviour is a reflection of their own internal makeup – it’s not to do with you. I know that every time I’ve had an attack of the green-eyed monster and been snarky about someone else’s success; it’s completely down to my insecurities and feeling that I’m not doing as well as I could or should be. It’s never to do with them. 

Now that doesn’t mean we should condone poor behaviour thinking, well, it’s ok because they’re clearly miserable about their own pathetic life. They’re making you feel unhappy and that’s not ok.

I’m just using this to show that it’s not to do with you – it’s to do with them. 

We can’t control other people

If I had a pound for every time I’d thought of a withering put down after a difficult conversation, then I’d be sipping cocktails by a Hollywood Hills pool right now instead of drinking herbal tea in Peckham. However, the reality is the slightest hint of confrontation makes me want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. 

The fact is, it doesn’t matter how much of a sassy honey pot you are, we can’t change how people behave. We can only control how we react.

Taking the emotion out of the situation

Sadly, I do believe the lower you feel about yourself, the more susceptible you become to energy vampires. It’s like they feed off it.

However in the name of balance, I also feel we can turn it into a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for ourselves. We start to look out for incidents where we feel this person is picking on us to confirm our thinking. It may be that we misinterpret situations because we’re reading too much into it. Just playing devil’s advocate here…

This is one of the reasons why it’s good to take out as much emotion as possible and protect your own vibrations.

How to protect yourself against energy vampires

As much as we can’t change people’s behaviours and how they treat us, there are some simple steps we can take to protect ourselves from their negative energy.

Establish boundaries

The biggest myth about boundaries is that they’re some magical potion that will change how people behave towards you. They’re not. What setting boundaries does, is help you determine at what stage a line has been crossed and what you will do about it. For some people, this is second nature. For other people, such as me, this comes a bit less naturally and I have to think about it.

Be objective

In my experience, patterns of behaviours aren’t just exhibited towards one person – people are generally quite consistent. By this I mean, if someone’s rude to you, the chances are they’re rude to other people too. Try to depersonalise their behaviour and not let it dull your sparkle.

Equally, sometimes there is truth in what someone else is saying. So have some self-awareness where you’re able to reflect on your own behaviour too. Take responsibility for what’s yours – and let the rest go.

Recognise it’s not for you to make the situation better

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we cannot control other people’s behaviour. Yes, we can change how we react – and to a degree how we feel. But, it’s not down to us alone to make things right. There are some relationships / friendships / situations / delete as applicable that are just not meant to be and are never going to get better. You could give every ounce of your being and it still wouldn’t be enough. Recognise that and move on.

Trust your instincts

How many times have you had that uneasy feeling in your gut telling you something isn’t right? That’s your gut instinct. Trust it. Now this doesn’t mean, be suspicious of other people’s motives or looking for signs that someone’s out to get us: always assume best intentions until shown otherwise. It just means that if your instincts are telling you something is off, then it probably is.

Alternative ways to protect your energy ✨

Create an aura bubble

Stand up with your feet on the floor and imagine white light coming down from the Universe. It comes down to the crown of your head, then flows down over your body and down under your feet. You’re now surrounded by a white light bubble. This will help protect you from any negative energy around you.

Carry a piece of black tourmaline crystal with you

Black tourmaline sucks up negative energy and transforms it into positive energy. It’s relatively inexpensive and worth carrying around when you feel you need some protection.

wellbeing

Wellness, wellbeing and self-care: what does it all mean?

January 30, 2020
wellness, wellbeing and self-care

What’s the difference between wellness, wellbeing and self-care?

Modern life means we need to look after ourselves. Changes in technology make us always on and always available. We’re juggling lots of different things at once so we’re tired. We’re looking for quick fixes and solutions to try and ease the pressure. Yet we all have limited time and resources; whilst more and more is sold to us promising to make our lives happier.

We’re told we need wellness products for our self-care in order to positively impact on our wellbeing. But, what does it all of this mean? And what should we really be focusing on?

So let’s break down three of the biggest terms and work out what’s the 411 when it comes to wellness, wellbeing and self-care.

What is wellness?

Wellness in its most basic sense is the opposite of illness. It’s looking more at our physical health and what can be done to improve it – however, there are wellness practioners focused on mental health. Wellness is input driven and really involves an active pursuit of activities that promote physical and mental well-being, as well as proactively making choices to live a happier, healthier life. It’s about feeling and looking healthy – rather than a state of being.

Perhaps unfairly, wellness has been linked with consumerism and selling products that we’re told will make us feel better such as spas, supplements, and CBD. Please note, I’m not saying any of these things are necessarily bad – I love a spa day. However, it can’t be underestimated quite how huge the wellness industry is representing 5.3% of global economic output.

We have wellness tourism, wellness fashion and what now seems to have been termed as the Goop economy selling a lifestyle of luxury items. Anyone else watching The Goop Lab and wanting to try everything they review?

One criticism of the wellness industry though is that perhaps it doesn’t always reach the people who need it most. Personally, I hope this is something that changes in the future.

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing is a more holistic approach. It involves looking at the mind and body together with the understanding that the two are intrinsically linked, as well as influencing life factors. 

Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. In short, wellbeing could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life.

Every aspect of your life has an impact on your wellbeing: job and career, or lack of; money; relationships with partners, family and friends; whether or not we feel we have a sense of purpose. This is why it’s so important to review your whole life and not just part of it.

The factors that influence wellbeing are interrelated. For example, a job provides not just money but purpose, goals, friendships and a sense of belonging. Some factors also make up for the lack of others. We don’t have to tick everything off the list to look after our wellbeing. 

What we do know is that certain factors have more of a positive impact than others. Wealth, for example plays a lesser part in our wellbeing than strong bonds with friends and family.

What is self-care?

Self-care seems to conjoint up images of Candles and hot baths – but actually is so much more than that (although time to nourish yourself is critical too). Self-care is any activity we do; preventative and healing to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. 

Self-care is about recognising what factors contribute to our emotional and physical wellbeing. This might mean learning your emotional triggers so you can understand why you react to certain situations. It might be exercise because you know it has a positive impact on you mental health. Spending time with friends is also an act of self-care, as well as spending time alone.

Although self-care means different things to different people, there’s some basic areas that affect all of us:

  • Balanced diet (it doesn’t mean you can’t go out or eat takeaways; just throw a few vegetables and non-processed options into the mix)
  • Sleep (aim for 7-8 hours)
  • Exercise (it’s good for both our emotional and physical health)
  • Take time out to do things you enjoy so you’re investing in yourself too
  • Create boundaries (think about relationships with others but also ones for yourself such as not checking email after a certain time)
  • Laugh!
wellbeing

Why lavender is an essential oil superpower

January 19, 2020
lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil

I must admit, I was never a huge fan of lavender. I associated it with overly perfumed soaps and a fragrance only an elderly woman could love.

But, I’m happy to report, I was wrong. Completely wrong in fact. Lavender is one of the most essential of essential oils. It’s highly versatile and can be used for everything from boosting your mental wellbeing to cleaning your home. 

Lavender essential oil is a must have in your aromatherapy tool kit. 

What is lavender?

Lavender comes from the lavender plant. It can be grown as a shrub in your home garden (even in the UK) and commercially is grown as a crop most famously in Provence, France. 

It’s actually one of my dreams to cycle through the lavender fields in Provence on a vintage bike with a baguette in the basket. Yes, I really am that basic…

Lavender has tiny violet coloured flowers which can be dried and used in beauty products and around the home. The essential oils are created through steam distillation, which is quite a long, technical process. Apparently, you can do this at home – however, I’ve never tried it so can’t vouch for this DIY lavender extraction method

Top 10 benefits of lavender essential oil

  1. Anxiety and stress – Feeling stressed and anxious? Lavender can help calm and relax the mind. Inhale lavender oil right out of the bottle or use in a diffuser.
  2. Sleep – Lavender oil is proven to help induce sleep. Try putting into a diffuser whilst you go to sleep or adding a few drops to your pillow.  
  3. Pain relief – lavender is an anti-inflammatory. It can help reduce redness and pain from insect bites and try adding to a carrier oil such as wheatgerm for muscle pain.
  4. Cold relief – lavender can help with respiratory infections by loosening phlegm (apols if you’re reading this first thing in the morning…) and providing soothing relief. Add hot water to a large bowl and add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil and 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in and breathe deeply.
  5. Wounds – lavender has antimicrobial properties which have been shown to speed up the healing of cuts, burns, scrapes and wounds. Mix with a carrier oil like coconut oil and use a cotton ball to apply to the bruise.
  6. Cleaning the home – did you know lavender is antibacterial and a natural disinfectant? Mix with water into a spray bottle for laundry and with white vinegar for a natural chemical-free cleaner.
  7. Skin – there’s a reason why lavender can be found in so many beauty products. Try mixing with a carrier oil such as argan oil and massaging into your skin.
  8. Hair – lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal so helps in reducing dandruff and supporting scalp health, which can stimulate hair growth. Add a few drops to your shampoo.
  9. Stimulating the brain – lavender can improve cognition because it helps remove stress. Try diffusing when studying or working.
  10. Detoxifying lavender contains antioxidants and is a natural way of removing toxins from your body. Just add a few drops into a hot bath.

Subtle (spiritual) properties of lavender

Essential oils can also be used as part of a spiritual practice. Use lavender for balancing, calming and to clear a house of negative energies.

Easy ways to use lavender essential oils

The power of smell is linked to the brain’s limbic system. It triggers positive and negative reactions in us. Smell can help provoke memories and emotions, which is why it impacts on our wellbeing.

There are several ways to use essential oils. Try using a diffuser, adding to a hot bath or mixing with a carrier oil for quick results.

How to buy lavender essential oils

A good essential oil should have ‘100% pure essential oil’ and the proper name on the label. In lavender’s case this is lavendula. If you see the word ‘fragrance’ it almost always means there are chemicals added in.

The best essential oils are therapeutic grade, which means they are unfiltered and untreated and really good quality.

Essential oils are natural but powerful. Some people may develop an allergic reaction so it’s always best to do a patch test. If you’re pregnant, nursing or planning on using on a small child, then check beforehand. Lavender is safe in all of these instances though.

Where to buy lavender essential oils

I buy my essential oils from Baldwin’s or Tisserand. However, there are lots of suppliers around – just follow the advice above to ensure you’re buying a good product.

You can buy a 10ml bottle for around £5-7. A small amount goes a long way.

wellbeing

Slow living for city dwellers

January 13, 2020
slow living for city dwellers

What is slow living?

I first found out about slow living on Instagram after seeing beautifully whimsical images of open fires, berry picking and crafting from natural sources.

There are different terminologies: slow food; slow fashion; slow travel and slow living. Terms that imply to me slow cooked stews and hand-knitted jumpers. Two things I love just in case it looks like I’m throwing shade…

Slow living looks like an attractive lifestyle: people are connecting with nature, making the most of natural materials and enjoying the simpler activities in life. 

But what do you do when your view from your bedroom window is overlooking the wheelie bins and the closest you get to nature is seeing an urban fox eating the dregs of a dumped takeaway? Your daily commute consists of wedging yourself underneath someone’s armpit so you don’t have to wait for the next train. And making sure your 3 year old gets to nursery on time takes skills professional hostage negotiators would be proud of.

Is slow living even possible for city dwellers?

Principles behind slow living

“We were never meant to live life accumulating stuff. We were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the journey of life – not the things of life.”

Joshua Becker, the Minimalist.

My research showed me that there isn’t one clear definition of slow living. There’s not a rule book or a manual that can be applied. However, people tend to agree that it’s the exact opposite of fast: fast living, fast food, fast fashion.

There also seem to be some consistent principles based around:

  • Moving slowly and taking the time to notice the smaller things. 
  • Being mindful and consciously thinking about what you’re do and why.
  • In the moment. Being aware and giving something your full attention
  • Living sustainably and naturally (where possible)
  • Connecting with nature. 

Why slow living?

Towards the end of last year, I felt I was going through the motions to a degree and had lost connection to what I enjoy. Life was really hectic and it felt like I was working through a never-ending tick list. My priorities seemed wrong and I was struggling to get a work/life balance. 

I’d got into bad habits. I multi-task to cram more into a day. I write blogs on my commute, researching and editing them when the 4G symbol appears on my phone. I try to use my time wisely and get things done. However, this does come at the expense of focussing properly. I take on too much and don’t always have the headspace or time to really commit to them.

I’m in good company when it comes to feeling burnt out. Arianna Huffington (ex-Huffington Post) set up Thrive Global after collapsing with exhaustion. She wanted to promote the importance of sleep, rest and living more intentionally with a view of changing how we measure success.

The 90s and 00s were all about time and efficiency. However, we did get a break because there wasn’t the technology that we have now. These days we’re always on. I can shop, write emails and edit blogs on my journey into work. In my case, being able to maximise time means I very rarely give myself the chance to switch off.

I’ve decided to make more conscious decisions about how I’m living my life. I’m trying to slow down and be more forgiving of myself. I haven’t failed if I don’t develop an Instagram strategy or read 12 books in a year. After all, the only person I’m competing against is myself. 

How does slow living work for city dwellers?

In a city, it’s more important that we slow down. A faster pace of life demands more from us. We need to build in time to rest and re-energise.

Yes, we can’t go out foraging for berries on our lunch hour and I’m pretty sure an open fire in your local park would be breaking all sorts of council guidelines. Are there some simple things we could be doing to enjoy slower living?

Slow living ideas for city dwellers:

  • Think about why we’re doing a task – and what the benefits are. Does it really matter if we don’t do it?
  • Give ourselves permission to rest.
  • Be in the moment. Notice the tiny moments in life.
  • Take a break. Go for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Try to get out in nature where possible – even if it does mean leaving the city for a day.
  • Enjoy what you’re doing. Savour that coffee. Nourish yourself.

wellbeing

Best essential oils to lift your mood

January 5, 2020

Winter time can be tough. It’s cold in the UK. We’re stuck inside and the lack of sunshine (and let’s face it, sometimes life) can cause us to feel down. So other than a trip to a sunny destination; are there any natural remedies that can help lift our spirits? What can we do to give ourselves a boost when we’re feeling low? Some essential oils have been scientifically proven to lift your mood. Research shows inhaling their scent can raise our spirits and make us feel better.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils contain the scent of the plant they come from – their essence. They work through the body’s olfactory system (our sense of smell), which is directly linked to our limbic system (the part of the brain that controls our moods and emotions). This is why a scent can bring back happy memories, as well as sad ones too. 

It’s been proven that music can trigger our emotions. How many times have you cried to a song because it reminds you of a break up or a difficult time? I genuinely can’t listen (and I don’t mean this in an ironic sense) to ‘Everytime’ by Britney Spears without it transmitting me back to the 00s when I was putting my heart back to pieces.  

There’s less research on our reaction to smell. However, in the same way as sound, it can trigger a personal response or revoke a memory. This is why essential oils impact on our mood.

10 best essential oils for lifting your mood

1. Lavender Essential Oil

I’ve always been a bit judgemental towards lavender feeling it was a scent for the older woman… However, I’ve done a complete 180; it’s one of THE most useful essential oils to have in your collection. It’s calming, balancing, and promotes a sense of wellbeing.

2. Orange Essential Oil

All the citrus essential oils have a zesty smell and have a zesty effect on our mood. They’re uplifting and make us feel more positive. 

3. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot is one of my favourite scents. It’s refreshing, uplifting and can help diffuse stress and tension.  

4. Frankincense Essential Oil

Helps to balance our emotions and create a sense of inner peace.

5. Cedarwood Essential Oil

Soothes away tension, as well as being calming and relaxing. 

6. Lemon Essential Oil

Another zesty scent which invigorates, uplifts our mood and energy levels.

7. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Calming and relaxing. It may also help alleviate anger.

8. Vetiver Essential Oil

Calming, grounding and balancing. Helps with stress and anxiety.

9. Clary Sage Essential Oil

Helps emotional stress, soothing, warming, feeling of self-confidence.

10. Grapefruit Essential Oil

Uplifting, providing relief from mental fatigue and enhances our mood.

How to blend essential oils

Oils from the same family (citrus for example) tend to blend well together. 

Spice and citrus blends work well together, such as ginger and lemon, cinnamon and sweet orange. 

Woody scents and citrus also blend well. Examples are rosewood and bergamot, cedarwood and lime. Woody scents are said to be grounding and in combination with zesty essential oils will lift your mood. 

How to use essential oils

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. Here are 2 ideas below.

Blissful baths

Add 4 drops of lemon essential oil and 4 drops of ylang ylang to a warm bath just before you step in for a quick pick-me-up. Or if you need an extra boost, try adding 4 drops of mandarin with 4 drops of bergamot to the bathtub to feel wonderfully rejuvenated.

Room revitaliser

Add 6 drops of lemon, 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of bergamot to a burner or diffuser to lift your mood and make your spirits soar.

wellbeing

Kalme Chameleon Concealer

November 29, 2019
kalme chameleon concealer

Trying a natural concealer

I was recently asked to try the Kalme Chameleon Concealer, which promises to take the red out of your face and even out your skin tone. I must admit I had visions initially of a product I tried in the 90s which made my face look so white everyone thought I’d fainted. However, I’m always keen to look for new natural products so decided to give it a whirl.

I’m glad I did as the Chameleon Concealer is a really good product that has now become a make up bag staple.

Dealing with older-age skin (cries)

I’m lucky enough to have skin that doesn’t need foundation, but these days I do find I need some additional coverage to smooth my complexion out. I’ve bought lots of different primers, bb creams, cc creams, you name it – but I tend to find them really drying for my (soon to be) middle aged skin sinking into my wrinkles making me look older. I need a product that smooths over my skin, whilst adding moisture giving me a bit of a youthful glow.

I’m not sure entirely how the Chameleon Concealer works. The product comes out bright green yet blends to your exact skin tone. I’m reasonably pale but I do have an olive undertone to my skin. This product took all the redness out of my face and helped to smooth out any wrinkles and enlarged pores (of which I have many…).

Excuse the mirror selfie – but very decent results considering I’m the wrong side of 44

I now use this most days. I’m a lazy make up wearer, however, this is easy to use. It comes in a pump top bottle and all you need to do is rub it into your face. Easy.

It includes a pure mineral SPF20 giving my skin natural protection from the winter sun. It’s free from parabens, perfumes, MI and SLS. It only contains naturally active ingredients formulated for use on very sensitive skin.

However, don’t just take my word for it. Kalme Chameleon Concealer has also won awards in the Independent, Daily Telegraph and Beauty Shortlist awards.

Kalme Chameleon Concealer is available at the Skin Shop and costs £19.99 for 50ml.

I was gifted the Kalme Chameleon Concealer but the words are my own. I don’t recommend products I wouldn’t buy for myself.

wellbeing

Sage smudging for releasing negative energy

September 29, 2019

Sage smudging has its roots in Native American tradition where a wand of dried sage is set alight and the smoke used to clear negative energy. People believed energy tended to linger – both positively and negatively – and so sage smudging was used as a cleansing ritual. It was also used to cleanse people from illness and release them from other difficulties in their lives.

These days people burn sage to cleanse a space or environment, generate wisdom and clarity, and/or promote healing. Some people smudge once a week, others when they move into a new home or office to clear the energy from the previous occupiers, or as part of a full/new moon ritual. I like to use sage smudging as a new beginning to clear myself of what has happened in the past.

The science behind sage smudging

It’s said that sage smoke releases ions that change the composition of the air, which are linked to positive mode boosts. However, I’ve not managed to find any studies to back that up.

What I have found is research that shows sage smudging clears the air of 94% of bacteria within the first hour and so there are real health benefits to this practice.

How to sage smudge

  1. Buy a sage wand from a local florist, health food shop or try online at Etsy. You can also make a spray with sage, rose and eucalyptus essential oils.
  2. Set your intentions and what you want from the energy releasing practice. Is it to start anew? Or to release yourself from past hurt and let yourself heal?
  3. Remove any excess clutter and allow yourself to have the feeling of space.
  4. Open doors and windows to let all the negative energy flow out.
  5. Light sage wand and blow flame to go out whilst keeping it away from your face in case of embers. Allow the flame to go out and ensure the tip of the wand is smouldering and let smoke billow up.
  6. Start with the lowest part of your space such as the ground floor of your house and move from room to room. Use your hand to waft the smoke into each four corners of the room where the ceiling and wall meet.
  7. Encourage the smoke to leave through the doors and windows and release the energy from your space.
  8. Extinguish the wand by pressing the end into a hard surface so you can use it again.
  9. Fill the space up with love by spraying with an essential oil blend. Lemon, peppermint, sandalwood, clary sage, frankincense, black spruce, cardamon and palo Santo are all good for positive energy (please note, just one or two of these together would be fine).
home wellbeing

My eco-friendly bathroom products

September 15, 2019
eco-friendly bathroom products

I’ve been working towards a chemical-free home for a while now. I’ve become more conscious of what I buy, what I put on my skin and more importantly the products I use on my child.

I’ve always been aware of the amount of plastic I use – possibly because I grew up in the 80s when there was less packaging around. However, I’m ashamed to say I never really gave much thought to all the chemicals I released into the oceans when I was desperate to buy the latest designer shampoo promising me some hair magic.

Please note, my hair has never been magic…

I’ve been trying to buy (or make) more eco-friendly bathroom products. I always try to be honest and highlight that this is a work in progress. I still use toothpaste and I’ve struggled to get on with shampoo bars because I don’t have 2 months to be able to adjust past the greasy stage – if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

What I am doing is trying to be thoughtful about what I do use and think about the environmental impacts. Eco-friendly bathroom products aren’t going to reverse climate change – but every little helps.

My eco-friendly bathroom products

Bamboo toothbrush

It’s estimated that we use 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes worldwide and 80% of them end up in the sea where they take over 1000 years to dispose. 

One of the easiest changes to make is to switch to a bamboo toothbrush.

I’ve used a bamboo toothbrush for years now. I only used to be able to buy them online but now I live in an area with lots of health food shops, I can find them everywhere.

They’re recyclable and biodegradable. you need to pull the bristles out to put them in the plastic recycling and the actual toothbrush can be composted.

Brands include: Bambaw

Natural teeth whitening charcoal powder

Want white teeth but not at the expense of the planet? Yes, me too.

I use charcoal powder. It’s really easy to use and 100% natural. The packaging can all be recycled too or in my case upcycled into candles.

Brands include: Smile UK

Soap bars

For some of us that are old enough, we can remember a time when shower gel was just a glint in its mother’s eye. We all used soap.

I’m getting back into using soap again. It contains far less packaging and lasts a lot longer. Sometimes I make my own using an SLS free melt and pour base from my favourite apocotherapist Baldwin’s. Otherwise, I buy locally.

Brands include: Friendly soap

Hand wash

I make my own hand wash using castille soap, distilled water and essential oils.

I buy everything in bulk and decant it into amber bottles I buy from Baldwin’s.

However, I completely appreciate you may not have the time or interest to make your own. I happen to love doing anything vaguely crafty. There are good options on the high street such as Faith in Nature or Method. I have a shop locally that does Faith in Nature refills so I don’t need to keep buying the bottles.

Bath salts

I make my own bath salts and honestly, it couldn’t be easier. I can never go back to buying ‘luxury’ bathing products ever again.

They only contain 3 ingredients and essential oils but failing that, use Epsom salts. They’re also natural and the magnesium will give you a health boost.

Brands include: Westlab Epsom salts

Cotton buds

I tried to go on a cotton bud break because I convinced myself they’re a product I only use because they’re there. Anyway, my break only managed to prove that I do need them after all.

I will only buy products that contain no plastic and have some guarantee about the cotton used.

Brands include: Organyc

Room spray

Without wishing to go into too much detail, there are sometimes occasions when the bathroom needs a bit of freshening up..

Get a spray bottle and add 30 drops of essential oils into water. Job done.

Please note, some of these products were gifted but all reviews are my own. The sites I’m referring you too aren’t always where I bought the product – it’s just for ease of reference.

wellbeing

What is resilience (and why do you need it)?

July 28, 2019
What is resilience (and why do you need it)?

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to be able to cope with or navigate your way through difficulties and crisis.

It essentially means you’re able to either bounce after a crisis or adapt to new circumstances.

Resilient people are able to understand what their body and mental state need and put in processes or modify their behaviour accordingly.

Why is resilience so important?

It’s a fact of life that we’ll all experience setbacks and challenges in life.

Whilst it’s true, some people will have more difficulties due to their circumstances of birth; it’s impossible to go through life without some form of hardship.

The loss of loved ones, relationship struggles, ill health and financial issues are all common themes we’ll probably all experience at some point.

Being resilient doesn’t make us impervious to stress or hurt. It just means we’re more able to cope, in spite of challenges that may be thrown our way.

It’s a sign of emotional strength.

Can you become more resilient?

The good news is resilience is something you can build.

Ironically, the more difficulties you have, the more you can develop your abilities to be resilient. You start to understand your emotional needs and put coping strategies in place.

I come from baby boomer parents and one trait I sometimes see in that generation is their emotional intelligence isn’t hugely strong. They were born in post-war years to people who had lived through horrific events and as a result a lot went unsaid.

If I had an emotional problem, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. No one would have tried to help me or come to my rescue. They just didn’t understand.

I sometimes felt a bit envious of people whose parents would drop everything to give them emotional support and take care of them.

But now I look back, I realise that it made me very self-sufficient. On the flip side though, I struggle to ask for help when I need it and find it hard to show vulnerability.

I also feel my experience is quite common in people of my age and I see similar traits in my peers.

I think it’s only in recent years we’re starting to develop the language to talk about our emotions and understand our feelings.

Although the term ‘self-care’ is sometimes mocked, essentially it is the act of understanding our needs and putting that support in place. Even when it does mean opening up and asking for help.

7 ways to build resilience

So how can you build resilience to help you through difficult times?

  1. Remember that a crisis is not forever even though it may feel like it at the time. Life ebbs and flows and we have hard times as well as good.
  2. Change is part of life. There are 2 types of change: change that happens to us; and change we create for ourselves. Change that happens to us is harder to navigate because it can make us feel that we’re not in control of our own lives. Accept there are sometimes events and issues completely out of our control and consider what you are able to change yourself.
  3. Look for opportunities for self-development. Difficult times help us grow and can make us more empathetic. It’s worth reflecting on challenging situations once you have some distance and thinking about what we learnt or how the experience may have changed us.
  4. Understand that this is part of human experience – not just about you. I had my fair share of shitty times growing up and it knocked my self-esteem and made me feel powerless. I now realise I wasn’t singled out by the universe for some special negative attention; it’s just one part of my history and not my whole life.
  5. Try to keep things in perspective where you can and remember everything is relative. However, I do also think it’s important to feel your feelings and just because one person sailed through a similar situation doesn’t mean you should to. Our ability to cope with challenges is dependent on how we’re feeling at that moment and what else is going on in life. It is worth though trying to remind yourself that this won’t be forever.
  6. Be positive (where you can). Again, I’m not suggesting there’s always something to feel positive about – sometimes there really isn’t. Try to remember things will get better.
  7. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. Yes, I know it’s an inspirational quote cliche – however, hear me out… Let’s be honest, so many of our problems can generally be put down to the actions and behaviours of other people. Try not to let them grind you down and remember you, my friend deserve better than this.
wellbeing

Get started with essential oils

July 6, 2019

The power of smell can have a real effect on our wellbeing; helping to reduce stress and lift our mood. It’s linked to our limbic system, which is part of the brain that controls mood and emotion.

One of the easiest ways of doing this is through essential oils, which are a concentrated scent of the plant they come from.

However, there are over 90 commonly used essential oils, each with their own health benefits so the choice of what to buy can be overwhelming.

How do you know what’s going to be right for you?

Then, what do you do with them?

Here’s an introduction on how to get started with essential oils. 

how to get started with essential oils
Essential oils contain the scent of the plant they come from

How do you use essential oils?

There are several ways to use essential oils: topically (where they’re applied directly through the skin); inhalation; and in beauty and household products. 

Here are a few ideas to help you get started with essential oils.

Diffuser (inhalation)

One of the easiest ways to use essential oils is with a diffuser. All you need to do is add a few drops of essential oils into water and the scent fills the air. There are various products on the market; I use this bamboo diffuser which works really well and turns off automatically when the water runs out.

Massage (inhalation and into the bloodstream) 

Add a few drops of essential oil to around a tablespoon of carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba or coconut oil for a full body massage.

I also add lemongrass to a carrier oil and use to massage my legs to increase circulation after spotting some potential varicose veins (the aging process is so fun. Sighs…).

Candles

There are so many essential oil candles on the market. However, look for ones that are essential oil based rather than the scent. Essential oil based candles are more expensive but they’re not made out of synthetic chemicals and so are much better in my book. Try looking on Etsy for ideas.

Beauty products

One of the easiest ways to create a home spa experience is to add a few drops of your favourite essential oil into a hot bath. Job done. For added luxury, also add 1-2 cups of epsom salts (to help ease achy muscles) and a tablespoon of carrier oil (to soften your skin) and then mix before you get in. 

Household cleaning

Sweet orange cleaning spray

Did you know a number of essential oils are a natural disinfectant? Tea tree oil, eucalyptus, lavender or any citrus fruit based essential oils can be used for general household cleaning. Just mix into a spray bottle with water or white vinegar (the cheap stuff).

I also love this DIY natural fabric conditioner with mandarin which leaves your clothes smelling better than any shop bought products. I promise. 

Treating minor ailments 

Cuts and grazes, plus insect bites can all be treated with tea tree essential oil. Always make sure you dilute with a bit of water before using to avoid your skin becoming irritated if it’s particularly sensitive.

What are the best essential oils to get started with?

I would always advise people to think about what scents that you’re attracted to. I’m not naturally someone who goes for rose or more floral smells, however, I love citrus and woody smells like sandalwood. 

Here are some ideas to help you get started with essential oils.

Please note, each of these oils have several uses so I’ve just highlighted some of them.

Eucalyptus 

Use for coughs, blocked noses, as a rub for aching muscles and as a natural disinfectant. 

Fill a sink with hot water and add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to steam away a blocked nose.

Lavender

Use for almost everything: skin and beauty products, household cleaning, headaches, sleep, mood enhancing and can even be used for sunburn.

Try adding a few drops to your pillow to help with sleep.

Sweet orange

One of my personal favourites. Sweet orange is said to help lift your mood and give you a sense of calm. As it’s a citrus fruit, it can also be used for cleaning products because its antimicrobial (gets rid of bacteria).

Add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil with bergamot and water into a spray bottle for an uplifting mood spray.

Bergamot

Bergamot is an invigorating essential oil which reduces stress and tension. It can also help you fight tiredness.

Mix with lavender in a diffuser and enjoy a moment of calm.

Peppermint

Use for digestive problems, colds and bronchitis.

Try spraying around ant invasions (not at the ants themselves…) to discourage them from coming into your home.

Tea Tree

Can be used to treat insect bites, cuts and on your skin and hair to reduce oil.

Add to water and put into a spray bottle for a natural insect repellent.

Basil

Basil is a calming essential oil, which is great for mental fatigue and to help you relax.

I make my own hydrating body spray with lime, basil and mandarin similar to that of a well known beauty brand… Recipe is here.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is another of my favourite essential oils. It’s so multi-purpose and I love the smell. It’s great for the nerves, can be used in household products (its antimicrobial), and is great for the skin also.

Use as a natural deodorant by diluting with water. It’s also supposed to be good for cellulite (mix with a carrier oil and massage affected areas.

Rosemary

Use to help reduce stress and boost the immune system.

Massage 5 drops of rosemary essential oil into your scalp to help your hair grow.

Juniper

Use for digestive issues, skin problems and heartburn. It’s also good for helping to balance out emotions.

Add a few drops into a carrier oil and use as a massage to help reduce fluid retention.

How do you create essential oil blends? 

Essential oils can be used on their own or blended together.

Here are a few basics to help you get started with essential oil blends.

Oils from the same family tend to blend well together. For example, flower based essential oils (rose, geranium, jasmine); herbs (basil, rosemary, marjoram); and spices (cinnamon, ginger).

Spices and citrus blend well together, such as ginger and lemon, cinnamon and sweet orange.

Woody scents and citrus work well. Examples are rosewood and bergamot, cedarwood and lime.

There are some oils which dominate and take over any scent combination. These are: peppermint, fennel, tea tree, clove, thyme and camomile. Although camomile may be lightened with lemon.

Menthol and flowery scents don’t tend to work well together.

Here are some essential oil blends to try

Uplifting energy blend

2 drops eucalyptus; 2 drops peppermint; 8 drops lemon; 1 drop cinnamon leaf; and 1 drop cardamon oil.

Memory enhancer for studying blend

1 drop clary sage; 6 drops lemon; and 10 drops rosemary oil.

Relaxtion blend

1 drop lavender; 1 drop ylang ylang; 1 drop bergamot and 1 drop patchouli oil.

Sleep inducing blend

10 drops sandalwood; 10 drops lavender; 15 drops bergamot; 2 drops ylang ylang and 3 drops frankincense oil.

What are carrier oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated so only a few can be applied directly to the skin without being diluted. They can either be diluted with water or with a carrier oil.

A carrier oil is also essential for massage as otherwise it would be painful on the skin and muscles.

Here are a few different options to help you get started.

  • 1. Grapeseed. This is a popular and easily available oil of a medium texture made from grape seeds.
  • 2. Almond. It’s more expensive but very kind to the skin with a delightful aroma.
  • 3. Apricot Kernel. Recommended for use on the face and neck, light and easily absorbed.
  • 4. Sunflower. A popular choice for body massage as it contains Vitamin E and easily available.
  • 5. Soya. Especially good for oily skins and easily absorbed.
  • 6. Avocado. More expensive but rich in texture and ideal for dry skin, containing Vitamins A and B.
  • 7. Wheatgerm. This is made from the germ of the wheat and contains Vitamin E. Excellent for dry skin but very rich – it may be used in combination with another lighter oil to prolong the life of the oil.
  • 8. Sesame. Again very rich with a nutty aroma. Best used in combination with another lighter oil.

Where to buy essential oils? 

Always buy essential oils from a reputable brand because some of the cheaper products can be mixed with other ingredients so they’re no longer pure.

I buy either Baldwin’s or Tisserand essential oils.

What’s the best way of storing essential oils?

Essential oils should be kept in dark brown glass bottles and away from direct sunlight.

Keep the lids on tight.

If stored properly, they should keep for 1-2 years.

Things to note

There are some essential oils which aren’t advised to be used on young children or pregnant women so I would always check best practice first if this applies to you.

I’ve also added some affiliate links to products, which I’ve bought myself and have been happy with. I’m not saying this is the only place to buy them from – am just sharing in case its useful. 

I often think the power of smell is underrated compared to other sensory experiences such as listening to music and the impact it can have our emotions. However, research shows essential oils can reduce feelings of anxiety and aid sleep and they’re a reasonably cheap way of lifting your spirits.

I hope you find this post useful.

wellbeing

365 days of happiness (or how to make yourself happy)

June 12, 2019
365 days of wellbeing

365 days of happiness

Jacqueline Pirtle believes happiness is a practice and wrote ‘365 days of happiness’ sharing daily guidance to help you be happy.

She teaches mindfulness, gratitude and visualisation techniques to help retrain our thought processes and create a positive mindset.

The idea is you work through the book doing one practice a day. The teachings are short, easy to digest and don’t require any pre-planning so they’re really easy to do each morning and help set you up for the day.   

Can you really make yourself happy?

Of course, there are times when happiness is harder and I fully believe it’s important to feel your feelings rather than trying to bury them. Pirtle agrees with this too and offers advice on how to look at those emotions and recognise their benefits.

However, there are times when nothing is going badly; it feels like nothing is going particularly well and life is just a bit blah. This is when a mindset change can reframe how you see life and help retrain our neural pathways.

And this is where ‘365 days of happiness’ comes in…

I’m generally a positive person by nature. However, I can spiral downwards when I’m tired; I eat bad food, avoid exercise and then feel miserable because I’m not looking after myself properly. It’s a chicken and egg situation and one I feel more motivated to change after reading ‘365 days of happiness’.

Anyway, enough about me…

6 lessons I learnt from reading ‘365 days of happiness’

How to be happy

  1. Remember that everything in our universe is vibrating energy. This includes rocks, trees, animals and ourselves; anything and everything you can think of. We may be vibrating different frequencies, however, we’re still all connected in some way. It’s quite incredible really and makes you realise that we’re all part of something bigger. Every thought, action, emotion and word is energy and vibrates at different frequencies. We can tune our energy to a different frequency and change our state of being with it.
  2. Wake up smiling and saying, ‘this is already and will be the best day ever’. Remember every day is a new day and a chance to start over. Making a decision that this will be the best day sets the tone and your intentions for the day. It shifts you into a frequency of excitement and creates lots of positive energy.
  3. Visualise how you feel when you’re happy. Ask yourself, ‘how do I feel in my high for life frequency’ and ‘how happy am I in my radiant frequency’? Visualise your answers often and it will shift you into a feel-good frequency.
  4. Pirtle also asks you to imagine yourself as a hotel owner and to think about how you would care for your guests, how you would check in with them and create an experience that they would enjoy. She asks that you recreate that experience for yourself. So check in with yourself and ask how you feel, what you need right now and how you can serve yourself better? This feels like the ulimate self-care and worth remembering for people who tend to put themselves last.
  5. Have a YES or No day where every decision you make, you make with clarity. There are no ‘probably’ or ‘maybe’ or ‘I’m not sure’ answers only YES or NO. If you can’t clearly say YES then it’s a NO. This will help you stop overthinking, second-guessing, or falling into the trap of catastrophising and help focus your thoughts to make decisions that are good for you.
  6. Take time out for yourself to be happy and create a moment of stillness to invite happiness into your life. This could be as simple as looking out of a window with a cup of tea. Give yourself a moment to think about how you feel and invite happiness into your day. Check into your happiness in the morning, afternoon and before you go to bed and remind yourself that it’s there.

365 days of happiness’ was gifted to me. However, all reviews are my own opinion. I don’t receive any commission if you decide to buy the book.

Want to read more on the science behind happiness?

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/happiness/

and

wellbeing

Essential oils for beginners

May 24, 2019
Essential oils for beginners

Essential oils seem to be having a renaissance of late with people talking about the impact they have on their overall wellbeing.

We’re all aware of the power of music and how it can tap into our emotions so it stands to reason that smells affect our senses too.

I love the fresh smell in the air after it’s just finished raining because it gives me a feeling of newness. The smell of pine brings back one of my earliest memories of being in a forest on a family holiday.

The power of smell has the ability to transport us to moments in the past and affect our emotions. Essential oils help with this.

But what are essential oils and how do you use them?

Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain the essence of the plants they come from. They are characterised by their smell.

People have been harnessing the power of herbs and plants for centuries. Essential oils have been used for medical treatments, religious reasons, food flavouring, perfume, skin care and aromatherapy.

Modern methods of extraction and distillation are very powerful so today’s essential oils are much more concentrated than in the past. They’re used today in everyday ingredients such as laundry detergent, washing up liquid, shower gels and candles.

However, they offer so much more than that. Essential oils are good for your mind, body and soul. I use them to lift my mood as well as around my home.

Like anything though, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Here’s an introduction to essential oils for beginners to help you learn what to buy and how best to use them.

Essential oils for beginners: how best to use them

Aromatherapy inhalation

I use a bamboo essential oil diffuser to diffuse essential oils into the air. Inhaling essential oils stimulates our olfactory system (the part of the brain connected to smell). There is also evidence which suggests oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled.

I also mix essential oils with distilled water and into a spritz bottle and spray into the air.

You can make blends such as bergamot and sweet orange to help lift your spirits and increase motivation and ylang ylang is said to help with depression.

Aromatherapy massage

Essential oils contain tiny molecules which are easily absorbed into the body when used on the skin. They must always be mixed with a carrier oil such as almond, avocado or coconut oil.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and can damage the skin if not used correctly. Please note, use with caution on children and if you’re pregnant.

Candles

I make my own candles using soy wax and add essential oils (method to follow). They smell utterly divine and so much better than synthetic fragrances.

Cleaning products

There are a number of essential oils which act as a natural disinfectants and antiseptics. Look out for tea tree, rosemary, lavender and any citrus essential oils. Mix with white wine vinegar to create a cleaning spray.

Or try this natural DIY fabric conditioner, which will leave your clothes smelling absolutely divine.

Beauty products

I adapted a fragrance from a certain well known perfume brand (cough, cough Jo Malone) to make a natural body moisturising spray. As I’ve got older, my skin has started to get dryer but as someone who gets ready in approximately 47 minutes in the morning, I don’t have time to slather on a rich body cream and wait for it to settle into my skin before I get dressed. This spray moisturiser is light enough to absorb really quickly and is made from completely natural ingredients.

Use a funnel and pour the following ingredients into a spray bottle

  • Lime, Basil and mandarin essential oils (approximately 3-5 drops of each depending on the size of the spray bottle you’re using and your personal preference. I tend to use less basil as I find it a bit overpowering)
  • Almond oil (a couple of tablespoons)

Then mix the following ingredients following the proportions below:

  • Glycerin (20%)
  • Witch hazel (20%)
  • Rosewater (60%)

That’s it. Spray it after you’ve had a shower and lock all the moisture into your skin.

Also try making rose petal bath salts which make wonderful gifts.

Essential oils for beginners: 4 best essential oils to get started

Lavender –  great for sleep and relaxation. It can be used as a natural remedy for anxiety and helps with depression. It can be used in beauty and skin care products, as a fragrance or as a cleaning product because its naturally antibacterial. Add a few drops to a hot bath to help with relaxation. I also combine it with distilled water and spray on my bed linen for a good night’s sleep.  

Sweet orange –  helps support a happy mood and lifts your spirits. It’s also thought to stimulate the immune system. All citrus essential oils are astringent and antiseptic so make great cleaning products. I mix with ginger to make the most beautiful smelling candles.  

Peppermint – is also thought to uplift the spirits and promote focus. Mix with a carrier oil and apply to the feet to reduce nausea and fevers and can be used in soaps and cleaners. Add peppermint essential oil to hot water to help steam away cold symptoms and unblock the sinuses. I also use to keep ants at bay which seem to like to come into the kitchen once the weather turns warm.

Tea tree – well known for its cleansing and purifying benefits. It can be mixed with castile soap and distilled water to create a facial wash. It’s antibacterial so is great for cleaning the body and the home. It can also be mixed with water to make a great bathroom cleaning spray, which gets rid of the black mould around your shower tiles really easily. I bring it with me on holiday to help treat mosquito bites.

wellbeing

How to stop being a victim and take responsibility for your own life

April 22, 2019
Stop being a victim and take responsibility for your own life

Stop being a victim

Confession time: I was the world’s biggest victim. I felt everything was stacked against me.

The reason why my relationships failed? That was down to my turbulent childhood and not having good role models. Why I never got promoted at work? That was because no one appreciated my efforts. If someone spoke down to me, well, that was because there was something about me that made them think it was ok. I didn’t come from money and had no safety net to fall back on so I couldn’t follow my dreams.

I felt life wasn’t fair.

Life isn’t fair

The truth is, life isn’t fair. Some people are born into exceptionally difficult circumstances. Sadly, the situation of our early years wrongly has a massive impact on our life chances. Our health: mental and physical can also be a lottery and completely outside of our control.

I’m not saying this to try and illustrate life can be much harder for other people so just suck it up. If someone had said this to me, I would have felt even more useless and misunderstood. Plus, there was truth to how I was feeling.

I’m using it to illustrate that we all will deal with issues: some people more than others. It’s what you do afterwards that really counts.

Please note, afterwards is a very long time so don’t use that to beat yourself up either.

Truth in your feelings

The truth is a lot of my feelings were valid.

It’s harder to understand what a healthy relationship is when you didn’t grow up around many of them. I had quite a black and white view: relationships are either good or bad and I didn’t really understand they require work.

I also had zero confidence so whilst people speaking down to me is absolutely their responsibility, I just didn’t know how to navigate it.

I had the self-awareness to realise these issues were the root cause of most of my problems.

What I didn’t realise was they were things I could change.

Changing the narrative in your head

Where I was going wrong was to use how I felt as the story of my life.

I would never do well because I lacked confidence. I was really good at identifying situations or events that backed up how I felt. However, I never reflected on when I’d done well.

The reality was that on paper, I was reasonably successful. I perhaps hadn’t fulfilled my full potential, but, I wasn’t doing too badly either. I just didn’t realise it.

I was letting my feelings dictate the course of my life by telling myself they were fact.

Take responsibility for your own life

I was a bit late to the party in realising the only person with responsibility for my life was me.

I started to stop searching for someone to come and look after me and decided to make myself happy instead.

The biggest and most simplest change I made was my gratitude practice. I’ve written about this in previous blogs and how it completely reframed my thinking. I stopped focusing so much on what was wrong with my life and saw what was good.

I also realised there were certain things I was telling myself that maybe weren’t true anymore. I’d always said I was bad at public speaking and so avoided it like the plague. I would always let other people take the lead at work and pull out of job interviews if they had presentations involved. I decided to stop saying no, and you know what.. it’s really not that bad. Yes, I still feel self-conscious but the narrative in my head has changed.

This made me realise there were more things I was hiding behind that were no longer the case.

I always think it’s important to think of change as a sliding scale involving small incremental steps.

We would never expect to run a marathon overnight without any training; yet we expect to become different people overnight and then have feelings of self-loathing when we don’t.

Change is gradual and often there is progress where we don’t even see it. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s a journey.

I’m never going to be the world’s most confident person and that’s ok. I think about it far less and look at it when it’s an issue.

I also recognise the buck stops with me. I’m no longer waiting for someone to pluck me out of obscurity. I don’t need the external validation as much as I used to. Plus it’s up to me to manage my own life.

Sometimes it’s worth drawing a line in the sand to say, this was then, and this is now. The past is the past. It doesn’t determine your future.

%d bloggers like this: