Tag Archives: young living

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Last Minute Green Gift Guide

So lets face it…who really has all their presents bought by the end of November?  I mean if you have, then I am seriously impressed.  But most of us are just starting to think about heading out to the shops now (or in my case online shops) and so, I thought I’d share some ideas on green/eco, organic and/or generally useful gifts for the last minute shoppers out there:

1. ‘5 Free’ Nail Varnish by Hopscotch £8.50

I thought this would be a sweet little stocking stuffer.  I came across Hopscotch at their stand at a Christmas fair back in November and after years of not wearing nail polish (when I used to be a total nail polish afficionado) I was so happy to find this one which…while not totally ‘natural’ is free of the 5 worst toxic chemicals normally found in nail polish.  They come in all kinds of fun candy colours and some glitter coats, but I went for a classic red and am pleased to say that it is actually a fairly glossy, long wearing formula.  (And its vegan as well.)  So definitely grab a couple of these as stocking stuffers for the girls in your life.

2. Organic Rose Regenerating Serum by Baie Botanique £34.00

A couple of months ago Baie Botanique sent me a bottle of their lovely regenerating serum formulation filled with rose water and lots of botanical extracts and oils to try out.  Its 80% organic, 98% natural and is vegan as well.   They are a smallish company founded by Sophie Oliver, a former professional make up artist who wanted to create a way to care for skin in a natural way which would suit the ethos of her newly adopted plant-based lifestyle.  The line is based upon the two main ingredients of rose and rosehip which are both renowned for their anti-aging and rejuvenating properties.  Personally I have been using both of these botanical ingredients in my own DIY skincare blends for years now and wholeheartedly agree that they do make a difference.  This beautifully packaged product would make a lovely stocking stuffer or small gift for any true beauty lovers.

If you’re concerned about the preservatives used (which all commercial skincare products will have in some quantities) you can check out the ingredients here.

3. Museum Membership

I’ve included this because its a gift I always love to receive.  As you know, I live in London and in the past I have received gifts of Tate membership and British Museum membership.  I love this kind of gift because going to exhibitions can be very expensive (usually around  £12-£19 per ticket) and this allows me to see everything the museum is putting on that year and not worry about how much its going to cost me.  Its particularly generous to add on a ‘plus one’ membership so your recipient can take a friend with them when they go.

Its also a particularly nice way of supporting the arts in your local community and its quite a good gift for minimalists or green-minded folk, as its not ‘stuff’.  Experiences always make lovely gifts in my opinion.

4. Young Living Premium Starter Kit £139

I know quite a few people who have bought the Young Living Premium Starter Kit as a present for their loved ones this year.  Its a pretty special present to get…I know because that is how I received my first Young Living kit!  For £139 you get a beautiful dewdrop diffuser and 11 Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils which you can diffuse to make your home smell amazing and you can also use for massage, skincare, cleaning your home, animal care, supporting the health of children and babies and your own general health and wellness.  Young Living are also in loads of countries across the globe so its a nice way to be able to buy a gift for loved ones who live abroad.

5. Hurom Slow Juicer (starting at £249)

I got my Hurom slow juicer last summer after doing loads of research on juicing and what the normal centrifugal juicers do to the juice.  First of all, they make it foamy, which I hate, and I couldn’t understand why it didn’t taste like as fresh as juice bar juices.  This is because most juicers heat up the juice during the juicing process and this oxidises the juice.  So, instead of drinking the antioxidants you thought you were getting into your body, the juice quickly turns to free radicals.  Hurom juicers gently squeeze and press your fruits and vegetables so the juice is cold, fresh, full of nutrients and antioxidants…and there’s no yucky foam.  They’re really popular in the US and in Asia right now and are gaining popularity in the UK.  They can also be used to make really creamy nut milks and legume milks quickly and easily too.  Their basic model starts at £299 but Hurom UK have generously offered my readers a £50 discount if you order your juicer using the code OLOL50.  (They’ll also throw in a free copy of the book Juiceman by Andrew Cooper so you’ll have loads of great recipes to get you started.)

6. Montblanc Pen

Green gift guide you say, Kelly?  Well, believe it or not, this is a fantastic green gift.  A luxurious one definitely, but yes, green and eco-friendly.  I have had my beautiful Montblanc pen for about 7 years now and the recyclable glass bottle of ink to refill it has lasted for ages.  Even if you use the refillable plastic cartridges, they are still far better than replacing a whole pen every time it runs out of ink.

7. Gift Vouchers

I totally understand that this doesn’t feel personal.  And some people really hate the idea of giving gift vouchers.  But speaking from the recipient’s perspective, getting a voucher to your favourite store is just the best thing ever.  Being able to choose exactly what you want when you go to the store to redeem your voucher is just so much fun.  And although it may not be for a store which fits your ethos and you know your voucher won’t be spent on green or eco products (or anything which fits your own value system in any way at all), at least you know they will be spent on something the recipient really wants and will use.  Because its not about you.  Its about them and bringing them some joy at Christmas.  It could be for John Lewis (always a safe bet), Space NK or Liberty’s…or the Lego store.  Whatever floats their boat!  An unwanted present of an eco-lunch box sitting unloved in someone’s cupboard for years is money less well spent than on a voucher they spend on something that will make them happy.

So happy last minute shopping and I hope that your Christmas is a very merry one!

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The Perfect Diet

So here it goes.  A moment of truth…and shame.  Since I was about 15 years old I’ve been a chronic dieter.  And as a result, I’ve done a lot of damage to my body by depriving it of the essential healthy fats and other nutrients that it needed to be nourished.  And even worse, an imbalanced body like mine was utterly unable to support the healthy mind and spirit needed to really love myself.  The worst damage was done in the time leading up to my wedding when I began a 1000 calorie a day diet.  If I’d been just eating big bowls of vegetables and lightly steamed greens it might not even have been so bad, but I wasn’t.  I was incorporating the nutrition-less, empty calorie ‘diet’ foods like Weight Watchers meals and diet sodas.  And the awful thing, was that after 9 months of eating like this, depriving my body of any nourishment, I was exhausted, mentally and physically, and I wasn’t really losing that much weight.  I struggled to keep up my exercise routines because I had no energy.  I think I lost around 12 pounds in total.  I went to see a dietician at my local GP practice and her “sage” professional advice, after looking at my diet diary was to swap butter and olive oil for margarine and suggested that perhaps I should reduce my diet to 900 calories.  Yep, you heard it.  She wanted me to remove the small amount of healthy essential fat I actually WAS getting in my diet and replace it with toxic, hydrogenated, free-radical spread…I mean margarine.  Even I knew that was wrong, so I ignored her and continued with what I was doing.  It was only later, after the wedding and honeymoon, when I started thinking about wanting to become pregnant that things really changed and I realised the damage I had done to myself through deprivation dieting.

And now I’m ready to share with you the perfect diet.  Are you ready?  Here it is………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….there is no perfect diet.

There is a perfect diet for you, but there is no perfect diet that will work for all of us.  And here’s why.  It’s really complicated.  It’s because, get ready for it, we’re not the same person.  That’s right.  I’m not you and you’re not your neighbour John, or Sally who works at the supermarket.

Do I wish that we could all use the same diet and exercise formula and get the same results?  Yes, of course I do.  But genetics doesn’t work that way.  We each have different DNA (aside from identical twins, but even they express those genes in different ways) and so we don’t all have the same number of genes.  There is no perfect or ideal number of genes, so its not a competition.  But it does mean that some of us may lack enzymes which are essential for different body processes.  (Bear with me here, this will come back around to diet.)  You may have heard of the MTHFR, COMT or BRCA genes.  MTHFR and COMT enzymes are essential for methylation, which is used to control gene expression.  Women who lack these genes will have difficulty becoming pregnant and maintaining pregnancies.  On the other hand, the BRCA genes are tumour suppressing proteins and Angelina Jolie made the BRCA I & II genes famous when she had prophylactic surgery undertaken to remove her breast tissue, ovaries and fallopian tubes because of her high genetic risk for getting this cancer.  So what I’m getting at here, is that we don’t all process the world around us in the same way.  And we have to love our bodies for what they are.  The lack of this gene or that gene doesn’t make us imperfect, but it does make us realise that we may have to take certain precautions to avoid higher risks for foods, toxins and lifestyles which our bodies are simply unable to handle.  For me, the incorporation of a moderate amount of healthy, organic full fat dairy, like non-homogenised milk and raw butter, was incredibly important to feeling good again.

Okay, so I started eating healthfully again.  I got skinny right?  Wrong.  I started eating normally for like the first time in years, and my body had no. clue. what. to. do.  I mean I’d basically been telling my body – in prehistoric terms – that I was going through a time of famine and so when it started getting a normal amount of food, and I’m talking like 1500-1700 calories here, it thanked the god of rain for sending it a time of plenty and it decided to store every calorie it could.  As fat.  Yay.  But the good news was that all this healthy food I was now eating allowed me to maintain a really healthy pregnancy and produce a really healthy baby.

So a year and a half on postpartum, no I’m not skinny.  I’m not where I’d like to be, but I’m okay with how I look.  I fit into my size 8 jeans and that will do for the time being.  I’m still breastfeeding my daughter and I’m grateful to my body for all its been through and for the beautiful daughter its given me and still helps to nourish.  I continue to support my  thyroid health through diet and the use of therapeutic essential oils, and that is helping me enormously now.  So I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve very slowly found the diet that is right for me.  And actually, it isn’t a diet at all.  I’ve learned that I can’t eat too many sugars (argh!), one cup of coffee a day does me good (but more than that doesn’t) and that I am one of those people who can eat full fat dairy but that I definitely can’t process gluten (as much as I like to tell myself I can when I see a croissant winking at me from the bakery window).  However, for you, dairy may not be your friend.  Or you may not be able to tolerate coffee at all.  Some people have issues with one of their liver enzymes and can even build up high levels of mercury from eating something as simple as salmon, whereas the next person processes it perfectly well.  Juicing diets and green smoothies could actually do you a lot of damage if your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally.  And I haven’t even touched on how your gut flora fits in to all of this.  The list goes on.  Bodies are funny old things, aren’t they?

There is an easy and shorter – but more expensive – way to learn all of this about yourself.  You can get genetic testing done and enlist the help of a reputable nutritional therapist.  They can help you to understand your test results and to recommend bespoke  adjustments to your diet and lifestyle which will support what your individual body is able to do, and to avoid what it isn’t able to do.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to tell you that a Slim Fast shake is the perfect diet solution for you.  But its not.  Not for anyone.  And the one bit of generic advice I can give everyone is to get the toxic chemicals out of your food, cleaning and skincare regimens.  Eat organic, biodynamic or non-sprayed foods.  Use natural skincare.  Clean your home and office with natural cleaning products.  (They work just as well, by the way, and they cost less.)  Yes, we do have livers and yes, livers were designed to remove toxins from our bodies, but no one’s liver was designed to handle the amount of chemicals we eat, breathe and slather onto our skin every day in today’s world.

So whether you choose to go the slow route of figuring out the right diet for you, like I did (and continue to do), or if you opt for a faster route with the support of a nutritional therapist, I hope that above all you prioritise learning to love yourself and love your beautiful body.  I found the support of my Young Living essential oils incredibly helpful in both an emotional and physical capacity over the last 9 months of this process.  But I guess what I’m saying is be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself, eat beautiful foods and move in ways that make you happy.

green-sustainable-style-edit-september-2016

Green & Sustainable Style Edit – September 2016

I’m a bit late getting this month’s style edit out.  There are several reasons.  Life happens, stuff gets busy, and I turned one year older.  But here I am and I’m really happy with this month’s look.  It reflects my feelings about September.  Going back to work after a long summer holiday.  The return to more structured clothes and lady-like style.  And for me, it signals the return to school.  After a two year break to enjoy pregnancy and my daughter’s infancy, I am now returning to finish my studies in Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy.  Its a part time course, and I will be attending the classes and clinics on weekends, so my daughter will be with her father while I’m not around.  (They have all kinds of fun things planned without me.)

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While for many, the return to school can mean wearing comfy clothes, for me that can’t happen.  I will be starting to attend the student clinics this year (scary!) and we need to look professional when seeing clients.  Here are some pieces which really caught my eye this season from a few of my favourite green/eco clothing companies.  For my first look I’ve gone for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired theme and have paired a simple pair of organic cotton tapered black Alba trousers from People Tree with a structured NIA wool and recycled fibre blend boucle top from Komodo.

This is also the first time I have featured Beyond Skin, the Brighton-based (Hove, actually) vegan shoe company.  I struggle with vegan leather alternatives sometimes because they often simply replace leather with non-biodegradable plastics and other environmentally unfriendly options.  But what I like about Beyond Skin is that they are both ethical and environmentally conscious.  They incorporate organic and ecologically sustainable materials wherever possible and their shoe components are sourced from Spain and Italy and then produced in Spain – so all within the EU.  At present, they do incorporate PU into their soles, but in time they aspire to phasing this out to create a shoe free from all non-recycled petroleum products.  But…yadda yadda yadda…they’re doing the best they can at the moment and they make gorgeous shoes which are worn by more glamorous movie stars than you can shake a stick at. (Natalie Portman wore exclusively Beyond Skin in her movie V for Vendetta.)   This month I’ve featured two versions of their Shelley flats – one in a faux suede and the other in a shiny faux leather.

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For my second look I’ve continued with my Audrey Hepburn inspiration and have brought together a Komodo TAIO bamboo jersey dress with a cotton Wrasse jacket from Cornish designer, Seasalt.  I’ve accessorised it with a very simple vintage silk Hermes scarf in a bright autumn colour.

3093For perfume, I’ve been wearing my favourite essential oil of the moment, Idaho Blue Spruce.  I added a rollerball to the top of the bottle and roll it along the top of my spine and along the tops of my tension-ridden shoulders.  I find it an incredibly comforting smell and with all the uncertainty I’m experiencing with preparing for my return to school, comfort is what I need right now.  (Better than finding comfort in a plate of macaroni cheese, right?)  Idaho Blue Spruce is meant to bring a sense of balance, to release emotional blocks and clear emotional trauma.

What about you…what are you wearing this season now that there’s a slight chill in the air?

foaming hand soap

Homemade Antibacterial Foaming Handsoap

I love DIY personal care and home care recipes because, as the name of my blog kind of implies, I don’t like using toxic chemicals around myself and my family.  Its not just an ‘in principle’ kind of a thing either for me.  Conventional cleaning products make my throat swell up and I get really seriously fatigued.  So making my own stuff is both fun and helps me feel at my best all the time.

However…its got to work.  I hate natural products that don’t work.

One product I do love is Dr Bronner’s liquid Castile soap, but when I’ve put it into soap dispensers in the past, it shoots out, straight past your hand onto your nice clean shirt (your houseguests will love this), and after a few days, it clogs up in the pump nozzle.

So I adapted this great recipe for DIY foaming hand soap from the Homemade Mommy’s blog and adjusted it to suit my love of rich, foamy and delicious smelling moisturising hand soap.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love my essential oils and the Thieves oil I use in here isn’t just nice smelling (its that too!) but its antibacterial and it actually supports your immune system rather than systematically destroying it like the commercial antibacterial soaps do.*  Here’s where I get my Thieves oil, but if you like you can make a version of it yourself.  Or, you can use any essential oil or essential oil blend you like, such as lavender, orange, peppermint or tea tree.  Keep in mind the antibacterial qualities will depend on the essential oil you’re using.

PicMonkey Collage

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup liquid unscented Castile soap (such as Dr Bronners)
  • 2/3 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp essential oil

heres the stuff you'll need

Now, here’s where it gets really complicated.  Blend all the ingredients together and pour it into your foaming hand soap dispenser.  The one I got is from Interdesign and I ordered it from Amazon.  I need to double the above recipe to fill my dispenser.

You’re done.

foamy

*Commercial antibacterial soaps and hand gels target all your bacteria, including your good bacteria.  This weakens your immune system, leaving ‘gaps’ for bad bacteria to take the place of the good bacteria you’ve killed off.

Five Practical Uses for Essential Oils

While most people have at least a few essential oils they love, a lot of people just don’t know how to use them in everyday life.  And these days there are really wonderful quality essential oils which are both therapeutic and food grade, so you can do more with them and safely use them in your home, on your body and you can eat some of them too!

I’m a pretty crunchy mama and I like to keep my house and body as free of toxic chemicals as possible.  I also very much admire the zero waste lifestyle and I try to apply these principles where I can by making my own home cleaning and personal hygiene products.  But they can be…well, a bit bland….and by adding some high quality essential oils they become so much more pleasant.  Remember – they’re not just smells, essential oils are chemicals in their own rights and have various properties to make your homemade products so much more effective.  In many cases, more effective than their toxic commercial counterparts.

So I thought I’d share my top 5 practical uses for essential oils in everyday living.

1. Toothpaste

I know, I know, who makes their own toothpaste?  I’ve spent a lot of money on a lot of cruddy toothpastes with ‘green’ credentials.  First of all, they’re expensive.  They don’t have that great mouth feel of foam that we get from Colgate and Crest, they don’t taste of candy canes and they don’t make your teeth any whiter or cleaner feeling.  And quite frankly this one shares two of those qualities.  It doesn’t taste of candy because there’s no sugar (or fake sugar) in it and it doesn’t foam up.  But what it does do is make my teeth feel and look the cleanest they have ever felt and its pretty inexpensive to make.  So, I’m sharing the YouTube video that I followed for my recipe.  (You can add in activated charcoal for even more whitening properties!)  When making this toothpaste I recommend only using a food grade peppermint essential oil, such as Young Living or DoTerra.  Please don’t just go out to your local health food store and buy what’s on their shelf.  Its really not the same thing.

2. Face Moisturiser

I believe in growing old gracefully…but not for a few more years, please.  In the meanwhile I use the anti-aging power combo of Frankincense essential oil and rosehip oil.  Frankincense promotes healthy cell regeneration and keeps existing cells and tissues healthy and rosehip oil is full of anti-oxidants (lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C) which prevent free radical damage as well as essential fatty acids omegas 3,6 and 9 which repair and regenerate damaged skin tissue.  I dispense my rosehip oil into a dropper bottle and place 4-5 drops on my hand each morning.  Into that I drop 1-2 drops of Frankincense essential oil.  I rub my hands together and spread it over my face and neck.  It makes me smell gorgeous too!

Why not coconut oil, you say?  I thought coconut oil was the answer to everything?  Well this is one time when I don’t think coconut oil is the answer.  Coconut oil scores a 3 on the comedogenic scale, whereas rosehip oil only scores a 1.  That means coconut oil is going to clog your pores a lot more.  Which doesn’t really help with the whole anti-aging thing.

3. Floor Cleaner 

There are fantastic natural all purpose household cleaners which already contain the essential oils in them, such as Thieves cleaner and probably Melaleuca make one too.  However, I live in the UK where Thieves cleaner can often run out of stock (literally there’s none available at the moment) and its also a bit pricy.  So I make my own floor cleaner using heavily watered down organic Alma Household Cleaning concentrate (I’m not sponsored by them or anything…I just really like this cleaner!) combined with 5-8 drops of Thieves essential oil to it and store it in a heavy duty spray bottle.  I have a three storey house filled with all antique wooden floor boards, and I spray ahead of me as I follow behind with the microfibre mop and my floor boards shine and smell like Christmas from the Thieves oil.  (You can recreate this oil by blending clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils…but its easier to buy it already made up!)

*Update:  Since writing this article I have now got my hands on a bottle of the Thieves Household Cleaner.  It is amazing!

4. Fabric Softener

This is a really easy one!  Pour 6 Tbs white vinegar into a measuring jug, add 3-4 drops of essential oil and 1 Tbs of baking soda.  Let the fizz settle down then pour into the fabric softener tray of your washing machine.  I change the essential oil I use depending on the season and I use lavender for the baby’s clothing and bedding.  (Remember to add the essential oil to the vinegar before the baking soda.  After you add the baking soda, the oil won’t sit on top of the vinegar anymore and you won’t get oil spots on your stuff!)

5. Vacuum Scent

This is another easy one!  Just take a cotton ball and drop 4-5 drops of your favourite essential oil on it.  I like fresh citrus smells like orange and grapefruit.  Just vacuum the cotton ball straight into your vacuum cylinder and as it goes ’round and ’round and heats up, it fills your home with scent while you’re vacuuming!

By now you’ve probably realised that there’s very little that baking soda, vinegar and coconut oil can’t do!  I hope you enjoy de-toxifying your life a little bit by trying even just one of these ideas!

Disclaimer: The contents found on OurLittleOrganicLife.com not intended to diagnose, treat or cure. If you have concerns, please contact a doctor before altering your health care routine.