Why it's our Home's Essential Kit

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When I was first introduced to dōTERRA I jumped straight in with the Home Essentials kit because I was ready to start using the oils in as many ways as possible.  Since then, in addition to the revolutionary discovery of diffusing, I can honestly say I've used every single oil pretty much every week in one form or another.  Here are some of the ways it's improved, enhanced and changed our lives, and how the oils have benefited us practically (there's a whole post on the emotional values coming next!) in so many ways.

1. I use a couple drops of lemon in the dishwasher to give a really fresh smelling finish (btw, I'm on the hunt for eco-friendly preferably chemical free dishwasher tablets, so if you know of any, hit me up!  Otherwise I'm going to investigate making my own, so I'll let you know how I get on!) 

2. Lavender is a first aid "must have" and since purchasing my kit 2 months ago, I have used lavender on a burn, a cut, insect bites, and, mixed with peppermint, headaches too!

3. I put a couple drops of lemon on my face washer in the morning and breathe in the uplifting scent as I rinse it under some hot water before washing my face.  The best way to start the day!

4. I have two beautiful dogs (a Westie called Cujo and a Jack Russell X called Jake - they actually have their own Instagram account if you want to check them out!) but with that can mean the dreaded "doggy whiff."  So we often diffuse lemon, melaleuca and peppermint during the day which makes an effective cleansing and refreshing scent whilst neutralising any unpleasant doggy odours!

5. A tip I got from Aromahead is to use a couple drops of lemon after you wash your wooden chopping board and rub it all over the board with a paper kitchen towel.  Not only does it disinfect the board naturally, but leaves a lovely aroma in the kitchen too!

6. Lavender and frankincense is my dream team, literally, for a sleepy-time diffusing blend.

7. We've been adding lavender onto a wash cloth and putting it into the washing machine with our clothes and they come out smelling wonderful, particularly fabulous for bed sheets!

8. The anti-fungal properties of melaleuca worked wonders on a stubborn patch of eczema I had on my knee and after a couple of months it completely cleared up without the need to use steroids (which was what the GP has prescribed)

9. Sweaty Summer feet can get a little smelly, so I've employed this DIY recipe using melaleuca and peppermint to keep the stink at bay. 

10. I never realised how much I would love the scent of peppermint, but it's quickly become one of my favourites, and we always diffuse it (along with some wild orange) in the car for our long car journeys.  It's SO refreshing and uplifting together!

11. Again, on those long journeys (it's not uncommon for us to be driving home at 2 or 3am after a 10 hour day shooting a wedding) I would pop a drop of peppermint onto the palm of my hand and rub on the back of Cam's neck to help him stay alert and awake. 

12. Digestzen was a lifesaver in the last couple of months leading up to the change in our diet when my body was protesting and I had some real bloaty and indigestion issues.  I can see how many have described digestzen as the gateway oil, because the relief was immediate and near miraculous.  Although I haven't needed it as much since we've started eating vegan, I do not go anywhere without it now - just in case! 

13. Speaking of proprietary blends, breathe is another favourite (okay, I admit they all are - but I'm sure you're beginning to see why!) We diffuse it as an alternative sleepy-time blend mixed with a couple drops of lavender too. Divine!

14. When Cam was feeling a little chesty, I would dilute a few drops of breathe into some carrier oil and rub it over his chest, back and neck every 2-3 hours for relief.

15. I use frankincense DAILY as I just adore it.  I mix it with some of my other oils (myrrh, Hawaiian sandalwood, rose, jasmine and lavender) into a 50ml bottle and use it as part of my daily self-care ritual. 

16. I also add a drop of frankincense to my moisturiser (which happens to be frankincense based too!) just for an added boost! 

17. On Guard has been a gift to us during wedding season (aka we-can't-afford-to-get-sick) and the moment we feel so much as an inkling of a bug, we're diffusing it and massaging it into our backs and feet!

18. I have been susceptible to mouth ulcers in the past, and use On Guard as a mouth rinse which works a treat!

19. I also use On Guard as a surface cleaner and put a couple drops onto my cloth before wiping down the surfaces in my kitchen.

20. Deep Blue was extremely effective when I woke up with some lower back pain.  A couple drops diluted in some coconut oil was all I needed to get on with the day.  It's also part of my travel apothecary kit, and I even gave my little vial to a groom at a recent wedding who had a lot of back pain. 

21. Cujo had a lesion/infection on his belly that just wouldn't heal.  After a month and two rounds of antibiotics it was still weeping and bleeding daily.  So I decided to try a drop of oregano diluted in a table spoon of coconut oil and massaged it on his belly and between his paws. 3 days.  3 DAYS later it had healed.

22. Saving the best till last, my wonderful petal diffuser.  I cannot sing her praises highly enough, and now that we've added 3 other diffusers to the family, she has pride of place in the bedroom where we diffuse every night.  Her soothing hum is now part of my night time ritual I can't imagine being without.  Every home should have one.  Honestly!

It's been just over 2 months since I received my Home Essentials kit, and I already can't imagine life without it.  If you already have a kit or use oils, I would love to hear how you incorporate them into your daily life.  If you're interested in finding out more about how to get your hands on these oils, then click here or email me at hello@thefragrantapothecary.com

New Moon in Leo

 Image from Strength card of  Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert

Image from Strength card of Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert

In this moment, exists an opportunity to create or transform your future. You stand at the crossroads. The past is behind you, and the future lies ahead.”
— Dreams of Gaia Tarot, Ravynne Phelan

As we approach the new moon in Leo tomorrow (7:10pm LDN) now is the perfect time to get clear on where we are and where we are heading (and if it's where we want to be going!)  Certainly for many of us it can feel like our World is on a trajectory we never expected, where unity is being replaced by separation, where inclusiveness is being rejected in favour of exclusivity and where global responsibility is being shelved for national interest.  It is despairing and can leave us feeling powerless, but the cosmic energy at play is urging us to find not just personal courage and strength, but a collective one too. 

This month there is the added potency of a solar eclipse for us to really make some dramatic shifts (sometimes whether we want to or not, depending on how far we may have strayed from our life's true course) towards what is deep within our hearts.  Leo rules the heart, and the heart knows that only love has the power to change the World; personally and collectively. 

Self love and self acceptance though is the first step and this is where essential oils can really support us.  I've written briefly (in my free guide) about the power of intention, and so I've consciously chosen rosemary and neroli as my oil allies for the first part of this lunar cycle.  Rosemary encourages us to "remember our own true path" and supports us in accessing and releasing outdated beliefs, heal emotional wounds and access our full potential.  I added neroli in light of the the eclipse as she "assists in release of repressed emotions - through relaxing and reuniting our solar (conscious) and lunar (subconscious) worlds.*"  The Solar Eclipse in Leo offers deep potential for healing long-held wounds, and by acknowleding our shadow secrets and pain, and in weaving the dark and light within, the truth is revealed and the self emerges into wholeness.

It is at these times of opportunity, change, and challenge that we encounter our shadow self, often masquerading as a well meaning advisor looking to protect us from failure, embarrassment, humiliation and judgement.  Yet if we ever want to succeed at anything, those are risks we are going to have to take; whether it's falling in love, taking a new job, being honest with a friend, or changing the World, it all requires us to be vulnerable, and yes, that's scary. 

Living from our hearts takes courage, because those fears will never wholly disappear.  Instead we need to find the strength to face them with loving acceptance and move through them.  We can't avoid them, but acknowledging them as stories we have been told, or have told ourselves, from the past which have no bearing on our present or our future can help us move past them.

Our choices define us and have real power so we cannot let our future be dictated by fear or blind habit.  This new moon and eclipse is here to remind us that we need to practice mindfulness in the choices we make and be sure that our decisions empower us and fulfill our hearts true desires.

How to work with the Leo New Moon

Diffuse 3 drops of rosemary and 1 drop of neroli and create space to journal. 

What are you afraid of?  What stories bind you to the fear?  This eclipse is an opportunity to bring the demons into the light, the first step to moving past them.  When you have finished, tear up the piece of paper and if you can safely burn it, do so in gratitude and acknowledgement that you are releasing those stories which hold you back. 

Now write about what you love.  What are you passionate about?  What lights up your heart?  How are you manifesting this in your current life?  Look at what you love and let that be your guide and determine the shape of your future. 

When choices are made from the heart - one becomes a bit wilder, more passionate, more creative.
— The Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert

So as we set our intentions for the new moon, let's agree to be vulnerable and let love speak our truth. Let it colour our actions, our choices, our decisions so that eventually, it begins to colour our World.

 

* Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gabriel Mojay

To Diffuse or Not to Diffuse, That is the Question

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Diffusers

It wasn't until I signed up with dōTERRA and got my diffuser with the Home Essentials kit that I realised what a game changer a diffuser is.  Up until then, I was going old-school with the oil burner and tea light candle which, although I love in terms of connecting with the elemental energies, is not the most practical day-to-day application.

Then came the diffuser *cue heavenly music* and quite honestly, it rocked my World and I can assure you, if you don't have one yet, you'll probably end up with one in every room by the end of the first year of owning one! 

Like most things, not all diffusers are made equal.  Purpose is important, so a smaller, less robust diffuser could be suitable for a small office or spare bedroom.  However to diffuse in a more expansive space, like a living room, you will most likely need something a bit bigger.

Obviously as I was a Virgin Diffuser until the dōTERRA petal came into my life, I have strong loyalties towards her.  You can buy her through my dōTERRA link here and she comes as part of many of the enrolment kits (but you can buy her separately too).  Click here for more information on dōTERRA.

Neal's Yard also offer a range of diffusers here, and I'm about to invest in the Niko for our long car journeys, so I'll let you know how I get on with him when we do.

I also have this little guy from Amazon.  I've not had him for long, but so far so good.  I would say he's probably more suitable for a smaller space, but certainly an affordable investment to cut your teeth on if you're not ready to commit elsewhere yet, or as an addition to your diffuser collection!

Let's Talk about MLM

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Okay, let's cut straight to the chase and deal with the elephant in the room.

Yes, dōTERRA works as a Multi-Level Marketing Scheme (cue villainous music!) which immediately conjures up all sorts of negative judgement about what that must mean about the product and the person 'selling' it.  Don't feel bad, I felt exactly the same way when I first came across it.  In fact even after I fell in love with the oils, I still had a tough time working around the concept of MLM and direct selling.  I mean, anyone who knows me, knows I scored 100% Introverted on the Myer-Briggs for a reason!  The idea of selling alone, without the unsavoury connotations would be hard enough!

However I've been thinking a lot about this and been trying to work out why do we judge people who make a living through direct selling with such suspicion?  Of course I understand there are unscrupulous individuals who are just out to make a quick buck, but when did everyone become tarnished with the same brush?  And what happens when you take the word 'selling' out of the equation, because when it comes to oils, it's honestly less about the selling and more about the sharing.

For me, I am actually grateful for the business model dōTERRA chose because I probably wouldn't have been introduced to all the benefits of essential oils if it weren't for seeing someone I knew (and trusted) talking about it on my social media news feed.  I'm actually someone who is quite passionate about holistic health and have used essential oils in my life for over two decades, yet there was still so much I didn't know, and I was inspired by it.  There was never any high pressure sales tactics because ultimately it was about sharing the knowledge and the joy.  If it resonates, the rest kind of follows naturally.

So that's where I find myself now, just wanting to share the knowledge and the joy.  Yes, I do have an affiliate link to dōTERRA and yes I would earn a commission if you signed up and bought their products.  However if you just want to know more about the oils and with that knowledge choose to either, not use oils in your life, or buy another brand of oils that rocks your World, that's totally cool too. 

I hope now that we've got this awkward conversation out the way we can just get comfortable and enjoy exploring the World of essential oils together.

PS.  MLM/direct selling is not a pyramid scheme.  They are illegal, so let's not go to a weird place with that.

Little Things That Bite

So my first blog post.  I thought it was going to be something profound about natural health and why I am passionate about it, but I've decided mid-way through August there are more pressing things to deal with.  Little things that bite*.

It's holiday season and my Facebook and Instagram is filled with pictures of sun kissed faces in faraway places.  However what we all know about holidays is they sometimes come with unwanted extras, like mosquitos and other such critters that enjoy a nibble on fresh foreign flesh!

So what to do?  If like me you don't want to be buying toxic chemically filled sprays and creams from the local supermarket or chemist but are hoping for a more natural way of dealing with the situation, then I have some ideas for you.   Firstly prevention is always the best option and traveling with some citronella oil is a great start as you can easily diffuse the oil using some hot water to disperse it into the air.  If you have an ensuite, run some hot water in the bath and fill a couple of glasses with hot water and add a few drops of citronella to them.  Leave the bathroom door open and strategically place the glasses by windows to deter any unwanted guests whilst you're out.

To protect your tender skin, lavender is a quick and simple option that you can use by adding it to a carrier oil or directly to any body lotion you might have.  Alternatively, Neal's Yard have a ready made remedy containing lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, pine, cypress, orange, thyme, marjoram, clove and bay essential oils - all the goodness you need to keep those pesky bugs away!. 

If, despite all your best efforts, you still get snacked on, then a drop of neat lavender directly on the bite will help. 

Happy Summer holidays!

*Reference: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Valerie Ann Worwood