Monday, 30 March 2015

Essential Oils : My Daily Essential Oil Routine


So most of you are probably wondering how on earth you use all of these essential oils in your every day life. It's one thing for me to say "hey, this oil is great for soothing headaches" or "this oil is great for helping to relieve muscle aches" but it's another to really see how someone uses essential oils in their busy day. 

I know that actually hearing someone go through which oils they use, for what, and when, was the most helpful way for me to structure the way that I use essential oils in my day to day life. So I'm writing mine down for you, in the hope that it makes the way forward a bit clearer for those who are thinking about using essential oils, or those that are using them but don't feel they are getting the most out of them. 


Mornings: 

My morning routine is relatively simple. When I get out of bed I apply Elevation, doTERRA's joyful blend, across my heart. I love the way that Elevation really helps to lift my mood and give me an energy boost. It makes me much less crabby in the morning (I am not a morning person, not a 6am morning person anyway), and I find I have much more patience during the day as a result. 

I apply it across my heart so that the skin is not exposed to sunlight. Citrus oils can cause skin sensitivity it the skin is exposed to direct sunlight in the 6-12 hours after applying, and Elevation contains citrus oils. 

I then use On Guard, doTERRA's protective blend. I apply it to both of my big toes. On Guard contains immune boosting essential oils, and I definitely need all the immune boosting I can get with a toddler and a baby in the house. 

If I have a bath I add Peppermint essential oils to the bath. I only add two drops, doTERRA's Peppermint is pretty potent! I once added four drops to the bath and even though the water was hot, when I got out I was shivering because Peppermint has a cooling effect on the skin. 

If I'm having a shower rather than a bath, I open the bottle of Peppermint and inhale. I find Peppermint focuses my mind and gives me the boost I need to get everything organised for the day. 

I put two drops of Lemon essential oil into my glass of water in the morning. Lemon is great for aiding digestion and supporting the liver and kidneys. It also tastes great! Remember to only add essential oils to your water if they have the supplement information on the bottle, otherwise they are not safe for consumption. 




Afternoon:

I add Grapefruit essential oil to a large glass of water. Grapefruit is great for helping to support the endocrine system and supporting hormone balance. It also curbs sweet cravings (mine are worse in the afternoon) and cleanses the palate. 

I also diffuse Balance in the afternoon. Balance is doTERRA's grounding blend and it helps to relieve stress and tension. I love that it really seems to help me and the kids to be in a more relaxed frame of mind, meaning less arguments and squabbling from them, and more patience from me. 



Evening: 

I apply Lemongrass and Frankincense over my thyroid gland in my neck to help support the thyroid. I apply this at night only because Lemongrass is a citrus oil and so I need to stay out of the sunlight for 12 hours after applying it. 

I also apply Frankincense to my scars, I have a lovely one from taking dessert out of the oven on Christmas day! 

I take a vegetable capsule containing three drops of Grapefruit and two drops of Frankincense to support my thyroid and help my body to regulate and balance hormones. 

If I've been to The Circuit Factory I will also have a bath and add three drops of Deep Blue. Deep Blue is doTERRA's soothing blend and it helps to soothe aching muscles and to unwind my body before I settle down to sleep. 

Finally I apply Ylang Ylang to my big toe and across my collar bones to help my body and mind to relax before sleep. I have also started diffusing Cedarwood and Bergamot to aid in sending me off, and keeping me, in dreamland. 

So that's how I use my essential oils on a day to day basis. Obviously I often add in more oils, such as Peppermint for abdominal cramps, Digestzen for tummy troubles and Frankincense for headaches as necessary. 

Additional Oils: 

Over the next few months I am also looking to add in Clary Calm, doTERRA's monthly women's blend and doTERRA's phytoestrogen supplement to further help my body to balance my hormones. Given my thyroid problems I find my hormones are often out of balance and need a little bit more support. 

How do you use essential oils in your daily life? 


To learn more about essential oils please click here

Please join my Facebook group on essential oils and like my Facebook page to be kept up to date on my latest blog posts. 


Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, psychological, or psychiatric problem, or a disability that requires medical attention, then you should consult your licensed medical doctor or appropriate health care provider. Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The difference between baby number one and baby number two



I hesitated about writing this post, because I didn't want to worry anyone who has had baby number one, and who is now considering baby number two. 

I know that the way I will write this will make it seem like my little boy is somehow less important or less loved than his sister. For those that have more than one child, you'll all know that that isn't true. Even though I was actually scared that I would feel that way. That I would, in some strange way, love our first baby more than the second. 

I'm not going to wax lyrical about how amazing it was with your first pregnancy and how it was all rainbows and unicorns and everything went perfect, because obviously it didn't. Life isn't perfect and having a child that you are totally responsible for is a daunting prospect and a complete minefield. A day doesn't go by when I don't wonder if I've made the wrong decision for either one of my children (and more often than not, both of them at the same time). 

I think when you get pregnant the first time, there is a wonder there, a mystery, and it seems to carry you through the nausea and the vomiting and the getting bigger (fatter in my case) and the insomnia and the aches and pains and the really painful kicks that punch you in certain areas best not discussed. 

But that mystery and the wonder, it's all rubbish. Because you sit in the rainbows and unicorns camp, waiting for this miracle baby to appear that you will instantly fall in love with and want to fiercely protect like some lioness. 

Life is much more complicated than that, and babies are so much more complicated than that, that it makes my head spin just thinking about it. I know I sound rather condescending when I say it, but until I actually had our first baby to look after, I didn't have a ruddy clue. 

I had no idea about the sleepless nights, and how hard they actually are once you get past the first few months of adrenaline fuelled night feeds. I had no idea about the total overwhelming fear that comes with having this tiny bundle of joy, who will die without your intervention, once you realise that you really have no clue what you are doing. 

I also had no idea about how cute it would be when your baby smiled for the first time, or giggled at something you did, or rolled over and then looked at you like "applause please". Or how the idea of anything happening to them suddenly punches you in the face at 3am one morning and you spend the rest of the day in a raging temper at the idea of anyone hurting your baby (this was something I was genuinely worried that I would never feel). 

So when it came to baby number two, I was definitely more prepared, but I was also a little short on rainbows and unicorns. I was much more methodical when it came to the days passing, and in truth I spent most of the time ignoring the fact that I was pregnant. 

Because the scary thing is that I was even more worried about baby number two than I had been about baby number one. With our daughter I spent my days sending Gary images that represented the size of our baby this week "oh look he/she is the size of a pea!". I spent so much time dreaming up names and wondering whether we were having a girl or a boy, whether they'd have my eyes or Gary's eyelashes (they are both fortunate enough to have both). 

But with our son, I knew how much I loved our daughter. I knew that that pea would turn into a baby, a fully fledged baby, that would then turn into a toddler, jam packed with personality. I was already lost in the images of my daughter playing with her brother or sister.... and trying to push those images away. 

We all know that not every pregnancy ends with a baby. You know it with your first baby, just as much as you know it for your second. But to me, it felt so different. I knew that something could go wrong, but it didn't really occupy much space in my head. I was swept away with the romance of a baby, and I didn't really leave space for anything to go wrong. 

Perhaps it's different if you have a more difficult time conceiving baby number one. We were lucky enough to have a pretty easy time of it. 

For the first twelve weeks I played a waiting game. I tried not to get too carried away with the idea of our daughter having a sibling, or names or faces or eye colour. I tried to get through without thinking much at all, because I already knew I had gone too far down the road of connecting with our second child, even before we had any idea if everything was going to be alright. 

I couldn't help it. All I could see was a sibling, another mini me, another branch of our family. And the idea of that not coming to fruition was much more painful this time. Maybe because I was much more aware, had a much better understanding of what we could lose. I already imagined this pea sized blob into a baby, a toddler, a personality, and I already loved in a tangible way. 

So when we had our screening at 12 weeks, I was almost not surprised when the doctor told me that we were high risk for Trisomy 13. We had a 1:25 chance of our baby having a genetic condition which was essentially a death sentence. 95% of babies with Trisomy 13 are miscarried or stillborn. Only 5% of those born alive make it to their first birthday. 

Even though I had almost been ready for this proclamation of doom, it floored me. Took my breath away. Those images that I had tried not to think, dance in my head. 

Being thorough, I had already researched the options for further testing, should we come back as high risk for any of the trisomy syndromes, and I sat in silence as the doctor took us through the options that I already knew all about. 

I think the doctor though I didn't understand it, and though I was about to have a hysterical breakdown. For us, it was simple, we opted for, and paid for the genetic screening from my blood samples, rather than the invasive amniocentesis. 

Those three weeks were the longest three weeks of my life. We had to provide a second sample because the first didn't contain enough of the baby's DNA for a true test to be completed. All the while, I was starting to show, and I didn't want to even think about it. Our lives were completely on hold, and we could do nothing but wait. 

I already knew what our options were, if this test came back positive. I'd done rather too much research, and I wished I could take it back, not know what I knew. 

The day that they called and told us that the test was negative, that our baby did not have trisomy 13, I didn't really know what to say. As time was against us (I was fairly obviously pregnant by that stage) we called all of our family and close friends to let them know the news, and we posted our joy to Facebook. 

I think it took me three days to thaw out. To get some feeling back. To feel pregnant again. Those three weeks had numbed me, frozen me against thinking about it, against feeling it. 

I'm so grateful that we were blessed with a healthy and beautiful son. That everything worked out in the end. We were lucky. We were at risk, but we escaped. I cannot express how amazed I feel that I have two happy and healthy children, and how much I now understand how valuable they are. 

During those three weeks, I didn't feel like I'd be able to continue. I didn't think I could put myself through another pregnancy, another 12 week wait, another screening test, if our genetic test had come back positive. 

So I'm grateful for our luck, that we were not one of those with a positive genetic test, that we were not one of those who had awful decisions to make, because it not only gave us our son, but it gave me back my sense of self. And that small sense of wonder that we grew two children, from teeny tiny little eggs, and they are here, crawling, walking and even talking. 





Monday, 23 March 2015

Recipe: Paleo Spicy Mustard Crockpot Chicken


This recipe is one of my current favourites! Not only is it extremely easy to make (who doesn't love their slow cooker!) but it's delicious. It feels hearty and robust and like a real meal, even though I don't eat carbs in the evening. 

This recipe comes from Plaid and Paleo and I'm so excited to try some more of her recipes. So if you have the chance, definitely give this fab chicken dish a whirl! 

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon paleo chili garlic sauce, here (I make this dish without the chili garlic sauce and it still tastes great! I have to feed it to my one year old and my two and a half year old!)


Directions
  • Mix all ingredients except chicken in a small bowl.
  • Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot and pour sauce over it.
  • Cook on low for 3 hours.
  • Remove chicken and pour sauce into small sauce pot.
  • Heat sauce over medium to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve chicken with sauce on top.



Thursday, 19 March 2015

Essential Oils: My Five Favourite Essential Oils for Digestive Issues


In this modern world, there are so many people who have digestive upsets on a regular basis. If you are one of the lucky ones who only get digestive upsets when you have over indulged over Christmas or Hanukkah or EID, I still have some oils that can help you recover from that! 

For those of you who need some more support in the digestive area, then hopefully I'll be able to give you some ideas on the best ways to help calm that digestive system and to let you get back to your day! 


Peppermint is an amazing oil for digestive issues. There are actual medical research studies that show that Peppermint essential oil can be effective in managing the symptoms of IBS (source). I apply Peppermint to my abdomen to help calm a tummy upset or help my body soothe stomach cramps. 


For those of you that have specific intolerances or allergies to certain foods such as gluten or dairy etc, but that really struggle to abstain from those childhood favourite foods that are now on the banned list, Grapefruit oil is the one for you. 

Grapefruit really helps your body to deal with, and minimise, cravings. I find that by putting a drop or two in my water throughout the day means I snack less and I don't have this urge to eat boatloads of sugar or gluten. 


Ginger is a great essential oil to have on hand for when you feel nauseous. So if you suffer from motion sickness, or you are often struck down with a vomiting bug, this is the one oil you want to have in your cabinet. There was a study carried out that has shown that Ginger essential oil was effective at relieving mild to moderate nausea and vomiting in pregnant women (source), so for those of you that suffer from morning sickness, make sure you have this oil on hand before the morning sickness kicks in! 


Fennel is my favourite oil for bloating, gas and diarrhoea. It's a really soothing oil for the digestive system and I find I get quick relief from bloating and gas when I use Fennel essential oil. It's also great at soothing after dinner burning of the throat. 

So if you are having embarrassing tummy troubles, this is the oil for you! 


Digestzen is doTERRA's digestive blend which contains Ginger, Peppermint Caraway, Coriander, Anise, Tarragon and Fennel. It's a great blend to start off your essential oil collection because it contains a blend of oils that can soothe digestion problems. 

Everyone is different, which is why everyone's bodies react differently to different medications and to different essential oils. For example, some people find that paracetamol works best for headaches, and some people prefer ibuprofen. It's because our bodies respond to different substances depending on our own make up. 

So Digestzen is a great starting point because the blend of oils can mean that you get the relief you are looking for, because your body responds particularly well to one of more of the oils, such as Peppermint. If you had tried a single oil blend, like Ginger essential oil, on it's own, it may not have been very effective, because your body responds better to Peppermint than Ginger. 

So there you have it, these are my favourite essential oils for digestive issues! I hope you find one in there that works for you! 

If you are interested in doTERRA essential oils, click here for details on how to get started!

Please join my Facebook group on essential oils and like my Facebook page to be kept up to date on my latest blog posts. 

Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, psychological, or psychiatric problem, or a disability that requires medical attention, then you should consult your licensed medical doctor or appropriate health care provider. Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.






Monday, 16 March 2015

Working out all the kinks - a trip (or several) to the Osteopath


So, two pregnancies in two years, and the lifting and the carrying of two babies, and then a baby and a toddler at the same time, has left me rather stiff and sore. I thought when I went to The Circuit Factory that I would start to loosen up and that it would solve all the aches and niggles. 

Unfortunately The Circuit Factory is fabulous, but it's not a miracle worker. My muscles were getting stronger and fitter and faster, and were even getting more flexible from the stretching at the beginning and end of every workout. But the aches and niggles were still there, and even getting worse. 

I had read a lot about Osteopaths and Chiropractors on my travels around the internet and I had been wondering if there was anything they could do to help. The final straw was when I found I was still tossing and turning like I was heavily pregnant, even after I had lost all the baby weight.

I was struggling to get comfortable enough to sleep soundly and it was definitely not helping the aches and niggles, or my mood. I was getting more and more tired, even though my baby was sleeping better and better. So I decided to give it a try. 

Having fished for recommendations on the various expat groups on Facebook, I decided on the Osteopathic Health Centre in Umm Suqueim. My first session with Saiqa was rather nerve wracking. I had no idea what to expect, or whether it was actually going to be extremely painful. 

Thankfully it wasn't really extremely painful, but it was uncomfortable. I had reduced range of movement in my neck and my back was a tight, tender mess. During the first session I had my neck manipulated and then my upper back. The discomfort I felt apparently shouldn't be there, and as my neck was worked on, I did feel the discomfort decrease, rather than increase like I had expected it to. 

When it came to my back, there was a lot of work to be done. After Saiqa had manipulated my spine, loosening the muscles around it, pressure was applied to my back to try to release the tense muscles, and my back cracked about six times in one go. It wasn't painful, but it did take my breath away. 

That first session didn't show much improvement. I was rather stiff after the session, as though I'd done a heavy exercise class (which I hadn't as I was banned from exercising on the day of treatment), and sleeping positions weren't getting anymore comfortable. 

My second session was similar to the first, except it was my next that was released, and the pops and cracks that came with the release were spine tingling. Again there was no pain, but it took a few moments for me to come to terms with what my neck had just done! 

The day after my second session was agony. Saiqa had warned me that my other muscles would have been over compensating for the tense muscles, and that the muscles that had been sharing out the load could get tender. Everything hurt. My lower back, my left upper back, my pelvis, the outsides of my thighs and calves, my ankles, my knees. I felt like I had done ten rounds with Mike Tyson, and I really struggled to sleep at all that night, because no matter which way I lay, some muscle or other was screaming at me. 

A few days after my second session I began to realise that I was getting a little more sleep than I was usually. It wasn't a quick fix, but I did begin to wake up without feeling like I'd spent all night tossing and turning. I was still having difficulty in getting comfortable, but obviously once I was asleep, I was able to stay asleep for longer periods of time. 

My third session was by far my most uncomfortable session. Having worked on my neck and upper back, Saiqa moved onto my lower back and my glutes. My lower back was stiff and tense, but my glutes were so tightly wound that it was actually painful as Saiqa worked on them. It was really difficult to keep my muscles relaxed and to breathe throughout the treatment, as the tight muscles made me want to jump up and run away. 

However, the aftermath wasn't nearly as bad as my second session. I had increased range of movement in my neck, although it wasn't perfect, and the discomfort had moved from my upper back to my lower back. I was finding that I could sleep on my stomach again (which I hadn't been able to do since I was three months pregnant with my second baby) and that settling down to sleep was a little easier and faster. 

My fourth session was so much easier. My back only popped once or twice, rather than the usual six, and my neck had much more movement in it. My lower back was still tight, but the manipulation wasn't too uncomfortable. I was shocked when it came to my glutes, as I was waiting for the agony, but it never came. That one session of manipulation had really made a lot of difference, and it was only the very middle of the muscle that was still tight and tender. 

I still have at least one or two sessions to go before we think I'll be back to normal, but I'm really really pleased with the improvement. I wasn't expecting much from it, and I certainly had no idea that my glutes were that tight, or that they were having such an impact of the way that I functioned on a day to day basis, or that they were affecting my sleep so badly. 

Next time I'm feeling uncomfortable, I'll be heading straight to the Osteopath! I'm trying to convince Gary to go, just to check he doesn't need his neck or back popping back into place! 

For me, it's been better than a massage, because I know that once the discomfort disappears, it makes a real difference to how I feel day to day. I know that I'm back in alignment and that I can continue to exercise with my muscles back in balance. 

Have you ever seen an Osteopath? What did you think? 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Happy Birthday My Gorgeous Little Boy!


Happy First Birthday to my Gorgeous Little Boy! 

I absolutely cannot believe that you are one already. I felt like my pregnancy was the longest thing in the world, and then your first year has hurtled along at breakneck speed. 

You went from my long and lean little baby to a long and lean crawler and cruiser who is into anything and everything. You have the biggest obsession with the TV remotes (the ones you aren't allowed, not the ones you are allowed!) and with anything that your big sister S has in her hands. 

You have the cheekiest little smile, and the dirtiest laugh! You think it's hilarious when you play peek-a-boo with any piece of fabric you can get your hands on. Nappy changes are a nightmare as you are too busy trying to scramble away and get up to mischief.

You have been a completely different baby to your sister, but scarily the same in other respects. At the moment your separation anxiety is much worse than S's ever was. You are much more cuddly, and you demand our undivided attention whenever you can get it. 

Sleep still evades us, you'll surprise us one night by sleeping twelve hours straight, then the next day you'll be up for three hours in the middle of the night for no reason. You usually wake wanting cuddles, although you also then insist on milk. It's strange but I worry less than I did with S, this too shall pass, and all too soon neither of you will need us at night at all, and I'll miss those midnight cuddles. 

Daddy is the apple of your eye. As soon as you hear him come through the door you streak off towards the door, the Lightening McQueen of crawling babies. Bath times are another favourite, and the bubbles capture your attention for hours at a time. 

I love watching you and S play together, although it's only a matter of time before it gets too rough and you get knocked over. I know that won't last, and you'll be bowling her down in no time. The best sound in the world is you two giggling away, thick as thieves. 

It's been an amazing journey so far, and I can't wait to see what you've got in store for us. I know that it'll never be boring, and so far has been more amazing than I imagined. 

Happy Birthday my little boy, but hush now, don't grow so fast. You've got all the time in the world. Lots of love always, Mummy. xxx

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Motherhood: Ditching the Dummy




When our daughter was born, she had a dummy (pacifier). It really helped with her reflux and helped to settle her. The dummy always fell out about a minute after she fell asleep, and at four months old she swapped it out for her thumb and has never looked back.

With our son, the journey has been quite different. He didn't really want the dummy in the first place, we had to persevere to get him to accept it, because it really helped his silent reflux. but once he'd gotten used to it, he definitely was never going to swap it out for his thumb.

At eight months it was something he wanted, but it wasn't actually helping him to sleep. He'd accept it off me, and then look at me like "you weren't expecting me to pass out were you?". He'd wake when it fell out and need to be resettled.

And worse, I'd started giving it to him when he got a bit cranky.... literally shutting him up, rather than taking the time to work out what the problem was. So the dummy had to go.

We decided to take the direct route, just take it away. From all the books I read, at eight months, they can't remember things for very long, and so they can't hold a grudge. Three hard days and we should be through it.

We bit the bullet at the weekend so Gary was around for our little girl, as I expected it to take forever, and off we went. I was so surprised, he barely even seemed to miss it. A bit of singing of "Row row row your boat" and a bit of tapping on the bum and off to sleep he went.

I really was patting myself on the back and congratulating myself on a job well done. And then it all went wrong... as it always does when you attribute too much weight to your actions!

The snotty nose and wet cough both the kids have had for weeks turned into an ear infection for him. A mild one, but an ear infection all the same. Then he started teething, he had cheeks so red it looked like he had borrowed my blusher, and kept spitting up with all the extra drool. Then the stomach bug hit. All in the seven days after I took the dummy away.

There were so many times when I considered giving in and just returning it. I don't think he was particularly looking for the dummy, but he was looking for comfort, and it felt like everything had gone wrong so fast that he hadn't really had time to find out how to comfort himself properly without it.

In the end I persevered. We got through the spitting up, the vomiting, and we just kept going. Eventually I realised it was more me looking for ways to comfort him, when I felt rather helpless, rather than him looking for ways to comfort himself. He seemed to be more than happy with a cuddle and some milk. 


One Month On:


Sometimes life really does throw you a curveball. A month on, and the dummy is back (although in limited supply). Although we seemed to be moving past the reflux issues, and one tooth had made it's appearance, nap time and bedtime was becoming a massive battle. 

I had assumed that if he really needed to suck on something to help him transition to sleep, he would find his fingers or his thumb and would use those instead, that was what my daughter did. I was wrong, really wrong. 

He kept taking the bottle in order to suck, but didn't want the milk, so would arch his back and spit out mouthfuls of milk. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. Trying to put him to bed without that was torture. 

It culminated in 45 minutes of screaming before a nap. I had had enough. I got the dummy out from it's hiding place, and in 15 seconds he was asleep, and he slept longer than he has for a nap in a long time. 

It hasn't been a perfect solution. He can only be given it at the very end, for that last minute before he falls asleep, or he'll pull it out of his mouth and play with it, or hum because he likes the sound it makes.... I'm not joking. 

So he needs it for now, but only in very specific circumstances. I can't just plug it in and he'll close his eyes and crash out to sleep. But it has mean't that I haven't returned to old habits. 

I don't take it out of his bedroom, it is there solely for sleep, and I don't need to use it to shut him up (I don't think that would work now anyway). So I'm not overusing it, and he's not given the opportunity to look for it every time he is a little bit unsettled. 

It's not the answer I was looking for, and it's really hard to come on here and admit defeat. But at the end of the day, if he really needs it (and I think a month was long enough to test the theory) then he can have it. It doesn't seem to affect his nighttime sleep really, and the challenges we are having there seem to be to do with his transition onto solids and his size (he's huge!). 

So we are where we are, and I'm not sure when we'll try to remove the dummy again, but I'm sure the right opportunity will present itself. After all, I still had one at night when I went to school, and I don't use it now, so one day we'll be able to remove it. 


Monday, 9 March 2015

New Year's Resolutions - Three Months In!


It's been three months since I first made my 2015 resolutions and I'm checking back in with an update as to my progress. 

It's been a tough three months for my poor resolutions. There have been some ups, but definitely some downs. 

1. Put Down My iPhone:

This has been by far the most difficult one. It's too easy to check random facts as and when they appear in my head, with constant access to the world wide web! And I always have questions, at least 80% of them do not need an immediate answer, but I still pick up the iPhone. 

I am slowly getting better. We've decided to get an alarm clock for the bedroom, and I've started leaving my iPhone plugged into the computer in the Living room. This has made a huge difference because I'm not tempted to check it at 3am if I randomly wake up (or if I'm woken by one of the kids). 

I have been better (in fits and spurts) with no just picking it up when I get a bit bored, and actually engage with S and L (even if they just want to watch TV). Some days I'm shattered so I use the iPhone more than necessary, but there are some days that I'm really good. My good days also seem to coincide with less TV for them too, which is never a bad thing.


2. Focus on Communicating my Feelings:

I'm definitely getting better at being positive towards S and L. I am much quicker to vocalise my good feelings towards them, and it makes the days much easier if I focus on their positives rather than their negatives. 

I've not been so good at sharing the positives with Gary or my friends, mainly because I've been shattered and I've been rather snippy all round. Not that it's an excuse, but I know to try to manage sleep a bit better to try to be more positive. 


3. Cut Back on the Sugar:

This has been amazing some weeks, and utter rubbish for some of the others! I've managed a few weeks at a time when I've had no chocolate or sweet treats at all, and some weeks where I am inhaling it as fast as I can. Not really found a balance here yet, but I'm still working on it! 

How are your New Years Resolutions going? x



Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Photography: Family Photoshoot with Melissa Beattie Photography




I've got the most amazing family photoshoot here on the blog for you today! 

This delicious shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography just takes my breath away. Gorgeous little Teo is absolutely adorable and the love and joy that spills from these images really make me want to run out and have another family photoshoot done! 

Melissa was living right here in Dubai, but the Beattie family are now heading home to the UK to start a new chapter in their lives. Luckily, those of you in the UK can continue to have Melissa take beautiful portraits of your family. 

You can see more of Melissa's work on her website, blog and Facebook page. Here is Nancy, who explains exactly why having a family photoshoot was important to her, as important to her as her choice of photographer. She's a girl after my own heart! 

'It was 4 years ago since my husband and I moved from Beirut to Dubai; it was shortly before we got married.

Back home I was used to living a fully-packed lifestyle, juggling between multiple concurrent jobs; I worked as a senior art director in an advertising agency, taught part-time at a university, and handled my own clients as a freelance graphic designer, while still being able to live life at its fullest. Dubai was no different in providing me what I like most about living life to the max, with all those positive vibes that I needed around me and much much more.

It was on Christmas 2013 that we were blessed with the best present ever, our little bundle of joy, Teo.

Having a baby was life changing in all positive ways, from time management to multitasking; feeding, napping, changing diapers, while still squeezing in some freelance work! Not to forget some "me time" including yoga or pilates in addition to sharing all the beautiful emotions with my husband, the ups and downs, the sleepless nights... It was all overwhelming and heart filling at the same time.

Most importantly, i was trying to grasp and memorize every single moment of Teo growing up. I wanted to capture and "freeze" all these moments since he was/is changing and growing up so fast! I wanted to remember his actions and reactions, his "first" everything... and this is why we absolutely wanted to capture all these beautiful moments in photos.

It was for this very reason that we wanted to have a professional photoshoot; and not just any photoshoot. I'm not an easy person to satisfy 😉

After a long research for photographers and styles,
my heart settled on the style and spirit of Melissa Beattie!
I saw in her pictures the exact things that i was looking for. So we went ahead and I was extremely satisfied of the overall experience and the result of the photoshoot. The pictures were absolutely STUNNING! Each and every single photo she took is a simple, natural and beautiful representation of a moment in our family's daily life; she succeeded in capturing all these moments, despite the fact I was extremely worried as Teo wasn't himself that morning. But it was as if Teo was never cranky as Melissa had captured exceptional moments of him in his good mood! 

In my opinion Melissa is no ordinary photographer. She is a photographer with a true soul behind her cam!'









Monday, 2 March 2015

Essential Oils: My Five Favourite Essential Oils for Pregnancy


When I first discovered essential oils, the first thing I thought of was "WHY couldn't I have stumbled across these oils while I was pregnant?".

I've made no secret of the fact I did not have easy pregnancies. Both of them were pretty tough, and I took a lot of medication to get me through the pregnancy. I had hyper emesis for 24 weeks with my daughter and for 36 weeks with my son. I also had horrendous heartburn, which made the hyper emesis worse. 

It is hard enough to be pregnant and adapt to the hormone changes and the physical changes, not to mention the emotional changes as you prepare to be a parent to this baby that is growing inside you. Then throw morning sickness, hormonal headaches, mood swings, aches and pains and heartburn into the mix, and it can make parts of pregnancy downright miserable. 

Of course, the time in your life when you feel you need to reach for the over the counter medications, is exactly the time when you are not allowed to. The do's and don't's of pregnancy are extensive and confusing, and vary depending on where you live. I know a lot of pregnant women just stay away from all medications altogether, because it's easier than navigating the minefield of what is safe and what isn't. 

What makes things worse is that there are very few studies into the effects of medications on pregnant women. Generally full research studies are not carried out on pregnant women, measuring the effect on medications to their baby, because they are considered unethical. A baby cannot give permission for the study, and it's not really ethical to put that baby at risk for the sake of a clinical trial. 

So even those medications that are prescribed for certain conditions (like the anti sickness medication, zofran, I took during my pregnancies for hyper emesis) say on the instructions not to be taken if you are pregnant, because there hasn't been a full research study carried out on it, because it's not really ethical to do it. 

For those of you who are now worried, there was a retrospective study carried out by looking at the medical records of 6000 women who had taken zofran during pregnancy, and there was no an significantly increased risk of any major birth defects. You can find the study here.

So I wish I had known about essential oils during my pregnancies, because I would have loved to have had an alternative handy which might have made pregnancy more bearable, without having to take medications that I would rather have avoided. 

Which essential oils would have been first on my list if I had had them available? Here they are!


Lavender is my absolute must have for pregnancy. It is one of the most gentle oils and it is so soothing. You can use Lavender for so many things during pregnancy, but here are my favourite uses:
  • To help your body and mind switch off for sleep;
  • Skin rashes, I got loads of these randomly during my pregnancy;
  • Tender breasts, Lavender is so soothing so it's great for those first few months of tender breasts;
  • Aches and Pains, I use Lavender and Peppermint for aches and pains as I find that together they are so soothing and help to relax and unwind those tense muscles;
  • Seasonal sniffles. I find I'm really sensitive to everything when I'm pregnant, perfume especially. It really gets up my nose and I get the sniffles that I just can't shake. So using Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint is great for getting rid of the sniffles;
  • Braxton Hicks. Lavender is great at helping the body to calm and reduce the number of Braxton Hicks;
  • Spider veins. Lavender is great for helping your body to repair the spider veins.


Peppermint is one of my go-to oils, pregnant or not. I love that it has so many uses and it really seems to work for me on so many levels. Here are some of the uses during pregnancy:
  • Nausea. I love Peppermint for nausea, it really helps to settle my stomach;
  • Seasonal sniffles. Paired with Lavender and Lemon, this is a must have for sensitive noses;
  • Constipation. Peppermint is fabulous for helping your body to ease your digestive system and help it get back to normal;
  • Energy Boost. Peppermint is my go to oil in the mornings for an energy boost. It would be amazing during the first trimester to help get you through the day without falling asleep in random places;
  • Breech baby? Peppermint is great for cooling the skin, and it can help encourage the baby to turn away from the cooling sensation and towards the way that you want them to move. In conjunction with breech exercises, it can really help;
  • Painful contractions. Peppermint is great for abdominal cramps and pains and so it is fab at helping your body to ease contraction pain. 
  • Breathing. I always had a stuffy nose and a congested chest during pregnancy. I couldn't get rid of the eternal coughs and sneezes. Peppermint is great at helping your body to open up the airways and clear out the congestion. 

Frankincense and I have a very special relationship! I use it all the time. I find it's fabulous for me in particular because it really helps support the thyroid, which I definitely need all the help I can get there! Here are my favourite ways you can use Frankincense during pregnancy:
  • Skin issues. Frankincense is great for the skin. It really helps the body to repair itself on the cellular level, which is so necessary for the skin. I love Frankincense to help cleanse my skin and to help it regenerate. It's great at keeping your complexion fresh, despite the nausea and the late nights of tossing and turning. 
  • Headaches. I use a drop of Frankincense on the roof of my mouth and I find it's amazing to help my body deal with headaches without having to automatically reach for the paracetamol;
  • Stretch marks. Frankincense is great at helping the body to repair itself, particularly with stretch marks or other scars. I apply it to my stretch marks every day and it is really helping to fade them out. 

Balance is my best mood management oil for pregnancy. It is fantastic for calming and balancing the body and mind. There are so many pockets of stress during pregnancy and I never knew when I was going to get another wave of stress and anxiety. I was going through a lot of changes and it was daunting, because I didn't have a clue what I was doing! So Balance is the one that I recommend to really help keep you calm, no matter what life throws at you. 


Not just a bottle of essential oil, but a trio of supplements which harness the power of essential oils. The trio consists of: 
  • A cellular vitality supplement, which supports healthy cell production and lifespan;
  • A vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure you are receiving all the nutrients you need, even if you aren't getting them in your diet (I was so off fruit and vegetables during pregnancy);
  • An essential oil and omega complex, which helps to support your immune system, cardiovascular system and to promote joint and brain health. 
I find that these are fabulous even if you aren't pregnant, but having the right balance of nutritional support during pregnancy can make the world of difference to how you feel. And feeling as well as possible during pregnancy is something that would have been amazing for me!

So those are my must buy items to support you through pregnancy. I really hope it helps you to see which essential oils could really help you during your pregnancy. 


If you are interested in doTERRA essential oils, click here for details on how to get started!




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