Essential Oil Guide: The Basics


Have you tried essential oils as part of your wellness arsenal?? If not do try – they’re divine. The important thing is the quality of the oil. You want to go with Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils, my favorite companies are doTERRA and Young Living. You can wear these oils, ingest some of the them, cook with them and diffuse them. I always have a bottle of lavender oil my handbag – it’s amazing how handy it comes in – either for me or someone I’m with:) Oils are like the ultimate security blanket.

If you’re new to oils here’s a list of my top picks and how I use them:

  1. Lavender


If you’re going to just try one oil – try this. Use it in the bath, sprinkle it on your pillow before you go to sleep, rub a few drops on your temples when you have a headache or just when you want to feel a little less stressed. It’s like been enveloped in a scent of pure loveliness.

2. Lemon



This oil is so full of vitality and happiness. My favorite way to use it is adding a drop or two into a chilled glass of sparking water with a sprig of fresh mint. SO refreshing. I’ve actually swapped out my evening glass of wine for this – and believe me I wouldn’t do that unless it was really good. It’s wonderfully uplifting using it in a diffuser while cleaning. I use it every time I need a lift to my day.

3. Peppermint


This oil cures a multitude of ills including an upset stomach, respiratory issues (especially sinus in my experience), headache and nausea. It’s also wonderful for cleaning and diffusing when you want an uplifting vibe. Also  –  ants HATE peppermint oil – so if you have an ant problem, sprinkle a few drops on some paper towel and leave it out for your ants to find – they won’t come back!

4. Frankincense


As strange as it may sound Frankincense has become a staple oil in my house. It’s wonderful for calming anxiety, reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system. Try it on the soles of your feet before bed for a restful nights sleep. It’s an ancient oil with tremendous benefits.

Many oils are safe to ingest and most are very safe to use on the skin but always read the directions on the bottle. It’s best to test a patch of skin to make sure all is well before going too crazy. If there is any sensitivity you can combine them with a carrier oil, such as coconut. This also enables a little oil to go a long way:)

I use oils all the time as a holistic helping hand for a healthy home and family. I hope you come to love them as much as I do.



Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables


Roast chicken is one of the all time most comforting meals. It smells divine whilst roasting in the oven and tastes divine when carved. Add some root vegetables, fresh herbs and sliced lemons to the pot and you’ve got a feast for the senses. It’s also one of the easiest dishes to prepare. I used to roast my chickens at a high temperature and they were good, but now out of necessity (school pick ups etc) I roast them nice and slowly at a lower temperature – covered, then remove the lid, turn up the heat and finish them off so the skin is nice and golden and crispy. They’re better than ever.

I would suggest you look for an organic chicken that has been reared humanely and been allowed to roam free outside. Don’t get tricked into any “vegetarian” fed chickens – chickens are meant to roam free and peck on grubs and worms and such like! Most likely you’ll find them at your local farmers market. You may be surprised a the size of these birds – they’re way smaller than those plastic wrapped supermarket ones – but that’s ok – again it’s how they’re meant to be. Pad the meal out with extra vegetables🙂


Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables.

1, 3 lb organic chicken (it’s ok if it’s smaller just roast it for a little less time)

1 bulb garlic

2 organic lemons (unwaxed) both zested, one sliced into discs, 1 quartered

6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks

4 sticks of celery, chopped into chunks

2 onions, peeled and quartered

Olive oil

Sea salt (I like Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Wash and pat dry the chicken and remove the giblets.
  3. Slice one of the lemons into discs and lay them in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the chicken onto of the lemon discs.
  4. In a small bowl whisk about 4 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon zest, salt and pepper. Rub half of the olive oil mixture thoroughly all over the chicken and inside the cavity. Stuff the cavity  with half the garlic bulb, one of the quarters of the second lemon and some fresh herbs.
  5. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  6. Nestle the chopped up vegetables, remaining garlic and lemon around the chicken. Drizzle over the rest of the olive oil and lemon zest mixture, sprinkle over some sea salt and pepper, add some more fresh herbs.


7. Place the top on the roasting pan and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

8. Remove from the oven and set the lid of the pan aside. Baste the chicken and the vegetables  well and return to the oven. Increase the heat to 425 F and cook for a further 20 minutes until the skin is golden and the juices run clear. The internal temperature of the chicken thigh should be 165.

9. Remove from the oven, place the lid back on the roasting pan and allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

10. Remember to save the chicken carcass to make some fabulous homemade chicken broth – post coming soon!


Vegan, Paleo, Plantbased or your Grandparents diet??


Labels can be restrictive don’t you think?  For years I was a vegan – not a perfect one I might add – but I wore the label and loved the ideals. As a yogi veganism seemed a perfect fit. One of the most fundamental beliefs of a Yogi is not to harm anyone or thing – so it just made sense not to eat animals.  Or so I thought. It turned out over time that the one person I was harming was myself. After putting on 22 pounds, feeling exhausted most of the time with horrid headaches and achy joints (not to mention a very unhappy digestive system) I dragged myself off to see a Holistic Doctor. I proudly told her about my diet, then the sorrowful story of my health. Then she suggested I start eating meat. What! All the alarm bells went off, what about all those books I’d read, the documentaries I’d watched – meat and animal products are evil – to the planet, to our bodies and most of all to the animals!!

My doctor was very patient and understanding of my ethical dilemmas. She gently explained that my body wasn’t happy being fed a diet so high in carbohydrates – even “good” ones such as whole grains, that I wasn’t able to thrive and therefore not able to give the best of myself to others as I was exhausted and sick. She suggested adding a little organic animal protein back into my diet and take out the whole grains. She encouraged me to seek out the most humane and ethical companies who produced these products (farmers markets seem a good place to me). She also suggested that I give thanks to the animal for it’s sacrifice and for providing me with nourishment.

The strange thing was that I knew in my bones she was right. I knew I wasn’t thriving, I knew I felt better with animal protein and plenty of veggies but I wanted the vegan label. I didn’t want anything to do with the misery that some animals are put through before they end up on our plate. But as I am finding, it is possible to find ethical sources for meat, fish and dairy (a post on this coming).


Slowly I started eating animal protein, slowly my body came back into balance. And of course it’s balance we’re all so badly in need of. Not 4lbs of bacon for breakfast or living on nothing but green juices for 2 weeks but a “sensible” diet like the one my grandparents thrived on. Modest portions, plenty of vegetables – preferably homegrown, small amounts of fresh, wild meat and fish, eggs from the chickens in the garden, whole milk dairy products in moderation and the occasional sweet treat which was always homemade. The desserts very often involved some type of fruit that had been picked from the fruit trees in the garden or foraged on a walk with the dogs such as blackberries for blackberry and apple crisp. There would always be dark chocolate in the house and a little square was enjoyed every day after lunch. There was no diabetes, heart disease,  weight issues or cancer in their lives, they were both extremely healthy and active until very shortly before their deaths in their late 80s. No they didn’t live to be 100 but their lives were full and happy and their energy was extraordinary.

In the end it turns out eating is not complicated. Instead of picking up a label and deciding that’s who you are, listen closely to what your body is telling you. Are you thriving on the diet of your choice? Your body is meant to thrive – it wants to thrive – so if you’re not – listen – trust it’s guidance and give it the nourishment it needs.

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Parsnip Soup

Vegan Photo Credit: Pinterest

Steak Photo Credit: Pinterest

Pumpkin Cupcakes


My husband said these were the best cupcakes he’s ever eaten – and between you and me – he can be a little picky – so you can only imagine how delicious these are.  The sponge is super duper light and airy and the frosting is luscious. If you want to limit your sugar intake you could absolutely gobble these down without the frosting and they’d still be delicious.

It’s just become real Fall weather here in New York, the temperatures finally dipping and the leaves are beginning to turn. Pumpkins adorn every door step and at the farmer’s market they come in all shapes and sizes – LOVE this time of year!


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

Ingredients:    Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour OR 1 cup regular all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature!)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper liners.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, vanilla extract and canola oil until emulsified.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon, gently mix until combined. Don’t over mix.
  5. Spoon the batter into the paper lined muffin tray, fill each liner to about 2/3 full.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the cupcakes have risen and spring back when gently pressed on the top.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tray, then remove the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely on a bakers rack before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, place all the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth.
  9. Frost the cupcakes, decorate with rose petals (please be sure the flowers have not been treated with any chemicals!)
  10. Enjoy.


Pumpkin Photo Credit: Pinterest

Vegan Cookie Dough Balls


You may think I’ve adopted a raw food diet – but no – it’s just that this AMAZING treat happens to be raw like the brownies in the previous post. They really hit the spot if you’re looking for something sweet without all the refined sugar, fat and flour – ugh! Plus there’s no need to turn the oven on – a huge bonus in 90 degree heat. There’s plenty of protein in these lovey little bites so you get full quickly – unlike the store bought cookie dough which I manage to plow through and then feel like death. They keep quite happily in the fridge for a few days:) Try them – you’ll be amazed – I was:)

Vegan Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough


1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup gluten free oats

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3 – 4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 cup chocolate chips (vegan, dairy and soy free are available in the supermarket)

1 tablespoon almond milk


1. Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor and blitz until the mixture comes together.

2. If the mixture is too thin add a little more coconut flour and oats, if it’s too thick add another splash of almond milk.

3. Add the chocolate chips and blitz.

4. Scoop out approximately 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and roll into a ball. Eat immediately or store in the fridge until needed.


Raw Brownies – Fully Loaded



These are absolutely amazing. No refined sugar, but the best brownies you could imagine. Even my most sugar addicted daughters ADORE these. Honestly, give these a go – I really think you’ll love them!


Vegan Raw Brownies – based on Oh She Glows Raw Brownies.


  • 1 cup mixed nuts, unsalted
  • 1.5 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • heaping 1/4 cup mixed nuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder 
  • 2 heaped tablespoon pure maple syrup 
  • tiny splash of vanilla extract


  1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor process the mixed nuts until they look like breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the pitted dates and process until finely chopped and sticky.
  4. Add the cacao powder, vanilla and salt and process until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the further 1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts and cranberries until just combined.
  6. Press  the mixture into prepared  pan. Place in the freezer for about 1/2 an hour.
  7. For the glaze: Place the coconut oil over low heat in a medium pot, when the coconut oil has melted, remove from heat, then add the cacao powder, syrup, salt, and vanilla, whisk until smooth.
  8. Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour over the chocolate topping.
  9. Place the the pan back in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
  10. Remove the brownies from the freezer and slice. Enjoy.


Space Clearing


Have you tried space clearing? or feng shui? I live in an old Victorian house with four daughters, a dog and a husband who works from home – believe me, our house needs some space clearing. I’m just getting started with the whole feng shui, space clearing endeavor and I’m having a lot of fun with it. Because I really don’t know what I’m talking about here I’ll give you a quick overview as I see and understand it. Please feel free to chime in in the comments below and put me straight.

Good old fashioned elbow grease and cleaning takes care of the physical dirt and grime. Space clearing takes care of the energetic dirt and grime. I know it sounds a little strange but stay with me – think about when you’ve walked into a home and you’ve picked up a vibe, perhaps something felt a little strained, all of a sudden you felt you were walking on eggshells, or perhaps you just felt weighed down and stagnant in another house, or maybe you felt light and happy – that’s the energy you’re picking up in each environment. We’re always effected by our environment whether it’s our house or someone else’s. Space clearing removes the negative energy – or bad vibes in a house.


Photo credit Pinterest

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Clean the area really well – dust, vacuum and mop until it shines.
  2. You can use a smudge stick (available at most health food stores) or essential oils. If you’re using a smudge stick, light the tip of the stick with a candle or match, then wave it in the air until it starts to smoulder – it’s not actually on fire! Say a prayer or set an intention then walk around the area you wish to clear, gently waving the stick and focusing on your prayer or intention. It’s important to get into the dark forgotten corners. You can hold the stick over a fireproof container for extra protection if you like.
  3. If you’re using essential oils instead, lavender or some citrus oils are lovely, just sprinkle a few drops around the edges of the room, again focusing on your prayer or intention.
  4. When you’re finished, light a candle to continue to purify the environment.
  5. Opening a window to let some fresh air in is always a good idea and finish everything off with a lovely bunch of fresh flowers.
  6. As an extra step you can also sprinkle some sea salt along the entrance to the room, leave it for an hour or two or even overnight, then sweep it up and take it outside into the garden to dispose of.


Photo credit: Pinterest

What I can tell you, after this ritual not only are things beautifully clean, but everything feels lighter, calmer and honestly, there seems to be more space to breathe!

Have you space cleared? I’d love to hear your experiences. If you’re interested in learning more, here are two wonderful websites that I love to visit Simple Shui and The Tao of Dana.





Polka Dot Pajamas!


I’ve always had a thing for polka dots. And pajamas. Put the two together and you get a little slice of happiness. These from Olive and Cocoa are pure silk and very glamorous – I adore them, not that I have ever spent $378 on a pair of pajamas or intend to do so any time soon, but if I ever did these would be the pair.


How about these from Barneys– very summery and light, 100 per cent cotton – they’d make me very happy too. I love the navy piping just to give them a little edge.


These are just so fun I love the brown and pink soft flannel fabric. The set comes with the hairband too:)  Again a nice touch with the pink ruffle trim – very slumber party appropriate!


Olive and Cocoa have a lovely selection – there’s something about green and pink don’t you think? I also like the look of the pink epsom salts in the background – there’s nothing like an epsom salt bath – but that’s another post:)


These are fabulous from Kate Spade. I think I’d live in them – probably go grocery shopping in them – so spiffy.NMI0N1E_mu.jpg

The perfect summer pair here. There’s nothing much more I can say – just perfect:)


Last but not least this lovely little night shirt from K Colette. 100 per cent cotton, made in India with tiny hand stitched pin tucks. Very sweet.

So is it just me? Do you enjoy polka dots, pajamas or both? let me know:)

Meditation Spaces



I love the idea of having a meditation space, it would surely make it easier to actually do so. Even though meditating is still insanely difficult where ever you are, maybe it could just become a “chill” space, a space to take the edge off, a place to get relaxed without having any alcohol involved – possible do you think?


You don’t need much for a special spot. Just a quiet little nook, a comfy cushion, a candle, a few flowers and maybe a crystal or two. You could create your own little altar like the one above.


Or this one – simply gorgeous – fresh lavender is perfect as it’s beautiful and has a wonderful scent.


There have been so many studies proving how beneficial mediation is. Lowering stress, focusing the mind, building immunity, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing inflammation in the body are just a few side effects.


Your own space to withdraw from the world and turn inward is a beautiful gift to yourself. Even a few minutes of quiet a day can be tremendously beneficial.


Essential oils and incense are lovely additions. Beauty, peace and calm – I wonder what would happen if mediation became part of the school curriculum:)


Photo credits Pinterest

August Favorites


There’s something so beautiful and seductive about August. Everything seems to slow down and we can enjoy the long, lazy days of summer. Sweet peas bloom beautifully throughout the summer but they’re at their most gorgeous in August. They have tremendous nostalgic appeal to me as they grew in my mother’s garden in England throughout my childhood – learn all about these beauties here.

I’m never drawn to a rose wine at any other time of the year. I don’t know why – perhaps it’s the heat,  but August is the perfect month to enjoy a beautiful rose wine from Provence.



This beautiful cookbook from Nina Parker is a feast for the senses and it’s a very lovely paring for the month of August. Nina is a very talented chef in her own right, but her memories, pictures and recipes of the South of France is a summery paradise.

_12890283.jpgThe Nordstrom sale lingered throughout August and I found these gorgeous sandals which basically as far as I’m concerned go with just about everything I own –



Young Essential Oils are the purest and most lovely oils I’ve ever come across. Summer and in particular August generally mean that there’s a house full. There are many opinions and beliefs and sometimes it takes a little acceptance to gracefully enjoy it all – which is where Young Essential Oils come in:)F5914_GR5971.jpgIf we’re lucky there could be some cool nights in August and that’s where a J Crew’s light Cashmere sweater comes in useful. I particularly love this lovely shade called spearmint sprig.


I feel calm just by looking at the jar –  wait until you use this utterly gorgeous body “souffle” infused with lavender and vanilla – it’s Heavenly:)

Happy August!