Essential Oil Guide: The Basics

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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.

 

 


Space Clearing

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 


Meditation Spaces

 

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Photo credits Pinterest


London, 22 years ago!

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It was strange to be back in London (staying at  the My Chelsea Hotel) strolling down the street where I worked 22 years ago. In some ways it seemed like a blink of an eye – wheeling and dealing – making lots of money, laughing, drinking, having a ball. It was a career and it was super fun. It didn’t matter that I was typing up a rental agreement way after midnight after showing a string of properties – it made it all the more exciting. Furnished lettings in the 1990’s was all the rage in the fashionable areas of London – Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Belgravia – that’s where I worked – and ultimately where I met my husband!

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When I walked down the street where I used to work 22 years ago ,with my youngest daughter, now 15 years old, it was quite a flash back. If I hadn’t fallen in love with one of my American clients, moved to America and had four daughters – perhaps I would be running the company by now? Honestly it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility. Surely I’d be a partner at least. It’s strange how life works out. If anyone asks me what I’m most proud of in life – without any hesitation I would say my daughters. I”m so thankful for them. And yet when I looked at my old office and realized what could have been ……. could I have done both?? I would have liked to…. but in those days it wasn’t feasible from both sides of the Atlantic.

Now I’m just thankful that midlife is a chance to start over and build a career. There is no other time in history that has offered so much at midlife – it’s up to each one of us. What do we want? where do we want to go? Midlife is just beginning for each of us…. and the silver lining is we have the benefit of hindsight!!! We are no longer blinded by”love” but instead we can see what we need and want to do. We just need to buckle down and do it.

One year ago today I became certified as a yoga teacher – this is something I never thought would be a part of my life but when my teacher, a 23 year old yogini, constantly encouraged me to pursue what I loved – I did and I”m so thankful for it!

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For all you ladies and gentlemen out there – life really does begin again at 50 – or 60 or beyond – believe in yourselves and take step after step to be where you want to be:) It’s never easy – I don’t think it’s meant to be – but it is exciting – and at our age who cares anyway – there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain:)

Namaste:)

 


Coming Home to the South of England.

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To be back in England where I grew up in the countryside is such a joy! I manage to find a week or two most summers to come back “home.” I’ve lived in the States now for 22 years – raised my four daughters and carved out my yoga career so in many ways America is home but in my bones, in my heart and in my soul it will always be England. As soon as I step off the plane everything feels just right, everyone understands what I’m saying, every nuance is understood, it feels like everything is nicely aligned!

I’m here this summer with my youngest daughter and after spending a couple of days in London visiting old haunts – my old office and flat!!! we’ve come down to the country where everything is just the same. One of our favorite (American spelling now!) places is Cowdray Park in Midhurst, West Sussex. We watch polo, eat delicious local and organic produce at the nearby Cowdray Cafe, marvel at the gentle South Downs and listen to the wood pigeons cooing. It’s Heaven for us.

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It’s dangerous to go into the farm shop the produce is from the grounds at Cowdray, perfectly fresh – not a wilted lettuce leaf in sight!  We spend hours in here – it’s so lovely not worry about watching the clock:)

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The British adore their dogs – there’s nowhere in England that a dog can’t go! They’re very welcome at the cafe:)

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Gorgeous homemade cakes and dog biscuit cookies for everyone to enjoy.

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Flowers, herbs and produce from the estate.

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A too tempting selection of Neal’s Yard Remedies – I of course succumbed very quickly and bought a lovely hand cream.

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A snap taken of the ruins of Cowdray Castle – spooky but gorgeous!

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Generally when I arrive from the States I’m exhausted – after about 3 days in the country everything is reset. All the worries float away, all the things that seemed really important in America suddenly aren’t. England reassures me that everything will be ok:) Every time I’m back I promise myself I’ll spend more time here – maybe one day have a little cottage here and settle for a few months at a time – dividing my time more evenly between England and America – I can’t imagine how – but I’m just putting my stake in the ground!


Minimalist or Clutterbug?

844058598f914db2c0120a9cd924e6d5.jpgHave you noticed how decluttering is all the rage, decluttering your life, decluttering your house, decluttering your heart and soul! I’ve read that once you declutter your house you’ll naturally lose 10 pounds. Well I’ve been decluttering all summer long and sadly I haven’t lost 10 pounds but my home does feel a hundred pounds lighter. For years I was a reluctant clutterbug, never really wanting all the “stuff” that seemed to accumulate around me but never really addressed it either and so on it went until it seemed all too much and something had to change.

Midlife arrived at the same time, a new career, my children started leaving for college, it felt like there were monumental shifts happening in my life. What better time to embark on a major declutter. The surprising thing about decluttering is that once you get going it’s really hard to put the breaks on. You start realizing that you don’t need all those sample face creams that have been sitting in your bathroom drawers or half the amount of coffee mugs in your kitchen cabinet.

Then there’s  your closet – why is it full to the gills and yet there’s nothing to wear?? I think decluttering the closet has been one of the most liberating activities. It was time consuming, taking everything out, trying it all on and being brutally honest – (a girlfriend or a couple of daughters can help with this!) Which pieces do I really love? which look fabulous? which are a 10? then get rid of everything else. You only want 10’s in your wardrobe – then it’s a joy to get dressed 🙂

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Once you get into the kitchen, pantry and your home office all bets are off. Literally garbage bags have lined the driveway. I’ve lost count of the number of trips to Goodwill. With each garbage bag and each Goodwill drop off life becomes just a tiny bit less complicated. There’s literally less to deal with, which frees up more time for focusing on the things you really want to do instead of dealing with all the “stuff”. This is the crazy thing, less material possessions equal a richer life.

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So what are the golden rules of decluttering? I know them by heart:

  1. Live with what you LOVE. This is the most important rule. Hold the item, touch it, does it make you feel good? if so keep it, if not  – let it go.
  2. Get rid of things you haven’t used in over a year.
  3. Stop feeling guilty! any gifts that you don’t like have to go – donate them. This includes family heirlooms, if you really don’t like them ask other family members if they would like them. Perhaps they can be repurposed. I was given a dresser from my grandmother – I adored her and wanted to keep the dresser as I always remembered the dresser in her house but it just didn’t quite work in mine. In the end I took the top off the dresser and stored it and used the bottom of it in my hallway and it looks fantastic! I believe Grandma would love it too – but the main thing is I love it and it works in my house today.
  4. Let the “just in case” items go. Trust in the future rather than your clutter.
  5. Just moving around items is just moving around clutter – or as my husband likes to say “moving the chairs on the Titanic!”
  6. Take your time – this is an on going process. Don’t think this can be achieved in one weekend.
  7. Get rid of anything that’s broken and can’t be fixed asap!!!
  8. Sort through your mail immediately and get rid of all the junk.
  9. Digitize your photos – we had piles of photo albums of our kids that were beginning to look a little worse for the years – scan them and have them last forever and keep them safe:)
  10. Get rid of everything under the bed. I’m amazed to say we had a rug under our bed which I hated and my husband loved – all that disagreement right under our bed!

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It’s lovely to live with what you love. Look around your house, pick up each object  –  does it speak to you? do you love it? do you want to look at it every day? does it make you feel great? if so keep it and love it – if not pass it on to someone who will love it – take a trip to Goodwill:)

 


The Magic of Senior Yoga

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Today I taught a Chair Yoga Class to a group of ladies I’ve come to LOVE. It’s nothing fancy, just 8 or so ladies at a senior center who knew nothing about yoga a few months ago. Now they’re hooked. We talk about the importance of breath, of keeping our bodies moving but of course they teach me so much more than I can teach them. I’m not entirely sure what the average age is but there’s no one under 80. They’ve lived through so many triumphs and tragedies. They’re dignified, poised and have a wicked sense of humor, I’m just honored to spend time with them. Today one of my ladies told me she could now walk down the steps of the swimming pool all by herself, something she was unable to do a month or so ago before she started yoga. Another mentioned she used to have swollen and painful ankles, since she started doing yoga they’re SO much better.  And that’s exactly why I  love to do what I do.

For inspiration take a look at the worlds oldest yoga teachers. Tao Porchon-Lynch is 96 years young and just completed a stint on Dancing with the Stars! She’s the real deal, having started yoga when she was four years old, living in India and studying with the great yogis of all time. How blessed we are to have her still with us.

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Ida Herbert

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Ida Herbert is also 96, here she is still bouncing around in her leotard, still teaching. I find her inspirational and I hope you do too.

My oldest student is Antoinette, she’s 103 years old, an absolute angel and joins in with the yoga class every time:)  Did I mention I love my job?

 


Loving Yourself

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I never realized until I hit 50 how important self love is. Not in a selfish, narcissistic sort of way but in an inner strength sort of way. It’s a difficult thing to to master, so many of us were brought up in an environment where it was wrong to consider your own feelings over others and it was deeply frowned upon to “toot your own horn.” As a result we’re left with a belief that everyone and everything should come before ourselves. Over time that’s guaranteed to have a boomerang effect leaving us frustrated, angry and unfulfilled. Or at least that’s how it worked for me.

The more we deny ourselves our authentic true self – because we’re too worried about what other people would think or say, or we’re just too scared to go out and find it, the more unhappy and frankly useless we are to anyone else. Think how you feel when you’re around someone who has found their true calling and are living the life they dreamed of and built, they shine so brightly it’s a pleasure to bask in their glow. Now consider someone who is living life on the treadmill, denying themselves any glimmer of their true self, it’s a sad, dreary and depressing place to be – which one would you rather be around. I know there seem to be many valid excuses for not loving yourself and building the life you know you deserve. I know because I’ve rattled them off many times. Do these sound familiar?

I’m too old

I’m too young

I’m too fat

I’m too busy with my family

I’m not clever enough

That sort of thing doesn’t happen to me it’s not realistic

I’m not talented enough

I don’t have enough money to leave my job start my own business

I don’t know what I want anyway

My husband/wife would hate that

I don’t have time – I’m too busy with all the other dreary things I have to do

Dreams are dreams – not reality

I’m not a go-getter

I’ve failed at too many things I’m not taking the chance again

and on and on and on those pesky excuses go. But when you start to pay attention to yourself, when you start to meditate (for even a few minutes a day) when you dare to ask yourself what you really want and then even start to believe it can happen, when you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love and accept yourself, that you believe in you (yes, it’s important) strange things start to happen. Like you take a yoga teaching training course – or you learn a new language and go and visit that country, or you leave your frightful job and start your new business. And here’s the kicker – you’re a better person, you’re a nicer person because you’re not dragging around a cloud of doom and gloom living someone else’s life, instead you’re inhabiting the one and only true you, living the life you were meant to live.

I know this isn’t a quick fix, it’s a journey – a long one with many ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns. But it’s essential to start loving yourself. Meditate, thank your body for all it does, eat well, get enough sleep, take Epsom salt baths, clean your house of dirt and clutter and try to clear your mind. Then you ask yourself over and over what it is you want – then take action.

Love and hugs oxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 



4 books you should read.

Here are some books that will rock your world. From cooking up some amazing vegan meals, learning to say “Yes”, Healing your Life to becoming a Rich Bitch, this list has you covered. These are powerful books with powerful messages written by powerful women. Enjoy, learn and blossom.

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Just in case you’ve been living under a rock Shonda Rhimes is the creator and producer of How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. That should get your attention. Despite her fabulous success, Shonda HATES publicity and always said NO to glittering events – actually she said no to almost any event until her sister called her out on it. Shonda started thinking about her life and realized she really wasn’t that comfy in her comfort zone. In her touching and hilarious memoir she chronicles her year of YES and her unexpected transformation. It’s a must.

 

 

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If you only read one of these books  I would highly recommend Louise Hay ‘s “You Can Heal Your Life.” It’s quite amazing. You’ll probably end up reading it multiple times. She’s as real and insightful as anyone you’ll ever come across.

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Tara Stiles is pretty incredible! A model turned Yoga teacher – turned Yoga mogul – if that’s actually a thing. I LOVE her cookbook – I’m going to cook every delicious vegan recipe and hope I look like Tara as a result:)

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I first read Rich Bitch when I was starting my Yoga business and thank goodness I did. Nicole pulls no punches but somehow makes finances fun – really! I bought copies for my daughters and even they were impressed:) If you want to get your financial world together – read this!

I hope you get a chance to read all of these – snuggle up somewhere nice and warm, start reading and get an education!