When Nature is Good for the Soul.

When Nature is Good for the Soul.

good for the soul 1

“And into the forrest I go to lose my mind
and find my soul”
-Anon-

On Sunday, I went for a country run, with my 8 year old daughter accompanying me on her bike. A quiet presence.
I love to have her with me as she is such a wonderful and silent companion. There is immense beauty in having someone you love close by – right beside you, without words.
I find it extremely comforting and assuring.
To be at rest with a dearly loved one, feels like a gift.
After my run we decided to cool down in the woods.
Our favourite walk, which loops right back to our barn and meanders through thick and lush woodlands, is called The Bluebell Trail. It is utterly stunning in the spring/summer seasons, with the most gorgeous meadows full of wildflowers, spilling over rocks and winding their way around tree trunks.
Green and verdant tree canopies arch their bulk and frame over rocky paths, creating an almost magical and still environment.

“And it’s in these moments of quiet and slow that I find my own pace again. I am reminded that busy doesn’t mean better.
I am assured that my steps need to be a little slower and less urgent”. 

Baby birds chirp loudly from their high nests, their parents busy at work, flitting to and fro their tree-top homes, with fat grubs and long worms hanging from their beaks.
Petite deer, with sweet little white dots on their backs, quietly and sure-footed peek from behind bushy shrubs. Ever so gentle and timid.

The ground is cool and soft underfoot. And the smell! A mixture of wild garlic shoots, cow parsley, delicate bluebells and sweet primroses.
This space feels like heaven to me. I catch my breath here and the buzzing world all around me is placed temporarily on mute.

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“Just 15-20 minutes two or three times a week, can reap enormous benefits”. 

And it’s in these moments of quiet and slow that I find my own pace again. I am reminded that busy doesn’t mean better.
I am assured that my steps need to be a little slower and less urgent. I remember that I cannot control everything and everyone.
And I become more aware of how small a cog I really am, amongst a much bigger and faster wheel.
It is my responsibility to slow my life, as well as my soul down. Because nobody else will do that for me.
They are too busy focussing on keeping all of their own balls up in the air.

“It feels as though nature is giving me a gift.
Completely free, no-strings attached.
A buffer to the outside world and momentary pause in my frequently tired brain.”

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In that instant – I feel calm wash over me like a soothing, aqua-blue wave, in perfect sync with it’s environment before it crashes onto the sand floor, sending up frothy white spray.
It feels as though nature is giving me a gift. Completely free, no-strings attached. A buffer to the outside world and a momentary pause in my frequently tired brain.

Did you know that a simple walk in nature can benefit your health in a huge way?
You don’t have to organise a gruelling hike or be outside for hours.
Just 15-20 minutes two or three times a week, can reap enormous benefits.
Here are a few health benefits to keep in mind next time you are feeling a bit blah. Hopefully it will encourage you to put your trainers on and hit the road for a boost of nature-goodness:

1. My absolute favourite! It boosts creativity.

By simply stepping outside, walking the dog or to the school gate to collect the children, you can improve your cognitive function and creative thinking skills. Plus the fresh air, I am sure, has a little bit of magic in it, as it makes me instantly breathe deeper, slower and calmer.

2. You can improve your overall health.

Being immersed in nature is crazy good for the immune system, helping to prevent sickness and other illnesses. Our bodies turn from “fight or flight” mode, which we often feel whilst cooped up inside doing chores or working. Being outside allows our system’s to relax.

Taking time in nature is tremendously important during cold & flu season, even though it often feels like a bit of a chore when it is cold outside! However it is SO worth it.
Has anybody ever come inside from a brisk winter walk and not had rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes and a huge smile on their face?


3. Lower cortisol levels.

When you are physically outside, walking on the earth, you can’t but help feel a connection to nature. Experts have named this ‘Grounding’ as it provides relieved tension with muscle soreness or headaches, which can promote a sense of calmness and yes as some studies show – even lessen cortisol levels (which cause stress).

4. Reduced inflammation.

Nature can even help your body to fight inflammation. Our bodies naturally become inflamed following certain aspects of life such as stress, poor diet, not enough sleep, etc. And extreme inflammation can lead to autoimmune disorders or even depression.
Being surrounded by nature instantly quietens the mind, allowing your body’s inflammation to organically settle a bit. Basically, there is no easier and cheaper way to increase your health than by opening your front door.

5. Enhanced sense of wellbeing.

In other words, a better mood!

When I was a child and being a bit grumpy or fighting with my older brother, my parents would often say “go outside and chase the monkeys from your back”.
I never understood why they thought I had monkeys on my back, but in effect they meant, go and run off your irritability and come back a bit happier!
And guess what? It actually worked. Often they would find my brother and I immersed in a pretend game of something outside and all of the previous grievances forgotten.
It’s truly hard to be grumpy when you’re surrounded by flowers, trickling water, or green trees.

Studies have shown that people living closer to or more in touch with nature have lower anxiety levels in general, which makes sense. Less traffic, more trees. Less waiting, more living.
And don’t despair if you live in a big city, as regular mini breaks amongst nature is still extremely beneficial. It just takes a little more organising ahead.

As Mary Davis is quoted as saying –

“A walk in nature, walks the soul back home”

And for me, that feeling of being walked back home towards a peaceful place, is therapy wrapped in green with a side of fresh air.

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Are you Stuck in the Sand?

Sitting in the Sand.


I found out this week that elephants like to throw sand over themselves after cooling down in the water. The sand protects them from parasites and also keeps the sun from burning their skin. When the little calves are sleeping, the adult elephants stand over their form to shield them from the harsh rays.

I feel a bit like an elephant lately. Not in size, but certainly in the area where I feel stuck in one place.
It’s frustrating, as I want to move forward into a new season but feel there is still growth to be accomplished in the sand.

The thing is, sand is uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how itchy those elephants feel after a soothing, cool wash to then be coated in gritty, scratchy dirt.

Sand is a bit like one of those friends who overstay their welcome at your house. It hangs around a lot and you find it everywhere. Under your toenails, in your armpits, up your nose. And whilst over-stayers don’t become stuck in one’s armpit, they can get up your nose and irritate you!

So here I am. Sitting in the dirt and wondering when the uncomfortable phase will end. It’s my intuition, that I will be here for a while.

The amazing thing about dirt, is that it is literally teaming with life. To look at it, it’s dry and dusty but the fact is that 20,000 pounds of living matter can be found within the top six inches of soil. And one tiny tablespoon has more organisms than there are people on earth.

In case you missed that – there is life in dirt.
Abundantly so.

And whilst I’m not enjoying digging my feet into the dirt, I can appreciate the life beneath me.
The perfect balance of nourishing goodness that naturally feeds and grows so much life in earth we can take for granted.

So – A Few Things I Have Learnt From Sand Sitting:

-1 Don’t be tempted to wash the sand off too soon.
Believe me, I’ve tried and it just means I am sand-free for a whole five or so minutes, and then right back in the middle of that dirty soil.
In other words, whatever is sticking to you in the sand, will stay stuck until you have dealt with it.

-2 Look at your sand-experience as a blessing – of sorts.
This is a hard one and I am by no means, an expert here.
What I do know though, it that there is a reason for being in the space you are in.
Yes, it’s not fair if you are there because of the actions of other people.
If your partner has called time-out or your children don’t want to listen or talk to you anymore, that can feel like a tonne of unjustified bricks have just been thrown your way. It seems really unfair and unwarranted and believe me, I totally understand those emotions.
As much as it may feel outside of your control, there is always, always an element of power that you can own.
Whether it is in time, understanding that you may have contributed to other people’s actions or you want to change how your future is shaped, take this time to deeply look within and discern what can be learnt from this space.
This also might mean admitting you have played a part and contributed to the situation.  I told you it was a difficult one.

-3 Try not to put a time-limit on dirt sitting.
If you are anything like me, I am impatient. I find it hard to sit still without jiggling my legs or wiggling my toes, so sand sitting can be torture!
I also like to plan, so telling myself that this period will last for a certain amount of days or weeks (I don’t even go there for months and years!) – helps me.
It also hinders my healing.
The reason is, because I put too much pressure on myself to recover and move forward and then when I don’t, I feel like a failure and very guilty at not being able to handle it.
Basically, see point one, and don’t try and force yourself to move on.
It just doesn’t work in the long-term.

-4 Don’t be embarrassed about the dirt.
Nobody wants to admit that they aren’t in a good place.
In this age of perfection, particularly within social media circles, we all want to show our sunny, happy sides, like the rest of the world is doing or striving to do.
However, we all know this isn’t real life.
Everybody, no matter who they are and how much money they have or don’t have, will go through dirt experiences.
Being honest and sometimes even vulnerable, can not only help your journey but also assist others who are facing similar trials.

It has often been said, that difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.
My dirt-digging experience has shown me, that although the soil is grey and ugly, it holds hidden treasures of nourishing goodness that I would be very wise to not ignore.

So, I am going to stay here for a while and dig my toes in a little deeper, whilst spending some time with The Gardener who I suspect has a lot to tell me.

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When Life Needs a Change of Direction

When Life Needs a Change of Direction

How One Small Gesture can Lead to Great Things.

“Sometimes one small gesture, can give you the strength to do enormous things.
A little generosity can unleash great tenderness.
Leading in time to deep, real love.
And a single conversation can change your mind, your life.
The world is no bigger than the people who inhabit it.
And together or alone, we are closer than we know”.
-Vanessa Redgrave-

I watched Episode 4 (Series 7) of ‘Call the Midwife’, on the weekend, and was touched by the truth of the above words. It reminded me of a moment that signalled a major change of direction in the course of my life and our family.

Just over six years ago in Australia, Matthew, my husband and I, were in Target, shopping for our daughter’s birthday, which happened to be the next day.
I remember feeling disappointed in myself that I had left it so late.
I had always been quite organised with the children’s birthday’s, often buying them gifts months before.
However, working three days a week and caring for six children, two of them twins who were still toddlers, was beginning to stretch me in uncomfortable ways.
I often felt overwhelmed with the daily challenges of caring for a large family, whose ages ranged from 18 months to 15 years.


And on this evening, running around the store, 20 minutes before they closed, I again felt that crushing weight of being too busy, fall heavily upon my chest.
And of me, wanting to step off the fast train I had found myself frequently boarding.

I was standing in the book department and happened to glance across at the ‘self-help’ and ‘inspirational quotes’ section. One of the books caught my eye immediately.
On the front cover was a sign-post.
It was the sort that I see all the time living in country Britain – the old-fashioned wooden types, often pointing to a public footpath that meanders across a field or through a wildflower covered woodland.

This signpost had two arrows in different directions.
One was the path of busyness and the other was the path of living intentionally slower.
Underneath the signs were these words –

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls”.
Jeremiah 6:16

Change in Life's Direction
Often people speak of an instant ‘knowing’ about something or someone. In my life, I have had those inner feelings on quite a few occasions.
This was one of those moments.

I knew that I knew, that I knew, our lives were about to change. Had to change.
We were at those crossroads, indeed standing right underneath them, within the harsh bright lights of Target.
And we had a choice to make.
I also knew it was going to be a truly difficult and gut wrenching life choice. Because it meant leaving my extended family.

I looked at Matthew and pointed to the front cover. He said, “I think this means we have to make a choice on where we live and how we live”
And I said, “I want to live in England”.

Change in life's direction
From that point onwards, we had a renewed focus and confirmed path set before us.

We wanted to be in the countryside, amongst green pastures and beautiful spring flowers.
For our children to grow up in Europe, embracing the diversity of cultures and the opportunities to travel and experience the world.
We wanted to bring our children up within a slower paced environment.
But most of all, we wanted to rid ourselves of all our material gain and live a simple life. One without so many distractions and one outside of the norm of our 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom new build home. In a rapidly growing housing estate, full of the same types of homes and gardens.
We wanted more!
Change in life's direction
I didn’t buy the book but I did buy a diary. In that diary, I documented our journey from that defining moment in Target – the small gesture which led to great things, to actually moving to the UK.

How is it that one small gesture can lead to great things?

This is what we did –

1- We made a solid decision and stuck with it – we kept our focus and began to strive towards the end goal – living in England.
2- We involved the children, daily. Speaking about our plans and allowing them to have their input and listening to their concerns and worries (of which there were quite a few, such as leaving family and friends).
3-We made small steps every day towards the end decision. This meant talking about moving, telling friends, sharing with family, selling our belongings, deciding on those things we deeply treasured, looking for employment.
4- We made the decision to not become despondent when it began to take a lot longer than we initially anticipated. A job was difficult to find from the other side of the world. Skype interviews were uncomfortable and we weren’t always familiar with the different counties of the UK. A lot of research was carried out in order to familiarise ourselves with each region of the UK.
5-We immediately chose to not wear our tinted glasses – as in – the grass always seems greener on the other side. In the case of England, I can safely say that the fields and hedgerows were exponentially more colourful (and green!) than Australia. However, that was only in nature and not in actual living.
6- Once our decision was made, we didn’t leave room for doubt. The diary I kept was a brilliant time-line of events and circumstances. Positive things people said to us about the move, encouraging signs and confirmations along the way. In other words, we kept our eyes and ears open to remain committed to our decision, despite many things not going accordingly to plan.

Change in directionJust over a year later, we arrived in England. Our new home was a sweet cottage, called Red Berries. It was surrounded by fields of produce growing. We had rose bushes and fruit trees in our garden. The children made a den under a big old apple tree and spent their summer days playing in the comforting shade of the branches. My soul started to breathe again. We gradually made friends and established a sense of belonging.

Maybe for you today, friend, you are looking for the signs as well.
Whatever your circumstances and situation, there will be a way forward.
Sometimes it’s a bit blurry and feels unsure doesn’t it? And you worry about making the wrong decision.
The thing is – there is no such thing as the perfect choice, only to keep your eyes open for the cues that are before you.
Look for those signposts – because they will be there.
That single conversation may change your mind, your life.

We chose the arrow that led us to here.
One small gesture, one tiny book cover in our case, can indeed give us strength to do enormous things.

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Do you want a Holiday in the Tropics?

Do you want a Holiday in the Tropics?


Yesterday, I was there!

On that tropical island.
It was practically deserted.
The sun was warm on my face, but not burning.
My body was relaxed, each muscle at rest. My mind still.
The waves were tickling my feet
and exotic birds were calling somewhere in the distance.

It was heaven.

I can see this scene play in my mind.
So clearly.
Even though I wasn’t there physically, I sure was mentally.
A dear friend of mine came to visit.
She didn’t realise at the time, the impact her visit had on my heart and soul.
You see, I needed some time to be me again.
Not mummy or babe, rescuer or foe, neither fierce nor faint.
I just wanted to be Catherine. For a little while.
And that’s what she allowed me to do.


She fed me. With kindness and the touch of her hands.
As well as information on how to care for my skin and in doing so, my heart again.
Because it’s so easy to get lost in – everything– and forget me!
We talked about using natural products to nourish and restore our bodies.
We delighted in the beauty of essential oils and how they made our hands feel divinely soft again, like they should feel, before being ravaged  by hard water and the elements.
As my dry skin soaked in the nutrients from the plant based, vegan creams and elixirs, I began to feel restored as well.
Of course, there is no miracle cream or cure for ageing.
We have to work with what we have and look after it the best way possible.

And moving forward, that’s what I vowed to do.

If five minutes a day is spent on caring for my skin and body, I know that will become the best five minutes, I can invest in the day.
Back into me.

I will be honest – I am extremely sceptical of most beauty companies’ claims about their products.
I don’t buy into it.
In fact, I’m pretty much not interested full stop.|
I find them expensive and frankly, all the hype that surrounds their outrageous claims of having younger, fresher and healthier skin, through their products solely, is tiring.
Way too much money is spent on packaging, marketing and flawed results.

Not to mention all the nasties that so many beauty companies hide from the general public. Click here for more information.

Tropics Skincare

Whereas, Tropics Skincare, impressed me straight off the bat.
And took me by surprise, given my skeptical heart.
Formed by owner/entrepreneur, Susie Ma, Tropics, is an example of passion, combined with integrity, that instantly caught my attention and my trust.
Susie’s upbringing in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, Australia, was also a winning factor. Being an Australian myself, I felt like we had a common bond through the amazing resources she was uses in her brand. The natural plants and botanical actives that inspire many of Tropic’s formulations, are testament to her Aussie heritage.

I am also a sucker for humble beginnings too.
At only 15, teenager Susie, began her demure journey making just one product, a homemade body scrub, which she sold at a stall in Greenwich Market, London on weekends.
She initially had no money to outlay and therefore used her creative brain to borrow stickers and spatulas from her school and doctors surgery.
On her very first day of trading at the markets, she completely sold out of her 50 pots of scrub.
And Tropics Skincare was born.
The collection now contains over 100 skincare and cosmetic products from innovative botanical makeup to luxurious skincare and body care, freshly made in their Surrey Beauty Kitchen.
A little cash injection and mentoring from Alan Sugar, a British business magnet and media personality, helped her along her way even more.

I have been shown all the benefits of Tropic’s ABC collection, after being the recipient of a gentle facial.
The ABC consists of their Smoothing Cleanser (which literally melts makeup off at the end of the day), Bamboo Face-wash, Vitamin D Toner (closes pores or for a quick refresh anytime) and the Skin Revive (which encompasses an astounding 20 fruit and flower ingredients).
As an added bonus, the Face Smooth is free with any ABC purchase, and is a brightening polish, containing almond oil, vitamin E and bamboo silica, to remove nasty dead skin cells.These treasures also contain the purifying aspects of Australian Aloe Vera, hydrating Jojoba Oil and an Aussie favourite – the The Australian Kakadu Plum, for a full skin detox.
I have to mention the Body Smooth Refreshing Polish, which I gently massaged into my hands. It contains a brightening polish of almond oil, vitamin E and sea salt. After the scrub was washed away in warm water, the oils lingered on my skin, feeling so incredibly soft and nourishing.

Plus their signature, essential oil blend of Lemon Myrtle, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Patchouli, Lime, Lemon and Spearmint is wonderfully priced at £10 for 5ml bottle, and perfect to diffuse or place a few drops in a soothing bath.

And finally, I am just in love with the lavender mist to spritz on bedding for a refreshing and soothing pick-me-up – at home or away. This smells absolutely gorgeous. I am a huge fan of lavender essential oils anyway and diffuse lavender daily, especially in the bedrooms at night. The light spritz is perfect for me to take away when I miss the smell and relaxing comforts of home.

 
These products don’t need any selling because they literally sell themselves with their pure goodness and authenticity. And my skin honestly hasn’t felt this good in a very long time.

If anybody is interested in a pamper session or would like a catalogue for more information, please contact via email, savory.sue@gmail.com

If you would like to learn more about the nuts and bolts of Tropics and speak to an Ambassador, here is Sue Savory’s personal link –www.tropicskincare.co.uk/shop/suesavory

As you can tell, I was enormously impressed with Tropics and would encourage you to begin your wellness journey through touching base with Sue and letting the products work their magic

This post has no affiliate association. I do not receive anything in return for this review.

 
 
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