My Top 3 Oil Diffuser Picks On The Market.

My Top 3 Oil Diffuser Picks On The Market

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oil diffuser

We have all heard about the essential oil revolution of the 21st century. No doubt you have a friend who sells them as an Ambassador or Partner of doTERRA or Young Living. The big guns of the oil industry. 
You may have been to an in-house essential oils class and I wager, you have definitely been approached by someone telling you all about the benefits and miracles of this hugely popular industry, encased in small amber bottles of therapeutic, oily goodness.

“At the time, I really loved Sudocrem and Vaseline
as a general fix-everything, go-to ointment.
They were my trusty peeps”.

I may sound a bit skeptical here and initially I was.
A friend of mine was a doTERRA Ambassador and carried around tiny vials of oils in a zip-up case, literally attached to the outside of her handbag, like a visiting locum’s briefcase.
If her daughter fell over, brushed a stinging nettle, had a headache or sneezed, one of those potent little bottles would be silently whipped out of the doctor’s bag and applied to the offending area.

“The oils proved to be more than a fad
and firmly cemented their worth,
not only in our home but also our hearts”.

And here is the honest part.
It kind of annoyed me. It felt a bit over-the-top. A tad too much.
I’m not a fad person or someone who finds alternative health options that appealing and I mean, at the time, I really loved Sudocrem and Vaseline as a general fix-everything, go-to ointment.
They were my trusty peeps.
We had been through a lot together – six children and their various scrapes, bruises, red bottoms, cracked nipples. I wasn’t ready to change camp just yet.

However, as I have mentioned here before, the proof of their worth and viability eventually won me over.
I am a result’s girl and using oils produced results, like healthy children, minimal bugs and a whopping 90% reduction in doctor’s visits and no more antibiotics.
I couldn’t argue with the facts, as stubborn as I am.
The oils proved to be more than a fad and firmly cemented their worth not only in our home but also our hearts. Our very healthy hearts, lungs and chests.

And of course, I did my research and realised that essential oils have been used for thousands of years, from cultures as far-reaching as Ancient Egypt and India. And that there are a significant number of modern scientific studies that support the theory that essential oils can be beneficial in a number of very real and quantifiable ways, as we discovered on our personal oil journey.

We began incorporating oils into our home about three years ago and we are still going strong with our love of the powerful droplets of nature. And whilst I don’t think I will ever be the sort of ‘visiting-locum’s-briefcase-kind-of-mama’, I adore diffusing oils in my home as well as wearing oil blends on our bodies.

Every day my home is filled with the therapeutic goodness of natural disinfectants and antimicrobial type oils that clean our air and protect our bodies. I have learnt along the way that certain oils such as tea tree, have been used for centuries to create the ambiance of a calm and safe space. We diffuse lavender for relaxation, peppermint and eucalyptus for a decongestant and even pain relief can be found in rosemary (who knew it had such potential other than just the Sunday lamb roast?)
By diffusing these oils into the air, we reap the benefits for hours without needing to reapply them onto our skin.


However, that said, I haven’t had the best of luck with oil diffusers and after spending quite a bit of money on ones that just didn’t last the distance, through trial and error and finally a lot of research, I can confidently say, these are my top three, all-time, fail-proof, best diffusers for the home.
It’s one thing to look at a product page on Amazon and read the reviews (like I did), but something entirely different to actually hold and use a diffuser in the home.

So to start us off, what exactly is an essential oil diffuser?

Essential oil diffusers are devices that are used to disperse essential oils into the surrounding air, as well as to add fragrance to a room without synthetic chemicals. They are also used in aromatherapy for a variety of therapeutic purposes.

My choice of diffusers is the ultrasonic type as they not only offer a chemical-free way to scent your space, but they provide the spa like atmosphere that goes hand in hand with the aroma.
Often ultrasonic vaporisers are equipped with colourful lighting and a variety of timer options and they are generally very quiet.

With ultrasonic diffusers, the majority of the mist is a water vapour, which means the scent does have a limited healing capacity. For our family however, we have seen such a marked difference in our health and immune system, I am confident in saying that the limited healing capacity hasn’t affected us at all. In fact, it has been the complete opposite.


Throughout my quest to find the top three, these were some of my considerations:

Firstly, I wanted to make sure that my diffuser was large enough to effectively cover the size of my open-plan kitchen/diner/lounge room. Most (high quality) diffusers include an estimated room size they are most effective in, so pay attention to this in the description.

Secondly, I realised that water capacity was important, along with the estimated operating time. I found with some of mine that I was constantly topping up the water level each hour or so, which was inconvenient. The operating time informs you of how long you can expect the oil scent to last in a room. Basically, bigger is better here.

Lastly, I wanted a diffuser that was super easy to setup (water, oil, done) as well as clean up. Plus I wasn’t keen on a noisy new house-member so that was another consideration for me when I researched. For me, quiet was a key factor.

There are a lot of essential oil diffusers available online. In fact, there are more than 32,000 essential oil diffusers available on Amazon alone! No wonder I purchased a lot of lemons before we struck oily success!

Here they are! The final three and my best pick of essential oil diffusers ever.
TOP PICK:

Coosa Glass Marble Diffuser 

SECOND PICK:

doTERRA_Petal Diffuser_web

dōTERRA Petal Diffuser

My second choice, as it has the backing of a multi-million company and the quality is undeniably excellent.

It is a simple two-piece design, a lavender bottom and pale top, that is made even easier by the fact that the top can be placed on the base piece in any direction, so it’s super easy to handle.
Whilst it is certainly not as aesthetically appealing as the Coosa Glass Marble diffuser, this little guy has strong merits to make it to my number two.
As ultrasonic diffusers release a cool mist into the air, this can help to add some humidity to the room. Brilliant if you have dry and painful sinuses, like me.

The Petal has a soft white light, which you can choose to have on or off whilst it is running. Once it has finished diffusing, the light will automatically turn off. I love this option and use it in the girl’s bedroom which doubles as a night light whilst they are falling asleep, however as they don’t require one all the way through the night, this works really well.

Again, the Petal is very quiet (perfect for sleeping times!!) when in use and the oil scents linger for around 30 minutes after it has been turned off.  It’s super easy to use with just two buttons on the front – one for the light and the other on/off.

The run time is four hours as opposed to the Coosa’s three.
The price is substantially more than the others and the warranty is only 90 days as opposed to other more extensive guarantees, however I would still recommend this as a solid starter diffuser, given its ease of use and good track record of operation.

FINAL CHOICE:

 

 InnoGear.

My final product and also Amazon Choice’s, highly recommended, well-priced product. At only £13.99, it sure is a very solid, budget buy.

I purchased three of these in August 2017 and can honestly say they have not missed a beat. Given they are very well used and pump out the oils and lovely soft mist for approximately 6-8 hours a day, I am super impressed with this product.
It is an excellent buy, especially for the customer who wants to dip their toes in essential oil use but not outlay too much money, because let’s be honest, those tiny brown vials are expensive!

The InnoGear has a working time of 4-5 hours under continuous mode and 11-12 hours under intermittent. Very impressive run time.
The mist will run continuously until the water barrel is empty.

It has seven different coloured lights, not my most favourite feature but I keep mine mainly on white, so it suits everyone.
I do love the fact though, that it doubles as a night light once again for the kid’s rooms.

This one is a really, really solid purchase and whilst I would also invest in the more flashy and pretty diffusers, for practical workability and affordability, the InnoGear is an absolute winner.

So friends, these are my top three and all winners in my book.

I would confidently recommend them to a first-time oily buyer or those who feel they want a change from their usual diffusers.
Happy shopping!



 

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Depression and Why We Love Our Blurt Boxes.

Blurt Boxes 5

Depression and
Why We Love Our Blurt Boxes.


“An empty lantern provides no light, self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly”

-Unknown-

It’s not easy to talk about depression or mental illness. Even with all of the awareness through social media and prominent public figures, openly talking about mental health, it’s still that one subject we feel uncomfortable discussing, let alone admit we are struggling with.

It’s so very much easier to speak of our physical health than what is going on unseen within our minds. A broken bone will eventually heal, a virus may take a while to recover from, even cancer, quite possibly the most dreaded disease in the world, has brilliant survival rates, is much easier to discuss than mental illness.

The World Health Organisation estimates there are more than 300 million people in the world living with depression right now. In the UK, 1 in 5 people experience anxiety and depression – with an 18% increase between 2005 and 2015.
And sadly, we’re seeing a frightening increase in rates of mental ill health in young people.

So what is it about mental health that we find so very difficult to address?
Is it because we can’t actually see with our own eyes the cause of such distress?
Is it because we simply don’t know enough about it and it makes us fearful to talk about?
Why is it so much easier to say you have the flu and need a day off, rather than you have spent the entire night awake, highly anxious, unable to sit or stand or verbalise how deeply unwell you really are?

Whilst, I am still muddling through these answers on a personal note myself, I do draw great comfort from a new Social Enterprise, called
The Blurt Foundation.
Blurt exists to make a difference to those affected by depression. Their aim is to help people understand depression and what it means for the individual. They offer support, a listening ear and advice from others who have suffered from mental illness in the past.
Their aim is to break down barriers and help people to broach this difficult subject with their close family and friends, as well as support the sufferer in the valley of depression.

Blurt Boxes 2
Tuning into The Blurt Foundation’s website is a bit like snuggling under a warm and soft duvet on a cold and miserable winter’s day. Gentle words of encouragement, easy to read information, assurance in the form of positive and affirming words, shine through each page.
Additionally, key and relatable content is sent out once a week to Blurt’s email subscribers, which are praised by their audience for making dark days feel just that little bit brighter.
Progressing towards an even deeper understanding of depression, Blurt works closely with medical practitioners, employers, schools and companies to share the message of what depression means and how those who are affected by it can be supported.
And the best part, is that their profits are ploughed back into the community they have chosen to serve: those affected by depression.

Click on Blurt’s ‘Get Support’ page and you will find charities and services who specialise in the various types of mental illness. I am particularly impressed by these links and the level of help that is available for the individual.

In short, this small but punchy and caring community, are spear-heading a pioneering movement into the understanding of depression and mental illness, like no other team in the UK.

On a personal note, our daughter, was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder late last year and through the Blurt Foundation, has begun to understand the importance of self-care and the need to educate herself on this often confusing and frightening illness.

Each month Blurt send out their BuddyBoxes, which are literally bundles of joy, comfort and happiness in a box. These boxes always seem to arrive at the perfect time each month, a little gift to oneself, with a different theme and accompanying complementary products.

Blurt Boxes 3
The latest May box, entitled ‘self-care isn’t sel-fish‘ focussed on the healing and affirming practice of building into oneself. Consisting of lovingly selected and thoughtful mini treats, all in a sweet fish-themed bundle.
Gorgeously scented ‘Gone Crabbing Essence D’Estuary Soap‘; sweet and soft ‘DOIY Fish Socks‘; divinely tasting ‘Kernow Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Spoon‘ hot chocolate treat and beautiful ‘Janelle Silver A6 Temporary Tattoos‘ (that actually work on your skin and don’t fade after one wash) serve as a reminder of self-care along with encouraging postcard prints & affirming quotes.Always packaged with great care and attention to detail, these boxes are very much anticipated each month by our daughter and indeed our whole family.

BuddyBoxes can be a lovely monthly treat for oneself or a special gift for a loved one who may be having a hard time. With various buying options to select, these boxes start at an incredibly affordable £12.00.
Blurt’s online shop has lots of other lovely treats including prints, colouring books, cards and mindfulness crafts. It is a nourishing act in itself, for the heart to wander through the pages of this lovely website. One with such passion for the individual, as well as the community.

You can check out all that The Blurt Foundation has to offer here.
Please note: I do not receive any compensation from this article and all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Blurt Boxes 4

 

 

 

 

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Why We Love Our Wooden Toys

wooden toys 1

Why We Love Our Wooden Toys

This is an affiliate post which has links to products from Amazon.
If you click the links and purchase products we receive a small
commission at no additional cost to you.


We have had little ones spanning over 20 years and at the very start of our journey, I realise we tended to follow trends or found ourselves influenced by the things our friends were buying for their children.

When we had our first, Lamaze featured heavily in our home, which focusses on tactile play through soft toys in bright colours.
With our second it was Fisher Price Little People Figures, very colourful and bright with an enormous range of items from birth onwards.
When we had our third, the Little Einstein toys and Baby Mozart CD’s were a huge hit at the time, using soothing music for sleep and quiet play, as well as music appreciation through toys.
By the time we reached four, five and six, we were pretty much done with collecting a plethora of stuff and went right back to basics, focussing on the timeless items that our grandparents and their grandparents spent hours playing with.

Wooden toys have indeed been trendy for decades, if not centuries and whilst there are a lot of cool, new educational products out there, there is also wisdom in sticking with the tried and trusted lines.  Even if companies re-image the organisation, colour or design of their wooden products, they still have the same classic feel as well as educational benefits that children have been enjoying for generations.

Five Reasons why we love our wooden toys:


-1  They are built to last.

Children can be pretty heavy-handed with their toys.  The mass-produced plastic lines just don’t stand the test of time or the remarkable strength of a toddler’s throw!
We wanted our children’s wooden toys to last and be passed down through the generations.  Given their solid craftsmanship, it is hard for them to be damaged beyond the usual scratches or dents.
They are easy to clean and provide years and years of play in various different forms, from infants onwards.

We once purchased an old and very simple, wooden wine crate, that had been been given some love by an elderly gentleman, who lived in our neighbourhood.  He painted it a lovely sage green and placed four sturdy wheels on the bottom, fastened a piece of thick rope through two holes in the front, and presto it was transformed into a perfect wagon for our kids.  That wooden box received so much use and love over the years.  When the twin’s were little, they adored being pushed all around the house in their vroom car, their squeals of delight still a wonderful memory for us all.  It has been a doll’s bed, a lego storage box, a mobile library, a container for potted plants and now it is perfect for keeping the kids art supplies all in one place.  All from one simple renovated wine cart that an old man had sitting in his shed for years and years.

I just love toys with a story and a bit of history, which is why wooden ones have been such favourites of ours over the years.


-2  Wooden toys grow with your child.

We use wooden toys for learning-through-play.  Our investment has been in education as well as fun. We therefore wanted to purchase items that were versatile enough to grow with our children.  Our toddlers and pre-schoolers have engaged in simple imaginative play and basic manipulation with wooden toys, and the older children began to incorporate wooden toys in more complex scenarios, which can be worked into discussions concerning geometry and physics for example.  They are excellent problem solving tools and a wonderful base for learning and so brilliantly versatile, as they connect with a broad range of ages and ability levels.

-3  Wooden toys build imagination.

If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you will know that I am a huge fan of imaginative play.  When our twins were in Year One (for a brief time in a public school), their teacher instructed them to “put on their school minds and leave their imagination at the school gate”.  Pretty soon after that conversation, we decided to home-school the girls and throughout the next 18 months,  I used every opportunity to encourage them to use their imaginations.
Thankfully, they hadn’t been at school long enough for their wonderful, magical minds to be hindered in any way.
We would make up stories together whilst out walking in the country and picking flowers became a wonderful game of looking for fairies underneath small blooms or leaves.  We left the pixies and elves little notes, made out of pressed flowers and went on adventures to try and find them food, whilst dreaming about the types of places they would choose to live in.
I honestly don’t believe there is a greater gift that you can give your children, than the ability to expand their mind through imaginative play.

Albert Einstein explains it this way

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

In this vein, we have found that wooden toys have given our children the ability to improvise.  Whilst some wooden toys come in the shape of vehicles, food or common household items, they still encourage children to use their imagination to incorporate them into learning and play.  Other wooden educational toys come in basic shapes, such as sticks, blocks, arcs, triangles and circles.  These allow children to really explore their uses and come up with creative ways to incorporate them in different subject areas.
For example, we experiment in physics through building different structures with the wooden toys that balance and work together like a machine.  And geometry through manipulating certain shapes to create their own geometric patterns.


-4  Wooden toys are safe.

Wooden toys are designed to be safe and won’t break easily, as mentioned above.  There are no sharp edges or small pieces that can snap and they are generally non-toxic and made from natural materials, which means children can chew or suck on them safely.  And you don’t have to worry about polluting your home with plastic chemicals or any choking hazards.  For me, personally, this was a huge comfort, as safety in the home with toys was always a concern to me as a mother, particularly choking.  I felt much calmer knowing that the items my children were playing with were sturdy and certainly not able to be swallowed.

-5  Wooden toys are not very noisy.

Again, any of you who know me well, would appreciate I have a very low noise threshold!!  In fact, I am so adverse to loud noises, I can’t even cope with having the television volume up high.  My children’s reading skills have developed quite quickly through exposure to the subtitles across the screen.  Always a silver-lining to our quirky anxieties hey!
For me, there isn’t anything more beautiful than a quiet home. Kids happily playing their own games without the distraction of noise, which is the beauty again, of wooden toys.  Children cannot accidentally leave a wooden toy running and parents don’t have to be exposed to incessant beeps and sirens as their kids play.   It is a much nicer environment to be in, listening to the gentle sounds of my children’s voices and laughter, as they interact with their wooden toys – quietly.


And let’s not forget the simple beauty of wooden pencils!!  As an adult, I still experience the same thrill, as I did a child, at the thought of brand new pencils.  There can’t be anything more satisfying than holding a bunch of these timeless beauties – the woody smell, the mixture of rainbow colours and the perfectly sharp tips of un-used pencils, always, always makes my heart happy.  Which is why I am a total sucker for buying my kids a new set of these treasures whenever I have an excuse.  My said excuse being whenever we take a plane trip – nothing like a fresh notepad and colouring pencils to keep the kids happy for ages.  Not to mention, the same on Christmas morning, however that’s a slightly selfish move on my part to delay being woken too early.  Those luscious colourful sticks do me a big favour and keep the little one’s early morning wake-up, at bay for an hour or so.


This is just a few reasons why we love wooden toys so much.  I could write pages and pages about their benefits.  I certainly appreciate that whilst wooden toys may cost more than a lot of the mass-produced items, they come with such incredible value.  Rather than purchasing something with a set purpose and limited use, wooden toys have the potential to last for years.  These timeless treasures, will be the ones your children return to again and again. I am sure, like us, they are also the ones that remain in your children’s rooms and on their shelves for many, many years.

In the spirit of sharing the wooden toy loves, I have selected 20 of our top-picks from Amazon that will definitely start you on your wooden toy journey.  We already have quite a few of these items which is testament to the longevity of these investments.

Our choices range from newborn right up to 10 year olds. Believe me, it was very difficult to stop at just 20!
I hope this gives you a little insight into the wonderful world of wood for your little loves.
Next time you feel tempted to buy the latest gadget or trending item, stop and think of the other alternatives. They become more charming with age, love and use.

So much more than a toy and definitely a step towards a precious heirloom.

Our 20 Top Wooden Toy Picks from Amazon.

 

wooden toys1. Wooden Camera
2. Wooden Winter Vegetables
3. Wooden Abacus by Melissa and Doug
4. 6 Wooden Play Eggs in Carton by Decent Gadget
5. 24 piece wooden blocks train
6. Wooden Teether Necklace Octagonal Beads
7. 10 Piece Wooden Tool Box By Viga
8. Tangram Jigsaw Tetris Puzzle
9. Deluxe pounding bench wooden toy
10. Peter Rabbit Skittles by Orange Tree Toys
11. Grimm’s Spiel und Holz Design Wooden Rainbow
12. Wooden push along lion by Orange Tree Toys
13. Noah’s Shape sorter Ark By Le Toy Van
14. Wooden Kitchen Accessory Set-Pots and Pans
15. Grimm’s Spiel und Holz Design 12 Wooden Rainbow Peg Dolls
16. Wooden Brain Teaser Puzzle
17. Noble Kitchen by Viga Toys
18. Wooden Forest Stacker by Le Toy Van
19. Wooden Baby Teething Silicone Beads
20. Grimm’s Spiel und Holz Design Conical Tower

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Tea.

Whittard’s of Chelsea

Let’s talk about tea for a moment.

 

 




When my husband and I lived in Australia, we tried to fly to the UK to visit his family at least once a year.
I was very fortunate to work for an airline company which enabled us to make the long journey across the world quite frequently.

One crazy Christmas we decided to surprise his family, embarking on a mad three day visit, departing Australia on Christmas Eve and touching down at London Heathrow very quietly so as not to wake sleeping children, just as Father Christmas was putting his reindeers to bed and warming his sore feet in front of a cozy fire.

We hid behind the toilet door as my mother and father-in-law arrived at my brother-in-law’s place for Christmas day dinner.
My poor mother-in-law was so shocked she was unable to breathe for a few minutes and we feared we had caused her a heart attack, albeit a happy moment, seeing our beaming faces peer around the toilet door, but an enormous surprise.

We left the day after Boxing Day. Our trip so short we didn’t have time to suffer jet lag. Our bodies so confused as to the actual time zone we were in.

Even on that speedy visit, we managed a quick trip into London to visit my most favourite tea shop in the world, Whittard’s of Chelsea.


I remember my first ever purchase at Whittard’s – a sweet little teapot for one with a matching cup and saucer. Perfect for solo moments of being still and quiet, whilst clutching a good magazine and a square of buttery shortbread.

I love a company with rich history and Whittard’s does not disappoint in this area.
Back in 1886 a man called Walter, who along with a fondness for sideburns, crinolines and cucumber sandwiches, had a passion to source the finest quality tea, coffee and cocoa from across the globe.

Amongst the gas lamps that lit the city streets and horse-drawn carriages, Walter, at the tender age of 25, set up shop on Fleet Street. Walter’s true passion was revealed through the special blends he developed for his customers, showing an entrepreneurial knack for the art of infusion and the ability to pair unique tea tastes to even the most cultivated palates of his gourmet customers.


From humble beginnings, Walter’s dream grew into the amazing empire that is Whittard’s today, still with the same passion and individuality for bespoke tea infusions, coffee blends and sweet treats.

My love also hasn’t waned for this very special tea business, who continue to display brave new brews as well as utterly gorgeous and classic chinaware.

I can never quite manage to walk past Whittard’s without popping in to try their sample teas, always hot and often different each time. Their hot chocolates quite simply divine, is an absolute favourite with my children.
Just recently their exclusive Easter hot chocolate line of the popular and tangy key lime pie, has been transformed into a creamy white hot chocolate brew. A delicious, smooth concoction that is bright green in colour with a citrusy kick on the tastebuds.


And if you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland, you will love their entire Alice collection which ranges from their divine Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortbread biscuits, starting at £7, through to their Wonderland Tea Selection, consisting of citrusy Earl Grey, Floral English Rose tea and classic English Breakfast at just £12.



If you want to truly spoil a loved one or be spoilt, their White Rabbit Hamper, whilst more pricey at £91, is an absolute indulgent treat. A gorgeous wicker hamper packed with a limited edition teapot and mugs featuring the White Rabbit himself and three adorable mini caddies of mixed teas.

There is too many lovely things to unpick and I would therefore recommend you click here to their website or take a trip into one of their stores dotted throughout the 55 locations in the UK, notwithstanding their 40 international stores.

There is sure to be a treat for everybody on your Easter gift list. If you spend £50 you are also entitled to a free gift of your choice of chocolate biscuits or chocolate tea, using the promo code EASTERCHOC.

And if you are anything like me, there is nothing better than a hot brew, a buttery treat or a creamy hot chocolate.
Don’t hesitate my friends, make it a Whittard’s of Chelsea coloured spring with a dash of Alice.

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Lily’s Kitchen the Perfect Pet Food & Snacks

Lily’s Kitchen the Perfect Pet Food
& Snacks.

“Handle every situation like a dog.
If you can’t eat it or play with it,
just pee on it and walk away”.
‘Unknown’

We took our labradoodle out yesterday for some retail therapy at our local Pets @ Home.

If I ever want a bit of socialising, I just take Queenie out for a spin and watch her delightful nature attract attention.
It didn’t take long for a lovely lady to stop and pat Queenie’s head and tell her she was incredibly beautiful and wasn’t she “just the sweetest labradoodle ever”.


My mind cast back to the times when Queenie used to chase the chickens, eat dead birds whole, consume poop bags, run after cars and ingest whole table legs, and for just a moment I thought – you didn’t know her when we weren’t friends!
It was a long and agonising relationship. Touch and go for a time.
I wasn’t sure we would make it to be fair.
Except we thankfully did make it and yes, she is gorgeous – now.
But it was a rough ride for quite some time, when I would only ever refer to her as “that black dog”.

I would like to be a dog actually. Sleep, eat, play, repeat.
I could handle that on a daily basis. And if none of those needs are met, I would just pee on and walk away.
Simple and uncomplicated.

Yet we complicate things. Us humans.
Especially with dogs, according to dog behaviorist/dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, “Life is simple. Dogs have no material needs, they just enhance the beauty of togetherness”.

Of course, we would never approach a random stranger, tell them how cute they are and ask to pat their head.
Or heaven forbid, sniff their bottom.
That’s just awkward.

But dogs – they break down barriers. Keep it simple and become magnets, between people and animal.
They are wonderful ice-breakers, fabulous companions, kind-hearted and so very faithful.

It is for this very reason why animals and especially dogs, wiggle their way into our hearts, and stay their forever.
And also why we want to give our pets the very best nutritious food on the market.

Lily’s Kitchen

We have long been a fan of Lily’s Kitchen for Queenie as well as our four cats.
I don’t know any other product that literally makes Quennie drool the minute she sniffs it.
Gushes of water on the floor, slobber hanging from her mouth. She loves Lily’s Kitchen so much – it has an immediate effect on her salivary glands.
Gross but true.

Lily’s Kitchen create naturally delicious, wholesome food which is packed full of wholesome ingredients.
I like the fact that I can actually see pieces of vegetables in their products and they don’t smell like mass produced dog food.
The smell doesn’t put me off.
I think I could actually eat it too – and not die or start barking (not recommended obviously!)

Lily’s Kitchen have very appealing packaging, in lovely colours that remind me of mulberries, blackberries, cherries and sunny exotic fruits.
And they have a huge range of goods to suit all types and sizes of dogs.

Our favourite, aka Queenie’s most-drool worthy bites – are the mini treats.
Their Famous 100% natural Bedtime Biscuits with nutritious honey, probiotic yoghurt and soothing chamomile and passion flowers,  smell seriously divine.  A perfect little nibble to give your dog at the end of the day.
And whilst, I am not a fan of beef liver and wouldn’t care to eat it for tea, Lily’s Kitchen Rise & Shine nibbles, with said liver, fresh carrots (you can see) and botanical herbs are oven cooked until golden and crunchy. Cue drooling – not me, my dog.
These little power-packed biscuits provide a wonderful range of vitamins and minerals, as well as alfalfa sprouts and turmeric micro-nutrients.
They look so appealing (for the benefit of owners like me who like all things aesthetically pleasing), shaped into mini flowers, enriched with back-strap molasses, giving them a deep caramel hue.

And I will let you in on a secret.
Lily’s Kitchen have snack bars for dogs that are packaged like muesli bars and look like little pieces of chocolate.
I can’t tell you the amount of times, I have glanced at the packaging and wanted to eat it.
It’s dog food! I know right!

Queenie absolutely loves their Sun Shiny Day bar with banana, papaya, sunflower seeds and dandelion root.
The strap line is “perfect for pockets and busy dogs”.
And it seems owners who forget to eat and grab one for the road.
Just kidding. Don’t eat it.
Although if you did, I wager it would taste really good.

 

This post is an affiliate post and should you purchase Lily’s Kitchen products through the links we will be paid a small commission 

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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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A Taste of Hygge in the Country.

A Taste of Hygge in the Country.

The term Hygge or Hyggelig has become hugely popular recently.
Explaining what Hygge means exactly, isn’t particularly easy though.
Hygge has been called everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy’, ‘cosiness of the soul’, and even ‘the absence of annoyance’.
Hygge is all atmosphere and experience, rather than about things.
The focal point of Hygge is connection, being with the people we love.
It is a feeling of home, safety and comfort.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, there is an Institute called The Happiness Research, which focuses on well-being, happiness and quality of life.
I may have missed a trick in my life, not acquiring a job at this Institute.
Surely, working there would be the best place in the world?

If you aren’t aware, Denmark as a country, consistently ranks amongst the happiest nation’s in the world. Why is that?
The country itself faces the same challenges as we do here in the UK.
It is a question that has been asked often of the Danes, me along with them. Why are they so happy?

I mean, they have the most horrific weather, to begin with, plus the citizens of Denmark are subjected to some of the highest tax rates in the world. So, what gives?
Yet despite these seeming negatives, and according to the European Social Survey, Danes are indeed the happiest people in Europe.

This is what I discovered –
Danes have a healthy and positive thought pattern towards their high tax rates, namely they are investing back into their own society, purchasing quality of life, looking after the welfare of their people.
They refuse to dwell on the negatives and instead, strive to see the good in their actions.
Impressive.
In addition, to that virtuous list is of course – Hygge.
The Danish recipe for happiness.

Hygge’s focus on ‘well-being’, equates to me, caring for one’s soul, nourishing the good and extracting the bad.

It’s soft lighting – a lot of it, good food, slow conversations, many candles, silence, cozy throw rugs and observing the rhythms of nature.
Fluffy socks tucked under one’s body whilst being lulled to sleep by a purring cat, cradling a warm drink, being with your peeps and practising the art of listening.
A hundred different things, but most of all, it is not rushed.

I just adore everything that represents Hygge and all it stands for in my family’s quest for slow living.
Time and time again, I am drawn back into the gentle embrace of practising Hygge.
A conscious decision to retreat and surround oneself with calm.
Contentment follows as a natural course of action.
Hygge happens without one realising it.

As a treat for my birthday late last year, my husband surprised me with three Hygge gift boxes, from the UK based The Little House of Hygge.
And whilst Hygge is not about stockpiling more stuff, this little monthly heart deposit is a luxurious reminder to practise the art of Hygge.
Beautifully packaged by hand, the items inside reflect the Company’s desire to press into Hygge in our every day.

This month’s lovely haul, all in soft, muted tones, was a lemon & mint candle from the Edinburgh Candle Company. Delicately scented and backed with a powerful company ethos. Their focus being on enabling vulnerable women who face barriers to work, gain a footing within the working field. This is a not only an environmentally responsible company, but also an ethical one. I would happily indulge my copious candle addiction from this company. Definitely a win/win from all sides.


A delicious bar of Creighton’s Chocolaterie, Botanic Refresher, dark chocolate with elderflower and sharp lemon pieces (divine!). A double-treat for my soul and body, with all the goodness of that pure cocao bean, presented in the most divine package. I literally ate with my eyes, even before I dived into the noir squares.

An organic cotton, fair-trade, string bag, from Turtle Bags UK. Promoting a strong movement towards reducing plastic wastage and pollution in the home, with the added bonus of an on-trend crochet/retro look. Perfect for a quick market-day fruit and vegetable shop and small enough to fold and place in one’s handbag.

A gorgeous smelling, 100% all natural, all purpose tincture spray, from Tincture London. The alluring scents of Sage, Clove and Juniper. I am already a huge fan of essential oils. Therefore I’m thrilled to find a UK based company, driving a holistic approach to cleaning, using essential oils for their amazing antiseptic and healing properties. It takes cleaning to a whole new level!

And lastly, KeepCups Chai, already have my heart as an Australian, as they originated in Melbourne in 1998, a year after my first child was born! I respect their desire to reduce the amount of packaging waste. In particular a cup of coffee, which is often knocked back in less than 15 minutes and then discarded within our ‘to go’ environment. Their range of colours and sizes, notwithstanding the adorable names of each individual cup, is incredibly impressive. I love the fact I can take my double espresso with me, whilst out walking with the kids and Queenie.

My children called Hygge – ‘hug’ – and for me it is like a warm embrace.
They say you know you are practising Hygge, when you feel it and through this long English winter, I have felt Hygge more and more each day.
I have also been intentional in seeking it and appreciating the golden Hygge moments.

This morning, it was waking to the smell of smoky bacon sizzling on the hob, an insistent shaft of sunlight pushing its way between the grey, drizzly clouds and the gentle smile of joy on Martha’s face as she dressed up in readiness for a special coffee date with her mama.

The more Hygge we create, the more I want to capture it’s essence and hold onto it with both hands – happy, calm, safe, peaceful.
Yes and thank you, the welcome mat is out and the coffee brewing.
Come on in and please don’t ever leave.

Please Note: I have not been paid for this post.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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