Essential Oils, Lifestyle

Fall in love with fragrance

It is the first of October and I am officially drinking nothing but Pumpkin Spiced Lattes until January 2020. Anyone else? I am also equally obsessed with having my home smell like fall, but this year without the toxic chemicals.

During Autumn/Winter the air quality in our homes plummet as we close the windows, crank up the heating and crack open the scented candles. Yes even your favourite mulled wine ones.

Why? Because candles, reed diffusers, plug ins and aerosol air fresheners release synthetic fragrances and petrochemicals into the air. Because we are ventilating our homes less in the colder months, these chemicals fill our homes, fill our lungs, penetrate our fabrics and are absorbed into our blood stream. They enter ever fibre of our being, often affecting children, the elderly and animals the most.

Chemicals cause chaos in our bodies, sending our skin, our respiratory system, and our hormones into a tail spin as our body deals with the toxicity. And all for the sake of a sweet fragrance in the hallway.

When we know better, we do better, and I want to share with you how you can freshen your home effectively with nature.

Since 2017 we have been ditching and switching everything from cosmetics to cleaning supplies, and we have never felt better. We replaced my much-loved scented candles with a diffuser also replaced our bleach and surface sprays with plant based products.

We control what comes into our homes and onto our bodies, and onto our loved ones. If you want to know more about going chemical free please message me I would love to help you ditch the junk for good.

R x

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Lifestyle, Parenting

Dear Harry and Meghan

Two days in to being parents, congratulations! The adrenalin is still running, hormones flowing, body aching and heart bursting. You are besotted with your beautiful boy and cannot bear to take your eyes of him for fear of missing something. Netflix has nothing on watching a newborn sleep.

Any parent will tell you that raising children is the most exhilarating and exhausting, beautiful yet bewildering role they have ever had. Being a mother was, and still is, my greatest ambition and my greatest achievement. But it has not been without its challenges, namely around maternal mental health, which was overcome with a lot of love, faith, prayer and communication.

I want to encourage you both that you have a winning formula to start your new role as parents. When we watch you in public, we see warmth, love and respect, a genuine affection for one another that overrides the world around you. This love, this bond is your greatest source of strength as you navigate your new normal.

To any new parents I say this; keep checking in on each other. Sleepless nights can strain solid marriages, teething tests a mother’s bond to breaking point and tantrums can make the most patient parent tear their hair out. These seasons of motherhood are messy and miraculous.

It’s normal to find the days long and the nights longer. It’s natural to go into survival mode as the days blur from one to another in the early weeks and months. My advice to all new parents is to keep looking at one another. Keep locking your gaze and speaking words of love, encouragement and understanding through your eyes in the way that only couples can. Talk often and openly about everything and anything.

Be patient with each other, hold hands, hold your tongue and hold on for the ride. And above all, trust God as you embark on the best role there is.

Enjoy every minute.

R x

Photo Credit: Chris Allerton ©️SussexRoyal
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Essential Oils

Seasonal Support

Spring is in the air, which means so too is the pollen! Tree blossom can cause havoc this time of year, so if you are someone who is typically affected then read on.

Essential oils can offer incredible support to those who suffer with seasonal symptoms. Why? Because they support our bodies at a cellular level. There are many single oils and oil blends that support the respiratory system and the immune system, two systems which are so often aggravated by seasonal changes. Although essential oils cannot cure, they can massively support the symptoms you experience.

You can enjoy the benefits of essential oils by inhaling them (aromatherapy) or applying them with carrier oil (topically) or ingesting them (internally)*. Just one drop of essential oil contains 400 million trillion molecules. These molecules are so tiny and so powerful that once inhaled or absorbed, they will cover every single cell in your body within 20 minutes. They can even cross the blood/brain barrier into the thinking/feeling part of your brain known as the limbic system. This is why essential oils are so effective in supporting our emotions and mental well being.

So which essential oils support seasonal changes?

Lavender

This essential oil is soothing and calming to the respiratory tract and also the skin. Apply topically with carrier oil to the chest or neck to ease any seasonal discomfort.

Lemon

Lemon is detoxifying, cleansing and supports lymphatic drainage. This oil is also highly mood boosting. Diffuse with Peppermint for the ultimate morning pick me up combo.

Peppermint

The menthol in this oil is incredibly powerful for awakening the senses and opening the airways. One drop on the back of the neck supports breathing and head discomfort. You can also use Peppermint+ in your water for a refreshing drink that soothes and supports.

R.C.

Also known as Respiratory Care, this blend of three eucalyptus plants and lavender is a must to support breathing. Diffuse at night to support a restful sleep or mix with coconut oil to make a chest/foot rub.

Purification

Dust and spores can cause problems for allergy sufferers, so use Purification to cleanse the air in your home. This blend contains rosemary, tea tree, citronella, lemongrass, lavandin and myrtle. Diffuse throughout the season alone or with lemon for a fresh, clean fragrance in your home.

There are many more, but these are the key essential oils we recommend. I take my seasonal roller bottle with me everywhere this time of the year so I can get all the oily goodness on the go!

Seasonal Support roller

Lavender EO 5 drops
Lemon EO 5 drops
Peppermint EO 5 drops
Purification EO 5 drops

add to a 5ml Roller Bottle and top up with carrier oil

You can get a free Young Living account and buy individual essential oils at 24% off, or you can grab a Premium Starter Kit which includes all the above oils plus eight more, a medical grade diffuser and more! Click here to select membership with or without a Premium Starter Kit.

For more information on seasonal support or to get hold of these essential oils, please get in touch. 

R x

*Please note, that Young Living are the only company to have a line of essential oils known as Plus Oils (UK) and Vitality Oils (US) for internal use that pass the stringent regulations.

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Faith

Why there is power in pruning

I am no gardener. One look at my forgotten borders will tell you that. However once or twice a year I will get a sudden surge of enthusiasm to trim edges and plant bulbs in the hope that something beautiful will burst forth in the summer months. So, it is of little surprise to me that my blooms are never anywhere near as impressive as those of my neighbours, who have lovingly tended them.

We have a lovely rose bush in our garden that is climbing up a trellis, and one year my mother in law cut every single flowering head off and put them in a vase. As beautiful as they were on my windowsill, I was horrified that she had butchered my beloved rose bush. I was convinced that my plant would not survive the massacre, much less ever flower again that year, yet the roses came back three fold a few months later.

I had never understood the importance of pruning until now. You see pruning isn’t just a way to control growth, it is the way to increase it. By pruning a rose, you cause the plant to produce a growth hormone called auxin which helps it to grow to its optimum. Pruning strengthens the very vines that connect it to its life source, the stem, so that when they grow and flower they are able to bear much larger, heavier blooms.

Pruning isn’t just a way to control growth, it is the way to increase it

2017 was a year of pruning for me. We voluntarily stepped back from ministry as we focussed on our family, but the stepping away felt more like stripping away. Who was I if I wasn’t a worshipper on the platform? Who was I if I wasn’t a pastoral leader looking out for our area? Or preaching on a Wednesday morning?  Who was I if I wasn’t ‘known’ or ‘seen’ by others? I truly believe that my heart to serve has always been from a place of authenticity, and a desire to make Jesus famous, not myself. But when all the ‘stuff’ was stripped away, I felt exposed, vulnerable and a little lost.

I am a ‘do-er’ by nature. My strength finders list includes activator and achiever, and I like to muck in and get my hands dirty. Even being a stay at home mom, my ultimate life dream isn’t enough, and I run two businesses to keep my mind busy and my bank account in the black. My husband says I can’t sit still for two minutes and he is right. I am constantly flitting from one thing to another, and frequently have two or three tasks on the go at any one time much to his annoyance. But as I gradually reduced my tasks and increased my time, panic crept in.

Don’t panic in the pruning

Stepping away from gifts that I loved was like watching the full blooms of my roses being cut down. I know they are still there, but I wanted them to be connected to the vine, not placed in a vase. I never feel more alive than when I am serving in the house of God, either in worship, preaching or in pastoral care, and I found myself frustrated at serving in my home instead. The pruning season felt painful; I didn’t feel free, I felt like a fish out of water. No longer ‘busy’, I had too much time on my hands and too many thoughts in my mind. I found myself questioning my destiny, my purpose, God’s plans, and during these times of sadness and self-pity I was forced to sit and be still.

Be still and know that God loves me.

Be still and know that I am loved regardless of how or where I serve. That I am perfectly positioned in His will, right here, right now. That my purpose in the Kingdom of God is as important on a platform as it is in a playdate. That my service to my children and my husband is as valuable as any song I could ever sing, or any sermon I could ever write.

And as I rest in the stillness, the pruning season will ensure that my branches are stronger than ever so that I can grow new shoots and produce better blooms.

Pruning prepares for producing

I don’t know what season this finds you in. Perhaps your blooms are budding, waiting to explode in glorious technicolour, maybe you are already in flower, displaying your gifts and fragrancing the world with your own unique aroma, or perhaps your petals are beginning to wane, and you are bracing yourself for the dead-heading. Wherever you are, know that God is working. He is cultivating the ground where you are planted. He is watering the seeds of your faith. He is tending to your shoots and leaves, and He is removing the dead-heads so that they don’t block the Son.  You are standing in the light of Jesus, connected to the vine, and as the ultimate gardener, He will remove what isn’t necessary to strengthen you for the next season.

Don’t panic in the pruning, you are being prepared to bring forth beauty.

Go ahead and bloom like never before.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 

R x

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Faith

Don’t Fade; Flourish

  
I love fresh flowers in my home. I love the scent that welcomes me as I walk through the door and the sight of the delicate petals unfolding day by day. 
Flowers evoke a sense of home for me,  they suggest thought and consideration of a homemaker who has a love of the outdoors and a desire to appreciate beautiful things. 

I am a proud homemaker. I love nothing more than when people enter my home and comment on my interior decor or the warm welcoming atmosphere that I have  so carefully crafted. 

But sometimes an atmosphere in a home can be just that. Crafted. 

Sometimes we work so hard to make our lives look perfect, seem attractive and smell fragrant. But there comes a time when the flowers start to wither, the dying petals crispen and the once clear water becomes discoloured and pungent. 

There is only so long that the flowers can look good and smell good before they die. And it is no use stripping the dead leaves and keeping the blooms in the vase in the hope that the dried buds will  have the same allure as the fresh floral offering that was once so proudly displayed. The stagnant water will belie the beauty, and just like our lives there is only so long that we can keep up appearances before the fragrance of our frailty follows suit.

There is no harm in wanting to create a beautiful life. There is no shame in being a little proud and not wanting to wilt in full view of everyone. But there is a fine line between displaying beauty and masking the truth. 

If you have struggles, dark days or simply areas of your life that you can’t seem to shake off, please know that you are not alone. The Bible says that we are fragile, that our lives are like the flowers blowing in the the breeze, whose petals bloom and fall with the seasons. 

Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. Psalm 103:15

There are seasons in our lives when we will bloom and some when we will go to seed. There are seasons for planting and seasons for pruning. Embrace the season you are in, don’t fight the circumstances around you but instead focus on the fight working you. 

There is a battle being fought for your soul each and every day. God has His angel armies warring in the heavenlies for you, His Holy Spirit is desperate for your heart. He wants to bestow blessings on you, He wants to lavish you with love and affection and He needs to both plant and prune you in order for you to fulfil your potential.

Flowers flourish best when they are planted not placed in vases. It is in good fertile soil, that is well watered that they become nourished and bloom brilliantly over and over again. 

Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish. Psalm 92:13

Furthermore, flowers that are planted continue to bloom. Over and over again. Every time they flower and fade, they are cut back and carefully nurtured in order to facilitate their floral return, bigger and better than before.

Wherever you are at right now, don’t panic, simply plant your roots in Gods word and in His house and you will flourish.

R

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Faith

Fall in love with autumn

Autumn (or Fall to my American readers) is hands down my favourite season. There is nothing better than walking in the last of the summer sunshine breathing in the sweet smell of chestnut trees, my eyes feasting on the vibrant russets and golds all around me while savouring the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet. Creation sings and begs the world to gaze upon it’s beauty and, for me, there is simply no other season that compares.

While enjoying one of many walks through our local park recently, I couldn’t help but think how terribly sad it was that such beauty was temporary; that these exquisite trees who proudly displayed their autumnal décolletage were about to lose the very leaves that gave them this beauty. Furthermore, this beauty was at its most splendid right before it was lost.

When something is beautiful, attractive or successful we don’t like to let it go.

I have found that almost every autumn I have been faced with a difficult decision or experienced a turbulent time as a result of a change in attitudes of those around me, the environments that I am in or the circumstances that present to me. From redundancies to cancer scares and two house moves, the past autumn seasons have brought me to somewhat painful periods where I have fallen from the heady heights of a blissful summer holiday and hit the ground of reality with an unceremonious thud. As the beauty of health, home stability or financial security that defined me fell from my fingers I had two options – panic and scrabble around amongst the fallen leaves of my life, or embrace the new season and allow my heart and soul to rest and heal in the winter.

Because after winter comes spring.

The circle of life is perpetual, and as winter follows autumn, so spring will follow winter, and with it the promise of regeneration and new life.

Don’t be frightened of letting go of this season’s leaves. You are not defined by your job, the success of your latest deal, or the pay packet in your purse. You are not defined by the friends that support you or your marital status. You are not defined by your current health situation.

People will come and go in your life, health will improve and decline, love will ebb and flow, finances will increase and decrease and the only way to navigate the changes in life is to know when to let go of people, possessions and positions.

The Message Bible puts it this way;

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

There is a time for everything, there is a time to gain and a time to lose, there are some friends that you have for a season and some you have for a lifetime. There are some positions and promotions that you must accept and many more that you must turn down, there are many doors that you could open but more still that you need to firmly close. My friend, if you are in a season of change, don’t panic. Embrace the pruning and the shedding, the dying away of the old and look forward to the new life that will spring forth in due course.

R

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Parenting

Embrace the place you’re in

If I had a pound for every time a mommy friend welcomed me into her home saying “please excuse the mess” then I would be a very rich woman.

The truth is unless you have a live in housekeeper (or OCD) if you have children in your home then it WILL be messy. End of. Why moms feel the need to constantly keep up appearances for guests is beyond me, yet I fall foul of this every time I set a play date with fellow moms too.

As women I think we feel a lot of pressure to ‘be’ something, whether that is to be the perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect cook or perfect friend, and although I believe it is good to have goals and dream big we need to face reality that sometimes things won’t be quite as picture perfect as we would like.

I have never once gone into a friends house and judged her by the state of the carpets as I picked my way through the lego bricks and happy land figures in the hallway to get to the kitchen. I have never once thought gosh you would think she would have washed the breakfast dishes up by 2pm, I have never wrinkled my nose in disgust at the crumbs on the sofa or the grubby finger marks on the walls and windows. In fact when I enter a friends house and it is in a slight state of disarray I inwardly relax, glad that its not just me then, and I feel less uptight about the mess that my own children are about to create from the toybox…

Furthermore, I have never met a mom who wished she had spent less time with her children, and if that is one legacy I want to leave with them it is that mommy was always there and always ready to play.

So what I would like to encourage you in is this; your little ones will not stay little forever. This season of having small people under your feet will fly by with no disregard for your heart as you watch them grow. They will not always follow you around with endless requests to play/give snacks/give drinks/read stories. One day they will find their feet and start their own journey through life, with minimal input from you, so fellow moms I urge you (and myself) to put down the duster, unplug the hoover and embrace the place you are in.

R

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