Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Happy Christmas xx

Happy Christmas everyone! I am going to be spending it with my family, Billy and Ollie. Although its Ollie's second Christmas its the first time Billy will be celebrating Christmas and the first time all 3 of us get to spend it together so I am very excited. Take care of each other and stay safe!

Rachael x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

DIY Perfume Pots

For Christmas this year I am trying to do as much DIY with the presents as possible. I was looking into making my own natural perfume and was doing a bit of research online. I never realised how simple making cosmetics can be. My first step was to stock up on supplies. I have a collection of essential oils already and after trying out a few different mixtures I settled on Sandlewood, Rose and Ylang Ylang. I found a great online website http://www.bomar.ie/ where I ordered Jojoba bead pellets and some containers. Everything arrived the next day so I got started straight away.

First I put a cup in a pot of hot water over heat melt the wax. 

I used the perfume pots as measures and added 3 measures of the jojoba bead pellets with 1.5 measures of organic virgin coconut oil. (Almond oil, Avocado oil or other carrier oils can be used). This is to keep the texture soft.
Place the wax and coconut oil in the container over the heat until they melt and combine
Have the essential oils ready and premixed on the side. You will only need a few drops of essential oils(10-15 altogether).
Combine the essential oils with the rest of the mixture and decant into your perfume pots.
Once the mixture cools it will solidify and there you have it. Natural personal perfume pots!

I will be making these for all my family and friends. They are really cute stocking fillers and there are endless possibilities with different blends of essential oils. 

Rachael x

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This year is the first year Myself, Billy and Oliver are spending together as a family so we are trying to really embrace the Christmas spirit and enjoy all the festivities. My mother surprised me a few months back and got us tickets to go see the Santa House Express in Co. Kildare. Ollie is still a little young to know whats going on.. I think Myself and Billy were more excited than any of the kids there! I suppose it was the first time Billy celebrated Christmas too, as Hindus don't celebrate that holiday really. Billy was actually very excited to meet Santa too who told him that "although he didn't visit Billy when he was younger, he knew he was a very good boy" ;). It was a really magical experience and from what I heard it is one of the best Santa experiences around. I will definitely be going back next year and would recommend it to anyone with children or babies. Although the tickets were snapped up, I think they have recently added a few more dates so check out their website click here! It was done really well, a lot more than just a visit to Santa and was very enjoyable for all the mums and dads too.

Checking out the decorations 
Story time with Mrs. Claus

The beautiful surroundings of Palmerstown house Estate

Billy finally meeting Santa Claus after all these years!

...Oliver wasn't so sure!

The grounds are beautifully decorated

The Santa Express Train
Ollie loved the train ride!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Breakouts Beware!

As I have previously written a post on dehydrated skin today I thought I would write about the Oily side of life.Most people suffer from breakouts at some point in their lives. While some people are lucky enough to only get the odd breakout during their teenage years, bad skin can hit at any age! As I see with a lot of clients in work, this may be during pregnancy, when hormones are running wild. It could also be due to stress,diet, skincare or life. I happened to be the opposite, my skin has never been as lovely as it was when I was pregnant. After I had Ollie I continued to have that lovely "pregnancy glow" and then out of nowhere, shortly before his first birthday(!!!) I started getting the dreaded breakouts. 

Now I have a good daily skincare routine and I have tried and tested many products over the years and narrowed it down to my favorites but when I do find I am getting breakouts I revert back to an old favorite from my teenage years La Roche-Posay. Teenager, new mum or just at your wits-end I would definitely recommend trying the EFFACLAR range. I find that if I do get a breakout and I use this for a few days my skin reverts back to normal so much quicker than if I just ignored it!

I am a firm believer that the basis of any good skincare routine is a great cleanse. If you are wearing make-up a cream cleanser and alcohol-free toner will be your best friend for that deep cleanse. When I am not wearing make-up,in the mornings or as my second cleanse I use Purifying Foaming Gel for Oily sensitive skin. It is PH neutral to your skin and paraben-free, and I find instantly defuses redness caused by breakouts.

The moisturiser I find best during breakouts is the Effaclar Duo +. It has a light texture and smells fresh clean smell that's not overpowering like some oily skin products can be like.My favorite thing is that it also leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturised. Some products, I find, can be quite astringent for oily skin which leaves it feeling tight and dry.

I have also used the Effaclar K moisturiser which seems just as nice as the Duo +, I can't see a huge difference between the two but from looking on the La roche posay website it seems that the Effaclar K is suited for sensitive skin, is hypoallergenic with minimal ingredients and fragrance. This is great news if your oily/sensitive as it won't be too harsh whilst still treating your concerns. 

La Roche-posay is available in most good pharmacies and is reasonably priced too. One tip though is to do your research as to what your looking for. The packaging is quite minimalist and basically all looks the same so it can be quite confusing/daunting! I will do a more in depth post on oily skin at a later date :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

DIY kids scarves!

With the weather getting colder and its the time of year for colds and sniffles I have been keeping Ollie well wrapped up when we go outside but one thing that I found was that even with the warmest coat and hat on, around his neck was still exposed to the wind and cold (even with all his hair!). I decided to get creative and make a couple of "scarves", these are quick and easy to make. It would be great for kids or as a present (but as with all things, always supervise a child when they have something around there neck!)With the first one I got the idea from Pinterest but in hindsight using a t-shirt that was the same colour fabric on both sides would probably have worked better! 

Wrap-around scarf:

                         Take an old t-shirt and lay it down flat
                   Cut straight across under the arms

Cut strips 1/3 up and pull them to fray. 
Cowboy Scarf

For this one I got a piece of fabric and cut it into a small square. If you can hem any free edges (I can't). Fold it over diagonally to make a triangle and stitch along the edge. Measure to fit around your neck or babies neck. It shouldn't be too tight. Sew on poppers or velcro to fasten. You can get these from a haberdashery or if you have an old bib you can reuse the fasteners on this. I think this one is very stylish and is warm too :)

Natural Cleaning Alternatives

I am slowly but surely getting through the mountain of work I have to do and have finally found some free time to sit down and turn on my computer again. Over the past couple of weeks every spare minute has been taken up with assignments, Christmas shopping (eek!), work and my favorite, catching up with friends back for the Christmas hols.

I was out with my good friend Leah today and we were talking about how motherhood has made me more aware of the chemical ingredients in our everyday lives and the alternatives to them. It inspired me to write this post on Natural cleaning remedies. I began looking into natural alternatives after Ollie was born and I found the smell of some cleaning products alone would make my feel ill. On top of that, having a baby who puts everything and anything in his mouth has made me think about the harsh products I used and stored around him.

Pictured above are the main ingredients are Bicarbonate of soda, a real fresh lemon, vinegar, essential oils and blends for the scent. Tea tree or lemongrass is nice in bathrooms (also anti-bacterial). I usually pick between Ylang Ylang, rose extract essential oil, lavender, sweet orange essential oil for the rest of the house or in the car as they are milder scents!

  • Glass/Tile/Surface cleaner:
In the bathroom, to wipe down kitchen surfaces and cleaning glass or mirrors I have a ready made spray solution of 2/3 water, 1/3 apple cider vinegar. I add to this a few drops of washing up liquid and an essential oil of my choice, depending on where I am cleaning. I also use this solution when I am wiping down surfaces in the car. Once the vinegary smell has evaporated it leaves a fresh non-toxic fragrance in the air.

  • Deep cleaning Scrub or Paste:
This is great as an alternative to bleach scrubs used in the kitchen or bathroom. On greasy oven top dirt or bath grime mix a spoonful of bicarb with a few drops of fresh lemon and a tiny splash of vinegar. Mix this all into a paste and use an damp cloth and some elbow grease to scrub at the dirt and simply rinse off to finish. This lifts dirt and grease off so easily and you don't have to worry about any chemical residue left behind.

  • Room and Air freshener
This was one of the main smells that still makes me feel nauseous since having Ollie. It was also the main reason I looked into more natural alternatives. Whenever I got into a car that had the little tree fresheners I found the scent so overpowering. Now instead I use a real pine cone ( perfect time of year to collect them!) and add a few drops of essential oils or essential oil blends. 

  • Insect repellent
This is more of an old wives tale but seems to work in our house anyway. In the winter there is always an influx of those big hairy scary spiders. My grandmother told me to place conkers on your window sills and in the corners of the room and it keeps them away. I would have been a bit skeptical but we haven't seen one inside since we started doing it. I don't know the science behind it but who cares if it keeps those spiders away :)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Quote Unquote

It's a miserable rainy day and I was just sitting down to do my assignments (snore) and this was pointed out to me, it certainly brightened up my day :) It's an article on treating your skin problems in the winter months with a quote on dehydration from me! For more tips and tricks on treating dehydration in the skin check out my post  Hello Hydration!

To clarify: masks should be applied for about 15 minutes, as this mask is non-drying it can be left on overnight for an extreme hydrating treat! :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Green Juice!

Trying out a juice cleanse this week to help boost my energy, detox and get ready for the rush of Christmas!I've been finding lately that I feel very low on energy in the mornings and it doesn't help having an energetic 1-year-old poking me in the eyes and pulling my hair in order to get me up in the mornings at 6:30am! My mum first started the juicing craze in our house when my two brothers were doing their Leaving Cert exams. Every morning still they have their glass of green juice and they swear by the energy it gives them. If you are feeling skeptical about this juicing voodoo that everyone is going crazy about check out the link below to the movie and you will be converted:

I have also spoken to many other juicing fanatics and some of the benefits that they have found are they gained heaps of energy, skin problems such as psoriasis have cleared up, skin looks clearer and healthier, hair, nails & skin are healthier, concentration levels sky-rocket ( perfect for exam times). Its an all out detox for the body and mind!
Ollie helping me pick spinach in the garden!

At the moment I am working, studying and a full time mummy so my life feels hectic and full-on at the best of times. I have decided to do a 7 day juice cleanse to help focus my mind and detox as well as boost my energy reserves for running around after my nutty little boy!
We first gave it to him as a joke, now he can't get enough!
For my green juice I use lots of spinach, green apples, wheatgrass, cucumber, small bit of parsley and mint. It tastes mostly like apple juice and Ollie surprisingly loves the stuff- no wonder his hair is so long! So far I've been drinking it for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a small snack at midday ( I couldn't go off food completely). I just started today and apparently the first 3 days are supposed to be the hardest so I'm hoping I can stick it out. Fingers crossed!
It tastes alot better than it looks! :)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Easy as 1,2,3...

When I was expecting Ollie between the morning sickness and crippling heartburn there was a time when I had an insatiable craving for chocolate (and oranges). To curb this craving and to stop me ballooning to the size of a house I stuck to dark chocolate as just a small piece can hit the spot. My granny recently shared this tip for a healthy, yummy and quick chocolate fix that is so simple to make at home. 

3 simple ingredients. Use a spoon for equal measures:
 3 x Cocoa powder (bournville has no added sugar/dairy)
 2 x Coconut oil (in its solid form)
 1 x Agave syrup (for vegan friendly chocolate) or Honey!

mix it all together, this takes a while as there are more dry ingredients and voila! there is your chocolate. It doesn't look the most appetizing but I promise it tastes better than it looks. Keep it in the fridge to nibble or if your feeling fancy, roll it into little balls and cover with desiccated coconut.

Monday, 3 November 2014

We're going on a bear hunt.

The morning started out a bit wet and windy so Ollie's little friend Eabha came over to play with him. By the afternoon the sun had come out and it had dried up. It was still chilly but a lovely fresh November evening so we decided to get out into the fresh air for a few hours. I love spending time with my little family and although I only work part time it still feel like I am apart from Ollie so much, so I really cherish the time we have together. Here's a few snaps from our walk today at Castletown House in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. 

     (Even baby bears get tired of walking sometimes)
                         Beautiful architecture...pity about the graffiti. Did we really need to know "Steo was ere"?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Earth Friendly Baby Review

This one is for all the mama's out there. Since Ollie was born 13 months ago I have been searching for a suitable shampoo and skincare range to use on his delicate skin. With newborns, their skin is so sensitive and fragile that it is recommended to use purely natural products for cleaning baby. For the first few weeks I was using pure water and cotton wool on his bottom and Olive oil as a moisturiser and for nappy rash, as recommended by my midwife. However this wasn't very practical for me long term and I found certain baby skincare ranges and products too harsh for Ollie. 

If you have ever gone to use a baby wipe to remove your make up you can feel how harsh they are on your skin. They leave my face bright red. I once went to wipe Ollie's breakfast mess off the kitchen wall and it stripped the paint clean off the wall! It got me thinking as to what was actually in the products I was using on my baby.

So I was on the hunt for a nice, gentle baby skincare range. I usually bath him in the evenings as part of his bedtime routine and love the smell of lavender which helps him get into sleepy mode. I have tried many and finally I feel that my quest has come to end! 

And enter, Earth Friendly Baby Shampoo and Bodywash.

This is my absolute favorite to use at bath-time. I use the lavender scented wash but it is also available in Soothing Chamomile or Happy Mandarin. It foams up brilliantly, can be used to wash top-to-toe, and the tiniest squirt goes a long way. The product uses natural botanicals and organic lavender. 

They are also free from:

  • SlS(Sodium- Laureth Sulfate) and Parabens which are common skin irritants.
  • Artificial fragrances or colourings
  • No animal testing
and it gets the seal of approval from Vegan societies! It is suitable for the most sensitive of baby (and grown ups) skin. If you suffer from eczema or dry itchy skin I would definitely recommend trying this out.  I will be definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this range next time I'm in the supermarket.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Talk to the Palm

Palm Oil is used in everything from food to cosmetics to detergent. It is in hundreds of everyday product that you may not even realise. Products like shampoo, lipstick, noodles, bread, washing detergent, butter and hundreds more. The main reason we are so oblivious to palm oil is that it is disguised under many different names on packaging

Palm oil can appear under any of the following names and more:

Vegetable Oil, Palm Kernal, Palm kernal Oil, Glyceryl, Strerate, Sodium Laurel Sulphate and many more.

I first became aware of palm oil when I was living in Australia. On random ingredients checks I would find it in so many things and upon researching I found that in Australia 50% of the packaged food in supermarkets contain Palm Oil. Anti-palm oil groups are alot more vocal down under too. It is also the most widely used vegetable oil on earth with 85% being produced in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Ok, So whats the big deal With Palm Oil?

Palm Oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree which grows in tropical countries, mainly Malaysia and Indonesia. It is mass produced and highly productive as a lot of oil can be derived from a small amount of crop. The mass production creates jobs and income in rural and impoverished communities in these countries. However the impact the mass production of this crop has on the environment is huge. Endangered species, mainly oorangutans are killed, sold or driven from their homes. Alot of native people also loose there homes as machines take over there land. The deforestation of the tropical rainforest also has a huge impact on global warming!

palm oil deforestation
Elephants, rhinos and orangutans are already endangered

So what can I do?

Choose wisely! Familiarise yourself with the typical names it can be disguised as on your shopping list. It can be quite daunting when you see just how much in your home can contain this one ingredient. Try to choose products that contain "certified sustainable palm oil". This way the economy doesn't suffer in these poorer countries but then neither do the animals. Don't beat yourself up if you purchase something and realise it does contain it, this is merely so you can make an informed choice. The following link is for a petition for sustainable palm oil there is also plenty more info there too!


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the festival of light. It celebrates light over darkness or good over evil. During this festival wealth, health and good fortune are celebrated and also prayed for the coming year. It is spread over 4 days, each day is significant to one god or  legend. 

Day 1: This day celebrates Lord Krishna 
Day 2: Today special attention is payed to Lakshmi (The goddess of wealth)
Day 3: Lord Vishnu banished a tyrant "Bali" to hell allowing him to return to earth once per year to light millions of lamps and dispel darkness and evil.
Day 4: On this day sisters invite their brothers to there home for a blessing.

During the 4 days of celebration there are parties held, special prayers (puja) at the temples and every inch of the place is decorated with colourful lights and flowers, Playing cards is also a popular pastime during Diwali!

These following photos are compliments of Billy's family in Nepal.
 Beautiful flower petals are used to decorate as a tribute to Godess Lakshmi
 Fireworks and crackers can be seen and heard over the 4 days as the festival of "Light" takes place
During the biggest Hindu festival of the year, houses are decorated with colourful light much like the equivalent to Christmas.

With light and love, Rachael x

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Hello Hydration!

Dehydration of the skin is, by far, the most common skin condition I see in my line of work. It affects a majority of people to some degree. You can suffer from dehydration no matter what skin type you have. A condition of the skin is different to skin type. A condition being dehydration/sensitivity/ageing. A skin type could be oily/ dry/normal. Whenever I have a client come to me concerned with dryness of the skin I generally find the real problem is dehydration. 

Dehydration makes your skin feel dry. It may also feel tight and appear dull with fine line, especially around the eyes. If you wear make up or foundation you may find that after a few hours it disappears, looks dry or flaky or just doesn't "sit right". This is caused as your skin is yearning for hydration and so is taking the moisture from your foundation and leaving the dry ingredients sitting on your skin. This is essentially why most women will think they have dry skin. Another indication that your skin is dehydrated is after showering if it feels extremely tight. Hydrated skin is smooth, glowing and make up lasts all day.

The main factors that will dehydrate your skin are 

  • Over-exposure to the sun
  • Incorrect skin care
  • Smoking/Alcohol/Caffeine
  • Diet
  • Prolonged exposure to Air-conditioning
  • Exercising: Sweating and not replacing lost water. Chlorine from swimming is also extremely dehydrating.

If this sounds like you then there are a number of ways to counteract or prevent dehydrating your skin.

1. If your skin is excessively dehydrated I would recommend to start with a hydrating facial from a professional therapist, who can help to point you in the right direction.
2. Start a good quality skincare routine and stick to it! I will be posting my top recommendations later!
3. Drink water! (might sound boring but it works)
4. Avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol intake, instead drink herbal or fruit teas or water. Coconut water is an extremely hydrating  and refreshing alternative to water! 
5. Use an SPF in your daily skincare and try limit your exposure to air conditioning. (If you work in an office where you can't avoid air con, fill up a small spritz bottle with water and a few drops of water to replace lost moisture throughout the day)

When it comes to make up a flawless foundation starts with great skin. No matter how good or expensive your foundation is if your skin is dehydrated you wont get the most out of it!