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    Finished Piece

    2019 – My New Year Resolutions

    2018 has been an awful year, and at the same time, one of the best. My little (huge) potato arrived after a very, very rough pregnancy, Corazon and I bought our first home, and we’re finally starting the simple, self-sufficient life we’ve been dreaming of. It’s not a farm or a particularly large piece of land, but it’s enough to do a lot of what we want.

    I’m going to skip the bad parts of this year in this post. Frankly, I’ve lost enough of my time, health and mental energy to it. All that matters now is that my baby is finally here, he is safe and healthy – amazingly – and my husband and I are finally in a position to start making the simple-living, sustainable lifestyle changes we were unable to implement while renting. I’m taking my silver lining and running with it. So here are some of our big targets for the new year:

    1. Fix the Bathroom

    With spring and summer coming up next I guess the focus should be the garden, but honestly, I can’t wait till we can get the bathroom fixed and our broken boiler replaced so that I can have a nice (hot) shower again. Washing with jugs is a royal pain in the backside, especially for with long hair. I’m actually dreaming about my new, easy-to-clean, properly water-proofed wet-room shower.

    2. Start Raising Quail

    My parents had chickens in their garden for quite a few years, and and the difference between the eggs those chickens laid and the shop-bought eggs was astronomical. The perfect example to illustrate the difference is that my brother, who is severely allergic to shop bought eggs, was suddenly able to eat eggs. We all noticed the difference in how they tasted and we felt, and since then I’ve looked forward to the day I could keep my own birds. I’ll write more at some point about why I’m hoping to keep quail and not chickens, but that’s a blog post for another day.

    3. Grow a Herb Garden

    I’ve already started this one by growing coriander, basil and parsley on the windowsill, but come summer I’ll be moving most of them – not the parsley- to the garden where they’ll live permanently. I’m going to include garlic and onions to the herb garden too, along with rosemary and a lavender bush.

    4. Plant Fruit Trees

    This will be one of the last projects we get done in the garden next year, but once it’s done, it’s done. The plan is to plant two different varieties of apple; one a cooking apple and one a cider apple. Once they’re down it’ll be a waiting game – around 3 or four years – but since the time will pass anyway at some point we will have a reliable supply of dehydrated apples, cider and vinegar to keep us going each winter. I can’t wait!

    5. Start Making Videos Again

    The pregnancy was rough, the post-partum recovery is still ongoing after five months, but bit by bit, my energy is coming back and I’m at a place where I can film again. Here’s to hoping this year is a bit more productive on YouTube.

    6. Grow Mushrooms

    Over the last year we’ve been making lists of the kind of food we eat regularly, and mushrooms – along with onions and eggs – are some of our most eaten foods. If we can grow them it’ll cut down on costs, plastic, and we’ll have fresh homegrown mushrooms. It’ll be another notch in our self-suficient aspirations.

    7. Re-design the Kitchen Cupboard

    It’s going to take me a while to do this, but once I have the spare funds I plan to completely redesign the kitchen cupboard. To be honest it’s not the worst. It’s actually pretty good in a very basic kind of way. But after you’ve gone through three years of a graphic design degree you can’t help but look at everything and think how can I make that better, cleaner and more efficient.

    8. More Plants in the House

    Specifically, more plants that clean the air. England, in general, is a pretty damp place. Where we live it’s especially damp, and every day is a constant battle against mold. Doesn’t help that I’m pretty allergic to mold too. So any plants which are going to help me on that battlefront and help keep the air cleaner is a serious win.

    9. Get the Sewing Machine

    I have so, so many things I need to make. Doorway curtains to keep the drafts out, clothes to fix, buckwheat pillows to make, nappy liners…the list is endless and it’s a skill I really want to learn. It’ll be rough and probably the kind of thing that’ll make my sister want to cry, but it’ll work.

    10. Continue My Minimalism Journey

    This has been a goal I’ve been working on for the last two, now pushing three years. When I started to read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tyding” it flicked a switch on in my brain that helped me tackle my surrounding habitat like a bulldozer. And it’s been an absolute Godsend for my mental health, wallet, and life in general. It helped me start to figure out what were triggers for irrational purchases, impulse purchases and generally direct my wallet and energy towards the kind of life I wanted.

    My kitchen now has about one third of the utensils and items that it used to have, but I cook more and – I like to think – better. My wardrobe is one fourth of the size, and steadily shrinking, but it no longer makes me anxious to look at and organize. We have far less furniture, fewer books, heck, even less studio equipment and even art supplies! But I’m getting more use, less stress and a lot more joy out of being around them. It’s still a process, five years, even ten years from now it’ll still be a process, but it’s a process I really enjoy.

    Part of that is because it’s allowed me to design my surroundings. Take the aforementioned kitchen cupboard for example. Now that I’m very aware of what comes into the house, what we eat and like I want to make sure that I can see and use that food. If I can’t see it I forget to use it, the food goes off, creating clutter and waste. Two things I really, really hate.

    So, here’s to a new year, new goals and the start of our new life. Let’s see how it goes!

    Finished Piece

    Making A Coffee Spoon From Scratch

    One of the projects I’ve been wanting to start for well over a year now is to make a coffee spoon.

    Something wooden, handmade and made by myself from start to finish. Now, I know that might not sound like the most interesting project of all time, but I wanted to see if I could do it, and I thought it would be a nice gift for Corazon, who is a big coffee addict.

    I started off with a piece of poplar. It’s a light, easy to carve wood – no way was I going to start with a tough hardwood like 0ak – and outlined the shape I wanted.

    After having the two tools I used for this sitting in my tools draw for over a year I was really excited to finally used them. Especially the crook, which was quite unlike anything I’d ever used before. It really was like trying to use a lethal ice cream scoop. Took a while to get the technique right, but once I did I was able to hollow out the spoon bowl really quickly.

    My little potato (not his real name btw, just a nickname) getting a little curious and needed to see what I was doing. Or rather, demanding attention and growling at me to pick him up…or else.

    This part is easily the what took the longest in the whole process. Really, what I should have done is cut up the outline from the start. It would have saved me hours of time, but given that I didn’t have any tools to do that, I just had to work with what I had.

    Oh, and this is where it went wrong.

    This is what happened when your little one is in the same room, decides to practice a blood-curdling shriek. He yelled, I jumped, screamed, saw what I’d done to my hand and screamed again. That white cloth got absolutely soaked with blood. On the plus side, I now have a pretty cool scar on my finger – affectionately named the potato scar – and I got to test out stain removal with conker washing liquid. (I’ll have a post and a video about that soon).

    After I’d carved it as much as I wanted I took a fine grain piece of sandpaper and spent a good hour smoothing everything out before I finished it off with a few layers of my homemade polish.

    Finally, three days later, I finished making the spoon!

    Normally it shouldn’t take me so long, especially with something this small and with an easy-to-work-with wood, but the little overlord (Potato) decided a spoon having my full attention was completely unacceptable for more than 20 minutes.

    Eventually, I managed to finish it, and I’m a little irrationally happy at how it turned out. Sure, it’s a little uneven and you can tell where I missed in a few places. But I made it, and it’s nice knowing I can make things like this from scratch, even if they do finish up less than perfect.

    Finished Piece

    Making My Own Baby DIY Nappy Balm

    At the time of writing this I was 9 months and twelve days pregnant with my first baby. Since I already make all my own creams and lotions there was no way I wasn’t going to do the same for Potato – that’s not his real name btw. I spent a bit of time going over what oils and creams I wanted to use; it needed to hard enough not to melt into liquid on a hot day but melt easily once it came in contact with the skin. It had to be gentle and safe to use on a baby, and I also wanted to use ingredients which would be soothing and create a bit of a barrier between Potatoe’s skin and the nappy

    With eczema on both sides of the family I wanted something which would sooth, absorb easily and still leave a barrier on the surface of the skin to protect it. Eventually, I made a mix I was pleased with – I even use it myself a few times – though annoyingly, since I switched over to using cloth nappies a few weeks ago he hasn’t had nappy rash once.

    Ingredients: 

    • Cocoa Batter 50%
    • Calendula Oil (this one is infused in olive oil) 20%
    • Oat Oil 10%
    • Beeswax 10%
    • Carrot Oil 10%
    • Honey (optional)

    The reason I’ve listed the ingredients above in percentages is because I have no idea what size you will personally want to use, I can’t assume that you’ll have a pot which is exactly the same size as mine. So to make it simple, I’ve put it down in percentages. Figure out how much your pot or jar holds in total, and then divide that amount up in the percentages provided.

    Annoyingly, the tin I’d bought specifically for this cream didn’t work out. The moment I poured the final (hot) mix into it, the edges of the tin started to expand, and leak. As a result, I had to quickly de-pot the mixture into another smaller tin I had, so I won’t be linking the original tin as I cannot recommend it for homemade creams or balms. I’ll just have to save it for another project.

    Why I Like These Ingredients:

     

    • Cocoa Butter: Not as runny as coconut oil, less likely to turn into liquid if it get’s too warm. Anti-oxidant, soothing and moisturising with a pleasant coco-y smell to it. Some people might not like that cocoa smell that much, but personally, I love it!

     

    • Calendula Oil: Also called Marigold, this ingredient is infused in oilve oil, so not to be confused with an essential oil which is considerably stronger. It’s anti-inflammatory antiseptic, fungicidal and an astringent. In other words, it’s good for nappy rash, irritated skin and ezcema.

     

    • Oat Oil: Softening, moisturising and high in vitamin E.

     

    • Beeswax: This is one of my favorite skincare ingredients. It’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, smells amazing (a waxy, honey scent) and it’s great for holding together the other oils and creams in the mix and making sure the melting point isn’t too low.

     

    • Carrot Oil: Moisturizing, sinks easily into the skin, and the smell isn’t obviously ‘carroty’. Detoxing, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, in skincare it’s used for helping with dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, toning the skin and wrinkles. High in vitamins A, C, B1 and B2.

    What About the Other Ingredients? 

    The honey and the essential oils? The reason I didn’t list those in the ingredients list is because these are very much catered to my personal tastes and they’re such a small amount that they didn’t really have a percentage amout to them. The honey? I put that in everything. My tea, my food, my skincare. One day I even want to own a hive (or two). I also like that it is a really good preservative, antibacterial, moisturizing and really good for healing irritated, sore skin.

    As for the oils, once again, I want to stress that if you’re looking to use them please get your hands a good aromatherapy book. Just because it’s natural does not mean that you can’t have a reaction to it. Clove oil, for example, irritates my skin so much that just having the bottle open in another room will make me want to scratch my skin off.  I have similar reactions to cinnamon if I touch it, grapefruit oil, and fennel makes me incredibly nauseous. With a baby I have to be extra careful just because of how sensitive their skin is, so check the safety date, use the oils very sparingly, and avoid anything where there’s a history of allergies to in your family.

    • Lavender Oil: Good for eczema, dermatitis, inflammation, sores, spots and generally irritated skin.
    • Roman Chamomile oil: Analgesic (pain reliever), antiseptic, anti-anemic (increases red blood cells), bactericidal.

    One small note…

    When I made this cream the UK was experiencing one of the most spectacular heat waves in years – it was glorious! So I made this cream with a little more beeswax than I normally would so that it would remain reasonably solid in the warm weather and not melt all over the nappy bag. If you live in a hot country you can use the amounts above without a problem, but now that the weather has cooled, I’ve re-mixed the cream and taken down the beeswax amount to around 5% – 4%. The other five percent is half Calendula oil and half oat oil. Enough beeswax to hold the mix together and create a good barrier on baby’s skin, but not so much that the cream is a solid block in cooler weather.

    How To

    Why I Use Eggshells on My Face

    Yes, you read that correctly, I do actually use eggshells on my face. Before you write me off as completely crazy, let me explain; once they’re ground up into a fine powder they are absolutely amazing as a face scrub! A fine, gritty powder which is perfect for clearing out all the pores in the skin, especially those annoying ones around the nose which just seem to be dirt magnets.

    I like this for a few reasons; it uses up a resource which otherwise would just get thrown away. It’s much finer (and gentler) than anything like an almond face scrub – which personally I’ve always found far too abrasive – and it only cost me a few minutes to make.

    How to Make It:

    • First, try to break the eggs open as cleanly as possible. I know this part can be hard, especially with factory eggs which are crazy brittle, but if the eggshells do crumble a little don’t worry about it. Just collect all the pieces, take them over to the sink and if the pieces are really small, maybe work over a sieve.
    • Turn the tap on, keep the water pressure low and try to pinch the inner membrane between your fingers, you can normally find this along the edge of the broken shell. Pull this out and hold the eggshell under the tap so that the water can push its way between the eggshell and the membrane. This should make the whole process of removing the membrane a lot easier.
    • If the membrane rips, don’t worry about it. Just keep going till you’ve peeled off as much as possible. Next, to get the last little pieces still stuck on the inside of the eggshell, rub your fingers along the eggshell till the membrane rubs off and the inside is clean.
    • Now leave it out to dry. I normally put them out on a plate on the windowsill and grind them up the next morning.
    • Once dry, get a mortar and pestle (0r a food processor) and grind up the shells until they’re a fine powder. That’s it.

    But why remove the membrane?

    Here’s the thing, you don’t have to. If I was planning on throwing these into the compost I would leave the membrane and make sure that goodness ends up back in the soil, but there are two reasons I remove it;

    1. If I leave it attached, the eggshells can get a little ‘pulpy’ when I grind them up, and it takes a little longer to grind up properly.
    2. Normally I’ll save up 5-8 eggs before I grind them up so that I can make a large batch of powder, store it, and then use it up over the following weeks. If I’ve removed the membrane and washed the eggshells thoroughly they keep just fine, if I don’t…well, I guess you could still use it, but the eggy smell is not the nicest thing to work with.

    A Few Different Ways I Use It:

    1. The simplest way is just on it’s own with water. Cup a little water in your hand (or a small bowl), pour out some shell powder into the water till you have a paste and gently work it into your skin.
    2. Add a few oils to the eggshells – don’t add water if you do this – my favorites are rosehip oil, evening primrose oil or hemp butter, and rub into the skin. I love doing this right before I go to sleep, especially if I’m trying to use up some of the oils which leave my skin feeling amazing, but don’t smell that nice – I’m looking at you sea buckthorn oil. It works the oils into my skin, sloughs off the dead skin and you wake up with a plump, soft face.

    And that’s pretty much it. A simple, frugal and amazingly effective way to exfoliate your skin. Oh, and if you make a little too much or decide you don’t want to use up the rest of the shell powder, just throw it in the compost or sprinkle it around your plants. It’ll do wonders to your plants (especially any tomatoes) and they compost much better if they’re broken down rather than just thrown in the compost bin.

    Finished Piece

    My Very Simple DIY Face Oil

    When I first started making my own skincare creams and lotions a few years ago things got complicated pretty fast. I would mix as many different oils together as I could and I was on a constant hunt to try out new oils and butters.

    Nowadays my current favorite is surprisingly simple, it’s too simple to have a tutorial for it so I thought I would write up a quick blog post instead.

    (I label all my oils on the lids so I can easily see what I have)

    What I use:

    Some of you might have seen on Instagram a few months ago that after I’d finished my Midnight Recovery Serum I cleaned it up, scraped off the blue coating and reused the bottle. I absolutely love this bottle, and since I’m trying to reuse/repurpose everything I buy as much as possible, I figured, why not just clean it out and use it again?

    To make this mix it I fill most of the bottle with evening primrose oil, add three full droppers of carrot oil on top and then finish by adding three drops each of the essential oils, close the lid, give it a good shake, and that’s it. I know, not very accurate, but it is simple and it works beautifully for my skin.

    If you want to make this one yourself I’ve linked where I bought all the various ingredients above. Just note that the Amazon links are affiliate links and I want to point out that the carrot oil bottle is very, very small for the price. While I’m happy with the oil itself, I think once I run out I’m going to look for another brand which is a bit more reasonably priced or bigger.

    Why I Like These Ingredients:

     

    • Evening Primrose Oil: Moisturising, sinks into the skin quickly without leaving a thick sticky residue and doesn’t have a strong or offensive smell. High in antioxidants and omega 6 fatty acids. It’s often used as a treatment for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

     

    • Carrot Oil: Also very moisturizing and sinks easily into the skin, and the smell isn’t obviously ‘carroty’. With detoxing, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, in skincare it’s used for helping with dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, toning the skin and wrinkles. High in vitamins A, C, B1 and B2.

     

    • Frankincense Essential Oil: Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent. In skincare it’s used to help with blemishes, dry, mature or wrinkled skin and is also thought to be very effective for healing scars.

     

    • Helichrysum Essential Oil: For the skin this oil is traditionally used to help with psoriasis, acne, eczema, spots burns and inflammation.  So far, along with Frankincense, this is my favorite oil for maintaining an even skin tone. Especially if I get a little sunburnt or – like at the moment – have pregnancy pigmentation. It’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobials and astringent.

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    Fixing Up My Scuffed High Heels

    It probably sounds a little daft for someone who is looking to eventually live off their own land to have a serious love for shoes, but I really do love my shoes! Especially my heels. These high heels have been mine for around two years and in that time I’ve worn them out a lot, especially the tips of the toes, and since they’re cream it’s a lot more visible. I’ve tried to brush them and bleach them, but nothing was rid of the marks completely, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before they started to look a little grotty.

    I don’t like throwing things away unless they really are completely finished, and these still had lots of life in them. I considered painting the ends over, but I didn’t really like that idea because I couldn’t think of a way to do it that which would keep them looking clean and simple.

    I think I was scrolling through eBay when I saw toe caps suggested, and five minutes and £3.99 later I’d bought them. It took a while to arrive – I think in total it was around three or four weeks before they arrived – but for that price, I can’t really complain. I was in no rush. I’d hoped that I would be able to fit them on myself, but when they arrived I realized that that wouldn’t be possible.

    As you can see in the pictures they have these small tongues that stick out and are meant to be pinned/stapled to the shoe. I didn’t want to mess it up so I took the shoes and caps to a local shoe repair shop and even though the poor guy had never seen anything like it before – you should have seen his face, he looked at me like I’d brought him strange alien artifact – he was good enough to pin and glue them down.

    And it worked out beautifully! Since then I’ve worn them quite a few times and the caps haven’t budged at all. Better yet, even when I have scuffed the tips or nocked them against something accidentally, it isn’t anywhere near as noticeable because of the caps.

     

    How To

    My DIY Body Cream Recipe

    The most recent victim to my healthy living cleanse has been my lotions and potions, which honestly, wasn’t as much of a big change as I thought it would be since I’ve been making a lot of DIY beauty products for years. But I was a little annoyed when I looked at the two creams I still use and love, and realised that they weren’t as natural as they claim.  Rookie mistake I guess, but hey, now I get to have fun making my own potions, so there is a plus.

    This is the latest cream I made. I should warn you that I tend to change the recipe all the time, depending on the seasons, changes in my skin, and new oils/butters/creams I’ve discovered. So if in a few months you see me post about a new cream, I’ve probably changed it again. But that’s what I like about making my own products, being able to experiment.

    Also, a small note, most of my links below are affiliate links. I’ve linked where I bought the majority of my ingredients below, but a few of them I can’t remember where I bought them, and I don’t want to direct you to a shop I didn’t buy from, so I’ve left them unlinked. Oh, and if you like the jar I’m using, I found that a few months ago on Amazon after weeks of looking for something that I could use again and again, and would still look beautiful. Even though I’m slowly decluttering my life, I don’t see why that should mean I surround myself with dull things. If anything, I want to do the opposite. Less clutter, but the stuff that stays should be beautiful and functional.

    My Recipe: 

    How To Mix Them

    I actually bought myself a little mixing pot a few months ago which is absolutely perfect for things like this, and it means I don’t have to worry about the beeswax taste ending up in my food. That way I keep my cookware and DIY-ware (is that ever a word?) separate.

    I put my mixing pot over a pan of hot water (you’re a lot less likely to burn your ingredients this way) and gradually added in the ingredients. I started with the butters, beeswax, and then the oils. Last of all I added all the essential oils and mixed it as thoroughly as I could with a hand whisker. If you have an electric whisker then you can do that too, it’ll make the final cream a lot fluffier, but I was very happy with how the final product turned out. Oh, and did I mention it smells amazing? Seriously, the whole kitchen smelt of orange and vanilla for hours later, it was making me seriously hungry!

    One funny thing I’ve noticed is that now I’m making more of my own beauty products I use them up much faster. For starters, I’ve already invested time making them, so I’m always reminding myself to use them. So far I’m about halfway through this body cream, and once I’m done, I get to experiment again and make something new!

    How To

    Switching to Buckwheat Pillows (And Why I Wanted To)

    Over the last few months, I’ve made a lot of changes to my flat. I’ve switched to natural cleaners, replaced disposable items with biodegradable options and I’m trying to learn how to cook everything from scratch. There has been a lot of trial and error – especially in the cooking department – but one of the changes I’ve made the most recently and which I’m still over the moon about was switching our pillow (and mattress, but I’ll talk about that later) to a buckwheat alternative. The main thing which spurred this decision was when I came across this post, and then did some more research to confirm was in my mattress and pillows. Long story short, there was a tone of pretty toxic stuff in them, so I decided to look for non-toxic and biodegradable alternatives in the UK.

    Since my husband and I want to eventually own our own land, our intention is to avoid – as much as possible – having anything in the house which we couldn’t just throw into the compost pile. We don’t have our land yet, but our thinking is that the more we change our lifestyle and mindset now, the better. Better for us, and better for the land which we will be living on.

    Unfortunately, the whole process was a complete minefield of outrageously expensive brands, brands which claimed to be “organic” and they weren’t, and a lot of brands which were based in the US with eye-watering import tax fees. Just looking at the shipping costs made my wallet hyperventilate. I considered trying to find a traditional Japanese shikibuton, but even those were a struggle to find one which would completely biodegrade. In general, my rule is that I don’t mind paying for something well made, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay a couple of hundred pounds for shipping on top of an already £500-£700 mattress. My bargain hunter side would never let me get away with it and neither would my wallet.

    I eventually found a UK based company which made buckwheat pillows and mattress. The mattress especially reminded me of a shikibuton, and it’s made with buckwheat hull filling and a tough cotton casing,  but I’ll talk about the mattress another day. For today, let’s just talk about how I got on with the pillows.

     

    Why I Liked The Idea of Buckwheat

    I’d originally considered getting a pure wool pillow, but I was intrigued by the idea of buckwheat since it was a lot more affordable, less likely to collect dust, and it’s mite resistant. Not to mention I could fill it up or empty it of Buckwheat depending on how soft or firm I wanted the pillow to be. Hey, I like having options.

    It did occur to me that it would also be really simple to make my own, but since I don’t have a sewing machine for the moment – and my hand stitching is the stuff of nightmares – I wanted to buy one and try it out.

    How it Went

    I love it! The first thing I noticed is that for the first time in years I would wake up and not feel congested, and my face wouldn’t be puffy. Normally it would take me about an hour in the morning before my face would de-puff, looking back at it I can’t believe I didn’t see that as a warning sign that my skin was not happy. I can also mold the pillow exactly how I want to before I go to sleep, it’s basically a natural bean bag.

    Normal Pillow vs. Buckwheat Pillow?

    They are very different to normal pillows, heavier, with a slight rustle each time you move them and, at first, the faint smell of buckwheat. If you’re a very, very light sleeper I think you might find the rustling a little distracting. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all, but it might for some people.

    My husband is the type who will normally sleep with two pillows, but since switching to these, one is more than enough since they’re quite thick. Like I said before, you can take the buckwheat out if you want (it has a zip down the side so that you can access the stuffing) and you have complete control over how firm or soft you want it.

    Now that I’ve bought it I think I’ll make any future pillows, but I’m not expecting to have to throw these out for a good decade, and hopefully, by then I’ll have a sewing matching and can have a go at making my own.

    I bought mine here

    How To

    Something That Helped My Morning Sickness

    Turns out I’m lucky. Nobody in my family really suffers from morning sickness, but me, when I got pregnant I had three months of puking my guts out. I couldn’t stand up and I couldn’t keep food down. If I was lucky I’d manage to get one full meal in before it all became too much. Yay me.

    Between nausea and the vomiting it was nausea that I just couldn’t handle, and after a month and a half of this, I was ready to try anything! Nearly everyone I talked to recommended ginger, but ginger makes me throw up even when I’m not pregnant, I really, really hate the stuff! So it really wasn’t an option. In the end, I found essential oil recommended on a pregnancy forum and figured I’d give it a shot since it was getting really quite unbearable. I already have a pretty insane collection of essential oils as it is, so I had all the oils to hand and the mix I tried was just what I needed to take the edge off. It wasn’t a cure, but it seriously helped!

    Most people burned the oils in an oil burner, but I needed something I could keep in my pocket and carry around with me when I went out, so I did this instead. The oils listed below are the ones which personally worked for me, but other oils which are recommended are: clove bud, ginger, lavender, mint (spearmint and peppermint), black pepper, rosewood, and sandalwood.

    What I Used: 

    • 3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
    • 3 drops of Chamomile Essential Oil
    • 3 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
    • Small Glass Cork Topped Bottle
    • Half a cotton ball

    I wanted to be able to carry the mixture around with me in my pocket without having to worry that the bottle would turn upside down and leak oils all over my clothes, so I added half a cotton ball inside to absorb the oils. I found when I did this that I could smell the oils a lot better than when it has just been loose liquid inside the bottle. I don’t know why that was the case, but the oils definitely diffused better.

    Once the cotton was in the bottle I added the oils, let them soak into the cotton and then put the cork in until I needed to open it. That’s it really.

    Each time I felt like I needed to make a dash for the bathroom a sniff of this would usually do the trick enough for me not to throw up. I wouldn’t call it a cure for morning sickness, but it took the edge off and knocked my nausea levels from a constant nine out of ten to a very manageable three.

    How To

    DIY Natural Furniture Polish

    My favorite piece of furniture in our flat is this beautiful rosewood table which we found on Gumtree a few months ago. You should have seen my face when I found it, I looked like a kid in a sweet shop! My husband and I were moving from my old small flat to a bigger place where I could finally fit a table, but I didn’t want to buy anything new if I could find it second hand. I also didn’t want to buy a temporary piece of furniture that ‘would do’ for now. I hate that. When I buy something, especially furniture, I like to know that I’ve bought something well made that will last as long as I will. Maybe I just get too attached to things around me, but I like permanent features in my home. It makes me feel a lot more relaxed, and I love finding a bargain.

    This table will probably end up being a family heirloom, and if it doesn’t, I’ll haunt the first person who tries to throw it away. But in the meantime, I want to maintain it as well as possible.

    Since it’s second hand it was a little battered with a few scratches here and there, but all it really needed was a little bit of a polish, and since I’m gradually clearing out all my shop-bought products I thought I’d make my furniture polish instead of buying it.

    Ingredients: 

    • Walnut oil 1/3
    • Olive oil 1/3
    • Beeswax 1/3
    • Five drops Sweet Orange essential oil
    • Five drops of Lemon Essential Oil

    The first thing you need to figure out is how much you’ll need. I have a tin jar I’m re-using which used to be a travel candle, so the first thing I needed to do is figure out how much it could hold (2.9 oz) and divide that into three. One-third of walnut oil, one-third of olive oil and one-third of beeswax.

    As for the essential oils you use, that’s really up to you. I prefer a citrusy smell for something like this, but you could try so many different variations. How about lavender and rose? Sandalwood and rosemary? Or chamomile and peppermint?

    Now for the mix: 

    I have a little stainless steel mixing pot which I can heat my ingredients in and melt them over a pot of boiling water. I’m not a massive fan of heating ingredients in a pot which directly on the hob. I’ve burned and overheated too many ingredients that way. If a stainless steel pot is all you have, then feel free to use that, but be very, very careful with the heat! It’s better to have it too low than too high. I would recommend though that you don’t use a pot which you intend to use for food. While it’s not impossible, beeswax – especially the taste of it – can be very hard to get off your cookware, so maybe don’t use your favorite cooking pot.

    First thing I melted down was the beeswax. It’s the thickest of the ingredients I used, so I wanted to make sure there were no lumps in the final product. I used a wooden lolly stick to mix the beeswax until it had melted completely, then I added the olive oil, walnut oil and, finally, the essential oils. Mix it thoroughly, pour it into the pot you want to use and then wait for it to cool. That’s it! Lovely, homemade, non-toxic furniture polish!