Gratitude.

Gratitude. ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
One word that means a lot to me.

Most of us have heard something of the benefits of being grateful. Most health and wellness advocates talk about keeping a ‘gratitude journal’. Traditions from buddhism to yoga talk much about intentionally being grateful and it is important in many religions.

I’ve learnt that gratitude doesn’t have to be a complex practice. It is a very simple thing, a way that we can choose to be. The more you remember and choose to be grateful, the easier it becomes and your brain can rewire it’s thinking patterns from focusing on the negative to the positive. This can completely transform ones life, bringing joy and grace into ones life.

In every moment there is something to be grateful for. Once we start practicing gratitude for simple things, we can start to be creative in how grateful we feel towards things. We may start choosing to feel grateful for the bed that we get to sleep in, the morning coffee, a hot shower. We can then extend this gratitude to everything even in the more difficult times. For example I might choose to be grateful for having the choice to make healthier choices for myself. Or to be grateful for the support that I have from my family and even the society that I live in whenever I may need it.

Gratitude to me is an incredibly powerful transformative tool. It is well known and accepted by most now that our thoughts create our reality and I believe is there is one thing we can focus on to start creating positive changes it is gratitude. Because we are already blessed in this very moment with an abundance of life and love (especially in our western society where we are lucky enough to not have the fear of being blown up or killed each day). It just takes a bit of practice in changing our perspective to notice all our blessings. Then we can realise that we already have all that we seek. It is then that we give ourselves an opportunity to live a life full of love and appreciation.

I am still learning to extend my feelings of gratitude more and more as all my life my brain seems to have been on an automatic negative thinking style most of the time. Often seeing the negative side of most situations. But you know what I am so grateful for? Gratitude. The ability to feel gratitude. It feels so damn good to realise how wonderful your life is and I hope to feel it in my heart every day.

‘Enjoy the little things, for one day you might look back and realise that they were the big things.’ Robert Brault

‘Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.’ Charles Dickens

‘Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance’ Eckhart Tolle

‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity..it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.’ Melody Beattie’

 

 

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Vanilla whipped body butter

Making a home-made body butter is fairly simple to do and is a truly luxurious product to have at home. This recipe makes one decent sized containers worth and you will save a lot of money making these yourself if you are tempted into buying these kind of products in shops.

You will need:

-1 cup of organic shea butter
-1/4 cup sweet almond oil
-1/2 cup coconut oil
-Essential oils of your choice
-Electric whisk
-Bowl
-Container to store product
Step 1…
Melt shea butter and coconut oil by using the double boiling method. Once the oil has completely melted, take off heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
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Step 2:

Stir in sweet almond oil. (Only add your essential oils once the mixture has cooled down a bit and not boiling.)

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Step 3…

Place oil in the freezer to chill.

Step 4…

Once oils are partially solidified, whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved.

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Step 5…
Place in jar/container.
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Tips…

-The cooling part of this process is the most crucial to being able to whip the oils, you need to make sure that it has solidified enough. Usually 20-30 minutes in the freezer is enough time. If something does go wrong, just put it back in the freezer and try again. 🙂
-You can use whatever oils you like, just make sure that you keep the ratio of about 75% oils that solidify to 25% liquid oil.
-Store this product in a cool place – I like to keep mine in the fridge. It will eventually go softer over time but is still wonderful for your skin. It should keep for a good few months.
-I used organic vanilla essence in my product, if you do choose to use vanilla, the essential oil is the best option, but alternatively organic vanilla essence is fine to use as long as there is not too much as it contains alcohol.
-This body butter is wonderful to use on children too.
Enjoy 🙂 xx
This post is from my article on Jade’s Healthy hints profile

Step 1:
Melt shea butter and coconut oil by using the double boiling method. Once the oil has completely melted, take off heat and let cool for 30 minutes. – See more at: http://healthyhints.com.au/whipped-body-butter/#sthash.1ND3kpBo.dpuf

Home-made Cocoa lip balm

This homemade lip balm leaves your lips feeling nourished and soft, and leaves a subtle chocolatey tint to your lips. The cinnamon powder acts as a natural plumper. Not to mention that the shelf-life is incredibly long! Enjoy a nourishing, tinted and natural plumping lip balm with the clarity of knowing it contains no chemicals 🙂

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You will need:

1 small teaspoon chopped or grated beeswax
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4 teaspoon coconut oil (or your oil of choice)
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1 teaspoon cocoa powder
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1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
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A container to store your lip balm
Method:
Step 1. Put the beeswax in your small pot on the stove and heat on a very low temperature. While the beeswax is melting, mix your oil in a bowl with the cocoa powder and cinnamon powder.
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Step 2. Once the beeswax is melted, take it off the heat and then pour the oil mixture through the sieve into the pot with the beeswax. Mix.
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Step 3. Once mixed thoroughly, pour the full mixture into your container.
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Step 4. Let the container sit without the lid on for about 30 minutes to solidify.
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Tips…

-Although I chose coconut oil for this lip balm, you can use any oil of your choice. Some suggestions are olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, almond oil or grapeseed oil.
-I highly recommend using all organic ingredients if you can.
-Instead of chopping the beeswax, you can also grate it with some kind of cheese grater which will give you a more equal amount.
-Be careful not to add too much wax as it can make the lip balm too hard.
You can heat the ingredients in the microwave if you prefer, although it is best to heat via the stove to ensure optimal nutrients are contained within the lip balm.
This post is from my article Homemade cocoa lip balm
xx
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– See more at: http://healthyhints.com.au/homemade-cocoa-lip-balm/#sthash.O4ts6xjl.dpuf

Shea butter beauty

Shea butter is derived from the seed of the shea tree which is native to Africa and has been used by African women for beauty, health and healing purposes for a long time.

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When I first discovered shea butter, it was in one of those wonderful smelling ‘The Body Shop’ butters. I just loved the smell and wanted to know more about it! I have been using it for some time now in my own home-made skincare and have found it to be one of the most fabulous moisturisers.

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Here are some of the many benefits we know about shea butter…

Vitamin A source
Shea butter is known to be a wonderful moisturiser, with exceptional healing properties. It contains Vitamins A which has the ability to improve many skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, bites etc. – not to mention the improvement of wrinkles and blemishes.

Anti-inflammatory
Due to its cinnamic acid content, shea butter is anti-inflammatory.

Skin smoothing
Shea butter has special components that aid in the skin’s natural collagen production. With long term use, people report improvement in wrinkles and overall softness and strengthening of the skin.

Shea butter is a great ingredient to add to homemade skincare products such as body butters and lotions and can be used by the whole family. I have found it to be fairly inexpensive considering how beneficial it is. Just make sure it is unrefined, raw and organic.

xxx

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This post is from my article on Healthy hints

Dry skin brushing

This method has made such a difference to my skincare routine. Dry body brushing has become popular in the last couple of years due to it’s wonderful health benefits. People have physically been noticing results from this. Many claim their skin feels smoother, cellulite becomes less obvious, and overall they feel better. Dry body brushing can be a couple minutes of ‘me time’ for you, and you can enhance the experience with essential oils, along with setting the intent to love and appreciate your body, followed by a mindful shower.

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Benefits of dry body brushing:
-Exfoliates the skin.

-Opens the pores and enables the body to release toxins.
-Activates lymphatic system, promoting the flow of lymph fluid (lymph nodes are the main detoxification source for the body).
-Reduces muscle tension.
-Energises in the morning and relaxes at night-time.
-Softens hard fat deposits beneath the skin and helps skin absorb nutrients.
-Improves skin circulation by activating sweat glands and bringing moisture to the surface of the skin.
Improves digestion.
How to dry body brush:
-Start at the feet and brush towards your heart (the main reason for brushing towards the heart is because this is the way the lymph fluid travels).
-Start from the left to right side of the body, either in circular motion or small swift movements.
-Press the brush on your skin to the point of where it is still comfortable and won’t cause swelling of the skin or red marks.-
-Ideally have a warm to fairly hot shower or bath afterwards to cleanse the pores and help toxins to be expelled.
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Tips:

-Be sure to use/buy a natural fibred brush.
-Do not brush over inflamed skin, sunburn or wounds.
-Wash and dry brush beforehand to remove dead skin cells (ideally dry the brush in the sun, once a week is fine).
-Don’t press too hard, dry body brushing should never hurt.
-Add a couple of drops of your choice of essential oil such as sandalwood or lavender to the brush to enhance the experience and penetrate the benefits of the oil into the skin (no more than a few drops of oil)
-When showering after, switch water from hot to cold occasionally which is beneficial for the nervous system and lymphatic system.
-Dry body brush both morning and night for maximum effect.
-After the shower, moisturise your skin with your choice of oil such as coconut or olive oil.
Watch a demonstration of one way to dry skin brush from Ashley’s green life
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This post is from my article on Healthy hints
xxx

Harmful chemicals in baby products

We all want what is best for our children. Unfortunately, we are not being told about the toxic chemicals in the products we use daily on our children that are severely dangerous.

Children are much more vulnerable to these chemicals than adults are. Their immune systems are still developing, and their bodies can’t eliminate the toxins as well as adults.

If we start to decrease our babies exposure to chemicals, we are also decreasing their chances of having allergies, learning disabilities, autism, infertility, skin irritation and disease.

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What kind of items are these chemicals in?

non-organic disposable nappies
plastic bottles/feeding bottles
sunscreens
chemical based cleansers
baby wipes
lotions
petroleum jelly and mineral oil
clothes treated with fire-retardant chemicals
bedding
bubble bath
shampoo and conditioner
baby powder
plastic toys
The most common dangerous chemicals to look out for in products:

parabens (preservatives which are hormone disruptors and have been linked to reproductive issues and breast cancer).
phthalates (hormone disruptors, can interfere with brain development, linked with autism, breast cancer and testicular cancer).
formeldehyde (linked to anxiety, sleep problems, and cancer).
1,4-dioxane (linked to kidney disease, high blood pressure and probable human carcinogen)
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The problem is that these chemicals are not always listed as these particular names, they can fall under the category of many other names. I have made a list containing some of the most common ingredients that could be contaminated with the chemicals listed, and some tips on how to decipher the labels: 

avoid any product containing ‘fragrance’ (unless it states that the fragrance is derived only from essential oils).

avoid any product containing the word ‘paraben’
ceteareth
butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) & hydroxytoluene (BHT)
monoethanolamine
diethanolamine
triethanolamine
bronopol
quanternium-15
sodium borate
lauryl sulphate or sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)
talc
cocamide
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Here is an idea, print this list of chemicals out and keep it in your handbag to check very time you shop for baby products. And remember, just because the company name hints that the product is natural, that does not mean it is. The best way to know is to do your own research, and find a company that you know for sure is safe.

Keep in mind that these are just common chemicals in baby hygiene products. There are plenty of other harmful chemicals found in the average home nursery.

Also, I understand it can be difficult for families with financial issues to be able to afford all natural and organic products as they can be quite expensive. It is still much better to be aware of what chemicals are dangerous and which synthetic chemicals aren’t too bad. Some synthetic chemicals are not as dangerous and have a low health hazard, such as ‘polyaminopropyl biguanide’ – chemicals such as this will only cause problems in the body is exposed to high doses. Not to say they are good for baby skin, but if you have to buy mainstream bath products for your baby, just check the label!
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There are many statistics showing that cancer, asthma and allergies are, and have been on the rise in children in the last forty years. We have to ask ourselves why – I believe these preservatives and chemicals are a contributing factor to these statistics. Check out these statistics for yourself. You will find many of these harmful chemicals in adult skin care products also.

We can limit the amount of chemicals our children are exposed to by gaining more knowledge on the subject and shopping more consciously.

This post is from my article on healthy hints
xxx

My Hypnobirthing experience

The philosophy of ‘hypnobirthing’ was created by Marie Mongan.

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We all want to experience a birth with minimal pain, no complications, and the outcome of having a healthy baby.

If we allow ourselves the experience, we are able to not only have a birth with less pain, but experience birth as a tranquil, powerful, transformative experience where we realise our own inner strength as a woman.

The exercises in the hypnobirthing book and classes include positive thinking, relaxation, visualisation, breathing and physical preparation for birth.

Hypnobirthing teaches you many things, one being to expect that some complications may occur during birthing, and your ‘plan’ may not go the way you wanted it to. In this circumstance, you can take what you’ve learnt from hypnobirthing to stay calm and remain in a positive mind frame.

In my personal experience of hypnobirthing, which I started to practice at seven months pregnant, I truly wanted to have an all-natural birth with no interventions. Some of my family and friends found this philosophy humorous or silly, some didn’t even want to hear about it.

Many of us have grown up in a society where we hear horror stories of birth with lots of blood and gore. This instills a subconscious fear in us, which then comes out in our own birthing process. This strategy of hypnobirthing is giving people a realisation that birth does not have to be a fearful experience, far from it.

Some common questions which come to mind to people that don’t know about hypnobirthing are…

‘What is this? How can you have a birth that you actually enjoy?* Is this a form of hypnotism? Am I not going to be in control when I give birth?*

-Hypnosis isn’t designed to make you do anything against your will. You are in a state where you can come back to your original state whenever you choose to do so. It is about listening to a voice and giving yourself permission to enter the state they are describing to you.

-As you relax in labor, your body will release ‘feel good’ hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. This helps by making the birthing process much less painful and sometimes, completely painless. However, the more tense and nervous we are, the more the body releases stress hormones, which causes the muscles to tighten, and ultimately, lead to complications.

During Hypnobirthing classes, partners are taught how to describe birth in a new vocabulary, using words such as ‘surges’ or ‘waves’ instead of ‘contractions’, and ‘intense’ instead of ‘pain.’ There are also visualization techniques such as visualizing a beautiful rose opening petal by petal, and easing the baby down through the birth canal with each breath.

When my own labor came and my contractions arrived, they were not ‘pain’ they just were what they were. I did not ‘scream’, I breathed and I moaned. When the doctors told me that they’re were complications, I did not panic, I remained calm.
When it came to my birthing experience, I had gone through ten hours of labor with no pain relief, and was only four centimetres dilated. My baby’s heart rate was dropping because of a sudden complication called ‘cord compression’. Panic started to erupt in the delivery room and I had to be rushed into the theatre in preparation for a caesarean (having a caesarean really was a fear of mine, I wanted to birth this baby naturally!) but to my surprise, I remained perfectly calm and practised my breathing, just trusting that everything would be okay.

When I got to theatre, things unfolded as I had hoped and the doctors decided It would be safe for me to try once more to have her naturally after one hour, she was born, perfectly healthy. So, what I got out of Hypnobirthing is that complications are always a possibility, but with the right knowledge and trust, you can handle and react to the situation with ease, which in turn will relax your body and help you birth your baby the best you can.

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This is a more personal version of an article I wrote for Healthy hints