Then realised that about 1000 words in, it was all about the grief of losing Georgie (which was fucking tough!) and nothing about the dog I was introducing you to.
So, in the spirit of keeping things brief, I have someone I’d like you to meet.
Maggie has been with the family for quite some time now. In fact, she’s been with us for 13 months. Those who follow me on Instagram will already know that, because I post pictures of her ALL THE TIME (if you don’t and you’d like to, I’m here @rachaelphillips).
But for those who only catch my blog updates, here she is. Maggie Moo. The latest addition to our 4-legged family.
Why am I introducing her to you?
Well, I love dogs and I know many of my followers do too. If I go off for the day or a weekend break in the UK, it’s likely that Maggie is with me. So, I wanted to set up a new category where I can share dog-friendly places (especially in South Wales, where we live), as well as any dog related items that Maggie has tried and I think, are worth sharing.
Plus, it’s an excuse to share some cute pictures of Maggie.
Ps: RIP Georgie 2006 – 2017
Pps: We also still have Scooby, although he’s quite ill at the moment so his adventure days are over 🙁
I’m super late posting this. I have no excuses other than I’ve been channeling my inner Marie Kondo and decluttering like a maniac.
But I wanted to do a short post on the competition and markets authority (CMA) clamping down on influencers and micro-influencers not disclosing whether they’ve been paid for a post or received a product as a gift when mentioning it on social media, their blogs, vlogs, podcasts etc.
If you want to hear my opinions along with a panel of influencers, you can listen to me talking all about the new CMA regulations on 5Live – link here. Fast forward to approx 2 hours 35 mins to hear the segment.
But as a brief summary of what I said, I’m pleased that the CMA are going to clamp down. New rules could see fines or even a spell in prison.
I don’t really like Black Friday. The cynic in me thinks it’s just an excuse for retailers to flog the crap they’ve not been able to get rid of throughout the year.
In fact, this time last year I wrote about how less is more on black Friday.
BUT I do appreciate that it can be a good way of getting some deals and I do love to save money. So here is my guide on how to buy BETTER gifts this Black Friday.
Shop local or buy from small makers.
Most of the Black Friday deals that pop up are from large organisations. Well, make it your new tradition to shop local or shop small instead. Most small businesses can’t afford to slash their prices, especially so close to Christmas. So you may not get a 75% discount by shopping local/small but you will find something unique and made with love.
Part of my quest to live a simpler, less toxin filled life has led me to start making my own multi-purpose, all natural, kitchen cleaner.
Actually, calling it a kitchen cleaner is doing it an injustice as I use it EVERYWHERE! And the best part about it is that because it contains no bleach I can spray it on the curtains, cushions, husband – anywhere really that needs a bit of a spruce up.
I have three main issues when it comes to shop bought spray cleaners:
1. They ALWAYS make me cough. Granted not as bad as the oven cleaner but after using the sprays I can feel my chest getting tighter – and that horrible chemical smell just doesn’t do it for me.
2. They’re EXPENSIVE. You don’t really realise until you stop using them how expensive they are. After all, they are one of life’s necessities if you want a non-sticky, non-stinky, clean, hygienic
kitchen right? But if you want a decent spray cleaner you’re looking at least £2.50 a bottle!
3. I would ALWAYS end up covered in bleach. I don’t know how or why but the bleach in these sprays would almost always end up on my clothes. I’ve lost count how many pairs of trousers and tops I own with the little burgundy bleach patch present.
And trust me, you may think it’s a bit of a faff to make your own kitchen sprays, but once you try it – you’ll be hooked. You never run out because it take a couple of minutes to whizz up another bottle and like I said, you can also use it on all surfaces.
I’m going to share with you my favourite kitchen multi-purpose cleaner recipe…
Please note: I use (cheap) vodka because I don’t really like the smell of using vinegar, although the smell does go within a couple of minutes. Witch Hazel is another alternative to either vodka or vinegar.
You can also mix it up when it comes to your essential oils. I tend to stick with more citrus smells, mostly because it’s personal preference but I also think they smell “cleaner” and have added benefits.
– Vodka / White Vinegar / Witch Hazel
– Essential Oil(s)
– 500ml Glass Spray Bottle (preferable because of the essential oils, will explain further in the post) spray bottle.
It really is simple to make!
Just add approx 50ml of Vodka/100ml white vinegar / 100ml witch hazel to your bottle.
Fill the rest up with water and then add 30 drops of essential oils.
I use 10 drops of lemon, 10 of grapefruit and 10 drops of a blend called OnGuard which is a mix of clove, eucylptus, rosemary and cinnamon.
Give it a good shake and voila – your kitchen spray is DONE.
Is it as hygienic as shop bought cleaner?
Good question. Well, it clearly doesn’t have bleach but you don’t need bleach to make sure your worktops are clean!
The reason I use vodka is that it gives a streak-free shine to my work surfaces and alcohol is, of course, a natural disinfectant, meaning that it kills any germs and bacteria that could be lurking.
Vinegar and witch hazel also have their good points but I’ll leave that for another post.
Frankly, the main reason I use essential oils is because they smell great. BUT oils such as lemon and grapefruit have antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Meaning that they’re ideal for cleaning the kitchen/bedroom/bathroom.
It’s always best to steer clear of plastic bottles when you can. Unfortunately, the spray tops are nearly all plastic.
It’s especially important to steer clear of plastic when using essential oils as some of the properties in the essential oils can cause the plastic to break down. There are certain types of plastic that are immune to essential oils such as HDPE but it’s just easier to get the glass bottle.
And last but not least, always shake the bottle before using it. The essential oils will almost always rise to the top so you want to make sure that you get it mixed back in with your mixture as soon as you can.
You can also add a tiny drop of liquid soap to your mix too but I don’t like using that on surfaces other than the kitchen or bathroom.
It seems that sometimes simplicity is the answer. A simple solution to saving the planet? Change the way you search the internet.
Last week I discovered Ecosia, a search engine that uses the ad revenue to plant trees. It works as an extension to your existing browser (I use chrome and safari) and once installed you can click the little globe icon on your browser bar and search away.
So far they’ve planted nearly 12 million trees in places including Madagascar, Peru, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Morocco and Brazil. They also invest 80% of their profits each month to reforestation projects.
I love their transparency ethos too, and you can head to their website where they post their full financial statements.
So how does it really work?
Last year Google (.com) made $78.4 BILLION from ad revenue alone. So, Ecosia figured, if just ONE percent of those searches went through their search engine then they could raise enough to plant 1.2 million trees every day.
That’s the equivalent of reforesting an area the size of 1,200 football pitches.
The search engine information comes from Bing and Yahoo, so I’ll be honest, you don’t always get the same results (or as good) as you would from google but there is an option to switch to google search if you want and there’s also a filter that allows you to search amazon, wikipedia and youtube too so actually, it’s pretty useful.
The aim of Ecosia is to plant 1 billion trees by 2020 and it’s crazy to think how easy it is to be involved in that by just searching the internet – something we all do, every day.
A couple of days ago was Earth overshoot day. That means we’ve used up a years worth of earths resources in a mere seven months.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
We’ve reached the point where the amount of natural resources that humanity takes from the Earth is more than what the planet can renew in a whole year.
ALL THAT IN SEVEN MONTHS.
And we’ve done it by over-fishing, over-harvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester. In short, humans are demanding more from the earth than it can produce.
And that is scary.
But we can all do our bit. And it’s actually something I’m going to be focussing on from here on in. I want to live more consciously and start to do my best to make changes that will benefit the environment. I’ll never be perfect, but I will try my best to be better when it comes to plastics.
So here are 5 EASY ways your can ditch plastic from your life.
Be honest about your plastic habit.
I recently stood in my kitchen, looking at my recycle bag and couldn’t actually comprehend how much plastic was in there. Seriously, we produce very little rubbish in our household but our plastic recycling was off the charts. So it’s time to evaluate your plastic usage. What can be removed? Think about buying loose fruit and veg, ditching shrink wrapped food stuff and even changing your toothbrush to a bamboo one.
Turn down straws!
Straws are probably one of the single, most wasteful things you can use. Single use straws never degrade, instead they break in to small pieces and end up inside marine life – I don’t think I need to go in to details here but it’s horrific.
Whilst corporations need to take responsibility and reduce the plastic waste they create you can help by buying your own reusable straw (if you need a straw at all that is). Get a couple and keep them in your handbag for when you’re out and about. Personally, I prefer glass straws to steel (they use go through me) and I use these ones I purchased from amazon.
Say no to take away coffee cups.
We all know by now how disastrous take away coffee cups are for the environment. We use 2.5 billion a year in Britain alone and only ONE in every 400 of those are recycled.
So take your own. There are plenty of nice useable coffee cups (I have a gorgeous one from Starbucks that I purchased in Copenhagen airport) and some outlets give you money off your drink for using a reusable cup = win/win.
Take your own shopping bags.
We’ve had the 5p charge in Wales since 2011 so it’s rare that I’ll wander out without a reusable bag in tow. In fact, in the first 4 years of the 5p charge in Wales, usage of single use plastic bags dropped by a whopping 79%! I tend to stick with the foldaway bags as they are easier to transport and always in my handbag for spontaneous shopping trips.
Time to get rid of bottled water.
Not only will ditching your bottled water habit be good for the environment but it will also benefit your health. Plastic contains BPA and phthalates, both of which have a negative impact on our bodies. Instead find a BPA free water bottle and refill as you need. I personally opt for a glass bottle, which I purchased from TK Maxx.
Just a heads up that I’m ran a Facebook event last night on women’s health and essential oils. It will be available until March 5th. Visit and comment on the posts and you could win and lemon or orange essential oil. > https://www.facebook.com/events/256364551477496/
I’ll also be giving away 3 oils for those who attend the event live!
So with that out of the way I want to just share what I think the number one oil that all women need to have in their arsenal. Of course, it’s hard for me to pin down just ONE oil but Clary Sage is one of the most important essential oils for hormones, especially in women.
Clary Sage has anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties and can help with cramps, heavy menstrual cycles, hot flashes and hormonal imbalances.
Here are the top 3 reasons why Clary Sage is a great essential oil for women…
Relieves Menstrual Discomfort.
I used to suffer from horrendous period pain. Until I started using a mixture of vitamin C and Clary Sage. I’ll talk about the vitamin C element on another post but Clary sage is an antispasmodic, meaning it treats spasms and related issues such as muscle cramps, headaches and stomachaches. It does this by relaxing the nerve impulses that we can’t control.
Can help you sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping or suffer from insomnia then Clary Sage is the oil for you. It’s a natural sedative so will give you that calm, peaceful feeling you need to send you off in to the land of nod. As you know, not sleeping can have a massive effect on your life – your energy levels, mood, productivity, stress levels and overall health will suffer.
Helps increase circulation.
Clary Sage opens up the blood vessels and allows for increased circulation. It can also help lower blood pressure by relaxing the brain and arteries. This boosts the performance of the metabolic system by increasing the amount of oxygen that gets into the muscles and supporting organ function.
There are plenty more benefits of clary sage so if you have time tonight do pop along to my class. But I’ll make sure I schedule in another post to praise the great work that Clary Sage does. Don’t forget to join me at 8pm tonight!! xoxox
Since this post went down so well over on my Instagram I thought I’d publish it on my blog too. Now I don’t know about you but the one thing that drives me mad about summer is when you have little flies buzzing around in the day and mosquitos and gnats ready to nibble in the night.
Well there are two things that will naturally repel these little pests: Lavender and Basil.
If you’ve got green fingers then plant these two plants next to each other around your sitting areas – I’ve actually done this and have them by my back door to stop them coming in.
So why Basil and Lavender? Quite simply, mosquitos and other insects just hate the smell.
Also, basil is one of the few herbs that give off a scent without the leaves having to be crushed or physically disturbed. And the best thing about both lavender and basil they can be planted in or outdoors.
But if you’re not too bothered about planting or you want to take a repellent on holiday then here are THREE ways you can use Lavender and Basil Essential Oils to shoo away those pests.
First up – make a spray.
Get a spray bottle add:
20 drops of basil
20 drops of lavender
1/2 a cup of filtered water
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
You can spray it on your body, around your space, on your surfaces (ideal for when you’re eating outside) – even on your dog (if your dogs are like mine and get reactions to bites).
OK so I’ve been posting my essential oils collection for quite a while over on instagram and I’m getting LOADS of questions on how I use them. So I thought that I’d a general overview of how I use my oils.
First up, I use doTERRA oils at the moment, mostly because I have an account with them (I don’t sell them!) and I like that they are pure and not full of synthetic ingredients. I am on the look out for cheaper alternatives, so if you know of a good essential oils company – let me know!
Anyway, how I use essential oils…
I diffuse them. I am SO obsessed with my diffuser. I bought one thinking that it wouldn’t be to different from burning my oils but it’s a game changer.With the diffuser you just add a couple of drops of your favourite oil (or oils) and it pushes them out in to the air.
You can create your own blends depending on your mood so if you want to relax then lavender, clary sage or geranium. If you’re wanting to get motivated and pumped then my favourite is to add lemon and peppermint. Or if you just want your house to smell fresh and clean – lemon – always lemon!
I use them as part of my beauty regime. OK so I should admit here, I don’t really have a beauty regime as such but my skin is super sensitive and can get dry so I have to be really picky about what I use on it. Since essential oils are easily absorbed in to the skin and are very powerful, I use a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil and add a few drops of frankincense to create a great moisturiser (Frankincense is also great for burns too which is handy as I’m forever burning myself on the oven, and it’s a great anti-wrinkle oil – also handy but say no more about that one!!).
After a great tip off from my friend Tanya, I now add a drop of Meluca oil to my conditioner and it adds extra shine and protects against heat damage. Meluca is also great for spots too, just dab a drop on and your breakout will be gone in no time.
I use them for medicinal purposes. Eucalyptus mostly. I suffer from blocked sinuses quite a bit so I pop some eucalyptus to the bottom of my shower and let the steam do its job. I also use it in my diffuser if I’m feeling coldy. Lavender on cuts and burns is also another top tip of mine – helps healing and to reduce scarring.
I clean with them. I find traditional cleaners really harsh on my skin and my chest. So use essential oils to do the job a chemical cleaner would normally do. Lemon mixed with apple cider vinegar, baking soda and water will do the job better than any shop bought bleach mix. I add a few drops of lemon or orange to my mop water when I clean the floors – smells amazing.