Dear ones, I'm so excited to share with you that today I launched the first issue of my online magazine. This has been a real labour of love and I have been working on it between seeing clients, teaching classes and running the studio. Some of my dearest friends have contributed with their poems, articles and art and I'm so so proud of how it's all come together. The zine is for sale for just £3.90 over on my Etsy shop here:
And the issue is dedicated to Yule and winter season.
A huge thank you to everyone who's supported me with this,
Yule blessings to you all x
Tonight we welcome in the final full moon of the year and also the decade. The December full moon is also known as the cold moon and is in the sign of Gemini. We have the sun in the fire sign Sagittarius and the moon in the air sign Gemini - both are masculine signs and both are to do with the mind. Both Sagittarius and Gemini are inquisitive, curious and mentally expansive. Gemini also rules communication so it's interesting here to work with combining the philosopher archetype of Sagittarius with the ability to communicate our ideas out into the world.
With it being the final full moon of the decade, we have the opportunity to reflect on the last ten years and ask ourselves what we've learned about ourselves, what patterns can we identify as holding us back? what old ways need to die in order for us to grow new things for 2020? Journaling couldn't be more important than it is right now, have a look back at where you were 10 years ago this month, what were you doing? What were your goals/wishes/desires? Have any of them come to being? How many new people have come into your life? What relationships have ended or changed? Read back over old journals and diaries, look through old photos and really connect to how transient life is. Just like the moon and the seasons, life is always in a state of motion, of change and evolution, of ebb and flow. If things are difficult for you right now, take comfort in the fact that this too will pass, this will become another chapter in our incredible story, the difficult times are what shape us and make us strong and sometimes even lead us to unexpected and happy places.
A key theme for Gemini is truth and honest communication and sometimes that communication can be to do with how we view ourselves, the conversations we're having with ourselves and whether or not being honest with our self. When the full moon is out, there's nowhere to hide, this can be a powerful time for looking at our shadows. Use the reflection of the last decade to ask yourself honest questions, before doing so, place your hands on your heart and take some deep breaths, allow your mind to drop down into your heart space and answer the questions from there:
What is holding you back from having harmonious relationships?
What is holding you back from following your dreams?
What haven't you forgiven?
What do you wish you could say sorry about?
What do you need to forgive yourself for?
What are your regrets?
What are you proud of?
What are you deepest desires?
What is your joy?
On Gemini moon days it's easy to get caught up in our thoughts, Gemini has a mercurial energy to it which can leave us feeling ungrounded and mentally overwhelmed, add this in to the busyness of the lead up to Christmas and hello frazzled mind. It's a really good idea on Gemini moon days to bring ourselves back into our body and do things that will calm and focus the mind. Think of the idea of using the arrow and focus of Sagittarius to focus the somewhat flighty tendencies of Gemini. Using practices such as Yoga Nidra, guided meditations and gentle yoga can be really helpful for slowing the mind down. Also, when it comes to tackling Christmas tasks, try to focus on one thing at a time, write lists or use a bullet journal to give yourself the satisfaction of ticking things off. Try not to flit from one unfinished task to the other, just like leaving loads of tabs open and programmes running on your computer slows it down, it's the same for our mind too.
The combination of Sagittarius and Gemini can also lead us to get over excited about new ideas and ventures, so check-in with yourself honestly about whether or not you're taking on too much? Can some things wait? Are you honouring the season of winter and the need to rest? Sometimes it can be so hard with all the pressures of social media to not want to jump into new things straight away, one of my favourite quotes is "Do less, be more" - can we let go and soften a little bit and pick up the pace again in Spring? Or is our gut telling us that now really is the right time? Only you can know :)
Gemini is an AIR sign so why not use sacred smoke cleansing practices to cleanse your home, your oracle cards and crystals and to do a ritual of letting go. Use incense, resins or herb bundles to clear negative, old or unwanted energy. Afterwards light a white candle which represents the way you'd like to feel moving forward or the things you want to welcome in. The candle can also represent the fire element of Sagittarius.
"Gather your burdens in a basket in your heart. Set them at the feet of the mother. Say 'Take this, Great Mama, because I cannot carry all this shit for another minute.' And then crawl into her broad lap and nestle against her ample bosom and take a nap. When you wake, the basket will still be there, but half it's contents will be gone, and the other half will have resumed their ordinary shapes and sizes, no longer masquerading as catastrophic, epic, chronic, and toxic. The mother will clear things out and tidy up. She will take your compulsions and transmute them. But only if you freely offer them to her." - Wild Mercy by Mirabai Starr
Gemini rules the shoulders, arms and hands and it's easy at this time of the year to feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. Sometime over the next few days, if you have access to one, run yourself a cleansing epsom salts bath to help soother tense and tired muscles and gently detox the body. Add rose and geranium essential oils to help you de-stress and bring you back into your heart space.
Full moon blessings to you all dear ones xo
We have a full moon in Gemini coming up this week on the 12th December so I thought I'd share this Lunar Yoga flow with you that I made some while back. This video was made for the full moon in Libra but you can use it at any time really. It's a nice gentle flow including some hip releases and warrior flows. Really hope you enjoy. Don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel, it helps me to continue to deliver free content.
Ahhh Autumn...my favourite time of the year! Tis the season of snuggly jumpers, pumpkin spiced lattes, cosy socks, crunchy leaves, crisp walks in the countryside and the beginning of slowing things down as we head in to winter. It's also a time of year that we can be susceptible to colds and flus and generally feeling under the weather so I wanted to share with you my self care rituals as we shift in to this season.
First of all let's talk about shifting into this season mentally before we look at the physical. If we compare the seasons to the four main phases of the moon, you can think of summer as being like the full moon phase - a time of high energy and light. Autumn is like the waning moon - the energy and light begins to dissipate as we make our way into new/dark moon time when the moon doesn't appear at all and there is little by way of light and energy. New moon time represents winter, that complete retreat inwards and the spring is represented by the waxing moon and then the cycle starts all over again. In these busy modern times we have become so disconnected to these rhythms and cycles of nature that we have shifted in to an almost permanent state of yang which just isn't sustainable. Staying in this yang energy for too long means we don't give ourselves time to re-charge and in most cases results in burn out where we're forced to stay in a yin energy whilst our body (and spirit for that matter) repairs itself. We have to work hard these days to keep this sacred connection to mother earth with so much influence from the outside world to stay the same all year round and to wear our busyness like a badge of honour. We're constantly stimulated by artificial light which disconnects us from the ebbs and flows of the moon and the seasons. Before electricity we would have naturally shifted in to this slower pace in Autumn because quite simply the decrease in daylight each day would have shortened the working day. Autumn Equinox takes place this weekend which signifies the end of summer and the descent in to winter.
If you have some time over the next few days here's a little Autumn Equinox meditation practice for you to do:
AUTUMN EQUINOX MEDITATION
Find somewhere to sit quietly where you won't be disturbed and find a comfortable position for your body, feel free to do this lying down if that's more comfortable for you.
Spend the first few moments just sitting with your eyes closed focusing on your breath as it moves in and out.
Begin to bring to mind these four phases of the moon. You can visualise the moon in the night sky and focus on this journey from dark moon to full moon and back to dark moon. See if you can start to sync this with your breath, on no breath picture an empty sky then take a breath in and visualise the moon appearing and growing in size, hold your breath for a moment and picture the full moon in all it's glory and then breathe out and focus on the moon waning and decreasing in size, when you run out of breath once again picture the empty sky. Do a few rounds of breath this way. Start to really tune in to this ebb and flow, this rise and fall of your breath and of the cycles of nature. Begin to turn your attention now to the seasons of the year and think about their similarity to these moon phases - dark moon = winter, waxing moon = spring, full moon = summer and the waning moon = autumn.
Then bring your focus to this moment in time. Start to think about the change in weather, the change in light throughout the day and the beautiful colours that are appearing as the leaves are beginning to die. See if you can tune in to this sense of waning energy, of things beginning to slow down.
Turn your focus to the trees and how they are getting ready to let go of all that no longer serves them in order to make way for new things to grow and then bloom again in the spring. Can you start to picture yourself as a tree, visualising yourself covered in these autumn coloured leaves. Start to focus on the leaves and imagine now that each leaf on your tree represents something that you want to release and let go of. Bring your focus back to you breath and begin to deepen your breath once again. As you do this, imagine that with each exhalation these leaves begin to fall from your branches and float to the ground. Breathe in deeply, exhale deeply and imagine these leaves falling to the earth. Each time you do this feel yourself getting lighter and lighter as you release all that no longer serves you.
Then spend some time focusing on this feeling of relief and lightness. Start to draw your mind inwards again and feel your awareness resting at your heart centre. Begin to turn your thoughts to the new things that you want to cultivate and give your attention to developing during the quiet, reflective winter months and see if you can visualise those as seeds of possibility and potential. These aren't things that we would necessary act on as now is a resting time but things might be the seeds of ideas or intentions. Rest both hands over your heart space and take some deep breaths here.
Slowly start to bring yourself out of this meditation. Go to your journal and write down your experience from this meditation, what did it bring up for you? What did you want to release and what did you want to cultivate? You can look back on these musings in months to come and check back in with your intentions.
BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
As mentioned before, this is a time of year when it's really common to get run down and to pick up colds and flus. It's a good time to start introducing natural remedies to help boost and support your immune system. Neal's Yard Remedies have some amazing tips, tricks and products to help you stay well during this shift in seasons. I am a huge fan of the Eucalyptus salve, at the slightest hint of feeling run down I will slather myself in this, add it to my bath and do steam inhalations with it. Elderberry syrup is another fantastic way to boost your immunity, you can drink this as is or add it to a herbal tea or make it in to a hot toddy. I also try and get back in to the habit of taking supplements again at this time of year, I really like the NYR joint supplement as it helps with both my arthritis and my immunity and I also love the antioxidant boost supplements.
Turmeric is fantastic for protecting the body against illness, it has high levels of antioxidants and is also highly anti inflammatory so again good for arthritis. My favourite way to take turmeric is to make it in to a latte:
TURMERIC LATTE RECIPE
1 tsp of organic Turmeric powder
1 tbs of coconut oil
1 tsp of maple syrup to sweeten
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Add your turmeric powder to a mug and add a tiny amount of boiling water to it so that you can mix it in to a paste, leave to one side. Heat the coconut milk on the stove (don't bring to the boil) and then add your turmeric paste in to the milk. Once you've gotten the milk up to the temperature that you want either pour directly in to your mug or if you want to make it frothy pop it in a blender for a few seconds. Stir in the tsp of maple syrup and you can also add a sprinkling of cinnamon to the top.
WARNING - turmeric powder stains things bright yellow and it's hard to get out of things so be careful
For me, one of the best things about Autumn is getting my cosy on! Now is the time to stock up on candles with scents that warm and delight, I'm in love with the Vanilla and White Pumpkin coconut wax candles by D.W.Naturals (I got mine from TKMAXX) or you could get crafty and have a go at making your own candles. A big part of my Autumn self care routine is coming home from work and lighting candles, turning on the fairy lights and turning off the main lights to tune in to the darkening of the days.
Beautifying the home at this time of year is a really grounding experience, especially as we know we're about to spend a lot more time indoors. Why not have a go at making an Autumn wreath or garland with leaves, acorns and pine cones that you find out on your walks.
One of the things I loved about living in Australia was their love of posh PJs and loungewear, lounging is a real art in Australia and it's something I've kept with me. After a long day at work it was common practice in Sydney to immediately change in to your Uggs (which are slippers by the way) and your decadent lounge wear and then enter chill mode. I remember the first time I saw my friend do this, I'd popped round for a cuppa and was taken aback by her head to toe in silk PJs and I remember asking if she was sick :) It's no surprise then that one of my favourite brands is an Australian company that specialise in eco friendly loungewear. Let me introduce you to wearethought.com
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
It's important to balance our indoor cosyness with plenty of time outdoors soaking up as much natural light as we can and breathing in the fresh air. The countryside at this time of year is just absolutely stunning, go exploring and try leaving your phone at home.
Ok dear ones, I hope you've enjoyed this article. As some of you know I am working on my first book!! It will be a compilation of self care recipes and rituals and I can't wait to share it with you. For now I'll be posting snippets on here and continuing to share my recipes and rituals with you on social media. The book will start out as an Ebook with the view to getting it printed at some point too. As always, thank you for your continuing support and kindness.
I've worked in natural and organic skincare for about 8 years now, and it's a subject that I'm hugely passionate about. This journey began when I started working for a company called Perfect Potion in Sydney who specialised in natural skincare and aromatherapy (this is also where I fell in love with the art of aromatherapy). Before this time I'd never given much thought to what was in my skincare and body products and how toxic these were for myself and the environment. I fell in love with the way that these products smelt and felt and the knowledge that I wasn't putting harmful chemicals in to my blood stream. I worked at Perfect Potion for a few years on the shop floor and in the therapy rooms as a massage therapist.
When I moved home to the UK I was delighted to find a similar company called Neal's Yard Remedies and was even more delighted when I realised there was one in Shrewsbury. I bounced in asking for a job and the rest as they say is history. This year will be my 3rd year working for Neal's Yard Remedies, I no longer work there in retail as I got too busy with my own business but still work from the Therapy Rooms and am a NYR consultant. I have ummed and ahhed about training in facials for so long, not wanting to overwhelm my treatment menu or spread myself too thin but recently I have really missed sharing skincare with people and educating people in the benefits of organic and vegan products as I no longer work in retail. So the decision has been made and I am booked in for a course at the beginning of April. I am really excited to able to offer beautiful bespoke facials using handmade, natural, organic and vegan products. I will be using a selection of Neal's Yard, Tropic (vegan) and No Fuss(vegan) products for my facials and can also blend products on the day to suit your skin with my aromatherapy massage background.
These facial treatments will be available from mid April onwards, here are the details:
30 minutes Express Facial £30.00
Includes a cleanse, facial scrub, tone, serum and moisturiser and a lymphatic drainage face and neck massage.
60 minutes Holistic Facial £50.00
Includes a cleanse, facial scrub, mask, tone, serum/oil, eye cream, lip treatment and moisturiser to suit your skin. Lymphatic drainage and shiatsu pressure point techniques to the face to aid with rejuvenation, firming and toning. And, an aromatherapy hand and arm massage whilst your mask is setting.
90 minute Pamper Package £75.00
A 60 minute full body aromatherapy massage followed by a 30 minute facial.
TUESDAYS 11am-5pm in Stourbridge
THURSDAYS 11am-4pm in Wellington
FRIDAYS 9:30am-6pm in Shrewsbury
SATURDAYS 1-5pm in Stourbridge
Tropic use fresh, premium, natural ingredients like nourishing seed butters, juicy fruit extracts and aromatic essential oils. Their skincare and body care products are all freshly made in their Surrey Beauty Kitchen by their Beauty Chefs every day. Tropic is certified natural and all their products are vegan.
NEAL'S YARD REMEDIES
Neal's Yard Remedies began in 1981 from Neal's Yard in Covent Garden, London. They make beautiful natural skincare products with aromatherapy at the heart of what they do. They are certified organic by the soil association and have been awarded 100/100 from the Good Shopping Guide.
No Fuss is a Stourbridge based brand and is created by my dear friend Hannah. All her products are natural, vegan and handmade in the UK. Hannah has created a selection of different skincare collections that use organic, 100% natural ingredients, and are carefully formulated for a variety of different skin conditions.
For more information or to book in please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello my dears,
I've just posted a new video for you over on my youtube channel. This is my first full length yoga video and now I'm getting the hang of filming and editing I plan to release a new full length class for you each week. This is a lovely slow paced and gentle Hatha practice for releasing the hips and lower back. Really hope you enjoy!
Every new year we set ourselves unrealistic goals and expectations and inevitably end up disappointed and deflated. Instead of starting the year with positivity and hope we end up beginning the year with feelings of low self esteem, body shame and frustration. One of the biggest reasons that we set ourselves up to fail (in my opinion) is that we forget the season we are in. We forget that winter is a time for rest, reflection and for self care and rejuvenation. When January 1st arrives we still have months ahead of us of cold, damp and dark days and yet we set these intentions to detox, get fit and eat clean at a time when we still need to be eating warm and nourishing food and honouring more yin styles of exercise.
I've personally never agreed with the whole new year detox thing and my cynical mind views it as a time for marketing companies to sell us a whole bunch of stuff we don't need by making us feel bad about ourselves. We're encouraged to binge over Christmas and then immediately go in to detox on Jan 1st which to me doesn't feel like great health advice. I was looking around my garden this morning at the bare branches and all the empty plant pots and once again allowed mother nature to speak to me, and she told me that now is the time to rest and plant seeds for the spring. Intuitively I've always preferred to take on detox and more energizing types of exercise in the Spring when the days begin to lighten and the flowers begin to grow (it's also interesting that many of the herbs and plants we use for detox are not actually around this time of year). Winter is a time when we are lower in energy and our immune systems are weakened, pushing ourselves too much at this time can result in us feeling burnt out and inevitably getting sick. Here are my tips for greeting the new year with grace and balance and avoiding the mid january disappointment:
Due to the quiet and reflective quality of this time of year, winter is ideal for self reflection and inner inquiry. Spend some time processing the events of this year, what's worked and what hasn't and analysing limiting mental habits. Perhaps January the 1st could mark the start of a journaling practice, treat yourself to a beautiful book to write in (or perhaps you were gifted with one for Christmas) and start keeping track of your hopes and wishes for the new year. If you can already feel the post Christmas blues beginning to kick in why not dedicate a page in your journal for gratitude and write down all the blessings you've received in the last year - this will have you feeling warm and fuzzy in no time. If you're a visual person like myself, you might like to make some mood boards for inspiration or as a way of manifesting what you'd like from 2018. This is also a fantastic way to recycle old magazines and de-clutter your home! Get cosy, make yourself a cuppa and enjoy some quality time with your thoughts and imagination.
Detox your mind
Winter is also the perfect time to re-visit or establish a meditation practice. Set yourself up well for the new year by getting a handle on your mind. There are so many great free meditation courses online these days that you can get this going from the comfort of your own home. My favourite is this one from do you yoga.com https://www.doyouyoga.com/course/30-day-meditation-challenge/
Meditation has been linked to many health benefits and is a fantastic way to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Because of the body mind connection, when we create calm within our mind we create well-being within the body.
If you haven't tried Restorative yoga yet, now is the best time to give this incredibly healing and restful practice a try. Restorative yoga works on supporting your body with blankets, bolsters and cushions in each pose so that you can melt in to the pose and allow your body to make subtle energetic changes. It also works on releasing the fascia of the body so you come away feeling stretched and lengthened. You only do a handful of poses in each session and each pose is held for a longer period of time than in other types of yoga. It has an incredibly soothing effect on the nervous system, is calming for the mind and is another fantastic stress reliever.
Here's a lovely winter solstice restorative yoga practice with Kassandra.
Welcome to my Urban Priestess blog, here I share my tips and tricks for seasonal and lunar living.