Nature Walks and Their Amazing Benefits

My family really enjoys nature walks. I love the scents and the smells of trees while my kids love to explore. To our family, nature walks become a part of our lifestyle. Whenever we walk through the forests, we share the moment of love. Sometimes, when I need time to reflect my life, I come alone and enjoy my solitude. Later, I feel surprised to discover a lot of benefits of nature walks that I’ll share with you today.

nature walks, kids, family

Benefits of Walking in Nature

1.     Boost your memory and learning

A study in the University of Michigan has conducted a research about the benefits of nature walks 1. One group of people walked around arboretum and the other went around city streets. Those who were immersed in the nature improved 20% in their memory test. The latter saw no difference.

Walking through trees has also increased learning ability, especially with children. Children who learn and play in an open environment with green areas achieved better cognitive skills and improve life skills 2.

If you are feeling stressed out as final exam is coming, try taking a walk (you can bring your books with you, too!). Actually, I spent a lot of time writing my assignments in the nearby forest or in some local parks. It did work well for me.

2.     Reduce the risk of depression

nature walks, kids, family

Whenever I feel down, I take a hike. I find that I feel better in an instance.  Hiking or walking in nature lowers the risk of depression 3. It also helps to fight stress, anxiety and depression.  The scents of flowers, the sound of leaves talking with others, the smells of soil are gifts from the Mother Earth. They calm you down, making you feel better and happier.

3.     Strengthen the immune system and muscles

When we are around green spaces, we absorb phytoncides (essential oils from the woods), which benefit the immune system. This chemical from plants helps our body increase natural killer cells 4.That’s so amazing!

Walking and hiking also burns off fat and calories, building and strengthening our muscles. Sometimes, I also practise yoga in in a park. It is always the best yoga studio to me!

4.     Enhance your positivity

Those who often enjoyed themselves in nature are less likely to have mental problems. Feeling bad? Want to find a quick burst of happiness? Go and find a lovely green area and close your eyes. I am sure you will regain your balance and feel warm inside.

5.     Build strong family relationship

nature walks, family, kids

Nature is the easiest way to strengthen the family bond. The kids are free to explore, develop the curiosity. My kids question and then share many stories (even their secrets) as they walk with me into the woods. A romantic walk is also a way to fuel the fire between me and my husband, too.

6.     Improve your focus

A study in Psychological Science reveals that nature relaxes your brain from being overstimulated 5.  Hence, it helps your brain to stay focused. I suppose we all need a moment to be mindful. Why don’t you try being mindfulness meditation in nature?

7.     Reduce blood pressure

Nature walks have huge benefits, including controlling blood pressure. Japanese researchers saw that people walked in the woods had lower blood pressure than those walked in the city 6. The good news is, taking a walk suits almost everyone.

8.     Benefit sensitive people

We have seen that walking in green places brings enormous benefits to our health and soul. Especially with sensitive people, it seems to be a huge plus. Being far away from noise, dust, and city skyscrapers calms your delicate nerves.

Sensitive people also gain energy from being alone. Do you know that energy elements such as rivers, trees could absorb bad energy lying deep inside your body? I am a kind of person who always feels overwhelmed by thoughts and ideas. But, I find myself peaceful and free from the burden of thoughts in the forests.

Tips for Successful Nature Walks with Children

Kids do love nature. They run, play and laugh a lot. There are moments you need to slow them down and moments to stir things up a little bit. Here are some tips that I follow to make the most of this wonderful time.

1.     Let them explore

nature walks, kids, family

Kids always seek something new. They can always find new things along the walk. Just remember to put safety as the first priority. You can teach them what to do in emergency situations. For example, when they get lost or hurt their feet.

2.     Pick suitable clothes

When it comes to hiking, clothes are one of the most important things. Pick lightweight, breathable clothes designed for a workout. Don’t forget to choose the one that makes you feel good for a long time. In winter, it is trickier. Make sure to keep them warm with layers of clothes, hat and gloves.

Don’t forget shoes. Sport shoes designed for running and hiking are just perfect! They will prevent sore feet and also save your energy.

3.     Create arts from nature

kids, family, nature walks

Encourage your kids to create their unique collection. It could be leaves, rocks, types of surface, etc. You can also help them to turn them into pictures or other art works. Or sometimes, they could pick whatever they find interesting and explore these things later.

It feels so great to take a break in the shade and let kids do arts. (You have to try this!)

4.     Write journal

kids, family, nature walks,

I have bought different notebooks for journal writing. You know, writing is also a form of arts and it helps to explore the inner world. Your kids can keep it private or share it with other members (It’s up to them).

Being in nature can heal your soul in hard times, strengthen family bonds. It makes a huge difference in our family life. We are more enthusiastic, calmer and happier (maybe even wiser) thanks to the Mother Earth.

Does your family spend time walking into the woods? What are your regular activities (especially with your kids?). Love to hear from you.

11 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home – Living a Sustainable Lifestyle

Living a more sustainable life starts with your own home. Small energy-saving changes could be simple yet effective.  It eases your budget and helps to save the planet, too. Here are some tips that I have applied in my house.

Purchase furniture from recycled materials

The first thing I do when I move to my current house now is to pick furniture, including sofa, wardrobe, table and chair from recycled materials. There are various choices on the market now with elegant design and good quality. To me, they are just as durable and fashionable as the brand new furniture.

Install solar panels

To create a greener and healthier house, I invested in solar panels. It seems to cost a lot at the beginning (the price depends on your house!), but it saves your electricity bills and helps to combat with greenhouse emissions. Plus, there is financial support from the government for installation cost.

Make use of natural light

For bright days, let your light bulbs rest for a while. I always try my best to let sunlight streaming through windows.  It’s ideal if you consider taking advantage of natural light when it comes to designing your house. Choose the layout that can maximise sunlight. Don’t forget to open your curtain on sunny days. Studies show that turning off the lights for only one hour can save you 1.22 pounds of CO2 emissions 1.

Get unplugged

Actually, unplugging electronic appliances can save a huge amount of electricity but people tend to skip this step. Television is often in standby mode for 17 hours a day. Unplug your TV when you stop watching is the easiest way to sustainable living. Do the same with other electronic appliances. You’ll be surprised when you receive your electricity bill.

Grow Herbs and Vegetables

Do you know that when you go out for foods, you create carbon emissions? The solution is, to grow a garden in your house. You can use the backyard or the rooftop. Even in small spaces like a balcony or inside your house, you can plant eatable plants. Growing fresh foods also promote healthy living styles, and boost your mood. Since I have fresh vegetables available at home, I enjoy cooking and home eating more.

Home eating

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Home eating is safe and clean. You can save top dollars when celebrating special days at home with your friends. Plus, the earth will thank you for that action. Eating out produces a lot of carbon emissions and we tend to consume more foods than we do at home.

Make a compost heap

Create personal compost heap will reduce waste in the landfills. I find the compost heap very useful for my garden. So, if you don’t have any plants yet, bring home some edible plants and support them with your own compost. Your house is now a much healthier place for living.

Harvest rainwater

homeThe cost and maintenance of a small barrel or tank are quite low. Taking advantage of natural and fresh water from the rain is very easy. Just put the barrels and let the rain fill it all.

I often use rainwater for gardening. Natural water is essential for the growth of plants. And you can reduce your water bills, too.

Switch to Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs

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Opt for new energy-saving bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. It can make a huge difference on saving the energy (and your budget, too!)

Say No to “Bottled Water”(Even at your home)

I know that bottled water seems to be very convenient but they really put our environment at risk. There are tons of bottles in the landfills and they take hundreds or even thousands of years to completely biodegrade.

5 years ago, I bought my own bottle with my favorite design and kept it by my side. Whenever I go travelling, it is always on my checklist. Small changes can take place at your own home. Don’t order drinks with a water bottle or plastic glasses.

Natural Cleaning

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Cleaning products help get rid of dirt and germs but it also contains a lot of chemicals and potential toxins. Making your own natural cleaners is not as hard as you think. I have tried vinegar and baking soda for cleaning and it’s more than enough for me.

Fix the leaks

Check the leaks regularly even when there’s just a slow drip. A leak in your toilet can waste 757 litres of water a day2. You also lower the cost for the maintenance of your house.

Install programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling cost. Use the one that can automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule. I feel great when it helps me to turn off the cooling system when I have to go out. And when I come back home, it turns the cooling system on. That makes me feel so comfortable.

Efficient Washing and Ironing

90 percent of washing machine’s energy cost is for heating water. So, I often wash my clothes at 30-40 °C to save money and energy.

Plus, you can take advantage of warm days to air-dry your clothes. Hanging them under sunlight is also an efficient way to kill germs. My family does love the smell of air-dried clothes.

My friend also shared with me her tip of ironing. As most irons don’t take much time to heat up, don’t turn them on before you start. Then, turn it off before you finish, the residual heat still works well on finishing your task.

Small changes in our habits can help us to live in harmony with nature. We just need to be conscious of what we are doing without having to sacrifice our living style or comfort. I hope these tips are helpful for you to live and stay green. If you have other tips, please drop us a few lines.

Living Alone – 11 Ways to Lead a Happy Life

Being alone without feeling lonely can be challenging. I used to live alone in my own apartment for 2 years and I found surprising ways to be happy with my true self. Believe me; living alone can be one of the most wonderful experiences in your life

1.   Explore your interests

If you feel lonely, why don’t you try mastering a new skill or try out a new recipe at home? There are tons of options for you including art, writing, and music. If you want to be more adventurous, you can go hiking or travelling.

After two years of being alone, I was surprised that I could play 2 instruments and developed my own blog. I also keep the habit of practising yoga every day, which improves my physical and mental health a lot.

2.   Don’t hold yourself back

You really wish to see a film or go to your favourite restaurant but can’t find anyone to go with? Just go! Don’t need to wait until you find someone suitable to enjoy your life. I travelled alone two or three times and received a lot of help and support from others. That adventure meant a lot to me (But always remember safety tips, especially with ladies).

The point is to get more and more comfortable with the stillness. Then you are able to enjoy your own company.

3.   Enjoy your solitude

enjoy your solitude

We can’t keep ourselves busy all the time to keep loneliness at bay. So, you need to learn to love your solitude. To me, it’s time to breathe deeply, to reflect my life and be grateful for what I have now. Treasure this precious moment! Embrace your solitude. (You can keep a journal for yourself or share this experience on your blog).

4.   Keep a pet

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If you are an animal-lover, don’t hesitate to have a lovely puppy or kitten. I do love to see my puppy growing up with me. For those who don’t have time to take care of dogs or cats, a fish tank is just as good. Hamsters, budgies or finches are also great picks.

5.   Take care of your home

When my partner left my apartment, I lost all the interest in tidying up and decorating my home. After a long working day, my messy house made me feel miserable.  You know, it was so hard to feel good when you found yourself with a high pile of dishes and trash on the floor.

The key is to keep your house at least clean and neat. The effect is amazing. You feel great as soon as you walk in the door. If possible, you can rearrange the furniture or bring home new items. The best part is, you don’t need to ask for the opinions of others. Just go for what makes you feel good.

6.   Decorate your house with plants/ flowers

If you have a small yard or garden, plant your favourite trees or flowers. If you live in a small apartment like me, an indoor plant can be your companion. If you are in bad mood, get a bunch of flowers and put them in a vase (or bowl), I am sure you will feel better in an instant.

7.   Practise Self-Love when living alone

Accept the person who you are is the best way to fight loneliness. Be your own best friend. Treat yourself with kindness, give positive affirmations, and forgive yourself for mistakes that happened a long time ago. It’s easier said than done, I know. But I you accept your strengths as well as your flaws; bad things hardly can touch you.

When I found myself alone, my brain was full of negative thoughts such as: “You’ll be alone forever!” or “Nobody will love you.” When I decided I would be the first one to love myself, I felt like I was always surrounded by the warmth of love and happiness.

8.   Give what you have

You always have something to give. If you don’t have much money for charity, you can give your care, your smile to others. You can be a good listener or a kind stranger on the streets. When your heart is filled with love and kindness, you never be an unhappy person.

When I was alone and struggled to keep balance in life, I spent every weekend baking cookies for homeless people in my neighbourhood. Their smile always raised me up in hard times of my life. So, if you feel bad today, you can ask yourself: “What can I give today?”

9.   Do exercise

A lot of studies show that doing exercise regularly will boost your mood, reduce stress, and maintain mental resilience, and give you better sleep1. I am always a big fan of yoga and I strongly recommend yoga for ladies. If you don’t have time, you can take a walk or jog around the nearby park.

If possible, you can take up a yoga class or join any favourite class and see how your body and mind changes. That would be a wonderful and memorable journey. Isn’t it great to overcome your procrastination and take a good care of yourself?

10.   Keep in tune with nature

happy, alone, life,

Find time to get immersed in the beauty and serenity of nature.  Keeping in tune with nature also includes healthy eating and balanced living styles. Of course, you can change yourself in one day. But you can be sure that being with the Mother Earth always guarantees you a long-lasting happiness.

11.                     Step out of your comfort zone

Don’t lose your passion for discovering and rediscovering yourself. Set up a plan to do something that you haven’t tried before. I have created my own wish list in a notebook and began to make them come true one by one.

Being alone can be hard and exciting at the same time. I hope you will find joy and happiness in this journey.

3 step skincare routine

Benefits of the 3 Step Skin Care Routine

 You heard of the 3-step skin care routine on beauty blogs and magazines, but not sure what they are and how they can help your skin? Then read on, we’ll explain you the steps and benefits of each in detail.

3 step skincare routine
The 3-step skin care regime includes – cleansing, toning and moisturising. This routine plays a key role in determining the health and complexion of your facial skin.

This skin care routine is so popular and I see many people currently following this routine to take care of their skins. Nevertheless, the majority of them just do so because they see other people such as celebrities and other beauty bloggers also follow this routine. (Miranda Kerr is also in favour of this skin care routine, which you can check out in her beauty tips.) On the other hand, I also see so many people who don’t follow these steps, thinking that they are unnecessary and just a waste of time.

If you wonder why you need to follow all of the 3 steps, you should read on for further information about the importance of these steps. I also provide extra tips on doing these steps correctly for the most effective routine.

1)    Why we need to cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily

Why we need to cleanse

You need to cleanse your face twice a day to get rid of excess oil and impurities. It’s very important to cleanse your face instead of just washing it with water or soap for various reasons.

During the day, your face accumulates dirt and harmful participles as well as oil. They will block the pores and then create an ideal environment for acne to develop. In addition, all of the makeup if left overnight will dry out your skin and could lead to premature wrinkles over time. Therefore, we need to cleanse in order to clear off these dirt and impurities.

Washing your face in the morning is also very important. When you sleep, your skin will get rid of the dead cells in order to regenerate new cells. Not to mention that oil also continues to be produced during the night. That is the reason why you need to cleanse your face in the morning in order to give your face a fresher look and remain healthy during the day.

Clean your face with water only is not powerful enough, especially when you wear makeup. These waterproof makeup items such as lipsticks and mascara are hard to wash off with water.

Using soap to wash your face is not good for it at all. Your skin is naturally slightly acidic and contains a thin layer to protect it from harmful elements such as bacteria and viruses. When you wash it with soap, it would strip off or damage this natural protective layer. In the end, the soap would alter the natural pH level in your skin and make it so dry. If you have dry skin, your skin would be drier and drier. And in case you have oily skin, when your skin is too dry, your body will automatically produce more oil, leaving your skin even oilier than before. On the other hand, a good cleanser will help you to clean your face effectively while keeping your face naturally pH balanced.

Why we need to tone

Toning could be the most underestimated step in this 3 step skin care routine. However, this step is also as important as the other 2 steps.

First of all, applying toner to your skin after you cleanse it would help to readjust the natural pH level on your skin and keep it naturally slightly acidic.

In addition, toning would help to eliminate the remaining makeup residue or impurities. When you wash your face with tap water, some traces such as minerals and chlorines are left on your face and toning can help to get rid of it.

Another important benefit of toning is that it can close and tighten the pores, enhancing the look of your skin.

Finally, toning can help to moisturise your skin a little bit. Scientists have found out that damp skin would be more permeable than dry skin. Therefore, it helps the next step- moisturising with moisturiser much more easily when the skin care product can be absorbed well into your skin.

Why we need to moisturise

Finally, we need to moisturise our skin twice a day to make sure it remains the needed moisturising level. It is very important to keep your face hydrated, even if you have oily skin. A well-moisturised skin will help to prevent chapped and cracked skin, especially when you have dry skin. Also, moisturising helps the ageing process and prevent the early appearance of wrinkles.

Also, a well-moisturised skin will prevent overproducing of oil on your face, which helps a great deal when you have oily skin.

When you apply a moisturiser that contains sunscreen or apply sunscreen afterwards, your skin would be protected against the UV rays. These damaging and harmful rays are the main cause of premature wrinkles or serious diseases such as skin cancer. When you use sunscreen, you can limit the exposure of your skin to these rays and hence can prevent these unwanted impacts of them towards your skin all year around.

2)    How to do the steps correctly

What you need to prepare

You need to pick a cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser as well as clean cotton pads. A good skin care product, regardless of its function, should contain gentle, natural or organic ingredients. There should not be sulphate, parabens, alcohol or any other harmful chemical ingredients. In addition, you should know what your skin’s type is – oily, dry or sensitive in order to choose the most suitable skin care product according to your skin’s type. For example, if you have dry or normal skin, you should choose a cream based cleanser. In case you have oily skin, you should consider purchasing a gel based cleanser.

The steps

You might think that doing all of these 3 steps will take a lot of time. However, if you know how to do these properly, it would not cost you a lot of time. Follow these steps below and trust me, it only takes you up to 10 minutes.

  • To begin, make sure you tie your hair or use a headband. Then wash your hands to make sure they are clean.
  • Get your face wet and then pour a little bit of cleanser onto a clean cotton pad and pat it over your face. Rub the pad in a circular motion, paying extra attention to the T-zone and the hair line. Wash your face thoroughly with lukewarm water. You can also splash cold water on your face to tighten your pores.
  • Wipe the toner over the skin using a cotton pad and leave it damp on your face for about 30 seconds. Wait for your skin to dry naturally.
  • Then apply the moisturiser on your face. As I mentioned before, in the morning, we should use a moisturiser that has SPF for sun protection or apply sunscreen on top of the moisturiser. At night, you don’t have to apply sunscreen.
  • Make sure you also apply moisturiser behind your ears, on your neck, the sides of the neck and the back of it as well.
  • Finally, you can add a moisturiser on your hands, lower arms and elbows.

I hope that after reading this article you’ve found yourself a correct and proper method to keep your skin clean and healthy all the time. By spending around 10 to 20 minutes a day to cleanse, tone and moisturise your face, you will be surprised by how much these steps would help you to maintain a bright and healthy looking skin for a long time.

All You Need To Know About Growing Organic Herbs At Home

Growing herbs is not as hard as you think. You can do it either when you live in a big house with a big backyard or in a small apartment. It is very convenient to have herbs whenever you need them. Not to mention that you can ensure the quality of the herbs. All it takes is a little bit of patience and knowledge to make sure you can do the job right.

So if you are interested in learning how to grow fresh herbs such as rosemary, mints, thyme and parsley at home, scroll down to read on about how to grow them effectively and other tips to remember.

fresh herbs, organic herbs, the herbs

1)    Benefits Of Eating Fresh Herbs

They add flavours to your dish

Different herbs have different tastes and flavours. While chives taste like mild onion flavour, thyme has clove-like flavour. If you want something sweet, cool and refreshing, you can try mint. And basil is great when you need something sweet and spicy

There is a wide range of dish you can garnish with fresh herbs. For example, you can use chopped rosemary, sage, thyme and mint to add extra flavours to the grilled lamb and lamb casserole.

Basil is a common ingredient in many sauces and dressings as it helps to increase the depth of the flavour thanks to its hint of anise note.

Mint can be added to food as well as desserts and drinks. A cup of water with mint and cucumber can provide you with enough vitamins and nutrients for the morning.

Fresh herbs contain a lot of health benefits

All of the herbs are good for your health. Most of them are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which helps you to kill harmful molecules in the body, reduce high blood pressure and increase the functions of all of the organs.

2)    Why You Should Grow Organic Herbs At Home

They Are Available All The Time

When you go shopping with a long list of what to buy, it is very easy to forget one or 2 things. In most of the cases, they are just small things like herbs or seasonings. You can still cook your dinner without herbs, but surely having them will add more flavours and tastes. Herbs are surely a finishing touch every dish should have.

And imagine how bad it is when you prepare your dish for a long time and just cannot make it perfect.

When you plant your organic herbs, you can easily find one that you need, cut them and use them without rushing to the market.

They Are Fresh And Healthier

Not to mention that the herbs you have at home are much fresher than the herbs you buy from the supermarket. With the herbs you grow at home, you only cut them when you need them. On the other hand, the herbs in the supermarket are cut and displayed for a few days before they come to you.

One thing that also annoys me a great deal when I buy herbs at the supermarket is that I have to buy them in a large amount when I only need one or two leaves for garnishing. The other just goes to waste or when I use them again, they are not as fresh. When you grow your own organic herbs, you can cut the herbs as much as you need.

Moreover, you are in control about what you put in growing your herbs- the soil, the water and the fertilisers- all of them are safe and of high quality. If you buy herbs from the store, you would never be sure about these things. Therefore, it is safe to say that organic herbs at home are healthier.

They are great decors at home

Rosemary or thyme can act as natural air fresheners and keep your kitchen smell fresh and comfortable all the time.

If you have a fireplace, you can burn some small leaves of sage or rosemary. They will produce a very subtle but aromatic scent which is then distributed around your house.

Not to mention that these pots of green herbs add an extra hint of nature and greenness to your house.

They repel mosquitoes and other insects

Some specific types of herbs such as basil, sage and rosemary contain natural ingredients which are toxic to mosquito larvae. Therefore, growing herbs around water sources can help reduce the rate of eggs being laid, hence, reduce the growth of mosquitoes around your house.

Mint and peppermint also help to repel insects. The plant or the concentrated essential oil from mint can work as an insect repellent to repel these annoying insects and kill the larvae of these insects and bugs.

3)    What You Need To Grow Herbs At Home

There are a wide variety of pots you can use to plant your herbs inside it. They include:

  • Kids’ Old Gumboot Shoes: This is a great way to recycle your kids’ old gumboot shoes. They are great pots to put outside since they are quite resistant to harsh weather.

fresh herbs, organic herbs, the herbs

  • Metal Tins: These tins are quite cheap to buy or you can reuse them from formula tins. They are not easily breakable but they will show damage over time on the surface if you put them in the outdoor area.

fresh herbs, organic herbs, the herbs

  • Clay Pots: Clay pots are quite adorable and available in a wide range of colours as well as shapes. They also provide great aeration and insulation for your herbs. However, they can break if you are not careful when handling them.

fresh herbs, organic herbs, the herbs

  • Mason Jars: Mason jars make herb pots great décor for your house. Since there are no drainage holes on the bottom, you can add a layer of pebbles underneath the soil.

fresh herbs, organic herbs, the herbs

It is very important to choose which type of pots you are going to use depending on the look you want to get and how much you are willing to spend on them. Luckily, there is a wide range of pots for you to choose from. Especially, you can easily reuse old items like Mason jars and kids’ old gumboot shoes.

Other equipment you might need to plant and cut these herbs are shear scissors and snips. If you live in an area with not much natural light, you can consider purchasing a grow light- which is helpful for indoor all year round planting.

4)    How To Grow The Most Popular Herbs

Green shallot: Once you buy them from the supermarket, cut the roots and stem them in the pots.
Parsley: If you can, you should buy a parsley pot from the supermarket. Alternatively, seek for a place where they sell parsley with roots. Take them home and plant them immediately into a pot.

Sage: You can cut a tip from a sage that you buy from the supermarket and plant it into a pot. Place it in a south facing window. Although it needs a lot of sun lights, it needs a decent amount of water so put it in a dry place.

Rosemary: You can cut a tip off rosemary you buy from the supermarket and then keep in inside a box of the moist soilless mix until you see the root coming out. Plant that into a pot and place it in a south-facing window. Water it frequently.

Thyme: You can buy a baby pot from the market and grow it from that. In addition, you can root a soft tip that you cut from an outdoor thyme plant. You can place the pot in an east or west facing the window.

Oregano: You can use a tip of oregano that you buy from the supermarket and plant it into a pot. Place it in a south-facing window.

Chive: You can dig up a clump of chives from the garden or plant the bulb into a pot with moist soil. Place the plant in an east or west facing the window. It will need occasional watering and a few hours of light.

Basil: You can grow basil from seeds and place the pots in the place with a lot of sun rays and warmth.

Mint: You can either cut a tip from an outdoor mint or one you buy from the supermarket and plant it into a pot. Mint grows fast and you would need to have a wide surface container to plant mint. Keep it in a bright warm place and water it frequently.

Here are 3 most popular ways of planting any type of herb:

  • From seed: basil, parsley, coriander and dill. Make sure if you buy seeds from a package, read the instructions carefully.
  • From division: oregano, chives and thyme.
  • From cutting: mint, thyme, oregano and sage.

5)    Top Tips To Successfully Grow Organic Herbs At Home

Make sure these herbs get a lot of lights

In order for your herbs to stay healthy, they need to be exposed to 6 hours of natural light. In case you use artificial light, they need to be exposed to 14 hours of such light.

Nevertheless, different types of herbs require a different amount of sunlight. Basil, oregano and sage are the types of herbs that need sunlight the most. Chives and mints, on the other hands, prefer to live in a much shadier place.

If you cannot place your herbs in a place full of sun lights, you can use artificial glow lights instead.

Keep them in a mildly cold to warm place

It is important that your herbs are kept at a not so cold, not so hot place. The ideal temperature for your herbs to thrive best is about 15 to 16 degrees Celsius at night and about 20 to 21 degree Celsius in the morning.

The best places for you to keep these herbs are the kitchen and bathroom. These places are naturally warm and humid.

Avoid putting your herbs by the windows at night, especially in the winter.

Just like the need for light, the need for ideal temperature is different among these herbs. Some herbs like cilantro and parsley would prefer cooler temperature and less light.

Take Care Of Your Soil

Fresh herbs love moist soil but try not to over water. After watering your herbs, make sure they don’t sit in standing water. It is a sign to show that the water cannot penetrate into the soil anymore.

To avoid standing water, you can grow your herbs in a clay pot with holes. These holes are responsible for draining excessive water.

If you want your herbs to grow healthily, don’t just use normal soil. You should use soil which is made specifically for the job.

How To Get Rid Of Insects

When your herbs are infested with insects, you can use this method to get rid of them totally. You need to prepare a large bowl of water and mix it with a natural insecticidal soap.

After that, you can hold your plants upside down and tip the head of the herbs into the water. Swish them around for a few rounds so that all of the insects are thrown away.

If you are afraid that you cannot hold the plants securely enough, you can pour the diluted soapy water into a spray bottle and spray it onto the herbs, paying extra attention to the affected areas.

Avoid The Chemicals

In order to grow organic herbs, you need to avoid chemical fertilisers at all costs. Instead, you can use both organic liquid fertilisers and organic fertiliser granules and apply it every four weeks.

I hope that with all of the tips above, you would be able to grow your own organic herbs. This task is not hard at all as long as you prepare yourself with the right information and equipment. I am sure that you will soon realise all of your efforts is worthy when you can have fresh herbs anytime you want and don’t have to worry about any side effects of fertilisers.

Have fun gardening and if you have any comment or question, don’t hesitate to ask me!!

 

Exfoliation – Different ways to exfoliate your skin

If you are aspiring after healthy skin, then you should not miss out on exfoliation. It is used to remove dead cells, leaving your skin stronger and brighter. Before undertaking exfoliation, it is important that you identify the type of your skin. Also, some previous knowledge about exfoliation products will come in handy.

There are two major methods to exfoliate your skin:

1/ Mechanical means

Decide on the right scrubbing pad or cloth

exfoliation, exfoliate, scrub

Scrubbing your skin is an integral part of the exfoliation process. Thus, choosing a suitable pad/cloth is essential. However, if such thing is not available, you can always find an alternative such as sponges or skincare brushes, though a piece of cloth/pad is still highly recommended.

Before scrubbing, make sure that your pad is wet. Next, scrub your skin in circle. You need to scrub all over your skin rather than focus on a specific area. If you keep scrubbing just one place, your skin is likely to suffer from irritation.

Add abrasive compound to the cloth

After you have decided on your scrubbing cloth, the next step is to add some abrasive compound to it. It enhances the productivity of exfoliation, which you may find a surprise by how your skin looks after scrubbing. These days there is a wide range of products that have abrasive compound available on the market. You can choose from salt crystals or pumice particles, it’s your choice.

Bear in mind that attaining the natural beauty does not necessarily require wealth. You can opt for the products with a decent price and still great effectiveness. Do your own research online or consult skin care professionals for more details. Another thing to remember is for those who have sensitive skin, you shouldn’t use scrubs with added abrasive compound. It might backfire and cause your skin to feel uncomfortable.

Apply microdermabrasion

exfoliation, exfoliate, scrub

Microdermabrasion is favored by many people since it contributes to the removal of dead cells. You should arrange your microdermabrasion treatment beforehand to ensure your appointments are available. Usually, it takes about half an hour for microdermabrasion to be completed.

If you don’t want to go outside, you can do it at home. Thanks to technological advances, microdermabrasion tools and machines have become reality, allowing you to perform your treatment without the need to go anywhere. And don’t forget to use a skin moisturizer afterward.

2) Chemical means

Use fruits and vegetables

Do you know that fruits and vegetables contain enzymes, which can help with the elimination of dead cells? Fruit-based products are strongly suggested by skincare professionals. Why? They are natural and can be used even by those with sensitive skin. Plus, there is little risk of side effects.

Apply the fruit-based cream onto your face. Leave it there for 15 minutes. Such amount of time will be enough for enzymes to be diffused. Using enzyme-based products means that scrubbing is no longer necessary. So don’t even bother to decide on the right scrubbing pad or cloth.

Use exfoliating acids

Certain types of acids are known to do wonders for your skin. They are able to remove dead cells, making your face look brighter. Exfoliating acids can be utilized on a regular basis by most people. However, for those with sensitive or oily skin, be careful with the frequent use of acids. It is best that you should ask for advice first before scrubbing your face with acids.

If you are using glycolic acids, you may want to take note of this. It is their characteristic that they render your skin more sensitive when you come into contact with the sun. That is why you should use sunscreen before going out to prevent your skin from harmful UV rays.

Homemade Exfoliating Scrubs

There are various ingredients you can simply take out from your closet to make a pot of exfoliating scrubs. They include oatmeal, baking soda honey and coconut pulp. You can also use fresh ground coffee; just make sure they are ground finely and gentle enough on your skin.

  • Coconut oil and sugar facial scrub: create a mixture of coconut oil and sugar with a ratio of 1:1: and apply it to your skin. After massage this mixture gently on your skin for around 3 to 5 minutes, you can wash your face off and wipe out all remaining oil and sugar.
  • Exfoliating honey and baking soda mask and scrub: with this method, you can also mix 1 spoon of honey with 1 spoon of baking soda. Gentle massage your face for 5 minutes or just leave the mixture on your face for 10 minutes so that all of the nutrients will go deeper into your skin. Wash your face off and clean it thoroughly with a warm cloth.
  • Lemon Sugar scrub: You will need one cup of sugar and 1 cup of carrier oil such as jojoba oil and 10 drops of lemon oil. Heat the mixture and let it warm before you apply it on your skin. Like other methods, you could do it gently and wash off afterwards.
  • You can also try other combinations such as olive oil and sugar and salt and fresh ground coffee.
  • For your body, you can try creating a mixture of almonds and oatmeal with other essential oils such as lavender or jasmine. They help you exfoliate your skin as well as bringing a calming and relaxing effect.

Natural Exfoliating Scrub Products

If you want to buy a scrub product from a beauty store, you should buy a natural product, which is more effective and safer for your skin. Some normal products which are available widely on the market tend to over exfoliate your skin, removing the protective barrier of your skin and making it less healthy than normal.

Furthermore, products full of rough and harsh chemical compounds will promote the break out in acne-prone skin and make the redness in your skin becomes worse. Therefore, it is important that you can switch to natural and organic exfoliating scrub.

Natural products will help you to exfoliate your skin nicely, promote the natural cell turnover and help to keep your skin hydrated. Some of the best products are:

  • Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque: with natural crushed cranberry seed to help exfoliate your skin thoroughly but still gently.
  • exfoliation, exfoliate, scrubKORA Organics by Miranda Kerr – Exfoliating Cream: with extracts from chamomile and aloe Vera to help exfoliate your skin while keeping it hydrated and healthy.exfoliate, exfoliation, scrubFor masks, you can go for Alkaitis Enzyme Exfoliating Mask: with a lot of natural ingredients such as blueberry, bilberry and turmeric.

variant_43057Furthermore, for a gentle scrub that could be applied to all types of skin, you could go for Simple As That Exfoliant which has very basic ingredients including rice powder, cacao and sea salt.

For a product to exfoliate your body, you could choose Organics Jojoba Oil Exfoliating Body Wash which contains pure essential oils such as peppermint oil and lemon oil with no parabens and synthetic colors and fragrance.

3) Tips on Exfoliating Your Skin for Best Result

  • You should only exfoliate your skin once a week. Do it more than that can take out the necessary protective barrier of your skin and badly damage your skin as it has no time to recover and regenerate new cells from the last time you exfoliate your skin. Your skin is also more fragile under the sun and against environmental toxins.
  • You should use specific exfoliator for different areas of your body. You need to do so because body scrubs will be harsher for your face and your face scrubs will also be harsher for you eye area. If you use body scrubs for your face, it will lead to serious irritation. And if you use eye scrubs for your body, it will not be effective.
  • You should exfoliate your skin in the morning. It is more effective this way than if you do it in the evening. When your skin gets a chance to recover itself in the evening, using an exfoliator can help to make room for new cells.
  • Before you exfoliate your skin, rinse it with lukewarm water so that all the pores can be opened up and the scrub can go deeper into your skin for better effectiveness.

 

Dry Skin – Signs of Dry Skin and How to Treat

Moisturiser. Moisturiser. Moisturiser. Yes, but then what more?

 Moisturiser, dry skin, skin type

Whenever someone complains about their skin being too dry, our first reaction would be telling them to use more moisturiser.  Well it’s not wrong, but dealing with dry skin is a little more problematic than that. Don’t worry! Once you get a hang of how your skin behaves it soon will be a breeze. I’m going to break down and group a zillion questions you have about your skin now and answer them one-by-one. Shall we begin?

Question #1: What are some signs of dry skin?

There are a few tell-tale signs e.g. red patches, flaky skin or eczema (a rash-like condition). You can also feel your skin getting dry quickly throughout the day, even 1-2 hours after applying, we all know this word now, moisturiser. Dry skin could be very sensitive to many types of skincare and makeup products. Therefore using the wrong/not suitable ones will cause redness and even itching.

Or you can carry out this simple test to determine your skin type. Wipe your face in the morning with a clean facial tissue or paper. You skin would be ‘dry’ if the paper is still clean and your face feels a bit itchy and tight afterwards.

Nightmare, I know.

Question #2: What causes dry skin?

First, let me clarify to all you hopeful people out there. You CANNOT change your skin type because it, including lipid-level and moisture, is determined genetically (Mom, why?). Wait! Let’s not go blaming Mom yet, what if I told you that there is… a cheat way? You heard me right. But I’ll save this part till later.

Anyways, in order to cheat we have to understand what affects our skin dryness. Under our skin there is layer of lipid tissue, which helps trapping moisture. This lipid barrier can be disrupted by many external factors that lead to natural moisturising factors evaporating more quickly. These external factors can be UV lighting, harsh weather, polluted environment or inappropriate face care routine. Besides our skin could also be affected from other factors. Age is one example. As we get older our skin’s ability to produce sweat and lipid decreases (as if aging is not horrifying enough). This would leave our skin not being hydrated most of the time and cause wrinkles later on. There are also hormonal changes, smoking, diet and medication intake contributing to skin dryness.

Now that we are clear of what the problems behind this are we can finally move on to tackle these issues and make peace with it

Question #3: How to treat dry skin?

(a.k.a. How to cheat genetics?)

So how do celebrities like Lea Michelle, Nicole Richie combat skin dryness? By spending $250+ on Dermal Quench Oxygen Treatment every few weeks, no biggie.

Not a celebrity yet? There are a few steps you need to add to your routine and they only follow one simple rule – by learning what your skin needs and provide it with plenty of that.

That’ here being, yes you guessed it right, moisture

Moisturiser (lotion or cream): We’ve been over this since the beginning; so let me make it short. Choose the one that is best suited for your skin, preferably without perfumes and colourants to prevent irritation.

moisturiser, dry skin, skin type

Lukewarm water helps opening pores, let our skin breathe and detox but doesn’t make it drying out fast like hot water. Therefore using warm water for your skin is a great way for cleansing yet still staying hydrated.

Short shower: Keep your shower short and cool (or lukewarm). This way you can lock in the moisture and prevent skin from getting dry. Your singing can wait; don’t worry. *Tip: Make sure skin still feels fresh and moist after drying off with towel. Apply moisturising cream or lotion right away.

Humidifier is a good investment for winter time. Dry skin can get a lot more uncomfortable during this season due to too much dryness in the air. *Tip: Or try placing a pot of water next to your heater.

Tone down on cleanser: Try to opt for a milder facial cleanser. You could also try washing your face with milk since it acts as both a natural cleanser and natural moisturiser. Avoid soaps and scrubs at all costs. Remember, your skin needs to be treated delicately and softly.

Sunblock is a must. Being exposed to harsh UV rays for a long period is no fun. Anyone experienced sunburn knows what I am talking about. The damage the Sun can do to your skin can be pretty severe (dryness, roughness and wrinkles), especially in sensitive area like your face. Go for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it half an hour before going out, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.

Moisturiser, dry skin, skin type

Shave carefully: Unwanted hair is… well, unwanted. But little did we know that they are there to help trapping our natural oils. So there is a chance that you’re scraping off those precious oils while shaving. The best time to shave is after shower when your pores are more relaxed and hair is softer. Always use a sharp razor and shave in the direction that hair is growing to reduce the irritation level. And don’t forget shaving cream and lotion.

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Exfoliate very gently: Very gently. Some would say it’s best to avoid exfoliation because you’re losing more skin and natural oils. However sometimes dead skins builds up as layers and give our skin the flaky look. Exfoliate could help you getting rid of those old skin and leaving your skin looking smooth and fresh afterwards with young skin cells.

Some more side tips that could help you go miles in the ‘cheating’ process:

  • When choosing moisturiser, don’t go for ones with fragrances because normally they come with alcohol. You can use shea butter or ceramide products.
  • Don’t forget your lips. Lip’s skin gets dry easily and needs to be protected. Therefore be sure to glam them up with lipstick, gloss or at least some lip balm day and night.
  • DIY mask by using aloe vera or egg (whip up some egg white, apply and rinse after 10 minutes; repeat with egg yolk) would increase the moisture.

Adapting these tips and tricks to your daily routine would benefit you now as well as later on. However if you don’t feel your skin condition getting better after a few weeks it might be best to see a dermatologist.

Share with us your thoughts on this. Do you think dry skin is the most difficult to treat out of all skin types?

8 Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Busy Mums

As a working mum, I find morning the craziest part of the day. Kids need healthy breakfast which gives them nutrition and energy. So I tried to look for quick and healthy recipes to ease my morning routine. Here are 8 recipes that our family loves the most.

1. Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Healthy Breakfast

I am a big fan of this smoothie as it’s super simple with ingredients already at home. The good news is, you can add blueberry, mango, or kiwi. This recipe is easy to mix-and-match. Plus, it contains a dose of healthy fibre and antioxidants.

INGREDIENTS (2 Servings)

  • 4-5 fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar/ honey (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Put all the ingredients and blend until perfectly smooth. A feel-good breakfast is ready for you!

2. Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal

Healthy Breakfast 2

 

Once again, I love this recipe as it has tons of variety. You can put any fruits available in the fridge. I often put some sliced bananas or mangos. Or if you love nuts, you can pick almonds or peanuts. One of my secrets is to let my kids choose and decorate the top. Needless to say, they are not picky eaters anymore.

This breakfast is quick but still very nutritious. The hearty oats mixing with good fruits or healthy nuts will help you stay energetic through the day.

INGREDIENTS (Serving : 1)

  • ½ cup steel-cut oats
  • ½ cup skim milk ( or unsweetened milk)
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • ¼ medium banana, sliced (or your favourite fruits)
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • Dash of cinnamon (Optional, but it’s worth trying!)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl or a jar (A jar looks nicer to me!). Stir, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next morning, remove from the fridge, add your favourite crunchy toppings such as nuts, granola,chia seeds, extra cinnamon, leftover fruits and ENJOY!

Tip : If you use Greek yoghurt, reduce the amount of milk.

3. Tomato Avocado Melt

Healthy Breakfast 3

Image Source: Tastes Better From Scratch

This is a breakfast which is worth waking up early in the morning. Ease on a budget, fresh, healthy and easy to make changes. If your kids don’t want all-veggie breakfast, you can make Avocado & Tomato Tuna Melt or Chicken, Avocado and Cheese Melt. Feel free to create your own recipe.

INGREDIENTS (Serving :1)

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 English muffin
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 slices of your favourite cheese
  • Salt and pepper to season

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Split the English muffin halves and put them face-up on a large baking sheet. Spread about a teaspoon of mayonnaise on each muffin half.
  2. Spread ¼ mashed avocado on a muffin. Put 2 tomato slices atop the avocado.
  3. Place the cheese slices on the tomatoes. Broil until the cheese melts (Stop when it starts to turn brown). Now the muffins are so crispy and tasty.
  4. Season with a bit of salt and pepper/cayenne for addicting flavor.

Check out this video for the perfect Tomato Avocado Melt:

Video Source: Tasty

4. Quinoa and chia porridge with stone fruits

Healthy Breakfast 4

Image Source:  BBC good food

Quinoa Porridge is ideal for cool days, especially in mid-fall or winter. It will warm your day and make you feel so good.

INGREDIENTS (4 Servings)

  • ¾ cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 apple (or pear)
  • 1 cup milk or alternative nut milk
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter (optional)
  • ¼ tbsp ground ginger
  • pinch sea salt
  • Toppings : raisins, coconut flakes, yoghurt, nuts, berries, strawberries, etc. (Feel free to add your favourites. Our family are so in love with creating our own topping!)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Use the dry pot and put all the ingredients into it. Boil them with medium heat. When it boils, adjust the heat to the minimum.
  2. Gently simmer, stirring from time to time. Make sure nothing stick to the bottom.
  3. Wait until most of the milk is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir one more time.

Once ready, serve porridge with your favourite toppings (yoghurt, nuts, leftover fresh fruits or extra cinnamon). Better to serve warm.

5. Salted Almond Chocolate (with Coconut)

Healthy breakfast 5

 

Image Source: Ambitious Chicken

When I get tired of healthy oats, I’ll go for Salted Amond Chocolate. You can save the leftovers for your kid’s snack at school!

INGREDIENTS (1 Serving)

  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt Almonds
  • 1 tbsp Chocolate Almond Butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut
  • Flakes

 

DIRECTIONS

If you have these ingredients ready, just put them on your toast. And  Bite!

6. Crunchy Apple Ring

Healthy Breakfast 6

Image Source: Shine 365

When apples are in the season, I can’t wait to try Crunch Apple Ring. 10 minutes only and I have to say “It’s insanely yummy!”. One of the best breakfast ideas ever!

INGREDIENTS ( 4 servings)

2 big apples

1 tbsp of peanut butter (I often use my homemade butter.)

Your favourite oats

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Core apples and make apple rings with a knife.
  2. Spread peanut butter on one side of the rings.
  3. Sprinkle your favourite cereal oats. (If I have time, I can sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture!).

7. Black Bean Bowl

Healthy Breakfast 7

Image Source: Dishingupthedirt

Beans are a good source of antioxidants and thiamine, which increase the brain power. Therefore, this recipe is perfect when your kids are preparing for exams.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings)

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grain brown rice
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 avocado, peeled
  • ½ cup salsa
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Tomato (optional)
  • Mashed potato (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook the eggs until they get set.

Put black beans in the microwave (high heat) until they become warm and soft.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Put kale into the oil for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (You can ignore this step if you don’t have enough time!)

Now it’s time to put black beans, avocado,mashed potato pumpkin seeds and salsa into bowls. Season with salt and pepper and decorate.

8. Banana and Almond Butter Pancakes

Healthy Breakfast 8

Image Source : Womansday

When it comes to simplicity, it’s hard to beat Banana and Almond Butter Pancakes. When you are low on energy, try this quick breakfast

INGREDIENTS (3 servings : 9 pancakes)

  • 1 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter ( Peanut butter is great, too!)
  • A dash of cinnamon (optional)
  • honey (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mask the banana with almond butter in a bowl. When this mixture becomes smooth, whisk in the eggs.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat (use a skillet or pan). Put batter into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. When you notice bubbles bursting around, flip over and cook for one more minute. Making heart-shaped pancakes is a great idea as your breakfast becomes more appealing.
  3. Slice the banana. Serve with walnuts and honey.

 

These 8 recipes are my favourites as they ease the burden of cooking in the morning.What do you often make in super busy mornings? I hope to receive healthy breakfast ideas from you.

 

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Benefits of Eating Seasonal and Local Foods

One year ago, my husband and I decided to live a more sustainable life. That includes eating seasonal and local foods. Believe me, this decision has changed our lives. Here are six reasons why eating what’s in the season and local is good for you. And there are some tips from our journey of healthy eating.

A. Benefits of eating seasonal and local foods

1. Flavour : Local foods and foods in season taste the best

Local Foods

Seasonal food is much more pleasing to your taste buds than those out of the seasons. Freshly-picked and fully-grown produce  gives you the optimal taste. It’s hard to say “No” to cherries in the summer (The finest treat of summer to me!)- Fresh, Juicy and so Yummy! We can’t taste the same “tastiness” in other seasons!

2. Safety and Nutrition : Local and Seasonal Foods are super nutritious

Local Foods and Nutrition

Seasonal produce is harvested at the peak of their flavour when it is fully ripe. The plant in the season is not only delicious but also nutritious. Do you know that the level of antioxidants in berries in the summer is much higher than in the cold winter ? Therefore, opt for seasonal food,  your body will be thankful for that smart choice.  

There is no guarantee that local food is free from toxic chemicals. But it is more likely to be fresher and safer. You need to know that foods from a far distance need more chemicals and preservatives to make them look appealing. It is also easier to pick fresh, organic foods in your place (You don’t have such variety of choice for organic foods from other countries). Be a wise customer.

3. Harmony with Nature : Eating seasonally and locally keeps us in tune with nature

 

Local Foods and Nature

After following the “local-eating thing”, I realized that my family’s health has improved a lot. One explanation is that we are in harmony with nature. In hottest days, nature brings us a lot of juicy foods such as berries, cherries, melons to keep us hydrated. And in cold winter, there are perfect foods to give us energy and keep us warm such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic.

I also believe that nature has designed the perfect foods for different locations. Eating local foods is a way to respect the Mother Earth and treasure what we are blessed with. Plus, living in harmony with nature allows us to be aware of the beauty of the presence and things around us. We don’t need to look for fancy foods but enjoy what is meant for us to enjoy (You are more ready to eat raw foods, too!).

4. Home Cooking and Healthy Eating

local foods and Cooking

Going locally and seasonally forces me into home-cooking as well as exploring traditional recipes. I felt like our home is warmer as we are exploring, preparing and cooking together.

We also make a further step. Knowing where our foods come from encouraged our family to join a Slow Food Movement club. My children had the chance to visit local farmers and learned about the importance of foods in our culture. We are also planning to create our rooftop urban garden (Can’t wait!). My point is, eating foods locally and in the season is the fastest way to transform the whole family into healthy eating style!

5. Your Budget : Local foods ease your budget

When we move into local and seasonal eating, we don’t think it can save our wallet. Actually, it does (a lot!). Produce in season is tasty, affordable and abundant. We can buy plenty of foods with good price. Our family consumes a lot of fresh, leafy plants in spring such as basil, brussel sprouts, or spinach. And in the fall, we have juicy tomato in most of our meals. Isn’t it awesome eating good food without paying attention to your budget all the time?

6. Environment

Seasonal and Local

Eating food in season can ease the burden of the Mother’s Earth. Transportation means more fossil fuels pumped out, which causes the greenhouse effect. We also need to consider one thing, what happens before the produce ever gets delivered? Out-of-season produce requires more pesticides and herbicides to grow. The air, the water supply, the soil, every element will be harmed without sustainable growing. Save our health and the environment (It goes in hand!)

B. Some useful tips to go into eating locally and seasonally

1. Farmers’ Market or Farmers’ Stand

Farmers stand for Foods in Season

There are a bunch of wonderful local farmer markets for your feel-good food. You may also find some amazing food demonstration or introduction to farm tours, etc. in these markets. If you have the chance, you can explore your favourite farmers market (I always look for it when travelling). In Australia, Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers’ Markets in Victoria is amazing and plastic-free. Gold Coast Organic Market in Queensland is well-known for organic foods as well as fermented beverages from organic ingredients coming in a variety of flavours.

I also find that farmers’ stand at their own land is convenient and cost-effective. Meeting experienced farmers, I also learned a lot about farming, foods, and special recipes. For me, they are more than nice farmers, they soon become our family’s friends and perfect food consultant.

2. Cook simple meals

Foods in Season

Fresh local food is picked at the peak of ripeness, so you don’t need to spend much time add a lot of bells and whistles. “Simple is the best” and “ Less is more” in this case. Quick, simple cooking makes the most of the fresh ingredients.

3. Start your own garden/farm

Why have to shop if you can find edible plants in your home? You don’t need to purchase or lease a perfect land for gardening or farming. You can start with your window boxes, or your neighbour’s backyard. Our family has planted some herbs in our small backyards.

The good news is, we can exchange food with other farmers in our place. Our herbal plants are quick to expand and when my family can’t eat up, we often give away or exchange with our neighbours. A nice way to connect with others, anyway!

4. Be a member in CSA Family

Joining CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) is a good idea to support farmers, eat healthy food and protect the sustainable farming. We also believe our kids benefit a lot from the early exposure to a variety of regional produce.

5. Encourage family members and friends to join

It’s more fun to have friends and family members to share the same interest. You may set up a potluck with them. I’m sure it’s so great to gather around your loving ones and enjoy a variety of fresh food. Having supporters all around is the most effective way to maintain this healthy lifestyle with joy.

If you still wonder what food is in season now, you can check Seasonal Food Guide. And the last tip is, if you really feel like eating a particular food, just go for it. Anyway, eating is a blessing, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Eating local food in the right season gives our family a chance to explore the beauty of simple things around us. Nature, Food, Cooking and Connection.  They are the gifts that we may not recognise but they can make feel happy.

What’s your favourite  local foods in this season? Do you have special recipes that you want to share? I love to hear from you.

6 Natural Oils for Wrinkle treatment Help You Beat the Clock

 

There are many different factors that affect the aging process that produces fine lines and wrinkles; some of these can be caused by genetics, some from the environment and some from personal habits. Each year, consumers spend millions of dollars on miracle creams and lotions to combat the effects of aging, but what if there was a simpler, more natural and healthy way to keep your skin looking youthful? There is a solution and it comes from natural oils produced by Mother Nature. These Natural Oils for Wrinkle treatment contain no odd chemical combinations or damaging residue. The result of using natural products to reduce wrinkles is pocket and skin friendly.

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Treat Your Skin With Wrinkle Reducing Oils

1)    Lavender oil

Natural Oils for Wrinkle treatment, aging

Lavender oil is a natural oil that has a heavy floral scent, not only is this oil used in aromatherapy for soothing a stressed out soul, it increases the circulation, improving the blood supply that delivers the much-needed oxygen and nutrients to tired skin. Because lavender carries such a heavy scent, only a drop or two is needed to combat wrinkles. Lavender oil is also known to be an antiseptic that kills germs that cause more stress to the skin.

2)    Rose oil

Natural Oils for Wrinkle treatment, aging

Almost everybody loves the scent of a rose. What is better than fighting unsightly wrinkles and smelling amazing while you do it? Rose oil is carefully extracted using a steaming method. The most common type of rose to extract the oil from is the Bulgarian rose. Rose oil is effective in combating wrinkles because the oil has over 300 compounds that affect skin in different ways. Rose oil is most famous for the astringent properties that tighten the pores, and also functions as a dehydrator to keep the skin fresh. The antibacterial and antioxidant properties also help the skin by eliminating germs and providing a fresh clean surface.

3)    Myrrh oil

Myrrh oil has been around since the beginning of time, early use dates back to the Egyptian times. This powerfully woodsy smelling oil is famous for combating a multitude of skin ailments, most importantly the signs of wrinkles. This oil breathes new life into aging skin.

4)    Neroli oil

Neroli

This delightful oil is extracted directly from the orange tree. Along with the bright colorful scent, it is packed with tons of vitamin C that give tired sagging skin an extra lift. Neroli oil also works to smooth saggy skin and hydrates to provide a healthy foundation for smoother skin. This oil contains a natural element called citral that is known to encourage the growth of new skin cells and tones and tightens loose skin.

5)    Clary Sage Oil

white-sage-infused-oil

This oil is packed with antioxidants that produce a barrier against the free radicals that are out to destroy your skin. The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties help to tighten and tone the skin, giving it a smoother appearance with less fine lines and wrinkles.

6)    Jojoba Oil

100% natural Jojoba OilJojoba oil is the liquid produced in the seed of Jojoba plant. This oil is packed with many beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, B, chromium, Iodine, selenium, zinc, and copper1. Thanks to these nutrients, when applied on face, it penetrates deep into the skin and helps rejuvenate your skin by stimulating new cell generation. Also as Jojoba oil has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic properties, it is used to soothe a wide range of skin conditions including wrinkles, acne scars, oily skin, eczema, and sun damage.

When looking for a facial treatment to reduce and prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, my personal oil of choice would be lavender oil and jojoba. The lavender does a fantastic job of reducing daily stress and the jojoba is light and creamy, which makes it easy to apply evenly on the problem areas.

How to Use these natural Oils for Wrinkle treatment Properly

When using essential oils to fight wrinkles, it is best to use the oil in moderation. These oils are extremely concentrated and should be used with a carrier oil to help with absorption and to distribute the oils evenly. As with anything that is used around the eyes, care should be taken not to get any oil into the eye itself. Many of these oils have a citric base that could cause eye irritation.

The best carriers to use with essential oils are avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, calendula oil, grape seed oil and jojoba oil. Simply add a drop or two the essential oils to 5 or 6 drops of the carrier oil and apply a light layer to the problem areas. Depending on personal preference, some use this mixture as a night mask while others will leave the mixture on for 10 to 15 minutes before using a hydrating cleanser to remove.

Happy Skin, Happy Life

Essential oils are by far the best when it comes to treating dry, sagging skin. The natural ingredients are healthier than store bought items and will save money in the bank as well. Use a gentle cleansing cream to remove daily toxins before applying these homemade natural oils for wrinkle treatment and always start out by testing a small area of skin to make sure you won’t have an adverse reaction to the oils. By taking small steps to improve the appearance of your skin, you will notice fewer wrinkles and have a healthier glow on life.