I have been intrigued by the power of essential oils for quite a while, but outside of my trusty Tea tree oil which I use for cold sores, Ethans Warts and other scrapes/zits, and the Peppermint oil I used to diffuse to help me in pregnancy with sickness, they have never really been a part of our home and life. I have heard many great things about essential oils and have many friends and family that use them on a regular basis for a number of things and swear by them. For me however, I have looked from afar, with no idea where to start and rarely the funds to be able to afford them.

When Simply Earth contacted me to review one of their Recipe Boxes this month, I was delighted to have the opportunity to finally learn a little more about incorporating oils into our lives and learning more about the benefits of new oils outside my current tea tree! I already love that their Subscription boxes offer you full sized oils each month, with ideas and little extras of how you can use them. And the best part is that they are pure and come at the affordable price of $39 a month for a recipe box – this was exciting!

Who Are Simply Earth? 

Simply Earth are an American based essential oils company (who ship worldwide) and who are passionate about helping others to have a more natural home and access the power of plants and nature. They work carefully and ethically to choose a region where each plant will thrive and then work with their farmers to ensure that when the plants have reached maturity, they are harvested safely and fairly. From there they collect their natural essential oils through either cold-pressing or steam-distillation and every batch is then tested to ensure 100% purity.

Monthly Subscription

One of the things that has put me off being able to use essential oils in the past, is that pure oils are so blooming pricey! I was therefore excited that for only $39 a month (£30 and a few pence) you can join Simply Earth to get a monthly delivery of 4 pure essential oils plus extras (which is at the same price of 1 oil from the big oil companies). It can be paused at any time, and gives you the opportunity to learn how to use the oils in everyday life to help your home and family be more natural.

The essential recipe box includes 👇

4 Essential Oils | Natural Ingredients | + Fun Extras – they have a $150 value for only $39/month and after 6 months subscription you will also receive a jam packed free bonus box that will enable you to widen what you can mix and make.

The January Box! 

I received the January box last week and was really excited to see all of the lovely things in it – not only would it be a fabulous gift to give to someone who loves essential oils, but it also enables you to make natural homemade gifts for friends and family too. As well as providing you with the individual oils that can be used for so many other things.

The January Box has a Bergamot Essential Oil, Myrrh Essential Oil, Ravensara Essential Oil, Farewell Scars Essential Oil Blend, Tapioca Pearls, a Soap Mold and Lip Balm Container, along with recipe cards of various things you can make. I was really impressed with just how much you get, and how simple the recipes were to follow.

Bergamot Essential Oil – Bergamot oil is a citrus oil that has commonly being used in Italian folk medicine for fevers and other medicinal purposes for many years. It is useful to help relax you, calm your nerves and help with insomnia. Many swear by it for anxiety, as well as seeing benefits for balancing oily skin and easing tight muscles.

Myrrh Essential Oil – Myrrh is a common word we throw around at Christmas time, but did you know that it has been used as early as 600B.C in Ancient Egypt for embalming and fumigation?

Whilst I am pretty certain that you won’t need it for it’s traditional uses, it is nonetheless useful in this day and age. Myrrh is a popular oil for skin healing, as well as calming the mind and being anti-fungal.

Ravensara Essential Oil – Ravensara Essential Oil not only supports the immune system during times of seasonal illness, but also has great benefits for mental well-being as it promotes self confidence and has a calming effect. It wards off skin corruption of the lips and also supports self confidence. Along with Bergamot oil it has been my firm favourite.

Farewell Scar Blend – The farewell Scar blend is a blend of Lemon, Lavender, Rosemary, Myrrh and Helichrysum essential oils. It helps  during the healing process and can help reduce scarring and leave you with healthy, healed skin.

I am a complete beginner with using essential oils, however I am already loving how easy the Simply Earth Recipe box has helped me to use them. Yesterday I made both a body scrub and 2 lip balms and loved them both. They were easy to make and smelt gorgeous (as well as having the assurance of health benefits from the oils).

I used the body scrub in the shower immediately and the hot water helped to really kick in the power of the oils as my breathing suddenly felt clearer and my mind calmer throughout the day. The benefits to my skin were instantaneous too, leaving it incredibly soft and moisturized. I have put some in a jar to take to my mother in law tomorrow, as I know she will love it too, but it gets a thumbs up from me!

The lip balms were really easy to do too and I love that I have now created “his & hers” lip balms for Nathan and I! He suffers with chapped lips and this blend is so good to help promote soft lips. I have only been using them since yesterday but the smallest amount moisturises all day, as well as having a lovely fragrance from the farewell scar blend.

Both the scrub and the lip balm (as well as other recipes in the January box) are excellent for skin and lips at this cold time of year when the weather is harsh and can chap and dry out skin.They are wonderful for personal use and great to give you the chance to make lovely homemade gifts too, that will pass on the joy and benefits of essential oils.

Helping others along the way

Another thing that I have loved since becoming acquainted with the Simply Earth brand is their commitment to helping others. It is remarkable that Simply Earth shares 13% of it’s profits to organizations who help end the atrocity of Human Trafficking, which has quickly become a a worldwide phenomenon.

Simply Earth essential oils can be used in a variety of ways outside of those found as a starting point in the recipe boxes. They do not recommend ingesting the oils as the International Federation of Aromatherapists does not recommend that Essential Oils be taken internally unless under the supervision of a Medical Doctor who is also qualified in clinical Aromatherapy. However, their oils would be safe for consumption, if under the care/supervision of a doctor trained in clinical Aromatherapy.

I am going to continue researching how I can use them in everyday life and at home, and will let you know in a few weeks how it goes. In the meantime, if you want to give essential oils ago this year, and like the idea of being able to make homemade lovely gifts for friends and family with them, then head over to the Simply Earth Website and type in the code HEARTYFREE  –  it will give you a free $20 gift card which will be included in your initial Essential Oil Recipe Box at checkout (when you subscribe to the recipe box for the first time) and that you can use on your future purchase or next box.

*I am working as part of Simply Earths affiliate programme and receive a small fee for each purchase made through my code. I received this January box and a bonus box complimentary for the purpose of this post and collaboration. All images and thoughts are my own. 

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Back in the Summer it was our annual village show, and from baking to photography, egg decorating and lego models, we each found things to create and enter into it (and did pretty well too!) It was a lovely occasion, despite the rain and we all had a lovely time being a part of it. I have for the longest time had a Christmas quilt cut out in my sewing box and with a “Patchwork” category in the show, it was just the push I needed to get it out, sewn up and finished. It was a little stressful at points, especially as I am not the best at binding, but despite this, back in the Summer I made my first Christmas quilt and entered it into the show (que cringe!) – it wasn’t the best, was a lot smaller than I anticipated, but I was so chuffed with my little nativity quilt I created!

When I initially saw this Nativity quilting panel on Leeds market a couple of years ago I absolutely loved it. It was at a time in my life I was just getting into quilting, and I loved the idea of a family quilt that would come out each year to tell the Christmas story. The colours were bold and bright, the images fun, and it was ideal to make a family Christmas quilt. Of course when I came to make it, the idyllic scenes in my mind didn’t quite play out – it is by no means big enough for us all to get under and snuggle, which is pretty funny, but I do love it and it is enough for a first attempt.

I chose to alternate the nativity scenes with bright bold squares of plain fabric – they are not traditionally festive colours, but rich and work with the nativity squares to create a fun and family friendly look. I backed this patchwork panel I created with a simple plain red (which felt festive) and then quilted it and finished it off using left over scraps of the same red to make some (shocking) binding!

I forgot how much I love making patchwork quilts. I am still such a beginner and aire on the side of caution by only doing basic square, but I love this one all the same. I think it is such a great way to talk about the nativity and Christmas story together with the kids and help them think about the true meaning of Christmas. I love that the kids can take a square each and talk about it, or we can sing a song that it reminds us of – so simple but so lovely.

I really enjoyed making this little Christmas story quilt for our family, I do wish it was bigger, but I am chuffed with what I created for our home. I certainly look forward to a day when I can better my quilting skills and make more detailed quilts, sewing is a lot of fun to me and creating things is good for the soul – even if they are a little imperfect!

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Nowadays our work and life balance can quickly become out of sync. With too many obligations, we can involuntary forget our loved ones and fail to spend enough quality time with them. Hanging with friends and family has for many become rare, and spending time in nature, away from technology would be quite the luxury for most. We forget how relaxing and pleasant socializing can be and how invigorating to the soul spending time in nature would be too (This post here illustrates why we should spend more time in Nature).

In the last few years, nature enthusiasts have invented a new type of outdoor activity. You can perform it with your family, friends, or colleagues, as a date option, or even play with unknown people. It’s called geocaching, and whilst we are yet to try it, feedback says that it is a very entertaining outside game that is gaining more and more fans around the world.

In Short about Geocache

Geocaching is a relatively new and very entertaining game that is equally interesting to people of all ages and genders. Besides spending quality time with family and friends in nature, it can be an excellent way to remind you of some scouting skills, orientation in space, and to be physically active.

The goal of geocaching is to hide your own and find someone else’s “hidden treasure.” Unlike the search for a chest full of gold, there are no secret maps with the good ol’ skull and crossbones, indicating the place where someone hid the treasure a long time ago.

For locating this “treasure,” you’ll need GPS devices and coordinates that are available to everyone on the Internet. Instead of a large wooden chest, you will find a plastic case or something like that. And instead of gold and jewels, there will be a brief explanation for those who find this case by accident; a pen and a paper where you’ll sign in as a founder of this treasure.

Some internal rule among contestants is to get some of that treasure, usually a toy, tag, badge, batteries for GPS, etc. In return, they have to leave something in the box, for future players. Then close the box and return it to the same place. The last step is to go to the official site to assign a founder, and to look for the next target. It is a fantastic activity and hobby for all. 

What You Need for Playing

Apart from GPS devices, people usually use phones and tablets (due to the ease of carrying them). You will also need a stable internet connection, and for some geocaches, there’s an option to find them even if you don’t have Internet access using images. It often happens that the locations are a bit tricky, and you may not have a good signal – this is a great way to get your search done.

Before you go on a geocaching adventure, you need to register yourself among the “geocache hunters” on the site specially designed for it. In your account, you will be able to find accurate and updated information about new geocaches at any time, but also to keep track of your “hunting.”

Locations on which geocaches can be placed are different – some love those in the wild, in the middle of the forest, or near rivers and lakes; someone else may prefer urban locations, where geocaches are hidden somewhere in the city fortresses and parks. Choose a target, take coordinates, and start hunting and having some fun.

It’s Not Easy as It Seems

Although you get coordinates, do not think it’s that easy to reach your goal. Every GPS device has some imprecision, no matter how good and advanced they are. So you can expect that your search can take several hours, even if the geocache is located within a range of ten feet. You know that geocache is hidden somewhere around you, but GPS will never take you to the right place.

Whether you play the game with known or unknown people, you have to work as a team to get to the geocache which is great for families and to teach kids. Then, with your sharp eye and brilliant mind, they should help you act.

The point of geocaching is to have fun and test your skills.

Hide Your Own Geocache

If you prefer to be a prey than a hunter, you can create the contents of the box that other “hunters” will ask for. You need to hide your geocache and register it on the official site, giving exact coordinates.

 There are special tags and coins linked to the website, and they represent a real catch. The rule is that hunters don’t keep them as a trophy, rather they have to transfer them to the next geocache they find. The movements of these tags can be tracked on the site.

In good company, you often don’t realise just how quickly time flies whilst geocaching. Even if you haven’t met the goal for that day, remember you have spent quality time in nature with your loved ones. Geocaching doesn’t require high expenses; just good will, some energy and a desire for adventure and spending your free time doing something new and interesting.

We can’t wait to give it a go with the kids in the New Year.

*Collaborative Post

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I don’t know about dry January, but being Teetotallers (and LDS) our lives are dry yearly! We drink mainly water with our meals, fresh juices, most soft drinks and juices, and very much enjoy the odd “Posh Pop” for special occasions and date nights. We of course know what we like and have our favourites, but we are always on the lookout, and excited to discover new & tasty soft drinks to add a little fizz to our lives!

Last week Fentimans kindly sent us a gorgeous hamper filled with tasty goodness, and of course at the sniff of anything more than water the kids and Nath were sniffing round them immediately like bees to honey!

We tried them over Sunday dinner and then of course sneakily reserved some for date night too. There’s something so good about supping on a tasty chilled bevvy once the kids are in bed, and I must admit these really hit the spot! They are light, fragrant and fresh!

Fentimans drinks have been around since 1905, so they know what they’re doing here! They’re that little bit different to others as they are blended and infused with natural ingredients and botanical’s from around the world, and it is those ingredients, and how they blend them in such a creative way, that gives some unique and generally delicious flavours.

Their packaging is so much more beautiful now it comes in clear bottles as opposed to the old greener styles! I feel it makes it more obvious it is a soft drink, and looks way more appealing for a classy family drink. The beautiful colours of both the packaging and drinks themselves, along with crisp clear bottles make them look so fresh and appealing, and as we read each one we couldn’t wait to crack it open!

Thoughts on the taste 

Yes they look pretty, but how do they taste? Well since we’re experts in the soft drinks department as it’s all we drink, we can say that they taste pretty delicious indeed! You can certainly tell they have quality ingredients and flavours.

My most favourite was the Rose Lemonade! My oh my, this could be my new favourite drink across the board. It tastes like traditional lemonade but with an aftertaste of Turkish delight! Its so blumming tasty and I was intrigued to read recently on their twitter page that it contains real rose petals! So yeah… it’s pretty cool (and very delicious) stuff!

Second to this I enjoyed the Wild English Elderflower – we are quite partial to Elderflower drinks so this was great, and Nathan loved this one too. Next fave was the Ginger beer. To me personally the Ginger beer smelt stronger than it tasted unfortunately, but it was still really nice and light! Ethan did think it was more than strong enough though and promised he “really” liked it?!

Nath loved the Elderflower and Ginger beer as I say, and also really liked the “Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger” which apparently is super fresh and tasty and nothing like you’re average “orange fizzy drinks!”.

They were possibly wasted with the kids, but what I love about any new drinks we try is that we can all sample and enjoy them because they are always soft drinks! They too enjoyed the Rose Lemonade, and informed us that “Tonic water is a tricky drink – it starts off nice then is really disgusting!”. I think they missed the part where I said wait until I’ve mixed it!!

As well as the Soft drinks, they also have mixers to make mocktails (or cocktails – whichever side of the fence you stand), and it was great to try their elder-flower syrup with both the tonic water and mixed in with the Rose lemonade for an incredibly delicious drink! (Add a sprig of mint and you have a pretty splendid mocktail for your weekend get together’s or meals in)! It tasted so fresh and fragrant and we very much enjoyed the combo.

After sampling these and looking at the rest of their product range, I have on my list is to try next the Grapefruit tonic water and the sparkling lime and Jasmine! (Don’t they just sound so gorgeous?). But for now I am so glad to have discovered a new option of posh soft drinks with a great range to enhance our get togethers and family meals. They are such a treat for date night and I would certainly recommend these as a tasty, crisp beverage for all the family!

Whether you are designated driver, attempting dry January, or like us are a no go with Alcohol, then you too might just love the fresh and creative flavours of Fentimans soft drinks!

* Thank you to Fetimans for sending us this lovely hamper of products for the purpose of this review! All thoughts and pictures are my own. 

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