I do love a number sequence..
I haven’t spoken about this journey, because I didn’t really know what it was.. but I’m going to share some of the things I’ve noticed.
firstly, I’ve never labelled this, I never said never again, I just decided to have a month off and here I am 444 days later not having wanted to drink.
Which is strange for me, it has begun to feel alien, when it used to be firmly entrenched into every fibre of my life!
So I don’t really identify as ‘sober’ or ‘tee total’ ( I just don’t like labels)I keep thinking that maybe I’ll have a glass of red at Christmas, or at this special occasion or that.. but so far these occasions seem to come and go, and I just haven’t wanted to, but who knows 🤷🏻♀️
I stopped, basically because it makes me anxious - and something huge had arrived, a global pandemic, as an empath, the global collective shock and fear was so palpable that I didn't need anything else adding to my already overthinking anxiety riddled mind.
Then, I noticed, that the thought of disallowing myself a nice glass of wine made a fear arise in me, could I do it? And that question bought with it the stark truth that, it shouldn’t be a question, should it? if I couldn’t stop drinking for a month, then it’s a problem isn’t it? If we’re really honest with ourselves? A mild addiction?
So deeply entrenched into our society that’s it’s normal.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is MY journey, and this post isn’t meant to preach, you do you, your journey, your way, but my own personal experience of going from a huge lover of and often abuser of wine has brought with it some clarity, and honestly, a hard look at my own truths.
I was definitely using wine as a reward, to soften anxiety, to self medicate, and at a party would often take it way to far, I didn’t really have an off switch, and hangovers would plunge me into a dark depression of anxiety, guilt & shame, sometimes for days on end - the shadow of a toxic relationship with it in my twenties lingering.
That mindset of, deserving a glass of wine, needing a glass of wine (insert, I've had a long day, hard day, stressful day, I need/deserve a glass of wine) that was hardwired in for me - but now I would rather lean into my practices, to allow whatever I'm feeling to be fully felt, and use my practices to still my mind and calm my body.
And trust me, you cant meditate with a hangover.
I've always been around it, since childhood, family parties were always boozy, it was just part and parcel of socializing, and that pattern continued into my adult life, always using drink and other substances to socialise, only ever about partying and 'letting my hair down', and never really truly feeling anything clearly.
Truthfully my twenties were spent messily and unhappily binging & drinking heavily through toxic relationships, jobs, traumas and a stuck life, back then it was a problem, always a substance to cover the pain - I was miserable.
I had a toxic relationship with alcohol, and have witnessed it first hand Both destroy, and even take lives.
As I grew older, and outgrew these behaviours, and grew happier with myself and life, I leaned into wellness and discovered more peace and happiness than I'd ever had - wine was just what grown ups did to relax, I was drinking in-frequently and in very small amounts, but that occasional ‘session’ would still arise and plunge me into darkness - the toxic relationship still lingered.
Why did I need to essentially poison myself until my faculties were altered and then have to recover from it?? it seems like such a strange thing to do to ourselves - a strange this to become normal
When I think back now to the times that I didn't want the party to end, when I examine that now, the times when I would slurrily pour another glass of wine, when enough had been enough hours ago - it feels attached to something far deeper, a need for comfort, acceptance, validation, escape.
Don't get me wrong, I still love a party, being around people, singing, dancing, Music, playing music, being loud and overtalkative, maniacally giggly, and daft - it just turns out that I never needed booze to be these things!
When you don't mask it, its amazing how intoxicating it is just to be around people, the warm fuzz is still there.
And I'm still completely happy in an environment when everyone else is drinking, like I said - you do you.
So I never actually intended to give up drinking, but it seems to have happened, I lost interest, maybe it was just that the time was right for me, But without it, I feel free, that’s the thing I really didn’t expect, freedom, freedom from wanting it, freedom from feeling I couldn’t socialise without it, I can leave a party when I’m tired, and go running in the morning. I can ALWAYS drive home.
I no longer associate foods with it either, that was a weird thing for a while, noticing how much we attach alcohol to things, food, sunshine, everything!
It was a big narrative shift.
I’ve also noticed how uncomfortable some people are with me not drinking - I’ve been called boring, weird, “you still doing your tee-total thing? eye-roll", and some people will spend a lot of energy trying to convince me to have one - (I get it - I've done it myself) - and some people just don't invite you anymore.
But stepping away from it after drinking since my teens has been like lifting a veil, remember when you’re a kid and you don’t really get why the grown ups are pissed? - well that comes back!
When you just played and ran around and didn't need anything else, buzzing off your own life force energy, that all comes back, obviously deepening our spiritual practices, meditations and stillness amplify that effect, but I feel so much more in touch with that child like version of myself now on the approach to my fifties than I have done since my youth.
And who knows, maybe there is a glass of red wine in my future, maybe there isn't but I know one thing for certain, I will never again choose to be drunk, or altered by alcohol.
So my loves! as most of you will know by now, Forest Floor is being birthed, which is going to be a capsule for many things which for me, embody the sacred essence of the Forest - and the first thing to land here, is going to be my Luxury, face care ritual set. (more details to follow soon, and for now its all on my instagram squares)
This is going to be deeply nourishing and natural skincare, with it roots in ancient Ayurveda.
Made with a diverse blend of, of pure ingredients, sourced from exotic plant life, from all-over our beautiful Earth - prized for Millennia for their benefits,
The ethos, is that these enriching nutrient dense ingredients, will nurture and nourish our skin at a cellular level, while simultaneously, positively impacting our nervous system and mood, with the addition of the purest and most potent essential oils, the very essence of the plant, proven, not only to be powerfully healing for the skin, but also for our emotional health - what beautiful Alchemy.
Forest Bathing in skin care form, turning skin care into selfcare - inviting the wisdom of the plant kingdom, to nurture us on every level - skincare for mind, body & soul.
A skincare system designed to be a moment of ceremony, of ritual, a daily chance to slow down, to immerse in the the loving self care which we all need and deserve, all whilst getting that hydrated, dewy, glowy skin vibe!
ultimately, this skin-care ritual is made to evoke the nourishing cloak of calm tranquil nurture, which envelops me, when I stand barefoot in the Forest, connected to the Earth, to Mumma Nature.
SO WHAT'S IN THE BOX.??
I haven't released specific details of 'whats in the box' just yet (I wanted to wait for the arrival of labels and things so that the goods are fully dressed, when I reveal them to you) - but sooon! I promise.
What I CAN tell you, is that each and every ingredient is completely natural, and each bottle will be an oily treasure in its own right, each with its own skincare properties, energy and transmission.
The set will be a trio of carefully selected oil blends, plus some other treats, which I will divulge at a later date -
A Sunrise Cleansing oil.
A Sundown Cleansing oil.
A Beautifully hydrating face oil serum.
I know that many of us made the switch to the oil cleanse long ago, but, if there are any of you who feel a little skeptical, at the thought of using oils to clean your face, trust me, I was with you!
It may feel a little counter intuitive, when we have grown accustomed to our usual cleansers, but there really is a reason why, in Ayurveda the 'oil cleanse craze' is thousands of years old.
So, why cleanse with oils?
Oil is actually really effective at drawing out dirt and impurities, without stripping away the natural sebaceous layer, and allowing the microbiome of the skin to remain healthy.
Synthetic cleansers can often strip away our skins sebum, our natural hydration & protection barrier, leaving the skin vulnerable, whereas natural oils, are a much closer match to our skins outer layer, so we can wash away impurities, while maintaining the natural hydration of the skin.
I will be including a guide to making this a sweet ceremony of self care, in beautiful exchange with Mothers natures treasures.
But at the very basics of oil cleansing, we open the pores with warmth, massage our cleansing oil into the skin, and then remove the oil along with any impurities with a warm cloth.
And that is it for now shining ones!
I cant wait to bring more to you, keep a close eye on my instagram feed, and you can subscribe to my website to be the first to know, when this treasure trove of luxury will be available to you!!
For now - I send you oodles of Love - enjoy your weekend Xxx
Soooooo!! unless you've been living under a rock, the Health conscious among you will undoubtedly have become familiar with the phrase 'Gut Health', with words and phrases such as 'Microbiome','digestive tract', 'Flora', 'pro-biotics', 'diverse bacteria population' and my favourite 'the belly-brain connection' being tossed casually in to most Health related conversations!
It's a truly fascinating field, a weird and wonderful Magical Multiverse residing inside each and every one our,for want of a better word 'Bellies'.
There is a great deal to be said on the mind blowing topic of Gut-health which really deserves it's very own blog, but bottom line is, it IS super-important.
The state of your gut basically determines the state of your well-being, did you know that between 70-80% of your immune system in housed in the cells of your gut wall? or that 90% (yes you read that right, NINETY!!) of your serotonin (your body's natural Happy Chemical) is produced in the Gut?
Studies have shown that an unhealthy/unbalanced gut can be the cause of a whole array of issues, including poor sleep, fatigue, skin & hair complaints, food intolerances, digestive problems and discomfort, gas, bloating, auto-immunity, and even in some cases anxiety and depression.
Interest piqued? - well there is a world of research and resources available, which I will try to write more coherently about at a later date (I am in danger of launching into a fully blown waffle).. but for now, lets keep it basic.
What we do know for sure, is that for optimal Health, we need to keep a happy tummy!
And How?..How do we keep a happy tummy / healthy digestive tract?
(Here is where I start slinging in some of the 'catchy' phrases I mentioned in my opening paragraph.)
In short, we need to keep our digestive tract populated with a diverse variety of bacteria and microbes, to keep that crazy complex system running smoothly.
The best way we can do this is by eating a good diet, high in whole foods and by feeding the gut with probiotics.
'Pro-biotics', there's that key word!!, luckily, there is a heap of ways to get that good stuff into your belly, I'll list a few here:
-Real Sourdough bread
- and of course Kefir.
So adding any or all of these foods into your diet, will certainly help.
I have chosen Kefir in particular to write about here, as, firstly, it's my favourite and secondly, it's pretty darned pricey to buy pre-made, and even more so, if like me you prefer to keep things dairy-free!
Now, if you haven't tasted Kefir, it's akin to a yoghurt drink, a kind of tart, mildly effervescent (don't be alarmed by the fizz!) milk drink.
I love this stuff, but I understand that not everybody enjoys the flavour, the good news is that its hidden really easily by popping it into a smoothie, or even just mixing with fruit juice.
You can make it with dairy milk, if you wish, or dairy free Milk or coconut water, (I haven't tried the coconut water one, but I think it would be good).
As I mentioned, I prefer to keep things dairy free and have tried fermenting a few different dairy free Milks, but have found I get the best results (by far) from the rebel Kitchen 'Whole Mylk. - This isn't an advert for them, I have no affiliations with the company, they just happen to be my absolute fave, and it makes a gorgeously creamy Kefir - If any of you manage to get great results from something different, I'd love to hear from you?
Before I begin, I would like to make it clear, that I am no expert in the art of making Kefir, but I have been making my own for the past year..and this is what works for me!
It's easy, REALLY easy!!
You need Kefir grains and Milk/Mylk - and that's it!! (well almost)
Here is a photograph of my highly complex and scientific 'Kefir Making Kit' in it's entirety.
- 2 clip top bottles (one to brew the kefir, and one to store the strained ready to drink Kefir)
- 1 sieve (to strain the kefir once its brewed.
- 1 jug to strain it into.
- 1 funnel (makes it easier to get the grains into the bottle)
- 1 spoon (to spoon the grains into the funnel)
- Some Kefir Grains (not visible in the pic, but they are in the bottle on the right)
So - the first thing you need to do, is buy some fresh Kefir grains. (if you are dairy free, don't forget to ensure that your grains are dairy free grains or 'water grains).
I bought mine from an Etsy seller called 'Fivebeesyard' it cost me £6.40 and I'm still using the same batch 1 year later.
I have found these ones very good, my Kefir has been ready in 24 hours since day 1.
Obviously, shop around if you prefer, and again, I'd love to hear from any of you who find a good source!
So, this is what Fresh Kefir Grains look like:
Put the Kefir grains into 1 bottle.
(I personally prefer to use large bottles with a closed clip lid, but you can use a jar covered with Muslin cloth too)
Pour in your milk.
I only ever fill my bottle about 1/3 of the way up, as when the milk is fermenting, it produces gases,and can grow and get a bit frothy, so leave it some room!
Close the lid and leave it for 24 hours (not in the fridge, the grains are happier at room temperature).
After, 24 hours, unclip your lid (slowly) - if you get a rush of air hissing out, that's a great sign that the fermentation magic has been busy at work.
Take a sniff - it should have taken on a tangy kind of smell, a hint of gone off milk, and possible a little cheesy...….if this is all sounding like yours, then it's ready!
if not, then maybe leave it for another 12-24 hours and check again.
If you are happy that your Kefir is ready, simply strain the contents through a sieve into a jug.
the contents of the jug will be your tart, slightly fizzy milk, ready for you to consume in any which way you desire.
The contents of the sieve will be your grains, and probably some gunky frothy looking business, simply rinse this under cool running water (not hot, they like heat, but extreme heat can kill the grains).
So you should be left with your grains, in your sieve, ready to start another batch.
So you can do just that! and pour your strained Kefir into your other bottle. (I keep mine in the fridge door once its ready)
I'd be thrilled to hear from any of you who use this as a stepping stone into a life of Kefir making and brewing!
I'd love to hear any of your stories, mishaps and successes!!
and as always, feel free to ask questions.
Good luck, and I hope you guys love this as much as I do! your tummy/gut/microbiome for one will definitely be a little happier for it!