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Find the joy in celebrating your pregnancy journey

Sometimes when we get pregnant we forget to actually celebrate and honour the miracle that we are experiencing. When I was pregnant with Eve I was still working full-time and I didn’t want to be perceived as THAT pregnant lady. The one who only talked about her pregnancy, who complained or was always sick. We forget that whilst pregnancy is not an ‘illness’ it takes a massive toll on our body. Some of us are lucky enough to have pregnancies that pass easily, without much discomfort, while others suffer on a daily basis.

So instead of judging our journies and feeling like we need to just ‘keep calm and carry on’ let’s actually enjoy what we can and celebrate these momentary 9 months. Because let’s face it when bubs comes along life will be very different!

1. Take long baths with your bump

Soaking in the warm water not only soothes all those aches in your muscles that appear during pregnancy, but it also gives you some time to sit and reflect on the changes in your body. I always feel a little lighter in the water, though it can be difficult to get into a comfortable position. Sometimes I enjoy lowering the lights and playing some relaxation music, or even pregnancy meditations.

In the bath, I’ve discovered adding salts like dead sea salts or epsom salts help relax my muscles, combined with a good sprinkling of Sleep Oil my mind follows suit. If I’m feeling lavish some natural bubbles really make bathtime lavish.

Enjoying a natural bubble bath with my growing baby bump

2. Massage your growing Belly

Massage your growing bump with the Baby Lotion Bar

As your belly grows the skin will start to feel tight. Sometimes it will itch. All throughout pregnancy whether you feel that your skin needs it or not spending a few minutes massaging your belly really helps you to connect with baby. Give it your full intention and make it a few moments of mindfulness as you feel the shape of your belly. Over the weeks you will notice how it changes and how baby responds to this gentle touch.

You can use oils like coconut oil, olive oil or sweet almond oil. I prefer using the Baby Lotion Bar as I find the scent delicate and it sinks into my skin well, though still providing a rich layer of moisture.

3. Make a pregnancy diary

Once you have your darling bundle of joy your pregnancy journey will feel like a lifetime ago. Just jotting down a few words each day or week will help you remember how you were feeling at the time, what you were experiencing physically and maybe help you to express your fears and dreams for your baby.

Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time, with so many physical changes affecting our daily lives – no, you can’t wear 80% of your wardrobe anymore and you might just have to purchase larger knickers. Honour those thoughts and feelings is another way to celebrate your pregnancy. It’s also a wonderful memory to look back on with your child once they are older.

4. Enjoy your tea

Herbal teas can help in pregnancy with insomnia and indigestion

Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, insomnia, vitamin levels, anaemia and blood pressure. All these things affect our daily lives when pregnant. After the first 3 months of nausea, and developing insomnia I decided to invest in some specialist herbal teas, especially to replace the numerous cups of black tea I normally have when not pregnant. I treated myself to a tea just for me.

Every time I have a cup I acknowledge where I’m at in my pregnancy journey. And as I fight with indigestion and reflux I turn to Masala Chai. I love Jade Walker’s non caffeinated version, created by a naturopath.

5. Take LOTS of pictures

You probably don’t feel photogenic. Nor are you impressed with the size of your thighs right now, but believe me you need to take lots of photos. Your body changes so quickly and even your baby bump will change shape rapidly that if you blink you’ll miss it. Take as many photos as you can. In your finery, in the nude. One day you will be glad you took them.

If you have the budget I would also suggest you splash out on a professional pregnancy photo shoot. Be spoiled, feel your best and have some gorgeous prints to memorialise those few months you lovingly carried your child in your body. Alternatively, get yourself an app like CineMama to take pregnancy photos on a regular basis and watch that belly grow!

6. Cast your belly

Enlist a girlfriend to make a cast of your belly. I was gifted a Baby Made DIY Belly Casting Kit when I was pregnant with Eve and it was so much fun. It is also a lifelong keepsake of my pregnancy. I can see how my body changed, and it’s a physical reminder of the time Eve was growing inside me. It’s something I would love to hang on my wall in future…the question is what to paint on it?

Cast your pregnancy belly for a lifelong reminder of your pregnancy

7. Paint yourself

Whether it’s for your baby shower or blessing or just for a fun afternoon of photos get a Body Artist or super talented face painter to adorn your belly with body art. You can go for non-toxic face paints that wash off, or if you really trust your artist, organic Henna which will last for a few weeks. It’s such a fun way to decorate and celebrate your baby bump!

8. Have a Baby Shower/Blessing

Having a party with your besties is always a wonderful way to welcome this new era of your life. Having a baby shower is a fun traditional way of celebrating your impending arrival and a good opportunity for your friends to spoil you. I was lucky enough to have a number of generous gifts that helped us prepare for Eve’s arrival. From clothes and nappies to items like car mirrors and shades. It’s shame Honestly wasn’t around then as I would have gifted myself one of our gift packs for sure!

This time around I’m hoping to organise a Baby Blessing. I’ve already got most things I’ll need for baby but having all my girls around to wish me well and bring good vibes to the house is a gift in itself. There are so many exciting ways to celebrate the end of your pregnancy journey with your friends. Choose something that resonates with you. Remember they want only the best for you and to celebrate with you.

Baby Shower party cake, celebrate your baby with a baby shower or blessing

Even if you don’t find time to celebrate your pregnancy with these 8 suggestions, I hope you find your own way to honour the 9 months of carrying your child. They start off slowly but are ofetn gone before you know it. Nine months is nothing in the scheme of things and so if you feel like you need to devote some time to honouring these short months then do it!

Remember you are special and pregnancy is no ride in the park. So go on Mama treat yourself to some pregnancy celebrations!

Aromatherapy expert, scientist and mum, Adele, owner of Honestly Store


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Far Eastern Magic

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is one of those oils that everybody has heard about. Maybe you’ve gotten a smell of it and thought that’s not for me. I was the same. Until I realised just how versatile the oil was.

It’s has a very distinctive smell, earthy, arid and sweet all at once. I find the aroma ‘intoxicating’ on its own but blended it can add an earthy deep tone to an essential oil blend. In fact it’s the earthy base note you can smell in our Nappy Balm.

At Honestly we strongly believe that what we put on our baby’s skin is just as important as what we put in our baby’s bodies.

Grown in tropical climes the patchouli plant is actually native to the Philippines. It was first grown in China in the 11th Century. In India Indian Patchouli (Pogostemon heyneanus) was used until P. cablin was introduced in 1846. At around the same time, Patchouli also found its way to the West via trade in Far Eastern silks and fabrics.

It was trading of fabrics that made Patchouli well-known in the West. As it is recognised to protect fabric from moths, a few leaves of Patchouli would be put in every shipment of fabrics. Thus imported textiles from India would arrive in Europe smelling of Patchouli.

It was because of the Patchouli that fabric buyers could authenticate Far Eastern silks – from the smell! Patchouli became such a commodity that it would be traded pound for pound with gold. And at that time it became a symbol of wealth – to have imported fabric and the exotic fragrance of patchouli on your clothes meant you could afford the finer things in life. Fancy.

Drawing of Patchouli Pogostemon cablin Essential Oil amazing for nappy rash and dermatitis

And now to the Hippies…

Of course in the 1960’s that all changed when Patchouli became synonymous with hippies and travellers to India. More of circumstance, the hippies couldn’t avoid Patchouli as it is so widely used as an insecticide in fabrics and in incense as a prophylactic (preventing spread of disease).

Yet I’m sure they also discovered its strong qualities as an aphrodisiac during the era of free love. Yes! Patchouli is an insecticide and has great qualities for preventing infection but it’s also wonderful for increasing libido and as an aphrodisiac. Oh la la!

A versatile oil for all the family

So what properties does Patchouli have? What can it be used for?

Against Infections: Patchouli is prophylactic, preventing infections. It is also antimicrobial, antitoxin, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal and fungicidal. It also helps wounds heal, brings down fevers and reduces nausea.

Skin Care: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, tonic for the body and heal skin breaks. Renowned for its abilities to heal eczema.

Digestive: Brings down fevers, prevents vomiting, calms the digestive system, decreases flatulence, is a tonic for the body and fights infections.

Emotionally: Anti-depressant, grounding, meditative, calms and strengthens the nerves.

When I was developing Honestly Store’s Nappy Balm I knew I needed to create a blend that packed a good punch for keeping skin clean and infection free. Especially when baby’s skin is easily irritated. Patchouli helps keep the nappy area clean and infection free. Without using harsh medicines that can affect baby’s immune system or help microbes develop resistance.

I also wanted an essential oil that would work against fungi as Candida skin infections are common, especially if you use cloth nappies. Patchouli is not only anti-microbial its fungicidal meaning it kills fungi and their spores, preventing re-infection. If you’ve ever had to get rid of Candida infection from your baby and cloth nappies, you will definitely appreciate a nappy balm that prevents re-infection!

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Patchouli is a base oil, meaning it is a thick oil that evaporates slowly, it is also grounding and calming. This is ideal for helping baby to feel calm and relaxed when having their nappy changed. Particularly if they are suffering from a bad nappy rash that has caused them discomfort. Having an essential oil to help them calm down and feel less stressed is essential for any Nappy Balm blend!

Chemical Profile

The chemical profile of Patchouli is an important reference to ensure you are purchasing a pure essential oil (EO) and not one adulterated with fragrances or other cheaper EOs. It can also be a way to ensure that the EO you want to use is safe for you.

Patchouli EO is composed of the following main components:

Patchouli alcohol                   17–32%

a-Bulnesene (d-guaiene)       9–21%

a-Guaiene                              9–15%

Seychellene                           0–10%

b-Patchoulene                       5–9%

a-Patchoulene                       5–9%

g-Patchoulene                       0–7%

( )-allo-Aromadendrene         0–5%

1(10)-Aromadendrene           0–4%

Pogostone                              0–4%

b-Caryophyllene                    2–3%

Pogostol                                 0–2%

b-Elemene                              0–1%

Taken from Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), pg.382.

Steam Distilled

Like all essential oils Patchouli is steam distilled and it’s the leaves that give us the essential oil. The uppermost leaves are found to give the freshest smelling oil, and it’s the smaller leaves that have the most potent oil for extraction.

Unlike other essential oils which remain active only 2-3 years, Patchouli oil gets better with age. Patchouli oil can be kept for 4-8 years so there’s no rush to use up that bottle of Patchouli you just bought!

Patchouli oil is safe to use on babies, children, pregnant and lactating women. As with all essential oils, always dilute essential oils before use with a suitable carrier oil.

At the moment I’m experimenting with Patchouli oil personally and how we can use it as mums. Do you think you need a little something to help relax you in the evenings, maybe something to help you get in the mood after running around after the kids all day?

Or even a face mask to help brighten the skin, moisturize rough and chapped skin, and reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars?

Oh and don’t forget to pick up a jar of Nappy Balm to keep those little cheeks sweet!

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