Scarlett really loves sunglasses. She’s always pulling them off Dad’s head and wanting to put them on. Today she found mine, and being as that I hate wearing sunglasses anyway and I bought them for $5, I was happy to let her play with them to her heart’s content.
When we first decided to build our house, one of the things that drew me to this location was the fact that there is a coastline and beach just 5 minutes drive from the house site. And yet, we moved in and somehow just never made it to the beach! At first we didn’t have a car, and it really is just that little bit too far to walk. Then we got a car… but it was winter… and life settled into a routine… and we just never got around to it.
A few weeks ago I decided I really needed to check out this local beach! So Scarlett and I popped down for a quick little visit. It’s gorgeous!! Fairly secluded and quiet but totally stunning, it felt like being on holiday and it was less than 5 minutes drive from our house!
As soon as we got over the sand dune, Scarlett started pointing at the ocean and emiting her little interested noises “ah! ah!” I put her on the sand and she started racing off towards the water! I didn’t let her go in this time because I wanted to go to the shops afterwards, but we definitely have to head back there soon with togs and towel and let her go for it in the wet sand.
Ever noticed that when you apply moisturiser, it seems to seep into the skin and disappear? Has it ever occured to you that this means that every ingredient in your moisturiser is sinking into your cells and bloodstream?
I really started thinking about this recently. I wouldn’t take a big spoonful of commercial moisturiser – especially not after reading the ingredients list that reads like the contents of a chemistry lab. And yet, I allow it to be absorbed into my skin, where it reaches my cells much more directly than if I ate it (in which case it would be filtered by my liver and kidneys).
It has not been defined by science how much skin can absorb, however it seems clear from studies so far that skin absorbs anywhere between 60-100% of what we rub on our skin. The chemicals we absorb from our skin care has been found in all sorts of organs, not the least of which being the womb.
Makes you think, huh? Increasingly, I am coming to view skincare as part of feeding my body, and am of the philosophy that says “If I wouldn’t eat it, why would I rub it on my skin?”
That’s why I was so excited when I came across this recipe for homemade moisturiser. Not only does it only really contain one ingredient (with a couple of optional additions), but that ingredient is a really nutrititious food product! How better to nourish my skin than with pure coconut oil?!
The benefits of coconut oil are so many it really deserves a post all of its own. Just trust me on this – it’s really good stuff! Quite apart from it’s nutritional benefits, it is also fantastic for dry and problem skin, including acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic.
And so, here it is, a super easy, super fabulous recipe:
1 cup coconut oil (preferably organic virgin oil)
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)
essential oils for fragrance (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whip with a wire whisk. If you have a KitchenAid or similar (drool, a woman can dream), you will find this much easier than I did. It will thicken up and become a thick white cream.
I first tried to whip it with a stick mixer, but it really wasn’t going anywhere. Once I got out the wire whisk, it just took a little elbow grease and it got there eventually.
The melting point of coconut oil is quite high at 24 degrees Celsius. Therefore, once whipped, you’ll want to transfer this rather quickly to whatever container you intend to store it in. It will set rather hard, so I recommend something fairly shallow with a wide mouth. I actually just used a plastic takeaway container for this batch, but I intend to get a nice looking container for it next time!
I found the scent of the essential oils I used was completely overpowered by the coconutty smell of the oil, so I think I’ll just leave them out next time.
As it’s a rather chilly winter here at the moment, my moisturiser is in a kind of soft solid block on my bathroom bench. I just scrape a bit off with my fingernail and it quickly melts into the skin with the friction of rubbing it on and the natural warmth of the body.
Apparently in the summer, it may need to be stored in the fridge to maintain it’s whipped state.
This moisturiser is SO good! I use it on my face every day after washing, and on my legs after shaving. You may be worried about putting oil on your face, especially if you have oily skin, but I really recommend giving it a try. It absorbs really quickly and leaves the skin feeling lovely and soft. I have heard people have had a lot of success with it for acne, so don’t be afraid of it if you’re pimple prone!
After I had been using it for a few days, Daddy C even said to me one day “ooh your legs are all smooth!” I said “yeah, I shaved them” and he replied “I know, but they’re SUPER smooth!”
So there you go – if even a mere male can notice the difference, it must be good!
Not only that, I *love* knowing that I am nourishing my skin with a pure, nutritious food product, that I am completely happy to have absorb into my body.
Motherhood has been the greatest teacher of my life. Over an ongoing series of posts, I am going to share with you some of the things motherhood has taught me. I’m going to kick off with what I feel to be perhaps the most important lesson so far – that of humility.
When I was pregnant, I knew it all. I knew exactly what kind of mother I was going to be and the choices I would make. I was one of those awful, awful first time preggos who think they know everything about things they have never experienced. Who want to give people directions for paths they have never walked. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and give myself a good smack in the face.
I planned an all natural homebirth. I was going to use cloth nappies. I was going to breastfeed as long as my baby wanted to. I have to be honest, I judged people who did differently. I didn’t understand why anyone would choose a drug-filled hospital birth, to pollute the earth with disposables, to formula feed from birth.
It’s funny the way life has of teaching you these lessons. As it turned out, my homebirth turned into four days of agonising posterior labour that ended in hospital with gas, pethidine and an epidural (i.e. every drug possible!). I just couldn’t get the feel for cloth nappies for a long time and so she wore disposables for the first 8 months of her life. I hated breastfeeding and endured 6 months of it before weaning with relief onto formula.
At first I felt like a failure. I felt like everything I had tried to be as a mother, I had failed at. I saw other people having beautiful homebirths, easy drug free births, cloth nappying from birth, breastfeeding into toddlerhood – and I thought: they are the mothers I wanted to be… why can they do it and not I? I must be a massive failure.
But then, as I became more at peace with the mother I am and stopped comparing myself to others, I began to feel like maybe events had happened the way they did to teach me a lesson. A very very important lesson that I value highly, and that I feel makes me a better person in taking to heart.
It taught me the lesson of humility.
It taught me never – NEVER ever ever – to judge another person whose shoes you have not walked in. You can never know how you would react to a situation until you are in it. And just because someone does something differently to the way you would do it, doesn’t mean they are wrong. There is nothing to say that the choices I make are right – they are just right for me, in the moment that I make them. Everyone is just doing the best they can, with what they have, where they are. And if you’re sitting and judging someone harshly because they made a choice different than you think you would…. well, in my experience, life has a certain knack for chucking you into a situation where you may just come to an understanding of that choice.
The mummy wars that pervade modern motherhood drive me nuts. Except in a very few matters, there really is no black and white right or wrong when it comes to parenting. There are no true “experts”. We all come into this job with our own biases and personalities and life history. If all people are different and unique, it’s crazy to think that we should all conform to one way of parenting.
I parent my way – I stand strong in my choices, knowing they are right for me and my child. But I can also have the humility to know that they may not be right for everyone. And that is ok. It doesn’t make me wrong and it doesn’t make other people wrong. Even if I feel I have been in a similar situation to someone else – I haven’t truly been in their shoes… and thus, truly, I have no place making judgement on them.
I still do feel a little sad about the way some things turned out in my journey so far. I feel sad about the homebirth I missed out on. It sucks that I didn’t have an evangelical breastfeeding experience. It sucks that I didn’t emerge from birth instantly being the personification of the ultimate earth mother, but rather that I had to grow into (am still growing into) the mother I want to be.
But in some ways, I am glad as well. I am grateful for the lesson of humility my experiences have taught me. I am grateful to have had a glimpse of some of the things other women go through that leads them to make choices I once judged or pitied.
I am grateful to motherhood for bringing me out of my own head and back down to earth. I feel that it has made me a better, more loving, more accepting person. And that’s gotta be a good thing.
Today my mother’s group decided to have an outside meet up at Rockingham Foreshore. Luckily it turned out be an absolutely lovely day! It was my first time at the foreshore (can’t believe I’ve been so slack, it’s just up the road!) and it really is beautiful, I’ll definitely be dragging the man back with a picnic some time!