Summer School of Formulation Fun

As you guys already know, I love to dabble in a little formulation. As a Herbalist / Aromatherapist, whipping up a remedy here and there is all par for the course at my clinic, however, my remedies tend to be more on the medicinal side and less about luxury skin care products. Occasionally I might create some lip balms as treats for my clients but normally my products are put together in minutes, prescribed and used in a matter of days. I have thought about expanding my formulation skills but the big world of antioxidants and preservatives scares me and frankly I’ve never managed to find the time.

In June I came across the fabulous, Essential Formulation online course delivered by Lise Anderson of LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare and Robert Tisserand of the Tisserand Institute. I had completed the Essential Oil Safety Masterclass last year with Robert and I loved it, so I decided this might be a nice summer learning activity.

Every Tuesday evening, notebook at the ready, I logged on to a live lecture with Lise and in the company of many other learners from all corners of the world, we got to experience the safe and creative art of skincare formulation. Lisa is an excellent mentor. She has lots of experience and she is wonderfully generous with her knowledge of this growing business. Week after week, we explored everything from balms and serums to water based sprays, face masks and bath products. The lessons were practical and filled with tonnes of information and handy tips and tricks so you can make the most of your new creative, skincare formulating talents. Not only did we learn to expand our formulation skills, we also discovered how to prolong the shelf life of our products with antioxidants and preservatives. Yes the world of preservatives is a minefield but Lisa taught us how to navigate it with some ease.

Robert also lectured on essential oils and shared his own unique blending process. If you are part of the Aromatherapy global community, then Robert needs no introduction. If however, you are new to this topic, let me just say this … in all my years studying (I started in the late 80’s) and even before that, Robert has been out there at the leading edge with new information, research and safety. He is truly a world expert in Aromatherapy.  This industry is growing rapidly and not all the information out there is correct or safe. Having Robert lead the way on safety through his books, blogs and teachings is important to those of us working with or using essential oils.  Watching him blend during this course was really quite special and his formulas are pretty wow.

Each weeks lesson finished with a Q&A facilitated by Hana Tisserand, COO of the Tisserand Institute. Hana is so lovely. She’s also very professional, patient and somehow managed to get to all the questions and support everyone through the learning journey. Learners then take to the dedicated forums in the following days to ask more questions, interact with each other and share details of their great successes AND failures with their product making. Yes, you can fail here and it’s completely ok. In fact, it’s encouraged. How else are we to learn?

To make sure that we grasp the learning of a particular topic, a weekly assignment is issued in the form of a quiz. You can take this at your leisure, when you have had time to read over your notes. After 8 weeks, we received a final assessment which incorporates everything learned so far.

I was expecting a great experience and I wasn’t disappointed. This course was fun, detailed  and inspiring. The momentum of the training was perfect. Somehow, Robert Hana and Lisa managed to create the perfect balance between delivering the information and allowing you the time to digest and absorb, before moving on to the next topic. When online training is delivered from a professional platform by such a dedicated team at the Tisserand Institute, it feels like you are all in the same room, sharing in the fun of learning and feeling completely supported throughout. My kind of learning environment!

Now when I think of formulating, my plan is more structured. I have a new set of skills to lean on. I have an updated format to work from. I no longer fear the failure that sometimes comes with trying new things. Instead I embrace creativity with my ideas and I’m enjoying the testing phase, while making lots of notes as I go. Watch this space guys, you never know what is coming down the line.

fullsizeoutput_1fb1Another fab course completed, another heart full and another notebook (or two) filled with exciting new information. Now might be the time to shop for more notebooks. Who am I kidding, it’s always time to shop for more notebooks.

If you love Aromatherapy and/or fabulous skin care and feel like broadening your experience, connect with these Wonderful Mentors when you get a chance. And to you Aromatherapists out there who are looking for some CPD training, this may be just the right choice for you.

Robert Tisserand

Lise Anderson

There is always more to learn.


H2 Oohhhhh !!!

‘Make sure you continue drinking enough water’, she said as she handed me the full glass. 

I was thirsty now after my hour-long massage so I emptied the glass easily, however, I knew that over the next few days, my thirst would decrease and I would return to my old habits, drinking too much tea and slowly becoming dehydrated again.    

Sound familiar ???

Some of us really struggle to get enough good clean water into our bodies on a daily basis.  The guidelines state that we need 30ml per kilo of body weight. One Stone is equivalent to just over 6kilos. So for example: if you weigh 70 kilos, you will need 2100ml or just over 2litres per day. If you are exercising or losing fluids more than usual, then you will need even more.


If we become dehydrated, we may experience

  • low energy
  • dry skin
  • headaches
  • low urine output – dark coloured urine
  • dizziness
  • poor concentration and memory
  • constipation
  • creaky joints and
  • an overall feeling of sluggishness.

Often times we turn to stimulants, like coffee and tea to give ourselves a boost. These act as diuretics and stimulate the kidneys to make more urine, flushing, even more, fluids out of the body. Doh !!!

So how can we ensure that we drink enough water, EVERYDAY? 

Well, firstly I believe that we if know WHY we need to hydrate our bodies, we might be more likely to give our water intake a little more of our attention. In my opinion, education is half the battle.  So if you are up for a little Anatomy Lesson, I promise to keep it short and sweet.

human-anatomy-animated-word-cloud-text-design-animation-kinetic-typography_rlwcvvcvg_thumbnail-small05Cells. Cells. Cells.  It all starts with the Cells. Our bodies are made up of approx 50 trillion cells.  Each of these 50,000,000,000,000 cells contain 70% water. Suspended in this cellular fluid are organelles which help the cell to carry out its job efficiently. These jobs include :

  • Taking in all the nutrients from our food and turning them into something great, giving energy to the cell and proteins to build and repair.
  • Taking in Oxygen and using it to create energy
  • Removing Carbon Dioxide and other waste products
  • Responding to changes in the surrounding environment
  • Moving
  • Reproducing new cells
  • Growing
  • Finding a unique purpose (Becoming bone cell or a hair cell)


As you can imagine, a day in the life of a cell can be quite full. The ultimate multitasker! When they become dehydrated, all of the above functions are harder to complete. If I had so much on my to-do list, I would want to know I had a good backup. So its no wonder that our cells need their full quota of water and other nutrition to function optimally.

  • Cells come together and form groups
  • These groups of cells are called Tissues
  • Tissues come together and form Organ Systems
  • Our main Organ Systems are: Skin, Skeletal, Muscular, Cardiovascular, Lymphatic, Endocrine, Digestive, Respiratory, Nervous, Reproductive, Urinary
  • All of these organ systems work together to form our highly intelligent Human Body, a family of 50,000,000,000,000 cells all constantly communicating with each other.

A well-hydrated body will go a good way towards creating: hydrated skin, flexibility, and strength in the muscular system, good circulation, strong immune system, balanced hormones, good digestion, great sleep and an overall feeling of wellbeing – why? – because each cell is doing a great job.

Here are a few tips to increase Water in your diet: 

  1. Invest in a good water bottle. Fill it up first thing in the morning with good clean water (if you live in an area where fluoride is present, you may think about investing in a filter), carry it with you and drink your daily quota gradually throughout the day.
  2. Flavour your water with some fresh fruit or herbs. I like Mint/Basil/Cucumber
  3. If you are the type of person that likes to track and measure your progress, search the App Store for Daily Water app and find one that suits your device.
  4. Eat more Watery foods: Fresh fruit and Veg, especially cucumber, zucchini, melon. Or at this time of year, soups might be more to your taste. Juices & smoothies might suit the milder months.
  5. Swap your sugary drinks for water and substitute your Tea and Coffee with some herbal teas. Most stores now stock a wide range of herbal teas so you are sure to find something you like. This is where I get the majority of my water intake. (stay posted for  some herbal tea posts soon)

It sounds so simple eh?  Often when we start to become unbalanced, its time to get back to the simple things in life. Where better to start?

Your Happy Cells will thank you 🙂

I leave you with this short interview  – You are a community of 50 trillion cells – Bruce H. Lipton


Magic Mint

Mint2 SidebarThere are not many Herb related questions I shy away from but when somebody asks about my favourite Herb or Oil, I realise I will never to be able to choose just one. So the question always remains unanswered.

However, some days I find myself particularly drawn to one more than the others. It depends a lot on what is going on …. Take this weekend for example, I found myself embracing the healing properties of Peppermint on more than a few occasions. At a family gathering, I reached for the essential oil to help somebody treat a toothache and later a headache. When inhaled, peppermint oil also clears the mind and so later that weekend it was a great help when I needed to complete a task that needed focus and commitment. The cooling properties made it the perfect choice for a relaxing foot bath after a hard days DIY work.  Drinking peppermint tea can benefit the digestive system and again was a nice ally after some bank holiday overindulgence.

I have been welcoming its insect repellent qualities since the Summer started and my doors to the garden are permanently open.  I place some drops on a hanging decoration in the doorway and watch as the flies and wasps approach and then change their minds.

Peppermint has a lovely botanical name – Mentha piperita. Its aroma is fresh and extremely uplifting and cleansing. One of the prominent chemicals in the essential oil is menthol, which brings a wonderful cooling and refreshing energy to this herb. I use it in many forms in my Herbal practice :

  • Dried herb – dried leaves
  • Essential oils –from distillation of the leaves
  • Herbal tincture – alcohol extraction of the leaves
  • Aromatic water – from distillation process
  • as well as picking some  leaves for a nice fresh herbal tea or adding to summer salads

Mint1 Sidebar

Peppermint also has some wonderful subtle qualities. The energy is so clean and clear. It can be beneficial in cleaning up the air or space or energy field. I like to compare it to opening up all the windows on a clear fresh day. It allows new energy and inspiration to flow freely. Who doesn’t need that every now and again?

Safety Considerations: The really really important bit … 

  • Peppermint oil may be sensitising to skin. Always dilute with a carrier oil or other medium and use only small amounts
  • Do not apply near the eyes as its strong aroma may irritate
  • Essential oil is not recommended for use on young babies or children
  • Never ingest Peppermint Essential oil unless under the supervision of a Clinical Aromatherapist
  • Store away from Homeopathic remedies
  • Be cautious about inhalation too late in the evening as it may be too stimulating
  • Contact your local Herbalist / Aromatherapist for correct dosage and mode of administration

Of course, Peppermint has many more beneficial uses. Ensure you do your research if you feel guided to use it. Be Aware, Be Safe, Be Well.


Booking is by appointment only. You can use the contact page here to request a call back from me or simply phone me on 086 8185609.

Looking after the skin you’re in…

So part of my job (the really fun part) is getting to make some yummy products for use in skin care routines. Today I spent some time blending some Carrier Oils and creams for my Aromatherapy Class this weekend. We will be doing Aromatherapy Facial.

So how does an Aromatherapy facial differ from other facials?  ….. Well we will perform a Cleanse, Exfoliate, Mask and Moisturising treatment as many facials do, but here’s the really cool part … each product will be formulated on the day to suit the needs of the client. Products so unique, they can only be only used by you. We will blend for your skin type, your mood, any other physical symptoms or problem areas and since you choose the Aromas you like, you are bound to love them.

As Aromatherapists, we have lots of oils to choose from, not just essential oils but fixed oils from nuts and seeds, aromatic waters and occasionally we use clays, oats, herbal teas and fresh herbs.

Aroma Facial Header

  • We cleanse the skin with soap free Cleanser
  • We exfoliate with Natural exfoliants
  • Our Mask is packed with hydrating nutritious ingredients
  • Our Moisturising treatment will leave your skin feeling smooth and silky soft

Throughout the facial, your uniquely chosen essential oils will enliven your senses and leave you feeling calm and relaxed.

By studying a Diploma course in Aromatherapy, we have covered many many hours learning what happens in the body. Anatomy & Physiology has become part of our psyche, not just in humans but in the plant kingdom. We have learned how to respect and honour Mother Natures gifts to us. We know about the safety issues around Essential oils, how they act in the body and we blend according to safety standards set out in our qualification.

Do you love Aromatherapy? 

Maybe you would like to try an Aromatherapy Facial sometime soon? 

Booking is by appointment only. You can use the contact page here to request a call back from me or simply phone me on 086 8185609.


Crunchy Nutty Oat Bars

You will need :

  1. 70g Dried fruit – cranberries, raisins
  2. Juice of one Orange
  3. 250g Organic Porridge Oats
  4. 100g Unsweetened desiccated coconut
  5. 200g Nuts and Seeds (choose a selection of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds, chopped brazil nuts – suit your own tastes)
  6. 125g of Agave syrup – use honey, rice syrup or maple syrup if you prefer.
  7. 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  8. 3 tablespoon Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut oil

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

img_2013Place the dried fruit and orange juice in a small pot over a low heat, until the fruit has softened and most of the orange juice (if not all) has been absorbed. This gives the fruit a soft texture which remains when the bars are finished

Put the Oats, Coconut, Nuts and Seeds in a food processor. Blend them for 15 seconds. Remove and place in a bowl

In a small pan, melt the coconut oil over a low heat. When melted, add in the agave and vanilla extract and stir well.  Pour this into the bowl of Oat mixture and mix well.

img_2025At this stage you can add in the fruit or you may decide to divide the mixture and add in some other ingredients of your choice to sweeten. In this image I have added some raw cocoa chips into part of the mixture and some fruit into the remaining part. Goji berries are a good choice too 🙂

Cover a baking tray / tin with some baking paper and place the mixture in. Pat it down firmly, ensuring that the layer is the same thickness all over. Cover the Tin with another layer of paper and place in the oven. This stops the top from cooking too quickly.

img_2043After 10 minutes remove the top piece of baking paper and leave in for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t get distracted – keep your eye on them. They can go from pale to well done is a matter of seconds. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  When you are sure the heat has left the tin, gently slide the paper off the tray onto a cutting board and cut into squares.  Store in an air tight container and enjoy over the next few weeks – if they last that long.

When cutting the bars, there will be a lot of crumbs. I usually place these in a jar and use as a topping for porridge, yoghurt or fruit salad.img_2047

These bars are packed with essential nutrients and minerals.  Oats contain beta-glucans, a fibre which has been shown in studies to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type). They are digested slowly, keeping us feeling full for longer and preventing spikes in sugar levels.  Nuts and seeds provide protein as well as essential fatty acids, B Vitamins, Iron and Magnesium. What’s not to love 🙂 In’Joy ! 

Healthy Snacks from Mi 2 U

Well Guys,

I don’t know about you but my newsfeed is jammed with Juicing recipes and Detox programmes this week. Its seems everyone is on a health kick. Isn’t it always the same for the first few weeks of January? We almost all feel the need for more nutrients in our diet. The whole area of nutrition seems to be filled with rules and regulations.  There is so much information about what to eat and what not to eat and sometimes it can get confusing.  I’ve been reading and studying Natural Health for a number of years now and what I know for sure … I mean 100% … no doubt …


I believe it’s important to discover what types of food suit YOU.  Individually we all have a unique constitution. This means we digest and absorb our food differently depending on the environment we are in and other conditions of our UNIQUE-NESS. Consider your genetics, your belief systems, the needs of your body, your lifestyle. What about your stress levels, the current status of your health, the performance of your endocrine system, your sleep patterns. What about your food, the source of your food, the time of your meals.  All of these factors influence how our bodies metabolise food.

EVERYONE is different and the key to good healthy nutrition is finding out what works for YOU ! 

I’m no different this week. I am full of thoughts of new beginnings, goal setting and I’m excited about the year ahead. I’m also trying to rewrite my eating patterns after some indulgence over Christmas. Planning more nutrient rich meals is normally where I start and for us, the secret to getting back on track in January is having some yummy healthy snacks to turn to when the sweet tooth wants to indulge.

So I’m sharing some of my GO TO SNACK recipes here on the blog this week, starting with my very nutritious Crunchy Oat Bars. You might also feel the need to distract those sugar cravings with some nice nutritious, casual treats.

Crunchy Nutty Oat Bars – Recipe 

I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions on what works for you.




New Year, New Website

So the New Year is here and the promise of New Beginnings hangs in the air, close by. I’m taking this time to announce the beginning of my new Holistic Business. In the last few months, I have added Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy to my therapy list and I am excited to bring some wonderful herbal remedies to my clients in 2017.

This website gives details of all therapies on offer as well as full descriptions on what each one entails. I hope you enjoy browsing and I welcome your feedback as well as ideas of what you would like to see featured over the next year.

I wish you all a Happy Healthy Stress free 2017


A Little about Me …

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

When I qualified as a Massage Therapist in 2002, I never predicted a path of life long learning and enjoyment. At the time, I was in an unfulfilling job in an environment, which just didn’t ignite any fire in me.  I worked in the fast paced corporate world where deadlines loomed and long days at the office whizzed by. The nearest I got to contemplate my life’s purpose was a quick 5 minute daydream while I waited in the Coffee queue every morning.

The mere thoughts of a soothing, dimly lit therapy room made me want to pack it all in and become a Therapist full time.  I could feel the world of complementary therapies calling out to me but as much as I tried to massage the mortgage payments and smudge away the bills with some nice Californian White Sage, I knew I needed to stick at the day job for another while. I needed a plan.  I had acquired a Beauty Therapy Qualification many years before so I decided to continue training and use the time to expand my treatment portfolio.  Yes, my Holistic Massage needed a few friends.  First to join the gang was Aromatherapy. Well that was a match made in heaven as I found myself learning even more about massage and falling in love with essential oils.  Over the years, others came to play too: – Indian Head Massage. Stone Massage, Ear Candling, Onsite Massage, Reflexology and various forms of Energy Healing.

My transition from Corporate to Cozy was a gradual one.  First I started to see clients at the weekend and evenings and when that got busy, I decided to make the career jump, except at that stage it was more like the next logical step in the right direction and not the huge jump it seemed before.

In 2004, I began teaching ITEC Diploma courses, an activity I still love doing – teaching Reflexology, Anatomy & Physiology and Aromatherapy Practitioner Courses. I also design and run post graduate workshops for Therapists and non-Therapists. Full Details can be found on my  Training website – Soul Balance Holistic Training – 

I have managed to manifest a beautiful garden therapy room at home, which is where I see clients. Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy now provide the foundation for my Holistic Business and I love the flexibility that comes with being self-employed.  I was a stay at home Mum when my daughter was born, working evenings and weekends and more recently I can be flexible around school holidays and other fixed life events. I’ve realized that flexibility and balance is key to my happiness and so having a job that provides both, cuts out a lot of unwanted stress.

As a therapist working alone, a good support network is essential.  Being part of a good professional organization that supports your therapies is a great way to keep in touch with the latest therapy developments. I am delighted to be a Full Member of the  Irish Register of Herbalists (IRH) The National Register of Reflexologists’ Ireland (NRRI) and The Association of Registered Complementary Health Therapists of Ireland (ARCHTI)

At this stage of my journey, I really feel that I have the best of all worlds. A flexible timetable, great tools to enhance my treatments, wonderful clients who keep returning to guide me to my next phase, students who teach me so much and a huge network of amazing ‘Holistic Friends’ who constantly brighten my days and give me a sense of true purpose.

I no longer have my days marked with deadlines and coffee queues. Now I greet the day with enthusiasm and ease and guess what, it’s Perfect!!