thoughts

intuitive creativity

It’s been two weeks since I’ve last posted here. And before that, I’ve been posting quite sporadically. But I really felt called to write today’s post – I wanted to talk about intuitive creativity.

We all express ourselves in so many ways. I tried my hand at several things, before I realized that I found my refuge in writing, photography and music (not that I compose, just that I choose to play pieces which reflect the current state of my soul). For others, they may be drawn to art, perhaps song; maybe it’s just making something with their hands, be it woodwork or plaster.

When you find your own way that works for you, it’s like a door has been opened. And I know this. Until recently I was trying to find my own way of expressing myself through creativity, and for such a long time, I tried to fit myself into boxes that were not my packaging. I think that all along, deep down I knew that writing was the way that I felt like I could have my thoughts and feelings and spirit spill out onto paper, but I tried denying it to be someone I thought I should be, but who I was not.

[There have also been some changes physically in my life – I’ve had to move around, and this was caused by someone coming into my life. And this wasn’t exactly a good change – but it’s only going to last about another week, and then I can settle back again and finally feel happy. Not to mention the moon in retrograde has definitely put me all off myself as well.]

Finding my creative outlet was like finding a piece of me I didn’t know existed, or had forgotten about. If there’s one thing I want everyone to do, it’s to find how they can express themselves – whether it’s through handicraft, painting, composing, writing, or singing, just find what your soul feels called to. And you’ll know when you find it.

But what I wanted to discuss in this post was being creative intuitively (creating from what you intuition tells you).

One important example is my blog. I used to feel like I had to churn out at least one post a week, ideally more. Thus, this led to me starting to dislike blogging and also publishing half-hearted writing; nobody wins in that situation.

Then recently I thought to myself, “Well, if I don’t feel liking writing a post, I don’t have to.” And I know, I know, why on Earth didn’t I think of it before?

[spoiler: I get too committed]

Anyway, this changed me. I know only write when I feel called to; when my subconscious is telling me that what I have in my head could benefit others, or when I feel I have too much in my head and just need to share it with others.

If you already know how best you express yourself, sometimes it can be a trap, and you get labelled “the artist/writer/composer/singer” – and you feel that you have to do what it is that keeps you under that umbrella.

But I want you to realize what I did – you should create from what your intuition tells you. If you don’t feel like creating/expressing yourself for three months – it’s okay. If you feel like doing it three times a day – that’s okay too.

Society makes us feel like we have to fit a certain label. “She’s the artist” “He’s the musician” “She travels” – and this is mostly because of social media, and the fact that we don’t show who we really are, instead choosing to post only the best moments from our lives and hide the parts of us that we think don’t fit the image that we think people see.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. If you don’t feel called to write/paint/whatever for weeks on end, that’s fine. The important thin is that you recognize when you are called to do so again, and then when you are told to stop.

Creativity cannot be forced. It has to come from deep within, where your soul and dreams and feelings and spirituality exist. Only then can you create something that is utterly and wholly you.

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Beauty, Health & Wellness

how i transformed my hair (for better)

2018 has been a monumental year for me – I’ve completely transformed my hair from sad, limp and greasy to less-damaged, wavy and long-ish. In this post I wanted to reveal some things I’ve done to change my hair for the better.


So, just a little background: I cut my hair off in a fit of anger, circa July 2016. As a result, I went to the hairdresser to have it cut again (evenly) and so it was really short. About eight months later, I got it cut again, only this time it had to be done in layers as my hair was extremely damaged. After that cut, I suppose I should have made more effort in caring for my hair, but I wasn’t too bothered. Then about four or five months ago I got my hair cut again – and this time, I worked to heal it.

It was somewhat of a long process. But something awesome happened: I discovered I had very wavy hair! If you look at pictures of me as an eight-year-old (the longest my hair ever was) you can see there was a bit of shape to my hair, but years of overwashing, not brushing gently and never having my hair loose caused my hair to get extremely fragile and damaged.

However, some things I did to heal my hair – here are my secrets.

Conditioner

I had previously been quite lazy and simply didn’t bother to condition my hair, but I discovered that no matter what type of hair you have, it needs conditioner. Conditioner is moisturizing and repairing – if you have very damaged hair like I did at the start of my “hair journey,” I would recommend using hair masks.

I can’t really recommend any one in particular – at the time I just went for what was cheapest; usually a shop brand. I would say, however, to look for ingredients such as natural oils (argan, macadmia, coconut), shea butter, and avocado – these are all great for repairing hair.

Oils

Speaking of oils, I do recommend using them. Applying some argan or coconut oil to your hair’s ends before a shower is very nourishing. And for the curly haired people, when your hair is dam you can also use a little oil to the ends, but do be careful to use only a little.

Brushing properly

I didn’t use any fancy wooden brush, just a cheap plastic one and then a comb, but I researched a little and started to distribute oil in my hair properly, resulting in an extra day of not having to wash it.

However, if you can find one, I would definitely recommend a wooden brush. They’re easier on the hair, distribute oils evenly, and last a long time. Plus, they’re better for the environment!

Washing less frequently

I know, the horror. But especially to those of you washing your hair every day: have you any idea how much damage you’re doing to your hair? If not, let me tell you: you’re constantly stripping your hair of its natural oils, and so it’s going to keep producing them, resulting in a vicious cycle of overwashing. Start weaning your hair off frequent washing – keep adding an extra day of not washing until you’re at a stage where you’re happy.

The best tip I can give you is to wear your hair up. I notice that the longer I wear my hair down, the faster it gets greasy. Braids, ponytails, messy buns; whatever it takes, keep your hair up and off your face. Oh, and stop touching your hair. The dirt/oil from your fingers gets transferred, and believe me, it ends up nasty. Washing my hair less frequently has been instrumental is repairing my hair!

I’m happy to say that I know wash my hair once a week. Occasionally twice, if I get really sweaty/dirty, and then if I go swimming. But that’s an existential circumstance.


I know these things aren’t exactly revolutionary, but they’re what worked for my hair. I encourage you to experiment and find what works for you…

  • Maybe you can get by with using only conditioner, and stop with the shampoo completely?
  • Perhaps there’s an oil I haven’t mentioned that works well for your hair.
  • Or how about trying an avocado hair mask?
  • I of course recommend trying the “no-poo” (no shampoo) method – even if it doesn’t work long-term, it’s good for a hair “reset.”

Remember, everyone’s hair is different. You should find what works for you – research, try out new things. Best of luck!

Minimalism

minimalist wardrobe p.2 – jewelry

Ah, jewelry. It’s like paper – over time, you accumulate so much of it, but because it doesn’t take up a lot of space, you don’t realize it until you can’t find your grandmother’s wedding ring.

In today’s post I’ll be discussing how to curate a minimalist jewelry collection suited to your needs and wants. By the way, if you missed out on part one of this series (the bare essentials of a wardrobe) you can click here to catch up!


So… where to start?

Well, the obvious first step is to declutter. Gather all of your jewelry, whether it’s from jewelry boxes, drawstring bags, makeup bags, handbags, drawers, boxes, counters, corners… get it all together in one big pile.

Next, pick up each individual piece, and decide whether to keep it. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does this item make me happy?
  • Do I feel gorgeous when I wear it?
  • Is it actually practical to wear, or is it uncomfortable, etc.?
  • Do I think it looks nice?
  • Is it of good quality?

If you answered yes to ALL of the above questions, then it’s a keeper.

Some more questions:

  • Is it expensive?
  • Was it a gift?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Is it “just in case?”
  • It is broken/damaged? (and if so, for how long?)

If you answered yes to ALL of the above questions, then chances are you don’t really want it, but there’s a “reason.” Well, here are my responses:

  • It was expensive – lesson learned. Don’t be expensive things you don’t like. You can try sell it, or give it as a gift to someone. But don’t worry about its cost, because in the long run it will cost you happiness.
  • It was a gift – who cares. More on gifts in this post.
  • It has sentimental value – memories are in your head, not in small pieces of metal. Cast away sentimental jewelry with the knowledge that the memories are better, and take up less space.
  • It’s just in case I find the outfit to wear with it – don’t worry, that day will never come. Besides, you can find other items.
  • It’s broken/damaged – we all have that one item that we tell ourselves we’ll get repaired/untangle/replaced/new battery. Well, either fix it immediately, or get rid of it.

When it comes to jewelry, you must be ruthless. Despite the fact that it’s small, it does take up both physical and mental space.

Curating your collection

If you’re feeling a little unsure as to what you “need” in your jewelry collection, here is what I would have:

  • Important jewelry – wedding ring, etc.
  • A simple necklace – usually a pendant that matches everything. A thin chain, simple charm, and high quality.
  • Religious jewelry – if applicable.
  • A watch – you don’t need more than one. If you have multiple, select your favourite.
  • A pair of studs – select a pair of earrings that matches everything (usually neutral colour, or diamond/pearl if you can afford)
  • Ring(s) – either a simple band, or if you’re a hippy, have a few boho ones 😉

For me, the ultimate minimalist jewelry would be a watch, simple necklace, simple band ring, and then religious/important jewelry. But that’s the beauty of minimalism – it’s up to you to define what you think is worth your time.

Storage

Like most people, I used to store my jewelry in a jewelry box. I’ve had two – one pretty pink one as a kid, and more recently a secondhand, wood-and-glass find. However, since decluttering, I decided to use my jewelry box to store my stationery.

I now use two boxes from necklaces – one is for earrings, and the other is for necklaces. They’re beautiful, small and efficient storage solutions that don’t need much space:

WIN_20180719_11_35_51_Pro

If you prefer to use a jewelry box, go ahead, but here are some other ideas:

  • Boxes that your jewelry came in (my personal choice)
  • Ashtrays, small dishes/bowls
  • A jewelry stand (really beautiful solution – see below)
  • Pill boxes (see below)

Image result for pill box jewelryImage result for jewelry stand

The one thing I will say about storage – you don’t need to keep your jewelry individually stored in the boxes it came in when purchased. Jewelry boxes, while not that big, do take up space, and so it’s better to just put everything into one rather than have five or ten boxes floating around your home. Select the best one – highest quality, nicest, and most efficient for your needs.

My jewelry collection

If you’re curious, here’s my jewelry collection:

WIN_20180719_09_53_02_Pro
I have ten pairs of earrings (studs and hoops), and then two single earrings (shamrock and glittery stud) that I think are gorgeous. My pairs consist of some simple colours, my first pair of earrings, a hippy pair, and then two fun pairs (ghosts and snowmen). My hoops are in two sizes.
WIN_20180719_09_53_11_Pro
Two necklaces I’ve been gifted from parents throughout my life. They’re perfect – thin chains and a simple charm.
WIN_20180719_09_54_00_Pro (2)
This is a black choker I’ve had for a while – actually sourced from my mother, who was getting rid of it.

 

I also have a watch. However, it was a gift, and so I didn’t know until later that it’s made from leather. This is why I’m not showing it, nor specifying the brand. I am keeping it, however, until it wears out, as there is no point in getting a new one while this is in good working order.

 


Overall, if there’s anything you should take away from this post, it’s these points:

  • Stick to simple designs of jewelry
  • You only need one watch
  • Try to see if you can fit your jewelry into as small a storage solution as possible, rather than a bulky jewelry box
  • Either fix now or get rid of broken items

Thank you for reading! Hope to see you in my next post.

Namaste ❤

Self-empowerment

how i got out of a rut + advice

It’s been a long time since I’ve pressed the green Publish button.

My life… has been all over the place recently. Ireland has just finished its biggest heatwave since 1972, and for the past few weeks I’ve been soaking up the sunshine – at the beach, in the garden, at camp.

I don’t blog for a living/money, and as a result of not feeling very much into it recently, I’ve laid off posting. I try to go with my intuition when it comes to creation – if I feel something is right, I’ll go for it, but if not, I try to steer clear.

There have also been a few things in my life that I haven’t felt comfortable sharing with anyone, so what I will say is that I hit a sort of… plateau in my life. I didn’t feel motivated to do anything. I didn’t want to grow and learn, exercise, eat well, meditate, practice my Craft… in short, life’s been a bit messy.

But I can confidently state that today has been day one of fully getting myself back on track. It’s currently almost eleven a.m., and I’m proud to say that so far, my accomplishments include:

  • waking up at 06:30
  • writing down a dream I had
  • going for a run
  • completing a workout
  • doing some light yoga/stretching
  • eating a healthy breakfast (vegan soya yogurt + 2 kiwis)
  • writing some notes from three books
  • ordering more books from the library for self-development and growth

(the books I was note-taking from are as follows: Looking at Astrology & Looking At The Mind by Liz Greene and Thrive: the third metric to redefining success by Arianna Huffington)

Just a little PSA, also: since I wasn’t posting, I couldn’t say anything, but now that I am, I’d just like to bring your attention to a few changes – I did a quick revamp last month, and this is what I’ve done:

  • The new tagline – “Free living for females”
  • New pages – “Start Here” and “Mission
  • The deletion of older posts that I feel don’t fit with my blog’s ideas/themes
  • Some older posts are currently being edited, so by the end of the month everything will be up to my current standards.

But what about you?

If you clicked on this post, you’re probably looking for some advice. Well, here are some tips to get yourself out of a rut in life (and I’ve used these myself, so yes, they’ve worked).


First off: do something. And I’m not talking take out the trash, I’m talking something big. For me, this is reading and learning from self-help books. And it isn’t as lame as it sounds – I’m learning a lot about the mind, body and spirit, and I genuinely can’t wait to put my newfound knowledge into practice.

To get yourself going, you need is a good kick in the behind. Not literally, but a big leap in life – something you haven’t done, a big project, etc.This could be deciding to:

  • take up a language
  • run a marathon
  • learn something new
  • get a haircut

Anything that is somewhat big and exciting -not the usual “lose weight, get healthy, etc.” but something that you can actually look forward to and that will make you interested.


Once you’ve been kicked, you can slow your speed and take a rest stop for water.

i.e., now’s the time to get your shit together. Take a shower, put a nice outfit, clean your house, take care of errands and so forth. Get those little things you’ve been putting off out of the way, and then you can go full swing back into big things.

Now is also the time to cleanse your space, physically and mentally. Get a good deep clean in, do some decluttering (regardless if you’ve done it before), and if you’re into it, light some sage/incense & say a blessing.


Okay, now that you’re refreshed and feeling a little more put-together, you can slowly start implementing the good stuff back into your life. By this, I mean good habits: clean eating, regular exercise, eight hours’ sleep, practicing your faith/spirituality/etc.

However, one important thing to remember: take it one step at a time. If you start rushing in and try to do everything at once, you’ll burn yourself out and end up falling back into the rut.

If you’re a little impatient, you you can set yourself what I call “chain challenges.”

Let’s say you want to wake up early. OK, start with that. Set your alarm for 06:30. But since you’re impatient [;)] why not go a step further? Set your alarm, and when you wake up, use the extra time to exercise.

And then go even further –

  • you have to drink 100ml of a smoothie/green juice every time you hit snooze on your alarm
  • or if you get up later than 07:15, you can’t use your phone for two hours

Start with a single habit, and then make that a cue to start a chain reaction of other habits. This way, you can do a lot, without it seeming overwhelming.

For each habit, you can also start out slowly and build up. Let’s take myself as an example – I wanted to start getting up at 06:30 again. So day one, I set my alarm for 07:00. Then day two, 06:50. Day three, 06:45. Day four, 06:45. Day five, I actually woke up myself at 06:30. Small changes like these can add up to big results, so don’t underestimate the power of small steps.


Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself. You’ve come out of a hard time, and you’re doing great. Treat yourself to a day out, a meal with family, an at-home spa day, or a little vegan chocolate! I wish you all the best, and if anyone’s going through a rough patch, don’t hesitate to add me on Snapchat (@hinblog) and we can talk.

Namaste.

P.S. I’ve just remembered that it’s now been officially just over two years since I first published a blog post. Thank you all for what you’ve made possible in the last six hundred and something days. I’ve had so many new opportunities thanks to you. I appreciate every single reader – whether you’re stopping by for the first time, or you’ve been reading for months, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because it’s true – I wouldn’t be who I am today without my blog. ❤

Minimalism

minimalist wardrobe p.1 – the bare essentials

Psst – read to the end for something exciting!

I’ve discussed a lot about minimalism here at Happiness Is Natural. I especially love writing about minimalist fashion and clothing – so much that I’ve I decided to turn this all into a series. I’ll be writing several posts on creating the perfect minimalist wardrobe – through staples, accessories, advice and tips.

For part one, today’s post, I’ll be talking about curating the minimalist’s essentials wardrobe; a collection of seven pieces and outfits that I think every minimalist should have in their wardrobe!

Note: “piece” refers to a single item of clothing/shoes, and “outfit” refers to a whole ensemble. And the “For me:” part showcases my own examples of these essentials.


1: Not much effort [piece]

I created this so-called piece because it’s perfect for anything that’s not too fancy – meeting a friend, getting groceries, dropping your kids to school, etc. Something simple, that doesn’t require a lot of thought or effort.

For me: a pair of dark blue jeans. They’re my favourite – I know they fit well, I love the colour, they match with about 80% of my clothes, and they’re fairly comfortable.

2: Go-to shoes [piece]

This will be a pair of shoes you know are awesome – they’re comfortable, match with most of your clothing, and best of all, look great. Mind you, these can’t be your Nike trainers; at the very least go for some decent Converse-type shoes.

For me: a pair black ballet flats – I can wear them with virtually everything in my closet.

3: Date night [outfit]

This isn’t necessarily for a date – whether you’re single, in a relationship, etc. This is the outfit you would wear if you were on a date – it makes you feel gorgeous, confident, and you feel like it shows people who you truly are.

For me: navy v-neck top, and floor-length red skirt with a blue butterfly print. The essence of my style.

4: Fabulous outerwear [piece]

No matter how bad your outfit may be, all you need to do is throw on a gorgeous piece of outerwear an you’re good to go. I would recommend something like a classic trench coat, or for a more casual look, a good denim jacket.

For me: I have two of these items – one is a more casual, lighter, brown summer jacket that I love to wear with jeans. The other is a checked trench coat, better for colder days and more formal occasions.

5: Throw on [piece/outfit]

For those moments where you need to look fabulous in a minute – basically, the little black dress or your own equivalent. It’s your go-to option you know that you throw on and still look fabulous. For the last-minute dinner invites, dates, hen parties… no matter the occasion, it’s good enough.

For me: a simple dress; black top with black-and-white-patterned skirt.

6: Family event [piece/outfit]

This is also the ideal time to crank out a little black dress (only, don’t make it too little). Your aim here is to have a piece/outfit for a family event – whether it be a wedding, funeral, or family reunion. For women, this would probably be a dress, and men, think suits.

For me: I have two pieces – a pink/green rose-patterned dress [think wedding] and a short-sleeved, knee-length black dress with a rose pattern and black belt [think funeral].

7: The morning after [outfit]

This final essential veers away from classy and presentable. Comfort is key. This outfit is your go-to for the morning after – whether it was a wedding, long conversations with your friend, a party where you drank a little too much… this is what you wear the next morning, when you’re exhausted and need to relax.

For me: a crew-neck longsleeved shirt, my snuggly grey hoodie and navy leggings. I feel like I’m wrapped in a blanket.


I hope you enjoyed this first part to Minimalist Wardrobe. Next week, we’ll be talking accessories – what you do/don’t need, how to mix and match… make sure to click subscribe (sidebar, top) so you don’t miss out!

P.S. I’m 1 subscriber away from 200, and it’s not long until July, my blog’s two-year anniversary. When I hit 200 subscribers, and it’s July, I’ll be doing a fun Q & A. You can send me your questions by commenting below, or emailing happinessisnaturalblog@gmail.com.

P.P.S. Since you’ve read this far, like I promised, here’s something exciting: anyone who sends in a question may or may not be entered into a giveaway 😉

Food

my favourite rice recipes (vegan & not)

I eat a lot of rice. I mean, a lot. Generally it’ll be in my lunch or dinner, or maybe somewhere in between. And recently I’ve been experimenting with new recipes to find out what works well – I’ve decided to show you five of these today.

Please note I never really give specific measurements e.g. 500 grams. I normally just dump a bit of rice in a pot (enough for me, and then sometimes my sisters), and add in things as I see fit.

Featured recipe in header: #2 → egg fried rice

1: Very basic rice 

(Vegan)

If you don’t feel like having a proper rice dish, you can make this. Alternatively you can use this as a base for a more elaborate dish with herbs & spices, or as a small side to a main course.

You will need

  • Any amount of rice*, depending on how many people you’re feeding
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how much rice you have)
  • Salt (I use Himalayan salt)

*Basmati rice is the best type for this, but I use brown or long grain white rice too. Whatever you prefer.

Method

  • Put the rice into a pot, and pour boiled water over it (enough so that the rice is fully covered with a tiny bit of room to spare)
  • Place a lid on the pot, and allow the rice to boil for about five minutes, or until it starts to bubble over.
  • Turn the heat down little, and continue to boil the rice. Taste it every minute or so to check if it’s your preferred texture.
  • When it’s done, drain the water and put the rice into a bowl.
  • Pour the olive oil onto the rice, and mix it.
  • Sprinkle a little salt* over it, and mix again.
  • Serve.

*You literally need a pinch (or two, if making for more than two people) of salt. Ensure it’s mixed well into the rice.

2: Egg fried rice {featured in header}

(not vegan) 

I try to steer clear of this recipe when I can, but since I’m not (yet!!) vegan, I do eat it occasionally. It can be a great lunch recipe, or if you’re not feeling like a big dinner, try this.

You will need

  • Rice (you can use the basic rice from above if you want)
  • Thyme*
  • 1 egg

*I find fresh thyme complements the overall taste of this dish perfectly, but it’s up to you if you want to use something else.

Method

  • Boil your rice four about five minutes until it starts to bubble.
  • Turn down the heat a little, and add in your thyme.
  • Mix the rice so that the thyme is evenly distributed.
  • Allow the rice to simmer for another minute or two.
  • In the meantime, heat up a saucepan.
  • Crack your egg onto it, and allow it to fry for about fifteen seconds.
  • Then pour the rice* into the saucepan and mix with the egg.
  • Allow to fry for about two to three minutes, or until the egg is done.
  • Serve.

*Don’t worry if the rice still has some water in it. It’s actually better, as the rice won’t stick to the pan as easily, or burn.

3: Sautéed vegatable rice

(Vegan)

This is a recipe I use when I’m craving a more strong, sharp taste. You can add in any vegetables you want, but the onion and mushroom are what really make the dish.

You will need

  • Quarter of an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 mushroom, finely chopped
  • Half a scallion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Rice
  • Any dried herbs of your choice*

*I usually sprinkle some dried oregano, rosemary and basil, but you can use anything you want.

Method

  • Put the onion/mushroom/scallion/your vegetables into a pot.
  • Pour the olive oil in too.
  • Stir so that every vegetable is oily.
  • Turn on the heat and allow vegetables to simmer until golden.
  • Pour in your rice and cover with boiling water.
  • Boil for about five minutes, turn down the heat a little and add in your herbs.
  • Stir everything and allow to simmer for another couple of minutes until you feel it’s ready.
  • Serve.

4: Risotto rice

(Vegan)

I only discovered earlier today that what I’m making isn’t actually a proper risotto. You’re supposed to use butter and cheese, neither of which I do. But then again, my recipe tastes fine, so I don’t really care. And this way it’s vegan!

You will need

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Risotto rice
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Basil

The herbs can be changed up if you want, although I personally find that this is what works best. Also, I used dried herbs, but you can use fresh if you want.

Method

  • Put the risotto rice on to boil
  • After it’s boiled, sprinkle in your herbs, and stir.
  • Simmer for two minutes and then take off the lid and simmer for another minute.
  • There shouldn’t be too much water left in the pot, so add in 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  • Mix well, and allow to simmer for another 40 seconds or so.
  • Pour into the serving vessel, and sprinkle the rest of the oil in. Mix well.
  • Serve.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please, please let me know if you try any of the recipes – I’d really love to know  how they turned out! You can email me pictures at happinessisnaturalblog@gmail.com, and I might edit this post and display your pictures (with permission). Thanks!

Witchy Things

spell planning – what, why + how

Hello again, everyone! Welcome back to another witchcraft post. Today I’m discussing spell planning – what it is, why you should do it, and how to do it.

I’ll be honest: up until a few days ago, it never really occurred to me that I could plan my spells. However, as I was watching a video by Harmony Nice (popular Wiccan YouTuber) she mentioned in passing that she had been planning [her] Samhain ritual for like the whole entire month of October.”

And I – well, my mind = blown.

I have to admit; for the past six months or so, I haven’t been as practicing my craft as much as I’d like to be. However, that was mainly because of school, so now that summer’s back, I can do do more ritual and spellwork.

Anyway! I usually decide to do ritual/spellwork in a very impromptu way. Usually it comes as a result of either (a) me needing something e.g. guidance, protection or (b) me remembering when I wake up “Oh yes, today is [pagan holiday]” and hurriedly doing a quick offering/thanks ritual.

However, what Harmony said has really prompted me to try it out. I’m intending to do some spellwork on June 13th, as it’s the New Moon and I urgently need to do some magick related to it. And so yesterday I was busy crafting a chant, creating a potion in advance and preparing. There are a few little things I need to do, but after that, I’ll be ready for my work.

Why spell planning?

Here are a few reasons to consider spell planning:

Spells will be smoother. By planning out exactly what you’ll be doing, everything will run seamlessly – you’ll have a chant prepared, your tools/herbs/oils/etc. will be all there and ready, you’ll know what movement/voice you’ll be incorporating, etc. There will be no moments when you’re stumped as to what to do next.

You can work more efficiently. Instead of standing dumbly in the center of your circle, thinking about what to do next, you can simply get straight to your next task. This will be especially helpful for those of you on a time crunch!

Chants will be done for you. I’m no poet, and so when crafting spells it takes me a few minutes to come up with some suitable words for my spells. For those of us who can’t gabble a rhyme off pat, preparing your chants or calls in advance will prevent those moments of harsh silence as you try to find suitable words that rhyme with “spirit.”

It’ll already be done out for you. If you’re someone who records their rituals and spells, spell planning is a great two-in-one option- you can record your spell in your Book Of Shadows/Grimoire, while also being prepared for your workings and have a place to reference.

So… how do I do it?

Spell planning is very simple. I liken it to a recipe:

  • Write out your ingredients (i.e. oils, herbs, etc. that you’ll need)
  • Write out exactly what you want to do (e.g. cast circle, invoke the Goddess)
  • Prepare your ingredients (have all your tools, etc. laid out and ready to use)

And that’s pretty much it! There isn’t really any other advice I can give you – just go get your Book Of Shadows/Grimoire, pen and brain – then you’re good to go.


I would urge every witch or Wiccan to give spell planning a try – if you give it a go, do leave me a comment and tell me how it went. Or are you someone who prefers the route of I-can-write-a-spell-in-three-seconds? Let me know!

Beauty, Minimalism

my minimalist beauty products + trying a bamboo toothbrush

EXCITING NEWS: I’ve created a Snapchat account for Happiness Is Natural! Username → hinblog. More details in the sidebar!

In today’s post I’m going to be showing you my minimalist beauty products, in the hopes of inspiring you to cull your products. And if you’d like to see what I bring when I travel you can click here!

This doesn’t really need an introduction, but what I will say is this: items written in italics are items that I use on a daily basis. Everything else is used about two/three times a week, sometimes less.


General

  • Deodorant
  • Stylfile (brilliant nail file)
  • Cotton pads (using them up and then I’ll go back to cotton wool)
  • Comb
  • Menstrual products – prototype reusable pad that I always wear as backup, and disposable pads as I try figure out how to make good reusable ones

Skincare

Skincare is a huge thing for me. I struggle with breakouts all the time, and even though the problems are in my diet, I still use a few topical treatments. These consist of:

  • Witch hazel toner
  • Rose water for hydration
  • Bio-Oil for scars (it causes my face to break out, so I only use it on my body)
  • Cream – got this recently in the bargain shelves of Penneys. Does the job!
  • Face wash – my mother picked this one up when she was in the pharmacy, by the brand Kelkin

Beauty

  • Lip colour-thing I made myself
  • Lip balm from Burt’s Bees
  • Old lip gloss I’ve had for ages and crank out occasionally

Dental

Special

I wear a functional appliance and so I need a few items for it. One thing is a cleanser (don’t laugh, but I use denture cleanser, as it’s fairly cheap + available), which comes in tablet form. I also have a small metal thing for tightening it, and keep all of this in a small box I can store the appliance in if need be.

Everyday

I’ve been using an electric toothbrush from AliExpress, but I’ve been wanting to try out a bamboo toothbrush, simply because it’s so much more sustainable. Brush Naked stepped up and sent me a few of their products – toothbrushes, paste and a travel tube.

WIN_20180528_17_05_13_Pro_LI
Their brushes and travel tube are made from bamboo, so they’re completely biodegradable, and the toothpaste tube is recyclable!

 

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I wasn’t disappointed with the bamboo toothbrush – it feels so natural, and is just as good as a regular toothbrush. Paired with the natural toothpaste, overall I didn’t have any horrible, strong fake-mint chemical taste in my mouth. Highly recommend the company (and natural dental products in general)!

 

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The travel tube is also great – it’s made of bamboo, fairly sturdy, and is big enough to store any toothbrush (no matter the size) while still being travel-friendly.


So, what do you think? I hope my post inspired you to at least consider culling your makeup/beauty products. By the way, my next post is going to be on why I don’t wear makeup – definitely subscribe (sidebar, top) so you don’t miss it!

Also, consider trying a bamboo toothbrush! A big thank you to Brush Naked for sending me their products, which I would definitely recommend for those interested in natural dental care – make sure to check them out here.

{Please note that although Brush Naked sent me their products for review, it does not affect my opinion of them.}

Feminism

how to feel confident without a bra

I’ve discussed the fact that I often don’t wear a bra in this post. And I also voiced my opinions on #freethenipple here. But what about your side to it? How can you feel confident without “support”? In this post I’m giving you a few tips, plus something things to keep in mind for your first time without a bra.

(I’m going to assume that you always wear a bra, just for the sake of convenience, so this is my advice for new bra-ditchers!)


So, you’re thinking about ditching your bra for a day. Good for you! Are you nervous? Worried if people can see, never mind what they’ll think?! Don’t worry.

First off, the most important piece of advice I can give you: breasts are normal. As are nipples. We all have them (with the exception of any special cases).

For too long breasts have been sexualized, and women shamed for going without bras – but it’s enough. It’s time for change. If nobody starts change, nothing will ever happen. You must make a move and people will follow when they see that others are doing it. Marianne Williamson said: “As you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do so.” Many people need assurance before taking new ventures, and by seeing people doing something, then they will do it too. Start the change.

Now that the emotional part is out, it’s time to sort physical aspects. While I may have confidence about displaying everything, you may feel a little worried. And it’s completely normal! One simple solution is not to wear a tight top. I never wear a bra with loose/flowy clothing. Veer towards blouses, dresses and off-the-shoulder tops, as these tend to be more loose and flowy.

Something else to try is wearing layers. I never wear a bra to school (apart from P.E. – gym – day), as for our uniform we have a shirt underneath a jumper. I generally don’t take off my jumper as the shirt is a ridiculous yellow colour, and so nothing gets exposed through my jumper. Try typing layered outfits for summer into Google, and you can get some ideas for styling your outfits. Or replace “summer” with whatever season it currently is in your country.

Overall, you just need to act confident. Even if you aren’t. That’s how I get away with being confident even when I’m not – stand up straight and act like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t). And if anyone objects to your new bra-ditch:

  • First of all, explain to them why you’re doing it e.g. bras are too uncomfortable.
  • If they still object, explain that breasts/nipples are completely normal, and there is really no reason why you should hide yours.
  • If that still doesn’t work, tell them to bog off and start thinking outside societal “norms.”

People worth your time shouldn’t care whether you wear a bra or not. And if anyone stares in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable: ask them what they’re staring at, tell them “yes, those are my breasts”, or just walk away.

I know it can see uncomfortable and exposing to go without a bra, but really, ask yourself, why are you wearing a bra? Because I can guarantee there’s a 90% chance it’s not for comfort.

If you want any more advice, or have questions, do let me know in the comments! I’m always here for support (ayy!) – I know going braless can seem daunting, but trust me, once you try it, you’ll realize how comfortable and freeing it is.

Food

becoming vegan: stage one (months 1 to 2)

If you read my previous post you’ll know that I’m transitioning to veganism, and should be fully vegan by the start of January 2019. In that post I promised I would give you all a three-part series on how I’m transitioning to veganism. So today I present stage one!

Please note that this is the way that I think will work best for me. I am by no means a dietitian, and therefore before you decide to do anything I suggest, it’s best check with your doctor. I also am not responsible for any illness/health conditions/injuries caused by anything that I suggest.


Wait… what’s stage one?

Before I get into my advice for stage one, let’s have a quick recap on what it is: stage one is the first phase to veganism. You’re cutting out all forms of red meat, but you can still eat chicken and fish.

Now that’s cleared up, I’m dividing this post into three sections:

  • Getting comfortable – how to adjust to not eating red meat, supplements, etc.
  • Tackling meals – create nutritious meals without red meat & derivatives, and incorporating more plants
  • Extra tips

Getting comfortable

Since you’re only cutting out red meat, stage one is not that difficult. The key is just to avoid it. If you live by yourself, don’t buy it, simple as that. If you live with your family like I do, and there are family meals, cook for yourself. I started doing that a while ago – if my family is having a red-meat-based dinner I usually just eat whatever’s not red meat, and cook myself some extra vegetables (but more on that later).

As far as supplements go – since you’ve probably never cut out red meat before, your body needs to adjust to this sudden loss of iron. Now is a good time to start on a supplement – again, consult your doctor and do your research for what will work best for you. I currently take this, which I get in the local pharmacy.

I know vegans are also recommended to take a B12 supplement. I have not started taking this, as B12 is found in all animal products, so I’m still getting it from dairy. However, this is something all vegans need to take, so definitely when you’re at stage three (cutting out dairy) it would be worthwhile to consult a pharmacist, or even just get a B12 supply and start taking it.

When I was initially trying to cut red meat from my diet, I kept giving in and eating salami, beef, here and there. If you’re having this problem, I highly recommend that you either watch some documentaries (personally, I watched Cowspiracy, but Earthlings is also on my to-watch list) or simply type into Google “inside a slaughterhouse” – you’ll never recover from watching the results on YouTube. Or at least I haven’t.

Tackling meals

Meals without red meat are a lot easier than you’d think. If you’re using food already in packages, I advise to only consume what’s marked as vegetarian. The basis of your meals should be plants and grains. Well, breakfast is another matter, so let’s start with lunches and dinners.

Lunch – this isn’t your main meal of the day, but it’s still fairly important. I would recommend soup, salad, yogurt… definitely try to get in some fruit.

Dinner – focus on vegetables at this meal to make up for what nutrients you’re losing without meat. Typically I would make a rice dish (recipes coming soon!) and then take a good portion of vegetables, favouring broccoli and raw carrots. Potatoes would be a good source of carbs and then fill up on vegetables.

Snacks – berries, nuts, a muffin, oatmeal cookies… really whatever in a small portion. It’s not a meal.

Breakfast – natural yogurt with honey/chia seeds/berries/fruit is definitely a win/win: tasty, nutritious, and filling enough. Of course, this is my personal preference, so experiment and see what works for you.

Extra tips

  • Only buy packaged things that are vegetarian. Don’t worry, the majority of things are!
  • Like I said in my previous post, try to cut out little non-vegan “extras” – marshmallows, chocolate, honey, gelatin, etc. Foods you don’t need, and aren’t really affecting your diet.
  • Fruit and vegetables have fewer calories than meat, so don’t be surprised if you eat your normal portions and still come away hungry. Eat more, but of the right foods.
  • Now is the time to start experimenting – see what vegan meals you can try out and start making them. That way, when you are fully vegan, you won’t get a nasty shock and realize you have no clue what meals are vegan!
  • If you live with your family/partner, why not try cooking your meals for them! Obviously try not to preach, or you’ll advert them from becoming vegetarian/vegan, but broadening their minds with what great foods are available is sure-fire way to get them interested.

I’ve been thinking, and I’ve decided to only publish posts about transitioning to veganism when I’m changing stages. i.e. You’ll read my post about vegetarianism in August, and my post about veganism in December/January.

Also, feel free to share recipes of your own in the comments, or just have a general support/chit-chat discussion – I’d love to see your thoughts, advice and questions!