My Problem with Essential Oils

There are so many fads out there it’s really hard to know what’s legit and what’s a scam. Diets, winning millions of dollars, organic versus ‘certified organics’ and even essential oils that only cost a couple of dollars.

A couple of years ago I was in remote Kenya doing a school program  and got badly sunburnt on my forehead. I didn’t even know it until I got to the Ngoswani Health Clinic to look at a potential project. Straight away Dr. Tonya marched me to an examination room and I had one of their international visitors apply a mixture of coconut oil and lavender essential oil.

I was SUPER sceptical but you know what, after a few minutes the burning started to subside. The attendant told me that the Masai love using the oils, even the men, which says a lot on this side of the world. I was given a 5ml bottle of the lavender oil to take home.

lavender

So all I know is what works for me – and that bottle is still being used.

The lavender is great because you can put it directly on your skin, which you can’t do for all oils. So mossie bites and eczema is now under control.

Frankincense is pretty expensive but man, it’s a great ‘natural drug’. I ended up with a frozen shoulder (not pleasant) and Pete would mix this with coconut oil and massage my shoulder blade. It has a anti inflammatory effect. It doesn’t go super hot like Deep Heat, it’s a gentle warmth.

frankincense

When I got a massive blood clot in my leg, our youngest daughter, Hannah, made up for me a mixture of coconut oil, frankincense, lavender and Panaway (a combo of oils). I would rub it in a couple of times a day and while it smelt really nice, I wasn’t sure it was doing much. I was in so much pain, I was hoping for a magical quick fix. However, I kept persisting. I figured that at the least, my legs would be nicely moisturised. What I did find was that it totally cleared up a large eczema patch on my leg. Even now, months later, I still put the mixture on each day.

panaway

Because we live in a pretty warm country and I have to wear a compression stocking all day, I’ve found I get Athlete’s Foot occasionally. The same thing can happen if you don’t wear socks in your shoes, especially flats. I thought I would give Purification a go after researching for something that had antiseptic properties. Four days in and the rash has nearly gone.

purification

I’m now slowly expanding the use of oils into things that we use daily like cleaners, moisturiser and even our toilet spray. I’ve already got face serum made with jojoba oil and some essential oils which I use once a day.

 

However, there’s three problems I have with essential oils:

  1. The market isn’t totally regulated. So while the label might say ‘essential’ it could be a mixture of a carrier oil (coconut, jojoba etc) and not pure. If you can buy an oil for a couple of dollars, it’s not the real deal. That’s why I stick with a well known brand like Young Living.
  2. Availability where I live. Because we’re only in New Zealand for a few months of the year, I have to plan out what I can order to get it on time. We can’t get them delivered here (yet), so I have to be super organised. I order through our daughter Hannah so I can pick them up in Auckland.
  3. I have to get into the habit of not using much. We’re used to using a lot of anything, but with essential oils, you only need a few drops. Even with the oil mixture I use instead of a moisturiser, I only use three drops from an eye dropper.

Essential oils are not the answer to the world’s problems but at my age I’ve only got just over 30 years left on this planet. I’d like to cut down on the chemicals and live a healthier lifestyle.

If you want to know more, or are keen to start using essential oils, feel free to contact Hannah, she’ll be more than happy to help you out. You can also follow her on Instagram as #oilymummanz

 

 

 

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A Visit to the Nairobi National Park

The Nairobi National Park is one of 54 national parks and game reserves within Kenya.

One of the best things about living in Nairobi is being able to visit the Nairobi National Park to hunt the wild animals with a camera. Its only a 30 minute drive from our place to the park and we often leave at 5.30am. The reason being is that it can take up to half an hour to get through the gate.

buzzard 2

The entry has gone totally cashless so you need to be prepared with either a credit card or Mpesa. For a foreigner it will cost you $43 USD entry, while a local is much cheaper. Be prepared to pay for your car as well.

We always take an esky/chilly bin/cooler box with us so we can snack after a few hours of being on safari. Also remember that there are only a couple of toilet stops within the park but there are toilets at the gate.

ant looking

A bonus of being inside the park is that you don’t have to lock the doors, you can keep the windows down and you don’t even have to wear your seatbelt. The park has speed limits and when you’re looking for animals the slower you go the better. The park is great if you’ve only got a few hours or a whole day to spare.

zebra drinking

These are wild animals. It’s not a zoo so be prepared to have maybe even up to an hour before spotting animals. It seems that you see lots and then nothing for a while. Make sure your radio is off or at least turned down. This is a great opportunity to detach from your phone and social media, breath in the fresh air and take your mind off work.

jackal 6

The Nairobi National Park has a great variety of animals. You’ll see:

  • Hippo
  • Lion
  • Rhino
  • Antelope
  • Crocodile
  • Giraffe
  • Zebra

There’s also a huge variety of bird life to look at. Getting a good photo of them is a real challenge as the small, colorful ones flit around.

lion

Unfortunately last week we didn’t see the rhino that we’ve been following for the past 6 years. I was pretty disappointed, but we had guests with us who had another appointment. If it was just us, we would’ve kept looking for another couple of hours.

If you’re a visitor to the area, seeing the rail going through the park probably won’t shock you. However, if you’re a local, you’ll be horrified with how it has changed things. It’s been a year since we’ve been to the park and we were so shocked at how intruding it is on the wildlife. We could see the real difference human intervention had on the animals. It also threw us off in what direction to go because roads had been changed. We were so disappointed with the Kenyan Government because this was another stupid idea that they could’ve easily been changed.

hippos 5

Be prepared for some really horrendous roads. One would think that keeping the roads in good condition in a national park would make sense – but then lots of things here don’t necessarily make sense. Another reason to go slow.

giraffe 2

While the other parks and reserves are much larger than the one in Nairobi, non are as close or convenient. I highly suggest you come on over and have a look for yourself.

eagle 2Interested in visiting? Drop us a line – thewildcreanberries@gmail.com

 

Travelling in a Group

We’ve just finished spending three weeks in the States on our way to Kenya. It’s the super long route to take, but since one of the kids was paying for it, who am I to object. We went to LA, San Diego, back to LA, Houston, New York City and Washington DC. Getting to Nairobi took 8 flights. Because we were moving country we had baggage galore. While we are on the road for 2 months of the year this certainly was quite different, going from hot summer days to places where it was snowing.

Here’s some tips for travelling in a group:

1. Number all of your bags.

It’s very easy to lose one or two small items like camera or video bags. At least when you get off a bus, train or plane you know which number is missing. Simply put a tag with a large number written on it.

 

2. Put things back in the same place.

Jetlag is a killer on the brain. When you put the passports or travel documents in the same place every time you won’t be stressing out where they are. It’s bad enough trying to find a pair of socks let alone the passport.

 

3. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

This is especially so if you’re the one who has put the itinerary together. You might know what’s happening but don’t assume everyone else does.

 

4. Double check info before leaving home.

You may thought you booked a hotel in LA, but accidentally put in Louisiana instead. While the taxi driver might like the fare, it could lead into all sorts of problems with your team. Also check the distances from your hotel from the airport. That way you won’t be shocked at the price.

 

5. Get the cab drivers number

Once you find a good taxi driver, get his number so that when you need a ride you don’t have to wait around. Depending where you are in the world, negotiate the taxi fare before getting into the car.

 

6. Print out everything

If you’re travelling to lots of places, put it down on an Excel sheet and print it out. Then print out all the tickets, motel addresses etc so you’ve got it in hard copy. Put everything into order so you’re not fumbling through a zillion pieces of paper to find the right one. If you need to, put them in plastic sleeves or in a small folder.

 

7. Pace yourself

If you’re on the road for more than 2 weeks you’ll be exhausted if you’re on the go all the time. Try and pace yourself so one day you do an activity and the next you spend gazing at shops or at the beach. While everyone is entitled to a bad hair day, it’s a bit harder in a group to hide it and it can spread like wildfire. When everyone is exhausted it can make things 10 times worse.

Happy Travels!!