27 January 2015

Mum Musings on Starting School

Today my "baby", started school and I was totally unprepared.

Of course the uniforms were labelled, books contacted, freezer chock-a-block with lunchbox-friendly foods and most importantly, my son was excited, happy and more than ready to take this next step.

But me, well, I hadn't really given too much thought about how I'd pull through the transition to school. I assumed I'd be fine, like I was this time last year when he started kindy.......

Other mum friends had warned me of the flood of emotions that hit them when their kids started school. For some reason though, I thought it might be different for me.

Wasn't school just another milestone? Like crawling, learning to walk or talk, or even sleeping through the night?

Yes and NO!

Starting school IS a very significant milestone that marks yet another chapter.

and NO. It is so very different from other milestones.

Starting school slams the doors on the fully dependent years and here's what I was unprepared for the most.... the flood of doubt, questions, grief, and that awful mother guilt. They all hit me like a semi-trailer late last night, again in the middle of the night when I lay awake with a pounding headache, and again this morning after drop off.

Did I make the most of the precious babies years? Was I present enough? Did I enjoy him enough when I had him around me all the time?

Blah blah blah enough?

Of course I know I've done my very best to nurture and guide him as well as my other son, my marriage, my home, my business and myself (!) but still these self-doubting questions niggled at me.

And I now know they niggle all mums.

Mums of newborns. Working mums. Stay-at-home mums. Work-at-home mums. Mums of teenagers. Mums of adults!

Older mums get it.

That was more than evident today when I started to lose it and some mum friends of older kids swooped me up for a chat and cuppa in the parents room.

And I'm so glad they did.

Because I prepared my son super well for today. But I didn't prepare myself.

As mums we're programmed to put the needs of our families before us. Nature requires us to do so. But let's not forget about ourselves.

I've just come back from a nice evening stroll and plan to have an early night. It's a small step in the self-love department but I needed it today. It's been a big day!

Whether you have your own school starter, or you're still in the thick of juggling newborn, feeds, naps and nappies, remember to take the time to nurture yourself.

Your family are depending on you to do so.

So tonight, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the awesome job you're doing as mum and plan something special for you in the next day or so to take time out. I'm going to get my nails done (even if they are "mum-short"!). ;-)

I'd love to hear what you get up to!

love Laura

PS - when I'm back to my usual self tomorrow I'll be putting the final touches to my greenHOUSE Home Energy Blitz program which will start in a few short weeks. If you're keen to slash your home energy usage and do your bit for climate change, click here to join me. The early bird 50% off special closes midnight Sunday 8th Feb!

CATEGORY: take time out, school, mother guilt | POSTED BY: Laura McIlwaine |

11 January 2015

Self Care Tips from the Naughty Naturopath Mum

This month at Sustainababy we've asked our eco challenge community to take some time out for themselves and recharge their batteries. We also hit up our eco challenge sponsor, Alisha Lynch from the Naughty Naturopath Mum, for her best tips on mumma self care.

Sustainababy (SB): Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to start Naughty Naturopath Mum
Alisha (NNM): I've been a naturopath for 12 years and have always focused on treating people with herbs, nutrition, a wholefood diet and Australian Bush Flower Essences. When I became a mum for the first time 4 years ago, I found myself using the Australian Bush Flower Essences more and more. The results I had with my new baby as well as helping myself and my husband cope, adapt and let go a bit made me want to share this with other mums as well.

So basically Naughty Naturopath Mum was born when my daughter was born as I started making the blends for people and selling them online.

It started out as just a few blends being made on my verandah in Western Australia without a website!

People found me on Facebook and through word of mouth and I couldn't believe the response I got! I found myself juggling a newborn and this small home business which I didn't see coming!

When things got even busier and we moved back to QLD, a website and online shop came about and now I get to blog about all things I am passionate about - gut health, healthy wholefood recipes, Australian Bush Flower Essences and how to cope with parenting and just being human really!

Now I am a mum of two and love that my business is helping all types of people including mums like me all from their own home. I also love that this new job of mine can fit in around being a stay at home mum while my kids are little.

SB: Tell us what the “naughty” in your business title refers to?
I worry about people having such a black and white view of their health. There are many public views on how to stay healthy these days, and most of the information serves to help people, but it can also serve to create anxiety around the topic of health which is the exact opposite of it's purpose really!

What I always want to convey whenever I treat someone or advise someone is that there is no perfect.

Juicing, eating paleo, eating cultured foods, going to yoga and meditating every night is fabulous, and if you can balance that all without getting anxious about what you are and aren't doing, then wonderful!

But most of us have pretty full plates and pretty high stress lives and falling down occasionally or not being 100% healthy in your choice of food or activities is just being human.

Emotional health and physical health are completely entwined which is why I find treating someone with bush essences is just as important as looking at their diet, digestion and lifestyle. I always like to get the point across that stressing over 'health' is only serving further illness or disease states and being a bit 'naughty' now and then, whatever that may mean to each individual, is not the end of the world.

So overall, I wanted my name to reflect all that I am and all that I want to expand upon in my business. Naughty Naturopath Mum seemed to fit the bill perfectly!

SB: What issues do you find mums come to you for help with?
NNM: Mums are still my largest client base and the issues are all very common ones - lack of energy, impatience, anger, worry, resentment, overwhelm, guilt, loss of libido, lack of self worth and self confidence, feeling lost and without direction, weight issues, feelings of isolation and loneliness, wanting to achieve more balance in the home and in the family....all big burdens to be carrying around and I just love being able to help these mums put their loads down!

Health needs to stem from being kinder to ourselves and addressing the emotions that come with parenting is such a great start.

SB: What is your best advice to mums who are feeling overwhelmed with the demands of daily life?
NNM: Stop. Slow Down. We think we need to do it all and do it perfectly.

Laugh at that idea for me will you!?

It's insane to try and juggle and balance everything without things going wrong and eventually you will fall down! A healthy mindset, which starts with meeting your needs at a slower pace than you have been going, is my first piece of advice for sure.

SB: Why do you think it is so important for mums to put themselves first and take time out regularly?
NNM: Well this is a pretty obvious answer and one I'm sure you've all heard before but you are now the anchor of your household. The captain, the ringleader, the zookeeper (well it can feel like that!) and without you being ok, nothing around you can be ok.

The best way you can make sure that you are ok is to acknowledge how you are feeling and what you need on a daily basis. You need to take time out to do this because usually you are wrapped up in the needs and wants of others and your own have become so distant that it's hard to seem them.

Practicing the art of checking on yourself is the way to keep you and your family healthier, happier and enjoying life. You also need to set an example for your kids as they grow up.

Putting yourself first is not selfish, its downright survival and if your kids see slowing down and time out modeled at home, it will naturally become a part of their lives and what a great gift that will be for them.

It is also frightening to see the post natal depression statistic numbers keep creeping up and I believe this is because so many women are trying to do too much when they become mums. We are programmed these days to achieve, achieve, achieve.

What happened to just being? Time out helps so much.

SB: How do you like to take time out?
NNM: I was lucky enough to have a crash course in taking time out after my second bub was born. I took no time out after my first bub was born and the second one came along just 15 months later with silent reflux and also nearly died from some tracheal complications.

I was diagnosed with post natal depression and fell into a dark hole for a while.

I see this time now as such a blessing because it forced me to (eventually) take action and the only thing that got me back on track was to learn the practice of time out and looking after myself again.

I take weekends away with girlfriends at least once a year, I even took myself on a holiday back to WA alone (!!) for 5 nights last year!

I learnt to ask for help from my mum and my parents in law to help me achieve this.

I learnt to let my husband do more even if it wasn't the way I thought things should be done! lol!

I joined a gym with a creche and had no qualms about going as often as I needed for a class and some alone time.

I got my skincare regime back on track and I love taking the time out to nourish my outsides again (for a while there I was lucky to brush my teeth everyday!).

I hired a cleaner to come for 2 hours a fortnight just to get on top of the mess for me. I also do not care about the mess as much anymore.

I schedule one day a fortnight when the kids are in daycare to just do stuff for me. I have a pretty full plate and the old me would have used every daycare day available to work but the new me goes to lunch and a movie or watches Downton Abbey dvd's and goes for a pedicure before picking the kids up.

I much prefer the new me.

Taking my essences every day help me so much as well. The Slow Down Blend and Mumma Magic have been my best friends since I started on my slowing down journey (partly why they were created in the first place!) and just having my blends nearby whenever I start to feel myself getting frazzled or overwhelmed, means I can stop, close my eyes, take my drops and experience mini time outs as often as I need.

SB: Thanks for sharing your wisdom, experiences and useful wellbeing tips Alisha. Is there anything else you'd love to share?
Just love yourself first and your love for everyone around you will be clearer and brighter and that makes for a much better household. Love your time out and make it a priority and watch your health and happiness bloom!

To join our January "Take Time Out" Eco Challenge, and WIN with the Naughty Naturopath Mum, click here

CATEGORY: wellbeing, take time out | POSTED BY: Laura McIlwaine |

28 October 2014

The key ingredient that's missing from the lunch box


Meet Jessica Donovan, a naturopath, woman's holistic health expert and founder of Energetic Mama. Today Jess talks about the key ingredient that might be missing from your child's lunch box and how you can take action. 

Is your child’s lunchbox missing something?

If you want to help your children to concentrate, focus and learn while they are at school then pack them some good fats in their lunchbox!

I want to get the facts straight when it comes to fats! We don’t need to be scared of fat! Fat is really important for everyone’s health and most children are generally not getting enough of the right sorts of fat!

So what are the right sorts of fats? Forget all you have learnt about fats and stick to this one golden rule when it comes to fats

If it is natural eat it, if it is processed, steer clear!

Simple right?

So using this rule I class butter, fat from pasture raised meat, nuts, cheese, coconut oil and olive oil as healthy! Now using this rule can get a little confusing when it comes to unnatural fats. Oils such as canola, vegetable and sunflower oil may sound natural but they go through a fair bit of processing to get onto the supermarket shelves so I don’t class them as healthy fats!

Fats are super beneficial for our children’s health! They are essential in brain development and function, so they help our kids concentrate, learn and focus. Fats are important for the nervous system and eye development. Fats are also needed for healthy skin and more.

Healthy fats are essential for our wellbeing. In fact, omega 3s and omega 6s are known as essential fatty acids because they are nutrients that we need to take in every day. We generally obtain plenty of omega 6 fatty acids from our modern day diet, but we need to ensure we consume plenty of omega 3 rich foods. Omega 3 is found in oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel and salmon, nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts and pasture raised meats.

We also need to reduce the intake of omega 6 fats in our children’s diets as they promote inflammation leading to health issues such as eczema and asthma. Omega 6s are found in cheap oils – vegetable, canola, sunflower, safflower, corn and soy oils, which are found in almost every packaged food at the supermarket including so called healthy breads, wraps, muesli bars and other snacks, marinades, sauces etc.

Take Action
• Include a fat component into your children’s meals – nuts, seeds, oils such as coconut or olive, butter, yoghurt, cheese and fish are all good examples.

• Aim for oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mullet and mackerel in the diet 3-4 times a week.

• Ask for grass fed meat at your butcher. Kangaroo is a great choice for red meat.

• Avoid Canola, sunflower, safflower, vegetable, corn and soy oils and limit the amount of processed foods, which contain these oils, such as bakery products, biscuits, most crackers and many types of bread. These oils contain high levels of omega 6 fats which promote inflammation, and can upset the balance of healthy fats.


Bliss Balls are a fantastic way to get healthy fats into kids, try this nut free version in the lunchbox.

Nut Free Bliss Balls
1 cup oats
1 cup buckwheat kernals
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup flaxseeds/linseeds
1/2 cup dates
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao
Mix all the dry ingredients and dates together in a food processor (I use a vitamix). It can be done by hand but you will need to chop it all up.
Pour into a bowl and add the wet ingredients.Mix well with your hands, form into balls and set in the fridge for 30 mins.

Jessica Donovan is a woman’s holistic health expert who helps mums get their sparkle back and become a more energetic, calm and joyful version of themselves. She is a one stop shop for all things nutrition, stress and hormone related. Jessica combines her deep naturopathic knowledge with a realistic, empathetic, inspiring and down to earth approach to empower women to look after themselves and take charge of their own wellbeing.

Jessica created her free guide ’10 mistakes mums make that keep them overwhelmed, exhausted and out of balance’ to help mums feel great again. Grab your copy here http://energeticmama.com 

CATEGORY: lunchbox, nutrition, food | POSTED BY: Belinda Doyle |

4 August 2014

Recommended Resource - Natural Super Kids


As I type this post I am home with my sick Master 2 years on what was supposed to be a work day. 

Another runny nose, yet another croupy cough, maybe even another ear or chest infection brewing. While he's no more snotty than most of the other kids at the Early Learning Centre he attends twice a week, my five years of motherhood experience has taught me that it's best to keep him home so he can rest and recover sooner, rather than packing him off and his cold turning into something more sinister.

As for the work I was supposed to get done today, it will get finished later this evening, when I should be sleeping and resting myself. Such is the life of a working parent.

Like me, are you tired of trips to the doctor with your sick kids?

Are you sick of losing work days and letting people down simply because the bug that just happened to be going through the playgroups and child care centres in town chose your child to infect?

Perhaps you're frustrated with your child’s behaviour or are simply confused about what you should be feeding your kids. After all, it's a rare parent who isn't weary from their child's fussy eating habits (despite your chickens or dog reaping the benefits of the food you're tossing).

If any of this sounds like you, I have some great news!

My friend and Naturopath Jessica Donovan has just opened the virtual doors to her AMAZING new program NATURAL SUPER KIDS, a 6 week online program to help parents nourish their kids and boost their health. You can check it out here.

Jessica is super passionate about using nutrition and lifestyle changes to help overcome health issues in kids which is exactly why she created the Natural Super Kids ecourse!

Natural Super Kids covers behavior issues, eczema, digestive problems, boosting the immune system and more. It is jam packed full of videos, audios, expert interviews, recipes, fact sheets, checklists all for a tiny price of $195 + GST. Note this price is a very special launch price and will never be repeated.

Plus, if you join before 8pm Monday 4th August you will receive an early bird bonus bundle worth $118 for FREE. Check it out here.

Your children’s wellbeing (and your sanity) is way too important to miss this!!!

P.S. I only ever recommend programs and products I truly believe in. Natural Super Kids is a no-brainer - especially for the special launching price of a $195 + GST. I am personally signing up as despite prioritising an organic, clean diet for my family I know I still have heaps to learn and I don't want my kids suffering more than they need to every winter. After listening to Jessica chat for just an hour in her webinar last week I know she will give me the info I need to ensure days like today happen but once in a blue moon.

Click here to see all of the details and exactly what’s included. Note I do receive a small commission for recommending Natural Super Kids however this isn't the reason I am sharing the course with you. I truly believe Jessica can help you help your children to achieve optimum health.


CATEGORY: naturopath, energetic mama | POSTED BY: Laura McIlwaine |

19 May 2014

Home Detox Boot Camp Now Open!

After months in development I am so excited and thrilled to announce that the Home Detox Boot Camp is now open for registrations!

If removing chemicals from your home and reducing the toxicity of your household have been on your agenda, this e-Course is for you.

The Home Detox Boot Camp is delivered over an eight week period, however you can go at your own pace and complete the activities whenever suits you. Participants will receive a weekly video, workbook and activity sheets to guide them on their journey to a chemical-free home.

The one off fee includes lifetime access to the e-Course as well as a private Facebook Forum where you will have access to a supportive community of ecoceptional mums on the same journey.

As my valued subscribers I couldn't wait to tell you first and give you the opportunity to score one of the ecoceptional sign up bonuses for the first five subscribers.

Check out the Home Detox Boot CampTM and reserve your place today!

Click here to register.

CATEGORY: home detox, e-Course, chemicals | POSTED BY: Laura McIlwaine |