Category Archives: Badass Mind

Essence + Alchemy Review and Interview!

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As you may or may not know, I have a serious candle addiction. It’s an addiction I have no interest in curing. So, as a scented candle enthusiast I am thrilled to be able to tell you about Essence + Alchemy.

Essence + Alchemy candles are 100% natural, made with clean burning sustainable rapeseed wax and highly scented essential oils. Essence + Alchemy are GMO and toxin free, earth friendly, cruelty free and vegan.

I was sent the Essence + Alchemy Aether Candle and I’m in love with it!

The Aether candle is a blend of peppermint, rosemary and lemon essential oils with a hint of sage and juniper. I was promised an uplifting and energising scent and that’s exactly what I got!

First of all let me say I love the cute hand blown beakers the candles come in. A+E founder Lesley has a degree in enviromental science and considers herself a ‘natural scent alchemist’ – I love that! I think the beakers are quite elegant and the whole aesthetic of the brand is right up my street. It’s witchy chic!

The Aether Candle has a bold scent that’s perfect for an energising boost during the day or at night to relax and unwind. The wooden wick crackles like a small bonfire which is really soothing to listen to. Wooden wicks can be tricky but once it finds its way it gives off  a decent amound of light and unlike some other wooden wicks it doesn’t break off in bits of its own accord as it burns. It really is a clean burning candle and I would describe the Aether candle as ‘cosy’ in a jar.
I would definitely recommend that people check out Essence + Alchemy.

The Aether Candle has an uplifting and energising essential oil blend of peppermint, rosemary, lemon, sage and juniper, which will help refresh and cleanse the air.  The Aether essential oil blend has been charged under the light of the full moon to harness it’s lunar power and infuse the oil with positive energy.

– taken from the Essence + Alchemy website

INTERVIEW

I had a quick chat with Essence + Alchemy founder Lesley.

What led you to start Essence + Alchemy as a business?

The beginning of Essence + Alchemy and candle making was a happy distraction from house renovation and once I got started in candle making, I just couldn’t stop. I was already working for myself as an environmental consultant so a jump into self employment wasn’t the motivation, I was obsessed with making the most environmentally friendly and natural candle that I could make. It was more like an obsessive hobby that eventually took over my day job.

What do you find most enjoyable and the most stressful part of running your own business?

The most enjoyable part has to be the making, I love working with essential oils and learning about their properties and creating new scents. The most stressful part is trying to keep on top of everything else like admin, accounting, emails, marketing, photography and sourcing raw materials, I currently work alone so I have to wear a lot of different hats.

Of all your products, which is your favourite and why?

That is always a difficult question because my favourites change depending on my mood. I’m a huge lavender fan so the Unwind candle and mist will always be firm favourites but Tranquility keeps me super calm and is a good go to during stressful times. It’s also one of my favourite scents.

You make it clear on your website that ethically sourced ingredients and your products are vegan/cruelty free. It’s always refreshing to hear for me personally, why is this so important to you?

It is important to me. I don’t believe that anything needs to be made at the exploitation of people, animals or the environment. I made this my mission when I started developing Essence + Alchemy as a brand. When I first began in candle making I started with beeswax, knowing that it was locally sourced and sustainable but then when I learned more about it, I realised that it isn’t vegan friendly or cruelty free. I quickly moved to rapeseed wax which is manufactured in the UK from plants grown in the UK and the EU so it doesn’t have the carbon footprint of other waxes like imported soy and coconut. To be honest, sourcing ethically and sustainably hasn’t been an easy journey, it’s been very long and hugely time consuming but it’s definitely worth every minute when I know that what I’m producing isn’t causing harm to anyone or the environment.

What are your plans for 2018?

Without giving too much away, I’m expanding the E+A range to include Air and Earth products, so watch this space!

You can check out the whole range of goodies Essence + Alchemy provide here on their website.

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Moxie McMurder
The Badass Manifesto

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Tiny Self Care Tips

With everything that’s happening in the news at the moment, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’re a survivor.

It’s hard not to relive every time you’ve been on the receiving end of unwanted attention and that takes a toll on our mental and physical health.

At times like these it’s so important to look after yourself, you need to choose who you spend your time with carefully and take some extra care of yourself.


There’s no one right way when it comes to self care, it’s all about you and you are unique. The things that bring you peace and calm may not be the same for someone else. It’s also not a one-time deal. Much like being more positive or confident self care is a daily practice. And if we don’t look after ourselves we can’t help others as effectively.

With that in mind, here are some small self care tips to help you out in times of need.

⭐ Find some ambient sounds
There’s an 8hr video on YouTube of rain in a forest and it’s so soothing. I like to stick in on when I’m reading, can’t sleep or just need something peaceful to listen to.

⭐ Scents
I’m a big fan of scented candles and their mood-enhancing abilities. Find a scent that relaxes you or perks you up and use it whenever you need a boost.

⭐ Try a mini-meditation
One minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Try one minute of focused attention on breathing. Take these 60 seconds and repeat a mantra of your choosing.

⭐ Try yogic breathing – it really helps to calm you down!
Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Inhale through your nose and fill your stomach with that breath. You should feel the hand on your stomach move and the hand on your chest should have barely moved. Hold the breath inyour stomach for a few beats then slowly let it out through your mouth.
When we’re panicing our breaths tend to be short and quick, which means not enough oxygen is getting into our bloodstream. It feels like you can’t catch your breath.
Stomach or yogic breathing is slow and deep, taking longer to inhale and exhale and delivering a significantly larger amount of oxygen to the bloodstream.

⭐ 15 Min of sunshine
As much as my little black heart despises sunshine, I need it. We all do. So set aside 15 minutes to spend outside. If you can, go somewhere nice but it’s not essential, sunshine is sunshine whether it’s in a park surrounded by trees and wildlife or a back alley next to a wheely bin on your cigarette break at work.

⭐Check in with a friend
And reach out to anyone you know who might be feeling overwhelmed.

⭐Take a break from social media. A real break, not just a couple of hours. Constant updates are not necessary or helpful so step away from Twitter and Facebook for a couple of days.

⭐ Write it out
Get all the noise out of your head and onto paper. No one’s every going to see it so be honest and write it out, all of it. Then throw it away, burn it, spit on it – just get rid of it.
Then write a list of all your accomplishments, write a list of your positives and any compliments you’ve received. It’s a good way to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Keep the piece of paper with your accomplishments and read it whenever you feel down.

⭐Got a pet? Give it some fuss
I love my dog, she lights up my life and it not only gives me a boost to play with my dog or stroke her while she sleeps but it’s good for her too.

⭐ Take a nap
A power nap of 20-30 minutes can do you good. Studies have shown that naps can improve memory, cognitive skills, creativity, and boost your energy levels.

⭐ Change your bedsheets
There’s something so comforting about clean sheets on your bed. It doesn’t take long and it’s a cheap way to give you that comfort feeling. Maybe buy some new bedsheets? or P.J’s? Cultivate an atmosphere of comfort.

I really hope these tips are helpful and I hope that the awareness from recent events evokes change within the industry.

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Moxie McMurder
The Badass Manifesto

Personal Development: Things I Need To Work On

My fellow Badasses,

I’ve had a rough week both mentally and physically. So, I’m not really in the best place to be evaluating myself but hell, when is a good time?

When I feel a depressive episode coming on I’m a lot harsher with myself and my flaws feel magnified.  To try and combat some of these feelings I wanted to look at some of the things I need to work on. Not in a self flagellating way, I want this to be more of a self care type deal.

  • I need to get better at accepting compliments. Why is this so difficult?! Whether it’s a compliment about my work, appearance, impact on others I cringe when someone says something nice about me. And that’s some bullshit. I’m no saint but also not the worst person to crawl the earth so I need to start saying thank you.
  • I also need to stop being so hard on myself.
    I am capable of saying cruel things to myself, things I would never say to another person. Things that aren’t true but I listen to those horrible things I say to myself and I have to fight to remind myself I am not the piece of shit I tell myself I am.
  • I need to focus, which can be hard enough on a ‘good’ day let alone when I feel like I do at the moment. I feel a little lost at times, I will be 37 next year and I feel like 2018 could be a really great year but I need to focus. I need to dedicate time to my passions and goals and not let the months slip by uneventful.
    I must stop being distracted!
  • I need to be kinder to myself. In whatever form it takes.  I will be kinder to myself, more accepting of my flaws and turing those perceived flaws into positives.

 

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Moxie McMurder
The Badass Manifesto

Badass Books – Basic Witches

Basic Witches: How To Summon Success, Banish Drama And Raise Hell With Your Coven

I was sent a copy of Basic Witches, published by Quirk Books and it’s so cute and full of empowerment and witchy wisdom so I wanted to share a few words about it.

What is on the one hand, an introduction to witchcraft Basic Witches is also a cool introduction to feminist ideas. Through witchcraft (and we’ll get into that in a moment) we gain empowerment, something I totally agree with.

Witchy Woman
The night is dark and full of terrors.

Witches are the original Badasses. Society has always feared powerful women and by embracing the very things that society deems unbecoming of a woman, we gain a sense of independence and empowerment.

Basic Witches is a mix of spells, a little bit of witch history and a fun read covering many different aspects of self empowerment, positive thinking and self acceptance. From enchanting a special piece of jewellry to rituals for regaining strength and confidence I really enjoyed the fun take on witchcraft. The potions are a fun read, I like to work a little magic when I’m in the kitchen!
There is even a section on witch exercise , yup coven callisthenics!

Authors Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman are both accomplished writers. Saxena is a Staff Writer for Elle as well as having articles on sites like The Daily Dot, the New Yorker, Buzzfeed and more. Zimmerman is a contributing Editor of one of my favourite sites the Establishment. Her writing has also featured on Atlas Obscura, the Guardian and plenty of other cool sites. And I love these cute witchy illustrations by Camille Chew, an artist I was already a fan of after spotting her work on Pinterest.

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What the authors call witchcraft is not your usual definition, theirs is best described as living true to oneself and Basic Witches is like your very own punk DIY grimoire (spellbook). This approch to witchcraft is right up my alley and while I think this book would be of more benefit to a younger reader I think plenty of adults will not ony get a kick out of the irreverent style but perhaps they’ll also find it a great read with powerful intentions.

Blessed Be Badasses!

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Moxie McMurder
The Badass Manifesto

Finding My Inner Garden Witch and Greenthumb

I have been inspired!

A month ago one of my closest friends gave me two seedlings. Now, I have a bad history with plants, I’ve failed to keep cacti alive. With the exception of two houseplants that have somehow survived long periods of drought and over watering, I seem to kill all houseplants.

But I have discovered my inner garden witch!

My friend, the Badass Boss of Alternative Process Therapies gave me an Aloe and a Spider Plant and not only are they still alive but they are THRIVING!! I feel like Mother Nature.

With age comes wisdom and at 36 years old I think I’ve finally learned a little temperance. I’ve learned to leave my plants alone and not over water them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “The simple perception of natural forms is a delight”. He was talking about beauty but I also think it applies to nature itself.

I get so much joy from watering my plants and if that wasn’t enough, I had some shoots pop up so I learned a little about propagation (the breeding of specimens of a plant). It’s been really interesting learning how best to take new shoots and repot them. I also love learning about what kind of plants I have. There are so many different kinds of succulents and exotic houseplants, the stranger they look, the more I like them.

Succulents and cacti are always popular plants but they’ve experienced a real boost in popularity lately, so chances are you already have one..but do you know how to care for it?
There’s some excellent advice about succulents on the Royal Horticultural Society website and I’ve made a new Pinterest board called How Does Your Garden Grow? It’s full of tips and advice for houseplants – go take a look!

These tiny cacti were £1 each from Wilko – bargain!

I had cacti years ago but they died, so this time around I decided to actually learn about how to care for them properly. I learned that a lot of plants benefit from being watered from the bottom. And this is a particularly good way to water succulents, which includes catci. Simply place the potted cactus in a saucer filled with a few inches of water and leave it in the saucer for about 20-30 minutes. This method of watering ensures that all of the soil, not just the edges are fully moistened. (It’s best to let the soil to dry out between waterings.)

I’ve been so inspired and it was so unexpected. I find watering the plants really relaxing and, in a weird way, it feels like giving back to nature. Taking cuttings from the spider plants and getting my hands in the soil gives me a little connection to nature.

I’ve been using caring for my houseplants as part of my self care routine. It’s calming, it focuses my mind and for whatever reason it just makes me happy. Just like watching the birds eat the seeds I put out for them. It brings me joy. A simple but totally fulfilling joy.

Taking a cutting, watching its roots grow daily and then potting it and watching it floruish is something of a soul nourishing experience. As I nurture my plants, I’m nurturing a part of me that clearly needed attention. I just didn’t know it until I was given a gift, and that gift just keeps giving. I am so grateful for that gift.
Funnily enough my bird feeders were a gift from my other closest friend.

What’s inspired you lately? Are you obsessed with houseplants? Do you have a black thumb history of killing plants?

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Moxie McMurder
The Badass Manifesto

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