The Sweet Meadow


The Good Oil - How to Use Essential Oils Everyday

essential oilsAishe Besim
I believe that for every illness or ailment known to man, that God has a plant out here that will heal it. We just need to keep discovering the properties for natural healing.
— Vannoy Gentles Fite, author

My introduction to essential oils was a practical one. I was about to open The Sweet Meadow in 2016 and was looking for a healthier peppermint flavouring to make our peppermint slice (if you're in the cake decorating aisle at the supermarket, have a look at the ingredients list in the 'peppermint essence'- it's alarming!). 

Through my research I stumbled on an essential oils brand called doTERRA, went along to an introductory workshop held by Wellness Advocate Sammy Morgan, and the rest is history! I would now use at least 20 different oils every day, which help to support me physically, mentally and emotionally. 

The key with essential oils is to use less oil, more often, rather than a lot of oils once or twice during the day. Ways I like to use oils on a typical day include:

Peppermint or Lemon - When I first wake up, I like to place one drop of an invigorating oil on the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and take a few deep breaths. Usually I'm still so tired when I wake up, so a zesty oil really helps to get me in the mood to get going!

Clove, Oregano, or OnGaurd - I'm a big fan of oil pulling (an ancient Ayurvedic medicine practice), and rather just use plain coconut oil like I used to, I now add a drop or two of one of these oils with my coconut oil. All are anti-bacterial and help to remove germs, although clove is especially high in antioxidants and is great for oral health. I tend to opt for oregano if I feel like a cold or flu is coming on.

Wild Orange - Sometimes I add a drop of this oil to my oats or granola for breakfast - yum!

Tea Tree, Lemon, Lavender, Geranium, Frankincense - These are all amazing oils for the skin. I add Tea Tree to my cleanser, Lemon to my toner and a mix of Lavender, Geranium and Frankincense to my oil-based moisturiser. I only need to add the oils once, when I first purchase the skin product. Generally I work off a dilution ratio of 5 drops of essential oil for every 10mls of carrier oil. So, if my bottle of rosehip oil (moisturiser) is 20ml, I would add 10-12 drops of essential oil once, and use as normal until the bottle was empty. 


Frankincense, Copaiba - I place a drop or two of both of these oils under my tongue every morning. This is the closest I'll get to taking a multivitamin. I seriously think these oils are gamechangers and should be used by every single person on this planet! They both help build and maintain healthy immune, digestive and cardiovascular systems. They are also amazing for skin health and on an emotional level, can help soothe anxious feelings. There are countless studies about the positive effect both of these oils have on our internal health - do your own research. 

Diffusing - As I'm getting ready for work, I like to mix a few different essential oils into my diffuser. I change up my blends daily, but usually I like to incorporate a citrus oil (for energy), a woody oil (for grounding) and a floral oil (to make it smell nicer, basically!). My favourite combo is Citrus Bliss (citrus), Hawaiian Sandalwood (woody) and Ylang Ylang (floral). 

Pure-fume - I still use conventional perfume on my clothing (Santal 33 is my fave), but essential oils are the only perfume-type products I'll put directly on my skin. At the moment I'm layering Jasmine & Rose oils on my wrists, neck and chest. I also like placing 2-3 drops of the oil blends Balance and Elevation on the soles of my feet as I head out the door. doTERRA's Balance blend helps to lessen stress (I need A LOT of help in that area), while Elevation is the perfect blend to increase energy. 


DigestZen - This oil is magic! I place one drop of this oil mixed with a little coconut oil directly onto my stomach after meals and gently massage it into the skin. As the name suggests, this oil blend aids in the digestion of food, helping to reduce gas or bloating. Hands down one of my favourite oils. 

Diffusing - When I get home one of the first things I do is get the diffuser going again. My oil blends at night tend to be more soothing. I like Lavender Peace, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Whisper or Console at night, and generally steer clear of any zesty, citrus oils. 

Tea Tree, Citrus Bliss - These oils are my go-to when washing the aprons for The Sweet Meadow! I add a couple of drops of each to the water as it's filling up in the washing machine. Tea tree is known for its purifying properties, while Citrus Bliss is an energising oil that can help uplift people's moods (hopefully it rubs off off on the staff!). 


Cooking - The herb-based oils like Coriander, Basil, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Oregano and Rosemary are great to use in savoury dishes in the kitchen. A little goes a long way though. These oils are potent. Start with dipping a toothpick into the oil and adding it into your sauce/curry/dish and go from there. I use about 6 drops of peppermint oil when making a batch of our peppermint slice, but that feeds about 30 people! 

Aromatic Dressing -  I've been using coconut oil as a body moisturiser for years, now I just add four or five drops of essential oils to the mix too and call it an aromatic dressing! Like my diffuser blends, this changes daily, although I generally find a way to incorporate my favourite smelling oils, like Hawaiian Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Elevation, Citrus Bliss, Whisper, Jasmine and Bergamot. 

Geranium, Tea Tree, Lavender - I've pre-added drops of these oils to my shampoo and conditioner, as both are great for hair health. 

Manuka - I love earthy scents like Manuka to help me wind down and de-stress, but I also mix Manuka with coconut oil and apply it directly on cuts, burns and any eczema on my hands (the joys of working in hospitality). 

Hawaiian Sandalwood - I've mentioned this oil a few times in this post. I think this is the most heavenly scented oil I have ever smelt. It's been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac, and while I love to use it on my skin for it's health benefits, I love adding a drop or two to my pillow so I can take in the aroma as I fall asleep. This oil also happens to be one of the most expensive in doTERRA's range, but even if it were double the price, I'd find a way to purchase it. I honestly think I will use this oil every day for the rest of my life. 

So how do you get your hands on these oils? doTERRA works in a similar way to Costco (stay with me here). Purchase a yearly membership fee ($35, or choose an enrolment kit instead to waive the fee) to create your own wholesale account. Order the oils online at wholesale price and wait for the magic to arrive! More details and instructions here

What are you waiting for? Lift the lid off the bottle and get smelling!

Healthy eating starts at home

food, kidsAishe Besim
Every kid in every school no matter their background, deserves to learn the basics about food - where it comes from, how to cook it and how it affects their bodies. These life skills are as important as reading and writing, but they’ve been lost over the past few generations. We need to bring them back and bring up our kids to be streetwise about food.
— Jamie Oliver

I was reading an article online recently about the alarming rate of childhood obesity in Australia. A recent study has revealed that one in five Australian are obese before they have even started school. Seriously! No wonder Australia is one of the fattest countries on earth.

It gets worse as we get older. 70% of Australians are overweight or obese and 60% of deaths in Australia are diet related, but as Jamie Oliver says, " one fucking talks about it."

Lots of kids eat at The Sweet Meadow with their families and it's something I personally love to see. In one of the first books I ever read about veganism the author, Doug Graham, was writing about why a plant-based diet full of foods in their whole, natural state is the ideal way we should be eating. He wrote, "Put the child in a room with a lamb and a banana. Sit back and watch to see which he plays with and which he eats."

Renowned chef and author Stephanie Alexander's philosophy is that there is no such thing as special food for children: if food is good, everyone will enjoy it regardless of age. This is why it disappoints me when I see families come in, look at our menu and say, "I'd be happy to eat here with my partner/mum/girlfriends but my kids just want bacon and eggs." Or, "don't you just have a normal chocolate milkshake?" or worse, "can we just get some hot chips for the little ones?"

Ugh! I feel like screaming! Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, and bacon is packed with sodium (i.e. salt) and saturated fat. Generally "normal" chocolate milkshakes use the flavoured syrup (as in, artificial colours, preservatives and sugar), and while hot chips are technically vegan, deep frying with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases.

I am a huge believer that our diet directly impacts our health and this is no different for children. Several studies have indicated that artificial food additives (colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers found in confectionary, soft drink, cordial, flavoured milk, cakes and biscuits) can cause hyperactivity and behavioural issues in children. 

I think people need to avoid using these kinds of foods as "treats" for kids and instead offer experiences (playing outside, creating a garden, spending time with their friends, being around animals). Our early memories of food are powerful and can stay with us for life, so start at the beginning. Get kids connected to the soil and connected to growing their own food and watch how their world changes. 

Image via  The Modern Mummy
Eliza in the garden after sprinkling some coffee grounds from The Sweet Meadow on the soil. Thanks for the image  Stacey . 

Eliza in the garden after sprinkling some coffee grounds from The Sweet Meadow on the soil. Thanks for the image Stacey

Rock Chick

living the sweet lifeAishe Besim

I am so glad I discovered the magic of crystals to help attract what I truly desire in life. 

Before that, I subscribed to the old Albanian wives tale of carrying a small piece of raw garlic around with me whenever I was attending a big party (if you're ethnic you would understand this happens pretty often). This is believed to ward off 'evil eye'. I personally believe it puts off any kind of eye - evil or otherwise. You're walking around with a raw piece of garlic in your pocket for crying out loud...that's enough to put anyone off!

Crystals work off the same premise, but rather than wearing a crystal to avoid a negative experience, they instead work to attract positive experiences (a crucial difference once you understand the law of attraction). They have the potential to be powerful allies on our path to growth. If you want to change something in your life, you will often need to go to a higher vibrational level to attract that something else. 

There are many ways to use crystals - wearing them (Samantha Wills makes beautiful necklaces), carrying them, meditating with them, or placing them around the house or workplace. I tend to buy my favourite stones in two sizes - larger ones to keep in my room and then a smaller stone to carry around with me. 

Crystals on sale at a market in Byron Bay. 

Crystals on sale at a market in Byron Bay. 

My top three crystals are:
Amethyst - This stone is a beautiful lilac colour, and helps facilitate decision making. It is also extremely beneficial at calming the mind and reducing stress. 
Rose quartz - Considered to be the stone of unconditional love, rose quartz restores self-worth and encourages healing. 
Emerald - I've been using this stone a lot lately. It is used to bring forth manifestation in the form of prosperity and abundance. 

It is recommended to 'cleanse' your crystals on a regular basis. I didn't bother with this at first, but it makes sense. If you're using crystals to help transform negative energy/thoughts into something positive, it pays to rid your crystals of this energy at least once a month.

Some traditional methods suggest placing the crystals in salt water or direct sunlight, although some stones are sensitive and this can damage the colour of the gems. I prefer to use a gentler method - laying them out to catch the rays of a full moon each month. If I miss this, I place them outside as the sun is either rising or setting. 

People say crystals find you, so if you happen to stumble across them next time you're shopping stop and take a look. Listen to your intuition and if you feel one calling your name, buy it and use it to help you manifest your dreams!

The most beautiful crystals I have ever seen were at 'Crystal Castle', near Byron Bay, NSW. 

The most beautiful crystals I have ever seen were at 'Crystal Castle', near Byron Bay, NSW.