More of my story.

More of my story.
When I was very young and I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was certain I wanted to be a marine biologist, mostly because I wanted to 'play' with Shamu and work at SeaWorld (like most of the other little girls I knew).  I always loved animals and nature, and preferred playing outside, building forts, to dressing up Barbie dolls, (although I did a lot of that too).  
When I was older, and I dropped that fantasy, I decided that being an ophthalmologist would be awesome - but, that was never going to pan out for me because I chose not to study physics at G.C.S.E. level (in the U.K. kids start specializing by selecting and narrowing down subjects from the age of 14). 
This left me trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career - I knew I still loved biology, but I also knew I needed to narrow it down a bit.  So, I picked microbiology and got my BSc (hons) degree from the University of Bristol.. I was then chosen as a graduate recruit by what was then Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (now AstraZeneca). 
I worked as an Environmental Control Officer of a sterile manufacturing facility making one of the world's leading anti-cancer drugs, Zoladex.  How ironic is it that this drug is for prostrate cancer?  I absolutely loved that job!! It was always so interesting - our office was in a room surrounded by sophisticated monitoring devices - we monitored the temperature, the humidity, air pressure, air flow, and of course, the clean room practices of the employees.  
Our greatest challenges occurred when one of the machines would break down and the engineers approached us with a filthy looking tool to tell us that this was needed in the sterile area... a massive problem for a microbiologist to ensure that the sterility of the facility was not compromised.  Also a headache when assessing which, if any, batches of drug were affected.  This might sound like a nightmare to some, but I loved the challenge, and I loved it that my colleague ended up being one of my very best friends. 
When I was 23, however, I decided that I needed to be absolutely sure that working in pharmaceutical manufacturing and living in Macclesfield, Cheshire was the right career path for me.  I resigned, and never once looked back, as I ended up embarking on some of the most incredible adventures that many could only dream of.  

First stop was one of the most remote, populated islands in the Falklands archipelago - New Island.  The first season I went the generator only ran for a few short hours a day - there was no refrigerator, only a corner room that was kept closed and darkened. 

I went as a volunteer and was pretty much a true Girl Friday; I learnt to drive tractors, I did roofing and cladding, I helped fix generators and waterlines, I dismantled old fencing, I baked bread from scratch in an old aga stove (this was contingent on the wind's direction), I assisted scientists with their research (I counted a lot of penguins) and helped National Geographic film crews, I even got to meet Prince Charles... it was amazing!!

So much fun, in fact - that I went back for 3 consecutive austral summers, spending the rest of my time temping at Citibank in London. The largest population on New Island, which was 12 of us, was during Xmas 2000, often there were only 5 or 6 of us on the 8 mile long, ruggedly beautiful island.  I loved the simplicity of living on an island with limited electricity and internet; I loved picking my own mussels for dinner, being so isolated made it all the more special when a plane could actually make a landing (often our supplies could not be delivered if the pilot deemed the wind condition to be too dicey).   
It was on New Island that I was introduced to expedition cruising (and my husband) - and what was to become my next amazing adventure...

 For 6 years I worked as a naturalist and zodiac driver on the world famous little red ship - the M/S Explorer.  We traveled all over the globe; mostly the polar regions, but also up and down the Amazon River, through the Panama Canal, around the British Isles, we circumnavigated Iceland, searched for polar bears in Svalbard, and visited many of the most remote and inaccessible islands in the Atlantic Ocean.  

Working on the ship was not going to be a full-time, forever job - so, once again it was time to start thinking about what would happen next.  I was fast approaching 30 and I always knew I wanted kids - 2, to be precise.  And THAT was a job I KNEW I always wanted.  On the day that my then boyfriend proposed, I told him in no uncertain terms that if we were lucky enough to have children, that I would want to take care of them myself - I wanted to be a stay-at-home, work-from-home Mum.
We did end up having kids; Jack was born in December of 2007 and despite desperately wanting to look after him myself, our finances would not allow it.  It was so incredibly hard for me to go back to work (even though I was so lucky to have been able to go back to a part-time schedule), so when he turned 3 months old, I started entrusting his care to other people.  It was like I was dropping off a piece of my heart at day care every morning.  I just wanted to be with my baby!  

22 months later, Henry was born – and then the maths became easier.   I was going to be going to work just to pay for childcare.  Was a health plan worth leaving both my boys with other people? Nope! It was incredibly hard to reduce our finances further just so that I could stay at home, but we made it work.  I started looking for ways that I could make money from home, without having to leave the boys with someone else.  I decided to start my own business...
Since then, I have started 3 businesses and I loved each of them passionately.  My first business was teaching infant sign language, something that I was doing with both the boys anyway.  I think I loved setting up my business almost as much as running it!! I truly enjoyed learning about how to use social media, how to find venues, write newsletters, make alterations to the website, find customers, create marketing materials, and write lesson plans,  I spent time crafting and creating a studio in the basement of our house – and I met a bunch of wonderful babies and their parents.
Fast forward a few years and my kids were older and beginning their LEGO® obsession.  It was time for another change.  I had been looking into franchises since the year Jack was born – and in 2013 I found the perfect one! And, the perfect person to do the business with! 

My friend and I bought a Bricks 4 Kidz franchise and we enjoyed massive success. We taught after-school S.T.E.M. classes using LEGO® bricks at many of the Charlottesville area schools and we ran summer camps in conjunction with a local college and a prominent wellness company.  It was a very, very busy few years!

Despite loving the job, me more than her, the growth and demand of our programme actually made it too expensive and logistically challenging to run.   Both of us had young kids and we began to feel like we were spending more time on the business than with the little people that we were essentially doing this for.  It was a heartbreaking decision, but we decided to sell the franchise.   
Once again, here I was – desperate to stay at home and be available for my kids and no real plan!  It was only a few months after selling B4K that we got the terrible cancer diagnosis.   Now it was time to panic! How on earth was I going to be able to contribute to the finances, to be available to go with my husband to his treatments, and to be home for the boys when they got back from school?  
I knew that there was no ‘real’ job out there that would facilitate all this.  Everyone kept telling me I should be a teacher because I am so good with kids – but how? Going back to school to get a teaching degree would take too long, and cost too much; working at a pre-school would never pay enough, and even if I were to get a teaching license that doesn’t mean that I could be home for my kids after school.  
 An office job? Also not likely to pay enough for what I was going to need in the future, and I would have to pay childcare, I wouldn’t have the flexibility to accompany him to the hospital, nor would I be home for the boys, and never would I have enough vacation days to go back to England to see my family.  AND – not forgetting that my dream was to be a stay at home Mum!!  This was becoming a true nightmare! 

Then, one day I learnt about Young Living.  I was already sold on essential oils, I had been using them for over 15 years; but I had no idea that you could have a Young Living business and make both passive and residual income and also leave a legacy for your kids!!  The more I learnt about Network Marketing, the more hopeful I began to feel about my future.  I wrote a blog post specifically talking about Young Living as an income opportunity.  
Young Living has a lot going for it as a company; first of all, it doesn't just produce oils.  They manufacture supplements, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, personal care products, make-up, cereal, chocolate, Ningxia Red, and also CBD.  The majority of these are consumables, which means that people need to reorder - this is a life-style company.  And healthier living is becoming a much more attractive market now that we are seeing so many chronic diseases; people are beginning to pay more attention to what they are putting in and on their bodies and we know that Young Living produces plant-based, toxin-free alternatives to many of the things we find ourselves buying from Target!  

My future went from pretty worrying to pretty exciting because I love my work!! 

'You Get What You Pay For'

'You Get What You Pay For'
Did you know that the vast majority of essential oils on the market today are only suitable for cosmetics and perfumes? The reason Young Living’s oils are so different is the company’s commitment to producing a pure, unadulterated oil. Young Living’s devotion to creating a highly therapeutic product means that the company has invested in their own farms, cares for and nurtures its own plants, trees, and shrubs, before distilling, testing and bottling the oils that arrive on your doorstep. No other essential oil producer owns farms or distilleries.
If at any point in the production process something doesn’t meet its standards, they discard it and start again.  Because of this, our favourite oils sometimes run out.   

Here is an example of how important it is to know the right time of day to harvest the plant, and how long to distil the oil in order to produce the exact chemical compounds that are therapeutic to our bodies.

CYPRESS ESSENTIAL OIL has 280 known chemical constituents.
  • If it is distilled for 20 hours you only get 20 of the 280 properties. 
  • If distilled for 26 hours you get none of the properties. 
  • Most cypress on the market is distilled for 3.5 hours.
  • The correct length of time for distilling cypress is 24 hours to get the full 280 properties.
If the oil is to be of any benefit it must have all 280 constituents, no more and no less.
This process is called Young Living’s Seed to Seal® and it is unmatched.  Every step from planting to bottling is detailed and controlled.  No additives or synthetics are added. 
Young Living (YL) products are more expensive, but ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been truer.  Many of the oils found in supermarkets, or on the internet, are cheap imitations, purchased wholesale in large quantities, diluted with synthetic additives, and rebottled before being sold on.

Some companies may claim that their oils are organic.  Unfortunately, the term ‘organic’ is not regulated by the FDA in regards to essential oils.  They do not certify or grade essential oils, so any oil claiming to be organic cannot be so.   

By applying our Seed to Seal® standards on its corporate owned farms, partner farms and suppliers, Y L ensures that no one has more potent or purer oils.  Managing its own crops enables YL to carefully measure plant metabolism as harvest time approaches.  YL does this by regularly sampling and measuring the BRIX (sugar levels) values of the plant.  Plants are then harvested at the peak of their metabolic processes, thus ensuring that they are producing the most, and best oil, of their life cycle.

This cannot be done without access to the plants and ownership of the farms they are grown on.
This is some of the testing Y L does for every oil:
-Viscometry Measurement Testing
-Light Based Measurement Testing, including refractometry & polarimetry.
-Inductively Coupled Plasma Instrumentation.
-Gas Chromatography
-High Performance Liquid Chromatography
-Automated Micro-numeration Systems
-Microbiology testing
-Disintegration Testing
-PH Analysis
-Flashpoint testing
-Microscopy Testing
Y L runs a minimum of 15 to 20 different tests during the initial testing phase and repeats them three times to make sure results are consistent.
All these tests are done in the Quality Control laboratory. If any of the tests fails, the oils are shipped to the Research and Development lab to be tested by different scientists on different instruments. If R&D fails it, the product is disposed of.
Y L also uses half a dozen external expert labs to corroborate the quality of the oil.  So next time you see a grocery store product essential oil, please remember…… you get what you pay for!



This past year has been very challenging for my family.  Thirteen months ago the bottom fell out of our world when my husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.  It has been a whirlwind of Dr appointments, chemo, check-ups and above all adjusting to living with our new reality.

There were many months when the world just seemed completely bleak, the future seemed terrifying and it was a huge effort to just get up in the mornings.  The first thing I thought of when I opened my eyes in the morning, or the middle of the night (because sleep is hard when anxiety is high), was about the diagnosis and the fear and sadness it cast upon our family.  Sometimes I wonder how we did it – how we survived a year of getting up, getting dressed, getting kids to school…. just putting one foot in front of the other, day after day.  Strangely, it gets easier, although stopping and thinking too much is not good.  It helps having 2 little kids that continue to delight and irritate and take the focus away from cancer.

It is a brutally scary event when cancer comes so close to home.  There are things you want to read voraciously about (like healthy eating; diet, nutrition and exercise, about chemicals and their toxicity and how to remove them from a home environment) and there are things you absolutely do NOT want to read – like WebMD ar anything to do with the cancer.  Knowing too much is scarier than not knowing much; besides – everyone is different, so reading about the prognosis is something I have chosen not to do.

My life got a little brighter in February when a friend of mine got in touch and invited me to a class (felt more like a party!) to learn about essential oils.  I was thrilled – I LOVE essential oils and had first started using them almost 20 years ago.  She was such an amazing teacher and I learnt so, so much! She’s one of the most generous people I have ever met – she sent me home with a Young Living Premium Starter Kit, a grateful heart and a tonne of hope!

That invitation changed so much for me.  I felt like I had a purpose – I began to read about the oils and how they can help support both emotional and physical health.  I read about the company she was representing and I found out about all the toxin-free products that they produced; from oils and blends, to cleaning products, personal care products, supplements, make-up and even products for pets.

I met up with Martha for a follow up class that was supposed to be about how to use my new oils, but I ended up being the only guest.  I took the opportunity to ask about the business side of Young Living.  This is what has given me purpose and hope over the past several months.  I have even been to Salt Lake City, Utah to learn about the company, the oils, the farming and the distillation processes.  I’m so excited and thrilled to have decided to share Young Living products with my family, my friends, my neighbours and my peers. And, I’m so hopeful that I can share this amazing lifestyle change with friends, and friends of friends and even beyond.  I have benefited so much from the oils that all I want to do is share!!

 First published May 24, 2018