It’s so good to be back, but I have to tell you, I’ve been feeling the FEAR.
It was probably good for my brain to have a bit of screen-free time over the mayhem of Christmas and NYE, but I missed being here. Not that that’s what I’ve been fearing.
I’ve been feeling the fear about going camping with a three year old and a three month old (I can’t believe he’s three months already). Denial has been my bestfriend, it stopped me thinking about all the crazy details that would’ve had me bailing out of this crazy ole adventure before you could say, ‘no electricity’.
I kept telling myself that fear can be a good thing. It reminds us where our comfort zone is and when the time is ripe it’s good to give our boundaries a nudge. It turns out our newest addition is a happy camper
Camping is a hassle. Just boiling water feels like a huge accomplishment, but I guess that’s the point. It strips a lot of stuff away, forces us to slow down and reminds us that there is joy in simple acts. There’s a lot to be said for the Buddhist idea of meditating whilst ‘Chopping wood and carrying water’, but I have a long, long, long way to go before I reach that state of mind.
However, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stay all Zen about being bitten by mosquitoes. A mozzie in my ear at three in the morning will bring me to tears. So far with my trusty new insect repellent camping is proving quite enjoyable, but I’ll keep you posted.
Deterring the little buggers can be a feat and products containing DEET can feel like the only option. Whilst pregnant I read studies of varying credibility about DEET impacting the penis development in foetuses and other things. This made me curious about the alternatives and I stumbled on some great research. Nothing is as effective as DEET, so if you’re going into malaria and other mosquito-borne-disease risk areas, then it’s your best bet.
However, there are a few plant oils that do a very good job of sending mozzies on their way. The Choice review recommends Thursday Plantation Walkabout Insect Repellent as a good option, however I was keen to make my own.
According to this study on plant based mosquito repellents “The leaf oils of Litsea elliptica (May Chang), Cymbopogon nardus (citronella), Cinnamomum mollissimum in a ratio of 1:1:1 provided 96.6% protection against mosquito bites.”
The citronella is relatively easy to source and is the most powerful repellent in the mix, apparently providing 72% protection alone. The Cinnamomum is difficult to source, however the authors of the article suggest that it’s the benzyl benzoate in the oil that makes it effective and ylang ylang is also high in this, so I have used it instead. May Chang only seems to be available from aromatherapy suppliers.
This blend certainly smells a whole lot nicer than your average bug spray.
15 drops May Chang (Litsea elliptica) 15 drops citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) 15 drops ylang ylang 50 ml/1.7 fl oz witch hazel Roll on bottle (I sterilised my old deodorant bottle)
Pour all the ingredients in the bottle and shake really well before use. From my reading this seems to be safe to use on children (I wouldn’t use on infants), but the testing on this is limited so check with your paediatrician. As with all new products test for allergic reactions in a discrete spot.
Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine