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The phrase “Don’t be vanilla”, commonly used in marketing speak, means you shouldn’t try to appeal to everyone, but when it came the scent of Nom Nom Stretch Butter that is exactly what I did!


When formulating the butter I tested samples on my pregnancy massage clients and many new mums. Although there are only a limited number of essential oils which are safe to use in pregnancy, finding a combination which was appealing to all was not easy. Trialling the test samples showed that while one woman liked a citrus scent, another preferred something woodier. During pregnancy women have a heightened sense of smell and an increased sensitivity to odours so even previously appealing aromas can become overpowering and unpleasant, triggering nausea. The overwhelming request was for something without a strong scent. While struggling to find a solution I remembered that many of my pregnant massage and nutritional therapy clients over the years had mentioned developing a craving for vanilla flavoured foods such as ice cream and custard, or found that burning vanilla scented candles helped to ease the quease by banishing other smells……so vanilla it was.

Why is it such a favourite when it comes to scent and flavour? Smell is very subjective, being based on our related experiences, and vanilla tends to be connected with pleasant childhood memories and associates with warmth and comfort.

But it’s not the popular appeal alone – vanilla fragrance has proven positive therapeutic benefits with studies showing it can help reduce stress and anxiety. In food it has traditionally been used as a remedy for a queasy stomach and native South Pacific islanders used vanilla to reduce nausea in pregnant women with morning sickness.

Vanilla essential oil is too strong for use in pregnancy, and based on focus group feedback I decided to make a butter which could be used from those first weeks (essential oils are best avoided until the second trimester), so I chose a deliciously scented infused oil. This is made simply by steeping the pods in almond oil for several weeks which impart their softly sweet and gentle fragrance into the base oil. I further combined this with cocoa butter and coconut oil to prompt reminders of biscuits, cakes, ice cream and custard whenever people smell Stretch Butter. Yummy – truly Nom Nom!

Tester feedback from the Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible for the Freefrom Skincare Awards showed they agree –

“It melts easily into the skin and smells of vanilla. It smells like something I would like to spread on crumpets! My skin felt moisturised and soft all day.”

“Lovely texture, feels thick and luxurious but glides on easily. Great fragrance, I’m a big fan of vanilla which can often smell fake, but not here”

“The fragrance of this butter is the first thing you notice – it smells divine! It melted straight into my skin and felt very nourishing without being overly greasy. I love it!”


To enjoy vanilla WITHOUT

Massage Nom Nom Stretch Butter all over for a gently lingering vanilla aroma and skin softening from the first trimester and beyond.

For the benefits of vanilla WITHIN

Make a soothing smoothie by whizzing together:

1 ripe banana, natural yoghurt, the seeds of one vanilla pod and a little maple syrup to taste (or a small tub of vanilla yoghurt if you’re pushed for time) and ½ tsp freshly grated ginger

For a refreshing blend try:

1 ¼ cups of semi skimmed, rice or coconut milk with ½ frozen banana, ½ cup of frozen blueberries and 1tsp of natural vanilla extract blended until smooth.

What is your favourite smell?

Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at