Lovin’ Lately (October 9, 2020) #Blogtober20

Okay, I’m once again pretty late writing a post. I’m seriously uninspired today. The #Blogtober20 prompt for today, “Imagine”, didn’t evoke anything in me. Since the prompts are optional, I could of course do a gratitude list or lovin’ lately post. That at first didn’t feel good with the challenge, as I wanted to write originally for the challenge, but so what? Sharing my likes and loves might bring you joy! Today, let me share the things that I’ve loved lately and that bring me joy.

1. The weighted blanket. I already mentioned it a few times this past week but yesterday, it was decided that I can keep it. My care facility is paying for it. I am very happy about this.

2. Yet more essential oils. On Tuesday, some new oils arrived, including cinnamon, clove, lemon and orange. I now have over 20 different oils and can make a lot of lovely blends. Right now, I’m diffusing a Christmassy blend of cinnamon, patchouli, clove, orange and ylang ylang. I am completely in love with the most recent additions to my oil collection!

3. Soap making. I love to make melt and pour soap. On Monday, a staff asked me to make one for a relative of hers. I got down to making it on Tuesday right away. She had requested rose fragrance, so I decided to also try out my red mica colorant. Because you only need a tiny amount of it, I decided to make two soaps: one for the relative and one for the staff herself. The butterfly is for the relative and the square one for the staff. In case it isn’t readable, the square one has “100% hand made” written on it.

4. Free and cheap books. I cannot remember who it was, but a fellow #Blogtober20 participant shared some tips on getting free or cheap books legally a few days ago. One of them was BookBub. It’s a U.S.-based (and maybe UK-based too) site that collects book deals from the main book retailers, such as Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, etc. It sends out a daily E-mail with that day’s deals. Through BookBub, I found quite a few interesting books.

Of course, since I’m in the Netherlands, I got an error once trying to download a free book from Amazon.com. However, I looked it up on Amazon.nl and it was free there too. The first one I got is a cozy mystery called Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs. It’s the first in a series, but if I’m correct, the books can be read as standalones too.

5. Products from The Body Shop. I must say I haven’t bought any yet, but I’ve been oohing and aahing at their advent calendar and their pumpkin vanilla product line too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy the pumpkin vanilla hand cream if it isn’t sold out already.

What things brought you joy lately?

#Blogtober20

Self-Care Strategies for Coping with Mental Health Issues #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt in #Blogtober20 is “She Drives Me Crazy”. Many bloggers are using the prompt to inspire posts on organization, decluttering and mental health. So am I.

I’m not feeling too well today. Yesterday, my inner voices started back up with a vengeance. This led to a mini-crisis in the middle of the night. Today I’m feeling a bit low. It may be to blame on my lack of proper sleep last night, or it might just be a bit of the seasonal blues. I hope not, of course.

Anyway, here are some things I do to cope with mental health issues. Some of these are specific to a certain problem, such as depression or anxiety. Others are more general wellbeing tips.

1. Proper sleep and rest. I’ve noticed that, when I don’t sleep well, my mental health goes downhill rapidly. For this reason, I’m trying to get into a better night-time routine. I still use my computer or phone before bed, which I probably shouldn’t do, but I don’t know what else to do in the evening.

I currently am in the process of trying out a weighted blanket, which really helps with relaxation. I mean, even if I don’t sleep, I do rest more when using this. I also use an app called MyNoise, which allows users to customize various mixes of nature sounds or other sensory-friendly sounds. You can set the individual volume for each sound within the mix and there are about 150 mixes to choose from if you have the paid version (which is a one-time purchase of I believe €10,99). Last night, I ultimately fell asleep listening to a soundscape called Patagonia.

I do usually take one hour-long nap during the day. Most days, if I stick to just that after-lunch nap, I sleep pretty well during the night and still feel refreshed the rest of the day.

2. Sensory-friendly activities. I already mentioned the weighted blanket and the MyNoise soundscapes. In addition, I often diffuse essential oil blends into my diffuser. Just today, some new oils arrived, so I’m excited to try them out soon.

3. Staying active. Today is a bad day weather-wise, as it’s been raining most of the day. Still, I managed to squeeze in a walk in the afternoon. I also made sure to stay active and do something in the morning. I made a soap. This is not physically exerting myself, but it definitely gives me joy.

It helps me to stick to a routine as much as possible. Like, I drink coffee in the morning and afternoon, eat my meals at regular times, and do an activity in the morning and afternoon too. I also usually go for a walk in the evening, but today it was raining and the staff were too busy.

4. Mindfulness. I haven’t practised that today, but I find it can help me stay grounded in the moment. I sometimes try a body scan meditation. I also for one love guided visualizations.

How do you take good care of yourself?

For those who are interested, last April, I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with the topic of self-care. If you click on the #AtoZChallenge tag in my tag cloud, you’ll find a lot of information.

#Blogtober20

My Fall 2020 Bucket List #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt for #Blogtober20 is “Into the Groove”. I don’t really know what to do with that prompt, so instead I’m going to share my fall bucket list. September is usually mild here, but by October, fall weather is truly here. That is, two years ago, we had a day in mid-October when the temperature rose to 27°C. That seems unlikely this year. It’s windy and rainy right now. Fall is here! Let me share my fall bucket list.

1. Play in a pile of fallen leaves. I would really like to do that this year. I used to love the colors of fallen leaves. Now, I can no longer see them, but I can still smell and feel the leaves and hear them rustle.

2. Do a fall-related craft. I have been looking at lots of projects to try. For example, someone in a craft-related Facebook group did a needle-felted pumpkin. I’ve never tried needle felting, but I immediately wondered whether it’d be doable for me. I’ve also seen lots of other fall-related crafts and want to try at least one of them.

3. Prepare some fall-related food. I’d love to try something with pumpkin spice, as I just recently learned what it is and that it doesn’t involve actual pumpkin. I think it’s delicious!

4. Make a fall-themed soap. I think one of my favorite soaping suppliers has a photo contest in November – at least they did in previous years. I never participated, as I won’t win anyway, but I want to try this year. In any case, in previous years, all contestants would get a coupon just for participating. I don’t have fall-themed molds, but of course I could experiment with fall-related ingredients too. Otherwise, I could just participate with a different themed soap, as there is no set theme.

5. Read a thriller or other spooky book. I’ve seen a lot of them on people’s fall TBRs. I’m not a big fan of fantasy, but I do like the occasional thriller.

6. Create a fall-based tablescape. Or do some other fall-themed decorating in my room. I’ve not done tablescapes at all before. I mean, I don’t have a table that isn’t used. However, now I do have the small table that I can use until someone else needs it. It has just my essential oil diffuser on it. I would really like to create some fall-related decor on that table.

What’s on your fall bucket list?

#Blogtober20

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 27, 2020)

It’s pretty late in the evening already and I had a few gulps of wine. That isn’t a wise idea, as I normally literally never drink. It was one of my staff’s leaving party and the other staff dared me to drink to it. I only had one gulp of red wine and one gulp of white wine, but I was definitely feeling the effect. Call it placebo, I don’t care.

I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. The staff who is retiring took the remaining wine home with her, so we don’t have that now. We do have several types of soft drinks and a type of orange-peach juice. We also, of course, have coffee or tea. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, thankfully, all clients who had cold symptoms last week, tested negative for coronavirus and are on the mend now. I am still a bit sniffy but other than that feel fine.

If we were having coffee, I would share that now, unfortunately, my husband is sick. For this reason, I couldn’t see him over this week-end again. I hope he’s better by next week, both for his sake and mine.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made an experimental soap yesterday. I made it with real coffee grounds and espresso fragrance oil. I was planning on making a soap for the staff who’s retiring, but didn’t have time to make one for myself to try out first. Here’s hoping the staff will like it.

If we were having coffee, I would then go on and on about my new essential oil diffuser and my new oils to go in it. I had a blend I made myself in it yesterday, which I call lime love. It uses lime, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.

If we were having coffee, I would also share how happy I am with the weighted blanket I’m allowed to try out for two weeks. Last night, I didn’t sleep well due to once again hyperfocusing on a project – my umpteenth attempt at blogging in Dutch. However, I did feel more rested than usual when I woke up.

Lastly, if we were having coffee, I wouldn’t have coffee at all, as I’m wanting to go to bed soon. I love lying in bed with my essential oil diffuser on with a relaxing blend in it, some soothing music in the background and my weighted blanket over me.

What’s been going on in your life lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 20, 2020)

It’s Sunday and I want to tell you more about my life right now. For this reason, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. The image above is taken on a bridge over the local channel. I’m not there right now and in fact did not go out for a walk today at all. I did drink coffee. And pure green tea – not the matcha powder type. If you want any, you can grab some. There’s also cold water in the fridge. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d share that it was my and my husband’s ninth wedding anniversary yesterday. I wasn’t able to visit him though, because I have a cold. At first I wasn’t sure whether just a cold means I need to stay home, but my husband sent me the COVID-19 FAQ from the health authorities that said I had to. Strangely, a staff who has a cold slightly milder than mine, was working this morning anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did send my husband a card with a photo of me in it. He appreciated it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I just got interrupted while writing this post by a staff to tell me several other clients show cold symptoms. I already knew this, but it means we’re from now on being cared for in our rooms. We’ll get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible, maybe today but I don’t think so.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I am loving learning more about essential oils and soap making. I downloaded three books on the topic of essential oils from Bookshare yesterday. Of course, since I don’t have a microwave or stove in my room, I won’t be able to make soap while we’re still being isolated. However, I do have my essential oil diffuser and oils here, so I can make my own diffuser blends.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I requested my staff bring me some coffee cups so that I can make Senseo coffee in my room. I mean, staff do come here to deliver our meals and help us whenever we need it, but they do need to wear protective clothing when entering our rooms. I think that’d be a bit annoying for them if they had to bring me coffee.

What else is new? A lot really, but all seems futile now that we’re in room quarantine. For those who pray or send positive vibes, do get those prayers/healing vibes/etc. coming our way.

What have you been up to lately?

Gratitude List (September 18, 2020) #TToT

It’s Friday, yay! It’s the Friday there are no day activities, so I spent most of my morning and part of the afternoon in bed. I’m feeling a bit tired and down in the dumps, so I thought I’d do a gratitude list. As always, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. The weather. Early in the week, the temperatures reached over 30 degrees Celsius. I loved being able to wear a skirt for what might be one of the last days this year.

2. Going for walks. I reached my step goal of 10K steps a day three times this week.

3. The scenery. I cannot fully enjoy it, of course, as I’m blind, but I do appreciate it.

Scenery

4. Taking pictures with my phone. I, of course, needed some help taking them and still needed to delete several because my finger was showing. However, I loved the ability to do it. I’m still not planning on following the rule of a picture with every post, as that just won’t work for me.

5. The sensory garden. I spent some time in it on Tuesday afternoon. I loved smelling the rosemary. Sadly, the lavender had already stopped flowering. I also loved listening to the little stream of water.

Sensory Garden

6. Wraps. We made those for lunch on Thursday and I loved them. I had three of them. We had them filled with chicken, lettuce, cucumber and red pesto.

7. Soap making, of course. I loved being inspired to make some soaps again and am planning on making more. One of the staff is retiring next week, so I’ll make one for her.

8. My essential oil diffuser. Okay, its buttons are almost stuck, but not completely, so I can still use it. Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I diffused a store-bought essential oil blend called Sweet Dreams into it. I am already on the lookout for a new diffuser in case this one stops working altogether. I also have been looking at recipes to make my own blends.

9. Special interests. And people who listen to me perseverating about them. My current special interest is, of course, soap making and aromatherapy. I have been loving telling a new staff, who will be replacing the retiring staff, all about how to make soap, lip balm, essential oil blends and such.

10. My husband, of course. It’s our ninth wedding anniversary tomorrow, so how can I not mention him? I saw him over the week-end and will be seeing him again tomorrow.

What are you grateful for?

Green Tea and Lemon Soap

This week, one of Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop prompts is to write about the last thing you made. Another of her prompts is about something good that happened this week.

Well, the good thing that happened to me is the fact that I’m motivated for soaping again. I’m seriously loving it!

Last week, I googled all over the Internet for soaping recipes, but didn’t really find the motivation or time to actually make any soaps. This week, I made two.

Now I must say that researching soaping is almost as enjoyable as is actually making soap. For example, today, I decided to look into making all-natural soaps and researching essential oil brands that are relatively safe. I mean, I know that natural health-minded people say that essential oils are by definition safer than fragrance oils, but I disagree. This is the reason I used a fragrance oil in the soaps I made this week.

So what did I make? Those who saw my Lovin’ Lately post last week might be guessing it correctly. Yes, I made green tea and lemon soap! I used this recipe for inspiration.

I used my default brand white glycerin-based melt and pour soap base. Then I added the cheapest matcha green tea powder I could find. After all, I didn’t really need it for actual tea. I used one teaspoon for about 100g of soap. I added a fragrance oil called Juicy Yellow Lemon from a great fragrance oil store. In my first soap, pictured below, I added three drops of fragrance oil, but I felt it was a little strong. I wouldn’t recommend using 3/4 teaspoons essential oil in one pound of soap, as the linked recipe recommends, because particularly lemon EO is very phototoxic.

The green tea got a little clumpy as I mixed it in with the soap base. Maybe I should’ve mixed it with some glycerin first, but I didn’t have any on hand. Actually, I think the spotty effect is a bit charming in its own right.

I made this one yesterday. Today, I made another soap using the same method, but it is heart-shaped. That one is for my husband, as it’s our ninth wedding anniversary on Saturday.

So how did I like it? I rarely use the soaps I make myself, but decided to give this one a try before making the one for my husband. Contrary to my expectations, the soap feels really smooth when using it. I also don’t feel like my skin gets rubbed too much. I loved the combination of green tea with the lemon scent!

What have you made recently?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Lovin’ Lately (September 11, 2020)

Hi everyone on this beautiful Friday! How are you all? I’m doing pretty well. I thought I’d share another edition of Lovin’ Lately. As usual, I’m linking up with Friday Favorites.

1. Cold tea. Last Saturday, a staff brought a bag of so-called cold tea. This is a new product from Pickwick (I believe). It’s herbal tea that you add to cold water instead of hot water. The staff brought me the pineapple and lime flavored one.

2. Fragrance oils. I decided for the first time to check out a webshop specializing in fragrance oils for candle and soap making or oil diffusers. I’d heard of this shop before, but never bought anything off it. This time, I ordered two fragrance oils: one pineapple and the other juicy yellow lemon. I got another fragrance oil as a gift. That one isn’t suited for soap or skin or hair care products, but I’ll try if I can diffuse it in my oil diffuser.

3. MyNoise. Emilia over at My Inner MishMash recommended this app (well, she didn’t name it until I asked). Like she says, it’s an app that lets you listen to various soundscapes and you can set the volume for each individual sound within the soundscape. I pretty soon decided to purchase the full version, which has like 150 different sounds. You can also somehow calibrate your own soundscapes or something, but I’m not sure how that works. I’ve so far been listening to a lot of nature-based soundscapes.

4. Soap making recipes. On Monday, I decided to check out YouWish, a Dutch soaping supplies store with a great blog. I really want to get into the soap making craft again. I haven’t yet tried out any of the recipes yet, but will next week. Some use micas, which are powdered colorants. I bought two at the fragrance oil store too.

5. Matcha green tea powder. When searching for more melt and pour soap making recipes, I saw a recipe that uses green tea powder as a colorant and additive. I immediately decided to order some matcha green tea powder. The site said that it’d arrive within a day, but it didn’t. It finally arrived today. I saw on the packaging that besides tea, you can also use this in smoothies. That sounds pretty cool!

What have you been lovin’ lately?

Five Things I Do For Fun

Good evening all! I’m having tons of thoughts and feelings right now, but they’re not to be shared on the blog as of yet. Instead, I am joining Mama Kat and sharing five things I do for fun. Maybe listing things I enjoy doing will distract me.

1. Reading. I used to hate reading as a child. As a teen, I developed an interest in Caja Cazemier’s young adult fiction, but none of it was suited for school beyond the eighth grade. I hated all the classics we had to read in school.

Then when I started university as a linguistics major, I was sent a book we were supposed to read before classes started. It was probably sent out to all humanities majors, as at least in our classes, it was never mentioned.

I’m not in college or school now though and can do what I want. So I read. I started with non-fiction and memoirs, but now I read fiction too.

2. Cooking. That is, simple food prep. I got a smoothie maker from one of the staff last Monday and have been loving making my own smoothies. I also love to make salads and other relatively simple lunches. I need some help with it, but the smoothie I made yesterday, I did almost entirely independently.

3. Crafting. Particularly soap and bath and body product making. I haven’t gotten down to that much lately, but I love it.

I also love trying out other crafts, though I usually need considerable help with those. I have tried many crafts in the past and still would love to try some again.

4. Researching my most recent special interests. Right now, they are smoothie recipes, so I combine this with #2 above. I can totally get a mood booster from reading up online on some topic that interests me.

5. Blogging. Yes, I still blog for fun! I sometimes get caught up in negativity if my stats are down, but most of the time, I truly blog for the fun of it.

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 12, 2020)

Happy Easter Sunday to everyone. I am once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had some decaf and right after that had the only fizzy drink I like, called “Dubbelfrisss”. It is only slightly fizzy though. Have a drink with me and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would ask all my fellow #AtoZChallenge participants how you’re doing on the challenge. I am so far doing pretty well. The J and K are always hard letters for me, but as you can tell, I found a word for the letter J. I am almost decided on my letter K post too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about all the fun the littles (inner children) have had reading jokes and free stories. We are a member of an E-mail list called Laughing_Place, but rarely even read the E-mails sent out until this past week. We laughed out loud at some of the jokes. As Milou said, the littles also had lots of fun going on a seesaw. We went on it again on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a lovely Easter card from a woman who lives at another home in our care facility. We can’t see each other much now that the day center is closed, but I talked to her from across her fence.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the blog upgrade I purchased. I have the Premium plan now. As you may be able to tell, I now have my own domain and all WordPress.com ads should be gone. I also got Google Analytics, which I’m having a love/hate relationship with. I’m pretty unsure about all the technical design stuff I can do now, as I’m not tech savvy at all. I’m still not entirely sure this was a wise purchase, but so far I’m not regretting it. I might once the 30-day refund period is over though.

I am thinking about starting my blog’s Facebook page back up. This upgrade also comes with cool social sharing options, so I’d bettter make use of them. I want to get a cover photo for my FB page then though and would love a logo for my blog. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I reached my daily step goal certainly on both Thursday and Friday and probably on Wednesday too. However, then my Fitbit wouldn’t cooperate, so it says I got 33 steps only. I in fact got nearly 13K steps on Thursday and nearly 12K on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made a soap for a staff who’s leaving in a week or so. She is a substitute for someone who’s on maternity leave and that other staffer will return on the 21st. The soap is a butterfly that’s been scented with lavender fragrance oil.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that there’s a new client at my home. I’m struggling a bit with it, but she seems nice.

What have you been up to lately?