2018 Q4 plans

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Gone very quiet around here, but for good reason: I’m moving house! Going for an indulgent amount of more space, with the intention of spreading my many hobbies out a little more and hopefully being more inclined to do some of them! πŸ˜‰ And take up a few more… like gardening?! Oh dear! Probably don’t have to think too much about the new garden til next year, thankfully πŸ˜‰

In the meantime things are very disorganised or just plain packed up. Can’t make cards with all my stuff in storage! I did think this temporary period would be full of e.g. sketching or writing, but hah – no idea where my time is going!

That said, we’re on the brink of Inktober 2018. I think I must be mad to be even considering this, with the big move happening mid-month o_O Still, I was organised enough to bring to my temp digs a fresh notebooks and pens, so…?

And as soon as that’s finished, it’s time for NaNoWriMo! I am a glutton for punishment πŸ˜‰ I think I might have an idea to run with, though, which is pretty exciting! I’ve tried various genres over the years but this would be my first mystery, and also a first go at giving up on originality, at least for a zero-draft: I’ve seen a movie I liked but thought could have been told very differently, so might have a go at that! Fingers crossed it might lift the “what happens next?” pressure, and make this moving-year effort a little easier. After all, this is for me practising/honing my craft, not about publishing something a little bit plagiarised (although didn’t that work well for EL James? ;)) – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it πŸ˜‰

Which leaves December for a mad rush of Christmas cards LOL! I’m sure I’ll be kept more than busy settling into the new place, but I’m already looking forward to picking up with all my myriad hobbies – cooking, crafting, etc – that have been on hold for a while now.

I’ve also had vague thoughts about doing some kind of meditation retreat – more than once over the years. In the short term, I’m wondering about setting aside a day to try and do ‘that kind of thing’ just in the house: essential oils, quiet, meditation, bath and crack out the ‘special’, spa-like face products? Sounds like a lovely way ease into the new house, which I hope will be the start of my new life and a new me! πŸ™‚

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Turmeric essential oil

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My main essential oil stockist not only added a new one to the range recently, but discounted it heavily – you don’t have to shout ‘try me!’ any louder, really πŸ˜‰

jar of turmeric spice, spilledTurmeric is something I’m very familiar with from cooking. It’s said to have anti-cancer properties, anti-alzheimer benefits, improves liver health, and is also an anti-inflammatory.

For me, the oil is for either the oil burner or occasionally a massage or bath, with a carrier oil. In the latter cases, the warming oil can be good for joint problems. It’s also said to help with depression and anxiety, and colds.

I wasn’t sure how similar this would smell to the more familiar spice, but it’s pretty much the same – not overwhelmingly stronger or more potent. I look forward to trying it in a few blends, eg with other spices such as black pepper or ginger; to counteract sweeter scents such as ylang ylang or vanilla; or as a counterpoint to zingy orange or grapefruit.

Combos tried:

  • none yet

Frankincense essential oil

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Up until this point, my aromatherapy posts have been about citrus oils, or herbal, and all more obviously plant-based. Frankincense, on the other hand, is a resin (derived from a tree, so still plant-based!). Well-known as one of the gifts at Christmas, the name itself means ‘high quality incense’, so it’s not really surprising at how much this just ‘smells like aromatherapy’, if there was one stereotypical scent.

frankincense resin

Also known as ‘olibanum’, frankincense has a warm tone, sort of a spicy-earthy mix of lemon and fir. It promotes relaxation, de-stressing, feelings of well-being, and peaceful focus.

Frankincense is also used in skin-care, and is said to rejuvenate the skin as well as offering relief from minor irritations.Β It can be beneficial for respiratory issues.

Blends well with citruses eg grapefruit, lemon, orange, and clary sage, geranium, lavender, and rose, amongst others.

 

Combos tried:

  • 2 frankincense, 2 orange, 1 geranium
  • 3 frankincense, 2 lime, 2 orange, 1 peppermint
  • 2 frankincense, 3 orange, 2 cinnamon – autumny spice
  • equal parts frankincense and lavender, as used in a yoga nidra relaxation session
  • 2 frankincense, 2 bergamot, 2 lemonΒ – cheery and uplifting

Orange essential oil

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photo of cut orangeThere are few things that seem as summer-y and uplifting as the scent of fresh oranges, if you ask me. But then again, orange is also a great base for autumn-y blends, mixed with cedarwood, or patchouli, or very Christmas-y with cinnamon or ginger. In fact, I think orange is an amazingly versatile oil which is why I own four different variations and am still trying to detect the subtle differences!

Use for energy and a mood lift, to combat anxiety, stress and depression.

Orange blends well with other citruses, such as bergamot, grapefruit,Β lemon, lime, etc, for bright, uplifting, and summer-y scents.

It also blends well with woody and spicy oils, such as black pepper, cedarwood, cinnamon, frankincense, ginger, vetiver, for a warming and comforting autumny feel.

Perhaps more surprisingly, ‘bright and cheery’ orange can also blend well with soothing lavender for an uplifting yet relaxing blend, and also (more shock!) peppermint and/or spearmint for a more refreshing mood.

Combos tried:

Orange is one of my staples, so I’ve probably used it with just about everything – in fact, when I find a scent or blend isn’t quite ‘me’, I’m likely to throw in some orange to sweeten it up.

Some of my favourite blends include:

  • equal quantities of orange and lavender – that soothing relax with a perky uplift
  • 2 orange, 2 frankincense, 1 geranium
  • 3 orange, 2 frankincense, 2 cinnamon – very autumny
  • 2 orange, 2 lime, 2 grapefruit, 2 spearmint – the ‘mojito’!
  • and combo of the citruses is also good especially as a ‘wake up and get going’ e.g. orange, lime and grapefruit, with the orange bringing a sweetness to the sharper citruses.

Oregano essential oil

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oreganoThis was my other new purchase recently, and while I’ve got a huge backlog of more commonly used essential oils to talk about, it makes sense to write this while I’m actually looking up what to do with it!

Oregano means ‘joy of the mountain’ and its oil is useful for colds and respiratory problems – very appropriate for me right now! It might also help generally boost the immune system, ward off insects, and as an aid to digestion. The other claims I’ve come across seem a little less provable, so I won’t note them here. Emotionally, the claims are that oregano helps you ‘let go’ and be more at ease, perhaps combatting over thinking.

I’m finding it a slightly strange one, both in scent – that sweet herby smell so reminiscent of nommy Italian cooking – and finding what I want to pair it with.

Oregano oil blends well with herbaceous, woody, and floral oils, e.g. bergamot, cedarwood, chamomile, frankincense, eucalyptus, lavender, marjoram, peppermint, rose, rosemary, tea tree.

Combos tried:

  • 2 drops each of oregano, lemon, and frankincense
  • above with 2 drops tangerine oil added in – think it improved it

Want to try:

Star Anise essential oil

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I couldn’t resist adding this to my collection when it came up in a black Friday sale, despite really disliking the aniseedy flavour when it’s added to food, especially ‘hidden’ in Chinese five spice. However, the spicy liquorice-y scent might be interesting in a blend, I thought.

star aniseStar anise – which is not the same as anise, btw – is said to be useful for alleviating stress and fatigue, improving concentration, and generally providing a mood boost.

Blends well with: black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon, geranium, lavender, lemon,Β lime, mandarin, neroli, orange, patchouli, peppermint, rose, spearmint, tea tree, vanilla.

Combos tried: none yet!

Want to try:

  • a christmassy blend: 4 drops sweet orange. 3 frankincense, 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon

 

May Chang essential oil

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Looking for a bit of a mood boost and pick-me-up, I remembered this mysterious-sounding ‘May Chang’. It’s also known asΒ Litsea,Β ‘chinese pepper’, or exotic verbena – although it’s not related to verbena, it can be used in place of melissa (lemon balm) oil. Giving it a sniff, it’s a fresh citrusy scent, not quite as sharp as lemon and sweeter than lemongrass, with perhaps a slight spiciness.

As with most citruses, may chang has uplifting properties, and is used for mental fatigue and lethargy. It can help combat depression, clearing the head if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or foggy-headed.

May Chang blends well with: other citruses (bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, etc), as well as basil, clary sage,Β geranium, ginger, lavender, marjoram, rose, rosemary, and ylang ylang. It can be used in place of lemongrass, for a slightly more subtle lemon scent.

Combos tried:

  • 3 may chang, 2 marjoram, 1 tangerine – light, sweet, and cheery
  • 3 geranium, 2 bergamot, 1 may chang, 1 rose

Want to try:

  • Calm and clarity: 5 bergamot, 1 may chang, 1 rose, 1 neroli
  • Refreshing: 4 sweet orange, 3 may chang, 3 spearmint