Catching Up

This weekend is a long weekend thanks to New Zealand still belonging to the Commonwealth and wishing to honour the Queen by having a long weekend to celebrate her birthday (which I believe is in April, not June, but no matter). It's also officially the first day of winter today which means this weekend is not conducive for water sports or camping or whatever else long weekends are meant to be used for.

However, it is good for one thing and that is: catching up.

While Son#4 is out catching up with friends, DH is designing a window treatment for our bathroom and I've written a long chatty letter to a dear friend in Australia. I'm excited that this dear friend I will soon be seeing after almost twenty years. Twenty years! Gosh, that makes me feel old.

This friend and I have known each other since we were eleven or twelve. We have never lived in the same town, and our communication has mostly been by the written word. Not texts. Not emails. But letters. Letters. And most hand written! (Not today's effort though: five pages typed thank you very much.)

As well as letter writing, I've had a chance to catch up on a few other things: washing (now that I can't deal with it all once a week due to the uncooperative weather), making bread, paying bills (eek!), and making personal care products.

A while ago - quite a while ago - I wrote about making homemade deodorant. It worked okay except it tended to leave an oily stain on the inside of garments and in winter it was rock hard. I went back to buying and using 'natural' deodorants only to have the uncomfortable feeling that I - how to put this delicately? - smelt less than perfumey. (Imagine me blushing about now.)

So I did some more searching and found this recipe. It works. It isn't too hard in winter (unlike our homemade toothpaste but that's another story) and if it does leave a slight residue on clothes it can be removed with a little bit of soap (note, too, that I wash with soapnuts which are milder than most detergents). I do, however, leave out the tea tree essential oil as it's a scent I can't stand. If you like it, use it, but for me, it was a toss up between either this or the other kind of stink.

Today I also mixed up a favourite hair/skin moisturiser. Really, I do not know what to call this. It contains two of my favourite hair and skin ingredients: shea butter and coconut oil (actually that's about all it contains) and I use it as a skin moisturiser and also on my hair as a leave-in, as a pre-wash conditioner, and also as a deep-conditioner. It's so versatile and I love it.  And it's also so simple to make.

It calls for equal quantities of shea butter and coconut oil heated gently in a double boiler over low heat. A small amount of almond oil can be added but not too much (for 1/4 cup each of coconut oil and shea butter I would add no more than 1 tablespoon almond oil). Add 5-10 drops of some favourite essential oils (lavender is always first on my list) and pour it into containers and let set. In warm weather I place it in the refrigerator but on a day like today, I just let it set on my benchtop.

Note: both photos were taken a few months ago when I made my last batch. The second photo shows the hair/skin moisturiser next to our homemade toothpaste which contains roughly equal amounts of [melted] coconut oil and baking soda. This really does work - once you manage to get it out of the jar and onto your toothbrush - or into the general vicinity of where it's needed to go to be most effective. DH uses it similar to oil pulling but I tend to scrape a bit out of the jar and rub it onto my teeth with my finger before getting out my brush. Both of us have noticed our teeth are whiter and our breath seems fresher and DH - despite not being a fan of coconut oil - is sold on it. He even makes up a new batch before I get a chance to if we happen to run out. If there was only some way to get it to stay on the toothbrush and not fall off before I managed to get it into my mouth ...

Now that I'm all 'caught up' ... how to spend the rest of my day?


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