Suffering a Cold? Or Flu? Or Chest Infection? Read this one then…you need it!

I was so glad to get rid of my chest infection after 5 weeks of agony, I forgot I hadn’t even posted this one, but as it is still in vogue, here we go…it might just aid those needing a helping hand with a few tips, or at least commiserations; no, you are not alone.

Cold, Flu or Sinus/chest Infection? ‘tis the season, after all…

So here I am, nursing my early January cold and crossing fingers it goes away quickly. For the past few days, each time I woke up, I kinda expected it would just vanish. But this is a stubborn beast and I’ve just about had it, so, war it is: I’m attacking with my full arsenal of anti-cold/flu weapons.

A couple of days Iater, this turned into a full blown chest infection, so I knew I had to keep up with a longer term battle, and my first port of call is:

Lemon-Honey-Ginger potion

Yeah, everyone has their own favourite combo here, but I don’t mix them up and let them stew in the cupboard. Instead, I squeeze the juice of a couple of lemons into a glass and mix it with about half-a-thumb length of peeled and grated fresh ginger. This time I only have cubes of frozen ginger, so that’ll have to do. I add to this a heaped teaspoon of pure honey. Here, I use sage honey. You can use another, of course. Now, my secret weapon: ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of chilli pepper powder. Wisk vigorously, add 100 – 150 ml water, stir again and drink at once! Repeat 3-4 times a day. Especially if you have someone to make it for you…while you feel too ill to make it yourself, but when you can, enjoy the aromas and the preparation process! It feels therapeutic, knowing you are preparing a real magic potion of goodness for yourself. My friend Jayanthi would be proud of me for the amount of ginger I am consuming here daily!

The SuperSoup

There are so many versions out there, and although you can make a simple beef /chicken/vegetarian broth, my nan and my mum used to make me beef broth when I was ill. Truth is, as long as it includes a few bones, it will be fine. (If you’re veggie, don’t judge. I was brought up like this and as I go, I minimise use of meat; hopefully, there’ll be a pesco-veggie out of me yet). Do try to use local produce and pesticide free. I use free-range, organic and local whenever I can afford to do so. The soup can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. A few chicken wings, seasonal veggies, or whatever you have at home, with a few spices, will do great. I’ll go here with the chicken version.

You can roast the chicken thighs/wings/legs first. Entirely optional, though.

Use the largest pot you have (usually that makes for about 4-5 litres), put chicken thighs and/or wings and/or legs into the pot, fill with water and add some salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put on heat to boil.

Now prepare the vegetables. The minimum you need is one medium to large onion, a stick of celery and a couple of carrots. Peel and chop, then add to the chicken.

Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Remove the grey foam as it forms, then add some fresh stock or a couple of stock cubes. Flavour? Your choice.

At this point, you can just leave the soup slowly simmer to infuse all the goodness from the ingredients and right before you want to consume it, add into the hot soup a chopped bunch of parsley.

Just as it is, the soup has proven positive effect. Even science says so! To make it extra potent, when you are adding the chopped vegetables, peel and grate a good thumb size of ginger root, clean and squish/puree/chop a bulb of garlic, measure 1 tsp of oregano (or chop up a small bunch of it), 1 tsp of turmeric , ½ tsp of chilli and add all to the soup. Add some chopped spring onions.

When the meat is almost falling off the bones, take it out and pick the meat off the bones, chop or shred it, then return to the soup. Add a large handful of chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy and let it do its magic.

 Aroma Steam Magic

When I bought my facial steamer, I had no idea I would actually use it most when I’m ill.  Just steaming my face without any aromatherapy oils when I fall ill with a cold, flu or a chest infection, sinus infection or similar, it help me breathe easier, warm up when the jitters settle in and relax a bit. But real magic happens when I add a few drops of aromatherapy oils.

My basic concoction, for above mentioned issues, includes peppermint oil, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil. The additions depend on time of day I prepare the steaming. If it is evening and close to bedtime, I always add lavender oil to induce its calming effects. My Daytime Combo always includes citruses:

  • 2 drops of peppermint oil
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 3 drops of lemon oil
  • 3 drops of lime oil

Evening Magic:

  • 2 drops of peppermint
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 3 drops of lavender oil
  • 3 drops of ylang ylang oil

Additional benefits items:

Vaseline or lip balm. I used a lip butter I had handy. Keep applying on your dried out lips and sore nostrils. Yes. You read this right. I regularly apply some on my nostrils, which prevents drying out and pure raw pain from endless nose wiping. To me, this is the most irritating side effect of a cold, flu, sinus or chest infection and it provides such a relief. You’re welcome!

Kitchen roll on tap for coughing up nasty stuff. Keep the softest tissue for the nose.

Seven Seas vitamin C and Zinc chewable capsules. They burst with lovely strong flavour and add to the vitamin intake too.  While the flavour is secondary, you will need it, as that unpleasant ill bitterness lingers in your mouth. These little capsule wonders have such great flavour, at least temporarily they give you a moment of enjoyment. First time ever I liked taking my vitamins since I was a kid, when they were disguised in the shape of little super cute pet sweets, and that’s saying something!

List of Ingredients I have used and why:

The descriptions of all the ingredients I have used are result of mixed sources. Much of it comes from my mother, grandmother, other family and friends, from my own studies and readings, variety of books and websites. I do not go into great detail and do not list all the benefits of each item, but focus more on the properties useful with the issues connected with colds, flu and chest infections.

Please, do inform yourself well before you use any of them, be sure you are not sensitive or allergic to them, have medical conditions or use medication that may contraindicate it. I am here to share my experience with you which you may consider useful, but I do not consider myself an expert and this is not medical advice. If unsure, consult your doctor.

Eucalyptus – superb decongestant (especially useful at night, to ease breathing) and antiseptic with a strong odour (rather repulsive to me, but it is so useful, I put up with it, and here is your answer to why I use additional oils, for the scent) which kills airborne germs. It is used to ease colds, flu, sinus and chest infections.

Lavender – calming and antiseptic, lavender essential oil is also antibacterial, antibiotic, antidepressant, analgesic, decongestant, and sedative, therefore great for tension, tiredness and depression, aches and pains, insomnia or as massage oil for tense and aching muscles.

Lemon – stimulating, invigorating, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic and deodorising, so it can be used for clearing the head when ill with a cold or flu or mental exhaustion. It will help energising the body, boost circulation and concentration. It relieves stress and tension and it is a great air antiseptic.

Lime – antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and can be used for breathing problems, flu, colds, fever and infection.

Peppermint – strongly antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, cooling, and anaesthetic to the skin, although it is also an irritant. soothe a fever, practitioners recommend cool compresses to which a couple of drops of peppermint oil have been added. Peppermint essential oil may interfere with sleep if used too close to bedtime.  Not compatible with homeopathic treatment.

Tea tree essential oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin.

As with all essential oils, be sure to buy them from a reputable source if using in aromatherapy applications.

Setting Goals for 2017…


I started writing this a month ago, just as we all woke from the festive season’s dream and forced ourselves to start preparations for a return to the daily grind…but, for me, it was not meant to be quite yet. The cold I was nursing, as mentioned later in the text, turned into a full blown chest infection that decided to chain me to my bed for all of January.  As far as I am concerned, my 2017 only has 11 months…

Here’s to all sorts of New Year’s resolutions: I don’t quite believe in them, as most of us forget what they were about, or deem them impractical to live with before January’s end is nigh. Instead, I’ll round up my essential needs and base my goals for the year on those. We all have them, but many of us do tend to ignore our own needs in favour of others’ wellbeing. I’m a sucker for doing good and working for charity. So much so, my bank balance is perpetually low. So low, in fact, my bank manager probably goes pale when coming across my account. This shall be my top priority this year. Aaaaaa!

Last year I scrambled a long list of goals together, well-meaning and all, but life can have other plans, especially when your health doesn’t play game, then all goes belly up. Still, I am rather proud to have completed some of them successfully, such as completing my Green Globe Auditor Certificate and landing my 1st 1000 followers on Twitter six months ahead of schedule, as well as getting my first proper travel article published by Pink Pangea and finally starting to paint again (not only paint, but complete a painting to gift it to a friend for her big birthday). Interestingly enough, I write this while sipping my umpteenth cup of lemon and mandarin tea, having fixed myself up on Lemsip and eyeing up the manuka honey next, nursing that first January cold. So, working on a healthy life continues to be my first priority.

Goals and plans can take a turn south when stress, anxiety and depression lurk in the background, therefore, we have to become honest firstly with ourselves where the brakes to our personal success and overload on our health come from.  In my case, 2016 was a bit of a health Annus Horribilis, and we must work on improving ASAP, my Health and I. It even spilt into 2017, wiping my entire January! This is definitely an emergency!

To achieve the goals of balance and good health, one ought to invest time and effort into good old general wellbeing and I can’t think of anything better to describe it than the last-year-much-hyped sense of hygge.

Well, to achieve my personal sense of daily hygge this year, what do I need to do…

1. Make money!

Yup, time to stop working for free and get some hard cash. This excludes providing services in kind in return for advancement of my own business.

Somehow, I have always felt discomfort talking money or reminding anyone that time is the most important commodity I have and it cannot remain a free resource to others.

The need to stop being taken for granted and anyone taking advantage of your time does not apply to your genuine wish to support a cause to make a difference. Such time and effort donated gives back to you in more ways than one. Most of all, the sense of fulfilment and joy when you see how you can change someone’s day or even life with what to you is so little.

All in all, the final goal here is to end this year with a positive bank balance and relish the joy from giving time to causes I believe in at the same time.

Having money won’t buy me a sense of hygge, but it will contribute to overall stress-reduction and a sense of control. Considering how disagreeable I find saying the word “money” (I’m also allergic to coins; they make my palms itch and burn if I hold them longer than a few seconds), this will be a most interesting path of discovery.

2. Fix old injuries and create a sensible, achievable exercise routine!

Avoid boring! So, here’s the space for physio prescribed exercises, yoga, walking and swimming. I’m not one for adventurous sports such as jogging or rock climbing; I’d pass out after anything speedier than a fast walk after the next corner, while I doubt they make rock climbing gear to support my generously proportioned behind.

Highlight is on: avoid boring. Why? Because boredom spells disaster for any routine or good habit we want to implement for the long-term benefit. I’d pick Zumba and Salsa here too, as I love dancing, but I’ll leave those to reward myself for when my physio allows Zumba (it’s that Achilles tendon that stops me) and Salsa when I have settled into the initial swim-walk-yoga routine.

I prefer to make my goal to achieve a regular wellness routine, than to give myself a number of pounds to loose (and let’s face it, there are looooads of those), but it feels more achievable to seek out small weekly and monthly goals with the amount of exercise I do, injury improvement I make and not give up by getting bored or daunted by it all.

Giving up is just not an option!

3. Cherish my daily hour of mini hygge or my Hour of Bliss!

My work tends to include a lot of communication, so it is a treat to keep quiet. Try it out! It fills you with such bliss when you realise you do not have to speak and you can just relax with your own thoughts and let them linger in the areas of joyousness.

I immerse myself in reading, listen to music, watch cartoons or a programme I enjoy. Sometimes, I’ll just curl up on the sofa with a nice cup of tea and “travel”.

This year, I shall improve my Hour of Bliss and make it a little ritual of candle lighting, burning aromatherapy oils, relaxing music, meditation and whatever else comes into the mix afterwards.

I have been enjoying all those separately or might combine one or two, but to have it all at once…Bliss!

Try it out! After a while, you will get addicted, I am sure.

4. Eating for wellbeing

“If I hear any more about ‘guilt-free’ eating I’ll explode! “

Reading exactly this type of thought in one of the tweets by Naomi White, a former star student of mine who is now a very successful spinning instructor and sports fashion PR and who remains very dear to me, it was quite a revelation.

Food is not meant to make us feel guilty. Instead, once we learn to drop that guilt, healthy eating becomes a choice and then a habit. Nowadays, Naomi is an inspiration to me, so we come full circle. I am proud to have taught her well to set her on her own way of success, which she now creates singlehandedly day by day. In return, she inspires me with her sensible ways about nutrition and fitness.

So, time to be kind to myself. Saying “No, thank you” to a well-meaning host if what is served is not gluten-free or Low FODMAP friendly food was always difficult, at the expense of suffering later.

You might come across those who think you are just “imagining” you can’t eat so many things.

Saying “No” more often will do me a world of good. Just say it! Now!

5. De-cluttering

De-cluttering is quite in vogue, be it desk, house or even life. Still, I have been slowly doing so for a while with paperwork and keeping my surrounding tidy. Actually, I just can’t concentrate if I am surrounded by an almighty mess.

But, there is more to it. You can get a whole load of people into your life who do nothing to make you feel good, but instead slowly drain your energy with each conversation you have, or every time you see them.

Do you ever find yourself wandering why you are friends with someone, if you always feel exhausted after seeing them or having a conversation? Possibly, they even make you feel unhappy, down, or even sad?

You might not feel appreciated when you realise they only call upon you when single, bored or in trouble. Yes, it is far from easy, sometimes, to tell such a person how you feel about it. Perhaps you tried and it turned into an argument or you were made to feel guilty.

Well, then just slowly create some distance and regain your space. If and when it is noted and you are challenged about it, be honest and speak out. Pick your words wisely, but do not bottle it up again. You will feel much better afterwards.

So, my final important goal for 2017 has to be de-cluttering my life.

This rounds off five goals I have set myself to achieve this year. They all have a common goal: to help me find balance. Get it just right. Live Lagom.






So I finally made it…

After months, no, years of mulling over starting a blog, I have decided to take the plunge. Why so long?

I wanted to write about all things I am passionate about, but that seems to be, generally, a big no-no, unless you want to end up talking to yourself and 
and a handful of long-suffering friends and family, who will indiscriminately applaud your every half-decent effort.

Reading around, everyone talks about writing what you are passionate about…but, I am passionate about travel and sustainability… and animals… and music… and art… and food… and wellbeing…and self- development… and making a difference… See what I mean?

But then I read a really smart piece of advice by Maya Elious in her article “What To Do When You Want To Blog About More Than One Topic”

“Multi topic blogs work best when the overall purpose is clear.”

It was at this point that the fog cleared and an emotional memory came to surface…

Today is my cousin’s 50th Birthday. He is my emotional rock and safe harbour and my sadness not to be there to surprise him with a big fishing birthday cake is endless, but a chest infection, more persistent than expected at first, stopped my intentions and I broke my promise to be there for his special celebration.

But what does my cousin have to do with my starting a blog?

There is much healing to be done in my backyard and caring for oneself, we are able to open up more to those around us and to new experiences, new adventures. It is exactly my cousin’s wisdom that has identified where my healing ought to take place.

This blog is as much about me and learning self-love, as it is satisfying my inner need to make a difference to others, to the world, to you.

To start learning to overcome my inner, as well as outer pain, he had asked me to remember a time when I was a little girl and to take care of her, love her and teach her to smile from the inside…

So now I know. The purpose of this blog is to seek nourishment for self-love by writing about subject matter that makes me happy, helps me learn, heal, but with the goal of helping others…which makes me happy again.

It is an adventure, so it’s rather exciting and a touch scary. No. Make that ‘quite a bit scary’, but fun!