Trying out Baking for Self-Care

Quite often, when I’m having a down day, I find myself drawn to the idea of baking.

Do I ever usually bake? Nope. Have I ever leaned in to this feeling and tried baking myself out of a slump? (Well, the way I’ve worded that sounds painful…) Nope!

The truth is, I’m not a very natural baker, I can’t usually decide on a recipe and when I’m having a bad day I’m far too lazy to shop for ingredients!

But today, I decided to go with my gut and see if it worked. Surely, if my brain kept turning to baking when I was in a slump, it must mean something? It might make me feel much better. And if not, at least I might get some cake out of it!

So I turned to the ever-trusty BBC Good Food and chose this recipe for banana and blueberry muffins. (I’m in no way sponsored or supported by BBC Good Food, I just love their recipes) I won’t talk through the whole recipe in this post, so if you want to have a go yourself then please head over to their website.

Banana and blueberry muffins

First mountain to climb – going out to buy the ingredients.
I really wasn’t feeling like facing the outside world this afternoon, so I asked my fiance to come with me. We quickly had everything we needed (plus a few things we didn’t need!) and I could get home to start baking. Getting out in the fresh air did actually help to pick my mood up, and I found that I starting to feel excited to get back to the kitchen and start creating – maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all?

ingredients in trolley
Ingredients found – and mini eggs to eat whilst baking, of course!

Once I got home, I laid out all my ingredients. In all honesty, I think that going through the process of laying out the ingredients and taking pictures for this post really helped me to see the process through and make sure that I was being methodical about it. (By the way, please don’t expect very professional-looking photos! No idea how you baking bloggers do this!)

banana and blueberry muffins ingredients

The ingredients you need for this recipe are pretty simple and easy to get hold of. Just what I needed for an easy Sunday self-care bake.

The Baking.

This was such an easy recipe. If I can do it, anyone can!

All you had to was mix together the dry ingredients and leave them to one side whilst you mashed the banana and mixed that together with oil, buttermilk and egg whites. The hardest bit was separating the egg whites – look what a mess I made of it!

stages of baking muffins
Nothing looks good before it’s cooked!

What I really liked about this recipe was that it included hints and things to look out for. For example, it warned me that the muffin cases would end up very full with this amount of mixture. This was helpful, because otherwise I would have under-filled them and been left with leftover mixture.

IMG_1797
Ready for the oven 🙂

In the end, I don’t think I did such a bad job. These were tasty, not too sweet, and just the right size for a Sunday-blogging snack.

Conclusions

So… was it therapeutic getting the kitchen messy and making muffins? Actually, yes it was. I can see why so many people turn to baking and cooking to calm themselves down or cheer themselves up. I felt productive, creative and purposeful. I did cheer up and I enjoyed the process. Of course, having delicious baked goods at the end of it is always a bonus too!

I think that I’d always avoided baking or cooking when I felt depressed because I was scared of it going wrong – I’m not a natural cook – and then feeling worse. However, if I give myself a little bit of forgiveness to make mistakes, go with an easy recipe, and just let myself enjoy the process – this could be a good new hobby for me!

I was surprised just how much this picked up my mood on an otherwise gloomy Sunday.
Do you like baking? I’d love to know what you like making and any tips you have for a novice like me.

Banana and blueberry muffins

logo_size_icon

5 Winter Self-Care Ideas

There are lots of things to moan about in the winter – who really likes the dark evenings and stepping in a huge puddle? However, there are also lots of things to love about the winter too. Like the lighter mornings, the crisp, clean feel to the air, and the atmosphere of celebration around the holidays.

The cold weather and the dark can take their toll on your mood if you’re not careful – as can the holidays, which are often difficult times for people, for all sorts of reasons. For these reasons, it is really important to take care of yourself in the colder months. Self-care can be a solution to a bad day or, even better, a preventative measure, carried out little and often to help keep those low days at bay.

Here are 5 simple self-care ideas for you to try out this winter:

  1. Put on clean bed sheets. (Bonus points if they have a wintery pattern, are fleecy, or accompany your change to the ‘winter duvet’.)
    There’s nothing quite like climbing into your bed at the end of the day when the sheets are brand new and super comfortable. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure your room is at the right temperature for you and perhaps try a sleep spray or a hot milky drink as well.

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com
  2. Bake a treat for someone.
    Baking on its own is often therapeutic, but why not add on the additional joy of taking what you’ve made and sharing it with someone. Maybe your co-workers would like a Monday pick-me-up, or an elderly neighbour would really appreciate the gesture? If you’re not a confident baker and want to start off with something more simple, the packet mixes you can get from supermarkets that just involve adding water or eggs are brilliant. They are also great for baking with young children!
  3. Wrap up warm and go for a walk.

    a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink
    I love to grab my collapsible coffee cup, put on a thick scarf, and go for a long walk.

    This is one of my favourite activities, despite the cold weather. When it’s a dry but cold day, I love to wrap up in my cosiest jumper, a thick scarf and a woolly hat, and head out for a walk. If I’m going by myself, I’ll often take a book to stop off somewhere and have a read, or I’ll listen to a podcast whilst I walk. If it’s me and my fiance walking, we’ll often play Pokemon Go on our route, or just enjoy the time to talk with no distractions. My reusable cup filled with coffee often joins us on the walk too! This activity is great for your mind, as well as getting your legs moving and incorporating a little bit of exercise into your self-care routine.

  4. Read a book in bed.
    Simple, classic, and a perfect activity for a wet and rainy day. Grab a hot drink, curl up in your duvet and appreciate having the time to do nothing except read your favourite book. For winter reads I particularly love horrors, thrillers, historical fiction and crime novels.
  5. Have a totally indulgent hot bath or shower.
    bath-blur-brush-275765.jpg
    I know that I’ve said before that self-care is about more than just hot bubble baths, however sometimes that is exactly what you need. Treat yourself to a warming and relaxing bath to escape the cold weather and relax. If baths aren’t your thing, just allow yourself the indulgence of not worrying too much about the hot water bill for a few minutes and whack the heat up on your shower. Choose a luxuriously scented shower gel, sing as loud as you like and feel the tension melt away.

 

What do you love most about the colder months?

Hopefully, if the cold weather has got you feeling blue, there are a couple of ideas here that can help you take care of yourself. (If you think you’re low feelings are more serious, or that you may be suffering from SAD or similar, I urge you to seek advice from a professional.)

Happy winter!

logo_size_icon

September Favourites

I can’t believe it’s October already! It feels like I only wrote my August favourites a week ago. I seriously don’t know where September went or how it’s all gone by so quickly, but here we are and here are a few of my favourite things of the last month…

Mustard and Burgundy blazers from New Look

Right now, I’m slowly transitioning my entire wardrobe to a solid mixture of mustard, burgundy and black & white stripes. My go-to outfit for work is now a pair of slim black trousers, a stripey top, and one of two beautiful blazers from New Look.

mustard blazer with stripey t-shirt
Spot the cat!

I absolutely love this mustard blazer – so much that I bought it in burgundy as well. (I’m really tempted to also get it in black… is that too much?) These blazers are super soft, comfy and relaxed, but just formal enough to wear for work. Absolutely perfect and have upped my style game this Autumn!
Unfortunately I can’t find this blazer on the New Look website, but there are similar still available!

The Lounges

This is a chain of restaurants, although each individual lounge is slightly different. The one near us serves the most fantastic food that my fiance and I have been enjoying nearly every weekend! Simple, relaxed and affordable – it suits us just fine. For brunch, I like their savory options, but the pancakes are pretty good too. For lunch, I recently tried their soup. This sweet potato and carrot soup was to die for, and perfect for this new autumnal weather!

Sweet Potato and Carrot soup
yum!!

But dinner time is when this restaurant shows it’s best offerings. I’d never really discovered tapas until we started visiting this lounge but I am loving it – small plates of delicious food, all accompanied by ciabatta and wine! Patatas bravas really should have made an appearance in my life much sooner!

There are loads of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options on the menu so it can cater for everyone in your group. If there’s a lounge near you, I’d really recommend trying it out.

The Great British Bake Off

Are there many people in Britain that wouldn’t put the Bake Off in their September favourites? Competitive baking, bread, cakes, Noel Fielding and Sandy Toksvig? Sign me right up! The Great British Bake Off is so comforting and enjoyable, I have to watch it every week and I’m already dreading it finishing. Current favourites are KimJoy and Jon. Who are your favourites? I’m also thinking that I should really use this inspiration to get baking…

M&Ms mixed bags

These have been my ultimate weakness this month. It’s taken me many years to get on the peanut and peanut butter bandwagon, but now I’m the head cheerleader! As a long-time fan of original and crispy M&Ms, adding peanut into the mix as well has been a game-changer. (Honestly, I take my chocolate choices very seriously.) Shake up a bag of these, share with no one, and enjoy an evening – yes please!

Blogging

Although I started this blog in August, September is the month in which I really started to explore the blogging community and plan my content more clearly. I have been enjoying the process of planning, writing and sharing my posts, getting involved in Twitter chats and finding loads of new blogs to read and take inspiration from. I’m so glad that I finally committed to this blog and so it is definitely one of my September favourites!

Another real mixture of things this month! If any of these are your favourite too, or you’d like to share some similar things with me, then do leave a comment down below. I love to hear from you all, it really makes my day! 🙂

Have a fantastic week! x

cropped-logo_size_icon.jpg