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.

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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

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50 Things That Make Me Happy

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Two tag posts in a row? I know, lazy blogger! But I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this wonderful post, listing 50 things that make me happy. I was very kindly tagged by Colourful Hope, whose post is here.

I think the idea of listing 50 things that make you happy is brilliant. It’s a list, so it sounds simple – but 50 is a pretty big number! (The most I’ve dared so far is 26!) Having to think of 50 individual things that make me feel happy can only be a good thing for my wellbeing. So, here goes!

50 Things That Make Happy

  1. Spending time with my cat
  2. Autumn walks with my fiance
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Reading a good book
  5. Smashing a workout
  6. Finding an outfit that looks really good
  7. Chocolate
  8. Catching up with old friends
  9. Going to the cinema
  10. Big bowls of pasta
  11. A clean and cosy house
  12. A clean car
  13. My hamster
  14. Seeing my family
  15. Having a cup of tea with my mum
  16. My job
  17. Running with my best friend
  18. Music
  19. (more specifically) Neil Diamond’s music
  20. Watching comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, OITNB…)
  21. Libraries
  22. A good cup of coffee
  23. Comfy blankets
  24. Learning something new
  25. Being brave and it turning out well
  26. Giving people gifts
  27. Coffee shops
  28. Looking at homeware
  29. Theatre
  30. Watching stand-up comedy
  31. Singing along to musicals
  32. Falling asleep watching a film with my fiance
  33. Setting goals and planning
  34. Listening to My Favourite Murder
  35. Long, lazy mornings with breakfast in bed
  36. A really tasty cocktail
  37. Playing board games
  38. Pizza
  39. When there are amazing vegetarian options at a restaurant
  40. Pretty book covers
  41. Recommending books to people
  42. Comfy jumpers
  43. Playing Skyrim
  44. Hot chocolate
  45. Museums
  46. Disney films
  47. Ticking off my to-do list
  48. Roald Dahl books
  49. Stationery
  50. Spending time with my friends

 

Well, that was great! It pushed me to think about everything that makes me happy and now I feel really good. I’d like to pass that good feeling on, and I tag:

Kelly at Paperback Adventures
Pigletish
Nic’s Healthy Life

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

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#SelfCareTogether – A Self-Care Challenge for October

It should come as no surprise that someone with blog title ‘Self-Care Sloth’ thinks that self-care is important.

Of course I think self-care is important! Taking care of ourselves is one of the most crucial things that we can do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then who will?

Thankfully, there are hundreds of other bloggers and wonderful people out there who also take self-care seriously and one of those is the lovely Anneli at Pigletish.com, who has created the #SelfCareTogether October Self-Care Challenge.

There are loads of different ways to practice self-care, be they indulgent and only for the odd occasion, or low-energy and everyday activities. What Anneli has done is collect 31 of these activities together and created a plan for October that encompasses four different aspects of self-care. Isn’t that such a great idea?

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I am definitely going to be taking part in this challenge and I will share most of my thoughts over on my Twitter @ASelfCareSloth, but today I thought I’d start off with some thoughts here on my blog.

My Self-Care Plan for Week One: Self-Care Basics.

01: Go outside.

On day one, I will make an effort to get outside, for more than just the walk to my car in the morning! This was one of the only benefits of my old office job, actually. Every lunch time, I used to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Now that I’m at a school, it is expected that I’ll be on-site for most of lunchtime, so I don’t get this same opportunity. I am glad that this challenge will give me a push to get outside on Monday after work, even just for a walk round the block. My aim is 20 minutes of fresh air.

autumnal leaves

02: Eat Something Nutritious.

A big one for me at the moment. My relationship with food isn’t great and I often make the wrong choices, even though I know that healthy and nutritious food makes me feel much better. On Tuesday, I am going to make a nutritious and healthy dinner, including lots of colourful veg!

03: Venture Further Out

I’ll admit, I’m not totally sure I know what this one means. But I’m going to take it to mean venturing out of my comfort zone – because that is always a good thing to do, and I don’t necessarily need to venture further out of the house. There’s always a way to push my comfort zone a bit further when I’m teaching, and my comfort zone is pretty small, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to venture a bit further on day three.

04: Shower/Bath

This is such a key self-care topic, I’m really glad that it’s been included in this list. Sometimes, just having a shower or a long soak is what both your body and mind need. I’ll have been to the gym on the fourth, so a long hot shower will be needed! But I’ll level it up a bit this week by using a hair mask, properly cleansing my face, and really putting the effort into this regime.

relaxing shower head with water

05: Life Admin

How often do we all get behind on this?! If you’re anything like me, this is an ongoing to-do list that always gets forgotten – so day five will be my life admin day. My priorities will be finally filing some very important paperwork and going through my finances.

06: Social Media Cleanse

My aim is to cleanse my social media by unfollowing anyone who I don’t actively want to follow or who doesn’t bring positivity to my feeds. We’re all guilty of following someone on Twitter once and then never really reading their tweets again, or following that Victoria’s Secrete model lookalike on Instagram whose account really only serves to make you feel bad. Day six – cleanse my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds of all those people! This is a great idea and one that will hopefully have long-term benefits to my mental health when I’m online.

And last but not least…

07: Focus on Drinking Enough Water

Every day, I carry round with me a large, 1 litre water bottle. My aim was always to drink at least two of these bottles a day, meaning I drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Sometimes this happens, but honestly it is a habit that has really slipped in recent weeks. I’m really disappointed with myself that I’ve let this habit drop and I need to get back on top of it! So, on day seven I will be aiming to drink at least 2 litres of water and I will make sure that I document it on my Twitter!

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Thanks again to Anneli for putting this challenge together. I think this will really give me and lots of other people a push to prioritise self-care in October.

Are you taking part? Let me know below if you are, and leave your social media handles so I can follow your progress. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SelfCareTogether as well!

Happy October…

The Self-Care Sloth