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Aromatherapy Products

The use of essential oils for therapeutic and cosmetic use has become popular, in recent times. Many different Aromatherapy products are readily available to the consumer, some that are detrimental to the environment.

So do any aromatherapy products stand out from the ‘crowd‘?

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How are Essential Oils Created?

Essential oils are extracted from plant material using steam or water distillation. Selected plant materials are heated with steam, water or both until the essential oil vaporises. The oil then condenses as it cools.

Being a concentrated plant oil, they should be used sparingly and always diluted in some other medium, such as plain massage oil (cold-pressed vegetable oil) or unscented base cream (but not a mineral oil cream, such as most brands of sorbolene or baby oil)…Aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, should never be ingested (taken in by mouth), as they can be toxic.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Aromatherapy Product Review

About Utama Spice Products

The farming communities in Bali, Indonesia, produce the raw materials for Utama Spice’s natural skincare products and in so doing, support local farmers in organic farming, bee farming and seaweed farming. The company believe: “if you wouldn’t cook with it, you shouldn’t put it on your body.”

Being a graduate of the Environmental Sciences, I like to discover businesses, such as Utama Spice Natural Aromatherapy Products, that can maintain sustainability and a low environmental impact, all whilst working harmoniously and respectfully with humanity and nature, to produce a quality product.

Thus, I was delighted to trial a gift basket of just a few of the many Aromatherapy products, from Utama Spice, based in Bali, Indonesia and found their products to be a beneficial and therapeutic asset in, and around, the home.

N.B. The products contain:

  • No Synthetic Oils
  • No Synthetic Fragrances
  • No Artificial Colours
  • No Synthetic Preservatives
  • No Surfactants

Liquid Soaps and Lip Balm

Being someone with sensitive skin, it was refreshing to find the Utama Spice Aromatherapy lip balms and liquid soaps were highly moisturizing, with no hint of dryness or irritation. Based on natural products like coconut oil and beeswax and infused with essential oils to lock in moisture, the aptly named WellKiss Lip Balm was a standout favourite.

The Tangerine and Peppermint Lip Balms were very much appreciated by my daughter, in the windy Spring weather that we frequently experience, living here, by the coast. I can imagine we will be thankful for that level of protectiveness for the lip areas, come wintertime.

Utama Spice’s range of Liquid Soaps

The Man of the House found Lemongrass Liquid Soap was excellent for showering and bathing and that the fresh scent lingered pleasantly in our bathroom, after use.

Or, if you are looking for something a little stronger to use on tougher cleaning jobs, Utama Spice also has an Antiseptic liquid soap, with the benefit of Neem Oil, as an active ingredient to knock down germs.

Body Butter Moisturizers

For those needing a more intensive moisturizer for ultra-dry skin, you will find an application of the Tropical Flower Body Butter, after showering is excellent on cracked heels, as well as those rough spots on the knees and elbows.

therapy products

Moisturizing Soaps and Lotions

As we have been recently planting lots of lavender at the Home by the Sea, I suppose it is no surprise that the family’s overall favourite Utama Spice Aromatherapy product, was the Lavender Liquid soap and Coconut Moisturizing Lotion with Pure Lavender Oil.

Lavender Liquid soap and Coconut Moisturizing Lotion with Pure Lavender Oil.

Yoga Mat Energizing and Sanitizing Spray

Yoga mats can become notoriously grotty if you’re using them outdoors, so the compact size of the Yoga Mat Energizing Spray, was brilliant, meaning I could keep it in my handbag, for regular use after Yoga and exercise sessions.

The added bonus of knowing the essential Oil of Lemon, Bergamot, and Mint were helpful in sanitizing the mat was most reassuring, especially given the current Covid pandemic.

Three varieties of Yoga Mat Spray
Photo Credit: Utama Spice.com

All the products at Utama Spice are based on traditional Balinese herbal knowledge and comprise 100% natural ingredients.

I was really pleased to read that the company maintain strict procedures to ensure the products and the raw materials are checked at every stage, guaranteeing the highest standard of quality control.

Customer Service

The company maintains a friendly relationship with its customers and conducts prompt shipping, with tracking options for orders, at no extra charge. With a flat rate of $10 shipping, (free for orders over $100-AUD), the location is no barrier to customers worldwide.

Please note that I received no monetary incentive for this review.

It is the unbiased and honest opinion of StPA.

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Preparing a Music Trivia Night in a Pandemic

Musicians

Our Neighbours at the Home by the Sea would like a Music Trivia night. Not having been at a trivia night for decades, let alone hosting one, I consulted the net: as one does when one has a question, these days.

Pandemic Limitations

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I need to stress I haven’t fully committed to this event, given the pandemic bubble our State of Queensland has been in, (with no new Covid cases), is under some threat. Gatherings have, from today, been limited to 10 persons until further notice.

Why are Group Numbers Restricted in the Pandemic?

Unfortunately, some people don’t get the instruction that if you feel sick, stay home and get tested! A 70 something-year-old worker continued to attend work for five days whilst sick, until it was evident something was wrong. As most of us have heard, Covid can be fairly mild for the first few days. On Day 5 you can suddenly go down very quickly, by which time you have infected goodness-knows-how-many people, around you. I am unsure of this person’s motive in attending work.

Did she/he need the money as they worked casually? If so, we rapidly need a political solution to the dilemma of the Casual worker who is not paid unless they go to work, as the whole economy suffers if they do attend work whilst sick, and the whole community has to lockdown in order to contain the outbreak!

Did she/he not think, or not even consider that being sick, at work, where people are housed in an institution-like facility, was very high risk, should a Covid contamination arise and furthermore, that such infection could spread like wildfire through the vulnerable residents, who could then be released inadvertently, at any time, into the community?

Despite the looming wave of new cases, I will, for the moment, press ahead with the organization for the Music Trivia night and set a date P.C. (post -Covid).

So what do I need/ do? The net did give me some ideas:


Steps To Take in Organizing a Music Trivia Night

1) Choose a Format for Hosting a Trivia Night
Live Pen and Paper/ Tablet/ TV or Smartphone-Based Trivia
2) Select Questions
100% DIY: Write Questions – a wonderful neighbour has volunteered to do this
Professional Trivia Host and Questions
Hosts Using Professional Trivia Questions
3) Write Out an Event Plan – Probably unnecessary given the group number limitation
4) Gather Equipment
5) Prepare Awesome Prizes and Food and Drink – Essential

SmartPhone/Digital Trivia

With the advent of smartphones, there is the option for digital formats for answering trivia questions. Like pen-and-paper trivia, smartphone trivia still involves a host who reads off questions and paces the game and the guests use their own smartphones to submit answers. We could even do this virtually if a FULL lockdown, if necessary.

Apprently there is also TV Trivia: These are trivia questions that run on TVs. Guests don’t “submit” answers, they just think about the questions or chat with friends about the answers. I like this option without the TV.

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Prizes

I would whip up a painted wooden tray as a prize and some alcoholic beverage never goes astray either! Prizes: SORTED

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on Pexels.com

Food and Drinks

We have some wonderful cooks in the community, so this aspect is already catered for Including gluten-free/coeliac options, gourmet nibbles and cocktails to keep us in the merry mood.

Cheers!

Breaking the Ice/Getting to Know You Games

I am the first one to say that I absolutely HATE those painful introductory games, which are designed to make people relax, feel comfortable and get to know each other better.

They mostly just piss me off and make me hugely uncomfortable sharing personal facts that I don’t wish to publicly share. When forced to participate in them at work, I couldn’t help thinking they were a dreadful waste of my valuable time, and did nothing to enhance Team bonding, which I assume was their objective!

Right?

However, there was one game, I participated in, that was a little fun.

Here is how it goes:

  • Each person, in turn, states three random facts about themselves that may or may not be known to the group.
  • Two of the facts are true and one is false.
  • Everyone has to guess the one fact that is false.

To test the validity of an introductory game, such as this for the Music trivia night, I invite you to play along by choosing one answer below:

The answer will be revealed in a forthcoming post!

Conversation Questions

* Do you have a curly music trivia question I could include in my trivia night?

* Tell me about a less than dreadful, “Ice Breaker – Getting to know You,” game that you have played?

Australia, blogging, Food, Mental Health, Philosophy

Hollow Online Experiences

When the internet came along, it was suggested that everything would be done online, from shopping to employment and communications. Individuals would not need to leave home to live their consumer lives.

The public however, has shown that we are primarily social creatures and are reluctant to embrace a completely virtual lifestyle. Whilst online shopping has undoubtedly increased, it wasn’t the tidal wave envisaged by the tech industry, until Covid 19 came along.

Our lives have become more virtual, whether we liked it, or not.

Getting takeout or takeaway doesn’t seem to give us the same experience as dining in at a restaurant or cafe. Neither does the online shopping experience feel quite as satisfying as the benefits of browsing in person at a store, feeling the fabric in a garment, physically trying on clothing, or chatting to another shopper, seeing what is around.

Because it is not just the objective alone, that is important.

It’s the whole consumer experience.

The atmosphere at the cafes and shops is attractive to us through our senses: the watching of people; the smells, sights and sounds; (overwhelming for some), or the conversation with friends you meet whilst shopping; the interaction with Cafe staff and fellow diners; the inspirational decor on the walls, or from the books on the shelves in a bookstore; even the art on the walls.

All of this, together, gives us a pleasurable sensory experience that is clearly important to us, as a comment on my second blog alluded.

“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

Dalai Lama

Benefits of Covid and Virtual Lifestyle

During the Covid lockdown, skies, streets and air appears cleaner and we have more time on our hands. None of that horrid sitting stuck in traffic on the way home from work, or rushing to catch a crowded train with a million other commuters at 5pm.

Other people discover there is time to get to know their kids, becoming involved, by choice or necessity, in their education, or generally engaging with them more because there is little ecternal events to absorb their time. (Albeit for some, this could be far more stressful and family life might suffer from a lack of outside exposure, stimulation or influence).

All wonderful benefits of an enforced, semi-virtual life.

scenic cafe window- pensive

Yet, it seems even introverts or socially phobic individuals have struggled with being cooped up during the Covid pandemic.

We, as humans, seem to value social interaction above any virtual experience.

Cafe Society Lifestyle

Prior to the appearance of Covid, the Cafe society was a popular lifestyle choice in Australia. When cafes closed down in lock-down, no one knew what would happen. Aussie Cafes/Diners and Restaurants were legally allowed to operate only on a takeaway, (takeout), basis.

Many chose to close, temporarily, or permanently and the alfresco cafe dining experience came to an abrupt end.

al fresco dining restaurant

The Beach Esplanade, near my home, is lined with popular cafes and restaurants of all persuasions and cuisines. Being smaller businesses, most have closed completely, but some remain open. Last night, I placed a phone order for a ‘Quarantine Pack’, at one of the restaurants. Being a Friday night, I wondered what I’d find when I arrived for the meal.

At the Italian restaurant itself, a makeshift pick-up counter was laid out with social distancing markers in the formerly packed out al fresco dining area. Customers awaited their order in silence, or hushed in conversations with their partner, spaced well apart from each other. This was a very different picture to the regular Friday night.

On the opposite side of the road, overlooking the sea, couples and small family groups sat on benches or rugs, at the required social distance, eating their takeaway meals and watching the moonlight filtering over the waves, lapping the shore.

It was another life, but it was okay. Not ideal, but it had a beauty all of its own, even a little nostalgic or romantic perhaps.

It begs the question as to how much of a virtual lifestyle we can lead?

Is it possible for human beings to live like this, at all?

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