My Thoughts on the Zero Waste Sustainable Lifestyle

I don’t know if you are aware that these days a new movement is starting to take the world by storm. It’s called zero waste, or a zero waste sustainable lifestyle.

Basically, what living a zero waste lifestyle means is using no packaging in all the products that you buy and use. Or at the very least only recyclable packaging.

Zero Waste Products

So people who have jumped onto this bandwagon usually use solid cleaning items such as solid soap, solid shampoos and solid conditioner.

They don’t buy or store food or anything else in plastic containers, preferring glass, wood, metal or any other natural material over plastic.

For the most part I support this movement.

Certainly I am all in favour of limiting your use of synthetic chemicals and plastics as much as possible. Not only are you reducing the toxic materials you bring into your home or consume, thus leading to a healthier lifestyle.

You’re also contributing to reducing all the garbage that spills out of our landfills and filling these landfills instead with organic materials that can actually decompose, rather than sitting there intact for thousands of years.

We all know that an excess of toxins is a scourge in our society and is one of the factors behind the growing numbers of cases of cancer.

I myself try to use glass, metal, wood and paper as much as possible. I go shopping with cloth bags. My all natural skin and hair care routines include mostly solid shampoos and natural plant-based oils.

I even make my own soap from scratch, by hand. Not a pour-and-melt affair but real, actual lye soap.

But sometimes I think this fanaticism for going all out zero waste just gets so absurd. And I got started thinking.

Why is a zero waste lifestyle supposed to be so good?

Is it only because it’s become fashionable and a lot of people are jumping onto this bandwagon now?

So many people do things, especially alternative things, just to be rebellious. Or just to look good in front of their friends. Or just because it’s what’s in at this moment.

So is a zero waste, sustainable lifestyle really so much better than a conventional one?

Or is it just some sort of hippie, rebellious, anti-establishment trend?

So many people do things without questioning them, just because other people told them it’s good, or that they should do it.

Why is it supposed to be more sustainable to use paper, wood or metal instead of plastic?

Of course it FEELS better, because it’s all natural as opposed to plastic which is not natural. Plastic is artificially created and comes from petroleum.

So I imagine it would be more HEALTHY, because you’re not using any kind of synthetic chemicals and thus you’re avoiding toxins.

But I don’t really see how it is more SUSTAINABLE.

For example, take metal. How is metal supposed to be more sustainable?

You have to send these poor, helpless men deep into these unhealthy mines where they risk their lives and sacrifice their health every day to mine metal.

What’s so sustainable, humane and healthy about that?

Metal isn’t recycled. Metal isn’t organic so it doesn’t degrade or decompose in landfills.

How about wood and paper? Yes they are healthier for you and they are all natural. And they do decompose naturally.

But think of all the trees you have to cut down to get wood and paper.

Although one YouTuber I saw said, “Actually, using wood causes MORE trees to be planted in my country, because in my country (which was of course some healthy Scandinavian country, Scandinavians are always ahead of the rest of the world, but I don’t remember which country it was) whenever a tree is cut down we plant TWO trees to take its place.”

Ok so maybe using wood and paper is sustainable in his country.

But so far this does not happen in the rest of the world, as far as I’m aware. And paper is recycled (in theory), but like everything else I doubt most of the paper is recycled here. Most probably just goes to landfills.

I do admit I haven’t done my research and I don’t have the faintest idea what happens to the garbage in my country or in my city. But I have seen in documentaries (vague documentaries that unfortunately I can’t cite because I don’t remember which documentaries they were, if you’re a stickler about people always revealing the source of everything they write about in blogs) that in most places around the world countries and municipalities don’t recycle.

(By the way if you’ve got some sort of physical evidence that I am wrong and that in fact most countries around the world do indeed recycle scrupulously, by all means, please, I’m completely open to you leaving a comment about it and showing me your evidence. If not, please refrain from leaving snide or picky comments about how I don’t document my blog posts accurately or cite the sources of my information. Your comment will not be approved. This is my blog and I write what I want in it. If you don’t agree with me you are free to not read it. Ok rant over.)

As I was saying, even if you do live in a country that recycles a high percentage of its rubbish, you still have to take into account the fact that the vast majority of the world doesn’t. So although as an ideal for a future utopian world, I don’t think it’s very sustainable or feasible at this point in time for most of us.

Then you could say that, well, paper is organic so even if it isn’t recycled at least it will biodegrade in landfills. Well I guess looking at it that way that could be true.

Still, when you buy something wrapped in paper, what do you do with the paper? You still throw it away, right?

I don’t think you’d reuse that tiny little piece of wrapping paper 100 times in order to be more sustainable, just simply because it wouldn’t last. It would soon tear or disintegrate.

Then how about wood? Wood is not recycled.

So if you throw away something wooden, which you will have to do at some point because wooden items don’t last a long time, at the most a few years maybe.

Maybe a wooden house can last several decades but in the end wood always deteriorates. So then what happens to the wood that you throw away?

Well once again zero wasters will say oh but wood is biodegradable so it will just biodegrade in landfills. Yeah but how long does that take?

So it is still not being recycled, even though it’s true it’s not as bad for the planet because at least it will biodegrade at some point.

But in the meantime, as you can’t recycle it, you still have to cut down more trees to create wooden objects to replace the ones that broke.

Then we’ve got glass. I like glass. I try to use it a lot because I like it.

Glass is recyclable and is probably one of the easiest things to recycle.

I don’t actually know the details about how glass containers are reused. But I imagine that the glass you throw away into the green coloured bins is being reused.

But most of the world doesn’t recycle. So you are only being zero waste by using glass if you live in a place where people recycle.

Or if you hoard up every single glass item that ever enters into your home in order to reuse it. But on the other hand, if you do that, you risk getting accused of suffering from hoarding disorder, as well as accumulating that other most undesirable scourge in life: CLUTTER! Gasp!

At any rate, even so, you are probably being more healthy if you use wood, paper, metal or glass, because you are not filling your home and your family with the toxic chemicals present in plastic. So you might want to say you are zero waste for health reasons.

But I don’t really see that it is more sustainable in the world we live in today. If the whole world recycled close to 100% of our waste and in every country they planted 2 trees for every tree that they cut down, then it could be sustainable.

In conclusion, much as I do in general believe in it and support it, I think it’s impossible to remove all the plastic from your life.

People say, well my ancestors lived for thousands of years without plastic.

Well, let me tell you, my parents were born over 90 years ago and they used plastic.

Just about everything that is essential in our lives is made of plastic. Most objects in our homes are made of plastic. Most of the things you can buy anywhere come in plastic containers.

Our food comes in plastic. Your mobile phone and your computer are made of plastic. The screen you’re reading this blog on is made of plastic or has a plastic support. You wouldn’t be able to read this blog if you didn’t use plastic at all.

Appliances are made of plastic. Medical equipment is made of plastic.

If you’re about to die from COVID-19 and the respirator is your only hope for survival you’re not gonna say, no don’t give me the respirator it’s made of plastic!

Buddhists say you should do everything in moderation. So yeah, I do think zero waste is good — in moderation.

And always respecting those who don’t agree with you.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Homemade Soap 

My Current Almost All-Natural Low Waste Hair Routine 

Shikakai: My Recent Experiment

Trying Out Solid Conditioner for the First Time

As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve been trying to transition to a more ecological, natural, zero waste (or at least low waste) lifestyle.

So today it was time to try out solid conditioner for the first time.

Solid Conditioner

I went no poo and have been using solid shampoo bars and all natural handmade soap for several years now. So I tried to create a zero waste routine with solid shampoo and solid conditioner.

Last week I discovered we actually enjoyed the great good luck of sporting an eco-friendly, zero waste shop right here in my city. So I bought a solid shampoo and a solid conditioner there.

I already have several solid shampoos, so in this case it was just sort of like a matter of trying out a new shampoo, the way most people do every once in a while.

Just as you might at some point wish to try out a new conventional shampoo — say Pantene, for example, or Elvive — so for me getting a solid shampoo was the same. Except these were shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoos in plastic bottles.

However it was the first time I’d ever used a solid conditioner.

So first impressions, what did I think?

Well, I liked the shampoo but it was nothing to write home about, a typical solid shampoo. I’m used to using solid shampoos so it wasn’t anything out of the usual for me.

However the solid conditioner was…….. an experience, let’s say.

I rubbed it on all over my hair like I saw in videos. You can’t just splash a little bit onto the ends the way you would with liquid conditioner. You have to rub it painstakingly into your hair from root to tips.

It certainly is time consuming, it’s not like slapping a liquid on quickly. Perhaps if you have thin hair or short hair or not tangly hair or greasy hair it would be quick. But if you have coarse, long, dry self-tangling hair like me it just does not work. I NEED about 5 litres of liquid conditioner every time to get enough slip to get a wide-toothed comb through.

I did eventually get it detangled. But I think solid conditioner only works for people with short, fine, greasy non tangling hair.

I do admit my hair is by nature more tangly than the average. Because the average person doesn’t need as much liquid conditioner as I do either.

Once I got it detangled my hair did feel good, soft and silky.

But after that I NEEDED styling product. Because if not my hair would be dry and flyaway and staticky.

And I don’t have any all natural zero waste eco styling products. I made flaxseed gel last week and I put it in the fridge but it still went bad. So that really isn’t going to work for me unless I make tiny batches and make up a new batch every time I wash my hair. Because I only wash my hair once a week.

So I just grabbed any old styling cream.

So I dunno. I think I will keep using the solid conditioner, see if I get the knack for it. But if not I will use it up and then I won’t get any more.

Update: After my hair dried I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by how my hair looked with this new solid conditioner. It was soft, silky, shiny, with shiny, bouncy curls.

I might add that my hair is naturally coarse and thick, rough wiry and very rarely ever looks shiny or silky.

But the most incredible thing about the conditioner was the SCENT!

My hair smelled like perfume.

And not like some chemically, formaldehyde-filled perfume from the department store either.

It smelled fresh and sweet and natural. Like I’d picked up flowers in a field and stuck them into my hair.

The scent lingered.

I don’t know how long the smell will continue to last. But at least for one day, that’s for sure.

Hair After Solid Conditioner

But no, it’s not so shiny and well-defined without help. Here in addition to using solid conditioner I also used a gel.

So I thought I’d give you the details of the solid conditioner I used.

It’s a local brand, so if you live in the US or the UK you probably wouldn’t be able to get it. But then again in the US and the UK you can get about a gazillion other brands that aren’t available here in Spain. One brand I’ve heard good things about (but never tried) is Ethique. It’s from New Zealand I think.

But at any rate, the name is Balsámica Natural Cosmetics.

This conditioner in particular says it’s made with ashwagandha, amla, coconut oil, cocoa butter and essential oils of cedar and rosemary.

Its other ingredients include cetearyl alcohol (an essential ingredient for making conditioners, if you don’t include this the oils won’t wash out of your hair and your hair will be greasy). It’s not a drying alcohol like ethyl alcohol.

So yeah, I would defo try out other solid conditioners by other brands and maybe even other products in this particular range. It’s a Spanish company. They do have an online store, but when I tried to get onto it it was offline. They also have a Facebook page which doesn’t really seem to offer a list of their products anywhere.

However their prices are very reasonable. I don’t remember how much the solid conditioner cost at the store but it was somewhere in the range between 5 and 9 euros.

So how about you? Have you tried solid conditioner before? Or experimented with the zero waste lifestyle? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Do leave me a (positive, non-spammy) comment about it down below.

And if you enjoy reading, especially if you like fiction, I’ve got some exciting thrillers you might want to check out, here at Thrillers By Moi.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Homemade Soap

Bentonite Clay for Hair 

All Natural Skincare

Fried Aubergines Lite (Because eating is still fun)

My Current, Almost All-Natural, Low-Waste Hair Routine

Essential Oils for Hair

I thought I’d start off the new year with a new series on All-Natural Hair Care. So here is the first instalment.

I have been no-poo (that is, no shampoo) for about 3 years now. You can read about how I transitioned to no-poo here.

Recently I’ve also decided to add zero-waste to my hair and general routine as well. That is not the easiest thing in the world to do when you have dry, frizzy, curly hair.

Ayurvedic Herbal Powders

However, after about a full TWO YEARS! of experimenting and watching a gazillion YouTube videos, I think I’ve FINALLY found a minimalist, natural and low-waste (not zero-waste, however) hair routine that works for me.

It’s not the simplest, most minimalistic, most low-maintenance routine that’s ever existed but then again I figure girls with curly hair can’t follow the same routine as people with straight hair. Curly hair is drier so it needs more care. And my hair in particular is especially tangly (I’ve always called it self-tangling hair because it tangles around everything), with a naturally coarse, rough, wiry texture.

So here is my………

Complete All-Natural Zero Waste Hair Routine:

Week 1:

  • I begin by brushing my hair with a wooden brush. I brush it right side up and then upside down to get out tangles and stimulate hair growth.
  • Then I rub in hair oil. On the scalp I use a concoction that I made myself. In a jar I mix castor oil + olive oil + a teaspoon of bhringraj and let it sit. When I’m going to oil my hair, I just pour out the required amount into a small bowl and add a couple drops of rosemary and tea tree essentials oils. When it’s getting low on oil I simply add more oil. After a few weeks I throw out the bhringraj (I have no idea how long it would be good for though or if it ever goes bad) and add a new teaspoonful of this herb.
  • On the lengths I use coconut oil or olive oil. Then tie in a bun.
  • I leave this on for 2-3 hours. You can also leave it on overnight and sleep on it if you prefer.
  • Wash with solid shampoo or all-natural handmade soap.
  • Condition with solid conditioner.
  • Style as usual.

Hair OIling

Oiled Hair

Notes:

*I’ve been experimenting with solid conditioner for a few weeks now and I’m a bit on the fence about it. On the one hand, I like that it’s zero-waste, all-natural and silicone-free. And it smells fantastic.

But on the other hand, it takes forever to rub it through my extra-tangly, self-tangling rough, coarse hair. It also doesn’t leave my hair feeling as soft and hydrated as a cream conditioner.

I’ll be putting up a separate post soon all about solid conditioner. So stay tuned for it!

Since my hair is so naturally rough and coarse, I have a hard time trying to make it soft. If your hair is fine and naturally soft, it might work better for you though.

For this reason, even though I love the concept, I find that every now and then I still need to fall back on a creamy, liquidy conditioner in a plastic bottle, or my hair gets very dry, frizzy, flyaway and extra tangly (and it’s already tangly enough as it is!).

Week 2:

  • Don’t oil hair. But do brush it.
  • Wash with a mixture of aritha + sidr or shikakai and methi (ground fenugreek), mix with lemon juice or flaxseed gel or warm water to form a dense paste similar to shampoo. Apply like shampoo, leave on a couple minutes and rinse out.
  • Mix amla and brahmi with warm water to form a thick paste similar to conditioner. Apply to length of hair, detangle, leave on for 5 minutes and rinse off.
  • Style as usual.

Notes:

*I have been using sidr instead of shikakai because I’m able to get it at the same online shop where I buy the rest of the powders. And because shikakai can sting your eyes.

I also wasn’t too wowed by shikakai when I used it before. But if you can’t find sidr in your neck of the woods, it’s fine to use shikakai as well.

Sidr is the powdered leaves of a tree that grows in Persia (Iran) and the Middle East. Like aritha, it has saponins, natural soap, so it cleans your hair gently.

To make flaxseed gel, simply boil a teaspoon of flax seeds in a cup of water for about 15 minutes. Then strain out the flax seeds with a strainer, cool the liquid down until it’s warm and doesn’t burn and use it to mix up the herbal shampoo.

Because I have curly hair using some sort of styling / curling / hold product is a must. If I want to be completely natural and zero-waste I use flax seed gel by itself. But I get bored always using the same product so I like to switch things up. Then I do need to add in some commercial product in a plastic container.

Where I Buy These Products

I buy these ayurvedic powdered herbs at an online shop here in Spain. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy the presence of an Indian community in your city, they’re sure to boast physical shops where you can acquire them as well.

I’m not that lucky as there are perhaps only 2 people of Indian origin living in my part of the world. But if you happen to live in Barcelona, where I used to live, you can scout the shops of the Raval. I used to buy these herbs there.

It’s not easy to find solid conditioner here in Spain, unless you live in a large city. I don’t. But I was soooooo lucky to find an ecological, green shop downtown. It’s called Verda.

However they are also available on Amazon.

Aloe Vera Scalp Massage

Every once in a while, when I get in the mood, I’ll massage my scalp with some aloe vera gel. I add rosemary, lavender, mint and tea tree essential oils in the gel. Then I rinse it out after a couple hours in the shower. It’s a gel and not an oil so it doesn’t leave hair greasy, so it’s not necessary to use shampoo.

Aloe Vera Gel for Hair

My son prefers to do this after he washes his hair. It really doesn’t make any difference in the appearance of your hair, it won’t make it look greasy, so you can do it either way.

Henna

I henna my hair about once every 2 months. Because…….. I have a few grey hairs already! Hush, it’s a secret. Don’t tell anyone.

Hennaed Hair à la The Ring

My hair doesn’t turn out too red because it’s naturally very dark. Although I imagine if I hennaed it more often it would get redder. But I’m too lazy for that haha. It also looks redder in the sun.

Hair With Henna

I love henna hehe.

Heatless Hair Straightener

Although I LOVE having curls, I can get bored with them always looking the same and I want to change them. Then I make braids and thus stretch the hair out a bit to create beach waves.

My hair is very healthy. It’s about to the middle of my back. And I never have split ends.

So I think this routine is working quite well for me. [:smile hehe:]

And now that we’ve reached the end of this post, if you feel like doing some more reading I’ve got plenty of offerings for you. Check out my collection of thriller novels and horror stories here at Thrillers By Moi.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Homemade Soap 

Natural Skin and Hair Care Routine

Castile Soap and Coconut Milk for Hair 

Proper Hair Oiling For Long, Drop-Dead Gorgeous Locks 

Cricket Adventures

Warning: Contains highly gruesome and squeal-inducing, large-sized photos of INSECTS with triangular, insect-shaped heads and ANTENNAE. Please abstain from reading if you are at all squeamish or suffer from insect phobia.

We caught a CRICKET in the bedroom!

Large Cricket

First time I’ve ever seen a cricket here in Spain. I HEAR them quite often. But they’re always hidden away somewhere, I’ve never actually SEEN one before.

I did see one when I went to South Africa and I went bonkers. Because in Canada they are GREEN and in South Africa they are BLACK.

South African Black Cricket

This is the one I saw in South Africa. As you can see it looks like the Spanish one but the Spanish one is even bigger!

Large Cricket

These hot weather crickets look so scary because they are BLACK. In Canada they look green and innocent, cute even. Well sort of. As cute as an INSECT can ever look, anyway.

Green bugs are not scary. BLACK bugs are scary!

Well more than black it’s dark brown here. But it’s BIG!

We let it out the living-room window, hope it doesn’t hop in again.

Our poor cat had been going crazy all night trying to hunt down the cricket haha. He couldn’t catch it, cats can’t catch things that JUMP.

Finally he went out on his own personal high-rise apartment window catio trying to source another cricket to hunt.

Well we’d been listening to that tiresome cricket CRICKING away every night for ages, but it always sounded like it was outside not inside. I wonder when and how it got in.

It used to make the HUGEST biggest racket. I wonder how many decibels a cricket can produce.

And now it was the first night in ages that we enjoyed absolute, complete, sublime SILENCE haha.

So I decided to do a tad bit of research and I discovered why crickets are BLACK in South Africa, dark brown in Spain and green in Canada. Apparently they are different species of crickets, it’s not the temperature that determines their colour.

So the black crickets are black because they are the African black cricket. European crickets are brown or dark brown and the green ones in Canada are another species altogether.

By the by the cricket started CRICKING away again, this time it sounded further away. I’m glad it found a new home to accommodate itself in, hopefully not too close to our windows hehe.

At least the good thing about it cricking is that it means it’s a male cricket, so it wouldn’t have left any eggs.

Our poor cat who couldn’t hunt down any crickets. They sure would’ve made a tasty meal for him.

If you’d prefer to look at a book instead of at insects, why not check out my chilling thriller novels? You can have a look at them over here in Thrillers by Moi.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

The New Mask-Filled World to Come (Already anticipating the world that would await us while still in lockdown this spring)

Life in Confinement in Spain 

DIY Catio or Sun Window / Sun Balcony for Cats (Where a cat can safely hunt crickets in a high-rise apartment)

Pizza Makin’ (Because we still spend a lot of time at home cooking (or at least we should))

Quarantine Diaries: Life in Confinement in Spain

Life in Confinement in Spain, or What It’s Like to Live Under Lockdown in Spain.

Includes the popular description of Why I Need to Run Down Alleyways and Hide in Pedestrian Streets Every Time I Go Grocery Shopping.

Todo Saldrá Bien Poster

I’ve heard that many people feel a curiosity to know, or have no idea, what living in quarantine due to the coronavirus was like in Spain. What were the conditions like? What were we allowed to do?

Today we are in the process of coming out of lockdown. That means that little by little we are seeing restrictions to our movements being removed and little by little, they are allowing us to leave our homes.

But during the time of quarantine, coronavirus lockdown in Spain was the strictest in the world.

From March 14 till May 4, 2020, we were in complete lockdown due to the coronavirus emergency. This is what confinement looked like in Spain.

Only the most essential services were open and running. Essential services meant, basically, large food stores, mostly supermarkets. But any establishment that sold food, such as smaller grocery stores and corner shops were allowed to open as well.

Also specialty food shops such as bakeries, greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers could also stay open.

Large department stores similar to Target or Walmart were allowed to open if they offered food or sported a food section. Here in Spain we don’t have Target or Walmart, but we have similar businesses such as Carrefour and Alcampo.

However, these department stores could only open the FOOD section of their stores. Any sections not selling food items, such as household goods sections or clothing sections, were required to remain closed. A simple ribbon cutting these sections off to keep them closed to the public sufficed.

Pharmacies (chemists) and drugstores were the other type of establishment that were allowed to remain open.

In Spain, pharmacies and drugstores are two different types of shops. Pharmacies sell medication, as well as some specialty types of cosmetics (Avène, La Roche Posay, that sort of thing).

Drugstores, on the other hand, are where you go to acquire hygiene products such as bleach, detergent and soap. Fortunately the government considered cleaning products a basic necessity — after all, we needed to disinfect our homes and clothes — and drugstores could remain open.

People were allowed to leave their homes ONLY in order to go shopping at these establishments.

You could also go out for the following reasons:

  • to visit your doctor or any clinic, health care centre or hospital for any medical reason
  • to go to work, if you worked in a sector that was allowed to work and where working from home was not possible
  • to visit a person who was dependent upon your care, such as an elderly relative who was ill or if you were babysitting for a child while their parents worked
  • to return home, for example in the case that the sudden declaration of the state of alarm should have happened to catch you travelling far from home

Going for a walk, to go jogging or bike riding or to practise any form of sport was NOT allowed.

I was amazed when I saw news reports where people in countries under lockdown were calmly strolling through parks, riding bikes down the street or jogging along the seaside. These activities were NOT permitted here in Spain during lockdown.

In fact, parks and beaches were closed during the whole of the quarantine period.

Another activity which I observed a good deal of on TV in other countries was the celebration of protest marches. Protest marches were NOT permitted here in Spain.

However, you were allowed to go to your windows or out on your balconies to protest. Popular forms of protest here in Spain during quarantine included pot-banging on your balconies.

If you violated any of these rules, you could and would expect to be fined. A typical fine could start anywhere from 600€ upwards.

Needless to say, get-togethers and parties were totally forbidden and if you were caught attending one, you would definitely receive a fine.

You couldn’t go to visit your family members or friends. You couldn’t go grocery shopping — which was the only type of shopping permitted — with other people. Grocery shopping had to be carried out singly. So you couldn’t, say, arrange to meet up with your friend at the supermarket.

Another condition which was striking was the prohibition of going grocery shopping far away from your home. In theory, you were limited to doing your shopping at the grocery store or supermarket nearest your home.

So you couldn’t, for example, grab your car to drive to Carrefour (the Spanish version of Target or Walmart) if you already happened to enjoy the presence of a grocery store on the corner of your own street. If caught by the police doing that — and police controls were ubiquitous and frequent — you could and would receive a fine.

In my case, one of my favourite supermarkets is Mercadona. It’s the national supermarket par excellence and just about everyone loves it.

However, in spite of Mercadona sporting a heavy presence in the entire country, the nearest establishment is about 1 km from my house. Whereas on the other hand, there are 2 smaller grocery stores right across the street from me.

So by law, I was only allowed to do my shopping at either one of the 2 grocery stores across the street. I was not supposed to walk 1 km to Mercadona.

But like most people, I like Mercadona. It sports the greatest variety of products and unlike many grocery stores, it also offers non-food items which, since they are mixed in with the food products rather than separated in a separate section of the store, they were allowed to sell these non-food items as well.

With all other non-food shops closed, oftentimes our only option for obtaining non-food items was at Mercadona. So you can understand why we all wanted to go there.

In addition to food, at Mercadona you could buy plastic food containers, cosmetics, personal hygiene items (shampoo, shower gel etc), all products related to your pet needs, ice-cube makers and even candles and incense.

I might add other department stores also sold these items. But in other shops, they would have been displayed in a different section from the food section and therefore unavailable to the public.

But as I mentioned, the nearest Mercadona was 1 km from my home. That meant that every time I wanted to go to this particular supermarket, I had to duck into some narrow alleyways that lead in the general direction towards Mercadona. I also made good use of pedestrian streets as much as I could on my way to this favourite supermarket of mine.

The reason for this was in order to not get caught by the police walking to a supermarket so far away from my home. Since the police patrolled in cars you could sneak down alleyways and pedestrian thoroughfares in order to not get caught.

This turned every mundane, routine grocery shopping trip into an exciting grocery shopping adventure that made me feel like a spy every time I went shopping!

If your nerves are not up to so much excitement and reading a good chiller thriller in the safety of your armchair is more your cup of tea, I’ve got a few I’d lurrve you to check out. You can have a look at them over here in Thrillers by Moi.

So, how have you been enjoying your time in quarantine? What is life under confinement like in your country? Tell tell.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Back to Granada Again (Because who knows when we will be able to go back to Granada again)

Pies (Because everyone is still at home cooking)

Shikakai: My Recent Experiment

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Do you think from now on we will always have to wear masks? New generations will consider putting on a mask before going out as essential as putting on shoes or trousers to go out.

Young kids would be unable to even conceive of a time when people could still go out without masks.

Mask Carnaval Venice

Well who knows, it could happen. Millenia ago people didn’t wear trousers. They just wore a tiny piece of loincloth. But life on earth has developed and today no one would think of going outside without their trousers on.

Generations of the future will design masks with all different shapes and colours. There will be designer masks with paintings by Picasso and Velazquez as well as paintings by contemporary famous artists on them.

There will be a new type of business. Alongside graphic designers who dedicate their businesses to designing only book covers, posters or publicity flyers there will be artists who only paint pictures for masks.

There will be masks with sequins. Decorated nose and mouth masks that form a set with decorated eye masks, for people to wear to balls where you have to wear a mask to cover your eyes.

There will be new types of hijabs that at the same time serve to prevent the spread of viruses.

The lipstick industry will be threatened.

But people love lipsticks and red mouths. So I’m sure industry leaders, or even just everyday women — because we loooveee our lipsticks and lip glosses so much — will strive to invent a way to continue using lipstick even though we have masks on.

So maybe they will come up with some sort of clear masks that prevent the spread of viruses but at the same time allow your lips to be seen. So then you will still need lipstick.

They will need to invent new formulas so your lipstick doesn’t rub off on the mask.

Ingenious designers and engineers will contrive new ways to eat and drink outdoors or at restaurants and cafés, so you can eat and drink outside without catching the virus.

Mona Lisa and mask

And if you’d like to check out some new book covers (or just grab some more reading material) have a look over my thrillers.

So how are you getting on with your masks? What do you think of the new mask-filled world to come? Leave me a comment below. I lurrrve to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Quarantine Diaries: Fines Fines Fines

Spanish Beaches

Harira Makin’ (Because it’s Ramadan, even if you can only break your fast this year all alone at home…… but at least if you read this post you’ll have homemade harira)

Homemade Soap

Reminiscing On…… Magno Soap

Magno soap is the famous classic Spanish black soap. It is completely black like our cat haha.

It’s supposed to smell like patchouli although to me it smells more like sulphur haha.

Magno Soap

It was a real revolution when it first came out 100 years ago because in those days, from what I’ve read, patchouli was virtually unknown in Spain. Also making it black really attracted attention. It immediately sold out everywhere. So you can see it is a Spanish classic.

Even though it smells like sulphur (to me, or patchouli, depending on your olfactive preference) the smell really grows on you and when you don’t use it for a time you miss it. I always have a few boxes of it stored around the house, so I never run out.

It always brings me back to big lofty mansion-sized historic apartments in the luxurious central neighbourhoods of Madrid. Around the Paseo del Prado where the apartments are gigantic and sport many wings and the ceilings are high and lofty and made of marble. The walls and furnishings are also made of marble and everything is gold gilded.

Usually elegant elderly people live in these apartments. Everything they use is classic and elegant. They own classic shiny metal soap holders with intricate decorations on them. And they always boast a bar of Magno soap in their powder rooms.

And mmmhh how the scent wafts out of these art-déco powder rooms!

The scent of patchouli (or sulphur, whichever way you prefer to see it hehe).

And now if you find you’ve got more time on your hands than you know what to do with and you’re bored of watching yet another film on TV, yet one more video, why not grab some reading material? I’ve got a neat collection of creepy, scary horror tales for you. Check out my thrillers here: Thrillers by MoiYou can get them for Kindle so they’re not expensive.

What soaps do YOU like? Drop me a note in Comments down below. I LURRRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

And as I mentioned earlier, our cat is black. Completely, midnight-shaded black. Just like Magno soap.

Black Kitty Cat
If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

DIY Catio or Sun Window / Sun Balcony for Cats (Another home DIY project you can nibble on now that you can’t go out)

Walking in the Rain (Now that we can’t go out for walks in the rain or in the sunshine or in anything)

Pies (Because I’ve noticed a huge boom in recipes sites lately, I wonder why……)

Castile Soap and Coconut Milk for Hair

Quarantine Diaries: Fines Fines Fines

Well I do agree it has been a while since I’ve been on this blog. But now with everyone in quarantine due to the coronavirus here, I find myself with a little extra time — and a TON of things I’d like to comment about.

So hopefully I’ll be dropping back every once in a while with these comments on these little things that I observe during these uncertain times.

Fines

In general I praise the police for their exemplary performance at a difficult job in what are undeniably difficult times. But personally I also think some of them are going fine crazy over here. They fined a guy for buying a fridge and picking it up. They argued that fridges are not essential items for survival.

Well I disagree! If you don’t have a fridge you will need to go shopping every day because many foods don’t last without a fridge. So you need to buy them every day. And I thought the idea was that people NOT go shopping every day.

And also if you have no fridge food will go bad. And then you will be tempted to eat bad food. And then you will get sick and need to go to the hospital.

Although if you DO go to the hospital you might get turned away because you don’t have coronavirus. It’s not the hospital’s fault, I do want to add. I know all the health-care workers are doing their absolute utmost and putting their lives out on the line to take care of everyone.

But hospitals everywhere are overwhelmed. And just entering a hospital these days is pretty much akin to catching COVID-19, where the virus is floating freely around the very air and so many hospital workers aren’t even provided with even the most basic protective equipment.

So as I said you probably wouldn’t get admitted to hospital. You ONLY have salmonellosis, or listeriosis or botulism, which can also kill you without treatment.

But that’s ok, as far as the powers that be are concerned. Because at least you didn’t die from coronavirus. So you wouldn’t enter into the statistics anyway, so no one will know that you died or what you died from.

After all if you die in your home from salmonellosis no one will know you died from salmonellosis, right? Because you didn’t get into the hospital so you never received an official diagnosis.

And I doubt they’re going to do an autopsy, because although I’m not too well-versed on the subject (ie. disclaimer: I have no idea) I get the impression that nowadays not too many autopsies can be carried out right now. So in most likelihood no one will ever know what you really died from, so your death will most likely be attributed to the virus.

So then you can’t even claim compensation because you will have no proof of any sort that you didn’t die from the virus. (Well obviously I meant your family hehe.)

But at any rate, from what I’ve read it’s still better than in the States where if you can’t pay your medical bills you will get turned away even if you have the virus.

I couldn’t understand why thousands of people are dying in their homes of the virus every day in the States. But turns out it’s because they can’t pay the medical bills so they don’t go to the hospital.

So you see, you should let people buy fridges and showers and hot water heaters. Hot showers are also essential because they are necessary for hygiene and hygiene is necessary to prevent illnesses such as getting coronavirus or any other viruses.

Well just my two cents’ worth of comments and completely my own humble but biased opinion for the day.

Take care everyone. DON’T go out unless it’s really necessary. Remember that if you #stayhome you’re much less likely to get the dreaded coronavirus.

And wash your hands with soap A LOT, especially if you just went outside or picked up something that you just brought in from outside. For at least 20 seconds. Count them. I actually do count them: one thousand one, one thousand 2……

In fact, for that matter, ever since my kids were babies I instilled in them the habit of WASHING THEIR HANDS with soap and water the minute they walked in the door.

As soon as we walk in, the first thing we do: take off our shoes and leave them at the door. We have slippers for inside the house.

The next thing we do, we take off our jackets.

And then, straight away, it’s off to the bathroom for our routine HAND WASHING!

Only after they have done all that are they allowed to do anything else, whatever they want to / have to do: unpack the food, go play, watch TV, whatever.

My kids have rarely ever been sick in their lives. They do get illnesses, but most are not of an infectious nature. One of my sons has asthma, but he was born with that.

So once again, remember: #stayathomesavelives.

And spend all your extra time reading blogs like mine haha.

Or if you’re in the mood for some creepy, scary horror tales, check out my thrillers here: Thrillers by MoiYou can get them for Kindle so they’re not expensive.

So how are you spending your quarantine? Let me know what you’re up to in Comments down below. I LURRRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

Black Kitty Cat
If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

A Month at the Gym: Is the Gym Really Worth It? (Now that we can’t go to the gym at all……)

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Pizza Makin’ (Because what else are we gonna do now that we’re stuck at home, except cook lotsa goodies?)

Soapmaking, How to Make Soap At Home

Remembering — Lucie Silvas

I love music. So thought maybe I’d occasionally write a post dedicated to my favourite artists.

So many of the best unfortunately disappear, without having deserved it, in my opinion.

Here is another singer who has just simply disappeared.

Lucie Silvas – Nothing Else Matters

Lucie Silvas – Nothing Else Matters
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She came here to Spain once and she was in a dance competition show, Fame! Let’s Dance. That was a show that was popular for a few years, every year they had a bunch of dancers and they trained the dancers over a period of months and every week a pair of dancers was eliminated.

Lucie Silvas came and performed at that show. I really really liked her. And then she disappeared. Her first CD was a super hit but her second CD flopped so her record company simply dropped her and she was unable to find a recording contract since then.

She was so talented. But even so, her record company just dropped her.

This is, I think, the best song on her CD, although “What You’re Made Of” was also a very famous and popular hit from that CD.

I thought she had written “Nothing Else Matters” but turns out it’s a cover of someone else’s song, Metallica’s.

Yes it is really really sad, I wish Lucie Silvas would find another recording contract. She is an AMAZE performer, just incredible. It’s amazing how this business (or any other business for that matter) works. She had 2 incredible years, with gigs just about every day as she herself says, and then…… Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Her second CD flopped so her recording company simply dropped her and since then she hasn’t been able to find a single thing. Not one recording contract. Not one gig. Nothing.

She has written songs for a third CD and recorded tons of demos of these songs but still, nothing.

And in contrast, they kept dragging a drug addicted and spaced out Whitney Houston out for more and more gigs even though she wasn’t even able to produce any sounds or keep her eyes open she was so conked out.

You can check out Lucie Silvas’ website, where she sometimes posts demos, new music and recordings, here: http://luciesilvas.com

And if you’d like to read some exciting thrillers, I’ve written a few so if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out here: Thrillers by Moi.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Poetry by Hermenegildo

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Thrillers by Moi

DIY Catio or Sun Window / Sun Balcony for Cats

Why have a cat like this? (Squished onto your tiny window ledge.)

Catio Cat Sun Balcony

When you can have a cat like this? (Hanging out in all spaciousness out on your exterior window sill.)

Catio Cat Sun Window

Fun DIY projects (not!) for people like me who are lumps at DIY.

You can’t see it too well (it does reflect the flash slightly, I think) but it’s a DIY catio that provides your cat with his own sun window.

Of course it’s night so not much sun.

And of course there are plenty of things I’d prefer to be doing rather than constructing a sun terrace for my cat. But he is just going CRAZY to get out there, clawing and scratching at the window, and we can’t keep the windows shut in the hot Spanish summer.

So now, even if, like us, you live in a high-rise apartment building, your cat can still enjoy a piece of the lovely outdoors and sun himself in his very own sun window / sun balcony.

Here’s how I made our DIY catio.

I went to the hardware store and got some wire mesh. You don’t need to ride all the way out to Bricomart or Leroy Merlin, our own neighbourhood hardware store (ferretería if you’re here in Spain) also carried them. We’re very lucky we have thick iron bars outside our windows, to keep thieves out!

We also have wide window sills, whose original purpose was to hold plants, not cats.

But the bars are set wide enough apart for a nimble cat to slip through them and fall to his death on the pavement below. And the window sill is not wide enough to prevent the cat from slipping off and falling to his death on the pavement below.

Hence the need for an enclosed cat space or catio.

So all I had to do was line the wire mesh on the inside of the iron bars. I made tiny holes in the mesh and fixed the mesh to the iron bars using plastic ties.

And that’s it!

The cat, whose nickname is Mr Bitey because he’s always biting and gnawing away at objects — all objects — of course at first he had to have his stint of trying to bite his way through the wire mesh.

But fortunately it did occur to me to leave one of the plastic ties uncut. I cut off the rest so they wouldn’t stick into my poochie moggie. So he entertained himself happily chewing away at the uncut plastic tie while he lounged around in his new catio.

He loves his own solitary space. He can catch cool breezes there in the evening, getting some relief from the scorching Spanish sun. He can watch the neighbours going about their affairs, and match the sounds that he hears through the window with the actions that he can now observe and which up till now had always been rather a mystery for him.

Catio Cat Sun Balcony

Happy cat in his sun window

In the light of day you can’t really see the wire mesh. But it’s there keeping the cat safe from falling through the iron bars.

He spends hours lounging away up there. He’s a happy cat, and we’re relaxed and at ease knowing that he’s safe while he enjoys himself.

Of course, I do have to check the wire mesh frequently to make sure that there aren’t any holes that the cat could slip through. I’d bought a piece of mesh that was 1,5x2m (European metric, in the UK or the US you’d probably measure it differently) for each window. I used up most of it, and a bit was left over which I’ve saved in case I ever need to do any patch-up work.

As a side benefit, it also serves to keep mosquitos, flies and other flying nasties out!

And while we’re at it, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out, here: Thrillers by Moi.

So, how about you? Do you have any cat tips you’d like to share? Have you built your own catio, or covered your balconies and windows to make them safe for cats and dogs? Do share. You know I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

Black Kitty Cat

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Soapmaking, How to Make Soap At Home

Frankincense — Or How You Can Make Your House Smell Like Holy Week

Harira Makin’

Natural Skin and Hair Care Routine