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My Morning Routine — Slow Living

So, following up on my last post on how not to carry out your morning routine, this is what I actually do do every day.

Morning Routine With Cup of Coffee

Lately I’ve noticed that it’s become quite the rage on YouTube for everyone to vlog about their morning routines, especially the slow living ones.

Well, I don’t have a vlog or a YouTube channel. However I do have this blog. So I thought I’d share my morning routine here.

I’m not a morning person at all. I have a hard time getting up early, although sometimes I’ll suffer from the opposite problem and go to bed too early. Then I’ll wake up at 3 in the morning and I can’t get back to sleep.

Although I think perhaps the reason I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night is precisely because of the anxiety I feel about not being a morning person. Because of the pressure I feel — which most night owls like me would probably identify with — to get up earlier. Which makes me feel like I ought to wake up earlier. Then said anxiety makes me overdo it and I wake up too early.

Because let’s face it. We live in a society which tells us that morning people are overall BETTER and SUPERIOR to the rest of the mortals in the world: morning people are supposedly more productive, morning people catch the worm, etc.

Because since they get up so early supposedly they work more hours than night owls. Although if you stopped to actually calculate it, if you work 8 hours a day from, say, 5 o’clock in the afternoon till 1 in the morning, you’re still working exactly the same number of hours as someone who works from 9 to 5.

But it just feels like the person who started work earlier worked more hours, because he began earlier. Never mind that the person who started working later also finishes later. People still get the impression that the person who started work earlier, worked more hours.

But that’s getting off the subject, which is how I begin my day (regardless of what hour I actually begin it lol).

I recently took a meditation course. I would really recommend it, it’s called Sahaj Samadhi meditation and it is THE BEST technique of meditation I have ever tried, and I’ve tried many. But maybe I’ll write more about this in another blog post one day………….

So as I was saying, I recently learnt a new form of meditation. The teacher advised us to begin our day first thing with meditation. We should meditate as soon as we wake up, she said. Before our first cup of coffee. Before we even brush our teeth.

But I found that it just simply didn’t work for me. Because I usually wake up raging with hunger. So then I spend the whole meditation only dreaming about breakfast.

I guess you really just have to do what works for you. So I start my day by brushing my teeth.

After that I wash my face. I just use water, I find that works best for me. I usually take a shower the night before and do my facial routine at that moment, which includes moisturizing my face with oil. So by washing your face with only water you’re not removing the healthy oils you put on it the night before.

At least that is what works for me. If you’ve got an extremely oily face naturally though you might not want to do this. I have combination skin so it’s fairly dry except for my nose.

Next I need to have something to eat because as I said I always wake up raging with hunger. Something light, so I can meditate. I like to start with a glass of fruit juice supplemented with supplements.

After that, with hunger pangs appeased for a few minutes, I do indeed feel free to meditate.

After meditation I take a few moments for gratitude time. Then I envision what I want, or whatever I’m working towards.

I continue with a fairly long yoga routine and a workout. If I’m running short on time though I’ll usually postpone it till the evening.

After that it’s “official morning drink” time haha. I’m too lazy to boil water. I don’t have a kettle and even if I did I’m just too impatient to wait for the water to boil anyway. So I usually just prepare a cold drink such as a smoothie.

(Note: I’ve since then bought a kettle, best investment ever and it only costs around 20€. I now make about 3-4 cups of tea every day.)

Although most people start their day with hot chocolate — when I visited France I began each day with a croissant and a bowl of hot chocolate — I like to drink Eko. Eko is made of barley, malt and chicory.

When I lived with a family in Italy we began every day with a mug of Orzo and I loved it. Orzo is simply barley and you dissolve it in milk the same way you do hot chocolate or cocoa.

After I returned from Italy I searched everywhere for soluble barley and I couldn’t find any. But eventually I did discover Eko, which is nearly the same thing.

But as I said, I’m usually too lazy, too impatient and too hungry to wait for some frozen liquid to heat up and boil. So I just have Eko cold.

My breakfast changes every day and in accordance with my changing moods. I tried having the same thing for breakfast every day but I got bored. I need change!

If I had a shower the night before I just jump straightaway into my day. But if I hadn’t, because sometimes I’m just too tired and I conk out without taking a shower, this is the moment for a shower.

I talk extensively about my natural hair care routine in several posts on this blog, so if you’re interested you can check them out. Basically, I don’t use sulphate shampoo and I haven’t done so in about 3 and a half years.

If you wanna know what I use instead of shampoo (and no, it’s not baking soda and vinegar, ugh! Those left my hair drier than a broom!) do have a look through the blog posts in this category.

I know about some people who like to begin their days with a refreshing and energizing walk………… out in the middle of nature………. surrounded by birdsong and waving green leaves, the soft pounding of the ocean………..

But this is the view out my window, and when I go out the door of my high-rise apartment building.

Grey Skies and Highrise Buildings

So alas, faint little birdsong or waving green leaves to be had in my walk, I fear. Maybe the cooing of a few pigeons……………

And although I am indeed blessed to be able to go and listen to the waves pounding against the sand whenever I want, I have to walk half an hour in order to be able to do so. So unfortunately it’s not something I’m usually able to get around to on a typical, rushed and frenzied day.

After the shower it’s time to begin my day. I never do the same things from one day to the next. And because of this current situation I’ve been fortunate enough to now work partly from home. So I don’t have a fixed work schedule and it changes from day to day.

If you’d like to incorporate some relaxing reading into your daily routine, I’d love it if you began with some of my novels. You can check them out here: Thrillers by Moi.

So how do you begin your day? Have you heard about slow living? Don’t hesitate to leave me some (positive, non-spammy) comments below.

Adorable black cat

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

Grey Skies

A Treasure Cave

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Pizza Makin’

Influencers’ Morning Routine vs. MY Morning Routine

If you watch YouTube videos, you might have discovered that it’s all the rage these days to uncover popular Influencers’ morning routines.
I understand that. I watch all the morning routine videos YouTube throws at me, because I’m curious to find out what successful people do every day in order to be successful.
So here is a comparison of my morning routine versus popular influencers’ morning routines:

Morning Routine

Influencer’s Unrealistic Morning Routine*:

*(Based upon an amalgam of real YouTubers’ real videos)

When I first wake up I try to spend a couple hours without looking at my phone. (Says the influencer.)

I disconnect and just devote the first hours of the day to myself and have some quiet me time. I then drink a big glass of water, do some yoga, run 50 miles and have a cup of coffee.

Then it’s time for my shower, where I use all natural homemade products that I made myself.

After my shower I enjoy an all-natural breakfast with homemade bread and all homemade foods. Check out my videos with recipes for homemade rye bread, homemade spelt bread and gluten-free corn bread. I make them every day! (Winsome smile.)

Then I spend some time journaling. I find it helps me to put myself together and I recommend everyone practise journaling as a part of their daily lives.

I practise meditation — I trained with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi himself in my last trip to the Himalayas.

Then I take about an hour to read the Bible and pray.

After that I do my hair and my makeup and get dressed.

Only after I finish all that do I get into my car and drive to my job as CEO of a major international banking corporation.

Now, this is me when I try to follow that Unrealistic Influencer’s Morning Routine:

MY Morning Routine:

I get up, spend about half an hour trying to resist the urge to see if anyone has sent me an exciting whatsapp inviting me on a trip to Africa and then in the end I can’t resist any longer, and I spend about an hour on the phone checking all my groups and all my emails.

And then since I’m lazy and don’t feel like getting out of bed yet, I lounge around some more and read up on all the news.

After that I have a big glass of water and a big glass of diatomaceous earth. I take half a teaspoon of diatomaceous earth (make sure it’s “food grade”, I take it because it’s supposed to make your hair grow) stirred into a glass of water.

Then I spend a long time preparing the cat’s supplements. Then I have juice and supplements as well.

After that it’s time for yoga where I put on a podcast and listen to the podcast while I do yoga.

After the yoga routine I find the podcast so fascinating that I then need to listen to another one. Then another one. And finally another one. So then I just spend the rest of the morning listening to podcasts and do nothing else.

Then I realize it is now lunchtime and I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.

So I go to have breakfast, which might include store-bought items like sliced sandwich bread from a plastic package (as opposed to fresh baked baguettes which is what most people eat here in Europe, but I’m too lazy to get dressed and run down to the bakery), supermarket brand jam and UHT milk.

I eat breakfast while I spend the whole afternoon watching YouTube videos. By the time I finish breakfast it’s dinner time.

And I haven’t even practised meditation yet.

So I sit in meditation, fall asleep and sleep until the next morning. Where I do all these same things all over again.

One day I’ll get that popular and successful influencer’s morning routine down pat!

If you’d like something to read during your evening routine before you go to bed, I’d like to suggest you check out my thrillers. You can check them out here: Thrillers by Moi.

So what does your morning routine look like? Do you do what the influencers do? Do leave me some 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:

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Malaga’s English Cemetery

The Orange Trees

The Blueberry Fiend

Life is Complicated When You Use Natural Products

I wish my life could be as simple as that of “normal” people, like my ex.

Natural Red Flowers and Natural Products

My ex doesn’t use anything natural or ecological. He just goes to the supermarket and buys what everyone else buys.

He washes his laundry with any generic brand (supermarket brand) of detergent, whichever brand is cheapest, and uses generic brand fabric softener which in addition smells good. He doesn’t complicate his life.

He showers with regular shower gel and washes his hair (what little he has left) with regular sulphate shampoos. He doesn’t use conditioner, but then again he doesn’t have much hair to condition. (Har har I’m so mean aren’t I hehe?) He doesn’t use henna or colour his hair and it’s peppery hair.

But then again as they say I guess once you wake up (become aware) you can never UN-awaken again or become unaware again.

Unaware of all the harmful synthetic chemicals that they put in all the products that we use like in laundry detergent, fabric softener or shampoos.

Unaware of how harmful these synthetic chemicals are both for your health as well as for the environment. Unaware that going as natural as possible is the best thing you can do both for your health as well as for the world.

And you can see the results in the health of both my ex as well as his father. Ex has hardly any hair left. Of course I realize that is hereditary.

But maybe a healthier diet, lifestyle and healthier hair care might have made him go bald more slowly or even stopped him from going bald. I certainly know I DEFO have more hair and thicker hair since I started doing things to take care of it.

My hair has certainly come a long way since it was strawlike and fried years ago from monthly hair dyes dyeing it red. Before I discovered henna, I used to use a home hair dyeing kit in a box that was supposed to be more “natural” since it was supposed to be herbal. Well there was nothing herbal about it it was full of harmful chemicals. Maybe it had like a drop of herbs in it haha.

It just seems to me that my life is so much more complicated than my ex’s. He doesn’t wash his clothes with soap nuts, nor put baking soda, washing soda, ammonia and soap flakes into his laundry. He doesn’t wash his hair with solid shampoo, spend hours oiling it and whole days hennaing it.

I’d like to be able to live like him. I’d like to just throw the clothes into the washing machine, dump in some detergent pods and pour a bit of fabric softener into the fabric softener compartment and then just forget about it.

But I can’t do that anymore. Now I know all the junk that’s in laundry detergent, and that’s getting on your skin every time you put on your clothes washed in laundry detergent, and now that I know how bad laundry detergent is for the environment and how it’s killing fish and birds, I just can’t do that anymore.

I wish I could. It would make life so much easier, but I can’t. I wish I could continue to live in blissful ignorance.

But once you become aware you just can’t become UN-aware anymore.

Of course you could also not care. Ex probably sometimes hears about how laundry detergent is bad for lakes and fish and stuff, but he probably just doesn’t care.

I’ve been using soap nuts now I think for about 6 months. And it’s not as simple as using laundry detergent. I have to put the soap nuts in a jar of very hot water for about half an hour in order to activate them before doing the laundry. You can see already it’s more complicated using soap nuts than laundry detergent.

Then after half an hour, when the soap nuts have been activated and have started releasing soap, I throw the sack of soap nuts into the washing machine and also pour in the hot water that was in the jar with the soap nuts. Then I pour in a ton of water into the washing machine because I have a high efficiency front loader — the most popular type here in Europe I guess — and the reason it’s high efficiency is it hardly uses any water. But soap nuts need water to activate. So I have to manually pour in lots of water.

After that I just let wash as normal. But if the load is quite dirty and greasy then I do another cycle with ammonia before the soap nuts. Because soap nuts don’t work well with very greasy clothes. So you can see already that it’s more complicated than using laundry detergent.

But I think the results are worth it. Because then after that I know we are wearing clothes that have no harmful chemicals in them that can get into your skin. We didn’t throw anything down the drain that will later kill fish and birds. And it’s very cheap to boot.

And nothing feels like clothes that have been washed with only soap nuts. Clothes have a softness, mmmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhh, like you’ve never felt before not even with fabric softener. They feel like LIQUID CLOTHES that is how SOFT they feel.

But once again if you are a normal person you probably don’t care if your clothes are soft or not. And you’re probably not thinking too much about wildlife and all these strange and unknown plants and flowers out there. After all, animals and plants you never see have nothing to do with you anyway, right?

I read somewhere that if animals died, humans would die too. Because we depend on them in order to stay alive.

And I’m not just talking about how some people can’t live without steak or lamb chops either haha. But I’ll get off the soap box now. I’m sure everyone already knows all about this stuff.

Moving on to the category of hair care. My ex has hardly any hair left, but you really can’t tell how much of it is due to heredity and how much is (slack) hair care and lifestyle. I told him there are things you can do to not go as bald but he said he’s just given up.

I know there is some medicine you can take that prevents going bald even if you suffer from hereditary baldness. I used to work at a hair clinic and the doctor told me that. He said he himself takes that medicine and he has some of the thickest hair I’ve ever seen on a man his age.

And I told ex that. But he said he’s given up on his hair.

And then people say when women get old they lose their hair too and it gets weak and fragile and thin and breaks easily and falls off. And so I am fighting against that. Genetics helps, I’m blessed with very thick coarse hair so it doesn’t get as fragile and thin as easily.

But you still have to WORK to have great hair, especially after a certain age or certain life events (ie. pregnancy haha).

I still look at the hair I have today and the hair I had before my oldest son “Ermenegildo” was born and really, there’s no comparison. It doesn’t even look like the same hair.

I did have pretty thick hair before Ermenegildo was born too. But it was so strawlike and dry and damaged and fried from using hair dye every month. It had no shine at all and it looked stiff and hard. It did have a nice colour, it was redder than it is now because you can get a stronger colour on dark hair with artificial dyes than with henna.

But it was so stiff and dry. Today I have such soft hair and it’s shiny and has big bouncy curls.

Big Bouncy Red Curls

But I do have to work harder than my ex to have that kind of hair. I have to henna every month because I do have grey hairs now, and also it is what I have to do if I want red hair and I am not a natural redhead.

I do try sometimes to go back to a simpler routine of just throwing in some laundry detergent into the washing machine and some fabric conditioner.

But then I KNOW all the gunk that is in the clothes, even if they come out soft thanks to the fabric conditioner and they smell nice. But I still KNOW all the gunk that is in the clothes and that will then go into your skin and then into your blood.

Laundry detergent is full of chemicals that can cause cancer and even if they don’t give you cancer they can still contribute to all kinds of medical conditions like heart probs, diabetes, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and a long list of etc’s.

Now that I KNOW what laundry detergent does to you when you wear it, well I mean when you wear clothes that have been washed in it, you just can’t NOT know about it anymore. And I KNOW what is in clothes that have been washed with laundry detergent.

And so on with everything else in life.

Which makes life complicated when you use natural products.

And I’d always wanted a simple life. But I guess we do not live in a simple world.

If you’d like to read about more complicated things in life, such as complicated and twisty plotlines, I’d love it if you checked out some of my thrillers. You can read about them here: Thrillers by Moi.

So do you use natural products? Do you find it complicates your life? Do leave me some comments down below. I LURRRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

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

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Soapmaking

Rain 

Harira Makin’

Daily Supplements

Everyone is always talking about the superfoods and daily supplements they take. I imagine the ones that work best for you would depend on what you are like, what health problems you suffer from, what health problems you’re more likely to develop and therefore would like to target the most, your age, etc.

I’m constantly changing around the daily supplements I take. But these are the ones I’m using as of this writing.

Daily Supplements and Vitamin Bottles

I discovered hydrolysed collagen from a video during lockdown so I started taking it. I also read some hysterical reports of people warding off COVID with massive amounts of vitamin C. So I started taking that too.

Eventually, when the panic died down, I realized I was taking just too much vitamin C! So I switched from the heavy duty brand I’d conjured up from Amazon to a more reasonable tube from the supermarket (Mercadona brand actually, if you’re here in Spain and you happen to be interested).

I’ve found it really helps me to take vitamin C. Since I started taking it I don’t get hungry as often and I have more energy. So I have no intention of giving this up!

I like to take the vitamin C with some fruit juice. I don’t really know if it makes any difference but I figure vitamin C is an acid so I s’pose it can’t hurt to take it with some acidic food like fruit juice.

I also take a multi-vitamin with the juice. Truth is I haven’t really noticed any effect from taking these multi-vitamins, but I figure it can’t hurt.

(I’ve since stopped taking these, because I didn’t feel any different from taking them. But I read a report on the news that multi-vitamins help to prevent Alzheimer’s. And my son still takes them.)

I like to put chia in my morning drink but I usually forget. So now you know, if you remember, throw a spoonful of chia seeds in your morning drink. And remember that chia seeds need to either be ground up or soaked in your drink for a few minutes for it to take effect.

After my second son, “Lucrecio”, was born all my hair fell out. Well, not all of it. But it seemed that way. But the worst thing was that it never grew back!

So I started a vigorous hair-growing campaign a few months ago and started bombarding my hair with every kind of daily supplement you can imagine. I upped my natural hair care routine and you can read all about it here.

But of course, I couldn’t improve my hair routine without taking hair vitamins. So I started doing that too.

I began by taking Phytophanère. You can get that at some pharmacies. They are little brown pills with a smooth coating and they taste just so delish, like chocolate candy. I think they’re mainly a vitamin B complex.

I didn’t notice a huge increase in the thickness of my hair but I did seem to get some moderately extra baby hairs. What did happen was that my nails started growing a lot stronger and faster.

I then switched to biotin, 5000 micrograms of biotin and 500 mg of niacin. That did make a difference!

My hair started falling out a lot less. I can’t really tell if a lot more has grown out because I only started taking these vitamins 8 months ago, so if more hair has grown out it’s not really long enough to notice yet. But I think it’s a tad bit thicker on top. Maybe?

And finally I also throw in some omega 3 capsules and a spoonful of brewer’s yeast in the morning drink. Don’t really know if it’s doing anything, but omega 3 is always good for ya, isn’t it?

Since writing this post a few months ago, I’ve since switched to a multiple-B complex. I got it on Amazon. It contains the complete range of all B vitamins, folic acid and a couple other stuff thrown in as well. This makes a huge difference in my life! I now have a lot more energy. Almost as much as a normal person hehe.

I’ve also started taking Lutein, after my ex sister-in-law praised the wonders of lutein to me. She’s selling herbal and vitamin supplements now since losing her job during Covid.

Incidentally, she started selling these vitamins when she found that she was suffering from “long covid”. That is, side effects that just wouldn’t go away.

A neighbour recommended vitamin supplements. She took them, and all her covid symptoms went away!

So now she sells these supplements herself.

So I looked lutein up on the internet. Turns out some sort of study somewhere — I didn’t take note so I can’t cite it — seems to show that people who took lutein after a certain amount of time were 100% free of degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration.

On the other hand, the control group, who didn’t take lutein, by the end of the study about 1% had developed some degenerative eye illness.

Degenerative eye diseases are fortunately not very common. Even if you do nothing at all, the chances are great that you will never develop such an illness anyway.

But it never hurts to give your probabilities a little push in the direction that you want, right, heehee?

So I started taking lutein as well, about 10 mg per day.

You can also get lutein from tomatoes. I don’t eat a lot of tomatoes, I’m not particularly fond of tomatoes (or anything acidic, I’ve always been known as the acid girl because I’m so acidic naturally I turn silver black within just a few minutes) and I don’t prepare pasta with tomato sauce nearly as often as I should. So I figure maybe I could be low on lutein.

And finally, because my cat is allergic to pollen, I started taking pollen too.

So, you say. If your cat is allergic to pollen, why do YOU take the pollen? Are you and your cat one and the same?

Well, since affirmations appear to be all the rage these days, we can all go around chanting — and I encourage you to do this every day:

“I and my cat (or dog, if you have a dog) are ONE! I and my cat (or dog) are ONE!”

If you do this every day you will probably start to find that slowly, day by day, you and your cat (or dog) will probably start to merge together into one single being.

Many people swear by this fix. Do try it out.

Cat Allergies

Well, as I was saying, since my cat is allergic to pollen, I started taking pollen every day.

The reason is because I started giving pollen to my cat, and then I tried it out and I loved the stuff!

(Dunno if it’s helping my cat, some days he appears to be free of allergies and other days he still wheezes. I don’t know if the pollen is doing anything or it’s just simply that some days there is less pollen in the air.)

So now I add half a spoonful of pollen to my morning smoothie every day.

And that basically is what I take every day.

I also try to sneak in some veggies into my diet, a little bit of yoghurt. You know, the usual kinda stuff that your mother was always preaching to you about.

And while you’re on this post, do check out some of my thrillers. You can read all about them here: Thrillers by Moi.

So, do you take supplements? Have you noticed any effect from them? Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment about this down below. I LURRRVE to receive (positive and non-spammy) comments.

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

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Currywurst

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……)

Frankincense — Or How You Can Make Your House Smell Like Holy Week (So at least you have the illusion you are celebrating Holy Week hehe)

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

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