Fairy Sun Showers: [Lush Cosmetics Bath Cocktail]

This delicious little Lush cocktail consists of a generous chunk of Pink FUN, Cyanide Pill bath ballistic[1] as well as lashings of Plum Rain and Snow Fairy shower gels. The inspiration for this Lush cocktail originated from my longing for fairies to magically appear; taking away my worries, negative emotions and frequent intrusive ruminations of past ‘friendships’. Friendships where I had to terminate all contact with the individuals involved. The intrusive thoughts in relation to the terminated relationships were cyclical in nature.

Each thought conjoined onto the next, resulting in further questions of doubt which will most likely remain unanswered. Questions such as, ‘how could I allow myself to be treated in such a manner?’, ‘why did I not stand up for myself?’, ‘why had I not been a better friend for my part?’. The latter question refers to my part in the breakdown of relations, as I am an individual who owns up to their mistakes and willingly takes their share of the blame (where appropriate).  The mistakes I made, the mind-games they played and the emotional distress felt influenced this cocktail. Yet it is my consequent survival which forms the crux of this cocktail’s rationale, as it is about self-empowerment by leaving behind negative entities.

The logic behind this cocktail and its title came from my desire to have the aforementioned thoughts removed (by Fairies) and to rinse away painful emotions (Sun Showers). I did not want to refer to the rinsing part as rain, to do so would give this cocktail a negative vibe. Neither the rationale behind the cocktail nor the end result are deserving of negative connotation. This is because the Lush cocktail is in fact about: empowerment; taking control; inner strength and leaving behind negative influences. This is what I refer to as being positive in a negative situation.

Due to the nature of my anxiety and PTSD, intrusive thoughts and attached emotions can be difficult to deter and ‘let go’. After a few days, I had had enough. I decided if the fairies could not come to me, I would create my own (not literally). Thus, Fairy Sun Showers was formed.

Finally, I am aware that I am not alone with regard to the above friendship situation. As such, Fairy Sun Showers is dedicated to those in search of healing from intrusive thoughts, complex relationships and/or other life stressors. As well as those who like the sound of the product combination and wish to give it a try!

NB: As with all my Lush and therapy posts, at the end of this piece I amalgamate the Lush cocktail discussions with mindfulness skills I practiced. Additionally, these posts are designed to allow for skim-reading for anyone wishing to try out the cocktail minus mindfulness – or my babble.

The Products:

To get the bathing bubble ball rolling, I squelched generous amounts of Snow Fairy and Plum Rain shower gels on the bathtub’s floor. Creating, at least attempting to create, a pink and purple abstract masterpiece on the base of the tub.  I recommend squelching as the first stage of Lush cocktail mixing, as once the gels are in place you can start to blend them together with water pouring from the bath tap. Mounds of fluffy white bubbles will start to develop.

Additionally, vigorously swooshing the water with your hand will speed up bubble creation and increase blending success. Swooshing the water also helps to break down the shower gels and remove them from the tub’s base.

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The addition of Plum Rain’s sweet tartness complemented Snow Fairy’s candy floss scent, by adding a little tart punch to a gloriously sugary aroma that is almost good enough to eat.

Once the tub is around ¼ full, place the FUN in a sieve and hold under the running water. Alternatively, crumble the FUN under the water with your hand. I find the sieve works best for creating bubbles due to it holding the FUN in one place; acting as a barrier and reducing product wastage. This is because when undertaking the hand crumbling method, pieces of FUN can break off into the tub. Consequently, a fiddly standoff ensues as you try to dig out lost chunks to continue the crumbling process.

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Finally, prior to entering the bath, add the Cyanide Pill bath bomb. As this bath bomb puts on a beautiful display, it would be a shame to pop it in any time prior to immediate bath entry. To plonk it in the tub earlier than immediate entry means the show it delivers could be missed. Aside from the bath bomb’s amusing and fitting name (considering the subject-matter of this post), Cyanide Pill was added to soften the syrupy aroma that derived from the presence of the other products.

Cyanide Pill has a slightly nutty, powdered aroma to it. The ingredients that contribute to this aroma are almond oil and cedarwood oil. It is the use of these ingredients that allow Cyanide Pill’s softening properties shine through, as on its own it is a lovely but slightly too gentle fragranced product (for me). However, when blended with stronger fragrances that lie at the other end of the scent spectrum, its full abilities as a bath product come to the fore. As such, its inclusion in the cocktail complimented the tart and sugary scents the other three products provided, as it both dampened down the intensely syrupy aroma and produced relaxing properties similar to those afforded by Lush’s Twilight bath bomb.[2]

Mindfulness: Personal Overview

Mindfulness can be used as a means of distraction during times of anxiety, intrusive thoughts, high emotional distress and for relaxation. As such, all mindfulness exercises discussed throughout this post and blog can be practiced exclusively for relaxation purposes; to enjoy some much needed ‘me time’ away from day-to-day routines and commitments.

In this post, I have included a summary of the skills used and how they were practiced during difficult times. I have done so in the hope that they will be of use to others, by providing a mindfulness ‘recipe’ combined with personal experience(s). As discussed in my previous posts, Lush Cosmetics has been a firm part of my therapy and an important means for me to practice mindfulness. Hence, Lush products are the main ingredient of the mindfulness cocktails. Finally, I find the sensory skills practiced during difficult times far more effective than exercises such as a ‘body scan’.[3] Therefore, the sensory style exercises are featured within each recipe, opposed to body scan category of exercises.

To learn more about mindfulness and its core concept please see this sticky.

Mindfulness Recipe:

During this bath I practiced two mindfulness exercises. I have termed them ‘times three’ and ‘conveyer belt’ and I refer to them as such throughout this recipe. As I had been so overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts and distressing emotions, I found the practical element of ‘times three’ in combination with the imagery involved in ‘conveyer belt’ to be successful in allowing for the stepping back objective of mindfulness to occur. The ‘recipes’ for the two exercises are discussed below.

Times Three:

The objective of this sensory exercise is to non-judgmentally notice three different things using senses such as, scent, sight, touch and hearing. Once you have noticed three things via one of the above senses, repeat the process for other senses until you return to the sense you started with. Continue this cycle of noticing three things by repeating the above process until you feel relaxed and settled enough to have a separation between ‘mental events’ and reality. Even if this separation only exists insofar as relieving emotions for a short period of time. I have discovered that a short separation can be sufficient in reducing the intensity of intrusive thoughts/emotions.

The above exercise summary is the core rationale of the ‘times three’ element of this recipe. I commenced the exercise by looking around the bathroom for three things without allowing automatic thoughts about those things to materialise.[4] To look for the items non-judgmentally, sweep away any thoughts in connection with the item (or generally) that seek to creep in. The aim of sweeping away thoughts is to not let ‘sticky thoughts stick’. No matter what the thoughts may be, even if they are simple and relate to something such as the item’s colour, let them go. This is to practice mindfulness non-judgmentally.

A good method of getting into the habit of practicing this exercise one-mindfully is to look for and notice the next item. If thoughts frequently enter your mind, do not criticise or judge yourself about them. Simply move on to the next item or sensory task. Mindfulness takes time and practice. But I have found quickly moving onto the next item a successful means of getting into the mindfulness habit. Once you have your three items, move onto observing three things with another sense.

Scent was the second activity I opted for. I must admit this was a bit of a challenge, as the bathroom was essentially filled with a strong sugary aroma, where upon first sniff little else could be detected. Nevertheless, this was a good challenge and the result of it was that the complexity of scents from the products used came through. Beyond the initial boom of Snow Fairy came the tartness of Plum Rain and the powdery softness deriving from Cyanide Pill. This was followed by listening for three sounds.

The sound activity is one of my favourites and it operates as an interesting distraction. Only when listening mindfully can you really hear how creaky and noising a house can be. When I came back to this activity sounds from the world outside could be heard.

Times Three is an exercise of rinse, lather, repeat until your thoughts/emotions feel settled enough to end the exercise or add a little more in-depth seasoning to mindfulness practice via ‘conveyer belt’.

‘Conveyer Belt’:

Like Times Three, Conveyer Belt falls within the practical mindfulness category, opposed to still and body centric exercises such as body scan.

How to practice conveyer belt:

Whilst lying in your Lush bath, close your eyes and picture a conveyer belt moving slowly from right to left. Once this image is present, start to visualise open-lid boxes appearing on the belt one at a time, with a space in between them. Just let the boxes glide along, noticing them but not judging them.

Whilst the belt is operating with the boxes, start to allow whatever thoughts, concerns or emotions that were present prior to commencing this activity to come through. Do not hold on to them internally. Instead, place them in a box one at a time. Wait until each box has reached the end of the belt before packaging up another. At the end of the belt, visualise a fairy waiting for your box to arrive. Upon arrival the fairy will lift the box and take it to be shelved. At this stage, box up another thought or troubling matter to be shelved.

Once you have your first lot of packages shelved, acknowledge and allow any judgments and additional emotions which are connected to your troubling thoughts to come through. Again, one by one place them in a box to be taken along the conveyer belt.

Repeat this exercise until you feel ready to progress and observe your situation more objectively. As the theory behind the purpose of this exercise, and mindfulness in general in the therapeutic context, is to allow detangling of the event and the consequent emotional responses. To do so can improve mental well-being, as to become aware of and notice when such tangling has occurred we can learn to manage them better. As emotions and mental events do not have to control and consume us mentally.

Conclusion:

As stated in my previous post, mindfulness is not about removing troubling thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness is about acknowledging and accepting them for what they are. This acceptance derives from separation of the events and thought, in combination with reconnection with one’s body. For me, Fairy Sun Showers and the aforementioned mindfulness exercises achieved this objective. now a firm favourite of mine, as I perceive it to be a beneficial means of self-soothe.

Whilst the hurt of past relationships remained, the above recipe reduced the intensity of my emotions. I was able to acknowledge the hurt and sadness enough to realise that although it hurts now, I had made the correct decision in the long run. This consequential ability to reflect allowed me to begin the process of moving on, as I could see it takes strength to end fruitless relations. Especially where they have negative effects on one’s mental well-being, as no one deserves to be treated cruelly.  This was an empowering realisation. Our strength is our own and once it has been re-discovered, it is time to hold on to it.

No one who treats another person negatively deserves any tears or emotional distress from the injured party. They are clearly the unhappy ones, as if an individual was happy and secure in their own life they would not try to upset another individual. Whether the injurer tries to do so via making the object of their insecurity jealous, saying cruel words or similar action is irrelevant. What is of relevance is the strength of the injured party to leave the other to their unhappy lives. Take empowerment from the fact that you have so many positive attributes that it encroaches on someone else’s well-being, as they place their happiness on your misery. This is their issue, not yours.

Did you try this cocktail and love/hate it? Did you use the cocktail with the mindfulness exercises or own its own? I would love to hear your opinions on this Lush cosmetics bath cocktail.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more mindful Lush cocktails, please follow this blog.

[1] The use of Cyanide Pill was a case of incorporating my sense of humour into the mix. Its use seemed fitting.

[2] Twilight bath bomb has a sweetly mild lavender scent, due to the infusion of ingredients such as vanilla absolute, Tonka and of course, lavender. Thus, it is not as potent or as florally as many generic lavender bath products can be. It is an excellent alternative for those who enjoy the relaxing properties of lavender, but who also do not enjoy being overpowered by solid lavender fragrance.

[3] See sticky for details of body scan exercise or for more about body scan and how to do it, see http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/resources/the-body-scan/

[4] This is to do so non-judgementally

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