Some of my persisting hobbies post stroke

I wanted to share a little indoor hobby I pursue. Perfumery. I have made perfumes, lotions, face masks, bath bombs, bath teas, and soaps for most of my adult life. Post stroke, I have found aromatherapy and stimulating my olfactory system to be a grounding and soothing experiencing. If I’m experiencing an introspective “in my head” anxiety day, an interesting smell will bring me back out of my head. Perfumery has always gone hand-in-hand with my gardening. I’ve started making lavender pillow sprays as I use it every night as part of my dozing routine. Making perfume is a simple, enjoyable, mostly indoor activity. At its basic level it doesn’t require a deep degree of instruction, and playing with scented notes is rewarding for the nostrils. I do make more complex colognes which requires a bit of science, but on the whole I enjoy experimenting. Scent stimulates the hippocampus, and can induce memories and emotions.

Below is a picture of a perfume I have recently bottled, which my partner says is quite a pleasant male perfume, consisting of lavender and wormwood.

I am about to make a few batches of viking soap, so I will post some pictures on this thread.


@Rups I do so admire you for finding so many diverse hobbies and pastimes. You’ve bottled the fragrance beautifully :sunflower:

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Diolch @DDMH, I do enjoy tinkering with potions and lotions.

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@Rups that’s amazing. You seem to have a flair for this type of thing. Sadly I’m allergic to Lavender which irks me a lot as its a lovely shrub.
Look forward to seeing more pictures.


Oh, do you like Russian Sage then? it’s the next best thing.

Diolch yn fawr Loraine, I guess I am a bit of a dabbler in eclectic pastimes, but I also cannot abide feeling aimless, I never have. As a child, my father brought me up never to feel bored as there is always something to do, or get on with. I know that some people say that boredom is good for children because it sparks the imagination, but I never felt that way. I was always imaginative but I was also a single parent child, so spent a lot of time on my own … dabbling away :grinning:


Ooo I’ve never heard of Russian sage. I’ll have to look into it & give it a try.

Hi @Rups, I’m impressed! Do you also have a pointy hat like one of the characters in your book (which I’ve bought but not read yet)? Perhaps it is autobiographical?

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Ha-ha, no, in fact when making soap with lye, it’s goggles and surgical gloves!

Just messaged you the title :blush:.


Hello @Rups. I too make soap and I also have an outfit for the purpose. I was terrified to do it again post stroke as I am only too aware of the damage that can be done with lye and my ability now to spill/break/knock over things knows no bounds. I planned it very carefully and ran it through several times in my head before starting. So far the only casualty has been a pyrex jug which was empty.
I love being creative with it especially the essential oils and make little gifts of the soap, lip balm, and body butters which are alot safer and don’t require PPE.
Intrigued and interested in the viking soap and look forwards to photos.
Interesting also what you said about your father- my dad would effectively tell me off for watching TV during the day unless I was ill as there was always something better to do.
Julia x


Shwmae Julia,

Soap making is a joy. Vegetable based soaps are much easier than dabbling with lye, but for me doesn’t produce as fine a result. I also make body butters, recently with unrefined Shea and an oil infused with blackberry leaves. I added peony essential oil for a pleasant scent.

As a child, I was only allowed television with my evening meal, sat on an armchair with a plywood board across it for a tray. To this day, I prefer to eat while watching something on the telly, and have indoctrinated my family to do the same.

I collected a bucket full of conkers today and will make some Viking soap, to show and tell, over the weekend, for tomorrow I shall be squishing grapes to make wine.


Lavender pillow spray in the making. Of course, camomile could be added, but this is going to be pure lavender. I’ve added a dash of glycerin to help it stick to the fabric rather than just soak through.


Have you thought of scented candles or aromatherapy vaporizer, i wish you luck with your interesting hobby. xx

Shwmae @Cwmbran, I use an oil burner regularly. Scented candles have been on the plan for many year, using my beeswax but, alas, time drips away too often.

In the 2000s i did a course in Aromatherapy at my local college, only male in the class. Was in much demand cause im rather hairy and the girls had to experience male body hair. Always used essential oils always went home smelling and feeling great, my wife was most appreciative as i practiced on her and her mates never tried to make my own oils just blended them, changed my hobbies quite a lot, now into jewellery making and wood carving.i believe that a hobby is essential to keep the brain fog out. I also do sudduko, sorry not well spelt, it alsomakes me think keep it up and best wishes to you Allan


Shwmae Allan, I’d like to make my own oils, and put a copper distiller on my Christmas list but I’ve had it on my Christmas list for the past five years now, and Mrs Claus seems to know better by providing me with socks and hankies instead. Oh well, blending oils is just as much fun. It sounds like you had a great opportunity to gain some skills in perfumery (aromatherapy). I do so enjoy my hobbies, it’s fulfilling to have something to aim for, that adds a quality of life, and provides wellbeing. I enjoy having conversations with people who have a passionate pastime, I always learn something new, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

I have a friend who wood carves and makes jewellery, one of his prized achievements is a piece of chainmail he made from scratch. Why did he make a piece of chainmail? For no other reason than to see if he could do it, and to learn something new and interesting. Lovely.

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Wotcha mate

My wanted gifts from lasr year were tools for my dremel, got quite a lot too but had my stroke 30 Dec so knackered before i even started properly got a tree spirit marked out but carving wood and jewellery dont realy coexist to dusty, to much cleaning up either way, getting to tired to cope so at the moment spending time watching the experts on YouTube . Need a holiday from cooking, cleaning and washing-up etc. Making the jewellery is bad enough when when your eyes dont foucus as well as before. But enough of my moaning looking forward to spending time in my workshop Allan

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Alan Your post gave me the gentle kick up the butt I needed. Have put suitable wood aside for carving, found my tools but could not motivate myself to start but your mention of the dreaded brain fog which still comes far too often has spurred me to get started. Local chap started on penguins for his young daughters and now their knee deep in them and pleading for wood spirits. Woman at my stroke support group was silver jewellery maker and now busy again inspirational. Paul

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Viking soap … still needs a bit more drying time. This is the most pure press but I have made others with additional ingredients to improve the recipe. A fun batch I make is a green Viking soap, coloured with nettle juice. Nettle makes a brilliant green dye and is used in clothing.