Last month I attended a really interesting event run by Olbas Oil, full of information about dealing with colds and flu, helping children to sleep when they're under the weather, and the general importance of good sleep to your overall well-being.
I've been meaning to write about this ever since. But guess what? We've all been ill! Struck down like bowling pins, the whole family has been hacking, coughing and sneezing with the worst cold I've known in years. So, what's that all about? A clever marketing ploy? Is this what they mean by 'going viral' with their campaign?
I have to say, the samples I came away with have been a god-send. While Ruby was suffering, I came up with a plan to coax her out of her PJ's and get her on the road to recovery.
These Bless you Bath Bombs went down a treat, and their soothing essential oils ease aching muscles, while the steam from the warm bath releases the vapours to clear congestion and aid restful sleep.
Sure, you can buy Olbas Oil bubble bath, which is really rather lovely, but bath bombs are a sure fire way to cheer Ruby up, and they make a lovely, thoughtful gift for a poorly friend - much more useful than a card and a bunch of flowers.
If you want to have a go yourself, here's how. You can make them up and keep them sealed in a plastic bag or cellophane to keep dry and they'll last for ages. Won't you be a top mate if you popped a couple of these in a parcel and mailed them to a bunged up friend, or produced them for your man-flu suffering hubby?
The basic 'recipe' for a bath bomb is very simple. It's 2 parts bicarbonate of soda to 1 part citric acid, plus oil and essential oil/fragrance.
For the 4 I made, I used 100g of bicarb and 50g of citric acid. You will find bicarb in the baking aisle at the supermarket and citric acid in the chemist/pharmacy.
Pour the powders into a glass bowl then add a few drops of oil to moisten. I use olive oil as it leaves your skin silky smooth, but you could use any vegetable or nut oil (almond oil is also lovely, but be wary of nut allergies if you're giving these away).
Mix together - you want a consistency like wet sand. This is essentially just like making sand castles. Add the decongestant oil and mix well- use Olbas For Children for younger members of the family. Add approximately 12 drops. For grown ups you can use the regular Olbas Oil, but as it's stronger, you'll need less.
Spoon the mixture into your mould. I use one of those plastic spheres you get cruddy toys in at supermarket vending machines (I know, sucker!), you can use plastic Kinder Eggs, or improvise with something you have in the house. Onto greaseproof paper, tap out firmly, like you would a sandcastle, and leave overnight to harden. If you want to make them into spheres, leave to harden, then moisten the flat edges with a little oil and push gently together, blending and blurring the edges together with your fingers. Leave to harden again.
Don't you think a basket filled with high vit c juice or cordial (like my elderberry cordial), some Bless You Bath Bombs and some soft Olbas tissues would be perfect to receive if you're up to the eyeballs in flu?
The Olbas for Children is suitable for babies from 3 months - not that I'd suggest giving bath bombs to one so young!
Instead add a couple of drops to their bed clothes or onto a hankie secured near their bed. There are lots more practical tips on helping babies with colds in this video, by the paediatric nurse who lead our session.
What are your top tips for dealing with colds and flu? I'd love to hear them.
Disclosure: I attended an event hosted by Olbas Oil and received a goody bag of products. All views, ideas and opinions expressed here are my own. I am not medically qualified, so please seek professional advice if you or your child is ill.