CQ. 2020.

By Val the Cookie Queen

PNEUMA. Is an Ancient Greek word for “breath”, and in a religious context for “spirit” or “soul”.  

Well the year started off pretty much like any other.  Until it wasn’t. 

We will start with perfumes since this is what unites most of us who read A Bottled Rose.  Scent of the first hard lockdown  was Neela Vermiere´s Mohur EdP and the Extrait.  Perfume of the second, Strangelove’s fallintostars EdP.  (Waiting for the oil to arrive in the post as this goes to press.)

What did I buy this year?  Chanel Le Lion.  IUNX Eau Blanche, and a couple of 20ml refills for IUNX Talc.  Hiram Green Vivacious.  Strangelove’s fallintostars EdP and the oil.  I still plan to get Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese before the end of the year, as there is twenty per cent off here until the 31st of December.  

My tunes of the year.  Tool – Pneuma (2019)  John Grant – GMF (2013)

I have been taking cold showers for years, except they were never really that cold, I just turned them down from hot.  But for the last few months I go the full Wim Hof, and turn them down to freezing.  It has completely changed my morning routine.  It cleanses the mind, as it is impossible to think of anything at all as your body reacts to the cold.  I am up to about 60 seconds.  Cannot recommend it highly enough.  (And please don’t say you can’t do it, I mean starting with 15 seconds?  Puhleeeese.)

It takes me ages to finish a book these days.  Either because I have the attention span of a piece of wallpaper or because I seem to have at least five books at a time on the go.  But Tara recommended Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens so what choice did I have?  I read it through totally captivated, even cancelling a training session to keep reading.  I loved it and really found myself buried in a book for the first time in a long while.  Great stuff.   

I have been doing the live radio show Baking Bad with the Cookie Queen for a couple of years now, and although nervous before each show, am no longer scared spitless of making mistakes.  That is not to say that I won’t, but at least I kind of know my way around the equipment now.  I have a show on New Year’s Day 2021, 18:00 – 20:00 CET.  I cannot imagine that anyone will be too busy, apart from recovering from a hangover maybe, so tune in!!  The livestream link is always in my Instagram. @armadilloscookiequeen. 

Despite the lockdowns two new Indigo stores opened this year, which upped the number of stores I supply to fifteen.  And although it has not killed me yet, it still might.  They are shut at the moment though and apart from deliveries will remain shut until at least the middle of January, so I have no money, but a bit of a break.   Highlight of the year was getting my backside out of Austria and making it into Switzerland for a few days to visit really good friends.  Sure sitting on a train for eight hours with a mask on was not a much fun as other things I have done, but it is what it is.   

I downloaded the Calm App, probably along with several million others!  Lying in bed at night and listening to stories, or practicing breathing techniques is just brilliant. Not that I am highly strung or anything.  LMAO.  

I have mentioned it before but it bears repeating.  I am so thankful for the technology that allows us not just to keep in touch with people, but to build up new friendships.  We live in incredible times, and in a world of great beauty.  Gratitude and optimism. 

What a ride this year has been.  Have a peaceful festive season, and may we all arrive in 2021 safely and ready for The Pandemic Part II.  (Not to be confused with The Omen Part II)

“Pneuma, reach out and beyond, wake up remember, we are born of one breath, one word, we are all one spark, eyes full of wonder.”  PNEUMA. TOOL.   





Filed under Perfume Reviews

25 responses to “CQ. 2020.

  1. Wherever I turn, Wim Hoff jumps out at me. 😀 I tried the breathing technique nut then life happened. I might, just might, try the cold showers. Probably not in the middle of the winter though. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra

    Heya Val! I tried the cold shower and felt like i had taken a beating. I admire you for taking that on and that you are at 60 seconds!!! Impressive. I am currently hooked on Where the Crawdads Sing. Thank you for your positivity.
    Sandra xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you loving the book too? Maybe you have an overly powerful shower? Anyway, nothing like a good beating in the morning. I wish I was sat at your place now, I dream, as I have told you, of those few days with you. Love to your boys. xxxx


  3. Hamamelis

    Lovely post, thank you Val! My husband did a Wim Hoff workshop years ago, sat in a bathtub with icecubes…he has been ‘hoffing’ ever since. My husband is convinced this is the reason his asthma has cleared up, so much so he often forgets taking his medication. He walks our dog early morning in shorts, t-shirt and sandals, year round. He used to loathe the cold. I am up to 3 minutes…no early morning shorts yet ;-). I have spoken to one of our clients who suffers from MS, and she has improved enormously from WH (and our training I should add…).
    So my husband says there are two tricks; relax (takes practise) and tell yourself often that the cold is your friend. What helps me is to think how great it feels after…After doing it for a while you will (sometimes) look forward to it. Really. I sometimes imagine that I am diving without a suit in a kelp forest, as in the Octopus Teacher (must watch IMHO).
    I think I only bought Vivacious, and I blind bought April Aromatics new one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! That is it, same as exercise. How good you feel afterwards. I do believe that the cold water has healing power, we have a customer who says that he brought his high blood pressure down with the cold therapies , and no longer has to take medication. I cannot prove that of course but have no reason not to believe him. Relaxing is a big help, I take a breath and consciously drop my shoulders and try not to tense up. I am getting there. I do look forward to it. I would feel I had cheated if I got out at the end of the hot shower. Anyway I do not want to, I am far more awake after the cold, warm does not energize. I must say now that we are in winter the cold water out of the shower is bloody freezing! Love it. Three minutes??? Goals. I also bought NARS Audacious. Forgot to say. I have used half of the bottle, no mean feat. It is just so easy to wear, whilst keeping me interested. Lovely stuff. xxxx


  4. Although I have kept in touch with your doings – and exploits! – through the year, it was great to have it all in one handy summary. Forgive me if I want to put spaces in ‘fallingintostars’. Sorry, can’t do the italics. As for Wim Hof…chuckling at Hamamelis’s affirmation that ‘cold is my friend’. Oh, predictive text wanted to put ‘old is my friend’. Still working on that one too. Will listen in on NYD for sure. A great start to Pandemic Part 2 and ‘don’t fish so close to me’ Brexit!


    • Fallintostars, sorry! No capital.


      • I rather surprised myself that I could actually put the italics in. I am so happy to have a show on NYD, an otherwise totally weird day. Gonna be fun. For me at least! I dunno about the “cold is my friend” thing, I will have to try that! And whilst I am here I have to thank you for the kick to start walking again. I used to do it a lot and then made no time for it. But with the lockdown it is the perfect “cardio”. 🙂 xxxxxx


  5. OOOH! I love that you had a Mohur lockdown. Neela will be thrilled.
    Have a wonderful holiday while the shops are shut.
    Yes, fingers crossed for a better 2021.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice to read your post Val, I had wondered how you were doing. Thank you for the positive post, may we all look for things to be thankful for in this difficult year. I have the Calm app, and Le Lion is not available for pre-order in the US! Not sure about the cold shower though, I thrive on being warm!
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful festive season. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tara C

      Have you checked the site lately? On NST I think they said pre orders are starting today with shipments starting the 10th.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Tara C! I meant to type “now” not “not.” Yes, Le Lion is available on Chanel pre-order to be shipped Dec 10th and I ordered a bottle this morning. Unsniffed, but very well reviewed. I am intrigued with the reference to Coromandel and Shalimar, two of my faves. It is mentioned some people get smokiness and leather, not my fave for my skin scent however, I love all Chanel and therefore, am eager to smell this.
        Take good care and season’s greeting to you!


        • I will be waiting other what you think of Le Lion. I cannot imagine that you would not like it, but you can always flog it on if you don’t. There will be a huge flurry of thoughts on it when it is finally available everywhere. That will make for some interesting reading. Try the cold showers for a couple of weeks. Tightens up the skin beautifully and gives you an energy without having to take drugs. Hahahahahaha. Which means it is legal.
          Festive greetings to you too, and roll on 2021. This has been quite the year!! xxx


  7. Really enjoyed this round up on your year Val. I’m still chuffed you were engrossed in Crawdads enough to miss training. That is the highest compliment
    We won’t tell Goggins, haha.

    It’s been great to hear you go from trenth to strength on the radio. Another string to your bow.

    I wish I could do the Wim Hof method but I hate being cold with a passion. I will try though as you’ve inspired me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well the cold shower does not make you cold. The second you turn it off the heat flows. It definitely makes you warmer. I don’t think his taking a cold shower idea is such a new idea, Kneipp was advocating cold water back in the late 1800’s. But I do like the way that Wim explains the effect that it has on our bodies and the fact that it is not some kind of new-age hocus pocus, but that it has science to back it up. The book is a great read.

      I sent the Crawdads book to Steffi in Germany, and she took a day off of her building project to keep reading it.

      I love having you along during the show, it makes playing the music and talking so personal. You know I have friends listening from the States too, and sometimes Portia if he is awake. Fantastic!! xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tara C

    I watched a few minutes of the breathing video and decided it wasn’t for me. I have in my youth gone to spas where you could hop back and forth between cold pools and hot pools, which I found invigorating at 20, but at 54 I feel less inclined. Will have a look at the book out of curiosity though.

    Just from reading the bits you wrote makes me think his goal is getting you to increase your tolerance for discomfort, which is something I do regularly with Yin yoga practice. Basically Yin yoga is getting yourself into an uncomfortable position and holding it for five + minutes, gradually relaxing into the discomfort as you loosen up. It taught me that I can handle more discomfort than I thought I could, which has been helpful.

    I too am thankful for the technology that allows us to connect, for the beauty of the natural world, and for the wonderful friends I’ve made around the world thanks to perfume. We’re in for at least six more months of shit, but hopefully by next summer it will start to improve. I’m reading travel adventure books since I can’t actually travel, as well as spiritual/ philosophical books to try and improve my behaviour and attitude. There’s a lot of work to be done in that area unfortunately. But hey, what else do I have to do at this point?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me make this clear! I am NOT doing the breathing or sitting in ice baths. The book is fascinating as it is clear to see how Hot has reacted to extreme trauma – with his own extreme behaviour. I see myself mirrored in it. The cold shower is fantastic and I love it. Getting out with the skin burning makes you warm and whoosh!

      Improving behavior and attitude is an ongoing challenge, and the wisdom of being aware of the need to do it comes with age. I certainly did not think of that when I was younger.

      I am hoping that by the middle of next year things will have improved; gonna be an interesting ride. I plan my playlists around the current moods, politics, protests etc, and get great satisfaction in doing so! xxxx


  9. I have actially done the cold..really cold showers that Wim recommends but only in the heat of summer and it was no great feat.I also did his breathing 3 or four days in a row before playing my flute and I can verify getting through long phrases of Bach sonatas far better than ever before.Too bad I forgot to keep it up..
    Bravo Val for learning the studio technique.That is an awesome accomplishment for a cookie queen and I look forward to catching your show!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Dayle! Laughing hard here! “Too bad I forgot to keep it up.” Isn’t that the way if so many things. The effort is exactly in that, keeping things up to experience the effect. Once is not enough. It looks like just maybe we will be able to meet up for a strange socially distanced masked coffee before Christmas huh? And if not certainly in January. I miss it more than I would have known. Totally cool to see you here, thanks for dropping in. 🙂


  10. Lady Jane Grey

    15 seconds ??? – You are kidding me !
    The strangest thing since the first lock-down : I can‘t read anymore… I mean, I didn‘t forget how to read, of course not, but I simply don‘t have the concentration anymore. I‘m capable of reading magazins, or few pages of books, but before CoVid I finished like 2 books a week – now I probably finished 2 books since mid March 😖
    Then again, I reached for a parfum very often again, for something simply pretty and comforting like Private Mind from Collezione Privata by Valmont (rose, saffron and a little leather). The parfum discovery of the year is StrangeLove though – thanks to Tara.
    And I still exercise almost every day, that keeps me sane since mid March – Pilates, Yoga and TheClass. And still practising (trying hard !) mindfulness and thankfulness.
    I wish a lovely festive season full of scents and a healthy 2021 to everybody.


  11. First I have to complain: WordPress made some changes recently, so now I cannot comment from my iPhone (it doesn’t keep me logged in long enough to do that – either here or on my own blog!), so my routine is ruined: I used to read posts on my phone before going to bed and respond right then and there. Now I still can read, but if I want to comment, I need to find time the next day (or the next, or…) to come to the same post from my laptop. Annoying! I hope it’ll get resolved soon, but for now I’m behind commenting on several posts that I read days ago!

    After reading this post a couple of days ago, I briefly entertained the idea of the cold shower… but then told myself that my mornings are unpleasant “as is” for me, who is NOT a morning person at all and loves HOT showers, to subject myself to anything of the kind. I think, in my teenage years I played a little with switching between cold to hot showers, but probably I won’t do it again – so, I’ll admire you from afar 🙂

    I should probably try Calm – not because I feel that I need it, but I’m curious what everybody else is doing with it. We were offered an extended free trial at work – I need to see if it’s still available: it would be not wise to pay for something I won’t use.

    I’m glad that we have Internet, Zoom, mobile phones, etc.: it would have been much harder this year without all these communications. And I’m glad I have people with whom I want to communicate (and they with me).

    Liked by 1 person

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