Easter has just passed – but maybe you still have a house full of chocolate? If so, you may not need to feel so guilty about indulging in your favourite treats, as chocolate has some surprising health benefits.
I’m not suggesting that you eat 100g of chocolate in one go, although it wouldn’t be difficult to do with an Easter Egg! But the average size block bar of chocolate contains 100g and with that quite a few nutrients needed for every day health: (more…)
1st – St David’s Day
St David is of course the patron saint of Wales, the 1st celebrates both the life of the saint and Welsh culture, but interestingly the saint is also celebrated in Canada and the USA. Not that much is known about St David, it is thought he lived to be 100, but texts about him only appeared 500 years later. So, some of his story may be true, others may just be legends. He was known to have founded several churches and a monastery, and he went on to become an archbishop, eventually he was canonised.
2nd – Full Moon – Worm Moon
At this time of year, a full moon is known as a worm moon, as a result of early Native American tribes seeing this as the time of year that earthworms would appear due to the ground softening. But it also has other names: Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon and Lenten Moon. (more…)
You may be growing Lemon Balm in your garden, it is readily available in garden centres and is part of the mint family. Like mint it grows in abundance and spreads, so if you want to limit its potential it is better grown in pots.
If you rub a leaf between your fingers you will likely be taken back to a childhood smell – lemon sherbet. But what you may not know is the healing properties that this scented herb has to offer:
Studies have shown that Lemon Balm is an effective treatment for remedying anxiety, it’s active properties: rosmarinic acid and triterpenoids are thought to be why it is effective, when given a Lemon Balm extract those in studies reported an improvement in their anxiety levels. (more…)
You probably don’t give salt that much thought – something that you cook with, put on food and find in the sea… But in fact, salt rituals have been used for centuries as one of the oldest forms of magic, often providing psychic protection, for money-making and as part of healing rituals.
The word salt derives from Salus the Roman Goddess of Health (the Greeks called Hygeia). Both Romans and Greeks used salt for sacrificial purposes, and later Jews adopted the process during their ceremonies, and Christians also believed that both water and salt were potent and could both heal the body and exorcise evil spirits. (more…)
If you didn’t see part 1 of this colour psychology article, then click here first.
With the colour green there is the possibility of mixed messages, on the one hand it is tied to negative emotions like envy, greed and jealousy, but on the other hand it is seen as a balancing natural colour that invokes positive mental energy. No retina adjustment is needed to see the colour green so it is a completely restful colour for the eyes. It is a colour associated with nature and the environment and there are positive connotations in ‘being green’. In time gone by green was seen as a poisonous colour, but today much of our great nutrition is derived from leafy green foods. On a psychological level humans are programmed to react in two ways to the colour – to both embrace it and to retract from it, so when using the colour the shade should be selected with care. (more…)
Colour is capable of impacting our mood, affecting our behaviour and altering our thinking both on an unconscious and conscious level. From choosing the colour you paint your walls, to what colour fabrics you choose to dress in, to the colour of your dinnerware can either enhance your life in a positive way or have a negative impact on your emotions and how you perceive an environment.
On a day to day basis we probably don’t give colour much thought, but the reality is that we are surrounded by it. So why not make it work for you?
You are probably already familiar with the emotions associated with ‘red’: love, passion, lust, rage and anger to name a few. But it is also a dynamic colour that can be energising and stimulating. It might be seen as bold, but also warm and safe. It is especially helpful when it comes to asserting oneself. Interestingly children are very attracted to the colour red – picking red toys over other colours, but when they are placed in a red painted environment it has a habit of making them irritable and agitated. This is a lesson for our own décor, a certain amount of red will invite a cosy feel especially in a lounge – a throwback to Victoria times when plush red colours were seen as very grand, but too much of the colour and we are likely to feel unsettled. (more…)
Cases of hay fever are on the rise, the reason is up for debate, it could be climate change, the pollen season is now longer, and possibly we have lower levels of the right type of bacteria’s to stop our immune systems overreacting. But what can we do? Choose sunglasses that wrap around, to prevent pollen entering your eyes. Try a barrier in your nostrils such as Vaseline or a specially made product to trap pollen. Pollen rises during the day and then descends in the evening, making night-time symptoms worse, avoid going outside at these trigger times if possible. Think twice about drying clothes/bedlinen outside or at least in the evening, to avoid bringing trapped pollen into your home. Discuss with your GP if antihistamines and/or intranasal corticosteroids are the right treatment for you. (more…)
In Sanskrit there are 53 names for turmeric, demonstrating just how revered the golden spice is within Indian culture. One such name is ‘Jayanti’ which means to win over diseases; its medicinal history goes back 4000 years. Whilst the spice has been used in Chinese medicine and in Ayurvedic healing the modern world of medicine has been slower to catch on, but in the last 25 years over 3000 studies have been published bringing to light all manner of abilities that the active compound ‘curcumin’ has on health. It has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidising, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial as well as having cancer fighting potential. More studies with humans are needed to fully realise the potential on a medical level, but we already know that cooking with a small amount on a regular basis affects our bodies over time on a genetic level, so adding some into your recipes can only be a good thing. (more…)
Many of you will instantly recognise Fearne Cotton and with good reason as she has been on our television screens since the age of fifteen when she was spotted by the Disney Club (ITV). And of course for her ten years spent hosting live shows on Radio 1, initially alongside Reggie Yates and then alone, and including the coveted delivery of the Top 40 show. She is currently filming Celebrity Juice (its 16th series).
Fearne is an active user of social media and is ranked amongst the world’s 250 most influential ‘tweeters’, she lives in London with her family and her first book was published in June 2016 called ‘Cook Happy, Cook Healthy’. She has now followed this up with a new book titled ‘Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect’. (more…)
Have you heard of ‘Hygge’, pronounced ‘heurgha’ – well, it is a Danish concept, it doesn’t really have a direct translation but is about taking pleasure in the small things in life – gentle soothing things. It is the difference between a so so day and a special day. It could be as simple as burning a candle, having freshly brewed coffee, or spending time with those you love.
It is easy to dismiss this idea as just another lifestyle fad, but the Danes have actually been embracing hygge since the 18th century, it is only now with a wave of new books that they are trying to spread the word on what it means to a wider audience.
Hygge in essence is enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Studies do show links between feeling gratitude and our overall wellbeing. Perhaps Denmark being voted the happiest country in the world on a regular basis has a lot to do with how they integrate hygge into their everyday lives… (more…)