Garden Water Features

GardenWaterFeatures-pinSomething to consider while planning your outdoor space this year….

Garden Water features are a relatively new fashion in the west. According to the feng shui experts, water features in the east are simply a way of life.

*Sitting on top of a cliff watching the waves break against the rocks is exhilarating.
*Relaxing in the countryside watching and listening to a river flowing nearby is calming.

Creating a water feature in your own space is both exhilarating and calming….. and excellent feng shui!

 
Decide on your plot

Although water features are a lot more productive ( and easier to keep clean ) if positioned in full sun, many small water features, fountains or waterfalls can be positioned in a more shady corner of your garden.

Make some plans first. Consider:
– The overall size of your water feature
– Sunny or shady position?
– Waterfall or fountain ? Or both?
– Will you keep fish?
– Rocks and stones to place around the pond / waterfall
– Water friendly plants and flowers – if your pond is in full sun, you will need to cover around two thirds of the surface with plants (water lilies for example)
Let your imagination run free and sketch some ideas or make lists of ideas for your garden water feature.
NB: Building and maintaining a large garden water feature isn’t necessarily cheap, and budget should be considered before you start your project.

waterfeature-amazon

Amazon have all sorts of water garden features , like this fun solar powered creation

Solar Powered Buckets and Tap Water Feature

Read all you can before taking on a water gardens project. And talk to those who’ve done it. You don’t need to take ALL the advice you’ll get, but some of it will be very useful. Know what’s in store before you start.

Garden water features are a stunning addition to a regular home garden, and encourage plenty of wildlife….

Frogs and toads will beat a path to your door when you have an outside water supply. They are great tenants and eat all sorts of bugs and slugs.

You may have to net your pond to protect the fish from birds – and possibly kittens and toddlers?

Encourage children to spend time in your water garden. Much healthier than the play station!

Grow flowers around your pond to encourage bees and butterflies. You could build a miniature rockery, and plant rockery plants. The only thing holding you back is your imagination!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. This is a copy of the 50th content page of my new website – Garden Ideas

Goals and Dreams

dreamsandgoals-pinWow, another decade!

I have loads of plans for the coming year – probably too many but I decided to incorporate personal stuff in my goals and schedules this time round. I tend to have vague goals and intentions about my own well-being but this year I’m going for it!

One thing to remember about resolutions and goal setting is that we all tend to over-estimate what we can do in a year but under estimate what we can do in two or more years.

Whether you’re planning on……

losing weight, getting fit, eating well, starting a yoga practise, launching your own business or growing your own food… or a happy mix of all of the above 🙂

..…..take a little time now to draw up a schedule – work out what has to be done daily, weekly, monthly and fill in your calendar or journal – I’ve created a folder specifically for my goals this year.

I started by listing all the things I want to achieve and then breaking them down into doable steps and fitting them in around the stuff that has to be done. Remember to be realistic if you take this approach. If you give yourself too much to do and don’t consider the time it takes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose heart in your dreams and aspirations – there are only 24 hours in a day and you have to eat and sleep!

Be easy on yourself and you’ll find you get more done. We know that 20 minutes of meditation daily results in an hour’s worth of productivity. If that works for you, factor it in to your schedule now. But if it becomes a chore, change your approach. Meditation moments throughout the day are just as beneficial.

Setting goals is important to help us grow and achieve our desires but those goals must be realistic. When we emphatically declare that we are going to lose 3 kilos by the end of the month, the underlying feeling of denying ourselves can rear its ugly head and before we know it, we ‘treat’ ourselves to a donut and a latte. Ouch.

Maybe scale it down. Be happy to lose 1 or 2 kilos.

Have you been longing to launch your own business, but can’t give up the day job yet? Difficult because, again, there are only so many hours in a day. If that’s you, baby steps are a must. Even if you just grab a couple of hours at the weekend or in the evenings, a strategic approach will move your plans forward. You may have to brush up on how to create a business plan first. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process.

Be specific. If you start the year with a vague resolution such as ‘I’m giving up the day job this year’, unless you work out the alternatives and create a loose or fixed plan, it won’t happen. However much we may or may not believe in the monetary system, it’s necessary to survive, so if you have a wage, you won’t want to give it up until you’ve secured an alternate surce of income.

One of my goals this year is to learn Portuguese. It’s a challenging language to learn and I may never live in Portugal to exercise my skills but I enjoy languages and I find the learning process helps me overcome feelings of unworthiness or lack of confidence. There is always an up-side to doing something you love!

Happy 2020 everyone. Wishing you peace, love and happiness now and always.

Linda x

Chocolate is Good for you!

chocolateisgoodforyou

When you think of how many steps the cocoa bean has to go through before it reaches our eager taste-buds, it’s incredible it ever gets here!

The cocoa bean pod, growing as big or bigger than our hands, contains beans which are extracted, then fermented, dried, roasted and turned into a chocolate liquer which then goes through more processing before it gets wrapped in a package and shipped to our stores…..phew.

But that’s just in today’s world!

Chocolate has been consumed in various forms for literally thousands of years. Not the commercially produced milk chcocolate that we know, love and try to avoid these days but in a much more natural form.

Here are some quick chocolate facts that have been well documented…

1. The Mayan civilization believed cacao – later the word was changed to cocoa – was a food sent to them by the Gods.

2. The Aztecs also revered and chocolate and considered it to be a food from the Gods

3. Ancient civilizations used chocolate as a healing aid for many ailments, including burns and sores.

4. There are a couple of different theories of when chocolate came to Europe but what is sure is that by the late sixteenth century, chocolate was well established in Spain and other European countries.

5. For most of the 1800’s, chcocolate was enjoyed as a drink, mixed with milk or water. In the French culture, many people still enjoy a bowl of hot chocolate for breakfast – with maybe a pain au chocolat or a croissant.

6. Chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, many of which we can use efficiently in our bodies.

7. Dark chocolate – with cocoa solids of 85% – has been scientifically shown to have anti-oxidant properties and has become a ‘heart healthy’ food. We seem to have come full circle on this one!

I go into this a bit more on my new Simply Chocolate website – Simply Chocolate – there are a few recipes for you chocaholics as well!

Enjoy!
Linda x

P.S. I found most of the fascinating facts in a book called ‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs. It’s on Amazon if you’d like to check it out….

chocolatebook

 

‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs

 

 

 

 

 

Political Overload

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What with Brexit and various political leaders (?) coming and going, us Brits have had a huge dose of political stuff over the past couple of years or so.

Some of it has a ring of truth, some of it is obvious propaganda and even more is pure mud-slinging. All this gets a bit tedious.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still voting for my chosen party, and although it’s probably best I don’t reveal my vote, it certainly wasn’t in favour of a party who obviously doesn’t care about the people of their nation – the people who pay their wages by the way….

Anyway, while all this is going on, there are some wonderful souls out there who are consistently helping those in need and helping to save our beloved planet.

And the media coverage for these ‘real-life’ people who are making a ‘real-life’ difference is practically non-existant.

Yes, we have a climate crisis, a political crisis, a financial crisis and all sorts of other crisis’ happening but moaning about it won’t help change the situation.

So, ranting aside, I am putting my money (=time in my world) where my mouth is and preparing to launch a new project that will help unite us all in our quest for a better lifestyle for all sentient beings here on earth.

Sounds like a plan ay?! It’s going to take a few more months of organising and planning but I’m hoping it will be ready to go in April 2020.

*It will highlight eco-sound and humane projects all round the world
*It will have a no-whingeing policy – that includes pointing fingers. No time for blame.
*It will be easy to get involved with, without leaving your comfy chair
*And it won’t have any advertising – or political propaganda!

So, I’m going to get my head down and hopefully share a dose of the good-stuff in the Spring… Hang in there!

Linda x

Sleep Well

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OOOhh, light my sparklers – it’s bonfire night in the UK. Of course firework displays seemed to have dwindled over the past few years; environment considered more now than ever before, but there are bound to be a few bright fireworks in the night sky tonight.

Usual stuff – keep your pets safe and of course, if you’re having a bonfire, make sure no creatures have been making it their home in recent days. Having said that, have a great evening!

After all the excitement of halloween, firework night and Christmas countdowns about to start, if they haven’t already, it’s not always easy to calm the children at night. Have you noticed they can get super active around bedtime? – or maybe that’s just my lot 🙂

But if you are having trouble getting the little darlings to sleep, here are a few tips I’ve used over the years to keep me sane (-ish) ….

* Keep an eye on the time. If you suddenly realize it’s five minutes before bedtime and go into ‘omg it’s bedtime’ mode then start rushing around getting pj’s ready and toothbrushes toothpasted, you won’t be able to create a sense of calm.

Start thinking about bedtime half hour before the allotted time. Then slowly but surely encourage the pjs, the teeth cleaning and the choice of bedtime story. By the time they get into bed, children are calmer and ready to sleep.

*Avoid anything with sugar in: Don’t be tempted to give in to the cookie jar for a bit of peace. It will backfire! Sugar – as we know – is not a calming agent and you can suddenly find yourself with hyperactive kids and a headache. Avoid sugar at least an hour, preferably longer, before bedtime. Toast and honey can create calm while satisfying the sweet tooth cravings, but always consider what works best for your child.

*Warm drinks – no caffeine or sugar of course, but otherwise a warm drink can really calm the body and mind ready for sleep. Even a spoonful of honey in hot water can work wonders.

*Temperature: These days, many of us live in centrally heated homes and, although we don’t want to be cold at bedtime, too much heat can interfere with settling into a relaxing state. Turn down the thermostat a little if it’s too warm in the bedrooms.

*Bedtime Stories: Children tend to want the same stories read to them every night for weeks or even months, which doesn’t make it easy to put your whole attention into reading. Kids are savvy – they know when you’re just going through the motions. Treat each reading as if it’s a first and you’ll have happy kids all ready to sleep the night away!

Most of these quick tips work well for grown-ups too 🙂 If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s often because your mind is not behaving itself. Too many thoughts, worries and replays going on in that remarkable brain of yours.

Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep by adopting some or all of the tips above and one extra note I feel should be added here…

Don’t watch the news before bed!

Normally, the national or international news is peppered with bad news and concerns about humanity, environment and natural disasters. They will still be there for you to deal with in the morning, so avoid cluttering up your mind with these stories in the evening.

Enjoy your evenings, watch something funny, indulge in your latest hobby or spend a wonderful time with friends and family – you could even consider getting out a board game and turning off the TV – how radical is that?!!!

Sweet Dreams!
Linda x

P.S. My most relaxing thing to do – apart from sleeping and meditating of course, is knitting. This pattern from The Ekokids collection is simple to make and will encourage bedtime as a natural and calming experience rather than the battleground it could be!

Bedtime!

Download from your favourite bookstore:

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Etsy , Payhip , iTunes , Kobo , Barnes & Noble ,

 

 

Dreaming Big!

DreamingBig-pin

… or away with the fairies?

Over many centuries – well decades, I’ve been accused at various times in my life of being away with the fairies. I was punished for daydreaming at school which set a pattern or paradigm in my own mind that dreaming big wasn’t the way to success.

But now that I’ve discovered the wonderful teachings available to us in the 21st century I refuse to let my dreams be shattered by naysayers.

Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer and the teachings of Abraham Hicks have all helped me to understand that we are entitled to our dreams and that without them, we would all be living in the dark ages. I mean, someone had to discover electricity, invent the mobile phone and even believe people could travel in a flying machine!

aircraft

But, although I’ve kind of sorted out the paradigm and am sticking to my dreams like glue, there are conflicting opinions about sharing dreams.

On the one hand, when you share dreams and ideas the naysayers can move in quickly and plant a seed of doubt. But on the other hand, sharing ideas can produce feedback, more good ideas and possibly even partnerships.

The answer, I believe, is to be really solid in your idea; make the business plan, write the outline of a book you want to write or an idea you want to implement BEFORE you share with anyone!

Write it down on paper or your laptop. Get into the details. Look for the bits that don’t work and delete, search for the parts that need adjusting or updating and edit like crazy. Then put it aside, if you can 🙂 for a couple of days then go back to it and fine tune again.

writing

There will be a moment when you just know you’ve covered all the angles you are aware of – then it’s time to share, to talk about it, to accept feedback – however critical it may seem at first. Go over the feedback and eliminate anything that’s obviously not relevant or just too picky to be important.

Then go for it. Dreaming big and setting up strategies for achieving goals and dreams is a fun thing to do if you don’t let the seeds of doubt creep in.

One caveat I’d add here is that we do have many ideas and dreams and some of them are temporary, some of them are rubbish and some of them are just gems waiting to be polished. Go for the gems and don’t worry about the other stuff.

And one final point is that life is about the journey, not the destination. Be flexible, enjoy the journey and those dreams could very well become your reality.

Keep dreaming big!

Linda x

P.S. The teachings I’ve mentioned above can all be found on youtube and their own websites of course!

Healthy Weight Loss

HealthyWeightLoss-pin

If you’ve ever strolled round a lovingly kept garden, whether it’s full of fruit, vegetables, herbs or flowers, you may have experienced a sense of wonder, a sense of being at one with nature and an incredible feeling of being in touch with reality.

Rushing round a supermarket grabbing packaged fruits and vegetables and all manner of processed ‘foods’ just doesn’t create that warm fuzzy feeling!

A high percentage of medical conditions are a direct result of our diet; we are what we eat, as the saying goes. Personally I’d rather be seen as an exotic fruit than a burger but hey, each to their own 🙂

But it’s really important to acknowledge that what we eat has an effect on our bodies. Every action causes a reaction after all. The problem is, although we know all this stuff about diet and healthy eating, we don’t always put what we learn into practice for all sorts of reasons.

So I became my own guinea pig and experimented on myself with a healthy weight loss plan.

I have a sweet tooth and could possibly be classified as a chocoholic so I decided to give myself 30 days to re-tune my body and perhaps lose those extra pounds and it worked! I watched everything I consumed over a month and only ate fresh foods – nothing processed. I limited my carbs after breakfast and lost 14lbs. I have to admit to being a bit irritable for the first couple of days but after that I was fine and felt better with each passing day.

I’m not promoting unhealthy or fast weight loss here. I needed to lose those pounds and although I’ve slipped a bit recently, I know that a quick month – and they do go by quickly after all – of being nice to me will sort it all out again.

One tip that I find works well is refusing to go down the unhealthy aisles in the supermarkets. Try that if you can. It makes you feel so good. I tell everyone who will listen that I avoid the ‘bad-for-you-stuff’ (Smug face)

Also, with the state of the planet and our need to cut out plastic packaging, you can kill two birds with one stone – so to speak. Hm not a very nice expression but you get the gist.

Look after your body – it’s the only one you have after all!

Linda x

fbk-regular-bonus2P.S. I just found a fabulous package of great information for healthy weight loss – check it out.

Over $70 worth of healthy eating tips, great information and solid ideas for only $10. Not sure how long the offer is on for so it’s probably worth grabbing it now so you don’t miss out.

Rain or Shine

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Yesterday, it rained. After a few glorious weeks – or was it days 🙂 – of sunshine, the heavens opened, the universe threw some wind into the mix and suddenly it felt like Autumn.

The perfect moment to get on our whinge-mobiles and moan about the weather. But yesterday I had a moment in the rain and enjoyed the smell of the grass and the washing of the path and literally blissed out in the whole nature experience.

Sure there is much concern about climate change, and of course it needs our attention, but I’m not convinced we should spend too much time and energy arguing and fighting about it. What is, is, after all.

And I do hold a belief that the law of attraction will respond to the energy we put out there. I’ve no idea how the climate change will all pan out in the future. I don’t have the scientific background and understanding. But I do know I can do my bit for the environment wherever possible, and I believe that the more often we can enjoy the moment, the more refined and positive our thoughts and feelings are, the more chance we have of securing the planet for ourselves and future generations.

And then I had a sign!

Nick Polizzi of the Sacred Science shared a Sanskrit poem by Kalidasa (4th-5th century AD) that just goes to show this ‘being in the moment’ stuff isn’t a new idea, although maybe we haven’t been listening very carefully for the last few centuries?! Anyway, here it is:

Look to this day,
for it is life, the very breath of life.
In its brief course lie
all the realities of your existence;
the bliss of growth,
the glory of action,
the splendor of beauty.
For yesterday is only a dream,
and tomorrow is but a vision.
But today, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow
a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

Enjoy the moment 🙂

Linda x

Ditch the Brave Face

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Do you show your brave face to the outside world but are brutally honest with yourself?

I’m voting to flip that on its head – we don’t have to moan and whinge to all and sundry on social media but a little honesty can be truly liberating and will undoubtedly create a feeling of community, and help others realize they are not alone.

When you scroll through your timeline, whichever social media platform you are on, often it’s all about how wonderful things are going for everyone, or conversely about how awful everything is in the world.

But most of this is illusion.

Yes, the world needs our care and many adjustments to help support our children and their children, but really, nature is pure in it’s beauty and has been around a lot longer than we have!

And, all the smiles and success stories can often be a result of vanity or business promotions.

I sound slightly cynical here, but I don’t mean to be. There are tons of amazing things going on and some truly inspiring folk out there who share ideas and thoughts to help us all live happier healthier lifestyles.

My take on all this is that we can discern the wheat from the chaff if we first get in touch with our own inner being, our own dreams and our own integrity. Then somehow it all becomes a lot easier to deal with.

When you’re really feeling great, the message comes through clearly, because you tapped into the energy of the Universe. We all have those moments, they may be just a second or two in an otherwise stressful day, but sometimes they last longer and the gratitude and joy shines through.

So, ultimately, we want to extend and expand on those few seconds so that we can share our wisdom and joy with the world, whether on or offline. Those positive feelings allow us to share practical help that will protect ourselves, our loved ones and our world.

No more fake brave faces and no more whinging.

So how do we do this? When you’re stressed, worried, anxious or depressed, it feels impossible to climb out of the dark shadows but honestly, anything is possible.

Slightly glib statement there. I know that it would not be possible for me to be a brain surgeon for example, but actually I don’t want to be a brain surgeon. So maybe anything is possible if you truly desire it from the bottom of your heart.

And it’s not about material gains. A few hundred/thousand pounds could change your life right now perhaps, but when we want something it’s always because we know in the having of it, we will feel better. So it’s the feeling you’re aiming for at the end of the day.

Who doesn’t want to go to sleep without worry or stress?
Who doesn’t want to wake in the morning feeling gratitude and joy for a brand new day?

The answer I believe lies in meditation. And yes, I have a monkey mind that has regular parties at my expense, but having given it my best shot and thought it would never work for me unless I lock myself away in an ashram for years (something I don’t want to do!) – I have finally come to understand that meditation is NOT about becoming mind-free but is about becoming mindful of the present moment.

Enjoy the moment, be present. While washing your hands, feel the water and soap on your skin. Take a moment or two to be aware of your breath – the air that keeps you alive. Meditation takes many forms and those few seconds of presence will boost your inner peace and encourage feelings of gratitude that will be impossible not to share with your world.

Don’t put on a brave face if you feel like crap, just allow yourself to remember you are worthy, you are loved and have so much to offer this world, just simply by being yourself.

Have a wonderful day,

Linda x

 

Take a Break

takeabreak-pinIf you’re working from home, there can be days when pjs are the only option. It’s not always easy to motivate yourself especially if you’re self-employed and can’t guarantee that what you’re doing will produce any feedback, financial or otherwise.

So, I say embrace those days. Relax. Don’t beat yourself up and remember you are worthy of a break, at least.

My recent spell of working like an idiot from dawn until midnight caught me out and I had to spend a day in hospital – I felt incredibly stupid and embarrassed when I could see that our wonderful NHS doctors and nurses had patients to attend to that hadn’t necessarily been ignoring their own well-being.

So I think I’ve learned my lesson and wanted to share because I’ve finally realized – in my seventh decade on earth – that I’m not Superwoman and if I have any super powers, I haven’t actually learned to tap into them yet.

Take a break – you are worthy and you deserve to feel good!

Have a great day.

Linda x

P.S. Meditation moments are a good idea. Finish a task then allow yourself five or ten minutes enjoying the peace or watching the sky, or youtube a quick guided meditation that suits you. (There are loads of them)