Natural Pharmacy

The natural health and well-being movements have been growing steadily as we are all realizing the benefits of living with nature rather than against it. There ‘s a natural pharmacy to be found all around us.

While I appreciate the amazing medical breakthroughs and necessary pharmaceutical drugs we have available now, I am also a great believer in looking to nature for a few remedies here and there. Especially since the big pharma stand to increase their profits by billions due to the so-called pandemic and their vaccination rollout.

I could rant on about that all day but for a little calm and peace 🙂 let’s check out just a few of the herbs that we can grow at home….

NB: Please don’t self-medicate unless you’re 100% certain you have the right plants and that their consumption won’t interfere with any prescribed medication or allergies.

BASIL

Culinary: Perhaps the most common use of basil today is its addition to tomato dishes and many people refer to it as the tomato herb.
Medicinal: Basil belongs to the same family of plants as mint and is considered to be a good digestive aid. Herbalists use it to help cure headaches, constipation and sickness.
Cosmetic: It has also been used cosmetically to add shine to dull hair.
Growing Tip: Position basil plants with peppers and tomato plants and they will enhance each other’s growth.

►A small cup of basil tea after a meal aids digestion.

BAY

Culinary: Add bay leaves to stews and casseroles.
Medicinal: Bay is known to have powerful antiseptic qualities. A traditional folk remedy for rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettle is a poultice soaked in boiled bay leaves
Cosmetic: Not really cosmetic but laurel was, for many centuries considered to be a symbol of success/prosperity.
Growing Tip: Bay trees will grow up to 15m if they are left to their own devices! Grow in large pots and containers. They need very little maintenance.

CELERY

Culinary: a nutritious and useful vegetable, it will also double up as a herb. The stems can be eaten fresh or cooked and they make delicious soup. Leaves can be added to soups and salads for flavouring.
Medicinal: Celery is used in Ayurvedic medicine for bronchial problems, including asthma, wind and as a nerve tonic. Seed sold for cultivation shouldn’t be used medicinally.
Growing Tip: Some types of celery are best grown in trenches so the plants may be earthed up later in the year, although many varieties will successfully grow on flat ground. Either way choose a sunny spot.

►Growing celery at home means you can make wonderful soups without going shopping. Wholesome, heart-warming and very nutritious. (And, I’ve heard it’s been used as an aphrodisiac!!)

CHAMOMILE

Culinary: Recipe idea: Chamomile tea is widely drunk as a mild sedative
Medicinal: Chamomile has mild sedative properties and has, for many years, been made into a soothing and calming tea. It aids digestion and alleviates symptoms of the common cold.
Cosmetic: Chamomile is also used in cosmetic preparations including hair lighteners and shampoos.
Growing Tip: Chamomile, like most herbs, will be better left to its own devices most of the time. It is also a good companion plant as it tends to repel bugs.
►Chamomile has been found useful for reducing joint inflammation such as arthritis and easing menstrual cramps

Amazing ay?!! And these are just four out of hundreds of herbs that exist on our planet just waiting to help us. Start growing your natural pharmacy today! (quick download Herb Books here)

Peace and good health.

Linda x

P.S. I grabbed this text from my newly updated Healthy Body Hacks download

Healthy Body Hacks is packed with ten minute good ideas!

From growing a pot of herbs to choosing your perfect meditation practise, this handy digital edition finds solutions that save you time and money and lead you towards the natural healthy body you deserve.

The purpose of this book is to share ideas and tips you can easily accommodate in your life without maxing out the credit card or going off to an ashram for months!

And there are so many wonderful courses and books that help us achieve our dreams and goals and so many diets to experiment with, where do you start?

… Baby steps ….

Healthy Body Hacks is a compilation of 10 minute tips and resources to get you started on your fabulous path towards a healthy body, mind and soul.

Choose your favourite online book supplier

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Barnes & Noble , Etsy

Is the Universe Friendly?

Having spent many years studying the teachings of such wonderful people as Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Abraham Hicks and others, there seems to be a general underlying agreement with Einstein’s theory that we only ever have to ask ourselves whether the Universe is friendly or unfriendly.

Absolutely! Couldn’t agree more….. but hang on, what if the Universe decides to have a hissy fit and throws us all into an undecided state ….

well, maybe it’s not the Universe’s fault. I mean, who are we to blame a power greater than we can imagine.

But when the outside world just isn’t behaving itself as we’d planned, our inner world can suffer indecision, anxiety, stress and depression. And, before we know it, suddenly the Universe just doesn’t seem as friendly anymore.

In the midst of a world pandemic, theories, conspiracy and otherwise, emerge from many directions. Politics takes centre stage alongside alarming figures of infection, health care and sadly tragic death tolls.

Let’s step back for a moment..

Just about every great visionary or spiritual teacher that has ever lived has shared basic truths such as:

love, kindness, compassion and gratitude.

And these qualities are found within, in our inner world. There aren’t any supermarkets that sell packets of compassion, as far as I know 🙂

But when you’re struggling with finances, sickness, bereavement or isolation, love, kindness, compassion and even gratitude can seem a long way from your current reality.

Unfortunately, though, believing the Universe isn’t friendly perpetuates those feelings of anxiety. The answer?

Give yourself a break

We are human beings, arguably the most complex of all nature’s creations.

And with that complexity comes the ability to question. We question everything, from whether or not the Universe is friendly to whether the cat likes the new flavour pet food.

You don’t have to be kind, loving, compassionate or express gratitude with every other sentient being on the planet in this red-hot minute. Start with YOU. Be kind to you, love yourself and stop beating yourself up for all the things you have or haven’t done.

Easier said than done right?

Meditation comes top of my list when I want (or need) to get grounded again, but there are many triggers that we can use to flip our thoughts from self-destruct mode to a healthier way of thinking and therefore believing. A belief, after all, is just a thought you keep thinking.

Look out of the window. Appreciate and even study what you see:
the sky – whatever the colour
clouds – their shapes and movement
trees and plants – the magnificence of nature!
buildings – how they were built and when
the weather – it’s power and beauty

Look into the Mirror. Appreciate and love what you see:
Really look into your eyes and declare your love for yourself – this isn’t easy for many of us – but keep trying. The breakthrough when it comes is empowering.
Look at your body and appreciate all of us are different. There are billions of us and YOU are unique – WOW ay?!

Eliminate the shoulda coulda woulda syndrome. You have a right to enjoy your life. Maybe everything outside of you has turned on its head but maybe you’d prefer to do a jigsaw puzzle rather than the washing up right now. And if you really feel you want to do the washing up right now, enjoy the moment. Feel the warm water on your skin, appreciate the clean dishes and the tidy kitchen.

A Ted Talk I watched recently helped me realise actually yes I CAN draw! So now I’m doodling cartoon characters all over the place 🙂

Creativity has been the predominant factor in the evolving of the human race. Get that creative hat on and find your loves, passions and hidden talents and enjoy as many moments as you can.

Start today, not tomorrow morning. Right NOW! We wake up with the same thoughts as we had the day before because our brains don’t really want change. That makes it harder to kickstart the new diet or plan you promised yourself yesterday afternoon. Start now and you’ll trigger a few different neuro-pathways.

And suddenly the hissy fit doesn’t matter anymore because yes, the Universe IS friendly.

Stay Safe,

Linda x

P.S. This book was written more than a decade ago and it’s nearly always on my bedside table! Love Eckhart 🙂

A New Earth

Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” will be a cornerstone for personal spirituality and self-improvement for years to come, leading readers to a new levels of consciousness and inner peace.

Protect your Well-Being

Protecting our own well-being in this crazy world we live in isn’t always easy, but there are things we can do to give ourselves a feel-good boost.

Fresh Air

If you can possibly get a little – or a lot – of fresh air every day, it will help blow away the cobwebs and present a chance to be grateful for our natural world – and the natural world could really do with some gratitude and positive energy right now.

If you have a garden, pop out and engage your five senses for a few moments.

  • Look at the plants, the shape and design of your outside space and maybe plan to grow new plants or build a rockery.
  • Listen to the music of nature. If you live on a busy road (as I do) appreciate the seconds of silence between passing cars and lorries.
  • Smell the plants and, if you have a few herbs, plan on putting some in tonight’s dinner
  • Get in touch with textures – the soft petals or leaves, the hard rock etc;
  • And if at all possible, taste a late fruiting raspberry or a leaf from a lemon verbena plant

If you haven’t any outdoor space, it’s possible your senses could be just as stimulated in the park or on a woodland walk perhaps.

And when it’s just impossible to get outdoors because of the weather or physical issues, plan to spend some time indoors…

Indoor Projects

Aside from decluttering, cleaning like a crazy person and cooking fabulous meals for the family, there are plenty of projects that can inspire and protect your mental well-being as well as your physical state.

Have you been working 9-5 for years and rewarded yourself with weekends of entertaining or simply slobbing out in front of Netflix? Staying home all week can really mess with your mental well-being but it’s time to think outside the 9-5 box. Is there a hobby or a course you’ve wanted to undertake for ages but never found the time or energy for?

Maybe you promised yourself a yoga course but now all the gyms are closed? Not a problem. There are lots of yoga and exercise teachers online who’ve stepped up to the technology challenge and provide online classes. Not as interactive as a local class, but certainly the next best thing. My youngest daughter has spent many years learning healing techniques and is a qualified yoga teacher – I missed her during those months she spent in India and now she’s based in France we have the lockdown barrier to contend with….

Anyway, get online and support a small business near you by taking up a yoga or exercise course. Check out Lucy Lou Yoga and see what you could be doing to protect your well-being – Lucy is passionate about helping people heal and regularly posts some helpful tips and videos.

And apart from exercise and physical stuff, there are probably hundreds of new skills you could learn. Learning sharpens the mind and helps keep you on a positive track. Doing nothing tends to drag us down in despair especially at this time when we can feel so powerless. I recently taught myself to crochet – thanks to youtube! – and have been creating all sorts of weird and wonderful things – some good enough for my Etsy shop, others good enough to be unraveled! So how about learning to:

-Play an instrument – is there a guitar lurking in the attic you’ve been meaning to play with? Or even a recorder (school memories here) can inspire you to make music.

-Or learn a needlecraft skill – knitting, dressmaking, crocheting, embroidery etc; Make a gift for a family member or friend. A homemade gift is always appreciated and covers so many areas of our well-being – inspiration, creativity, motivation, gratitude etc;

-Try out some traditional skills like basket-making, wood carving or macrame or get really super good at creating nourishing healthy meals.

-Can you draw? Create greetings cards or sketch portraits of family members or pets. Draw and paint with the kids. Hang up colourful ‘masterpieces’ around the house to brighten everyone’s day. I always thought I couldn’t draw, then I watched a Ted talk and created some fun cartoon pictures.

-Are you a budding writer? Give yourself some time to get your thoughts down. This could be journaling, writing poetry, creating beautiful words for your greetings cards or get really serious and write that book!

I’m going to stop here because I can ramble on for hours about this stuff. Protecting your well-being is something I’ve always been passionate about, although I can admit that I haven’t always been nice to me… working on it though!

Before I sign off, there is another aspect to all this that may inspire you further.

After I’d practiced loads, my crochet gifts were good enough to share and I put them in my Etsy shop alongside the healthy living downloads and knitting patterns.

Turning your hobby into a business is possible and may help financially as well as mentally and physically. I’m not an expert in marketing but if you can get good at that, there’s no reason you couldn’t turn your hobby into a thriving business and ditch the 9-5 altogether 🙂

Stay safe and protect your well-being

Linda x

P.S. Just a quick note here – I’ve recently opened a new Etsy shop call Stix & Yarn. There are lots of my creations to be grabbed. A lot of them are very limited, some even one-offs! Have a quick look – there are some possible gift ideas for family, friends and you! Stix & Yarn Shop

The New Normal?

thenewnormal-pin

I watched an old episode of QI last night and they were talking about average sizes and demographics. After surveying thousands of women in Australia, an ‘average’ person was deduced – hair colour, children’s ages, home owner etc; – the list was fairly long 🙂 and when they looked for this ‘average’ person, they couldn’t find her. Apparently an average person doesn’t exist.

Well, if there’s no such thing as an average person, is there really any chance of discovering what is ‘normal’?

There’s been loads of talk about nature being more ‘present’ since people stopped getting in its way, and the ozone layer healing because there are less vehicles on the road. How much of this is 100% true is, of course, debatable. But we all lean on the hope that we are slowly healing our planet.

There’s been a huge divide between rich and poor for decades and those workers on the front lines have been continuously denied a decent wage, but the selflessness of those heroic folk on the front lines is now being recognized and applauded.

My hope is that humanity and humans as a species grow from this experience, spiritually, mentally and physically – although no growing sideways please!

When we hear folk moaning about being ‘stuck’ at home, it’s hard not to drop in a comment about homeless families, abuse victims and lonely folk who may be dealing with physical and/or mental issues. I resist because I do believe that what we give our attention to will grow so I only comment on positive stuff. It’s really quite tough sometimes though. I’ve had first hand experience with some of the issues mentioned and my ego often jumps in and wants to berate the moaners … BUT ….

That’s counter-productive because they really don’t know any different and showing what can be done is always more effective than telling.

So what is the new normal? Nobody knows for sure – we can speculate and opinionate but a pandemic on the scale we are currently experiencing is incomparable. Yes, a hundred years ago we had one, but life was different then – not saying better or worse – but certainly different.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a nugget of hope in all the confusion – the hope that helps us evolve as a species, the hope that respects nature and our fellow humans. My word for this is love. Loving and practicing gratitude everyday sends out joyful and positive energy to the universe which swirls it all around and deposits those good feelings at random spots. (The butterfly’s wings causing a ripple around the earth.)

I try and incorporate these five practices as far as I can and as often as I can.

Stop to smell the roses
Feel the gratitude
Learn something new
Help someone
Love and care for all sentient beings.

Any of these practiced during a day will bring a feeling of joy and abundance to ourselves and the Universe as a whole. I guess the challenge is getting billions of us feeling like that always…. 🙂

Stay Safe and may the force of love be with you.
Linda x

P.S. If you feel like a bit of mind-empty-ness instead of mind-full-ness, this is a definite must read. (I would recommend watching some of his videos as well!)

The Power of Now

A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment: (20th Anniversary Edition) Eckhart Tolle

“Surrender to the present moment, where problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy, are able to embrace our true selves and discover that we are already complete and perfect.”

The Power of Now

Time to Think

timetothink-pin

This is for all of us who have been forced out of jobs or simply find ourselves with more time on our hands.

We all have 24 hours in every day – that’s 1440 minutes – and although we could allow 8 of those hours to sleep, there’s still 960 minutes to play with. 960!

(If you need to deduct 8 hours of work time, that brings us down to 480 minutes per day – every day)

One thing about time is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. When you reflect on your past and life experiences, it’s incredible where the time really went.

So, what are you doing with your 960 minutes per day? Obviously there are chores to be done, but they can take up surprisingly little time, especially if you delegate here and there!

Don’t feel bad about treating yourself to some me time – why not? How often have you said ‘Oh if only I had time to meditate, begin a yoga practice or perhaps start your own business’?

Being thrown out of your routine can be challenging, but there’s no reason why you can’t create your own.

If you decide you’re going to de-clutter or spring clean your home, or get the garden ready for planting, don’t try to fit it all in one day.

When you only have evenings and weekends to do these chores, they tend to be just that, chores. But at this particular time in history, you can spread your wings and your workload and enjoy the moments rather than stressing about getting it all done before Monday morning rolls around again.

So, grab a pen, a notepad and a cuppa and indulge in some thinking time!

Before you start jotting down ideas, remember to incorporate all major areas of your life; well-being and nutrition, children and family, home and garden and of course some quality ‘me’ time. Here are a few Well-Being and Nutrition ideas….

lucylouyoga

(Photo from Lucy Lou Yoga)

1. Start an online yoga practice. There are lots of them. Check out a few youtube videos before you start and choose a routine that suits you right now – not one that you aspire to that could take you months to achieve. That can be counter-productive as it’s easier to give up.

Choose a routine that will challenge you a little but doesn’t feel like a chore. After all, your well-being is top priority right now. If you’ve never done it before, always start with a beginner class. Get the kids involved. Many schools started yoga and meditation sessions and children adapt really well to yoga.
I’ve started learning how to breathe with yoga practices – it’s amazing just how much well-being is related to breathing properly.

dance

2. Or an exercise routine to keep you moving. Same rules apply as choosing a yoga practice. Just because you are under forty, or whatever, doesn’t necessarily mean you can do 100 sit-ups and a high-impact aerobics workout. Be aware of your limitations, push them a little but always treat yourself nicely.

And if you don’t have much space at home, allow for that as well. Don’t start leaping about if you are close to table corners for example. Safety must come first.

What about dance? Learn how to jive with your partner if you’re both at home – again though, give yourselves lots of safe space.

meditate

3. Well-being should also include plenty of mental and spiritual time. Get into meditating! There’s an ancient Zen saying that rings very true: “If you don’t have 20 minutes a day to meditate, you should be meditating for an hour” – not word for word but you get the idea. 😊. Again, youtube to the rescue here. There are probably thousands of different guided meditations you can use to get you started.

Or if you prefer, sit quietly and comfortably in a peaceful place and allow thoughts to come and go as they will. But to keep on track I would suggest a mantra. There’s a reason that yogis chant ‘ohm’- choose your own mantra that suits you. Make it a peaceful one though. Don’t sit quietly and start chanting ‘I need some money, I need some money, over and over again. Totally counter-productive.

Choose from mantras online – Google ‘yoga mantras’ and see what comes up. If you don’t feel you have the space or inclination to do a full 20minute meditation, be aware of moments during the day. Meditation moments are just as helpful.

When you’re washing up, or washing your hands, be present in the now and enjoy the feel of warm water and clean hands or dishes. Just a few seconds or a minute or two of returning to the moment rather than reflecting on past woes or future worries will help you feel connected and at peace.

learning

4. Your mental health may be taking a knock at the moment and the above well-being tactics will help you settle your worries. Also a little learning can go a long way. How about learning a language or taking an online course? There are courses in just about everything and many of them you can grab for free or for a small outlay. Check reviews and previews before you buy to make sure it will suit you.

And it doesn’t have to be ‘academic’ – maybe you’d like to learn how to knit or how to draw cartoons? Or play the guitar? Give yourself a little time here and think about all those moments you’ve said ‘I wish I had time to…..’ – well, now you do!

Obviously, learning to drive or taking flying lessons may not be possible right now but there are hundreds of hobbies and pastimes you could indulge in. And, as a side note, many small businesses have been started because someone’s hobby suddenly took off!

food

5. Nutrition counts. Educating yourself about food is eye-opening. Do a little experiment for yourself: Jot down everything you ate or drank in a day then take a look at the actual ingredients and, I’m tempted to say components, when it comes to some of the fast-foods we often have in the freezer. Are you really taking in enough nutrients to keep your body healthy?

Check out immune system boosting foods and put them on your shopping list. Avoid fast-foods as far as possible and research some easy recipes – there are thousands upon thousands online. Choose gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free or sugar-free recipes. Whatever suits you and your family.

Allow yourself some of those 960 minutes to brainstorm some ideas. Do it as a family or couple if you’re sharing your space with others. Either way, the goal is to stay sane, and hopefully grow through this unprecedented time.

Stay safe,

Linda x

P.S. Another book going on my wish list!

The Well Being Journal

A journal designed to help you explore your inner world. Creativity and reflection can have a powerful, positive influence on our lives.

Goals and Dreams

dreamsandgoals-pin

Wow, another year!

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 practice, 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 source 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 New Year everyone. Wishing you peace, love and happiness now and always.

Linda x

P.S. This Well-being book has lots of strategies and quick ideas to keep your well-being on track while you pursue your goals and dreams.

Natural Beauty

Reveal your Inner Glow, Naturally

Learn to love yourself with positive energy, diet, exercise and more – all while having fun! The ten tips, fully explained, in Natural Beauty will reveal your inner glow and outward beauty without a trip to the cosmetic counter. Images and fun quotes included 🙂

The natural world provides enough natural cures and cosmetics to fill an encyclopaedia… and to bring out your inner beauty. Give the beauty counter a wide berth and go for the natural look. These top ten tips will bring your inner glow to the surface and you’ll positively shimmer with natural beauty.

Ten chapters with ideas and options to love your inner and outer self and to build confidence and strength for your mind, body and spirit.

Contents

Chapter One: Positive Energy
Chapter Two: Fruit and Veg
Chapter Three: Have Fun
Chapter Four: Time and Space
Chapter Five: Exercise
Chapter Six: Vigilance
Chapter Seven: Inspiration
Chapter Eight: Good Vibes
Chapter Nine: Learning
Chapter Ten: Love Yourself

Choose from your favourite online book store:

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Barnes & Noble , Apple Books , Kobo , Etsy

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 liqueur 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 chocolate 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, chocolate 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

Sleep Well

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

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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. If you’re new to self-development and self-help teachings, I found my best step in the right direction came when I read The Power of Now. See what you think.

The Power of Now

A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment: (20th Anniversary Edition) Eckhart Tolle

“Surrender to the present moment, where problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy, are able to embrace our true selves and discover that we are already complete and perfect.”

The Power of Now (Amazon UK)

Healthy Weight Loss

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. Hmm 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

P.S. I found this book on Amazon (UK). I haven’t bought it yet but it looks very interesting. I like discovering the reasons behind things!

The Psychology of Weight-Loss

*The weight-loss law: The only proven way to lose weight – and the only thing that matters
*Why the whole weight-loss industry is set up to make you fail
*How natural habit changes occur, and how to make them easily every time
*How to lose weight in your own way so that you feel happy throughout the process
And much, much more
Andrew’s book The Psychology of Weight-Loss will transform how you relate to dieting forever. It provides a step-by-step guide to make weight loss easy, lasting, and fully under your control. If you want permanent control over your weight, without any fad diets, this is the book for you.

The Psychology of Weight-Loss