I’ve recently been battling a cold and as I love nothing more than a natural remedy when I am under the weather, I decided to make an old but tried and true one. Enter Elderberry syrup, it has been used for years as a natural go to remedy for colds and flu and there are several reasons why. It contains high levels of vitamins A and C , is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, lowers blood sugar and encourages healthy skin. Traditionally elderberry syrup is made with honey for its antibacterial properties but if you are avoiding honey for any reason, it can be made with other plant based sweeteners like coconut nectar.
For the syrup that I made, I used dried elderberries which was perfect although you can of course use the fresh variety too. The recipe makes a lovely tasting and healthy medicine and is also good and safe for kids too. Although it’s good to remember that if you do decide to make this and use honey, that honey shouldn’t be given to children under one years of age.
3 1/2 cups of filtered water
2/3 cup of dried elderberries
2 inches of fresh ginger root
1 tsp ground cinnamon powder
1 cup raw honey ( 2 to 3 tablespoons of alternative sweetener if preferred )
In a medium pan add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and water and bring to a boil.
Cover the pan with a lid but leave a rack open to allow the steam to escape
Allow to reduce for about 45 minutes (reduce the heat to a simmer)
When the liquid has reduced by half, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Strain the liquid into a glass bowl and add the honey (or sweetener)
Mix thoroughly and pour into a glass bottle or jar.
Store in the fridge (It will last for a few months)
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp every 3 hours when suffering from a cold or the flu, otherwise just a regular once daily dose will do.
For children the dose is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (about 5ml to 10ml)
Elderberry syrup can also be enjoyed in some dairy free yoghurt or breakfast cereal or pancakes.
Happy cold / flu fighting!
You hear a lot of tips and suggestions on how best to boost your overall sense of wellbeing these days, and that isn’t too surprising. Although our modern lives are chock-full of luxuries which would have been difficult to even imagine for people living in the recent past, surveys keep reporting that many of us are chronically stressed and dissatisfied in life more, in fact, than we’ve been in decades.
There’s just something about the pace of life these days or certain aspects of the cultures we inhabit or the technologies we use that seems to contribute significantly to stress. Often tips on how to boost your wellbeing will focus on things like being compassionate to yourself. That’s certainly important, but it may not be the whole picture.
Here are a few other less-commonly-heard factors in boosting your wellbeing;
Imbalance is possible in any domain of life
It’s important to take pride in your appearance and to do what you can to enjoy a baseline level of comfort and relaxation in your everyday routine. This doesn’t even have to be too complicated. Buy moisturizer and apply it each evening, have some comfortable pyjamas to settle into in the evening, and you’re on the right track. Keep in mind that imbalance is possible in any area of life, and will always negatively impact your wellbeing. It’s certainly bad to keep your nose to the grindstone too much and never catch a break, but it’s also deadening to the soul to just lounge around and watch TV during all of your free hours. Strive for balance in every area of your life. When you find it, it should feel just right.
If you feel helpless and down, working on developing your discipline, structure and purpose could be key
Feelings of helplessness and fatalism may well be caused, or at least, reinforced, by the fact that you take too much of an undisciplined, unstructured, or unaccountable approach towards your life. In order to actually achieve your dreams — whatever they may be — or even just feel capable and on top of things in your day-to-day life, it’s important to have a certain degree of self-discipline developed. Part of this goes back to the point on balance. You can be too rigid, definitely. But you can also be too unstructured.
Facing up to your own dark side can be important in helping you to move towards a more light-filled life
In recent times, a fair number of people have been rediscovering an old idea in psychology — which is that we all have truly dark and horrible capabilities and tendencies inside us that we try to hide from our conscious awareness. Books like “Dark Side of the Light Chasers” hint at the idea that people who try excessively hard to only ever acknowledge the light within themselves, can be setting themselves up for serious problems, temper problems, and even violent and destructive outbursts, down the line.
Facing up to your own dark side and acknowledging it’s there but not letting it rule you can be very important in coming to terms with yourself, and in taking a healthy path through life. Keeping that side in the shadows on the other hand, can really eat away at your wellbeing.
Modern homeowners are spoilt for choice these days when it comes to improving their properties and making their homes better. There are a lot of issues you need to keep in mind when you assess how to approach your home. You have a lot of things you need to keep in mind, and there are plenty of hacks that you can use to make the home better.
There are a lot of reasons people might have for home improvement work, and often this can be for the purpose of adding value to the home and making it more of an investment. There are loads of different ideas you have to keep in mind that are going to help you to improve your home and change the way it comes across to people. These hacks will allow you to make the most of the property, as well as adding value in the process.
The biggest Twat of making a difference when renovating your home is to make sure you modernise it. There are a lot of things that can make a difference to the property, but updating it will no doubt have the biggest impact. This means you need to make sure you change the decor, as well as looking at places like Tap Warehouse to get all the latest fixtures and fittings. There are a lot of ways of doing this, and choosing a hardwood interior is going to be one of the best.
Make the Garden Shine
There are not many parts of your property that can have a greater impact on the future than your garden. This is really important to get right because it can have such a massive effect on the way the home is perceived, and the visual aesthetic as well. Come up with ideas that are going to allow you to improve and enhance the garden as best you can. Make it as neat, tidy, and presentable as possible, and do what you can to boost your outside space.
Budgeting for your home improvements is so important because the costs can mount up if you are not careful. The best approach to take is to sit down and work out the costs of making changes as best you can. There are so many different things that you will need to pay for, but, if you can budget effectively for the future, you will be well-placed when trying to fund changes and improvements in your home.
There are a lot of things that you need to know about when it comes to improving your property. Going green is one of the best approaches to take if you want to improve the home and make it better. This is an excellent way of making the home more efficient, as well as helping the environment and making your property more appealing at the same time.
There are a lot of things you need to make sure you sort out as much as you can. If you are sensible about it, you can really make the most of these changes. This is going to help you improve the home and increase the value of the property as a result. You need to make sure you are sensible about the changes you make, as well as looking at what can have the best long-term effects.
At this time of the year, it’s always good to think about the next twelve months and about what the year might bring. It’s easy to think about this superficially and then just hope for the best but really, if you want to get anything with the year you have in front of you, then you have to be strategic about where you’re going. Most of the time, people will think that this applies to their health or their career. Because these are two of the biggest areas of life that others tend to want to focus on. However, intentions and goals can be applied to any area of your life - even your home. So if you’re someone that has always wanted to work on their home, now could be the perfect time to do it.
To make this happen, you need to have an idea of what it is that you want to achieve. And you have to be specific. Simply saying that you’d like to have a nice home or you want to decorate isn’t always enough. most of the time, you need to be able to identify exactly what it is that you want to work on for it to actually happen, and this is why you need to be intentional and strategic. So, to get your list underway, let us take a look at some of the things that your home could be in need of this year.
A Kitchen Refresh
To start with, it might be that you need to do a bit of a kitchen refresh. If you haven’t updated your home in a while, and your kitchen is quite old, this is always a good area to work on. It’s one of the most in-demand and popular parts of a home for people, especially when buyers are looking at your home. So, get to work by picking out and putting in place a new kitchen design that you love.
A New Bathroom Suite
As a step on from that, it could be the case that you also want to think about putting a new bathroom suite in. Just like the kitchen, a new bathroom can really help you to update the look of your home. If you haven’t added in a new suite for some time now, then this is what you’re going to want to work on next.
A Refreshed Exterior
If you’re thinking on a much bigger scale, maybe you’d like to give the whole house a refresh by focusing on the outside. Because your home’s exterior tends to set the tone for the entire place. If you know that the outside of your property has seen better days, a simple tidy up could make a huge difference. Not only that, you might find that painting the outside or refreshing the render can make it look like a brand new house.
New Windows & Doors
To go alongside that, it might be that you would like to get some new windows and doors in place too. Do you think that you need a window replacement for your home to be better insulated? Or maybe you just want to go with a new look with the windows and doors? Then this could be the time that you plan that out, get cost estimates, and let the work get underway.
From here, you then also might want to consider the kind of landscaping that you have in place and whether or not you want to make any changes. Do you have your yard landscaped at all? Are there set areas? Might you like an outdoor dining space? Really think about what might make your outside area look and feel even better, and then go from there.
Heading back inside again, there may be a few issues around the house that you want to work on. It could be that you have always wanted rooms to be in different positions. Or that you would love to make room for a little en suite. When this is the case, it could be the year that you choose to alter the floor plan. For this, you’re going to want to find skilled contractors that can help you.
This one can often seem quite boring, but it’s something that can be really important for you if you want your home to be at its best. If you always seem to have things lying around, then it’s definitely essential for you to work in smart storage ideas to be able to tackle that. This can be something that you hire professionals for, or that you look to do yourself.
Something on a much bigger scale that you could be considering, is an extension. And this is something that can often feel like a really big job to take on. Because it is. But if it’s something that you’ve been considering for a while, then it may be something that you should start working on this year. If you know that you need more space, or that you want to add on more facilities, this can often save you from having to move house.
At the same time, you might even want to convert an unused space. Maybe the biggest transformation for you this year is going to be turning your garage into a living space or making your basement into somewhere that can be used for another purpose.
However, it really could be quite simple in the sense that you just need to go through the entire home and refresh the decor that you have. If you know that you haven’t updated your home in years, then this could be something that’s bothering you. It is going to affect not only how the home looks, but how you feel in it too. So really start to plan out the decorative changes you want to make throughout the house. Updating the decor can make a big difference to the value of your home too.
Wood. It’s one of the most versatile and beautiful materials that you can use in your home for all kinds of purposes. People use wood for high-quality cladding, furniture, and flooring. The great thing about wood is that it’s so versatile and yet still has the ability to create drama, especially when paired with modern materials. Wood can be either refined or rustic depending on your style (I have a particular liking for more rustic wood), and has a place is practically any room, from the dining room to the living room to the kitchen.
Here are some ways that you can use wood to lift practically any room;
Use Dark Wooden Furniture To Create Elegance
The rich, deep tones of dark-stained woods can create a sense of luxury and elegance. Consider buying a statement chair made from a dark hardwood, like maple, and pairing it with luxe fabric cushions, for a beautiful ensemble. Dark wooden statement furniture works particularly well placed in the corners of rooms, creating a moody ambience.
Use Quality Exposed Skirting
If you want to create an impression the moment that people walk into a room, then focus in the skirting. Skirting travels around the entire perimeter of the room, helping to frame everything within. What’s more, skirting is made from wood, so it’s an ideal opportunity to show off the wooden elements in your home. Products like George Hill timber can help to improve the look of a room and help you develop a wood-focused theme. Instead of just painting the skirting white, look for ways to bring out the natural wood colours: stains and varnishes are a great idea, especially if you opt for a hardwood.
Seek Out Minimalist Wood Designs
Not all wooden furniture is traditional, big and bulky. Some designers have taken pains to mould wood into more modernist and minimalist shapes. Many apartments in upmarket city districts use elegant, small-footprint wooden furniture made from organic oak, like dining tables, which doesn’t have the usual bulk of most run-of-the-mill furniture options.
If you’re looking to make over your study or office, consider wooden cabinetry along the wall. Wooden cabinetry is something that is found in almost all high-end homes in areas designed for work. It adds a sense of style and sophistication to a home office, making it feel like a place to work. Wine-coloured woods are particularly suitable in this regard. Cabinets along a wall make it clear that this is a room for work. They’re also useful for storing books, stationery and files.
Bespoke Journey Pieces
The great thing about wood is that it is a material that’s relatively easy to work with. Designers can, therefore, create stunning bespoke pieces to complement any room and make it unique. Some country estates, for instance, have created headboards above the bed made from wood that is custom-carved and works its way all the way up to the ceiling. Others have invested in bespoke, artisan pieces of furniture that are unique to that particular property.
So how will you use wood - one of the most versatile materials - to boost your interiors?