Can living by the sea be good for your health?

For the Georgians and Victorians there was nothing better for physical, mental and even moral well-being than a dose of bracing sea air and salt water bathing.

Jane Austen wrote: “The sea air and sea bathing together were nearly infallible, one or the other of them being a match for every disorder of the stomach, the lungs or the blood. They were anti-spasmodic, anti-pulmonary, anti-septic, anti-bilious and anti-rheumatic.”

In modern times we might not see the sea as quite such a perfect cure-all but various studies have confirmed that living in a seaside location can bring overall health benefits. If you want to take advantage, take a look at the new homes in Cornwall for an idea of the sort of properties that might be available today.

Using data from Natural England with an anonymous self-reported health information by postcode – a team from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) found that living by the coast really could have a positive bearing on your health.

They commented on the report, saying: “Self-reported health correlates very well with real health. For the first time, we have had this information according to postcode, and we found that the closer you live to the English coast the healthier you are. There was some evidence that other aquatic environments helped too.”

Another study looked at stress levels when test subjects were presented with a number of different landscapes. It found that stress tended to decrease the more water was present in the scenery.

The very sound of the sea can be relaxing as it can change wave patterns in the brain, allowing and encouraging a more relaxed state.

Bracing British sea air is also thought to help us achieve a good night’s sleep. There is also the fact that by simply living by the sea could promote a more active lifestyle – a walk along the beach is usually more pleasant than a stroll through an urban environment. Scientists are still puzzling over exactly why the seaside is good for us but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it is.

Flowers in food: The latest fashion craze?

Serenata FlowersFlowers are all around us, and not just in our gardens! They play a part in our day-to-day lives and wellbeing and are at the heart of many long-standing traditions; from the vase on our dining room table and the bouquet we send our loved one on Valentine’s Day to the herbal tea we drink before bed.
A bunch of flowers has the power to make someone’s day, send a message we can’t put into words, or simply make us feel happy. But it doesn’t stop there…

Edible flowers

We’ve all seen it on TV – a sprinkling of violas atop an elegant desert, the once-discarded courgette flower now stuffed and the centre piece of a summer salad. It’s safe to say flowers in food have become something of a craze.

Exploring the use of edible flowers can open up a whole new world of flavours, textures and aromas, and offer an exotic alternative to the classic garnish of fresh herbs.
Although a seemingly recent or perhaps rather extravagant trend limited to the experts, blooms in food is not a radical idea. It dates as far back as the Romans and has long been found in the traditional cuisines of India, China and the Middle East!

Why cook with flowers?

It’s a great way to expand your culinary horizons and, with a little research on the do’s and don’ts, you could be well on your way to impressing your guests at your next dinner party. When it comes to using flowers within a dish, it’s best to keep it simple and avoid overpowering your star ingredient.
You can even use flowers as a garnish and get creative. A few suggestions to get you inspired include:
• For an easy yet sophisticated finish, try decorating a cake with delicate crystallised rose petals

• Bring a plain potato salad bang up-to-date with the addition of spicy-sweet nasturtiums or use this versatile flower to scatter some pockets of colour into a sweet green salad

• Feeling particularly adventurous? Fresh homemade sushi can be made even more striking with some bright yellow chrysanthemums – a delicacy in Japan

We’re yet to see where this latest foodie fad may go, but one thing’s for sure: flowers will always be a popular inclusion in many areas of our life. Whether you visit to send your loved ones a beautiful bouquet, grow your own blooms in the garden, garnish your meals with petals or add buds and floral patterns to your clothes, flowers are a huge part of everyday life and an undeniable fashion statement.

Kitchen In Progress

plastered kitchen kitchen units stored while kitchen done

At the end of September we embarked on the building work needed to knock our old kitchen and utility room into one room.  In between the two was a large chimney breast which was a unit’s width in depth and took up quite a lot of space.  Having work done on this sort of scale and to such an important room is never going to be stress free, but I felt that I coped quite well with the building work.  The lowest point for me came the day that the building work was finished and the kitchen units had been delivered.  Our kitchen floor had to be resurfaced so nothing could go into the kitchen while that was done.  Our conservatory was piled high with units and work tops, but that was ok as we didn’t need to use that room.  The problem came when there wasn’t enough room for all the units and some needed to go into another room.  It had to be either our dining room or our living room. Our dining room was set up as a temporary kitchen, but that’s where the units ended up.  It was hard trying to cook around all these units, but by the next evening they had gone.


fitting larder cupboards into a kitchen kitchen units being fitted kitchen being fitted

After that it all got easier.  Units started to go in; the kitchen took shape; we had a kitchen sink again.  It was still disruptive, but we could see progress: the end was in sight. Now our kitchen is fully fitted and we have the floor tiles down too.  Most of the cupboards have been filled with our things and there are just a few things left to finish off.  Decorating is going on this week, so hopefully I’ll have some finished kitchen pictures to share with you soon.

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