The power of plants 🌿

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Ivy Photo by Nick

This week I’m discovering why my favourite indoor plants can improve the quality of air I breathe indoors.

With improved insulation materials making our homes more energy efficient. The gases from synthetic materials and other pollutants are sealed inside our house with us.

Indoor air pollution is a major problem; as we spend a large proportion of our time indoors. Particularly those of us who suffer from illnesses like fibromyalgia.

The likelihood of developing air pollutant related illness can increase. Statistics show there has been an increase in the cases of allergies, asthma, chemical hypersensitivity and cancer due to this.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

It was NASA researchers, during the 80s who discovered that plants can purify and refresh the air in sealed compartments. During their research into life support systems for missions into space. Their findings provided the evidence that plants removed volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in a series of tests.

By introducing plants into the home the air quality is refreshed; plants act as natural air purifiers. Being in amongst nature or bringing it indoors has the added benefit of reducing stress levels.

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If you work mostly indoors or in an office; buying some plants and keeping them in your environment can, in the long term improve mental and physical health.

Some of the best plants to choose are those that have a high transpiration rate; meaning they carry a larger amount of water from the roots to the leaves. They are more efficient at improving our indoor air quality.

I have chosen some easy to grow varieties for beginners:

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Peace Lily Photo by Nick

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

One of my favourites is peace lily, it’s a foliage plant and it looks attractive with it’s white flowers (spathes).

Peace lily requires semi-shade but not direct sunlight.

It’s easy to grow and look after; although not a good choice if you have pets or young children as it is extremely toxic.

Feeding is required in summer and remove dead leaves and flowers to promote new growth.

Water in summer keeping the compost moist and less watering required in winter. Misting the leaves occasionally will help to improve humidity. Keep out of cold draughts.

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Spider Plant Photo by Nick

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

A spider plant is easy and quick to grow and look after.

It prefers a partially sunny and shady spot, and it’s ok with dry air.

Water regularly letting the soil dry before rewatering again.

In winter less watering is required and feeding with house plant food in the summer.  Occasional misting in summer if it’s very hot. Dead leaves and unwanted runners can be pruned.

The spider plant produces runners on which mini plants form; these are great for propagating into new plants.

Wait until they have grown to a reasonable size and then cut off the runner. Plant on in a small pot with compost.

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Common Ivy Photo by Nick

Common Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy looks very attractive with its trailing foliage.  Many ivy varieties exist; including variegated versions.

Ivy is a climbing plant with aerial roots which can be trained to grow on trellis and other structures outdoors as well as indoors.

Ivy is easy to grow and care for plant.

Ivy prefers a shaded site and can be grown in full shade. Keep out of direct sunlight in summer.

Water regularly keeping compost moist and feed in summer. Regular misting in winter and summer in hot dry conditions indoors.

Dead leaves and unwanted growth can be pruned to keep it looking healthy.

Have I included any of your favourites here?  If you have any suggestions please let me know.

In the flower garden 🐝

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French Lavender Photo by Nick 

With the start of summer; I’ve been contemplating which plants I’m going to choose for my summer pots. I enjoy looking at attractive plants throughout the year in my small garden.

The natural environment of our garden plants changes dramatically. If you, like me watch the seasons go by; you will have observed these changes yourself.

Plants and flowers are struggling to survive due to climate change. The bee population is in decline and this will have a knock on effect for the plants we grow in the future.

By introducing flowering plants into our garden we can help bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

If I had to choose just one plant that fulfils these objectives it would be…

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Red Admiral Butterfly on Lavender Photo by Nick

Lavender

it’s an extremely versatile evergreen shrub with a great range of uses.

Lavender looks beautiful planted on mass and it has a soothing distinctive scent.

Its latin name Lavandula angustifolia meaning narrow leaved lavender; flowers in June and July. This variety grows to form a rounded, shaped grey, leaved bush with mauve flowers on spiked branches.

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Lavender with Bee Photo by Nick

A wide range of cultivars exist from L. angustifolia including Hidcote, a slow growing variety, Folgate which is richly scented.

On Royal purple and Imperial gem the flowers and leaves can be dried and used for pot-pourri or made into dried lavender bags.

French lavender is a more ornate variety with feathery leaves on top of the flowers. With cultivars the flowering season can vary depending on plants.

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White Lavender Photo by Nick

Growing details for gardeners; Lavender requires a sunny site, with reasonable fertile, well-drained soil.

Plants should be cut back in mid-spring to the previous years growth by 5 cms (2 in). Avoid cutting the old wood.

Lavender can be grown with roses; another plant pollinators like.

Lavender flowers are blended to make lavender oil, which is renowned for its healing properties. Lavender has been grown commercially for it’s oil, for a few hundred years in Britain.

English lavender is popular because it’s oil is stronger than other varieties. Home, medicinal and beauty products are created from this to produce essential oil, massage oil, perfume, herbal tea and soaps.

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Lavender Photo by Nick
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Wild Meadow Flowers Photo by Nick 

 

Rambling in bluebell woodland

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Woodland glade Photo by Nick 

It’s #WalkThisMay month and I have been trying out some different walking routes. It’s often on these paths you find the most interesting fauna and flora.

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Carpet of bluebells Photo by Nick 

I came across beautiful carpets of bluebells during one of my woodland walks.

Their deep blue colour is a breathtaking sight stretching out beneath the slowly unfolding woodland canopy.

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Woodland stream Photo by Nick

Bluebells flower from the middle of April to the end of May; producing nectar early in the season.

The bluebells nectar provides an important source of food for bees,🐝butterflies,🦋and other insects.🕷🦟

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Bluebells Photo by Nick

The bluebell is mainly found in Britain and Western Europe.

Areas of woodland where bluebells grow as wildflowers are often likely to have been in existence for hundreds of years and are categorised as ancient woodland.

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Woodland in May Photo by Nick

If your interested in exploring your local area have a look at my page on walking for more information and ideas.👣

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Woodland canopy Photo by Nick

#FibromyalgiaAwarenessDay

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It’s #Fibromyalgia Awareness Day today.

So What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a difficult illness to describe and live with, because it encompasses so many variables. Your mind and body seem to be at odds with each other most of the time.

The photo I have chosen illustrates this well; it feels like you are climbing waterfalls. Never achieving very much but putting all your effort into something for little reward.

What is fibromyalgia?

Briefly, it affects the skeletal muscles throughout the body, causing varying degrees of pain.

The pain ranges in severity from day to day and it is affected by temperature,

stress

and the amount of physical activity carried out.

Fibromyalgia sufferers commonly experience a range of different types of pain.

The pain can range from a sharp stabbing pain,

an ache

and a burning pain.

Other symptoms that can be experienced are

fatigue,

poor sleep quality,

stiffness,

IBS,

headaches,

cognitive problems

“Fibro fog”,

depression,

dizziness,

anxiety

and painful periods.

Invisible Illness and Fibromyalgia 

One difficulty of living with fibromyalgia is it’s an invisible illness; others assume you are well because there is no physical evidence of being ill.

In my personal struggle with fibromyalgia this single fact has caused me the most stress over the 14 years I have had it.

Have a look at the NHS description of fibromyalgia for more in depth information about the condition.

If you have just been diagnosed and are trying to find links to support groups and the online community. Have a look at the organisations below and also Facebook groups.

UK Fibromyalgia is a brilliant site that covers a wide range of information about fibromyalgia.

Also

Fibromyalgia Association  is a registered charity that provides information and help to sufferers.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award 🥇

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Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

I would like to say a huge thank you to Diane at Life on the Patio  for nominating me. If you don’t already follow Diane, have a look at her fantastic blog. Her posts are really enjoyable to read and she is a great inspiration to new bloggers like me.

I want to thank everyone who follows my blog, comments  and likes my posts. It’s really encouraging to know others are interested in my posts.

Also, I must thank my family and friends who have helped me along this path.

I was really amazed when I found out I had been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. It’s a great achievement for me to be nominated, being a fibromyalgia sufferer.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a peer recognition award for bloggers who inspire, with positivity and joy.

When I started my blog, I was not sure where it would lead. I reached a very low point last year and was given the idea to start a website.

I decided to create a blog to highlight living with the invisible illness, fibromyalgia. My blog would focus on positives, negatives and overcoming these if it’s possible to. I also wanted to showcase my decoupage and art projects.

Since I started to write my blog I have gained the confidence I had lost and felt positive about life in general.

Hopefully my blog will blossom and grow and help others to understand some of the mysteries of fibromyalgia. I also hope you will continue to follow me, comment and like my posts.

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Rules for the award :-

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so that others can find them.
  • Add the award logo to your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • * See notes below 

My questions were:

1 What brings you joy?

Eating chocolate!

2 Where is your “happy place”…that place you go to that gives you peace and contentment?

I practice mindful meditation to help me relax and find peace.

3 What is your favorite time of day? sunrise, mornings, afternoons, sunsets, evenings? and, what makes it your favorite?

I like mornings, hearing the birds singing very early is really special.

4 If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?

I would create a world kindness day and give everyone the day off. We would then have time to do something positive for others, stranger or not. Be it raising a smile, saying hello, or volunteering to help someone else.

5 What is your favorite subject to write about?

Poetry based on Nature.

6 What is your favorite thing to cook?

Lentil soup and soda bread on a really cold, rainy day, it’s warming and delicious.

7 Do you have a ‘bucket list’? Are you doing it?

I try not to make too many plans as I usually have to break them due to illness. I plan achievable goals to strive for in life and work.

In my blog I want to increase my readership which will enable me to educate others about living with invisible illnesses like fibromyalgia.

8 If you had to give up something in your life, what would it be? 

I already have, my freedom…..due to fibromyalgia. I’m locked into a fibromyalgia body and mind.

9 Do you believe in love? 

Love is spending time with people who are special to you.

10 If you won the lottery today, what’s the first thing you do?  

It would depend on how much I won. If it was life changing; I would probably set up a charitable trust to help others in need.

11 What is your favorite part of being in the blogging world?

The excitement of potentially communicating to everyone in the online world. Also being nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award.

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Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

My questions for my nominees are:

1 What was your reaction when you found out you had been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award?

2 What motivated you to start your blog?

3 Who inspires you and why?

4 What is your best advice for a new blogger?

5 How has blogging changed you life?

6 If you could choose a world leader to answer a question. Who would you choose and what would you ask?

7 How do you think your blog has influenced others?

8 What is your favourite subject to write about?

9 Why do you think creativity is important?

10 We hear so much negativity. What would you do to encourage peace and harmony in the world?

11 Create your own question to answer.

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Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

My Nominations

I would love to choose everyone I follow to be nominated for this award but I could only choose 11 blogs. The blogs l have chosen to nominate vary in subject matter from the broad spectrum of Art, Artists, Books, Chronic Illness, Comedy, Craft, DIY, Fibromyalgia, Humour, Lifestyle, Motivational Speaking, Reading and Travel.

I have chosen blogs that I think in some way reflect the ‘spirit’ of the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Through inspiring positivity and joy.

I have interpreted this to mean they are inspiring because of the people that are writing them.

The subject matter is positive and inspiring to others.

Or that I find them joyful to read and help to motivate me with positive thoughts.

I particularly wanted to include blogs that are written by others with fibromyalgia, invisible illnesses and chronic illness.

In life in general we are excluded from so many things because our illness limits what we can do. It’s important for me to include them in my list.

* I am going to mention any nominees who could be categorised as having a disability, or illness are exempt from having to write 11 questions, 11 answers and nominate 11 bloggers to be able to except this award.

My nominees are listed in alphabetical order.

Advice By Her

All My Woes

Chaotic Shapes

Coffee Then Books

Desperate Housewife Craft

Diary Of A Dublin Housewife

Kelley’s DIY

Lifeblush

Like Locals

Parkashpencia Poetry

Walk To Wellness

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To my nominees…I want to leave you with this last thought from an

Indian poem

This is a special day, It is yours.

Yesterday slipped away

It cannot be filled with more meaning.

About tomorrow nothing is known.

But this day, today, is yours,

Make use of it.

Today you can make someone happy.

Today you can help another.

This day is a special day, It is yours.

 

Walking around… Cambridge

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Cambridge Photo by Nick 

On a recent trip to Cambridge, England; I discovered some quaint streets and alleyways on my way to Kings College.

What can I tell you about Cambridge?

It’s on the tourist map as one of the most visited places in Britain.

It’s  famous for its University Kings College, Chapel and Choir. On Christmas Eve every year a service of Nine lessons and Carols is broadcast.

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Cam River Photo by Nick 

The River Cam runs through Cambridge.

Students earn some extra cash by hiring out small boats called “punts”and punting visitors along the river.

On a summers day the river is a colourful mass of punts and people.

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The Backs, Cambridge Photo by Nick 

Walking into the town centre through “the backs” by the river.

A variety of Spring flowers cover the banks. First with snow drops, then daffodils and bluebells.

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As I reach the city centre Gothic architecture surrounds me. It’s a great place to visit on foot.

As it’s #WalkThisMay month it’s a great incentive to get out and about exploring new places.

For more ideas about walking have a look at my blog post.