Frank’s Photo Challenge – Signs


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is SIGNS

Cake or no cake – that is the question !!

What’s the answer?  ha ha !! 

MCR Museum - signs, Aug BH 2017 (1)

Sign outside Manchester Museum


Tips on how to stay heathy this autumn


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Tomorrow (autumn equinox) takes us officially into autumn.


It can be a beautiful time of year as we observe nature’s garments transform from lush greens to golds and reds, especially if the sun comes out to play, but cold winds and damp weather can play havoc with our health, so it’s worth taking a little extra care. As always, it is wise to take our cues from Mother Nature.

Slow down a little

As autumn unfolds, we need to get in tune with nature by gradually slowing down and adapting our diaries to suit the shorter days and colder weather. Trying to maintain a 24/7 lifestyle during the colder and darker months puts extra stress on our cells and can undermine our health.


Eat warmer foods

Autumn and winter are the seasons to warm the body from the inside with nourishing stews and soups, dishes which have been simmering for an hour or so, thus building up heat which can be transferred to our own bodies on eating.

A modicum of raw foods can still be tolerated alongside cooked foods, but eating too many can put out our “digestive fire”, which can lead to us feeling sluggish, cold and muggy headed, not to mention full of catarrh!

Enjoy a warming cuppa

Favourite herbal teas such as mint, camomile and fruit can actually be quite cooling to our bodies and are best suited for summer. Good options for colder weather are those that include ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and other warming spices. Making your own is easy. Grate a small chunk of fresh ginger into water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, perhaps with some lemon juice/rind or a cinnamon stick & cloves.

Sore throats are often a problem at this time of year.  Teas containing liquorice and slippery elm, which help to coat the mucus membranes of the throat, can be very comforting.

A cup of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon takes a lot of beating too!


Enjoy more sleeeeeeeeeeeeep

Getting more early nights in during this time can reap dividends. We are part of nature and as such should be sleeping, or at least resting, during hours of darkness.  During sleep, our body cleanses and does a fair bit of repair work. Our detox system can be a little sluggish during colder weather so it needs every bit of help it can get. Notching up a few more zzzzzs each night can help the body concentrate its efforts on cleansing rather than keeping up with our hectic life! It is when toxins build up that we start feeling unwell and literally manifest colds and flu as the body brings in the bigger guns to clean up.

Catch some daylight          

We are all creatures of light and now that nights are drawing in, moods can start to fall too. Especially for those who leave for work in the morning darkness and return in the dark too, having probably seen very little natural light in between, it is essential to optimise light exposure at lunchtimes and weekends. Light activates hundreds of enzymes, essential for the optimal functioning of the body.


As tempting as it is to stay indoors on cold and damp days, it’s worth getting out for a brisk walk each day to keep the circulation going and stimulate your lymph system, which plays a big part in your immunity.


Wrap up warmly

It sounds obvious, but fashion sometimes dictates that we don’t follow common sense!!! Hats and scarves are good at keeping out cold which could lead to head colds, chills and chesty complaints. Feet appreciate toasty socks, and wearing a scarf around the kidney area is beneficial too. These are all areas which are neglected when we bravely strive to keep in summer-mode for as long as possible!

Boost your immune system

With sunshine at a premium, levels of Vitamin D3 can slump, so it’s worth taking this as a supplement. I would also recommend a good Vitamin C and probiotic to help give your immune system a helping hand.  Remember though that supplements are just that. They are meant to supplement an already healthy diet, so if you are eating poorly, no amount of supplementation can save the day!


I find that lighting candles in the evening brings some much needed light and warmth, especially when the dark creeps in after a cold, wet day.  I also line up a few treats for the cold nights ahead: a few DVDs, favourite books, and perhaps some new recipes to experiment with in the kitchen. Choose things to nourish your mind and body, and thus help to elevate your mood.


In summary, try to reduce your stress and pre-empt many of the problems that you could face this season.  Boost your nutrient intake, notch up those zzzzzzs, and keep warm, but also get outside for some much needed light and exercise.


Frank’s Photo Challenge – Stones


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is STONES

I’ve chosen some photos of gravestones for my entry.

As a Family Historian, I have a fascination for graveyards and cemeteries. A gravestone is often the clue one needs to move forwards (although actually backwards in time!!) in the quest of following a particular family line. I’ve spent many a happy hour pottering around graves, hunting for an elusive stone, and at the same time getting side tracked by unrelated memorials. The three photos are not of my family. (Most of my “hunting” was done pre-digital.) I can only wonder at the lost stories hidden within those graves!!

Brougham, Near Penrith, May-2017 (45)

Brougham, Near Penrith

Chorlton Green churchyard, Mar-2017 (5) ZZ

Chorlton Green churchyard, Manchester

Dorking Churchyard. I wonder if James lived up to his name !!!

Frank’s Photo Challenge – Dark


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is DARK

Not one of my best shots, but I have limited time this week to come up with an entry. This one is of the Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland, made famous by “Game of Thrones”.  Sadly, GOT makes it popular with followers, so it is nigh on impossible to get a shot without people or cars in !!  When we were there, there was also a frustrated farmer driving a large tractor quite fast up the lane, no doubt making his point!!

Dark Hedges is an avenue of about 150 ancient Beech trees, which are now twisted and intertwined to make what seems like a mystical tunnel.  James Stuart built Gracehill House, the family home ca 1775, and the avenue would have been planted around this time by the family as an entrance to their Georgian Estate.

Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim, Mar-2017 (6) pm

Frank’s Photo Challenge – Water


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is WATER

Water is one of my favourite topics, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you of some good reasons to drink it 🙂

Sadly the chaps in the photos seem to be doing quite the opposite!! Obviously too much chlorine in their water !!! 🙂

10 good reasons to drink WATER

🙂 Your cells are made up of 70 – 80% water, so it makes them happier.
🙂 Happy healthy cells = Happy healthy YOU.
🙂 Clearer thinking, 🙂 better focus, 🙂 better memory
🙂 Smoother, more comfortable digestion
🙂 More fluid movements (and no we aren’t talking digestion again) – this time it’s healthy joints!!
🙂 Clearer, healthier, more handsome / beautiful skin
🙂 Happier waterworks and kidneys
🙂 Better circulation, so that oxygen and nutrients reach those faraway bits like your fingertips and tootsies, not to mention all the cells in between, making them happy (See above!)!
🙂 Healthier lungs and breathing
🙂 A more fluid lymph system which means a stronger immune system to help avoid those pesky colds etc
🙂 More energy – YAY!!

So go on ………. You know you want to …………… have a glass or two of water

Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester

Fountain, Albert Square, Manchester

Evening Primrose Oil – a gift from Nature


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A few weeks back, I was looking out of our kitchen window onto the back garden. It was after 8pm but not yet dark, and I noticed our Evening Primrose sporting a solitary flower. I went out to investigate. Having looked positively tatty and on its last legs during the day, this delicate of flowers now appeared vibrant and rejuvenated. It was at this point that the penny dropped. It was named EVENING primrose for a very good reason. I did a little reading on the internet and found out that this beautiful yellow flower does in fact bloom in the evening in the cooler hours, but then fades during the following day. There are plenty of buds on the plant, so there is usually at least one flower out to greet each new morning, although at that stage, it has only a short time left to grace us with its presence.

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) has for many years now been used for its health benefits.  I thought I would just highlight a few of them here.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) are so named because it is essential that we include them in our diet, as our body is not able to produce them itself (a bit of a design flaw in my humble opinion, but hey it keeps nutritionists busy!).

There are two “families” of EFAs, known as Omega 3 and Omega 6, each with their own benefits.  GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid) which belongs to the Omega 6 family, provides many health benefits. EPO is one of the best sources of it.

Here are just a few areas which are helped by using EPO

• Promotes healthy skin. Used for e.g. eczema and acne, but also excellent for skin in general (my mother swore by this for decades and had incredible skin well into her late 80s!)

• Good for treating inflammation

• Arthritic conditions – helps to ease joint pain and swelling of Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) – can ease many of the symptoms of PMS, particularly useful if breast tenderness is an issue.

• Can also ease Menstrual cramping, and helps with fibrocystic breasts.

• Nails and Hair – helps to nourish the nails, scalp and hair. If you are prone to broken nails, it could be worth looking at EPO.

• Promotes the uptake of calcium, so useful for bones

As you can see from the above, it plays a useful part in women’s health

I take my EPO alongside an Omega 3 supplement (usually Linseed oil). As with so many nutrients, they act synergistically, and EPO and Omega 3 provide a powerful anti-inflammation combo.

Wishing you and your cells vibrant good health 😊😊

Judith, Herb and Ginger xx


Are you driving yourself into an early grave?


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Blog 2017-09-04 Are you driving yourself to death

Last week I was caught in “congestion” on the M6. My usual journey to Manchester took two extra stressful hours, leaving me beyond tired that evening as well as incredibly stiff the next morning.

Strangely that day there was a piece of news which reported that approx.  four out of every ten people in the 40- to 60-year-old range do not manage even a brisk 10-minute walk each month!!!!!! (See

Our outer environment often reflects that of our inner world. If we are sitting in “congested” traffic, what does it say for our inner environment, where our cells live?

We were designed to move. Sitting scrunched up behind a wheel for extended periods on the M6, M25 or another crazy road, couldn’t get much more unnatural.

Health is all about FLUIDITY and FLOW in ……….

  • Movement and joints
  • Blood flow and circulation
  • Thoughts and emotions
  • Digestion and bowel movements To feel healthy and happy, our cells and us should just literally GO WITH THE FLOW, at every level!!

After a day on the road (or at the office, or parked in front of the PC / TV), what we find instead is …..

  • Stiffness in our muscles and joints
  • Difficulty in movement
  • Sluggish digestion and bowels
  • Sluggish mind and stuck emotions
  • Fatigue
  • Poor circulation
  • Amongst other things !!!!!

In essence – inner CONGESTION and lack of flow.

There is an old Chinese proverb: “You die from the feet up”.    

If you commute daily or sit on your bottom far too much, be sure to factor in a good walk and some stretching to help to rebalance and restore your healthy flow at all levels.

Wishing you and your cells vibrant good health 😊

Judith, Herb and Ginger x


See my previous post – Some commonsense reasons to exercise EVERY day.

Meet Pedro – he likes to go walkies but he isn’t a dog.



Frank’s Photo Challenge – Blue


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is BLUE

I’ve opted for photos of one of my favourite flowers – BORAGE. A while back, when I was studying Bach Flower Essences, we had to make our own essence and I chose Borage – hence the floating flowers in the bowl.  




Borage 2010 (1) PMBorage 2010 (4) PM

Frank’s Photo Challenge – Pink


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Frank’s photo challenge this week is “PInk”………………….

2 pretty pink blossoms in Thailand.

If anyone can identify them (especially the first one) I shall be VERY VERY grateful. Ta muchly in advance.

XX Thai flowers Chiang Mai (1)Chiang Mai Feb-2012 (16)


Domestic Demon #1 – CHLORINE


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The serious health risks of chlorinated water for drinking and bathing.

Blog-Wix 2017-08-21 Domestic Demon #1 - CHLORINE (2)

Many years ago, when I first started out, I used to write a regular article entitled “Domestic Demons”. I felt that the time was right for me to resurrect this.
A domestic demon is something which is lurking around your home and not serving your health in any way, shape or form, and in fact could be doing quite a lot of harm to you and your family.

The first Domestic Demon under my spotlight is CHLORINE.

A few years back, I remember a fellow Mancunian questioning why my mother had a water filter. Surely Manchester water was one of the cleanest, he said. The thing is, there is CLEAN and then there is CLEAN.

For many decades, we have been brainwashed into thinking that everything needs to be sanitised to within an inch of its life, to prevent attack from bacteria and germs. We therefore fill our homes with a plethora of anti-bacterial soaps, germ-killing toiletries and household cleaners to arm ourselves against these invisible enemies. This is the first sort of “CLEAN” – the sanitised, chemical-laden sort, which is what the most people identify as healthy!

The other sort of “CLEAN” is my sort of clean, and means natural and untarnished, without a trace of man-made chemicals.

Chlorine plays a big part in our modern sanitised world. It’s used in our water supply as well as being added to swimming pools. Its purpose is to kill or inactivate harmful microorganisms, such as those which cause typhoid, dysentery, cholera and giardiasis.
Our water travels miles of pipes to reach our homes, It is recycled round and round, to and from each of our households, so you can imagine how much treatment is necessary. The mind boggles!!!

We have come a long way since the days of water-borne diseases, thanks to water sanitation, but modern water treatment comes with its own problems too, and may be contributing heavily to many of the modern diseases.

The Serious Health Risks associated with Chlorine.

Chlorine (and in some cases chloramine as well) is used as a disinfectant in our water supply. The trouble is that it combines with organic compounds in the water to form toxic compounds known as disinfection by-pTHroducts (DBPs), the most prevalent being Trihalomethanes (THMs). Chloroform is a common THM. Long-term exposure to these chlorination compounds have been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, including bladder and colon, as well as reproductive problems.

In swimming pools, Chlorine reacts with organic matter such as sweat and urine to form more chloramines!!

Chlorine kills bad bacteria (let’s face it that is why it is used in the first place!) so it should be no surprise to learn that it also strips our gut of its good bacteria. As 80% of our immunity resides in our gut, this is bad news indeed, not only for our immune and digestive systems, but for our health in general, which relies heavily on both these systems working optimally.

It also creates free radicals and destroys Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. Free radicals can cause havoc anywhere in the body, causing cellular damage, inflammation (including arteries and joints – think cardiovascular disease and arthritis), amongst others.

Chlorine also strips sebum, a natural oil found in our hair and skin. Sebum is a lubricator, so too much chlorine can leave both hair and skin dry. Sebum also helps to maintain the correct pH balance of the skin, and acts as a protective barrier. When chlorine depletes the sebum, our skin is left more sensitive, and more vulnerable to bacterial infection. Chlorine also contributes to premature signs of aging over time.

When we think about chlorine in water, we tend to focus on our drinking water, but surprisingly we are exposed to far more whilst bathing or swimming in public baths!! Apparently, absorption of chlorine during a 10-minute shower is greater than the amount in 8 glasses of the same water! SCARY-ISSIMO!!

Read on ………

When we drink a glass of tap water, our digestive tract and kidneys can to a certain extent do some partial filtering (although it would be far better if they weren’t put under so much stress). Taking a warm shower or bath, however, opens us up to a whole new level of exposure to chlorine.
Warm / hot water transforms our skin into a sponge; it opens the pores, thus increasing absorption via the skin. Chlorine vapours in steam are also easily inhaled and enter our bloodstream. A double whammy!!
Chlorine is a known strong irritant to sensitive tissue, such as the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs (think asthma).

So, taking a shower becomes quite a health hazard, as well as drying out your skin and hair, and aging you to boot.

What can you do?

Get savvy!! Do your research.

Filter your water – for drinking AND bathing.

I recommend Nikken filters: The Waterfall and portable Water Bottle (for drinking) and the Ultra Shower for bathing. Have a look at my HEALTHY WATER page on my website.

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