I hope you have enjoyed reading my articles for the Bridport Times this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Over the months I have described what I think are some of the fundamental aspects to making interiors work for you, to improve your living space using personality and colour, and to make changes both large or small that are manageable and fun. In December, I am not about to order you to open a tin of paint and start decorating in time for the festive season, quite the opposite in fact. This month I will tell you about how I have taken some of my ideas and combined them with recipes and lifestyle guidance from nutritional therapist Helen Ross of the Well Life Lab, to create The Health and Home Handbook; a seasonal guide to help us take on this wonderful thing called life.
Helen and I wanted to raise more awareness about the importance of taking care of ourselves and our home environment. It is essential to look after these aspects when trying to create a healthy balance towards living a happy, fulfilled life in today's modern world. Concentrating on making small changes to our routines, our homes, and our diets, combined with the recognition that we need to take it easy from time to time are all important parts of the journey towards living healthier lives, both for ourselves and for those we live with.
This special time of year is a busy one, and for many, clouded by rising stress levels. So I recommend focusing on making small, manageable changes in the home that will have a big impact, not just visually but mentally. I would like to share a few thoughts included in the book; so here is my advice as we head toward the depths of winter, and ultimately, Christmas:
“The season of snuggling, and indulgence. Of period dramas on TV, roast scoffing, pudding and alcohol consumption - a rhythm so easy to fall into when the nights close in and human instinct tells us to stay inside and hibernate. Who doesn't want to curl up by the fire and roast a chestnut or two? Especially during the frantic preparations we put ourselves through with Christmas.”
“It is easy to lose sight of the importance of slowing down and spending time with loved ones. When the holiday is over, those are the memories that remain, not the amount of presents, how clean the house was, or how fancy the table placemats where. Remember that Jamie and Nigella have a huge creative team working behind the scenes to make everything perfect, so give yourself a break. As long as you don't run out of loo roll or toothpaste and the cupboards are stocked, nothing can go badly wrong.”
“Devote a moment every day to improve the state of your bedroom, because you'll be needing it. Turn your private space in to the sanctuary you deserve, instead of the last-on-the-list, neglected, cluttered, dusty, hell-hole you fall into after a long and busy day. Tidy away the present wrapping so you can retreat to somewhere calm and seductively inviting...think sexy lighting and clean crisp sheets after a candlelit soak in the tub.”
“Elsewhere in the home, focus on elements of areas where you spend the most time, such as the living room fireplace or the dining table. Get out in nature and forage for your own holly and Ivy but don’t stop there, grab whatever you like, old man’s beard from the hedgerows is a favourite of mine with its fluffy, snow-like appeal. Bunch your collections together and hang with fairy lights and glass droplets; these affordable statement pieces will add drama and steal the show in any room. Use this activity as an excuse to escape for a brisk walk and therapeutic de-stress cleanse. The creative journey of styling the home is as important as the finished result and provides the opportunity to spend time with family, sharing in this positive challenge to transform the home into a thing of beauty to gaze upon after the flurry of preparations have calmed down.
Illustration by Delphine Jones
If you would like to find out more about The Health and Home Handbook, Helen and I will be at Bridport Arts Centre on the 5th of December during Christmas Cheer, there will be copies for sale and a chance to ask us questions regarding nutrition, interior design and styling. We would love to meet you.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.
Published in the December 2018 edition of Bridport Times magazine: bridporttimes.co.uk
The Health and Home Handbook is now available to buy online! CLICK HERE
The Health and Home Handbook will be available soon at:
The Bookshop (Bridport) - www.dorsetbooks.com
Yellow Gorse - www.yellowgorse.co.uk
Symondsbury Home and Garden Store: www.symondsburyestate.co.uk/shop/homeandgarden/