Regular tips and information on wellbeing and health!


All content and media on The Violet Cottage website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Keep calm, wear a patch

If you're feeling stressed and long for calm then these little patches of calm might just be your life saver.  Calm Patches have been created to help ease tensions such as headaches and migraines, they also remedy the stagnation of thoughts or brain fog, and soothe frustration and agitation. These small and discreet patches get to work straight away to target everyday stresses.   Developed by Ross J. Barr they are a convenient, effective and natural way to help alleviate stress headaches and tension, as well as ease anger and frustration.   They include Chuan-xiong that is known to calm, Safflower that soothes and reduces inflammation and Asarum that is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat aches and pains. An immediate calming effect is also felt thanks to the unique scent created by the combination of White Peony and Peach that elicits a deeply relaxing olfactive experience. 

Buy them at:


Salt Water - The Cure for Everything?

People say that salt water is one of the best cures for almost anything.  Below we take a look at what exactly do they mean. 

The three best ways to overcome a difficulty are: 

Sweat - Performing hard physical labour

Tears - Crying out the emotion you are feeling at the time

Sea Salt - Going to the sea

I suppose the first one SWEAT is what people do when faced with a difficult situation.  Have you heard the phrase “I’m just throwing myself into my work so I can forget about everything”. When faced  with life’s difficulties, it is a way of trying to forget what is actually going on in our lives. Maybe a bereavement, a diagnosis of a serious illness, a job loss or something else can all cause us great stress and upset, so by concentrating on other things then it helps to forget, even for just a little while.

So what about TEARS.  Well for a start, I do cry at many things.  Anything can start me off.  Just lately I have been getting highly emotional at the programme every one has been talking about THE REPAIR SHOP. I know I have mentioned this programme before but it is such a gentle look at the way people treasure special items that have meant so much to them and want them to be repaired so that they can keep them for just a little bit longer.  If like me, you are a delicate soul who cares deeply about those around you then you understand the power of tears. When we cry, we release pent up stress, we can let go. So many of us hold in our emotions and thoughts and that then leads to mental health problems. So, don’t be afraid to cry. Crying is a good thing. Go on, have a good bawl!

SEA SALT - Lastly, we here at the Violet Cottage are very lucky to live on the coast.  We can literally walk down the road and we are there, staring……..sitting silently at the beautiful, vast and glorious ocean. 

It has been proven that it the closer you are to the sea, the better you feel. In fact, doctors have been prescribing curative trips to the shore from as early as the 18th century, and recent studies suggest the link between the ocean and health is a scientific fact.

Being near the sea also promotes not just  good physical health, but also it has an amazing affect on our mental wellbeing too.

It helps us to relax.  Researchers have found that the sound of waves alters brain patterns, which lulls you into a deeply relaxed state and rejuvenates body and mind. It also helps in promoting physical activity, even if it's simply a walk on the beach.

If you fancy taking a dip, then swimming in the sea gives you a full body workout, improves circulation, and increases your immune system function. Thalassotherapy is the word for it, meaning - the use of seawater as a form of therapy.  Studies have shown that the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in seawater produce antibiotic and antibacterial effects that promote immunity. An added bonus is that swimming in warm seawater (change would be a fine thing in the UK) activates the body's healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as common aches and pains.


Fulvic Acid - Is It Really The Elixir Of Life?

Social media, herbal websites, or health stores may have brought your attention to Fulvic acid, a health product that everyone is talking about.  So what on earth is it?

As taken from Victoria Health -  their elixir is one of the best selling products on their website. Below they explain what it is and the many benefits it has:

The Science:

Fulvic Acid is the element found in humus, the highly nutritious layer of the earth and is created in extremely small amounts by millions of beneficial microbes that work on the decaying plant matter. It combines with a variety of minerals to create a complex molecular compound and works to activate the nutrients within soil so that they can be utilised by the cells of plants. It is often termed a natures miracle molecule and for good reason.

Unfortunately, modern farming practices have destroyed our soils disrupting the creation of this miracle molecule, and therefore leaving our vegetation and animals and hence our food, devoid of it.

Our Fulvic Acid Elixir takes its humic-free Fulvic Acid from the rocks of high mountain ranges like the Himalayas and just as it does in the Earths soil, Fulvic Acid serves as an essential vehicle that carries vitamins and nutrients to the right place in our bodies.

Fulvic Acid is so powerful that one single Fulvic Acid molecule is capable of carrying 65 or more minerals and trace elements directly into our cells. This is just one of the properties that provides Fulvic Acid with the ability to have a dramatic impact on all types of diseases and concerns.

The Summary:

Fulvic Acid Elixir Benefits:

Increases metabolism within cells, creating energy

Neutralises toxins produced within cells

Makes cells more permeable to nutrients which in turn prevents deficiencies

Protects cells from sugar damage

Increases collagen production by an average of 30%

Nourishes the scalp follicles resulting in increased hair thickness

Strengthens weak, fragile and brittle nails

A powerful antioxidant which neutralises free radicals

Effectively removes heavy metals from the body

Displays powerful antimicrobial and antifungal activity

May be used topically to speed up wound recovery

Their best selling Fulvic Acid product is the Fulvic Acid Elixir see below for details:

Ful.Vic.Health Fulvic Acid Elixir is a potent, multi-purpose liquid supplement taken to combat nutrient deficiency by enhancing the absorption of vitamins and minerals in our body. Victoria Health's Fulvic Acid liquid is a brilliant overall supplement containing pure, patented humic-free fulvic acid, Ioniplex®, an ionic mineral complex which provides cellular protection and promotes cellular energy for the rapid absorption of vitamins and other nutrients to our skin, hair and nails as well as other places in our bodies.

What does it do:

Often referred to as 'The Elixir of Life' as written about by their  in-house pharmacist, Shabir Daya, Fulvic Acid is a natural compound found in the nutritious layer of soil that helps plants to grow. It works in a similar way in our body at a cellular level and is capable of carrying 65+ minerals and trace elements directly into our cells.

Fulvic Acid Elixir will help the body to heal, renew and restore.

You can buy it here!

Along side this is their amazing Fulvic acid nail cream that simply flies off the shelf whenever it comes back in stock.  

People state: “it was the only nail cream in existence that helped my nails grow in length and strength”

It is a breakthrough nail cream formulation from Victoria Health which promotes nail growth, strengthens nails, resists splits, peels and prevents nail cracks and ridges.

What does it do:

With its rich emollient base with Coconut Oil and Vitamin E, Fulvic Acid Nail Cream conditions and protects the cuticles to smooth the skin around the fingers, keeping them beautifully soft and flexible to help maintain youthful looking hands.

Treat yourself. This week it is reduced from £12 to £10!

Fulvic Acid at Victoria Health


Don't Put Your Foot on the Heartbreak

A really good friend of mine recently had two mini heart attacks last weekend. They had had chest pain for almost 24 hours and thought it was probably just indigestion so they ignored it until deciding it wasn’t going away and thankfully rang for an ambulance.  Once the paramedics had arrived, they informed my friend they had had two mini heart attacks and had to go to hospital where they are now being treated and thankfully looked after. 

We are all so busy these days and sometimes it’s just easier to ignore the odd ache and pain but this really did bring it home to me that however small, we shouldn’t ignore any warning signs as you never know what it might lead to.

So, this week in our health section I thought I would list the following symptoms that any one of us might experience up to a month before it might happen.  However, a lot of these symptoms are similar to other complaints, so don’t automatically think you are having a heart attack.  The list is a guide for things to be aware of.  Always see your doctor if you are worried or concerned about any of the following:

1 Stоmach Pain:  If yоu start tо feel abdominal pains such as nausea and bloating, it could be an early sign оf a heart attack. It could just as easily be nоthing serious, but abdominal pains before a heart attack will leave and return in short periods оf time. If yоu feel both stomach pain and heart pain, yоu should see a doctor.o

2 Insomnia: If you are having trouble going tо sleep, this can lead tо a heart attack. Most people that suffer frоm insomnia are also suffering from anxiety and depression.  Anxiety can increase yоur blood pressure which can lead tо a heart attack. Research has shown that depression and heart attacks are linked, so trying tо figure out what’s making you sad could save yоur life

3 Shortness оf Breath: Another organ that suffers frоm loss оf blood flоw is the lung. If your lungs do nоt receive enоugh blood, yоu will nоt be able tо breathe enough air. If you don’t breathe enough air, your brain will not be able tо receive enоugh oxygen. Nоt breathing enough air will result in shortness оf breath.

4 Chronic Fatigue: If yоu are constantly feeling tired and sluggish, and it’s unprecedented, there might be a loss оf blood flow tо yоur heart.  This generally occurs when there is a large buildup оf plaque in the arteries that carry the blood to-and-from the heart.

5 Flu-Like Symptoms: If you are in danger оf having a heart attack, yоu may begin tо develop flu-like symptoms.  These symptoms include fever, fatigue and chest pain. These symptoms can last between 2 tо 10 days.

Depending оn yоur age, if you’re an older individual and can’t shake these heart attack symptoms, go see your doctor immediately. However, if you get the flu or a cold, it does nоt mean you are in danger оf having a heart attack, but the symptoms need tо be monitored

6. Weakness -   If yоu start tо sweat and feel weak, оr start experiencing nausea, jaw pain, оr heart pain, you might be in danger оf having a heart attack. These heart attack symptoms occur because your arteries are starting tо narrow. When yоur arteries become narrow, there is no longer prоper blood flоw throughout the bоdy. If your heart does nоt get sufficient, blood, it will fail. Watch for the signals!

7 Chest Pain оr Pressure: This is one оf the most noticeable heart attack signs. It’s called angina.  This is caused when your heart is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Many people ignore this symptom because they think it’s just indigestion. But if the pressure is constant, it’s a direct sign that a heart attack may happen. If yоu feel unusual chest pain or pressure, you may be having heart issues.

8 Cold Sweats and Dizziness: When yоur body has pооr blood circulation, your brain will nоt receive the proper blood flоw that it requires tо function properly. This is a sign that you may be in some danger, according tо health practitioners.  Yоu should seek medical attention if the cold sweats and dizziness do not subside.

Week 6

Hot Tubs and Why We Should All BuyOne

I have wanted a hot tub for ever and recently I read just how amazing they can be for keeping you healthy.  If ever I needed an excuse for buying one then there it is. Research has been carried on just how amazing they can be for different ailments and for your overall general wellbeing.

 It potentially improves your cardiovascular health

Bruce Becker, M.D. states that submerging your whole body up to the neck presents you with a cardiac workout.

With your body immersed, water exerts more pressure on the body, in turn increasing your cardiac volume. Put differently, whenever you immerse your body in water, your heart works harder helping it stay healthy.

It can help you sleep

It is a common fact that hot water promotes a feeling of relaxation, this in turn promotes sleep. When we immerse our tense body in a hot tub our body temperature increases which then helps our muscles to relax. When your muscles relax, you potentially sleep better. Obviously that is why most people take a bath before bed. 

It helps Aches and pains

People who suffer from joint pain, arthritis. sports injuries or general wear and tear on the body can really benefit from a good soak in a hot tub. 

It can help with weight loss and diabetes

There has been a study conducted looking at the possibility of a connection between spa baths and diabetes. They came to the conclusion that diabetics who sit in a hot tub for 6 days a week for around half an hour at a time, had a reduction in their blood sugar and glucose levels. 

There is also an idea that using a hot tub for a similar amount of time can help you lose around four pounds in a month without exercising or changing your diet. 

It can help to  lower blood pressure 

Thomas Allison, M.P.H., PhD, a researcher at Mayo Clinic, conducted a study that revealed that sitting for some time in a spa bath can significantly lower your blood pressure. This is particularly a great thing for individuals who are at risk of suffering hypertension or even heart disease.

It can detox your body

Sitting in a hot tub or bath will open your pores.  This process is great for helping to rid the body of toxins and dirt that is deposited there. 

It helps headache sufferers

The warmth of a spa bath helps to dilate the blood vessels making the pressure in your head significantly less, helping you relax.

It lowers your stress levels

An obvious one but I would say this one has the most benefit. Once you relax in the hot tub, you instantly feel better, less stressed and it will give you an overall sense of wellbeing. 

So if that little lot hasn’t convinced you to buy one then I don’t know what would. 

There are many on the market ranging in price from £399 up to £20,000.  

Follow these links to the various ones that Which magazine recommend:


Can a Stick of Celery Really Do That?

I recently read that celery juice was the next best thing for helping to keep us in ‘optimal health’.  Encouraged by this I decided to do some research on the subject and the following is what I have found.

Celery juice is rich in nutrients that may have many health benefits.  Celery juice is an excellent source of many nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K.  It is very hydrating, low in sugar, is high in various plant compounds called phytonutrients, which may reduce inflammation. These compounds act as antioxidants, helping to lower oxidative stress. This type of stress occurs unstable molecules called free radicals accumulate in your body

Antioxidant-rich diets are linked to lower rates of chronic ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers. They may boost skin health too. Some people who suffer from psoriasis, claim they have been drinking a glass of celery juice every morning on an empty stomach and their skin has almost cleared up completely!  The amount they drink is 16 ounces (475 mL) and 24–32 ounces (710–945 mL) if you have a chronic disease.  A man called Anthony William introduced the celery juice cleanse claiming it is ‘cure all  that heals chronic illnesses due  to its “undiscovered cluster salts that kill off harmful bacteria in your gut’. However, no evidence supports the existence of these salts.

Though celery juice can be nutritious, it carries a handful of downsides.

One of them is it is high in sodium

A single cup (240 mL) of celery juice contains around 215 mg of sodium 

As most healthy individuals should limit their daily sodium intake  to no more than 2,300 mg, a glass or two of celery juice can contribute significantly to this total 

Moreover, the celery juice diet may raise your sodium intake dangerously because it recommends a large amount of juice each day.

In particular, people on salt-restricted diets may wish to avoid celery juice.

As with all these different diets and fads, there are always going to be ‘for’s and against’s’.  Everyone is different with individual health issues and so it is up to each one of us to find what suits.  However, if you are interested in making your own celery juice, here’s how to do it:  Using a juicer is the easiest way to make it. 

Simply wash 3–4 celery stalks and run them through the juicer.

If you don’t have a juicer, cut 3–4 washed celery stalks and blend them until smooth. 

Place a strainer or mesh cloth over a wide-rimmed jug, pour the liquid into the strainer, and press down to extract all the juice.

For a bit of zest and flavour, try adding green apple, fresh ginger, or lemon juice to your drink.

You can also buy celery juice from supermarkets or your local shop, but try to avoid those with added sugar or flavourings.

Watch this video from 'The Edgy Veg' as she tries the ‘Celery Juice Challenge for 10 days” and see her results!


How to Stop Your Chronic Pain by Better Understanding How It Started

The late Dr. Sarno was an amazing man who specialised in rehabilitation medicine at New York University before retiring. He explained for decades that many types of chronic pain, particularly back pain, are caused by stress and repressed emotions.  He shunned the use of drugs or surgeries. Instead, he counselled patients to consider the connection between their minds and their bodies, and that way decrease their discomfort through psychological understanding.  Obviously, the medical establishment rejected his theories and books but his teachings go on today and have helped millions of people to live without pain by learning a new way of thinking and realising that mind and body are connected in more ways than one.  He explained that he brain creates a feeling of pain in order to protect you from feelings that it considers to be threatening and dangerous like intense anger to the point of rage, or to emotions that are too painful. Your brain does it to your body to protect you. So in effect, the brain is saying “focus on this pain rather than the painful emotions” The brain knows that if we focus on the physical pain, then the emotional pain will not come out.  The brain controls everything that goes on in the body.  So how is chronic pain created and what has to happen for the pain to stop?

Acute pain is real structural pain caused by an external event such as hitting your finger with a hammer but chronic pain is created by negative emotions like stress.  It is many layers of stress that contribute to the development of a chronic condition like back pain or rheumatoid artheritis or similar. Stress attacks the body at the subconscious level when consciously you may not be aware it is even happening.  Stress may have started in your childhood or young adulthood with some sort of trauma which then sets the foundation for health problems later in life. As life goes on, stress builds layer by layer coming from all different directions. There are different types of stress, like day to day stress, stuck in traffic, debts etc but other stresses are personal to you like going through a divorce or caring for an elderly relative. No one is free from a certain amount of stress. So how is your body creating this pain because of the stress?  Surely if we minimise the stress the pain will stop? So the body has the autonomic nervous system or ANS for short.  This is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates metabolism in some very specific ways. For example: it controls the circulation of blood.  The brain simply decides, I’m going to reduce the blood flow to the spinal nerves in the lower back area and that produces pain. It does the same thing by interfering with normal function in the stomach resulting in reflux, it does the same with in the bowel resulting in Irritable bowel syndrome esThis system is split into two responses.  The first is the parasympathetic and the other is the sympathetic response.

Parasympathetic response  - is the bodies natural calm state.  A human being will be in this state most of the time

Sympathetic response - the body is only supposed to shift to this state (fight or flight response) during a life threatening event. 

During a life threatening event many physiological changes happen in the body.  These happen instantly to help protect the body keep out of harms way. These changes are:

  • Increase flow of the stress hormone cortisol 
  • Gastro instestinal shut down
  • Muscle contractions

This sympathetic response should only happen around 5% of the time and for most people who don’t have chronic illnesses their bodies remain in the natural calm state of Parasympathetic.

But the problem is: in today’s world, chronic pain sufferers typically have a personality type, cultural conditions and life stressors that leave their bodies in a constant state of fight or flight. Never turning off and never calming down and this is all happening at a subconscious level.

The end result of constant Gastro instestinal shut down is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis.

The end result of constant muscle contraction is Back pain and Fibromyalgia etc etc.

Wow, that is quite mind blowing isn’t it?

So the goal for all chronic pain sufferers is to shut off the fight or flight response in order to stop the negative physiological effects it has on the body. But, this is easier said than done but if we are able to accomplish this then it has been proven that the pain will stop.

In order to shut it down all you have to do is 3 things.

Change your belief about the origin of your pain from medical to emotional

Reduce the amount of stress in your life

Increase the amount of exercise levels in order to handle the stress

Dr Sarno said that every patient he had ever seen had certain personality traits and they were all the same.  These were the following: 








Is this you?

So all of these traits seem to be good things right? So why is that a problem? It is a problem because in the unconscious it puts certain elements within us under pressure. This pressure comes from outside and from within ourselves which is an even greater pressure. The pressure results in intense anger maybe without us even knowing or feeling this at the time and that’s the main reason we get those symptoms, that pain, it makes sure that anger does not surface, does not become conscious.

It’s a really interesting concept and for someone like me who suffers from Colitis and have done for many years, I am going to look into this further. If you would like further information on this subject and/or suffer from pain then please see the links below for some really useful videos and links to Dr Sarno’s books.

All Rage Saved - Dr Sarno

The Mind Body Prescription - Dr Sarno

The Divided Mind Dr Sarno

Documentary on Dr Sarno

Interview with Dr Sarno


Ancient Berries vs. COVID and the Power of Epsom Salts

Just recently researchers at East Kent Hospitals are investigating whether Elderberry could be an effective treatment in the fight against Covid-19. They are trialing the use of Sambucol Black Elderberry liquid on patients who are being treated for coronavirus.  Previous research has shown that black elderberry fruit, or its extracts, has antiviral properties against flu.  The director of research and innovation, Jessica Evans, at the Trust said:  ‘We are all very excited to have been given approval to start this trial, which could have huge implications for the treatment of coronavirus.  A previous study with flu patients showed people who took the extract had significant improvement in their symptoms within two days, compared to six days for those who did not’.

So what makes it so effective? Elderberry extracts have previously been shown to suppress viral production.  This property is why it has often been given in the treatment for flu. The Elderberries contain many minerals and vitamins which support the body and the immune system during infections.  They also help with inflammation and combat free radicals due to being a  powerful antioxidant.

In January we are unable to go foraging for the elderberry as the main time to pick them is around August to October but, we can buy this wonderful little tonic which is the actual one that is being trialed at the moment.  Here is what the makers of the product say:

Sambucol is a natural, upper respiratory health product trusted by millions of people with positive results being reported worldwide. Studies show that elderberry extracts reduce the duration of influenza symptoms from an average of 6 days to 48 hours. It would also appear to be beneficial for non flu viruses such as those associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Elderberry contains a broad range of nutrients including Vitamins B and C.

I don’t know about you, but I am ordering one now as I have a feeling these are going to soon fly off the shelves.  Get yours here!

The Magic of an Epsom Salt Bath

It’s very difficult to hold on to anxiety when you are submerged in a bathtub full of lovely warm water.  By nature, it is extremely relaxing and by increasing your body temperature it has been proven to lighten your mood.  By adding Epsom salt and perhaps some essential lavender oil can only enhance the experience. The Magnesium Sulphate in the salts has been shown to calm both stress and lower blood pressure.  Many people swear by this folk remedy that has been used for centuries to relieve swelling, sooth tired muscles and reduce irritation and itching.  Baths in general can be meditative and are a great way to take a break from the stresses of today.  Epsom salt is generally considered safe but if you’ve never used it before maybe consider testing a patch of skin with magnesium sulphate and water first.


The Mayo clinic recommends adults use 2 cups of Epsom salt per gallon of warm water. More than that can make the water feel slippery. It may also be drying to your skin.

Lower concentrations you can try are:

300 grams (1.5 cups) of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water

1 cup of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water

2 cups of Epsom salt added to your bathtub of water

Soak for at least 15 minutes. If you’re soaking in an Epsom salt bath for aches and pains, make sure not to use water that’s too hot. This might worsen instead of reduce swelling.

Other surprising uses for Epsom salts:

Clean your hair: If your hair is particularly greasy, you can pull excess oils right out by adding a bit of Epsom salt to your shampoo. Wash and rinse as usual. 

Foot scrub: Winter weather can leave toes and feet dry, cracked and gross. Get rid of dry skin by combining a cup of Epsom salt with olive oil, castile soap and some essential oils and scrubbing your feet once or twice a week. 

Bye bye frizz, hello volume: Mix equal parts hair conditioner and Epsom salt together. Heat the mixture in a pan. Then starting at the roots and working your way down, massage the mixture into your hair. Let set for 20 minutes and rinse. This works great for getting rid of frizz and adding volume to your hair.  

Wash your face: Mix Epsom salt with liquid soap or face cream. Rub gently into your skin and rinse. You'll get a moisture boost and remove dead skin cells.

Deflake the lips: Mix a bit of Epsom salt with petroleum jelly and massage it into your lips to remove dead skin cells. 

Ease a headache: If you have an aching head after a rough day at the office (or with the kids), try soaking in an Epsom salt bath. The salt-soaked bath can help relieve tension in your muscles and ease your headache. 

Nix tummy troubles: Help ease constipation symptoms by drinking a teaspoon of Epsom salt in a glass of water. The magnesium should help get things flowing again.

Have a better morning after: If you had a little too much red wine last night, you can ease hangover symptoms. Sip a teaspoon in a bit of water to help flush out your system. Make sure to drink tons of water to stay hydrated, though! 

Fade a bruise: Skip the raw meat compress and grab the Epsom salt instead. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with a little water and apply it to the bruised area. 

Get more shut-eye: Soak in an Epsom salt bath for about 20 minutes before dozing off to help you relax and loosen up for a better night's sleep.

Ease muscle pain: Enjoy an Epsom salt bath after a hard day at the gym or working in the yard to alleviate muscle soreness and speed recovery. 

Remove a splinter: Apply salt to the skin over the splinter to help pull it to the surface. Bid a fond farewell to the painful tweezer method! 

Buy Here!

A wonderful way to store your Epsom salt or other bathroom products is in new and very cute, coloured, tiny bathtubs in our store now. 10% off when you use code VIOLET10.


Aloe Vera, Homemade Cough Mixture and Minds Anonymous

Minds Anonymous

I have recently found this amazing website called Minds Anonymous.  It is a new online initiative that offers people struggling with mental health problems a place to share their feelings and read about others’ experiences.   It can be really cathartic to write about trauma and it has been proven that, to put your experiences into words can help people in so many different ways.  It is a great resource founded by Louisa “Wizzi” Magnussen who, herself has faced her own mental health challenges. 

All writers remain anonymous and you can also get free access to the MYCOGNITIONPRO APP once you have submitted your story.  

Visit for more information.

The Power of Forever

I have been a Forever Living business owner for quite a while now and I swear by their products. I mainly buy the products for myself and my family but wanted to tell you about this amazing company and their award winning products.  As we all know, it is so important to keep healthy, especially at this time and to take regular supplements to help keep our health in check. I believe that by taking the most natural products it can help you achieve this. Aloe vera has been proven time and time again to help with so many ailments, inside and out. Aloe vera has so many powerful benefits that help you to look better and feel better. From aiding in digestion to soothing and conditioning the skin, pure inner leaf aloe vera gel is at the heart of everything they make at Forever. 

Aloe Barbadensis Miller is the most nutritionally valuable variety of aloe vera and the only kind that Forever living grow. Forever hand fillets every leaf to extract only pure, potent inner leaf aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is a nutritionally rich plant that supports immunity and is an ideal digestive aid.

The main product they sell is the Aloe vera Gel.

 Forever Aloe Vera Gel provides a remarkable 99.7% inner leaf aloe vera gel with no added preservatives

Aloe vera supports gastrointestinal health, digestion and immunity, and promotes health and wellbeing. This nutrient-rich and purifying drink now contains vitamin C which contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to a normal energy-yielding metabolism.

Our aloe vera is cultivated on fertile soils in a climate that enjoys over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, and it’s even been certified by the International Aloe Science Council for its purity. This drinking gel is as close to the real thing as you can get, boasting 99.7% inner leaf aloe gel, lovingly extracted by hand so that you can experience the true power of nature. Aloe is great for skin, the immune system and it’s an ideal digestive aid, and now this purifying gel also contains vitamin C. Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to a normal energy-yielding metabolism.

If you are looking to lose weight then why not try supplementing breakfast with the Forever Lite Ultra shake.  Shake up your diet and lifestyle with naturally flavoured, plant-powered protein. Forever Lite Ultra contains vital vitamins and minerals and is available in two flavours chocolate and vanilla.  This versatile product can be used if you’re watching your calorie intake.

Great source of vitamins and nutrition
Complements low-carb lifestyle 
Vegetarian friendly

There are so many other products online so why not visit their store and see for yourself.  Just click here!

The Best Home-made Cough Syrup

 Homemade Cough Syrup

This remedy is a spicy honey-cider syrup potent enough to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat. Recipe gently adapted from and with thanks to

If you have been struggling with a cough lately, as a lot of us do during the winter, then this homemade recipe may just be the answer to the problem. 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
2 tablespoons honey locally produced raw honey is best, if available
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Place the vinegar, honey, water, cayenne, and ginger in a small jar and shake to combine.
Leave at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator for longer storage.
Shake well each time, before using. The spices will not dissolve into the liquid. It will not be a thick syrup, it should remain watery.

Take as needed and have a happy and healthy new year!


Tap Your Troubles Away in 2021

The anxiety of the past year and the fact that none of us has been immune to the pain and stress which has accompanied the pandemic has left many of us feeling frayed round the edges. Something that has been known to help with the anxiety and stress of today is called Rapid Tapping.   The scientifically proven power of Emotional Freedom Technique is outlined in the website called House of Possibility.

Sounds slightly weird I know but it has definitely been proven to help so many people and the beauty of it is it can be done literally anywhere, anytime, any place.

 It works painlessly and simply, you ‘tap’ on meridian points such as the forehead, temples and chin to reduce uncomfortable emotional patterns,  restoring balance in a matter of minutes, anywhere and anytime. Punchy and fast-acting, with powerful neuroscience behind this simple technique, it reduces limbic activity in the brain. Used often, simply tapping in a sequence around meridian points with fingertips allows us to improve our positivity, wellbeing and focus. In as little as minutes. For the whole of January, House of Possibility are offering free daily Rapid Tapping sessions! Tap here to sign up!


Don't forget to make time for yourself!

We are all so busy with the run up to Christmas and whether you are someone who thrives on that or not,  we all need to take a little me time in order to try and reflect and recharge our batteries.  Below are some simple suggestions to help us all get the most out of the holidays.

Spend time with a family member and have a real conversation, beyond the day-to-day.

Catch a yoga class at one of your local studios (if you can!)

Download the Headspace app and try a free meditation.

Wake up before everyone else and read while the house is quiet.

Turn your phone off and watch an entire movie on Netflix. (It’s a Wonderful Life has the best message ever)

Take a warm bath with bubbles and candles.

Play Sudoku or do a word search.

Dive into your favourite novel.

Bundle up and enjoy a walk through nature.

Meet a friend you don’t see often for a bite to eat (if permitted)

Get a massage.

Turn off the alarm clock and relax in bed!

Sit down to a nice dinner without the distraction of phones or television.

Go to a candlelit church service and sing your favourite carols. (singing relieves stress, so belt um’ out!)

Spend time petting your dog or cat.

Lastly - spend time with the ones you love.

Relax and enjoy some time off. 


Will you have the vaccine?

Will you have the vaccine?

As we now know a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved for use in the UK.

The vaccine will be made available from next week. It has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).  Other vaccines are being developed and hey will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world. and vaccines will only be used if they are approved by the MHRA. The MHRA has been monitoring every stage of coronavirus vaccine development.

So far, thousands of people have been given a coronavirus vaccine and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.

But will you have it?  Some people say “Give it me NOW please, I can’t wait” and others are more sceptical.

Many conspiracy theories abound.  Some even claim that the coronavirus pandemic is a cover for a plan to implant trackable microchips and that the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind it. That sounds like something out of a science fiction movie right? but people have been looking into it.  However Bill and Melinda Gates state it is ‘simply not true’.

But where did this rumour start?

Rumours took hold in March when Mr Gates said in an interview that eventually "we will have some digital certificates" which would be used to show who'd recovered, been tested and ultimately who received a vaccine. He made no mention of microchips.

That response led to one widely shared article, under the headline: "Bill Gates will use microchip implants to fight coronavirus".

The Microsoft billionaire has been the target of many different false rumours about vaccines. 

 So who are we to believe?  Below is what the World Health Organisation or WHO state:

Without vaccines, we are at risk of serious illness and disability from diseases like measles, meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus and polio. Many of these diseases can be life-threatening. WHO estimates that vaccines save between 2 and 3 million lives every year.

Although some diseases may have become uncommon, the germs that cause them continue to circulate in some or all parts of the world. In today’s world, infectious diseases can easily cross borders, and infect anyone who is not protected.

Two key reasons to get vaccinated are to protect ourselves and to protect those around us. Because not everyone can be vaccinated – including very young babies, those who are seriously ill or have certain allergies – they depend on others being vaccinated to ensure they are also safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.

For me, I think I will wait a little and see what transpires.  It really is an individual choice and like any new disease and vaccination people can be worried because as yet it is still the unknown.  They remember and think of the terrible implications that resulted in some pregnant women in the 1960’s being given the drug thalidomide to counteract morning sickness.   Experts estimate that the drug led to the death of approximately 2,000 children and serious birth defects in more than 10,000 children.

It is truly something to discuss with friends and family and to see what is best for you personally.

I hope and pray that this vaccine will indeed, help us all to combat this awful virus that has caused so much heartache and disruption in everyone’s lives in 2020.

I wish you all good health and happiness. 


Controlling Stress

This week in our Health section I wanted to introduce you to a free resource I have found called Stress control. 

It’s a fantastic website for anyone who is finding this time stressful and who is unable to conquer their fears and their worrying thoughts are taking over their life. They are unable to function properly, unable to sleep and are becoming anxious and depressed almost every day.  See below their home page details:

What is stress? 

The more you ‘know your enemy’, the easier it is to fight back against it. So, this session aims to help you build a solid foundation to allow you to do so. We will look at stress – often a mix of anxiety, depression, panicky feelings, poor sleep and poor wellbeing. We will look at the most common signs and will explain how we will starve the vicious circle that is keeping your stress alive. We’ll look at how to replace it with the positive circle that will then help keep stress at bay. We do this by teaching you to become your own therapist.

Stress Control will teach you great skills to fight stress (for most of us, a mix of anxiety and depression) and boost your wellbeing.  

It’s free and there are so many audio and booklets to download, a great resource for people who are suffering. 



The problem with spending a lot of money on your health is that it can have a negative effect over time, especially if you don’t have the money in the first place. Money worries can cause stress on your mental health and so, this can then have a negative effect on your overall wellbeing.  But looking after your health does not have to cost the earth.  

The health and wellbeing industry is huge and it is packed with products claiming to improve your health but most of them come at a hefty price.  They tell you that the only way to get stronger, fitter and healthier is to invest in their brand.  The actual products they sell probably cost next to nothing, what  you are paying for is the packaging, the advertising and the overall  branding.  So if you are struggling or don’t have thousands in the bank to buy from these companies, is there another more simpler way to look after yourself? Simple answer, yes!

1. Food 

If you subscribe to a company that delivers ingredients to your door you are probably paying way over the odds for the service so why not buy and make the meals yourself.  

It is so much cheaper and so many recipes can be found on BBC Good Food.  During this second lock down they are doing a special section called: Stay Home Love Cooking where you can find cosy recipes, inspiring projects and much more. 

Try out some feel-good food now with this site. 

If you can’t cook, use this time to learn how to! Shaw Academy have a special offer for the month of lock down and it’s a real bargain.  They are offering the month of November for free and it gives you access to 70+ courses, recordings and more. It normally costs £49 per month so I consider this an amazing opportunity and it will keep you busy and you can learn a new skill.  

Buy using and buying fresh ingredients you will also be saving on buying vitamins because you should get all of the various nutrients from your food. 

Visit your local farm shop instead of the big supermarkets for your fruit and vegetables.  Not only are they normally cheaper but they will have been grown locally,  this helps to support smaller businesses in these troubling times.

2. Gym memberships

You don’t need to spend money every month on gym memberships in order to get fit.  Why run inside on a sweaty treadmill when running outdoors is so much better for you. It is so much nicer and you will be getting fresh oxygen in your lungs rather than stale air from the air con in gyms. If running is not your thing there are many workout videos free online. 

From yoga to dancing, kick boxing to retro aerobics, you can find anything you want in cyberspace and all for nothing. How great is that! The NHS have some fabulous training videos online and they are suitable for all ages! Also Sweaty Betty is another good resource for helping you get fit.  

There are some really good sources of information on how to get healthier out there and the wonderful thing is - so many of them are free. 



Do you drink too much? Are you worried about your health and what alcohol is doing to your body?  As more and more of us are under ‘lock and key’ again it is not surprising why we reach for a tipple at the end of the day.  It relaxes us, calms us, helps us to forget our worries for a short time.  But, what if it’s becoming too much of a regular habit? Is there an alternative? You can’t get that lovely warm, chilled feeling from sipping on a lemonade or an orange juice, so what to do?

Well, I may have just found an alternative.  It is by a company called 

Three Spirit

Oddly enough named as Halloween approaches this week, their mission is to “show the world that alcohol free doesn’t mean pleasure-free.

After years spent in libraries, labs, bars and fields,  they’ve created plant-based alternatives to alcohol that celebrate what you put into a drink, rather than what you take out. Created by a mix of plant scientists, world-class bartenders, hedonists, herbalists and artists, it’s probably why they feel, taste and do everything a little differently.

Here’s what they say:

 Everything we do is about alchemy.  Our drinks combine plants used for centuries in ceremonies and potions to stimulate the palate, mind and body. 

Alchemy is at the heart of everything we do; from the plants we combine in our drinks, to the blending of minds and different expertise of the people who make them.  We’re proudly creating happier, healthier ways to socialise through alcohol-free drinks that encourage shared ideas, experiences and encounters, and we’re very excited to see where that goes.

The 3 drinks on sale at the moment are: LIVENER - EXOTIC, FIERY AND FUN, (This invigorating elixir is the perfect party pick-me-up. Enjoy euphoric feels from guayusa, guava leaf and schisandra and big flavours from vibrant berries, bright aromatics and heat.

SOCIAL ELIXIR - DARK, BITTERSWEET AND CURIOUS and NIGHTCAP - (This dark herbal elixir is the ultimate social companion and mood elevator. Natural, blissful feeling with lion’s mane mushroom, yerba mate and damiana. Full-bodied and bittersweet with a curious savoury bite)

DECEDENT, WOODY AND SMOOTH (This indulgent elixir is made with tree saps, aromatic plants and ancient remedies used to relax and unwind. Enjoy complex notes of wood and bright spice with a calm, dreamy feeling)

Sounds exciting. 

They are a little on the expensive side at £24.99 per 50cl which is just under a standard wine bottle volume but at the moment there are some offers for us to try. 

You can buy all 3 for £64.97 saving you £10 if you were to buy them individually or you can get 3 x 20cl bottles for £39.99.  If you add on the link below you will also get £5 off your first order.

 They are also Vegan cruelty free and use recycled packaging.

I love the fact that these would give you the feeling of having had an alcoholic drink (or 5) but without the hangover in the morning, plus as they are full of wonderful, natural ingredients I really think they are worth a try. Link below for £5 off. Enjoy.




At the end of this month the clocks change and we must prepare ourselves for darker evenings and shorter days but, we can embrace the season by looking after ourselves and keeping our energy levels up.  We all have internal clocks, some are larks and some are owls whatever you are there are certain things that can help us get through the coming winter.  One of the main things to do is to make sure we get enough exercise and preferably outside.  By taking advantage of as much light as we can during this period will enhance our wellbeing, stimulate our brains and best of all, increase our immune system, which, we all need now more than ever. 

Stimulate your brain by firstly, breathing more deeply for a short time to get more oxygen into your body.  

Fling open the curtains and allow light to flood in and if you are feeling brave open a window and breath in the new, crisp air (this will definitely wake you up).

Stretch both sides of your body with both arms reaching up one at a time. 

Sing to stimulate your vagus nerve which I wrote about a few weeks ago) 

Smile and activate your endorphins (happy hormones).

Feng Shui experts recommend always making your bed as this creates order from chaos.  If you are someone who wakes up confused, stressed even before the day has started, by making your bed it creates a feeling of calm and a sensation that you are in control, this in turn, starts off your day well. 

If you are someone who suffers from SAD - season affective disorder - then you can invest in a lamp that mimics sunrise.  There are many on the market and can really help get your day off to a good start. 

The Violet Cottage recommends:  Vitamin L from Lumie is suitable for use at home or to improve your well-being at work. This table lamp can be positioned portrait or landscape.  £90

and Lumie sunrise alarm wake up to daylight table lamp  £39.99

The best ones have at 2,500 lux which is the way the light is measured.

There has also been a huge amount of talk recently about Vitamin D.  Especially in these Covid times, we all need to up our intake of this essential vitamin.  There are many different types on the market but doctors normally recommend 900iu. Nutritionists however, recommend 1000iu and up to 2000iu in winter.  Always get advice from your own doctor or pharmacist first as each of us is different. 

Every morning, without fail, I make a smoothie.  I add spinach first, then normally a banana, some blueberries and possibly some nuts.  I also add chia seeds and flaxseeds 

DID YOU NOW (a tablespoon of flaxseeds is excellent for helping with menopausal symptoms as they are called ‘Natures HRT).  I then add some plant milk, whizz it all up and drink the whole lot.  It gives me energy, nutrients, iron (important if you are a vegetarian or a vegan) magnesium and much more.  It really kick starts my day and keeps me going until lunchtime. 

We would love to hear any ideas or products you use or would recommend to help others overcome any difficulties they may have with the winter season.  Please email us at:

Keep well. xx



Blimey, The Violet Cottage is 4 months old already! Where has that time gone?  

It seems only yesterday we were being told to ‘LOCK DOWN, STAY AT HOME AND SAVE LIVES’ and one of the reasons I started this blog. 

And here we are, still. Some of us are ‘locked down’ again and others may follow but the good news is, it doesn’t seem quite as bad as it was before. Yes, people are still getting infected but no where near as many as back in March and April.

 We are more aware, most of us are wearing masks and washing our hands what seems like every 5 minutes but, if that prevents the spread ,then that is going to be our new norm, for at least the time being.  It’s sort of like re-learning how to go about our business and living our lives but with little extras to remember. Now, we can let this get on ‘top of us’ or we can accept the fact that this is what’s happening at this moment in our time and we can’t do anything about it.  We can’t change it at the moment, and all the worrying in the world will not make a bit of an iota to the situation, it will only make YOU more stressed, and that’s no good for anyone. 

Everyone’s situation is different I accept, and some have been much more affected by this virus than others and we all will cope in different ways but, whatever your own circumstance there is help out there. If you are feeling worried, anxious or depressed, talk to someone, don’t bottle it inside you, get it OUT THERE. You know the old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”.  As Saturday was Mental Health Day,  I feel it is right to acknowledge the ever growing problem of mental health in our society today and to let you know of some great websites that are our there.

 MIND is an excellent website dealing with every aspect mental health and there is always someone to talk to especially if you want to talk to a stranger rather than a family member.

 ANXIETY UK is another great resource and at the moment they are offering 1.1 counselling and a free subscription to HEADSPACE.

 I have put together a list of things we we can do to help ourselves and/or our loved ones get through these uncertain times. 

Don’t over expose ourselves to the news and media

Plan your time - It will help to reduce anxiety and give you more of a routine to stick to especially if you are studying.

Find things to make you feel calm. 

Why not try making a SELF SOOTH BOX?

This is a box you can make that contains things that ground you, make you feel more relaxed and reduce symptoms of panic, anxiety or low mood. 

It's recommended to have a range of sensory things and something to focus your mind on. You could include something to smell, something to touch, something to look at and maybe even something to taste. For some inspiration, below are some of the things included. You can change yours depending on your preference. You can even take a miniature, more travel-friendly version when going away somewhere especially if you find travelling stressful or anxiety-provoking.


Include something that you can touch; this serves as a good distraction for your hands. Playdough, fidget cubes or spinners, and stress balls are great for this; they’re satisfying to touch, and easy to put force into and relieve some stress. It can encourage your muscles to relax, which is what many methods to reduce anxiety involve.


 Keep a few photos of people or places that have only positive memories attached to them. This acts as a reminder that our lives are made up of different elements – not just the mindset that we find ourselves in at that specific time. It reminds us that there are people who we can turn to and also that new opportunities await.


This is a very personal thing depending on what scents you prefer; a few of the typical ones include: peppermint for grounding, and lavender or rose for relaxation and tranquillity. Maybe keep a bottle of essential oil as it is a strong, concentrated scent; you can put a few drops on your clothing, stress ball or playdough. Another great item is a candle. The scent of a candle is perfect to focus your senses on and has the ability to make you feel much more present.  Room sprays or essential oils work in a similar way.


Keeping some earphones in your box and making an easy-to-access, calming playlist on your phone is a nice, easy way of finding music to listen to. Alternatively, if you want to keep away totally from technology, then why not get a little wind up music box and keep that in the box.  You can buy just the workings of a music box separately and they are much smaller so will fit better.


Drinking water can be such a vital way of reducing symptoms of panic. Not only is it important to stay hydrated, but the regular sipping is a good way to keep a steady rhythm to your breathing. It keeps you fresh-minded, and the coolness of water can often give you something to focus on and have a grounding effect.  Keep a cup or water-bottle in your self-soothe box, which acts as a gentle reminder to keep drinking.


You can buy postcards which show some steady breathing techniques on them, or make your own.  It will act as a reminder to keep calm and focused. There are a variety of techniques available; once you find one that works particularly well for you, write it down as a card to remind you.  Also write down or maybe even draw pictures of  some muscle relaxation exercises.  The NHS website has a few breathing exercises for stress which can be used for anxious thinking and panic also.


Positive affirmation/quote cards

This is entirely personal to each individual. You could make up a load of little cards and write down your favourite uplifting quotes from films, books, poets and accounts that you follow on Pinterest and Instagram. Some people like to read their positive affirmations out loud to themselves. You can also keep letters and postcards that you have received from friends and family.  Being able to see your positive attributes written down in physical form from the perspective of others can be really reassuring. This is particularly helpful if you are prone to feeling strong emotions around attachment and detachment of loved ones when struggling.  Being apart from loved ones is sometimes really difficult.


Having an activity to complete can really help you self-soothe. Reading and colouring in are the more obvious options and both of these work.  You can find plenty of inexpensive beautiful colouring books, pretty much anywhere nowadays - The Works, Amazon and Waterstones all have a good variety to choose from. You can also find a lot of printable colouring sheets online. I keep some colouring pencils and a pad to fill in. You could also take up knitting or crocheting or something to focus your mind on without having to think too much about the outside world. 

However and whatever we do to get through this time in our lives is obviously up to each of us but we WILL GET THROUGH IT.  Human beings have faced many epidemics and pandemics before and we are still here, still evolving and living.  So in the words of Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army “Don’t Panic, Don’t Panic!”

Keep well.



As we enter the cold and flu season (and the other C word of the moment) could it be that our grandmothers knew a thing or to about keeping them at bay.  Using more natural remedies was the thing to do years ago and, like many things used in the past, they seemed to work.  Let’s have a look at some and, instead of reaching for a pill made by one of the big conglomerate pharmaceuticals who earn billions of pounds from us, the masses, let’s see if they work. 


Bending your head under a towel over a bowl of boiling water might look like a funny thing to do, but it’s really effective at loosening mucus and clearing the airways. Add an essential oil such as eucalyptus or tea tree oil and you’ll find yourself breathing clearly in no time.  I heard someone on the radio the other day telling the presenter about how, each time he feels a cold coming on, he breathes steam and the next day it has gone.


Try and make yourself a cup of lemon, honey and hot water to soothe a sore throat and help clear congested airways.


This was a remedy I learnt about years ago to help relieve a sore throat.   It does work as I know from past experience.  Gather some sage leaves, wash them thoroughly, cut them up a little, and then steep them in boiling water for about 5 - 10 mins.  Use a sieve to drain the liquid into a glass and then gargle with it.  Sage has really good healing properties and it certainly cured my sore throat. 


If it can ward off vampires, then surely it can tackle the common cold too?  Our grandmother’s used crushed garlic in warm milk as a common remedy. Allicin, an active compound in garlic, is known to act as a decongestant and garlic has high antioxidant and antiviral properties. It is also an expectorant, which helps you cough up phlegm. While four to eight cloves of raw garlic a day is preferable to really stop a cold in its tracks if you or your breath can’t handle it in raw form you can lightly cook it within a nutritious meal.  Maybe remember not to breath on anyone though, (oh wait we can’t do that anyway!) so that’s maybe a good thing. 


The best and most natural of all remedies is Elderberry syrup.  You can make your own too and if you can’t find an elderberry bush near you then you can buy them on line. Elderberries are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds that are specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly.  The benefits are amazing: 

Elderberries naturally contain vitamins A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Israeli researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting infections.

Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.

Make your own:


  • 3½ cups water
  • 2/3 cup dried elderberries  (or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen)
  • 2 TBSP ginger (grated)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp ground cloves 
  • 1 cup raw honey 


  • Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

  • Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.

  • Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.

  • Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
  • Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  • Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
  • When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
  • When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a  mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.

  • Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. 

Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity, not sure why that is but each person is different and if it helps us all to stay well over the coming months then I’m off to pick elderberries. 



What’s the hype about the Vagus Nerve?

I have been hearing a lot recently about this thing that we all have, called the Vagus Nerve. I didn’t take a lot of notice until a friend brought up the topic again during conversation. I asked her what it actually was and she told me that it was one of the most, if not important nerves in the human body.  It is also the longest nerve. So where and what is it?

It runs from the neck to the abdomen and is in charge of turning off the ‘fight or flight’ reflex.”  As we breathe deeply, it stimulates this nerve causing relaxation, lowering  blood pressure and reducing our heart rate.

You would imagine it to look like one long single cord running from top to bottom in a straight line but in fact it is a swirly, curly nerve that connects most the major organs between the brain and the colon.  Think of it a bit like tree roots curling around.  Also, we think of it as one but there are actually two, one for each side of the body.  The word Vagus is used because it wanders among the organs. The vagus nerve has been described as “largely responsible for the mind/body connection for its role as a mediator between thinking and feeling.  You may of heard people say “I have a gut feeling” or “trust your gut” what they really meant was “trust your Vagus” but we didn’t really know that was what it is. 

 When we breathe in, the sensory nodes on our lungs (“lung stretch receptors”) send information up through the vagus nerve and into the brain, and when we breathe out, the brain sends information back down through the vagus nerve to slow down or speed up the heart. So when we breathe slowly, the heart slows, and we relax.  Vagal activity is highest, and heart rate lowest, when you’re exhaling. So it is mostly activated on our exhalation.  Experts recommend the most calming way to breathe is six times a minute: five seconds in, five seconds out. Since I have been studying to become a meditation practitioner I have learnt so much about how important it is to breath deeper to aid relaxation.

Other ways to stimulate this nerve is by singing, dancing, yoga, acupuncture, or bathing, showering or swimming in cold water (see JIGGLE this week).  Stimulating the vegus nerve has also been used to control seizures in epilepsy, reduce inflammation and treat clinical depression.  

You don’t have to be controlled by your body and mind. You have the power to tell them what to do. By stimulating the vagus nerve, you can send a message to your body that it’s time to relax and de-stress, which leads to long-term improvements in mood, wellbeing and resilience. 

Fulvic Acid Nail Cream

This particular nail cream has had a lot of hype on one of my favourite sites Victoria health (see link below) and literally hundreds, if not thousands of people have gone mad over it.  People who have been suffering from nail infections, jagged, discoloured and unsightly nails now swear by it and have seen absolutely amazing results. It not only treats your nails but it is multifunctional and with its antibacterial and anti-fungal formulation it can be used to treat athletes foot and other fungal problems. 

Here’s what Victoria Health says about it:

Often referred to as ‘the elixir of life’ Fulvic acid is a natural compound found in the nutritious layer of soil that helps plants to grow. It works in a similar way in our body at a cellular level and is capable of carrying 65+ minerals and trace elements directly into our cells.

Unfortunately, modern farming practices have destroyed our soils disrupting the creation of this miracle molecule, and therefore leaving our vegetation and animals and hence our food, devoid of it.

Fulvic Acid Nail Cream takes it’s humic-free Fulvic Acid from the rocks of high mountain ranges like the Himalayas and just as it does in the Earth’s soil, Fulvic Acid serves as an essential vehicle that carries vitamins and nutrients to the right place in our bodies."

It not only promotes nail growth, prevents crack and ridges, conditions and protects cuticles but also comforts and nourishes hands all day long and with having to wash out hands so many times a day now, I know what I will be using from now on. 

Read more + purchase here!



How often do you stop and gaze up at the night sky?  Perhaps you own a telescope and regularly watch the stars as they come out at night.  Or are you someone who, as soon as it turns to dusk, you swoosh the curtains shut so that the neighbours can’t see you in your PJ’s and face pack? 

If you are the first type of person then you will probably know the amazing benefits you can get from star gazing.  Modern life leaves little room for this habit.  Urban street lighting conspires to keep our attention focused down rather than up but, Interestingly enough,  during the lock down, many people have felt a desire to reconnect with nature. So many of us turned to our gardens, tending them with loving care and attention and giving them time.  Time that we didn’t have before due to our busy lives and fast pace of today but, quite a lot of people have also taken up an interest in the stars.  Astronomy societies received a glut of inquiries,  star gazing WhatsApp groups have sprung up and the purchase of telescopes has gone through the roof (quite literally). 

But why?  Well, I believe it is because the sky offered many of us a precious escape.  Perhaps we were feeling trapped in our homes, stuck in rooms, unable to leave the house or to go very far.  When humans feel trapped and closed in, we search for a means of escape.  We all need air to breathe and by looking up at the millions and trillions of stars and planets it gives us a feeling of freedom. It helps to release stress and anxiety.  Now, more than ever, are we realising the importance of how nature affects our mental and physical health and wellbeing.  When we experience the night sky it triggers not only physical but also psychological benefits.  It lowers stress, boosts our creativity and helps us to care more for our planet. This is called the emotion of awe. When we see something so immense, so wonderful, so jaw dropping that we cannot really comprehend it.  Seeing the universe in all it’s glory allows people to gaze in wonder.  To suddenly realise actually, how small we are and how gigantic and incredibly mind blowing the solar system is. It can literally take your breath away.  The emotion of awe can have profound effects on our health.  Studies have shown how it can calm the nervous system and give you a feeling of belonging to something so much bigger.  Obviously the darker the sky the more stars we can see and the more sense of awe we will experience.  Some people have been know to have a feeling of flipped vertigo, that  you might suddenly lift upwards into space.  This feelings is known as ‘celestial vaulting’.  You get a feeling of yourself temporarily dissolving which sounds quite frightening but people who have experienced this mention increased optimism and finding the meaning of life. Either way, bathing under the stars definitely widens our horizons and lifts our mood. It gives us the ability to connect with nature just as walking in a forest, swimming in the sea or a lake or climbing in the mountains can do.

The researcher Keltner has warned of an ‘awe deficit’ in our modern society which has been caused by our disconnection from nature, looking and watching only screens, being more materialistic and isolated from others. 

Even though we all have struggled through the lockdown and, quite possibly might do again, the time offered gave us a little breathing space to reflect on what really matters and what a beautiful planet we live on. 

On the next warm evening and I hope there are a few left before Autumn finally sets in, why not take a blanket and, with your loved ones, take a star bath.



Last week I announced I had been diagnosed with Psoriasis - WRONG - I went to my doctor who then told me it was not psoriasis but a fungal rash!  “Have some cream!” he said, “apply four times a day and it should clear up”.  And guess what? It has!

As you can imagine, I was very happy that I didn’t have psoriasis as it can be very debilitating but I just hope my fungal rash does not come back once I stop using the cream.  (The rash was on my inner elbows and the back of my neck so how I got it, I have not idea). I feel really sorry for people who suffer psoriasis as having researched it, thinking I had it, it can be so painful and cause so much misery and discomfort to people. I am still not having dairy or wheat however, so I suppose I am a vegan at the moment.  Just in case, I will introduce different foods gradually to see if my skin reacts, it will be an interesting experiment anyway.

Breast Cancer Awareness and Support

In the UK alone over 55,000 cases of breast cancer are recorded each year.  Nearly 8,000 of those women diagnosed will be in their 40’s. However, around 80% of cases affect older women (over 50).  What causes it and is there anything we can do to prevent it?  

As with every illness, in order to keep healthy and hopefully symptom free, eating a more Mediterranean diet, exercising more, cutting out alcohol and stopping smoking can have a profound effect on our health and can benefit us greatly. 

However, our genes play a significant part in whether or not we may develop this or any form of cancer in the future. 

Another thing to factor in is if you have a high amount of breast tissue compared to fat, you have a ‘high breast density’. This increases the risk of breast cancer. 

The denser the breast, the greater the risk.  When you have a mammogram you can ask how dense your breasts are. 

So what is the definition of breast cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow in an uncontrolled manner. It occurs in both men and woman, but women are at greater risk due to their breast development and lifelong exposure to oestrogens. Cells that grow abnormally can form tumours. Breast cancer occurs when breast tumours spread. There is generally a long period between breast tissue changes and development of breast cancer.

DNA plays a central role in the development of all cancers, including breast cancer. Like other cells in the body, breast cells contain DNA which provides instructions for cell growth and division. When a cell divides its DNA is copied precisely. But occasionally a mistake known as a “mutation” occurs and this may be passed on to other cells. Over time mutations accumulate and their combined effects may lead to breast cancer. The more often a cell divides the greater the risk of mutations occurring and accumulating.

Breast cancer is a diverse group of diseases. Sub-types have different properties in relation to hormone sensitivity and invasiveness as well as menopausal status.

  • Invasive ductal breast cancer occurs in epithelial cells that line the breast ducts and accounts for around 80% of all breast cancers. Invasive lobular breast cancer occurs in lobes and accounts for around 10% of breast cancers.
  • Hormone receptor positive cancers are those that grow in response to high concentrations of oestrogen, progesterone and/or human epithelial growth factor 2 (HER2). The most common of these is oestrogen receptor positive cancer. Cells from these tumours produce additional oestrogen receptors and depend on oestrogen to grow.
  • Triple negative breast cancer is a rarer type of breast cancer which does not have additional receptors for oestrogen, progesterone or HER2. It is more common in younger women and tends to be more aggressive.
  • In situ breast carcinoma (also called non-invasive breast cancer) is an early form of breast cancer, which remains localised to the breast. The most common form is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS); if left untreated DCIS may become invasive. Another common non-invasive breast cancer is lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). This type of carcinoma is not cancerous (so does not spread), although its presence is correlated with an increased chance of developing cancer at a later stage.

There are many chemicals in your environment that can influence your risk of getting breast cancer. Some of these cause cancer by damaging your DNA – these are known as carcinogens. Others affect your hormone system and are known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). These can be found in everyday products such as cosmetics, cleaning sprays and even furniture. EDCs interfere with the normal functioning of your hormones. In particular, those that interfere with the natural hormone oestrogen may increase your breast cancer risk. Try to be cautious when it comes to potentially harmful chemicals and cut down your exposure whenever you can, to reduce the overall chemical burden on your body.  We are advised to check our breasts on a monthly basis, you can do this my watching the following video that tells you exactly how to do it.

Lastly there has been much talk about using various deodorants and whether there is a possible link between ones with harsh chemicals in them and breast cancer.  As this has not been proved it has caused some confusion and a slight concern about what type of deodorant to use.  Here at the Violet Cottage, we sell the Forever Living stick deodorant that contains no harsh aluminium salts. It also:

Lasts 6 months

Doesn’t stain your clothes

Soothing after shaving or waxing

Has a lovely fresh smell

£6.50 each 

 With any sale of this product we are donating 20% to 

If you would like to buy one follow this link and it can be sent directly to your door.

Not only will you be making a great saving on deodorant as it lasts for 6 months, you will also be supporting such a worthwhile charity and helping them in the fight to combat this awful disease once and for all. 



In my email this week I told you that I had recently been diagnosed with psoriasis.  After having two patches on my inner elbows and a few on the back of my neck which would occasionally itch and become bright red, I asked the pharmacist what she thought they were.  She took one look and said “that’s psoriasis”.  “ Oh, I thought it was eczema” I said but it wasn’t.  I felt concerned and worried but asked her what exactly it was and she explained - 

Psoriasis is an immune condition which is inflammatory causing symptoms on the skin and sometimes the joints. When a person has psoriasis, their skin replacement process speeds up, taking just a few days to replace skin cells that usually take 21-28 days. This accumulation of skin cells builds up to form raised ‘plaques’ on the skin, which can also be flaky, scaly, red on caucasian skin, darker patches on darker skin tones, and itchy. Psoriasis can occur on any area of the body, including the scalp, hands, feet and genitals, although different types tend to occur on different areas.

I began to panic (which obviously didn’t help) “so what can I do?” I said pathetically 

“Have some cream” she said. Great, I thought what is it?  “Coal tar” “What?” “Coal tar, rub it on and should help to get rid of it”.

I paid the £15.50 HOW MUCH? and went on my way. That night when I went to bed, I applied said cream and smelt like I had just been down the pit!  Anyway, it calmed my skin a little but the jury is still out on this one. I started researching my skin condition and learned that since psoriasis is inflammatory condition, it can be affected by the foods we eat. (i.e., eating foods that cause inflammation in the body can trigger flare-ups).


Being a person who likes to know a lot about a lot of things, I began researching this horrid condition and have since learnt a lot about it.  One of the main things that can cause psoriasis or other auto immune conditions is DIET.  Eating a lot of processed food, sugar, dairy products, carbs and drinking alcohol (Noooooooo) can induce a flare up and make psoriasis a lot worse.  Now I don’t particularly eat a lot of processed food, however I do enjoy the odd bag of crisps, jaffa cake and a glass of Pinot so this came as a disappointment I can tell you. But, if I were to try and get this under control I would have to surely compromise what I consumed.  After much research I realised I would have to look into trying a gluten free, dairy free, everything else free diet.  I haven’t drunk cow’s milk for years now and only drink soya or Almond milk I thought that would be a start but no, looking further into this crazy condition, soya can also aggravate it, quite possibly, so can some nuts.  I decided to drink oat milk instead.  Oats are really good for the skin so that was a start.  Surely I can drink tea? Well, its OK but better to have coffee or green tea. Vegetables are good though?  Most of them except potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. 

The thought of not being able to tuck into a crispy roast potato ever again filled me with sadness.  But, you can have sweet potatoes, good job I like them then.  Apparently, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers come from the Deadly Nightshade family of vegetable and they have something in them that can aggravate auto immune conditions. 

Anything green is good, spinach, cucumber, cabbage, broccoli, avocado, green apples, also blueberries are excellent as is pineapple. 

Anti-inflammatory foods are generally healthy. They include:

Fruits and veggies, especially berries, cherries, and leafy greens
Salmon, sardines, and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, like thyme, sage, cumin, and ginger
Heart-healthy sources of fat, like olive oil, seeds, and nuts

Most of the above I ate on a regular basis anyway but as a vegetarian I felt I was now being forced into going Vegan.  I know Veganism is growing, especially among the young so there are a lot of great recipes out there that can help me, so I kept up with the research and found this wonderful lady called

An incredible lady who, for twenty or more years suffered terribly with psoriasis, has actually cured herself by diet alone.  Read her story here and how by going vegan she has remained symptom free since then. 


Type 1 Diabetes
The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. High blood sugar results can lead to damage in the blood vessels, as well as organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the immune system attacks the joints. This attack causes redness, warmth, soreness, and stiffness in the joints. Unlike osteoarthritis which commonly affects people as they get older, RA can start as early as your 30’s or sooner. 

Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) damages the myelin sheath, the protective coating that surrounds nerve cells, in your central nervous system. Damage to the myelin sheath slows the transmission speed of messages between your brain and spinal cord to and from the rest of your body.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe conditions that cause inflammation in the lining of the intestinal wall. Each type of IBD affects a different part of the GI tract. Crohn’s disease can inflame any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis affects only the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

As for me, I have given up gluten, any processed food, stuffed my face with blueberries (known as the best anti inflammatory food there is) and am watching my skin with interest.  I have only been doing this for 6 days but already the itching and skin patches have decreased.  Here’s hoping!



Are you allergic to anything?  I am. Penicillin apparently.  I was once given it as a child and I came out in a big red rash.  Penicillin allergy occurs when your immune system becomes hypersensitive to the drug, mistakenly reacting to the drug as a harmful substance, as if it were a viral or bacterial infection. Before the immune system can become sensitive to penicillin, you have to be exposed to the medication at least once. Well, I have not been given it again but I do have sensitive skin.  Just recently I have been suffering from bouts of Eczema around my neck and on my inner elbows.  It is so annoying.  It doesn’t always itch but when it does I really have to force myself to not scratch it.  The only thing I have found at the moment that helps is hydrocortisone cream, which is a steroid, so I don’t want to use it that much.  There doesn’t seem to be a specific cure so I have been trying to find out if I can get an allergy test.

There are a couple I have found interesting. This one (click here!) has a sale on at the moment and you can get a test for £33 instead of £55 for one person.

970 items tested

The following categories are tested within the Maxi Health Test:

Food sensitivities
Non-food sensitivities
Metal sensitivities
Mineral analysis
Vitamin A-K
Gut health
Additives, colourings, sweeteners, emulsifiers

If you go down the NHS route, which at the moment is highly unlikely as they are so busy with the coronavirus,  it’s difficult to get an appointment.  But, if you are lucky enough to be seen, then they can test your allergy in several different ways. 

Skin prick
 It involves putting a drop of liquid onto your forearm that contains a substance you may be allergic to. The skin under the drop is then gently pricked. If you're allergic to the substance, an itchy, red bump will appear within 15 minutes.

Blood tests 
A sample of your blood is removed and analysed for specific antibodies produced by your immune system in response to an allergen.

Patch tests
Patch tests are used to investigate a type of eczema known as contact dermatitis, which can be caused by your skin being exposed to an allergen.

A small amount of the suspected allergen is added to special metal discs, which are then taped to your skin for 48 hours and monitored for a reaction.

Elimination diet 
If you have a suspected food allergy, you may be advised to avoid eating a particular food to see if your symptoms improve.

Allergies can also be caused by other things such as stress (see last weeks Health section on Stress, Insomnia and why we all need meditation!)

Stress and allergies go hand in hand. Stress depletes your body of energy. Stress is your body's response to situations, inside and out, which interfere with the normal balance in your life. In week 8 we also talked about probiotics and how, if your body is out of balance, probiotics can help.  

Our Gut - the flora in our digestive system is easily prone to upset and disruption by external sources.  . This is where stress, self-criticism, and anxiety come into play as they change the pH level (the acid/alkaline balance) in your intestines. Have you ever had that feeling when your stomach feels like its turning over, your temperature rises, you get that fight or flight feeling if you are in a stressful situation?  Surely then, if we are out of balance, our bodies are going to react in different ways.   In a balanced system, once the stress is reduced, the pH straightens out and symptoms may disappear. 

So, as always, I have been looking at alternative ways to help myself.  

I have found Ayurveda.


Ayurveda which comes from the ancient Vedic texts, is a 5,000-year-old medical philosophy and practice, predicated on the idea that we all are made up of different types of energy.  Ayurvedic  medicine is one of the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It's based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit

We are all made up of 3 different types of Doshas.  Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. While all three are present in everyone, Ayurveda proposes that we each have a dominant dosha that’s unwavering from birth, and ideally an equal (though often fluctuating) balance between the other two. When the doshas are balanced, we are healthy; when they are unbalanced, we develop disease, which is usually made manifest by skin issues, poor digestion, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

You can see why I was interested so I explored some more. 

The three Doshas are:

Vata is the subtle energy associated with movement — composed of Space and Air. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. In balance, Vata promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance, Vata produces fear and anxiety.

 Pitta expresses as the body’s metabolic system— made up of Fire and Water. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta arouses anger, hatred and jealousy.

Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure — bones, muscles, tendons — and provides the “glue” that holds the cells together, formed from Earth and Water. Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturises the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, Kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance, it leads to attachment, greed and envy.

So, how do you get diagnosed?

The practitioner carefully evaluates key signs and symptoms of illness, especially in relation to the origin and cause of an imbalance. They also consider the patient’s suitability for various treatments. The practitioner arrives at diagnosis through direct questioning, observation and a physical exam, as well as inference. Basic techniques such taking the pulse, observing the tongue, eyes and physical form; and listening to the tone of the voice are employed during an assessment.

Recommendations may include the implementation of lifestyle changes; starting and maintaining a suggested diet; and the use of herbs. In some cases, participating in a cleansing program, called Panchakarma, is suggested to help the body rid itself of accumulated toxins to gain more benefit from the various suggested measures of treatment.

It is very ‘out there’ but when you read more about it, it does seem to make sense. 

If you are interested if find out what your dominant Dosha is and if you are out of balance, you can TAKE THE QUIZ by going to

You can also click this link to an audio explanation of Ayurveda

Week Nine

Stress, Insomnia and Why We All Need Meditation

Last week I wrote about anxiety and depression and how it affects so many of us, especially in this day and age where life seems to be much more pressurised.  Our time is taken up with so many things as we rush about, here and there, doing so many different jobs, we barely get a chance to do the things we want to do or would like to do.  This is turn causes stress, worry and sometimes, sleepless nights.  How about insomnia?  


As many as 16 million UK adults* are suffering from sleepless nights as a third (31%) say they have insomnia. Two thirds (67%) of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night. Can  you honestly say you sleep soundly for 7 or 8 hours every night?  If you do, then you are either very lucky,  a relaxed type of person or you might have learnt to meditate?

Have you, or do you, meditate?  Do you know what it actually is?  Many people think it involves just closing your eyes, sitting cross legged, humming loudly, thinking of nothing for about 10 minutes and then when you come out of it, everything is alright again.  Wrong.  Written evidence proves that meditation goes back as far as 1500 BC.  It is used all over the world and by different cultures such as Buddists, Greek Philosophers, Christians, Jews and many more.

  Some see it as a form of prayer,  The difference between mindfulness and meditation is this.  Mindfulness is being in the hear and now, in the moment, meditation for our outer world, eg: if you are preparing a salad, as you chop the lettuce, cucumber etc, think only about slicing the food, how does it smell?  What colours do you see, what shape is it, concentrate all of your thoughts on that salad and nothing else, you are meditating, if you will, just on the salad and it’s preparation.  When you meditate however, you allow yourself to go inwards to be mindful of our inner world. You allow yourself to forget everything else and go inside yourself.  

Some people say “oh, I couldn’t possibly do that, I’ve too many thoughts whizzing around my head, I just can’t switch off!” well that’s ok. You learn, by regular practice, to breath in such a way that all of your thoughts are concentrating on your breath and if your mind wanders, that’s ok, you just bring yourself back to the breath.  

It takes time, like anything, but with regular practice you will get better until it becomes a totally natural thing to do.  Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.  It’s popularity is increasing as more people discover its many benefits.  One of the main reasons people meditate is because they have difficulty sleeping. 

When you meditate, a variety of physiological changes occur. These changes initiate sleep by influencing specific processes in your body.

According to researchers, meditation helps in several ways. Sleep problems often stem from stress and worry, but meditation improves your relaxation response. It also improves control of the autonomic nervous system, which reduces how easily you’re awakened.  Just by learning how to breath properly when meditating can have benefits from day one.

And that, dear readers, is why I have decided to become a Meditation Practitioner and teacher!

Having now been out of work for almost 5 months due to the coronavirus, I have decided I want to train for something new.  Something where I can help people.  Help people to relax, sleep better, stress less and try and overcome anxiety.  

The course I am taking is online and takes about 6 weeks to complete.  I am half way through.  On completion of the course, I will be a fully accredited meditation practitioner/ teacher through the Complimentary Therapists Accredited Association.  

I am very excited about this qualification as it then means I can hold classes with small groups, one on one, or virtually.

I can’t wait to share with you all of the different methods and benefits this practice can bring and, if you live locally to Southwold, I would love for you to come along and join me in one of my classes (or online virtually if we can’t meet in person).

But before all of that I recommend this product to try if you find falling asleep difficult or if, in fact, you suffer regularly from insomnia.  

It is called HERBAL SLEEP PM and it is available from VICTORIA HEALTH.  

Here’s what they say about it.

Herbal Sleep PM is a science-based herbal formulation which promotes healthy sleep without using melatonin. The scientifically studied ingredients in this formula target the sleep centres of the brain for healthy, restful sleep and overall physical well-being.

Why it works:

Sleep is crucial to our overall health and well-being. But many of us experience difficulty calming down, as well as falling and staying asleep after a long and demanding day. Melatonin is a hormone known for its sleep-promoting qualities —but some people don’t like supplementing with melatonin.  Life Extension® have created this herbal sleeping tablet with the melatonin-free formula Herbal Sleep PM.

Promotes healthy, restful sleep—without use of hormones
Supports immediate sleep by calming your mind
Targets multiple sleep centers in the brain with lemon balm extract, apigenin-standardised chamomile and Honokiol
Promotes relief from stress and a relaxed nervous system response.


The name probiotics is derived from two Latin words: Pro meaning for and biotic meaning life, in other words ‘for life’.

Probiotics have formed a vital part of Mediterranean diets for thousands of years. Usually in the form of pickled foods and fermented milk products. In week 7 I wrote about preserving foods and pickling but I didn’t realise how good it was for us. In fact, a well-fermented pickle will contain millions more beneficial bacteria than a probiotic supplement!  

But as most people don’t eat pickles everyday, perhaps taking a probiotic is a good idea. It is something I have been thinking about for a while as I suffer from an incurable condition called Ulcerative Colitis.  It is an inflammatory bowel condition.  If I have a flare up, I can be in bed for a few days due to stomach cramps, bloating, bleeding and overall fatigue.  It is horrible but I always try and help myself by eating as healthily as I can and taking various supplements that can help the condition.  Probiotics have come up time and time again as one of the main contributors to a healthy gut. As someone who can’t take a lot of dairy, and is prone to eczema, this particular probiotic is non dairy variety.  

This product is free of citrus, corn, dairy, egg, gluten, sodium, soy, wheat, yeast, added sugars, synthetic dyes, artificial flavourings and preservatives. As natural as it can be which is just the way I like things. 

So I have recently ordered some from  

I like Victoria Health because they tell it like it is with every product and they write such interesting and informative articles on every problem, medical condition.  They also sell beauty products so it’s well worth a read.  

Anyway, here is what they say about the many benefits of probiotics.
Help to digest foods more efficiently particularly hard to digest foods including foods to which some individuals are particularly sensitive.
May be of great value in the control of inflammatory bowel diseases including IBS and Diverticulitis.
Rid the colon of acids and toxins that could seep into the bloodstream.
Are involved in the manufacture of B vitamins as well as improving calcium absorption.
Help to keep a healthy balance of intestinal organisms preventing the flourishing of pathogens in the gut.

Promote vaginal health and may reduce yeast and urinary tract infections.
Support your immune system.
Support overall wellbeing


Week Eight

Did you know that 82 percent of us feel stressed or anxious at least once during the working week. Just recently this percentage has increased due to Covid 19 and the fear of it affecting any one of us or our families.  So many people are living with this debilitating condition that anxiety has really taken over their lives.  It is the worry of the unknown.  It is the concern of losing jobs, homes, livelihood or family members.  Nothing like this has happened before in our life time and we are indeed, living in very strange times. 

It has affected our family like so many others, in varying ways.  For me, I lost both my forms of income, for my husband who has health issues, he had to stay at home for twelve weeks.  For our son who works in Hong Kong as a teacher, has been unable to get back home for the summer.  If he can get back for Christmas (God willing) it will be a year since we were all together.  Other family members who are self employed were unable to work so lost income.  BUT, and it’s big but, we have been lucky, because so many others have suffered so much more.  So many have lost their lives or the lives of loved ones through this illness. 

 The NHS workers, who we are eternally grateful to for working all hours, day and night, covered in PPE, sweating in this heat, saving lives of countless people.  We are also lucky to live in such a beautiful place, open countryside, the sea and lots of open space.  So many have been cooped up in high-rise apartments or houses in cities where the lack of green space has increased their anxiety and depression.  

So what can we do?   

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions but have you heard of, or do you suffer from Highly functioning anxiety?

Chloe Ward a technician at Smart TMS, one of the UK’s leading mental health clinic outlines the key symptoms:

– You exhibit controlling patterns so this perfectionism can manifest in controlling habits and strict routines but it is really a way to make you feel like you are more in charge of your life, missing a simple thing can send you spiralling.

– You are constantly busy so your to-do list is a mile long and your weekend is always jam-packed meaning that there isn’t any time to relax. By constantly doing something it keeps your mind busy, when you finally stop you are alone with your thoughts.

– You’re not sleeping well so all the tossing and turning in the night can be a true reflection of what is going on inside your head. The anxiety you have built up in the day may come out through sleep disturbance.

– You have that crippling fear of letting other people down so obsessive and intrusive negative self-talk is a big indication of high functioning anxiety and the constant concern that your disappointing those around you.

– There may be characteristics you may show, such as a nervous chatter, nervous habits or a need to do repetitive things, avoiding eye contact, a tendency to dwell on negative things, need for reassurance, inability to enjoy the moment and mental and physical fatigue.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, what help is out there?  What can we do to combat this condition?

Experts suggest you try to adjust your thought process by addressing the balance of positive and negative thinking.  For example, if you’re stressing about a deadline, counter it with, ‘I always make my deadlines and even if I miss this one, it isn’t the end of the world.’

Yoga and meditation are way up the list when it comes to calming an anxious mind.  People may poo poo it but there really is a lot to be said for these ancient practices. 

As we live and breathe our phones nowadays, why not try using them to our advantage and downloading apps that can truly help our wellbeing.  One app which has been recommended for anxiety is called Calm  It is a meditation/sleep app.  It offers a daily guided meditation, some beautiful visuals, some Winnie the Pooh series of Daily Calm sessions inspired by the characters of that book and a body scan option, which simply and almost effortlessly enables you to become more present in the moment.  

Difficulty sleeping?  Maybe try Sleep Cycle.  It can lull into sleep by choosing different sounds such as, rain, water, birds etc.  It is a great app that not only analysis your sleep but also gives great advice on the whole concept of sleeping and how to help the varying problems associated with sleep.  The Guardian recently wrote about the alarm 

 ‘it feels like being woken up by a mermaid stroking your hair or a unicorn nuzzling your toes’!).  Can’t wait to get that one then! 

There are also many natural substances that are said to help with depression and anxiety. The old adage DRINK A CUP OF WARM MILK BEFORE BED and you’ll be in the land of NOD no sooner than you think still holds true.  I remember my Nanny having a cup of Horlicks before bed every night.  Did she sleep well?  Not sure, but I didn’t ever hear her complain of lack of sleep so maybe it’s true.  Milk contains bioactive peptides that help you unwind and relax so it is something we could perhaps try. 

Another supplement is  Florassist Mood by Life Extension.  Many studies have proved that there is a link between our gut and our nervous system and that probiotics can play a vital part in helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and lift your mood. While Florassist Mood is the perfect mood-boosting probiotic supplement, we can also help ourselves by adding fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi into our diets.


The terms GRIN AND BARE IT,  STIFF UPPER LIP are both terms we often hear, perhaps, especially from the older generation.  Years ago depression wasn’t really anything people spoke about.  It was just something people got on with. I’m not sure if it was considered a sign of weakness, or the fact that the two world wars had numbed people’s emotions so much by the atrocities they had witnessed, they blocked those images and feelings out, or tried to.  But those feelings don’t just go away.. They may lay dormant in the back of your mind, they are always there and if they are not spoken about or confronted then, thoughts and fears will eventually catch up with us. 

Over the years it has, thank goodness, become more acceptable to talk about depression and mental health in general, yet, there are still a lot of common misconceptions that need to be dispelled.  There is a new term nowadays called SMILING DEPRESSION.  It basically means smiling through your problems, a way of coping, to “smile” or say ‘I’m fine’ in order to remain strong.  It will be more commonly seen in people who believe they have to – for whatever reason – ‘keep going’.” 

Social media has played a massive part in the deterioration of peoples mental health.  We spend more and more time on our phones or laptops, posting pictures of what we are doing, how we look, what car we drive, what clothes we wear.  All of this in order to get “Likes”.  These likes, for some people, mean everything.  It means they feel accepted, wanted, desired and approved of.  The fact that we as a human race need to belong is imbedded in our make up. Hence, we are all part of a family.  We need each other, we need a partner, a child, a mother and a father.  That is how we are programmed.  We can’t stop it, that is how we are made. So, with this in mind, to have other people’s blessings or approval or ‘Likes’ is what makes us feel good.  Before the internet, the only approval we got was from people face to face.  Our parents, friends, teachers, work colleagues etc but since social media has exploded into our lives, we now seek approval from people we don’t even know, strangers.  

This has caused immense stress and anxiety for people to look a certain way and to seem to have an idilic lifestyle.  It has caused people to maybe spend more than they have in order to compete with others.  I like the internet, most of it.  It is a font of information, it allows me to write this blog, put it out there, use google for help with various articles I write about, it connects me with people.  It’s great but, it has got us hooked and we perhaps, don’t do as many other things as we used to do or are aware of the beautiful things around us because we are trapped looking at our screens.  We all look at Instagram, Facebook and other platforms. There is much more pressure.  So, should we take a break from it?  Should we allow ourselves time off from this holy grail?  Recent findings: “Here’s the bottom line,” psychologist and study lead, Melissa G. Hunt told Science Daily

 “Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

Another study by the University College London found that teenage girls were more prone to anxiety and depression than boys after using social media.

For men the pressures are also there.  The Samaritans recently explored how the roles of the modern man has changed over the years There is a pressure to balance the historical notions of masculinity with the need to have a successful career, be the perfect partner, cook for the family and put your kids to bed and perhaps that their masculinity has been challenged by a more powerful and assertive sisterhood that is growing especially from younger females realising that the traditional role of marrying a man in order to be cared for and looked after is no longer possibly what they either want or need.  

So what is the answer? Depression is very complex and unique to each person.  There is no quick fix. But the first thing to do if to accept and acknowledge you are suffering from it.  Try and avoid the KEEP SMILING attitude.  It is not your fault you have it.  It is an illness, a mental illness that needs treatment like any other illness.  Next, SEEK HELP.  Having experiences in my family of mental health issues I recommend a consultant called Dr Crook.  He practices at The Spire hospital in Norwich.  He is private but he is worth every penny and he has helped my family members with putting a name to their condition, advising on the correct medication and how to combat their illness. The current waiting time to see a mental health consultant is 18 months!  Another way is a specialist called Dr Tang whose book The Leader's Guide to Mindfulness: How to Use Soft Skills to Get Hard Results - uses Gestalt therapy which helps you to recognise triggers that can lead to a depressive episode and help you to manage them.

Take time out: A study done by Rutgers University in the US, found that those who exercised or meditated twice a week experienced a drop of almost 40% in their depression levels after only eight weeks.

Structure your day: The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends creating a monthly calendar and sticking to a routine where possible, including when you go to bed and when you wake up. 

I think we could start by say having a tech free day where we don’t pick up our phones or our laptops for one day or at least before midday?  I challenge you to do this.  Pick one day over the next few weeks and leave the tech behind.  If you can do this, I would love to hear about it, how it made you feel, what you did instead.  Obviously and ironically, you will have to email me using tech ha ha on and let me know how you got on.

I hope this article helps people.  I am not an expert but I do have experience with close family members suffering from these debilitating conditions and I know how hard it can be.

I wish you happiness.


According to experts Micheal Mosley’s Diet plan FAST800 was the best one to follow in 2019. Micheal Mosley reversed his type 2 diabetes with this diet.

Part 1

In the initial stage you eat only 800 calories each day for at least two weeks (in some cases longer) depending on how much weight you want to lose. Mosley says "For a long time we believed that rapid weight loss was a terrible way to go, but the evidence is mounting of its benefits, if done properly," he continued, and by this, he says he means ensuring you have adequate amounts of protein, fibre and essential nutrients in your diet.

"Rapid weight loss is very motivating and long-term studies suggest it's the amount of weight that you lose in the first month or so that predicts the long-term success of losing a lot of weight," he added.

Throughout all stages of Fast 800, you are advised to follow a lower-carb Mediterranean diet rich in fish, nuts, olive oil, fresh fruit and veg and low in red meat, refined sugar and saturated fat.

Part 2 

Once you have eaten 800 calories for around 2 weeks you then start following a 5:2 pattern, under which you have two days a week when you eat only 800 calories a day, and eat normally for the remainder. Mosley says 

"This rapid weight loss approach is broadly a ketogenic approach, because you're going to be burning fat and the way you do that is by producing ketones, that suppresses appetite but it also seems to preserve muscle mass."

He invented the 5:2 diet after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes seven years ago – he lost 22 pounds following the plan and reversed his condition, he says: "My blood sugar has been back to normal ever since."

Part 3 

In the final phase – the maintenance period – you're no longer calorie counting but you continue to follow a Mediterranean diet, upping your wholegrain intake and increasing your activity. The idea being that you can swap between the three stages as and when your weight goals require. 

He highlights the results of Professor Taylor's 12-week which was published in the Lancet in December 2017. It involved 298 participants who had been previously diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, half of whom received standard diabetes care from their GP, the other half of whom followed a diet of 800 calories a day for three to five months. Almost half of patients following the low calorie diet were able to reverse their diabetes. Remission was found to be closely related to weight loss.  

Micheal Mosley lost 22 pounds following the plan and reversed his condition, he says: "My blood sugar has been back to normal ever since." 

I followed the 5-2 diet a few years ago and I did, in fact, loose about a stone in weight.  It is very effective but challenging sometimes as it suggests not eating any carbs for the 2 days you are fasting.  However, with help from the many 5-2 recipe books out now, offering delicious meals that are easy to prepare and cook, I think it would be much easier to follow.

Obviously before starting any new diet or medication, always check with your doctor first.


Reflexology Lymph Drainage

The other day I was invited by my friend Kay, who is an amazing reflexologist to have a treatment of Reflexology Lymph Drainage.  I wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed but went along with the idea that it sounded like I was going to be ‘de puffed’. (my word for it). 

I soon found out that by using reflexology Kay was going to encourage the movement of lymph around my body which, in turn helps to get rid of any excess waste and toxins. 

Before we started, I asked Kay what were the symptoms of poor lymphatic drainage?  She told me that the main sign of lymphatic dysfunction is lymphedema. Lymphedema causes swelling in your arms or legs. Your fingers or toes may retain fluid and swell. The tissues of the head and neck may be affected, too. 

Now, I know sometimes when I get hot or I have been sitting or lying down for too long, my fingers can feel a bit puffy, so I presumed that was a sign to get up and move around.  By moving an exercising we can help the lymph fluid to move around the body and thus reducing the swelling. 

Anyway, the treatment itself was delightful.  Kay is the sweetest, kindest person and she puts you at ease with her calming voice and gentle manner.  Also, her treatments are held in her gorgeous shepherds hut (all Covid 19 safe practice secure) 

I removed my shoes, lay down on the very comfortable treatment bed, Kay cleaned my feet and she began.  I am not going to try and describe what she did as I don’t know enough about it but below is the description of the treatment pioneered by SALLY KAY.

The results I have seen from this technique have been quite astounding, so much so, I now use reflexology lymph drainage in all my treatments, regardless of presenting conditions. Everyone can benefit from this technique.’

‘Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage, (RLD) is a  groundbreaking technique focusing on stimulating the lymphatic system which underpins the bodies ability to heal and stay healthy.

Initially pioneered by Sally Kay,  for breast cancer patients suffering secondary lymphoedema in the arm or both arms. The treatment was found to significantly reduce the volume of swelling.

Reflexology Lymph Drainage follows the lymphatic reflexes on the feet to encourage the movement of lymph around the body. This specialist technique can not only benefit sufferers of lymphoedema, but can help reduce the symptoms of many other conditions. Those suffering from auto immune disorders from ME to eczema and Fibromyalgia and muscular skeletal pain have reported improvements after RLD. An increase in energy levels is also a benefit  and RLD can be useful to help aid post operative recovery.

The treatment lasted for around 35 minutes. It was very relaxing and there were definite moments when I could feel something happening as Kay massaged the various key points in my feet.  After the treatment I felt much lighter, any swelling had disappeared but I did need the loo.  Due to the lymphatic system being drained of toxins your body instantly wants to get rid of the excess, so, be prepared to wee a lot!  I was told to drink plenty of water to aid the flushing out of the waste. 

Would I recommend this to people? Absolutely.  Especially if you suffer with any of the above or you just feel you need a good FLUSHING OUT! 

Kay is a fully qualified practitioner and a member of the ASSOCIATE OF REFLEXOLOGISTS. Her treatment room is Covid 19 safe practice secure. 

**A special gift for readers of The Violet Cottage Blog**

SPECIAL OFFER - If you would like a treatment and you are local to Halesworth in Suffolk then Kay has agreed to offer 10% discount on a 45 minute treatment of RLD OR OTHER REFLEXOLOGY.

For further information and details of all Kay’s treatments you can contact her on: 07850 111254 to book or see her website

Kay not only offers this treatment but she also offers

Classical Reflexology

Maternity Reflexology

Vertical Reflex Therapy

(When the Government allows:)

Dien Chan Zone (Italian Facial Multi-Reflexology)


Natural Lift Facial Massage

Hopi Ear Candling


Who loves a cup of tea? 

 Or rather who doesn’t love  a cup of tea? I think most of the population of the world probably, at some time drinks tea but it is quintessentially a British past time.  I have recently been researching the many benefits of drinking tea and I was amazed as to just how many there are.  I also didn’t realise that black and green tea contain something called L-theanine.  This is a compound in tea that science says can protect your brain health.  L-theanine can also be taken in tablet form but you should always consult your doctor before taking any new medication or supplements especially if you have a health condition. 

So what are the benefits of drinking tea and the compound L-theanine?

The following have been recognised for:

Better mental focus. 
Many people drink black or green tea while at work, believing that it boosts their mental focus.

Improved sleep


Increased cognitive performance

Weight loss

Boosting the immune system

Reducing blood pressure

There is a difference, however, between green and black tea. 


May help with fat loss

 Black tea is normally taken with milk which may counteract the health benefits of tea on the vascular function but it has other benefits, it contains theaflavins.  Theaflavins are a group of polyphenols which can protect fat cells from damage by free radicals and may support your body’s natural antioxidant production, what’s more, they may protect your heart and blood vessels. Theaflavins are unique to black tea. Through their antioxidant effects, they may improve blood vessel function and support fat loss.

May prevent heart disease
A recent study found that those who drank three cups of black tea per day had an 11% reduced risk of developing heart disease due to group of antioxidants called flavonoids, which are also present in vegetables, fruits, red wine and dark chocolate.  Adding black tea to your daily routine is an easy way to incorporate antioxidants into your diet and potentially reduce your risk of future health complications.  By adding black tea to your daily routine is an easy way to incorporate antioxidants into your diet and potentially reduce your risk of future health complications.

May improve gut health 
Black tea contains antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful substances and improve gut bacteria and immunity by helping repair the lining of the digestive tract.

May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause many health complications. Drinking black tea on a regular basis may help decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure, but research is mixed.

Green Tea
Green tea is rich in the powerful antioxidant EGCG.  Green tea has a massive list of benefits, probably more than black tea.

Alzheimer’s disease. 
EGCG may reduce the harmful effects of amyloid plaques, which accumulate in Alzheimer’s patients 

A study found that mice consuming an EGCG-containing drink had prolonged swimming times before exhaustion, compared with those drinking water 

Liver protection.
EGCG has been shown to reduce the development of fatty liver in mice on a high fat diet

This antioxidant can cause damage to bacterial cell walls and may even reduce the transmission of some viruses - particularly relevant at the moment!

It may interact with receptors in your brain to exert a calming effect on your body.

Which ever is your penchant, it is obvious that drinking tea is frightfully good for us darlings, now, go and put that kettle on.


Let’s think about it for a moment.  Do you get out of bed and have a good stretch, maybe do some yoga?  Do you don your designer leggings, Nike trainers and go for a run?  Perhaps you jump straight in the shower and wake up like that? 

 I do none of these things, in fact, I put on my trusty old dressing gown and head downstairs for a cup of tea.  However, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, I do two things that really help strengthen my immune system and awaken my mind and body,  I take a shot size of my Forever Aloe Vera gel and then my magnesium supplement.  If I could take only two health supplements I would always choose these two.

I would like to explain exactly how they help me.  

  Forever Living’s Aloe Vera

It is cultivated on fertile soils in a climate that enjoys over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, and it's even been certified by the International Aloe Science Council for its purity. This  drinking gel is as close to the real thing as you can get, boasting 99.7% inner leaf aloe gel, lovingly extracted by hand so that you can experience the true power of nature. Aloe is great for skin, the immune system and it's an ideal digestive aid, and now this purifying gel also contains vitamin C which contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to a normal energy-yielding metabolism.  

Now I know you can buy cheaper versions of Aloe vera but this one really is FIRST CLASS.  It is as if you have cut open the plant’s leaf and sucked it out.  The carton lasts for around one month depending on how much you take and it comes in various flavours. I suffer with ULCERATIVE COLITIS and this gel has helped me so much in  controlling this illness. If you experience bloating, gas, IBS or any other bowel problems then this could really help you too.  For further details and information and to purchase see website below:


I didn’t know I was lacking in this mineral until recently.  After a few routine tests and feeling sluggish, lacking in energy and basically tired all of the time, I was told to try taking a Magnesium supplement.  After doing much research on the various brands and types magnesium out there and making sure that if I was going to spend the little cash I now had after losing both my jobs, it was value for money, I came across

You can buy a one off, one months supply for £13 or subscribe to getting a pack every month for £10.40.  I cannot tell you how these little tablets have benefitted me but I can tell you why.

Magnesium plays a really important role in our heart rhythm, it keeps our blood vessels healthy, it keep our nerves healthy by releasing serotonin (happy hormones).  It can help to relieve depression.  It helps to relax your muscles. 

 Magnesium is also naturally present in foods like kale and spinach, black beans, nuts, bananas and whole grains, but it’s not always easy for the body to absorb, and it can get harder as you get older that is why a supplement might be advantageous.

 Type 2 diabetes

People with higher amounts of magnesium in their diets tend to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Magnesium helps the body break down sugars and might help reduce the risk of insulin resistance.


Magnesium is important for healthy bones. People with higher intakes of magnesium have a higher bone mineral density which is important in reducing the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.

If you think you might be  magnesium deficient,  symptoms might include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Extreme magnesium deficiency can cause numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, 



I don’t drink cows milk anymore.  About two years ago I switched to plant based alternatives such as soya, almond and oat milk.  The reason being was that I found I couldn’t digest cows milk very well due to suffering for many years, as I have mentioned before, from ulcerative colitis.  For me it has helped a lot. It has resulted in less bloating, less reddening of my face (I used to suffer slightly from rosacea) and better digestive health.  

Milk plays a crucial role in the life of all mammals, right from birth. But some say that drinking another mammal’s milk is unnecessary, unnatural, even unhealthy.  As the only animal to drink the milk of another species, humans have an unusual relationship with the white stuff. Below we compare the for’s and against’s for drinking cow’s milk. It is personal taste but I feel we should look at all the options and in the end, decide for ourselves what we think is best for each individual.

Arguments for Cow's Milk

Cow’s milk is a good source of protein and calcium, as well as nutrients including vitamin B12 and iodine.

 It also contains magnesium, which is important for bone development and muscle function, and whey and casein which have been found to play a role in lowering blood pressure.

The UK’s National Health Service recommends children between the age of one and three consume 350 milligrams of calcium a day which just over half a pint of milk would provide, for healthy bone development. 

“If you don’t get bone development correct in your teenage years, you run a higher risk of bone weakness in later life, particularly for women after the menopause, who lose the benefits of oestrogen,” Givens says.

 A meta analysis published in 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dairy was not associated with increased mortality. In fact, the study found that those who had dairy had decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease and strokes.

Japanese people who consume dairy seem to be less prone to developing Alzheimer’s.

Arguments Against Cow's Milk

 Most people don’t think about the fact that, in order to continue producing milk, dairy cows must be impregnated over and over. The female calves are born into the same fate as their mother, but the male calves are sent off to become veal.

97% of all dairy calves are stolen from their mothers within hours of birth. Cows also have maternal instincts and this is extremely traumatising to them.

For adults, however, there is conflicting advice as to whether cows milk keeps our bones healthy.

Cows are milked when they’re pregnant, when their oestrogen levels increase 20 fold the milk also contains antibiotics that are fed to the cows to prevent bacteria spreading.

Unsweetened soya, almond, hemp, coconut, oat and rice drinks have lower levels of fat than whole milk.

Soya milk is the best replacement for cow’s milk in terms of protein, as it’s the only one with comparable protein content. 

The plant-based milk industry has grown from almost nothing to 8% of the milk market in the last decade.

Milk and cheese have been linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

The lactose in cow’s milk can be difficult for people to digest, resulting in nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Difficulty with dairy digestion can develop later in life and result in progressively worsening symptoms.

A single serving of milk can contain as much as 24 mg of heart-harming cholesterol.  But no plant food contains any cholesterol whatsoever.

So you see,  there are many reasons for and against why we should or shouldn’t drink cow’s milk.  For me personally, I choose not to for my ongoing condition and because, as an animal lover, I cannot bear the thought of these poor dear creatures going though hell day after day and having their darling calves taken away from them as soon as they are born.  It breaks my heart.  

The alternatives are there if we want them.  I am not judging anyone, it is your own individual choice.  

A great topic to discuss with your friends and family. 

Do you still consume dairy? We’d love to  know what you think:
Email us at


What is OCD?


Just recently, someone I know has been diagnosed with OCD. To say we were not surprised is an understatement as they had been showing some signs of it for a while.

However, once they had been diagnosed and then told that it can be helped eventually with therapy and various other aids, they felt happier.  They actually felt that a weight had been lifted.  There was a name for what they had been experiencing. They weren’t going mad, it was actually a condition.

The effect of OCD can be debilitating, but half of people find that current treatments make little difference but there may be help out there. Dr Susanne Ahmari is investigating brain circuits involved in obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Her focus is on exploring what happens in the brain to cause OCD. Specifically, she’s investigating whether problems in the brain’s circuits – the multiple networks that information in the brain travels along – could cause the symptoms of OCD.  This project involves a new technique called Optogenetics.

This enables researchers to isolate and study specific brain cells, by making cells sensitive to light then using targeted lights to switch those cells on and off. It’s a technique that’s really useful to watch how brain cells interact.  Let’s hope with this and more research into this debilitating condition more people will be helped.

There are 4 types of OCD:
Contamination Symptoms -  constantly washing of hands, worrying about germs or feelings of disgust.
Unacceptable thoughts -  constantly checking.  Things like checking the front door has been locked, checking the gas is off etc.
Symmetry and arranging - touching things, tapping, repeating, moving things into a specific order. 
Doubt and harm - Worries about accidental harm. Worries about safety.

All of the above are a type of OCD.  I must admit I have a thing for touching things. I like to see how things feel.  What is the texture, if someone tells me not to touch something, I instantly want to touch it!. Does that mean I have OCD too?

Do you ever have intrusive thoughts?  I know I do occasionally.  Could that be just worrying about horrid things happening to those close to you or is that OCD?

 Perfectionism is a typical symptom of OCD patients who tend to be primarily preoccupied with order, to engage in compulsive behaviours that include repetitive arranging, organising, or lining up of objects until certain conditions are met. Um, no, I don’t do that but I know someone who does.  If things are not in the correct order it causes them stress and to have a panic attack. OCD is not just being tidy, it is a real, debilitating condition, with those who suffer from it being deserving of help, and to be taken seriously. 

It is estimated that 2 or 3% of people have OCD.

Below is a test you can take to see if you have any tendencies of OCD. 

Go to

SPACEMASKS - Get transported to another dimension!

Now we are all talking face masks at the moment but in our health section this week we are talking EYE MASKS. SPACEMASKS  to be exact.  They claim to transport you to somewhere so peaceful and relaxing that it sounds like a cosmic retreat.  If you are someone who has been working at a screen all day, suffers from eyestrain, struggles to get to sleep, suffers from headaches or just plain stressed, then these little beauties might just be the answer to your prayers.

They are self heating masks that you put over your eyes with two loops that slip over your ears.  The warmth is instant and it stays warm for approximately 15 minutes (apparently they normally last longer)  They contain just two ingredients, essence of Jasmine and iron powder.  When it comes into contact with oxygen in the air, it activates then warmth.  They have sold out so many times but they are now back in stock.   Can be used just before going to sleep or anywhere you can sit or lie comfortably.  They cost just £15 for 5.


This week at Victoria Health they are throwing in an extra  SPACEMASK for free.  So, when you buy the normal 5 you will get 6! See website below to purchase. 

In these trying times I think we all deserve a little COSMIC LOVE!

This week - How to make a Lassi drink and Salt water is it really a cure for all?


We are always on the look out for new ideas to bring to you and just recently we found out about the Indian drink called LASSI

Lassi is a popular traditional yogurt-based drink which originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is relished by many people across India because of the many benefits it has in keeping you healthy. See below for some of the benefits……….

  • Aids digestion
  • Good for your skin
  • Helps prevent stomach problems
  • Rich in probiotics
  • Boosts immunity
  • Good for bone health

Lassis come in all kinds of flavours some are salty, some are sweet, some have mint, some have fruit. A mango lassi is basically a yogurt based mango milkshake ..


Mango lassie


  • 1 cup diced fresh mango
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Strawberry lassie

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1-2 pinch of cardamom powder

 You can use any type of fruit. Just pop all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. 

I Know of a Cure for Everything: Salt Water . . . Sweat, or Tears, or the Sea salt

Meaning:  The three best ways to overcome a difficulty are: 

Sweat - Performing hard physical labour

Tears - Crying out the emotion you are feeling at the time

Sea Salt - Going to the sea

I suppose the first one SWEAT is what people do when faced with a difficult situation.  Have you heard the phrase “I’m just throwing myself into my work so I can forget about everything”. When faced  with life’s difficulties, it is a way of trying to forget what is actually going on in our lives. Maybe a bereavement, a diagnosis of a serious illness, a job loss or something else can all cause us great stress and upset, so by concentrating on other things then it helps to forget, even for just a little while.

So what about TEARS.  Well for a start, I do cry at many things.  Anything can start me off.  Just lately I have been getting highly emotional at the programme every one has been talking about THE REPAIR SHOP. I know I have mentioned this programme before but it is such a gentle look at the way people treasure special items that have meant so much to them and want them to be repaired so that they can keep them for just a little bit longer.  If like me, you are a delicate soul who cares deeply about those around you then you understand the power of tears. When we cry, we release pent up stress, we can let go. So many of us hold in our emotions and thoughts and that then leads to mental health problems. So, don’t be afraid to cry. Crying is a good thing. Go on, have a good bawl!

SEA SALT - Lastly, we here at the Violet Cottage are very lucky to live on the coast.  We can literally walk down the road and we are there, staring……..sitting silently at the beautiful, vast and glorious ocean. 

It has been proven that it the closer you are to the sea, the better you feel. In fact, doctors have been prescribing curative trips to the shore from as early as the 18th century, and recent studies suggest the link between the ocean and health is a scientific fact.

Being near the sea also promotes not just  good physical health, but also it has an amazing affect on our mental wellbeing too.

It helps us to relax.  Researchers have found that the sound of waves alters brain patterns, which lulls you into a deeply relaxed state and rejuvenates body and mind. It also helps in promoting physical activity, even if it's simply a walk on the beach.

If you fancy taking a dip, then swimming in the sea gives you a full body workout, improves circulation, and increases your immune system function. Thalassotherapy is the word for it, meaning - the use of seawater as a form of therapy.  Studies have shown that the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in seawater produce antibiotic and antibacterial effects that promote immunity. An added bonus is that swimming in warm seawater (change would be a fine thing in the UK) activates the body's healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as common aches and pains.


Regular tips and information on wellbeing and health. 


Have you ever heard of Cleavers? Neither had I until recently when I was looking for something to stop me feeling so sluggish and to give me more energy.

I came across this amazing little plant also known as STICKY WEED.  After further research I ordered it in tablet form (see photo above) and after a week,I do feel much more awake and ready for the day.

Here's a bit about it..........

Cleavers is a medicinal wild herb that grows throughout the United States, Britain, Europe, Siberia, and the Himalayas. It is one of the most effective herbs for cleansing the lymphatic system.The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. Its primary function is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. It is known to help move and dissolve lymphatic congestion, reduce swollen glands, ease upper respiratory congestion, and eliminate mucous from the body. 

Cleavers is also highly beneficial for removing toxic debris out of the blood and can help to tone and strengthen the entire circulatory system. It is also good for alleviating edema, bloating, and water retention.

Buy them at any good health store.

You can also buy it dried and make tea from it...........

Tea - Use 2 tsp of dried herb to 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for at least 10 minutes, sweeten with raw honey if desired. Cleavers can also be found in tincture, extract, capsule, and cream form online or at your local health food store. It is most effective when used for only 1-2 week increments at a time.



DO NOT TAKE take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


CRAMPS, BLOATING, BACKACHE, MOOD SWINGS, SPOTS …….don’t you just love a period… If pain is the main problem, then make way for the Miraculous Healing Patches made by the amazing acupuncturist and herbalist Ross Barr. Made and formulated to help ease and relieve menstrual cramps and other aches and pains.  They are loaded with Safflower and Clove to help promote blood flow; Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and Borneol further helps inflammation and pain

Apparently they also help with headaches too. Thank you Mr Barr, we love you………….

Healing Patches by Ross J. Barr £15 for Five Patches


Science has proven that chocolate can actually brighten your mood it's full of MAGNESIUM AND IRON and other stuff that helps fight inflammation.  

If you like SMOOTHIES then this one has lots of ingredients that have been known to help alleviate period pain. Put together by Melanie de Jong, nutritionist and naturopath at FoodElements Berlin.

This replenishing smoothie will bring you back to life when menstrual cramps and fatigue hit. It's packed with magnesium, iron and tryptophan - exactly what your body needs during your period. (PLEASE NOTE: AS NUTS ARE USED IN THIS RECIPE DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC!)

  • Magnesium (soothes cramps)
  • Iron is essential for the formation of new red blood cells after blood loss 
  • Tryptophan eases mood swings Ingredients:

  • 20g cashews (soak for at least 2 hours, but best soaked overnight) 
  • 2 dates
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened, raw cacao is preferred) Cocoa Powder (or Raw Cacao
  • 1 banana
  • 30g rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • 100ml oat milk (or whatever you prefer)


  • Mash soaked cashews, chopped dates, flax seeds, banana, cocoa powder and 2/3 of oatmeal together with the milk in a strong blender to a creamy smoothie.
  • Pour into a large glass.
  • Roast the remaining oatmeal in a small pan and sprinkle for garnish.
  • Enjoy !


Did you know that menopausal symptoms, such as mood swings and/or depression can be lifted by adding a tablespoon of LINSEED/FLAX SEEDS to a smoothie. 

Flax seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to be mood lifting and possibly help combat depression. Several studies have found that increasing the omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can aid in preventing major depression disorders.


Just recently I have been looking into the practice of Homeopathy.  See definition -  Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if taken in large amounts. For example, a patient suffering from hayfever may benefit from the homeopathic remedy Allium Cepa (onion) because it produces similar symptoms such as watery eyes or runny nose. 

Homeopathic medicines - known as remedies - are made from substances designed to help stimulate the body's healing ability. Remedies are prepared - or "potentised" - using a process of repeated dilution and succussion (vigorous shaking). 

Being someone who suffers from eczema I was getting fed up of applying hydrocortisone cream each day and I began to look into a more natural way of treating it. I came across a company in the Channel Islands called: who will make up a remedy for you in order to treat whatever complaint you may have.  After doing my research into what can be used for eczema I ordered the following: Sepia Officinalis - Size:14 gram pillules and some Aesculus / Hamamelis / Calendula cream - Size:50 gram.  The Pillules are like little tiny tablets that dissolve on your tongue and they can be ordered in various sizes. The cream comes in a pot and you just apply it to the said place.  As I have only recently started this treatment it is a case of watch this space, however, on applying the cream, the relief I got was amazing! The itching stopped and the redness was calmed.
I am a great believer in alternative medicine and will be writing more about the different practices in the weeks to come.

This week's recommended products!

Below are some of the products I have also recently been looking at on the fabulous website Victoria Health.  It is a great resource for all things HEALTH related. 

Check it out here:

The ointment was advertised as being effective against a wide range of conditions, including cuts, bruises, sprains, ulcers, bleeding piles and even colds and toothache. It could also be used as an embrocation by rubbing it into the muscles of the back, legs or feet.

It is traditionally used as a massage oil for assisting detoxification and soothing the skin. Castor oil is superb for nourishing dry skin and removing stagnations from the body. Made from castor seeds, castor oil is high in vitamin E and contains essential unsaturated fatty acids like omega-6 that stimulate blood circulation on the surface of the skin, giving hair growth a helping hand.

Benefits of Castor Oil:

  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians and made without GMO
  • Useful in the treatment of rheumatism , arthritis and gout
  • Has germicidal and disinfectant properties to treat skin diseases and ulcers
  • Protects wounds and burns from infections and is anti-inflammatory

Whilst this luxurious, thick and velvety smooth cream is a treat for the hands, Fulvic Acid Nail Cream is a superb multifunctional cream formulation. With antibacterial and antifungal activity, Fulvic Acid cream can be used in the treatment of athlete’s foot. Brilliantly helping to provide relief from itching, burning, cracking, and scaling symptoms prevalent in infections of the feet. Used re

DLux 3000 Spray by Better You provides the highest daily dose of oral vitamin D spray. Each spray delivers 3,000iu of vitamin D3, the most bioavailable form, in a tasty and convenient oral spray. Spray DLux 3000 directly under the tongue for a faster and more reliable supplementation of this essential vitamin.Each bottle of DLux 3000 Spray contains 100 measured daily doses, delivering 3,000iu in every spray. Only natural ingredients are used and the spray is suitable for during pregnancy and breastfeeding and for those on a vegetarian and diabetic diet. Natural peppermint oil flavour.

One of the most-wanted products on the market at the moment is Trek Natural, not surprisingly because as you may have read, we believe this to be the best anti-viral insect repellent currently available.  It’s all about the level of Citriodiol in each formulation, and at 40% this packs a punch.  The Ministry of Defence are debating  whether Citriodiol actively works to help kill the Covid-19 virus but I think that anything that could possibly kill this evil virus  is worth buying and spraying all over you.  At the very least it is a fabulous insect repellent as I proved the other night when sitting in the garden and not one of the little critters sunk their teeth into me, plus it smells lovely.

Just recently, especially  with the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus, I have been doing quite a lot of research  into which vitamins should I take in order to maintain better health and to protect myself and my family.  

I have added Magnesium and Probiotics to my daily routine. Here are some of the things they can help with:


  • Omega 3 essential fatty acids since most of us do not get sufficient amounts
  • calcium supplement to prevent brittle bone disease
  • A sublingual form of Vitamin B-12


The Benefits Of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice

Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals
The juice comes loaded with a bevy of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants essential for our body. 

Fights Digestive Disorders
Daily consumption of aloe vera juice is believed to fight and cure a range of digestive disorders including poor digestion, constipation, acidity and gas. It is also beneficial in boosting appetite and keeping a check on weight gain.

Flushes our Toxins from the Body
Aloe vera juice consumption flushes out toxins from the body. Drinking it early in the morning will help you in many ways, right from curing digestive issues to cleaning the system.

Helps Treat Anemia
It is useful in correcting digestive and liver disorders, anemia, jaundice and ailments related to bile duct, gall bladder, among others. Results of this study concluded that aloe vera  has hematopoietic and immunomodulatory effects thus its extract can be used for the treatment of anemia and immune deficiency problems.

Balances Hormonal Problems
The juice is often used in many other herbal tonics pivotal in curing hormonal issues, as well as pancreas and spleen related disorders.

Excellent for Hair and Skin
Aloe vera juice helps maintain smooth, radiant skin and promotes hair growth. Its topical application can relieve from superficial burns and scars. It can be used as a moisturising agent for the skin as well as the scalp.

Boosts Immunity
The health benefiting properties of aloe vera juice also boosts the body's immunity helping to keep us healthy throughout the seasons.

After doing my research into finding a company providing the nearest natural form of Aloe vera, I found Forever Living. 

Their aloe vera is cultivated on fertile soils in a climate that enjoys over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, and it's even been certified by the International Aloe Science Council for its purity. This new drinking gel is as close to the real thing as you can get, boasting 99.7% inner leaf aloe gel, lovingly extracted by hand so that you can experience the true power of nature. Aloe is great for skin, the immune system and it's an ideal digestive aid, and now this purifying gel also contains vitamin C. Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to a normal energy-yielding metabolism. It is best taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and allow yourself about two to three weeks to see the benefits. By taking the gel on a regular basis you will help yourself to optimum health.  Check out the shop link above and treat yourself to some today. 

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