I’ve always adored learning about the language of flowers. The way that victorian gentlemen would send secret coded messages to their loves through the medium of the blooms they chose to use in the bouquet. But I have, until recently, been completely unaware of the use of flowers in the practice of feng shui, within which they are believed to hold huge amounts of energy bringing healthy, clean, growing chi into your space. And its really interesting.
I don’t pretend to understand feng shui fully, (or at all for that matter) but the practice states that ‘the deeper and more powerful of a connection you feel to certain flowers translates into lifting more energy’, which I feel makes perfect sense. You are encouraged within the practice to trust your intuition to guide you to place your arrangements into their proper bag corners within your space. They would also suggest that you display flowers that are fresh and full of life, dead flowers which are known to represent dead chi and can limit the flow of your space, chakras, and metal clarity. What better excuse to fill your home with fresh flowers all year round!
PEONIES – Everybody’s favourite summer flower. Pale pinks and yellows attract love while velvety deep reds and symbolise restoring a relationship.
NARCISSUS – Indigo and orange boost talents and abilities and career success/wealth chi. Gold and purple are particularly appropriate when moving into a new home, beginning a new undertaking or at the beginning of the New Year.
ROSE – Red for love, yellow for friendship, white for purity and pink for healing and new love.
MAGNOLIAS & LILIES – White magnolias and lilies should be given to friends and family when they are unwell.
FLOWERING BRANCHES – White blossomed plum, cherry, cotton or peach branches represent overcoming obstacles and promote longevity.
With every wellness blogger from Deliciously Ella, to Tanya Burr, to Liz Earle advocating the use the juices and cleanses to aid us in our health and wellbeing quest, our Instagram feeds have become inundated with images of spinach filled green juices. Words such as ‘cold pressed’ and ‘raw’ are flung around with impunity and juice bars are popping up like snowdrops in the spring. But why has what would once have been thought of as a fad or a slightly hippy trend, sparked into what is now a contemporary lifestyle choice? What is it that makes juice just so special?
Visionary British brand, Radiance Cleanse, has been at the vanguard of this movement since 2009, when it was founded by childhood friends, Christina Agnew and Clare Neill, long before the juicing madness hit its now mainstream audience. Producing the first ever product of its kind to be certified organic by the Soil Association, this incredible company is dedicated to helping you achieve optimum health through nutrition, by supplying the highest quality, raw, unpasteurised and cold-pressed juices from fresh, organic ingredients. And, as we can attest, they are also utterly delicious! We caught up with co-founder Christina to find out more.
The first thing that strikes you when you speak to Christina, bar her very softly sing song accent, is the pure passion she has for her products and the incredibly in depth nutritional and scientific knowledge with which she backs it up. We started by asking about the most important element of any recipe, the ingredients.
By Bethany: How do you source your ingredients?
Radiance Cleanse: We are certified 100% organic by the Soil Association which automatically cuts down on the number of suppliers we can use, but we always try, where possible, to buy British. We are always looking for new ways to create the best and most innovative flavours while favouring local, seasonal products. For example, we prefer to use British apples rather than pineapples to sweeten some of our juices. Not only does this cut down on the sugar content, but they are also sourced locally, thereby reducing our ‘juice miles’, cutting travel time, and insuring that our juices are as fresh as possible when they land on your door step.
By Bethany: Why is it so important to Radiance that your juices are organic?
RC: It’s very simple. We believe that organic is the better choice for both our bodies and the environment. Non-organic plants are sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilisers while they are in the fields and they are then ingested by us. This is particularly true for leafy greens such as spinach and kale which can carry up to 50 types of pesticides when they come from non-organic farms.
If you want to check that any product is organic the easiest way is to look for the Soil Association seal. That is your guarantee of organic status. As a customer we don’t like to rely on phrases like “organic where possible”.
By Bethany: Phrases such as ‘cold pressed’, ‘raw’ and ‘unpasteurised’ are currently massive in the health and wellness industries. Could you explain what they tell us about your product in a little more depth?
RC: Unlike the word ‘organic’, terms such as ‘cold pressed’ are not legally defined or protected. There is sadly no way to know for sure that you are getting exactly what it says on the tin. However at Radiance we want our juices to be the best possible and we believe that it is these criteria (cold pressed, raw, unpasteurised) that set our juices apart, making them so profoundly different, clean and safe. Once you’ve tasted an organic and cold pressed juice you’ll recognise that the flavour and texture is superior.
We always use fresh, raw ingredients because we know they taste the best. The term pasteurised means that the ingredients have been heated (essentially cooked) to a high temperature to kill certain bacteria. However, the same process can significantly reduce the nutrient content, particularly with heat-sensitive vitamins like Vitamin C.
We use a cold press juicer because this type of machine allows us to extract the highest levels of vitamins, minerals and enzymes from our organic produce with slow and gentle pressure. A typical centrifugal juicer would have a spinning blade that is rotating at high RPMs causing initial friction, heat and oxidation, all of which lead to a lower nutrient content in the juice. A cold press juicer creates minimum oxidation, meaning that your juices stay fresher and more nutritious, for longer. It is also much better at extracting nutrients from the now hugely popular greens, which are known for being low-yield in juicing terms. Cold pressing means that you are getting every teeny tiny bit of goodness from your plant, better for you, and more eco-friendly.
By Bethany: How does a cleanse work? Can anybody do it?
RC: A nutritional juice cleanse is not a diet. It should be thought of as a form of liquid nourishment and a great way to give your body and mind a break and allow your body to heal itself as nature intended. It’s like hitting the reset button and can act as a great spring board into wellness. We believe that juice cleansing is something you will benefit from doing, sensibly and regularly, in addition to eating a daily healthy, balanced diet.
When we first started Radiance a cleanse was seen by most as a remedial or once-a-season process. However, it now seems that more and more people are using juice as an add-on to enhance their daily life and health. We advocate everything in moderation…even kale! Mix your fruit and veg juices up to receive the best nutrition from them and use colour as your guide, its nature’s way of telling you that its full of amazing things!
You should not undertake a cleanse if you are under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding, and if you have any medical conditions or concerns then it’s always advisable to check with your doctor first. Once you’re set to go, we deliver all over the UK!
By Bethany: How environmentally friendly, if at all, is your beautiful packaging and delivery methods?
RC: We work very hard to ensure that we don’t damage the environment in the process of helping you. All our packaging is recyclable. Our bottles are made from PET1, our cool bags are the most ethical in the world (yep, seriously!), made from 99% recyclable materials, and we send our juices to you in recyclable cardboard boxes.
By Bethany: What are your personal and office favourites?!
Christina – I love our Pure Greens No.4 Juice. It is made using cucumber, celery, broccoli, lemons, kale, and ginger, which gives it a real kick!
Clare – Anything containing ginger! I also think that root based juices are highly undersold. Our Root Boost, which is stuffed full of amazing things such as beetroot and carrot is delicious. Our kids also love it because its bright pink!
Office – Our Cashew Milks for their super creaminess and Juice Shot N0.2 made with our fiery blend of ginger, fresh turmeric root, lemon and cayenne. The perfect morning pick me up.
I really enjoyed my cleanse, except for the first juice, the Ginger Lemonade (not my fav taste wise, not gonna lie). However, I was full all day and the rest were very nice. The two I liked best were the Cashew Nut Milk, which tasted just like an ultra creamy coconut. I think would would be really yummy heated up with some cinnamon…not sure if thats allowed…but would be seriously good. I also really liked the Root Boost. I have been trying to get more beetroot into my diet lately (and my dad’s because it’s great for controlling high cholesterol) but I find the taste tends to overwhelm everything else. The Root Boost doesn’t seem to have this issue, it really nice, gets all those benefits in, and doesn’t taste overpoweringly of beetroot.
I could not encourage you guys more to invite the power of plants into your life by giving it a try! If for the experience if nothing else!
Beautiful botanical designs and delicious hand baked bread – is there any better mix in the whole wide world?!
These mouthwatering images are the work of Michelle Eshkeri the creative mind behind craft bakery and pastry shop ‘Margo’s Bakery’, based in Finchly, and I have become completely obsessed by them.
Made by deftly slashing the dough with a sharp knife or by using fresh herbs and blooms as a stencil, these patterns are simple, but stunningly effective.
You can find the Margot Bakery on Instagram.
Or go straight to the source.
They have also just opened a brand new shop!
Before I became a flower girl I was completely oblivious to eucalyptus, and even after I became a flower girl, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I have since seen the error of my ways and have learnt that as well as being very beautiful, almost ethereal looking, eucalyptus is also a truly wondrous plant.
When extracted and diluted the oil from the eucalyptus leaves is chiefly used for its medical properties, however, because of both it’s scent and strong antiseptic and moisturising qualities it has now also become common place in many beauty products.
This time of year, it seems everyone is getting sick and I now use eucalyptus essential oil in my diffuser or steamy shower to help relieve all those horrible symptoms of a cold. The list of benefits seems endless, not only is it an antiseptic but an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory (pretty much anti everything bad..) and it acts as a decongestant. It will clear all your bunged up tubes, ease your joints and help prevent infection from occurring again.
I recently discovered this way of using fresh eucalyptus rather than the oil, and have become quite obsessed with it. I love the way it looks, love the way it smells, love the way it makes me feel like a true green goddess (herbal essences styley), and like all the best DIYs it is amazingly simple, and doesn’t cost the earth. All you need to do is hang fresh sprigs of the plant in a hot shower. You almost end up with your own personal sauna. The heat and steam will release all the same benefits and healing properties that using the essential oil will give you…but this way is just so much cooler!
You can buy fresh eucalyptus from any florist, and even some more high end supermarkets are selling it now. Five stems will do the job just fine. If you love the idea, but a cold does make it through your defences this Eucalyptus Salve from Neal’s Yard is really stimulating. Simply rub over the back and chest and enjoy the cleansing vapours.
I have been talking a lot lately about my love of the powerful Indian spice turmeric, (you can posts here and here,) and so it is with great excitement that I would like to introduce you today to Tanita de Ruijt, founder of London-based wellness brand, Jamu Kitchen.
A blurring of the lines between food and medicine, their Turmeric Tamarind Tonic is wellness in a bottle, perfect to take in the mornings as an immunity and anti-inflammatory boost. Trust me, it makes all the difference to getting yourself through the day.
What is a tonic? Tanita describes it as:
- Anything that enlivens or strengthens (I like to believe that gin totally counts).
- An invigorating, refreshing, or restorative agent or influence (yep, still gin).
- A classification of herbs or spices proven to target a multitude of systems aimed at increasing overall vitality and longevity (ahh nuts, so gin isn’t a tonic then…!).
All sounds pretty amazing right!?
We caught up with Tanita, to ask her about the creation of this wonderful golden elixir, her story of how it came to be and her top tips on how best to drink it.
ByBethany: What it is you love most about turmeric as an ingredient?
Tanita: Probably the smell. The entire room lights up with warm scents of orange while I brew our tonic.
ByBethany: What inspired you to create Jamu Kitchen?
Tanita: It’s been a long awaited part of my food journey. I’ve been passionate about the health food movement for a long time now and worked at Rude Health since I left university – such an inspiring place to work.
But ultimately I’d have to blame my parents for planting the seeds of my passion. Not only did we grow up in Spain surrounded by fantastic, unprocessed food our entire lives, but their mutually exclusive approaches to food as well. My mother was a vegetarian that hosted detox retreats at our home for the likes of Tilda Swinton among others. And my father enjoyed the finer things in life and would spend months on end perfecting recipes like Paella and serving it to entire local villages as well as setting up his own micro beer brewery in the garage.
Since then it’s become my mission to show that these two extreme takes on food can be combined. It’s the idea of combining health with taste, and never compromising on either of these things.
It all clicked during my travels in Indonesia, where they use their kitchen staple ingredients to create medicinal concoctions known as Jamu; an integrated system of inner and outer healthy & beauty. It immediately changed the way I looked at the food on my plate. Good food is medicine.
ByBethany: How do you source your ingredients?
Tanita: I buy my fresh whole roots from my organic wholesaler. The freshness and quality of your roots is vital if you want to reap the medicinal qualities of these foods.
ByBethany: What is your favourite recipe using Jamu?
Tanita: Simple. Empty one bottle of Jamu into a saucepan, heat gently and add a splash of lime juice. Delicious and incredibly restorative!
We can’t wait to give it a try!