Thursday, 24 September 2015

Restoration Health

I've been a very busy bee over this summer and I have something very exciting to tell you about. I've been collaborating together with several amazing therapists in various disciplines and we are so excited to be launching Restoration Health.

We're a small team, but hoping to grow and we have a few more people looking to join us in the near future. Currently we are boasting two nutritionists, two massage therapists, aromatherapist, reflexologist and a physiotherapist/modified Pilates instructor! Being able to consult with one another is a fantastic way for us to maximise how effectively we work with our clients and ensure that you are getting the best care possible from each member of the team. We also plan to run classes at various points throughout the year, in the hope that we can educate people to enjoy a healthier way of life with their families, rather than relying on us for treatments. These may be taught by us, but will also include us hosting some experts in various holistic therapies. 

If you live locally (in/around Bedford), these are all available to you! If you live a little further away, you can have phone consultations around nutrition and aromatherapy, but long distance massage doesn't really work!

We also hope to build the page into a free resource centre. You can 'follow' us on facebook, and we'll be posting tips and articles to help you start learning more about how to restore your health, without ever having to pay out a penny for a session with us. 

Our vision is to help as many people as possible on their journey to restoring their health and we only work with others who have the same passion, whatever their discipline or area of expertise. 

You can look out for us on twitter too, @restorationheal tweets about all areas of health, but if you have a specific concern, you might want to follow Restoration Nutrition, Restoration Oils or Restoration Pilates.  We hope to be adding more disciplines soon, but I'll let you know when we do. 

Finally, you can follow Restoration Health for inspiration on Pinterest, or just follow specific boards that you are interested in. As I said earlier, it's all very new, but we are hoping to build useful content that will become a great resource for people who want to take positive steps towards better health. 

I hope you'll find it useful. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Home education encouragement day

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Home education encouragement day in Madeley, with two other fantastic home educating mummies, and get to hear Dr Voddie Baucham speaking. 
I'll own that I've not actually heard of him before, although one of the ladies I went with was a super fan - and now I can see why. 
Dr Baucham doesn't shy away from difficult topics and the Q&A session at the end certainly didn't either; his answers were always based in scripture, always bathed in compassion and always delivered with humility. It was wonderful to spend a day sitting under his teaching and being both challenged and inspired. 
But the thing that struck me most, was how many families had attended all together. 
We'd arranged for our husbands to stay home with the children so we could go, but there were children of all ages present, some sat in through the seminars, some were outside playing games with the children's team, but all looked like they were having a fantastic time. 
It was lovely to see the older children watching the younger ones and huge games of stuck in the mud and tag happening outside. 
Next year we will definitely attend as a family. My children would have loved it. 
The book stall was also fantastic, and as well as spending a lot of money on books, I've got a long wish list of literature that I intend to buy for my children soon! 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Becca Bee!

As promised, I spent a fun filled evening with my lovely cousin Becky, aka the Bee Chick, and got to ask her some great questions to share with you. I'll be completely honest, my older sister came over too and we ended up hanging out and having such a fun time that I didn't ask her nearly as much as I'd intended to, so if you want more information about bees, honey, apprenticeships or anything else you'll have to contact her directly or wait for her awesome new website which is coming soon ;-)
We're currently looking at planting more flowers in our orchard, what should we be planting to help our local bees?

Planting flowers in your orchard to help local bees is a great idea! Not only are you helping out the local bees, but the flowers that attract them attract lots of other pollinators too, which means you'll get a better crop from your fruit trees. It might also mean that the local bees will be able to produce a little bit more honey, which means your friendly neighbourhood bee farmer makes a little more income, which means you get access to more local honey. 

Bulbs that are really beneficial early on in the year are crocuses and snowdrops. They come up nice and early in the spring and feed the bees when there are too many other flowers available. The bees are also really loving borage at the moment. It creates a really nice mild honey with low flavour but a good sweetness to it. The blossoms on your cherry trees are also a bee favourite, but it creates a much stronger flavoured honey a little later in the summer. It's sweet and runny - I love it. Later in the autumn phacelia is great food for them. It also makes a great green manure for you if your into that stuff, and the beautiful blue colour will make your orchard look pretty. 

Oh, and red clover. The bees love any type of clover, but red clover is pretty. You will get bumble bees all over the lawn with red clover in it. Just be careful not to tread on them!

bee in clover
You mentioned that cherry blossom and borage make different flavours/types of honey. Are there any other honeys that are particularly distinctive?

Bramble, hawthorn and lime tree honey (not limes like you eat, common lime is a deciduous British tree) mix together to make a really nice late summer honey. It's really runny and tastes great, even though I'm not a massive fan of runny honey generally. This is one of my favourites. 

Oil seed rape is another crop that makes a distinctive honey. It's really hard work though. Great early spring food for the bees, but it's a set honey and once it crystallises it's nearly impossible to get it out of the comb no matter how you extract it. Me and my dad left some a little too long this year and it was sooooo hard to get it.

Talk to me about varroa. I watched a documentary on iplayer and they said it was killing all our native bees. 

People get really worried about varros and I'm not really sure why. It's absolutely controllable. It's probably not great for wild colonies, but for bee farmers it really shouldn't be a big issue. You treat the hives spring and autumn and they're fine. It's just like us getting a cold really. We've never lost a hive. You might lose a little bit of production, but it's really not a big deal, the bees just get on with it and do their job. 

It's not really a cold, it's more like a parasite. Like nits, but for bees. We have a little white stick that we place in the hive in autumn and leave with the bees over the winter whilst they are hibernating. In the spring we remove it and they are all fine. It's really not a big problem. 

Your family have gone through various bee-related activities (by the way I'm still gutted that your mum stopped making those hand creams...) but you are particularly focused on queen rearing. Can you tell us a bit more about that? What is a 'buckfast' bee?

handful of bees
Buckfast is where I get my breeding stock from. They are thoroughbred bees. They breed them on these little islands off the coast of Denmark, really far away from the mainland so there is no chance of any other bees contaminating the gene pool. No one else is allowed to keep bees anywhere near them. Because of the way they breed them, they know which queens have bred with which drones and they can create pure lines. 

When we are queen rearing we buy 'drone mothers' from this special thoroughbred stock. A drone mother is a queen bee who is known to lay good drones. We surround them for three miles with our hives so that they can only mate with our own drones. They don't tend to mate in their own hives because they don't want to become inbred, so we now have the cross bred bees that we want.

I know you recently converted to the ways of 'real food' and swapping out sugar for honey - it's crazy that we grew up around your dads honey farm and we both only stumbled onto this as adults! - how are you finding it?

It's amazing. Since I started swapping out sugar for honey I have had sooooo much more energy. I wake up and feel great, not sluggish at all like I used to. I now get through about 8oz of honey a week by myself, and love making my own granola and enjoying eating good, natural foods. I only wish I'd done it sooner.

Thanks so much Bex. Will you be willing to share your granola recipe with us some time?

Absolutely, but I'm still perfecting it. I'll let you know when it's ready.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Honey Love

I'm not sure how anyone can not love honey. I think if you don't, you probably haven't tried enough honeys. 

Being totally honest, I don't care how good for you manuka honey is, it tastes awful. It's best used as a medicine and not a treat. Ethiopian honey has an odd smokey taste that is fine in certain situations, but I wouldn't want it in my tea. It's cheap though (if you buy it in large quantities) and makes a great poultice.

 English honey though, is an entirely different beast. English honey goes with everything and makes everything it touches taste amazing. The best English honey is light, sweet, not over-poweringly 'honey' flavoured, and bought from Oakfield Honey farm
Not that I'm biased. 

Honey has been in my family since before I was born, and if we were very lucky when I was little we got to chew on a bit of honey comb. I love heather honey, lime honey, vanilla honey... basically if Oakfield Honey farm produce it, it's delicious. 

Having said goodbye to refined sugars as part of our healing journey on the GAPS diet, honey has become more and more important to us and to be honest, having sampled lots of cheaper imported honey, I have come to realise how spoiled I was with local honey as a child. Nothing I've bought cheaper tastes anything like as good. 

My lovely cousin Becky (the gorgeous girl in the red lipstick) also loves bees. She loves bees so much that she is the first apprentice Beekeeper in the UK and she's been all over the BBC radio stations this week, being interviewed about what she's doing and how she's doing it. She's also agreed to be interviewed by me, so keep your eyes open next week for a blog post all about her apprenticeship and the queen rearing business that she runs (for those who don't know, queens are how you control the whole hive. Bex selectively breeds the friendliest, most productive bees ever and people pay her a lot of money for one little, tiny, bee!)
So if you want to know a bit more about bee keeping apprenticeships and breeding docile bees that are super honey producers, stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you want to hear more experiences of setting up your own amateur bee colony, you should read my friend Richard's blog over at Honey Bee Mine. He did a few summer's work over at Oakfield Honey Farm (it's kind of how you get initiated into our family. Matt did it, my brother in law did it. If you date us you have to work for my uncle) and caught the honey love bug (how could you not?) and is blogging his way through his hobby. It's a great blog and twitter feed he has going, so have a look. 

All photos were taken by Becky, by the way.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Probiotic Peanut Hummus

Trying to transition off the GAPS diet has been slower than I imagined, but that's fine, to be honest we kind of like eating this way now!

This week we attempted to introduce chick peas again for the third time and SUCCESS!!! No reactions :-)

I wanted to make something we could have a little of each day (rather than baking a cake that we might binge on!) and as I'm always looking for probiotic foods to add to a meal I came up with this hummus recipe, but... Well it's not really hummus because I didn't have any tahini. We used peanut butter instead, but actually I think I might like it even more this way... 


400g soaked, cooked and cooled chick peas
4 tbsp live Greek yoghurt (bonus points if you make your own
2 tbsp peanut butter (bonus points for making your own with soaked and dehydrated nuts)
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt 
A good glug of olive oil until the texture looks right
Pepper to taste

Adding the yoghurt provides probiotics to help colonise your gut and also makes it mild enough for children to enjoy. 

Obviously you could make it with tahini instead of the peanut butter, but we really liked this unique flavour. It's mild enough that it goes with everything and makes a perfect base to add other herbs and spices to for more variations on a hummus-y theme.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day...

Levi and Lia tell the story of their journey from fatherless to fatherfull. Their parents are in the process of adopting a third child. He is from Eastern Europe, and his name will be Luca. If you would like to find out more about Luca's adoption or donate to Luca’s adoption fund, visit: youcaring.com/andlucamakes5

Image source

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Vanilla Grinding

This is my absolute favourite new thing:

Yep, it's a vanilla grinder, and you can buy it in a supermarket near you for under £2.50 - or online for the bargain price of £10.00!! Yes, you read that correctly. 

It's not organic, but it is refillable, so feel free to throw out the vanilla and sub in your own.

Goodbye dodgy looks from the cashier for buying vast quantities of potato vodka to make DIY Vanilla essence that takes weeks to mature; hello fresh ground vanilla flavour. 

I have tonnes of vanilla because I bulk bought with some friends at the Bedford real food co-op. It's easy to dry, then just snap a couple sticks up and pop them in your grinder and you are good to go. 

Thanks to this little discovery, we are having vanilla on everything right now, and we are loving it. Vanilla is rich in two powerful antioxidants called vanillic acid and vanillin. They are both great at dealing with free radicals and oxidative stress. Research in animals has also shown that vanilla has great potential in reducing systemic inflammation, although no research for human studies has been funded to date.

Vanilla also contains B-complex vitamins (niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and thiamine which help enzyme synthesis, the nervous system and regulation of metabolism) as well as trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, iron and zinc.

So nip down to your local store, locate the baking section and grab yourself a grinder!

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