All posts filed under: News

Fitness Tips: Oxytocin – the love and connection hormone

Welcome to month’s post on Oxytocin – the love and connection hormone. It was World Mental Health Day last month and I thought it would be a good time to continue to talk about this subject and about a hormone inside our body called oxytocin. Oxytocin is a very powerful hormone that also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It comes with the nickname “the bonding and connection hormone” or even “the love hormone” because of its effect on us. How can you increase the release of this hormone inside your body? There are three ways you can boost oxytocin: Spending time with animals Studies have shown that spending time with animals, specifically, dogs, releases oxytocin in the body, and makes both you and the dog feel good (as you can see from the picture above of myself and my dog). Maybe that’s why so many welcome pets into their homes and why so many therapy centres use animals to help treat and rehabilitate people. Give people hugs Studies found that this also works …

Fitness Tips: Autonomy

This month’s post has actually been inspired by a podcast I did recently with Sarah Williams of Tough Girl Challenges – a cracking podcast, which you can listen to here: Adventure, Freedom, Autonomy And Inspiration With Sarah Williams Of The Tough Girl Podcast It really got me thinking – Sarah talked about one of the reasons she left her job in wealth management was because one of the biggest things she valued around wellbeing was autonomy, and I completely agree. I will quite often think, while I’m looking at my laptop, “You know what, I’m kind of done for the day, even though it’s 2:30pm in the afternoon.” In my previous life, I would have had to sit there till 5:00pm or 5:30pm tapping away, looking busy or forcing myself to get on with it. But one of the things I can do now is just say, “You know what, I’m going to go home. I’m going to sit in the sun, and I’ll get up early and finish this the next day, or over …

Environment Matters: Street Trees for Living

By Stuart Checkley Street Trees for Living (STfL) is a local charity which works with residents and Lewisham Council to raise funds to pay for street trees and to care for them. In recent years we have raised over £50,000 annually for trees and we have been able to plant more than 200 trees each year. Street trees come to SE23 We planted our first tree in Forest Hill in the winter of 2017/8 and since then across SE23 we have planted more than 50. Tree planting in our area is challenged by a steep and windy hill, by more than our fair share of London Clay and by a number of narrow pavements. Yet we have planted a range of small colourful trees which are now thriving. Modern varieties of Crab Apple such as those illustrated here are good examples of small trees with colourful flowers and fruit, which are of interest throughout the year. Surprisingly, many of these modern varieties are completely new to the streets of Forest Hill and Perry Vale. Local …

Pets Corner: Preparing your pet for fireworks season

Every year pet owners of dogs, cats and other small animals will be forced to seek help because their animal has been traumatised by exposure to firework noise. Use of the word trauma may seem excessive but in my work I see animals that suffer debilitating noise phobia, sometimes after only one exposure to very loud fireworks or thunder noise. The saddest part is that fear of loud noises can generalise very quickly to anything that vaguely reminds the animal of the first scary event. These pets go on to require medication and extensive behaviour treatment. The animals suffer greatly and some harm themselves or run away in efforts to escape the noise. The key issue is predictability. Forethought and widespread communication by licensed organisers of fireworks events enables pet owners to prepare well in advance- the Blue Cross advises owners of young animals and older animals with a known noise phobia to seek veterinary advice 6-12 weeks before firework season begins. The greatest problem is the impromptu back garden fireworks show and, of course, …

Garden Talk: Get into dahlias

Dahlias are back in fashion in a big way, sales are up and there are thousands of posts of these dramatic beauties on Instagram. Once only grown on the allotments or in a dahlia bed for flower shows and flower arranging, they’re now being used mingled amongst perennials, ornamental grasses and shrubs in borders. The darker, richer colours look great in tropical schemes, working well with lush large-leaved plants. Dahlias come in an enormous array of colours from deep velvety purples to pale peach and corals, as well as hot and pastel pinks, whites, creams, yellows and reds (just no blue). There is also a huge range of forms from spiky cactus and anemones, simple single-flowers and stars, pom poms and massive dinner plate varieties. They can be very tall or for smaller gardens, dwarf varieties are ideal. In terms of care, tubers are traditionally dug up in autumn, dried off and stored over winter to be planted out in spring. But you can leave them in the ground, mulched thickly, especially in London if …