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Discover ways to bring nature into your home & how to be creative outdoors, highlighting the benefits to our wellbeing.

News posts of new and exciting creative online nature projects & workshops...

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  1. NON-VISUAL CONNECTION WITH NATURE

    How to create homes that positively enrich our senses.

    Our senses are highly adapted to the natural environment and have evolved to enable our species to survive, our unconscious mind still connects with Mother Nature today. Biophilic design is associated with our inherent love of nature and design experts are beginning to develop ways to connect our interior spaces with the natural world, helping to improve our well-being, productivity and creativity.

    We have discussed how we can make the most of our visual connection to nature in our homes, but to further enrich our experience we should consider engaging with all of our five senses.

    experiencing nature with the senses
    https://www.canva.com/join/ibis-refreshing-floral

    To better understand the non-visual connection, think about when you were last in nature and what sounds you heard, what aromas did you notice, did you taste Blackberrys or touch the surface of a tree? Engaging your senses deepens your connection within the environment. Adding some of these elements will provide more sensory-rich experiences in our home. 

    blackberry picking good for the soul
     
    Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

    Sounds

    Listening to the sounds of nature can physically help us to relax. The trees blowing in the wind, bird song, or the gentle flow of a stream can calm us. Replicating these sounds in our homes can have the same therapeutic benefits. To become aware of the sounds of nature, be still and listen. Opening windows you will hear the sounds of nature, you could hear the birds singing, the wind blowing in the trees, or the sound of rain.

     watching the rain

    Photo by Courtney Smith on Unsplash

     

    • Providing bird feeders can encourage birds into your garden and maybe they will serenade you.
    • Sound recordings of nature are available to download via apps and you could then listen to sounds of nature at your leisure.
    • You can purchase indoor water features to place on a table top or even install a built-in wall of water!
    • Wind chimes are a lovely way to bring in sounds as they gently sway with the rhythm of a breeze.

    wind chimes

    Photo by DynamicWang on Unsplash
    • We could also appreciate the sounds that our home makes, maybe a creaky wooden floorboard replicating sounds of woodland branches creaking in the wind.

    • Our pets familiar sounds, how we love to hear our cats purr or maybe our dog's tip-tapping feet on a bare wood floor makes us aware of other living things around us.

    Touch

    Touch is a sense that is always present and under appreciated. Research has found how objects feel can influence how we interpret them. Consciously appreciating textures and surfaces around our home can stimulate our feelings. Touch is an inquiry of the mind through our fingers which can bring a sense of calm. Our sense of touch provides a wealth of information about the natural environment including temperature and humidity. 

    • Wooden surfaces can be very tactile and provide interest within our spaces.
    • The coolness of a smooth granite worktop. 

    • A variety of home textiles in natural fabrics such as warm comforting blankets to create cosy relaxed spaces. 

    • Flooring surfaces, bare wooden floors, rugs, carpets and ceramic tiles. Feeling with our bare feet helps to locate us. We know, for example we are in the kitchen or bathroom when we feel the coolness of tiled flooring.

    • Stroking our pets is widely understood to reduce stress levels. Therapy dogs visit health care centres and hospitals, we are comforted by their presence.   

    pets as therapy

    Photo by cottonbro Canva
    • Touch can affect our comfort levels and not just with our hands, think about how nice it is to relax on a comfy sofa or get into a comfy bed with freshly washed linen and how nice soft your towels feel against your skin. 

    Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

    Smell

    Studies have shown that fragrances found in nature that are considered a high pleasantness, can have a profound effect on reducing the first signs of stress. Aromas can also evoke emotional responses linking to memories. Fragrances from the outdoors can be present when doors and windows are open, you may even smell the rain this is known as Petrichor.

    lavender oils for the home

    Photo by Mareefe 

     

    • Fragrant flowers in vases provide beautiful aromas in the home.
    • Natural potpourri using flowers and herbs. See how to make potpourri at Learning Herbs 

    make your own Potpourri

    Photo by Elly Fairytale
     
    • Rose or lavender sachets placed in draws or hung in a wardrobe, a lavender sachet under your pillow at night may even help you drift off to sleep. 

    • The aroma of freshly-baked bread or brewing coffee could evoke memories of nourishment and well-being.

    freshly baked bread

    Photo by RÅ«ta Celma on Unsplash
    • Cleaning your home with natural cleaning products from companies like Green Scents supplying environment-friendly naturally fragranced products.

    • Naturally fragranced candles made with beeswax.

    Taste

    Growing your-own food offers a great way to connect your taste buds to nature! Vegetables seem to taste so much better when you have grown them or picked it yourself. Gardening is a mindful activity that lowers stress, provides exercise and healthy food at the same time! Studies have shown that soil produces a natural antidepressant that makes you relaxed and happier when inhaled or touched.

    home grown vegetables

    Photo by Skitterphoto 
    • Herb garden on a windowsill

    kitchen windowsill herb garden

    Photo by Harry Grout on Unsplash
    • Living salads, you can get these from the supermarket providing you with lovely fresh salad leaves.

    • Indoor pots of herbs, chilies, peppers or small growing varieties of tomato plants.

    • Growing strawberries indoors I love this idea! See how here at the Balcony Garden Web. I have got to try this!! 

    • Picking wild blackberries or blueberries when in season used in your recipes, just divine! 

    bleck berries foraging

    Photo by Jamal Yahya
    • Foraging for food has increased in popularity our ancestors would have done this. To engage with this we need to be careful about what to pick. Always seek advice from a foraging expert. 

    If you would like to learn more about the benefits of bringing nature into your home sign up to our newsletter below.

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    Sources:
    Clemens G. Avery 2018, Forward to English edition, Marc Bekof 2018, Biophilia Effect 2018, pg 29
    https://www.ambius.com/blog/biophilia-a-better-building-experience/
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170330132354.htm
    https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/skin-touch/
    https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/06/how-touch-can-influence-judgments/
    https://aquafolium.co.uk/2017/09/06/making-sense-of-nature-touch/
    https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/smells-of-nature-lower-physiological-stress-66864
    https://www.livescience.com/why-smells-trigger-memories.html
    https://www.thespruce.com/feng-shui-ways-to-make-home-smell-amazing-1274688
    https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/herbcovered
    https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/soil-helps-depression#:~:text=Did%20you%20know%20that%20there's,makes%20you%20relaxed%20and%20happier.
    Article cover photo by Tsunami Green on Unsplash
  2. NATURE IN THE SPACE

    Visual Connection with Nature

    Views outdoors are one of the most obvious ways we can connect visually to nature. Not all homes have the luxury of outdoor space so we need to be more creative in creating spaces that nourish us.

    Photo by Qimono, Canva

    How can we make the most of our views of nature from our own homes? 

    The obvious way is to make the most of the views from our living space through our windows where we can see natural landscapes or green spaces. 

    Views of trees or other vegetation enforce our connection with nature and alert us to the changing seasons and weather patterns. Views outdoors also informs us of the time of day as we become accustomed to the day's rhythm.

    Here are a few simple ways to draw nature into our homes and help us make the most of our outdoor views.

    • Place interior furnishings so as not to obscure the view out of the window.

    • Turn chairs at angles, so when sitting, you can see outdoors.

    • Draw curtains and blinds back fully exposing as much of the view as possible.

    • Keep window ledges uncluttered.

    • There may be things you can reposition outdoors making your view from indoors more appealing.

    Other ways to connect your home with nature:

    • Potted plants are an easy and low-cost way to bring nature into your home and can also be useful for improving your home's indoor air quality. Ten house plant suggestions suggestions

    Photo by Inna Yatsun, Unsplash
     
    • Adding interest to your spaces by adding plants in macrame hangers works beautifully with trailing plants such as an indoor ivy, you can find a selection of trailing plants to choose from here along with care advice. Plants in hangers provide us with an indoor canopy of vegetation giving us a sense of refuge and a safe place.
     
    Photo by Mutzii, Unsplash 
    • Cut flowers placed around your home in vases brings life and vitality to spaces. Studies show that having flowers in our homes invigorates feelings of joy and aids wellbeing. 
    how flowers can bring vitality to you space
    Photo by Evie S, Unsplash 


    Ways to improve views into a garden or courtyard from inside your home:

    • Window ledge planters provide views of greenery from indoors, try planting with aromatic plants such as herbs or lavender providing lovely aromas to drift in through an open window. See how to make a windowsill herb planters here
    Jill Wellington - Pixabay
    • Consider putting up a trellis to hide a plain wall and planting with climbing plants in time you will have a lovely view of 'green'. 

    • If your budget allows you could green-up your urban spaces with living walls and planting green-roofs. This becoming more popular and we will begin see more of this type of planting as people become more familiar with the benefits of biophilic design.

    example of living walls - biophilic design

    Public Domain Pictures - Pixabay
    • Create planted courtyards with seating areas acting as transitional spaces from indoors through to outdoors.

    dpexcel, Pixabay

    Hopefully you will have some ideas of how you can enhance your homes connection to nature. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.

    End

    If you would like to find out more about the benefits of brining nature into your home, receive news on upcoming events, or offers on our products sign up to our newsletter below.

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    List of Sources: 
    https://www.perrywood.co.uk/gardening-tips/top-ten-house-plants-that-literally-clean-the-air/
    https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/15-of-the-best-trailing-house-plants/ 
    https://howtoculinaryherbgarden.com/windowsill-herb-garden/
     

     

     

     

     

  3. The most perfect day exploring one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the chance to sit and sketch, the weather was perfect and the beach was beautiful...

    https://youtu.be/1U6LnnroZ_s

     

    Not only was the beach beautiful but the walk to it was just a stunning! Bright red poppies growing a long side the ruins of stone built crofts with glimpses of turquoise sea and white sandy beaches... An absolute paradise I thought I could stay there for ever...

    getting creative outdoors

     

    Biophilia, Meaning love of nature, shows our deep connection with and that we have an innate understanding of the importance of nature but has this been lost in recent years in favour of our modern lives where we spend more time indoors. We now see scientific research by scholars such as E. O. Wilson. They have highlighted that our lack of connection with natural environments and other living things is having an impact on our overall wellbeing.

    Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing originated in Japan thousands of years ago has drawn on intuitive knowledge, it suggests that we are part of nature and we have a deep need to feel that connection. An adviser to the natural environment in England examined a range of studies that look at our connections to nature and concluded, that being active or spending time in nature provides positive effects on attention, anger, fatigue and mood.

    forest bathingPhoto Mitsuo Komoriya - Unsplash

     

    The National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPG) suggest that having creative hobbies have beneficial impacts on our mental and emotional health. The research found that the arts can help to keep us well, aid recovery and support us to live healthier and longer lives and the benefits are apparent at any age.

    painting outdoors
    Photo MusicFoxFx Unsplash

     

    So with all those suggested benefits, what better way to spend time outdoors than being creative in the fresh air, getting exercise and is great for our overall wellbeing. For me being outdoors is time to switch off from the pressures of daily life. I have been sketching outdoors for a few years now. Sketching requires you to absorb the surroundings not just visually but by using all your senses its the most beautiful mindful activity. To benefit you don't have to be a fantastic artist, it's about having ago and being in the natural environment. If you love it, then you will be hooked and have found a hobby that could enrich your soul.

    Painting outdoors nature therapy the patternologist


    You could also share the activity with a friend or a group of friends, a grandparent and grandchild, parents and children. I think this would be just lovely!! Find a local park, sit in the garden or if you are unable to get outdoors, open the windows and sketch the view or some of your lovey house plants, its the connection with nature that inspires us... Nature Therapy  🍃

    watercolour painting outdoors

    If you feel inspired to be creative outdoors I would love to hear from you, where is your special place of inspiration? Please comment below...