My Two Favourite Things For May: Honey & Hammocks

The health benefits of honey go way back in time. It’s well documented that ancient cultures such as the Egyptians in 3000BC kept bees and highly valued the amazing health and well-being benefits of the consumption of honey. It was used to sweeten food, to help protect against infections and even used to pay a form of tax. The honey bee was, in fact, the symbol of the king of lower Egypt and there are many examples of bees in the hieroglyphics painted on the walls of tombs and sarcophagus.

There were even reports that when king Tutankhamun’s pyramid was opened, a jar of honey was found and, after over 2000 years, it hadn’t spoiled!

So what is in honey? You may ask what makes it so prized and special.

It has a combination of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, but is mainly fructose, a naturally occurring sugar produced by the bees.

It has many antiseptic qualities and can be used, diluted in hot water, as a cough medicine or as an antiseptic to heal a wound. It also can be mixed with carrier oil and used as a luxurious body treatment – it’s wonderful on dry skin.

Before the use of sugar in the 16th century, honey was the main source of sweetness and was highly sought after around the world not just by humans, but also by birds, bears and other animals.

With it being high in fructose it’s important to consume it in moderation, especially if you are concerned about weight issues, as it will turn into sugar within the body.

If you can purchase local organically made honey all the better. It is thought that the locality of the product can help with hay fever issues. However, the jury is still out on this and research is not conclusive.

If you have ever thought about keeping your own honey bees and becoming an apiarist the first step would be to contact the www.bbka.org.uk. It’s becoming a popular hobby (and sometimes a business) for many. However, bees need plenty of love and attention to thrive just like we all do, so if you’re short on time it’s not for you!

The best places I’ve found to source local natural and organic honey is farmers and craft markets which are now held throughout the UK regularly. If you’re in a big city such as London, there are now flourishing food markets throughout the capital such as the wonderful www.boroughmarket.co.uk

So go out indulge in a bit of honey this weekend and enjoy its numerous benefits! 

Hammocks are another wonderful invention that goes back thousands of years. Generally used as an alternative to a bed by many cultures across the globe. Going back to the Mayan people of South America around 1000 years ago in fact. It was thought that Christopher Columbus first introduced them into Europe.

Hammocks provided protection from dangerous animals, poisonous snakes and kept bedding clean above the ground. They also have the wonderful benefit of providing fresh cool air around the whole body, something I personally find extremely welcome being a woman of a certain age!

I’m lucky enough to have a hammock in my garden under two large shady trees and also the villa we rent yearly for our family holiday has a hammock between two large pillars, I’ve often slept in it all night when the temperature’s been unbearable. They also have that wonderful rocking, cradle motion that helps induce sleep. A recent study by the University of Geneva found that sleeping in a hammock can help people get to sleep faster and induce a deeper sleep.

Another welcome benefit of hammocks is the lack of dust mites that accumulate in even the cleanest of mattresses due to human skin loss.

Now I’m not suggesting you all throw out your beds and stretch a hammock across your bedroom, haha! But if you do have the chance to partake in a little rocking in a hammock this summer, I think you’ll find it really is most therapeutic and enjoyable. Something to relish – another little thing to add to your well-being list!

For those of you that don’t happen to have two very old strong trees the perfect distance apart for a hammock, you can buy a wonderful hammock frame for the garden.

So I hope you get the chance sometime in May to while away some leisure time in a hammock, whilst enjoying a drop of honey in your tea, whilst reading a good book. That reminds me, I need to check out  Annabel & Grace’s latest recommendations for books.

Have a Happy May ladies… best wishes, Lesley