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Category: Fiction
Flash Fiction: Origami Army

Arthur sat, barely moving, hunched over, crunched into the wooden desk in front of him. His desk. The desk at which he was supposed to be performing some sort of miracle so that his boss wouldn’t call him into his office, tell him the figures were not good enough, and send him home. And remind him not to come back. So he supposed it wouldn’t be his desk for long.

Despite knowing this, despite having been told that this event was definitely going to take place on or around today if he didn’t get his act together, and sharpish, Arthur couldn’t bring himself to even turn on his computer. He knew what would happen if he did; it would whir into being and whirl into his day without a second thought, this hateful, dead and living thing that couldn’t help him now. In fact, knowing the true state of everything, the numbers glowing hotly out from the skinny monitor, laughing at him because they knew what they meant even if he didn’t, would most likely make things worse.

So he sat at his desk and did no work. He stayed hunched over, his hands moving and nothing else, creating. Origami. Every time Arthur was stressed or angry he took a deep breath, took a piece of paper, and took the time to fold it into the approximate shape of a crane. It was the only shape he could do, and even then not very well. But it was better than letting that stress and anger do what it really wanted with him, and take him over so that he became a beast that even he didn’t recognise. That’s what had happened with his wife. With his children. With his friends who were friends no more. He told himself that he couldn’t afford to lose anything else but the reality was that he had nothing left to lose.

After a lifetime of seconds which fizzed with such an urgency that it made Arthur think of a bowling ball bomb from a kids’ cartoon, he heard the door behind him open. It startled him momentarily before he ducked his head back down and continued his paper folding. It was only the boss. He was only going to be fired. It was fine. Fine. He folded faster, cutting himself on the lip of a wing, the paper slippery in his sweating hands, the edges secretly sharp.

“Arthur.” The voice was smooth, deep, filtered through years of management speak and the more than occasional brandy. “Arthur, do you remember what we spoke about the other day?”

Arthur nodded, irritated by the interruption but determined not to let it show. Instead he carefully positioned the lopsided crane, fashioned from one of his many important reports that sat – until now – in the in-tray, so that it joined the ranks of the others. He then reached towards the diminishing pile of paper (scrap, he called it, although it wasn’t entirely that and the boss was sure to mention it sooner or later) and started to make a new crane, hoping it would be better than the last poor effort.

“…poor effort.” The boss had been speaking, but Arthur had not been listening. He had been busy, and why could the boss not see that?

Arthur nodded with no idea what he was nodding about. He sat up suddenly, breathing deeply, blinking in the fluorescence of the office and noticed something surprising. His desk was covered, literally covered with no spaces and no gaps, with origami cranes. Hundreds of them. A thousand? It could be. It certainly could be. He smiled. He had no memory of making them but what the hell, what did it matter when they were there?

He stared at them. Willed them to move. And they did. Slowly. Juddering along the desk and then, as one, taking off in jerky, beautiful flight. Arthur spun in his spinning chair to watch them go, to watch them as they flew at the boss, pecking and biting and flapping at him. Drawing blood. Scratching and snarling and screaming as they went so that their screams matched Arthur’s, his delight and pure pleasure manifesting itself in a primal childlike cry.

And then they fell. Hundreds – or a thousand, or a million for all Arthur knew – roughly hewn origami cranes lay broken and dead on the floor.

The boss stepped backwards away from Arthur’s desk, his hands held up in defeat, his eyes wide and fearful, his tongue tied with wonder at the strange and dangerous man who was now laughing at the balls of paper he had swiped from his desk and onto the floor.

“One more chance, eh, Arthur?” he whispered as he left the room. “I’ll speak to you next week.” And then he was gone.

Arthur sat alone at his desk, shoulders shaking where his laughter had grabbed them. He reached towards the pile of reports that still sat in his in-tray, pulling one towards him, and began to fold it into the approximate shape of a crane.

Flash Fiction: Cherub

At the bottom of the garden lives a cherub made of cold, cold stone. It sits and watches and holds a cold, cold stone bird in its chubby, chipped hands. They are stuck together, trapped together. And yet it seems as though the cherub has the advantage even so. That bird is doomed. I pity it.

I don’t think the cherub likes that.

I think the cherub would prefer I fear it, not have sympathy for the pet – prey – it clasps.

What the cherub does not know is that I do fear it. I like awake at night thinking about it, thinking about its dull dead eyes and its flaking grey hair, too old to be the child it wants to be and wants to have. And when I do sleep I dream about it and in my dreams it has teeth. But I try not to think about that. It does no one any good my husband, my mother, my doctor, myself says.

Scary cherub

I don’t know where it came from. My dad, laughing when I mentioned it at Christmas, the room full of tinsel and warmth and a bit too much wine, suggested a garden centre. I doubt that. All I know is that it’s been here longer than I have, part of the grounds before we bought the house and left by the previous owners who ran as far as they could from it, and ended up crossing the world to live in another country, to get away from that thing in their garden.

Perhaps.

That’s what I think anyway.

But it hasn’t driven us away. Yet. Maybe it likes us. Maybe it enjoys me watching it, mistaking my fear for awe or love or not making a mistake at all and knowing, in the end, that I fear it. I wonder, maybe, in the very deepest corners of my scarred mind, whether I do love it a little bit though. I feel something for it at any rate. I thought it was hatred, but lately I’ve become less sure.

I dream about it. That’s how I know what it really is. What it really wants. The children. The last couple had none, preferring work to family (and there is the most likely reason the cherub made them leave) but we have three under ten, young and healthy. I’ve told them to stay far away from the cherub. At first they asked why and at first I told them but my dreams – nightmares – transferred to them and I had to backtrack, to tell them I was just playing and that it wasn’t going to get them. They still don’t play near it though, and I’m glad about that.

Their nightmares have stopped. Mine continue.

It wants my children. Wants me to be the one to sacrifice them to it and its lifeless bird. But I’m strong enough to resist. I won’t do it. But with so little sleep and so much fear, I wonder… I wonder if one day I will?

The Deep, Dark Woods

I write all sorts of things; flash fiction, poetry, short stories, novels… And these pieces of writing are in various genres; horror, romance, children’s, literary fiction, mystery… With over one hundred different projects, either completed or in process, I like to think that I’ve managed not to repeat myself when it comes to plot and characters.

I try not to anyway.

But there is one thing that I do mention a lot, and I’m completely aware of it. It’s not always intentional (although at times it is integral to the plot), but whether I mean it to be there at the start of a story or not, ‘the woods’ often pops up.

What do I mean? I mean actual, literal woods. Deep, dark places full of trees and animals and scary things. Or peaceful places full of beauty and clearings of dappled sunlight and twinkling, tinkling streams that lead on to adventure.

woods

I love to read about them. When I was younger, The Faraway Tree was one of my all-time favourites, and the two poems that are stuck on the wall by my writing desk are “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare, and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

I love to write about them too. Sometimes my stories are set within the trees. My children’s horror entitled The Waldgeist of Wanderal Woods, focuses the entire story in the magical world below a lush, green, leafy canopy. Another of my short stories is called “The Woods Today”, and is about a rather nasty teddy bears picnic. And another, “Miles To Go” details the shock and confusion of a man who awakes naked in a snowy wood.

Equally, some of my stories just touch on the woods. In “Fairy Lights” the protagonists camp by the edge of a wood, not daring to enter. “One Man and His Dog” has the eponymous man looking towards the woods, but eventually going in the other direction. “Careful of the Castle” involves a woman sitting on a hot, sandy beach; but she wishes she was wandering through the shaded woods of her home town.

There is something so fascinating, so elemental, so mysterious and exciting about woods, inside or out, that I find myself drawn to them. Of course, it helps that I’ve lived near one for almost all of my life. Or rather, near a few of them. The very first house I can remember backed onto woodland. I have a distinct memory of playing in the garden, sitting on a swing that my dad made and which hung from a big old apple tree, and staring, hard, hard, harder, over the back fence and into the woods. I wanted to see something move. I never did, unless wind-waving leaves counted.

woods

A few years later we moved, and this time the garden was bigger, and at the bottom of this one was a large meadow on which horses roamed. That was nice. That was fine. But it was what was beyond the meadow, just on the horizon, that delighted me – a patch of trees that I was happy to call a wood. I even climbed over the back fence on a few occasions and ran across the field, dodging manure, to reach the trees. But fear of what (or whom?) I would find forced me back home. I never did go in.

And then I found a reason to go into the woods. The geocaching adventures I go on now mean that I have to enter the trees and I have to search amongst them. Now I love the woods even more.

Flash Fiction: Soft Snowflakes

Soft Snowflakes

Soft snowflakes began to fall. “How funny,” she thought, “that winter should come on the very day my heart began to melt.”

“How funny,” she thought, “that winter should come at all.” She pondered this as she sipped her warming wine and tried to ignore the hunger pangs that accompanied every swallow. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d eaten. Not today. Not even yesterday. The day before? Possibly. If that was the day she had left the hospital then definitely. But that could have been a week, a month, a year ago. It seemed to her that she had been sitting in this window seat waiting for the snowflakes, drinking wine and tucked up against the world for decades. For centuries. For eternity.  Little wonder, then, that she was feeling light-headed.

There was a sound, but she couldn’t place it. It was familiar, like a well-used door opening or a creaky stair being stepped on. A comforting sound. A safe sound. A loved sound. And that sound, and her knowing that she would soon hear it no longer, made her suddenly weep. She lowered her head to her raised knees and sobbed for the sadness of it all, for the unfairness. Her wine glass dropped, the red liquid cooling and spreading along the cushion she had re-upholstered herself in happier days.

snowflakes

The sound came again and she knew it through her grief. It was her husband’s key in the lock. Her melting heart, dwindling and dripping away, bit by bit, made an effort to pound harder, but failed. His key in the lock. It wasn’t possible, of course she knew that. She had left him, all those eons ago, dead from a heart attack. She had left him in the hospital, alone, and she had returned home, alone. And she was still there, and he was still there. Nothing had changed. But that sound…

She didn’t, as many would, rush to the door, fling it open and find nothing. She didn’t move at all. She reached down, picked up the almost empty bottle and refilled her glass. She watched the snow fall and listened as her heart melted.

Flash Fiction: Card Reading

Julia stopped card reading on her thirty-fifth birthday. It used to be a favourite past time of hers, to leave the hectic stream of the high street and enter the bright, warm, orange infused glow of the greetings card shop, her glasses instantly misting and then clearing as she started to make her way to the ‘with sympathy’ section. She’d always start there; she felt it grounded her, reminded her that she was mortal, made her appreciate the life she was living. She tried to remember those cards when she was frustrated, or angry, or just generally having a bad day. It sometimes even worked.

After her sobering start, she moved to the anniversary cards. She had no one to buy one for, but it didn’t stop her looking. Pastel colours or bright, bright reds and pinks, hearts, flowers, teddy bears… Soppy and silly, but so beautiful in their charming, clichéd way.

Other sections received a brief glance, and special occasions, such as Valentine’s or Christmas, necessitated a much longer rest stop in the shop, since it was often busier inside than out. But no matter what, the birthday cards were never ignored. This was what she came for. This was what she adored, and this is what she wanted. She spent long minutes, if not hours, searching for just the right card. Sometimes she came away with nothing. Usually she came away with nothing. So far, from her hundreds of visits to the shop, she had bought just seventeen cards. She only wanted one more.

She never bought her eighteenth card.

It was twenty years before that she went to the psychic to ask her one, specific question; When will I have a baby?

Before you are thirty-five, was the answer. Certain. Definite.

It never occurred to Julia that finding a man should be her priority if she was to achieve this goal. She didn’t think of that at all; instead she planned everything else, bought everything, painted and decorated a nursery, bought a stock of nappies and clothing in different sizes, opened up a savings account for her child’s education. She had so many toys she had to store most of them in the loft, in cardboard boxes, labelled ‘Baby’.

On her thirty-fifth birthday, Julia stopped card reading. She sat, silent tears of a lost life dripping onto the seventeen birthday cards she had so carefully picked out for her child. The eighteenth would stay in the shop. Someone else could have it.

New Release: Cold Calling

It’s been a while since I had a new short story collection out. Short stories, however, are my favourite thing to write. There is something fun, fast, and a little bit frantic about trying to get a million ideas (or perhaps just one big idea) into a condensed form. I try to keep my short stories in the 3,000 to 6,000 word realm, but sometimes the story takes over a little bit and ends up much longer.

Of course, the opposite is true too. Sometimes a story is over and done with in 1,000 words. Sometimes fewer. It all depends. I don’t really like to work to word counts when it comes to fiction – although when blogging and writing features and articles, it’s an essential skill to have. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing fiction so much; I get a chance to really let my imagination take flight, and I’m not restricted. It’s a good way of unwinding in the evenings after spending a whole day writing much more formal, much more corporate, much more SEO-based pieces.

Cold Calling

My latest collection, Cold Calling, consists of 19 chilling short stories that all have one thing in common; greed. Sometimes good, usually bad, greed is the essence of this collection and, some would say, of life.

The book is available on Amazon.co.uk (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cold-Calling-Lisamarie-Lamb-x/dp/0244311811/) and Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Calling-Lisamarie-Lamb-x/dp/0244311811/).

Let me know what you think!

Short Story: Arrivals

She had been there for hours, holding that ragged cardboard sign torn from the top of a box, a jagged edge where it used to belong. Just standing there, waiting, leaning hard against the metal barrier outside the arrivals gate as though without it she might fall and if that happened she might not get up again.

I watched her. It broke up the monotony of my new job, serving coffee to harried, hurried people who simply did not want to be where they were, had better things to do than come and collect a loved one from the airport, or the ones who were stuck because of delays and were depressed because the only thing they wanted was to take their loved ones home. Whatever their story, it all came down to the same thing; misery. And I learned during that first day they liked to take that misery out on me.

So I watched the old lady instead, smiling and nodding and agreeing with the sad, mad people around me ordering lattes and cappuccinos and thinking that made them sophisticated, but not really paying them any attention.

She barely moved, and I was sure I could see her ankles swelling, actually feel them in her ever-tightening sandals, and I wished to God she would take a break and have a sit down, order a coffee, have a muffin. But she didn’t. She just stood there, swaying ever so slightly. I wondered, every now and then, whether she might not have nodded off, whether she might not have died and no one had noticed. But every time I began to worry another plane landed and another load of dishevelled, tired, glad to be home passengers streamed out of the big open doorway and into the arrivals hall. The old lady’s head would snap up, she’d hold her sign a little higher, she’d stand a little taller and wait for someone to recognise her. No one did. Not one person all day acknowledged her presence. Except me, I guess. But I wasn’t the one she was waiting for, was I?

When my interminable shift was finally over I bought a coffee from myself. It wasn’t for me, I couldn’t even bear the thought of the stuff after serving it up all day. It was for her. But before I could make my way over to her, my boss stopped me. “Where are you going with that?” he asked, nodding in the direction of the cardboard cup in my hands.

“It’s okay,” I said, “I paid for it.”

“That’s not what I asked,” he said, tapping the top of my cup with his forefinger. He waited for my answer, what I thought was a smirk appearing on his face that made me want to throw the bloody coffee all over him. I didn’t. I counted to ten (quickly, since he was waiting) and told him, “I was taking it to that woman. She’s been there all day, not eaten or drunk anything. I thought she might want it.”

The boss nodded, the smirk definitely there now. “I thought so. I knew you were a little bleeding heart the moment I saw you.” He laughed, once, loudly and strangely and slapped me on the shoulder so that a drop of coffee flew from the opening in the lid and landed on the floor between us.

I had no response to what he’d said. I had no idea whether he meant it good or bad. I guessed bad so I stared at the drop of coffee and thought about wiping it away but didn’t. The boss turned around, went back to the counter to finish cashing up; “She won’t take it, you know. We’ve all tried.”

“How do you mean?” I asked knowing full well that no one else from the coffee shop had been anywhere near her that day.

With a clattering of coins and a frustrated grimace, an air of someone who’d said the said words many times before, he told me. “It’s not just today. It’s not just you. Every day she turns up, holds that sign, waits for Christ knows who. Every single day. And she won’t take anything off you, even when it’s free. Sad, but there you go.” He shrugged, went back to his counting.

I didn’t think he really though it was sad. I got the feeling that he thought it was a bit funny – ha ha, not strange, although perhaps that too. And I thought I would give her the coffee anyway, partly for my own peace of mind, but partly to prove him wrong. Only when I looked back to where she was she was gone.

The next morning I arrived in a dismal mood. I’d spent the evening distracted, worrying about the old lady and getting nowhere with it and now I had to stand behind the counter all day worrying about her at work too. I hoped she wasn’t there. You have no idea how much I hoped that the boss had been winding me up. But she was and he wasn’t and it pained me to see her.

That was the day that I properly looked at her sign, faded and dog-eared and obviously very old. RICHARD – WELCOME HOME! – THE ANSWER’S YES! it said. Oh God, my heart just shattered for her, right there, and I almost wept into some stranger’s latte. And I raged at this Richard who had never come home, my anger so fierce that it scared me and I had to take a break, go outside to cool down. How dare he? How dare he not return to her? Someone that loyal, that much in love… I couldn’t stand it.

I had to do something. Something to help her.

But I couldn’t. In the end I helped myself and quit so I wouldn’t have to see her again. And just like that it was over. For me. But I have no doubt that she’s still waiting.

New Book Out: The Waldgeist of Wanderal Woods

My latest book, The Waldgeist of Wanderal Woods, is out now. It’s the story of a little girl, Georgia, who discovers that she is the one who has been chosen to save the world. No pressure!

When Georgia runs away from her dinner with her mother’s new boyfriend, she never expects to become the leader of an army needed to fight an evil waldgeist in Wanderal Woods! A waldgeist is the basis of the ‘green man’ myth, and is usually presented as a woodland protector, a good and kind being. But this waldgeist – Aiken – has grown mad with power, and must be stopped before he destroys everything he is meant to protect. He killed his brother, Linden (Georgia’s father), and is now intent on murdering Georgia herself, after he has used her magic for his own evil plans.

Georgia must use her magic ability to talk to animals, and her blood family ties, to rescue her dead father’s spirit, trapped in a tree in child’s form by his brother Aiken, and lead an army of woodland creatures into battle against Aiken’s ghost army. But these ghosts have been driven insane through years of imprisonment in the wood’s trees, and they are vicious and seemingly unstoppable; one touch will kill. Only the rats, the lowest and most mistrusted creatures in Wanderal Woods, are brave enough to fight. Can they, a little girl, and a once dead man-boy, really save the woods and everything in it? Or will Aiken bury them all in the mossy ground?

The Waldgeist of Wanderal Woods is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waldgeist-Wanderal-Woods-Lisamarie-Lamb/dp/1326950908/

 

Flash Fiction: Soft Snowflakes

Soft snowflakes began to fall. “How funny,” she thought, “that winter should come on the very day my heart began to melt.”

“How funny,” she thought, “that winter should come at all.” She pondered this as she sipped her warming wine and tried to ignore the hunger pangs that accompanied every swallow. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d eaten. Not today. Not even yesterday. The day before? Possibly. If that was the day she had left the hospital then definitely. But that could have been a week, a month, a year ago. It seemed to her that she had been sitting in this window seat, drinking wine and tucked up against the world, for decades. For centuries. For eternity.  Little wonder, then, that she was feeling light headed.

Soft Snowflakes

There was a sound, but she couldn’t place it. It was familiar, like a well used door opening or a creaky stair being stepped on. A comforting sound. A safe sound. A loved sound. And that sound, and her knowing that she would soon hear it no longer, made her suddenly weep. She lowered her head to her raised knees and sobbed for the sadness of it all, for the unfairness. Her wine glass dropped, the red liquid cooling and spreading along the cushion she had covered herself in happier days.

The sound came again and she knew it through her grief. It was her husband’s key in the lock. Her melting heart, dwindling and dripping away, bit by bit, made an effort to pound harder, but failed. His key in the lock. It wasn’t possible, of course she knew that. She had left him, all those eons ago, dead from a heart attack. She had left him in the hospital, alone, and she had returned home, alone. And she was still there, and he was still there. Nothing had changed. But that sound…

She didn’t, as many would, rush to the door, fling it open and find nothing. She didn’t move at all. She reached down, picked up the almost empty bottle and refilled her glass. She watched the snow fall and listened as her heart melted.

RatesRates

My pricing guidlines

Type of Publication

Type of Work

£

Magazine Writing & research per 1000 400
Magazine Editor per day 250
Magazine Sub-editing per 1000 120
Magazine Fact checking per day 200
Newspaper (regional) Writing & research per 1000 220
Newspaper (regional) Sub-editing per 1000 95
Newspaper (regional) Fact checking per day 200
Newspaper (national) Writing & research per 1000 700
Newspaper (national) Sub-editing per 1000 450
Newspaper (national) Fact checking per day 200
Online/digital media Writing & research per 1000 180
Online/digital media Sub-editing per 1000 95
Online/digital media Fact checking per day 200

MY RATES

Contact MeContact Me

Get in touch

 

GET IN TOUCH

 

Email

lisamarie20010@gmail.com

Whatsapp

07710 611592

My ServicesMy Services

WHAT I CAN DO

Blog Writing

A blog is an essential tool in ensuring your website is seen. I can create regular blog posts that will move you up the rankings and give you a better placement within your industry.

Ghost Writing

Have you ever wanted to write a novel, memoir or short story but don’t have the time? Do you have the ideas, but the words don’t flow? I can help. Contact me for a confidential chat.

Articles

I am happy to carry out research, conduct interviews, and write/edit articles of any length. Contact me for more information about my rates and services.

Web Content

From your home page to your about me details and everything in between, you want a website that has snappy, interesting, high quality content. Let me create it for you.

Sales Letters

If you have a product that you want others to know about, you need a sales letter that is going to get attention – and keep it. I can write that letter for you.

Emails

Are you thinking of starting an email campaign but don’t know what to include? Or perhaps you want to send a special email to that special someone, but you can’t think of the right words. Contact me and we can discuss exactly what I can do to help.

Product Descriptions

Selling products online can be an excellent way of making a business, but if your products sound boring and your descriptions are dull, no one will want them. I’ve written thousands of products descriptions, and I can make your products shine.

Copy Editing & Proofreading

Have you written something that needs that extra level of checking? With my years of experience I can proofread or copy edit your work so that it’s the best it can be.

Social Media Management & Digital Marketing

Getting your digital marketing and social media strategy right is essential. I can provide and implement a social media marketing plan that works for you. Contact me to find out more.

About MeAbout Me

I'm a content writer

Excellent work by Lisamarie, on time, great quality and constant communication. Would not hesitate to recommend and in fact use again as soon as opportunity arises.

Andreas K
Andreas K

Lisamarie was great to work with - she did a fantastic job that completely met the brief and was delivered before the deadline.

Helena W
Helena W

Quick and brilliant, nailed the brief! Will work with her all the time 🙂

Roshni S
Roshni S

Fantastic work A++++

Rob C
Rob C

It was a pleasure to work with Lisamarie, she adjusted to our workflow and process with ease and completed work quickly and effectively.

Geoff J
Geoff J

Lisamarie is a very good writer and is very easy to work with. She reacted well to my guidance and provided me with content I'm very happy to use. I look forward to working with her again soon.

Ola F
Ola F

Great work from Lisamarie, articles are exactly what we wanted

Matthew E
Matthew E

Brilliant work from Lisamarie. I would definitely retain her again and recommend her to others.

Brad B
Brad B

REVIEWS

I studied English theory at university and have always been interested in the mechanics of writing, but it wasn’t until 2010 when my daughter was born that I started to write professionally. Although this was out of necessity (it was a job that I could do from home, and it brought in enough to pay the bills!), it soon became a passion. Since that time, I have been published in over 40 fiction anthologies and have written seven novels.

Find out more about my publications on my Amazon Author Page.

I am now a full-time freelance writer. The majority of my time is spent writing SEO-friendly blog posts for businesses in all kinds of niches from bakeries to florists to roofing specialists and plenty more in between. 

Between 2014 and 2020 I was the features and online editor for insideKENT magazine.

Today I live with my husband, daughter, and a cat called Cheryl in a cottage in the Kent countryside, writing, painting, and – whenever possible – watching horror films.

http://www.facebook.com/lisamarielambwriter

info@lisamarielamb.co.uk 

MY STORY

my blogmy blog

my diary
The Healing Power of Nature: Reconnecting with the Earth for Wellness

In our fast-paced modern lives, filled with technology and constant distractions, it’s easy to lose touch with the healing and grounding power of nature. However, reconnecting with the Earth can offer profound benefits for our overall well-being. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving mood and enhancing physical health, the great outdoors provides a natural prescription for wellness.

The Call of the Outdoors: A Natural Prescription for Wellbeing

When we immerse ourselves in nature, we tap into something primal within us. The gentle rustle of leaves, the soothing sound of a flowing river, and the sight of a breathtaking sunset all have a profound impact on our senses. Nature beckons us to slow down, breathe deeply, and embrace the present moment.

The Science Behind Nature’s Healing Effects

Research has shown that spending time in nature has a multitude of positive effects on our mental and physical well-being. Being in natural environments can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and boost our immune system. Studies also indicate that exposure to nature can improve cognitive function, increase creativity, and enhance overall happiness.

Ecotherapy: Nature as a Therapeutic Tool

Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy or green therapy, is an emerging field that utilizes the healing power of nature for therapeutic purposes. From nature walks and gardening to wilderness adventures and animal-assisted therapy, ecotherapy offers various modalities to support mental health, personal growth, and emotional healing.

Forest Bathing: Immerse Yourself in the Healing Woods

Forest bathing, a practice originating from Japan, involves immersing oneself in a forest environment and engaging in mindfulness and sensory awareness. By simply being present in nature and observing its beauty, we can experience profound relaxation, improved mood, and a sense of rejuvenation.

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise: Boosting Physical and Mental Health

Exercising outdoors provides a double dose of wellness benefits. Whether it’s hiking, biking, jogging, or practicing yoga in a park, outdoor physical activity not only improves cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility but also enhances mental well-being by reducing anxiety and depression and increasing self-esteem.

Gardening Therapy: Cultivating Wellness in Your Backyard

Gardening is a therapeutic activity that allows us to connect with the earth, nurture living things, and witness the beauty of growth and renewal. It provides a sense of accomplishment, relieves stress, and promotes relaxation. Whether you have a spacious garden or a small balcony, cultivating plants can be a rewarding and healing experience.

Nature’s Soothing Soundscapes: The Impact of Natural Sounds

The gentle sounds of nature, such as chirping birds, rustling leaves, and babbling brooks, have a profound effect on our nervous system. Listening to these natural sounds can induce relaxation, improve focus, and promote better sleep. Incorporating recordings of nature sounds or visiting natural environments can help create a tranquil atmosphere in our busy lives.

The Role of Biophilia: Humans’ Innate Connection with Nature

Biophilia, the concept introduced by biologist Edward O. Wilson, suggests that humans possess an innate affinity for nature. We are naturally drawn to elements such as greenery, water, and natural light. By consciously incorporating biophilic design principles into our homes, workplaces, and public spaces, we can enhance our well-being and foster a deeper connection with the natural world.

Eco-Conscious Travel: Exploring Sustainable Destinations

When embarking on travel adventures, consider exploring destinations that prioritize sustainability and environmental conservation. Eco-conscious travel allows us to experience the beauty of nature while supporting local communities and preserving natural habitats for generations to come.

Choosing the Perfect Dining Table: A Guide

The dining table is the centerpiece of any dining room or kitchen, and it plays a crucial role in your home decor. It’s where family and friends gather to share meals, catch up on the day, and make memories. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the perfect dining table. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips to help you make the right choice.

Consider Your Space

The first thing to consider when choosing a dining table is your space. Measure your dining room or kitchen to determine the size of the table that will fit comfortably. You don’t want a table that is too big or too small for your room. Also, consider the shape of your space. A rectangular table works best in a rectangular room, while a round or oval table is better for a square room.

perfect dining table

Photo by Mike Little

Think About Your Needs

Next, think about your needs. How many people will be using the table regularly? Do you need a table with leaves that can expand for larger gatherings? Do you want a formal or casual style? Do you need a table that can double as a workspace? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your choices.

Choose the Right Material

Dining tables come in a variety of materials, including wood, glass, metal, and composite. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Wood is durable and timeless, but it can be heavy and require regular maintenance. Glass is sleek and modern, but it can show fingerprints and scratches. Metal is sturdy and easy to clean, but it can be cold and noisy. Composite materials like MDF and laminate are affordable and low-maintenance, but they may not have the same quality as natural materials.

Consider Your Style

Your perfect dining table should reflect your personal style and complement the rest of your home decor. If you prefer a traditional style, a wooden table with ornate details may be the perfect choice. If you prefer a modern style, a glass or metal table with clean lines may be more your style. Consider the colors and textures in your home and choose a table that fits in with your overall aesthetic.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect dining table may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By considering your space, needs, material preferences, and style, you can find a table that will be both functional and beautiful in your home. Whether you prefer a classic wooden table or a sleek glass one, the right dining table will be a centerpiece of your home for years to come.

The Green Man: A Foliage-Covered Mystery

Have you ever seen a figure with leaves, vines, or branches sprouting from his mouth, nose, or ears? If yes, you might have stumbled upon the Green Man, a mythical being whose roots can be traced back to pre-Christian times.

green man

Origins

The Green Man is a pagan symbol that represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. He is often associated with spring and the renewal of nature. In the Middle Ages, this symbol became intertwined with Christian iconography and was depicted in churches and cathedrals across Europe.

Evolution

Throughout the centuries, this figure has taken on many different forms. In some cultures, he is a wild, untamed creature, while in others, he is a gentle, nurturing spirit. In medieval Europe, he was often depicted as a foliate head or a human face surrounded by foliage.

Symbolism

The Green Man is a complex symbol that can represent many different things. In some cultures, he is a fertility god, while in others, he is a symbol of the wild and untamed natural world. In Christian iconography, he is often associated with the resurrection of Christ and the renewal of the spirit.

Popular Culture

In recent years, the Green Man has experienced a resurgence in popular culture. He has been featured in everything from literature to music to television shows. Perhaps the most famous representation of Green Men is in the hit television show Game of Thrones, where he is depicted as a mysterious figure who lives beyond the Wall.

The Mystery of the Green Man

Despite his prevalence in popular culture, the origins and meaning of the Green Man remain shrouded in mystery. Some believe that he represents the ancient Celtic god Cernunnos, while others see him as a symbol of the natural world and our connection to it.

Conclusion

This figure is a fascinating and enigmatic figure whose origins stretch back thousands of years. Whether he represents the cycle of life, the untamed wild, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: the Green Man will continue to captivate and intrigue us for generations to come.

Relaxing at Home: A Guide to Unwinding and Recharging

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s essential to take some time to relax and recharge. However, with our hectic schedules, finding the time to unwind can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t need to leave your house to get some much-needed relaxation. Here are some tips for relaxing at home.

relaxing at home

Photo by Chait Goli

Create a Soothing Atmosphere

The first step in relaxing at home is creating a soothing atmosphere. Dim the lights, light some candles, and play some relaxing music. You can also diffuse essential oils like lavender, which are known for their calming properties.

Get Cosy

There’s no better way to relax than getting cosy. Put on some comfortable clothes, grab a blanket, and snuggle up on the couch. If you have a fireplace, light a fire and bask in its warmth.

Indulge in Your Favourite Activity

What’s your favourite way to unwind? Whether it’s reading, watching a movie, or taking a bath, indulge in your favorite activity. You can even combine activities, like taking a bubble bath while watching your favorite show.

Disconnect from Technology

Technology has made our lives more convenient, but it can also be a source of stress. Disconnect from technology by turning off your phone, computer, and TV. Instead, try meditating, journaling, or practicing yoga.

Treat Yourself

When was the last time you pampered yourself? Treat yourself to a spa day at home. Take a long bath, apply a face mask, and give yourself a manicure. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Spending time with loved ones is an excellent way to relax at home. Whether it’s having a game night or cooking dinner together, spending quality time with the people you care about can help you unwind and recharge.

Conclusion

Relaxing at home is essential for your mental and physical well-being. With these tips, you can create a soothing atmosphere, indulge in your favorite activity, disconnect from technology, treat yourself, and spend time with loved ones. So, the next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take some time to relax at home. Your mind and body will thank you.

Eat More Cheese: It’s The Perfect Food

If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like a good slice of cheese. Whether it’s a classic cheddar, a creamy brie, or a tangy blue, there’s a cheese out there for everyone. But did you know that eating more cheese can actually be good for you? That’s right; it’s time to embrace your cheese addiction and indulge in the satisfying taste of cheese.

eat more cheese

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

The Benefits of Cheese: It’s Not Just Delicious, It’s Nutritious Too

Before we get into the cheesy goodness, let’s talk about why cheese is actually good for you. Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s also high in protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. Plus, cheese is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.

So, if you’re looking for a healthy snack that will also satisfy your cravings, cheese is the perfect choice. And if you needed any more convincing, research has shown that cheese can actually help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

How to Eat More Cheese: Embrace the Cheesy Goodness

Now that you know why cheese is good for you, it’s time to start eating more of it. Here are some tips to help you embrace the cheesy goodness:

  1. Experiment with different types of cheese: There are so many different types of cheese out there, from mild to sharp, soft to hard. Try something new and see what you like.
  2. Pair cheese with other foods: Cheese pairs well with a variety of foods, from crackers and bread to fruit and nuts. Try different combinations and find your favorite.
  3. Make cheese the star of the show: Cheese can be the main ingredient in many dishes, from pizza and pasta to sandwiches and burgers.
  4. Don’t be afraid to indulge: Cheese is a delicious treat, so don’t be afraid to indulge every once in a while. Just make sure to balance it out with healthy foods too.

Photo by Ray Piedra

The Bottom Line: Eat More Cheese and Embrace Your Cheese Addiction

In conclusion, cheese is not only delicious, but it’s also nutritious. So, if you’re a cheese lover, there’s no need to feel guilty about your addiction. Embrace the cheesy goodness and experiment with different types of cheese, pairings, and recipes. And remember, everything is better with cheese – even a bad day. So, go ahead and eat more cheese because life is too short not to enjoy cheese, the more perfect food.

Breathe Easy: The Benefits of Breathing in Fresh Air

Breathing fresh air is one of the most important things we can do for our health and wellbeing. It is a simple yet powerful way to improve our quality of life. In this blog post, we will explore the many benefits of fresh air and how it can help us feel our best.

benefits of breathing in fresh air

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

Boosts Oxygen Levels and Improves Respiratory Health

Fresh air is essential for our respiratory health as it contains high levels of oxygen. Breathing in fresh air can help increase the amount of oxygen in our bodies, which is necessary for our cells to function properly. This can help improve our respiratory health and prevent issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses.

Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Spending time in nature and breathing in fresh air has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Studies have found that people who spend time in nature have lower levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. This can help us feel more relaxed, calm, and centered.

Improves Cognitive Function and Brain Health

Fresh air can also help improve cognitive function and brain health. Studies have found that people who spend time outdoors and breathe in fresh air have better memory, concentration, and creativity. This is because fresh air can help increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, which is necessary for optimal brain function.

Boosts Immune System Function

Breathing in fresh air can help boost our immune system function by increasing the number of white blood cells in our bodies. This can help us fight off illnesses and infections more effectively. Fresh air can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with many chronic health conditions.

Improves Sleep Quality

Fresh air can also help improve our sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. When we breathe in fresh air, we can feel more relaxed and calm, which can help us fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply. This can lead to better overall health and well-being.

Promotes Physical Activity and Weight Loss

Fresh air is also essential for physical activity and weight loss. When we breathe in fresh air, we can feel more energized and motivated to move our bodies. This can help us engage in physical activity such as walking, hiking, or running, which can help us burn calories and lose weight. Regular physical activity can also help improve our overall health and reduce our risk of chronic diseases.

In conclusion, breathing in fresh air has many benefits for our health and well-being. From improving respiratory health to reducing stress and anxiety, boosting cognitive function and immune system function, promoting physical activity and weight loss, and improving sleep quality, the benefits of fresh air are numerous. So, make sure to take the time to breathe in fresh air every day and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

Get Ready to Scream for Ice Cream with Creams Cafe and SCREAM VI

This March, everybody’s favourite destination for truly decadent desserts, Creams Cafe, is partnering with the release of SCREAM VI hitting UK cinemas on 8th March, Creams has created a frighteningly good limited-edition dessert, available from 1st – 31st March.

The chilling new SCREAM VI Sundae is a treat that’s not to be missed. This creepy concoction features creamy vanilla soft serve and coconut gelato, served with terrifyingly tasty blood-red strawberry sauce and a Creams Cafe signature wafer for the finishing flourish. Whether you’re a horror fan looking for the perfect pre-cinema treat or just a lover of the nation’s favourite dessert brand, don’t be afraid to head to Creams to give this petrifying pudding a try.

creams cafe

Available nationwide from 1st – 31st March, head to your nearest Creams to snap up this limited-edition treat for £8.95…but only if you dare. The Scream VI Sundae will also be available via delivery with Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Just Eat.

As an extra special spooky surprise, Creams will be offering someone the chance to win a truly one-of-a-kind, money-can’t-buy experience. One lucky individual will win an exclusive screening of SCREAM VI with up to 23 friends of their choosing in a totally private cinema. As if that wasn’t wow factor enough, the winner will also be given a £250 Creams Cafe voucher, so they can order whatever sweet treats their hearts desire. Keep your eyes peeled across the Creams Cafe Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok channels from 1st March for full details on how to be in with a chance of winning.

A SCREAM VI Sundae at Creams followed by a frightfully fantastic screening of SCREAM VI – name a cooler combination?

Creams Cafe – the place where I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

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How To Make Waxing Less Painful

Waxing is a popular way to remove unwanted body hair, but it does have its downsides, and one of the worst is that it’s painful. Of course it is; you’re adding hot wax to your skin and then ripping it away, taking the hair underneath with it! Yet it’s so effective, so many people just suffer through the pain. The good news is that you can make waxing less painful; here are some of the ideas you can try.

Use A Numbing Cream

One way you can make waxing less painful is to use a numbing cream – read the labels and check that it will do what you want it do to and ideally it should contain lidocaine or something similar. Also, before applying read the directions fully – the last thing you want is to make a mistake right at the start.

The usual way to use numbing cream is to apply it to the area you’re going to wax and then wait for it to take effect, which might be a few minutes. Make sure you wear gloves when you’re applying it as otherwise your hands are going to go numb, and although the cream will make waxing less painful, you won’t be able to do much else besides wait for the anaesthetic to wear off and give you the feeling back in your hands!

Use A Cold Compress

Although using a cold compress won’t make the process itself less painful, it will help afterwards. Applying a cold compress to your freshly waxed skin will make waxing less painful overall – it will soothe the affected area and reduce the swelling.

All you have to do is take a clean cloth or flannel and soak it in cold water. Wring it out and then apply it to the irritated area. Most of the time, the pain will immediately lessen and ultimately disappear altogether. Remember, though, that a cold compress should only be used for a short amount of time, otherwise you might damage your skin. And as ever, if the pain persists or the skin becomes more irritated and inflamed, the best thing you can do is see a doctor.

Go To An Expert

One of the main reasons why waxing can hurt so much is because you’re doing it yourself. Unless you actually are an expert who does this for a living, it’s unlikely you’ll have the experience to do it in a way that causes the least pain. Because of this, another way to make waxing less painful is to go to an expert.

They will be quick, efficient, and they’ll do their utmost to make the entire experience a pleasant one (or at least not a horrible one). I’ve tried a few different experts, and the best experience I had was at Reynolds Retreat in Borough Green – but there are sure to be a variety of experts to choose from no matter where you happen to live.

What Are The Benefits Of Staying Hydrated?

Staying hydrated is an important part of a healthy lifestyle that is sometimes overlooked. As we get older, it becomes more and more important. Adults over 60 are more likely to get dehydrated for a number of reasons, such as a natural decrease in thirst and changes in the way their bodies work. Also, older people are more likely to take diuretics and other drugs that make the body lose fluid. Read on for some of the benefits of staying hydrated to help you get the most out of your body.

Enhanced Brain Performance

Mild dehydration can affect your memory, mood, ability to focus, and speed of reaction. Adding a few glasses of water to your daily routine can help you think more clearly, calm your emotions, and even get rid of the signs of worry. This is especially important for older people, who are more likely to get dehydrated and have trouble thinking.

Digestive Balance

For digestion to work well, your body needs water. If you don’t get enough, you might have bowel movements that aren’t regular, gas, bloating, heartburn, and other pains. Taking in more fluids might help you get back on your feet. It breaks down the soluble fibre in your food, which helps keep your digestion running smoothly. Mineral water is especially good, and you should look for kinds that are high in sodium and magnesium.

More Energy

Dehydration can slow down blood flow and cut off oxygen to the brain. If you don’t drink enough water, your heart may have to work harder to move oxygen around your body. All of that wasted energy could make you feel tired, slow, and unable to concentrate. You can stay hydrated and have more energy throughout the day by simply drinking more water.

Weight Loss and Weight Control

Because it makes you feel full, water helps keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when you’re in between meals. As an added bonus, it can aid with weight loss. Drinking more water before meals and staying hydrated is associated with significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and body composition in a study of overweight women.

About 60 percent of your body weight is made up of water, making it the single most significant chemical component of your body. You can’t go very long without drinking water. Every single one of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs relies on water to function properly, which is why staying hydrated is so crucial.

How To Take Care Of Your Team Better

When you expand your company and hire new employees, you also have responsibility for their well-being, so you need to take care of your team in the best way possible. Employee happiness, morale, and motivation are crucial to running a successful business and doing the right thing by your staff. To build a successful business, it’s essential to reward the hard work of your employees. Workers of all types yearn to be a part of forward-thinking companies that make their employees’ happiness a central aspect of their business plans.

Putting in the effort now will pay off in the long run, and with the time and money it takes to replace departing employees, it should be a priority. But where do you even begin if you’re brand new at managing people and you want to make sure they’re happy and healthy? Read on to find out.

Be Serious About Mental Health

Mental health, long ignored, is now receiving the respect it deserves, and the national debate about it has become much more open; thus, businesses need to be on the same page. Because of the prevalence of work-related stress, anxiety, and depression, it is crucial that workers receive the training and assistance they need to prevent minor events from becoming major ones and to encourage them to proactively monitor and manage their own stress levels.

Consider the stress levels of your employees and promote healthy work-life balance by facilitating things like outdoor activities, lunch breaks away from workstations, after-work social gatherings, and so on. It’s also a good idea for businesses to invest in providing their employees with specialised training in mental health support to take care of your team.

Think About Physical Health

Naturally, the other half of the equation is taking care of employees’ physical needs. Health and safety regulations and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be properly adhered to at all times in any workplace that has machinery or a warehouse. In an office setting, you might not expect to encounter many threats, but spending eight hours a day in one place poses serious health concerns.

In order to ensure that workers are appropriately configuring and using the technology on their workstations, it is important to promote activities such as walking meetings, regular screen breaks, and training. Regular eye exams, reminders to drink water and get up and move around every half an hour or so, and other such measures should be taken.

Offer Flexible Working

In a project-based work setting, the old work ethic of presenteeism needs to be replaced with a new one. Flexible work schedules are becoming the norm in most companies in order to compete for top talent and keep employees satisfied.

Work can fit a little better around other responsibilities and passions if workers are given the flexibility to choose their own working hours, the ability to work from home when feasible, and the freedom to take different types of lunch breaks. In most cases, everyone benefits from a fair system that provides for some leeway in decision-making. This improves employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity and helps you take care of your team.