The Colour Purple – look for it and reap the rewards 24th June 2017 – Posted in: Food, Lifestyle, Skincare

A wise friend once said to me (and I can’t for the life of me think what we were talking about at the time) ‘it’s like looking for the colour brown, once you start looking, it’s all that you see’. And how true that is for life, if you look for division and hatred you will find it in abundance and if you look for tolerance and love you’ll find that too. Small changes in thoughts and actions make a difference, they add up over a period of time and in the end those positive changes reap rewards in one way or another – we just need to look out for them.

The Rather Lovely garden is a case in point. When I moved here almost three years ago it was derelict – a mass of tangled overgrowth, unruly shrubs that had grown so high the house wasn’t visible from the path outside, and rubbish that had accumulated over the years the house had been empty – either blown in on the wind or purposefully left by those who found it an easier option than dealing with their own waste and taking it to the dump. In essence, the garden was ‘brown’. With no grand gesture and limited funds it is slowly transforming into a productive, calming space, beautifully scented (I wish you could smell it right now on this lovely warm, sunny day with the honeysuckles, roses and philadelphus in full bloom and the lime tree in the pavement outside adding to the sweet, floral mix), and in the early stages of a ‘purple patch’.

The colour purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery and magic – high pedigree indeed, and when I look around the garden I see it in the sweet peas, the blueberries, the herbs – lavender, purple basil, shiso and sage, the salanova lettuce and countless scented annual and perennial plants. It is a delight.

In food terms the power of purple goes beyond the vibrant colour and often indicates nutrient density and an abundance of antioxidants which are known to help fight disease, keep you looking younger, reduce inflammation and promote good heart health. Blueberries are one such food. Like other berries including raspberries and blackberries they are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps protect cells against damage and aids in the absorption of iron. They contain a decent amount of soluble fibre which slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream and helps to keep the digestive system in good shape, and they support blood vessel integrity around the body which positively influences collagen, the elastic fibres in the skin that reduce the signs of ageing.

At Rather Lovely HQ we grow a variety of blueberries in pots (due to their acid-loving nature and need for ericaceous soil) and true to it’s name, Earliblue is by far the most productive bush at the moment. By growing different varieties we have a constant, albeit limited supply from June through to September. And here’s the thing, we don’t need a vast amount of blueberries every day to help keep our skin and bodies healthy. What we need is a constant and consistent commitment to fresh foods of all colours including purple, exercise and fresh air, and an optimistic outlook. Keep focussing on those things and your own ‘purple patch’ will eventually appear.