Solar Farm: Green energy

Pop by 'n say hi!Solar farm: clean energy Solar farms are becoming ever more prevalent in the UK, with the UK government estimating 22,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020.  This is enough to power 4 million homes. In fact many families are installing solar panels on their house roofs. Of the 650,000 solar installations in the UK, photovoletiec (PV) cells generate power on one in 50 UK homes. Some argue that a solar farm can “[change] the appearance and character of the landscape”, though according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), there is no evidence that solar farms displacing agricultural production is a concern at the current scale of deployment and the RSPB strongly supports the deployment of solar arrays on roofs. The UK’s largest solar farm opened in December 2014.  It is located at East Hanney near Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The farm is built on low-grade land, meaning the soil has a middle ranking for quality of soil. Green, solar farm energy does not come at the cost of agriculture – sheep graze on the land, sharing it with the solar panels. A two metre high hedge around the farm obscures it from view at […]

Gloucestershire: Days in Gloucestershire

Pop by 'n say hi!Gloucestershire Gloucestershire, the British county in the South-West of England encompasses the entire Forest of Dean, the Valley of the River Severn and much of the Cotswold Hills. We wrote a piece on the Cotswolds in yesterday’s post. Gloucestershire’s most important towns are Gloucester, Cheltenham (home to the racing favourite, the Cheltenham Festival) and Cirencester (the Roman City which is the Capital of the Cotswolds). Gloucestershire’s most surprising claim to fame is featuring in an unreleased Michael Jackson song “Days in Gloucestershire”. The song was thought to have been written in 2005, though never completed. Gloucestershire being, a rural county, offers a lot to discover for nature lovers. There are 60 nature reserves in Gloucestershire which range from wetlands in the Severn Vale, cliff-hugging woodland along the River Wye, flower filled meadows in the Cotswolds and the popular Cotswold Water Park close to Cirencester. The source of London’s River Thames (the longest river in England) is actually located within the Cotswold Water Park. Visit the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to find out more information on the county’s nature reserves and also how you can get involved in the appeal to protect the large blue butterfly. As well […]

Cotswolds: Area of outstanding natural beauty

Pop by 'n say hi!Cotswolds: Area of outstanding natural beauty Cotwolds is a region in south central England bound by the main road, the M4, to the south, the M5 to the west and the M40 to the East. Known for rolling green grass hills and a bedrock of Jurassic limestone rock. The Cotswolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966. The Cotwolds name though is thought to date back at least the twelfth century. The English Place-name Society beleive it derives from ‘Codesuualt’, meaning Cod’s high open land, where Cod is though to be a personal name rather than any relation to any national dishes! The Cotwolds region stretches from Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of William Shakespeare) down to the Roman City of Bath. Typical Cotswold towns include Burford, Chipping Norton, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold. Houses in these areas are characterised by the honey or golden coloured limestone bricks as well as the building style. It was wool however, that made the region prosperous in the middle ages. The wealth generated was used to build the wool churches of Cotswold stone. These still stand today in Cirencester, Fairford, Northleach and Tetbury to name a few. For more […]

Chamomile Tea: stress relief and a good night’s sleep

Pop by 'n say hi!Chamomile Tea Chamomile tea has a sweet and delicate taste. In fact, the name comes from the Greek ‘chamai melon’ meaning crushed apple. More importantly, if your life has been a little stressful of late, you can rest assured. Chamomile tea should help you sleep. Chamomile tea is caffeine free and “contains a naturally occurring flavonoid called chrysin which relieves anxiety and helps sleep” according to nutritionist Victoria Warr. Flavonoids are a class of organic compounds which, although not directly involved in normal growth, development or reproduction, have been shown to be active in a number of activities. These include anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activities. According to Men’s Health chamomile tea is brilliant for treating anxiety and stress. Czech researcher, Sebastian Pole, says “it works as an anti-spasmodic, soothing your nervous system”. While researchers at leading British science, technology and medicine institute – Imperial College London – have even found that chamomile tea can help relieve a wide range of health ailments, including colds and menstrual cramps. The post photo shows Teapigs chamomile tea which contains whole flowers from Croatian chamomile bushes, and no “dusty bits”. Teapigs is a British company founded in 2006 […]

Peppermint Tea: health benefits

Pop by 'n say hi!Peppermint Tea: health benefits Peppermint tea – naturally caffeine free – is often a first choice after a heavy meal. The herb has been used since the Middle Ages to freshen breath but what other benefits are to be had from drinking peppermint infusions? In the last post we looked at the benefits of the nettle herb in nettle, fennel and peppermint tea, but just peppermint alone, might improve concentration, freshen breath and even relieve stress. Peppermint tea has a high menthol content. Menthol is a natural oil which acts as a muscle relaxant, and so can be a natural component of stress relief. Korean research has shown that menthol can also inhibit prostrate cancer growth. UK research from the University of Northumbia showed that just the aroma of peppermint increases alertness and memory function. On top of this, researchers in Cincinnati have found that periodic whiffs of peppermint increases people’s concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention. The post pictures shows Newby Peppermint Tisane herbal infusion alongside an apple. Apples can help regulate blood sugar, preventing spikes in levels, so may be a healthy dessert after a large meal. Newby of London is a […]

Nettle Tea with Knäckebröd

Pop by 'n say hi!Nettle Tea with Knäckebröd Started the year wanting to eat improve your diet? Why not continue into March? Consider starting with nettle tea. Nettle tea has a pleasant taste and some health benefits. Nettle is a wonderful health-boosting herb, according to the Natural Society. According to a Natural Society post, some of the 29 benefits of nettle tea are: Nettle stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity Supports the kidneys Minimizes skin problems Has been shown to be helpful to in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease Reduces inflammation Reduces incident of prostate cancer The post photo shows Pukka Cleanse tea which is a blend of nettle, fennel and peppermint. Pukka is a Bristol-based British company. We mentioned nettle above, and many take peppermint tea to aid digestion, so what is fennel good for? Well, fennel is also a natural appetite suppressant, according to Men’s Fitness, and can also help detoxify and exfoliate the skin. If that’s not enough, you might want to convince your partner to drink fennel tea after a curry. In India it is common to take a fennel infusion after a meal. This is to aid digestion and freshen breath, but can also […]

London Gallery List Updated

Pop by 'n say hi!London Gallery List Updated London Gallery list on jfFrank site has been updated. The London Photography Galleries includes addresses, opening times and location maps of the galleries featured in the latest London Photography Exhibitions post. The new page is at We post regularly on exhibitions at London photography galleries and a wide range of topics from travel to healthy living, each post featuring jfFrank photos.  Have a look through our galleries and other posts to find out more about us and our work.  You can find other posts here.  The site features photo galleries on four themes: Memories, Moments, Escapes & Places.  Follow links to explore. Follow us on twitter: @jfFrankFoto for updates on photography exhibitions.  See more on Instagram.

Prestvannet Lake – Tromsø

Pop by 'n say hi!Prestvannet Lake – Tromsø Prestvannet is a lake in a nature reserve at the highest point of the Tromsø island, Tromsøya. The nature reserve serves as an important natural area, a stone’s throw from the urban areas of Tromsø. Over the summer, Prestvannet’s nature reserve is as a nesting place for various birds, including some rare species (such as the shy, red-throated diver (Gavia stellata)). In the winter, the lake freezes over and becomes a great spot in the City for ice skating. After sundown, Prestvannet Lake is a top place to take in the northern lights. Being away from the lights of the city makes Prestvannet a great place to see the northern lights, just a short bus ride from the city centre. The northern lights can be seen from around 6 pm until the early hours of the morning. Being so far north, above the arctic circle, the long nights in Tromsø give you more time to catch the lights. Add to this the proximity to the magnetic north pole, increasing the intensity of the show, you will ask is there a better place to see the northern lights? For more on nearby Tromsø, […]

Kvaløya (Whale Island), Tromsø, Norway

Pop by 'n say hi!Kvaløya (Whale Island), Tromsø, Norway Kvaløya, connected to Tromsø by the 1.2 killometer Sandnessund Bridge (Sandnessundbrua) is a mountainous island known for its magnificent coastal scenery. The island has three mountains higher than 1000 m, though there is more to the geographical landscape of Kvaløya. The 737 square metre island has fjords, tidal currents, and, the fantastic beaches at Sommarøy, Sandvika and Otervika. Beyond geography, Kvaløya is one of the most archaelogicaly interesting areas in northern Norway. At Skavberg on the island’s eastern shore, you will find rock carvings over 2000 (and possibly up to 5000) years old, including the famous ‘tennis player’! Northern Norway, the local tourist information service, have driving routes to take in the best of the island, but what better way to explore and take in the astonishing views than on your own two feet? For hiking routes in Kvaløya see . If you prefer something more sedate, fish are easy to catch at Straumhella; a popular fishing area along the fjord which benefits from a tidal current. If that’s still too much activity, take a whale watching Arctic Sea Cruise which stops by Kvaløya (see Visit Tromsø website for more information). […]

Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis

Pop by 'n say hi!Northern lights Northern lights or Aurora Borealis share a name with the Roman Goddess of dawn, but the northern lights are nothing like any other dawn you would have seen before! The picture in this post shows the northern lights shot close to Tromsø, in Norway, some 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle (see recent Tromsø post). The northern lights are caused when charged sub-atomic particles (electrons and protons) enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The sub-atomic particles, have energy liberating interactions with atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the atoms to enter ‘excited’ states and emit visible light – the colours observed. If science isn’t your cup of tea, you don’t have to understand what causes the northern lights, to appreciate their staggering beauty… suffice it to understand it’s simply a fantastical and magical display! Why is Tromsø one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights? Visit Norway say Tromsø is one of the best places in the world to see Aurora Borealis, but why fly to Norway when the northern lights have been seen as far south as the (Isle of Man in the British Isles) recently? Tromsø is in […]