With the nights drawing in, we can all be forgiven for spending a bit more time indoors. Getting cosy is one of the great pleasures of chilly weather. But after a while you can start to miss the freshness and greenness of nature.
The solution is easy: bring plants into your home. Houseplants are currently one of the biggest trends in interiors and general wellbeing – and there are lots of ways to enjoy the vitality of plants, even if you haven't got green fingers.
From purifying the air you breathe to nourishing your hair with the natural plant extracts found in Herbal Essences bio:renew, take a look at our guide to giving your life a boost with the magic of plants.
Choose the right houseplants
If you've tried to get a bit of greenery in your home before, only to see your plants wither up and die, it may not be your fault. A lot of plants just aren't cut out for winter conditions, when light is in short supply and the air is dry.
Instead, decorate your rooms with tougher plants such as the peace lily, philodendrons, aloe or a rubber plant. This low-maintenance greenery has much more chance of lasting the winter (even if you do forget to water it from time to time).
Clear the air with purifying plants
The heating's on, everyone's home and you're hardly likely to open a window with the chilly weather outside – so no wonder it gets a bit stuffy. Having a few plants freshening the air can make all the difference.
No less an authority than NASA concluded that houseplants can filter harmful chemicals and purify the air in your home. It suggests pots filled with plants such as chrysanthemum, peace lilies and ivy to help you breathe more easily.
Get a taste for fresh herbs
Few things add zing to your cooking like a big handful of fresh, fragrant herbs. Unless you're cooking long, slow stews, there's no comparison with the dried ones in your cupboard.
But keeping fresh herbs from the supermarket on hand is a hassle. If you use them a lot, it can cost a packet, and if you don't, they wilt in the fridge. Instead, try growing pots of some of your favourites – thyme and basil are easy – so the freshest leaves are always to hand.
Get botanical in the bathroom with Herbal Essences bio:renew
Soothing, healthy and invigorating – no wonder plant ingredients are perfect for freshening up in the shower. To bring a bit of nature's magic into the bathroom, try one of the seven blends of Herbal Essences bio:renew.
Each shampoo and conditioner combines antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp to bring your hair back to life, along with plant extracts such as Rosemary & Herbs, which help hydrate each strand and infuse your locks with a multi-layered, delicious fragrance.
Branch out into plant prints
If you want the look of plants in the house but with zero maintenance, you could shop for some soft furnishings with a palm leaf print.
Cushions, framed pictures or even covering a wall with this fresh, green print will breathe life into any room.
Tackle everyday ailments with herbal remedies that work
Many of our most important medicines come from plants: aspirin, for example, is made from willow leaves. So there's nothing strange about using them to treat everyday illnesses (although not all of them are genuinely effective, of course!).
Among those that are proven to work, though, try infusing ginger in hot water to ease feelings of nausea or using the gel from inside aloe vera plants to soothe minor cuts or burns.
What's your favourite way of using plants in the home? Share your suggestions below in the comments.