This wonderful cold snap is very welcome – sledging, snowmen and a perfect way to kill all all the bugs and nasties that have been flying around of late.

With all of us in various stages of decay over Christmas and New Year,  I thought a helpful list of tried and tested remedies might be useful.

Our two favourites for a blocked up nose are Olbas Oil and Vicks. Both of these will clear your head, nose and sinuses. Put the requisite amount in a bowl full of hot water, pop a towel over your head, and ensure as much in-through-your-nose, out-through-your-mouth breathing as you can. I find wearing a pair of swimming goggles vital for this, as the steam will sting your eyes – the kids think this is pretty cool too! Vicks also do a steam vapourisor which you can leave in a room all night as it puffs out expectorant, which really helps with the snuffles in the middle of the night once the Calpol has worn off. You can also rub Vicks on chest and back before bed time.

Dot Olbas Oil around the pillow and on a hanky at bed time to keep noses clear. They also do a fantastic Olbas Oil bubble bath which is perfect before bedtime.

My mother used to hang garlic cloves around our beds when we were coldy. Hmmm. Not so sure about that one, BUT there are two garlicky soups that really, really help:

  • Butternut Squash sniffle soup

Peel and chop a whole squash, two onions (rough chop them) and a whole garlic (peel the cloves). Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a hot over for about thirty mins. Pop in a saucepan with some chicken stock – fresh or Kallo Organic Chicken cubes do the best in my mind – grab a Bamix whizzer or equivalent and Voila.  Moorish and fabulously healthy, healing soup.

  • Mrs J’s Roast Chicken and DELICIOUS Chicken Soup.

You will need to buy one of Jamie’s Chickens for this, because not only are they utterly delicious, but they come with all the giblets. Roast the chicken stuffed with garlic, onion and a lemon on a wire rack above a roasting pan. Put water and the giblets in the bottom of the pan, with a couple of Kallo Organic Chicken Cubes. After about 45 minutes, pour the juices from the pan into a saucepan, and add the giblets (bin the neck bone). Keep warm. Once the bird is done, take out the garlic and onion. Out with the Bamix again, and whizz it all up. This is outstanding gravy which mine eat by the gallon, and what is left over gets mixed up with shredded chicken and some noodles for soup the next day.

Keeping your fluids up is vital for a cold – feed a cold, starve a fever and all that. I have just bought a bobble and the kids are mad for it! I’ve ordered the little ones for them, and these are a perfect way to monitor fluid intake. I am also sick of 1) being ripped off buying bottled water (it would be cheaper to drink diesel) and 2) watching the kids take one sip and then not touch it again.

Other firm Jensen faves include Cawston Press juices, because they are just yum, sugar free and the only added ingredient is Vitamin C. Try Apple and Rhubarb, known as Apple Crumble here, and Apple and Elderflower. The sparkling ones are a real treat for a poorly person, as is this rather marvellous recipe for a more grown up way to drift to sleep when you are under the weather….

My mother does have other coldy tips which are not as random as the garlic thing, which include:

  1. Take Zinc supplements in the winter months to boost your immune system.
  2. Echinacea is great at the first sign of a cold, but don’t throw it down your throat all winter otherwise it won’t work. Try this combo.
  3. Tissues not hankies.
  4. Bin the tissues once you’ve used them or else you are carting the germs around with you. Keep a bag to put them once used is a good idea – use a paper one and you can burn it on the fire, or take them out and flush them next time you go to the loo.
  5. Wash your hands after you’ve blown – those germs are all over them!
  6. Mums – de-germ your steering wheel. Not a great fan of those antibac hand wash things, but this is where they come into their own.
  7. Blow one nostril at a time so you don’t aggravate your sinuses. (we were brow beaten to do this – and it really does work)
  8. Don’t sniff – sinuses again. And it’s incredibly irritating/ revolting.
  9. You are at your most infectious for the first 48 hours so keep a low profile. Battling in to infect the rest of the work place is not heroic – it’s selfish.  But I shall leave you to tell your own husbands this…
  10. If you have a temperature – GO TO BED. Mother in law – are you listening?? DO NOT go out and infect EVERYONE with your FLU on Boxing Day just because you think that you should be there,  even though you feel like death warmed up.  WE WILL REMEMBER THIS FOR A VERY LONG TIME!!
  11. Keep clear of the olds – they pick up everything,  and it’s always much worse with age.  Rearrange that visit to granny when you’re not coughing and spluttering, and she will be eternally grateful!
  12. Wear slippers. Cold feet will not help you.
  13. Fresh air – central heating will bung you up more, so make sure you have something to keep passages clear.

Good luck and may your sinuses be forever clear!

By Joanna Jensen, Childs Farm