A Brighter Home, a Brighter Mind: How Natural Light Keeps Us Happy and Well – Guest Post

Dan here. Today, we have a special treat: a guest post from Eliza Cochrane of Carlen Glass, located in lovely Dublin, Ireland. She has a post on the benefits of natural light. If you’re a regular on With the Barretts, you know that lots of natural light in living spaces is important to us. We appreciate Eliza sharing and hope you enjoy her post.

room with natural light

I recall a few weeks ago, a brief spell of troubled sleeping. I would go to bed early every night and, after about four hours, would “waken” into a light semi-conscious drift. I’m not sure what caused the spell — though it probably had something to do with the increasing temperature of the summer nights — but there was one morning in particular that struck me as peculiar. On what was perhaps the hottest night of the year, I decided to sleep with the windows open and curtains drawn, to let a draught in should it come. I woke naturally — again, after a few hours of what should have been groggy sleep, only this time to the in-pouring of brilliant sunshine.

And not only did I feel fine, I felt great.

Experience Backed by Research

The experience was so strange to me that I decided to do a little research on natural light and the human body for an explanation: I quickly found out more about the natural sleep-wake cycle, and the regulatory hormones of this cycle. Continue reading “A Brighter Home, a Brighter Mind: How Natural Light Keeps Us Happy and Well – Guest Post”

A Stroll Around Faro With the Barretts

Faro – Our First Stop in Portugal

Debra and I decided that it was past time that we took a trip to Portugal. So, in March 2018, we did just that. We spent the first week of the trip in the lovely, small Algarve-region town of Faro.

View from the Cathedral in Old Town Faro
View from the Cathedral in Old Town Faro

The Algarve region is enormously popular in the summer months, notably with British tourists anxious to trade cold drizzle for drenching sunshine. Like I mentioned, we were there in March – well before the throngs hit the beaches. Which suits us just fine. We’re not really beach people (although many of our closest friends are) and we like the weather when we travel to be what some consider cool. Eighteen to 20 Celsius (64-68 Fahrenheit) is ideal.

It was a touch cooler than that most of the time we were in Faro – and we had steadily pounding rain all of one day – but we didn’t mind. Besides, we had the place practically to ourselves – from a tourist standpoint. Which is better than fine with us, particularly as the Portuguese people are almost universally pleasant and accommodating. (I even managed to think of the pickpocket who lifted my wallet in Lisbon as a nice fellow – remember? If you missed that post, you can find it here.)

So we spent much of the week strolling and exploring. This post is dedicated to some of the shots we took doing that – things you probably won’t see in the Algarve promotional material for tourists.

So, come along, won’t you? Continue reading “A Stroll Around Faro With the Barretts”

Real School Gardens – Adventure in Education

Real School Gardens – Adventure in Education

Sometimes, you come across an organization that makes your heart happy with hope. Real School Gardens is one of those.

Here at With the Barretts, we’ve always believed that education is the greatest adventure. Nothing enriches life more than learning. While it’s important for learning to continue throughout your lifetime, a quality education for every child is the promise upon which all of our futures rests. Real School Gardens serves that promise in a big way.

Plan for Outdoor Classrooms and Learning Center
Plan for Outdoor Classrooms and Learning Center
A New Learning Paradigm

Well, it’s not really new. Anyone who knows kids is aware that the way they learn best is through experience. But public educational systems have lost sight of that simple truth in their race to perform on standardized tests. Real School Gardens provides a path to let kids learn by doing. Outside. With hands on and brains engaged. Continue reading “Real School Gardens – Adventure in Education”

The Heartwarming Tale of the Kindly Portuguese Pickpocket

This heartwarming tale is set in Lisbon, Portugal.

Portugal is a beautiful country. The countryside, the architecture, the warmth and friendliness of the people.

We recently spent two weeks in Portugal. It’s a place we’d like to go back to and spend more time exploring. It was a wonderful trip.

All except for that pickpocket in Lisbon on Tram 28. But that wasn’t so bad, either, as you’ll see.

Tram in Lisbon Continue reading “The Heartwarming Tale of the Kindly Portuguese Pickpocket”

So…Why Do People Move?

Dan here – this post is the latest edition of Harmonious Home Adventures – Debra’s monthly newsletter from Debra Barrett Real Estate. I decided to re-post it here. As you can see, this month the subject is “Why do people move?”

So … Why Do People Move? And What Difference Does It Make?

Moving MessThe number one consideration in any effort to sell anything is: What does the buyer want? Notice that I said “want.” Not “need.”

What buyers need may be important – it may be the reason that they’re in the market in the first place. It probably forms the mental checklist that they consult before even looking at a property.

But nine times out of ten, what they want controls what they buy.

Counter-Intuitive Reasons

The reason that most people actually pack up their stuff and move is not what you may think – it’s a little counter-intuitive. Continue reading “So…Why Do People Move?”

Springtime in Seville

Springtime in Seville

You want to go to Spain, perhaps visit several cities, and you’re wondering which cities and what time of year. Make Seville – the heart of Andalusia in southern Spain – one of the cities. And go in late March or early April. Springtime in Seville is a delight.

Southern Spain can get quite hot in the summer, with many days topping 100 degrees. In March, though, it is as pleasant as you could wish for – warm enough to be comfortable in short sleeves during the day and sometimes cool enough for a light jacket at night. But the real reason to choose that time of year for your visit is the smell.

Orange Blossoms

Orange tree and cathedral towerWhile you’re strolling the cobblestone streets during springtime in Seville, the scent of orange blossoms is everywhere, sometimes so strong that it’s almost intoxicating.

Thousands of orange trees line the streets of Seville and in the early spring, they’re all in bloom. The oranges, themselves, are not edible.  The Moors brought Seville Oranges to Spain  a thousand years ago and, unlike more modern varieties, the fruit is bitter. It makes wonderful marmalade, though, and most of it is harvested and shipped to Britain for that purpose.

 Springtime in Seville – Festivals

Continue reading “Springtime in Seville”