I’m always quite conscious of the air quality in different places. I think this is partly due to having terribly travel sickness as a child, and the main warning sign of a nauseous journey ahead being the ominous ‘stuffy’ feeling in the car – like the air is heavy with chemicals, fumes, and it feels claustrophobic and warm.
I live in a city, not far from the countryside but in a city nonetheless, so the air isn’t the cleanest. I live by a river, so at least we get a good current of fresher air from the sea, but aside from that city life isn’t without it’s traffic and industry pollution. When I visit London for work I notice the difference there to – it’s never a good thing when you blow your nose at the end of the day and it comes out black!
I think clean air promotes a clear head, so I’ve amassed quite a few houseplants which contribute to cleaner air. Whether they remove formaldehyde or other airborne chemicals, they all have their own benefits. I’m a bit of an amateur botanist anyway, so this gives me an excuse to buy lots more plants! I don’t think Ben quite realized that he’d be living in a jungle all those years ago when we started living together!
Over the past few years I’ve accumulated quite a few aloe vera plants, in a couple of different varieties. I honestly think every home should have a couple – they clean the air, they’re super easy to look after, and the gel can be used to soothe burns, irritations, insect bites, or eczema. You simply have to split the skin and use the transparent jelly underneath. Aloe vera plants also reproduce – so that once your plant is a couple of years old it will start creating new plants which are easily separated from the root ball and potted or given to a friend. Though I’ve given quite a few away, I still have somehow ended up with 8, and each of those are producing around 4 new shoots too!
One of my favourite plants has always been ivy, and since I’m a studio dweller I obviously had to grow some. Loads of people don’t seem to realize that it can be cultivated indoors, and is another houseplant which improves the quality of the air. Look at those leaf formations – there’s something so magical about ivy.
Snake plants (mother-in-law’s tongue) is another plant that’s readily available and has qualities which purify the air. I absolutely love succulents – so any type of fleshy, chubby plant is a favourite with me!
And then the beautiful peace lily. These are easy to keep going and don’t need much special attention. I got mine 3 years ago (I took it home from an awards ceremony I’d co-ordinated) and this is the first year since that one which has resulted in the flowers. I thought it’d never happen again! I’ve seen people create gorgeous wall displays from mounting lots and lots of these in jars and tins, creating an ‘air purifying wall’. One day I am definitely going to create a living wall, though it must be a terrible pain to water all the ones at the top!