31.12.14

my word for 2015 is....


Revitalize!

"I release all that is unlike love and joy in my mind. I move from the past
 into the new and fresh and vital".
Quote from Louise Hay.

My mind, my home, my creative endeavors, my health, my relationships.
'to give new lifeenergyactivity, or success to something'
Tomorrow I will begin by throwing open all my windows and letting the fresh air in!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

30.12.14

thank you for....


Thank you for showing up with me here every day during December if you have, or when you could. I have been astounded to see this months page views reach around 10,000. For me that's a lot of you lovely people calling by here! I've been quite excited about that. So thank you. It's been a process, and it's not over yet. I've enjoyed the prompts, perhaps that makes it easier. They started to weave their own story in the end. Things that needed to emerge, found their way through. It feels good to open up, a little exhausting perhaps as of today. It's always only a slice of life, a reaching in to what's alive at that moment.

I was going to do an in depth thank you post for this year, but now I feel as though I have said much about this lately. I do feel very grateful that as the year turns I find clarity is emerging as I think about my future, how I want my life to look and feel. I've thought a lot about whether I might want to move, or live differently. That is a big question. So many things to consider, and one that will take shape over time.

I found myself drawing up a little list recently of key words, just to remind myself. Things I want to bring in to my life or make time and space for. I'll share them with you. You may feel the same about some of them. My non-negotiables are my son and my dog. There always has to room and space for them. The others are:-

light - I live in a valley, I need more light!
leafy streets for walking in.
trees
windows/view
people - out on the street, more life happening around me.
sky/openess
travel
explore/cities/europe
making/creating
photography
writing
movement
tea with friends! - more connecting
healthy living
the coast
wellness - new frontiers (really I wrote that!) better than ever before.

Well that's me. That's what I'm hoping for. I wish 2015 will be the year for manifesting our long held dreams and creative projects. That we can visualize ourselves actually living how we want to live. Imagine how it would feel. I wish that for us all. Thank you 2014 and welcome 2015!

♥    

Thanks also to Susannah Conway, for her prompts.

29.12.14

my smile


Today's post feels difficult. When your working things out on an almost daily basis, the idea that formed a few days ago suddenly may not seem so easy. In fact it can feel like it's taking you right out of your comfort zone. Which leaves only one option perhaps afterall, and that is to proceed anyway!

Somehow I feel as though there are parts of me that I need to put out there. I'm not sure quite why but I think it's part of a freeing up process. These are old parts, but still make up who I am now.

This is the photo I have had out on my notice board this year. This is me aged five I think. I remember that head band and toggle like it was yesterday. I like the healthy and wholesome feeling that being five brings. I remember wearing the side bunch and the bobbed hair! I see the simple childhood assurances and confidence. The love that was around me keeping me safe and looked after.

I was an only child. I loved the house we lived in on a street full of other children. I loved our garden, with the big horse chestnut tree at the end. We played out in the front street, rode our bikes and went from house to house. I spent the next few years lost in the realms of Enid Blytons Famous Five books and The Secret Seven. I was always making lists of names for little clubs and I wanted to go on adventures.

But I also remember that my Dad was ill. In a kind of childhood hazy way. When I was four and he was only 36 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. In the days before the more modern treatments they have now. My Mum looked after him, even though things had been tricky before for them. I think we all stumbled through our days and three years later he died.

I just carried on in the way that children do. I think my Mum spent several years feeling quite fragile. I may have run a little bit wild, which was a continuing theme. Boundaries were never very strong. But I always knew there was a safe place to come home to. I spent many days up the tree at the end of the garden, or roaming as far away as I could on my bike or the bus.

So I learn't to travel and wander at quite a young age. I think having to make my own decisions and cope in a certain way made me more independent and resourceful. I would keep on moving on to new places and people. I didn't give myself the time to notice the hole that had been left inside of me.   I would keep on filling it with other things. I found myself facing some horrible walls, which I couldn't get past. I noticed that several relationships and friends would be with people who had just experienced some kind of grief. As though I was trying to remind myself there was something that still some work that needed to be done.

I think I carried a certain amount of shock with me, that has perhaps always been there. I can be quite sensitive to undercurrents and I have to be careful not to catastrophize things. I have to watch out that I'm not trying to 'save' people. Because part of me thinks they might die otherwise! and that  it might be my fault. Or that I am responsible for them. Or that they might reject me and leave me. You can imagine the unhealthy relationships that would come from that belief. I no longer need to draw angry people to me, because I can't face my own anger.

My mentor and myself have a little chuckle at the fact that in my bag I carry my own set of spare car keys, so I can rescue myself.  Arnica, for shock and trauma and Rescue Remedy, everywhere I go. Because that's normal right?!

I hope I have learn't to ask for help now when I need it. To not try and work things out myself. I think I have done some of the work now, several therapists down the line. I'm not afraid to face those things. I have been unravelling my story for quite some time now....



       

28.12.14

love is....,


....togetherness!

Okay, okay, so maybe there's not so much of  this going on in my world right now. But you never know what's around the corner!

I might actually dare to share my independant life one day, in a way that includes a little bit of romance and togetherness. I just might.

But first I need to make sure I know how to have a good relationship with myself. So that whoever comes along can reflect that back to me in a positive way.

And it might seem just a bit scary too. 

27.12.14

silence


Blue skies, sunshine, open space, beautiful buildings, water, walking in silence.

26.12.14

sweet


Hot mince pie and cream.
No chocolate today, yet.....
Collective sighs all round because we are at boxing day now.
A walk around the park this morning, before the rain.
Watching Downton Abbey for the second time........?
Slept in late.
Teenager walking around in yellow Pikachu outfit.
Fairy lights on.
Telephone chatting with a friend about life's possibilties.
Casting on for some wrist warmers.
A quiet, slow Boxing day.
Feeling short on words now.
Enjoy.

Today is


Christmas!
Eat, drink and be merry.
Or whatever your version of that is!

24.12.14

gifts


Each year at the Dog-walkers Christmas tree on the common, people come bearing gifts for the local dogs home. The gifts of dog food, treats and toys and donations are left each day in the red box, and dutifully emptied by the Christmas tree elves. It's wonderful. Tinsel billowing and sparkling on the Hawthorne tree on top the windy hill. It's the annual Christmas pilgrimmage to see the tree!

Life continually surprises me at the way our many gifts reach us. And they don't all come on the back of Santa's sleigh. Although I will be listening out at the night time, for the sleigh bells. There is definitely magic out there. I am a believer. Ho ho ho!

♥  

23.12.14

sparkle.


There's that tipsy fairy at the top again! I love my old Woolworth's tree, lots of tinsel and a string of vintage lights. It's bringing so much comfort right now.

Today has been a course of events that I could never had imagined this morning. A neighbor's visitor falling on the slope outside our houses. Waiting for the emergency services. Trying to provide comfort and warmth. The amazing coincidence of a passing RAF helicopter rescue pilot, in his car, who worked with the first responder and calmly took control of the situation. Sometimes when things happen, absolutely the right people have been placed in position to help.

Four years ago on Christmas Day I fell over and broke my leg. A tale for another time, but basically I was walking my dog, it was getting dark and frosty when I slipped over. I was on my own, although a car stopped. I remember how cold and shocked I felt on the floor. It felt good to be able to help in a way that I understood was needed and re-assuring to see it being handled in such a professional way.

The patient is safe and warm in hospital now, but he will need an operation on his hip and wrist tomorrow.






22.12.14

fragrant


A calm and fragrant moment this morning. I kicked my heels in and spent a slow morning just pottering. I tipped some cinnamen and orange oil on my candle wax. They were the most christmassey oils I could find in my collection. I pulled a Goddess Oracle card, from my long forgotten pack. I knew any of the cards would have a message for me, but I was pleased to discover it was Ix Chel, goddess of creativity.

I think we can creatively imagine our lives. Choose to focus on where we are moving towards, how it would feel and be. I must confess, today I have struggled a bit with this. And chosen to focus on how it has been and what I don't want. It feels kind of acute. Maybe it's necessary. I don't want to fixate on impossible things, because I don't think it's helpful. I'm considering making some kind of mood board over the holidays. Just for everything, because it feels like it needs to be for everything!

I'm finding these daily posts really helpful. It's almost like a mediation. It keeps bringing me back to myself. I'm kind of checking back in. Helpful for letting the strong impressions of the day dissolve back into nothing. Just letting it pass. A breathing out.


The very lovely wool felt art snowman card was made by my friend Lucy, you can see more of her artwork here.

21.12.14

friendship


A heart warming tale for the Winter Solstice. This is my little dog. She is a Jack Russell Terrier, nine years old. Very adored, a little bit nervous and kind of spoilt.

Last nights tale. She is rather fond of sleeping under the duvet, under anything really. Any piece of clothing put down or left astray and she will find it. Do her funny little turn around dance and lie on it or under it.

Last night in the middle of the night she jumped up onto the foot of the bed and commando style wriggled up under the covers. Except this time she had managed to actually climb inside the duvet cover. I don't know how! She had made her way to the top of the cover but couldn't get out. A very baffled dog.....she didn't think to go backwards.

In the meantime I'm trying to stay asleep, but know what's happened, because somehow it's happened before. Of course then I had to fling back the quilt, open up the duvet and pull this little dog out. Because that's what friends are for!

Happy solstice everyone!


20.12.14

this year was....



This is the impossible tree. As you can see it's a beautiful leaning tree I pass on my walk on the common. At it's base you might be able to see that it's also hollow, and sometimes if you catch it at the right angle you can see a heart shape made by the hollow. Sometimes people leave little gifts in there like feathers or stones. I still don't know which tree it is. Actually I'm thinking it really is like the tree of life, because of it's fantastic shape and branches. I love seeing it on this cold frosty morning against the blue sky.

Now, I'm not going to call this year, impossible. It's actually a year that has been made very possible at a time when I couldn't see how we were going to move out of the position we were in. The word I chose for this year was commit. I think I imagined or hoped that I was simply going to make all the things happen I wanted. Just by committing to it.

What actually happened this year is I found out what it feels like for people to be committed to us and our situation. How beautiful and I just didn't see that one coming.

Never underestimate just how much support you are going to need parenting teenagers. You just can't do it alone, especially if things get rocky. You have to call on all your resources and sometimes find some new ones. We have both had mentors this year, people who have absolutely and constantly given up their time to help work things out.

I'm also beginning to notice that there is a stage that comes before commit, and that is intention. Intention helps to set the cogs in motion and no doubt sends out a message to the universe that you are wanting to do something, so that the little synchronocities and solutions can fall in place. I have really felt this during this months december reflections.

So this year we have been extraordinarily shown what commit feels like. Together with caring and acceptance and the time to explore our stories. I am so grateful for this time.

There's been a lot of walking on the common as you can see! and a pretty huge amount of de-cluttering and letting go has been going on too of late. I'm starting to feel excited about what next year may bring. Creativity and productivity is definitely going to be part of it! I'm beginning to imagine a future where I may be in a different place, living in a different way. It may all not happen over night, but it's exciting to imagine new possibilities. Keep things flowing.

Thank you for reading.

♥  

19.12.14

delicious



You know sometimes you can resist and resist something until you come around in a big loop. Okay so this may be the blog of the red berries. And yes I have said it before, the Hawthorne berries are gorgeous this year. So red and so many of them. Christmas decorations for the birds on the top of the windy common. And look, a little strand of silver tinsel, the first decoration I spied on the dog-walkers christmas tree! Can't wait to show you the whole thing in it's splendour.

Delicious!

18.12.14

15 years ago


Little mister had really blond hair, which you can't see here! This was taken on his first birthday, and he looks a bit worried.

In me I see a mixture of relief and empowerment, because I've just done the one thing I had needed to do, which was to become a single-parent. From somewhere had come the extra energy needed to make the break. But I can see in my eyes, a lot of strain and difficult circumstances and that I'm just trying to get through the event.

Facing the past is hard. We can't go back there and do it differently. I'm not even sure I would advocate doing this if it's possible not to. Difficulties certainly didn't end there. But in the end we know ourselves what we need to do. The call to be on home ground and feel safe and cared for and loved was stronger than anything in the end.

These memories have left me with a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, and a curious feeling of wanting to barrel on forwards. Make things happen, draw some energy from the past in a positive way. We can go on to new life.

A difficult but timely prompt as it turned out.

17.12.14

triangles

Altair Design Book
Just a short post today to say does anyone remember these? I spent a lot of happy hours in the seventies colouring in these designs. Just quiet and contemplative, just what I think I need today. You can see more images here.

16.12.14

on the table


I might have had something clever to say at some point. Forgive this post for any lack. It's past my bedtime now. My cards and parcels are ready to send tomorrow and I'm mighty pleased about that.

I've been thinking about my last post about christmas cards and letting go. What I realize is it's me that needs to be revitalized. Me that needs a fresh approach and some new ideas. It's me that's doing the same old same old.

I guess in some cases I was getting ready to jump before I pushed. I have to put myself out there and risk rejection. If that is the case at least I know I'm clearing the decks for something new. I decided to send all my cards one more time and included a small printed note saying that next year I was thinking about doing something different. Whether that be an on-line christmas robin, e-mails, or e-cards. I explained I would give some money to charity instead, there would be less for re-cycling and less spending on stamps! I asked people to let me know their e-mail or suggested they connect with me on facebook.

I'm totally expecting not to hear from some people and I think my list will definitely become smaller.
The main thing is these connections could be enlivened. The possibility is there. People won't just drop of my list and wonder why.

I love making my little handmade cards. I think there will always be room for some of these. They are nice to give out to people I see everyday, neighbours, local friends. A few treasured friends I know love getting them. That's it. We'll see how next year goes. Thanks to Chel, for her idea about this in the comments.
♥ 

15.12.14

my favourite camera


Can I have a drum roll......!

Here it is at last, my new purchase, my favourite camera is a Canon EOS 100D. I've had my eye on this for a while. For a long time I have been using what I call my happy snapper, but I felt as though I had to do a lot with the photo to make it presentable. A new camera was definitely in order. Several other bloggers had mentioned this and their photos were good. I think that was ClaireGillian and Annette.

It's a very small and light DSLR camera. A couple of months ago I was in the store where the Canon rep was. He was just as excited about it (of course!) as I was. He obligingly showed me what every single thing on the camera does. All forgotten now! But it's straight forward and does other things, yet to be worked out.

I remember walking into the department store with the camera on my mind. I was thinking to myself at some point you've just got to allow yourself to have it, you have got to believe you deserve it, one way or another.

It could have been an iphone and I could be on instagram, but I'm not, not yet. I'm glad I made this choice. I'm very visual and for me this is the next step. December's photos have all been taken on this.

Of course now I'm lusting over this camera bag. I know wildly expensive, but I think this is the one! I like to carry my camera everywhere even when I walk the dog, and although the camera is small it is still bulky. I like the bag because it's neat and padded and looks like a normal bag.

Well I'll keep on dreaming and see what happens. Other things keep taking priority. Last night the motor on my Hoover broke, and although I wailed 'pleased don't die now!' it did.
So that's another thing.

Oh the grey hair. Yes I still regularly have to look at this pin board, to keep the faith ;-)


14.12.14

stripes


I can only think of one obviously stripey thing that I have, my teapot. This is my Sidmouth teapot, it's red and white coastal stripes remind me of one of my favourite places in the world to be. I admire it while I wash up. I always forget to use it. But it looks nice on the shelf. I'm wondering if there is a cafe named the Sidmouth teapot? I think there should be. I'm wondering how it is that another year has gone by without me visiting this quaint seaside town where my Mum used to live. I need to remedy that next year. I don't want to lose my connection with Sidmouth, and my second home feeling.

Last night was the night of christmas card making and Pearl Harbour watching. Followed by a late night christmas card list wobble. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I feel like there are people on my list who it now feels quite static with. I'm not sure how I feel about that, or what to do about it. I have been doing so much clearing and cleaning out and as I look through my list of people I can't help but feel like this is also an extension of that. To keep or to let go and perhaps make room for new connections or to try and revitalize some existing ones. 

What I am finally realizing is this. People I have been calling family, that there has been no live connection with for a few years are really relatives. Not family. This is different. It's taken years to work that one out. Family can also be friends. Friends can also be family. Step-family which I call family, but are no longer on the radar at all, as the connecting person is sadly departed are not family, they are actually past. Sad but true. I don't want to take away the past, which had it's good moments. But they are not part of the now. So if there is so much less family than I actually thought, there are indeed some vacancies! and I think it's okay to acknowledge that and not keep that space full with family that isn't.

So how do we keep our christmas card list feeling vital and alive, and a reflection of the people who are really in our lives? I think this year I was scared to face this list because I knew it was going to change and I was going to have to acknowledge this. I can't keep doing the same old same old. That's not living, it's not actually even fun, and I want to send my christmas cards out with a burst of fun, knowing they will spark some joy in a place that we both feel is alive. 

13.12.14

comfort


I am cosy and comfortable and making some sparkly cards right now. How did this happen you may ask?..... Well, I woke up at 6.30 this morning and decided I was going to make my cards after all. I had a clear idea and a plan. Hurrah!

So what if I only had yellow and orange card left, and my christmas trees are pink. That's a nice combination! Anyone who has seen my usual cards in recent years knows it will probably be a little card made with whatever colour Indian paper I have, usually trees, because they're easy and I get to stick sparkly baubles all over them. They are always very child like, and they're always little, because little are best right.

Oh the joys of sparkly sequin tin.......!

It seems my resistance was futile. But I think I needed to move through that first. It needed to be heard you know. I think our 'no's' in life are important too. I think there are little messages in them, for us.

12.12.14

white


If we don't have a white christmas then it's perfectly okay to fake it. Although there has been talk there could be some wintery weather coming. This picture makes me feel a little jingly and look forward to watching a few christmas movies while rummaging through the Quality street tin. Which has not yet been brought for obvious reasons.

Well christmas is now waiting patiently in the hall, and tonight could be the night. I have a little voice in my mind saying I probably do need to buy some cards. I would have loved to be making some but can't seem to muster the right amounts of inspiration. When is the last posting day? On which day can I officially abandon the idea. Is this the year to begin an on-line christmas robin, with pictures! or a new year one? I would like to find a fresh take on the idea.

♥     

11.12.14

favourite photo of 2014


I was so happy when I saw this photo. Taken in the autumn it was one of the first I took on my new camera, (more about that soon).

It was such a relevation. Such a difference from my old camera. So long awaited. It jumped off the screen at me, like the happy autumn flower that it is. Just like this, no touching up, no editing, no filters, no anything. Just as I saw it.

I especially love the colours of the flower, really yummy, and the effect of the background. I love that it's not perfect and it shows the decay of the autumn.

Just an honest picture. Real photography rocks. (A good camera helps!).

10.12.14

reflection

candlelight and quiet
This was going to be a reflective post. Some thoughts about my life and where it's heading. But really I feel completely bamboozled. My mind is ticking over in a kind of slow drunk way. I've been attic clearing today. I am on a mission to let things go. I can't help but feel like my life is on the other side of it. Wherever that might be. Maybe it will all still be here just the same, but feeling a little lighter.

There have been car loads. It's endless. Just how much stuff can fit into one house, it's incredible. No other thoughts, I'm in a stupor.

9.12.14

diagonals

70's disco purse
Imagine the year is 1979. A couple of 10 year old pals are boogieing their hearts out at the disco dancing competition in the local church hall. We are wearing our Olivia Newton-John satin trousers (remember them?), and I might have been wearing a boob tube, but that may have been wishful thinking.

We were probably using all our disco dancing moves from our weekly classes in the hall behind the pub, with the Italian couple who were just like something out of Saturday night fever. Boy did we love those classes. This purse probably held enough money for a packet of cheese and onion crisps. I love it and have kept it all this time.

I'd love to tell you I won. But truthfully, my best friend did. It was well deserved and I'm over it now. Miss. Disco, she even had a little trophy.....

8.12.14

sunset

4.20 pm
Okay, here's the after dinner plan.

Light the wood burner, make tea. Put on comfy trousers. Switch off all media. Not the wifi, because lets face it with a teenager in the house that's not going to happen.

In this warm cosy nest that I have made myself I'm going to lie on that comfy mat and stretch myself out, gently and breathe. I am going to find my way towards some December self-care.

What is it about these dark December evenings of electric lights and media? that makes me feel so, what's the word. Wired? Is it the wifi?....we probably shouldn't start on that. That could be a whole other topic.

Okay, comfy mat, here I come. Have a good evening.

♥ 

7.12.14

best book of 2014

Cheryl Strayed - 'Wild'
I think my favourite book of 2014 has to be 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed. I've found my way to quite a few books this year, this one stands out because it's a very real part of someones story and not a self-help book!

Taking me right over the edge with her this is Cheryl's raw and honest story of the course of events, including the loss of her mother, which leads to her decision to walk eleven hundred miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. With no previous hiking experience she sets out alone.

You travel each painful, brave, determined footstep with her as she sets out to navigate this trail and slowly transform her experience.

You can read her prologue here.  Thanks to Kate for mentioning it.

6.12.14

T is for

vintage little world traveller

T is for Tiny!
The only other thing I could think of was tinsel, and that's still in the attic.
Or trouble, but then after yesterdays post you really would think I was a pessimist!

So I've been meaning to show you this for ages. Isn't it just adorable. When I saw it on Moon maiden emporium I knew I had to have it. It was agreed that it could be sent to the UK after all. Yay!

Just one question. Do you want to see inside?

5.12.14

leaves

Holly leaves
Please excuse me while I adjust my christmas lenses. Only yesterday I feared my christmas halo must of slipped off and my christmas glasses were not securely on for I found myself announcing that it was indeed all an utter load of c**p. Of course this is an entirely protective postion. Taken in the belief that if we start from here anything good that comes along is indeed a bonus.

But don't worry, oh spirit of christmas time, I still believe there is room for a little christmas magic to happen. I'm planning to extract christmas from the loft quite soon now. I will take the lid off my bottle of christmas magic and spray it around quite liberally.  It is still likely that a little bit of christmas anarchy might appear. for I may stubbornly refuse to cook the turkey or forget to send the christmas cards. I think a little bit of christmas anarchy is quite good for keeping perspective don't you.


4.12.14

Red


A little note to the typewriter, typed by my Mum in about 1989. She had brought herself a typewriter and was just trying it out, as you do! I was on my way back from Tenerife. I kept the note.

Red was her colour. She was the one who brought me my little red suitcase, also my red boots, my red coat, my red trousers.....I wore a lot of red. Which is funny really because deep down I'm probably a bluey green person more so, but red made her happy and now life wouldn't feel right without a burst of red here and there. When I think of the colour red I think of my Mum.

3.12.14

The best day of 2014


Oh boy this was a hard one. Not because my year was filled with wonderful joyous days, but because I struggled to think of what my best days were. I'm not sure what his says about me as a person or my life right now. I think I could use a few more really good days to be honest. But it is what it is and life negotiating these teenage years has been pretty tricky. But we're all trying hard and I dare to think there maybe a light at the end of the tunnel. I imagine freer lighter days where we have been through our strife together, worked out where our edges are, learned to care for each other and ourselves in the best way we can. Helping steer each other towards a good life and our dreams.

I love this image of Portland Bill. We drove there from our holiday spot in Dorset. I'd say it was a kind of peak day really, rather than the best day. Peak days you remember because there's usually some sort extreme involved. Some kind of challenge or achievement, followed by some kind of reward.

This was a very hot day at the beginning of the summer holidays. I'd been looking at Portland Bill on the map for at least several years. It's on the very southern most tip of Dorset. I really wanted to go there and wondered what the drive would be like. It's kind of like going on to an island, you drive across a huge causeway, wind your way up the side of the island and then follow the road down to the southern most tip. I was worried I'd have to drive across some kind of huge bridge or along high coastal roads. Not the kind of driving I want to do right now.

Anyway, the guy in the service station told me the drive would be undulating driving across Portland. And I held on to that word all the way over to and across Portland. Undulating, I can do undulating, no problem. I gripped the steering wheel determinedly. Undulating. Mostly. And so eventually we arrived, myself, the teen and dog,(it's so nice when no one is left behind). To the sea, where the waves were gently lapping around the rocky coast. The sun was shining brightly, and we got to see our first real lighthouse.

It was so nice to just be there. We explored around the (low) rocky edges of the coast, ate ice-creams and melted slightly in the heat. Portland is such a unusual place with it's huge rocky boulders and quarries of Portland stone. Like all little 'islands' it feels very different to the mainland, we imagined what it would be like to live at the houses by the light house and choose which of the beach huts we would have nearby to come and gaze at the ocean. The day felt light and summery and free.

2.12.14

drink and light, december reflections

6.40am drink
Sometimes I wonder why I'm making myself dash out the door so early when the way my life is right now means it could all wait until later. But this works for me. It makes my day feel as though it works better to get up early and that I'm stepping into the flow of life, right at the beginning.

The first thing I do is make tea. Always. Fair trade with soya milk. This is how my day begins, my first drink. Although I don't think of it as a drink really, it's just tea. It follows me around the house dutifully, as I ready myself to step out into the still darkness. I pull on the extra layers.

I'm heading up to the common, winding my way up the steep road in the car, lights on, passing all the other early morning commuters weaving their way by foot and car and bikes, reflective gear on. The day is in motion. I'm going to meet the light as it rises.

golden light
The air is clear and sharp and cold. I walk along greeting the other fellow dog-walkers as we huddle and wave under our layers. I curse my not warm enough hat and question my early morning sanity, but with my new camera swung around my neck and the light emerging I know it's worth it.


1.12.14

december reflections

Hello again.

I'm going to be following Susannah Conway's 'december reflections'. Sharing a photo everyday during december.



I am going to follow along. Hopefully. Or going off on my own crazy tangent. But I think following the prompts is what I need I need right now.




See if I can find my flow again. I miss the visual pictures and landscape of my life as I record it here.
I've been flitting around at the edges, looking for way to begin again, just quietly. See where it leads me. I'm quite excited really. I'll begin tomorrow and catch up on today. Famous last words of course! See you then.

Sending you smiles and waves.

17.10.14

my food story

shopping at the local farmers market
I have been really trying to improve my relationship with food. Don't get me wrong, I love food, I just don't think I am very creative with it. A little while back I felt I had really lost my way with it. I was doing the same old shop, spending far too much I thought. Forgetting what was in the fridge, throwing forgotten things away. The freezer was full, but I had no idea what was in it, or how long it had been there..... I didn't know what to cook. The kitchen felt cluttered. No one seemed to want anything from it. The tins of baked bean were looking attractively appealing and fast food had infiltrated our lives in a way that's made it hard to get rid of it since.

bringing home lots of tempting goodies
So this summer I de-cluttered and cleaned all the horrible corners of the kitchen. I emptied everything of the shelves and cleaned the whole thing.This was a good start. Cooking and preparing with everything to hand and only what I use around me makes a huge difference.
I've gone through this clearing process in the kitchen now a few times. Using the kitchen feel's so much easier now.  

Of course the next thing was to tackle was the food itself. I went through my whole fridge and freezer and made a list of what I did actually have and stuck it on the fridge door.
I was surprised by how much was actually in there! I made a list of some meal ideas just using this and realized I could probably be buying less for a while. Just perhaps adding some fresh ingredients.

I made it a plan to keep checking what needed eating, to try and avoid wasting food.
It wasn't exactly meal planning, I'm not convinced that would work out for me everyday.
What I noticed as I ate my way through the fridge was that the vegetable section would still look quite full and rather bedraggled! Something was amiss. Not exactly veggies bursting with health.

If I was growing my own food, or shopping at the local farmers market, I would no doubt be planning my meals around my vegetables, and eating more seasonally too. I have fallen into the habit of buying the same things over and over, no matter what the season! My inspiration had hit the floor. I  felt like nothing short of a magic wand would transform my meals!

flowers and fruit grown in a local garden
I've been thinking a lot about how this all came about.
As far as I can remember, I think I was basically brought up eating versions of the same meal, until about age twelve. Fish fingers, baked beans, chips and of course ketchup! I didn't mind, I was quite happy. I didn't mind eating the same thing over and over. I'm fairly sure there was nearly always a Sunday roast and I expect the odd vegetable was eaten now and again.

There was some simple baking I remember. Flapjakes, cupcakes, cheese straws, apple crumble all the things I make now, and probably from the same seventies cook book which I still have. And not forgetting banana and custard too! It was all simple and straightforward, and not too clever.

There was quite a lot of anxiety in the early years for my Mum and me. Eating the same food for me became a kind of security blanket I think. Also I loved apples. There was a time probably around the age of five when my Mum tried to check in a suitcase full of apples as extra luggage while we were going on holiday. I can remember the suitcase having to be taken back the car!... obviously I found something else to eat and survived!

From that point on other dishes appeared,  but the whole idea of different flavours and exotic spices didn't really reach far into our world. I don't think it naturally set me up for a life of creative cookery. I find myself in awe when people seem to throw in all kinds of ingredients and flavours. 

There were a few simple meals were learn't at school, and then forgotten. I have to say when I left home, (the first time!) I was seventeen and didn't know how to cook at all. I once famously boiled an egg without putting the water in.....I never did that again! And the packet of lasagne I kept in the cupboard. I really expected to find a complete lasagne in there.....

As I grew older I found I would begin to eat like whoever I was spending time with. I feel as though I learn a dish from everyone I meet. I hadn't really found my own way of eating. I still have moments when I look inside my fridge and have no idea what to do with it all.

Mainly I think I eat okayish, I try and aim for organic when I can. I think I could be cooking with more vegetables. I could probably forgo meat most of the time. We have our little range of staples. Dishes we have eaten for years. Truth is we are probably a bit fed up with them. The habit of not venturing far from the known food perimeters is still very strong I note now with my own son. It's a challenge to want to create new things when you feel they won't be tried. I have spent years trying to eat round what other people want.

So.....to cut a log story short. I want to re-introduce myself to food. Really find my own way with it for the first time. I've been asking myself what do I really want to eat? Imagine not having to shop around anyone else? How would you eat if you were only catering for what you want? Breaking away from the set family shop! It was surprisingly difficult actually. All I could think of was more vegetables, maybe soups. Juices. Perhaps some stews and hotpots. Less meat. I can feel a kind of new eating plan evolving, but don't know quite what it is yet.

The Farmers market cookbook by Nina Plank
A couple of weekends ago I shopped at our local farmers market.
I have been reading The farmers market book by Nina plank. Nina was the founder of the organic farmers market movement in America. She describes the aliveness of the produce that she loves and the way the food can be used in a way that made me have an inkling of what I'm missing.

The book was left here by a previous cabin dweller. In truth I may have almost wrestled her to the ground for it as she was leaving. The name of the town Nina grew up in and the name of my house were the same and I felt that on some level me and this book were destined to meet! Her message was for me. I knew I needed it more! and bless the good natured gal that she is, she let me keep it.

So armed with Nina'a advice I set off to snap some fresh peas and marvel at the local produce.
I really wanted to stall holders to tell me how fantastic their produce was. How fresh, how ripe, how tasty it was. I wanted to feel like Nina! I wanted the hard sell on the veggies! I wanted to be enticed. I wanted them to wave their vegetables in the air and call out how wonderful they were......what lovely meals I could make with them.....

Actually it was a bit more subdued than that.....! but really I feel like I should have asked more questions. You know, drawn them out. I'll do that next time..... I've got my bearings a bit now. It's a great excuse to dig out the baskets and string bags.
I'll try and keep you posted.

Enjoy the weekend :-)

6.10.14

oh hello autumn!

Echinacea
Hello there, don't adjust your monitors!.....I am having a pink and colourful moment here on this rather wet and dreary Autumn day. It just had to happen, we shall see how long it lasts. Playing with the screen colours and changing everything around is always interesting. Albeit, slightly compulsive, in a really how many hours kind of way. Until eventually we decide that we have found ourselves here and here we shall stay. Wondering if some kind of hormonal madness has led us to this pink place. Actually, I do kind of love it!......

26.9.14

A fresh start and all things berry!

7.30am
I have a new routine. 
(It starts with early nights!)
7.30am. I am up on the top of the common. Not the first I note,
but definitely out there with the early walkers.
I arrive with the sun, or sometimes a soft mist.


The day is fresh and new.
The feeling of clearness and calm is tangible.
Wrapped in soft, vital air.
I march along, swinging my arms, a new route taking in a bit of climb.
Heart pumping, lungs working.
I marvel at how good it feels.
This is my daily exercise.
The gym membership is cancelled......!
I wear my clothes for the day.
I only need to show up and it's all there for free. 


I stop to fill my beaker with blackberries.
Bursting, ripe, vitamins.
Some are tucked away in the freezer, apple and blackberry crumble this winter.


The berries are bursting and abundant.    
The hawthornes are the reddest of red.
I can't remember noticing them like this before.
One of my hardy cabin folks tells this means it will be a cold winter.


I admire the lovely calves.
This one was born yesterday, a few metres from the road!
I phoned the herald of the common and was surprised to hear that the calving takes place on the common too.
He had been watching out for this one and already knew what was happening.
So this one day old is already wandering slowly along with Mum, feeding and looking around.


There's been a lot of this going on.
Random road crossings.
Drivers having to be patient.
Let the horns cross first!

Swan stretch!
This one made my laugh. What a great stretch. There's actually a great sign there for a scratch.
Now if I could go home and do some yoga too,
I would really be flying. 
I plan on building this into my week too.

At home we had birthday waffles with gorgeous ripe strawberries, sugar and Agave syrup. 
I had to include these.
I don't bake much,
but I can make waffles!


Last but not least,
I have had this chunky berry wool for a while, and this is it's moment.
I have quickly made up a chunky cowl,
almost finished.
So quick with a 9mm crochet hook.
So I will be very berry ready for the cold!