July 31, 2013

30/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More Gratitude. More hope. More love.

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." Marcel Proust.

Good friends you've known for years. The kind that still send you mail in the post old school style. That know that a book, a recipe and Peace tea with the tag 'drink tea and help Tibet' are the best kind of parcels. Good friends, you can't beat 'em.

Especially when you're down.

There were a lot of shitty days last week. Mostly small shitty. Though there was the day spent at emergency in intense pain. That was big shitty. (Thankfully it turned out to be a minor problem in the end, phew!)

In the midst of the big shitty day, my sister by my side,  I received a beautiful long email from a friend in France.  It was so good I forgot about the pain for a while. How could I not be happy when there was talk of chickens in the French countryside and working up the road in Claude Monet's garden.

A few days later at the end of another long day, and yep you guessed it, I was feeling shitty, an unexpected parcel arrived in the mail from a friend who writes beautiful handwritten letters I long treasure. Shitty mood gone, and in it's place a happy me sipping tea knowing that even from afar, good old friends are always close. xxx

52 Weeks of Grateful linking up with Octavia and Vicky. 

July 30, 2013

A Winter feel good giveaway!

Each year as the weather turns cold my thoughts wander to an image of a cosy bookstore cafe (think Berkelouw or Avid Reader) hands wrapped around a cup of warm tea, with good company surrounded by rows of new and old books. It's one of my favourite 'feel-good' winter rituals that I will never tire of and one I look forward to as the days turn cooler. 

To spread a little Winter goodness around I'm chuffed to share a first giveaway for me; a collection of wintery goodness to add a little extra warmth and spice to your days!  A big thanks to contributors, I love that by sharing what I love doing on this blog connections are made.  And a big thanks to you, the reader, for joining in, and making it such a lovely community.

The Winter Feel Good Giveaway.

The winner of this give-away will receive:
A jar of Sticky Chai 200g. I discovered these 2 lads via the Real Food Projects and loved their story. In their words..handmade by a couple of tea-lovin' dudes who split their time between blending top notch things to steep and brew and planning excursions on long open roads to far away places with wood-fired ovens. We passionately blend luxurious tea, loads of spice and raw honey, so you get all natural, and no funny business!
 2 x Broth of Life jars (1 Beef Bone Broth from grass fed beef & 1 Chicken Broth from free range chicken frames).  Dehydrated broth from Tassie! Well I never! I drink it straight, love it in soup (Healing Chicken and Shitake is good!). If you're new to the benefits of broth it's a long list. Here's a few: rich in vitamins and minerals, heals the gut, builds immunity and easy to digest.
Bloom Cambodia recycled rice bag of your choice (image an idea of one bag style, lots more to choose from). I lived in Cambodia, almost a decade ago. It's a place I feel in love with. I wanted to continue to support once I left- the poverty is unbelievable  One thing led to another and I found Diana's social enterprise, beautiful recycled bags with good principles. They provide people with skills, training, a fair and decent wage and good working condition ( a rarity in the garment industry in developing countries). I purchased a stack of bags and sold them in Sydney markets for a year until life got a bit busy and I had to put that aside. (P.s Diana also runs Bloom Garden Guest House,  definitely worth checking out if Cambodia is in your sights).

To enter simply answer this question in the comments below  (and your name if you don't have a profile) telling us:

What is your favourite Winter 'feel good' ritual.

The winner will be chosen based on the comment that best inspires and warms my heart. Entries close midnight Tuesday 6th August, AEST. The winner will be announced shortly after on the blog. Open to Australian and NZ readers. 

I would love it if you shared this giveaway with your friends on facebook/your blog. Join me on Facebook for inspiration, whole food goodness and updates. If you're new here, welcome! you can follow me on bloglovin' or subscribe via email (over there on the right). 

You gotta be in it to win it. Good luck x 

(Comments now closed).

Congratulations to aluminium girl - through your words I could feel the warmth and gratitude of having someone else do something for you with love; and the beauty of being able to sit back and witness this morning ritual.

And because I couldn't stop at one winner I've also got a little surprise (hint hint it's spicy) for Penny, because the image of the little ones eager for their delicious, healthy breakfast was just delightful and warmed my heart.

July 26, 2013

Favourites (26.7.13)

Fresh from the oven

It's been way too long since I've shared a list of my favourite reads and discoveries here. It kind of just dropped off without me realising it.  But lately I've read too many awesome articles, recipes and all kinds of posts to ignore sharing the love. I hope you enjoy these gems x

  • Favourite winter staple Dahl recipe. I used chana dal instead of split red lentils.
  • Fascinating article on Why Time Slows Down When We're Afraid, Speeds Up As We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation.

July 23, 2013

29/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love.

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude." A.A Milne, Winnie the Pooh

It was a tough week and to be honest I'm just so happy that we got through it and that we could still find moments to laugh about. Even in tough times there is still so much to feel lucky for. I'm beginning to notice the gradual changes in myself seven months into a regular gratitude practice. It's simple really. Instead of focusing on what I don't have I'm focusing more and more on what I do have. The more I focus on what I do have the bigger it grows. 

I made a commitment to a daily practice of gratitude because it seemed a simple way (I could do it anywhere anytime without any fuss) to enhance my life.  I wanted to feel more like I was really living and appreciating my life every day. There's been much written on the benefits of gratitude and studies show people that are consistently grateful are happier. And it's true, I do feel happier and more content. And by happier I don't mean an unrealistic permanent state of bliss!  I'm finding that even in challenging times it's important to be grateful, and by being grateful for the challenges it's easier to acknowledge emotions, feel acceptance and find healthier ways to move through challenges.  And so it was a week of challenges that I also feel grateful for. 

A week of gratitude for:

 - being close to my family and for being able to rely on each other.
- my dad having his shortest stint in hospital for a very long time. in one day and out the next. hoorah! 
- ABC radio in the car. I've listened to some great interviews whilst on the highway for work these past few months.
- unpacking more boxes and slowly starting to make my new place a home. 
- the warming winter flavours of onion, garlic and ginger. 
-  my joggers. I love the bouncy feel, the extra spring in my step. 
- evening walks along the beach in above mentioned joggers.
- taking my joggers off and feeling the sand beneath my feet.  
- this post from House of Humble on gratitude. A new blog find I'm loving.
- Friday fish and chip night. A treat at the end of a long week. 
- after almost a year untouched, the family Scrabble board came out and we dusted off our tactics and skill of trying for more than a 4-letter word. 

52 Weeks of Grateful linking up with Octavia and Vicky. Kylie is grateful for dreaming big this week.

July 18, 2013

28/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love.

As a teenager I grew up in a mid sized coastal town, and being swept up in surf culture was an inevitable part of life. Hours spent at the beach, swimming, watching the surf (and surfers) and sun-baking (back then I wasn't so big on slip, slop, slap). I never grew out of my love for the ocean (I was happy to leave surf culture behind!) but in recent years I've had a renewed love for watching the surf. The swell and sound of crashing waves. The expansiveness of the ocean. The wild nature that can never be tamed. I walked to the top of South Nobby Headland for the first time on Saturday and the salty breeze and views were magnificent. 

A week of gratidue for:

- the ocean
- sun after the rain
- dancing and feeling energy flowing through my body again ( 5 rhythms - it really is amazing, it shifted my tiredness and my headache vanished).
- an insightful post at 52 weeks of now on practicing gratitude "To be able to stop, notice and appreciate what we're grateful for at any given moment, we have to be present, we have to be mindful."
- being reminded of long summer days via pomegranate and seeds. Rebecca's blog is gorgeous and she writes dreamy poetry.

52 Weeks of Grateful link up has a new home at Octavia and Vicky

July 12, 2013

Farmers Market to Table: Vanilla Spiced Baked Rhubarb & Mandarin + A Winter Sandwich

When eating fruit, remember who planted the tree; when drinking water, remember who dug the well. 
Vietnamese proverb

The weekly visit to my local farmers market is one of my most cherished weekly routines. Produce is fresh, seasonal, organic and limited. I like that there isn't an endless amount of choice. It's easier to stay connected with seasonal rhythms this way, to live a little more connected to mother earth. 

Wandering around each stall I don't have a list to get through, or planned meals I want to make. I'm lead by the colours, smells and the abundance of what's in season. As I wander flavours and dishes start to emerge in my mind. Roasted fennel with garlic; a fresh salad of rocket; kale with olive oil, garlic and lemon and it goes on as my excitement increases. Lately my basket has been filled with an abundance of leafy greens, grounding root veges and zingy citrus.

The mandarin season is mighty fine this year and I was curious to see how I could make the most of the mandarin season. Everyone loves stewed and baked fruit in winter so I decided to make a twist on baked rhubarb with orange and use mandarins instead. The result- yum! It adds a nice sweetness to the rhubarbs and goes well with the warming spices.

Another simple but oh so satisfying combination I've been eating a lot of has been this winter sandwich combination. Something about the taste and texture of warming toast topped with the strong and salty taste of anchovies and finished off with crisp greens, makes it melt and zing in your mouth all at once.

Both recipes are great anytime of the day to satisfy winter cravings for warm and comforting food. Enjoy x 

(p.s you may have noticed a few new buttons on the side. You can now follow me on bloglovin' and facebook).

Winter Sandwich

good quality sourdough bread (I love Sol Bread's pumpkin and rice gluten free)

avocado, smashed
anchovies (from a jar)
cucumber, sliced
tomatoes, sliced (small variety, tomatoes not quite seasonal but a local farmer had managed to harvest some!)
rocket, baby spinach, parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

directions: toast bread and pile ingredients on toast, drizzle with olive oil. season with salt and pepper. yum. 

Vanilla Spiced Baked Rhubarb and Mandarin

3-4 stalks of rhubarb
1 mandarin
juice of 1 mandarin (you could substitute with oranges or lemons)
zest of 1/4 lemon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (or cinnamon, star anise and cardamom)
2 inch piece of split and scraped vanilla bean
1 tbsp rice malt syrup

Preheat the oven to 160C. Trim the rhubarb and cut it into short pieces. Place the rhubarb and mandarin into a baking dish in a single layer. Juice the mandarin, I used my hands and squeezed each segment over the mandarin and rhubarb. Add zest, mixed spice and vanilla. Drizzle over the rice malt syrup. Cover with enough water to almost cover the mandarin and rhubarb. Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but still keeps its shape. 

Serve with goat's milk yoghurt, or your favourite yoghurt. 

Serves 2-3

July 09, 2013

27/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love. 
A week of gratitude for:

- a room of my own.
- waking to the sound of the ocean.
- morning light lightly caressing my face as I wrap fingers around a cup of tea gazing out the window.
- finding my way home from the city after getting terribly lost on my way there. 
- catching up with friends and one super cute toddler.
- staying up late, drinking wine and being fine the next day. When you have ongoing fatigue it's really easy to forget to lighten up and have fun. 
- the new energy I have for life. The move across the road has been very good for me. I feel light and playful. 
the way things keep falling into place and making sense. 
- not forgetting entirely how to read music and letting my fingers find the keys to play the beginning of für elise.
- winter sunny days. they are the best. 
- sunday afternoon baking. almond, coconut and raspberry muffins.

What's been happening in your world folks? What small and big moments are you grateful for? 

52 Weeks of Grateful link up has a new home at Octavia and Vicky. Thanks Maxabella for hosting at Village Voice for 79 weeks!

P.S I've created a Facebook page for the spaces between (and in the process learnt about social media icons-I had no idea those little buttons had a name).  Join me there for daily bits and pieces. 

July 01, 2013

26/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love.

My kinesiologist is always telling me to connect more with my heart and so I keep trying to listen and to learn to trust my instinct. After many weeks of stewing over issues, listening to my heart and trying to trust my instinct, my efforts have paid off and everything fell into place this week. 

Lately I've been really tired; not managing my fatigue well at all. Most mornings I've had to drag myself out of bed Dolly Parton 9 to 5 style...

Tumble outta bed
And stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
Yawnin, stretchin, try to come to life... (9 to 5, by Dolly Parton)

My heart was telling me to change this, and to do something about my rising stress levels at work and to sort out my growing issue of living with my parents in a lovely, but smallish unit, where I couldn't get enough space.  My heart and I  found each other and everything fell into place like this: 

Sunday. I saw an ad for a room to rent, walked across the road and up a flight of stairs, and found a new place to live. It all happened so quickly and I still can't believe it met my rather unique criteria, namely having space of my own whilst being as close as possible to my parents without actually living with them.

Monday. Rhonda from Down to Earth started a new series on living a simple life- how to start, looking at your values and making changes around the home and in your life. The timing is perfect for me as I set myself up in my new place and put roots down in Qld.  I don't have to wait until I live the dream in the country to have the 'perfect' simple and sustainable life, I can make changes now. 

Friday. Jodi at Che and Fidel led me straight to this post by my new blog crush becoming minimalist. Two ideas in the post I've heard many times before and feel that now is the right time to give them a serious try are: Read and answer emails only twice per day (I'm going to start with five times per day first up) and establish a healthy morning routine. 

I feel like I'm out of wanting to change but not knowing how and I'm moving forwards again.

With a renewed zest for life I'm grateful for all the 'everything at the right time moments' this week. 

And just in time to start afresh for July. Wishing you a happy week. x

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Image: From my sister's garden patch in Melbourne a few winters ago.

Joining in for 52 weeks of gratitude here.