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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tea Challenge

This is as far as I got with my #teachallenge. Somewhat embarrassing. I had two Tupperware containers full of tea that I kept forgetting to drink and I was quite looking forward to having a different one every day. 

The first three days went well as you can see. I enjoyed T2 Gorgeous Geisha and Peppermint teas, and Clipper Teas Detox blend. I was particularly excited to share the Schisandra berry tea with you next, artfully displayed with dried berries next to a steaming cup of brew. Alas, the moths beat me to it. Little sods. Not a cheap tea either!

So that ends the tea challenge for the time being. I've finally got room on my pantry shelf again, which was the half the point anyway. 

But I'm on to the next challenges! I'm keen to try our Foodconnect for my groceries, along with cooking at home with a set number of ingredients. More on that next time. I'm also heading away for one night of camping on an isolated beach just out of Sydney, all alone! Prepare yourself for photos and more mindless musings ;-)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Operation New Leaf

I'm challenging myself over the next little while to try something new. I'll explain why as I go along but suffice to say its time to reassess and shake things up a little to get back on track. 

First up is my self designed #teachallenge. I have boxes upon boxes of herbal teas that I forget to brew - so each day I'm going to have a different one. I also have a habit of only drinking half the mug so I'm going to also try making iced teas with the left overs! I had the leftover Clipper Detox tea today with ice cubes and it was delish! The main ingredient is hibiscus flower which is a new fab, lovely and sweet and smooth. 

I'm also sorting through old clothes and 'stuff' to sell, donate or give to friends. This way I make room for all the wonderful new things to come in. After 10 years or so of the same bed linen and all the memories associated with them - I think new linen would be a welcome change and fresh start. I'm particularly in love with these items available from Lark Store ( Might not be able to wait till Xmas!

If you want to follow my progress or get some ideas for your own transformation - check in here or get updates on my Instagram ( Look forward to sharing my insights with you! 


Friday, 9 November 2012

November Minute

~ making a new friend on the walk home ~

 ~ bonfire night to celebrate Spring - with homemade incense bundle (lavender, basil & rosebud) ~

It's been a quiet, frugal and contemplative life for me these past few months. I'm coming to grips with gardening and slowly learning the art of patience. Gardening can teach you a hell of a lot about life. I'm also dabbling a little in baking. Making the exact same thing over and over but I'm sure I'll branch out eventually. I'm adopting new ways of thinking and experiencing the world. Which can be uncomfortable a lot of the time, but there's a new sense of possibility embellishing the edges.

I'm also thinking of starting a new blog to mark this shift. Maybe in the new year. But for now I thought I'd share some of the things I've been doing, reading, listening to, watching, dreaming about. Some are some oldies but some are new:

Gardening:  I'm determined to figure out container gardening. I failed last year so I've armed myself with more information this time around. Learning to be patient is another critical turning point - nature can't be rushed. There's a quiet beauty to nurturing plants that I've never felt before. [I'M PLANNING TO SHARE MY INSIGHTS ON A NEW BLOG]

Baking: Chocolate raspberry babycakes. Over and over. I've graduated from lazy packet mixes to baking from scratch. The best part is eating them, obviously. Nothing beats a fresh, juicy raspberry in the middle of all that chocolate. It's a taste sensation. [I MIGHT JUST SHARE MY RECIPE TOO]

Watching: ABC and SBS online is amazing. We have no tv in my house (and no satellite even if we did), but thanks to on demand videos I don't miss out. I've been feeding my brain with documentaries and brilliant dramas - everything from the history of prohibition in the US, to rat catchers, to Khmer Rouge death camps and transsexuals on their gender transformation. Two brilliant dramas I highly recommend:
Listening: The title song from The Bridge is Hollow Talk by Danish band Choir of Young Believers 

Reading: I found myself watching way too much catch-up telly online, effectively blowing our internet data. So I've stocked up a few rad new books, which deserve their own list:

~ i wish, via thebooandtheboy ~

Dreaming: A recent trip to Byron Bay has inspired me again. I've always wanted to buy my own caravan and renovate it. Live in an alternative, creative, seaside town like Byron. Have my olive oil can container garden - growing my own veggies, my own herbs for teas and remedies. Sit outside in the afternoon sun with my cat, working on embroidery. Indulge my gyspy colourful aesthetic. Ride my vintage bike to the markets.

I've been compiling a Pinterest boards of inspirational images. All I need to do now is save up and finish learning to drive!

Monday, 1 October 2012


I watched this video a long time ago but it came to mind recently that I should watch it again. J. K. Rowling shares valuable insight on the virtues of failure. There's so much in this speech that speaks directly to my experience and I wish I could adequately express my inspiration and gratitude, but my brain has been failing me for several months now. I hope to one day regain that rich imagination and poetic fluidity that came so naturally to me. For now, here are my favorites passages from the speech:

Looking back at the 21 year old I was at graduation is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42 years old she has become. Half my lifetime ago I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest of to me expected of me. I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was write novels. However my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage or secure a pension. I know the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon anvil now, but then...
So they hoped that I would take a vocational degree. I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached, that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor. I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics, they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day.
Of all the subjects on this planet I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek Mythology when it came to securing the keys to the executive bathroom...I do not blame my parents for their point of view, there is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticize my parents for wanting me never to experience poverty. They have been poor themselves and I have since been poor. And I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience.
Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is something on which to pride yourself. But poverty itself is romanticized only by fools. What I feared for myself most at your age was not poverty, but failure. At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university - where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories and far too little time at lectures - I had a knack for passing examinations and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers...
Ultimately we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere 7 years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless.
The fears that my parents had had for me and that I'd had for myself had both come to pass. And by every usual standard I was the biggest failure I knew. Now I'm not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun, that period of my life was a dark one. And I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairytale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended and for a long time the light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
So why do I take about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy in finishing the only work that really mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I believed I truly belonged.
I was set free. Because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life...
Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you've failed by default. Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected. I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from set backs means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift for all that it is painfully won and it had been worth more than any qualification I have ever earned.
So given a time turner I would tell my 21 year old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age or older who confuse the two. Life is difficult and complicated and beyond anyone's control. And the humility to know that will enable you to survive it vicissitudes.
Image credit: Maricor & Maricar.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Saying No

Women have a hard time saying no because it feels so good to be chosen, especially by the king. We enjoy pleasing daddy, our boss, our coworker, our lover. We don't want to disappoint others, so much of our self-image is invested in making other people happy. Our internal little girl doesn't want to be left out or left behind. It's too painful to choose not to join the fun. And we need the income.

In moving out of a state of spiritual daughterhood in which we serve male role models, there is rarely a Big Daddy saying, "You've done a good job...It's just what I wanted...Go ahead and make your own way." Instead the usual response is, "You're throwing away your career by not taking this position...How could you let us down?...You just don't know how to keep commitments...You're just not up to the challenge."
These rebukes are difficult for anyone to hear but particularly trying for women who do not like to disappoint others or who have relied so much on males for approval and validation.

It is these moments of being truly vulnerable, however, that we can really grow. Jean Shinoda Bolen says, "When we are doing something because it is expected of us or to please somebody else or because we are afraid of somebody else, we become further alienated from a sense of living authentically. If we just keep living out a role that we know well, the cost of that is to become increasingly cut off from that which is the collective unconscious; that which not only nourishes us, but also provides the raw material that allows us to mess up. Very often in transition periods, that's exactly what is called for, a change by going through chaos, of losing the way, of being lost in the forest for some time before we get through and find our path again." - The Heroine's Journey, Maureen Murdock.