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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Norway for new year? No, it's Your Way.

Hello beautifuls,

Happy Twixmas!  Are you finding it difficult?   Lots of us come down with a bump when dreams of bestest presents, happy families, quality conversation and even good weather expectations wouldn't, just couldn't be met.  The magic of Christmas makes us believe it could be so, but the magic of real-life means that the turkey gets burned and we end up eating roasties with bacon and eggs- laughing and making memories unprecedented!  

Instead of blaming ourselves and soothing that feeling of inadequacy with shop-shop-shop, you also could "don't do as I do", and set yourself up three weeks beforehand for disappointment.  

They say a cynic is a idealist who has had their heart trampled on.  The bitter shell of cynicism keeps us safe from feeling the magic and joy, not just of Christmas, but every day.  how sad.

I beg of you not to let disappointment you have suffered get in the way of your brilliant dreams and plans for the most stunning of years ahead, 2012.  We're still a few days away!  

There is still time to step away from the loveliness/chaos/fretful mind...

 into the quiet empty space where you yearn

to really pense about what a truly darling 2012 will look like for you.

Space comes first.  In the sanctity of your bathroom.  Your bath, even!  Your garden shed.  Your car parked in your favourite tree lined street, mobile phone turned off, no-one knowing where you are.  Just you.  And your shot at bliss.

A few questions I'm considering as a recovering cynic.  I'm not shouting to the world what this year will bring to me.  I'm even not offering up my soul for the use of God, this time.  I'm walking towards the light.  I'm feeling the pull of the yearn.  I'm finding safe guides.  I'm beginning, ever so gently, to put pressure on myself again.  For time is short my friends.  And it is the only thing we cannot get back...

Join me on the path to feeling your way to a truly darling 2012 in two easy ways...

1.  Find your animal totem.
The red robin's message includes understanding the power of happiness,
and being a guide for growth and renewal.
When we are full of spirit & humour no coldness can enter. 

ONE power animal guides and leads us through the year.  This creature has so much wisdom and is so pure of heart, I urge you to find it.  It's not domesticated:  you may already know what your power animal of 2012 is.  Otherwise, it is an animal you may come across; in your walks, in paintings or stories, in a vague inkling that you want to know more about them.  may I recommend a book and friend on this journey?:  "What the Walrus knows" by Sarah Bamford Seidelman.  

you need neither, but their beautiful presence in your life will open so much bizarre beauty.  Find your 2012 animal.  How?  Ask the angels before you sleep to show it to you.  (This is how I found mine, as well as much yearnings to see him on my walks, on a wintry branch, then in the first scene of the movie Gladiator, which we watched last night)  Next, google your animal as "Spirit Totem" ... and find out your message & guidance for 2012.

2.  What would be too painful to even consider for you, this time next year?
We can live day in and out running to patch up messes that could pull "life as we know it" to bits...or be so busy shining a new path and helping others that nothing can disturb our peace of course.  This is why we need to know what we want, and promise ourselves the worthiness to get it.  Maybe you have had disappointments this year.  

Are you willing to be in the same place this time next year?  Are you willing to let that happen again?  
Who are you really, and how do you live?

what's your year-end message, inspiring one?    and have you found your power animal?  I'd love to know! do share!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beware of Justin Case! A Ghost of Christmas Eve.

Two dark ghosts of Christmas eve stalk us in western societies today.  I feel it's my obligation to shine light on them; their names are Justin Case and No T'enough.  
But no doubt, you'll have felt their presence already...

  Justin Case waits for us to venture out just for sticky-tape, timing it so we see our neighbour arriving home with their arms full of chocolate boxes.   "What if so-n-so drops by, or doesn't like what you've already got him?", Justin Case whispers in our ear.  We shudder, thinking it to be the cold winter wind. But his malicious seed has been planted.

No T'enough is friskier, more spiteful.  He fills our facebook pages with others excited plans!  He causes restaurants and directory assistance and shops telephone lines to be impossible to get through on!  He sends premature "Out of office" replies and causes our mobile phones to cut out mid-conversation.  He is a mischievous sprite who delights in the gathering together of flurried souls, fighting to buy the last roll of gold wrapping paper. He needs to do very little, for when we join with others under his influence, we all feed on that flurry, the competition, the inner desperation.  Then, his work is done.

If you have been touched by the cold grip of the Ghosts of Christmas eve, here's help:

1. Breathe.  Name them.  Tell them you're not afraid.
2.  My personal remedy; don't do so much today.  You've probably got enough- so there!, No't Enough.  You don't need any more "Just in case".

3.  Powerfully cleansing is to make your own cranberry sauce.  A bag of cranberries, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup water simmering on the stove with the zest of half an orange brightens, warms and wards off these creeps of doubt.  But don't rush out to buy these... just a pot of water with orange peel, cinnamon and a few cloves will do the same trick.
4.  I also love to clean the house on Christmas Eve.  you could try it too- it's wonderful for finding hidden goodies perfect to wrap up in that last scrap of paper and ensures you wake up feeling excited and proud tomorrow, instead of with a regretful hangover from a ghastly- ghostly?- day of excess today.

wishing you love & beauty this Christmas,


Monday, December 12, 2011

O Happy Day~ recipe for a Winter Birthday Pavlova

Uh-Oh, a birthday with a big "0" in it.
And this close to Christmas, too!

Like all the Saggittarians I know, my lovely husband is a happy-go-lucky adventurer with his hands in as many pies as possible.

There was no way he was going to be left out of his Own plans for a birthday celebration!

Saggittarians are strong-willed and usually sociable.  But when there's something on their minds they can be impossible to cajole from their caves.  Such was the affliction here and we found that this saggy-trousers didn't want to share with friends or family much- well- at all, on his special day.  No party??? Oh, the curse of the "0" birthday!

Happily we both got inspired by a traditional Aussie recipe celebrated this time of year down under.  Importing it to the Isle of Man seemed an ideal alternative to a Winter Sun escape...

To make a PAVLOVA is so beautifully simple that even I, who quavers under the responsibility of making a pretty cake from scratch, let alone a BIRTHDAY cake, was doing jim-jiminies in the kitchen.

Thankyou to beautiful friends who encouraged me to make D's birthday beautifully simple and personally special.  Without your lovely suggestions- which I'll be sharing in another post!- I'd have been swept into the ocean of "not doing enough".  Instead, the day was perfectly fulfilling.  I hope you'll make a pavlova on a special day for your loved one, too!

Winter Pav.

You'll need:

  • 6 free-range eggs, seperated (whites needed only)
  • 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsps cornflour
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 teapoon vanilla essence
  • 300ml double or whipping cream (please choose organic proen to be better for our health and the planet) 
  • Selection of soft fruits to decorate (Down Under they favour kiwis, bananas and passionfruit puree.  Here I used pomegranates, sliced mango, banana and strawberries)
  1. In a clean dry bowl beat the egg whites til soft peaks form
  2. Slowly add the sugar one small pour at a time (I'd like to experiment next time by adding less sugar) and mix til just combined
  3. When all the sugar is beaten in, add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract
  4. Spoon the mixture on to a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Spoon it into a round shape (you can trace a circle onto the baking parchment using a cake tin)  Alert:  it will keep round but may also expand widthways as well as upwards so allow plenty of extra paper at the sides.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated to 120 degrees C oven for 1 and a half hours or until firm to the touch.
  6. Once firm, turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely in the oven with the door ajar.
  7. Whip the cream and slice the fruits prettily for decoration.
  8. Once the meringue base is cool, spoon the whipped cream over the base
  9. decorate with the fresh fruits and serve immediately.

~  To easily de-seed a pomegranate, soak it in a bowl filled with cold water for 5-10 minutes. Thank you Hannah Marcotti for this tip!  If you're the sort of darling that needs extra info, here is a resource for you.

~  Use a spatula to make round swirls n the meringue before placing it in the oven, looks so pretty upon finale.

~  Did you know, though high in sugar, this is a health conscious dessert?  Filled with fruit, wheat and gluten-free, and high in protein.  Enjoy in moderation!

~ What to do with the left over egg-yolks?  here's a recipe for a unique "Gold Cake" -you'll need a flour substitute if you're gluten-sensitive.  What about a healthy mayonnaise without additives ; a rich custard for a child who doesn't like eggs, or a delicious crustless quiche to use up lots of wilting green vegetables you've got hanging around?  What's your favourite recipe using eggs? Do share!