It’s now just a couple of days away from New Year.
New diary and new stationery at the ready (I HAVE to have a lovely new notebook in which to christen the new year).
I’ve said before that 01 January is NOT the time for bold resolutions, but it is a nice reflective time to ponder on how you want your life to shape up in the coming year and beyond.
Over Christmas, Don helped at Crisis up in London which meant crack of dawn starts. I had promised myself a nice lazy lie in on Christmas morning but surprised myself by bouncing out of bed at 8am and getting on with the day pretty much straight off. The reason? I had promised myself a “me-day” in which I was going to get to grips with crocheting again. I spent the whole day fiddling around with different patterns and watching you tube videos on how I SHOULD have done it – ha ha!!
The last couple of years for me haven’t been easy. Losing Mum at the beginning of 2015 then clearing the family home this year left me in a state of low-grade depression, which has allowed me to function, but not thrive. I had forgotten what it was like to have something joyful to get out of bed for. This made me realise that I needed more “happy things” in my life to give me more purpose.
The other day I read a wonderful blog post entitled “Happy Chanukah” written by Rachel (see the post here = https://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/happy-chanukah/) I’d recommend the whole blog as it’s full of enjoyable posts illustrated with photos of Rachel’s two delightful dogs called Cricket and Butterfly. Oops. I digress a little. In this, Rachel tells us that that the word Chanukah means “dedication” and is a time in the Jewish Calendar for rededication. Rachel writes “I’ve decided that I’m going to rededicate myself to joy, and love, and fun.” What a splendid idea and one which I intend doing this coming year too. Thank you Rachel.
Factoring in something which makes you happy each day can lighten your outlook and give a sense of wellbeing. It fills you with an energy which can fuel other activities too. I plan to do more knitting and crocheting in 2017. What Happy Things will you introduce into your daily life in 2017 to make you bounce out of bed?
Continuing my theme of Hygge recipes, here’s one for a spicy hot chocolate. There is something so comforting about sipping a hot chocolate in one of my favourite mugs, especially when it’s so cold outside!!
Thank you to my friend Kate W for suggesting this mix of spices. When we went around for lunch one Sunday, she served it up in a Dandelion Root Coffee, and I thought en route home that it would translate well into a hot chocolate, which it did.
The quantities for the spice mix aren’t exact (I made them up!). This blend turned out quite fennely (and very delicious). Experiment with what you like best.
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 6 cloves
- 3 teasp fennel seeds
Grind together in a coffee grinder. Store in an airtight glass jar.
Hot Chocolate – serves 1 (larger mug) – 2 (smaller mugs as shown)
- 25g Cacao Mass / Liquor (or 100% cacao bar)
- 1 cup boiled water
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- Optional: A pinch of Himalayan Salt
- 1 teaspoon of spice mix (cardamom, clove and fennel)
Melt the cacao mass in a bain-marie and add the raw honey to allow it to melt too. Add the spice mix and water (and salt if using). Stir well or blend using a Vitamix.
Now put your feet up, hug your mug, and enjoy 🙂
Frank, whose fab blog is “Dutch Goes the Photo”, has set “LIGHTS” as the topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. Yay!!!
There is something comforting about beautiful lighting whether it is subdued low lighting, coloured lighting, candlelight or twinkly Christmas lights.
Winter can be a difficult time for a lot of people. We are creatures of light, and having several months of mostly darkness, or greyness when it is supposed to be light, can dampen spirits and make us feel quite depressed. For the sake of our health, we need to introduce more light into our daily lives.
The Danish know a thing or two about hours of darkness, but they also well and truly know how to combat that by living in “Hygge”-style. There are lots of fabulous books out at the moment explaining in detail (and superb photography) just what this entails, but one of the key elements is lighting, and in particular, candles. The Danes burn a phenomenal amount each year!!
My pictures this time come out of the archives as well as one taken last night whilst in Dorking. They feature Christmas lights and candles at home, as well as out and about.
Happy Christmas everyone 🙂
Frank, whose fab blog is “Dutch Goes the Photo”, has set “BALLOONS” as the topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. See https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2016/12/13/tuesday-photo-challenge-balloons/
Last weekend, we were enjoying the birthday celebrations of my Aunt who turned a young 90 on the Sunday. As we were leaving the hotel (a former large country house with tall ceilings) someone let go of one of the balloons. Here is the errant number 9 balloon!! A man had to get a tall ladder out to retrieve it.
What a gift this week !!!! Thank you Frank 🙂
Frank, whose fab blog is “Dutch Goes the Photo”, has set “TRUNK” as the topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. See https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2016/12/06/tuesday-photo-challenge-trunk/
I was spoilt for choice with my photos as I’ve taken lots of snaps of pachyderm trunks over the years. They are usually on the scrounge for bananas!! Over in Asia, elephants tend to have freckled trunks which give them an extra cuteness factor !!
Closer to home, I have included a couple of photos of one of my favourite trees – the Sweet Chestnut. These magnificent trees grow very big and gnarled which gives them an amazing presence – almost like something out of Tolkien. I sense that they possess a great wisdom, not too unlike my elephant friends.
At the weekend I walked up one our local beauty spots, alongside 200 or so other people to show solidarity in opposing the proposed and imminent drilling at Leith Hill, Dorking (UK). It is an Area of Outstanding Beauty but sadly even that does not protect it!! It made me think of this wonderful quote.
“Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realise we cannot eat money.” ― Cree Indian Prophecy
Voice for Leith Hill – see http://www.voiceforleithhill.co.uk/
Frank, whose fab blog is “Dutch Goes the Photo”, has set “FLOW” as the topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. See https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2016/11/29/tuesday-photo-challenge-flow/
This week has been pretty cold here in the UK, and when I visited the local pond found it frozen over. Quite the opposite of flowing!! I have therefore gone to the archives for a spot of flow.
Flow is a fundamental aspect of health. When our thoughts, emotions, energy and movements are all flowing, we are healthy and probably don’t think about our health at all. Like a river flowing, we have plenty of energy, direction, movement and we thrive. Eating healthily, drinking water, taking daily exercise and enjoying good quality sleep on a regular basis, as well as thinking positively, all help to facilitate this flow.
Sadly, if we don’t look after ourselves, we can get stuck one way or other and our health can start to suffer. Maybe we get stuck mentally, unable to make an important decision, maybe we get stuck emotionally in grief. We can also get stuck in a physical illness which prevents us from living life to the full, perhaps because we lack energy or are in pain. I’m a great believer that however we are stuck we can get things flowing better again by looking at our diet, lifestyle and thought patterns. One of the most important things to address is drinking water. Hence the pictures of flowing water here. These were taken at Chatsworth, Derbyshire.
The Cascade at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire