Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Letting go : part 1

Did you know that humans loose close to one hundred hairs every day ... yes that is 100 ... and that is people of all ages men and women our amazing bodies regenerate and produce new ones until certain men reach a certain age, but in general we all shed daily.  Most of those end up in the hair brush, in the plug hole, around the house ... unless you have dreadlocks and then they end up .... in your dreads, part of the matting process.  I did some maths based on my twelve year dread cycle which is coming to an end and it works out I must have around 483'000 old hairs caught up in these dreads of mine.  Not a wonder I feel a physical weight.

Yesterday the imps and I began the process of cutting them back.  I have decided to do it in stages so that they don't get too much of a shock as they have only ever known my dread framed face but the impulsive part of me really wanted to get carried away and keep hacking, they got quite carried away too, arguing over who had cut the most!  But sticking with the original plan for better or worse here's how the journey began ... with a big 'eeeek moment!


We've cut ten inches off the bottom and at first it was weird like cutting the tentacles off an octopus or an umbilical cord! Then it was cool, easy, liberating.  But after we finished this evenings sit and I had put the kids to bed I felt up and down about it wildly excited and slightly sad all at the same time.  No doubt the energy and power of the cloud hidden full Moon was playing her part there though too, just remembering to trust in the process whilst breathing out I am letting go, breathing in I connect with the wild within.

Love and moonlight X


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Quickening Moon

I love it when I see natural synchronicity with Lady Moon in my life.  Not always is it so but it is all the reassurance I need in this present moment to plainly see it everywhere.  Tomorrow the Moon is at it's fullest in our part of the northern hemisphere at 8.26p.m (to be precise!)  Full Moon is a sign of completion - cycles completing and ending and February's full Moon is the quickening Moon - a time to shed baggage - physical, emotional, mental.  Time to dream, to hope, to accept responsibility for the mistakes of our past and to find resolve and stamina for challenges that lie ahead.  It is also a good time to be gardening - planting things that have their growth focused in their shoots above ground (shoots at full, roots at new).  By chance, or almost certainly not, we found ourselves sowing our first indoor seedlings together .... first the planning, then the trip to the garden center (baskets on wheels each was a big hit with the imps!) then the sowing and careful labelling ....


Today we planted onions and carrots outside in the veg patch though the air was fluttering with snow.  Felt so good to reaquaint ourselves.

And we all spent some time creating as well, I have a massive creative thirst right now  ... only partially slaked with kiddy craft supplies but it was heart medicine ....

I'm paying attention to even the smallest of signs that find me, they arrive like precious unexpected gifts in the mail.  I have been journalling and reading back through old journals as therapy to help heal wounds and remember joy.  I opened the pages of an old journal last night to find exactly the themes and words I needed to hear.  How wise I was though so tender in age, did I birth that wisdom along with my babies?!  And it cannot be by chance either that I opened a current notebook, of which there are many strewn about the house, jotted a page of musings and discovered an Oak leaf perfectly pressed between the next two pages.  Oak symbolises courage, strength, perseverance and longevity - things I need to embrace and cultivate a lot more.  And Gaia just brought me an Acorn!

In honesty yesterday ended with me at major odds with both my children and in desperate floods of tears.  I am feeling so ground down and broken by hours, days, weeks, months, years of battling, struggling, exasperation, repeating myself over and over, destructive cycles.  My face was too red and puffy to face them come bedtime and inside I felt horribly alone - that there is hardly any point to my existence.  I write this not to dwell but for authenticity's sake because life is not all lollipops and rainbows, motherhood is a paradox despite the joys it brings.  If ever Oaks attributes were to find me, now would be marvellous please dear universe!  Digging heals in deep like those ancient intertwining roots.

But if Joy is a choice, as those ever knowing quotes doing the rounds in the ether keep telling me it is, then some retrospective happies ... hippies and a woodlouse friend will wrap up the week nicely ....


ALWAYS with love and light in my heart X X X

Friday, 22 February 2013

I will not be defined!

'But they are who you are, aren't they?'

... a friend said to me today after she'd caught me on the way out the school gates saying 'don't do it, don't do it!!!' ... regarding the shedding of dreads thang.  Whilst it makes me sunshine and lollipops happy to know people love them as much as I have and that people think they and I mesh well and harmonise together it still made me feel a little uncomfortable.  Because whilst they are a part of who I am they are not, I hope, what defines the whole of me - there's a person - an effervescent soul under them there dreads folks!

Suddenly I feel rather than being on a quest to find this out for myself, the moment the words 'but they are who you are' were spoken was pivotal and my attitude changed - my quest now is clear, it is to prove that they do not define me.  I will not be defined by my hair!  Previously I wrote that I hoped I would find the wild within and the gumption and vivaciousness still there once the dreads are gone.  Today I know I am all those things and still will be dreadless or no.  So I thank my friend for giving me a big hit of healing self belief!

Maternity Worldwide got in touch today and I found out it only takes £15 to make a birth safe in Africa and £80 trains a midwife for a month so having raised over £200 already is a wonderful thing!  Thanking anyone reading who has sponsored me already it's generating a hugely positive feeling out there - despite the mixed feelings I have invoked in my friends.  But then wouldn't the world be boring if we were all the same!

Love and light X X X

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

My Dread Pledge : finding Wild within

I am beginning to allow myself to let go.  To say goodbye to one phase and enter another, gracefully.  It is happening quicker than I first thought it would.  After procrastinating with both my inner voices ( a headache in itself!) I turned to the voice of spirit and intuition to guide me and if I have interpreted the guidance right then what I am about to do is part of re-emergence into a new phase of life and maturity.  I am about to cut my dreadlocks of twelve years off.  I am flitting backwards and forwards like a bird from feeder to tree; between excited and freakin' the hell out about it, which is why it needs to be quick.  There is no time for indecision.  I am a dread lover, plain and simple - through asking around I have found they are like Marmite you either love them or hate them.  I LOVE them and hear this universe - this is not the last time you will see me wearing dreads, it is just time to part ways with these dreadlocks and refresh a while.

They hold a story, a history actually a herstory if you will!  Like rings of a tree - the thicker more bulbous parts, of which there are two, are from when I had my babies and never had the time to take care of them properly then they taper in to thinner sections where I had to pull, even tear one great matt of hair apart!  They've seen struggles and bitter tragedy, they have flailed around me as if alive as I have danced right through the night and the high times (sorry to anyone who has ever been caught in the face, ouch!).  They have tingled at sunrises, sunsets and salt water washes in the sea.  They have travelled to other corners of the world, channelled collective vibrations in stone circles and at festivals, kept me warm and comforted me at night.  Everyday they have been ready before I am!  They have given me a gumption and vivaciousness I only glimpsed before I had them.  I say it again and I say it loud I am a dread lover, I have and still as I write this  do love them but you know what an itchy scalp never rocked my world really and they are heavy now, oh so heavy - weighty natty most-likely-full-of-crap kinda heavy!  They are emotionally weighty.  I feel my head dragged back and down sometimes, tension and pulling at my scalp and other times I am elated, elevated and bask in their wild wild glory.  It is the wildness I identify with most not the image - the woman inside me who runs with the wolves and howls at a full moon.  I was younger, so very young when I put them in. I have had them all my adult life - almost half my actual life time and now I am audacious enough to hope I am slightly wiser, certainly more experienced and that there is a great chance I can be wild and vivacious without them for a time.  I keep reminding myself its not aesthetic it is not for vanity it is not because anyone in particular has said anything in particular at all about them.  No, this is deeply personal and if anything symbolic.  And I believe in the very real power of symbolism and that inevitably it can enhance a spiritual transformation.

I have considered carefully the reaction of my children who I realise since birth have etched the image of my dread framed face in their memories as that of ultimate security.  Zander at first was dead against it but I have talked with him and he himself put a celebratory twist into the mix and now it seems he's allowing me, urging me even to make it a rite of passage.  He has practically demanded a hair cutting party with a glitter ball and music ... maybe... why not!!!  Why not celebrate this end of one era beginning of a new one?  Isn't this exactly the attitude to life I have been aiming to pass on ... each turn of the wheel is a reason to celebrate.  I've told them we can make bracelets out of the beads and adornments in the dreads and keep a bracelet each if they want to ... and it is of absolute importance to me that they are never afraid of letting go throughout their own lives - if this is a lesson they can learn now when they are very small then all the better that we celebrate and make it so.

I received the only blessing my soul wanted, in it's human insecurity needed to hear last night from my dearest friend who on my first asking about all this did not give me her opinion, would not - as she never does.  But, as she always does she encouraged and empowered me to use my intuition and tune into something deeper for guidance.  This was a true gift.  Throughout the whole time we have known one another and that is a long time now, she has always assured me it is possible to fly without actually taking me through the motions and instead she lets me unfurl my wings, lightly beat them - testing, and stretch them  into the sky myself, catch the breeze, find the currents, find the power.  And once I'd respectfully and wisely explored intuition and spirit she gave her blessing in her compassionate gentle way.  Truly a gift you cannot buy, she is my soul sister, my diamond in the mine that is the whole of the Earth.  There is no other like her and grateful is my heart that it is she who will style my new do!

To me timing is crucial.  Looking skywards Full Moon is a symbol of completion but I am due on at that time and I think full up with with hormones and tears as I always am at that time anyway, it would be a bad time to do anything that is likely to be highly emotionally charged.  New Moon then ... the first day after new moon is symbolic of re-emergence.  My plan then is to gently start the process this next full moon, the quickening moon - I'll cut a little off every other day or so until new moon when the last of it will be conditioned out and the day after new moon I'll be left with nowt but a pixie crop and a cold neck!

I am also keen to spend some time fund raising to make this transition a really joyful positive love-it-forwards one, so the time between moons gives me the ideal opportunity.  I am asking all the lovelies who know me or anyone who reads this and identifies with the cause I am supporting to sponsor me on this part of my journey for the benefit of all the pregnant girls and women in developing countries out there who are helped by Maternity Worldwide. to not only survive a safe pregnancy and childbirth but to educate them in family planning and pre and post natal care, train them and provide access to even the most basic checks and routine procedures that we take for granted in this country. This cause is not only close to my heart as a mother but as a midwife of the future ... for which I will start studying in September! 

Breathing out I am starting to release and breathing in I am finding the wild within.  The day after new moon I hope I can re-emerge a different kind of butterfly!

I am going to keep a photo journal here throughout the shedding of my dreads and my just-giving page is here www.justgiving.com/Rose-Wood5 for anyone who wants to take a look.

An Ekart Toll quote that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment is

'sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on'

I hope so.

With love light curiosity and courage X X X

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Natures Medicine Chest : Change will come

I have brought illness upon myself towards the end of this week; from stress and discord in my life.  But by becoming conscious of the reason I can allow myself to see it as time to slow down, clean the cluttered slate, start afresh and then transform.  Gather strength in body and clarity in thought for changing within and perhaps without as well.  I'm undecided ... do my beloved dreadlocks of 12 years go to help facilitate and symbolise a spiritual transformation or is that superficial?  What I have realised from asking around is that most people consider them an aesthetic statement.  Well, not really, not anymore, perhaps they were when I put them in but now they are actually a life style choice.  Low maintenance, comfort and thermal insulation - I kid you not, what more could I want from hair?   And the kids - they have only ever known me as a dread-head what would they think?  I remember when my Dad shaved his moustache off when my sister was only three she totally freaked!  It was an off the cuff remark from the Mr. that prompted this stream of consciousness - one that has thoroughly confused me and had me questioning life the universe and everything.

Anyway, turning always to nature to help me heal the sickness, aside from two occasions I have woken in so much pain that I took paracetamol just to get back to sleep, I am managing fine pumping my body full of healing herbs and warming spices.  Here is what I have been using:

drinks -

Tea made from half a teaspoon of mixed spice plus 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons of honey, a drop of goats milk and hot water.  Basically a proper bad ass Chai!

Tea made from a hunk of raw ginger chopped then pressed through a garlic press, juice of half a lemon, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus hot water.

eats -

garlic and honey on toast:  toast a piece of bread well.  Let it cool then take a peeled garlic glove and scratch it all over the surface until its gone.  Coat the toast in honey and scoff.  Personally I love the taste so I've been eating this breakfast lunch and dinner, that makes three raw cloves of garlic a day, got to be good!

Chilli - anything with chilli in it, the more the better.  Tonight it was re-fried chilli beans and a damn good guacamole also with chilli in it.

Little bit of something sweet before bed - for me it's got to be lemon curd on a thick wedge of home made wholemeal bread.

Homemade banana and blackberry vegan ice-cream - way too easy to make and really soothing on a sore throat and packed full of vitamins.

Finally sleep, inspiration and music - lots of each - its not only about the body it is the body-mind-spirit interface that needs healing as a whole.  I have allowed myself to read more books, more blogs and treated myself to some new music.   

I still got the kids out to the park yesterday despite feeling like death and once we were home a pivotal thing happened - Zander asked to learn how to use the washing machine ...  he put three washes on - yes three!  I guided him through the whole process of deciding what in his laundry basket needed washing the most, adding powder to the machine, where the temperature and time settings where and once it was done he hung some of it up to dry.  Ah that happy phrase 'child-led' ... yes let them lead and look where they go ... the whole idea of their time with us is to be preparing them to survive and thrive by themselves one day.  Here is a seed sown starting to sprout.  I believe it is especially important that collectively as mama's we do well with our sons for the sake of other peoples daughters, I don't want another generation of women single handedlly running the house.

And I am thankful imagination didn't walk out the door the moment illness walked in because otherwise we would not have had 'the best cinema ever' here in our front room.   Zander made cinema tickets and Gaia 'sold' the popcorn I made which I put into three separate mugs so we didn't have to scrap over one big bowl as usual.  We drew the curtains, turned the lights off and snuggled under a big old blanket.  

With tomorrow nights waxing moon I will be opening my heart to the monthly renewal nature gives us.  This coming week I am going to start creating a sacred space for myself.  I have needed this for so long but I have never prioritised it.   I don't have much space to play with but what little I have I am going to use imaginatively and treasure the process as well as the end result.  True the kitchen window sill is strewn with special trinkets and photos and things we've found in nature but it isn't somewhere I can sit and meditate, contemplate, energise.  This is going to be a great adventure - gathering things, preparing and cleansing then integrating into and becoming part of my space.  I am prepared for it to take a while given how hectic life is but it is forward motion and it is for me and I am so excited!

Always with love X

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Earth Lovers

I figured we ought to do something vaguely linked to the big day of LOVE today so we made heart shaped cheese and herb savoury biscuits for lunch in the morning and then we spent the afternoon in the woods.  Twas another post-night-shift day, so getting us all out was a no brainer once the dark brooding deluging skies gave way to sunshine and sapphire.

I was excited to show the kids parts of the woods they've not seen before.  We walked the ancient ring and then spent a long while up in the top of the bird hide watching birds.  Zander, it turns out, is a pro!  He clocked up the most spotting's and the smallest spotting too - a gorgeous wren that looked to all intents and purposes like a jumping leaf so well camouflaged amongst the carpet of Beech leaves it was.  He spotted a pair of blue tits dancing up a twisted tree trunk and identified a wood pigeon in flight!  Today's little outing has been an obvious inspiration to him.  All the way back home he was talking non-stop about what to put in his nature journal and we have decided we are going to put together a 'woodland adventure bag' to grab and run with; including a pair of real binoculars, our nature journals, pencils, plastic wallets and sticky tape, identification books and a bag of peanuts to leave as offerings to birds and squirrels.  My heart literally soars  with his enthusiasm.  This is the nourishment I enjoy providing the most for their souls, because this is where my soul is most at home.

Being back in the same spot I took myself to on saturday was therapeutic in its familiarity.  Only this time I didn't even notice the sickening trees that seemed so bold a metaphor before and the same mantra of good intention shuffled forwards automatically to take centre stage in my mind.  Walking works.  The woods really are a spiritual home.  It is their resonance, the frequency harmonious to that of the core of my being, that is so healing.

So that was our big earth-LOVE-in day.  Essentially we were together and happy and that is all I ever wish for.  In contrast yesterday was another shitty ass day just like saturday so there is no rhyme or reason to any of it.  Just got to take the rough with the smooth, always strive for smooth and cherish the goodness with the whole of my being when it does find us.

Walking always with wonder, love and light X

Monday, 11 February 2013

Daily Intentions

I am trying to pay more attention to and consciously name my intentions each day, as I think without them I have been lost a long while.  I realised whilst walking alone in the woods at the weekend how powerful this can be. Today is the first day of half term and I worked a night shift last night so things could have gotten tough without some positive thinking.

I'm holding on to Saturdays 'let it flow, let it go' and a new intention for today ... 'guide them gently'.  

For me this encompasses three aspects I want to master over time - gentle thought, gentle speech, gentle action and I believe guidance is exactly what they need and what I am here for in essence as a mama.  Simultaneously I feel I too need gentle guidance - something I must take responsibility for seeking out myself, a process I am enjoying the beginnings of already.

We went to the woods to discharge surplus energy first thing this morning.  Despite the biting cold it was beautiful with delicate feathery snow falling around us.


The kiddos have started to play more imaginative role play games in the last couple of days involving building a structure, setting a scene and making props which I absolutely love to get involved with.  It started with dens but we've pulled together a pirate ship, an army base and a teddy hospital too.

We've all flexed our creative muscles with renewed enthusiasm these last couple of days.  It started with me doodling quietly by myself on sunday morning as a kind of keep-my-head-down therapy, it didn't occur to me they would come and find inspiration in it but they did.  Today we made a bird mobile from a set I bought at the Tate Modern a few years back and  I watched their imaginations click into the next gear allowing them to create their own beautiful variations on the theme.  It hasn't been a bad day at all so I have one grateful heart and lunch with friends to look forward to tomorrow.


With love and light and blessings bright X

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Permission to relax

It has been a shitty ass day.  I was feeling suffocated by negativity and the inability to deal with more challenging behaviour rationally.  Today I did something I have never done before - something exclusively to heal myself; I left the house and drove.  Alone.  My head didn't know where at first but my heart has an inbuilt compass ... always the woods.  Had to be extensive could-get-lost kinda woods.  

I walked and walked.  At first I only noticed how some of the trees were sickening and thought them a fitting metaphor to my mind - polluted by thoughts of the wrong vibration.  Then realising this major error in my ways I took time to hold my intention - simply, I was there to 'Let it flow, let it go' .  Slowly I felt the negativity shedding like a tree sheds its leaves in an autumn breeze and  gradually in its place the healing started and I touched on something soothing, something subtly ethereal.  I hid.  I gasped.  I hugged.  I  let the earth take my weight.  I let my mind empty some.  I let the rhymes come.  I could have lost all time and stayed all day.  I could have stayed all night camped under starry skies without a care for the cold or anything else.  Finally I have given myself permission to relax and be me by myself.




'may the odds be ever in your favour'

I felt revived, alive again, like the waters of a cool mountain spring would revive and have vowed to do this regularly - this is only the beginning.  Although it didn't solve any of the days problems, which continued rolling in long after my return, the simple act of allowing myself this luxury of time and space went a way to start altering the way I see and feel.  I would highly recommend it!

Always treading lightly with belief, hope & gratitude x x x

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Witchin' in the Kitchen

I am very easily distracted by virtually anything so I am trying to find more organic satisfying rhythms for our home and two things that seem to be a daily fixture and a good place to start this experiment are bread baking and soup making.  And in between all the kneading (which Gaia is fast becoming an expert at 'fold and press' she can be heard chanting!) and proving, roasting and rising we sit down for stories or puzzles, the TV is taking an enforced vacation from our lives for a bit!

Today's soup was Roasted Tomato and Herbs.  I am a sucker for intensifying and sweetening flavours this way - the result beats a tin from the supermarket any day ... even an organic one!  

I ran a little side project too; one I have been curious about for a while ... making my own multi-purpose eye make up from burnt almonds ... essentially homemade Kohl.  It is so simple - a couple of handfuls of flaked almonds in a thin bottomed frying pan.  I used my oldest most beat up pan - the same one that is perfect for pittas and flatbreads because it heats so quickly being so thin.  I cooked them on full heat until completely blackened and smoking - open windows and switch extractor fans on!  Once totally charred I ground them down as fine as I could in a pestle and mortar till the oils start seeping out.  I then blitzed it in the pastes attachment that came with my food processor for good measure.  I transferred back to the pestle and mortar and added a drop of the calendula oil I made last year - a little at first grinding it into the mixture then slightly more because I wanted to use this as mascara as well.  The smell is amazing - like coffee made from almonds not beans!  I do not recommend trying to get this mixture inside a clean mascara pot it is nigh-un impossible!  So I have cleaned out an old face mask tub from Lush and stored it in there and am simply dipping the mascara wand in and removing excess with a tissue before applying.  It is more subtle than a regular mascara but that's how I like it anyway and as a shadow applied with finger tips then blended it gives the ultimate smokey sultry effect. 100% satisfying knowing how completely natural and inexpensive it was!

I am going to have to play with consistency and possibly the ingredients (may add some bees wax) before I'm satisfied but so long as I have it all perfected by the time Gaia shows any interest in make up I'll be happy ... which I'm sure will be a while yet!

I also made a tray of utterly luxurious hand lotion bars using Polly's recipe at This Enchanted Pixie.  I have adapted the recipe slightly because I had oodles of calendula oil left so instead of the coconut oil and the sweet almond oil I used two cups of calendula oil to the one cup of beeswax.  The result is divine and just what my poor hands needed.

Always with love, always with light X

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Gluten-free flour Chocolate Marmalade and Cashew Cake

In an effort to rid my house of so many mama/kiddo confrontations and following awesome suggestions from a mama friend, 3 o'clock - formerly gremlin hour, is now cake o'clock ... the idea being a daily wedge, a large wedge at that, of homemade cake should boost energy levels and smiles all round!

So today I devised this recipe with the odds and sods in my kitchen cupboards

you need:

2 cups gluten free flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons (at least) of marmalade
200g dark chocolate
a slosh or two or three of goats milk (or whatever milk is to hand)
5 egg yolks (I misinterpreted a different recipe I was referring to for rough guidance.  Egg yolks worked well but I don't see why you couldn't use 3 whole eggs)
1 cup of dark muscovado sugar or molasses
1 cup marg/butter
2 oz cashew nuts ground.
zest of one orange

icing sugar for dusting


Pre-heat oven at gas mark 4.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or something heatproof over a pan of boiling water. Allow to cool a little.

Cream butter and sugar together then add eggs, marmalade and melted chocolate.

Add flour, baking powder and ground cashews (I blitzed whole nuts in my food processor) and orange zest - combine well.

Add milk until you have a nice light fluffy creamy consistency.

Pour into a tin and bake for about 45 mins - but obviously it is ready when I knife comes out clean.

Dust with icing sugar or whatever your preferred topping - I would have liked to use some kind of devilish cream cheese icing but no one in my family likes that except me.

So I've just wrapped a hunk of this up for each of my kids to have when I collect them after school and nursery in an hour, hope it goes some way to keeping us all perky!  Off to bake some bread now.

With love, light and blessings bright! X

Monday, 4 February 2013

She stirs ....

The seeds of life in the earth do quiver, touched and tickled by teasing sunlight and the subtle suggestion of growing warmth. It is curious how though it is still so cold and barren, all bar the brave snowdrops who vivaciously peep, that it still feels at this festival like we are gathering our things and preparing to leave the dark woods of winter behind us. The wheel turns, always after dark there is light. After hardship can come easier times if we invest our souls and our belief.

Little rituals build each year, each one - each time we practise, becomes more dear
A little closer to the spirit of the earth we sail so with the whole of my heart; spring - the maiden I hail!


I am remembering how fortunate we are that even through coldest darkest winter there is always food available, always shelter, always warmth, although I think we might do well not to be complacent about our good fortune as one day in the earths future it will inevitably run dry.  And so a theme of resilience and self sufficiency is not inappropriate especially as times are increasingly tough on our pockets. I like a more humble existence anyway but I have been wondering in what new ways can I re-enforce and enhance these principles to my children this year? How are other mama's teaching this? Whose inspiration can I draw on? 

They are a year older, a year wiser and more capable so instead of orchestrating operations of self sufficiency myself and merely asking for their help and company I think I will start to inspire and hand over some planning to them. We have our vegetable patch so lets dig out some books and they can decide what veg they would like to grow, get them drawing rough planting plans and choosing the organic seeds before planting them.
We love to forage, so this year they could draw up identification sheets and laminate them so we can take them with us on our expeditions. I thought we could buy proper blackberrying baskets and draw up lists of the things we can make at home with our haul; let them write out and illustrate recipes and perhaps bind them together into a family recipe book.
Community (I love the C word!) how can I enhance their understanding of the importance of this?  Continue gathering kindred spirits together at poignant moments of the year, take produce and home baking's to share with friends at school ... I have re-found the Cambridge Transition movement after a personal hiatus.  I know there are community orchards and seedy-sundays where we can swap seeds.  I've noticed teams of people clearing the common and river banks of detritus and over growth - perhaps its time we got involved there and perhaps this year ... the parade at Strawberry Fair!

Always I hope these workings will help with the endemic impatience I sense lurking.  It lurks at school, in shops, in their peers, on the TV, the internet and in quick delivery times ... it does it's best to infiltrate our homely rhythms so I must continue to thwart its efforts and grow my children's awareness, gently, more each year - things take time, projects - however big or small, even making bread, evolve.

With Imbolcs arrival I found the triple spiral in my home - maiden mother crone.  My Mama came to stay for the first time ever.  She feasted with us and I mothered my mother.  The kids loved it.  Some old wounds are healing in the face of a new crisis, it is hard for me to resist.


Brightest Blessings treading always with love, always with hope and belief X

Friday, 1 February 2013

Soup for the Soul

I have recently dug out my Covent Garden Food Company Recipe Book which has been sitting in a trunk never once used for a whole year .... why?!  I tell you every one of the vegetarian recipes sounds like a winner - even the kids smack their lips and demand more alongside homemade crusty bread and it makes me inexplicably happy in the knowledge they are getting all the nutrients they need and then some ... and they don't even realise it.  Getting them to eat veg that looks like veg is still a chore even though they were born vegetarien, so this is a revelation.

They are of course highly suspicious of each new soup placed in front of them but I'm using my Nana's old trick and when they ask me what it is I say ... 

'If it'  ...  'No, what is it' they chirrup  ...  'If it' I say again .... 'If it's nice you'll like it' 

and that is all I am prepared to say and it turns out all I need to say.  It works ... the wisdom of grandmothers eh?

So far this week we have enjoyed - 

Moroccan chickpea, mango and spinach soup

Vegetable and peanut butter soup

Reviving lemon, thyme & lentil soup

Such a nice change from the standard Leek and potato soup I have been churning out over the last few months because it's a fail safe.  Bland recipes are such an easy rut to get stuck in when the kids pallets are still developing.  This weekend with Imbolc upon us I shall be road testing the enchantingly named 'Grandad Elf's Spring Herb Soup' and I'm literally urging the nettles to start sprouting along the river bank as Cliff has finally announced he is 'up for trying nettle soup' free soup!....foraging points to mama!

And the best bit ... there is always leftovers for the next days lunch.

Brightest Blessings