An Early Midwinter Morning

As I move around in gentle light. A shift’s occurred which ends the night. An ever flowing change by sun, which fades again once dusk’s begun. For now, I peek fresh-faced, anew, from hours of sleep a yearning to, start the day, light rises now, the moon steps back a graceful bow. A gentle mist hangs on the land, a winter frost clings on each strand, of grass, and plants alike do glisten with specks of glass and dew drops hidden. The birds will rise soon, crystals fade and melt in warming sunshine rays. The depth of Winter centres me, grounds me, holds me sets me free. Morning light, you let me see, morning light will be, will be.

Jaime xx

Share this!

#reasonsforbeinghappy – week 4

I can feel it.  We are almost through January and Spring is not too far now. The evenings are getting lighter and in the garden, crocuses are beginning to peak above the leaf-mould canopy, to warm their growing stems in the ever-low  sun. The threat of snow still looms but with the longer days comes hope, a sense that all will be well and that good is coming.

1. Bulbs-a-springing

Crocuses, daffodils and snow drops, all beginning to appear in my garden. The fruit of last year’s labour when I planted what felt like a tonne of bulbs.

2. Birds-a- singing

Two homemade bird boxes (courtesy of a very handy hubby and the local wildlife club!) one pretty fresh water-holder, a peanut feeder, mealworm feeder, seeds and a fat-ball holder. Plus a big compost bin and lots of year-round green foliage have all helped to bring birds back to my garden. I just love slow weekend mornings spent watching the birds out the window, feeding and enjoying our garden wares. The excitement felt by my children last weekend when a blue tit explored one of the bird houses was just immense. We even have a resident robin! Stay tuned for a new post about how I brought nature back into my urban garden.

3. Baby arriving!

January can be a tough time of year. The highs of the holiday season seem like distant memories as we fall back into our daily routine and try to give our bank accounts a break. So nothing could warm my heart more this month than the news of a new baby! Congratulations to one of my dearest, oldest friends, we can’t wait to meet her!

#reasonsforbeinghappy from around the blogosphere:

@KitchenGoddess3: #reasonsforbeinghappy I’ve been on a fantastic long weekend to Edinburgh.The perfect chance to recharge my batteries

What are your reasons this week? Let us know below!

Jaime xx

Share this!

Stay ahead with Bloglovin

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12118931/?claim=y5ehdp4mjrj”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Love reading blogs online? Look no further I have the perfect site for you! Bloglovin is a place for storing, sharing and connecting with blogs from different forums. If you currently follow blogs from wordpress like mine, and also have favourites elsewhere then why not follow them all together in one place! It’s a brilliant way to keep up to date with your favourite bloggers and the app makes it even easier to search and follow blogs. Download it here. Why not start right away!

Jaime xx

Share this!

Seasonal Yoga – Winter

I was lucky enough to find a new class this week. Housed in a beautiful local environment centre, I’d been to this place lots before with my children; where we’d walk, forage and stop for hot chocolate on chilly afternoons. This week I followed up on a poster I’d seen on one such afternoon and grabbed a spot in a Kundalini Yoga class. My previous yoga experience has mainly been with Dru Yoga (and of course my beloved Yoga Studio app) so I was excited to branch out and develop my practice. I learnt so much in that first session and having spent the past 24 hours rolling the new wisdom around in my mind, I want to share a mantra that really stood out to me; work with the seasons.

In Winter, we naturally want to hibernate. We plump up to keep warm and as the sun rises later, so we find the waking harder, forcing our feet to find the chilly floor in the cave-like room, like early daffodils eager to bloom in the midst of January. The midst of Winter. We spend our evenings curled up with blankets and we slow down, a little, saving big plans for Spring holidays and long summers. Well this week my sleepy eyes were opened; we can, and must, extend this mantra into our practice. Don’t fight Winter, go with it. We are naturally less supple in the cold and for most of us, the last thing we want to do is wake ourselves up with a dynamic set of poses. Like birds who stop singing in Winter, we too need to conserve energy to survive the winter hardship, save the exertion for the Spring and for now, hibernate. Give in to the season and give yourself time, check your awareness as it flows from the top of your body and into your feet in soft waves. Do this in abundance. Now is the time to indulge in you and indulge in the still and the quiet.

In terms of yoga, Winter is not the time for ferocious challenges, for a billion rounds of sun salutations or for contorting your rigid muscles into new poses. Save it. Save it and be glad to know that you can tackle these with joy in the sun-blessed mornings of Spring, but for now be rested. Meditate and keep a soft, flowing practice, indulge in savasana and bring your focus back to the gentle fizz of awareness in your body.

Light a candle for your practice this weekend and lay still, check your awareness from top to tail and then hug your knees to your chest, gently pivoting them forward and back as you breathe in time. Compress – breathe out, release – breath in, letting your tummy fill deeply with air. Compress, release, compress.

Indulge in you this winter.

Jaime xx

Image credit: www.bevitality.com

Share this!

#reasonsforbeinghappy Week 3

Ok, so it’s not strictly week 3 but thanks to a busy start-of-term, I’m only just catching up on the blog! Anyway, labels, timekeeping and routine have never been strong points of mine! I’m here to champion the chaotic, the spontaneous and the late. Spend your time having the fun, rather than being punctual in documenting it. That’s my blogger motto anyway!

Here are my latest happy things:

1. Wildlife Walks
It’s been a gorgeous start to January here in Kent. Mornings lay heavy with grey-white mist and afternoons soon warm with low Winter sun-beams, penetrating the cold air in long, golden strands. We’ve had some lovely walks this week and have explored some new beauty spots in our local area; like Bedgebury Pinetum and our local favourite; the Ashford Community Woodland. Boots thick with mud, red noses and misty breath, all synonymous with glorious Winter walking.

2. Young Poet in the Making

My eldest daughter stood up in front of the whole school this week and impressed us all with her poem about the colours of Mexico, beautifully read and wonderfully written. I love poetry and I’m so pleased my children are also inspired to write; it’s good for the soul! Huge proud mummy moment!

3. Saving Orphaned Rhinos
On Monday, I had the pleasure of introducing a speaker from conservation charity OSCAP, at school assembly. She spoke of the imminent threat to South Africa’s wildlife, particularly the rhino, and what we could all do to help. In response to this we have begun a colouring competition at school and have also been selling beautiful rhino pins and bracelets in order to raise money for a new rhino ambulance. These ambulances are specially designed to pick up orphaned rhino calves in the wild who tend to stay close to their murdered mothers and then invariably die due to starvation/dehydration or predation. I am so pleased we can help this wonderful cause. If you would like make a donation or purchase a pin/bracelet please get in touch!

What are your #reasonsforbeinghappy this week?

Jaime xx

Share this!

Recipe: Shredded Sprouts and Tofu

IMG_3855.JPG

I love my Abel and Cole Cookbook. It’s full of wholesome, hearty recipes which work with the seasons (and therefore the ingredients in my weekly veg box!) So today, when deciding to use up a bag of organic sprouts languishing in post-Christmas asylum, this book was my go-to guide for some wintery inspiration. Now of course, the wonderful recipe writers at Abel and Cole land aren’t all vegetarian and so I am used to getting creative when not wanting to miss out on a beautiful dish, but this recipe Shredded Brussels and Bacon appeared to challenge us veggies directly:

“If you’re vegetarian and thinking about moving over to the dark side”

The blurb read arrogantly (But with a good enough dollop of tongue-in-cheek honesty, to allow me to refrain from offence) I did feel challenged though. Opening the fridge, I spotted a pack of smoked tofu that really needed using and considered if this would be enough to match the succulence of fried bacon. Perhaps not in texture but paired with the sweet maple syrup I had to hand, I thought I’d give it a go! So often with meat, it’s the sauces, flavourings and texture we in fact crave, not the taste of the plain meat itself. I also had some Indian ghee (clarified butter) to use up, and with its high smoke point (making it incredibly stable in molecular structure when cooking) it would be perfect for browning and adding much lusted-after flavour to the tofu.

Ok so here goes; a simple, healthy and seasonal vegetarian recipe inspired by Abel and Cole’s meaty one; where I switched bacon for smoked tofu, soy sauce for maple and butter for ghee. The original recipe also includes carrots, which I didn’t use – as I didn’t have, but I’d say feel free to experiment with/increase the variety of vegetables to your liking/as the season dictates.

Ingredients:
A small bag of Brussels Sprouts
A 225g packet of smoked tofu, cubed (I find that Clear Spot’s has a very good firmness)
1.5 tbsp of ghee (or a good quality oil)
A good glug of maple syrup
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage (optional)
Brown rice (to serve)
Vegetarian hard cheese, grated (optional)

IMG_3845.JPG

1. First get your rice simmering in water and then begin preparing the sprouts. You’ll need to cut a few millimetres off the bottom of each sprout (depending on size of stalk) and remove the outer leaves, before slicing in half and then shredding lengthways, with each slice around 2mm wide.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot and begin to fry the tofu cubes until golden and beginning to crisp on each side. Do this gently, but don’t allow it to stew. I find a medium-high heat, plenty of ghee, with as little stirring as possible the best method here.

IMG_3849.JPG

3. Add the shredded sprouts and half the chopped sage. Splash in a good glug of maple syrup, give it all a good stir and then leave it to cook for between 5 and 10 mins. After which, taste and season accordingly, adding more maple syrup if required.

IMG_3853.JPG

4. Serve on a mound of rice, with the sprouts having kept a slight bite and sprinkle over the rest of the sage and some vegetarian hard cheese for extra richness and flavour.

This recipe can easily be adapted for vegans, just switch the ghee for a good quality oil (one with a high smoke point like rapeseed would work well here) and omit the cheese or switch for a dusting of nutritional yeast.

I hope you enjoy this healthy, wintery treat, my children aged 7 and 3 cleared their plates and asked for more! An unequivocal Brussels Sprout result in my book!

Happy New Year!

Jaime xx

Share this!