Monday, 26 September 2011

I have moved

I have moved.  This is my new address:

The content of this blog has been integrated into it, and all new posts will only appear on the new one.

Please come on over and have a look around.  I'm still unpacking and arranging the furniture so it's not perfect yet.

If you are a subscriber, I'd love it if you re-subscribed over there.

See ya!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Music that speaks to the soul

Ah, the power of music to cross boundaries, bypass the intellect and ego, and appeal directly to the soul!

If there's one thing I identify with, it's humanity and it's capacity to create beauty.

Close your eyes and listen.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Living with a Zen Master

I'm learning so much from living with this little cat called Pepper.

Simple living at its best.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Home-grown Salsa Verde

August greenness from my garden:

lots of wild rocket
borage leaves
red orach

Chop everything up finely, along with some chopped capers and anchovies.

Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a good slug of olive oil.

Ooh, and some chopped red chillies for a bit of complementary colour and bite. (you could use tomatoes for less bite).

Makes this:

A glistening, colourful side salad to accompany anything really.  Roast beef, mackerel fillets, charcuterie, omelette....

Not to mention the vitamins, and the pleasure to be had in gathering leaves from the garden and turning them into something delicious.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

How I know that I will always be alright

I happen to be at a time in my life that we call crossroads, or going through a transition. I have made some major decisions that were very difficult to do, and that are leading to big changes.

As always in these transitional moments in life, when we decide on the big things – whether it be change jobs, move house, get married, divorce, have a baby - there is always that in-between stage where you have made the decision to let go of a big thing, but you don’t really know what will take its place.  You can only imagine.

Our emotions about the future are fuelled by what we imagine. It is very easy to slip into fear, worrying or panicking about what we think we are losing, what if it’s not what I want after all? What if I’ve made a dreadful mistake? What if this happens? What if that happens?  But that leads straight to a mindset of fear.

So if I find myself slipping down that road of negative “what ifs”, I’ve found that the best thing for me is to stop what I’m doing, breathe and concentrate on being in the present. To sit with the emptiness.

So, yesterday, attempting to be calm and in the present, there I was sitting in my hammock under the catalpa tree, swinging gently in the dappled shade with my book*, watching birds visit the branches, the odd bee buzzing around - how did that earwig get into my hammock? - the smell of ripening blackberries, alternating between reading, musing and dozing.

Then it hit me. Well, it came into my mind very clearly anyway, and woke me up.

I know deep down that however low I am, whenever I hit rock bottom, even if it feels like the end of the world, I will always be alright.

How do I know?

Because I will ALWAYS find beauty around me.

Of this I am sure.

As I was writing this today I remembered being soothed by an email from a friend recently, after he had heard my fear in my voice.  When I went back and reread it, I found he had written this:

Put fresh flowers on the table. Laugh with your girls. Talk to the animals. Seek beauty.


*Beauty, by John O'Donohue

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Taking a break to fill my well

I'm taking a little break.

Off for a week in the sun.

Sorting out some big changes in my life.

Looking after myself, filling my well.

I may do some sporadic painting and blogging over the summer, but it will come after looking after myself and my girls.

In the meantime, here's something I recommend reading.  It came in my inbox just today, and I think it's absolutely lovely.  It's a free e-book called Of This Earth, by Bill Gerlach of The New Pursuit.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This is the kind of thing I'll be focusing on this summer.

I'll be back, stronger and wiser.

Enjoy your summer.  Make the most of it.

I've given you something to read, now listen to this:

Life.  Golden. Yay!

And what a beautiful face!

Sunday, 12 June 2011


40 x 40 cm oil on canvas

I did this one on a bigger canvas this time, and I'm very happy with the result.  It worked well with a subject that needs more detail.

I like artichokes, particularly artichoke hearts, but not many people take the trouble to cook them from scratch.  Here in France, we boil the whole artichoke head for about half an hour, or until the leaves peel off easily.  Drain it, leave it to cool, and then eat by peeling off each leaf, dipping it in mustard vinaigrette, and then sucking off the soft bit.  Mmm.  A bit time consuming, and not a lot is edible compared to the size of the thing, but it's good fun.

I found great instructions here on how to cook and eat an artichoke, complete with photos.  If you haven't ever cooked them this way, try it.

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