Connecting

Connections-pin

Thanks to mobile phones and social media channels, we can all keep connected pretty much all the time if we choose to. Of course, we know there are downsides, but treating your own well-being as priority, should help you drag yourself away from the latest horror stories after a period of time. Try to check in to the news just two or three times a day, but only for 10-15 minute bursts.

We don’t need to know everything. We can google all sorts of theories and conspiracies until the cows come home (?) but that’s your choice. And, where are you going with it? If you’re creating a future book or a personal journal of pandemic events, then fine, but don’t get lost in cyber space too often!

Other forms of connection are showing up all the time. One of my daughters and her partner created several funny short and distorted videos a couple of weeks ago which brought many smiles and belly laughs! Another of my daughters (a yoga teacher) has just made a short video of how she has found more confidence in herself simply by creating a video and some online yoga training. These connections mean so much and reach many people.

Acts of kindness are springing up all over the place and it’s heart-warming to know that not the entire human species are a bunch of idiots. ๐Ÿ™‚

Recently, in a need-to-sort-everything-out moment, I found some poetry I’d written and on the same day discovered it’s poetry month and saw a post by Elizabeth Gilbert encouraging people to post poems. Thank you Universe!

So that’s what I did! I would never have dreamed of doing this before but I had a lovely comment on instagram so I thought I’d share it with you here. But before I sign off, this is the time to be thinking outside the box, even if you’re physically inside one….

phobiapoem

(This was my excuse for not learning to swim!)

Keep safe and well,
Linda x

P.S. If you’re connecting with your garden, there are pots of gardening tips posted here

Washing Up

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When there are more people in the house all day, inevitably more washing up accumulates. Rather than running the dishwasher more times, try doing the washing up the old-fashioned way – you know – sink, water etc;!

Dishwasher detergents can be costly and the electricity consumption fairly high with these long cycle machines. Washing machines are priceless when you have a family. I’ve washed by hand for a few years for six of us and a washing machine was like a dream come true. But washing up the dishes?

It’s quite therapeutic to stand at the sink washing up. Time for a meditative pause in the day or a few minutes of focused thought. Make it make a family affair and if anyone moans about it, try explaining that if they didn’t use a clean cup from the cupboard every single time, but rinsed out their used cup and re-filled it, then there would be less washing up.

Teaching some life lessons, meditation moments, working out problems and some quality family time – all from ignoring the dishwasher and getting your hands wet ๐Ÿ™‚

Keep well and as sane as possible!

Linda x

Feeling Blessed

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I am so blessed. As I’ve got older, birthdays have tended to be a bit quieter but this last weekend blew that right out of the window!

It began on Friday when my youngest daughter and boyfriend surprised me when they flew over from the south of France and landed in my kitchen! Wonderful.

We had lunch in town together on Saturday with my son and planned on having dinner out – what a treat. And, ignoring the rain, we had a great day.

My lovely daughter insisted I ‘get ready’ to go out as opposed to what I normally do – comfy jeans and hoody style ๐Ÿ™‚ – and when we got to the restaurant, I understood why. ….

A surprise party – a huge table with lots of my lovely family, balloons, flowers and even, a bit later, a birthday cake!

I was trembling for at least half an hour and had a crazy grin on my face for most of the evening. We all carried on with an impromptu party until after midnight. What a fabulous treat.

Dancing and a couple of glasses of red wine surrounded by family was definitely the best birthday surprise ever and of course I just had to blog it ๐Ÿ™‚

The memory will keep coming up and reminding me just how blessed I am. A happy memory can always soothe the tougher times.

Linda x

Go Wild

GoWild-pin

โ€ฆ.with a wild flower bath tonic

Collect some or all of these regular garden wild flowers, in any combination, for a super tonic to relax in the bath with.

NB: Don’t do this if you have plant allergies.

ยท lawn daisies ( flowers )
ยท dandelions ( flowers and leaves )
ยท nettles ( young leaves )
ยท blackberry / bramble ( leaves )

Crush your flowers and leaves together and place in a 20cm. square of muslin. Bring up the edges to form a bag and tie securely. Add a loop of string to hang over the hot water tap/fawcett. Let the hot water run through the herb bag. Lie back and enjoy.

Relax!

Linda x

P.S. Many herbs can be used in the bath. Check out the herb downloads here – step by step guides to getting it right!

Garden Water Features

GardenWaterFeatures-pinSomething to consider while planning your outdoor space this year….

Garden Water features are a relatively new fashion in the west. According to the feng shui experts, water features in the east are simply a way of life.

*Sitting on top of a cliff watching the waves break against the rocks is exhilarating.
*Relaxing in the countryside watching and listening to a river flowing nearby is calming.

Creating a water feature in your own space is both exhilarating and calming….. and excellent feng shui!

 
Decide on your plot

Although water features are a lot more productive ( and easier to keep clean ) if positioned in full sun, many small water features, fountains or waterfalls can be positioned in a more shady corner of your garden.

Make some plans first. Consider:
– The overall size of your water feature
– Sunny or shady position?
– Waterfall or fountain ? Or both?
– Will you keep fish?
– Rocks and stones to place around the pond / waterfall
– Water friendly plants and flowers – if your pond is in full sun, you will need to cover around two thirds of the surface with plants (water lilies for example)
Let your imagination run free and sketch some ideas or make lists of ideas for your garden water feature.
NB: Building and maintaining a large garden water feature isn’t necessarily cheap, and budget should be considered before you start your project.

waterfeature-amazon

Amazon have all sorts of water garden features , like this fun solar powered creation

Solar Powered Buckets and Tap Water Feature

Read all you can before taking on a water gardens project. And talk to those who’ve done it. You don’t need to take ALL the advice you’ll get, but some of it will be very useful. Know what’s in store before you start.

Garden water features are a stunning addition to a regular home garden, and encourage plenty of wildlife….

Frogs and toads will beat a path to your door when you have an outside water supply. They are great tenants and eat all sorts of bugs and slugs.

You may have to net your pond to protect the fish from birds – and possibly kittens and toddlers?

Encourage children to spend time in your water garden. Much healthier than the play station!

Grow flowers around your pond to encourage bees and butterflies. You could build a miniature rockery, and plant rockery plants. The only thing holding you back is your imagination!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. This is a copy of the 50th content page of my new website – Garden Ideas

Goals and Dreams

dreamsandgoals-pinWow, another decade!

I have loads of plans for the coming year – probably too many but I decided to incorporate personal stuff in my goals and schedules this time round. I tend to have vague goals and intentions about my own well-being but this year I’m going for it!

One thing to remember about resolutions and goal setting is that we all tend to over-estimate what we can do in a year but under estimate what we can do in two or more years.

Whether you’re planning on……

losing weight, getting fit, eating well, starting a yoga practise, launching your own business or growing your own food… or a happy mix of all of the above ๐Ÿ™‚

..โ€ฆ..take a little time now to draw up a schedule – work out what has to be done daily, weekly, monthly and fill in your calendar or journal – I’ve created a folder specifically for my goals this year.

I started by listing all the things I want to achieve and then breaking them down into doable steps and fitting them in around the stuff that has to be done. Remember to be realistic if you take this approach. If you give yourself too much to do and don’t consider the time it takes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose heart in your dreams and aspirations – there are only 24 hours in a day and you have to eat and sleep!

Be easy on yourself and you’ll find you get more done. We know that 20 minutes of meditation daily results in an hour’s worth of productivity. If that works for you, factor it in to your schedule now. But if it becomes a chore, change your approach. Meditation moments throughout the day are just as beneficial.

Setting goals is important to help us grow and achieve our desires but those goals must be realistic. When we emphatically declare that we are going to lose 3 kilos by the end of the month, the underlying feeling of denying ourselves can rear its ugly head and before we know it, we ‘treat’ ourselves to a donut and a latte. Ouch.

Maybe scale it down. Be happy to lose 1 or 2 kilos.

Have you been longing to launch your own business, but can’t give up the day job yet? Difficult because, again, there are only so many hours in a day. If that’s you, baby steps are a must. Even if you just grab a couple of hours at the weekend or in the evenings, a strategic approach will move your plans forward. You may have to brush up on how to create a business plan first. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process.

Be specific. If you start the year with a vague resolution such as ‘I’m giving up the day job this year’, unless you work out the alternatives and create a loose or fixed plan, it won’t happen. However much we may or may not believe in the monetary system, it’s necessary to survive, so if you have a wage, you won’t want to give it up until you’ve secured an alternate surce of income.

One of my goals this year is to learn Portuguese. It’s a challenging language to learn and I may never live in Portugal to exercise my skills but I enjoy languages and I find the learning process helps me overcome feelings of unworthiness or lack of confidence. There is always an up-side to doing something you love!

Happy 2020 everyone. Wishing you peace, love and happiness now and always.

Linda x

Chocolate is Good for you!

chocolateisgoodforyou

When you think of how many steps the cocoa bean has to go through before it reaches our eager taste-buds, it’s incredible it ever gets here!

The cocoa bean pod, growing as big or bigger than our hands, contains beans which are extracted, then fermented, dried, roasted and turned into a chocolate liquer which then goes through more processing before it gets wrapped in a package and shipped to our stores…..phew.

But that’s just in today’s world!

Chocolate has been consumed in various forms for literally thousands of years. Not the commercially produced milk chcocolate that we know, love and try to avoid these days but in a much more natural form.

Here are some quick chocolate facts that have been well documented…

1. The Mayan civilization believed cacao – later the word was changed to cocoa – was a food sent to them by the Gods.

2. The Aztecs also revered and chocolate and considered it to be a food from the Gods

3. Ancient civilizations used chocolate as a healing aid for many ailments, including burns and sores.

4. There are a couple of different theories of when chocolate came to Europe but what is sure is that by the late sixteenth century, chocolate was well established in Spain and other European countries.

5. For most of the 1800’s, chcocolate was enjoyed as a drink, mixed with milk or water. In the French culture, many people still enjoy a bowl of hot chocolate for breakfast – with maybe a pain au chocolat or a croissant.

6. Chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, many of which we can use efficiently in our bodies.

7. Dark chocolate – with cocoa solids of 85% – has been scientifically shown to have anti-oxidant properties and has become a ‘heart healthy’ food. We seem to have come full circle on this one!

I go into this a bit more on my new Simply Chocolate website – Simply Chocolate – there are a few recipes for you chocaholics as well!

Enjoy!
Linda x

P.S. I found most of the fascinating facts in a book called ‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs. It’s on Amazon if you’d like to check it out….

chocolatebook

 

‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs

 

 

 

 

 

Political Overload

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What with Brexit and various political leaders (?) coming and going, us Brits have had a huge dose of political stuff over the past couple of years or so.

Some of it has a ring of truth, some of it is obvious propaganda and even more is pure mud-slinging. All this gets a bit tedious.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still voting for my chosen party, and although it’s probably best I don’t reveal my vote, it certainly wasn’t in favour of a party who obviously doesn’t care about the people of their nation – the people who pay their wages by the way….

Anyway, while all this is going on, there are some wonderful souls out there who are consistently helping those in need and helping to save our beloved planet.

And the media coverage for these ‘real-life’ people who are making a ‘real-life’ difference is practically non-existant.

Yes, we have a climate crisis, a political crisis, a financial crisis and all sorts of other crisis’ happening but moaning about it won’t help change the situation.

So, ranting aside, I am putting my money (=time in my world) where my mouth is and preparing to launch a new project that will help unite us all in our quest for a better lifestyle for all sentient beings here on earth.

Sounds like a plan ay?! It’s going to take a few more months of organising and planning but I’m hoping it will be ready to go in April 2020.

*It will highlight eco-sound and humane projects all round the world
*It will have a no-whingeing policy – that includes pointing fingers. No time for blame.
*It will be easy to get involved with, without leaving your comfy chair
*And it won’t have any advertising – or political propaganda!

So, I’m going to get my head down and hopefully share a dose of the good-stuff in the Spring… Hang in there!

Linda x

Sleep Well

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OOOhh, light my sparklers – it’s bonfire night in the UK. Of course firework displays seemed to have dwindled over the past few years; environment considered more now than ever before, but there are bound to be a few bright fireworks in the night sky tonight.

Usual stuff – keep your pets safe and of course, if you’re having a bonfire, make sure no creatures have been making it their home in recent days. Having said that, have a great evening!

After all the excitement of halloween, firework night and Christmas countdowns about to start, if they haven’t already, it’s not always easy to calm the children at night. Have you noticed they can get super active around bedtime? – or maybe that’s just my lot ๐Ÿ™‚

But if you are having trouble getting the little darlings to sleep, here are a few tips I’ve used over the years to keep me sane (-ish) ….

* Keep an eye on the time. If you suddenly realize it’s five minutes before bedtime and go into ‘omg it’s bedtime’ mode then start rushing around getting pj’s ready and toothbrushes toothpasted, you won’t be able to create a sense of calm.

Start thinking about bedtime half hour before the allotted time. Then slowly but surely encourage the pjs, the teeth cleaning and the choice of bedtime story. By the time they get into bed, children are calmer and ready to sleep.

*Avoid anything with sugar in: Don’t be tempted to give in to the cookie jar for a bit of peace. It will backfire! Sugar – as we know – is not a calming agent and you can suddenly find yourself with hyperactive kids and a headache. Avoid sugar at least an hour, preferably longer, before bedtime. Toast and honey can create calm while satisfying the sweet tooth cravings, but always consider what works best for your child.

*Warm drinks – no caffeine or sugar of course, but otherwise a warm drink can really calm the body and mind ready for sleep. Even a spoonful of honey in hot water can work wonders.

*Temperature: These days, many of us live in centrally heated homes and, although we don’t want to be cold at bedtime, too much heat can interfere with settling into a relaxing state. Turn down the thermostat a little if it’s too warm in the bedrooms.

*Bedtime Stories: Children tend to want the same stories read to them every night for weeks or even months, which doesn’t make it easy to put your whole attention into reading. Kids are savvy – they know when you’re just going through the motions. Treat each reading as if it’s a first and you’ll have happy kids all ready to sleep the night away!

Most of these quick tips work well for grown-ups too ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s often because your mind is not behaving itself. Too many thoughts, worries and replays going on in that remarkable brain of yours.

Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep by adopting some or all of the tips above and one extra note I feel should be added here…

Don’t watch the news before bed!

Normally, the national or international news is peppered with bad news and concerns about humanity, environment and natural disasters. They will still be there for you to deal with in the morning, so avoid cluttering up your mind with these stories in the evening.

Enjoy your evenings, watch something funny, indulge in your latest hobby or spend a wonderful time with friends and family – you could even consider getting out a board game and turning off the TV – how radical is that?!!!

Sweet Dreams!
Linda x

P.S. My most relaxing thing to do – apart from sleeping and meditating of course, is knitting. This pattern from The Ekokids collection is simple to make and will encourage bedtime as a natural and calming experience rather than the battleground it could be!

Bedtime!

Download from your favourite bookstore:

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Etsy , Payhip , iTunes , Kobo , Barnes & Noble ,

 

 

Dreaming Big!

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… or away with the fairies?

Over many centuries – well decades, I’ve been accused at various times in my life of being away with the fairies. I was punished for daydreaming at school which set a pattern or paradigm in my own mind that dreaming big wasn’t the way to success.

But now that I’ve discovered the wonderful teachings available to us in the 21st century I refuse to let my dreams be shattered by naysayers.

Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer and the teachings of Abraham Hicks have all helped me to understand that we are entitled to our dreams and that without them, we would all be living in the dark ages. I mean, someone had to discover electricity, invent the mobile phone and even believe people could travel in a flying machine!

aircraft

But, although I’ve kind of sorted out the paradigm and am sticking to my dreams like glue, there are conflicting opinions about sharing dreams.

On the one hand, when you share dreams and ideas the naysayers can move in quickly and plant a seed of doubt. But on the other hand, sharing ideas can produce feedback, more good ideas and possibly even partnerships.

The answer, I believe, is to be really solid in your idea; make the business plan, write the outline of a book you want to write or an idea you want to implement BEFORE you share with anyone!

Write it down on paper or your laptop. Get into the details. Look for the bits that don’t work and delete, search for the parts that need adjusting or updating and edit like crazy. Then put it aside, if you can ๐Ÿ™‚ for a couple of days then go back to it and fine tune again.

writing

There will be a moment when you just know you’ve covered all the angles you are aware of – then it’s time to share, to talk about it, to accept feedback – however critical it may seem at first. Go over the feedback and eliminate anything that’s obviously not relevant or just too picky to be important.

Then go for it. Dreaming big and setting up strategies for achieving goals and dreams is a fun thing to do if you don’t let the seeds of doubt creep in.

One caveat I’d add here is that we do have many ideas and dreams and some of them are temporary, some of them are rubbish and some of them are just gems waiting to be polished. Go for the gems and don’t worry about the other stuff.

And one final point is that life is about the journey, not the destination. Be flexible, enjoy the journey and those dreams could very well become your reality.

Keep dreaming big!

Linda x

P.S. The teachings I’ve mentioned above can all be found on youtube and their own websites of course!