Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Journal Your Heart Out..

  To celebrate the change of season, the unfurling of possibilities and the beautiful handwritten word, I'm so excited to be hosting the second annual, Journal Your Heart Out project throughout September, here on the blog and on Instagram. 

I find around this time of the year, as life happens and the days are filled with doing and being, journals that were started earlier in the year are often left on the shelf, gathering dust. So the aim of this project is to get inspired and nurture the soul journaling experience, by creating a page a day in an existing or a new journal.  You can write, draw, collage or a mix of all, whatever brings your soul joy and then share your pages and words (whenever you feel like it) on your blog and Instagram throughout September.  I'll be featuring participants pages throughout the month and sharing some of my own too.

This year I'll be posting a list of prompts each week, throughout the month to get you dreaming, thinking and inspired.  Feel free to make use of them or just follow your own intuition.  I'll also be sharing weekly tips, thoughts and ideas here, to help you make the most of your soul journaling experience.  


So welcome to Journal Your Heart Out.  You can find out a little more about the project from last year here and a bit more about me (if you're new to the blog) here.  I'll be sharing more about my own soul journaling experience as the month progresses but for now, I would love for you to connect or reconnect with your journals and start creating.  Below you'll find a list of this week's prompts.  These are just to get you thinking, so feel free to use, adapt and transform them in anyway you like and in whichever order you feel.  The main aim of the first week if just to settle in, to go gently and ease into the process.  Those blank pages can be daunting sometimes, so hopefully these prompts might be a good spring board from your ideas.  

If you're using a journal you've been using previously, I suggest starting on a new double page.  If you're using a new journal, leave the first page blank and dive right in. 

- Welcome: To settle into your pages, welcome yourself, perhaps with a little introduction, your favourite quote, an inspiring image.  Go gently and let the words find you.  Forget what you've written or created before and just start fresh.

- Home: What does home mean to you? Perhaps sit in your favourite spot while you write or make a note all the sounds you can hear in your home.  Describe it, revel in it, embrace the everyday beauty,

-You Ideal Day: What is it like? What would you do? Who would you be with? Immerse yourself in the experience.

- Gratitude: This can be as simple as a list of what you are grateful for or deeper expression of gratitude for people, places and experiences. Go gently and enjoy expressing this beautiful feeling. 

- Inspirations: Who and what inspires you? What gives you those butterflies of excitement and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.  Why do your inspirations make you feel this way?

- Tribe: What does tribe mean to you? Who is part of your tribe? Are you searching for your tribe, where would you like to find them?

- Life List: Create a life list, things you would love to do in your life.  Big, small, everyday or wonderfully wild.  A list of 20, 50 or even 100, whatever you like.  Make a note of the items on the list that really make heart sing, the ones that give you that feeling.  They are the most important of all.


If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all those blank pages, check out my tips for starting a new journal.  

I'd love to see your journals so feel free to link up below, leave a comment and use the hashtag #journalyourheartout on Instagram and Facebook.  And be sure to spread the word and invite anyone you think might enjoy the project to join in.

Happy Journaling!
Much Love & Light


Monday, 31 August 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 35/52..

Sunday 10:30am: Floral dress, water play, even a newly potted tomato.. It's almost Spring!

Much Love & Light

Friday, 28 August 2015

Grounded by the Earth...

 When I first began my conscious living journey, I felt deep inside something was missing.  I'd open up one of my favourite books, Velvet Pears and revel in Susan's amazing garden, Foxglove Spires and I'd feel something stirring within, something that felt like tiny butterflies. I kept coming back to that feeling, trying to pinpoint what it was and seemed to be the way she described her connection to her garden and her journey, especially in it's early beginnings with her herb garden.  

At this time in my life, we were getting our little cottage ready to rent and finding a way to get out of town.  I wasn't in any position to go putting my heart and soul into a garden.  I did however, have plenty of work to do outside, paving the court yard, pulling weeds and making our backyard appealing for renters.  It was during those few months in 2012, I started to dream about creating my own little patch, a sweet herb garden with a picket fence and wildflowers.  And every time I thought about it, those little butterflies would re-emerge. 

Over the next few years those feelings continued. A knowing that something in my life was missing, but slowly and somehow consciously, I began quietly filling the space.  As I walked the beach, bare feet in the warm sand, on the humid summer days when we searched for rock pools in the Byron Bay Hinterland, when I planted the seedlings in my very first little veggie patch, those butterflies emerged and took flight. I wanted to bottle that divine energy up, I wanted to feel it everyday.

It's been exactly three years now since my journey began, what I think of now as my reset to life.  And after much searching, thinking, dreaming, meditating and wandering, I've now come to realise what it is I was missing all those years of my life was a real dialogue with the Earth and my own place in the natural world.  In the busyness of my 'previous life', I didn't allow myself any real time to connect with Mother Nature.  If I did it was behind the lens or only on superficially. I had forgotten how to tune in to nature and truly be in the moment, something I always used to do as a child. 

These days, my life is very different. These days I endevour to embrace those moments.  I no longer search for things to photograph or blog about, I live my life, surround myself with the natural world and those beautiful things that I want to share find me. I take my days slowly and whenever possible spend time outside. I've realised that there is so much to be learnt by observing and engaging with Mother Nature, she is the most incredible teacher. And when Tallow is making mud pies and splashing in puddles and I'm watering or weeding, or harvest veggies for dinner, we are both in that elemental moment, using all of our senses, grounded by the Earth.  

And that is where I have have found my place. Right there in my little patch, as I watch the bees, harvest kale by moonlight, pick dandelions and mint to dye yarn.  I know I have found what I was longing for.  

Much Love & Light

Thursday, 27 August 2015

We Grow, Gather & Preserve - Lilly Pillys

I'm new to foraging, very new.. In fact I'm still a little bit of a worry wort about the whole, pick something off a random bush and eat it thing. Blame it on my childhood growing up in the tropics, where there were quite a few things you really didn't want to touch or eat, especially in the rainforest. This season though, I'm shaking off my childhood fears of 'wait a while' and 'stinging trees' and I'm starting to find the whole foraging experience wonderfully exciting. I feel like a kid on a treasure hunt!

Now I must begin by saying we didn't go far to forage our Lilly Pillys, in fact, to my surprise, we had a whole hedge of them growing in our front yard.  Talk about a win! After Ben reassured me for the twentieth time that these beautifully hued pink berries, were in fact, not only edible but could be made into sparking wine and jam, I couldn't resist giving it a go. So off we went, with our little basket, for our first family foraging adventure.

Making jam has always intrigued me.  It was one of those things I imagined was incredibly complex and took a great deal of patience and skill to master.  And although it can be a bit fiddly and takes a little while, I'm beginning to realise, once you gain a bit of confidence and just play practice, the world is your jam jar. There's just something so romantic about preserving the season.  I found this River Cottage Bites episode so helpful for preserving tips & tricks. 

For my Lilly Pilly jam I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, so I found a basic strawberry jam recipe, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And you know what.. it worked! There's no waiting, minimal boiling and beautiful, tasty results.  

Easy Lilly Pilly Jam
(this recipe made two medium jars and one little jar)

500g of Lilly Pillys*
500g of jam setting sugar
3 tbsp of water
A knob of butter

Wash and sterilise your jars.  I find the oven method is nice and easy and works really well. 
Pop a saucer into the freezer. This will be for testing your jam.
Wash and de-seed the Lilly Pillys and discard the bad ones. They are really easy to open using your fingers. 

Crush the Lilly Pillys in a large bowl using a potato masher.  As the berry doesn't contain a great deal of juice, I added a few of tablespoons of water to help crush the berries and develop a juice (add a little more water if need be).
Once the Lilly Pillys are crushed add them to a large pot along with the jam setting sugar.
Heat the mixture on a low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Add a knob of butter and then increase the heat and bring to a full rolling boil.  (You can tell when you achieve a true rolling boil when the boil can not be stirred down)
Boil for four minutes (I like to set a timer). You can gently stir the mixture, maintaining a clockwise motion.  Be sure not to walk away at this point. 
After four minutes, retrieve your saucer from the freezer and test to see the jam has set. Do this by adding a small amount to the saucer and pushing it with your finger.  The jam should wrinkle and look like jam rather than syrup. 
Continue the boil until this consistency has been achieved (It shouldn't take much longer and the jam will set more in the jars).

Take the jam off the heat and remove your jars from the oven.
Ladle the jam into a jug, then carefully pour into the sterilised jars and screw the lids on tightly.
Enjoy on fresh homemade bread or scones. Pot of tea essential! 

*Of course if you don't have a random Lilly Pilly hedge in your garden you can replace them with any type of berry you like. Finally quantities may vary. Just be sure to use equal parts jam setting sugar to fruit.

What have you been foraging and preserving lately?
Much Love & Light 

PS. More from our Grow & Gather series here..