Creative Abandon

The Daily Post – Messy

Like many creative people my house can get pretty messy when I am busy making or doing a project. The key to this is to return to some order again once I am done. Admittedly sometimes this can take longer than I planned.

Yesterday I took over the kitchen as is often the case this time of year and made Winter Syrup. This will form the basis for some of my handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family.

As you will see in almost every hedgerow that you pass this time of the year in the Uk there is a plentiful supply of Rosehips just waiting to be utilised. After the first frost has softened them is the best time to use them. I love foraging for fruit and berries.

For the past three years I have made a Winter Syrup of varying ingredients. It is usually because I haven’t kept the recipe in one place and I strive to improve it each year. All have been based on a Rosehip recipe and are my first resort when sore throats hit since these wonderful fruits are packed with Vitamin C.

The first I made was the best since it was Elderberry and Rosehip and was what my brother who was a chef, described as “a little bottle of Christmas”. It was lovely with cake, ice cream and in sparkling cocktails. I resolve to make this version next year and not miss out on elderberries as I did this year I was just in the wrong place when the fruit was available. But for now, here’s the recipe for this year’s if you want to make some of your own.

1kg of Ripe Rosehips with stalks and ends removed.

2 litres water

1 Lemon with peel on, halved.

2 inches of Fresh Ginger root, sliced.

1 teaspoon Ground Mixed Spice.

2 tsp Ground Turmeric.

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon.

1 tsp Cloves.

Honey.

Mix all ingredients in a large pan, with 1 litre water lightly mash the Rosehips to break up the fruit and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Use a Muslin cloth in a colander and a bowl to separate the fruit from the liquid, leave to stand to drain as much liquid as possible out. Because Rosehips have fine hairs within them which can irritate the throat you have to separate the fruit from the liquid.

Return the liquid to a clean pan and add another 1 Ltr water and 1kg Sugar. I used both Demerara and white sugar since it was what I had to hand. Add 2 tbsp honey.

Bring the liquid to boil until all sugar has melted then simmer until it has reduced to half its volume.

Bottle it into sterilised glass bottles. I got 8 small bottles from this recipe.

It makes a wonderful sore throat remedy. You will notice that there is a slight sediment in the bottles, this is due to the use of dried spices. Shake before use and once opened store in the refrigerator.

All In a Day’s Work? Actually No, It took a while longer.

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This is my first post here for some time.  It wasn’t that I had forgotten about this or decided that it would no longer be.  Since I had decided that I would continue to write, but for the past few months I have concentrated on writing elsewhere.  Now before I apologise for neglecting my website for so long. I do have my reasons. Of course I do, for what would life be without reasons?

Without making excuses.  Last year was tough on so many levels and I needed to take the time to recover from everything that was thrown in my direction.  Health and Wellness and everything in between suffered along with my confidence. I know many people who really went through it and Thankfully some of them came out the other side continuing to fight. I think that everyone when faced with difficulties tries to take stock of their life and circumstances.  So I guess I needed a break from what had previously been normal, thinking time to try and prioritize what I would be doing in the future.   I still don’t have all the answers but all progress however slow it may be, is progress after all.

It would be very simple to say that I have not written and that was for personal reasons but that would simply not be true.  Over the past six months and throughout the last year, I have written something almost every day.  Although my writing doesn’t always rock the world, I was on a mission having made myself and a friend the promise that I would do something creative again for me, just one small thing.  I had time out from work, although unscheduled it was necessary and so I used this to begin my book of poetry and later self-publish it.  I had a handful of poems at the time, but then they came to me and once I began, it was like turning on the tap. By July I had over 100 poems and decided to select around 60 of them for the book. Having edited several times and then given it to a few trusted people to read I published in November. Meanwhile I have been working on my other blog, regularly posting there.  I started to write that one in February 2016 and have a small but somehow dedicated followings. It was somehow easier to write under a pseudonym about what was going on and where life was taking me along with observations and photographs along the way during these past few months. That is the place where I can express myself better, with experience we continue to grow and this is the person I am becoming as well as the person I have been. It is not a hiding place for my alter ego, but this side of my personality was almost unknown to me 12 months ago, buried in the past. I have found that it gives me the platform to be honest, more daring and open than I have been previously.

So it took me a while to come back here.  Several of my own professional goals were not achieved last year and although I am continue to work on that, at the moment I am taking small steps and moving in new directions. Some things have been on the back burner, they may get moved to the hotplate in time, but when I am ready to do so. I have really good people around who were there for me when I needed them and who continue to push me forward but in different ways to before.

I hope that you will stay with me as I try to develop my writing here too since I am now going to try to split my writing between both blogs, whilst I continue working on my second book of poetry.

Daily Prompt – Successful

Image: 5demayo at Morguefile.com

Food Glorious Food! Or not as the case may be…

Breakfast

As this blog continues and I set up each category, you will notice that I want to cover many subjects.

One of the first will be Food Glorious Food, I have to admit that I love food The inspiration of colour and palette can brighten the dullest day, lift your mood and create endless possibilities, if you get it right.  Get it wrong however and it’s a whole different ball game.

Food Intolerances

I do love to cook, now I don’t claim to be a great cook, but I do have my favourites which are welcomed when we have dinner guests. I enjoy cooking and experimenting with food, I think that I get that from my Mum, who served me nettle soup when I was six. Green soup to a child captured the imagination.

Over the years, I have had a love hate relationship with it. There have been foods which I used to eat, which suddenly I could not anymore and whilst I attempted to find the things that I could, it was at times a rocky road. Now I find that I look at the ingredients in everything I buy, do not have many processed foods and stay away from take-away and fast foods wherever possible.

I try to live healthily and make sure that I cook every day, using fresh foods wherever I can, to keep me and the family healthy. This is borne more from necessity than following a fad.
There are foods which I miss, but I have learned that the side effects of eating something which does not agree with you, far outweigh the joy of that naughty treat. But life is easier once you know what to avoid.

As a child, I remember that I did not have the food allergies or intolerances which I do now, but there was something which set me off with a headache even back then. Strawberry flavoured anything and Pear drops. It is probably one of the E numbers in them, a flavouring of some kind, but it was guaranteed to make me ill, they also have them in those tinned travel sweets and to this day I avoid both. There was also about 18 months after I was knocked down when I was a teenager when I could not consume anything with caffeine in. Right at the time when Chocolate, Coca Cola and Coffee are the staples of most teenagers and young women as they get through teenage life and their studies, I could not have it. It brought on an instant migraine. Other than those things, I don’t remember there being any allergies although I wasn’t keen on Liver,but could happily eat Kidneys, which seemed strange to me even then.

Fifteen years ago, I was put on a medication by my GP. It was supposed to help the Endometriosis which I had been suffering with for many years at that point. Although there was un upside to it, it seemed to alleviate the symptoms of the condition for a short time, in the months that I took it, it caused havoc in the side effects department and I suddenly found myself with other issues. My eyesight went from “perfect” 20/20 vision at eye tests to me needing a prescription for glasses and I became Lactose Intolerant. For me, two things which caused me great distress. 6 months later and I would need another prescription for glasses even stronger than the first and so it went on. But the food issue was huge for me. I had been able to eat almost anything for the whole of my life and suddenly, I couldn’t keep food down. I had no idea what the cause of it was so as the doctor prescribed antibiotics first and then sent me for colonoscopies to get to the bottom of the problem, to see if it was bacterial. Following a clear diagnosis that it was not and with him not being able to offer any other advice, I decided to try something novel and try the elimination diet. I did this for a couple of months and found that as I tried to reintroduce anything dairy related, it set me off once again. At the time, there was very little in the “Free From” aisle of the supermarket as it didn’t exist. and I ate a lot differently to now. Previously I used to eat dairy products regularly, having had problems with my teeth as a youngster and always suffered with weak nails, I was convinced that I needed to up my calcium intake to compensate for it. So at the time I regularly ate Ambrosia Creamed Rice, Camembert and Cheese in general, Philadelphia and Bio-Yoghurts. I included them in my food preparation and thoroughly enjoyed cooking. Back then I really struggled to find food products which did not contain lactose, to my absolute dismay, even in Ready Salted Crisps most brands added it to the ingredients. Who knows why? But it forced me to think about the food that I consumed much more carefully and check the ingredients thoroughly.

I think that eating Bio yoghurt, first thing in the morning, when you have nothing else in your system, definitely does not help. If you think about it, they contain friendly bacteria which gets to work on what is in your stomach. However if there is nothing there, what is it going to work on. So not the best plan having digested everything you had eaten the night before. When you think of it, it makes sense, but how may of us do actually do think about that?

I also found that every time I tried to introduce Pork back into my diet, it disagreed with me, I loved sausages, I didn’t eat them often, but a good breakfast on a lazy weekend was a bit of a treat and suddenly I couldn’t eat it anymore. Gone were the Bacon sandwiches and Spaghetti Carbonara, which were other regular favourites in my kitchen.

I thought back then that writing a dairy free cookbook might be a great idea since there was no such thing readily available and not everyone had the internet as a resource. However I did not have much confidence in my own culinary skills and had no idea as to how go about creating it. Now of course it is so much easier to find good dairy free ingredients and recipes to feed the family and many such books now exist. Unfortunately it has become something all too familiar within so many families the need to cut out foods which were once the norm, as allergies and intolerances grow common, I may still write one, after all, one more surely can’t be a bad thing.

I also found out that I am highly allergic to Oysters, now that was an odd one. I had never had them before, although I regularly ate Chinese food with an oyster sauce and never made the connection that it was that which made me ill. We went to Paris for a ten day holiday over Christmas and New Year and I hired a car to explore, it was supposed to be terribly romantic and we had saved to go and enjoy ourselves. The Eiffel tower was going to be just wonderful. The first meal on our first evening was a seafood platter with Oysters. Afterwards I was so ill that I could not leave the room for a week, my body went into shut down, it totally poisoned my system and I spent a week in a hallucinating, violently ill. There was no doctor available, it was not a grand hotel and the local doctor was away for Christmas and no-one would attempt to move me. So there I stayed delirious in the hotel room, watching “Finding Nemo” in French on a loop and watching the Eiffel Tower twinkling the year in the distance every evening. My partner was very worried about me and spent most of the time by my side, or pacing the hotel like a tiger in case I took a turn for the worse. I did not eat at all for several days, consumed only water it was not the holiday either of us had planned. I was so delirious over that time that when Finding Nemo was on TV some years later, I suggested that we watched it since I had not seen it. He looked at me in utter disbelief, that I had absolutely no recollection of it. Thinking back, despite the twinkling year on the tower, I cannot recall what year it was. I remember that we had to dig the car out from the snow before heading back home but must have blocked as much of the experience as possible from my mind.

Dining out became such an issue so many years ago, that my first task on any holiday or visit to a restaurant is to ask the chef for the dairy free options on their menu. I quickly learned that despite the phrase Non- Laiterie being used in France, the chefs in most establishments claimed not to understand me. They did not want to defer from their usual route and would not prepare anything without dairy produce. I resorted to a list of “Non’s” Beurre, Oeufs, Fromage, Lait, Yaourt, which I handed to the waiter or Maitre d’ on arrival and ensured that they passed it to the chef who prepared my meal. One such time was particularly difficult where we stayed at a beautiful chateau.  Although I had a lengthy discussion with the Management and the chef he felt that he knew best and since he always cooked everything in butter, he would continue to do so. I spent a wonderful weekend there on a Dinner, Bed and Breakfast package being unable to finish a meal that he had cooked and breathed a sigh of relief when the breakfast chef came on duty, so for that holiday, on his day off breakfast in the hotel was the only meal I could safely enjoy when the chef who covered him actually listened. After that, we have not returned there, for the sole reason that it is important that your chef listens and understands. Immodium and Antacids have become my travelling friend in case of emergency, but not one wants their holiday ruined or to be reliant upon them. As I pointed out, if it had been a nut allergy that I suffered, where you can go into anaphylactic shock would he have served nuts?

 

The Consequences of our Actions and “Doing our Bit”.

Environmental Pollution.

When you come to think of it….

Except that quite often, we just don’t.
But if we did more often, I mean truly think about the consequences of our actions

Then we and the world would have a better chance.

This post got me thinking about this, Environmental Pollution – Thriving Healthy

We often try and “do our bit” for the environment, it is usually just to improve our direct environment whether it be eating healthily, recycling our waste, using less packaging etc, but just think that if we all, just “Did our Bit” then half the problems which are photographed within this post alone, would not even exist.

Man, you have a lot to answer for…

The Practice of Gratitude and How it can turn your day around.

This is How a little Gratitude can change your whole day.

Yesterday was a very grey day, and a Bank Holiday Monday. It threatened to take over the whole day smothering it with Grey when I awoke with the familiar feeling that I was tired, so tired that things ached. I did not want to crawl out of bed, but there was simply no more sleep to be had. My sister was arriving for a visit in the afternoon, she felt the same, we were both lethargic for differing reasons. We have been consciously trying to spend more time with each other lately and I hope that it is doing us both some good.
Foolishly yesterday morning I downloaded an update for my iphone and promptly thought no more of it. Now my use of the phone is limited, but I like to make use of it for photos’ social media and texts, as well as the occasional phone call of course. I merrily went on my way.

When Susie, my sister arrived we sat and spoke about all sorts of things, but mainly projects in the pipeline and what we wanted to do. I spoke about some of my own projects I want to work on some of which she has agreed to assist me with. Susie is a musician and now has new found freedom with the recent purchase of her first car. So she is widening her working area. Attending gigs further out and new experiences are opening up for her, in fact she’s consciously seeking them out, she is now following her own dream. We started to spend more time with each other so that I could help her gain more confidence out in the car, for when she hits the road for gigs up and down the country. It gives me the ideal opportunity to spend time with my younger sibling without other distractions. Some Quality Time at last. I am showing her the local countryside where we have lived for all of her life and she is seeing things with new eyes. All of these wonderful places, right here on her doorstep, but needing to get there by car, they have been limited to her up until now.

So as I try to think of interesting places to show her we jump in her car and head off.
I had a plan to show her somewhere different yesterday, but we sat indoors for most of the day, her singing and playing the guitar, talking about some of the gigs she is about to do, and the dog singing right back to her. She seemed a little surprised that he was joining in, but they soon settled into their song together.

My beloved disappeared off to see a sick friend who had just returned from hospital and we agreed to stay until he returned. He was later than anticipated and quite shaken when he came back, shocked at his friends condition. He wanted to be on his own with the dog for a walk.

 

So we the girls jumped in the car for a short trip out. Heading over to a local area along the river, there used to be a pub there, but it is now closed and the caravan park which borders the river has ducks. We parked up and walked through, looking at the pretty caravans and headed for the river, walking along the towpath we spotted a lot of floating markers which are washed up and decaying rather spectacularly. I wanted to take some photos of them and some of Susie, out in the open air, we had been talking about locations where she could get some new promo ones and although studio shots are great, if she thought about other places as backdrops as well she might get some interesting photos.

It was very windy, we were getting blown about in the wind and it wasn’t very warm, at least we had coats. But we began larking about, taking photos of each other and giggling, a return to kids again. There is a large gap in our ages and you could probably count on your hands the amount of times we have actually behaved like kids together, but we love each other and are alike in a lot of ways once everyone else is removed from the equation. We were just being ourselves, totally natural. Embracing our inner child and each other, with barely any make up and not in our posh clothes looking very windswept. We had fun, thoroughly enjoyed it. I am already making plans for the next time we go out.

Unfortunately the camera on my phone kept freaking out and doing strange things and I had to shut it off to do anything after that. It turns out the new update had messed with my mojo and changed all my images from jpeg to aae files, which my normal PC simply cannot cope with, so I had to fiddle with them to even see them on the laptop when we got home. Thanks for nothing, Apple, it worked just fine before that.

 

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I loved that couple of hours with my sister though, we came home and ate dinner all together and talked some more and the fresh air had put some colour in our cheeks and smiles on our faces. Promoting our own Health and Wellness and enjoying the Nature around us.

We enjoyed ourselves, no expectations to live up to, just being sisters. For this time I am able to spend with my sister, I am grateful. We often say that we would like to spend more time together just us girls, but it took so long to happen, due to our different schedules and now we are enjoying these opportunities.

When you start to think about the small things for which you are grateful, let alone the big things, you start to look at your life and the things around you in a much more positive light. I was encouraged to look at being grateful for small things, by a lovely lady who has been an inspiration to me many times during the past year. Kristin Granger over at www.gratitudeinall.com She posts inspiring quotes via her face book page and reminding me to look for something good in the day she also encouraged me when I told her that I wanted to write and gave me a few pointers on how to start with my blogging.

Despite a windy day, there is sunshine out there within those clouds and you only need look for it. I am Grateful for being able to see, both the wonderful things around me and my lovely sister.

 

AloeEverybody, A New Hello!

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To all of those of you who know me personally, you may or may not be aware. The past couple of years has forced changes, both personal and in my working life. As a consequence Life has not taken the exact route I had planned for me, so I am taking it in a slightly new direction, pushing it onward in whatever way I am able to do.

Originally I started this website solely to promote my Forever Living AloeVera business. I had great vision for it but circumstances have as yet prevailed and although it continues, I have not yet thrown all my efforts into it to make it the business it could be. However, continue to be a strong advocate of using these products and the great effects they bring to your health and wellbeing and am happy to continue to sell them to whoever would like to purchase them from me. The wonderful thing about having a Forever Business is that you are able to take a side step when you need to and just pick up again with new training for the wonderful new products they continue to develop. The company keep you informed with regular updates, and God willing if you have someone in your up-line who might understand that not everyone‘s best is the same. There are at times different levels of best, which you as person are able to give and they let you get on with it and re-join the party at a later date when you have something else to bring, for that I am grateful. By it’s very nature this business requires you to get out there and be sociable, telling all that you meet and spreading the word, it is a word-of-mouth business. Having a long term illness which wreaks havoc upon your life, even when you think you are through the worst of it and can rear it’s ugly head once again years later, is tough and like many illnesses can have an effect on your self-confidence. Over the years I have highs and lows as it dictates to me. Latterly having been diagnosed with PTSD after an accident, it left me a void of self confidence an unable me to do what the business required of me to progress. I have concentrated on trying to get better and with the help and the understanding of those closest to me. I am on the road to recovery.

Those of you who know me well will also know that I have returned to writing in the past few months. Not knowing whether this is my true vocation, I have began to write again on a small scale, whilst I found my writing voice. Although I am regularly writing and now posting some of it online. I can say that it has become an outlet for me to explore and write about my own outlook and poetry and has given me the voice which I needed on my way to finding a new improved me. (After all, there is always some room for improvement) In some lights portraying a whimsical version of myself or what happens to pass through my thoughts and my observations. It is with this in mind that I now fully intend to overhaul this website in the coming months, whilst I figure out what the future holds for me.

Whereas once it was to be just a serious business site here to promote the products and what I was doing in the business, the events I would attend along with many others, there was nothing much to separate it from the rest. Forever Living Products is a huge, worldwide business, so what sets me apart from the hundreds of thousands of people who distribute the products worldwide? Well, I am finding my voice again, it has been there all along, hiding, waiting and I am slowly finding it again. It is a little hoarse from being so quiet, but I guess that takes time. I now intend to fully develop the blog side of this website and incorporate my knowledge about other things, whether it be health matters, wellness events or just my outlook and approach to things, if you like what you read, share the love along with my posts. Please follow the new blog on it‘s new route and hopefully we will remember that life is supposed to be fun along the way.

I intend to review, whether it be books, events, products or whatever…. Please remember that all opinions are just that, they are my own though and some may be backed up by knowledge. It is important, that we retain a little humour from time to time. Life can be so serious, but in this life we are also supposed to have fun.

It is my chance to yell “AloeEverybody.” from the rooftops. As the play on words suggests when I first thought of the name, where I come from it is a Hello and it is meant for everybody. In the hope that some of you will respond to it, interact with me on the subjects I write about. Although it is not everyone’s particular brand. I hope that as we continue it will also gain momentum, oh and a huge following…
So, If you would like me to review something for you please get in touch with me via email on the contact page.