Thursday, 22 September 2016

Falling in to Autumn

"Autumn, The year's last, Loveliest smile"
                             -William Cullen Bryant

 Happy Autumn Equiniox.

Autumn is my favourite season. I love the combination of bright sun with cooler temperatures. The clarity of the light at this time of the year is so beautiful, every thing so vivid and crisp. Walks in nature at this time of the year are something special and woodlands are particularly magical in the Autumn.

It's harvest time, a chance to give thanks and tune in to a deep sense of gratitude for all that summer has provided us. Summer has been a time of growth, in nature but also within our selves, what have we learnt? how have we evolved? now its time to harvest those teachings and reap what we have sown, If there are areas for improvement now is the time to think about how we might like to change our thought processes or actions going forward, a brand new cycle is about to start, leave anything that no longer serves you in the past and take in to this new beginning only what is true for you now. 

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall."
                                                     -F. Scott Fitzgerald 

It is Important to endeavour, like our elders, to stay in-tune with the cycles of nature. As everything begins to slow and fade we will feel an inclination to turn inwards, the year starts its winding down process from now onwards, feel that draw to begin to mellow in a calm and contemplative stillness.

You will notice the days beginning to shorten, make the most of every moment of daylight, give thanks for the radiance that glimmers through the tress with their leaves a show of spectacular tones. Perhaps bring home a few branches of pretty leaves and display them in your home like you would flowers, there is a quote by Albert Camus that says,

 'Autumn is a second Spring where every leaf is a flower'

 I like to decorate my mantle with a selection of seed-heads and flickering candles. 

Time stretches further in to the night, with darkness creeping in more and more, snuggle down and get cosy. Warm tea, blankets, comfy socks and a good book- that is my kind of heaven right there.

Alex and I were married in the Autumn, we had a woodland ceremony, it was so Beautiful and Niah was born in the Autumn too, so this season really does hold my heart.

Wishing for you all the Joy that this season has to offer x

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Our Summer in pictures . . . .

Here I sit on the eve of Autumn Equinox, hot tea in my cup and Niah sleeping upstairs, there is a slight chill in the air and I have found my self more and more reaching for my favourite woolen socks.

Autumn I am ready for your golden light.

But before the seed heads laced with spiders webs, the fallen leaves that rustle underfoot and the cozying down beneath hoards of blankets, 

my favourite summer moments I will remember once more . . . . 

Glastonbury in Somerset, the home town of my soul.

Walking barefoot to the top of the Tor,

And tying ribbons on the prayer trees with many blessings of love.

Niah in this vintage swimsuit, passed on from a dear friend who has kept it since her own girls were young.

I love it when I'm pottering about the house doing my chores and I stumble across little fragments of her world, small remnants of play left behind.

Village living is so wonderful, We have a neighbour a few doors along with an allotment at the bottom of his garden, this summer I have opened our front door to find all sorts of goodies left on our doorstep, fresh homegrown strawberries, raspberries, plums, beans, cucumber and on one occasion beautiful Hydrangea. 

 Niah has become such a beautiful artist, I now have a scrapbook filled with her stunning abstract creations, many many moments this summer have been spent covered in paint and glitter.

There have been countless walks through meadows of long grass and wild flowers.

Spending time in the garden with Niah has made this summer my favourite of all my summers. Planting flowers together, and watching her water them with her little watering can, watching her splash in the paddling pool, or making friends with ladybirds and butterflies has quite literally felt like a dream. 

I have pressed dozens of daisies and buttercups within the pages of my favourite books to remember this blessed time. 

Coastal adventures, Sandy bottoms and salty Kisses.

If there is one thing that I hope will never fade in my memory it is the way her little hand feels in mine, It's the most wonderful feeling in the world. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Last of the summer raspberries

A simple recipe for a delicious treat, gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.

Coconut and raspberry sponge cake

Decorated with the pretty white petals from our geranium flowers in the garden.

- For the sponge

225g Olive oil butter / or any dairy free spread
225g wholemeal spelt flour
2 heaped tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
225g maple syrup / honey

- For the Filling

1 tin / carton coconut cream
1-2 tbs maple syrup / honey
3/4 punnet of raspberries 
A sprinkle of desiccated coconut

- To Decorate

I decorated the top with final 1/4 raspberries, cut and scattered, a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and flowers.

- Method

- Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/ gas 4. Grease two round sandwich tins.
- Put the coconut cream in the fridge to chill.
- Cream the butter extra thoroughly until its really soft and fluffy, an electric whisk or standing mixer is best. In a separate bowl mix the spelt flour and baking powder and stir until well combined.
- Add an egg to the creamed butter, then a couple of tablespoons of the flour, fold this in and continue adding eggs and the remaining flour alternately until all the eggs have been added. fold in the last of the flour with vanilla extract and maple syrup, mix gently until all ingredients are combined.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the sponges are springy to the touch, light brown and shrinking away from the edge of the tins, leave them to cool for 5-10 minutes then turn them out on to a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before filling and dressing.
- Remove the coconut cream from the fridge and empty in to a mixing bowl, add the maple syrup and whisk until forming gentle peaks, a consistency that is easy to spread, spoon on to the top of one of the cakes leaving enough for the top.
- Cut around 3/4 of the raspberries in half and lay on top of the cream with a sprinkle of desiccated coconut. place the other sponge on top. Decorate the top with the remaining cream and the remaining raspberries cut in to quarters, a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and flowers of your choice, (My flowers were just for show and were removed before eating.)

-A few notes,

-This recipe was inspired by a Davina Mccall recipe, I enjoy altering recipes to make them more suitable for my own dietary preferences.
-Coconut cream is the solid part of coconut milk, if you struggle to find coconut cream in your super market, buy coconut milk in a tin (the sort you might use for a curry) and scrape out the solid content leaving behind the water.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Notes Of Niah

As Summer draws to it's very end and we edge towards Autumn equinox, the memories of this Summer are held so dear.

The first Summer you walked along the beach, your toes in the sand, pebbles found and held like treasure within your hands.

 The softest of curls that fall below the lace trim of your sun hat.

Your pretty long lashes fluttering in the gentle sea breeze as you look far out to the ocean blue.

 Your colourful little Swimsuit, your Amber beads.

This summer you made your first sand castle, it was so sweet to watch you and Papa together.

I write these words to remember, 
to remember the details in these moments and how they feel.

The passage of time is both a blessing and a curse, it is bitter sweet. 
These days with you are my favourite of all my days, I bathe in the beauty of your presence, I am in awe as I watch you grow, I delight in every mile stone amazed by every new thing you learn and yet simultaniously I mourn the fact that I will never be able to hold you as a new born again, not even for a moment.
I know that one day my memories will be my closest companions the fondest of all my thoughts and my most treasured possession.   

One day far from now I will smile as I look back and remember sitting on the sand in the warm summer sun watching the two loves of my life paddling in the shallow waters, your little body held in Papa's strong arms and how I felt all consumed by my Love for you both, so very happy and so blessed.