Friday, 31 October 2014

the window

Sometimes I lie awake in bed at night and I wonder if certain events in my life are the direct result of  attracting bad luck from not forwarding those chain emails back in highschool. Am I being punished by the email Gods? Is this the reason I sometimes feel struck when I am down? One smite per email?

I'm just not an email forwarder. And I'm certainly not going to send it onto 227 of my bestest friends, just because it told me to. I'm a rebel like that..

BUT yesterday an email landed in my inbox, which I feel compelled to share. It didn't tell me I had to either, which is good, because nobody likes a bossy email.

So, here in my little blog corner, I have chosen to share a little a story courtesy of Moodscope with you, my friends; and maybe, just maybe, it will cancel out all that bad chain mail karma that's been haunting me for 15 years.


- - -

The view from my Paris apartment on my Great European Adventure




Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.


One was allowed to sit up in his bed each afternoon to help drain fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.



They talked for hours. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service.


Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.


The other man began to live, for those short periods, where his world would be broadened and enlivened by the activity and colour of the world outside.


The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and the city skyline was seen in the distance.


As the man by the window described this in exquisite detail, the other man would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One afternoon the man by the window described a passing parade.
                                                                                                                                
Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it, in his mind's eye. Days and weeks passed.
                                  
One morning, the nurse arrived only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making him comfortable, she left.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the wonderful world outside.
Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man later asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."
Epilogue...



There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.


Today is a gift, that's why it is called 'the present'.
How accepting of today's gift are you?



Who can you help today?


'Le Meow' : Parisian Cat


xx

Friday, 24 October 2014

bake it off

If you haven't seen this video yet - drop everything and watch it immediately.




I mean, what's not to love about a Taylor Swift / Jamie Oliver sing-a-long?!

And bless their cotton socks - It's all for charity, 
So they've cemented themselves as my favourite Pop Princess and my favourite Chef. 

Both would be invited to my 
C E L E B R I T Y   D I N N E R   P A R T Y 

You know the game - 
"If you were hosting a dinner party, which five people (alive or dead) would you invite?"  
Other potential guests on my exclusive list include Audrey Hepburn, Kloe Kardashian (that girl and I have a few things in common...); and Michael Buble.

Have a watch and a chuckle; maybe donate #standuptocancer and then tell me - Who's on your list??


xx

Thursday, 16 October 2014

speechless

Getting to know someone is like navigating a maze - alternating between skipping forward with excitement; and peaking cautiously around corners because you're just not sure what might be revealed.

Memories are shared; Stories are unraveled; Smiles light faces.

What I am learning is that asking me certain questions may yield undesirable results.




Is it expecting me to choose between brunch or dessert? No. Although.. this is exactly like asking a mother to choose which of her children she would rescue from a burning building.
If you happen to think that anything swimming in melted chocolate (ie crepes, waffles, pancakes) is suitable for either time of day - we will get along just fine :)

Is it about what I do for a job? Not at all. Let's chat.

Is it asking about my previous relationships? Nope. I am totally OK with laying it all on the table, as long as you're willing to do the same.


The questions I am struggling to answer in any kind of small-talk fashion are -

W H A T   M O V I E S   D O   I   L I K E ?

W H A T   M U S I C   D O   I   L I S T E N   T O ?

W H A T   K I N D   O F   B O O K S   D O   I   R E A D ?

Hey, you know what? If you want to kill the conversation a little faster, here's my tip :
Ask me -

C A N   Y O U   B E L I E V E   T H I S   W E A T H E R ?

Why??

Well, firstly - Getting to know someone is so much more than interrogation;
And secondly - for some reason, these questions render me speechless.

I just can't seem to give a reasonable answer to these questions that doesn't take five years of explanation; or have me come across as a trashy reality-tv-watching, pop-music-loving, teenager-at-heart, who (as a matter of fact) cannot believe this weather.


xx

Monday, 15 September 2014

the end of #funemployment

The past few months have been a whirl of fun and adventure.

But alas, voluntary funemployment* cannot last forever.

During my hiatus from the 'real' world, I have learnt the art of spontaneity and discovered the excitement of the unknown.




xx


*The condition of a person who takes advantage of being out of a job to have the time of their life.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

back to reality




"This is why once you've traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. They call it the travel bug, but really it's the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English or Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese, but that language where others know what it's like to leave, to go home again and feel more lost in your hometown than you did in the most foreign place you visited."


xx

Monday, 7 July 2014

tres bien, merci




T R A V E L   S O L O


T A K E   A   P A T I S S E R I E   C O U R S E   I N   P A R I S


M A K E   A   W I S H   I N   T H E   F O N T A N A   D E   T R E V I


L E A R N   T O   C O O K   I N   T U S C A N Y



I don't like the term 'Bucket List'. Instead, I feel that such a list is more of a long-term To Do List. And these four items are just a sample of a list I wrote several years ago when I was trying to figure out 'what happens next'; When I was trying to convince myself that I could survive my very own New Beginning.

Now, these are all things I plan on doing in the next three weeks.

I am off to Europe (Paris and Italy) on my very own adventure.


xx

Saturday, 5 July 2014

banana caramel cake

I am super excited to announce a new functionality on my little piece of the blogosphere - 
My brand new 'In My Kitchen' page where I have indexed every recipe post for easy reference.
This addition was equally for my benefit as it is for yours; so now we can all find any recipe without too much stress. Easy peasy. 

And speaking of easy - this banana caramel cake is too.


B A N A N A   C A R A M E L   C A K E

banana caramel cake; with caramel sauce and vanilla bean icecream


Ingredients
400 gr self raising flour
juice of 1 lemon
6 tbs sunflower oil
300 ml water
300 grames caster sugar
5 bananas sliced

Syrup
5 tbs sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter
4 tbs water 

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
Add the oil, lemon juice and water - beat for 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan prepare the syrup with butter and sugar and when melted, add the water
When you have a syrup consistency - turn of the heat
Prepare the baking tin - I used a round pie dish lined with baking paper
Arrange the sliced bananas in the dish and pour the syrup over them
Pour the mixture over the syrup and bananas; and bake for about 35 minutes.
When it’s brown on the top it will be ready to remove from the oven.

Wait for 10 minutes and turn the cake out onto a serving plate.
Serve with extra syrup, ice cream, cream...


xx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

four letters, starts with 'F'


F   E   A   R

That all-consuming, breath-taking, weight-in-your-stomach emotion that causes paralysis equivalent to catching a deer in the headlights.

I know you are familiar with this feeling.

If you're like me, you'll have experienced it before a job interview, or whilst giving a presentation to a room full of suit-and-tie clients, or even more simply (but equally as terrifying), opening up to someone new.

The one thing that has become increasingly clear to me is that so many people around me are making life choices based on their fears.

As in - "I can't do X because I am too scared".

I will be the first to admit that I have chosen a different (read 'easier') path on more than one occasion using this exact logic.

But I had a breakthrough moment yesterday after spending several hours with a friend's baby who is trying to walk before he can stand. As I sat on the floor watching him I began to really understand that fear is a learned emotion. It is a product of our own thoughts. We create our own fear based on past experiences or conjured in our over-active imaginations.

Time and time again, Baby O would pull himself up, steadying himself against the furniture, release his hands which were supporting him, and promptly fall to the ground.

He had no fear of falling. And when he did, someone would catch him. Or he would land on his well-padded butt. Occasionally, he would get a shock from the sudden downward motion and shed a tear. But he would soon get right back up and try again.

That's when I realised that as we get older, our fear overwhelms us because we lose perspective.
We are not afraid of standing - We have become fearful of the fall.
And sometimes, that fear stops us from getting back up and trying again.



Your fear may not be of falling (physically or emotionally) but the lesson here is that in many scenarios, the worst thing that can happen is usually not all that bad (or even particularly likely).

You will survive the interview; or rock the presentation; or form a closer bond with someone.

Recognise what it is you are truly fearful of. And do it anyway. Because, just like my friend's son, we get stronger each time we try. And eventually, standing unassisted and even taking that first step becomes easy, the fear is gone, and we can achieve something wonderful.

here

xx

easy to make; easy to eat

Confession Time - 

I have spent too much time already this winter baking and eating.

#sorrynotsorry

Most of my creations have been true winter comfort food. But if you're looking for something a little less guilt-inducing, give this recipe a go.


C H O C O L A T E   M U F F I N S 
G L U T E N   F R E E ,   D A I R Y   F R E E


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Muffins


1 ½  cups almond meal
¼ cup cacao
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup macadamia nut or hazelnut oil
¼ cup rice milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
Preheat oven to 180 C 
Combine almond meal, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add the eggs, oil, milk and honey then mix well to form a smooth batter.
Spoon into 12 small individual cupcake tins.
Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and cooked through.
Serve warm or cold.


xx

Friday, 9 May 2014

what if..

Let's jump straight in today...


- - - - -


'What if '  are two very powerful words..
What if instead of using them to haunt yourself with past regrets,you used them to build your future?
What if you changed your attitude and accomplished the impossible?

- - - - -


Did you feel it?


Goosebumps. Just. Happened.


I cannot explain to you how much I LOVE this quote. And what a timely reminder that I'm sure we can all resonate with on some level no matter what our current situation or circumstances.

Perspective is everything, my friends.

Oh possibilities!

Happy weekend.

what if..?!

xx

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