Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Freezable Courgette Cake - it's my Birthday!

It's my birthday so I have made a cake... what have I got to put in it????  Courgettes of course - ruddy loads of them so I found a rather fantastic recipe and I thought I would share it with you.......

This makes two 2lb loaves so make one and freeze one - apparently it will last in the fridge for a week.... I think mine lasted about 3 hours....

3 eggs (from happy outdoor, organic chickens!)
275ml sunflower oil
350g caster sugar (fair trade)
350g courgettes (or small marrows), grated
165g plain flour
165g wholemeal flour (I used bread flour and it was fine)
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon (fairtrade)
175g raisins and sultanas (fairtrade)
150g mixed nuts (I used them whole but you could chop if you like)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and base line two 2lb loaf tins with greaseproof paper. 
  2. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well to make a thick batter. Pour into the prepared tins. 
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about one hour or until the loaves are firm and a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes a little before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack. 
  4. Store in the fridge and use within a week or freeze and defrost when needed.
You could ice it with a bit of soft cheese and icing sugar but I don't think it needs it.


Looking in the mirror... drawing a self portrait.

So this weekend I have been looking at self portraits and drawing myself for the first time. 

Looking into a mirror it could be very easy to get hung up on what you are seeing…but in fact I found it liberating for me to look at my face and see that my proportions are OK, my nose is nowhere near as big as I had thought all these years.  I was so interested in the effects and shapes, the lines and the colouration.  There was a softness to my mouth that I had never looked at before and the colours in my iris were so much more than ‘greeny’.  I really enjoyed indulging in my own face for a day, getting to know me again and what I look like now since having my daughter.

What was my face showing me?  What did I see reflected in the mirror?  Who is this person?

It was a delight to sit and stare, search, scribble and express myself in different ways.

I'd encourage you all to have a go!  Or does the idea of looking at yourself fill you with dread?

I was so saddened by how many of the rest of the group of women sharing this experience with me were so judgmental  so aggressive, so disgusted with their own faces.  Noticing everything that was negative, horrified by their own skin.

Why do we do that? 

If you really can’t bare to look at your face and spend so much energy verbally attacking yourself, what is that doing to you? 

So the thing that I’ve been pondering is …. How could I tell those other women that they were beautiful and that they should be kind, accepting themselves, celebrating their uniqueness and delighting in who they are?

Do people really want to spend their whole life hating themselves?  Noticing all the imperfections?  Envious of anyone or thing that appears to have what you haven’t got?  Is that easier than taking responsibility for yourself and your life?

Shouldn't we all at some point stop and really look at yourself in the mirror – warts and all!?  Look at who you really are and don’t hide from it .  Meet yourself as you really are and be truthful, frank, open.  

Send yourself some love… look in the mirror and give yourself a kiss….I know you will feel better for it. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The gifts of motherhood

So I'm thinking today that having my daughter has given me an opportunity to look at myself very closely and question everything I thought I knew and what I believed in and who I thought I was.   That's a great gift.

I'm not saying it's an easy thing or a happy thing all the time - I've been to some dark places since having my baby but I do think now that I am stronger and more connected to life.

One of the 'awakenings' I have had is just how much love my own Mother gave to me. How many hours she must have spent watching, nurturing, worrying, loving me.... and although I can't remember those initial hours, months even years of my own life I do have the subconscious awareness that I am loved and that must have impacted my whole life.

To give your child the gift of a deep sense of worth and security in their own skin has to be the best thing you can do - isn't it?  Because all the material/physical gifts in the world, can't ever make you feel whole.

I miss my Mum so very much.  I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate what she did for me because although we had a great relationship while she was alive, I never realised just how special this bond is until I had my own baby.

So this is another unexpected gift of motherhood.... the understanding that life is very short and we must ensure that we don't waste our time on things that really aren't important.   We can look with new eyes on our habits, routines, values, conditioning, beliefs.

We won't necessarily be remembered for the amount of money we had or the value of the physical gifts we gave but, if we choose to give ourselves the time and the freedom to really embody motherhood and indeed our true selves through that process, we will be carried in the hearts of our children and in turn that gift will continue throughout the generations.