Thursday, 24 December 2015

Reindeer Herder Hot Chocolate

eytanuliel.com
The only time I really crave chocolate is when I start to feel the green green lurgy lurking craftily in the back of my throat. Rather than reach for the comfort of cupcakes or raid the unopened Advent Calender days (damn, there's only one day left), I make this superyummy - and wholesome - hot chocolate. Sleigh all bugs and ward off goblins with this rather delicious heart-warming mug of joy.

INGREDIENTS
enough for 2 cups

2 mug of oat milk (or rice, coconut, almond)
2 dried chilies
2 peppermint teabags
1/2 tsp of powdered ginger
4 cloves
6 tsp of cocoa
Silver birch sap to sweeten, as desired


 METHOD
Bring the milk to the boil with the chilies, peppermint teabags and cloves. Allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Add 3 tsps. of cocoa to each mug with a 1/4 tsp of ginger then add a few tablespoons of milk from the pan to mix to a smooth paste.

Stir the milk well, strain through a sieve and stir into both mugs. Sit back and enjoy the cockle-warming sleigh ride back to health!




Wednesday, 16 December 2015

What It Feels Like For A Girl


My big sister has always been my best friend. Since finally getting over her jealousy about my being born three years later and stealing the limelight, we have been soulmates. We were born on the same day and I don't know if that means anything, but we seemed to sense what each other was feeling and knew when we looked at each other exactly what was going on. I think we still do.

We played for hours as children - she made a great teacher and all the girls in the street would follow her instructions about getting into teams or just doing what she said. She was cool. And all my girl friends were cool. They always wore cool outfits and made their hair cool, and boys were yuck. Like learning the piano or the trumpet, I had daily lessons on how to be a girl.

The years never really changed my love of all things the girls did. I always borrowed my sister's lilac Raleigh bicycle and rode up and down the street, endlessly, loving the wind in my hair. I felt so free. When it was very windy, I would take an umbrella and run in the gusts, trying to see if I could fly.

Inside the house, when my sister would play with her My Little Pony dolls and plait their tails or Barbie's hair, I loved to join in. I knew when my mum walked in the room that I should pretend that I wasn't doing it and I would start playing with my Action Man. When she left, I would take off his trousers and just wonder what was going on at the top of his legs.


My mum was a hairdresser and when she had clients around, I would sometimes get to comb their hair. I loved watching the scissors snip through the flat bunches of hair, and watch it float to the floor. We'd put the hair outside and my mum told me how the birds would use it to help them make nests. I was so excited by this strange idea that small birds might be keeping warm in our neighbour's hair. I liked spending hours styling my own hair and begged and begged for it to be permed or coloured. The answer was usually no, until I finally got my way around 13 and was told by my school to cut it off. None of the other boys at school seemed bothered about their hair. Boys were yuck.

In Latin class, we learnt about the Romans and Pompeii and Vesuvius. I was as fascinated by language as I was by the illustrations of Romans bathing. I didn't know why, but I loved looking at the images. In P.E., I always felt like I should have been in a different changing room. I felt so exposed in front of these alien beings. Our P.E, teacher made us strip completely so he could ensure we were clean.

On good days, when my closest friends were around, we laughed our worries away, about nothing in particular - we made silly voices, silly dances and when the other boys called us gay, we went under the tables and made them shake as we squealed. We wanted to shock them but didn't know what it all meant. I missed hanging with my sister and my other girl friends. I guess this was growing up. I spent some weekends with Sammie from Abu Dhabi, watching aeroplanes. His mum sold vending machines for tights and I remembered thinking how glamorous it sounded.
Our aeroplane-watching treat                         bramble,net
Visting nana at the weekends was great. My nana has big glasses and even bigger hair. A picture of her on the wall showed her smiling wrapped in a fur coat. I remember thinking that I wanted to be like that when I was older. I loved trying on my grand-dad's leather moccasins and trilbies, polishing his sports car. We ate pear trees from the front garden.

Back at home, in the evenings, we would all watch Coronation Street together. I adored Bet Lynch's leopard print dresses and peroxide hair stacked on top of her head. I loved her delivery of lines as she lazily smoked a cigarette from its oversized holder, her red lacquered nails propping it to her mouth. What a woman! I thought.

Boys are yuck!                             pinterest.com
It wasn't until I started college that the realisation hit me. I had nothing to say to the guys. They said cruel things to me. They threw food at me as I walked through the canteen at lunch; in some weird way, I liked the attention so occasionally to taunt them, I would walk through a few times a day. Boys are yuck! I resolved to spending a lot of free time on computer's inventing new fashion brands - Figotelli Cereno was gonna be the next Dolce & Gabbana, I decided.

In my media studies class as I studied Father Ted, I remember feeling peculiar and sick when looking at a half Sicilian student across from me. I would look away and my heart would race if I suspected he was looking at me. We, very awkwardly, began hanging out and I felt like I was one of those pop-up 3D cards that someone had just opened.One night, we found ourselves in my parent's freezing cold garage and I shook so hard with nerves I thought I would pass out. A kiss didn't happen, it couldn't possibly. One night, he took me into Manchester's Gay Village and the initial intro was like I'd entered DisneyWorld - I thought this is where my community, my acceptance, my kindred spirits would be, waiting to welcome me. But I wanted my girls - I didn't look like them and I didn't relate to these strange creatures either.. They were often cruel to each other and often hostile to me. But I pushed through so I could hang out there - despite the other stuff, it seemed safer.

On way my to uni, sometimes I would pass through the city centre to get to university and people would insult me and builders would lob things at me - once, a glass bottle flew past my right ear. Another time, as I crossed Albert Square in the centre of town, a car passed with blacked-out windows, rolled them down, pointed a gun at me...then squirted water. They laughed and sped off.

The bonkers outfits I wore, mostly hand-made out of anything I found inspiring, couldn't help but warrant all the attention, a similar type to girls in short skirts and low-cut tops. Boys are yuck! The kinds of magazine I was reading like i-D and The Face were full of images and people I admired. So I naively wished for an appreciation of the boldness, the creativity rather than be a catalyst for men's imagination on what I did in my bedroom.

I see people all the time whose appearance I don't understand. I'm fascinated with the trans community, and I also wonder what it's like to be small or very old or from an indigenous group, or blind. I'm shocked when I see someone with a piercing that looks painful. I can't believe the rawness of images and video in some gay clubs I've visited. But throughout all these different thoughts and experiences, I've not once felt moved to hurl objects at these people or humiliate them. That's their business and I don't want my ignorant opinion to hurt anybody. I know the deep shame that festers after a cruel remark. I'm still coming to terms with it. So when passers-by see me with blow-dried or coloured hair or wearing eyeliner, or sporting an oversized bowtie or neon glasses, or holding hands with the person I love, I'm still not sure how it became their business. They have the option to look away. I'm pretty sure that none of my actions are hurting or affecting their life, although they may never have seen such strange sense of fashion before, or 2 men holding hands. That's OK because neither have I. This is the first time I have lived on earth, as far as I know: I'm just making the most of it, being honest and bold and reaching for my own peculiar happiness. Maybe they should, too.


When we see a small animal or a baby, or someone elderly and immediately are moved to help them and protect their vulnerability, it's an instinct without prejudice. Appearances and age differ but, underneath it all, we are all as vulnerable and delicate as we were when we were much smaller and less educated than we are now. Don't let appearances deceive you - it's only the outer shell that's fully grown while our hearts, our spirits, our sense of self remains a child. It still plays easily, but it wounds just as easily. I've come here, to this planet, in this lifetime, to offer my version of love and to be loved - if you can't give me that, that's OK...just move on and allow room for the next person. Reflect on your day, on your emotions and own your life - reserve judgment on other people's because your eyes only tell you a tiny part of their story. If your interest is sparked by someone, open the conversation - ask them who they are and they may be happy to share their story.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Showmanship



Image from Huffingtonpost.com, edited
My friend made me giggle last Christmas when we watched "Gilda" together, a film from 1946 starring the beautiful Rita Hayworth - in her introductory scene, she tosses her lacquered hair and turns directly to the camera. Her appearance is immaculate - her skin is flawless, she appears full of confidence - she is the epitome of Hollywood movie star, "As IF anyone actually looks like that!", my friend gasped. I discovered that she wasn't far wrong when a few weeks ago, I watched a documentary about Rita Hayworth. I learned that she had a dreadful time with her relationships and mental health, to the extent where, later in life, she couldn't remember where or who she was. Her identity and her mind slowly fell apart. I learned how her hairline had been painfully altered and how she'd been coerced by someone feigning riches to marry her. What he wanted, as did the audiences, was Rita Hayworth the uber-glamorous, impossibly beautiful star.

Rita Hayworth's character in Gilda. Image from wikipedia.org
This month, following frank revelations about college life, Lady Gaga has been doing some soul-searching and encouraging her 'little monsters' to do the same. Lecturing on emotional openness and broadcasting that she has taken anti-anxiety medication for a long time, her work with Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence is a absolute breath of fresh air and much-needed. Decades after the heyday of Hollywood's most revered stars, it seems the time of authenticity and honesty is dawning in the A-list "Wizard of Oz" realm.

Image of Lady Gaga from wallpapermade.com

It may sound naive but I've never considered myself influenced by media just because I wasn't aware that I watched that much TV. I'm discovering how even the smallest exposure, and of course my love of film and music, has had a massive impact on my development. The very first first Big Brother seemed in its "raw" reality back when I was a college student. I found the lack of scripts, the distinct lack of glamour, portrayal of real life  a tonic, somehow. Yet it made little difference -  I was still intoxicated and seduced by glamour and constantly wished the boring grey suburbs around me away. I longed for the gloss, the excitement, the fizz of what I saw as spectacular.

Although some great things have resulted from that journey (not least my exercise and eating regime), I've been slowly but surely stepping away from the sweet-pretty Hollywood dream of life as every day I am shown the power of honesty. When the masks of host of people I'd considered icons started to be shown as little more than masks, and when even ghetto bling seemed to be taking over the world (or at least my world at uni), big-time producers like Timbaland and P Diddy were reporting about their battles with depression, back then questions I found difficult surfaced about my own motivations and why I would spend time reading about these hyper-luxurious ways of life.

Miley Cyrus, artwork from ...And Her Dead Petz album 
After a couple of years of shoestring travel where I felt incredibly naked and vulnerable without my favourite clothes, shoes, aftershave and accessories to accompany me, I'm slowly learning how to be more honest with myself and aware of how I feel. It's painful sometimes. I would often like to be in my alter-ego to escape, to be in another world. Being here was/is sometimes too much.

I still enjoy the glitz of performance, and social media pictures and magazines - but I'm learning how to remind myself that they're little more than carefully cropped and edited images. It's such a relief to hear superstars like Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron say there's nothing they enjoy more than being with families, or in the wild or at home with their pets. In some bizarre way, it gives me permission to let go of the idea that everything should be fabulous and shiny all of the time. I thought if it wasn't, I was inferior. I have no idea where this belief came from.

Because I've striven for that kind of shine, even in my attitude, I'm often seen as the happy, playful or joyful one. I guess mostly I am because I believe in the power of kindness and positivity, but on the flipside, when I'm not in that zone I feel such shame. I either avoid my friends or I apologise for complaining and not being 'sparkly'. I recently told my sister that I think I'm an introvert and feel very awkward in certain social situations. I was shocked that I'd said it, and by her pause, I think she was surprised to hear it. But since I'm the one always reading about how healthy it is to be emotionally literate, I thought that I should actually give it a try. It could, or more likely will, save my life.

It's at this point that I feel 100 years old because everyone at a certain age says, "You just don't care as you get older and do what you want". I never quite knew what that meant, but I think if Gaga at 30 is inviting her Yale students to say 'no' whenever they don't want to do something, then perhaps I'll re-consider the role of polite friend/brother/son and go with my heart. Gulp.




Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Oh, Honestly


"I had a dream last night
And it fit me like a glove"
- Butthole Surfers, "Whatever"

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Dreams, Duties and ‘Have-a-go’ Himbo’s



I’m an avid reader and have a knack for remembering with crystal clarity the oddest stories. Maybe it’s how we’re all wired if I remember correctly the account from the New Scientist about blood containing a cassette-tape like substance which records our most instrumental experiences. The article was addressing the connection between brain, mind and memory. I remember 2 other cool stories.

A tribe deep within the Columbian rainforest, known as the Elder Brothers, have a tradition that, to a Western mind, is incomprehensible. From a shamanic lineage, a child in every generation is isolated from their community, housed in a cave and given access to just enough of the elements to survive – light, food, water. Forced to only deal with his internal world for the majority of the time, the practice continues until the child enters his teens.  When the cave door is finally opened, the majesty of the world, his world within the lushest rainforest, is revealed. The profound impressions of both experiences must surely rival each other, if nothing but in their polarities. The purpose is to create a leader who is so astonished and moved by the beauty of both worlds that his life is a dedication to its guardianship. He truly embodies the knowledge of the preciousness of life, both internal and external.

The other life story I remember is that of the Arctic moth who stays dormant for most of his life except to awaken for 13 summers, and in each summer, he eats as much as he can before he falls asleep again. He is solidly frozen in the arms of Morpheus and then, in the 14th summer, he finds a mate, enjoys himself then dies.

They are both bizarre stories but nothing about either of these stories is inherently right or wrong, cruel or unfair; they provide novel metaphors for our own story. I have always been drawn to stories of indigenous tribes and undoubtedly, in some way, they have made me reflect on the definition of modern working ethos. After a deep division from what I considered to be my driving force and joie de vivre as a late teen, I reluctantly hopped to sensible academic study of languages. Ever since then, I’ve tried my hand at working mostly out of my comfort zone; imagery, fashion photography and sewing had become such an unconscious driving force that I was to begin consciously stepping further and further away from it in my early twenties, into deepest unknown.


Lyrics from David Bowie Major Tom
Rainforest picture from letsbewild.com

I like to think that the narrowness of my vision of the world, seen so much through magazines, colour, fabric and the music I would absorb myself in during hours of creating, lent the tiniest glimpse of the effect of the Columbian cave upbringing insomuch as the worlds I was to discover outside boasted with all the lustre, and terror, of virgin rainforest.  The adventure from security or familiarity has been difficult but solo expeditions outdoors would absolutely provide comfort by reminding me of that endless inherent wonder and curiosity in me, sometimes to the extent where I was/am incapacitated to make decisions about the next step forward. Everything seems wonderful, equally. In service to something bigger than ourselves, we stay grateful.

I'm about to drive in the ocean
I'ma try to swim from something
bigger than me
                                                                      - lyric extract from Frank Ocean Swim Good

And yet, of course, it’s not perfect. Work, dedication, stamina for the day ahead…drain even the most enthusiastic person. Fundamentally, though, the navigating force of being on a mission to discover my values has stayed the same and now as I make more onward plans from the yoga retreat in a few months, my dreams still don’t seem as important as duty.

Story and myth are themes that continue to fascinate me because of the mammoth effect they impart on the many choices we make. And, in developed countries as reasonably well-off people, we float on the ethereal smoke of stories - the library of the stories that came before and who we consider ourselves to be now. We have the choice of many lenses through which to see; most of us are not subsistence farmers. Our environment, our consciousness is drenched in the magic of Everything. And now, many of us are motivated to live cleaner, greener, healthier lives. Naturally, we opt for food, water, air that is chemical-free. These are all powerful choices that connect us to the earth.

Author's photo shot at Peaceful Valley, nr Monchique
What many feel they aren’t cut out for, though, is the hard work that it takes to keep those systems flowing. When I first painstakingly collected raspberries or took wheelbarrows of pumpkins up a hill, or picked enough spinach leaves for 40 box scheme customers or almost froze my hands to the bone hammering in fence posts in Lancashire in Autumn, I was definitely ready to pick up i-D magazine and turn my back on the inherent brutality of the natural world. Recently, I was caring for a sick chicken in our coop – the first time ever. It was weird and gross and uncomfortable … but necessary. I do hope that yin and yang somehow mean that glamour is on its way.

To me, gardening, animal care, water upcycling and practices considered sustainable do not come naturally or, at least, they are finally now beginning to because I have been conscious (sometimes single-mindedly and brutishly) to install practices that seem more obviously healthy for us and the planet. I didn’t need to pack up, move to the forest, shed my clothes, grow a beard and go mental…but I did need to seriously take stock of my priorities.
Gucci menswear Spring 2016
 Of course, I still adore music, fashion, films…and they are a big part of my leisure life and keep my story fun, light-hearted and fresh. But now I no longer consider peripheral the types and manner of thinking, of resources, of attitudes, of priorities, of networks that has brought such meaning and joy to my life. They can be more important than the job itself. The kind of ‘biosphere’ of all those things are what makes the occasional drudgery of more manual jobs recede.


While I don’t tolerate the doomed talk I often hear from green-necks (educated and reasonably well-to-do folks that go and get the Good Life in the country), I do fully support the intention to not only wish the planet better, or Like an environment initiative, or pledge a donation to Greenpeace or sign an Avaaz petition….but, for integrity’s sake, to just get on and get my hands dirty, dutifully and with humility. Which in turn feeds the dream of a beautiful future. If I can make the evolution from a cleanse-tone-moisturise Vogue-reading fur-wearing space cadet Himbo to a rather ordinary (clean) happy human being, then so can you. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Spanish Eyes


If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the majesty of the sea

- Marcus Aurelius

This afternoon, as the last few hours of sun waved its pastel goodbyes with spongy clouds, I was busy planting a bamboo fence, a task briefly interrupted to solemnly bury a chick with Leela then joyously dance around the grave, all to a soundtrack of Elvis Presley's Spanish Eyes. It's one of those moments which brings to mind the infinite line in Tracy Chapman's song, Fast Car: ..."and finally see what it's like to be living"; for that surreal moment, Leela and I were living in those rare moments in which I feel a peculiar comforting familiarity, that somehow I'm appearing in a play that was already written.



Leela is 5 years old. She inflated with joy when my voice rose to introduce the idea of her building a trap door for her den, neither of which she had ever heard of. If you are 5, discovering things once is enough to validate their worth. Her ease reminded me of the ease with which, when I began volunteering, I suggested that I made a pond where the old concrete depression was. I had been inspired to re-invent the gloomy grey space and my ideas were encouraged. Since that moment my work hasn't involved merely moving rocks, or planting bamboo, or adding water - I'm becoming friends with the space, dreaming about its future beauty, I'm playing... and then the rest is already history.

Despite my artistic, philosophical nature, there is a darker reductionist belly glistening beneath the fluffier thoughts - those which count, measure and verify, dismiss ideas which stem from a fun light-hearted sensibility. Creative thought wasn't particularly understood or encouraged from my traditional and conservative family, so the dismiss reflex...even the shame reflex...is still strong in me despite my concerted efforts to stop censoring what I'm sure once was a very natural urge. I know living from that more intuitive way brings me immense joy, straight to the umbilical cord of energy that each day births.

On the contrary, the 'serious' concerns I can entertain often leave me a bit cold and I consider that someone or something is distracting me from my Very Important mission, I allow myself to become very grumpy, irritable and comfort myself with ideas like I am surrounded by idiots. I don't like that person and I shouldn't imagine many others do, either.

When Leela and I are working, or playing, or resting, all we're really doing is hanging out. There is no sense of boundary when she joins in with something, no glances at the clock to see when she will finish. Her will is her driving force. In siesta, she asked me for a piece of paper because she wanted to draw. After 5 minutes, she left the table and asked could she join me at the pond. I said, exacerbated a little by what I thought was her diminished attention span, "I thought you wanted to draw" to which she simply replied, "I did - I'm finished now". What a great reminder that we can pick up a pencil any time, draw for a few minutes and express whatever's on our mind - I suffocate and burden myself with the sludge of over-thinking, pigeon-holing an idea into something like a poem, or a serious piece of art, a perfect piece, a blog post. Leela's way of thinking shows me that nothing is important, and everything is - at the same time. That freedom is ours, every moment.

Freedom is a theme I am constantly working on as I try to find a sustainable way of living. I know that work or, rather, the urge to get involved in something we love, is as natural as breathing. But, it needs space, it needs to lack the constriction and superimposed scaffolding of the 'working day' (stifling a yawn). The move must come from within, like the best education - only then can we draw out and engage with, equally meet with what we truly find important. Going through the motions is no way to pass the time of day, the month and, before we know it, our lives. That's why connection to community has become so important to me - it is in our networks that we find support, encouragement, challenge and opportunity to grow, reverse, re-consider, step forwards, evolve.

A blogpost on Toward Community shared the point of view that being in community is a great way to consistently mirror the real us through the behaviour we exhibit and how we choose to react to situations. Alone, we can remain unchallenged and imagine, in our isolated ease, what wonderful, kind and easy-going people we are. However, being around many people for much of the time, barriers that we put up can be immediately highlighted and challenged. I have realised many times that, as cliched as it is to write, the obstacles I can regularly invent are purely imaginary and spring from that old devil, fear...silly fears like, "I might feel vulnerable", or "I'm wasting time". None of it is true. And, because I have only intellectually agreed with living in a loving way, community living constantly forces me to put those beliefs into practice.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015


This day begins like no other
And will be like none before or after
Can we see all its majesty?
Can we truly see it?
And, if we can, can we meet it with our own magic?

Each time the sun describes the sky with its brilliant arc
Let it remind us that our luminosity and brilliance are no lesser
And that amongst the grubbery and drudgery of quotidien tasks -
And perhaps, more so, within them -
we are nothing less than colossal beams of some distant collapsing galaxy
Humbly channeled through this mortal dream of life
in our eyes, our mind, our habits, our hearts.

Only sentimental nostalgic regret, foolishness and cowardice
could force us to overlook these facts;
Hopefulness, joyousness, awe, wonder and enchantment consistently
Defiantly
outweigh any doubt, grief or uncertainty.

We are one light within the lecture halls, the stadiums and 
the universal symphony of lights
And we can see its presence in the shell gleam of the smallest beetle.
So, sing your song...dance your beat...step to the infinite melody
of the inexhaustible turning record of the world
Your groove and its silent lovebirds patiently wait for you
unblemished since the day you were born.

Inspired by the unmatchable wondrousness I feel around Rishi and Chandra

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Well, That's Just Peachy

Years of toil, heartache and tantrums in the kitchen have taught me that if you want your creation to taste more apple-y or banana-y or apricot-y, just add that fruit - raw. So long to all the messing around and fancy mousses and foams and gels and syrups. We sleep one-third of the day so who wants to spend another third in the kitchen? The good news is...the lazy options are often the super-healthiest so, if you started the New Moon detox, you're not breaking the rules. Amen!

Introducing...

LAZY PEACH SESAME CRUMBLE



Too simple for words... doesn't need a Method and still devilishly delicious. Ready in a nanosecond.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 4

200g oat flakes (rolled or flaked)
4 tsps tahini
3 tsps honey
4 peaches, roughly chopped

Simply combine the oats, tahini and honey...and scatter over the peaches. Dust with cinnamon power.

To serve you can add a splash of your favourite milk or, if you don't want to open the fridge door (after all, this is a lazy crumble), just add a few splashes of water.

Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Lunatic

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes" 

- Carl Jung


Working at a natural remedies shop as a student had a profound effect on the course of my life. I moved from dressmaking and textiles to health and horticulture. As a big fan, I was approached by them while working for a luxury goods brand and asked to work as a retail assistant front-of-house, a new role back then - normally, their staff were simply practicing holistic therapists who occasionally ran products through the tills. Delighted, because I loved their products, I didn't realise what transformations were on their way.

At the time, I was an average student living off frozen pizzas and, being slim, I could eat as many Mars bars or Twix bars when it was snack time. I have always loved food and playing with texture, even if that just meant shoving a pint of milk and Victoria sandwich in the blender. It wasn't until my manager, trained in nutritional therapy, pointed out that maybe the dietary habits I'd formed and lack of well-being, and skin problems, weren't such a coincidence. She was instrumental in teaching my how to take better care of myself - sharing her lunch, giving me recipes and we attended nutritional lectures together. The pendulum swung to the extent that, shortly after graduating, I decided to take my gap year as a vegan, avoiding anything that had been reported to be unhealthy (refined foods, sugar).

Many years later, with less discipline and less anxiety over food choices, I've found a happy medium in what constitutes healthy eating. There are some practices that have left impressions since their impacts on my sense of well-being were so noticeable especially the lunar cycles. My manager, then also a  good friend, introduced me to a book entitled "Moon Time", written by someone who'd been raised in a Native American culture. I was fascinated and soon, I was aware of which phase the Moon was passing through and was learning the best ways to strengthen that particular part of my body. I consider myself a deeply Romantic person so linking into this cosmic rhythm was just wonderful. Like with the healthier connection I was establishing with the food I ate, I felt more connected to natural rhythms.

This Friday, 14th August, I will embark on yet another greening mission! It is a New Moon, when no moon is visible in the sky, and it is said to be a great time for stillness, reflection and giving drive to initiate new projects. August is a great time for cleansing because, generally, the weather is good and access to fresh fruit and vegetables is great. I'd love for you to join me! Here are my intentions and comment/email me if you have any ideas to make it even snazzier. And, if you're skeptical (always the healthiest way, I think), then try it and see for yourself if it makes a difference to your well-being. You have nothing to lose. You can choose to stay with the programme for however long you want - a day to 21 days, it's up to you. Listen to what your body needs (when it cries Ben & Jerry's, even when it's Macadamia Nut Brittle, don't respond!). Pair up with a friend so you can support each other.

What You Need

          Inspiring recipes for vegetarian-based meals - we'll mostly avoid meat because it can be hard to           digest and high quality meat from well-treated animals can be very expensive

          A dry skin brush

          Green clay (available at health food stores). Don't worry if you can't find it!
Each night, soak 1 tsp green clay in water. The following morning, drink the water and leave the clay at the bottom for a mask. It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. This is a super gentle detoxification technique for your digestive tract

The regime

It's basically a health kick and you can add extras if you generally follow a healthy lifestyle, such as going for a deep tissue or shiatsu massage, or even an enema...but they are not necessary.

         Every day

                    Rinse your mouth out with water before doing anything else
                    Before you get out of bed, stretch lots...do gentle twists, feel into every body part
                    Have an amazing affirmation: mine is "Today is the best day of my life"!
                    Take a glass of water with a splash of apple cider vinegar with a pinch of seasalt
                    Dry skin brush your whole body - working towards your heart, avoiding sensitive areas
                    Apart from exercise, this stimulates your lymph system and helps prevent stagnation
                          Choose an exercise you feel inspired by - dance, run, swim, cycle, yoga (e.g ashtanga)*. I benefit a lot from circuit boost training, where you start gently for 10 minutes or so, then go at full speed for 3-4 minutes. Increasing your heart rate, especially doubling it, in a short period of time has been shown to have the same effect as exercising over extended periods...minus the disadvantages of straining joints and muscles. This is one of the only methods I've found where a 6 pack (well, maybe a 4 pack!) developed very quickly. Your body is boosted to sculpting itself. 
*Remember - do no exercise at all for 2 days a week. This is vital for repair and recuperation.
                   Meditate - 5 mins in the morning, 5 minutes before you go to bed. Keep it simple - notice                    your breath, imagine what your day will look like, or remember what you loved about the                   past day, and if your mind is buzzing, acknowledge them and ask them to come back                           when you are busy tomorrow. This sounds crazy but it works!  
                        Take 2 brief cold showers a day - this may seem like hell but you become accustomed to it                   very quickly and it's the only thing where I've noticed a distinct improvement in my skin                     tone and hair quality. Hot water really can dry us out and in the summer, the cold water is                   so refreshing. If you can't bear it, just finish a shower with a cold rinse!
                  If you have a small trampoline (or lucky enough to be near a gymnastics centre where                         there is a large one!), bounce until your heart;s content. Literally! Recently, I took to                           bouncing while I was irrigating the garden. It is so much fun and really relaxes everything.
 This suggestion may not appeal to everyone's budget but having a personal trainer truly changed the way I worked out - there are many discount options and even if you have 2-3 sessions, you will be left with tips and tricks to understand your body type. This is really important to your motivation because, if you see results, you will feel happier and more body-confident. I slogged away at the wrong things for years and consequently hated exercise. But, it turns out, I was doing the wrong ones for my body. Find a trainer and book for a session and see the difference. Some visit your house so you can be even more comfortable plus you have a seriously fit guy showing you the moves.

RECIPE IDEAS
There's such a lot of choice to eat especially if you live in the UK. Here are my suggestions for meals you can have. Remember that when you are hungry, it's natural to crave processed foods as your body wants the immediacy of being satisfied. Giving in to it won't feel that great afterwards. Have patience when you are hungry and you will appreciate your food more. Once you get a taste for the freshness, there is no rival to other foods. I am talking from a pizza-ice cream-cookie junkie background so trust me! Be inventive...and try to source non-sprayed foods to reduce your exposure to chemicals. Also, I recommend blurring the lines between meals so you can surprise yourself and experiment with flavours at different times of the day - Thai green curry with coconut rice is a great breakfast, too! I tried a pineapple curry with basmati rice recently, almost like a pudding, but a great dinner time meal. My biggest tip is simplify and keep fancy foods for when you eat out. I love food but hate spending hours in the kitchen - it's possible to have something super tasty in a short time.

BREAKFAST IDEAS
I would avoid smoothies so you can chew the food. It is more satisfying and better to digest.
Sweet
Fruit salad with yoghurt and honey
Muesli
Pancakes (see below)
Porridge - made with oat or millet flakes
Savoury
Tomato salad with cheese and fresh herbs
Mackerel, cucumber and yoghurt
Eggs
Bread - choose that with a sourdough starter so it is easily digested        
Pancakes - making the batter the night before and refrigerating is the way for a great crepe! Fill with vegetables or leftovers from last night's meal

LUNCH / DINNER PALETTE
If you're working, choose something quick for lunch so it's convenient. I called it a palette so you mix anything you want. I always love reading recipe books, but never follow recipes! Again, I'd avoid dips - because they're time consuming to prepare and often have us reaching for endless grissini.

Fish or cheese salad - opt for light, softer cheeses like Ricotta or moussey goat's cheese
Have a conversation with your fishmonger - ask for seasonal fish, get cheap cuts, go for line-caught, avoid farmed fish. UK has great fish resources and M&S is great for labelling
Lentils
Chickpeas
Eggs
Nuts
Vegetables - raw or roasted
Baba ganoush - a dip worth making! Great with cucumber and carrot slices
Leaves - of all kind. Ice berg lettuce sucks, so go for the many other frilly, crispy, beautiful varieties
Bouillabaisse
my favourite dish of all time that is childishly simple to prepare. Email me for my recipe!

SNACKS
Depending on your constitution, appetite, mind set, genes...and a million other things, you may want to snack. And if you feel hungry, you should because you want to avoid blood sugar crashes and crazy glucose events. I recommend always packing a piece of fruit and your favourite nuts, like cashews or almonds. They are both more easily digestible when roasted, or some studies claim. Also, they're less dry and more swallowable! Again, be creative - pineapple with lime zest and chilli is a great snack; or soft-style oatcakes with nut butter and strawberries is just delicious. Lose your judgment about what matches and just try. Make the food world your playground.

Final note...

Learning more about taking care of myself allowed me to understand the emotional tools that come with that. While it's easy to eat better, exercise more...what can be more challenging is spiritual tools to live our deepest truth. I would encourage you to be still, allow yourself to be open-hearted, feel everything that courses through you without judgement...no matter what emotion it is, explore it, allow it; if you're tired, sleep...if you want to dance, dance. There's no rhyme or reason for the different things that we feel, they simply want to express something so welcoming them allows us to understanding what they are saying. Make this clean and green time a time to establish a superhonest conversation between you, your body, your mind, your spirit. It sounds corny, but you are unique and so is your experience in your life. You know yourself better than anyone else so indulge yourself, relax, enjoy and have fun!


"The dream is to see the invisible forms
Of imprecise distances, and, with sensitive
Movements of hope and will,
To seek out the cold line of the horizon
The tree, the beach, the flower, the bird, the fountain
The much-deserved caresses of Truth"
- excerpt from "Horizonte" by Fernando Pessoa


Dedicated to the very-much-alive-and-kicking Suzanne! You changed my life.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Monsters & Dragons



"For those ..."who cannot bear grief, and desire but to bathe in bliss", the ambrosial potion of 

this greatest gift of life is a drink too strong"

                                                                                                    - Gottfried, quoted in Joseph Campbell's Myths To Live By

I've never been a fan of positive affirmations. They smack of post relationship break up tear-stained smudged Post-its, clutched on to with withered fingers in a last grasp of self-pity. Pathetic. There are many other things I also feel eugh at, like celery, but, since I'd rather this list doesn't continue to grow, I thought it was time to look into why I find them irksome and if my aversion to them can actually teach me a lesson; like a room filled with spiders, only less horrifying. So, I swallowed my judgments and chose an affirmation a few weeks ago then got to saying it every morning, or any time I needed to remind myself of the inherent joyousness of the world. It was glorious.

But this week's whirlwind craziness left me a bit stunned - a constant shifting Rubik's cube of colourful bonkersness, with plans and expectations obliterated, then resurrected... then dead in an instant. I summoned my affirmation but in the midst of this spaghetti belly feeling, the words just blinked sadly at me. I re-attempted calmly and carried on: "This is the best day of my life," I repeated, which, alarmingly, awakened an inner goblin who began to say something like - "Now, we both know that is so not true. How can it be? Look...your life is a mess. Your best day would actually be roses and rainbows, kittens and cake and ice-cream and cartoons." Hmph. I thought affirmations were goblin slayers, I mumbled wearily.

As the train left the tunnel of all this doom, all is happily ever after again (cue Hollywood style symphony). Rather than listen to goblin, I heard it, patted him on the back and stayed centred with lovely conversations and openness about how vulnerable I felt at that moment. And now, I feel stronger and more able, clearer and more committed than ever to the dream that exists within me, regardless of the exterior forces. We can choose to feed the goblin or feed the dream. It's a simple but tremendously powerful choice. Collapse the cards of heady complexity and here we are, still the same person, still able to live, learn and love it all. Facing challenges with integrity builds character, expands perception and shows that we can live with our goblins if pick a fight with them, reason with them a bit. It makes our decisions more solid.

Having a great life doesn't mean that everything goes right all the time because, if it did, we wouldn't learn anything at all. We need a healthy amount of stress to keep us alert and challenged so we can continue to evolve. Suffering is a fundamental part of life so we may as well face is with playfulness, courage and a smile so every day continues to truly be the best day of our lives.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Ham Sandwich



Vegan. A series of sounds that when said in succession could easily mistaken for ‘nodule’. No-one wants to be vegan, or a nodule. At least, no-one wants to be called vegan. It sounds like more of a fatal diagnosis than a dietary habit. The physician turns, removes his spectacles and solemnly ejaculates an apology followed by, “We found veganism and I’m afraid the prognosis isn’t good”. 

However, this is a great coincidence for someone whose teenage years failed to surrender that pubescent characteristic that is inclusive of all habits that are deemed dreadfully unpopular and, thus, unique. But I guess the second trait is delusion since veganism has never been more popular, gone viral you could say, and, what’s more,  I technically am one (most of the time, except for croissants at the weekend); I just want a less creepy title.

In my current and necessarily vague adventure on a shoestring in which I attempt find a Romantic way of life in the Mediterranean (undoubtedly induced by repeats of Shirley Valentine) and I'm notably avoiding communities proudly advertising that they're vegan. Sunseed was the coolest community so far - just a few aesthetic and geographical tweaks, a handsome waiter, and I would have signed up for life. Gradually my journey is refining certain common ground that I need in order to feel sane, including subtleties like attention to details, the kind that, say, Claridges might offer, and a sense of comfy homeliness: I’m the 21st Century Goldilocks, tasting every bowl of dairy-free porridge in the permaculture world. The bowls I’m currently not able to tolerate are - 

1. Working all the hours that God (or, insert appropriate belief system) sends in the name of avoiding apocalypse, doom and certain environmental collapse

 2. Kitchens/bathrooms/hair that look as if soap has yet to be invented. Hygiene and personal grooming isn’t the sole domain of the vain and narcissistic; we can steward the world and not resemble extras from Planet of the Apes.

In the next chapter, after leaving a country whose language I assumed was close enough to Spanish to understand (the world of the ignorant and its short-lived blisses) all has unfolded in a most calamitous way with mis-understandings, cancelled public transport which prompted a series of frenzied accommodation annulments…more crossed wires than under the Atlantic. I’m attempting to see the chaos as celestial intervention so I'm staying as Zen / British (calm and carry on) as I possibly can, like in the eye of the storm. trying not judge myself when things soured as I arrived at the hostel collapsing on the desk after a gruelling journey up 2 steep hills with 25 kg of luggage only to hear that the showers were broken. As I clamoured for Zodiacal / you'll find this hilarious tomorrow hope, I remembered that shining global staple and its mystical symbolism: the ham sandwich, the torturous antithesis of veganism.

Rather than slices of dead pig comatosed in a carb party, think of its sweaty soothing peacefulness and, moreover, its omnipresence, regardless of circumstance and geography. In cafés, train stations, hotel receptions, tobacconists (yes, they exist outside of GCSE French text books), road side shacks, probably even on bouncy castles - that loyal steed, slightly moist, wedged between lesser classics...you will find the quiet ham sandwich. I’d perspire, too, with that much pressure to be everywhere at once. The ham sandwich, you'll find, is the original internet. Somehow.

Now, calmness in tact, despite having landed in a city in which I muttered the following words “I will never return here” but cruelly apparently I fill a Mark-shaped gap; despite my intention to be peak, my commitment to excellence (courtesy of a scattering of early years at Methodist Sunday school and Catholic grandparents), despite my puppy-like enthusiasm of holding a dozen MOOCs under my electronic belt and a will stronger than Elnett to succeed; despite knowing more facts around urban water management and urban resilience, as well as medicine’s contemporary relationship with the arts, despite being familiar with pioneering work in psychiatry in the UK, which will attempt to weaken the pharmaceutical stronghold... I find myself in Seville twiddling my intellectual thumbs and looking for the dreaded 'w' word that cheerfully rhymes with berk. Unable to reach Barcelona and a sustainable residency near there (since my geographical skills fail to realise the implications of a 1,000 km distance when it just looks like an inch on the map) unless I am prepared to become human origami in a coach for an unspeakable amount of time. Now, like the baby Jesus, I must knock on the doors of inns until someone gives me a manger and straw. Or, something like that (the Methodist influence didn’t last long).


When I feel the inner flame flickering in Seville’s industrial-strength A/C and bourgeois café mist, my head will stay high picturing an illuminated ham sandwich – steadfast, reliable, pig-headed even, in the face of the vacuous crushing wheels of overly toothy CV hand-outs. I am Zen.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Mana del Cielo



Maná is what came down from the heavens as loaves of bread, great gifts from God, back in the day, when no-one knew what day it was. Fast forward to the 21st century and our God, Elle MacPherson,  slayed the carbs and we're still counting the days for divine intervention.

Well, the wait is over, fellow Earthlings. 

Check out this celestial creation I've rustled up to make Eurovision slip down just that bit sweeter. You'll think you've passed the pearly portals, and probably forget what day it is.

Ingredients
serves 4-5

1 pint of full-fat milk
2 rose heads (unsprayed)
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Orange leaves, very finely chopped*
Lemon peel of 1 lemon, finely sliced
Orange peel of 1/2 orange, finely sliced
1 vanilla pod, split
Whiskey
Ice cubes

In the morning (well, brunch time), bring the milk up to almost boiling, bash the roseheads gently with a wooden spoon and then stir in the brown sugar, vanilla pod (and all seeds), lemon and orange peels and the chopped orange leaves. Turn off the heat and allow to infuse over the day.

Sieve and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add whiskey, to taste, then serve over ice and garnish.

Divine, non?

*if you don't have these, use a very sparse drop (applied on a wooden spoon) of neroli essential oil and stir in the milk once the milk is cooler





Friday, 22 May 2015

Courgette Soldiers with Bolognese Quenelles



Super yummy fuss-free Paleo dinner when you're having a Don't-wanna-be-in-the-kitchen-but-wanna-stay-awesome moment. Make the most of the leftovers! We eat with our eyes and this dish is pretty (in the picture, the decoration is a basil stalk), doesn't compromising nutrition...or require hours over a hot stove.

Ingredients

Leftover bolognese, shaped into quenelles
Courgettes, matchsticked
Broccoli, sliced finely
Cucumber, diced
Olives, sliced
Tomato, diced
Strip of lemon rind, crushed with salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss all the raw vegetables, seasoning and oil together
Serve and add bolognese.

Bon appetit!



Friday, 15 May 2015

The Penne Drops



I can't cook. Not the way certain friends can where they will find a random tin of corned beef lodged in seam of a cupboard, a rotten cauliflower in the cooler drawer and scrape roadkill from their right tyre 1/2 hour ago and...then it's suddenly a Michelin-starred lasagne with MasterChef headhunters on the phone. When I cook, I over-think everything and suddenly my neurosis has outwardly manifest and the dish looks utterly distraught.

It runs in the family. My dad turns to digestive biscuits should an emergency arise (i.e. mum's away). And mum isn't really interested in cooking - she has her go-to's: apple crumble, steak and kidney pie, lamb chops and is also germ obsessed so she has been crucifying salmon fillets ... just to be on the safe side. Outside of the kitchen she becomes Jay Rayner when we visit a café. And it's always the same; the people who you'll least likely find in the kitchen will be the ones tauting their opinion and shaking their fist at the most innocent blancmange ("I prefer it crispier").

So, as Triassic as it sounds, I didn't try pasta until I was 23. The smell of it boiling traumatically reminded me of school semolina - named dessert because there was a sad puddle of strawberry jam dormant beneath the grey sludge. When I took a gap year in 2004 I decided it was a great idea to avoid sugar, dairy and wheat because travelling doesn't present enough challenges. At this point, I still couldn't cook so after lifting my fork to tickle the 500th leafy salad one night, I was overcome by the smell of molten mozzarella. Someone was melting cheese on their pasta. It was heavenly. But, I soon repented with gravy-esque carob hot chocolates and spirulina shots, and all went on as dreadfully as before.

Since then, times have become much more rosy and finding myself travelling again, I need a lunch that isn't going to take me into the future. For, as much as I can't cook, I could spend light years chopping vegetables into infinitesimal pieces and before you know it, I can't explain where the time went because there is only forensic evidence of what I've actually been doing.

Sharing with 2 guys now, one whose eyes don't flicker as he tells me his daily dozen-espresso habit and the other who only eats whenever the fridge door opens, I feel like a complete freak sitting down to 3 meals a day. So when I need to be in the kitchen, I also have to be out pronto. Breakfast is sorted (fruit salad, bread and peanut butter that I'm using as a butter substitute: stay tuned for raw apple crumble with peanut butter top) so lunch also had to be quick. Pasta!

Fresh tomatoes, chopped...courgettes finely sliced, torn basil leaves, super-fine garlic and lemon peel, some glugs of olive oil, salt and fresh black pepper...prepared as the pasta boils. As I curl up to a bowl after a record 20 minutes, including dishes washed and returned the thought crosses my mind that I can cook. And that I'm slightly mad.

Mmm. This is why people like pasta.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

We Found Love

excerpt from Joy Ride by Mariah Carey

Friday, 8 May 2015

Ensalada De Remolacha Xocolatl


Beetroot Chocolate Salad

Beetroot and chocolate makes a delicious pairing for cake so I thought a savoury version would be worth experimenting with. I made this as a side dish to Spanish chorizo and lentil stew for my mum and dad's 39th anniversary. Result - this super simply, yummy semi-sweet salad with a fiery kick. Even my dad was back for thirds!

Ingredients

3 beetroots, boiled until softened
1 plum, sliced very thinly
1/2" fresh ginger, finely diced
1 tsp sweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp water
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Method

Cube the cooked beetroot while still warm and slice the plums. 
Beat the cider vinegar with the cocoa powder and cayenne, then add the water to thin down slightly. Add salt to taste, then stir through the fresh ginger.
Serve.

Buen aprovece!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Shuttle


When we're shooting into space
Growing and lessening
Weakening and fortifying
We can be children again
More so than when we were young

Look at that child on her mother's knee
She's almost 46 years old
And her mum is learning how to be as soft
As a baby. She's untying the knot
Letting herself become one orbit of the sun

 And here we are gazing into space
From a different Milky Way
How can it be anything other than magic
When we lose anything attached to our shell
and every day means a million more shells on the shore

EVERYbody Got Time For This


Sweet Brown
Milkshake of the Gods


You've heard of a Charlie Brown, right? Well, stand aside Snoopy. 
Meme-inspired milkshakes are what we wanna shake our blending sticks at!

Ingredients

1 small over-ripe banana
1 tbsp of strawberry jam
3 tsps cocoa powder
Milk (dairy, oat, coconut, almond...)
1 tbsp peanut butter

Blend and serve over ice in a Grease shake-parlour inspired beaker. 

Now, everybody got time for that!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Popsicles, Presence & Pompoms

 
21-7
21-9
21-14
21-12
17-21
 
Read and it weep, folks - these are the scores from today's breezy badminton on the beach. This is highly significant for 2 reasons. Firstly, despite my dad having retired 5 years ago, along with my most talented sporty friends, I have NEVER won at a game with him. E-VER. This has bamboozled me especially because he wears varifocals. Hoooow bad must I be?

Secondly, the conditions at the beach today couldn't have been more different to the usual indoor badminton court where we play. Turns out that my pops performs so well there because he anticipates the shot to gauge his reaction and his predictions mostly (OK, always) pay off.

But today, things weren't predictable - the breeze was everywhere, the court was smaller, the floor was sandy and the shuttlecocks were, quite frankly, shit. The only way I could play was, as I always do I guess, engaging with exactly what was happening, measuring how the strength and direction of the breeze was affecting the shuttlecock and accommodate the court's smaller box. My scores are on the left (OK, I lost one game).

Since I'm always inventing my life as I go along (on and off the badminton court), I can sometimes lose confidence and ask myself what the French toast I'm doing. But seeing my dad play today almost as a complete beginner, simply because he couldn't possibly predict or adapt to the new conditions of the game he knew so well, it showed me how quickly I had accommodated and thrived in these new and bizarre conditions. This gave me a great advantage. And the chance to reign supreme all afternoon.

A book by Nassim Taleb on Anti-Fragility http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incerto/dp/0812979680, introduces an important concept of strengthening through taking risks and exposing ourselves to certain types of stress, encouraging us to transpose what seems like a fail... rather than panic and wish that everything could be normal. Normal is dull and if you play someone who wants normal, you'll probably lose.

On a less allegorical note, one of pure fancy, I saw the most beautiful bag covered in pompoms in Marbella casco antiguo. I may actually need varifocals because when I came to pay the $14.50 on the price ticket, the older French, slightly haughty shop owner wanted $145.00 of my finest dimes. It was all very Pretty Woman. Kind of. This happened to me decades ago in Vivienne Westwood where I saw a shirt and tie for $30 in the sale and as I drew giddy self-assured breath at the counter, was asked if I wanted the shirt as well.

Stupidity is a massive part of my gene pool. Fortunately, optimism and forgiveness are too.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Cleanliness Is Godliness


Clean up...or else the Ghoul of Dishes Past will come git ya!

Living at Sunseed gave me the opportunity to see how a community operates, showed me how I functioned when not just thinking about my own day, and also gave the chance to reflect when I could be doing more. In a communal living situation, there´s no hiding from the consequences of our own behaviour. I couldn´t believe how careless I could be - that moment of, "I´ll just do that in a second..." results in someone quite quickly yelling my name and a stream of apologies.

Having left now to temporarily join a much smaller community (my parents, grandma and friend) on holiday at a large hotel complex, I´m learning what a great metaphor the hotel gym is for seamless community living. I go most days to see that all the towels are straight, dirty laundry in the baskets, all the machines wiped down with no paper towels left on the floor. Everyone who goes is very respectful and once their time on the equipment is done, they clean it and move on. And, granted, the housekeepers get a look in at the end of the day!

On a larger scale, it shows how important ever tiny action is that we make. And the time we neglect what´s in front of us because we feel something more important has called, it most likely hasn´t - something different called, that´s all. Our life is created in a kind of Hansel-Gretel trail by the simple choices that we make, not the most grandiose. If we engage with all those seemingly obvious decisions that we must make every day like which water we drink, the type of food we eat, how many showers we have, how much time we spend watching TV, how we´re feeling right now...then the rest takes care of itself. And it´s not about judging it and feeling bad, but just being conscious of what we do in case a better option comes along that we might want to consider.

Like most solutions, cleaning as we go is the most simple and basic thing so I´m taking the inspiration from the sparkly shining gym home with me...no more dirty dishes in the sink. Or, did I say no grandiose gestures?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Joy Army

THE  JOY ARMY

is recruiting soon
Flying the flag for Joymakers globally and galactically
 Brace yourselves for unbounded joyousness

Wow, this sounds cool. Tell me more...

The Joy Army is a team of creative interdisciplinary individuals/human beings who travel across the UK, and beyond, armed with glitter, not guns, beats, not bullets and instruments, not intimidation.

Sounds too good to be true. And what's the mission?

They will responsible for assassinating indifference and destroying misery by the power of dance and song, quite simply. ....celebrating our bodies and obliterating the occasional tedium of being mortal. Sometimes we can forget we're alive and The Joy Army helps to remind us of the simple joy a melody and some boogying can bring. We're firing love lines into the most heart-broken places and keeping buoyant our dreams and spirit.

Who's the brains behind this crazy army?

I've always wanted to be in the Army. But I don't want to hurt anyone, just live from love. The ideaof The Joy Army kept floating towards me, year after year, but I dismissed it because I thought it was fantastical and silly, just the dream from a mind that distracts and monkeys around easily. But I've become friends with my thoughts and I want to listen to them, rather than criticise them. That makes me happy. I realised that I can focus on anything that truly interests and excites me. Life doesn't really have any particular shape except the one we create, there are no rules and my confidence has grown over the years to accept that I can live however I want and share my joy with others who feel it to, or want to connect to it. For me, there's nothing more beautiful than dancing and singing with friends to favourite songs. I didn't want this to just be had in the confines of a night club and forgotten during the week. Moving and being spontaneous with our bodies makes us all feel so good! So, why not do it every day?

Powerful stuff that needs some power dress. Any advice for an outfit?

The Joy Army has got that covered with a fabulous uniform that will identify all Joymakers. A vast team of tailors will be beavering away over the next few weeks.

I'm totes free. How do I enrol?

How marvellous! Contact me right away. Funding is currently being sought and we'll be good to go over the next few months, right in time for summer.

Is there any way I can get involved behind the scenes?

Absolutely. Any support you can offer through contacts for tailors / clothesmakers, fundraisers, glitter-gun makers, musicians, poets, singers, instrument-makers would be super cool.