Sunday, 25 January 2015

Just me...being me...

I was asked recently to write an essay for a Moon Books collaboration which I was more than happy to do because the others that have been published are excellent books (Naming the Goddess, Witchcraft Today & Paganism 101).

However when I sat down to write...to be honest the subject title scared me a little...
"Modern Pagan life, Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21st Century"It sounded a bit grown up for me and I ummed and ahhhd for a bit about what to actually write.  What if I didn't understand the meaning of the title and got it all skew wiff?  What if everyone else wrote a really clever essay and I didn't?  What if...what if...PANIC!

Then I thought...hey it's me...I am not an academic or an historian and have never claimed to be.  I walk my own pathway and can only share what I have learned along the way in my own fashion.  I have studied the pagan pathways in depth, in fact I love to study and I like learning from all sorts of different sources and all different pathways then I take the bits that work for me and I make them my own but it does not make me an expert, not by a long shot and I still have a lot to learn.

My books are written the way I talk, if you join us at the school, at a workshop or a ritual, listen to me at a talk or meet me in person you will get the same...me just being me...and that's how I write my books.

I was asked in an interview recently "how would you describe your style of writing" and my answer was - pull up a chair by the fire, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake, let's chat.

I admire those that can write eloquently and intellectually but that isn't my own style, I can only be ME...and I realise that I am actually very OK with that.

But I will still be apprehensive about reading the other essays when the book comes out...I just hope I don't need a dictionary to understand them...that would just be embarrassing...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The body con challenge

Well I did it...I went shopping yesterday with my family and encouraged by my husband and daughter I not only tried on several bodycon dresses I purchased one.  I suspect my husband was extremely pleased to see me in a figure hugging dress having gotten so used to me in floaty tents...

It was a bit scary...I was expecting to either burst into laughter at how ridiculous I looked or burst into tears at the lumps and bumps the dress would show...

Actually it was quite comfortable and I have to admit to going one dress size up...my actual dress size was VERY figure hugging and I felt a bit like a hooker...no disrespect to ladies of the night but it is not my chosen profession (I would hate to work nights for a start) so I went up a dress size and it fitted very well.

I did have that age old problem of the waist line ridge where your pants/tights end giving the otherwise smooth exterior of the dress a kind of dip but other than going without underwear (yes my husband did suggest it but we are back to the lady of the night scenario again) I don't think there is much I can do about that.

The dress is not my usual style and the question is will I ever wear it out? Apart from the fact I looked like I was going for a job interview at a bank... Actually this wasn't about fashion it was a personal quest/challenge for me to a. try one on b. purchase one and c. put the photos up for people to see...

Now my wibbly wobbly ego worried that people would think I was being vain or attention seeking...maybe there was a bit of the attention seeker in there but for the right reasons.  This is part of my personal journey to accept myself and my body but in sharing my experiences publically I hope to at least in some way help others that are perhaps feeling the same way that I do.

My mind was pondering on this last night and I realised that there was a lot of connection to the stages of womanhood in this.

Maiden - you are young, carefree, healthy and your body is slim, trim and firm and perky in the right places, you have confidence but perhaps not experience.

Mother - your body goes into sudden shock mode at becoming a baby making machine, it is stretched, pushed and pulled in all manner of ways throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.  It also changes your life completely.  I think you sometimes lose a part of yourself, a bit of your personality and confidence disappears and the children (quite rightly so) become the main priority in your life.  You are no longer just a carefree couple you are parents with responsibilities...and very little privacy!

Matriarch - I think this is the stage I am entering.  The children are growing up and you can claim back a bit of your own inner being and start to focus on yourself a bit more and your relationship. Your body will probably never be the same because by now not only has motherhood taken its toll but age is also doing its bit to send all your body parts towards the ground.  But you have a bit more life experience now and can hopefully take back control...

Crone - these are your years of wisdom and now the ability to be in total control of your own life and what you want to do, basically you can do what you like and if people disapprove you can claim senility...

Being a working mum with two children, a house to run, a job, book writing, Kitchen Witch and all the other stuff that life brings (all of which I love by the way) it is about finding time to discover what and who you want to be and claiming back some 'me' time and some partner time too.

It is not an easy path, it has as many lumps and bumps as my body has but I think I am making headway...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Big hips and curvy bits...

As a lot of people did...I ate far too much food over the festive season and come the New Year I got caught up in the "should I lose some weight" mentality.  I think it has perhaps become a tradition for the New Year for all of us to jump into a diet...I lasted one week exactly, although I did lose 3lbs.  If you did make that decision and have stuck to it - well done!

Over the past couple of years I have slowly put on some weight, whether it was down to eating too much cake, sitting in front of a computer for too long or the good ole peri menopause or perhaps a combination of all three who knows but I am now sporting a UK size 16 figure.  This is the largest size I have ever been but how do I feel about it?

I think I have been on the roller coaster of emotions.  I don't think I will ever be a size 10 again, I just couldn't and wouldn't want to commit to the eating (or lack of) or exercise routine that would be required. In fact I personally wouldn't want to be a size 10.  I would perhaps like to be back to a size 14 but do I want to do the work to get there?  My immediate reaction is .. um no.

I don't live on a takeaway diet, I don't eat ready meals, I do cook nearly everything from scratch and use lots of organic vegetables and fruit and don't eat meat every day.  I don't eat loads of fatty foods, in fact I don't even like chips, I don't cook with lard, lots of butter or fry everything. I do bake cakes but not every day.

A couple of months ago we were in a restaurant and the waitress was wearing a very figure hugging dress and she was probably a size 18 to 20 and boy did she totally rock those curves (the boys couldn't take their eyes off her) she looked absolutely gorgeous, but...would I have the confidence to wear such an outfit?  I am not so sure, I tend to veer towards a hippy/gypsy/boho kind of fashion anyway which is more about layers and floaty rather than figure hugging anyway.

I asked myself some questions:

Do I want to be skinny - NO
Do I want to be healthy - YES
Do I care what size the label on my dress says - NO
Do I want to feel good - YES
Do I want to look good - YES
Do I want to live on salad and count the calories - NO
Do I want to eat scrummy healthy food AND have treats - YES

All of these questions have led me to the conclusion that I don't want to diet, I just need to continue to eat the healthy balanced meals that I do but maybe cut out some of the treats.

I think it is all down to feeling comfortable and confident about your body size and shape, as long as you eat plenty of healthy food and feel good then who cares what size you are?

I also thought that being slightly bigger than I was used to, I had to hide it all and have been wearing tent like dresses and tops which in fact probably aren't as flattering as something fitted, I perhaps need a new mind set for outfits as well.

Will you see me in a bodycon dress anytime soon?  Who knows...but what I do know is that I need to stop worrying about it all, to embrace my figure as it is and to enjoy the cooking and food as I have done.

Life is for living and I certainly don't want to be calorie counting every bite that I put into my mouth that's for sure, I do need to make sure I am eating healthy and I just have to accept the new me...


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Update from a cold, wet and windy corner

Well it's January...it has never been my favourite month and I am not liking this one much more than the rest of them.  Although in the scale of things for me personally it isn't really that bad, but the World as a whole does seem to have gone completely mad.

The weather is cold, wet and windy here in the UK and it is back to routine and school runs in the pouring rain, although I have one child home poorly at the moment with the cold bug thing that seems to be doing the rounds.

And of course I am feeling the 'festive food hangover' and desperately trying to eat in a vaguely healthy fashion...

I have HUGE amounts of writing to do but motivation seems to have departed except when it comes to baking...yesterday I was distracted by a maple syrup cake and sesame seed brittle which all turned out brilliantly (even though I say so myself) but wasn't actually very productive on the writing front (or the healthy eating).

Today my mission is to crack on with the wordage...I am very close to finishing the manuscript for A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food and if I don't finish it soon it will be 2016 before it gets published!

I did get a couple of recipes made at the weekend for my next article in the Pagan Dawn magazine but as they work ahead the feature won't be out until Beltane...so we stood in the garden in a howling gale taking photographs of baked goods and hoping that the scene we set looked summery...it was all we could do to stop the cakes from blowing of the plate... (and yes that is Columbo on my apron).

Preparations are all sorted for our trip to the Enchanted Market on 7th February where we will not only be running a mini magical herbs workshop but we will also have our Goddess Temple set up for the day for meditations, petitions, blessings or just for people to pop in for a few minutes and chill out.

Writing is also being finished up for our Herbal Pathways course that starts on 1st March, it is always really interesting writing the courses because as we write them we also work through them, always an eye opener!

Right...motivation...focus...determination...ooooh sparkly shiny things...

Monday, 5 January 2015

GoodReads Giveaway



OK...time for some freebies...

I am running a book giveaway over on www.goodreads.com

Click the link below to go take a peek.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23122087-a-kitchen-witch-s-world-of-magical-herbs-plants

Two copies of my latest book A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Plants up for grabs...to be sent anywhere in the world.