Friday, June 28, 2013

ice cream friday

(if you are wondering what beautiful cauliflower has to do with ice cream...well nothing. But I didn't have a photo of the ice cream and think these vegetables are quite exquisite. Thanks Robin.)

Today is the last day of term for River. It has become tradition on the last day of term we walk to the local ice cream shop to celebrate River's hard work and spend time with friends. Having an ice creamery within walking distance from school can pose a challenge for some families with children asking for ice cream most days after school. To save the asking we put in place last year that we would go out for ice cream on the last day of term and that really works for us. It means that having an ice cream is a treat and it is really appreciated and anticipated rather than expected.

I am feeling really passionate about at the moment about educating more parents and children about how good real food is for your body, mind and spirit. River comes home with stories of friends having fairy bread for lunch and while I definitely am not into blaming and shaming people into looking at their family diet I think that too many people drastically underestimate the impact and risks to health of eating nutritionally bankrupt food.

A quote I read this week from Jamie Oliver sums it up nicely -
"Homicide is 0.8% of deaths. Diet-related disease is 60%. But no one f*****g talks about that"

So. I am back to looking at studying children's nutrition. It bugs me no end that so many people in our community are sick with cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes and still we as a society are not laying solid nutrition foundations for our children.

Stepping down off my soap box now. Looking forward to sharing the holiday wholefood highlights here with you and excited about having lots of deliciousness planned for posts focusing on wholefood Byron Bay style when we head there next month.

A happy start to the school holidays to all those who finish school today. Three cheers to all you mamas for getting everyone through the term - two weeks of no lunchboxes hooray I hear you cry.

Here is the friday link list just for you:

Following on from last Friday's post about the untimely death of my friend Andrew, before I go any further with the list I have to acknowledge that there is a sense when people are grieving that the world stops for a time and then people resume the busyness of life. I am very conscious of wanting to return to life with a renewed sense of how I live and of sharing Andrew's story to remind people of the fragility and preciousness of life. Andrew died of a sudden heart attack with no warning at age 45. I implore everyone reading this consider their heart health and those of the people you love. There are many risk factors to heart health that can be minimised if you are thinking about having a check up, blood pressure, cholesterol, improving your diet, quitting smoking, exercising the time is now.

I'm not anti eating carbohydrates but I do think there are some interesting points in this article particularly that the majority of people's diets are too carb based. Do we really need to eat carbohydrate for energy?

If you are in Melbourne over the holidays I love going to the Collingwood Children's Farm.

Lunch at Friends of the Earth is always a wholefood highlight.

I had a peek yesterday at Rick Stein's cookbook India. As if I need another cookbook ha! But this one is so very tempting.

If you like blogs about simple living with a young family with a whole lotta heart, soul then click on over to An Every Day Story .

Thanks for reading. Happy holidays and weekending xx

oh forgot to share one of my favorite River and Sol moments from the week...
Breakfast table chat: Sol Mr 3 randomly says "Mum you know that the Dalai Lama he eats bread". River, Mr 6, jumps in with "oh no Sol that was Jesus. He had one piece of bread and broke it up into millions of pieces" :) 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jude Blereau "Wholefood Baking"

Last Friday I drove up to Melbourne to the Essential Ingredient where I met up with my great long-time friend Kylie and we took our places at the tables set with china and roses for the launch of Jude Blereau's fourth book "Wholefood Baking". I have long been a fan of Jude's books and her enthusiastic, unfussy approach to wholefood cooking.

I own all of Jude's books, "Wholefood for Children" and "Coming Home to Eat" are the two most relevant to my life at this time with two young children. I've written before about a very delicious AND nutritious chocolate chip biscuit recipe from "Coming Home to Eat".

Jude's fourth book is brimming with recipes that bring sweetness to life and does so in a wholesome way because of the attention Jude has paid to writing beautiful recipes using wholefood ingredients. I will write a more detailed review of the book down the track when I have baked and baked and baked some more but for now I just wanted to share some photos of the day with you.

Going to the event was a treat because it is rare that Kylie and I get to spend an afternoon together drinking tea, eating cake and catching up without our children. Made even more special due to the fact Kylie is 8 months pregnant. Excited about the new babe!

Meeting people who I have long admired through their books or online is always a good thing. So it was great to finally meet Jude in real life and the bonus prize was meeting Meg, Meg who blogs at My Wholefood Romance who I think by the way should change her blog to "I'll have what she's having" because Meg is one of the most glowing, radiating with health people I have met!
Must be all that kale :) I'll definitely have what she's having! Now on with some photos...

Friday, June 21, 2013

friday with Jude

Today has been the light on my horizon this week. I am heading to Melbourne to Prahran Market, meeting up with my beautiful friend Kylie and attending Jude Blereau's launch of her fourth book 'Wholefood Baking'. I was thrilled to bump into Jude earlier in the week shopping at the market at Ripe the organic grocer. Jude and I have exchanged emails over the years and I reviewed her first book for The Age so it was lovely to finally meet in real life. There will be photos and stories of the day, shared with you here next week and perhaps a book review too.

I say today has been the light on my horizon because it has been a very sad couple of weeks to say the least. I have been in two minds as to whether to share this here but to make a list of links with a heavy heart does not feel right so I have decided to write about the truth of life for me and my friends at this moment.

Remember my recent trip to New Zealand? Well, while I was there I reconnected with dear old Melbourne friends from my twenties who had relocated to Auckland, we hadn't seen each other for some years since they had moved interstate and we all had babies and so on, we had drifted but the great memories of the early days of our friendship remained. It was wonderful to see them and meet their young children.

And then two weeks ago I received the shocking phone call that my friend who I saw in Auckland, the Dad, had died suddenly of a heart attack at age 45. Shocking and unspeakably sad.

On monday of this week a few hundred of the people who loved him gathered in his hometown of Melbourne to honor his life and show our support for my friend, his wife, a beautiful woman in every sense, and their delightful young children.

Today's post is dedicated to Andrew and his family. Andrew will be remembered for being Great in the true sense of the word, he was instantly engaging and endearing, unique in his ability to connect so genuinely with everyone he met.

Before I decided to share this story I started looking for links and found only one before I changed my mind about making the list. I came across Sam's chocolate frangipane tart, Andrew was an incredible foodie and cook so it seems fitting that I share at least one recipe in memory of a great man who is loved and missed by many.

A warm and gentle weekend to all xx

Thursday, June 20, 2013

how to save time in your wholefood kitchen

Next to saving money on wholefood the other precious resource we all want to save or manage better is time. Just as we learnt in the budgeting series making small changes can add up to big savings, the same goes with time.

Before we start watching the clock I think one of the main things underpinning this topic is attitude.
I have said before that wholefood eating is a way of life, it is not just about the cooking. I am a big believer in food as medicine and because of this I don't resent the time I spend buying, storing, preparing and eating wholefoods. And I think there is a lot of truth in the adage that "if you don't make time to eat real food, you better make time to get sick". I agree that cooking food from scratch takes longer than putting a packet in a microwave but there is no comparison in taste and benefits for your body, mind and soul or the health of the planet.

To get started here are some ideas that came back from a little shout out on The Wholefood Mama facebook page:

Natalie and Sonia recommend bulk cooking and freezing.

Sonia adds, "I know it's not in everyone's budget, but the thermomix has really helped me in this regard, it makes cooking from scratch super easy and quick. It's been the best investment in our family's health".

Vanessa is a fan of bulk cooking too she says "Leftovers save me and my sanity. I have no problem with my children eating the same nutritious meal two nights in a row - as long as they love it of course. I make enough for my husband lunchbox too. I certainly feel robbed if I make a meal that has no mileage in it!"

Chaska says, "We started a family schedule, quite like Milly, Molly and Mandy...washing day, breadmaking day, shopping day. I fit cooking meals into the schedule for instance I cook a more labour intensive meal on house cleaning day because I am around to look after it. The schedule has made a difference. I stopped trying to clean the house everyday because I knew house cleaning day would come. The children take part in the 'chores' and that helps them to know how to tidy up and now they are older they have their own chore list. Making many meals at once saves time, I start a soup or curry before breakfast, then after breakfast I make morning tea and a lunch box, I leave the kitchen clean after that and usually just stack lunch dishes returning before dinner to quickly do the dishes and prepare dinner. I often make soups, muffins or cookies at night before I have cleaned the kitchen". I like Chaska's approach of doing a lot of cooking at once then only having to do one big wash up of dishes.

Leesa says, "You can't beat a slow cooker for the working mum and not just soup and casseroles, try roast meats, cornbeef and curries".

Thanks ladies!

Now, my top 6 time savers are:

Organise your kitchen. Spend a morning or afternoon going through your cupboards sorting out your equipment, utensils, ingredients etc; label jars with ingredients, throw out things that don't work or are broken, say goodbye to containers and jars with no lids, make a list of items you have been meaning to buy to make your time in the kitchen easier or more enjoyable (and I don't mean a thermomix! I am not anti-thermomix but you don't need a lot of gadgets or gizmos I am talking about basics that keep the flow and function of your kitchen smooth). Being able to find things easily and having equipment that works will save you time.

Meal planning. Spending a little time at the start of each week or month planning out your meals really does save you time and money in the long run. By having a plan to follow you will not wander aimlessly trying to decide what to buy to cook for dinner and saves your sanity each day by knowing what you are going to cook. If you feel completely overwhelmed and haven't a clue where to start planning a menu go here, here and here for some great inspiration.

Bulk cooking, eating leftovers and/or freezing (also saves gas and electricity) If you are turning the gas or electricity on to cook one meal you might as well cook enough for two or three! I don't do the freezing option but that is only because working from affords me the luxury of cooking during the day. If I had a job to go to I think I would definitely have a few meals in the freezer ready to go, it not only saves cooking time but I imagine it saves time on the washing up too as you will probably only use one pot to heat whatever it is you have thawed out or perhaps too if you are cooking pasta or rice or steaming veggies to go with the main dish. While I don't cook enough to freeze I always cook enough so there are leftovers for lunch or enough to reinvent a new dish based on the previous nights dinner. The heroes of big batch cooking are the Mamabake ladies check them out!

Cooking skills Brush up on whatever you don't feel comfortable with, lacking confidence in your ability slows you down and makes things a chore. Don't despair it is an opportunity. Perhaps you could do with learning some knife skills or would like to be more efficient at making pastry or need to stick up a chart about soaking grains on your fridge until you can remember what's what. Take a class, read some books, scour the internet and watch some how to videos. Knowledge is power!

Delegate Newsflash you don't have to do it all yourself! Involve your family. Depending on the ages of your children get little ones involved in putting away groceries, preparing the food, setting the table, washing up and then as they get older assign them a night each week to cook dinner. My sister-in-law awesome mama of four started a system once her children were tall enough where she filled the sink with warm soapy water before dinner and as each person finished their dinner they washed and dried their own plate and cutlery. Every little bit of assistance saves you time and including our children in the running of the home is essential in teaching them that they have an important role to play in family life, that they are contributing and not just receiving.

Shop online This isn't something I do but I know plenty of others who do and it makes sense that once you put the time in to find your suppliers placing your order online means your food is delivered to your door saving you time going out to shop for it. If you do shop online recommend the places you shop in the comments.

Oh and when it all gets too much and witching hour is upon you and everyone is hungry and you are er running late with dinner I have a secret weapon. The Dixie Chicks. Play it loud. There now you know.

Now it's over to do you manage time in the kitchen? and what is on your witching hour playlist?

Friday, June 14, 2013

freaky friday

It is freaky Friday at River's school today. I stayed in his class this morning to be reading mum, I sharpened pencils and listened to goblins and witches sound out their words. Now I'm drinking rooibos tea from one of the pictured beautiful cups I picked up this week and writing to you.

Sorry it's been a bit quiet here this week especially when there are so many new visitors! Thanks for visiting and next week even if I have to forcibly align the planets with my bare hands so I can find time to serve you up more delicious posts I will.

I am literally counting the hours 'til dinner tomorrow night with an old friend who I haven't seen for seven years!! Can't wait. Hope you have something exciting planned.

Until next week, here is a list of links to tide you over. Chow for now xx

Oh Sugar! (warning: a bit of swearing involved in the unleashing of the passion about the topic in this post)

Off topic but we all need some beauty in our lives...for the love of flowers by Cecilia Fox

And the love of chocolate. Wholefood chocolate no less. Thanks Natural New Age Mum. Last chance today to enter Sonia's huge giveaway too.

I baked my chocolate honey spice cake during the week and served it with custard instead of icing as dessert one night after dinner. The key is to undercook it and then it is more like pudding than cake. Perfect for a wintery weekend.

I think this site will be right up your real food alley and Sydney folk you'll find cooking classes to attend

If you are on the Mornington Peninsula on Saturday head to the Boneo Market where you'll be able to buy beautiful organic produce that's grown with love just 2km up the road at Transition Farm by Robin and her husband.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

wholefood mama: Kellie from dear olive

It's been a little while since I've posted an interview with a Wholefood Mama, today you are in for a treat with the one and only Kellie from dear olive. Before we begin take a moment to gather yourself after seeing the adorableness of the photo of Kellie with her divine miss Olive and their main man Shane. Gorgeous photo huh?

The first time I read Kellie's blog well over a year ago I did so through tears because I learned that like Kellie's mum, like my mum, had died young. There is both sadness and comfort in finding other women who have become mothers without their own mothers around to share all the joys and challenges of parenting. I connected with Kellie at that level and promptly fell in love with Olive and the letters Kellie writes to Olive. Following Kellie's blog I was fascinated to read her wholefoodie posts that appear from time to time and delighted Kellie agreed to be part of this series.

Make yourself a cup dandelion tea and settle in to hear how this mama and her family live the wholefood way.

I'm Kellie, and I live with Shane and our three year old, Olive, in Bondi. I work as a costume buyer for film and tv and I blog, I parent and I try to keep my family as healthy and as happy as possible. Natural health and healthy eating are a huge part of our lives, and, after being a Mum, it's probably the thing that defines me the most.

Can you tell us about your family's eating habits? Do you have a particular philosophy when it comes to food?
I've never really thought much about defining my personal food philosophy before becoming a parent - but since having Olive, I've definitely become far more strict in my ideals, and in my practice too. Basically, I just want us to eat good, natural, delicious, organic food. And for the most part, we achieve this. We eat fairly simply, with very little processed foods or refined grains, and we eat organic where we can. We've developed a wonderful little ritual of doing all our fruit and veggie shopping at our local growers markets on a Saturday morning - we are literally there rain, hail or shine. It's the most rewarding and enjoyable way to shop, catching up with local friends and buying groceries in the outdoors. I love it.

What sort of dishes do you like to cook?
In summer, I love making interesting salads (you know, with nuts and seeds, or special cheese), often served with a piece of meat on the side, but Winter food is most definitely my favourite - hearty, rich-in-flavour casseroles, and most especially curries. I am a huge curry fan! Anything with condiments is going to be a favourite in my book. Shane is Sri Lankan and he makes this amazing sambal with dessicated coconut, lemon and chilli - it makes any old curry of mine a total winner.

Where did your wholefood journey begin?
When I was in primary school, my parents both became naturopaths and there was this moment in my childhood where there was a huge and sudden shift in all of our eating habits. You know, out of the blue instead of getting chocolate we were served up sugar free carob! They were way before their time in a lot of ways, my parents. There wasn't nearly the same access to knowledge that we have now, and a lot of people thought they were weird. Even though I found it highly embarrassing at the time that dried apricots were all I had in the sweets department to offer friends who visited our house, I feel extremely lucky now that I started on a natural health and healthy eating from a young age. Because it became second nature to me.

Who inspires you in the kitchen? Favorite cookbooks/food blogs?
Absolutely anything and everything

Is there anything you find challenging about living the wholefood way?
The biggest challenge has been with Olive, and other parents on playdates and at parties. It felt so rude to say that I didn't want my kid eating what the other parents were giving their kids ... but sometimes I just had to speak up - as politely as I could, of course. Although now that Olive's three, I definitely turn a blind eye a little more at parties!

Do you eat organically? If yes why? If no why?
We do, but certainly not everything. I always, ALWAYS eat organic meat because I want to avoid antibiotics at any cost. At our local growers markets, there is a mix of certified organic, uncertified organic, and non organic and we buy a variety of it all. Most of our pantry items are organic, because I find it easier to shop at the local health food store than get to the supermarket. It's obviously at a greater cost, but it also means that I'm smarter with what I buy. There is not a lot of wasted food in this house. But I can't overlook that convenience definitely plays a big part in how we shop/what we eat, too! And we eat out a lot, too - pub dinners, thai, fish and chips - are all big family favourites. But as long we eat well at home, I'm not too concerned about having some unhealthier meals once a week or so.

What are your favorite kitchen items?
I just won an amazing blender on a blog giveaway, and I was so excited when it arrived - but to tell you the truth, I've only used it twice in 3 weeks! I don't really have any gadgets or anything whizz bang or worth mentioning. Shane won't even let me have really sharp knives because I'm always cutting myself. In the same way that we eat simply, we cook simply too.

Top 3 favorite ingredients and why?
I've never thought about this before, so I'll just say the first three that spring to mind ... Nuts and seeds. They're healthy and add the best texture. Goats cheese. Because it's delicious. (In fact, probably most cheeses could go in here.) And the third ... I'll go with lemongrass. So fragrant and adds so much depth to a curry.

What is your go to meal when you are short on time?
Frittata. Delicious and reliable, every time.

I loved reading in one of your recent posts about your mum petitioning to remove junk food from the school canteen when you were in Year 7, what did your mum teach you about food and what do you hope to teach Olive about food and cooking?
Mum was such an inspiration to me, and to many people. When I was in high school, she had a weekly segment on the local radio station called "The Healthy Living Show" - she would discuss health topics, and even take callers. It was hilarious to say the least. Once when I was in Year 12 I heard it playing in the cafe as I was buying my chip sandwich with bbq sauce! I really admire her for putting out her message and educating people. She was never afraid to speak her opinion (often, loudly!) and natural health was her passion (one that she's passed on to me). She taught me to never stop learning about health. And never to compromise your own beliefs to make someone else happy. Olive's only three, but she's always asking us ... is this healthy for you? And she knows that eating relates to health. Although I don't want to put too much pressure on her, I know I'm giving her the foundations for healthy eating for the rest of her life and I feel really good about that.

A memorable food moment?
Last night I slow cooked a leg of lamb, and served it with rosemary roast pumpkin, roasted onions, steamed greens, and a parmesan cauliflower mash - so so good! Olive has never been into cauliflower before, but served up like this (and called super delicious mash), even she had to admit it was yummy.

What are you loving about your life right now?
This long weekend. I never knew three days off work could be so blissful.

Anything else you would like to say about wholefood, junk food, raising happy healthy eaters? 
I worry that a lot of parents don't prioritise healthy eating (and avoiding processed and junk food) enough. The way I look at it, is you only get one chance to set your child up for good health for life, and this is it. You need to take it.

I love this post on Kellie's blog about the day a man on a bus tried to insist that Kellie allow Olive to eat a chocolate biscuit he wanted to give her.

For a sweet wholefood 'recipe' see Kellie's Slice of Heaven.

Thanks so much Kellie for sharing your wholefood story xxx

Meet some other Wholefood Mamas in this series:

Friday, June 07, 2013

friday long weekend

We are at my nan's today for country air (& cooking!) It's a long weekend here to celebrate the Queen's birthday apparently. River asked before bed last night 'Who is the Queen?' Without wanting to get into a big story I answered simply, "A lady who lives in England". "Oh and she's 85" added River all of a sudden knowingly. I wonder what sort of cake the Queen likes on her birthday?

Anyway moving on from royalty here's my list of posts, blogs and a video from around the web this week that captured my imagination:

Jodi speaks from the heart about the emotional investment in feeding our families.

For breastfeeding mamas a behemoth post 'feeding baby, and me' from The Nutrition Coach.

And if you make it through that and want to read more about motherhood, grab your tissues and head over to Steph's to read her sling diaries post. Don't say I didn't warn you. Steph has a way with words that is achingly beautiful.

Love strawberries? We're way out strawberry season here in the southern hemisphere but we can all visit Mimi's post and dream.

Apple love

Winter is the season for one pot cooking. Liana's one pot chicken and rice dish has become a favorite so I thought I'd hunt up some more one pot wonders. The recipes on the the site are reliable and straight forward making it a good place to start adding one pot recipes to your repertoire.

Caramelised garlic tart? Yes please.


Michelle has added a fun video to her organic food blog. Go check out her story.

Ok I'm off to finish up some other work before nan's roast lamb is ready for our dinner :)

Whether you are cosying up indoors this weekend or heading out into summer sun have a wonderful time and I'll see you back here next week for more wholefood love. And I promise the post I mentioned about saving time in the kitchen will be up soon! xx

Thursday, June 06, 2013

buckwheat porridge with banana, walnuts and maple syrup

There's more to porridge than oats. Such a variety of other wholesome grains you can simmer in water or milk to warm up your winter mornings, how about millet, amaranth, rice or buckwheat?

Apart from cooking buckwheat pancakes made with buckwheat flour I hadn't cooked with buckwheat in its whole form until I was inspired to try it as porridge. Buckwheat is in fact a seed not a grain and there's not a pinch of wheat in it. Just another weird, unexplainable moment in English language, why call something wheat when it is not actually wheat?!

So, technically buckwheat is a gluten-free food but do check the packet to make sure it says gluten free because some gluten free grains get contaminated with gluten if they are processed on the same equipment as grains that contain gluten.

Some other buckwheat trivia for you - buckwheat is related to rhubarb, and good reasons to include it in your diet is that it is high in  essential amino acids and essential minerals zinc, copper, magnesium and manganese. A good way to start the day. You should be able to find buckwheat groats at your health food shop or for Australian grown buckwheat flour and groats sold online go here.

I decided to flavour this porridge with the same ingredients we would put on buckwheat pancakes. but you can add whatever ingredients you have, raisins, goji berries, coconut, almonds, chia get the idea. Adding maple syrup to anything feels decidedly decadent and luxurious to me, especially for breakfast on a school morning. 

Buckwheat porridge with banana, walnuts and maple syrup

Wash one cup of buckwheat groats in cold water and then put in a pot and add two cups of boiling water. (This amount will be enough for about four servings)

Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with banana, walnuts, a dash of maple syrup (or honey) and milk of your choice (I used rice milk).

That simple! I hope you like it.

For another non oaty porrridge try my quinoa porridge with lemon, ginger and cinnamon

What's cooking for breakfast at you place?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

'b' is for (wholefood) budget - part 4

Just when you thought the budget series couldn't get any better, in comes the clever and lovely Meg from My Wholefood Romance to inspire you along even further. I love Meg's focus on seasonality and stocking up on fruit and veg when it is in season because it will cheaper. All the more inspiration to talk to the older generation and learn some preserving tips!

How many mouths do you feed in your house? 2 adults, 1 child

What percentage of the food you buy is organic?
About 80%. There are some veg and fruit that are more important to eat organically than others. Check out the Environmental Working Group's list on the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen! 

What would be your average weekly spend on food?

What are your top 3 tips on saving money on food?
Buy in bulk, or from bulk containers and only buy as much as you need at a time. I like to do this with oat and nuts/seeds as you know they are super fresh when you get them.

Buy in season - it has higher nutritional value and is cheaper!

Shop from farmers markets, or get a weekly organic box delivered- I find this works out much less for us.

Cheeky number 4: Grow your own as much as possible! Even if this is only your herbs, that still saves $3-4 on a bunch of herbs at the shops.  

To those who say eating wholefood is expensive what would you say?

I think often it's the packaged items that cost the most. Grains, vegetables, legumes, fruit, seeds and nuts are not expensive, but they do require you to put in more effort to prepare them! :)  It's true we don't eat much meat in our house, and meat can be expensive. However you can chat to your butcher about less expensive cuts and cook them in more traditional ways such as in broths, casseroles, slow cooks etc.

I find leftovers a big money saver in our house. We don't buy lunch (unless it's a special occasion - everyone loves a lunch order!), and take leftovers from the night before or from a big lot of something that I have made. Soups and stews work particularly well, and freeze well also. 

Stocking up on foods when they are in season and cheaper is great also. Berries work very well this way, and I also have a constant frozen banana supply.

THANKYOU Meg for sharing your great suggestions. I am looking forward to meeting Meg in real life at Jude Blereau's book launch later this month. xx

How is your wholefood budget coming along? Anything else to add? Love to read your comments.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Monday, June 03, 2013

monday musings: on creativity

I dipped my toe in the water late last year beginning an occasional series on a monday venturing sideways from wholefood. It began with a post on blogging, then on birth and today the series returns with this post on creativity.

We are all creative beings. It is easy though for life to get in the way of exploring and nurturing our creative heart. Unfortunately it falls to the bottom of the priority list because making our art is often deemed self-indulgent or not as important as tending to washing, cooking, cleaning, relationships and so on. Yes all those things are important but when was the last time you set aside an hour to paint or write or sing for no other reason than to be creative? And not felt guilty about it.

Just hearing the word 'creative' or 'artistic' can make people recoil from it thinking "that's not me, I'm not creative and I'm definitely not artistic." Well I don't think that's true. It is so important to fill your creative cup so that you can rise the challenges and opportunities presented to you each day. If you nourish your creative heart you will find this lifts your energy and will overflow into all that has become mundane. There is opportunity to express and explore our artistry in everything we do from the way we dress to the way we cook.

Here's a story about my journey with creativity. Thirteen years ago I found myself stranded in Vancouver, Canada. I discovered many things about myself during this time and a book that became a friend was Julia Cameron's 'The Artist's Way'. I had traveled to Vancouver from Houston, Texas to renew my visa and re-enter America. Or so I thought that's what I was going to do. My visa application was denied. I spent a week in Vancouver before flying home to Australia, leaving a long time boyfriend in Texas. This was the end of our relationship and the beginning of a very big next chapter of my life including stepping deeper into my creativity, not only in my writing but also in various mediums as a way of getting to know myself better (which sounds corny when I read that but it's true!)

For those unfamiliar with Julia's book it is written as a 12 week course to 'discover and recover your creative self'. It's a wonderful book that will challenge and rattle any fixed beliefs you have about creativity and what you allow or don't allow yourself to do. For instance if you usually paint but think you might like to sing but don't consider yourself a singer, Julia encourages you to bringing singing into your day anyway. Julia provides great strategies to overcome obstacles to being creative, obstacle such as fear and the perception of having no time to tend to our creative longings.

I really believe that tapping into our creative well is a way of feeling fulfilled. If it is something you have let slide to the bottom of your list I hope this post inspires you to dive into your creative world or set about finding what makes your heart sing. The world could do with a little more colour and song.

Happy Monday :)

Share your story in the comments of finding your creative passion or if you're feeling stuck share that too, someone reading may have just the answer for you.
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