Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Exciting - move with me

Exciting yes, scary too as I try to transfer the contents of this blog to its new home. I am assured it is likely to go seamlessly but then again, it might not.

Changing the blog might bring you a list of latest posts in your inbox as a subscriber and I apologise if it does not go to plan.

Lets be bold and surprised at the same time.

Thanks for your patience.

I posted on barefootabundance. com today about how to free yourself from junkmail in 5 clicks.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Moving to Barefootabundance

Its still a work in progress as I am getting to grips with new technology but it will be great to see you there.

You can find me at barefootabundance dot com

This is a period of transition so let me know what you think and how it could be improved for you.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blog Housekeeping

Dear Reader

Even blogs can get cluttered and I am currently doing a little housecleaning here and there, packing up a few boxes before I move to a new website home, where getting the information contained will be easier to access and action.

As with everything this may go smoothly or be very bumpy, so bear with me and I will write you an update of when I can show you around.

I am working hard at learning codes and templates and it is likely to take me a week or so before I can master new skills.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A time for resting

Does your body feel sluggish? Are you lacking in energy?

Winter is a perfect time to build up supplies of internal strength and vitality and maybe when I do not take note of that I feel the sluggishness of a bear woken up from his hibernation. There is a distinct lack of light and a desire to stay hidden under a warm blanket.

In the natural world, there is still a deep stillness as many animals hibernate and plants and trees are dormant, drawing energy via their roots in preparation for spring ' when the sap rises'.

February in particular therefore seems to be an excellent month to rest as well as build up some fresh resources by :

  • eating a wholefood diet with plenty of good protein, animal as well as vegetable protein(nuts,seeds, lentils and beans)
  • to warm up I stir fry vegetables including a little root ginger
  • spend some time outside bathing in natural light, warmly wrapped up  with a hat, mittens and scarf as well as a coat.

Resting now is the best preparation for the energy required in Springtime.

So take a cue from nature : peep out from under the blanket, take a small walk in fresh air and eat warming fresh foods.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

10 ways to downshift sugar consumption

Jamie Oliver, winner of the 2010 TED prize gives a compelling argument and visual reminders of how sugar consumption has contributed to the deterioration of health in both children and adults.

Every child should be taught to cook in school, not just talk about nutrition all day. Good food can be made in 15 minutes. This could be the first generation where the kids teach the parents.” – Jamie Oliver

Limiting consumption of fizzy drinks can initially feel like depriving your child  but a gradual reduction and change from artificial sugar to nil sugar via natural sugars can cause gradual change. Taste buds will adjust rapidly.

The following steps work towards a gradual reduction of artificial sugars and an increase of real fruit consumption and knowledge.

1.   Change from high energy drinks to fizzy drink without the added zing

2.   Change the fizzy pop to 50% sparkling water/ 50% fruit juice

3.   Reduce fruit juice element to 25%

4.   Change fizzy water to still water

5.   Introduce fresh fruit smoothie 50% /50% water

6.   Fruit smoothie 25%/ Water 50%

7.   Alternate 100% water when thirsty to mixture of smoothie and water  mid morning and
      mid afternoon.

8.   Provide fresh smoothie ingredients( banana, orange, apples, kiwi) on a plate and offer
      with water to drink.

9.   Provide fresh fruit and water to be taken when needed

10.   Introduce physical exercise such as a walk or a bike ride to balance sugar levels. Pack a drink of
       water and a piece of fruit and stop at a lovely location to savour. ( This last step ties in a need for
       refreshment after exercise with a solution of fresh fruit and water and sets an example for

Then, you can introduce vegetables into juices starting with a combination of carrots and apples.

Often, our sugar levels drop due to a lack of hydration and when we feel a sugar craving it may simply be that we are thirsty.

Jamie's speech is a good 28 mins long but makes a compelling argument

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter - time for Home

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,

for the touch
of a friendly hand

and for a talk beside the fire: 

it is the time for home. 
Edith Sitwell

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nurturing the soil

This year's project involves replenishing the garden and after careful observation a plan is forming on how to let nature recreate the space we have into a food producing ecosystem. Having spent time in the garden, listening, watching the grass grow, the rain fall, the puddles form, the leaves fall and the slugs crawl I am ready for the next step..
The answer can be found in nature, in forests where every layer, every plant and every microorganism work in synergy for the benefit of another.

Instead of wanting to dominate nature in the way of traditional gardening, I want to explore the permaculture way of engaging in beneficial relationships between plants, soil, insects and wildlife and start observing, listening and interacting with what the garden has to say.

I want a relationship with the ecosystem in my garden but does it want a relationship with me?

I want to ask questions about plants and bugs; who are you, what do you do for the garden and what do you need from the garden? How can I take my place in the garden instead of dominating the system?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The power of a question

Every child goes through a phase where they ask their parents and everyone else the most important question; WHY?

How would you react if your child asked the question : Why is it getting bad for every living thing on the earth? Why Global warming? How did it get this bad? What exactly are we going to do about it?

And not every parent takes the question on board and turns it around by asking : and what are you prepared to give up?

How would it feel to downshift by living on half of what you own?

The story of how one family's daughter challenged her parents on social injustice and as a result followed through by selling their house, downshifting and giving the proceeds to charity to make a difference. How would you react if your child asked the question : So, how did it get that bad with the planet? This Global warming, what exactly are we going to do about it. What happens if we challenge teenagers and ask them : What are you prepared to give up?

Not an easy question to respond to.

The Power of Half

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Monday, February 08, 2010

The rewards of a simple life

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter….to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring- these are the rewards of the simple life.

80% of our time is spent on our physical needs :

  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Shelter
  • Work
  • Education
  • Health

20% is spent on our Spiritual,  social and psychological needs :

  • community
  • love
  • friendship
  • beauty
  • art
  • music
When we concentrate all our energies in providing for our physical needs, we lose:

  • a sense of belonging
  • active and meaningful supportive relationships
  • the support of friends
  • an appreciation of the beauty that surrounds us
  • expressions of creative beauty found in music and the arts.

Non material experiences are needed to feed our imagination and our creativity. We need time to contemplate, to make things with our hands, to express our selves.

Searching for a simpler lifestyle  may be a call from the soul to not forget our social, psychological and spiritual needs.

To create a balance we could :

  • write a letter to a friend and make arrangements to meet.
  • spend time with our partners and talk a walk in nature
  • make time to reflect, meditate and relax
  • plan a garden and sit in a nature sanctuary
  • visit an art gallery
  • make bread
  • find ways to express our creativity.
Above all, we could simply be who we are and connect with others.

Personal exploration: leave a comment and share how you express your creativity

    Saturday, February 06, 2010

    Marmalade time

    The Seville oranges are back and our first preserve to fill the pantry this year will be Orange Marmalade.

    A step by step visual recipe for you to enjoy.

    Thursday, February 04, 2010

    10 fruits to grow in the garden

    Fruit trees, bushes, crowns and canes are an investment to start with but after 3 to 4 years, cared for, they will provide you with a return each year.

    Three trees were gifted to me this year, apricot, greengage and victoria plum.

    Here is our selection to provide fruit throughout the year:

    1. Rhubarb- purchase them as crowns. These are the very first fruits of the season, make excellent pies, leaves used in mordanting fibre, crowns can be used as a dye.

    2. Strawberries - lush, easy to grow in pots or as groundcover ( works well with rhubarb in a pie)

    3.Apricot - tree, needs to be planted where the sun shines most day as it is a warm weather tree.

    4. Blackcurrants, white currants and red currants : bushes providing berries in July/ August, excellent for jams, jellies and cordials.
    5. Cherries - A morello cherry tree can flourish on a north facing wall and provide a good crop provided it is netted when the cherries ripen, otherwise the birds will strip the tree.
    6. Gooseberries - a prickly bush, makes good jelly as it is high in pectin.
    7. Plums,greengages, damson - eat fresh, can or freeze, jams and jellies.
    8. Berries - Raspberries, Tayberries, Loganberries, Blackberries, Mulberrries, Blueberries cultivated and wild.
    9. Apples and pears - If you have space you can create a succession of harvests lasting from October to January.
    10. Quinces and Medlars-

    Tuesday, February 02, 2010

    10 ways to enjoy a film again and again

    Movies are a form of entertainment that has always appealed to me, in similar ways to books. Yet, when you read a book, you use your own imagination to create a picture based on the descriptive language chosen by the author. Films on the other hand, combine the vision of the author with that of the film director to bring you an experience.

    How can you enjoy that experience for less?

    1. Going to the cinema will provide you with the large screen experience and is a great way to get together with friends yet an expensive option.
    2. Rent a film via lovefilm or netflix and invite friends over for a social evening, popcorn and potluck drinks and you have a similar social experience on a smaller budget.
    3. Use the library to borrow films to watch and return when you have enjoyed the movie.
    4. Purchasing movies creates ownership and then you can put it on your shelves for later viewing.
    5. Swap a movie with a friend. One of my sons swaps the loan of a costume for the loan of a film so both friends get a different night out.
    6. Sell your DVD's via Magpie if you need cash quickly use the money as you wish.
    7. Bring and buy your DVD's to a charity stall and purchase another film to watch, a great way to enjoy a classic film.
    8. List your DVD with the film circle, pass on your DVD to someone else and choose another one to watch. Search by category or actor, film director etc.
    9. Pay to download movies onto your phone or Ipod via Itunes, watch it for a week and then it simply disappears.
    10- Catch a movie on BBC Iplayer, Channel 4 on demand, ITVplayer, as long as you hold a current UK TV licence.