Soulful Sundays #1: Stew & Strolls


Happy Sunday all.

I have wanted to share a weekly feature called ‘Soulful Sundays’ for a while. For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my hopes and dreams for the week ahead.

Each Sunday, I will post a roundup of soulful reflections to share, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them. Let’s begin shall we?

Soul Food

We all love a little food for the soul. I love to cook, and I especially enjoy cooking tasty foods that nurture our body’s wellbeing. Growing up as a junk food kid – I have finally come to appreciate loving meals that heal and Mother Nature’s medicine. My Mum will have no problems in me divulging her culinary disasters that we had to endure as children. Thankfully, I have evolved enough from my boxed food munching days to be able to share some delicious (and nutritious) recipes with you. Like this Hearty Lentil Curry Stew I discovered and recreated. You can find the full recipe on my website, here.


It is a favourite with my partner and my guests. And the best part about it, is that it’s incredibly easy to prepare and is mouthwateringly tasty! A one pot stew for all the family to enjoy.

Soul Sounds

I have yet to discover how to embed music files here. So for now – it will be YouTube videos I’m afraid. But this track can be found on Spotify also. When I first heard this song, it brought tears to my eyes. In fact, if I’m totally honest, it made me cry. I was listening to it whilst meditating alone in my room and was struck with an overwhelming mixture of emotions. And then, I did something extremely odd, I stood up in the middle of my room and began to dance to it with tears streaming down my face! haha What a picture I was.

I don’t have such an overwhelming reaction to hearing this song anymore, but I do feel lots of hope and joy when I hear it, and I play it most days. Ironically, the song is called Her Joy Is Complete by Sleeping At Last.

Soul Strolls

It’s Springtime here in Melbourne, Australia and I have been out flower-stalking (as usual!) I love connecting with nature – so I will share this little beauty that I snapped along my stroll.


Soul Sisters

And lastly, I would like to share two beautiful posts that struck a chord for me this week.

The first was by Miriam over at Out an’ About, where she showcases the wonderful impact and beauty that humans can make when they collaborate and come together.

The second was written by the ever heartwarming reflections of a teacher over at A Teacher’s Reflections, where she shares her wonderful encounter with her young students as they enjoy the classic children’s story, Charlotte’s Web. 

What is soothing your soul this Sunday?

Warm wishes,

Hayley xx


Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to the beautiful Deb over at Once Upon A Hot Flash for tagging me in the happiness tag. I know some people prefer not to participate in these nominations, therefore, if I have tagged you and you’d rather not complete the process – please don’t feel obliged to! (Instructions can be found at the bottom of this post.)

I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist. (Especially since the subject is ‘happiness’.) Any chance to reflect on that which brings me great joy and for which I am grateful, is worthy of a moment of my time. Plus today is my Dad’s birthday! So in honor of his special day – I would like to spread some happiness…


Happy Birthday Dad xx

Five Things That Make Me Happy

  1. Nature
    I love spending time outdoors. Sitting and contemplating, walking, observing, listening – I simply love it. Nature heals, nature uplifts, nature inspires. If you ever feel tired, lethargic, anxious, depleted or stressed – go for a walk. Find a park bench and sit for a while. Listen to the birds, breathe in the fresh air and just be.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
  2. Cooking and Food
    Some of the best conversations happen around the table. Growing up, food was just that – food. (In fact, I’m not even sure it could be called ‘food’ it was so over-processed!’) However, since discovering fresh, wholesome, organic produce – I just can’t get enough of the wonderful creation Mother Nature provides. Of course, I am human and occasionally indulge – but mostly, I enjoy the feeling I get from eating meals that heal and foods that nourish, energise and sustain. In fact, I am so inspired by this way of eating that I started a blog called Don’t Panic Go Organic. It is still in the early stages yet, however, this will be a place to share recipes, super foods and alternative (safer) every day products – as well as a place of spiritual healing and connection. Come and say ‘hello!’organic_food_delivery_dont-panic-go-organic
  3. Disney and Fantasy
    I love fantasy and make believe. I think that the best thing we can nurture in our children, as well as in our adult lives, is the imagination. The ability to dream, create and use our imagination is what sets the pessimists apart from the optimists. When you believe in miracles, miracles really do begin to appear everywhere. Go on – I dare ya! Make a wish!!!-imagination-logic-amazing-inspirational-intelligence-Albert-Einstein-
  4.  Stationary and Books
    I am a self confessed geek who loves books and stationary. I have notepads and journals galore, pretty pens and pencil cases and an ever growing book collection that I hope will rival that of Belle’s from Beauty and the Beast one day! I feel most at peace when I am reading the world’s wisdom traditions or when I am surrounded by my journals with a pen in hand and a heart full of
  5. Divine Guidance and Connection
    I receive my greatest insights when I take a moment to be still, to quieten the busy mind and connect with Divine energy; that greater being that resides deep within each and every one of us. Whether it is through my meditation practice, yoga, my Angel Oracle cards, healing crystals or through prayer, there is no greater comfort and clarity than in that moment when we become one with our true authentic self – with Source. It is here that I connect with my Dad, with Spirit, with God, with every other being on this planet, with all that ever was, ever is and ever shall be.universe

At this stage I am also asked to write about 5 songs that make me happy – however, I have blogged about this previously here. But for all you happy bloggers – go ahead and tell us of five things and five songs that make you smile or feel happy – then spread the happiness!

My Nominations

1. Miriam at Out an’About who spreads oodles of love and joy along her travels.
2. Tammy, my dear childhood friend from My Little Bit of Serenity.
3. Oneta Haynes from Sweet Aroma who always manages to brighten my day.
4. Fatmawaty over at Qolamii who is delightfully sweet on her journey through writing.
5. MeRaw over at The Journey of My Left Foot who finds comfort along her healing journey through writing and connecting.

In Love and Light

Hayley xx

Buon Appetito!

Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!
Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory. Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.


If I am honest – when I first read the prompt for this assignment, I thought – Oh crap! Really?  And for a teeny tiny nano second – I even considered inventing a believable tale of how my sister and I would help Mum to rustle up oodles of home baked goodies in the kitchen, mesmerised by the tantalisingly tasty treats on offer; of how we would revel in that childish privilege of licking the spoon clean, whilst our fingers and faces became all mucky and sticky with chocolate, butter and flour; or even a story of how we would watch Mum in her pretty apron, humming a song as she basted the chicken ready for roasting – the aromas of gravy and stuffing sending our senses into a wild spin of anticipation. Later we would gather around the family table, talking about this and that, sharing our highlights of the day over our shared love of great food… But, (and I know Mum wouldn’t mind me saying this – she’d be the first to admit it) the truth is – Mum couldn’t cook for shit!

I know that sounds a little harsh, maybe even a little ungrateful – but it’s the truth! Mum’s cooking has been the brunt of our family jokes for years – so why disguise the fact that my childhood memories of food are anything less than, shall we say, unsavory? The thing is – we were never really a meat and two veg family, and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t touch a single vegetable until I was fifteen years old! (That’s when Gran decided to put an end to our dietary disasters once and for all.) We weren’t even an easy spaghetti bolognaise or lasagna kind of family – the only spaghetti we ever ate came from a tin and were shaped like rubber rings. Pizza? No problem – Mum would pull a pizza straight out of the box from the freezer, bung it in the microwave for two minutes, and buon appetito! Italian city eat your heart out! …Except, we would then bite into said pizza, and the hot cheese (which was now a melted, microwaved mess) would slide off the top, flop onto our hungry little chins and burn the crap out of us in the process! Not bad if you’re in need of a chin wax – but at six and eight years of age, that most definitely wasn’t the case.

Since pizza wasn’t working out, Mum tried her hand at chicken burgers. What could go wrong with chicken burgers? Well – let’s just say, that after Mum had finished with them – the chicken content, which was punching around zero to begin with, was now pushing well into the negatives. Mum would cook the breaded burgers for so long, that any chicken that once existed had completely evaporated into thin air – leaving behind an empty black sack of breadcrumbs (which she would then disguise under a dollop of spaghetti hoops.) Mum got good at hiding her crispy concoctions beneath hoops and beans. She regularly told us that charcoal was good for us!

So with Mum’s culinary skills leaving much to be desired, it might explain why, for four entire years of my childhood life, each night for tea I ate nothing but chicken flavoured two minute Super Noodles and Campbell’s tinned meatballs in gravy. I know I know, I am hanging my head in shame as I write this. (I must also point out that I wasn’t force fed such mush day in day out – I actually asked to be served this less than palatable dish.) To put it bluntly, it was the only meal that Mum didn’t screw up! If you’ve ever cooked instant noodles, you’ll know that over cooking them simply produces a sort of noodle soup. The same is true of canned meatballs (which, I remember, had an unnatural resemblance to the food our cat was eating at the time – and a similar sort of smell) – but they had just enough jellied gravy to withstand a good intense stewing before running the risk of total cremation. So this is what I lived off for four years. Partly because Mum was a pushover, and partly because she had so much trouble mastering boxed freezer food, that all refusal from my sister and I to eat anything remotely resembling a vegetable, simply relieved Mum of the arduous task of producing a home-cooked dinner!

Well, it all came to a head when I was fifteen. Gran, who had grown tired of making Christmas dinners only to be asked by Mum to serve, for me, a separate plate of Super Noodles (‘super’ merely referring to their miraculous inability to burn!) with Campbell’s tinned meatballs (which were not, in fact, balls of meat), and to leave any vegetables off of my sisters plate, finally said to my Mum – “That’s it – if these children won’t eat proper food, then they will eat nothing at all!” My sister, who at the time was edging the strategically hidden swede to the side of her plate, almost cried. And so it began, Gran made it her mission to teach Mum how to cook and to invite us round for tea once a week so that she could wean us onto real food.

Not long after, when I turned seventeen I moved to Spain, where my love of real food and full flavours blossomed and bloomed even further. I delighted in Mediterranean dishes such as Paella’s, Tapas, calamari and albondigas (that’s Spanish for meat balls – and yes! They contained actual meat!) It was in Spain, that I discovered my love of seafood, salads and all things fresh. I also learnt how to cook, since my job as a waitress required me to help out in the kitchen if we were missing a chef. I cooked carbonara, omelettes, entrecôtes and bocodillos – so many delightful dishes that, up until then, were completely alien to me. There was no end to what I was willing to try. My fussy food days were over!

As my travels expanded, so did my palate. In Australia I discovered fresh sushi and Japanese food (available on every street corner and one of my absolute favourite dishes); in Thailand I fell in love with the harmonious combination of flavours that constitutes Thai cooking (and thus, my love of curries and all things spicy grew); my love of spice led me to try Indian cuisine, which I simply adore for its rich and succulent mix of diverse flavours.

As for my Mum, you will be pleased to know that she has also graduated from crispy charcoal and microwaved mush! She has been a vegetarian for eight years now (whether that’s a firm stance against cruelty to animals, or a ploy to avoid the responsibility of rustling up a joint of meat, I have yet to decide!) Just kidding…Mum genuinely loves animals – and whilst some of her dishes do arrive straight from a frozen Linda McCartney box – she has mastered a handful of home cooked meals – one of which is Christmas dinner! And yes – we all gather around the table, my Gran included, talking about this and that, giggling at the memory of Mum’s disastrous cooking.