Be The Change.

be the change

Real change begins within. We must be willing to become what it is that we wish to see in our lives.

I have found that whenever my sense of inner peace is off balance, if ever I am met with difficult roadblocks along the way, there is usually a personal growth lesson I am failing to recognise. Did I waver momentarily from my authentic self? Have I communicated clearly my truth? Did I fail to recognise another’s perspective? Have I neglected my self-care practice?

Once we become aware of what’s going on on the inside, we can recognise the teachings that are being reflected to us in our outer world. Only then can we return our focus to the basic principles for a peaceful existence – acceptance; forgiveness; kindness; patience; love; joy; gratitude. The situation then usually resolves itself.

In today’s quote, Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the freedom independence and civil rights movement in India, reminds us that we must ‘be the change.’

If you crave more peace – be peaceful. Do you long for more love? Be more loving. If you wish to receive more abundance in life – give more. More happiness? Share your joy. The best way for us to experience a life of fulfillment is to be the change and lead by example. Our outer world always mirrors back to us the state of our inner world. The good news is, we have the power to change this. We have the power to shift our perceptions so that we can experience more of the love, joy, and abundance that is available to us.

Today, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world.’

In love & light,

Hayley xx


Soulful Sundays #7: Mindful Craft


Welcome to my seventh instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’. A weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

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.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

This week I have focused on living more mindfully. It’s ironic that I teach children yoga and mindfulness, yet often, within moments of leaving school my mind begins to race again with the smallest of distractions. It’s not that I don’t know how to live mindfully, just that at times it’s so easy to forget.

So I have been connecting with my breath more whenever I notice my thoughts slip into auto pilot; I must reply to Tanya, I must remember to pick up lentils and potatoes, when is my hair appointment again? And breathe. Now isn’t this a wonderful day? Look how that butterfly flits around my midriff as though weaving an invisible outfit upon me… Maybe it’s sprinkling invisible glitter bliss balls on me. There. Now doesn’t that feel better? 😉

I wrote a list of 20 things I love to do. Surprising how many I had neglected. I suggest you try it too. Then make a promise to do one thing of those things off that list each week. One thing on my list which I had neglected was crafting, so whilst out (purchasing my lentils and potatoes) hehe I stopped in at Kikki K to pick up a new journal and treated myself to some inspirational quotes. And then I remembered the jars I had collected and stored in my kitchen cupboards. So when I got home, I dismissed checking my emails, switched off my phone and got crafty. I even said out loud: “I’m having so much fun!” So cheesy I know, but it was true. I felt so happy enjoying this simple pleasure. This week – whatever makes your soul happy, do that.

Soul Strolls 

I love lavender, as I have probably mentioned before. I use lavender oils daily and the scent is one I find calming and comforting. So when I passed my favourite corner on my daily walk, I was pleased to see that the red roses were in full bloom, creating a striking blood red contrast with the subtle lilacs of the lavender plant. Both plants reminded me of home in England, and brought a smile to my face.

Soul Food

This week I am sharing my guilt free Blueberry & Oat Biscuits. I baked these for our camping trip last weekend and they were met with orgasmic Ummm ‘s and Ahhh’s of approval all round. If you love a good dunking biscuit without the refined sugars, then give these biccies a try. You wont regret it!


Soul Sounds

Today I am sharing a lovely little track from one of my favourite soundtracks Many Beautiful Things. This song is called Meeting Lillias. It is short, but oh so very sweet.

Soul Sister’s

Today I am sharing a very apt post by one of my favourite writers here on WordPress, Miriam from Out n About. Miriam’s post is very fitting for this weeks focus on mindful living. Looking Up In November is a beautiful reminder  for us to look up and keep our eyes to the skies.

In love and light,

Hayley xx

Soulful Sundays #6: The Early Bird Catches the Worm


Welcome to my sixth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’. A weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

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.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

I resonate a lot with Terri’s quote. I never used to be an early riser, but I cultivated a habit of going to bed earlier and waking just before the sun rises. Of course, there are days when I don’t make this – but when I do wake and the sun is already up, like Terri – ‘I feel the world has started without me.’ There is something sublime about the silence of the morning, broken only by the merry hum of the songbirds. While the rest of the world sleeps, early risers have already set their intentions for the day, greeting the new dawn with grateful hearts and a gentle knowing. While the rest of the world begins to wake, early risers have cultivated a quite contentment that will last throughout much of the day, having spent the last hour sowing seeds of peace and purpose. I feel a marked difference on the days I manage to rise with the sun, compared to those when I am late to catch the train.

If you aren’t already waking to catch the sun rise, I encourage you to practise this habit. Begin gradually if you need to, going to bed fifteen minutes earlier and rising fifteen minutes earlier, until you have slowly worked your way towards greeting the new day at sun rise. You wont regret it.

*tip – if you are in the winter months, it will be harder! So leave some warm clothes by the bed, a hot water bottle and a heater to encourage you to leave the warmth of your cosy bed!


We went camping this weekend with friends, and while the rest of the happy campers slept, I rose to catch the sunrise along the beach. I was met with this beautiful sky. I love the way the sun breaks the clouds and resembles heaven’s light, greeting the surface of the ocean with a gentle kiss.


I watched as the surfers dotted the shoreline, patiently awaiting the moment they could connect with Mother Nature.  Her voluptuous bosom swells as she breathes life into the ocean, the surfers seizing her glorious waves. They are free. She is free. And all of this at the break of day.

Soul Strolls

A man and his two peaceful companions stopping to enjoy the sunrise this morning.


Our beautiful camping grounds at Jan Juc, Melbourne. So tranquil and picturesque.


Soul Food 

We arrived home later than usual due to camping. I like to nourish my body, especially after a weekend of nature, and so decided to make a quick Coconut & Currant Curried Quinoa. It is quick to prepare and tastes delicious. Plus I have leftovers for my work lunch tomorrow, as this dish can also be enjoyed from chilled.


Soul Sounds 

Today, in keeping with the theme of nature, I am sharing another meditation track titled ‘Echoes of Time.’ This track, with it’s use of wind instruments and flutes, reminds me of the sounds of nature.

Soul Brothers

Today I am sharing the post of Sourav from Indihope, where he shares 5 Quick Tips to Set Yourself Free. You will be both surprised and inspired by Sourav’s list, which gets to the heart of the matter and offers suggestions you may not have considered.

In love and light,

Hayley xx

Soulful Sundays #3: Soul Chocolate


Happy Sunday all!

Welcome to my third instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’. A weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

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.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them. 

Soul Reflections

Lin Yuntang’s quote reminds us of the importance of an ‘Elimination List’. Many of us have endless ‘To Do’ lists, some so long that it would take us a lifetime to complete. And yet, we wonder why we have so little time to spend on the things that are most dear to us. Most of the time, we are focusing our energy on the wrong things. Often, we are so caught up in the doing that we spend little time just being. When we are gifted a moment to simply be, we squander our precious time on mindless activities; on ‘non-essentials’ that lack purpose, genuine fulfillment, or that fail to provide a return on investment.freedom

In creating an elimination list, we can be honest about where are time goes and eliminate the things that no longer serve us. In the same way that we would regularly check in with our To Do list, it pays to regularly read our Elimination List to ensure familiar behaviour patterns and habits don’t creep up on us again.

Here is an example of an Elimination List. (This is my actual Elimination List written over two months ago.) I manage to comply with it 90% of the time. The only time I falter, is when I neglect to read over it each day.

  • gluten
  • refined sugars
  • checking emails first thing in the morning
  • social networking throughout the day
  • saying ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’
  • becoming easily offended or defensive
  • being easily dragged in to mindless arguments and drama

Of course, your list may look very different to mine. And, like anything, our lists will evolve over time. But it is good practice to make journalling a part of your morning and evening routine, to instil healthy habits of a lifetime, and to eliminate those that no longer serve you on your path.

Soul Food

Whilst it is wise for us to eliminate refined sugars from our diet, that doesn’t mean that we must give up delicious desserts altogether! Thankfully, Mother Nature provides us with natural sweeteners that, once discovered, put those nasty processed puddings to shame and provide us with a healthy does of rich nutrients. And did I mention that they taste freakin’ amazing?  Try my Chocolate Chia Pudding, which is fast, simple and good for you!


Soul Sounds

This week I am loving Dreamer Lounge by Estelle Blanca on Spotify. It is such a powerful track to meditate too. Check it out!

Soulful Strolls

I love Lavender. The scent, the colour, the bees it attracts. Since it is Spring here in Melbourne, and my lavender plant has yet to flower, I took to the streets and snapped this bee collecting honey on it’s daily round.


Soul Sisters

Today I’d like to share this beautiful post by Mfon over at Dainty M titled Extreme. Mfon reminds us of the powerful way in which God speaks to us, often in extreme ways. When we ignore the silent whispers, sometimes he goes to extremes in order to get our attention. You can check out this bright young voice here.

Stay blessed,

Hayley xx

Open Hearts


There are times when our hearts become closed. Just like tender skin that has come into contact with a hot stove; we contract and recoil from the pain. Our body’s defence mechanisms are designed to protect us from further discomfort; if we fail to withdraw, we risk severe burns, or worse still – death. Our natural reaction, therefore, is to retreat.

But what happens when we remain constricted, when we close our hearts through fear of ‘getting burnt’? When we build a wall of protection around us, we cut off the natural flow of love. Not only do we prevent ourselves from giving love, but we also restrict our ability to receive love. What is called for is not complete constriction, but caution; which is simply another word for ‘attention’, or ‘awareness’.

Just as the stove does not purposely set out to burn our skin, it is not usually another’s intent to inflict harm upon us (with the rare exception under extreme circumstances, of course). But more often than not, we get hurt because there was some degree of carelessness involved. Our own carelessness or that of another. Maybe the heat was turned too high and the pot had reached boiling point? Could it be that we rushed in impatiently, or approached at the wrong angle? Maybe we neglected the stove completely and a fire broke lose? Whatever our reasons for getting burnt, regardless of who was to blame, the affects need not result in the permanent closing down of our kitchens. And the same is true of our hearts.

When we remain open, we choose expansion over constriction. The doors are set ajar for love to drift through once more, filling our hearts with the sweet aroma and comfort of joy. To close our hearts is to take a pillow to our souls and smother our very essence. At the core we are love. And to restrict that life force within us is a slow death for fettered hearts. That is not to say that if you are dealing with a hazardous or faulty stove that you shouldn’t replace it, because your safety and wellbeing is paramount. But what I am saying, is that there is no need to stop cooking, to stop loving, to shut up shop and starve.

It is ok to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We need only exercise more care and attention, that’s all. But what if I am hopeless in the kitchen? – you may ask. As a child raised on boxed food and packet noodles in working class Tameside, I reply: cooking takes practice and patience. We don’t always get it right. Sometimes it leaves our kitchens in complete disarray, or an unpleasant taste in our mouths which can linger –  but when we do manage to create something wonderful, nothing compares to the pleasure and comfort of a sumptuous home cooked meal, prepared with tender loving care.

Those are the ones that warm our hearts, soothe our souls and ‘light the whole sky.’ That, my Dear, is a love that tastes simply divine.

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

The Staff Room Spread

Day 10, Let the scene write itself

My life is mostly spent between home and work lately, so I decided to take inspiration from the staff room since home life offered little in the way of a ‘scene’. Sitting in the staff room, I wrote about the daily battle I witness most days (and experience myself at times) when my colleagues and I are met with a table laden with biscuits and cake from some birthday or celebration; the boss saying ‘thank you’ for our hard work and efforts; the cook getting rid of her left over banoffee pie or cheese cake that wont keep until tomorrow – and decided to turn this scene into a poem with a touch of humor.


“Oh I shouldn’t!” we say – but we do.
“I’m not having any!” Then return, and take two.
We sigh at their presence and tempting existence,
And, succumbing, we scorn at our feeble resistance.

“That’s it! I’ve had one, now I may as well have more!”
“Lorna, cut me a slice the size of a door!”
“Don’t beat yourself up! Have a piece of that!”
(because if you eat some too then I wont feel so fat!)

“I shouldn’t be eating these…” as ten sweets are consumed,
“Y’know, I can’t understand how I’ve suddenly ballooned!”
“Oh – have another slice, it’s probably just stress.”
“Oh I can’t. Oh go on then! Do I look big in this dress?”

(Chorus) “YESS!!!”

Liebster Award


(In true acceptance award style) – Firstly, I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad, for making this possible, my teachers, for teaching me to write, WordPress for providing a platform for this nomination…ok ok enough of that!

But seriously, I am truly honoured to receive three nominations for the Liebster Award, and would like to thank Stranger in a Strange Mind, Once Upon a Hot Flash and Breath of Freshness for the nominations (and for the welcome distraction from my Uni assignment.) 😉 Please do check out their blogs because I think they are all absolutely awesome writers, not to mention the fact that they are genuinely cool people indeed!

Here are the questions I was asked:

From Stranger in a Strange Mind:

  1. What’s the last thing you think about before going to bed? I usually fall asleep to a guided meditation. I have trouble switching off otherwise – I think it’s nice to begin and end the day on a peaceful note. I highly recommend Glenn Harrold (think a cockney Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels accent – but with less swearing and more inspiration) 😉 I highly recommend meditations before sleep if you experience trouble sleeping (something I was plagued with for almost a year some time ago) I found sleeping tablets made matters worse and meditation has helped greatly! Even if you sleep easily – it’s a great way to end the day on a peaceful and positive note.
  2. What’s your favorite word, in any language? It could even be a made up word, like flurble, for example. No, I don’t know what it means. I love the word Sacapuntas. (It means pencil sharpener in Spanish.) That – and the word ‘sponge.’
  3. Would you want to live forever? Why, or why not? No. I’d like to join my Dad in the afterlife when my time comes – I want to experience heaven and to see my loved ones once again.
  4. Describe your childhood pet (or the one you wish you had). Alex was our big, white, fluffy Samoyed. He’d been part of our family since my sister and I were babies – he had the most wonderful temperament – when we were toddlers, we used to ride him like a horse! (Poor Alex – no wonder his back legs eventually gave way…) 😦 I remember having to say goodbye to him in the back garden when I was 11 – I clutched hold of our gentle white fluff ball and cried my tears, not wanting to ever let go.
  5. What minor thing bothers you more than it should? General untidiness. Messy rooms affect my mood a little more than the average person. I wouldn’t say I have OCD (or at least, not diagnosed anyway : / ) but I can’t sit in an untidy room and feel at ease…My Mum says I was the only kid in the world with a tidy bedroom (I actually remember polishing my shelves from a very young age…Ok – now this is getting weird!)
  6. What food will you absolutely not eat? And I don’t mean due to allergies or any other conditions, just food you plain don’t like. Cucumbers (and water melons). They sort of have that same weird taste. I will eat anything but those two things! I think it stems from my school days when I never touch a salad or a vegetable. I forgot my packed lunch and Mrs White (one of the dinner ladies) made me eat a ham salad sandwich – the first thing I bit into was the cucumber and I puked on my pinafore. I’ve tried and tried again to like it as I’ve gotten older, but it’s just not happening.
  7. What does the word ‘comfort’ mean to you? A bubble bath, tea lights and relaxation/meditation music playing in the background. Then fresh clean sheets to climb into afterwards with a nice book 🙂 Oh – and stew with dumplings! Yumminess.
  8. What makes you smile, no matter how grumpy you’re feeling? People with no inhibitions. My Dad would always cheer us up by acting daft – and if I’m down in the dumps, I never fail to laugh at a daft lass (or lad).
  9. What personality trait or quirk of yours do people notice the most? My easy going nature? People tend to confide in me a lot (my friends, my colleagues, even the children at school seem to seek me out to tell me of their troubles, great and small!) I’ve been told that I am easy to talk to, and give good advice.
  10. Is it really better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? Yes! A life without love is a life without true meaning or substance (and I mean all kinds of love – for your family, your pets, your friends) – and even if that love is lost and brings us deep sorrow and pain – the memory of loves greatness is forever imprinted in our hearts and will always remain. Love truly has the ability to heal.
  11. Also, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Ok, ignore that second question) Well – as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood! 😉

From Once Upon a Hot Flash

1.  Why do you blog? I have always loved writing and figured the only way to get a true idea of whether or not people will respond to my words, would be to write publicly! I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a child, and blogging seems the perfect way to commit to a daily writing practise, to receive feedback from other bloggers and to grow as a writer!
2.  What is your favorite song? I like a lot of songs and it’s hard to choose just one favourite, but I often play this track by Queens of Stone Age – I Sat by the Ocean. I saw them live at Leeds Festival this year and they were out of this world! I also like Wish You Were Here by Incubus – I played this a lot when I was on my travels and thinking of my family. But I guess my all time favourite song would be Forever Young by Bob Dylan.
3.  If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? Hawaii – I really want to wear a coconut bra and a grass skirt and dance around a fire!
4.  What is your favorite day of the week? Saturday.
5.  What did you want to be when you grew up? An author and illustrator.
6.  Morning person or night owl? Morning person – I’m usually tucked up in bed by 10pm.
7.  What is your motto in life? ‘The grass isn’t greener on the other side – it’s greener where you water it!’ and ‘Be kind whenever possible – it is always possible.’
8.  Dog or cat or neither? Dog. I really want a dog called Spencer.
9.  Five adjectives that best describe you? Loyal, geeky, optimistic, passionate, kind
10.  What is your most favorite thing to do? Walking in nature, cooking good foods, writing, reading, yoga, lifting weights, playing the drums, belly laughing and spending time with loved ones.

From Breath of Freshness:

  1. Which famous person from the past would you have lunch with. Why? Siddhartha Gautama – I think it would be a very peaceful and enlightening lunch date.
  2. What do you consider to be your superpower? My ability to remain fairly optimistic in the face of adversity. I believe every dark cloud has a silver lining. We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose how we respond to circumstances.
  3. What character would you like to be in a novel? Hero, Villain or Other? Piglet. Hanging out with Eeyore, Tigger and Pooh Bear would be ace.
  4. What would you like to invent? An umbrella that doesn’t blow inside out.
  5. Which is better Marvel or D.C comics? I don’t know either of those comics – but my favourite comics as a kid were Beano, followed by Asterix and Obelix, then Dandy.
  6. Have you ever howled at a full moon? Would you? No, I haven’t. And yes I totes would!!!
  7. What is your favourite movie of all time? The Lion King.
  8. We don’t choose our names, if you could choose what would you name yourself? I used to really dislike my name – but it’s grown on me as I’ve gotten older. If I had to change it I’d probably use my middle name which is Jade – but since I have finally accepted my first name – I think I should show it some love and loyalty and remain a Hayley. (Although being called Jet or Storm would be pretty cool…now they were some impressive female Gladiators!)
  9. Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Half full.
  10. What is your favourite comfort food? Meatballs and noodles. And sausage butties…and Haagan Daaz Vanilla and Cookies ice cream. (Believe it or not – I tend to eat fresh wholefoods – but if I’m feeling wicked and sinful – I’ll bosh on these bad delights!)

Here are the people I nominate (sorry if you’ve already been nominated) – I figured you could just add my questions into your current Liebster post (if you wanted) and answer away! That way people can learn even more about you! I’d love to hear your responses!

1. Diary of a Little Bird
2. Tales of Liberty and Lesser Things
3. Stranger in a Strange Mind
4. Bali Info
5. All That Chatter
6. Shine On
7. Still Life with a Grad Student
8. Sweet Aroma
9. The Scribbling Stone
10. Beyond Beirut

To my nominees! Here are the questions I pose to you:

  1. What is your favourite colour? Do you associate that colour with anything in particular?
  2. What is your most embarrassing moment? The one your friends and family like to remind you of!
  3. If you could change one thing from the past, what would it be? Or do you prefer to live with no regrets?
  4. What is the funniest joke you’ve heard in a while? (Don’t worry if nobody else finds it funny – as long as it makes you laugh!)
  5. What is one of your first memories from your childhood? It can be the simplest memory, or one which stands out for a particular reason.
  6. How would you like to be remembered?
  7. What is the most inspirational book you have read (fiction or non fiction) – or the one that has left the biggest impression on you?
  8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
  9. What makes you literally laugh out loud? (and I mean full on belly laughs!)
  10. Finish this sentence: “I wish…

Here are the rules:

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  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
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  • Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.

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.