After my last post for 2013, I took a couple of weeks off work. I didn't write. I didn't shoot. I didn't think. And it felt good. I didn't get around to reading a single book, or sit on a beach staring away into the horizon. But I let go. I let go of my need to create and plan ahead. As the days went on, I found myself sitting out in the sun doing absolutely nothing often with my eyes closed. I walked bare feet on the grass. I listened to the bloody cicadas begging for a girlfriend (as my second born likes to proclaim) without being the slightest bit annoyed. I slowed down. I reflected. I soul searched. I became quiet.
"The quieter you become, the more you can hear."
Last year more than ever I realised the importance of slowing down and taking time to reflect. I finally understood that as human beings we need to take a step back and look within ourselves if we are to grow and evolve.
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves - Sir Edmund Hillary
I spent time with my family. It was good to be around them. To cook a meal just for the pleasure of cooking and eating. To indulge in impromptu tickle fights and extra long hugs. To watch a movie and get embroiled in a popcorn-tossing-and-catching-it-in-your-mouth game which was heaps more fun than what was on screen.
Never get so busy to make a living that you forget to make a life.
Eight months ago I booked (extravagant) tickets to go watch Lion King - The Musical in Sydney. For the longest time The Lion King was my favourite movie and I had a secret crush on Mufasa (yes I was into old dudes then - Mufasa and Harrison Ford to be precise). And so I wanted to experience the stage production of the amazing story of the lion who became king. Fast forward eight months and it was time. But like a Lemony Snicket story, a series of unfortunate events ensued. We missed a train. A passenger accidentally pulled the emergency lever in our train that caused more delays. With two minutes to spare, we ran all around Central and Haymarket like a family on the Amazing Race, desperately trying to find the entrance to Capitol Theatre. With a full house of more than 2000 people, we were the only ones who arrived after the show began and had to be ushered in via torch light to our seats right in the front. And we watched. I watched. And I realised what I must do every now and then for myself. What everyone must do for themselves.
Once in a while blow your own damn mind!
I have a "Words" board on Pinterest that I have created for words of wisdom and inspiration. Because I, like the rest of mankind needs reminding that life should be cherished and that love doesn't always move mountains and that happiness like honesty is a choice. Today, I share some of my favourite words that I hope stay with you long after this post and take you through the year, no matter where in the world you are. I hope these words become little reminders of things you could do to enrich your lives and the lives of those who live in your heart.
Happy New Year! May 2014 be everything you would have wanted it to be. Go forth, explore and remember to live!
Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value - Albert Einstein.
Once a year, go someplace you have never been before - Dalai Lama.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful.
Happiness is not a state to arrive at but a manner of traveling - Margaret Lee Runbeck
It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you are not!
Discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes - Marcel Proust
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle - Plato
It's okay to be happy with a calm life.
The art of brewing tea is a ritualistic pleasure I discovered many years ago. In cooler months, the soft wisps of coppery steam are my escape to a warm place and in summer I really look forward to brewing, mixing and infusing refreshing iced teas. After months of brewing a golden lemon iced tea, I started the new year with a cheery brew of green tea and mango laced with mint and ice. Try it, it's beautiful!
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HOMEMADE ICED GREEN TEA WITH MANGO
- 4 green tea bags
- 6 cups hot water
- 3 tablespoons agave syrup
- juice of 1 large lemon
- 1 cup frozen mango pieces
- 4 lemon slices
- handful of mint leaves
- 1 cup ice cubes, to serve
- Place tea bags in a large heat proof pitcher or teapot. Fill with hot water and allow to steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. Add agave syrup and lemon juice to the brewed tea. Mix well and allow to cool completely.
- Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. To serve, add mango pieces, lemon slices, mint leaves and ice.
- Iced teas need more tea than hot teas as colder drinks dull the flavour. Use an approximation of 2 teabags for 3 cups of water.
- Brew green tea for a maximum of 3-4 minutes otherwise the tea turns bitter.
- Cooling tea completely before placing in the fridge to chill ensures a clear tea as opposed to a cloudy one.
- Herb Infusers - Lemon balm leaves, basil, chocolate mint, chamomile.
- Fruit Infusers - Peach, blueberries, lychees, pineapple, green apple.
- Iced tea can be made a day or two ahead.
- The green tea base sweetened with agave syrup can be used as a canvas for cocktails.