Three little steps to find your purpose

It's a funny not so funny story of the time leading up to me launching Mama Nourish. I've mentioned before that I had been in the planning phase for months, my intention was to plan for several months more before launching this idea. To have it perfect before I began, and to run Little Wolff along side it as two separate creative endeavours.  I certainly didn't think I needed help finding my purpose. I'd invested so much of myself in Little Wolff that I had not even briefly entertained the idea of letting it go, it was my main focus and Mama Nourish was to be a side project.

Then I got sick.  I was not deadly bedridden sick, but the worst aspect for me was that I couldn't hear properly. Things piled up and it got all too much.  I rested,  and pondered the place of overwhelm I had gotten to.  It reminded me of a similar wellness meltdown that I had experienced years ago, in my year of awful.  A stack of events beyond my control and a highly stressful job that I wasn't progressing in no matter how much I poured into it, and I had been bottling it all up, resisting the changes I knew I needed to make. I ended up with pneumonia.  A thought at that time that kept coming to me was that it hurt to talk, which was true physically because of the pneumonia and emotionally because there was so much painful "stuff" going on.  Getting better took both facing that, listening to those coded messages the universe was sending me and accordingly making changes to my life (and a bunch of penicillin shots in the butt which is very much not fun). As I worked through that illness I became aware of how strong the mind body connection could be.  

Reflecting on that earlier issue, I thought now about my ears and how it was hard and even painful to hear. Again I was in a position of giving my all and not moving forward. But this time it wasn't the talking that was the problem. It was that I hadn't been listening to the clues pointing to a new purpose. I wasn't hearing the questions and comments that were showing me it was time to stop pushing at that door and to open this new one.  That it was time to make the change even if I was not ready yet. 

Regardless of how my illness manifested, and what your perspective is on the mind body connection there are three very helpful steps I've learned through these experiences. They can help you work through overwhelm, dealing with issues of resistance and direction and the confusion that can result in burnout.  If you put them into regular practice they will help you to find your purpose.

stop, be still and listen via Mama Nourish

 

Stop, be still and listen

 

These words can help you through stagnation, insecurity, fear, stubborn resistance, all those crappy things that stop us from moving forward and blossoming like deep down we know we can.  

So next time you're stuck in self doubt, paralysed by indecision, or can't work out why things aren't going your way, I want you to: 

Stop

Find a calm and safe space, away from noise, your phone and the computer, away from busy work and the things that we use to distract ourselves from a fear of moving forward.

Be Still

Now I meant it when I said no busy work, no running shopping or to do lists through your head. Just be still.  Sit with yourself and feel your breath, be aware of how your body is feeling. 

Now Listen

Ask yourself questions about where you're stuck, and see how your body reacts. Does your heart race a little faster, or does it groan at the thought? If it helps you can have a little notebook with you to jot thoughts down as they come to you and work through them.  Ask yourself what are those little messages you've been ignoring, and are you ignoring them because you're afraid of making change?  Are you afraid that you're not good enough to take that leap?  You may need to look at lots of seemingly disconnected events, but if you're still and listen you'll see where they connect.  

Let them light the way to change and growth.

What lessons have you learned by listening for the clues to your purpose?

Already Burnt out and need help recovering?   Check out next weeks' A-Z of healthy and Happy B is for Balance, Burnout and Breathe.

 

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Perfect Pink Milk - for Vegan Charlie & Lola fans

perfect pink milk vegan

There are many many reasons that most children's shows are brain searingly annoying. The bad habits that little ones mimic from them, or the endless loop of terrible theme music that  imprints on your mind. To be fair there is one adorable perk to Eve watching British children's shows, the effect on her accent.  We have some beautifully polished O's courtesy of Peppa Pig, which make up slightly for the aforementioned musical torture.  But another one of Eve's favourite shows almost caused a little bit of a hiccup when Eve began asking for Pink Milk. 

Thankfully it hasn't been too hard to figure out a healthier, dairy and processed sugar free version of pink milk. Especially made for Charlie and Lola fans with sensitive tummies, or whole food focused families.

perfect pink milk charlie and lola

Honestly this is hardly a recipe because it is so easy.

Grab your blender, throw in 25 grams of raspberries*, a splash of vanilla extract** and a cup of almond milk, or your preferred dairy free milk. 

Give it a whizz until the raspberries have broken down and pour into your lovely little ones favourite cup.

We're a bit partial to serving them in pretty milk bottles with paper straws.

*I used fresh raspberries this time but I also keep a stock of frozen berries in the freezer for exactly this.

**don't forget to make sure you've picked one without preservatives

Why raspberries? Nourish the Mama
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Oh Hello There

It's really nice to see you here.

As you might know I made a decision to quit blogging, because I was stressed and tired and had generally run myself through the ringer.

I took a step away and the support and love that flowed in from you all was absolutely overwhelming. So much so that I nearly put fingers to keyboard to start back here immediately, nearly.

I decided that even though I was shown that there is more meaning to my writing than making a living, it was time for rest and renewal.

I stopped and thought about what I needed more of in my life, about why I had gotten so run down chasing my passions.  After all don't they say do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life?  As I dug deeper one word kept resonating with me.

Nourish

I had fallen in to the trap that so many mamas do, while nourishing my family, my home, and my online community, even nourishing my passions, I had failed to nourish myself.

It was with that realisation I realised a side project I had been neglecting was what needed to be what I do here. And so as you've probably noticed, instead of quitting I've been tapping around in the background moving my old space into my new focus. Renewing myself, my words and hopefully renewing my connection with all of you. 

Mama Nourish welcome

Will still have the essence of my old space, because who I am centres on the personal, because my words and images are created as an intrinsic part of my nature. But it will be a space where I hope to bring focus to nourishing the mama for life to bloom. Where I hope to help you nourish your spirit, your bellies and of course your family. Where I hope you'll join me and make this our space, where we can sit and chat over a cuppa, and nourish a little community.

 

What do you think?

are you in?

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Blood, Sugar and Fears - Blood Orange Meringue Pie

Spring is here! In my mind (and my free ebook) it actually has been here for a couple of weeks, because looking out the window of our kitchen the ornamental plum has been in full garish pink blossom with happy little bees buzzing around it.  For many of us Spring is a time of renewal and importantly a time to clear away old unwanted things and make our homes fresh for the new cycle of seasons.

It's also a great time to start taking little steps toward changing your diet and making fresh new eating habits. Our bodies are the home of our soul and they deserve love and renewed support as much as our houses do.  You don't need to make dramatic sweeping (and probably unsustainable) changes to make help yourself feel well and strong.  

For example you don't need to quit sugar, but if you want to take away the addictive persuasion of it you can slowly start swapping it for less processed forms of sugar.  You've don't have to totally shift to alternative sweeteners, some like stevia actually give me a stomach ache! But if you're still using white sugar in your coffee, why not switch to raw?  In baking coconut sugar and panela (evaporated cane juice) add deep rich notes when you rotate them in place of white sugar, and you can get away with using smaller quantities.

 It can be really intimidating to start moving your diet away from processed foods, the fear of difficulty planning your foods, fear of change and fear of failure.  Which is why I don't ascribe to diets and movements where the changes are sudden and the boundaries are restrictive, it isn't necessary or likely to be successful.  There are lots of simple ways to get on the path to a healthier happier you, without setting yourself up for a full withdrawal failure.  

This recipe is one of my bridging recipes, not totally devoid of highly processed sugar, but in place of caster sugar I've used raw sugar. Raw sugar was the first step away from white sugar for me, and as you can see in most of my more recent recipes I now tend to favour panela and a lot lower quantity than other recipes call for.  I decided when putting this recipe together that I'd keep it to what I'd call the first step away from highly processed sugar so that hopefully any of you wanting to make a change to your sugar intake this Spring would be encouraged to try Little steps to change.  The combination of the raw caster sugar meringue and blood oranges is a very sherberty meringue pie, that's not quite as bad for you, but is still sweetly delicious.  Much like the feeling of making small sustainable changes to your life.

 

Blood, Sugar and Fears - Blood Orange Meringue Pie

Lila Wolff original recipe

Blood Orange Meringue

First prepare your pastry,  in a mixing bowl (if you have a dough roller use this) mix the plain flour, icing sugar, and 125 grams of nuttelex until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.  Pour in two whisked egg yolks. Slowly drizzle in up to 1/4 cup of water, stop when the dough comes together. Remove from the mixer, form in to a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Once pastry has been chilled, preheat oven to 170c.

Between two sheets of baking paper roll pastry out to approximately 5mm thick. Place in pie dish and trim edges.  Cover with baking paper and use pie weights or rice to weigh base of pie down, bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing filling.

In a medium saucepan over a med-high heat put 1 cup of almond milk and 1 cup of raw caster sugar, stir to dissolve sugar.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to med heat. In a separate bowl thoroughly mix remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk and 1/3 cup of cornflour, pour into milk and sugar in saucepan.  Add in 80 grams of nuttelex and whisk until melted and mixed through.  Next add zest, blood orange juice and 6 egg yolks, whisk continuously for approximately four minutes until eggs have cooked and filling has thickened.  Pour into pastry shell you prepared earlier, smooth top and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Once the filling has set, prepare meringue.

In a small saucepan over med-high heat place 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup raw caster sugar and cream of tartar.  Stir until just combined and bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and cook for 3 minutes.

Beat egg-whites until soft peaks form.  With mixer running add sugar mixture in a slow and steady stream, beat until thick and glossy.  Spoon over blood orange filling. 

Brown under grill for approximately 1 minute or until golden.

Best Served: When you're taking the first steps away from highly processed sugars and need a bit of sweetness to keep that motivation up!

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Spring Clean Your Life - Simple Steps to Rocking a Healthier Happier You.

Do you know what I like?  That every day when I sit down here and create away, there are awesome people seeing what I do, maybe silently, maybe wonderfully commenting and telling me what they think, that's pretty awesome.

If I didn't have blogging I'd probably just be leaving random notes and manuscripts scattered in coffee shops hoping someone picked them up, read and liked them.  

And I could just hope that what I'm writing for you is helpful, or I could even say thank-you, actually by the way THANK-YOU with the whirlwind of a world we live in I do love that you choose to spend some of your time here! 

But that's not really enough to express how much having you make my words, images and recipes come to life here means to me.  So, for the last little while I've been writing my very first e-book, to say thank-you.   All I'd like you to do is pop over to that sign up box in the sidebar or at the bottom of this post and sign up for our weekly newsletter, so you won't just be getting a polite wave and a thank-you, you'll be getting a mini book designed to give you simple steps to rocking a healthier happier you!

Spring Clean Your Life

Some chapter titles to get you started.

Decluttering your emotional debris 

Clean your diet and your emotions 

Sort it - immediately

Shift that energy

The Tidy Ten

For a peek at the contents try my article Conscious Eating it's the basis of the second chapter Clean your diet and your emotions!



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Memory - Welcoming Spring

To take photographs...is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.
— Henri Cartier-Bresson

For better or worse I live my life through the lens, while many people are quick to view this as being removed from the situation I believe that in recording our lives I am pressing the memory deeper within myself.  In capturing moments, I have a tangible reminder that reignites the memory and brings back the finer details, even those that were outside of the frame.

And yet, to the outside observer viewing those same images, I am absent from many of the memories we make. My mind, my eyes and my heart might capture them but in remaining behind the lens only those who were there know I was part of making that memory.  

It's something that has increasingly bothered me as I have looked through our photo albums, noting my absence. But, until now, without someone else taking the camera and then being the one missing in the shot I didn't have a practical solution.

Thankfully I was lucky enough to be nominated by my wonderful readers for the Kidspot Voices of 2014, and even luckier to be one of the top 30 parenting and personal bloggers. This meant I was then given the *opportunity to use the Olympus OM-D E-M10 for three months. If this little chain of events had never happened I would still be behind the lens, capturing the memory but not pictured in it.

It took me a little while to get the confidence to move from one side of the lens to the other, but I'm so grateful that I've had the chance to. The OM-D E-M10 provides not only opportunity to be in the picture but to do so with ease, and importantly the ability to see what I'm capturing even while in front of the camera, thanks to the inbuilt WiFi turning my phone into a remote viewfinder. It's both amazing and exciting to get to be on both sides of the lens at once, these are the kind of features that make me excited to talk to you about Olympus and their technology, imagine what they'll make cameras do next!  They are definitely my dream brand partner for Little Wolff.

When I reflected on the importance of memory and placing myself in front of the camera for this final #myfamilylens post, it became clear what I needed to capture.  It was important to me that rather than trying to find a big exciting unusual memory, I recorded something from the everyday. To capture my family together in those small memories that build the family bond and make each family special and unique. There's no denying I'd love to take this pretty and powerful camera overseas to make beautiful memories with, but we can't all do that and almost none of us can do that all the time. What anyone can do is sling the OM-D E-M10 over their shoulder and capture the magic in the everyday, the magic that is viewing the world through my family lens.

Memory - Welcoming Spring

Sunday morning, like any morning, was perfect for making everyday memories. The sun was warming us, spring blossoms were bursting forth from the trees and although weary from a busy week we were ready to welcome spring with a mini picnic down by the river. Eve and I spent the earliest parts of the morning baking some brownies to take with us, and once the rest of the household were awake we bundled into the car and off to embrace the spring like feel of Sunday.

Memory Olympus #myfamilylens

The warm sun that we've been missing so much this winter made lazing on some blankets, snacking on brownies and a little music incredible appealing, for two of us...

Shot using Soft Focus in camera filter

Shot using Soft Focus in camera filter

Miss Eve was far more interested in clomping around logs in her oversized cowboy boots, adorably silhouetted against the sparkling river.

Memory Olympus #myfamilylens

Of course it wasn't long before the boots were abandoned in favour of squelching across the banks of the river, and sploshing in the shallowest parts of the water.**

Memory Olympus #myfamilylens

The beautiful weather seemed to have caught the normal crowds off guard and we were able to enjoy the beautiful river, alone as a family, with pelicans wheeling overhead and ducks paddling and quacking along the banks.

Memory Olympus #myfamilylens
It is such a joy to capture our family memories using the Olympus OM-D E-M10. I know I have mentioned time and time again that it is incredibly light which makes carrying it (even literally running after Eve with it) a breeze. But I wasn't expecting the amazing clarity in the images, my E-PL5 already gives me such lovely true to vision colour that I didn't think it was possible that the OM-D E-M10 would be noticeably better. Yet since trying it out I've noticed I've been getting finer, sharper detail allowing me to simultaneously capture the gorgeous light on Eve's skin and the detail of her reflection in the water in images like those below. Because it is so easy to use there's no weariness from lugging a huge DSLR and no feeling of being separated from the everyday magic by the camera, it's more like an extension of my eye recording our memories and keeping them safe for the future.

While we basked in the serenity of a river that for once was devoid of people, boats and noise, little miss had fun playing the role of bush ballerina, dancing in shallow water, casting beautiful reflections across the peaceful water. And of course rescuing daddy from islands with her magical hugs.  

Memory Olympus #myfamilylens

Even as I strove to capture our day, and Tyler raced to keep up with Eve's exuberance, the peace of the morning spent at the river's edge in the spring sunshine recharged our batteries. Still we decided it was time to move on with our day and prepare for the coming week.  As we readied ourselves to return home, a fascinating discovery was made by our intrepid explorer...

Mud

Memory Olympus #myfamilylens

Glorious Mud

then the real fun began...

Watch our Little Film below to see.

These are the memories that I will press close to my heart as our littlest grows so quickly, and now thanks to the WiFi remote on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 she'll be able to see me in the picture with her and hopefully treasure our everyday memories too.

 

* Memory - Welcoming Spring is the final of three posts for the #myfamilylens series, all images and film were shot using the OM-D E-M10 and its 14-47mm lens.

You can see the first two posts to see more of what the camera is capable of by clicking them here: Milestone - Tree Adventure and Delight - The Pink Lakes

All photos shown on Little Wolff between July and the end of August have been shot using the OM-D E-M10.

You will also see images on our FacebookInstagramTwitter and G+ feeds with the #myfamilylens tag showcasing how easy it is to take this feature packed camera everywhere, all day to capture the beauty in the Little Things. 

Olympus Australia in conjunction with Kidspot Voices of 2014 were kind enough to loan me an Olympus OM-D E-M10 for two months to participate in a blogger #myfamilylens challenge. As you may be aware I own and use an Olympus E-PL5 for my photography normally on this blog so I have jumped at the opportunity to experiment with an upgrade. All views expressed in this blog post are my own and are in no way influenced by being loaned product. I am an Olympus loving photographer with or without borrowed product in my hands.

I sadly have to now pack the camera up and return it even though I really really don't want to.  But these posts put me in the running to win my own and an awesome array of lenses.  

If you love what I'm doing with the #myfamilylens posts please share them on your social media to show your support, I'd really appreciate it.

 

** a note on river safety, please if you are visiting a river and are not familiar with it be very careful. Rivers may look calm and peaceful on the surface but can be incredibly dangerous to inexperienced swimmers.  Do not be fooled into thinking it's safer in the river than the ocean, it may look calm like a swimming pool but is anything but.

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