Rage is my Superpower

Rage can work in a vicious cycle, destroying you & wearing you down, or you can turn its strength inwards, creating a virtuous cycle. Allow me to explain….

My rage is a supernova, an illogical, overwhelming roar of emotion that burns outwards, searing anything logical or calm in its path. Fighting and scratching from my emotional corner, I feel like I have little control over it.

crab-nebula-11041_640

This then sucks itself inwards into a fiery ball of heat, to burn itself out gently.

sun-581299_640

However, understanding my triggers, and turning my ‘ball of fire’ into productive energy has a two-fold effect: getting a LOT of work done, and distracting me from the initial reaction, which calms me down. The more time I spend in the blogosphere, the more I realise how many of us are battling similar demons. Waking up & showing up every day IS an actual achievement. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that doing a root-cause analysis on the cause of my rage can (& does) send me into paroxysms of panic & anxiety, with a full-blown case of hives. I just don’t want to go there. The analysis will probably be best explored in stages, at some later date, because there’s no real reason to hyperventilate noxious fumes of rage because my hand baggage which should have been waiting at the foot of the gangway is now going round on a carousel in the terminal, potentially adding another five minutes to my journey time and throwing my careful plan to exit the airport in one piece to the winds, right? Doing my Rumpelstiltskin-after-the-queen-guesses-his-name dance was all part of the routine, folks. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Or I could just accept I have chronic anxiety. I am hyper-aware of the environment I’m in at any given point, treating every situation like a potentially hostile encounter. My husband once asked me what it was like to live without a filter, to feel, see & hear everything, to notice every detail. It is sensory overload. It is absolutely exhausting. It’s why something small can completely tip the fragile balance I establish every day.

But I still say I’m lucky & blessed. I have a husband and child who try to understand, and accept my fragility. Who respect my triggers. Who give me space when I need it. They let me cry. Storm around a bit doing the Rumpelstiltskin dance. And then gently remind me, in order of priority, it’s just a bag. And we have insurance.

Great balls of fire, baby!

Quintessential Quinoa

Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein – containing all eight of the essential amino acids, and recognised by the UN as a super-crop for its health benefits. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. Thrive Cuisine have a useful guide on the differences between quinoa and couscous, and more recipes! Use these easy instructions from The Kitchn if you’ve never tried making quinoa from scratch before.

I have to be honest: on a work day, I use Merchant Gourmet Red & White Ready Quinoa, or supermarket own-brand variants, to save on time & sanity. I don’t have a microwave (cue horrified gasps) so I open the pack and heat the quinoa on a tray on the bottom shelf of the oven, while the veggies are roasting on the top shelf. This makes the quinoa slightly crunchy, a good balance to the softened veggies.

Jewelled Quinoa with Roasted Carrots & Beetroot

Quinoa

  • Peel & cube 3 beetroot and 4 carrots
  • Toss them in olive oil, salt & pepper and some cumin powder
  • Pop them in the oven at 200C/400F, on the top shelf.
  • Set your timer for 20 minutes.
  • Heat the quinoa on another tray on the bottom shelf at the same time, or follow the instructions on the packet.
  • Toss them all together at the end with some mixed salad leaves and voila, easy lunch or dinner! You could also add some leftover chicken or sausage on the top for a more substantial meal.

Got a quinoa recipe to share? Join the discussion below!

Plage du Sillon, St-Malo

Following the sea wall along the golden Plage du Sillon takes you from the Paramé quarter to Intra-Muros (the old city fortress). The beach is bounded by the Digue (dyke), which was built between 1883 and 1913, and along the Digue stand the most beautiful villas, mostly built at the end of the 19th century. All these photographs were taken on my morning walk, when I was hoping to run across the sea rescue teams in training. All those buff, bronzed bodies….swoon….

Portals

Anyone who dares quibble that portals are really doors won’t get the recipe for koign aman, or butter cake!

The Plage du Sillon is 3km long, very family-friendly, safe for swimming and also popular with kite surfers, sand yachters and wind surfers. Both the Digue & the Plage make wonderful running tracks. Who wouldn’t want to huff & puff at this view? Just remember, if you come over all faint in the heat, those lovely sea rescue people are at hand all summer long 😉

IMG_20150417_121530

Plage du Sillon, overcast… still gorgeous!

Oddities in the scenery

I always find fun in the differences, the unusual, the in-my-opinion weird. It’s what makes travelling enjoyable. Actually, the singing (male) trolley dolly started this trip on the right note (yes, I’m punny). But on y va, as my friend A-S says.  Let’s go!

oyster shells

Slurp the oysters and discard the shells, where they wait to turn into sand

image

A discarded crab catch. One CAN have too many!

image

Random stairway? No! Diving platform to tide pool. Amazing!

Off to have more fun today; a long walk along the seafront will have me cross paths with the sea rescue lifeguards in training, if we time it right! See you later!

Nothing to see except scenery!

Sant-Kouloum

The view from Sant-Kouloum

image

Sunshine, seafood, warm sea air, scenery – I have S covered, but nothing for N! We drove from St Malo to Cancale today, stopping along the way to admire these views. Mont St Michel was the omnipresent ‘rock of ages’ on this drive, visible from every lookout.

I am quite in love with this new part of France we’ve discovered, thanks to A-S and her family. As the Terminator said, I’ll be back!

Reading Maine in St-Malo!

I’m on a short holiday with daughter and our French besties, taking advantage of their hospitality. I’ve scheduled this post in advance of all the fun I anticipate, eating Bretonne galettes & other delicacies. Follow me on Twitter to see my updates, or have a look at TJ’s post on St Malo and hope I haven’t met the same fate as the lady with the camera 😉

I also bought Maine, by Courtney Sullivan, to read on my holiday. Review to follow – here’s the blurb: 

The Kelleher clan’s beachfront holiday house creaks under a weight of secrets. It’s a place where cocktails follow morning mass, children eavesdrop, and ancient grudges fester. One summer, three generations of Kelleher women descend on the shore. Kathleen, finally sober, hoped never to set foot there again. Maggie, pregnant, has left her useless boyfriend. Ann-Marie, bound to the family by marriage, fantasizes about an extra-marital affair. In the middle of all this is matriarch Alice, who drinks to forget her failings as a parent and the events of a single night, decades before. These mothers and daughters are by turns fierce and loving, cruel and unforgiving, and through their shared history and private dreams, Maine lays bare the paradoxical nature of family and the love that we are bound to, no matter how savage the storm.

The Lemon Grove

Although this book was intended for the impending holiday, I devoured The Lemon Grove in one sitting. I’m a sucker for a pretty cover and then I thought I would just read the first chapter. And then maybe one more. And before I knew it, I had ploughed through the entire book. There was nothing else for it. Helen managed to draw me in to Jenn’s holiday in the little Mallorcan village: I could feel the heat in my bones, hear the crickets, smell the dust. She has explored the tricky subjects of identity, family, ageing and the lure of the forbidden with an artist’s hand. I felt like I was the fly on the wall, or a voyeur, seeing the story unfold first-hand in all its conflict. Pure magic! Well, unless you were one of the characters. And that’s all I’m going to say.

“She eats hungrily, without restraint or embarrassment. The starchy inner flesh of the pastries has cooled and solidified, smearing her fingers in orange grease. The explosion of flavours, one after another – spinach and anchovies and olive oil – is good, each mouthful restoring her. The thunder rumbles again, closer, directly above them … The air is fat and tight.”

Since I’m done with this one, have you got any recommendations I must read?

Kanilsnúðar and kaffi (and koeksisters)

My sweet tooth is baring its fang(s) again, so we’re going on another round-the-world-tour to satisfy my cravings.

Icelandic kanilsnúðar, or cinnamon swirls, are available all over Scandinavia in one shape or another. They differ from cinnamon rolls in that they’re small, about two-bite sized, and not drenched in icing. Most recipes involve dry yeast, but it’s just too darn fussy for me, so my recipe uses baking powder for an equally delicious result (click on the recipe to see a bigger version to read/print).

#Cinnamon Swirls #buns #kanil

Heading south of the equator on our tour, let me introduce you to another delicious South African treat: the koeksister. The rough English translation is cake sister, which really doesn’t paint a picture of plaited dough, deep-fried & drenched in sugar syrup. So wrong, and yet, so right! We had them at our wedding, which may have been a mistake alongside the carrot cake with the thick, thick fondant icing. Our guests weren’t shaking for joy, they were shaking with sugar! Koeksisters are best eaten fresh, with a palate-cleansing cup of coffee, but can be stored in the fridge for a few days (they never last that long, in my experience).

I have been lucky enough to either have my friend, Hayley, make them for me, or just buy them from one of the zillion South African shops in London, but if I were to follow a recipe, I’d probably use this one for its simplicity: Tannie’s Koeksisters. The key is to make the syrup first, and have it really cool before you soak the koeksisters. And beware, prep and eating are both very messy. Persevere. The sugar rush will be worth it!

The Jungalow by Justina Blakeney

What I’ve carefully left off my About page, as well as blog posts, is the fact that I am a design junkie. I’ve hinted at my Pinterest pins, but anyone who follows me on Pinterest can confirm I am addicted, feverishly pinning into the wee hours of the morning (or until my husband threatens to kill the WiFi). Beautiful design and clever re-purposing make my soul happy ❤

I started following Justina Blakeney a few months ago, and I am hooked on her style. She is vibrant, colourful, bold and dare I say it, joyous! Her website is called The Jungalow and she has an inspiring mix of crafts, decor, recipes and personal styling showcased. I dare you to have a look and not be caught up in her fresh photos, and itching to try a project or five.

justina-blakeney-interiors

Invictus (William Ernest Henley)

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.