Sunday, 28 April 2019

April Update + Beltane Inspiration

This month I'll do the monthly update and a Beltane inspiration post together. This has turned into quite into a long one, so feel free to skip down to the Beltane part if that's what you'd prefer to read about! :)

April Update


Here's April's update. Read previous updates here:

Jan: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/02/january-update.html

Feb: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/02/february-update.html

March: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/march-update.html

Blossom tree in Hove Park.

Spring properly started this month, although the weather has been messing around a bit! It went colder again earlier this month and was around 8 degrees Celsius (about 46 Fahrenheit) during the day. Then it went up to 25C/77F (here in Sussex) which reminded me of the hot spell we had during April last year.  This weekend it's about 12C and very windy.

Easter was in mid-late April this year, the Easter weekend being from the 19th (Good Friday) to 22nd (Easter Monday). You can read my post about Easter 2019 here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/easter-2019.html

The daffodils are just about gone now but there's been lots of lovely blossom trees. You can see a picture above, it's cherry blossom, I think. There's mainly apple and cherry blossom flowering at the moment, although the hawthorn is just starting to come out, since it blossoms mainly during May and June.

Since the nights were still chilly I made some hot chocolate recently, the French hot chocolate that I've made a couple of times before. Find the recipe here: https://www.wellplated.com/french-hot-chocolate/

Here's a photo:



It's supposed to be "proper" dark chocolate but I don't like the really dark stuff, so used Bournville instead, lol. It tastes nice, although quite rich. I also like the hot chocolate made with condensed milk but that can "burn" your throat a bit. This one doesn't, it's made with heavy cream (or whipping cream is what I used since heavy cream is what they call it in America, and is a bit different, I think).

I went to a belly dance workshop with Katie Holland in Angmering. We learnt a chalga Shaabi Fusion choreography (a mix of Bulgarian chalga and Egyptian shaabi).

I've also been taking part in Amina Makhdoom's 30 Day Joy Challenge during April and enjoyed that. I've done it "live" the past couple of years and by myself in 2016.

Seems weird that we've already passed the first quarter of the year, it doesn't feel that long since Christmas! In the Mid-2018 Reflections post on my other blog Falling Petals, I wrote that it took me till about May to feel really "settled" into the year. I do find it hard to adjust after Christmas and New Year, but in 2019 I started to feel better when spring came and the weather lightened up.


Read: The Vampire Diaries: Moonsong by L.J. Smith, The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (2nd in the Winternight trilogy), The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (one of my favourites) and How To Heal Yourself from Anxiety When No One Else Can by Amy B. Scher (non fiction).

Links I found useful:

The Goddess Style belly dance videos, including this Lower Body Workout one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A05XRlbqSJY 

Eternally Elle post on ways to pick yourself up: https://www.eternallyelle.com/2019/04/six-ways-to-pick-yourself-up/ *

Leeor Alexandra (from Living Lovelee) video about becoming your future self: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw4yoIgXkIA


*16/4/20: Post now gone.


Beltane Inspiration



Beltane is coming up, it's Wednesday 1st May this year (or Tuesday 30th April if you celebrate on the 30th, since  some people celebrate from sundown to sundown on both days). The past two years I did posts on celebration ideas which you can read at the links below:

Beltane Celebration Ideas:  https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/beltane-celebration-ideas.html

Celebrating Beltane/May Day: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/04/celebrating-beltanemay-day.html

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemipshere Samhain is coming! Check out my Samhain Celebration posts here:

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/more-halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/10/celebrating-samhainhalloween.html


Beltane (also spelt Beltaine) is the 3rd spring festival on the Wheel of the Year (the others are Imbolg/Imbolc and Oestara/Ostara), and a fire festival. It also marks the beginning of summer, although the "official" and astrological start of summer will be on Litha aka the Summer Solstice/Midsummer which is always around 21st June. It's also about fertility and a time of new life and beginnings.

Last year I also wrote about May Day, which is like a modern counterpart of Beltane and still celebrated in many countries. The first Monday in May is always the early May Bank Holiday in the UK. In the 2018 post I wrote that it was Spring Bank Holiday, but that's the second May one (last Monday in May), so I've corrected that! There are two bank (public) holidays in May, and this year the Early May Bank Holiday is 6th May and the Spring Bank Holiday is 27th May.


Here are a few links with some Beltane inspiration:

http://livinglapiz.com/2018/04/30/all-about-beltane-celebration-and-lore/

https://www.mumblesandthings.com/blog/2017/4/24/9-ways-to-celebrate-beltane

https://www.sagegoddess.com/holidays/beltane-the-springtime-portal-of-bliss/

Celebrating a vegan Beltane: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/celebrating-a-vegan-beltane/

Nature centred activities: https://witchoflupinehollow.com/2019/04/18/12-awesome-nature-centered-activities-for-beltane

I especially like what Maggie from Mumbles and Things (2nd link) says about being a beacon of light (No. 1 on the list).

If you fancy making your own mini Maypole check out these posts from Moody Moons and Vegan Kitchen Magick:

https://moodymoons.com/2019/04/21/beltane-craft-mini-maypoles-in-3-steps/ 

https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/make-a-miniature-maypole-for-beltane/


I did a Maypole workshop with my belly dance group BD4U last November. It was the wrong time of year but still fun to do it, lol. I hadn't danced round a Maypole since I was at first (primary) school!

I usually celebrate Beltane with food and drink. This year I'm planning to make guacamole. In past years I've used a recipe from The Kitchen Witch by Soraya, but this Beltane I thought I'd try out this 5 minute guacamole recipe from Don't Waste the Crumbs: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2018/03/simple-guacamole-recipe/

For Litha/the Summer Solstice I like to make tomato and onion salad (recipe also from The Kitchen Witch). I thought for Beltane this year I'd make an African tomato and onion salad called Kachumbari (Kenyan) and if I like it I can do it for Litha as well. Find the recipe here: https://www.preciouscore.com/kachumbari/

I normally have some drink like elderflower or lemonade.  I'll light a white candle as well, and probably take some sunset pics (one of my other favourite ways to celebrate) in the park.

It doesn't seem that long since I mentioned Beltane in the Preparing for Spring + Spring Inspiration post and it was quite a way off, but now it's almost here! It doesn't feel very spring like at the moment with chillier weather (I remember that it was colder just before Beltane 2017), but it will get warmer again and summer's getting closer!

Hope you found something in the post to inspire you.  Happy Beltane (or Samhain depending what you're celebrating!). :)


Beltane photo: Blossom tree. Moonsparkle 2019.


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