Sunday, 14 July 2019

Summer Round-up + Inspiration

 

We're now properly into summer and it's feeling like it! I've done round-up and inspiration posts for the other seasons, so now it's time for the summer one. :)

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere you might like last year's Winter Round-up + Inspiration post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/winter-round-up-inspiration.html

Summer is my favourite season so I'm glad we've had some nice, hotter weather recently, especially during the end of June and in early July. As I wrote in the winter post, I struggle a bit when it's colder. So summer is a lot easier for me to feel inspired by! (But there are good things about winter too). The weather is (hopefully) good, or if not it's at least not cold! It feels like there's more possibilities in summer.

The season officially starts with Litha/the Summer Solstice around 21st June and I tend to start to feel "lighter" around then. Although the days begin getting slightly shorter from then on!) Then Lammas is on 1st August (some celebrate it on 31st July). It's my favourite sabbat apart from Samhain, I think because it was the first one I celebrated in 2010, and because it's during the height of summer. I'm planning to do a post with ideas for celebrating later this month. So for now I hope you enjoy this post. :)

Sunday, 30 June 2019

June Update

We're already halfway through the year and it's time for the June 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

April (+ Beltane Inspiration): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/april-update-beltane-inspiration.html

May: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/05/may-update.html

This month I started a depression course with Recovery College. I've been going through a more depressive period lately, but I'm finding the course helpful so far. I also went to a meetup with an anxiety friendship group at Alcampo in Brighton a couple of weekends ago and that was fun. Yesterday was the local meetup of the Action for Happiness group I belong to as well.

I  also went to Mayberry Garden Centre with my mum (I bought my orange candle and lemonade for Litha from there; see Litha post) and had a drink in the coffee shop, a strawberry creme frappe. Here's a pic:

 

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Litha 2019

Litha aka the Summer Solstice and Midsummer) was on Friday (21st June). As I mentioned in last week's post Litha Inspiration, I normally celebrate by having salad and lemonade. I made tomato and onion salad like the past few years (the recipe is from Soraya's book The Kitchen Witch) and had some with chicken, my mum's potato salad and Doritos for lunch. I used red onion this time, like with the Kachumbari I made for Beltane. Here's a picture:


Monday, 17 June 2019

Litha Inspiration

 

Litha is coming which means it's almost summer! This year's it's on Friday 21st June. I'd say from June to August is my favourite time of year, since summer is my favourite season. So I'm looking forward to the official start!

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's almost Yule and winter, so you may like these posts:

Yule Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/yule-celebration-ideas.html

Celebrating Yule + Christmas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/celebrating-yulechristmas.html

My Winter Round-up + Inspiration post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/winter-round-up-inspiration.html

One Infinite Life (Australia based) post on making the most of winter (updated for 2019): https://oneinfinitelife.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-winter/


In 2017 I did a post with some Litha/Midsummer celebration ideas and last year I wrote about celebrating both Litha and summer. You can read them at the links below:

Litha/Midsummer Celebration Ideas (also a baking post): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/06/baking-no-yeast-dinner-rolls-and.html

Celebrating Litha + Summer: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/06/celebrating-litha-summer.html


For 2019 I thought I'd do another post with some Litha  inspiration. :)

Update 19/6/19: I came across this article with information about both the Summer and Winter Solstices, so it has info for both hemispheres. :) Check it out here: http://www.nataliakuna.com/solstice---spiritual-meaning.html

Litha, also known as Midsummer and the Summer Solstice, is the official start of summer. Although as I said in last year's post on getting ready for summer, the meteorological start of summer is 1st June. Litha is the proper start of summer on the Wheel of the Year, though Beltane (on 30th April/1st May) is transitional and marks the beginning of the summer season. The dates varies each year but it's always around 21st June.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

May Update

May's update! :) Read previous monthly 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

April (+ Beltane Inspiration): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/april-update-beltane-inspiration.html


May began with Beltane on the 1st. (Although some people celebrate it on 30th April). You can read my Beltane post here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/05/beltane-2019.html

It was also my mum's birthday this month and I made a Birdies Perch Malteser slice (one of my favourite things to "no-bake") since she like Maltesers. I didn't take a picture but you can see what it looks like here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/09/birdies-perch-malteser-slice.html

I  made it for Oestara 2016 (with McVitie's Disgestive Nibbles in as well. I also like similar chocolate fridge square recipes and for this year's Oestara (Spring Equinox) I made a Malteser slice.

I also did some baking this month, red velvet cupcakes. I've baked red velvet cake several times before and had trouble with it. The first time I made it, it tasted horrible! (Maybe I put too much oil in?). And it's hard to get it to actually come out red. This time I used a recipe for cupcakes which you can find here: https://insideoutsideandbeyond.com/the-perfect-red-velvet-cupcake/

I couldn't get them red again, but I realised it was because I should have used gel food colouring as well. The recipe uses both but I didn't have a lot of money at the time, so only got liquid.  I'll remember that for next time! Apparently unless you use gel colouring, baking the cake makes it go a darker brown instead of red. I also made my own buttermilk but that shouldn't make a difference since I've done it before and it usually works fine. If you can't get buttermilk or would rather make your own, here's the recipe (at the bottom of the recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cake which I made in 2017: https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/one-bowl-chocolate-cake-made-from-scratch/

The cakes were nice though! And I liked the cream cheese buttercream. Sometimes it takes me ages to mix it right and stop it tasting too "buttery" but this time it blended easily. So I was happy with the cupcakes apart from the colour! lol. Here's a pic:


Sunday, 5 May 2019

Beltane 2019

Last Wednesday (1st May) was Beltane. (Or Tuesday 30th April if you celebrate then). As I mentioned in the April Update + Beltane Inspiration post, I normally celebrate by making food and drink. The past few years I've made guacamole using a recipe from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya. This Beltane I thought I'd try a different recipe from Don't Waste the Crumbs. Here's the link: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2018/03/simple-guacamole-recipe/

It was quite nice.  It's a bit different to The Kitchen Witch one which uses cream cheese and juice from a lemon. This one has no cream cheese and uses juice from a lime, cumin and garlic (I didn't add any cumin though). It's good to try new recipes and I like them both. :)

I also made Kachumbari, a Kenyan tomato and onion salad. The recipe is from the website Precious Core: https://www.preciouscore.com/kachumbari/

When I first found the site I was excited because Precious is originally from Cameroon and my dad was Cameroonian, so I thought I'd have a go at making some of the recipes. This is actually the first recipe I've made from there! lol. Never mind, I will try some Cameroonian ones in future. :)

The salad was nice too. I usually make tomato and onion salad (another Kitchen Witch recipe) for Litha, so it made a change to have some at Beltane instead. And it was cool to add an African twist to it. Precious says that Kachumbari is mainly made with tomatoes and onion but she added cucumber and avocado to hers. I did too and they went well together. The recipe contains red onion but you could use brown (also called yellow) or white if you prefer. :) I had both salads with a chicken leg and potato salad (from Tesco) for lunch. Here's a pic:


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

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

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter 2019

This Easter I baked the frosted white chocolate Easter cake that I made for the last couple of years. (I've made it 3 times altogether now, first time was Easter 2013). It's a Madeira style cake with white chocolate in the sponge and cream cheese frosting. The recipe is by British chef James Martin. For more on the cake and the recipe link, visit this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake.html

I made it on Saturday and had a piece, although the frosting hadn't properly set, lol. I think it tasted better the next day (Easter Sunday), the flavour had come out more as well.  Here's a pic:


Monday, 1 April 2019

March Update

Here is March's update. :) Read previous monthly updates here:

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

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

March started off with my birthday. I had a good day, got some nice presents and had a red velvet cake! The next week I went to Nando's with my mum. I had chicken butterfly (plain-ish), chips and coleslaw with Coke, then carrot cake and ice cream for pudding (dessert). Here are a couple of pictures of the food:


Monday, 25 March 2019

Oestara 2019

Last Wednesday it was Oestara (also known as Ostara and the Spring Equinox). I celebrated by making a Malteser slice with Cadbury Mini Eggs on top! (I usually celebrate with food and drink). As I mentioned in my Oestara Celebration Inspiration post, it's similar to Birdies Perch , which is a favourite of mine to make. I made it last year; it was called Malteser Fridge Squares and the recipe was on the Red Nose Day site. The page with the original recipe is now gone but  you can find the same (or similar) recipe here, called Malteser Squares: https://www.redonline.co.uk/food/recipes/a500554/eric-lanlard-s-malteser-squares/

It was quite nice. Here's a picture:


Monday, 18 March 2019

Oestara Celebration Inspiration


It's almost time for Oestara (also known as Ostara and the Spring Equinox)! It's on Wednesday 20th March this year.

Note: For those in the Southern Hemisphere it will soon be Madron/Mabon aka the Autumn Equinox! You might like these posts:

 Madron/Autumn Equinox Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html

Celebrating Madron/Autumn:  https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/09/celebrating-madron-autumn.html


In 2017 I did a post with ideas for celebrating Oestara and then last year I wrote one on celebrating both Oestara and spring in general. Read them at the links below:

 Oestara/Spring Equinox Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/03/oestaraspring-equinox-celebration-ideas.html

Celebrating Oestara + Spring: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/celebrating-oestara-spring.html


This year I thought I'd share some more ideas for celebrating and general inspiration for this time of year. :)


Monday, 4 March 2019

Preparing for Spring + Spring Inspiration

 

I'm looking forward to spring! While this winter hasn't seemed as long as last year's (at least not in Sussex since it hasn't been as cold and we didn't get much snow), I'm not a big fan of this season. I'm more of a summer person! The past few weeks the weather has been a bit weird- it was the warmest February on record on one day (up to about 16C (about 60F) in my area), then it returned to more typical temperatures and now we have Storm Freya. Today it's 8C (47F). The atmosphere feels "lighter" to me now. Since I get more depressed during the winter, I tend to feel better when the weather shifts and spring gets nearer.

As I've mentioned in last year's spring post, there are two starts to spring- meteorological and astronomical. The first one is 1st March and the 2nd is 20th March, the same day as the Spring Equinox (also called Oestara/Ostara). Read more about it here: https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/spring-2019-when-start-first-day-date/


Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, it's almost time for autumn. You may enjoy these posts:

Getting Ready for Autumn: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/09/getting-ready-for-autumn.html

Autumn Photos + Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/10/autumn-photos-inspiration.html


Last year I wrote a post about getting ready for spring which you can read here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/getting-ready-for-spring.html

This year I'm writing more about preparing for spring and also sharing some new season inspiration! :)

Monday, 25 February 2019

February Update

Time for the second update of the year! If you'd like to read Jan's update visit this link: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/02/january-update.html

In early February I celebrated Imbolg (also known as Imbolc). You can read about my celebration here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/02/imbolg-2019.html

I also did some baking. I made these spiced carrot muffins: https://growingupgabel.com/spiced-carrot-muffins/

They were quite nice. I used ginger and mixed spice in mine because that's what I had in. Think I also used some cinnamon but not nutmeg. Here's a pic:


Monday, 4 February 2019

Imbolg 2019

On Saturday (2nd February) it was Imbolg (also known as Imbolc). Some people celebrate it on 1st Feb (or from sundown on the 1st to sundown on the 2nd) but I usually have my main celebration on the 2nd.* As I mentioned in my Imbolg Inspiration post, I normally make pancakes (inspired by Kate West's The Real Witches' Kitchen) and I did that again this year. I used the same recipe as last year from BBC Good Food which uses vegetable oil in the batter. They are English pancakes, also called crepes. You can find the recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2907669/easy-pancakes

They didn't seem as nice as last year (think I could have cooked them a bit better) but never mind! I still liked them. :) Here's a pic of the first one:


Sunday, 3 February 2019

January Update

In my Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake + New Year Gingerbread post, I mentioned that I was thinking of doing a monthly post on here, a round-up of the month. So here's the first one for January! :)

Note: I started this during January but have finished it today. :)


January is a bit of a hard month for me because all the excitement of Christmas is over and the weather is dreary and cold! I get more depressed at this time of year, I think I have SAD (Seasonal affective disorder). If you do too you might find this link helpful:

https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/15-tips-combat-seasonal-affective-disorder/

 I take a while to adjust to the new year and last year I didn't feel really settled in till about May! It helps when the weather gets warmer. At the end of January it went colder and we've had some snow, although not much in Sussex so far. It does make a change when we get snow though, since we don't get it that often in my area.

In early January I went to the beach and took some pictures. It was a beautiful sunset that evening. Here are a couple of the photos:

Sunset on Shoreham Beach.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Imbolg Inspiration

 

It's almost time for Imbolg (more commonly called Imbolc and also known as February Eve), the 1st sabbat of the new calendar year, and the 2nd/3rd on the Wheel of the Year. As I mentioned in my Celebrating Yule/Christmas post, some people think of the year as beginning and ending at Samhain (Hallowe'en), so they consider Samhain as the New Year, while others count Yule as New Year.


Note: for those in the Southern Hemipshere it's Lammas time! Check out these posts for celebration ideas:

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/07/lammas-celebration-ideas.html

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/07/celebrating-lammas.html


Imbolg is celebrated on 2nd February  (Saturday this year), or from the night of 1st Feb to the night of the 2nd (sundown to sundown). Or some people would celebrate from 31st January to 1st February, which is why it's also called February Eve. If you go by the scientific time, Marietta of Witchy Words mentions it's at 9.01pm CST on 3rd February,  and 3.01am in the UK (making it Sunday). I believe the energy of it is active around that time anyway, so you could celebrate at the time that feel best to you. :)

Imbolg is also known as Candlemas, although that is more of a Christian festival based on the pagan ones. It's the first spring festival and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. it's also a fire festival and the feast of Bride or Brigid (pronounced something like "Breed") the Irish Fire Goddess, who became Christianised as Saint Brigid. The Irish Gaelic word "Imbolc" or "Imbolg" is thought to translate as "in the belly" meaning the ewes who are pregnant at this time of year. There is another word "Oimelc" which is said to mean "ewe's milk". Imbolg is a cross-quarter day, meaning that it's in between a solstice and equinox. It's between Yule aka the Winter Solstice and Oestara/Ostara aka the Spring Equinox in March.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake + New Year Gingerbread

This Christmas (or rather Christmas 2018 now since we're in a new year!) I baked a Christmas vanilla roll cake, which I first made in 2013. The recipe is from a trEATS affair (formerly Roxana's Home Baking). You can find the recipe here: http://atreatsaffair.com/christmas-vanilla-roll-cake-recipe/

You roll it up like with a  chocolate Yule log or Swiss roll. (Roll cake is just another name for Swiss roll, really). I don't think the cake itself came out as nice this time, but never mind! The buttercream was nice. This time I used multicoloured sprinkles. And I ate it with Nestle Carnation topping (evaporated milk) again because it can be a bit dry. I made the roll on Christmas Eve and the topping on Christmas Day. Here's a pic: