Sunday, 29 December 2019

Yule 2019

Last Sunday it was Yule/the Winter Solstice. As I mentioned in the Yule Inspiration post, this year I had a go at making my own Yule log. I've done it once before but mostly I buy them because that's easier, lol. That was in 2014. I also baked red velvet Buche de Noel for Christmas 2014. And I made a Christmas vanilla roll cake for Christmas last year (and previously in 2013). But it took me 5 years to make another Yule log!

This year I made a spiced Christmas Yule log using a recipe from the Co-op magazine. It has a white chocolate buttercream frosting. You can find the recipe here: https://www.coop.co.uk/recipes/spiced-christmas-yule-log

It's vegan but mine wasn't because I used butter for the icing instead of dairy free spread. You use chickpea water and it's the first time I've used that in a recipe. It didn't come out flat so I had trouble rolling it up, but I managed to roll it up a bit! I don't think it was the best Yule log I've done and could have come out better, but it tasted quite nice. Here's a picture:


Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Yule Inspiration

 

I normally post on Sunday or Monday but been a bit behind recently, so I'm posting today instead. :)

It's almost time for Yule aka the Winter Solstice/Midwinter. This year it's on Sunday 22nd December. The date varies each year but it's always around 21st December

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it will soon be Litha aka Midsummer/the Summer solstice. Here are my Litha celebration ideas posts:

Litha/Midsummer Celebration Ideas (also a post about no-yeast dinner rolls): 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

Litha Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/06/litha-inspiration_17.html


In the past two years I've done posts with ideas for celebrating Yule. You can see them below:

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

During 2019 I've done a series of Inspiration posts for the sabbats, so here is the  post for Yule! :)

As I said in last year's post, Yule is either the first sabbat of the new cycle on the Wheel of the Year, or the second,  depending on your point of view. (I think of Samhain as the beginning and end, so count it as the second). It's definitely the final sabbat of the calendar year.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

More Winter Inspiration + Winter Tag

 


Winter is starting now, so it's time from some winter inspiration! In past years I've done a post on getting ready for winter, and a round-up and inspiration one. You can read them below:

Getting Ready for Winter: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/getting-ready-for-winter.html

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

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere you might like this post about celebrating summer and Litha/the Summer Solstice:

Summer Round-up + Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/07/summer-round-up-inspiration.html

 

So here's some more inspiration for this winter! Plus a Winter tag. (Scroll down for the tag). :)

As I mentioned in the Getting Ready for Winter post, there are two "official" starts to winter- the meteorological one (1st Dec) and the astronomical (around 21st December), which is the shortest day of the year, aka Yule/the Winter Solstice. This year Yule will be 22nd December.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

November Update

Time for the November update! I know I just did October's but I was behind with that, lol. And now we're getting towards the end of Nov.

You can read previous monthly updates here:


June: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/06/june-update.html

July (+ Lammas Inspiration):  https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/07/july-update-lammas-inpiration.html


Sept: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/10/september-update.html

Oct: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/11/october-update.html


At the beginning of the month I went to a belly dance fusion workshop with Lianna Greene. We learnt a dance to Sonne by the German metal band Rammstein! I also went to two Meetup events, coffee at Tom Foolery in Shoreham and brunch at Cote Brasserie in Brighton.

It's still been raining a lot but we've had some nice, sunny days (although cold). Here's a picture I took when I went to Tom Foolery:

Coronation Green and River Adur, Shoreham-by-sea.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

October Update

Time for the October Update! I'm later doing it again this month because I did two Samhain posts first. :) Read previous monthly updates here:

July (+ Lammas Inspiration):  https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/07/july-update-lammas-inpiration.html

August: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/08/august-update.html

Sept: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/10/september-update.html

 

During October I attended a two week mindfulness course at my local mental health resource centre. Last October we had some good weather and I wore my flip flops still but this year it was too cold. I've officially put them away now, lol.

I tried out a new belly dance class and also went to my first event with a new Meetup group, brunch at a local tearoom called Teddys.

The day before Hallowe'en I went to a local firework day display for Bonfire Night. (It's always the Wednesday before Bonfire Night). Here are a few pictures:


Fireworks at Lancing Beach Green.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Hallowe'en/Samhain 2019

Last Thursday (31st October) it was Samhain/Hallowe'en. I celebrated with a pumpkin and having some food and drink, including my usual Demon's Blood drink (ginger beer mixed with apple juice and orange juice and dyed green!), a recipe I got from Kate West; and potato salad based on a recipe in The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya.

This year I actually had two pumpkins, a little one and a bigger one. Here's a pic:


Sunday, 27 October 2019

Samhain/Hallowe'en Inspiration

 

My favourite sabbat (apart from Lammas) is coming up! It's nearly time for Samhain. This year it's on a Thursday (31st October). I've celebrated Hallowe'en (the modern counterpart of Samhain) since I was a child, so these days I do a combined celebration.

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's almost time for Beltane! Check out my Beltane Celebration posts here:

Beltane Celebrations 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


In previous years I've done celebration idea posts which you can see below:

Hallowe'en/Samhain Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2016/10/halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html 

More Hallowe'en/Samhain Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/10/more-halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html

Celebrating Samhain/Hallowe'en: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/10/celebrating-samhainhalloween.html


This year I'm continuing my series of Inspiration posts, that I've written for previous sabbats.

Samhain is the 3rd and final harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year. The other two are Lammas and Madron aka Mabon/the Autumn Equinox. It is a cross quarter sabbat that takes place on 31st October Although some may celebrate on 1st November too (sundown to sundown). It's also thought of by some as the Witches' New Year. As I said in last year's Yule/Christmas post, some people consider the year to  end and start anew at Samhain, whereas others end the year at Samhain and start it again at Yule/the Winter Solstice (around 21st December). I think of it as both really, since it's the last harvest festival of the year but it's the start of a new cycle, so I start with it first. It's up to you what you want to do. :)

Sunday, 6 October 2019

September Update

Time for the September update! Read previous monthly updates here:




There was a difficult end to August because my boy cat died. :( His sister died two years ago and it was really hard to lose him as well. So I didn't feel so great, but have been trying to feel better.

During September I attended a few Meetup events, including afternoon tea at The Grand Hotel in Brighton. I'd wanted to visit the hotel for ages, so it was fun to get a chance to go. I wrote a post about it on my other blog Falling Petals, in the context of the Law of Attraction/manifesting, since it was one of the goals on my Life List (like a bucket list). You can read that here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2019/09/manifestation-story-grand.html

Here are a couple of pictures  from that day that I didn't share in that post:

Flowers outside The Grand and Brighton seafront.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Madron 2019

Last Monday (24th September) it was Madron, aka Mabon and the Autumn Equinox. As I mentioned in the Madron Inspiration post , I normally bake for this sabbat and this year I made some one bowl gingerbread spiced muffins. Here is the recipe: https://www.forkknifeswoon.com/one-bowl-spiced-gingerbread-muffins/

"One bowl" recipes are good because it's easier just to mix everything together! A couple of years ago I made a one bowl chocolate cake which was nice.

The gingerbread muffins were quite nice. I used applesauce instead of banana because I don't like it, but it still worked quite well. Also I used mixed spice rather than cloves and nutmeg separately. The recipe has molasses but treacle is more readily available in the UK and is similar, so it's a good substitute.

The topping is either a maple vanilla glaze or frosting (see recipe) but I decided instead to make some cream cheese/peanut butter frosting. I've used the cream cheese icing from the frosted white chocolate cake I sometimes make for Easter for ginger cakes before, and it's gone well with them. I also wanted to try out a peanut butter frosting I'd come across a while ago but thought it might not go so well with  the ginger, since it's for banana cakes. In the end I made up the frosting without the peanut butter first (also followed the James Martin white chocolate cake recipe for the British measurements), put it on 7 of the muffins and then added peanut butter to the rest and put it on the remaining 5. Here's a picture:


Sunday, 22 September 2019

Madron Inspiration

 

Madron (also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox) is almost here.  This year it's on Monday 23rd September which is tomorrow. (I started writing this post last week!).

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's nearly time for Oestara aka Ostara/the Spring Equinox. You may like these posts with ideas for celebrating:

 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

Oestara Celebration Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/oestara-celebration-inspiration.html
 

For the previous two years I wrote Madron celebration idea posts which you can see below:

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


This year I've written a series of Inspiration posts for the sabbats, so now it's time for Madron's!

Madron is the second harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year (after Lammas and before Samhain) and its themes include grain, balance, thanksgiving and gratitude for what you've "harvested", and abundance. It's also the time of the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are roughly equal. This day marks the "official" start to autumn, although as I've written in my Getting Ready for Autumn post, the meteorological beginning of autumn is 1st September.

The Autumn Equinox is the opposite of the Spring Equinox. This year it will occur at 7.50am UTC, 8.50am UK time, and 3.50 US Eastern time. You can work out your local time compared to universal here: https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/universal-time


Sunday, 8 September 2019

Summer Photos + Preparing for Autumn

Summer Photos

Summer is coming to an end. As I've often mentioned, summer is my favourite season and I'm not keen on winter! So while the shift from winter to spring feels more hopeful and "lighter" to me, the one from summer to autumn isn't quite the same. We're now moving towards the darker half of the year. But  I do like autumn; I love the beautiful autumn colours of the trees changing during September and October, the golden days with a "mellower" light and the cosiness! I also like the events such as Hallowe'en/Samhain and Bonfire Night.

This post is a combined one with some photos from over the summer and ideas for preparing for autumn. :)

The past couple of years I posted some pictures from my summer. You can see them here:

End of Summer (+ Full Moon Esbat Biscuits): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/end-of-summer-full-moon-esbat-biscuits.html

Summer Photos: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/07/summer-photos.html

Late Summer: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/08/late-summer.html

Now here are some pics from this summer:

Worthing seafront- July.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

August Update

I normally post on Sundays or Mondays, but had a bit of a difficult weekend due to personal issues, so I'm posting on a Tuesday instead. :)

Time for August's update! You can read the 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: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/05/may-update.html

June: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/06/june-update.html

July (+ Lammas Inspiration):  https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/07/july-update-lammas-inpiration.html


August began with Lammas on the 1st. (Although some people celebrate on 31st July). You can see my post about it here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/08/lammas-2019.html

I had a couple of events this month, a get together with my belly dance group at Alcampo Lounge in Brighton and a Meetup event (brunch) at West Beach Bar and Kitchen, also in Brighton. It was really windy that weekend, especially on the seafront! Here are a couple of pics from Brighton:

Brighton seafront.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Lammas 2019

Last Thursday (1st August) it was Lammas, one of my favourite sabbats. (Some people celebrate on 31st July). My main activity for this sabbat is baking and in the July Update + Lammas Inspiration post I shared some baking ideas.  I made my usual gingerbread and also had a go at making bread again this year! I don't often bake bread; the last time was Lammas 2017, although I did make a bread mix last year! The recipe I used this time is 90 Minute Man Bread from Don't Waste the Crumbs. You can find it here: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/90-minute-man-bread/

It's called "Man Bread" because it's so easy a man can make it! No offence intended, the recipe was actually developed by "Mr Crumbs", the husband of Tiffany who runs the site, lol. :) And it only takes 90 minutes to make as you can tell by the title! It's a healthy bread recipe because it has no refined sugar and uses coconut oil instead of butter. But you can use butter or olive oil instead of coconut oil. I used butter as I did with the chocolate oatmeal bars I made in June, since I haven't bought any more coconut oil yet. I also used plain flour (what's called all-purpose in America) instead of bread flour. The recipe uses active dry yeast but I used fast action dried yeast, which means you can just add it straight to the recipe and don't need to activate it (by dissolving it in a water as in the recipe) before using. You can read about the differences between active dry, instant and fast acting yeasts here: https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/03/all-about-dry-yeast-instant-active-dry-fast-acting-and-more.html

The bread was quite nice, I was pleased with how it turned out. Here's a picture:


Sunday, 28 July 2019

July Update + Lammas Inspiration

This is  a double post (like the April Update + Beltane Inspiration one), featuring July's update and inspiration for Lammas. If you just want to read about Lammas, scroll down! :)


July Update

Here is the update for July! You can read updates for the first half of the year 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

June: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/06/june-update.html


In early July I went to Worthing Beach with my mum. We took the Coastliner bus. I hadn't been to the beach for a while, so that was fun. I got a strawberry ice cream from Macaris. Here are a couple of pictures from the beach:

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-energy--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 likes 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


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

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 feels 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: