Here is the update for July! You can read updates for the first half of the year here:
April (+ Beltane Inspiration): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/april-update-beltane-inspiration.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:
I also went to my first event with a new Meetup group, brunch at Modelo Lounge in Hove a couple of weekends ago. That was fun. And this weekend I went to local monthly meetup with the Action for Happiness group.
I've just finished the depression course I took through Recovery College. (Started last month). I found it helpful and met some nice people. I hope to do more courses in the autumn.
Cooking wise I made this roast potato, red onion and chickpea traybake from The Doctor's Kitchen: https://thedoctorskitchen.com/recipes/roast-potato-red-onion-and-chickpea-tray-bake
It was nice for a change. I also baked some beetroot brownies using a Rosemary Shrager recipe from OK! magazine. You can find it on her website: https://www.rosemaryshrager.com/recipes/beetroot-brownies
It's a gluten free recipe, so you can make them if you can't have gluten. I used "ordinary" flour and baking powder, so it works either way. :) I liked them but think I could have mixed then better (grated the beetroot by hand because I don't have a blender) and they were a bit squidgy, lol. But fairly nice taste. Here's a photo:
After I'd made them I happened to come across a recipe I'd originally found last year for beetroot brownies (also gluten free but you can adapt it). This one uses dark chocolate as well as cocoa powder. I might try it sometime. Here's the link: https://www.glutenfreealchemist.com/2018/08/beetroot-brownies-gluten-free.html
July is the first full month of summer and it's been feeling more like summer lately. After a colder June, it warmed up a bit. Last summer was really hot and it had been cooler so far, but now we've just had a heatwave. It's been about 31C (about 87F) in Sussex and 37C (98F) in London, which is hot for the UK!
I've been doing "summer things" like going to the beach, my weekly walks in the park (although I like to walk in the park year round depending on the weather) and having ice cream. I haven't been able to get to the beach as much or to Hove Park due to family car problems, but hope to go soon. I plan to also go to my favourite pub The Black Rabbit in Arundel next month. Also Lammas (one of my favourite seasonal festivals) is coming up next week, so I'm looking forward to that. See below for a post about it. :)
Read: The Pisces by Melissa Broder (quite a strange book, but funny and good!), The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements, The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton (wanted to read for this quite a while and it was good). Currently reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters- I've read it once before years ago and saw it in the library recently. Then I saw the film version was on, so I watched that last weekend.
Played: The PS2 games Tomb Raider: Anniversary and TR: Underworld (currently playing). I haven't played them for a few years, so it's good to go back to old games.
Current Favourite Songs: BANKS' new album III just came out, so I've been listening to that. I posted about it on my entertainment blog and you can read the post here: https://starsparklex.blogspot.com/2019/07/new-banks-album.html
Links I found useful:
Interview with Jaclyn Johnston from Manifest It!: https://medium.com/authority-magazine/women-in-wellness-manifesting-the-life-of-your-dreams-with-jaclyn-johnston-833b4af5a951
Post about the magic of everyday life: https://daisybutter.com/2019/07/the-life-complementing-magic-of-everyday-stuff/
Simply Fiercely post about simple eating (updated for 2019): https://www.simplyfiercely.com/simple-eating/
Lammas is coming up on 1st August, Thursday this year. Or Wednesday if you celebrate it on 31st July as some people do. (Some may celebrate from sundown to sundown). I mentioned in my Summer Round-up + Inspiration post that it's one of my favourite sabbats, I think because it was the first one I celebrated when I started following the Wheel of the Year in 2010, and also because it's around the middle of summer. (Well, if you count Litha around 21st June as midsummer then it isn't, but if you go by the modern definition of summer, it is!). My other favourite is Samhain; I always have liked Hallowe'en!
In 2017 and last year I did posts with ideas for celebrating Lammas. You can read them below:
Lammas Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/07/lammas-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Lammas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/07/celebrating-lammas.html
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's almost Imbolg/Imbolc! Check out my Imbolg celebration ideas here:
Imbolg Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/imbolg-celebration-ideas.html
Imbolg Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/01/imbolg-inspiration.html
Lammas, which is also called Lughnasadh, is the first harvest festival on the wheel and although early August is in the middle of summer if you think of the seasons as lasting 3 months- June, July and August being summer and summer officially starting around 21st June- the longest day of the year has already passed, and the year is waning more. So we're moving into harvest season and we start seeing signs of autumn approaching now. This will
vary depending where you live though. I've already noticed that the grass is looking a bit "tired" at the end of July, and I think it started turning browner earlier last year, due to the hot summer. The other two harvest festivals are Madron/Mabon and Samhain (the precursor to Hallowe'en).
Lamas themes are: Grain/harvest, gratitude, abundance, the God being sacrificed for the land (he will be reborn at Yule/the Winter Solstice), and the Goddess in full bloom as the Mother. I shared this article in last year's post about the God and Goddess at Lammas: https://whisperingworlds.com/wiccan/lammas.php
Here's some inspiration for celebrating! :)
Brief background on Lammas and simple ritual ideas: https://www.sagegoddess.com/musings/simple-ritual-ideas-lammas-first-harvest
Good post which mentions Irish mythology and traditions: https://losingtheplotweb.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/lughnasadh-irish-mythology-tradition-and-fairs/
Vegan Kitchen Magick post about getting ready for Lughnasdh: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/getting-ready-for-lughnasadh/
Modern ways to celebrate Lammas:
Another one from Vegan Kitchen Magick about celebrating a vegan first harvest:
If you're into gardening you might like this garden blessing ritual from Witch of Lupine Hollow: https://witchoflupinehollow.com/2017/07/31/lammas-garden-blessing-ritual/
Candle ritual from The Witch at One and Seventy: http://suzyhomemaker.co.uk/celebrate-the-first-harvest-with-a-simple-lughnasadh-candle-ritual/
Update 31/7/19: Added a few more links:
Spirit work for Lammas: http://www.flyingthehedge.com/2019/07/spirit-work-for-lammas.html
Tess Whitehurst Lughnasadh video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eAqGf7crvQ
Gratitude ritual (beer and bread celebration): https://www.thetetraktys.com/2018/lughnasadh-gratitude-ritual/ (Site appears to have gone)
Baking is a great way to celebrate Lammas, since it's a harvest festival. I usually bake gingerbread for Lammas. I use the recipe from the Tesco Light brown soft sugar packet and then cover them with icing (made from icing sugar and water) and sometimes sprinkles, as you can see here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2015/08/lammas-2015.html
Check out the 2017 and 2018 celebration posts for more baking inspiration:
And here are a couple of recipes for ginger cookies/biscuits that I've made for Yule 2017 and this New Year (they'd also be good for Lammas):
Baking bread is another good thing too, you might want to have a go at making a Lammas loaf. I first baked bread in 2010 and it happened to be around Lammas ( I made bread specifically for Lammas in 2017 using a recipe from Tesco magazine). You can see how it turned out here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/08/lammas-2017.html
Last year my main thing to make apart from the gingerbread was a Cornish style pasty, which I've done other years. But I did make a bread mix (packet mix) just after Lammas. You can see pictures of both the pasty and the loaf here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/08/lammas-2018.html
I don't often bake bread because it can be quite a complicated process, but this year I'm trying out this recipe for 90 minute "Man bread" from Don't Waste the Crumbs: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/90-minute-man-bread/
I usually have cider or shandy to drink. Another suggestion is to light a candle to celebrate the sun, since we still have quite a lot of light, although the days are getting shorter. I like to use an orange or yellow one, white otherwise.
Finally another idea is to go for a walk in the country, or the park, whatever you prefer and have access to. This is also a good time of year for the beach. I just went up to my local nature reserve this evening, where the picture at the top was taken.
Hope that you gave you plenty of ideas for celebrating. How do you celebrate? Happy Lammas! (Or Imbolg). :)
Photo: Mill Hill, Shoreham-by-sea. Moonsparkle 2019.