Sunday, 24 October 2021

Samhain/Hallowe'en Round-up


It's nearly time for Samhain (one of the most popular sabbats and my favourite apart from Lammas!). This year's it on a Sunday (31st October). I also celebrate Hallowe'en (thought to have originated from Samhain).

 

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere Beltane is almost here! 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

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

More Beltane Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/04/more-beltane-inspiration.html 

Winter-Spring Update + Beltane Round-up: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/04/winter-spring-update-beltane-round-up.html

 

The past few years I've done celebration idea and inspiration posts for Samhain. In 2021 I've written some round-up posts, featuring my past sabbat posts and articles from elsewhere. So here is the one for Samhain! :)

Samhain is the 3rd and final harvest festival of the Wheel of the Year. It comes after Lammas at the beginning of August and Madron/Mabon (aka the Autumn Equinox) in late September, and is a cross-quarter sabbat and a fire festival. It's considered by many to be the Witches' New Year and one of the two times of year when the veil between the worlds is thin (the other is Beltane in late April/early May). Halloween/Hallowe'en (since the name comes from All Hallow's Even, "Hallowe'en" is an alternative way of spelling it) is the modern-day counterpart. Check out the Celebrating Samhain/Hallowe'en post for more information.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Summer-Autumn Update

It's now October so time for my quarterly update! During 2021 I'm doing quarterly updates, from "season to season". You can see the previous updates here:

Winter-Spring (and a Beltane Round-up): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/04/winter-spring-update-beltane-round-up.html

Spring-Summer Update: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/07/spring-summer-update.html

 

In early July I went to the Black Rabbit pub in Arundel with my mum. It was ages since I'd been, so it was good to go back. Due to the pandemic you currently have to book a table. We sat outside by the river, and there's a nice view of the River Arun and Arundel Castle in the distance. It wasn't that warm and a bit cloudy but then the sky cleared. I had chips (fries) and garlic flatbread with a Coke, then some chocolate and cream (I think clotted cream type) ice cream.

Here's a photo of the view by the river:

 


 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Madron 2021

The other week it was Madron, (more commonly known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox). It was Wednesday 22nd September this year. I was going to do a post last weekend, but was a bit busy, so I'm doing it today instead. :)

As I mentioned in the Madron Round-up + Autumn Baking post, my usual celebration for this sabbat is baking. This year I made some gingerbread muffins. You can see the recipe here: https://simplybeautifuleating.com/2020/10/05/super-moist-gingerbread-muffins/

They are kind of like some I made in 2019. As with those, I substituted the banana for apple sauce, since I don't like bananas. I also used treacle because it's easier to get here in the UK than molasses and it's similar. I made a few other substitutions too- mixed spices rather than cloves and nutmeg, "ordinary" milk instead of cocount or nut and sea salt rather than kosher. If you don't have or don't want to use kosher salt, here is a guide about what type you can use instead: https://www.acouplecooks.com/kosher-salt-substitute/

I made cream cheese frosting, using the one from the James Martin White chocolate Easter cake I like. I've used that frosting in the past and it goes well with ginger things. Here's a direct link to the cake and frosting recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake

The muffins were quite nice and the substitutions worked ok. They were a bit heavy when first done but "settled" the next day. Here's a picture: 

 



Sunday, 19 September 2021

Madron Round-up + Autumn Baking

Madron (aka Mabon and the Autumn Equinox) is coming up. This year it is on Wednesday 22nd September. 

For the past few years, I've written celebration ideas and inspiration posts for Madron. For 2021 I'm doing a round-up post, like I have for the last few sabbats this year. I also thought it would be good to include an autumn baking section, so see below for that! :)


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

Oestara + Spring Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/03/oestara-spring-inspiration.html

Happy Oestara!: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/03/happy-oestara.html

 

Madron (more commonly known as Mabon, but I first heard of it as Madron) is the 2nd harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year. It comes after Lammas (around 1st August and before Samhain (on 31st October). It's also the Autumn Equinox which marks the "official" start of autumn. On this date day and night are roughly equal. This year the scientific time of the Autumn Equinox will be 3.20pm EDT/7.20pm UTC/ 8.20pm BST/UK time. You can work out your local time compared to universal here: https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/universal-time/

Themes of this sabbat include balance, letting go, gratitude and of course, harvest.

 

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Lammas 2021

Last weekend it was Lammas (Sunday 1st August, although some people may celebrate on 31st July or 2nd Aug). As I mentioned in the Lammas Round-up post, I baked my usual gingerbread this year and also bread. 

I used the BBC Food recipe for the gingerbread, which I've used for the past couple of years (since they stopped putting a recipe on the back of the Tesco light brown soft sugar packet!). You can see it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/gingerbread_men_99096

At the last minute I couldn't find the medium sized gingerbread cutter, so I ended up making mini gingerbread men/people and some round ones! I iced them as usual. Here's a pic:

 



 

Monday, 26 July 2021

Lammas Round-up

 

Lammas is coming up once again! It's my favourite sabbat apart from Samhain, so I'm looking forward to it. :) This year's it's on Sunday 1st August, or Saturday if you celebrate on 31st July. (Some people celebrate from sundown to sundown on both days, and others may have their celebration on 2nd August, which corresponds to Imbolg, its opposite on the Wheel.) The astrological time of Lammas is Saturday 7th August this year.

For the past few years, I've written posts with ideas for celebrating Lammas. This year I'm doing a round-up like I previously did for Beltane and Litha/the Summer Solstice. I'm sharing my past Lammas posts as well as links from other sites. :)



Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's almost Imbolg/Imbolc! Check out my Imbolg celebration ideas here:

 
 
 
Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, is the first harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year (the others are Madron in September and Samhain in October) and the last one associated with summer. It marks the transition from summer to autumn, although the "official" start of autumn won't be until Madron (more commonly known as Mabon) aka the Autumn Equinox.
 
It is also called Lughnasadh since it is the festival of the Celtic God Lugh, (described as a Sun and Corn God, among other things)  whose power is waning at this time. In some beliefs the God is sacrified at Lammas  and re-born at Yule aka the Winter Solstice in December.  He is also known as the Green Man/John Barleycorn in some traditions. You can read more about Lugh here:
 

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Spring-Summer Update

It's already July, so it's time for my Spring-Summer update! I decided that this year I would do quarterly "season to season" update posts. You can see my Winter-Spring Update here (also a Beltane post): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/04/winter-spring-update-beltane-round-up.html

 

Easter was on 4th April this year. I didn't write a separate Easter post, but as I said in the Winter-Spring Update, I will cover it in this post. :)

This Easter I made an ice cream cake for a change. The recipe is from Apply To Face Blog and you can see it here: https://applytofaceblog.com/easy-ice-cream-birthday-cake/

This was a birthday cake for the blogger Jenny's son but it's good for any occasion. It's simple to make, although it does it have to be frozen overnight before decorating. It was quite nice. I wasn't sure about the cream on top because I'm not keen on it, but it does blend well with the ice cream! I put Cadbury Mini Eggs on top like I usually do with my Easter cakes. Here's a pic:

 


 

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Litha 2021

Last Monday (21st June) it was Litha aka Midsummer/the Summer Solstice. (Or if you're in North America it was Sunday the 20th for you.) :) As I mentioned in the Litha Round-up post, I usually celebrate by having salad and lemonade. This year I made my usual tomato and onion salad and "Hello Kitty" lemonade.

The tomato and onion salad is a recipe from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya. This year I used red onion, like I did for Litha 2019. I decided to use red onion after I made Kachumbari (Kenyan tomato and onion salad) for Beltane that year

I had my salad with some food from the shops- chicken drumsticks, ciabatta bread (I wanted that for Beltane but couldn't find any), potato salad and coleslaw. I had the lemonade with my lunch too. The lemonade is a recipe from a Hello Kitty book! You can see it here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/08/summer-drinks.html

 Here are a couple of pictures:


Sorry the picture isn't the best light!


Monday, 14 June 2021

Litha Round-up

                             

Litha aka Midsummer/the Summer Solstice is coming up! In 2021 it's on Monday 21st June (or Sunday 20th North American time). For the past few years, I've written posts with celebration and inspiration ideas. This year I'm doing a round-up post, like the one I did for Beltane 2021. I'm sharing my previous Litha posts and linking to some from other people. :) 

 
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's nearly Yule  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
 
 


Litha is the 2nd festival associated with summer on the Wheel of the Year. It comes after Beltane  in late April/early May, (although Beltane is a spring festival that also marks the shift towards summer) and precedes Lammas in late July/August, (which is an end of summer sabbat and the first harvest festival) and is always around 21st June. Its themes include the celebration of light, summer, fire and abundance. Litha is also a water festival in some traditions.

This sabbat represents possibility to me as well. It's also called the Summer Solstice and Midsummer since it takes place on the longest day of the year. The June solstice is an astrological event though, when in the Northern Hemisphere we get the most amount of light. Litha is a pagan festival celebrated on the same day.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Beltane 2021

Last Saturday (1st May) it was Beltane. Although some celebrate from 30th April to 1st May. :) My main celebration for the sabbats is food and drink, and I usually make some form of salad and/or guacamole for Beltane. As I said in the Beltane Round-up post, this year I made avocado salad, which I also made in 2020. It's from the site Precious Core and you can see the recipe here: https://www.preciouscore.com/simple-healthy-avocado-salad

It's nice and simple to make. I had it for my lunch with some chicken and panini. I wanted ciabatta bread (I had that for Beltane 2018) but couldn't find any in the shops. Here's a picture: 


Sunday, 25 April 2021

Winter-Spring Update + Beltane Round-up

The past couple of years I wrote monthly and "two monthly" updates on the blog. I enjoyed it, but as I said in the November/December 2020 update post, I prefer doing them less often because I found it harder fitting them in with the other seasonal posts. So, I've decided to do quarterly "season to season" posts instead this year. 

Here is the winter to spring update. :) Also, Beltane is coming up on 1st May, so I've made this a "double post". Scroll down for the Beltane section. :)

 

Winter-Spring Update

In January we went into another lockdown in England (our 3rd since March last year, when the coronavirus spread worldwide). I was disappointed but this one wasn't as bad as the first one, since it was quite similar to the 2nd lockdown in November. 

So, I wasn't up to much during the first part of year. I went for my weekly park walks and also went to the beach, although it was cold! I wrote a post sharing some winter photos, and also with ideas for preparing for spring. Check it out to see some pics from January and February: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/03/winter-photos-preparing-for-spring.html

At the beginning of February, I celebrated Imbolg. You can read about my celebration here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/02/imbolg-2021.html

It seemed colder than last winter but we only got a bit of snow in early Feb. 

At the beginning of March, it was my birthday. It was my first "lockdown birthday" (since last year's lockdown didn't happen till late March), but I was able to get some Nando's because it was open for takeaway and delivery. 

I had my usual chicken butterfly (plain-ish) and chips. There's no picture but you can see one from last year here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/05/marchapril-update-baking-inspiration.html

I got a Coke from Burger King because I like having drinks with syrup and ice, and Nando's was only doing cans, lol. I also had Nando's carrot cake for pudding (dessert) and had some chocolate gelado as well. 

21st March was the Spring Equinox aka Oestara/Ostara and the official start of spring. You can read my post about Oestara here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2021/03/oestara-2021.html 

In late March I went to Lancing Beach at sunset and went for a walk. Here are a couple of pics: 


Sunday, 28 March 2021

Oestara 2021

Last Saturday it was Oestara, (more commonly known as Ostara) aka the Spring Equinox.  As I mentioned in the Happy Oestara! post, my main celebration was baking. This year I actually did some "no-baking, since I made a Birdies Perch Malteser slice, which is one of my favourite things to make. The recipe is from Sam Stern. Read more about it and find a link to the recipe here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/09/birdies-perch-malteser-slice.html

I last made it for Oestara in 2016. That year I made it a bit differently, but this Oestara I stuck to my usual recipe. I put Cadbury Mini Eggs on tops to fit the theme! Here's a picture


Friday, 19 March 2021

Happy Oestara!



Oestara (more commonly known as Ostara), aka the Spring Equinox is almost here. This year it's on Saturday 20th March (tomorrow!). I normally post on Sundays or Mondays but wasn't able to get this finished earlier, so I'm posting today instead. :)


Note: For those in the Southern Hemisphere it's nearly time for 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

Madron Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/09/madron-inspiration.html

Baking for Madron + Extra Ideas!: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/09/baking-for-madron-extra-ideas.html

 

For the past few years, I've written posts with ideas for celebrating Oestara and spring. You can 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

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

Oestara + Spring Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/03/oestara-spring-inspiration.html

 

Since I've already written quite a few celebration/inspiration posts, this year I'm just writing a brief background and sharing a few new links. :) 

 

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Winter Photos + Preparing for Spring

Back in 2019 I wrote a post called Summer Photos + Preparing for Autumn. You can see that here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/09/summer-photos-preparing-for-autumn.html

Now that we're at the tail end of winter, I thought it would be good to do an "opposite" post. So here are some winter photos and inspiration for preparing for spring. :) 


Winter Photos

We're coming to the end of winter and spring isn't far off. Although if you go by the meteorological definition, it already started on 1st March. The astronomical start of spring is on the Spring Equinox aka Oestara/Ostara, which is 20th March this year.

So, this is a "double post" featuring winter pictures and spring inspiration. :) 

 

First here are a few photos I took this winter. It seemed colder than the past couple of years. In Sussex we had a bit of snow during February, which made a change. We don't often get any. I don't think we've had a significant amount since 2018.


Buckingham Park- Shoreham-by-sea- January.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Imbolg 2021

Last Tuesday (2nd Feb) it was Imbolg (more commonly known as Imbolc.). Some people celebrate from sundown on the 1st on sundown on the 2nd, but I normally have my main celebration on the 2nd.

 I made pancakes, oatmeal ones (American style) this year. The recipe is from Don't Waste the Crumbs: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/oatmeal-pancakes/

They came out quite well and were good to have for a change. You could also make them for Pancake Day on the 16th this month, but I think I'll make English pancakes for that. Here's a pic of the oatmeal pancakes: 


 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Ideas for Imbolg

 

 

Imbolg (more commonly called Imbolc) is almost here. It's 1st/2nd February, Monday (tomorrow)/Tuesday in 2021. Some people celebrate it from sundown on 1st Feb to sundown on 2nd, although I tend to celebrate on the 2nd. Another name is Candlemas (which is also a Christian festival).

I've previously written some posts with ideas and inspiration for celebrating, which you can find below:

Imbolg Celebration Ideas: : https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/imbolg-celebration-ideas.html

Imbolg Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/01/imbolg-inspiration.html

More Imbolg Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.om/2020/01/more-imbolg-inspiration.html

 

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's nearly Lammas! Check out these posts for inspiration:



Baking for Lammas + Extra Ideas!: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/07/baking-for-lammas-extra-ideas.html

 

Imbolg is the first spring festival on the Wheel of the Year and the first sabbat of the new calendar year. The new year on the Wheel began at either Samhain or Yule, depending on your beliefs. It's a cross-quarter day, in between Yule/the Winter Solstice in December, and Oestara/Ostara aka the Spring Equinox in March. You will more often find it called Imbolc, but I first came across it as Imbolg in Kate West's books The Real Witches' Kitchen and The Real Witches' Handbook. It's also called February Eve, since in some traditions Imbolg is celebrated from 31st Jan to 1st Feb.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Christmas Ginger Poke Cake + November/December Update

I hadn't written my November/December update yet and I was also planning to write about the ginger poke cake I made for Christmas, so I decided to do a double post. (Rather than two weeks apart). Also did that last year). If you just want to read the update, scroll further down. :)


Christmas Ginger Poke Cake

For this Christmas (or Christmas 2020 now!) I decided to make a recipe based on a gingerbread poke cake. It's from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes: http://www.fantasticalsharing.com/2020/12/gingerbread-poke-cake.html

The recipe uses a cake mix which I thought was easier after a stressful year! I called it a "ginger poke cake" because I couldn't find an actual gingerbread cake mix. So, I used Wrights ginger cake mix. 

I hadn't made a poke cake before but I've come across them online. I think they're more popular in America. You make the cake then poke holes in it with a wooden spoon, and pour condensed milk and caramel sauce over the top to soak in. I couldn't find a caramel sauce either, so I just used condensed milk. 

The recipe uses Cool Whip but I don't think we have that in the UK. So, I made a cream cheese icing using a recipe from Nigella Lawson. It goes with her Guinness chocolate cake. (I haven't baked the cake but it looks very nice!). I previously used cream cheese frosting instead of Cool Whip when I made a gingerbread cake for Madron 2015. It was Betty Crocker's ready-made frosting in that case.

I liked the cake, although I do think it could have been a bit nicer, the flavour and texture. Here's a pic: