Saturday, 23 May 2015

Mana del Cielo

Maná is what came down from the heavens as loaves of bread, great gifts from God, back in the day, when no-one knew what day it was. Fast forward to the 21st century and our God, Elle MacPherson,  slayed the carbs and we're still counting the days for divine intervention.

Well, the wait is over, fellow Earthlings. 

Check out this celestial creation I've rustled up to make Eurovision slip down just that bit sweeter. You'll think you've passed the pearly portals, and probably forget what day it is.

serves 4-5

1 pint of full-fat milk
2 rose heads (unsprayed)
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Orange leaves, very finely chopped*
Lemon peel of 1 lemon, finely sliced
Orange peel of 1/2 orange, finely sliced
1 vanilla pod, split
Ice cubes

In the morning (well, brunch time), bring the milk up to almost boiling, bash the roseheads gently with a wooden spoon and then stir in the brown sugar, vanilla pod (and all seeds), lemon and orange peels and the chopped orange leaves. Turn off the heat and allow to infuse over the day.

Sieve and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add whiskey, to taste, then serve over ice and garnish.

Divine, non?

*if you don't have these, use a very sparse drop (applied on a wooden spoon) of neroli essential oil and stir in the milk once the milk is cooler

Friday, 22 May 2015

Courgette Soldiers with Bolognese Quenelles

Super yummy fuss-free Paleo dinner when you're having a Don't-wanna-be-in-the-kitchen-but-wanna-stay-awesome moment. Make the most of the leftovers! We eat with our eyes and this dish is pretty (in the picture, the decoration is a basil stalk), doesn't compromising nutrition...or require hours over a hot stove.


Leftover bolognese, shaped into quenelles
Courgettes, matchsticked
Broccoli, sliced finely
Cucumber, diced
Olives, sliced
Tomato, diced
Strip of lemon rind, crushed with salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss all the raw vegetables, seasoning and oil together
Serve and add bolognese.

Bon appetit!

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Penne Drops

I can't cook. Not the way certain friends can where they will find a random tin of corned beef lodged in seam of a cupboard, a rotten cauliflower in the cooler drawer and scrape roadkill from their right tyre 1/2 hour ago and...then it's suddenly a Michelin-starred lasagne with MasterChef headhunters on the phone. When I cook, I over-think everything and suddenly my neurosis has outwardly manifest and the dish looks utterly distraught.

It runs in the family. My dad turns to digestive biscuits should an emergency arise (i.e. mum's away). And mum isn't really interested in cooking - she has her go-to's: apple crumble, steak and kidney pie, lamb chops and is also germ obsessed so she has been crucifying salmon fillets ... just to be on the safe side. Outside of the kitchen she becomes Jay Rayner when we visit a café. And it's always the same; the people who you'll least likely find in the kitchen will be the ones tauting their opinion and shaking their fist at the most innocent blancmange ("I prefer it crispier").

So, as Triassic as it sounds, I didn't try pasta until I was 23. The smell of it boiling traumatically reminded me of school semolina - named dessert because there was a sad puddle of strawberry jam dormant beneath the grey sludge. When I took a gap year in 2004 I decided it was a great idea to avoid sugar, dairy and wheat because travelling doesn't present enough challenges. At this point, I still couldn't cook so after lifting my fork to tickle the 500th leafy salad one night, I was overcome by the smell of molten mozzarella. Someone was melting cheese on their pasta. It was heavenly. But, I soon repented with gravy-esque carob hot chocolates and spirulina shots, and all went on as dreadfully as before.

Since then, times have become much more rosy and finding myself travelling again, I need a lunch that isn't going to take me into the future. For, as much as I can't cook, I could spend light years chopping vegetables into infinitesimal pieces and before you know it, I can't explain where the time went because there is only forensic evidence of what I've actually been doing.

Sharing with 2 guys now, one whose eyes don't flicker as he tells me his daily dozen-espresso habit and the other who only eats whenever the fridge door opens, I feel like a complete freak sitting down to 3 meals a day. So when I need to be in the kitchen, I also have to be out pronto. Breakfast is sorted (fruit salad, bread and peanut butter that I'm using as a butter substitute: stay tuned for raw apple crumble with peanut butter top) so lunch also had to be quick. Pasta!

Fresh tomatoes, chopped...courgettes finely sliced, torn basil leaves, super-fine garlic and lemon peel, some glugs of olive oil, salt and fresh black pepper...prepared as the pasta boils. As I curl up to a bowl after a record 20 minutes, including dishes washed and returned the thought crosses my mind that I can cook. And that I'm slightly mad.

Mmm. This is why people like pasta.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

We Found Love

excerpt from Joy Ride by Mariah Carey

Friday, 8 May 2015

Ensalada De Remolacha Xocolatl

Beetroot Chocolate Salad

Beetroot and chocolate makes a delicious pairing for cake so I thought a savoury version would be worth experimenting with. I made this as a side dish to Spanish chorizo and lentil stew for my mum and dad's 39th anniversary. Result - this super simply, yummy semi-sweet salad with a fiery kick. Even my dad was back for thirds!


3 beetroots, boiled until softened
1 plum, sliced very thinly
1/2" fresh ginger, finely diced
1 tsp sweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp water
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste


Cube the cooked beetroot while still warm and slice the plums. 
Beat the cider vinegar with the cocoa powder and cayenne, then add the water to thin down slightly. Add salt to taste, then stir through the fresh ginger.

Buen aprovece!

Thursday, 7 May 2015


When we're shooting into space
Growing and lessening
Weakening and fortifying
We can be children again
More so than when we were young

Look at that child on her mother's knee
She's almost 46 years old
And her mum is learning how to be as soft
As a baby. She's untying the knot
Letting herself become one orbit of the sun

 And here we are gazing into space
From a different Milky Way
How can it be anything other than magic
When we lose anything attached to our shell
and every day means a million more shells on the shore

EVERYbody Got Time For This

Sweet Brown
Milkshake of the Gods

You've heard of a Charlie Brown, right? Well, stand aside Snoopy. 
Meme-inspired milkshakes are what we wanna shake our blending sticks at!


1 small over-ripe banana
1 tbsp of strawberry jam
3 tsps cocoa powder
Milk (dairy, oat, coconut, almond...)
1 tbsp peanut butter

Blend and serve over ice in a Grease shake-parlour inspired beaker. 

Now, everybody got time for that!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Popsicles, Presence & Pompoms

Read and it weep, folks - these are the scores from today's breezy badminton on the beach. This is highly significant for 2 reasons. Firstly, despite my dad having retired 5 years ago, along with my most talented sporty friends, I have NEVER won at a game with him. E-VER. This has bamboozled me especially because he wears varifocals. Hoooow bad must I be?

Secondly, the conditions at the beach today couldn't have been more different to the usual indoor badminton court where we play. Turns out that my pops performs so well there because he anticipates the shot to gauge his reaction and his predictions mostly (OK, always) pay off.

But today, things weren't predictable - the breeze was everywhere, the court was smaller, the floor was sandy and the shuttlecocks were, quite frankly, shit. The only way I could play was, as I always do I guess, engaging with exactly what was happening, measuring how the strength and direction of the breeze was affecting the shuttlecock and accommodate the court's smaller box. My scores are on the left (OK, I lost one game).

Since I'm always inventing my life as I go along (on and off the badminton court), I can sometimes lose confidence and ask myself what the French toast I'm doing. But seeing my dad play today almost as a complete beginner, simply because he couldn't possibly predict or adapt to the new conditions of the game he knew so well, it showed me how quickly I had accommodated and thrived in these new and bizarre conditions. This gave me a great advantage. And the chance to reign supreme all afternoon.

A book by Nassim Taleb on Anti-Fragility, introduces an important concept of strengthening through taking risks and exposing ourselves to certain types of stress, encouraging us to transpose what seems like a fail... rather than panic and wish that everything could be normal. Normal is dull and if you play someone who wants normal, you'll probably lose.

On a less allegorical note, one of pure fancy, I saw the most beautiful bag covered in pompoms in Marbella casco antiguo. I may actually need varifocals because when I came to pay the $14.50 on the price ticket, the older French, slightly haughty shop owner wanted $145.00 of my finest dimes. It was all very Pretty Woman. Kind of. This happened to me decades ago in Vivienne Westwood where I saw a shirt and tie for $30 in the sale and as I drew giddy self-assured breath at the counter, was asked if I wanted the shirt as well.

Stupidity is a massive part of my gene pool. Fortunately, optimism and forgiveness are too.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Cleanliness Is Godliness

Clean up...or else the Ghoul of Dishes Past will come git ya!

Living at Sunseed gave me the opportunity to see how a community operates, showed me how I functioned when not just thinking about my own day, and also gave the chance to reflect when I could be doing more. In a communal living situation, there´s no hiding from the consequences of our own behaviour. I couldn´t believe how careless I could be - that moment of, "I´ll just do that in a second..." results in someone quite quickly yelling my name and a stream of apologies.

Having left now to temporarily join a much smaller community (my parents, grandma and friend) on holiday at a large hotel complex, I´m learning what a great metaphor the hotel gym is for seamless community living. I go most days to see that all the towels are straight, dirty laundry in the baskets, all the machines wiped down with no paper towels left on the floor. Everyone who goes is very respectful and once their time on the equipment is done, they clean it and move on. And, granted, the housekeepers get a look in at the end of the day!

On a larger scale, it shows how important ever tiny action is that we make. And the time we neglect what´s in front of us because we feel something more important has called, it most likely hasn´t - something different called, that´s all. Our life is created in a kind of Hansel-Gretel trail by the simple choices that we make, not the most grandiose. If we engage with all those seemingly obvious decisions that we must make every day like which water we drink, the type of food we eat, how many showers we have, how much time we spend watching TV, how we´re feeling right now...then the rest takes care of itself. And it´s not about judging it and feeling bad, but just being conscious of what we do in case a better option comes along that we might want to consider.

Like most solutions, cleaning as we go is the most simple and basic thing so I´m taking the inspiration from the sparkly shining gym home with more dirty dishes in the sink. Or, did I say no grandiose gestures?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Joy Army


is recruiting soon
Flying the flag for Joymakers globally and galactically
 Brace yourselves for unbounded joyousness

Wow, this sounds cool. Tell me more...

The Joy Army is a team of creative interdisciplinary individuals/human beings who travel across the UK, and beyond, armed with glitter, not guns, beats, not bullets and instruments, not intimidation.

Sounds too good to be true. And what's the mission?

They will responsible for assassinating indifference and destroying misery by the power of dance and song, quite simply. ....celebrating our bodies and obliterating the occasional tedium of being mortal. Sometimes we can forget we're alive and The Joy Army helps to remind us of the simple joy a melody and some boogying can bring. We're firing love lines into the most heart-broken places and keeping buoyant our dreams and spirit.

Who's the brains behind this crazy army?

I've always wanted to be in the Army. But I don't want to hurt anyone, just live from love. The ideaof The Joy Army kept floating towards me, year after year, but I dismissed it because I thought it was fantastical and silly, just the dream from a mind that distracts and monkeys around easily. But I've become friends with my thoughts and I want to listen to them, rather than criticise them. That makes me happy. I realised that I can focus on anything that truly interests and excites me. Life doesn't really have any particular shape except the one we create, there are no rules and my confidence has grown over the years to accept that I can live however I want and share my joy with others who feel it to, or want to connect to it. For me, there's nothing more beautiful than dancing and singing with friends to favourite songs. I didn't want this to just be had in the confines of a night club and forgotten during the week. Moving and being spontaneous with our bodies makes us all feel so good! So, why not do it every day?

Powerful stuff that needs some power dress. Any advice for an outfit?

The Joy Army has got that covered with a fabulous uniform that will identify all Joymakers. A vast team of tailors will be beavering away over the next few weeks.

I'm totes free. How do I enrol?

How marvellous! Contact me right away. Funding is currently being sought and we'll be good to go over the next few months, right in time for summer.

Is there any way I can get involved behind the scenes?

Absolutely. Any support you can offer through contacts for tailors / clothesmakers, fundraisers, glitter-gun makers, musicians, poets, singers, instrument-makers would be super cool.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Who Needs A Degree When You´re Schooled In Life?



OK so I spent the best year of my life at an off-grid project which I encourage everyone to go to immediately to learn about what it means to live in community, learn to deal with no electricity or running water at times, grow organic and biodynamic vegetables, learn what it means to compromise, learn what it means to be as close to nature as possible without giving up all the lovely human delights like regular meals and showers! I didn´t just learn them intellectually, like I convince myself about all the wonderful MOOCS that I study, but I embodied the lessons...which is a fancy way of saying that, like hairspray or yoga postures, they are now fixed in my body no matter how much I would want to forget. They ain´t budging. 

And to be honest, surveying my options to return back to my magical homeland, Kingdom United, my Kingdom (I heart you, UK), there´s no way that I´m working all the hours that God sends to I can afford a thimble in Zone 5 (I´m so not down with scratching my way through TESCO´s bins - yes, it´s a thing).

Do you guys remember the film, Mermaid? Basically, Bo Derek plays a temporary mermaid and finds love with a guy who shows her, like a baby, how to talk, how to be and go around the world. Well, this is the situation that we all face if we embrace it every day, except fundamentally without the fish tail when we get in the bath. Although that could be cool. All the people in novels, music and films that I admire have one thing in common - they have an innocence, a certain pragmatic naivety, a fierceness to live  and breathe the world, he-yyll - the galaxy--- not just survive, but flourish and thrive. That´s the quality I want to keep cultivating in my life. It´s bloody hard work but after 34 years, I don´t think I can compromise. That´s the joy (read stubbornness) of an Aries twit.

What does this mean in my life now? Thanks to all the wonderful people who allow me to indulge my absolute love and curiosity of life, movement, dancing, travelling, singing (namely, first and foremost naturally, my bewildered parents...then and the amazing pop lyrics and moves of Beyonce, Madonna and Mariah Carey, the sparkling gays), I can frolic around the most beautiful places in the world, meeting the most inspiring, the most open-hearted, the most understanding and accepting, the most welcoming...and learn through experience how I can best give to the world. In order to do that, I´m accepting that I need to feel safe - safe to explore out of my comfort zone, safe to be shit scared when I´m faced with a challenge, safe to know that, despite anything, I can push through and experience true growth. Safe = MP3 of all my favourite songs, ceaseless working out and dancing, daily yoga and meditation. Done.

I ain´t gonna let nobody´s drama bother me
Because it´s my life, no stress, no fights
Just making the most of life...
- "It´s Like That", Mariah Carey 

Why wouldn´t you want to be like this at 45? Shiny sing-y loveliness!

Instead of being safe and returning to the UK, I´m following my heart and my spirit - not  my bank balance, or my fear of it diminishing, not my fear of what happens if it all goes dreadfully wrong...what IF it goes right! What if I succeed? What if the world can be as beautiful as my own world often is? What if I can realise how to share my deepest truth with the world? How is it to be vulnerable (in a good way)? That´s a risk I can´t afford not to take.

First stop is a couple of week helping a couple run a beautiful retreat in the Algarve, then I´m hoping to get involved in EROLES, a shining beacon of curiosity in Tremp with a community trying to understand what it means to live in a time when our paradigms of thought are truly shifting from old sKool to new sKool. We are so powerful by constantly simplifying. Then, I´ll learn what it takes to be a children´s activity leader...then work in a queer circus with a friend from Sunseed in Amsterdam. And if they still need a lead singer, then my dream of performing could come true! I can dream, can´t I? Then, I´ve found an amazing yoga retreat back in Andalusia where I can learn more yoga postures, learn, learn, learn for real.

So, go and WANADWUZL and see how it feels! Oh, and if you want to sign up for The Joy Army, get in touch. First, I need to Crowdfund for uniforms. They´re gonna be awesome, you´ll die (in a good way).