“Reading and naps, two of life’s greatest pleasures, go especially well together.” ― Will Schwalbe
I love Boxing Day. I don’t cook a thing. We survive on the leftovers of the Christmas Feast. Which is no hardship, believe me. Leftovers! Such a magnificent word. I sometimes think the only reason I cook so much food for Christmas Day is for the days to follow where my fridge and pantry are laden with leftovers I don’t need to prepare.
Today I plan to nap. And read. Then nap some more.
Ben will listen to the cricket on his headphones as he drives around our house paddock on the ride-on mower.
Later we might swim, if it’s hot.
Or, probably, just nap some more.
I think this might be my favourite day of the year!
Wishing you some relaxation and self-care too today,
“Your personal truth is your gift to the world.” ~ Jennifer Elisabeth
So here we are – another Christmas is upon us.
It’s a joyful time for some, and a trying time for others, and I wanted to acknowledge that, and to remind you that there is always a place here at my table for you. I’m sending you love this Christmas, and remembering you in my thoughts, prayers and meditations.
Now, come sit down with me. Let me pour you a cup of tea while I tell you how glad I am to have you in my life. I’m so grateful to have you as part of our community as we share this journey of life together. Thank you!
Once again I have created an oracle for you. The very first one I ever posted was The Healing Power of Flowers and Fairy Blessings. We offered a selection of flowers for you to choose from, and each flower came with a message – a mini-reading if you will. It was so well received that I’ve been creating oracles for you ever since.
Today I’m so pleased to offer you another of my Magical Oracles! This time, I’d like you to choose the Christmas Gift that appeals to you the most. Then take your time to unwrap it and receive its message and blessings for you.
Instructions for using today’s post
Scroll down through the following Christmas Gift images and then let yourself come back to the one you are most drawn to.
When you have chosen your gift, scroll further down for your oracle message. Trust that what you most need to know is exactly what you shall choose.
Wherever you are, and whatever your faith and beliefs, I wish you peace today and the days ahead, and joy in your heart. Know that you are loved. Know that you matter to me. I intend only the best for you, and that 2019 be a year that is richly satisfying and filled with love and kindness.
Love and Light, Nicole ❤ xx
Let the Christmas Blessings Begin…
1. ♥ Silver Deer
2. Golden Stars
3. Orbs of Light
4. Natural Beauty
5. Happy Santa
6. Trolley of Wonders
7. Sparkly Gifts
8. Simply Wonderful
♥ Your Gift’s Message ♥
Each Christmas Gift has a message for you for 2019. I have also selected a crystal to best support the message and energies of your chosen gift. You could wear or hold this crystal, pop it in your pocket, under your pillow or beside your bed. The Power Word is a word to remind yourself of the quality you most need and that you are strongly attracting right now. You can turn it into your own personal mantra by saying “I choose ___________ ” (insert your Power Word). Your Magical Healing Environment is a place or activity you’ll find supportive and healing.
1.Silver Deer – Emerging Into Light You’re coming into a time of great change and shift, and all of it for your own best outcomes and results. All of those ideas and dreams need to be given light and space so that they can grow into something tangible in 2019. It’s time for you to shine! It’s a wonderful year ahead. Be brave and keep going. Don’t be afraid to make BIG changes. It’s your year for that. And all of this change will lead to a whole new way of being in the world. ♥ Best Crystal – Ametrine (or an Amethyst and a Citrine) ♥ Power Word – Transformation ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Quiet time in nature or spaces that nurture and inspire you. Nature walks, ocean swims, watching the snow or rain fall as you sit inside drinking a warm drink with your journal by your side, being in an art gallery or favourite cafe, a museum or a beautiful garden. Let yourself have time for the inspiration inside you to rise up and be heard.
2. Golden Stars – Healing Blessings The Golden Stars Gift heralds major lasting healing and improvements in your physical and emotional well-being in 2019. You’ll be able to tune in to the wisdom of your body, and will naturally begin to prefer the foods, exercise and other support that best suit your individual needs. You’ll feel a resurgence in energy and mental clarity over the months ahead. You’ll become stronger and increasingly comfortable in your own skin. This newfound health will become the foundation for so many other breakthroughs and advances in your life. ♥ Best Crystal – CARNELIAN ♥ Power Word – TRANSFORMATION ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Fresh Air to fill your lungs, to energise you with the sun and healing vibrations of the natural environment, and to get blood pumping through your body as you move around. Resting and meditating in nature is fabulous for you too!
3. Orbs of Light – Bountiful Blessings You are coming into a time of deeper connection, deeper knowing, and deeper intuition. It’s a powerful year ahead for you – one of mystical events and blessings that make every corner of your life feel touched by magic. As you open to your intuitive gifts give yourself some breathing space to contemplate the bigger questions in your life. Make time for reading, meditation and journalling. Expect a bigger connection to God, your Guides and Angels and your own Wise Self. Expect answers to those big questions, and a clarity about your way forward. All is well. ♥ Best Crystal – LABRADORITE ♥ Power Word – BECOME ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Sacred Spaces or alone time. Churches and temples, parks, sitting under old trees, your meditation corner, a library or a quiet corner of the house when no-one else is home.
4. Natural Beauty – Wisdom Blessings This year is fabulous for all forms of learning and study, and for self-development. A year to deepen wisdom, and to expand your mind. A year to master skills. A year for philosophy and deep thinking. A year to truly understand who you are and why you are here. A year that shows you where your life is headed. A year where you will find a deep sense of connection to a path forward or a way to be of service in using your talents and gifts. A year of finding your calling ♥ Best Crystal – LAPIS LAZULI ♥ Power Word – WISDOM ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Time for thinking, studying and learning. Libraries, online courses, universities and schools, mastermind groups, workshops and conferences will work well for you this year. Setting up a study or writing space at home will be useful. Find time for long walks in nature, and for meditation too.
5. Happy Santa – Reconnection and Love 2019 brings you back into the flow of life again after too much time on your own. A time to slow down and simplify, a time to connect or reconnect with friends and family, and to make new relationships. A social year, that is enjoyable and meaningful. This is a year all about relationships, connection and enjoyment of everyday life. A nourishing and enjoyable year that sees you develop or deepen relationships that will last the rest of your life. ♥ Best Crystal – RUBY IN ZOISITE ♥ Power Word – HEARTSPACE ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Anywhere you can spend time with people you love and doing things you love. Coffee with friends, weekend picnics, holidays away, date nights, dinner parties, making music, making art, making love, family time, reunions, travel and socialising – all of these are good for you this year.
6. Trolley of Wonders – Inspiration and Blessed Creation This is a powerful year of creative practice and self-expression for you. This could be renovating your home, writing a book, starting art classes, or putting the things you have made out into the world for others to buy or appreciate. It’s a year for working from your heart, and pouring your heart and soul into everything you do. A year to blossom your creative and life direction, and to deepen your appreciation of your unique individuality and gifts. ♥Best Crystal – SUNSTONE♥Power Word –CREATIVITY ♥Magical Healing Environment – Your studio, office, workspace or project area. This year you need a combination of inspiration and dedication. Be inspired by other artists or innovators. Take classes. Learn and then stretch yourself in the application of that learning. Spend time creating/making/designing and working on creative projects too. Dedicate yourself to your art or projects. Make them a priority in 2019 and watch how your life changes!
7. Sparkly Gifts – Levelling Up In Love and Life! Life is too short to settle for second best. In your job, in your relationships, in your living environment. In 2019 it’s time to let your life level up. Don’t stay in situations or relationships where you are not happy and fulfilled. Don’t stay friends with people (or family!) who put you down or treat you badly. Value yourself! If you’re in a relationship talk together about your future and where your life is headed so you can move towards those dreams together. Get help if your relationship is in trouble – whether that is counselling to stay together or to exit the relationship. Be discerning about your life and reward yourself with things that matter deeply to you. For those of you seeking love, set your sights high and know that this is the year you can make your romantic dreams come true. ♥ Best Crystal – TIGER EYE ♥ Power Word – ABUNDANCE ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Change. Change can be a force for good. Plan out your future, a future that you’ll love. Spend time thinking about what positive changes you can make in your life and know that the Universe is supporting you to do so.
8. Simply Wonderful – Sanctuary Blessings What’s needed for you to have a great year in 2019 is a sense of sanctuary – a place where you can feel safe, protected and nurtured. A place where you can be yourself and express yourself. It might be your bedroom, your study, your altar, your backyard. It might be your writing space or your office. It might be your entire home. It needs to be clean. It needs to be comfortable. It needs to make your heart feel glad. It needs to be a space that reflects who you are and what you love. Move if you have to. And if the mess is inside you, get help with that. Do whatever it takes to bring yourself back to a place of inner peace and calm. From that place of sanctuary you’ll see miracles unfold for you in the year ahead. ♥ Best Crystal – SNOWFLAKE OBSIDIAN ♥ Power Word – SANCTUARY ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Home (whatever that means to you). Create a space that allows you to feel safe, comfortable, supported and surrounded by beauty and meaning. Start with one small corner. Simple is fine. De-clutter. Make space for rest and new growth.
Christmas is nearly here, and my trusty office team will be on vacation from Monday 24th December. Everyone needs a break after our busy year, and to catch their breath before an even bigger year in 2019. The office will re-open on January 2nd.
I’ll still be blogging over that time, posting the occasional update to Facebook and Instagram and popping in to visit with our YOM community. Ben and I are going to sneak in a few quiet family days over Christmas and then I will be busy doing scheduled readings and coaching sessions. It’s my busiest time of year, and I’ve been loving doing the 2019 Positioning Readings that come as part of my Amethyst Pack.
Ben and I will also be acting as Postal Fairies over the office break, so be assured that if you order one of our 2019 Planners, Meditation Malas or Planner Packs we’ll be there to package them off and send them out to you.
I’ve also decided to continue our offer for you to experience a month of membership free which also puts you in the draw to win a 2019 Membership with our YOM courses and community. The offer was originally going to expire on December 25 but so many of you have asked me to extend past Christmas that the cut-off date for this offer will now be January 7, 2019. All you need to do is buy one of our YOM 2019 Planners, or one of our Planner Packs. You can access them here in our store or read more about them here.
Want to experience our membership but don’t feel like you’re a Planner person? The YOM Planner can be used as a tool for your spiritual and personal development, and as a gratitude journal too. Or buy the YOM Planner, keep the membership for yourself and gift the Planner to someone who may need a little extra support and self-time for the year ahead.
Well, I’d better get back down to the kitchen. I have Rum Balls to package, and Christmas Cakes cooling on the bench, ready to be gifted to friends we are meeting for breakfast.
Stay tuned for my Monday Oracle blog next week, and on Christmas Day I’ve prepared a special oracle as my gift to you!
Biggest hugs and love and…
Oh no! Ben is making loud nomnomnom noises from the kitchen and I hope there are some Rum Balls left.
“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.” ~ Aldous Huxley
When I was a kid, Christmas was something to look forward to. We’d get a new toy or two, maybe a book (mine was always books), a dress or a t-shirt, socks and undies. The toys would last us for the year, the clothes made up a necessary part of our wardrobe.
The food at the table was a treat. Soft-drink. The drink for special occasions, like Christmas. Lollies and candies and chocolate. All sorts of things we didn’t see much of during the year. It was special and lovely, and much anticipated.
The rest of the year had birthdays and Easter. That was about it for special. That was about it for treats. And that was okay.
Now I live a life where I can have anything I want, whenever I want it. There isn’t much reserved for treats. I have a life filled with stuff. And it’s likely that so do you. So you may be thinking you’ll have to find something I don’t have. Or something cute and irresistible. Something to make me laugh. Something to fill that minute after the wrapping is torn off with appreciation or even ironic horror before your gift gets set to one side, or stuffed in the back of a cupboard, or relegated to a pile to be re-gifted later. Or worse. Binned.
So here’s my list of gifts I’d rather not have:
1.No inflatable novelty items for the pool. The ones that hold beer cans or a book or a radio. Or inflatable tennis rackets or giant inflatable dolphins, poo emojis, swans or funky big ‘thumbs ups’. No inflatable anythings, and that includes balloons!
2.No battery-operated (or even solar) Grannies on Zimmer-frames games. No wind-up toys either.
3. No plastic toys, collectable figures or novelty salt-and-pepper shakers.
4. No executive games or Startrek snow globes or other objects to place on my desk. (Actually, I lied about the Startrek snow globe. That would be cool.)
5. No cheap plastic jewellery or novelty items, or even semi-seemed-useful items from the local $5 store. We both know it will break on first go. Cheap plastic junk was only ever going to be destined for landfill.
6. No weird and totally useless novelty-value only books, CDs or DVDs.
7. No strange but potentially useful kitchen gadgets that you’re sure I won’t have. You’re right. I don’t. For a reason.
8. No USB-powered fake fish aquariums to keep me tranquil while I work.
9. No cheap gift sets of toiletries and cosmetics of dubious quality, filled with terrifying chemicals. Especially if it is endorsed by a celebrity or came from a TV shopping channel.
10. No cute puppies or kittens or pet rats. Especially the un-neutered kind. Seriously, do you know how many dumped unwanted pets we see around our farm by Easter?
I could go on. But I won’t. Our planet is struggling because of our consumerism. All of the resources used to make, ship and then wrap the unwanted gift are part of that problem.
A kind thought, a donation to a charity, a newsy letter with updated pics of you and your family, a warm smile and a hug, or a tasty treat are the gifts I’d most value. Home-made food? Thank you! A plant, or produce from your garden? How lovely!
Time with me, a cup of tea, and a proper conversation with a few laughs or a few honest tears from heart-to-heart sharing? A couple of drinks and a barbeque? Best of all.
I have enough stuff. I’d rather have you. Time with you. Connection with you. Put a little food or a beverage into the mix and I’m in heaven.
Please, before you go last-minute gift buying, ask yourself if there is a better gift you could give. One that won’t go to waste. One that won’t harm our planet or perpetuate the factory-farming and dumping of animals.
“Because normal human activity is worse for nature than the greatest nuclear accident in history.” ~ Martin Cruz Smith
Hello, Lovelies! I’m blogging this morning with fire in my heart. 2019’s energies are nearly here (they actually kick in on December 26) and among other things the energy of 2019 supports conscious engagement with the environment, so let’s start by doing our best to have a more conscious Christmas and then flow that effort into all we do in the coming year, and for the rest of our lives.
Here are my top tips for a Festive Season that doesn’t have to cost the Earth:
1. Get Thrifty and Re-Use – Choose quality over quantity. Create a box in which to store all of your decorations. Re-use them every year. Use the same tree (if it’s not a real one), the same tinsel, the same ornaments. Stop buying new ones. Just stop. You don’t have to compete with what all the advertising and Better Homes shows tell you. At Christmas task someone to save all of the re-usable ribbons, bows and other paper or packaging. Store them too and re-use them throughout the year when you wrap other gifts. Keep postal packaging and useable bubble wrap and plastic and re-use it. Stop feeling like everything has to be new. That’s so last century!
2. Consciously Avoid Plastic – Stop feeling virtuous about recycling and just stop buying plastic. Especially as throw-away or short-time use gifts. As of 2017 there were over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic in the world. Once created only about 9% is recycled, but even recycling doesn’t remove plastic from our environment – it just gets converted to other plastic products. So much of plastic is designed for single use, or to be discarded. Then it ends up in landfill or our waterways, where it pollutes our fresh drinking water or breaks down into smaller particles, killing wildlife and eventually entering our own bloodstreams from the food and water we consume. JUST STOP using glitter, party balloons, plastic holiday banners, plastic plates and cutlery and cheap plastic ornaments. In 2017 there was enough discarded plastic in the world TO COMPLETELY COVER A COUNTRY THE SIZE OF ARGENTINA. Yes, I am shouting. Imagine where you live completely covered in plastic. Now understand that it’s already happened and it’s up to us to start making different choices.
3. Choose Gifts With The Planet In Mind – (Did I mention avoid plastic?) Please don’t choose gag gifts that will create a laugh and then end up in landfill within the first week. Think about the life of your gift after you give it and the impact it will have on the environment. Experiences are great. Think movies or adventures. Food, wine, books, a houseplant. A subscription. Items that last such as jewellery. Hand-crafted items. Ceramics, glass, wood, metal, paper and card. Consumables in thoughtful packaging. Time together. Sharing meals and moments. Knowledge, courses, online courses. Gifts that help others live mindfully on the earth are great too, such as keep-cups for their coffee or metal lunch boxes.
4.Wrap Your Gifts Mindfully – Use a new tea-towel and some fabric ribbon or string, use flowers, use a glass jar with a lid, use a beeswax impregnated cloth that your gift recipient can then use instead of plastic wrap in the kitchen. Find some vintage tins or canisters at the local thrift shop. Use lengths of fabric. Use paper. If using ribbon make sure that it is fabric, not plastic. Re-use packaging and ribbon you’ve received previously, including florist decorations and plastics.
5. Buy Your Festive Food At the Farmers Markets – It’s local, it’s fresh, and there will be much less packaging. Also think about using your own containers or conscious environmental choices and go to bulk stores for as much as you can, so that you can avoid generating more use-once plastic food packaging.
6. Make Or Bake Some Of Your Gifts – There are so many good ideas for this, and it can be a fun family activity or one you look forward to. Crafting and making things is good for our soul. Not your scene at all? Buy from someone who loves to make and bake. Problem sorted!
7. Teach Your Kids That It Actually IS The Thought That Counts – a return to some old-fashioned values about giving and receiving and manners is not such a bad thing…
8. Stop Competing With and Judging Yourself By Advertising and Reality TV – It’s okay to re-use. You don’t need a new outfit. You don’t have to be ‘seasonal’, ‘fashionable’ or ‘cutting edge’. You don’t need a constant flow of new stuff. That’s all just consumerism. Live by your own values and standards and feel good about that.
9. Don’t Go Into Debt For Christmas – Especially don’t go into debt to impress other people. Let’s live with more honesty. Stop putting all that pressure on yourself and on others with these crazy holiday season expectations.
10. Make Do – It’s an expression your grandparents probably used but it’s not so common these days. What can you re-purpose? Does it matter if you have to use the camping table in the loungeroom covered with a green sheet to make enough seating space for all the kids? How cute can you make a fallen branch look for a Christmas Tree with some homemade decorations?
“If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?” ~ Martin Scorsese
Tradition has always been important to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo. Or perhaps I have Royal Blue in my Aura. Or maybe it was the way I was brought up. I’m not sure.
One of my favourite traditions when I moved from the bush to New Farm in Brisbane, back in the 1990s, was to visit the New Farm Deli. A family owned and run delicatessen it had first come onto my horizon because my Italian-food loving grandparents Marga and Ceddie would take me there as a child, to source the many wonderful ingredients my grandmother would cook with. Suddenly I lived just blocks away, and it had incredible coffee and food and shelves and cabinets full of marvels that just weren’t available anywhere else in Brisbane.
When I was growing up, Christmas was always a family thing. A coming together of grandparents and cousins and groaning tables full of food, and always a card table to some other small table where the excess kids were sat. It was also a full-on cooking saga of epic proportion.
As I grew up it was me who became the cook. Often I would spend almost my entire Christmas Day in the kitchen, prepping, cooking, serving and then cleaning up. I didn’t mind. It was my idea of heaven, to make and serve food to the people I loved. Most of antipasto came from the New Farm Deli. It has become a new tradition for me.
Now I am grown, old even, married with no kids, and with our families greatly diminished in numbers and scattered to the winds. That really ended my previous family Christmas traditions, and so we started a new one – Orphans Christmas – where we invite other lonely people to share a meal and some company. With supplies from the deli, of course!
My husband’s Mum comes from a proud Italian heritage, and because of her (and my own maternal grandmother’s love of all things Italian) I was introduced to Panettone, an Italian sweet bread loaf a little like a cake – fluffy and risen and studded with candied and dried fruits or amazing fillings of sweet custard or chocolate chips. The New Farm Deli was where we would buy them and over time I learned the many ways of serving or cooking with them – although my favourite still remains eating a slice fresh with a good coffee or a glass of sherry or prosecco.
You can start a new tradition at any time! Ours now is to have Panettone, a freshly squeezed orange juice or glass of champagne for breakfast, followed by good coffee and perhaps one more slice… We also save our very best Panettone for New Year’s Day, and eat it on the verandah with our friend Carly who stays with us at that time of year. We make coffee, eat Panettone and pull cards for the year ahead. Glorious! Panettone will also make the basis of our Christmas Lunch Dessert this year, but I’ll blog that recipe and a few others next week.
Vince Anello and his staff have added a fine selection of Panettone over the years. I defy you to find a better selection in Brisbane, or perhaps Australia. If you live in or close to Brisbane why not go visit, grab a coffee or a meal at the cafe and then wander the deli, choosing your Panettone and a basket full of other delights for yourself or as gifts. It’s a lovely tradition and a delicious one! Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx
PS. If you want to start another new tradition for yourself why not grab one of my YOM Planners to help you live a more mindful, grateful and connected life in 2019, or get my Meditation Mala and bonus online course so you can start a tradition of regular meditation for yourself. It’s all here in my shop.
“You little beauty! I wait all year for these Rum Balls!” ~ Michael the Tractor Man
We live on a farm, as members of a small regional community here in the Byron Bay Shire. Each year we use the same services, eat at the same cafes, shop at the same markets. Over time the people who staff these places have become friends – people whose names we know and whose lives have become intertwined with our own.
So at Christmas time we love to share gifts with the people who have served and supported us throughout the year.
I’m planning to make my Festive Fudge, shortbread and Christmas cakes to give as gifts. But I’ve been in bed for most of the past month so my preparation is behind and today Ben will be seeing the man who services our mowers and chainsaws, and the man who repairs and services our tractors. So we need rumballs, stat! With Bundaberg Rum, of course, because that’s how we roll in this household. It’s tradition!
These rumballs are one of the fastest and easiest recipes I know. And oh my goodness, they are DELICIOUS!!! Fudgey and flavoursome, great texture, and not too sweet. I whipped up these Easy Fruitcake Rum Balls last night, in about twenty minutes from start to finish.
If you don’t like the taste of rum try brandy, Frangelico, Kahlua, Tia Maria or even Grand Marnier. Need it alcohol-free? Substitute rum flavoured essence, vanilla or hazelnut syrup or even a coffee essence.
And if you live somewhere hot at Christmas time make sure to keep the finished rum balls in the fridge. In fact if it’s meltingly hot where you are you may need to chill the mixture first before rolling it.
Happy making, lots of love, Nicole xx
1.2kg of fruitcake (Buy two x 800 gram dark fruitcakes and use one and one half cakes)
2/3 cup (160ml) of dark rum
3 x 200g blocks of dark chocolate
3 to 4 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut (Note – you could substitute chocolate sprinkles for some or all of the coconut if you prefer)
Choose a large bowl. Break the cake into tiny crumbs in the bowl and then sprinkle the rum over the cake. Mix well and leave to stand for five minutes.
If you have a microwave melt the chocolate by breaking the first 200g block of chocolate into pieces in a heatproof bowl. Melt on medium for one minute. Stir and then melt on medium for another 30 seconds. Stir and if all melted add chocolate to cake mixture. Stir well.
Repeat process for remaining two blocks of chocolate, melting and mixing one block at a time.
If you don’t have a microwave use a double boiler – break all of the chocolate into a large bowl and place the bowl over simmering water. Stir until melted. Add the chocolate to the fruitcake mix in thirds, stirring well after each addition.
Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls using your hands. If it’s boiling hot in your kitchen chill the mixture a little first to make it easier to roll. Toss the balls in coconut to cover. You should get upwards of 80 balls. (Results vary depending on how much you eat while making!)
Place on a tray or in a container in one layer and refrigerate until firm. After the balls are hard you can stack them on top of each other, but wait until they are set or they will lose their shape.
Here is the recipe and the taste test in pictures for you(and you’ll notice that Rufous Dog has managed to sneak into yet another food pic) 🙂
“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” ~ Albert Einstein
I’m surrounded by crystals right now.
Many of them I’ll holding in meditation so I can channel the meaning of them, ready for my Pop-Up Store and workshops in early November.
Some of them I’m channelling and putting aside to be allocated as part of the packs I’ll put together for my Year of ME Planner. For those people who want one, I’ll choose one of the stones specifically for them, as their meditation stone and gratitude anchor for 2019.
It’s my favourite time of the year, when my home is overflowing with crystals, magical things, essential oils and workshop preparations, and behind all of that the scents of Christmas baking. What’s not to love?
And here’s a sneak preview of something I’m absolutely thrilled about…
It’s a mala I have designed to support you during the energies of 2019 and beyond. Each of the crystals of the month in our 2019 Planner is represented in this mala, which has been lovingly made for me using fair-trade craftswomen in India who have hand-knotted the malas using gemstones and rudraksha, before having them blessed in a Hindu temple. The malas then sit in an energy grid on my farm where I meditate with them before they are ready for you to use in your own meditations. Their energy is incredible and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Both the printed edition of the planner and the mala are a limited release, so be ready to pre-order yours soon! I know you’ll just love them.
Biggest hugs to you from here amidst the stones, Nicole ❤xx
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” ~ Calvin Coolidge
Do you make your own Christmas fruitcake each year? If you do it’s time to soak your fruit, in preparation for a flavoursome and moist cake. If you don’t why not join us and make your own. I promise it’s easier than you think, and the taste of a homemade Christmas cake will always surpass a store-bought one. My grandmother Marga taught me the importance of fruit soaking for a great-tasting cake, and I think of her every year when I prepare my fruit.
Here are my two favourite Christmas Cake Recipes. Both use 1.2kg of mixed fruit. Good combinations include raisins, currants, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries, cranberries, prunes and dates – but use what you prefer. I often buy a kilogram bag of mixed dried fruit and then add a 200g bag of glace cherries. To soak this much fruit I use a cup of liquid – either alcohol or black tea. Don’t use a fruit juice to soak over time as it can ferment or go moldy!
This first recipe is for a traditional ‘Make and Mature’ cake. This involves creaming together eggs and butter, sifting in the flours and spices and fruit and then slow baking. The texture and aroma of this cake are so incredibly good. (It’s the cake that is featured in the picture at the top of this post.)
The second is my ‘Last-Minute’ Christmas fruitcake. You literally melt and mix this cake in a big saucepan on the stove. It has no eggs and is a condensed milk fruit cake. So good! I know, it’s a recipe that can be made in a hurry if you didn’t have time to soak your fruit and ‘feed’ your cake, but it will taste even better if you’re organised enough to soak your fruit in advance.
No matter what recipe you choose, or even if you already have a recipe of your own to follow, the first step is to soak the fruit to make it plump and flavoursome.
What To Soak With And For How Long
You can use alcohol or black tea. With alcohol use dark rum, brandy, sherry or whiskey. My choice is usually a dark rum or brandy. Soak with alcohol for up to one month.
With black tea you can use a standard cup of very strong plain tea, but it also tastes amazing to use a flavoured black tea. I have used a vanilla-scented black tea, and also a chai tea and both of these added depth of flavour. If using tea soak for up to two weeks.
Note: If you live in an especially hot place fruit can ferment. Make sure to keep it in a cool dark place (away from pets, small children and thieving partners) while it is soaking.
Cut Up Your Fruit First
Prepare the fruit by cutting any larger fruits into bite-sized pieces. Remove any pits or small stalks that you find. I usually leave cherries whole if small or cut them in half if they are super-big because I love the visuals of them studded through my cake, but feel free to leave whole or to cut as small as you desire.
Then make one of two choices.
1. Place your chopped and sorted fruit into a large ceramic bowl. Pour the alcohol or tea over. Stir well. Cover the dish with some kind of lid. Don’t let any metal touch the fruit.
2. Try my jar method. Take a large glass jar, big enough to fit your fruit. Layer the fruit or mix together and then spoon into jar. Add alcohol or tea. Place lid on tightly and then turn jar upside down a few times to distribute liquid.
Stir or upend the jar occasionally until the fruit is plump and moist and ready for your cake.
If the liquid is completely absorbed you can add a little more, a tablespoon at each time, every few days. This is known as ‘feeding your fruit’.
When you are ready to bake your cake take the fruit out of the bowl or jar and reserve any syrup that is left behind. This can be used to brush over the cooked cake (which is known as ‘feeding your cake’ but it is also good on ice-cream!
Right now my house is groaning with boxes full of crystals, oracle and tarot cards, singing bowls and bells, prayer shawls, journals, incense and smudge kits, and all manner of helpful and lovely tools and treats. Every surface is full.
When Dana and Ben and I packed up all of the crystals for the YOM 2018 packs and tomorrow’s workshops we literally ate our lunch squeezed between all the boxes in the lounge room.
We didn’t mind. It was a fun and productive day!
The thing I am most excited about today, besides seeing you and all those lovely hugs and cups of tea, is that I will have hard copies of our Year of ME (YOM) Planner! Oh my goodness I am so proud of this year’s edition. My team have done an incredible job to get this to you, and every page is filled with love and our intentions that 2018 be a kind, good and expansive year for you. Here’s a sneak peek of its loveliness…
Can’t wait to see you all. And it’s not too late if you want to book in to any of our events. Just contact Dana, my hard-working and magnificently organised PA, whose details are in this post.
For those of you who can’t make it, all of the Planner options and membership details for 2018 will be on my blog shop tomorrow.
Much love, Nicole❤xx