Holidays, Temples and Planning My Year!

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” 
~  Gloria Steinem

I’m on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean right now. There has been far less possibility for internet connection that I had expected, so I’ve had all of this lovely quiet time to myself to plan, to dream and to begin calling my new year into reality.

Of course to do this I am using my Year of ME 2018 Planner. I’m so loving using this year’s edition. I have the A5 spiral-bound version and I’ve dedicated a little of each day to listening to the Channelling Recordings from my Guides at the Pop Up Event talking about the energies of 2018, and filling in the first pages, and thinking about my year ahead.  Both the recording and the Planner are available in our Store here on the blog .

* Please note that we only have a very limited supply of these fabulous A5 hard copy Planners left, so if you want one we recommend that you order it as soon as you can, or contact my fabulous PA, Dana Hartnell at nicolecodyinfo@gmail.com so she can put one away for you.

The picture above is of my guiding card spread for myself for 2018. All the directions are in my Planner, so even if you have never worked with oracle or tarot cards as a reflection and self-discovery tool before you’ll find it easy to follow and do for yourself.

When we have ventured ashore I’ve been spending some time in the many wonderful Temples, Pagodas and Churches of Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan, burning incense or lighting candles and offering my prayers for all of you. It has been a holiday full of fun, reflection, meditation, adventure and fabulous food!

Here’s one of the incense and prayer offerings I made for you. I wish it was smell-a-vision as this incense was so richly fragrant:

And here I am planning out my year over coffee, sitting on board the ship one early morning. (Note my cute Studio Ghibli stickers I found in Honk Kong – yay!)

Only a few more days and our cruise will be over. Then we have a brief stop in Macau before winging home to Australia.

I can’t wait to share the journey again with you this year. As much as I have enjoyed my break I have missed you all! We have lots of surprises, treats and great content planned for our Cauldrons and Cupcakes community in 2018, and some really special online events planned for our YOMMERS (Year of Me course and community for 2018 – it’s not too late to join, all the details are in our online store on the blog – my YOMMERS also get great discounts on all our courses and retreats so if you are thinking of participating in an online course or retreat this year join up and enjoy big savings!).

Biggest love and hugs to you from some obscure little cafe in Keelung, Taiwan,
Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

Demon Banishing And Custard Buns In Hong Kong!

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” ~ Anonymous

I’m in Hong Kong right now, for the first part of the surprise holiday Ben bought me for my ‘Congratulations on turning fifty and thank you for not dying’ present.

We’re having a fantastic time. Every day is crammed with the wonderful, the unusual and a little of the outright bizarre. I’m in heaven!

Yesterday we met our lovely friend Amanda Cook, who is an expat currently living here in Hong Kong. Amanda is a herbalist, wellness coach and an excellent tour guide! (Find out more about Amanda here)

First we lunched at Dim Dim Sum, a brilliant little hole-in-the-wall dumpling cafe that is renowned for its delicious and innovative food. We drank tea and caught up on all the news in each other’s worlds over many many kinds of Dim Sum, and some of the cutest yummiest custard buns (shaped like little pigs) that I’ve ever eaten.

Then we went for a stroll through streets of fresh food markets. I loved the rich variety and freshness of the food and saw all kinds of things that were new to me.

Finally, under a gloomy overpass we came across some Villain Hitters. Villain Hitters are older women who practice an age-old Cantonese tradition of banishing demons and outcasting bad spirits and other energies that cause harm to you. It can also draw good and helpful energies and people to you as the bad ones are displaced.

Why not? I thought. So I paid my money and wrote the name of the demons I wanted banished on a paper package that the Villain Hitter handed me. She then had me sit opposite her beside her makeshift shrine. She said some prayers and I did too, and then she took small effigies (pieces of paper with human shapes on them)  to represent my demons and hit them vigorously with a shoe until they began to fall apart. The she screwed up the paper scraps and placed them in the mouth of a paper tiger, which was set alight and burned.

My Villain Hitter then cleaned my aura with a piece of paper on which were written prayers and invocations. It felt surprisingly good. The paper was then burned too.

Finally we made an offering, some more prayers and we were finished. Of course I then hugged my wonderful Villain Hitter for a job well done.

The Villains I wanted banished? Bad bacteria, ill health and lyme disease in my body.

Let’s hope they’ve all gone, banished by her shoe and her mighty intentions that I prosper and do well.

I’ve also been making a little gift for you for Christmas. Stay tuned. I’ll post it Christmas Day. Remember too that we are in a period known as The Lull right now, which will last until 16 January. It’s a time for resting, recharging, connecting with our friends and family, and having fun. Wherever you have the opportunity simplify, slow down, and take time for what matters most to you.

Sending heaps of love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Off On A Grand Adventure!

Image from www.feedfloyd.com

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” ~ Anonymous

By the time you read this I’ll be at the airport, or maybe even on my way overseas!

My darling husband Ben bought me a surprise three-week holiday as a belated ‘Congratulations on Turning Fifty and Thank You For Not Dying’ celebration. So today we’re flying to Hong Kong for a few days, before we take a cruise through Vietnam and Taiwan. Exciting!!! (Expect Yum Cha and other thrilling photos over on Instagram and Facebook! – links at the bottom of this post)

We’re in the Lull now (more details about the current energies here), and it’s the perfect time for us to be focusing on each other, and taking some down-time after the crazy year that 2017 has been.

My personal reports and posts may be brief and intermittent from here on in, but our team will make sure that things keep humming along here on the blog. Meanwhile I’m intending to actually rest and make this a proper holiday, just me and my darling boy. Ben has to share me all year, and he does so uncomplainingly. I’m looking forward to holding his hand and wandering around checking out the sights and enjoying some uninterrupted time together. Fingers crossed that it will be a quiet time psychically too.

I’ll still be doing my daily meditations and prayers for you. Meditation is as big a part of my life as breathing! And I’ve already packed my Planner, oracle deck and 2018 crystal!

Our Cauldrons and Cupcakes team is holding the fort while I’m away so if you have any questions about the YOM planner or community or anything else like that they’ll be right there for you. But I won’t. I’ll be waving from the pool deck, a fancy drink in hand and a big, big smile on my face because I’m fifty and I’m still alive and I’m married to the love of my life and that’s worth celebrating!

Love and hugs, Nicole xx

Why I love Friday at the Farm!

calf, farm life byron bay

That’s our newest calf, Rosco (in the middle), named after Carly’s Dad!

“Its always difficult to keep Fridays confined within themselves..they tend to spill over..”
~ Parag Tipnis

 

Fridays at our farm are my perfect kind of day.

There was an early-morning walk to say hello to the cows and check the vegetable garden. After that I spent a little time finalising my Year of ME Planner for 2017, and playing with the crystals I’ve chosen to go with next year’s Planner.

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Then we headed off to Mullumbimby for the Farmers’ Markets. The annual Mullumbimby Agricultural Show is on this weekend, and the signs were up already.

Looks like it’s going to be fun!

Mullumbimby Show

Before we could even think about filling our baskets with produce we stopped for a local Myocum Coffee and pastry. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do quality control!

Scratch Patisserie’s market stall is one of our favourite stops on a Friday morning.

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After which we bought lovely things. Fresh things. Things grown or made with care and love by local farmers.

Cooper’s Shoot tomatoes are the best!

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We chose tiny carrots and crunchy sweet apples. We bought organic eggs and sourdough bread and all manner of tasty goodness.

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apples

I even found some wonderful hand-made soap, coloured with clays and scented with essential oils! They are crafted by the lovely people from Church Farm at Billinudgel. (Do pop over and visit their website – it totally captures the feel of our region!)

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Then it was home again to a happy day of writing and cups of tea, followed by the pleasure of a dear friend dropping by for dinner.

We taste-tested my new mango mousse recipe, and it was fab! Watch for the recipe on the blog next week. 🙂

What a wonderful day! I so love where I live. It’s good to be home.

Hugs and love, Nicole <3 xx

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Door knobs and knockers of Venice, Italy

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“As for reading, I wish I had a magic door to a library where I could go in, read for days and days, and come back in the same minute I left. I’m still looking for the door.”
~ David Mitchell

 

Don’t you just love that quote? Oh, to have a door like that!

On my recent ramblings through Venice I was entranced with doors. In narrow alleys, small courtyards and squares the doors dominated. Doors replete with history. Doors with their own energies and style. Doors that held secrets.

I rested my hand upon them. Felt the age and the grain of wood or the cold tang of metal. Admired the artistry and personality.

As I strolled quiet morning streets the way a visitor might wander an art gallery the door knobs, knockers and name plates really touched my heart and filled me with wonder.

Here are a few of my favourites. I hope you enjoy them too.

Nx

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I’m on a Plane!

Image from www.w-dog.net

Image from www.w-dog.net

“An airplane crossed the sky, and she imagined its interior-people packed in rows like eggs in a carton, the chemical smell of the toilets, pretzels in foil pouches, cans hiss-popping open, black oval of night sky embedded in the rattling walls. How strange that something so drab, so confined, so stifling with sour exhalations and the fumes of indifferent machinery might be mistaken for a star.”
~ Maggie Shipstead, Seating Arrangements

 

As you read this I will most likely still be on a plane, winging my way back to Australia.

My phone is crammed full of photos. My bags are crammed full of all manner of oddities, as well as a pile of dirty laundry and the one or two items that you pack and then inevitably never use.

My mind, though full of new experiences, is actually delightfully calm and peaceful. I feel emptied out and renewed by this trip away. And more than ready to be home again.

I doubt I’ll blog on Friday morning. Sorry, but I’m hoping to still be curled up in my own bed, asleep at the farm. I hear it’s a cold winter at home. So don’t be surprised to know that it is most likely that two dogs will have snuck up onto the big bed during the night and be squeezed in beside Ben and I. Which is perfectly fine by me. I may have missed them just the teensiest bit.

As much as I have enjoyed my break away, I have also missed you too! I’m looking forward to getting back into my regular blogging routine just as soon as I have a little sleep under my belt, and have settled in again.

Lots of love,

Nicole xx

Graffitis and Curiosities

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“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”
~ Banksy

 

It’s the last day of my holidays today, and then I’ll be on a plane and heading home. I must say that as soul-nurturing as this trip has been I am ready for my own bed, some big puppy hugs, and a cup of good tea.

One of my favourite travel pastimes is wandering by foot, taking photos and getting far off the well-beaten tourist paths.

I’ve discovered all kinds of wonders on this trip. Here are some of the wall and door adornments that have caught my eye during my rambles through places as diverse as Salerno, Santorini, Naples, Venice, Athens and Bangkok.

Enjoy!

Nx

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Return To Santorini

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“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
~ Anita Desai

 

So, here we are, sitting in a very low-brow bar in Santorini. We’re up on the roof, drinking cold beer on a hot day, and availing ourselves of the free wi-fi, which is patchy but hey… free.

There are many gorgeous (and very expensive) ‘tourist cafes’ lining the cliffs and looking out over the cauldron of Santorini’s extinct volcano and the glamorous yachts and cruise liners below. The cafes are full of beautiful people, and the wealthy elderly.

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But that’s not us. And I rather like this humble eatery we have found. We look out over rooftops to the ocean on the other side of the island. We peer down into people’s backyards. It cost us just 8 Euros for the two of us for cold beers and excellent gyros with all the trimmings. There is a local radio playing ‘easy-listening’ Greek music mixed with an eclectic blend of 1970s and 1980s hits. A sleepy cat is watching us from under a canopy of grape-vines, and the breeze is scented with wood smoke and spicy roasted meats and vegetables from various Sunday lunches.

There are locals eating here. So I figure that speaks to the quality of the food, cheap as it is.

I’ve truly relaxed into the pace of holidays now, although I must confess that it took me a while, and now our travels are almost at an end. We’re back to Rome in a few days. From there a flight to Thailand and a few more days of rest, and then home.

The most important thing I discovered on this vacation?

Me.

Okay, gotta go. We need to walk this beer off, before a gelati and then a cable car ride back down to the harbour, where we’ll hop on a tender back to the ship.

Blowing kisses to you from Santorini,

Nicole xx

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Wonders and Whimsies

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“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
~ William Blake

 

Some holiday snapshots today. The picture above is of the sun coming up over Santorini. We were on deck in the cool morning air before dawn, and saw an enormous sea turtle come up to breathe just as we sailed slowly past.

This next one, the steps to a chapel within the walled city of Dubrovnic.

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I know. It’s a lizard. But not just any lizard. And the photo does not do her justice. She was actually a bronze-green colour, with amber eyes. But she was shy…

So, why is there a photo of a lizard? Remember that I told you Sokli was talking to the lizards. I hadn’t seen a single one, although she assured me that there were many in Dubrovnic. So she made me sit down on the steps of the chapel, and she called one over to meet me. The lizard came down from the roof (Sokli pointed her out to me), she crept down the wall, and then came level with my eyes. After I took her photo she gazed straight at me for the longest time.

I felt a great sense of peace and happiness come over me, and Sokli assures me that the lizard gave me a Blessing. I have never been the recipient of a lizard’s blessing before!

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The picture below is part of the ruins of Ancient Olympia. This was an unexpectedly wonderful site energetically, built as it is on the remains of even earlier temples and energetic gridlines. There are layers of meaning and significance here. It provides an oasis of serenity with all of the old trees and stone, and the river boundaries with their fresh running water. I’m looking forward to bringing some of you back here with me next time!

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Part of the old walled city of Dubrovnic. It was good to be well enough to walk the walls (very Game of Thrones, don’t you think!) but I didn’t see a single dragon.

Love to you all, Nicole xx

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Beautiful Bangkok!

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“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
~ Anita Desai

 

So here I am in Thailand, after a wonderful flight, with many good movies and some delicious (really!) food. We got into our hotel at about 10.30pm local time, after midnight by my body clock, and Ben made the sensible choice and said that we actually needed to go to bed, although I was so excited that I wanted to do was race outside and DO EVERYTHING!!!

My plan this morning was to sleep in! To be on holidays! To do nothing!

And then of course, as I always do, I woke at 4am. So you know what happened next… I meditated, and sent you all some healing and love. Then yoga stretches, a long hot shower, and another lie down between clean hotel sheets before an early breakfast and some writing time.

There’s a fabulous massage place – Lavana Spa just up the road – so I’m going to toddle up there soon for some serious pampering, after which I’ll sleep (hopefully) and then hit the night markets tonight for some good Pad Thai.

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Oh my goodness. Holidays. It’s only just starting to sink in, this whole concept of nothing to do except whatever Ben and I feel like doing.

I’ll keep popping in and posting while the internet is so good. (Free and 25 times faster than the internet at the farm – mind boggling!)

And I’m a happy dog mumma right now, after hearing that the lovely friend who is farm-sitting for us took Cafe Dog to Doma Cafe in Federal for Sunday breakfast, which immediately scored her a seat at the locals’ table after they all recognised Harry Dog!

Hugs and love to all of you.
Nicole xx

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