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 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


Packing My Suitcase…

“Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both “at one with” and “separate from” the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.”
~ Roman Payne


Today I’ll be packing my suitcase. You see, I’m finally well enough to travel. (Fingers crossed, touch wood., etc..)

I’m flying out of Australia tomorrow to attend a conference in the Philippines. It’s my first trip since I was diagnosed with Lyme. It’s also my first solo overseas adventure as an adult. Usually my darling husband Ben is with me, holding my hand, guiding me places, organising everything.

Ben does so much for me, and has done since shortly after we were married. It’s not that I’m a hopeless, helpless creature by nature. Once upon a time I was fiercely independent. But my health has slowly been deteriorating since I was at high school, and for many years my cognitive function and my balance and coordination were so poor that if I didn’t rely on Ben I would never have been able to go anywhere.

I am the Queen of my Domain inside the house, and as long as circumstances are tightly controlled I totally rock within a narrow band of activities. I give the appearance of being high-functioning because I have crafted my life around my limitations.

That hit me last night. Effectively, Ben has been my human guide-dog for all of our twenty years of togetherness.

As my heath deteriorated, so did my confidence. Ben has been able to facilitate the illusion of my independence so capably and unobtrusively that even I had bought into the myth.

I keep reminding myself that I’m much more well now. My brain works. Unless I’m tired or very stressed. My body mostly does too. Still, it’s more scary than I’d realised, contemplating this solo adventure.

And that worrying chest pain, which two years of intensive antibiotics had completely banished, has just recently made a reappearance. That’s okay. I can live with that. I did for years before, didn’t I? See, it sits there quietly now and I’m still functioning and okay. It won’t be a problem. Anyway, I have health insurance and the Philippines has doctors and hospitals.

Our wonderful travel agent has organised for me to fly as far as Singapore, get off and sleep in an airport motel for the night, and then travel on to Cebu the next day. A leisurely trip. Not much to worry about or to exhaust me. I can even access one of those little buggies that takes the old and the afflicted between terminals or across long airport distances. I’m hopeful I can stride out on my own, but I’m not above asking for help if the long flight leaves me so stiff that I can only manage a limpy lurch by the time I disembark. Still, I’ve checked all the details a million times, and worried about it all.

My packing is a little hilarious. I have my laptop, notebooks, pencil case, Year of ME Planner, oracle cards and a few little crystals.And my iPad. And my phone. Yes, I need all of them. And the chargers. And the power adaptor.

I have a quarter of my suitcase devoted to herbs and supplements, medications and first-aid requisites I actually can’t do without.

And then there are the additional issues I might need to consider. Will my neurological incontinence play up? (Thank you, Lyme!) Hmmm. If so, I need to bring incontinence pads and some big-girl pull-ups. (Which induced a worrying amount of God, what if my bladder gives way on the plane? thoughts. The only way to avert disaster is to plan for it and wear something just in case the worst happens. Sigh.) Can you buy adult incontinence products in Cebu? Better pack some, just in case, although I hope I won’t need them.

Will the pain in my legs keep me up at night? Should I pack magnesium gel and some liniment? Yep, I’d better. I haven’t managed more than a night or two without these things in the past three years. Which means I’ll need to pack my essential oils too. Can’t sleep or function some days without them.

Oh. My bag is nearly full, and I haven’t added clothes yet.

Luckily the Philippines is balmy. I won’t need many clothes. Most of what I need can actually be packed in my carry-on luggage. (How ridiculous, right?)

This time tomorrow I shall be taking one last cafe trip with Harry and Ben, before we have cuddles all round and then I am dropped at the airport.

Scary good!

I keep thinking of Helen Keller’s quote – Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

I’m sure I’ll be just fine.


Writing your Dream Vacation into Existence

Swimming Pool and Sea by njaj

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Writing is a powerful summoning force – it commits our thoughts and emotions to the page in such a way that the Universe hears our clear call, and is able to respond.

One of my favourite journal activities when I’ve been working hard is to begin to summon the possibility and energy of a vacation.  We all need holidays – they provide vital breaks from our daily routine so that we can re-energise ourselves, discover the world around us, find ourselves and each other, and come home changed, refreshed and ready for our ordinary lives once more.

Most people will agree that there is also a deliciousness to planning any much-looked-forward-to trip, and to evoking that wonderful sense of curiosity, excitement and relief that a vacation can bring.

I have often been amazed at how after calling my dreams forth through the act of writing, they have then turned up in my life. Diving in the Solomon Islands, communing with the Elephants in Chiang Mai, eating gelati on the Spanish Steps in Rome, wandering the alleyways in Venice – life is constantly surprising me with new delights.

River Boat Trip - Chiang Mai, Thailand 2010

Journal Activity:

Begin by writing the following passage into your own journal.  Feel free to use coloured inks if you wish, or anything else that brightens up your page.  Then choose one or more of the journal starters below and just start writing.  Let the words flow from your heart.  Don’t over-think anything, and most importantly don’t censor anything or limit yourself.  You can use the same journal starter more than once if it really resonates for you.

Use the page to create, imagine, and daydream your ideal vacation.  Feel yourself there – exploring, creating, indulging, experiencing…

Dear Universe, 

This is such an amazing world I live in, and there are so many places that are calling to me.  I don’t know how I’m going to get there, or when I am going to go, but I want you to know that I’m ready for whatever wonderful experiences and opportunities you send my way.

Small adventures, grand escapades, delicious moments – all of them are good, and I say YES to each of them. I embrace the possibilities and experiences that are coming my way…

Choose from any of these journal starters and begin manifesting your dream vacation:

  • The best sort of climate for me is:
  • I’ve always wanted to go to
  • If I could speak the language I would
  • One of the things I love most about vacations is
  • Some of the activities I’d really like to try are
  • My accommodation would be
  • The best way for me to get to my destination would be
  • The minimum amount of time I’ll need will be
  • I’ll be dining on
  • The people I’d love to share my vacation with are
  • If I could take any expert with me it would be
  • Some of the places I’d like to stop off include
  • My dream destination is
  • A close runner-up destination would be
  • Other places I’d like to visit are
  • With my shopping money I would buy
  • One of the best things to come out of my vacation is
  • My favourite things would include
  • Some of the treasures I’d like to bring home with me are
  • One of my favourite surprises is
  • A skill I will learn from this is
  • By the end of my vacation I will be
  • One of the coolest things about this holiday is
  • I had never dared to dream that I could
  • And the absolutely best part is

Tasty fresh coconut drink - Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Dream Holiday Folder:

Make a folder on your computer, and create one to hold physical things like maps and brochures. Add images and information that feed your dreams.

Tumblr image from

Every so often, go through your Dream Holiday folder. Step into the images, and let your mind bring them to life for you. Engage each of your senses as you see yourself right in the middle of the most incredible experience. You may even want to start learning a new language, renewing your passport, or getting that warm coat or bikini!

Trust that as you energise these images with your emotions you are drawing these experiences into your life. ♥