chronicles of a bespoke, simple, adventurous life

Category Archives: wellness and balance

lightbulb moment’s


Lightbulb moments, do you have them?

You’re walking along and then bam a wee ping goes off in your head and a collection of dormant former thoughts arranges itself into a picture you just couldn’t see before.  Or an image, feeling or thought just comes out of nowhere, new and shiny .  Either way its the bam and the newness of revelation, inspiration, insight or connectedness that defines a lightbulb moment.  The free dictionary describes it as A moment of sudden inspiration, revelation, or recognition.

I have them every now and again.  For me, its more like a long game of knitting where all my ideas float around in my head and then out of nowhere I find them stitching themselves together.  I sometimes get the new kid from out of town joining in my brain traffic, but not so often.  I’m more the slow burn, pull it together type.  Well thats how it’s been so far.

I saw this lightbulb today and it made me think about how we feel and see ideas and how they come to us.  I love that we are tuning forks for divine inspiration to resonate through.  Just as much as we are repositories for change with our ever growing feelings, thoughts and ideas.

It all feels like a little bit of magic to me, and makes me smile that not everything is factual, hard edged and evidenced based.  That we are powerful self resourced beings, and ready and willing vessels for creativity and change.

It reminded me of this fabulous talk by Elizabeth Gilbert called ‘your elusive creative genius’ where amongst other things she illuminates hers and others creative process, involving divine moments of inspiration.  I thought you may enjoy if you need a wee reminder that we are more than we think we are and magic is all around.  That you are the magic.


making from scratch


I hand squeezed oranges today and made a glass of its goodness to coddle my feelings of rundown.  It was fun.  The orange tree lives on my mums property and every year produces the most divine juicy tasting oranges.  Ever.  It felt nice to walk outside, pick oranges, slice and squeeze them and enjoy my efforts.  It felt particularly nice knowing that what I was drinking was exactly what I was seeing, nothing added.  There is something so satisfying and enjoyable about making from scratch; the process, your involvement, the end result. And for me, the simpler the cooking the more enjoyable and honest the taste.  I’m passionate about making good simple food, and my glass of orange juice falls well and squarely in that category. Simpler you cannot get.  Take orange, slice it, squeeze it, pour into glass, drink it.


God, if only life came with a simple recipe like that, now that would be something.  Though sans the recipe its a great reminder that simplicity and the power of alchemy to make something from scratch, is all around us.  If we look.



Getting down with thrift and finding treasures in the trash – Yes, please and more!

I do love a good fossick for treasure in op shops, garage sales and flea markets, it’s a wee hobby of mine. And I happen to be pretty good at it too, If I do say so myself. So much so I think I’m part Magpie, though my mother calls me a Beagle – I can hunt out a diamond in a sea of glass. So imagine part Magpie, part Beagle and you get the picture – a fossick loving human with super animal hunting skills.

Outside of the thrill of finding a wee gem – it’s the wrapping of thrift that brings a significant portion of the joy (and the awesome fact your op shop purchase goes to a good charity).  I’ve started connecting into the concept of thrift lately, the dictionary describes it as – the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully: the values of thrift and self-reliance. And describes its origin as - Middle English (in the sense ‘prosperity, acquired wealth, success’): from Old Norse, from thrífa ‘grasp, get hold of.’  I’m also pretty keen on living ‘simply’ and there’s something about the word thrift that ties in with that too.  Pared down, efficient, smart, economical and self-reliant.  Not just defined by its ‘penny saving’ qualities, thrift is kind of sexy.  Well to me anyway.  I get a little turned on about being smart with money – reusing items, buying second hand, saving, spending smartly, being self reliant.

Not only sexy, it’s pretty essential if you’re building a life of adventure and heart.  Outside of those with unlimited funds (of which I am not one, and know nobody who is) being thrifty with your pocket is just plain smart.  Financial resources help build your dreams and allow you to live well, to enjoy and share with others.  One of my current focuses is to get down town with money creation and management and I’m going to share with you what I find along the way.

And did I mention the fun of finding treasures in the trash!  And what treasures they are – for very little money you can own character laden, rare, vintage, hand selected items which fit your person.  It’s the very little money + items which fit your person which gets me every time.  Don’t believe me?  I’d like to introduce you to one of my recent finds – lets just say I was SUPER delighted (I have a thing for fine leather ware).

For the princely sum of $8 I now have this new ensemble to hold my essentials – some posh housing for my bits.  Mulberry, Phoebe Handbag – $5.  Pierre Cardin Scarf – $3. (and yes, they’re both the real deal).


Do you like to fossick, to find treasures in the trash?  What’s been your incredible find of treasure thats made your’s and your pockets day?

a simple, divine tomato recipe – its a game changer

Hello on this fine Sunday.  I hope your well ensconced in your day of play, rest and readiness for the week ahead.   Today I thought I’d bring you a wee spot of food to warm your heart and body and share with friends and loved ones.

What you eat makes all the difference in the world to how you turn up to it.  All the difference.

That is why food is a central part of this blog – of living a life of heart and adventure.  Feeling good in body, gut and mind are essential to living adventurously and hanging out more in your heart space.   Simple food cooked well is my holy grail of happy, and if it can be on the thrift side, all the better.  For me, the best eating comes from ingredients having the least amount of work.  Simple food prepared and cooked simply.  Inexpensively.  The magic of ingredients alchemically embracing and reducing to make glorious flavour. All with the tiniest amount of outside intervention.  Oh I could go on, but I will restrain myself and deliver you this beauty of a recipe – well, if you can call it that.

I know the claim of ‘game changer’ is a pretty big call for a tomato recipe, but stay with me on this.

For me, there are five values that make up what I would define as a ‘game changer’.  Is it  simple + thrifty + adaptable + easy – and does it improve my life/add value?  When I answer yes too all five, we’re talking the royal big daddy of game changing.  And this wee collection of ingredients + an oven, delivers.

Your going to need these ingredients tomato’s, garlic, thyme, red onion, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper.

to make cut tomato’s in half.  cut onion into little/middish chunks.  either pop garlic pieces in whole with skin on (take skin off after cooking) or peel and slice.  chop up thyme.  add ingredients to baking tray.  generously pour olive oil, add salt and pepper.  cook on 180 degrees until they gloriously break down.


Take your beautifully broken down tomato’s out of the oven.  Vigorously apply a potato masher till you hit the consistency of tomatoe sauce you prefer.


Eat.  Eat it as a relish on home made burgers (we did), with piping hot homemade chips, on a spot of cheese and cracker. or generously poured over a pizza base and topped with goodness.  or wrapped around your favourite pasta with a sprinkle of olive olive and lemon juice topped with parsley (sometimes no other ingredient needed). or plopped on the side of a sizzling steak.  You get the picture, it’s a versatile wee thing.  

So back to game changer  Lets see how it faired on all five. It gets a big high five for simplicity.  Your pocket will love its thriftiness.  Adaptability city –  there are SO many ways you can enjoy this tomato sauce/relish.  And its easy – five minutes of prep time and a minute or two of mashing time, that’s it.  The oven does the rest.  And finally, does it improve my life, add value?  Yes it does.  With little effort I produce a beautiful, fresh, sweet tasting tomato sauce that has no preservatives or nasty sugar.  It tastes amazing and can bring love to my meals throughout the week from just one cooking session.  It refrigerates well.  

The food was made by Mark Lewis an advocate and master of simple food from ground to table with little fuss.  He combines fifteen years experience as a chef working in Europe and New Zealand with recent study and qualification in horticulture to bring you food and gardens that warm your soul.  He also happens to be my brother who I love, which makes me not biased in any way :-).  Photos taken by moi.

I hope you enjoy this tasty easy to make sauce.  We ate it last night on homemade burgers and it was gorgeous.  There’s a ground swell of satisfaction from making things, especially when its simple and uncomplicated and tastes so good.

Love and light for the end of your week and emergence into the new.

Maree x

do you have a wee *hobby* + passion you’ve forgotten about?


This week an old love of mine snuck itself back into my line of sight.  Photography, in particular – documentary photography.

It was while snooping through op shops and garage sales that I nabbed a Polaroid camera ($10) and two great Time books on documentary photography and light and film ($3 each).  I love reusing objects that still have oodles of life, and getting a bargain is close to my heart at the moment.  So it was win, win all round.

And it got me to thinking……why did this fabulous hobby and passion of mine (which brought me a lot of joy) ever leave my line of sight?  How do we forget what we love, little pockets of hobbies – passions tucked away.  Archived, but for what?  A rainy day, for later, for when theres more time?  Tucked away because they’re silly little frivolities, we run out of time, other things become more important?


I reckon the universe is full of people that have fallen out of love with their hobbies + passions.  Full.  Where are you at:

  1. You are totally in touch with your passion – hobby, and live it – its in your life and brings you joy!
  2. You’ve fallen apart from your hobby – passion – the thing you love to do.  You know what it is, but you’ve fallen apart.  You’d really like to get back together though.
  3. You are struggling to answer this because you can’t even remember if you used to love doing something.  Please don’t panic, lot’s of people have passion amnesia.
  4. You remember vividly what you used to love to do, but it’s just been SOOO long it feels a little silly to bring it out and dust it off now.

To be honest I’ve spent ALOT of time hanging out at two, three and four.  And am just starting to breathe in one.  So take heart, all the stages are natural and normal and part of a lot of peoples experience.

So the questions is, did you love doing something when you were younger that you left behind?  When you were a junior, teenager, young adult.  What was it, how did it make you feel, how did it make you turn up to the world?

Oh and if you happen to have a wee voice that natters “don’t be so ridiculous, you were 12 the last time you sang in a choir, pirouetted, painted, baked, road a horse, jazz handed your way through a routine, ran across fields with a compass, collected stamps, listened to bird calls, played tennis etc. Don’t listen to it.  Just don’t!  That voice would be most happiest if you were locked in a dungeon with some cheese, crackers and water.  It is not interested in you shining.

So take a trip down memory lane, ask old friends, family, look at old photos………..what were the things you used to love doing that brought you a big fat juicy smile.  You don’t have to do anything straight away with what comes up – what you remember………..the first step is just connecting back in to what you love.

I’d love to hear whats in your archive of passions + hobbies.  








How to get your mojo singing ‘Hell to the Yeah’

Truth be told I’ve been trying to get my mojo to sing loud and proud for an age, to middling success.

To get things hip hop moving along I spent a couple of days at the first ever Blogcademy in New York city.  It was hands down one of the best things I’ve done to move my ideas forward in a really long time.  The BEST.  I think I may have a choir of mojo about to sing Hellalujah.  It got me thinking about how we get our mojo’s to sing…..I’ve jotted down some ideas at the bottom of this post if your needing a wriggle on.

Two gloriously affirming days hanging out with 29 other fabulous bloggers at the direction of three superstars of the blogosphere (and all things individual expression) Gala Darling, Nubby Twiglet and Kat Williams.  And lets not forget the superstar of photography Lisa Devlin.

I was plunk in the middle of a master mistress class and it was amazeballs!

The alchemy of hustle is all about living your joy and passion on your own terms and these women were rocking right out on that, they are alchemical hustlers in the truest sense of the title.  They are tap dancing on the head of their passionate reason for being, and it is a glorious site to behold*.  Unabashed, unadulterated full expression of self with the added bonus of making a very successful living from it.  Is there no other holier grail than that?  Well for me there’s not, its my life’s work.

The workshops style and delivery were perfect for the way I learn.  Informal, packed with awesome content (from lessons learnt, tips, the basics, what works, what doesn’t etc) and with loads of space for Q&A.  I came away learning SO MUCH about all things blogging and how to make my blog  fabulous.  I am inspired with a game plan = ignited.  And unexpectedly I learnt about the power of really living my mojo, singing from my own voice full time (not part).  Over two days I soaked up the authentic voices of our teachers and it unconsciously washed over me and settled into my psyche.  Seeing somebody else rocking it out prompts your subconscious to say “hey, why not join in”?

The other surprise gem has come from the community that has sprung to life and that is continuing to grow.  A big nugget shared was the power of community, collaboration and support and the life these bring to our work, ideas, inspiration and selves.  It’s the relationships that make the difference.  I am loving being a part of this community.

Blogcademy graduates on a high after finishing the workshop. Photo taken by Femke Leemans.

So if you’d like to get your mojo singing ‘Hell to the Yeah’ you could try a few of these:

  • get clear about your joy/passion, what you want to do.  this is a good read if your a bit murky.
  • feel more, think less
  • get your vision up where you can see it, it helps keep the main thing, the main thing.  I wrote about how to make a vision board here
  • start dabbling or dive right in, there will never be a perfect time (because there is no such thing as perfect) there is just now
  • build your community – meet other like minded peeps for fun, inspiration and ongoing support.  Veronica Varlow who attended Blogcademy wrote an awesome post on how to build community here
  • get some steer and support on how to make it happen, I just found out about this fabulous woman/firestarter.  want more than just a book/online resource?  a life coach can be an incredible resource for creating change or a mentor could be your thang
  • make self care a priority, good food/sleep/balance/water/friends/fun are all part of the equation
  • learn from the best, ask questions from those that have done it……soak it up (trust me it is priceless gold to be in conversation with people who are successfully singing from the top of their mojo’s lungs – see Gala, Nubby and Kat’s links above).
  • be yourself, its a fruitless task being anybody else

What gets your mojo singing loud and proud?

*My description of these fabulous woman may to some sound a tad gushy, it is not.  I write with authenticity and honesty on the things and people that genuinely inspire and motivate me (and shining a flood light on powerful woman is a good thing, I feel).  Seeing individuals doing their thing/joy and being truly themselves is powerful, it is a massive agitator of change and enhancer of mojo happiness. I found that out this weekend in bucket loads.

travel what an interesting ride, oh and fabulous people…..

I’m writing this in the very plush bar at the hotel I’m staying at near LAX airport.  Tomorrow I fly to New York.  I can’t tell you how excited I am, I have wanted to go to New York for an age.

Today, after having spent 3 days in San Francisco I drove to LA.  What was to be a leisurely six hour haul down the freeway turned into about 8.5 hours, I won’t go into details………but lets just say that LA’s parting gift to me was a slow trawl of traffic.  I multi tasked and ate my dinner (a fabulous kale salad and a rosemary breast of chicken bought from a health food supermarket).  It was a SLOW trawl, chewing and steering was very doable.

I’m a little side swiped that 21 days have passed, and in the same breath I’m not.  It’s been an interesting journey, and I have more to write on some of the fabulous gems of people and places that I stumbled upon.  And also of the interesting process of travel, and of me in travel…..and what I stumbled upon in myself, and still am.

I spent my 21 days checking out local eateries, eating delicious food (predominately seafood) drinking fabulous wines and doing a smidgin of site seeing …..

LA – interesting

Las Vegas – interesting and educational, I wrote about that here, including a big photo gallery

Santa Barbara – an idyllic town….and I had an interesting chat over dinner (in a seafood shack on a pier) with Israel about Aristotle…..

San Luis Obispo – Caitlin, Dylan, Kaleigh I had the BEST time with you’s all, I won’t forget it!  You redeemed my faith in America.  Truly.

Big Sur – spectacular, though I was a little hungover for the drive….

Carmel by the Sea – the houses don’t have numbers and theres no traffic lights!  Oh and great wine tasting….and the seafood = awesome!

Monterey – the most ethereal and magical neon treats from the sea at the Aquarium

Santa Cruz – a tasty mexican meal washed down by a great margarita

Sonoma – awesome township, wines/tastings and fabulous food, a great night out with a crew from boston……too much bubbles…..

Healdsburg - awesome wines and food,  a little travel/battle weary……

San Francisco – interesting and REALLY expensive.  highlight was stumbling upon a blues bar and  dancing with locals into the wee hours….

I’m in LOVE with this image found on a wall in San Francisco. In LOVE.

driving forward

to be driven

and to respond to your own voice*

your needs, calling, longings….

she can be a challenging road

maybe more so because….

theres not that many companions on it when you skip jump out of the well trodden lane

not so many in their volume

confirming that your choice is okay

that you’re okay,

but it’s the right road (well, for me)

it feels a bit unsure at times, quite a bit

and theres much stumbling

and wobbly wheels in amongst the drive forward

but theres a drive and the direction is north

and I’m happy with that

* your own………maybe at first it doesn’t sound like your own voice

it calls into attention your uncomfortableness

the agitation of your despondency

rubbing away like salt in a paper cut

uncomfortable, but not unbearable

so you can have a conversation for awhile

maybe longer than you want, than you need……….change delayed

but interestingly

change is such an oxymoron

patient as a doting grandparent

and as ready as a raging bull

An incredible Creme Brule with a glass of local sticky (Healdsburg, Sonoma) accompanied the writing of ‘driving forward’

my holy grail of joy

On day 13 of my 30 days in America I find myself having lunch in Sonoma deciding how to spend the next week mooching through both Sonoma and Napa wine regions.  After my visit to the info centre I was overwhelmed with options…….there are SO many vineyards, hotels and spas!

To move through the overwhelm I decided on a glass of local Chardonnay and some prawns…….and am now ensconced in a LOVELY hotel room (also muchos affordable).  And shortly am off to taste wines…..

For those of you that don’t know me well, I think I’m entering the holy grail of weeks……where I shall roll around in mud like a pig with a large grin on my face at all times.  Nothing to me is more relaxing and brings more joy than good food and wine and I am very excited to be here!

No disrespect to LA, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Saint Luis Obispo, Big Sur, Carmel by the Sea, Monterey or Santa Cruz……but I’ve found my place of happy on this trip.  Well lets not get ahead of myself, theres still New York for nine days coming up which may have me waxing lyrical, but right now I can’t see anything topping this.

See you on the other side.

30 days in America

This post was written three days ago…..

As I write, I am shooting through clouds on my way to Los Angeles.  I am four hours and forty minutes away from touching LAX tarmac and travelling for 30 days in America.   For the next three weeks I’m road tripping through California then shooting over to the east coast and living in New York for nine days.  Excited I am.

Seven weeks ago I decided to give up the lease on my flat (of five years that I adored) leave my routine and comfort zone and go on an adventure.

The plan was to submerge myself in an exotic voyage, a joyful messy mash up of difference.  Submerged in otherness.  India fitted the bill perfectly except for the wee minor detail that I can’t eat a lot of lentils, rice, gluten and dairy.  So my 90 day voyage of discovery in Asia became 30 days in America.  I laugh too.

I cannot tell you how hard it was to hand in my lease.  I am serenely joyous with my decision now, but in the lead up I was pacing the outer margins of my courage, and then some.

You know when you can have too much of a good thing, when the routine is so deeply engraved that change has a long way to surface.  That was me.  I realised that if I didn’t cut the ties, change it up and leave my safety blanket I would more than likely wake up in five years time and very little would have changed.  That thought alone pushed me through a canyon of unexpected fear.

The propeller for all this change didn’t spontaneously manifest over night, I had been nursing my levels of discontent for quite awhile.  Simply put, when I’m about to pop my clogs I want to know I lived a life of joy doing what I love.  At forty I haven’t done that yet so I thought I’d give it a go.

In my trip I’ve created open space away from what I know, outside of routine to connect to my joy’s of creating, writing, travel and food.

I’m going to be blogging about my travels if you’d like to come along for the ride a little…..