sun rising over water at the baech
Philosophy

Ways to Improve Life during the Year of Covid

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless, diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy
water
The ripples that might build a current

Are you wanting to find more peace and contentment in your life, in this the year of instability?

Giving and assisting others is one way in which you can make people’s lives better and simultaneously feel a sense of satisfaction, achievement and contentment.

If you want to make a difference in your own world, start with the world around you.

If making a difference, all at once, seems a too tall an order or impossible for you, or the process of trying too stressful, consider that we can instantly make a difference, fairly easily. 

Start by focusing on one person at a time – maybe that is the person closest to you.

When we don’t have time or cannot visit elderly relatives or neighbours because of work or Covid constraints, or even personal inclination – (a lack of interesting conversation), a small note, text message or phone call will always be welcomed by them.

Spread loving thoughts to cherished ones.

It is all too easy to assume family members are going to be there for us and thus, we might forget to make any kind of effort towards them. Ironically, those relationships are the ones we often need to nurture the most.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Humanity

  • Pay it forward – pay for the next person’s coffee in the queue, without expecting anything in return.
  • Donate to a charity something that you value – something that might bring joy to someone in unfortunate circumstances.
  • Give a homeless person, a home-baked treat or a fresh meal, a warm coat or bag of toiletries.
  • Help out at an animal shelter for a day or a week. Animals are incredible healers of the human spirit.
  • Smile at each person you met in a genuine time considered way – (being cognizant of cultural and social norms).

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

You do not need to convince anyone, only yourself.

Break Down Goals into Smaller Pieces

Always useful is the tip to break down seemingly impossible tasks or goals into baby steps, and work steadily towards your goal. This is a great life skill and a way to move forward when negative feelings overwhelm us.

happy smile-beach

If you make one person smile, or laugh, even just for a moment, their smile just might make others smile too.  In this subtle way, you can touch the masses with thoughtfulness.

Aim to make a bunch of small splashes, and let the ripples spread naturally. 

If you want to change another person’s mind or mood, you might have to change a little of yourself, at first and then work on enhancing the environment and the people around you.

boardwalk at the beach
Mental Health

Retiring to a Seachange

I’m ‘pulling up stumps,’ I declared.

I was announcing to friends that I was to leave my inner-city lifestyle and was moving to a Home by the Sea. A Seachange is the correct word, I believe.

“What. Why?” was the plaintive responses from colleagues and friends.

“Why move further out? That’s a long commute.”

Especially when, they continued to counsel me, a sought-after, inner-city lifestyle offers heady attractions and a swathe of facilities and friends, in close proximity? And my own kids concurred.

At the first whiff of this decision, the adult children refused to be involved. They saw it as a hedonistic move to the region’s boganesque outskirts, better known as, ‘The Peninsula.’

So why did we decide to continue with a Seachange?

Because life in the city cuts both ways.

Inner City Lifestyle is Attractive

Our urban locale of many years was idyllic, or so we thought.

Picture energetic, vegan eateries and sushi trains, interspersed with Craft beer hangouts playing Indie music, to all hours. Streets lined with cafes, punctuated by glamorous shops, awash with white and taupe furnishings, selling those ludicrously expensive cushions that are positioned for looks, rather than comfort, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of my former location. Many would find that attractive.

I have to admit the inner city life was swanky and practical. I had only a short walk to public transport, of all kinds, and a multitude of library and shopping options, as well as bakeries or gourmet restaurants, so close, that I’d never had to worry about squashing the bread or drinking and driving the car home.

So I had to ask myself again, why did I want to leave?

Because, it seemed. there was a niggling discontent in my heart.

I had begun to notice the downsides to urban living and they were becoming more and more bothersome, the closer I got to retirement age. I needed a change.

A Seachange.

But wait. I began to hesitate.

Did I really want to give up work and this urban lifestyle right now, given that one’s work and financial contribution to society forms a large part of our identity?

I had to think this through properly and reassess what I’d really miss and what might be a potential deal-breaker. Was I ready for Retirement and a Seachange? It was a big move!

Weighing Up the Pros and Cons of Hipster Life in the City

Point #1 – Endless Facilities

City living is an ongoing adrenaline rush and offers many opportunities, but it also results in an expanding waistline and other First-World Problems that triggers a level of guilt, in me, one I wasn’t entirely happy with.

I had to admit Triple-shot Macchiatos or Banh Mi Market Breakfasts with Almond smoothies, at the local markets, were really fun but also the chief suspects in my increasing girth.

Those lovely market stalls one browses, on Sunday mornings, you know the ones that feature lovely handmade items, or organic Kombucha with a Turmeric and Kale chaser and a pulled pork bun, are very hipster, but as I wasn’t exercising too much, (I dislike aerobic exercise), you can have too much of a good thing. Diet and health concerns were not the only pressure.

Add to this, I felt indulgent. This consumerist lifestyle felt privileged and wasteful, considering how much poverty, need and homelessness exists in the world. There had to be something better that aligned more with my twilight years.

Point #2 (Or should I call it: bothersome fact #2?) – Noise, Busy Roads and Traffic

There were loads of new facilities, medical centres, shops, gyms and pilates studios opening every other week in the inner city districts. However, the incessant noise from the construction was something I wasn’t getting used to. Quite the contrary, my sleep was disturbed more and more with each passing month. Sleep deprivation is the kind of torture that one can’t abide when the childbearing years are far behind you, so the noise did nothing to foster a jolly mood.

Couple this issue with two near-miss incidents with myself and heavy machinery, plus a workman’s vehicle swerving towards me, both happening at pedestrian crossings near home, were other imperatives to move to a quieter area. (Twice in one week, I was nearly run over simply crossing the road to follow the concreted footpath!)

The horse and buggy style of those dated inner-city alleys and streets, that no cat worth his salt would be found swinging in, are all very quaint when you are a pioneer in the early 19th century, but crossing the street after 6am in 2020 was akin to having a death wish.

And, don’t get me started on the lack of on, or off-street, parking. That was Point #3.

Point #4 – Sharing Space with a Growing Population Density

Exercise in the inner city constituted a 30-minute stroll in the morning down a popular shared bike and pedestrian path. Early morning walks here, had recently become a dance with death as teams of hardcore, professional cycling enthusiasts, festooned in their all-too-revealing-bodysuits notoriously rode at that same time, and usually three abreast.

Some would forget to ring their bell as a warning of their impending presence and I’d stumble to maintain my balance and calm my frightened dog, as they swished past in a blur of lycra, shouting, “Move – it’s a bikeway,” in a range of accents, or offer a very defiant ‘finger,’ if I didn’t move to let them pass.

journey

Despite all of this, it was the bruises that finally cemented my decision to sell and move to the Home by the Sea.

Point #5 – Small Rooms

In particular, the bruises incurred when my toe, or shin, connected clumsily with the bed-posts in the small inner-city Townhouse that I had down-sized to, as a potential retirement home. Low maintenance it was, but Townhouse living was going to be problematic.

Every room in my ultra-modern townhouse was so small, so confined, that it meant kicking my toe or shin, on the corner of the bed, vanity or chair, became a daily event. It might have been cute, compact and a breeze to clean, but there’s always a trade-off, isn’t there?

It was clear that I needed somewhere with a tad more space.

Not only that, but the family dog agreed with me.

Schnauzer Cam

Point #6 – Limited Yard for Pets

The small courtyard at the Townhouse gave the family dog no place to bury a bone, nor conduct her usual border patrol for illegal animal infiltrators. Her job, she thought, was to protect the premises from the likes of lizards, cats, Ibis or random Scrub Turkeys. The small astro-turfed courtyard just didn’t cut it, for my Princess.

A wild Scrub Turkey

A Home by the Sea

So weighing up the odds, we decided to move.

In complete contrast to Townhouse life, the Schnauzer loves her new home that has a small to medium L-shaped grassy yard. Now she can choose whether to sun herself or roll around in delight on the soft, green grass.

happy dog
Schnauzer discovering the yard

A bit like me really.

Retirement and the Pandemic

The Covid pandemic may have meant I retired a little prematurely, but more importantly, it has given me time to walk the dog, enjoy early mornings on the beach and not have to rush off to work, in busy commuter traffic.

To date, I have not sustained any bruises from the furniture in my new home by the sea!

A seemingly unending blue sky, fresh sea air, a comforting quietness as well as new places and friends to discover, has me feeling relaxed and content with no time constraints and nothing to do, but enjoy the rest of my life.

rubber thongs

More about my Seachange at the Home by the Sea

seachange
Home by the Sea
market
blogging

When Marketing Gets It Wrong

Do you read Product Reviews before buying a product?

The content of product reviews are increasingly influential for the public, when it comes to future purchasing choices. The opinion of the majority, or, the ‘herd,‘ also known as ‘Group think,’ is seen as paramount, as we discussed in a previous post .

Marketing techniques that target this type of thought and purchasing pattern, could be seen as lazy and fundamentally flawed.

Post-Purchase Screening of Customers

Consumers are more often than not, badgered by, not one, but several automated, emails asking them to give up their free time to:

“Tell us about your purchase,” and follow up if you do not reply to the email with a friendly:

“It’s not too late to tell us your thoughts.

Sometimes it is a text message asking,

How did we do?” in serving you and requesting your idea of a numeric rating.

All this in the name of improving customer service.

Do you like this level of attention after you have purchased a product?

Can you imagined if I badgered my readers like that?

Do you like my blog?

How often do you read the posts?

Do you want a daily update?

Are you sure?

It is not too late to subscribe!

Receiving a 5 star rating in a review might boost product sales more than any media advertisement and costs the company nothing. In short, shoppers are doing the marketing work for the company.

Canvassing Customers can be Risky Business

A product review can cut both ways. Badger a customer for a response and you might get a response, but not the the company likes.

A poor review might damage reputations, especially if it remains published. The veracity of the review itself is always at the mercy of customer competency and subjective biases.

Marketing Fail # 1

For example:

Recently I purchased a kitchen appliance for my new house that intermittently stopped working.

Frustrated, I wrote an online product review with a poor rating, whilst the ‘Moth’, (a.k.a. Man of the House), took it back to the store, asking for a replacement.

The product tested perfectly well in-store, but with an explanation that it was an intermittent fault, as we thought, the store replaced it without hassle.

Back home, the replacement product malfunctioned again!

So. Hmm.

Maybe, just maybe it wasn’t the product, after all, but a faulty power source? After all, ours was a new home, with newly installed power points.

To our horror, the appliance worked without fault in a different power point.

With a guilty feeling in our gut, we had to admit the appliance wasn’t faulty at all. Yet what damage had I done to that product’s reputation with my poor review, in the meantime?

Marketing /Product Review Fail # 2

I purchased a bra online through a popular department store and the automated email follow up I received after store pick up, is seen below.

I was asked to add photos, a video and location information!

In a young lady who purchased intimate apparel, this might be considered intrusive, but can you imagine photos, or video footage, of a 50 something lady, modelling a bra?

Probably not the content the store was after for their site. Aside from the fact they would surely filter out such content, it begs the question what else would, or could, they filter out?

As for the question of location – I can see the rationale to that question, but in the context of a bra purchase, it felt voyeuristic and slightly creepy.

Generic email and privacy filter arguments aside, this exemplifies how this style of marketing fails miserably and just serves to defeat its intended purpose!

Imagine if I had purchased underwear, or God forbid, a sex toy!

Australia, blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Overcoming Adversity

I am a bit late with posting my Sunday Sayings quote as it is now Monday afternoon, in Australia. I don’t want writing a regular blog post to become a chore, for then I feel sure my writing would lose spontaneity and appeal, so if I can’t think of anything useful to write, I won’t post at all. Just so you know.

Today’s inspiration resulted after a long walk along the beach with a friend.

Sunrise

Being on the beach at sunrise is fantastic and I feel extremely fortunate to experience it. With little accompanying wind and a mild air temperature, (given it was a winter’s morning in a sub-tropical part of Australia), the sun bid good morning through the low level cloud, hugging the islands across the bay.

That fire breathing star of atoms we all depend on for life, shone over the lapping seawater like a spotlight on a runway carpet. A beam of golden light that stretched across the ocean from the horizon to the shore line like a path to eternity. Magical.

As we walked, my friend and I chatted about life’s dramas, past experiences and the week ahead. She told me about a gentlemen on a UK TV show, who faced enormous challenges in his daily life, and who had seemingly had more than his share of devastating family tragedies, with one cataclysmic life event following another.

In chatting about the TV show and these experiences, I remembered a quote I had read some time back.

Inspirational Quote

Life Challenges and Adversity

After our walk was done and I was at home sipping a cup of tea, I pondered some more about life and facing adversity.

We have all experienced some level of adversity in life.

Everyone has challenges, sooner or later. There wouldn’t be one person on the planet that hasn’t faced some kind of adversity.

Given that such challenges and adversity are omnipresent, or a natural part of life, aiming to live a life without them seems a tad unrealistic and even far-fetched.

Yet how often do we yearn, and sometimes expect, life to be challenge free: wishing for an easy life.

I guess it is in our nature to want life to be trouble free and have free time to pursue hobbies, sport or leisure pursuits. Devices, gadgets and the latest electronic inventions promises itself as a panacea to our time-poor existence.

So I ask:

Why are we looking to save so much time?

In doing so, are we living in the here and now, or looking forward to a mythical ‘down’ time, failing to notice our lives, passing by?

Why do we Want More Leisure Time Anyway?

  • To make life more meaningful
  • To experience more relaxation and peace
  • To conduct leisure pursuits
  • To stop working in a job that bring us joy

What is it that gives us a sense of satisfaction in life?

If the Covid pandemic has any lesson, it is that some folks become completely bored without work, with nothing constructive to do, and a few even create mischief for others.

Is it in the facing of challenges that we come alive?

In overcoming adversity and challenges, even if painful or sad, we can learn and grow. This, in turn, might lead to a greater sense of satisfaction and contentment. Right?

You tell me.

What is it that you are seeking in wanting more leisure time?

Would you prefer a life completely free from challenges?

Join the Discussion

Everyone is welcome to comment, well except for spammers, of course.

History & Traditions, Philosophy

Living History 100 years ago

Margaret uses a Box iron – that is heated on the fire to iron her clothes. She cooks all her meals and bakes her own bread in a pot oven, over the open fire. She lives in a house without electricity and modern conveniences. This is not a reality show where we are taken back in time for a short period. This is the life of someone living in modern times, but just as people did 100 years ago in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

The fire, Margaret says, is essential not just for life, but for the house itself to survive, as the timbers, need the fire to preserve them. Without the fire, you could not live this way.

In addition, this county has interesting natural and social history features. As well as rare plants, there is the pagan stone – where the firstborn of stock and family were sacrificed in pagan times! A Holy Spring is located there – the waters of which are supposed to cure nervous and paralytic disorders.

It is thought some of my family may have come from this county, around 130 years ago, so this is a snapshot into the way of life they may have led. Margaret doesn’t see this house as a time capsule, the way we might.


She sees it as home just as her father and Grandfather did.

Could you live a life without modern conveniences. the way Margaret does?

If you had to give them up, which one would you miss the most?

Which one would you choose to keep?

Australia, Community, Environment

Where are you going, Australia?

Australia Day 2020

Today is Australia Day, or if you are a First Nation person, you might call it Invasion Day. Back in 1788, the “First Fleet.” of British ships arrived on Australia’s eastern coast and began establishing a British colony.

The British considered the Australian continent unoccupied – as the indigenous peoples were not considered as a nation in themselves. However wrong this was at the time, it happened and today we still celebrate this day with a public holiday.

pool
We never wore sun protective sun shirts like these kids did!

January 26 in Australia, marks the end of the long summer holidays and that means lots of folks travelling on the roads and lots of pool parties and barbeques.

At a time when the dude from Top Gear is making egotistical comments about Australia, Boris Johnson comments on our ‘resilient spirit.’

Is our country still resilient? When many of us support dirty coal fired power generation? Or deny climate change?

Not all Aussies fully comprehend the gravity of the planet’s situation as they only hear what the media here tells them. The media often fails to give a balanced view!

So,
What can you do, when those who are ignorant or closed to new ideas vote in ignorant fools, because they read and listen to tabloid tripe? It’s a little depressing.

Whilst European economics has its problems, at least they are aiming for better air to breathe, and a better country for their children.

We seem to be taking a longer time to understand the problem.

Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy, South Eastern Victoria, Australia

This Australia Day – take up my challenge and show that Australians can:

  • Read more widely – especially those opinions that you don’t at first agree with – they may have a point of view that resonates somewhere. It can’t hurt you even if you don’t change your opinion – you will just be better informed.
  • Seek out facts to substantiate your opinion. The Radio and TV commentators might be and often are misinformed or wrong.
  • Discuss this with your friends and listen to feedback.
  • Challenge long held beliefs – the world is changing.
schnauzer dog reading
Even my Schnauzer was interested in books

Don’t get left behind, Australia.

stpa logo
sandy beach
Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Exercise – I hate it, so I found a solution.

When you live in a hot climate, exercising is hard. The will to jog or pump iron in the blistering heat of a steamy summer’s day, is almost impossible to find.

Stradbroke Island
Adder Rock

Entering my fifth decade, I discovered that if I didn’t exercise regularly and followed my ever increasing sedentary lifestyle, my body and its joints quickly became stiff. The flexibility and mobility of my youth was lost. As we age, many of us find this loss might even become permanent, if we don’t find a way to move.

black and white sepia beach

Balance

Balance is also the first of our senses to deteriorate with the passing years, so it is vitally important to find a way to preserve that sense of balance, for as long as you can. How many older folks pass away or deteriorate after a fall and the consequential broken hip?

Gentle Exercise with Benefits

If you find the prospect of jogging or hard aerobic exercise unbearable, as I do, Yoga is the perfect way to begin an exercise routine and achieve some gentle movement, in your body. If you are able to devote a few minutes each morning or even three times a week, you will find that before too long, your body will begin yearning to stretch.

jump happy

Hatha Yoga

The best thing about Yoga is that it is designed for people of all ages and levels of fitness. The beautiful thing about Hatha or most styles of yoga, as opposed to the punishing regime of Bikram or hot yoga, is that it is not competitive. You work at your own pace, listening to your body, gradually encouraging it to stretch and strengthen when it’s ready.

Hatha Yoga practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit.

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/hatha

But don’t think you won’t get any sort of workout in Yoga if you like something more challenging. You can choose to push your limits, if you are able, but you will do it gently and safely and calmly. No stress, no over reaching your body. Just gentle stretching.

Digestive Benefits

Practising Yoga not only keeps you fit and toned, but provides innumerable benefits to the internal systems of the body as well. The many forward bending asanas, or positions, stimulate digestion and elimination.

Calming the Nervous System

Twisting poses and backbends stimulate spinal nerves, benefiting the entire nervous system but please start out small, very small, if you haven’t exercised for some time.

Yogic stretches and accompanying breathing techniqes are one of the best way to calm an over-stimulated nervous system, and with regular practice, you’re find that you are able to relax and face life’s difficulties more easily. Inversions – even as simple as forward bending and touching you toes, pump up your blood circulation and can even counteract depressive feelings.

The ancient Yogis believed that holding a ‘downward facing dog’ posture for up to 30 minutes could cure depression! Perhaps that is a stretch, (no pun intended), but I think holding a pose like this, would certainly distract anyone from feeling bad about themselves, albeit temporarily!

What is the Secret?

The breathing exercises incorporated in yoga, bring increased oxygen to the blood, which then washes through the body’s cells, rejuvenating them from the inside out. It is the squeezing and releasing of muscles within the many physical poses that then creates many of the bodily benefits.

Immunity

Yoga asanas may also affect the glands and regulate the production of hormones, something modern medicine finds difficult to control without nasty side effects. In fact, hatha yoga does wonders for all systems of the body and for your general immunity.


Even a small effort at this form of exercise is repaid almost instantly with increased feelings of well being.

daisy

With regular yoga practice, you will quickly notice how your body feels lighter, livelier and more limber.

Depending on the Yoga exercises you choose to do, you can focus on improving your balance, strength and/or flexibility and general mobility.

handstand on sandy beach

More subtle forms of yoga aid and prepare for a meditation that may relieve stress and benefit the body, mind and you, the soul.

Here is how to reduce stress via some simple meditations you can do at home.

For more specific poses for knee and back pain click here at this blog

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Namaste

table overlooking the sea
Community

A Seachange

A Home by the Sea

How does one handle change?

Change might be disruptive and jolting, a shock to the system but it also heralds new possibilities and opportunities.

I will soon be moving to a new location. A new house, new area, new neighbours. It is exciting but a little daunting.

Some of you know that we have been prepping for this move for over a year and soon it will become reality. Add to that, I will be semi-retired- whatever that means?

Have you some moving tips for me? Last year when I moved to my current townhouse, I become stressed out and exhausted. I used to be an ace at moving house, when I was in my twenties and moving flats every year or so.

Thirty years on, I am older and need some tips on making it less stressful.

I would love to hear your suggestions.

View original post

Food

Work Lunch Done – Quinoa Salad

This salad has something a little different for ingredients and looks great on the table due to its intense color and flavour. All the more perfect and refreshing, if it is summer, in your part of the world!

If you are looking to make a quick lunch, possibly to take to work, and still have leftover that can double for a light and healthy dinner, then this Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad, I’ve adapted from Lorelle’s recipe might be a perfect option. [After all who likes a soggy sandwich for lunch, or has the energy to make a nutritious gourmet meal, when work finishes late.]

As the main ingredient was “Quinoa,” one of those buzzy superfoods that everyone is talking about, and I noticed a bag of tricolour Quinoa just begging to be used in my pantry, I thought I’d try it out.

In addition, this recipe has pomegranate and I do like pomegranate!

But first a little about Keen-wah, or Quinoa!

Forgot to edit out the brand name – sorry.

“Quinoa is gluten free, high in folate and Magnesium, and Manganese. Quinoa is (also) high in fiber, protein and has a low glycemic index. It has been linked to weight loss and improved health.

Red quinoa (which takes on a brownish hue when cooked) has a richer taste, slightly chewier texture, and somewhat nuttier flavor compared to white quinoa. It’s often the quinoa of choice for cold salads as it holds its shape better during cooking. “

“Quinoa is also high in B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.

These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies. “

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-quinoa

Potassium has the added health benefit of, “protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.”

vegetables tomato salad

Problem #1:

Lorelle’s wonderful recipe suggested using Pomegranate Molasses as an ingredient for the salad dressing. But where would I find that?

Not in the mainstream supermarket, that’s for sure.

Lorelle suggested I try to source it from a Middle Eastern Grocer. That required finding one first, and getting a free day to go there, so instead, I decided to adapt Lorelle’s recipe using some extra honey in place of the Molasses and adding a few of my own ingredients, that I had in my pantry.

Recipe on the go.

NB. I have included the usual way to prepare Quinoa at the bottom of this post.

Then I encountered another problem I had not anticipated –

Problem #2 –

How do I peel the pomegranate, and get those beautiful juicy capsules out?

How do you do that, I thought? Anyone have a suggestion?

There was a somewhat aborted attempt, by me, to cut the pomegranate in quarters and then scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.

Those in Club Pomegranate ‘knowhow’, can probably imagine the slightly shocking scene that soon confronted me:

Tens of dozens of small ruby red pomegranate capsules flinging about in all directions over my kitchen bench and floor as I tried valiantly to scoop them out. To which, my son who had just arrived hoping for something to eat stood at the door of the kitchen, with his mouth gaping, pointing quizzically towards the floor.

What’s happened here? he said, his face aghast.

I looked down at the ruby red smears on my hands and all over the kitchen floor – quickly realizing the creamy-white tiles were now reminscent of a scene from a B grade Murder Movie. “I was trying to remove the pomegranate seeds,” I said. “But I am not quite sure how.”

The look of his face made me think he remained totally unconvinced I wasn’t killing some poor creature, for its meat.

Luckily for me, and somewhat late to the party, Youtube came to my rescue.

This is how I should have approached the task.

Easy, right?

Only when you know how!

So Helter Skelter Scene averted, and tiles duly mopped clean, I was back to the salad.

I did add some other minor variants to the Lorelle’s ingredients list, so I do hope she doesn’t mind.

Here is how it turned out:

Looks pretty scrumptious and I am happy to recommend it.

Instead of sharing it with my family, who are prone to turn up their noses at strange new dishes, I took it to work, for lunch.

Work lunch – Done!

Here is the full recipe:

Chickpea & Quinoa Salad†

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup uncooked Tri-colour Quinoa

¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1 ½ cups chicken stock*

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 can corn kernels, rinsed and drained

1/2 punnet Gourmet Pecorina tomatoes,

(I used yellow and red ones for contrast)

½ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped mint

1 cucumber, [diced]

½- 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Dressing Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

4 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon salt

Method:

  • In a medium saucepan heat the Olive oil.
  • Add garlic and sauté lightly
  • Add Quinoa and stir over low – medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock* or water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 mins or until water is absorbed.
  • Cool completely. Once cool, fluff the Quinoa to separate the grains.
  • Mix cucumber, herbs, and the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl, before adding the cooled quinoa and toasted nuts and seeds.
  • Mix all ingredients for the dressing together. Pour over Quinoa salad and mix well.
  • Serve on a bed of spinach* leaves for an extra nutritional boost of Magnesium, potassium, Vitamin K, A, and Iron.

* “Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium and magnesium, two very important electrolytes necessary for maintaining human health. Spinach provides a whopping 839 milligrams of potassium per cup (cooked). As a comparison, one cup of sliced banana has about 539mg of potassium.” 

https://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html

*Lorelle’s Vegan option: Substitute water for chicken stock and omit honey in dressing.

How to Prepare Quinoa

Rinse Quinoa under running water prior to cooking to get rid of saponins, which are found on the outer layer and can have a bitter flavor. Some brands may have already been rinsed.

2 cups (240 ml) of water/chicken stock in a pot, turn up the heat.

Add 1 cup (170 grams) of raw quinoa.

Boil for 15–20 minutes.

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Superfood Salads are Something to Ponder About for Work Lunches

Australia

My New Blog – Seachange.home.blog

As some of you may know, I am preparing for the next stage of my life. Retirement from work. It is a few years off yet, however I do like to be prepared.

To this end, we are building a future home at the beach. A new home means a new blog called A Home By the Sea.

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My Journal Blog Seachange.home.blog/

If you wish to follow along on this journey with me, click on the link above and you will be magically transported to my blog: A Home by the Sea.

Brighton beach

Just to be clear, Something to Ponder About will continue in its present form. The new blog will have more of a personal journalling function.

At the moment, it is in its infancy, merely following our building projects’ ups and downs. But the challenge of transitioning to retirement will bring loads more stories, commentaries and pictures, so that will come later.

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orange and cinnamon cake
Cakes, Community, Food

Ten Minute Orange Cake Recipe

Reminiscing about my Danish Grandmother who used to cook Orange cake for Sunday afternoon tea, I remembered how, as a child, I looked forward to visiting her house as I could smell the aroma of baking, as we arrived.

Anyone can find ten minutes to spare, right?

How long does it take to post on instagram with all those hashtags that must be included?

You can abandon convenience food a.k.a. supermarket style prepared cakes, in favour of a freshly baked treat and know that it is not difficult nor time-consuming.

And it tastes SO much better!

This cake took me less than 10 minutes to prep, due to speedy preparation in the processor.

Then you simply wait for the oven timer to ring, while you check your social media or email and voila! Time for tea!

Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon this quick and easy recipe will have your mouth-watering for more. Apart from the sugar content, and a small amount of necessary butter, there are no extra unhealthy ingredients; plus it has the advantage of a bit of Vitamin C and delightful orange flavour.

Processor Orange Cake

A cake that is good for you! Yay!

Delicious as is, there’s no need to add any frosting or topping, eat it straight out of the oven.

A dusting of vanilla/icing sugar, or a simple mix of icing sugar and small amount of juice to soften to a clean frosting would be a nice option, if you aren’t counting calories or sugar content.

recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Caster or fine grain sugar, but ordinary sugar will do.
  • 1 cup Self Raising flour (Self Raising flour is the same as 1 cup plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • 2 tablespoons extra of normal plain flour
  • 2 tsp grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) soft butter
  • 2 eggs

Method:

1. Combine sugar, flours, and orange rind in food processor with butter. Blitz sporadically until just combined.

2. Pour Orange juice through the chute with motor on.

3. Add eggs and blitz till smooth. Not too much though or your cake won’t be light.

4. Pour into well-greased bar tin (something with a base about 12 x 22cm/ 5 x 9 inch) that has been lined with grease-proof or baking paper.

5. Bake in a Moderate Oven 180º C, ( 375º F), for 40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Ensure the cake cools for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack.

If would be nice with a Cream Cheese frosting.

When you are unsure of what to serve for tea, let them eat cake –

Orange cake – No fuss to ponder about.

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Australia, Community

The Downside to Hipster Living

Some people know I’m preparing for a seachange; I’m ‘pulling up stumps,’ as they say, in the suburbs, and have already moved, in the interim, to a trendy townhouse in the inner city’s dress circle. What is it like, you might ask?

Street

Think Gourmet ice cream and Vegan eateries, Sushi Trains on many a corner, craft beer bars playing Indie music and a variety of those glamorous shops that sell ludicrously expensive white and taupe furnishings with cushions that are perfectly positioned for looks, rather than comfort. Yep – in a nutshell – that’s Hipsterville. Right at my doorstep.

Imagine little old suburban me, walking the shared bike way in my daggy joggers, being steamrollered by cyclists festooned in those all too revealing lycra bodysuits. [Yes it did happen- several times]. The little Schnauzer was even caught in the slipstream of these semi-pros, who seemingly insist on riding three abreast and stubbornly refuse to ring their bell when overtaking. Grrr.

Or you might visualize me wandering the lazy Sunday markets where the fare on offer includes Triple shot Machiatos, Green smoothies with Turmeric and Kale or a dose of Banh mi with your breakfast falafel.

No – don’t get me wrong. The food is good and I do like it here. I do. In fact, it is easy to love this hipster lifestyle.

But…

I do have a problem with an all too burgeoning waistline and the incessant noise. It took me well over a month to sleep past 4.20 am in the mornings, due to the parade of ‘tradies in Utes’, (tradesmen in utility vehicles) heading to work.

Seriously, who needs alarm clocks when you have the roar of light commercial engines outside your windows, Monday to Friday? These guys are up at the crack of dawn, speeding down the streets, reveling in being able to drive more recklessly due to the absence of other cars and non-existent bumper to bumper traffic at that earliest of hours.

Neither do I relish nearly being run over – twice in one week.

The narrow, horse and buggy style inner city streets, that no cat worth his salt would be found swinging in, are all very quaint if you are an early pioneer, but the restricted access makes crossing the street after 6am a bit of a death wish. And it is not that I don’t like that cozy European feel. I do, but this isn’t Europe, it’s Australia and it looks and feels like Australia. The land of empty spaces, unless you are in the inner city, of course.

Austria

And don’t get me started on the lack of on street parking around here. (Thank goodness for extra visitors park when people come to visit).

Complaints to the council about the aforementioned hazardous intersection fall on deaf ears. Yet the authorities proudly flaunt “Traffic upgrade” leaflets, which were noticeably more prevalent in the run up to elections.

The mooted traffic upgrade did nothing to address the potentially deadly corner, but detailed adding another, to my mind, slightly extravagant, turning lane for cars, 400 metres away from the aforementioned deathly bottleneck. There is no common sense in Hipsterville, it would seem.

And by goodness, neither do I welcome the many bruises appearing on my body. In particular, on my shin when it connects with the bedpost. Our former suburban house had sprawling bedrooms (thanks to the MOTH’s randomized house design from his single days when he built the old house with his father). The Inner city digs are about half the dimensions, yet we have the same number of people living here.

To its credit, the pygmy like size of the Hipster house has its advantages. It’s a dream when it comes to cleaning. Every room is so small, it takes but a jiffy to clean, but of course there is a catch, isn’t there? Not immediately obvious, the downside to this small “castle” is that I kick my toe on the corner of the bed, vanity or chair on an almost daily basis.

Construction begins

Furthermore, my dressing table now doubles as a computer desk, because only one of these things will fit in the bedroom space. By contrast, the new house will have two study areas and embarrassingly, I was supposed to downsize! His and Hers study areas? Works for me. Woohoo!

The Schnauzer concurs with me. In the teency weency townhouse yard, she has no place to bury a bone and must jump into a raised garden, in order to dig up a prized potplant or effect her border patrol for illegal infiltrators, such as lizards or a random Scrub turkey. But she is a little depressed. She protests strongly each morning that we must walk out on the grassy footpath, as the astro turf just doesn’t cut it, when it comes to an appropriate place for Schnauzie wees and poos.

schnauzer animation
Say What?

For the minute though, I’ll relish the short walk to the shopping centre and library. I’ll swing by the bakery for freshly baked sourdough and pop around the corner for a Pizza and Peroni with the MOTH, at happy hour, without the worry of who’s driving home or being over the allowed alcohol limit for driving a car.

Running out of bread or forgetting the eggs is now batted away by me, as a minor inconvenience. Despite its shortcomings, the inner city hipster life does have its heady attractions.

Next stop – this awaits

Excuse me whilst I go sip some Chai or perhaps it’ll be a triple shot Mocha. Heavens, I might even take up cycling! It is all Something to Ponder About.

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