Tag Archives: Buddhism

Spring is in the air! The Joys of Blossom… and Living in the Moment!

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! ūüôā

On Saturday we had glorious weather in Bath, so I took the opportunity to get out into the garden and do some tidying up.¬†¬†It was so warm that we even managed to eat our lunch outside ūüôā

It¬†really does feel like Spring has arrived in Bath.¬† The crocuses and primroses are popping up everywhere in our¬†little garden…

along with the daffodils and cute little narcissus ūüôā


One of my favourite things about Springtime is blossom.  Trees look so severe in Wintertime without their leaves, but come Springtime, their bare branches are covered in the most delicately coloured, beautiful flowers that are an absolute joy to see.

One of my favourite types of blossom is found on the japonica tree. 

This tree is situated outside Lil’ L’s bedroom, and¬†it’s such a nice¬†sight to be greeted with as¬† I open his curtains first¬†thing¬†in the morning.

To reach school, we have to walk up a very steep hill.¬† Even though I consider¬†myself to be¬†pretty fit, I’m totally out of breath as¬†I reach the top!¬† But what I focus on as I’m climbing (and huffing and puffing!)¬†is the cherry tree that marks the end of the hill.¬† This tree is absolutely glorious at the moment…¬†

with¬†the most beautiful blossom ūüôā

And check out how blue the sky was on the school run today!

¬†In last week’s Wednesday Workshop (a little primary school Buddhist class that I teach each Wednesday) we read the story of the Four Princesses and the Kingshuk Tree (a beautiful story!) and I used the example of blossom to teach the children about impermanence¬†and the importance of living in the moment.¬† Most of us are so busy in our lives, with our heads filled with a million and one thoughts and plans, that we risk losing sight of all the beauty that surrounds us in our natural environment.¬† When we do live in the moment, everything becomes brighter, clearer, more beautiful.

Time to enjoy the blossom… it’ll be gone before we know it!

Has Spring arrived where you live?¬† What’s your favourite thing about this season?



Filed under Buddhism & Meditation, General wittering, The Garden

Magical Meditation & WIAW!

Hello everyone!¬† Hope you’ve had a great day!

I’ve just come back from another magical afternoon with my workshop children.¬†¬† I led three meditation groups this afternoon (2 workshops and 1 playtime session).¬† Today ,we did¬†‘Wishfulfilling Jewel’ meditations.¬† It¬†was beautiful to see the children¬†in such¬†peaceful meditative states,¬†followed by¬†enthusiastic, animated¬†discussions about their¬†experience of the meditation ūüôā


While I keep the meditation session short (5-10 minutes), one boy carried on meditating for another 35 minutes whilst the rest of the children watched a film. He was totally absorbed in the meditation and completely still.  It was incredible to watch!

At playtime, I’m teaching a Year 6 (10 year old) girl how to meditate. Today, she joined in with Lil’ L and his friend who had already come into the classroom to meditate.¬† Lil’ L¬†led¬†the introductory breathing meditation, then I continued with the¬†wishfulfilling jewel.¬† For some reason, this meditation seemed to have physical effects on the children.¬† Two of them¬†said¬†that their hands were tingling and the tips of the girl’s fingers had¬†turned¬†red and¬†hot.¬† Lil’ L¬†actually heated up during the meditation and was sweating.¬†¬† However, soon after¬†meditation finished, he¬†cooled down.¬† I’ve never witnessed anything like this before, so I’m not sure what it means.¬† I’ll have to consult¬†the experts ūüėČ

In the workshops today, we started watching ‘The Legend of Buddha’ (an English-speaking Indian animation film).¬† I must have seen this film¬†at least six times already (and saw the first half twice today!) but it still moves¬†me every time I watch it.¬† The kids love it too!

Next Wednesday is the last workshop sessions of the term.¬† The children have worked so hard and, to show my appreciation, I’ve got a little present to give to¬†each of them.¬† I’m really looking forward to seeing their faces when they open it.¬† I can’t say what it is¬†yet, as I don’t want Lil’ L to find out, but I’ll reveal all next Wednesday ūüėČ

I also had some pretty cool eats today, and as it’s time for the lovely Jenn’s ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ party, I’ll share them with you.¬† Here goes…

Hot lemon & water
3 vegan blueberry buckwheat and oat pancakes (left over from last night’s dessert).

This is¬†one of those flukey shots where I took one photo and it actually turned out¬†okay.¬† Normally I take a gazillion photos to get one that I’m happy with, so this was a very rare occurrence!

At the weekend I trialled a festive version of my classic lentil and nut loaf.¬†¬†This basically meant that I added nuts that I consider to be ‘festive’ (hazelnuts and chestnuts) and¬†glazed the top of the loaf with¬†lots of delicious¬†cranberry sauce.


I only got round to tasting the loaf today.  As I needed a quick lunch, I simply ate it cold with a side serving of raw kale coated in Good Hemp oil and sprayed with B Shot raspberry balsamic vinegar.

Check out how sunny it was when I attempted to take a photo!¬† We’re still having some crazy weather for November!

The cranberry sauce glaze was lush! 

Snacks & Drinks
Nettle tea
Peppermint tea
A little water (not enough)
Black coffee & 1 Amaretti biscuit (to test that they were edible ūüėČ )

Today I made a batch of¬†Amaretti biscuits, which I’m planning to give as presents to friends, family and Lil’ L’s school teachers.¬† I got great feedback when I made these biscuits last year,¬†so I’ve been¬†looking forward to making them again.¬† They are really¬†easy and¬†quick to make! (recipe below)

There was no light by the time the biscuits were ready to be photographed, so I've had to resort to an old, bad photo from last year ūüôĀ

Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes approximately 40 biscuits.

325 g / 11.5 oz / 3 1/4 cups ground almonds
300 g / 10.5 oz / 1 1/4 cups unrefined caster sugar
3 organic, free-range egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 170C / 325F / Gas 3.  Line baking sheets with parchment.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm.  
3. Gently fold the sugar, almonds and extracts into the egg white, until you have a smooth paste.
4. Roll the mixture into small balls (approx. 1 tbsp mixture per ball).  Flatten slightly and place on the baking tray approx. 2cm / 3/4 inch apart.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until lightly golden (the biscuits will remain soft until they cool down).
6. Leave to cool completely before gently peeling off the baking paper.

These biscuits last for weeks.¬† They start off crunchy and eventually become soft and chewy (but still as delicious) ūüôā

This is¬†one of the rare occasions that I¬†use eggs in my baking.¬† I bought them¬†from a local guy who keeps a few hens.¬† I grilled him to find out how he looks after and cares for the hens¬†… I even asked him if he loves them!¬†(cue amusing response to the ‘mad’ lady ūüėČ )¬† Anyway, I’m satisfied that these hens¬†are well cared for,¬†so I’m happy to purchase their eggs.

Tonight, we had chestnut and green lentil soup.¬† This soup is so tasty and Lil’ L absolutely loves it!¬† He’s had it for dinner twice this week already.¬† Today, we served it with a sprinkling of shelled hempseeds on top, and warm seeded ciabatta¬†on the side.

Click here for the recipe.

Lil’ L and M also had a serving of the festive nut loaf (to test it) along with some crispy kale.¬† They both loved the loaf, so it looks like it’s definitely going to feature on the Christmas dinner plate.

Tonight, M made one of his ‘speciality’ smoothies for dessert… chocolate, banana and blueberry smoothie made with Alpro soya milk.¬† A great (sneaky) way to get some blueberries into Lil’ L’ ūüėČ

It’s been a fantastic day all round for me!¬† I hope this Wednesday has been a good one for you too!¬†

What has been the¬†highlight of your day?¬† For me, it was definitely the kids’ workshops.¬†

What was your favourite eats?¬†Hard for me to choose today, but I’m going to go for the Amaretti biscuit, closely followed by the chestnut soup.

I’d love to hear from you!¬† In the meantime, I’ll pop¬†over to Jenn’s party and¬†get some¬†inspiration for some more great eats ūüôā

Happy WIAW everyone!


Filed under Baking & Desserts, Buddhism & Meditation, Dinners

My Little Saviours

Okay, time to reveal the source of the¬†‘challenges and opportunities’ (known to others as ‘frustration’) that I encountered¬†Tuesday night and Wednesday morning…

Here it is…

It looks so innocent doesn’t it?¬† Some might even call it ‘beautiful’.¬† Before it arrived in the post, I was even referring to it as the ‘Sexy Salsa’.¬† Now I just call it the ‘smartypants’ phone :-/

I thought it was about time that I embraced the new technologies of the 21st century and get myself an ‘android smartphone’ (I don’t have a clue¬†what that means!)¬† This upgrade (¬£13.50 p/m) is¬†actually cheaper than my old phone deal, so I should¬†add it¬†to yesterday’s¬†‘Big Budget Challenge’ post.

Well, it turns out that the ‘smartphone’ is way too smart for me.¬† I didn’t have a CLUE how to use the thing.¬† I was chuffed when I finally worked out how to turn it on¬†after 5 minutes of fiddling…¬†but it¬†all went¬†downhill from that point onwards.

The phone had automatically ‘synced’ with Facebook and my phone contacts list was then filled with the phone numbers of Facebook ‘friends’, rather than my regular¬†friends.¬† I pressed the¬†first name that appeared at the top of the screen to see if I could¬†edit it.¬† To my horror, the phone started calling the person… Esther in Canada!!!¬† It took me ages to work out how to end the call (because I’m so thick when it comes to new technology).¬† THEN, I accidentally rested my finger on the phone… and it started ringing Esther in Canada again!!! aarrghhhh!

I gave up and decided to have another try in the morning.

M asked me if I’d read the manual.¬†¬†I checked the manual and no, it doesn’t mention how to make a phone call or send a text as it ASSUMES that everyone already knows how to do this.¬† The manual just talks about ‘Facebook Chat’, ‘Snap, tag and share’ and other things that I have NO clue about.

I finally worked out how to send a text, but my fat fingers seem to press about 5 letters at once.¬† A 2 sentence text took me about 5 minutes because I had to delete every other letter.¬† I can’t wait to let my mum have a go (mind you, she can’t do worse than me lol!)

My second ‘challenge’ on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was an¬†attempt to move my blog to a new host.¬† My new hosting provider has a ‘1 click install’ which is described as being so simple that even a 4 year old could do it.¬† I’m sure a 4 year old probably could do it… but I failed miserably. It’s still not sorted, but I’m hoping that my wonderful tecchie friend ‘E’ will be my saviour on this one.

So after a rubbish Wednesday morning (which¬†I’m happy to say wasn’t a complete waste of time as it’s¬†been a great source of amusement for my friends), it was a relief¬†to leave the house, the phone, the computer, and go to teach my kids’ meditation classes.

The kids were little stars¬†as usual.¬†Just watching them meditate filled me with such a sense of peace. Apparently,¬†Lil’ L and¬†some of¬†his friends had been meditating during playtime, before I’d even arrived at school.¬† It was a very chilled, rewarding afternoon.¬†¬†This carried on after school too.¬† I¬†sneakily took a¬†picture of Lil’ L meditating¬†in the garden…

And here’s a pic of¬†another 2 of his classmates meditating Wednesday evening (emailed to me by their mum).

Don’t they look so peaceful?

And finally, here’s a beautiful picture that another one of Lil’ L’s friends drew on Wednesday afternoon.


What a beautiful way to end a crazy day!

I’d love to upload these images onto my new smartypants phone but that’s one step too advanced for me.¬† Maybe I’ll ask¬†a 4 year old ūüėČ

Have a wonderful weekend everybody! xx


Filed under Buddhism & Meditation, General wittering

Have a star!

If you knew what I know about the power of giving,
you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.

I can’t believe that I’ve been teaching ‘Wednesday¬†Workshops’ for a whole school year.¬† The time has¬†flown by!¬† I thought that it would be a nice idea to end the term with a workshop on ‘Giving’.¬†¬†It was a wonderful afternoon, with the children far exceeding my expectations in terms of their understanding and reflections of¬†the virtue of giving.¬†¬†

For the last meditation, the children imagined that they were wish-fulfilling jewels, giving everyone in the world something that would make them happy.  We then sat in a circle and imagined that we were giving the person sitting next to us something that they would really like.  I wondered if the children would pick some crazy gifts just for a laugh, but they were incredibly sensitive and, with no prompting from me, decided to give gifts such as diamonds, friendship, love and a cuddle!  

For our arts and crafts, most of the children chose to make mala bracelets to give to friends/family as presents, while one of the boys chose to make ‘friendship’ badges, which he was going to¬†give to the children in his class.¬†

All in all, it was a wonderful¬†end to the term¬†and I’m¬†incredibly proud of all the children.¬† I awarded¬†certificates in recognition of how well they’ve done in their meditation practice, and gave each of them¬†gold stars and a¬†treat ūüôā

A¬†baked treat that’s popular with¬†these children¬†is my¬†dairy-free¬†shortbread stars.¬† One time I made 40 shortbread stars for the children and within a couple of minutes they’d all been eaten!¬†¬†These stars are also popular in¬†our house as snacks and lunchbox treats for both Lil’ L and M.¬† Here’s¬†the recipe.

Sesame Shortbread Stars (Dairy-free)

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Buddhism & Meditation

Nut Kofta Kebabs… and fitting rocks into a box!

Fresh veg supplies are low in our house,¬†but last night I spotted a couple of carrots and some frozen peas and decided to make some vegetable couscous for our dinner.¬† For¬†a¬†protein and calcium boost, I¬†made some nut kofta¬†kebabs.¬† The two¬†went¬†really well together.¬† Lil’ L loved the dinner and described it as “yummy” and “scrummy”. ūüôā¬†¬†The recipe can be found here.

For his lunch today, Lil’ L¬†took¬†the leftover couscous along with a seeded pitta bread.¬†

Nut Kofta Kebabs with Vegetable Couscous

¬†Today, I woke up¬†thinking “I must revise!!!”¬†¬†I’ve got an important Buddhist exam coming up on July 12th and I need to¬†memorise around 140 pages of text.¬† If I don’t seriously start revising now, there’ll be no chance of me learning it all!¬†

A teaching came to mind that I heard last year which gave helpful suggestions on¬†how to¬†prioritise¬†activities in our busy daily lives.¬† I can’t remember the exact¬†analogy used, but it was along the lines of¬†“what’s the best way of fitting a pile of rocks into a box?” (rocks = tasks we need to accomplish / box = today)¬† Basically, we need to put the big rocks in first¬†otherwise they won’t fit!¬† I totally get this now as all week I’ve been trying to fit¬†revision in with the¬†million other things I need to get done.¬† Revision seems to get squeezed into the hour before school pick up, which is no way near enough time.¬†

So, today,¬†I decided to put the big rock into the¬†box first…¬†and did 2 hours revision first thing before I started to tackle¬†the smaller rocks.¬† I needed to go into Bath and buy¬†Lil’ L some bigger daps¬†(in Essex we call them ‘plimsols’) because he mentioned a few weeks ago that his daps were too small and I don’t want to stunt his toes¬†by leaving this rock any longer.¬† I realised I wouldn’t have¬†time to do any proper exercise today, so decided to “kill 2 birds with one stone” and run into Bath.¬† (Is there another saying¬†I can use instead of the killing birds one?¬†¬†I really don’t like it!)

I decided to try out the Adidas ‘running’ rucksack that M had bought me for¬†Christmas.¬† It’s got lots of straps on it and is meant to fit snugly on your back while you run.¬† I don’t think I did¬†it¬†up correctly though, as the rucksack kept bouncing up and down and chafing my neck.¬† In the¬†end, I ran along holding the rucksack down with one hand.¬† It wasn’t the¬†greatest running style, but I managed to get to Walcot Street in 18 minutes, which is quicker than the bus ūüôā

Still got a million things to do today, but at least I got the¬†big rock in (and a few smaller ones as¬†well) ūüėČ

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Filed under Buddhism & Meditation, Dinners, Running