My sugar free challenge….yikes!

Recently I have noticed that not one day goes by that I don’t eat sugar. Whether it’s sugar in my coffee or a biscuit, everyday I have something sweet. Once I had this realisation, I started wondering if this is normal or am I becoming subconsciously addicted to sugar?

As a result, I have chosen to challenge myself (and get healthy while I am it) by deciding to cut sugar (except sugar from natural foods like fruit) from my diet completely. My logic (and my family doctor) says that sugar isn’t a natural ingredient in our diets so we should, in reality, be able to live without it.

This is one of the biggest challenges that I will face because (1) I LOVE sweet things…I have a very, very, very sweet tooth. (2) I comfort eat…and that means I tackle the cookie jar. (3) I love baking and it’s my therapy. (4) I have a sweet tooth…I think you get the point.

There are other health benefits with cutting sugar out of your diet. I’m not doing this challenge to lose weight but I am looking forward to feeling better, healthier and more energetic.

So wish me luck as I tackle, what at times sounds like an impossible task, of cutting out sugar. I will be writing posts on my journey, cravings, moods, etc as I start to slowly detox my body from what has become my sweet habit.

Chat soon!

Lily x

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What inspires you?

This seems like such a simple question, but it’s so complicated at times. What inspires you? What is inspiring you today? What has inspired you in the past? And what inspires you throughout your life? We all have our outlets of joy, some are throughout our days while others are longer forms of inspiration and passion.

The other day, I cut an apple open only to find that one of the little seeds wanted to grow. It seemed that with a little bit of tlc the seed would germinate. So I put that specific seed aside and thought I should double-check if any of the other seeds were also in the process of growing. I found another two that seemed like they wanted to grow. I decided to put the seeds in between damp cotton pads until they were big enough to put in the soil. I felt like I was in school doing a project in Biology class! A few days passed and one could see the daily growth as they were raring to grow. After a couple of days in the damp cotton pads, they were large enough to plant in some soil. This seemed to be the fuel in the rocket! Within a few days the seeds had fully germinated and small leaves were starting to appear on the little seedlings. Watching these seeds grow has inspired me in a very simple way. It illustrates how time is passing and what a difference a day makes. It also helps me appreciate plants and gives me something to be proud of as I nurture these little seedlings into hopefully lovely large apple trees. These little seeds reminded me of my mortality, my maternal side and my love for nurturing plants (I don’t have pets or children, so plants are the next best thing!).

I think there are so many simple things we overlook and don’t end up embracing them fully. I would never think that something as simple as apple seeds would ever make me happy, but oddly they have. Other simple things that make me smile quietly to myself are things like getting flowers unexpectedly, hearing from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while and even the resident pigeon that sits on my balcony every afternoon.

Even when one is having a dark day, it’s always important (as hard as it is) to remember there’s always inspiration around you and there’s always something that will lift your spirit. The difference is whether we are ready to receive that inspiration and take note of things around us.

Until next time,

Lily x

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Embrace challenges and accept that everything changes…

Hello my fellow bloggers,

I didn’t realise how quickly time passes! My last blog entry was a year ago, and to be honest it feels as though it has only been a few weeks. Reflecting on the year that has passed, so many things have changed. I have changed careers and have moved from doing a job that pays the bills to a job that I love and am excited to do.  I got married. I have made more friends in my adopted city. I have learnt to be more patient with myself and others. But most importantly, I have learnt so much about myself.

The biggest lesson I have learnt in this past year is to embrace challenges and accept change. This is something that I initially resisted and that made my life hard, stressful and uncomfortable most of the time. I was in situations that left me pondering ‘how did my life turn out this way?’ and ‘why isn’t this going according to plan?’. Embarrassingly, I realised rather late in life that while we make plans, God laughs. We don’t expect all the challenges (the good and bad kind) and we resist change because it’s uncomfortable for most of us. But I’ve learnt to let go and embrace what comes my way. By doing the latter and once I started going with the flow in life, things have unexpectedly (and pleasantly) fallen in place.

Make your life easier and more enjoyable by embracing challenges and accept change.

Until next time,

Lily x

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The Owl House

After a very eventful Christmas, New Years and January, I am trying to get back into my normal writing routine. I wanted my first post for 2011 to be about something interesting, tragic, fascinating, confusing and intriguing.

Imagine hearing the story of a lady who lived in a small village in the Great Karoo in South Africa. She looked after her parents for 17 years and inherited their home after they passed away. The only way she’d escape her dull life in that small village was by creating sculptures from cement, glass and mirrors. Her sculptures decorated the house and the garden, but the most interesting sculptures were those outside most of which were facing the East greeting the rising sun and pointing towards the Orient which fascinated the artist.

One of the statues worshipping the sun.

Other figues in the garden watching the sun rise and pointing to the East.

The lady I am speaking about is Helen Martins and the house where she once lived and created these fascinating sculptures has now turned into a museum and is known as the Owl House.

The Owl House is something I heard about a long time ago. But what really fascinated me about this story is the need for creating something amazing. Helen managed to turn what could have been a dull existence into a fascinating (although isolated) life. She created her own company by sculpting figures, some from the nativity scene while other figures are worshipping the sun. In between the figures, the large eyes of owls are watching your every move. The owls were recognised their wisdom, intuition and insight, which was something Helen loved.

One of the many owls watching the visitors at the museum.

By creating her strange looking sculptures, the locals in the village began gossiping about her and she became quite an embarrassment to her community. Despite this, she continued her art work and further isolated herself from the community.

Helen began her art when she was in her 50s, however 3 decades later she was beginning to lose her eye sight. This is a nightmare for any artist. Instead of living a life in which she couldn’t continue her art, she would rather not live at all. She committed suicide when she was 78 years old.

Not wanting to make this post a morbid one, what makes this story beautiful is Helen’s recognition and search for light in one’s life. She spent the last years of her life transforming the arid environment that was her garden into something more ‘colourful’ using a lot of mirrors and glass to reflect light.  I guess the moral of the story is that it’s never too late to add more colour to your life….you just need to want to do it!

Until next time,

Lily xx

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It’s going to be a long day!

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re unsure if you’re on the right path? You’re not sure if you’re in the right place or even in the right time in your life? Life feels like it’s in some sort of limbo rather than the exciting adventure you dreamt of when you were younger?

I’ve had one of those days. It’s so unpleasant to go through but at the same time, it’s as if we all have to go through it at some stage. As much as I am enjoying my newly adopted city, wondering whether London is my place is still something that needs to be proven.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing city with everything you can think of, but for some reason, I still feel so lost here at the moment!! Maybe I still need to get use to my new city? Maybe I have to still carry on searching for my dream job (which I don’t know what that is just yet…this makes it problematic to search for in the first place). Whatever the problem is, I can’t put my finger on it and this just seems to add more frustration to the situation.

Anyone that looks at my life must think that I am so lucky. I have met the love of my life, I have an amazing family (and future in-laws), I have completed my university degree successfully while being here, I have a lovely little flat, I have a couple of good friends and most importantly I am healthy. The down side is that I haven’t found the job that I feel like I was made for, I sometimes feel lonely and really unmotivated. All of the latter makes me wonder if I’m in the right place or if this is just a temporary condition that will pass when I do get that job.

For me, finding the job is like finding one’s purpose. I haven’t found my purpose yet… but I believe in the words of Tolkien, “Not all who wander are lost”. So there is hope for me yet!

Until next time,

Lily xx

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Royal Wedding versus the Media

I have been wondering the whole day what I should write about on my blog. I have so much to say about everything, but when it comes to writing it down, it all comes to a halt. So I have decided to reflect a bit and try quieting my mind through writing this post.

The newly engaged couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton

So much has happened the past two days that has made me question society, the media, as well as my views and beliefs about all the above. If you follow the news, I’m sure you have heard that Prince William has gotten engaged. Thousands of ladies around the country are heart broken while the general public are so excited that a count down of the day has begun (despite the fact that an official date hasn’t been set yet).

As a relatively new Londoner, I’m not use to the hype surrounding the royal family. Don’t get me wrong, I love History and the monarchy is a massive, massive part of British history, so I understand their importance. But the hype around the news of Prince William and Kate Middleton getting engaged is so over whelming, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for this couple.

The news of their engagement was announced yesterday morning. By yesterday afternoon, TV channels were already debuting shows such as ‘William and Kate: a Royal Love Story’ and a music selection of the most popular songs for their wedding. I wish I could say I was joking. Obviously the media have been planning this for a long time already…when they found out that William and Kate were dating, did they start with the collage for ‘the royal love story’ programme? Or when exactly did they start putting aside wedding songs for the royal wedding? What is the role of the media in all of this and is it really fair on this couple?

King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

Looking back in History, the monarchy has always been of public interest. One of the most interesting stories I remember reading about the British monarchy was the relationship between King Edward VIII and American born Wallis Simpson. Edward was a renowned bachelor, until he met and fell in love with Wallis. The problem was that she was a divorcee and this was strongly frowned upon in the 1930s. As a result, the relationship was unpopular amongst the British public. The government told the British tabloids not to refer to the relationship as negotiations to talk Edward out of marrying Wallis were under way. By the end of the negotiations, Edward was given a choice. He could either remain King or if he wanted to marry Wallis, he would have to abdicate the thrown. He chose to abdicate the thrown to marry the woman he loved. There is something very romantic about such a huge gesture!!

Despite not totally understanding all the hype about the royal family, I must admit, I love their role in History. I love the stories that emerge that we can learn from. However I can’t say I like the media’s role so much when dealing with the royal family, but I guess that’s something we all have to live with whether we like it or not.

Until next time,

Lily xx

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Some times we just need that balance…

As I’m trying to get into the habit of writing a blog (not as easy as one may think…especially if you’re more of a talker, like myself, rather than a writer), I’m actually beginning to find this blog a therapeutic experience. At the end of a busy day, I find myself looking forward to writing on my blog. It’s almost like my ‘reward’ for the day…the “me” time that I feel in life we often miss.

I have recently moved to London and I find settling in the city is such a busy, exciting, scary experience. If anything this city has made me question who I am and why I’m here. I know it’s so philosophical to say that moving to a city has stirred these questions, but you must understand, I moved to the city away from my family and friends, in the hope of trying to establish a career and an independent life with my fiancé. We have slowly started building a network of friends and work colleagues and we’re starting to settle here… but I wonder if I’ll ever get use how busy the city is and if I’ll ever be able to balance “me” time with this wonderfully restless capital.

Regardless where we are in our lives, whether we are students, professionals, single, dating, married or are parents, I think the battle of “me” time is a battle we all face at some stage in our lives. As our focus changes and our priorities in life adjust, we all need a little time out…whether that is reading a book, writing a blog, doing yoga or meditating…we all need that time to recharge our batteries so we can face the hustle and bustle of our lives.  For me, this blog is my time out and it is such an invigorating experience.

Until next time,

Lily xx

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