Monday
Aug032015

q&a with Orlaith Hendron women's rights activist 

It is fantastic to welcome Orlaith Hendron to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  I met Orlaith when I heard her speak at TEDx at Stormont in the early summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed Orlaith's talk especially the way she opened it with a powerful poem, which made me laugh and how she spoke about encouraging women to go for it, to take a leap, a risk and see what happens.  I was very encouraged by what she had to say.  You can listen to her TEDx talk and follow her on Twitter.

 

Orlaith Hendron is a political and social activist, a poet, a wanderer and a strong advocate for women. She has been fighting for LGBTQ and women's rights for the past decade both locally and internationally. An inspiring an interesting speaker Orlaith is a fascinating person, and it gives me great delight to interview her.


Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

I’m Orlaith and being me right now is going pretty well…I’m enjoying life at 31 

Where are you from, where are you based ...

I’m from Craigavon, about 30mins south of Belfast in County Armagh. I’ve lived in Belfast since I turned 18 and came to go to Uni. Right now though I’m Based in Berlin…

Talk about your work ...

Before I moved to Berlin I was working as the lobbyist for the Women’s Sector in Northern Ireland. Employed by the Womens Resource and Development Agency (WRDA), on the of the leading women’s orgainsations in Northern Ireland, I was running campaigns, engaging with the women on the ground who are doing really great work all over Northern Ireland and harassing politicians at every turn I could to stand up for women’s rights and get our message across…

Northern Ireland is still a pretty dire place to be a woman particularly because we still don’t have access to safe, legal abortions.

Before working with WRDA I was a development officer for HERe NI, which is a charity that works with lesbian and bisexual women across Northern Ireland. I set up ten peer support groups in the six years that I worked there from Fermanagh and Derry to Coleraine and Craigavon we were supporting women in their own areas to build their capacity and confidence. The organization recently won a funding grant from the Big Lottery, which is great news.

What are your future plans

Well I came to Berlin on a wing of hope, I want to use my vast community and networking skills to transition into online community management and with Berlin being the tech start up hub of Europe, what better place to come. 

 How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by 

Ok, this is going to sound cheesy, but inspiration is all around. Working in the women’s sector especially you get to see these amazing women all the time, particularly some of those I worked with when I was at HERe NI

These women are living through the awful homophobia and prejudice of rural areas and some are living with severe mental trauma and they still manage to stay on the bright side, to struggle through with hope in their hearts, it kinda makes you much more grateful for your lot in life. 

But more than just people, inspiration is everywhere else, in nature, in human kindness, in the will and drive of others. I suppose though, if I had to choose one person, it would probably be my Mam. We haven’t always seen eye to eye, particularly when I was growing up, but if I got my feminism from anywhere it’s from her and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything she did for the five of us growing up.

Describe your space ... 

Well, here’s a story. I’m living in a houseproject in the middle of Berlin, talk about lucky! I really landed on my feet living here.

The place is a huge square of 5 storey buildings with a large garden/courtyard in the middle. There are around 90 people living here altogether I think, but our flat is hosting 7 people. So it kinda works like a commune, we have a communal living room and kitchen that’s very homely and cozy and then the seven of us have bedrooms split across different floors, so we have a chance to meet people from other flats in the house project.  

In our flat we pay together for food every week and there’s always a meal cooked every evening and plenty of food for lunch and breakfast. My room is really big, it has a raised bed that’s made of pallets and a desk by the window that looks down onto the courtyard.

At the moment there’s a big problem in Berlin with landlords trying to increase rent, forcing a lot of people out of their homes, our houseproject is currently in a court battle with our landlord to try and keep rental prices down!

How are you feeling today 

Today I’m feeling great, it’s pride weekend in Berlin and this evening I’m heading out to the dyke march…that’s a march just for lesbian or queer women…we don’t have one in Belfast and I’m super excited to go out tonight! 

A non-negotiable in your life is 

Feminism, if you’re not a feminist –ie. If you don’t believe that women should have equal rights to men on all fronts – then I severly question your moral fabric.

Most encouraging words you have ever heard 

Is it ok to use something I said myself? I have this phrase “Just be dead on” – in Northern Ireland we say dead on with something is grand, it’s not brilliant or disappointing, it’s average, it’s standard, it’s a flat, no ups or downs.

I often say just be dead on because people put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the best, to be brilliant all the time, to be everything all at once, to get people to like them…and it’s just not possible. For the most part people really do just need to be dead on.

Nothing more or less. Just be decent, you know?

For me that takes the pressure off, all you have to be is decent and people will like you…it’s true. And if they don’t generally what other people think of you is none of your business anyway. 

Your work life philosophy is ...

Well, it’s cliché but work hard play hard. I’ve worked my entire adult life in jobs that require a great deal more from you than simple 9-5. You have to put a bit of yourself into a job like that, a bit you don’t usually get back.

But that’s where the playing hard comes in, if you’re going to be working like that you have to replenish yourself somehow and I’m a social creature, I feed off being around others so I’ve always surrounded myself with great people and after working hard, I go out and play with my friends.

What is your favourite smell ...  

Easy, it’s motorbikes…I’ve been a huge fan my whole life and when I see or hear one it makes me feel totally excited…then when the exhaust smell of one makes it’s way to my nose it’s like a calling “come and find me, go and buy an motorbike”


Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

I’m one of those people who really hasn’t a clue about names of bands or songs or whatever, but I know a lot of music when it comes on. At the moment I’ve been listening to La Roux – Trouble in Paradise album – it’s BRILLIANT.

And I’ve been sticking on a bit of my usual favourites too – don’t laugh but I love Dr Hook and a bit of Queen too.

The dr hook thing is a funny story, I’ll keep it short. When I was growing up sharing a room with my big sis, she used to have the unhooked album on tape and would play it through the night, side after side, you remember tape decks used to automatically just play the other side. It drove me crazy for years…I’m not exaggerating on the years. Now I know all their songs and I love them. Check out “you make my pants wanna get up and dance” you won’t be disappointed.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

Damn, it used to be cabbage bacon and potatoes, but I recently stopped eating pork on account of meeting a little baby pig called percy.

I’m trying to go totally veggie, not doing too bad so far…but never eating pork again. So that’s out the window. Fav three ingredients are easy though –

1. I love love love sundried tomatoes

2. I love avacado

3. Manchego cheese! 

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

1. Hair mouse, seriously, I grew up with curly/frizzy hair…discovering hair mouse was miraculous.

2. I’ve almost always had a swiss army knife of some kind on me, and recently friends bought me a Leatherman for going away…theres nothing quite as useful as multitool! Every woman should have one.

3. There’s this app that I’m addicted to at the moment called Dubsmash, it’s hilarious…you go in and pick a sound clip from a movie, your favourite quote, or record your own, it can be a song even that’s in the charts, an oldie, anything you want…then you selfie record yourself doing the quote – it’s so funny and I’m having whole conversations with friends with quotes from movies…such a brilliant way to procrastinate.

How do you relax ... 

I go out and be around people, I really thrive on social settings and it’s cathartic for me if I’m stressed to just be around people and have a laugh. I suppose the key is really laughter and banter…

 What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

See question above, I really love being around my friends, having a laugh and putting the world to rights over a good beer. 

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

Favourite Journey? Well I’ve travelled a lot, but one of the best journeys I ever went on was taking a bus ride from NYC to Minnesota when I was 18. I’d just finished doing camp America in New Hampshire and was travelling to Minnesota to visit my penpal – I know that sounds weird.

When I was 8yrs old my whole family took the train from Portadown to Dublin for st paddys day, there were about 12 kids and a bunch of adults and no seats on the train, I remember my mam hoiking me up onto the train and sitting me in the one free seat around a table for 4.

The other three people were an American woman and her husband and son, needless to say that journey was fun too, I got a lot of American candy from them, I played tin whistle for them and we exchanged addresses when the train arrived in Dublin. I’d writted to Maggie every since…and still do to this day, albeit not very often, but we’re in touch.

Anyway, that bus ride to go see her took 41 hours and the landscape was breath taking, and I met two guys from Russia who didn’t really speak English, we stopped over in Chicago for 9 hrs and I hung out with them the whole time, not speaking English but understanding each other anyway.

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Honesty…it costs nothing and you expect your friends to afford you at least that muchWhat are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

I have a lot of favourite words, I love Effervescent – just how it sounds and feels to say it. Also I have a couple of favourite three letter words, the best one is Apt. 

Right now I’m reading “Do It Like A Woman” By Caroline Criado-Perez – it’s a brilliant book exploring what holds women back and the brilliant women that are doing their thing anyway across the world, from female pilots in Afghanistan to Graffiti writers and Skateboarders in the UK and USA.

Highly recommended!

Share some words of wisdom

Just Be Dead On

------

Below are the words of the fantastic poem Orlaith wrote and shared at TEDx

The Con

The Con

You wear big hoop earrings Dragging down your lobes, they flap and fling And clink and chink off others same, And ones in gold that spell your name.

Six loops in each ear covered in make up goop, No shining here, a different shade for every year. A different shade from the one on your hands You can’t go out without your tan.

Twenty shades of tangerine, Only on parts that can be seen But when your belly’s on display Your clothes are bound to move and sway

And show the bits below the band of tan That’s really there to catch a man And is it that the man wants tan so as a fan Of man you buy in bulk tan in a can.

Or is it that you’re just too scared To show him what is really there Like the bright of your white would cause him such colossal fright That he’d take flight into the night and never again embrace your sight?

Or is it that the man won’t care and that the tan is only there Cuz there’s nobody pale in vanity fair? And cuz you care you’re not like her Who’s on the front with body bare.

Or maybe, just maybe there’s some bigger con that’s there to make you feel Anon'. In a world of gradient skin they make you hate the one you’re in They make you wanna be someone else They make you loathe and hate yourself

But wait, just like a fairy tale they offer alternatives to pale And just like that you’re passing jail and buying can tan by the bale You’re not alone. In fact it looks like you’ve been cloned. Your skin colour is not your own.

You’ve all been conned, same con that makes your brown hair blonde Same con that makes you not respond when your body’s being pawned For money that you’ll never see, they take from you at liberty And leave you with no sense of “me”.

---------

It is a pleasure to have you at our place for this interview Orlaith, thank you for taking part in the Salt and Sparkle q&a.

 

 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable 

 

 

 

Monday
Jul202015

q&a with photographer Kat Harris

What an absolute delight to welcome the amazing Kat Harris to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Kat Harris is an exceptionally talented photographer based in NYC and LA doing lifestyle and editorial and a destination wedding photographer.  I haven't met Kat, but I do know her Aunt Ann Dimond.  Ann posted this article written by Kat 'Designed for Intimacy' on her facebook page.  I was particularly taken with what Kat had to say, her words have an inherent wisdom and power. I contacted her immediately to ask if she would take part in Salt and Sparkle's q&a and she said yes!  

You can follow Kat on Twitter, and Instagram.

Who are you, what’s it like being you …

I am Katherine Harris.  I am a believer, daughter, sister, friend, dreamer, hustler, athlete, romantic, adventurer, and many things in between.  I joke that being me is hard sometimes!  My mind is going a thousand miles a minute. 

Combine that with being a bit clumsy and you have a girl that walks around New York City with headphones on, singing to herself, talking to herself, and tripping on pebbles.  But really I love my life.  I’m surrounded by people who are creative and care deeply about others and the world and consistently challenge me to press into the person God created me to be and boldly share my vision with the world. 

I definitely don't have it altogether, and typically have to learn things the hard way.  But that’s ok.  Life is a journey, and a process and I think the important thing is showing up for yourself and others each and every day.

Where are you from, where are you based …

I grew up in Texas and live in Brooklyn NY.


Talk about your work …

Before talking about my work I get to talk about my vision.  My vision is to empower and encourage young women to embrace their beauty, identity, and value in Christ. 

So really it doesn’t matter too much what I do as long as I am being and living out that message.  That being said I am a wedding and editorial photographer and run a women’s lifestyle and fashion blog, The Refined Woman.  

What are your future plans ... 

My future plans are to speak more to young women, finish the book I started this year and to one day shoot a lifestyle campaign for JCrew and Madewell.  (they’re small dreams really! haha). 

I look forward to the day of being a wife and a mother and no matter where I am in life to stay connected to the Lord, myself, and community.

 

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

I believe creativity begets creativity.  So I try to always surround myself with people that are creative (hint…we’re all creative) and making things happen in their lives. 

I find inspiration though:  music, books, being in nature, conversations with friends, movies, sermons.  I’m inspired by:  Lauryn Hill, Beyonce, CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Hillsong, Mosaic Church, Monet, Degas, Peggy Sirota, Bruce Weber, my friends + family…the list goes on and on.

Describe your space ... 

Like where I live?  Well I live in a neighborhood with a lot of young professionals and creatives.  I live with two wonderful girls, and we have an apartment in Brooklyn.  I have a little nook in our apartment in our loft where I edit and write, but spend a lot of time editing with friends in cafes to mix things up.


How are you feeling today ... 

Today I feel sore!  I did pilates this morning and my arms are feeling it!  Other than that I feel focused and ready and excited for what this day has to offer me! You never know what is going to unfold in your day.

A non-negotiable in your life is …

Spending time with Jesus each day + being physically active each day (which is typically yoga for me).  Also doing life deeply and giving my heart access to a core group of people.  We weren’t meant to do life on an island.

 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

Be still and know that I am God

Your work life philosophy is …

B-A-L-A-N-C-E.  I cannot be all things to all people at all times.  I get to make choices, prioritize and learn the power of saying N-O.  Also, actively living that my work is not my identity; it’s a part of who I am but not the whole story.  So it’s important to invest into all the facets of who I am.

 

What is your favourite smell ...  

Christmas at my mom’s house.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

 I’ve been listening to the new Hillsong Empires non-stop.  Along with the new Mosaic Church album; Third Eye Blind’s Dopamine, Lecrea’s Anomaly,Garth Stevenson’s Southern Sea, and it’s not a good day unless I’ve listened to some Beyonce.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

I’m from Texas so I’m a sucker for Tex Mex.  Sour Cream enchiladas.  Favorite 3 ingredients:  CHEESE, salsa and is ice cream an ingredient?  I love ice cream

 Three things or products that have changed your life... 

 (I have no idea how to answer this question). My camera, Jesus calling, and complexion rescue by Bare Minerals. 

How do you relax ... 

being in nature, yoga + music

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

The Beach is my happy place.

 What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ... 

I’m in love with Paris.  I went there the first time with my sisters last year + have been trying to get back ever since.  I really want to visit the Cinque Terre in Italy and I’d love to hike Machu Pichu. 

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Authenticity and a willingness to be open and vulnerable.

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

Right now I just finished A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle.  Gosh her words speak to my soul.  Before that I finished Mike Masons The Mystery of Marriage, Sex God by Rob Bell + Zinzser’s On Writing Well. 

“We are finite being, with finite minds; the intellect, no matter how brilliant, is limited; we must go beyond it on our search for truth”. L’Engle

Share some words of wisdom …

What I am learning now is to being vs. doing and the art of being present.  We all want to do, do, do, all the time.  Fix this, accomplish that, follow these simple steps to attain the next best thing.  But the reality is that God doesn’t call us to do, he invites us to BE with him.  Be still and know He is God.  The constant nag of our culture is to race through life so we can finally have ‘arrived’.  But the reality is that until our last breathe we’re constantly evolving, growing, learning, and it takes courage to let go of the attachment of the result or how you think things should turn out and bepresent in the moment. 

Kat, it has been wonderful to have you at Salt and Sparkle.

That's it for now ...

Nics 

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Friday
Jul172015

Friday Night Grapefruit Margaritas

How was your week?  

Good or bad, it is now over, and we live in this moment, right now.  This weekend, I am planning to watch a lot of golf - is it really a decade since I worked at the British Open in St Andrews?  It was one of the best summer jobs that is possible - watching golf, meeting all the top golfers and being outside all day in brilliant sunshine.  

I will also do a bit of shopping, practice with Erin Motz and enjoy a massage from Miriam Chambers.  

Oh and of course drinking one of these thoroughly refreshing grapefruit margaritas - I think you should make one too, and find someone fabulous to enjoy it with.  

Did I mention these margarita's are pink - oh baby, they are good!  I created this margarita one weekend when the sun was splitting the trees and we decided we needed a drink, to accompany our conversation on the sunloungers, but all we had was the bottom of a bottle of tequila, some pink grapefruits.  But that was enough to make these babies, and trust me that little extra salt in the mix, well it makes all the difference.

Happy weekend, wherever you are in the world, whatever you are up too.

Grapefruit Margarita Recipe

makes four glasses

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ruby grapefruit juice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of white tequila
  • 3 cups of ice
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • pink salt to rim the glasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Method

  1. Run a lime wedge around the edge of the glass then dip into salt, leave a wedge in the glass
  2. Put all the other ingredients in a blender plus1/4 teaspoon of salt and blend until smooth, if you don't have a blender combine all ingredients plus 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a large jug, then pour into each glass
  3. Enjoy ice cold, it is oh so refreshing!

Happy Friday my lovelies.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Jul162015

How to make iced tea 

"Please may I have an iced tea."

'Sure sugar, you want sweet tea?'

Not knowing what this was, I sort of numbly nodded my head, and a cup filled with ice and light amber liquid was passed over to me, as I stood in the refreshment section of the Magnolia Plantation.

Sweet sweet sugar met smoky black tea in a chilled combination that was as pleasant as it was cooling.  I sat and sipped, and had that aha moment.  The moment when it all finally made sense - sweet tea.

Iced Tea I finally to Charleston, South Carolina.  The power of the heat and humidity could at times just knock you over.  This sort of weather calls instantly for a cool drink that isn't fizzy or sugar laden.  

Something to sip that is truly refreshing.

The answer is of course Iced Tea.  

At the last count I have travelled to 17 of the 50 states and drunk Iced Tea in nearly all of them.  In the South it is the go to drink - sweet tea is served everywhere with everything.  Jugs are kept cool in the fridge ready to drink from at any given moment, a habit I have quickly adopted here in Ireland.

Iced tea can be made two ways: hot tea brewed double strength as normal and poured over ice, lots of ice. It can be made hot, then cooled then poured over ice, or simply made infused, then poured straight over ice.  

Pour over works well for black, peppermint, and herbal teas.

The other me method is cold brew made either using special cool brew tea bags, or letting tea bags steep in cold water for a long period of time.  Cold Brew draws out the more subtle characteristics of green teas, puerh, and oolongs, as well as teas like Lapsong souchong. 

I usually made pour over, as either I want my ice tea in a hurry, or because I prefer the deeper flavours that a longer hot infusion left to go cold brings.

 Ice Tea can be very simple or complex, simple is as always my favourite.  I love to make huge jugs and serve them at parties instead of fizzy drinks.  Last year I served an orange blossom ice tea at my birthday party, and at a baby shower I made white iced tea with ginger.  

Iced Tea stations at a BBQ or informal gathering create a very easy way to provide drinks for lots of guests.  The tea can be flavoured with mint, or lemons, slices of fruit and other aromatic herbs.

My favourite way to make the tea is lightly sweetned with lemon and mint.

One of my favourite ways to drink Iced Tea is as what's known as an Arnold Palmer, named so because the famous golfer made this his tipple of choice.  It is simply 1/2 real lemonade mixed with 1/2 iced tea, served over lots of ice. 

 I'll let you in on a really big secret, one Americans just get, Iced Tea needs Ice, lots and lots of ice.  Not just a few broken bits in the bottom of a glass, but a glass full of ice.  Be generous with your ice, in fact just be generous in general, it really is a good way to live.

Iced Tea Recipes

Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 Black tea bag per cup of boiling water (4 cups water = 4 tea bags, this can be multipled up as necessary, when I make a pitcher of ice tea, I use 15 black tea bags to 9 pints of water)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar add more to taste - honey may also be used to sweeten the tea but it changes the flavour
  • Lots of ice
  • optional slice of lemon/sprig of mint per glass

 Method

  1. Make tea as normal preferably in a tea pot, letting it infuse on a low heat for up to 15 minutes, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, leave to cool for as long as possible
  2. Pour over a large pitcher of ice, adding more ice when all the liquid is in the jug, and some slices of lemon, or sprigs of mint, stir and serve
  3. Serve in tall glasses with slices of lemon or a sprig of mint

Iced Tea (unsweetened)

Ingredients

 

  • 1 Black tea bag per cup of boiling water (4 cups water = 4 tea bags, this can be multipled up as necessary, when I make a pitcher of ice tea, I use 15 black tea bags to 9 pints of water)
  • Lots of ice
  • optional slice of lemon/sprig of mint per glass

Method

  1. Make tea as normal preferably in a tea pot, letting it infuse on a low heat for up to 15 minutes, leave to cool for as long as possible
  2. Pour over a large pitcher of ice, adding more ice when all the liquid is in the jug, and some slices of lemon, or sprigs of mint, stir and serve
  3. Serve in tall glasses with slices of lemon or a sprig of mint


Arnold Palmer

Ingredients

  • 1 Black tea bag per cup of boiling water (4 cups water = 4 tea bags, this can be multipled up as necessary, when I make a pitcher of ice tea, I use 15 black tea bags to 9 pints of water
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons, plus 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 lemons sliced
  • Lots of ice
  • optional slice of lemon/sprig of mint per glass

 

Method

  1. Make tea as normal preferably in a tea pot, letting it infuse on a low heat for up to 15 minutes, then stir in the lemon simple syrup and leave to infuse cool for as long as possible before pouring over ice
  2. To make the lemon syrup - Heat caster sugar, zest, lemonjuice and 2 cups water in a saucepan over high heat, stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then immediately turn off the heat (at this stage if just lemon simple syrup is needed pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, throw out the solids. Let the syrup cool completely.  Syrup can be refrigerated, airtight, up to 1 month
  3. Layer slices of lemon and ice in a large jug, be generous with both the ice and lemon, pour over the tea lemon syrup mixture and stir, add more ice, sweeten to taste
  4. Serve in tall glasses with slices of lemon or a sprig of mint

Salt and Sparkle Iced Tea Options

 

  • Put a large sprig of mint into the hot tea and leave it to cool, before pouring the tea over the ice.  
  • Add frozen berries to the sweetened poured over tea, such as raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries.  
  • Add slices of ginger or storks of rosemary to the tea as it infuses.  

 

 

  • Spike the ice tea with a slug of dark rum or bourbon.  
  • Use iced tea as the base for rice salads instead of water, this is especially good with tomatoes, peach and coriander salad.
  • Use a mixture of spearmint and peppermint teabags with the same fresh herbs as the base for Iced Tea. Sweeten Iced Tea with honey, then add the zest of an orange to the infusion, serve with ice and wedges of lime and orange
  • Jazz up the simple syrup using rosemary, lemonbalm, lemon verbena, basil, rosemary, orange, lime, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries instead of lemon.  Use one packed cup of any of these ingredients to one cup of water, and 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Instead of water use two cups of ice, to make the simple syrup and instead of cooking blend all ingredients, then freeze, scoop into tall glasses, instead of ice and pour over iced tea

 

Happy Summer everybody, 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Wednesday
Jul012015

Summer TO DO List 2015

Drink iced tea

Enjoy long walks on the beach

Become an auntie again

Laugh with my family and friends

BBQ as much as possible

Stop to smell the roses

Swim in the sea 

Only an hour a day on Facebook and Twitter for the entire summer

Read

I am currently reading Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Justice and Peace (Pentecostals, Peacemaking, and Social Justice) a collection of essays on Israel and Palestine.

On my stack among others are -

Maeve's Times: In Her Own Words

All the Light We Cannot See

Restorative Yoga Therapy: The Yapana Way to Self-Care and Well-Being

Steal Like An Artist

Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who's Been There

Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life 

Go Set a Watchman but first to reread 

To Kill A Mockingbird

Drink Green Juice 

Be gentle with myself

Visit Connemara  going to Renvyle House and Kylemore Abbey

Write long overdue letters from my outside desk, hopefully under lots of sunshine 

Listen to great music, live as much as possible, there is nothing like hearing live music.

I've just ordered Amos Lee Live At Red Rocks and at the start of July I went to hear Neil Diamond in concert. Neil's showmanship and song writing were among the best I have ever seen.  He sang hit and hit.  There was meaning and passion behind his words, and he looked like he was really enjoying himself.  We had seats right in the front few rows, it was incredible to be so close, and see his expressions, and those of his band so clearly.

Play with paints - I’ve just been given the gift of these beautiful watercolours from Little Citizen Boutique 

Write, write and write some more - clear my desk of the articles that need to be written and shipped - including some articles on Florida, and St Pete's Beach, and an piece for Seven Sentences.

Start a new journey ...

Prepare for a trip to the USA

What are you up to this summer?  I hope your summer will be one of peace and relaxation, easy made memories and laughter.  Last summer I was doing this list.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Wednesday
Jul012015

Insta inspiration

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Jun152015

Three white wines for Father's day

The sun warms our faces as we sit in the suntrap at the side of our house.  Pots filled with rosemary and lavender beside us.  Bright yellow daisies dazzle.  The day is long and afternoon stretches to night. These are the days to sit with Daddy and sip some wine,  perhaps looking at the papers, reading to each other stories that are worth sharing.

These elegant white wines from Marks and Spencer,  I feel are worth sharing on Father’s Day.  After all there really is nothing more refreshing on an afternoon, than enjoying time together,  in the garden with a glass in hand. 

Having spent a lot of time in America I am really excited that Marks and Spencer’s wine maker Belinda Kleinig has found some fantastic American wines and made them readily available on these islands.  The wines I have selected for you are all elegant and distinctive, something that little bit special.

Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Gris Vintage: 2013

Bright and sparky with flavours of melon, peach and pear, this wine from the Willamette Valley Oregon, USA makes a vibrant elegant wine to sip chilled in the garden on Father’s day.   A 100% Pinot Grigio it is delicious with spicy asian food, like lime salt chilli chicken.

 

Single Block Series S1 Sauvignon Blanc Vintage: 2014

This Sauvignon Blanc is delicate and complex.  Its herbaceous flavours have a polished composition, that is aromatic and distinctive.  There are top notes of gooseberry, with a slight hint of passionfuit which is subtle. The grape is 100% Sauvigon Blanc.  It works well with seafood, or asparagus risotto.

 

Charles Smith The Honourable Riesling

This Charles Smith The Honourable Riesling from Washington State is a sublime wine.

Winemaker Charles Smith is a rock star wine maker, who creates bottles that just that little bit special. 

This Riesling is vibrant, clean, stylish, fresh and balanced, with lemon flavours and a rich finish one to enjoy drinking.

Sláinte Happy Father's Day

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable