Monday, 25 February 2013

Motivate Monday

"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." Buddha

It can take a while, maybe years, to find your passion.  

What type of work makes you happy?  Are you at your happiest when you are creating something?  Do you love helping people? Do you adore detail, planning and organising? Are animals your thing? Does working outdoors rock your world? Are you an expert on a subject? Can you teach us something that we don't know?

What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning?

It may be hard work to make your passion a reality and even harder to make it a viable source of income. 

But you MUST find your passion to live a happy and fulfilled life.
And the bonus is that during the process of finding your will discover yourself.

Are you lucky enough to have found your passion?  How does it work for you?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Rewarding A Sharing Life

clip_image002 Photo Rob Desgroppes
Last week in France Claire SUFFRIN received the very high distinction of the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour, awarded by Jean-Marc AYRAULT Prime Minister.
Over forty years ago, Claire founded the R.E.Rs, the Receiprocal Exchange Networks of Knowledge.
Today there are networks throughout France run by volunteers who offer their knowledge and skills in exchange for knowledge and new skills from others. For example in my local town our exchange network has over 100 people offering to teach different skills ranging from bee keeping, upholstery to permaculture - even learning how to fly! The idea is that you offer a skill in exchange. No money changes hands. So while I go to French conversation classes free of charge in return I offer English conversation classes.
The sharing of skills, information and knowledge has been passed on in this way for hundreds of years. It's an informal but effective method of receiving advice on any number of subjects from child care, swopping recipes and growing vegetables- to name just a few!
Maybe something of this word of mouth methodology had got lost down the generations, with families moving away from each other and leading increasingly  busy, hi-tech lives. The old traditions and ways of doing things were in danger of getting lost.
The exchange network opens up opportunities for everyone :- 

  • I've always wanted to.....well now you can... just ask and more than likely there will be someone who can teach you to play the guitar or make sausages....whatever your wish is
  • Lean new skills
  • Find a new hobby or passion
  • Meet new friends
  • Preserve culture and traditions
  • money!
So what knowledge could you share with someone today? 


Monday, 18 February 2013

Motivate Monday - Don't Wait to Start

If you want to write, or start a project of any kind, you can't afford to wait for the right moment.... or until you are in the mood or .... until inspiration strikes.  You could be waiting for an awful long time!

Don't kid yourself that you are preparing to get started.  Planning to write isn't writing, Researching isn't writing, Daydreaming isn't writing. 
Writing is writing.

You haven't got the time? Don't look for big blocks of time ..start with just 5 minutes and chip away at your project.  

As Julia Cameron, the author of  The Artist's Way says, just show up.  Some days that's enough...and getting to the top of that page is tough enough.

Julia Cameron recommends setting your alarm clock half an hour early, getting up and writing three pages of longhand - the Morning Pages - every morning, very first thing, write freehand whatever pops into your head.   After a while of doing the Morning Pages you might be surprised about what you are writing...things don't seem to have any meaning, or do they?  Don't worry. Just by writing the pages, they are working for you.

Some useful advice I once received was just do it... start ....even if you have to trick yourself by saying I will just do 5 minutes.  Get something down. Anything, it could be goobledegook.  It doesn't matter. Another trick that works for me, is to answer some correspondence, anything, a letter to a friend, paying a bill....anything.  It makes me sit at my desk and get started.  I have shown up!  Once you are in the flow, that 5 minutes might well turn into 15 minutes.

Once you are in the flow, don't worry about correcting or rewriting, that can come later.

To become a writer, maybe a professional need to train yourself to write regularly, whether you think you are "in the mood" or not.  Show up for at least 15 minutes every day and try. 

In the words of American novelist Peter de Vries, "I write when I am inspired and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine 'clock each morning."

What works for you?  I'd love to know.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Paris never seen before

via Pinterest

Paris is for lovers,so they say.  So let's celebrate Valentine's Day with a peek at Paris at night, thanks to a beautifully photographed film shot by Benjamin Trancart.

The film Paris, The city of Light is a time lapse project and portrays Paris in a way it has never been seen before. Created from more than 100,000 photographs taken by Benjamin and set to music by Yasawas-Amon Tobin, the film of just under 4 minutes portrays iconic landmarks in a fresh way creating an intensity and intimacy with the viewer. The film gives a surreal picture postcard perspective of the city of lights which the director says is named as such because it was “the city where, during the eighteenth century, the lights of science (with the biologists like Buffon or Jussieu and with the encyclopaedic writers like Diderot or d’Alembert) and the lights of philosophy (Voltaire, Rousseau, Condorcet, Montesquieu, …) have been lit.

Read the full interview with Benjamin here.

Where will you be celebrating Valentine's Day?


Monday, 11 February 2013

Motivate Monday

This week's quote is from Nelson Mandela, in honour of his release from 27 years in prison on this day in 1990.

He reminds us that our time is valuable mindful of how we spend it! ...and it is never too late to put something right.


Friday, 8 February 2013

J'adore ...winter sunshine

Toulon sur Arroux by Celine Monorchio

There is nothing better than a brisk walk on a cold wnter's day - even better if the sun is shining.  Make the effort and get outside and grab some rays.
It will make you feel happier, invigorated and boost your immune system.  

How can you bring the winter sunshine to you?  Caisser la grisaille, break the gloom  and surround yourself with warm citrus colours.  
via Pinterest

Wear some sunshine....boost your winter wardrobe with a pop of citrus. 
This mini skirt looks cute worn with thick black tights. 
And add some colour indoors with bright cushions, rugs and throws.
Bright bold colours to make you smile.


And on a cold day rester a la maison, stay at home and indulge...our family favourite.....lemon drizzle cake...also works well with orange....and you are getting Vitamin C too hee! hee!

Et voila! Petits plaisirs de la vie....and there you are...little pleasures of life.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Faire du leche les vitrines

Bonpoint, rue de Tournon, Paris
courtesy of manon 21

I love faire du leche les vitrines or window shopping.  Living in the heart of Le Morvan, we have a limited choice of shops and the weekly market.  The stall overflowing with nylon tabard aprons in a frenzy of colours and patterns is not for me, although every farmers wife in the region must own one.

Bonpoint courtesy of manon 21

Snow outside and cold winter days are turning my thoughts to spring. Today I am wearing thermal underwear, warm jogging bottoms, two jumpers and two pairs of socks to keep warm.  I am longing to wear colourful, summer clothes and flip flops every day again.
For beautiful boutiques like Bonpoint featured in the photos and gorgeous magasins or stores we need to go further afield.  My usual faire du courses, shopping trips are to my local towns Autun and Nevers for food and DIY. 
I know Monsieur Bricolage very well! 

When fievre acheteuse or shopping fever strikes then only Paris, the designer outlet at Troyes or the giant charity treasure trove Emmaus will do

The really "grand" Parisian department stores are temples to a bygone age of shopping decadance.  

My friend Nicole's grandfather was looking for work in the 1900's and walked 346km to Paris to help build Galeries Lafayette, see photo above.  A grand magasin, a department store, situated on boulevard Haussmann in the 19th arroundissement it has 10 floors with a glass and steel dome and Art Nouveau staircases.  It is known for its stunning windows, especially at Christmas time.

After years of working in retail, the allure of shopping has lost its' lustre for me.  But...just occasionally.. on a cold, grey day like today I would love to be "licking" the windows and peeping in to see what gorgeousness lies within.

What are your favourite places to faire du leche les vitrines?


Friday, 1 February 2013

J'adore ....c'est la chandeleur!

Tomorrow, the 2nd February is La Chandeleur...traditionally a religous ceremony to mark the end of winter, and in the past, people would walk to church carrying huge candles.  Nowadays La Chandeleur means crepes, delicious, thin sweet or savoury pancakes, but some families do carry on the old traditions.
A euro is gripped in the hand you hold the pan handle with and then you toss the crepe.  If you don't drop the euro or the crepe you will enjoy a prosperous year.
The first tossed crepe should be placed on top of an armoire (wardrobe or dresser) and left there for the whole year.  This is said to ensure that the family don't go hungry throughout the year.  More like the mice don't go hungry! .
In the Morvan, a poor rural area, children used to collect eggs for a crapiaud, a thicker type of crepe, more like an omelette,  made with lots of eggs and maybe an onion and a little bacon.  It made a hearty lunch.
Here's a great, authentic crepe recipe below courtesy of Chocolate & Zucchini an amazing blog written by fabulous foodie Clotilde Dusoulier, a 33-year-old Parisian woman who lives in Montmartre.

- 250 grams (2 cups) flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 240 ml (1 cup) milk
- 240 ml (1 cup) purified water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rum (optional)
- vegetable oil for cooking

Pour the flour in a large mixing bowl, and form a well in the center. Add the salt, sugar, vanilla, and eggs into the well. Whisk gently in the center so the eggs will blend with part - not all - of the flour. Pour in the milk and water slowly, whisking as you pour. Keep whisking until all the flour is incorporated; the batter will be thin. Add the oil and the rum, if using, and whisk again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the batter from the fridge and whisk it again. Set a thick-bottomed, low-rimmed skillet over high heat. Wait until it is very hot, enough to make a drop of water sizzle. Spray the pan with good-quality vegetable oil, or dip a folded paper towel in a ramekin that contains a little vegetable oil, and wipe it over the pan to grease it lightly (watch your fingers).
Ladle a little batter in the pan, just enough to cover the pan thinly, and swish the pan around in a slow circular motion so the batter forms a round disk. Cook for 40 seconds, or until the edges start to turn golden and pull slightly away from the sides. Run the tip of a hard spatula around the crêpe to loosen, peek underneath, and flip the crêpe when you see that it is nice and golden. Cook for 20 more seconds on the other side, or until golden as well, and slip out of the pan onto a plate. (Note that the first crêpe of the batch is usually a dud.) Grease the skillet again every two or three crêpes.
Serve the crêpes from the skillet as you make them, or pile them on a heatproof plate set over a saucepan of simmering water, covering the crêpes with foil until ready to serve. The batter and crêpes will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge, tightly covered.

(This recipe can be used for savory crêpes also -- just hold the sugar, vanilla and rum.)