Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Joyful raw layered salted caramel chocolate recipe

I have been experimenting with raw chocolate recipes recently and I have just found the one that, for me, is the ultimate combo... And brings so much guilt-free joy to me and my friends (and my four-year-old son!) that I am writing it down so that I can share a link rather than keep writing out the recipe....

These raw salted caramel chocolates turn out like this:

And taste seriously satisfying. And leave you feeling highly impressed with yourself.

I have combined two recipes to make the layers from experienced chocolate people. I will share the links at the end. I am really writing this out for all the friends who want to make these after they taste them at my house so I am going to write out the recipes for ease here.

So first of all, prepare the chocolate as follows:


1 cup grated cacao butter
Half cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup maple syrup

1. Melt the grated cacao butter by placing glass or ceramic bowl into hot water on the hob.
2. Once it is melted fully, stir in and then whisk the cacao powder and the maple syrup.
3. Once it is fully smooth, do your best not to eat the whole lot and instead, fill the bottom third of the mould shapes.

** if you don't have a mould, this works just as well on some parchment paper in a flat container with layers too. It ends up just a layered flat piece of chocolate and you can break it up roughly and store the pieces.

4. Place in the freezer until the mixture hardens.

Meanwhile, make the salted caramel mix.


1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch salt

5. Mix all above ingredients in a bowl. No heat required - only to melt coconut oil if necessary.
6. Pour in caramel mix into the moulds up to 2/3 full.
7. Place mould back in the freezer.
8. Once caramel has solidified, take out again and fill to the top with the remaining chocolate mix.
9. Place all back in the freezer until totally solid. Approx half an hour is fine.
10. Remove from mould and store in a container that you can keep in the freezer (if the chocolates last long enough for you to have to store any.)

I am no chocolate expert - I have simply experimented and blended these recipes together. You can find the original recipes and lots more information and good stuff here:

Salted caramel mix:

Chocolate mix: (Mel, the Green Goddess - she has so much great stuff on her site and page.)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

On The Grumpy Man & The Trolley & Giving Myself What I Need & The Usual Stuff About Love

So, my latest story comes to you (again) from the supermarket. 

But before I tell you the story, I have to tell you some background.

In recent years, I have had the experience of one particular thing chasing me around: inner child work.

Now, I have to say, I used to be kind of cynical about anything to do with the inner child. I used to think it was super new age and couldn't see how it would really be beneficial. I was more interested in figuring things out and focussing on right now. 

But it chased me around enough for me to surrender and do some work on getting back in touch with Little Hollie. Every coaching or therapy session would come back to comforting her, reassuring her, re-mothering her. Even the latest editing project I have been working on (Robert's book with Louise Hay) has involved revisiting the inner child. 

So, anyway, I have been really talking to Little Hollie. Mainly on the way home from the school run, under the guise of a busy business woman with a handsfree kit hidden away. Little do they all know what I am really up to... Ha. 

And so the supermarket. And the grumpy man. This is what I want to talk about. 

I have this thing about when people get angry with me or think I've done something wrong or 'stupid' - I get really hurt and sensitive. Not in my mind - my awareness and understanding is really strong around this area - but in my body. My whole chest aches, I get shaky and it takes me a good twenty minutes (and sometimes a swig of Rescue Remedy) to coach myself back to my centre. (This is always a sign that we are not integrated around our wisdom and awareness.)

So, anyway, yesterday this man, who was totally grumpy, got annoyed with me for something trolley-related. I think I went too close to him or something, I'm not sure. But whatever I did, I broke one of his Supermarket Rules. 

And something completely sweet happened. I had just been strengthening Little Hollie that morning and I was feeling very peaceful in my heart and I had the loveliest experience of just not feeling upset by him. I mean, really, I kind of chuckled. It was actually quite adorable that he was so upset. 

And the second bit to this was that I felt SUCH ENORMOUS compassion for this man as well as myself. And it then just kind of spread out like a huge spider's web over the whole supermarket. I felt the most enormous whoosh of compassion for everybody, everywhere, in this human experience. And I felt a blessing powering its way through me and extending to everyone and everything. (Gotta love when this kind of thing happens in the avocado aisle.)

And all because I had strengthened myself to be solid enough to actually be a loving witness in that moment rather than take someone's grumpiness personally. It really does have to start with self-compassion.

Now this moment took about 10 seconds to happen. Not even that. So it could be mistaken for a small thing. But I know better than that - it was a Really Really Big Thing that happened. 

So, look, I'm telling you this because I really think this whole inner child thing is the key to becoming whole, integrated, grown-up people who can handle things and marry our wisdom with our actual daily experiences. I think we need to be focussing on it A LOT more. 

If you want to make a really simple first step with this, here's how to start: Find a picture of yourself, put it up somewhere you can see it easily every morning. Chat to yourself. Reflect on what you needed to hear as a child and might not have done. Give to yourself what you still think you need. Parent yourself. Don't wait for others to do it for you. Feel any feelings that come up. Go with it. And just keep doing it every day even if you only manage to say good morning and maybe welcome to the Little You. And remember that this is a powerful but subtle process. You won't necessarily understand it - just let go of that and actually do it. 

If enough of us do this, we can seriously shift to a more loving world and also make this kind of inner work acceptable. Even my daughter has started talking to the little version of herself when she gets anxious because she knows I do it. I found her lazing around on her bed the other day and asked her what she was up to. 'Oh, just chatting to Little Bo,' she said. 'She's so cute.' 

Let's blaze a trail of self-care and self-love so that our children and those around us can follow in our footsteps and treat themselves the way a loving mother would do. And so that we can hold them and love them with strength and solidity. 

Love. Phew. 


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Surrendering to the messy wonder of life

The journey of motherhood for me is paved with sweetness, with sacredness, with learning, with discoveries about love that I could not have dreamt up, with 4am soul friends I cannot imagine living without, with wonder, with miracles. 

And it is also a journey that is paved with tiredness, with letting go of many of my plans, with doing things much more slowly than I'd like, with more anxiety than I realised I held, with more anger than I realised I held, with confronting moments, with judging myself for not doing things well enough, with wanting to be more this, more that but not quite managing it in the heat of the moment, with comparison, with constant demand for surrender on so many levels. 

And these words came to me on the weekend. They sum up pretty well my journey from perfectionism (and the fantasies and false images I had about becoming a mother. See yesterday's post for images!) towards embracing the messy wonder of my life in these tumble-dryer years. (I call them that because it feels like every time I stand up, I find myself on my knees again - back to square one with my learning all over again.)

But I no longer feel like I am waiting for things to get straightened out. I don't wait for my desk to be clear before I write (seriously, you should see what is surrounding my laptop right now). I know there will always be washing up waiting for me in the sink. I accept that the doorbell will probably ring just as I manage to get everyone sitting down to eat - and that everyone needs to come with me to answer the door. 

And nothing really changes when we surrender. Except that, on the inside, something softens. A sharpness goes. Body memories of being so deeply in service in other times, in other places, surface. And, for me, the real miracle moment comes when I finally find peace with how long it takes to scrub a piece of dried-on avocado off a bowl. The fight and the rush-to-get-it-done leave and it's just me and the dried-on avocado. And I know that standing there, scrubbing, with the phone ringing and my children arguing over something I absolutely know neither of them actually wants, is the most important thing I will ever do. Because that is true of whatever is in front of me right now and there is nowhere to get to, nothing more to be, nothing to figure out. 

This for me is when I know I have deepened my surrender. It is when I know that I have let go of a whole other layer of How I Think Things Should Be. And, when I do this, I get to see the beauty right under my nose and the perfection of the imperfection comes into focus. And I can breathe more deeply, accept myself more readily and love myself and those around me Even When and In The Middle Of and While I Am Scrubbing Avocado Off A Bowl. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

On True Purpose

{Question & Response Post}

I would love to have your insight on finding and living your purpose. I have always felt lost and feel like I do not know what my purpose in life is or how to identify it. I have a longing to live on purpose, to make a difference and live a fulfilling life that allows me to love what I do while being able to earn a living and help others. However Though I have tried all the spiritual and logical methods I know, I have not been able to find a way to do that. How do you suggest I approach this? Do you feel we all have a purpose? How can I figure out how to live it and be able to make a living with it?

First I would like to say, I love your question. It is so honest and real and also what a beautiful intention to have - to want to serve, to be purposeful, to be a loving presence in the world.

And secondly I would like to say, I wonder if you know that you are actually already living your spiritual purpose? That even wanting this as much as you do is a response from deep inside you to move in the direction of Love, to serve those around you more deeply, to evolve, to grow. Because, really, that sounds like your spiritual purpose is being fulfilled right there.
On the practical level, I would say pray. Ask. Thank your spiritual support system for dropping in ideas, inspirations, introductions, people, connections, sparks. And then follow those sparks. Sit very still. See what image or idea comes to you. Whatever your way to connect with the Divine, go there. Bring in your angels, hand it over, imagine yourself in their arms, taken care of and guided towards the most true expression of your creativity in the world. And talk to people. Start small. Follow threads of excitement that draw you in their direction.
But you see it is important to do this from the angle that you are already fulfilling your purpose - just by BEING WHO YOU ARE. Any outer shifts - and practical changes - will be an extension of that. Outer shifts won't fill you up or suddenly fill you with bliss. That has to come from inside - from your relationship with yourself. And because of this, anything you do with love, anything you bring yourself to with intention, will fill you up because you will be fulfilling your purpose on the being level. One of the most purposeful people I have ever met runs the ticket office at our local train station. I am yet to meet anybody else who works with as much presence and who spreads as much love.

And one last thing. It looks like you are a mother and a wife and the centre of a beautiful family. And we live in a time when this role is not valued as deeply as it should be. You are already creating, evolving, going with the flow, achieving as much balance as you can manage, learning about love, shifting, responding, holding, baking. That is truly enough. Your CV in my book is already in the Fulfilling Your Purpose file.
Once you realise this and make this internal shift - to I Am Enough Just Because Of Who I Am - the pressure will reduce to 'find your purpose' and you will be able to relax into what wants to come about. You will be able to let a deeper external expression of what you love FIND YOU once you stop searching.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

You need to go to your soul for that

When You're Not That Anymore But Not Quite This Yet Either

I was searching for an image this evening and I came across this photograph of a leaf that I became mesmerised with last autumn. 

I was so struck by how it was no longer green but was not quite red. It had fallen from the tree mid-shift. 

And aren't we all in this state all the time? One foot in something, another foot in what is to come, colours changing, not-quite-there-yet, in-between? 

And we judge ourselves for it, we think we should be doing better, being kinder, already There, happier, thinner, less anxious, more committed, less controlling, not feeling THAT emotion again. 

And yet this leaf is so completely beautiful. So perfectly in-between, so raw in her not-that-anymore-but-not-quite-this-yet-either-ness. 

What if, just for a moment, we became still enough to see how beautiful we too must look from outside ourselves? What if, just for a moment, we could switch off that critical, mean, judgmental voice and just accept the beauty and fullness of where we are right now and how well we are doing?

Maybe this gentleness, this belief in our true beauty, would create a breeze that would quietly blow us into the newness we want to embrace - just when we stop looking. 

Let yourself be fed by your soul

So often I hear people say 'do something that feeds your soul'. 

But I see it the other way. 

We need to get still enough - present enough - even just for a few minutes a day, for our soul to feed us. 

Our essence, soul, Being, whatever you want to call it, has everything we need. And yet we run around the world trying to achieve, find, get approval, understand, conquer, win, lose. Whatever supports the story we are trying to write about ourselves. 

And what we are really doing is trying to find out if we are loveable, if we are worthy. We try to find Love outside of ourselves, in the eyes of others, in the embrace of lovers, in the career ladder, in the property market, in food, in magazines, in assessments, exams and tests of all kinds. In the moments waiting for somebody to text us back. 

When we stop running, chasing, searching, using the world's value system as our measuring stick, we see that the Love is right where we are. Right in the washing up, in the laundry, in the stapling, in the packing and unpacking of backpacks, in our laps, at our feet. Because it is who we are. 

Our soul waits so patiently for us to realise this. And accepts us right where we are on our journey of remembering. 

And Remembering will be where we end up eventually, however wonky our path may be.