Raw Banoffee Pie

One of the beautiful girls at work had a birthday which she almost kept hidden, and yes we may have been late but we still took time to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate than with a Raw Banoffee Pie.

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A recipe from the talented Elenor Ozich was used to create this scrumptious cake. When it comes to raw desserts I am always hesitant at trying new things. I believe there is an art to this delicacy and even after witnessing this talent first hand for two years at Mondays Wholefood, I still only make a few trusted and trailed recipes. For this one I substituted almond butter with peanut butter and decorated the top with flaked fudge not cacao nibs. It’s a solid beautiful recipe, the only thing I would comment on is the texture. It may have been because the blender I used wasn’t top notch, or I didn’t blend the cashews for long enough, but the cashew-vanilla layer was still a bit grainy-fast melting. I also think I’ve reached the point in which I need to introduce/try different flavors in my raw desserts. I always stick to vanilla, caramel, coconut, salted or chocolate.  Perhaps a cherry ripe, cranberry & pistachio or mint will be more satisfying. For now though, here are some pretty pictures of this Raw Banoffee Pie, which may have a slice or two missing.

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Creating delights such as this make me home sick for Mondays. However, celebrating today, and planning, crafting and dreaming over the last week of the things this floral season promises to be full of, makes me feel even more certain that my heart belongs in Wellington at this Grey & white signed florist studio, with three hilarious women and one little puppy who is almost as scrumptious as the cake above.

 

 

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Seeking the Hectic

It dawned on my at exactly 11.24 pm last night that although I am surrounded by the art of slow living, I have not the faintest hint of how to implement the ideal. It seems that when my life is busy, moving and organized chaos I know how to make time to breath, relax and reflect. But when life hands me breathing space with no full schedule, no due dates and no commitments I am in a fluster to seek out the ‘hectic’.

I have not yet been back in Wellington a week and I am already hunting for a second job and feeling like a bit of a failure because I haven’t yet found a house to call home. Most flats in Wellington that are affordable are home to mold or moss and the sun seems to have forsaken them.

I can not seem to grasp the fact that I have time, that I am financially stable and it is okay to take some time to just be. The problem with this is that I think my generation has forgotten how to relax. Not only that but we do not know what to-do when we have time? I have been blessed with time for the next few months and all I can think of is getting rid of that time by committing to different ventures or simply scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feed for days on end.

So how does one learn to live slowly when it feels un-natural and uncomfortable? I would applaud any tips you happen to throw my way?

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Where I am & What I am reading

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Little bit of a disclaimer: I have literally just arrived back in Wellington and realized I never published this blog post about stressful mornings. So I am sneakily publishing it now.

Gosh writing has definitely not been at the forefront of my thoughts this last month and I am starting to feel the sway of unnoted thoughts cluttering up my head. I am moving back to Wellington so soon I can count the weeks on my hand. I am overjoyed to reconnect with my city and to fall in love with countless cafes who seem to have changed so much in the space of there years.

This time however, I am only in the city for two weeks. I am here to reunite with my Twig & Arrow family and to try and be a helping hand as they create a floral dream of a scene for a high profile wedding this coming weekend.  I am currently rugged up in ripped jeans, an oversized T-shirt dress, sprouting messy, half-straightened hair. I am about to chow down on a plate of salted caramel and almond waffles with banana, because apparently bananas are good for PMS, and because it sounds insanely delicious, and because I have been mentally deep breathing for the last hour in an attempt to tempt peace into my body. This morning was a bit of a subtle nightmare. Okay, maybe a bit of an overstatement but for those who are planners and organizers you will understand.

I am a morning person and my mornings work wonderfully like clockwork, mostly. This morning I slept in so all the tasks I had mentally set for myself were in flux. Shower, wash my hair, try and make my hair not suck, pack my bag with protein filled snacks so I don’t get cranky, make my wonderful boyfriends breakfast and pack him a good solid lunch, finish decorating my birthday cakes for the girls that evening, tidy the piles of clothes on the floor and lastly and most most importantly make the bed, I had given myself two solid hours for these little labors but ended up with about an hour. It is so ironic that the book I am currently loving and which I packed this morning in my haste is Doctor Libby’s ‘Rushing Woman Syndrome’.

If you haven’t already read this I highly recommend it. It is an epic realization that how most of us are living is detrimental to our health and that the art of slowing down isn’t just a trendy fad, its a very real solution to a serious problem. I haven’t been able to loose weight for the last three years even though I have been exercising like crazy and eating relatively healthy. This book has been a complete treat for me in understanding some basic anatomy and getting a grasp on how stress causes so much more then simply getting pissed off that I couldn’t make my bed this morning to perfection. It is absolutely crazy that we each have our own body full of organs with intricate-amazing systems yet the majority of us don’t even know what the nervous system does, gosh I didn’t even know what organs made up my gut, I thought it was simply my stomach.

So it is because of the amazing knowledge in this book that I am currently able to sit here while the chaos of the morning rush unfolds around me in this busy cafe, breath deeply and hold onto the fact that although I have just turned 23 I am still barely an adult and still have room for mistakes and growth.

Three thoughts & three years

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Two things come to mind when I see this photo. The first is that I really need to invest in a pair of well sized jeans. The second is that this photo was taken nearly three years ago. Three years in Auckland is quickly coming to an end and each year has been significantly different.

The first year of my degree was focused on finding community. Creating a family and surrounding myself with like minded individuals. It was also spent trying to live up to expectations I had of my life and trying to balance love and life between two cities.

The second year of my Auckland journey was spent learning and stumbling around the art of friendship, and learning about health and nutrition. Submerging myself in the whole foods world and falling in love with the Mondays Whole Food’s philosophy and ivy covered cafe.

My third year has been the most challenging. Over the summer I found a home in the events and floral industry in Wellington. The move back to Auckland however, has seen a loss of community and my exceptionally high expectations both externally and internally start to crumble. The awesome blessing in this, is that I get to rebuild a healthier, more realistic understanding of who I am, what I believe in, how I would like to carve my life, and the types of people I would adore to surround myself with.

Three years has seen so many choices, so many learning curves and so many new experiences.

It is so important to record these snippets of life so that in another three years one can find another photo and reminisce and reflect and I really really hope in my case, laugh and feel proud about how far growth can take oneself.

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Christian expectations are like Ivy

Christian expectations are like ivy

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My life currently feels like a bramble branch. Last summer my boss forced me into the thickest of a blackberry bush in the hopes I would return with a bounty worthy of a wedding bouquet. I’m only slightly joking, I wasn’t sacrificed to the berries but we did go foraging for blackberries, and the talented hands that pulled me constantly back to safety created a bouquet worth billions.

A twig of blackberries is how I see myself at the moment. There are so many sharp edged thorns on the stem of my life and I am just in the early stages of seizing a stem stripper and gently but firmly de-thorning my life of everything that is guilt or failure related and which sadly can be narrowed down to the influence of religion, Christianity and Christian expectation.

Let me attempt to explain. I was raised a Christian, some may say born a Christian. It is a conversation that can be linked to that of nature vs nurture. Some could say without much argument that because I crawled with Christian influence I now walk with Christian influence, or simply have a greater chance of adopting this faith as my own because it is comfortable, familiar and welcoming.
I have had 22 years of church, religious activities, friends and community. It is not a bad thing and I am in no way badmouthing the wonderful way in which my trooper of parents brought me up. They guided me and loved me the best way they knew, and somehow I inherited their grace, compassion, empathy and unfortunately my father’s stubbornness. But what I wish down in my soul is that I didn’t inherent or perhaps unconsciously adopt, is the expectations of a Christian life. I have spent the small years of my adult life trying desperately to live up to this unrealistic expectation of a Christian and it has been bruising my heart and brushing so often against my shoulders that I even stumbled into saying goodbye to one of the few things in my life that was well with my soul, simply because I felt guilty that it didn’t fit into my predetermined image of what my life should look like.

It would be incredibly unjust to blame the church and that of Christianity solely for these expectations. People are flawed and church is a mix of the motley and the amazing. It is imperfect yet a place of comfort and community to so many people I have the pleasure of knowing. However, aspects of this constitution, this religion have painted expectations I no longer want. The perfect relationship, the expectation to give more, put others before yourself – regardless of how acknowledged a false hood that is. To look your best on Sunday morning, know everyone’s name that walks in the building and have coffee and conversation with a new person every second day of the week. I could list a few more but am in danger of bitterness.

For the last two years when I pictured what my life should look like I picture countless Instagram pages of young Christian couples, who showcase the bounty of their lives. People, places, pleasures, hardly ever pains. Social media is a dangerous place for comparison and competition and is an entirely different conversation to have, but let’s just acknowledge that unrealistic expectations no matter where they have stemmed from lead to unhappiness and a hell of a lot of thorns.

The cafe in which I work is covered in ivy. The ivy has nestled into every crack, under every windowpane and has even begun to claim the toilet bowl. Ivy roots take hold in cracks and crevices of buildings and common or English ivy can cause damage to brick and wood. The beautiful plant can easily work its way between boards, opening the joints and damaging the structure. If pulled off the tiny roots can permanently discolor and damage most surfaces. Yet at the same time it is insanely beautiful and can turn the mundane into the extraordinary. This image always comes to mind when I think about Christianity.

I often day dream of a faith which was built on a blank slate. That was entirely my own. A relationship with God not one with the church, religion or social media, and this is what I hope to have. I am on the journey of kicking out religion and adopting spirituality, because as I wrote months and months ago,I would rather have a relationship over religion and I do now think it is possible to have one without the other.

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You are enough

I am the most terribly inconstant and unreliable blogger on the internet. So it is of no great surprise that when life decided to roll up her sleeves and sock a punch in my general direction, my writing was for a little while there forgotten. I read somewhere that humans tend to write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospect. The following is somewhat half way between those two spaces.

The main thing that has been bothering me are the exceedingly high expectations of a Christian life, intended or unintended. I have tried to capture my thoughts and I will post shortly in the hopes of explaining this and my absence. I will save the long rant for that space. One thing that has never wavered, yet I find myself constantly coming back to, is that you as a person, your whole entire person, is enough.

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A reckless love affair

As I head back up the country line to my second city I felt the want to publish the following little piece of writing, which was me trying to articulate finding my heart and my feet in two different places, enjoy.

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I am having an affair. You know, the love type. I’m that wicked child they talk about with godly parents whose daughter rebelled, yet whose rebellion wasn’t confined to years but simply a life time. But before your eyes open too wide, let me clarify with a wink and a raised cup of peppermint tea in a kind of salute-no, gesture, to the predicament I find myself in. I am having a love affair with two different cities.  Wellington pleads to me on the weekends. The lights of the valley-nestled city beckon me home, but Auckland, the hustle bustle of this city comforts me in whole food cafes, communities, opportunities and an endless future.

If I lay myself on the sofa with many a pouf at my aid, I can counsel myself into remembering the starting point of the affair, and in the famous words of every children’s author who ever lived, I will begin my next sentence with… it all started long ago when I picked up, packed up and hauled my life up the country line from the little city of Wellington to the concrete jungle of Auckland to start studying at University.

Ahhh, university the final frontier. The stepping stone for us young adults before we are thrust unwillingly into the world of the grown, the working world, the coffee six times a day type of world (already there mate), but seriously, my heartache for home started as home sickness often does, when one is away for too long. I spent my first year of university booking cheap Jet Star flights (don’t get me started) and catching the almighty and bloody expensive airport bus at all hours of the morning to visit my little city.

Then life decided to show its face in Auckland. My down town, inner city apartment started to sprout many a potted plant, the sunlit patches in the corners of the room between glass and woodwork become much loved places to sprawl and study. I got a job at an ivy covered cafe and learned about whole food, wellness and yoga. I slowly, timidly, but surely made acquaintances that turned into friends. I got a car and begun to explore the outskirts where concrete turns to forest and where the refuge of the sea softened my outlook on city life. Soon Auckland began to hold all my laughter, Jet Star was just another thing to avoid and roll my eyes about and I began to become less frustrated with the bright lights of the city and more enticed by them.

Inching over my own thoughts on the last two years with one more year of study to go, I come to the late afternoon conclusion that love affairs are never an easy business to settle. The heartache of moving your life from one city to another is a difficult one to settle. Jealously of a place not a person, is odd yet ever present. But it does get easier, and the coffee does get better. Just as I believe it is possible to love more than one person, it is possible to love two different cities and call them both your own.

Two years on and I am grateful for different cities, for large ones and small ones. I am grateful that my new home does not have bitter winds. I have noticed that I have always lived on a hill and that flying into Wellington at night is incredibly beautiful. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, although I don’t think the author of that saying had certain cities in mind.  I thought that when I moved to Auckland I would be starting a new home and leaving the other behind, but it turns out I now have two homes, how incredibly lucky is that!

Being probably quicker of mind then I am, you may have already learned how to nip any home sickness in the bud but for those who still struggle for familiar sights, for dairy owners who know your name, and for having a street map on the back of your hands, embrace that feeling for it means adventure, growth and ultimately a new start.

One more year down and one more to go and then university will be like the rooftop views from my first year apartment balcony, no longer mine. They will belong to yesterday.

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