Scorpio is the zodiac sign associated with death, letting go and release.

 

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It’s been interesting for me to see this play out so literally in my life. The girl cat was put down two weeks ago, and today our old car, which has served us well for six years, was sent to the scrap yard. Release. Let go. Goodbye.

 

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It has been a time of decluttering and clearing out. The difference I felt when I walked into my writing room this morning at 6am (after yesterday’s major clean out) was huge. It felt like “I” had been cleansed, not just the room. That’s the power our living space has over us. It becomes a mirror of our internal world. How often do you apologise for your living space when a friend turns up unexpectedly? Do you bless your home or make excuses for it?

It’s funny how ‘stuff’ just creeps up around you and quickly becomes part of the furniture. With the best will in the world, it’s easy for a chair or table to become a dumping ground bills, gym bag, letters and so on.

I always know when I’m a few hours from my period arriving: I can’t tolerate any mess of any description. Even the possessions I love could, at those times, be easily thrown out. My body has a complete need (a desperation, even) to purge everything and anything. My body is expecting the environment to mirror the monthly detox and cleanse.

By nature, I’m instinctively drawn to a Shaker-style simplicity. Quiet, simple, clean, peaceful. This is what my soul craves. This isn’t something easily attained when living in a family situation!

 

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View from my writing room

All around me, the trees are letting go of their leaves. There is no waste, though. They will eventually rot down and become part of Mother Earth. I love the way she recycles everything. Though not a lover of the cold (or being cold), I do adore and celebrate the beauty and majesty of Winter, in particular the bare trees. I love how everything is stripped back to basics.

If you’ve not yet read issue 5 of my online magazine, Starflower Living, I write about grief as a time to withdraw from daily life. Clare Cooper writes about learning to let go. Samantha Parker explores the meaning of soul mates. And, with Halloween tomorrow, you might be interested in the origins of this tradition. It began as a celebration or festival of the wise grandmother. And there’s also a piece on the power of the burning bowl ceremony.
Just a reminder, too: Issue one of Starflower Living is available for free. Visit www.starflowerpress.com

 

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How do we know when it is time to let go? I believe it is when something or someone or a situation no longer feels right or good to us. Letting go is like exhaling. Sometimes we need to take in a rather large amount of air first.

 

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The decision to have our girl cat put down did not come quickly or easily. It was a painful time, but her needs were more important than ours. Like cleaning a room, the change in this home after she’d gone was huge. It wasn’t just because we missed her, but the energy her illness brought to this home was felt throughout. I hadn’t realised just how much until she was no longer here.

Energy is everywhere and in everything. This is why it is so important that we consciously purge negativity from our life on a regular basis. If it isn’t something that comes easily to you, then do use this time of year to release and let go.

 

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At my desk

New Year’s Day is often seen as a time to make resolutions and goals, and yet, this time of year (to my mind) is pretty perfect. The veil between this world and the next is considered to be thin during Samhain/Halloween. It is a time to connect with our ancestresses. As we head into the darkest part of the year (here in the Northern Hemisphere), we can plant seeds of intention into the dark earth, trusting that they will germinate. First, though, we purge. We let go of all we don’t want from our lives, and then fill the vacuum with ‘good’ ideas, intentions, habits, people.

Right, I’m off to completely declutter the kitchen cupboards. And bake some pumpkin brownies!

 

The was the first Autumn leaf of the year to catch my eye

The was the first Autumn leaf of the year to catch my eye

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The dread of many women when trying to look great in a sleeveless dress or shirt: bingo wings. They’re the flabby bits that hang from the bottom of your upper arm.

 

I watch women at the gym working hard to erase these wings, trying every trick in the personal trainer’s kit to get rid of the tell-tale flab. Here’s the thing your personal trainer won’t tell you (because the odds are good that he doesn’t know!): bingo wings are not caused through lack of muscle or laziness or poor gym discipline.

Bingo wings are a symptom of low progesterone.

This hormone decreases from about the age of 35 as we start the trek through peri-menopause heading towards menopause aged around 50.

During the peri and post menopausal years, our adrenals steal progesterone to help us deal with life’s stresses.

The lower your progesterone, the higher your oestrogen.

When this is out of balance, that’s when women experience things like PMT, hot flushes, weight gain (especially around the abdomen and hips), night sweats, moodiness, insomnia, depression, and so on. Oestrogen likes fat, and the litter rotter creates more fat. Oestrogen is like an out-of-control kid in a candy store ~ it just takes more and more and more. Unless you can get your progesterone levels to a healthy level, then oestrogen will dominate your hormones and keep progesterone hiding in the corner.

No matter how many upper-arm exercises you do, you won’t see results (that is, flab gone) until your hormones are balanced. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t build muscle or create a better tone, but don’t expect miracles to happen just because you’re paying a PT £30 a week or more. Bingo wings are a hormonal issue, not a personal training one.

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Would you like to write for Starflower Living magazine?

Issue 6 themes for the New Moon in Sagittarius (due date, November 2nd): optimism, faith, adventure, freedom, truth, travel, publishing, horses, expansion, higher learning, Nature, conscience, friendliness, universities, philosophy. Health: thighs, sciatica, liver, hips.

Issue 7 themes for the New Moon in Capricorn (due date, December 1st): self-discipline, commitment, public image, aging, success, reaching goals, financial security, ambition, respect, fathers, and tradition. Health: knees, skin, bones, joints, gall bladder/stones, arthritis.

We are looking for articles which make people think, and that will inspire, take them out of their comfort zone.

Love, Veronika

 

 

 

 

 

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, , , Memories of Sweet Pumpkin Pie

As a child, I only knew pumpkin as a savoury dish. This all changed after I left home. At 19, I met my dear friend Amy from America, who was travelling through Australia at the time. She baked me sweet pumpkin pie. It was ridiculously gorgeous! I hope my recipe in issue 5 of Starflower Living comes close to her wonderful creation.

 

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My head was dunked down the school toilet for not shaving my legs. I got beaten to a pulp after school simply because someone didn’t like me. Every day contained threats and terror. The school bus was a nightmare. Bullying was the soundtrack to my childhood in school. To say I hated school doesn’t even come close.

When I met my husband (one of the nicest human beings you could ever meet), I was shocked to hear that he’d been relentlessly bullied in school. There was no question we’d home educate our children and spare them the pain of poisonous human beings (for as long as possible).

A year ago, our daughters decided to go to school. One of them did 2 years of A levels in 9 months (and is now studying music at university ~ and is ridiculously happy), and the younger one did two years of GCSEs in 9 months. She is now doing A levels. The older one had regular panic attacks because of the level of bullying she received, both at school and on the school bus.

My daughter loves her teachers ~ absolutely adores them. She’s studious and has a passion for many things, especially helping the downtrodden and the underdog. Oh the irony. Every day she is bullied. It’s constant. It’s relentless. But who is there speaking up for her? No one!

Online she’s had torment from a lot of boys both on Facebook (setting up group chats which include her…saying horrible things so she can see them, then removing her from it so she can’t see where the conversation goes); she’s had horrible abusive comments on her blog (she writes novels, and as a writer it is common to have a blog). When she reported this to the teacher in charge of student welfare, the reply was to ‘stop blogging, and go and eat some chocolate’. The mind boggles. How hard is it to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?

I am sickened to the core at the level and degree of bullying that occurs at a school which has a good Ofsted rating. Education isn’t just about what bloody King ruled or the syntax of something or anything else on the damn curriculum. It’s also about how we interact and relate with other people on this planet. In the end, that’s the most important thing of all.

You can’t make people like each other (there are plenty of people I don’t like), but there are ways to just go about your day without intruding on each other.

I always turn to writing when my mouth has trouble articulating the depth of emotion in me. My daughter―my beautiful, kind, loving daughter―is having gay porn written about her on a website by fellow students. As a parent, my vegetarian pacifist tendencies have all but disappeared and I want to shake those students until they see sense.

How do children (how does anyone) learn about balance, kindness and fairness if there are no consequences? How do we teach children about being accountable for their actions? What you sow, shall you reap. You don’t need to be a Christian to understand that this is the law of the Universe.

The world has so much beauty and brilliance, and there are such truly loving and kind people. Do we let those who don’t aspire to anything wonderful or joyous or wholesome ruin it for others? What right do they have to hold others to ransom?

In indigenous cultures, such as those mentioned in Jean Liedloff’s Continuum Concept, a tribe does not tolerate anti-social behaviour. Offenders are removed from the circle until they’re prepared to behave again. Perhaps if these horrid school children had been raised in-arms by loving and conscious parents they wouldn’t have the need to bully those who are unlike them.

If your child is being bullied, turn up at the school and make a noise. If the bullying is online, speak up about it. I know there is a common belief that kids should be left to ‘sort it out’ without adults intervening, but I don’t agree.

If you saw a teenager pouring petrol on another teen, and then throwing a match, would you stand back? Why is emotional/psychological petrol-pouring any different?

My daughter has one goal: to do well in A levels and get into Oxford or one of the top ten universities in the country. Surely she has the right to do that, and to enjoy these next two years.

My novel, Bluey’s Café, will be FREE to download on Kindle from Oct 8th to 12th!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blueys-Caf%C3%A9-Veronika-Sophia-Robinson-ebook/dp/B00H4CVEBG/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Cover illustration by the talented and gorgeous Sara Simon!

 

My second novel, set in Australia.

My second novel, set in Australia.

Riding the storm

Riding the storm

I’m about to start putting together issue 5 of Starflower Living (a monthly online magazine).

The themes for this issue run alongside those of the New Moon in Scorpio: soul mates, sexuality, transformation, empowerment, letting go, old baggage, psychology, secrets, depth of character, compulsions, deep emotional connections, ancestors, debt, inheritance, jealousy, abandonment.

Health issues: sexual organs, organs of elimination, menstrual cycle, sexual infections.

The due date for articles, artwork, adverts and photos is tomorrow, October 4th. Please email your submission to me at: office (at) starflowerpress (dot) com or veronikarobinson (at) hotmail (dot) com

Before submitting, please be familiar with our publication.
http://www.starflowerpress.com/living/index.shtml

Love, Veronika xxx

Don’t ask me why Saturday night is dessert night in our home, rather than say Wednesday or Monday…because I don’t know.

Last night we had one of my favourite desserts: pear and coconut crumble. It’s quick and easy to make, and tastes gorgeous!

I first wrote about this dessert in my novel, Bluey’s Café:

Home alone on Saturday night, instead of crawling into bed or watching late-night TV, Bluey headed to the kitchen. A small hessian sackful of ripe pears were begging for her to take notice of them. She peeled half a dozen, and sliced their tender juicy flesh in half, laying them in a pan with coconut oil and brown sugar. They began simmering. Their buttery and gritty flesh was perfect for a crumble. Coconut cream swirled around the pears, and a sprinkling of ground ginger dusted the top.

Bluey loved cooking with coconut, and always found it lent an erotic edge to her recipes, not to mention that it reminded her of Cole Hadden, a dashing young English businessmen who had taken her to dinner while in Jamaica several years ago. His kisses tasted like coconut with a hint of cinnamon and Caribbean sunshine. She could never look at coconuts in the same way again.

 

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Serves four to six

4-6 large ripe pears
30g coconut oil (or margarine)
50g coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar) or maple syrup
Juice of half a lemon
500ml coconut cream
Dusting of ground ginger

Crumble:
85g solid coconut oil (or margarine, but coconut is better)
100g coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
2 cups jumbo oats
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
100g 80% dark chocolate, broken into pieces (ginger chocolate is especially good!)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel the pears, cut in half and remove the stalks and seeds. Drizzle with lemon juice to stop browning.

Melt coconut oil (or margarine) in a pan, and add the pear halves. Add the sugar, and allow to caramelise.

After about fifteen minutes, add the coconut cream. Place the contents into a casserole dish. It will look like there’s too much liquid, but don’t worry, as it will be absorbed by the crumble.

Make the crumble. I prefer not to use flour in my crumble as I’m gluten free, but if you’d like it, use about 80g flour, and half the amount of oats. Rub the oil or margarine into the oats. Add the sugar and desiccated coconut. Add the pieces of chocolate and mix well. Place the mixture onto the top of the pears. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve with soya cream or soya ice cream.

 

Today I’m collating recipes and photos for Veganuary. Have you heard of it yet?

It’s launching this September, and the campaign is kick-starting in January 2015.
The campaign aims to reduce the suffering of animals by inspiring people to ‘try vegan’ every January… Their goal is: to show the wider world how exciting, delicious, vibrant and varied vegan food really is.

 

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Veronika’s pumpkin and chickpea curry

Clea Grady, Marketing Manager for Veganuary, says “Recipes will be a huge and vital part of this website and of our campaign; we want to showcase every type of dish and cuisine there is.”

 

Dandelions can be used like spinach leaves

Veronika’s vegan dandelion tart

She is interested in hearing from bloggers, chefs, cooks and ‘everyday’ vegans to see if they’d be keen to contribute.

 

Moussaka ingredients

Moussaka ingredients

Clea says “It is absolutely up to the contributor as to how many recipes they provide – all will be accredited back, and we will link back to blogs/websites/online profiles and shout your name from the rooftops on social media.”

If you want to contribute to Veganuary, visit www.veganuary.com
or email: clea (at) veganuary (dot) com

 

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Veronika’s carob and walnut cookies

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Veronika’s elderberry and apple crumble