The latest edition of The Green Parent has just landed on my desk – it has a gorgeous fresh cover and plenty of enticing cover lines. Jez and I are really pleased with how it’s come out and want to say a big thank you to everyone involved in our forty sixth issue! This is a our Natural Home special; inside there’s article on going off-grid, clearing clutter and how to make space for learning at home. Other exciting features include Claire Ashbourne on how to heal your children’s teeth, Lisa Hassan Scott on Awareness Parenting and Sally Butcher on jewel-like edible delights from the Middle East. Tasty!
An interesting book also arrived this week – Moontimes by Lucy Pearce takes a look at the menstrual cycle and explores ways in which we can celebrate each part of the process from ovulation through to our blood time. There are some great ideas for tuning into the body and a wealth of heartwarming information that I needed to read on the Crazy Woman time of the month! I particularly enjoyed the section on creating a menarche ceremony, written by Rachel Hertogs. Her story was inspired by many years of planning and co-ordinating these ceremonies at the Sacred Arts Camp, which takes place every spring in Oxfordshire.
Talking of camps, whispers of festival plans have been heard in the office this week. We’re planning our Family Festival Guide, which will be free with issue 47 (out on 11th May) and we’ve enjoyed the first burst of spring-like weather, prompting us to think about plans for the summer. A favourite and annual treat is Sunrise Celebration in Somerset, which this year will be held on the Solstice. Jez and I will have just put an issue to bed as the gates open to this marvellous event so we’ll be there as soon as we can after finishing. I expect the actual Solstice will be spent by the sea in Sussex, getting creative, making fire, night swimming and enjoying the company of friends and family.
Another festival that we’d love to be part of this year is Buddhafield. We had such a magical time last year. There was a real sense of love and heart centre expansion during the festival, which lasted long after we had left the beautiful wooded site near Taunton. I’d like to go back and allow each of us to experience the freedom and joy that we enjoyed last year. I had hoped to teach yoga here but spaces get booked up almost before they become available. Maybe in 2013?
Our enewsletter is going out tomorrow with some juicy content. You’ll be able to read about ways to celebrate Spring Equinox with your family, get some knitting inspiration and explore a month of meat free meals. It’s free to sign up.
Have a great week!
PS: Great pic for this week’s post features the treehouse at Bewilderwood in Norfolk, featured in our Green Holidays on the Coast article in the current edition.
One of my beautiful friends is a raw foodie who makes us delicious goodies, such as her speciality flaxseed crackers, bursting with italian flavour and an incredible chocolate shortbread. Those in East Sussex might be lucky enough to find some for sale in Sunny Foods, Eastbourne or Brighton. You can also find her online where she provides a coaching service for those looking to improve their health, plus a recipe book containing some of her most tasty creations. I have recently come across another lovely lady, Lisa Sture who makes her own treats and sells them at Raw Lisa. I have some of her fab sounding breads and crackers to try today for lunch. Anyway, these gorgeous treats have inspired me to get a bit more creative with raw foods again (rather than just turning to the same recipes over and over). Here are a few of my favourite raw food recipe books to get your juices flowing.
I AM GRATEFUL
From Café Gratitude in San Francisco and LA, this book is stuffed full of delights to tickle Californian tastebuds. And mine too. Each recipe in this book has an empowering moniker, such as I am Beautiful. Some of my favourites from here that I’ve rediscovered recently include “I am Spirit Teriyaki Almonds” – delicious sweet and sour nuts, with ginger, garlic and dates, great for a party, “I am Bueno Spinach Tortillas” – a winner with the kids as lunchtime wraps and a truly decadent “I am Magnificent Chocolate Mousse”. Filled with sumptuous photography and recipe titles that make you feel all loved up, this book is a real pleasure to own.
LIVING FOOD FOR RADIANT HEALTH
Elaine Bruce’s authentic guide to using fresh and raw foods is a brilliant introduction to live food cuisine. Packed with advice and inspiration, Bruce is a powerhouse of information. She trained with Dr. Ann Wigmore and now runs the Living Foods Programme in Shropshire. The best aspect of this book is how it encourages readers to set up their own sprouting/growing area for live greens at home. She really inspires you to revolutionise your kitchen. Love it!
RAINBOW GREEN: LIVE FOOD CUISINE
Gabriel Cousens is the director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Centre in Patagonia and huge on the raw foods scene. His approach combines ayurvedic medicine with raw foods and this book is a bountiful collection of great recipes to help you eat as nature intended. I like the fact that he uses very few grains in his dishes and relies more heavily on seeds rather than nuts as this suits my ayurvedic type. A useful book with plenty of information besides the recipes. Not for you if you like glossy images of what you are making though, this only has a few.
David Wolfe and Shazzie have combined forces to manifest a love letter to the cacao bean. This beautiful book is packed with info and heaps of recipes (including savoury delights). Some of my favourites include chilli con cacao, chocolate pizza (oh yes!) and little fudge cakes. This is my go to book in the winter months when I need a little extra boost of energy. Many of the recipes are superfood rich so they provide you with a healthy buzz when you most need it.
Kate Magic has put together a selection of recipes for the revolution. And the revolution will be full of love, light and magic. And it will not be televised. And there will be much enjoyment of super foods. This is my favourite of Kate’s books, although others such as Eat Smart, eat Raw or Raw Living, might be better starting points for those just discovering raw foods. This book iOS packed with superfood delights and my all time favourites have to be Best Ever Breakfast Cereal, Buzz Cake (packed with bee pollen) and Superbeing Tea. Yum!
RAW: THE UNCOOK BOOK
This is the only raw food book in our local library but I guess we are lucky to have even one. When I first started getting interested in raw foods about seven years ago, this was one of my first sources of inspiration. My mum bought it for me for my birthday many years ago. I love the outlandish recipes, some of which are crazily complicated and over the top. I love the imagery of author, Juliano leaping around in brightly coloured dungarees. But best of all, I love that there are plenty of recipes in here that aren’t too complex and that make fabulous tasting raw delights. That’s what keeps me coming back, time and again to the old classic favourites like this and Nomi Shannon’s Raw Gourmet.
Happy healthy eating!
I have been asked a few times recently what books I’d recommend for someone interested in home education. After a few moments thought I had amassed a whole shelf’s worth of inspiration but these are some of the very best. Books that have both inspired and guided me over the last eight years of family life.
ONE TO ONE is a beautifully produced sourcebook for home educators. Former teacher, Gareth Lewis and his family have compiled their knowledge of subjects from maths to gardening, cookery to art. It is aimed at families with children aged up to eleven, covering the preschool years and the importance of play in the early chapters. I used this book a great deal when my children were younger but we have now graduated to the sequel, Unqualified Education, for those aged 11 to 18. In One to One, there’s plenty of ideas to spark a journey of discovery and also much to ressaure you in Lewis’ editorial throughout the book. The illustrations and projects contributed by Lewis’ illustrious children serve as further reassurance that home education works. Great for those looking for inspiration for projects and wondering how to go about it.
TEACH YOUR OWN: John Holt’s book of home schooling is a useful reference book which has recently been updated. It contains much information on Holt’s philosopy but for anyone who wants to delve into the why of home education a little deeper, I would recommend How Children Learn and How Children Fail. Holt subscribes to the belief that children are natural learners and do not need to be co-erced into education or have school recreated for them at home. In fact his understanding of children and how they think make any of his titles an interesting read for all parents, whether home educating or not. A good choice for those interested in the philosophy of unschooling.
AND THE SKYLARK SINGS WITH ME: Adventures in home and community based education is David Albert’s first biographical book about his experiences educating his daughters. Some friends of mine don’t get on with this book, finding it frustratingly unachievable. It is true that Albert seems to be raising two daughters who are clearly genius material, which could highlight shortcomings in one’s own experiences. But I find that it serves as an exciting, inspirational tale of hope and possibility. Yes, his eldest is composing sonatas and singing complicated works with the local choral society by the age of ten but that is recounted in such a way that it is joyful to read of his child’s talents. I thoroughly enjoy this and Albert’s sequel, Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery and revisit both at least once a year. A good read for those looking for stories of hope and possibility.
DUMBING US DOWN: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto is the book that I unreservedly recommend to anyone who is home-ed curious. I have bought countless copies over the years and yet looking in my bookcase now I can’t find one copy so they must all be out there circulating. Taylor Gatto, himself a former headteacher, outlines everything that is wrong with the current school system and details what we can do to put it right. Incredibly inspiring stuff from someone on the inside. A brilliant page turning read for those who are considering home education but are still unsure.
FREE RANGE EDUCATION, edited by Terri Dowty is another oft-lent book to those families considering home education. An excellent introduction, it comprises a series of essays and experiences from home educating families. Editor, Teri has put together a valuable selection of stories from a wide range of educational backgrounds, covering different approaches. This seems to be a popular read for dads who are seeking more information about the actual practicalities of home education. Useful for those who want information from the front line; how does it actually work.
Do you have any favourite reads that have inspired you? It would be great to hear about them here.
I’m sitting at my desk eating raw chocolate torte and trying to work out how I can get all my work squeezed into the first half of the week so that I can go and play at Big Chill this weekend. The line up looks super awesome and I’m very excited about going but it does mean a few hurdles to leap before Friday.
We have just two weeks left to finish the October edition of The Green Parent – it’s looking splendid already and there’s heaps of diverse, exciting articles in there but quite a lot still to be written so am beavering away while my girls are at Forest School for a week.
The pressures have been soothed considerably by some luscious raw chocolate torte made by a gorgeous friend of mine who has become our Raw Food Mistress. She supplies incredible cake, crackers and bread for us each week, all bursting with vitality and goodness and handmade with love and intregrity. It’s such a brill arrangement – I can’t quite believe it!
Had an amazing weekend – got struck by powerful cleansing energies on Saturday and cleaned out the kitchen cupboards putting together a box of non vibrant foods to freecycle and setting up a cupboard for high vibrational foods such as superfoods and the like. Filled it with crystals too – feels really good and a little bit out there. He, he! Also had the last session of my year long yoga course – it was amazing and really beautiful. Sad to leave but also a really opening experience as I have many new friends as a result. One lent me a beautiful binding of the Upanishads, which I’m looking forward to getting stuck into once this issue is finished. There was lots of talk on the yoga course yesterday about Eat, Pray, Love – I read this recently and really enjoyed it. Elizabeth Gilbert is a talented writer and it’s a heart warming, inspirational read.
This morning the postman delivered some gorgeous organic balms from The Green Grocery. The Face and Neck Daily Treatment will apparently reduce fine wrinkles and make facial skin plumper and healthier. It’s got one of my favourite essential oils, vertiver in it and plenty of rosehip oil to help firm the skin. I’m going to try it out tonight and with any luck will get mistaken for a cool twenty something on the dance floor at Big Chill this weekend. Also received a magical book called Environmental Arts Therapy and the Tree of Life, which explores the year in terms of the Celtic calendar and how to create art and ritual to mark the turning year. The chapter on August begins with a description of the first harvest, Lammas; it encourages readers to cultivate gratitude by collecting first fruits. “Gather some around you,” writes Ian Siddons Heginworth, “a hazelnut in your pocket, a crab apple by your bed, and ash key slipped into your diary. Every time you see or touch them, give thanks for whatever you can think of. Family, health, love, new opportunitities, even the harsh lessons learned, there can be much that we take for granted. The more we give thanks for what we have the more we invite life to bless us.” So true! What are you thankful for today?
By the way the beautiful picture of the Bhagavad Gita that I have chosen to illustrate today’s post is from Hermandadblanca’s photostream on flickr.
I am re-reading Gill Edwards magical book on relationships; Wild Love. It is such a profound and eye opening book and merits re-reading every year or so to refresh all the exciting lessons contained within. As I read I notice a corresponding deepening of communication within my close relationships.
Unconditional or wild love sets us free and allows us to be who we truly are. It liberates you from the prisons of the ego and of judgement, shame and guilt and encourages freedom, passion and creativity to flourish. It is about changing from within, understanding that we are responsible for our own destiny and that no one else can make us feel anything. We choose our reactions to events and other people. Therefore we have the power to change our lives, our experiences, our environment and our relationships. Gill explains that the most powerful message of this book is the importance of Self-love. If we can truly love ourselves, wildly and unconditionally, our energy will be free to flow and we will attract unconditional love into our relationships.
“What does it really mean to love ourselves, others and the world?” asks Gill. “How does ‘love’ so often get blocked, twisted and distorted – and leave us feeling trapped, limited or diminished? What does our energy system reveal about the true nature of Love? And why are our emotions so crucial to making our lives and relationships work? Wild Love suggests that – paradoxically – we can only truly love when we give up trying to be ‘good’, conforming or pleasing others, but instead choose to be happy and follow our bliss. Then we move beyond the conditional ‘tame love’, which our culture promotes – which leads to controlling (taming) others, or sacrificing ourselves and our dreams (being tamed). Instead we discover the wild love which can awaken and inspire us, set us free and release our hidden potential. Then we become apprentice gods and goddesses – and our lives are transformed.”
I am off to discover some more of her writings. Am hoping that she might write a book on parenting at some point. It would be a magical book!
Welcome to the new blog from the Green Parent office. Here we'll talk about what's going on in the small and quite leafy headquarters of the UK's leading green lifestyle magazine. We'll share news that interests us and talk about green issues and natural parenting. We'll share advice and information from our own experiences of living a green lifestyle. And we'll even tell you what we are reading, eating, drinking and thinking. Hope you get plenty of food for thought here.