On Mornings like these, and a new travel tradition #Soulfood #Poetry #Journaling

Bliss is found on mornings like these…

Today has been spent eating Poetry for Breakfast and Journaling in my heart space ~ my Zenkraft traveller’s notebook. I bought these two stunning poetry editions while in the UK last year. Poetry and music were my healing spaces in 2016 and continue to be this year. I also decided to start a new personal travel tradition. Instead of keychains or other travel keepsake ephemera I have decided to buy myself books of poetry every time I travel somewhere. These are my first two poetry mementoes and what stunning eye candy for the senses and soul food for the heart and mind they are.

 


“Time cannot be cut

with your weary scissors,

and all the names of the day

are washed out by the waters of the night.” 

excerpted from Too Many Names | Pablo Neruda

  Keep on reading!

#Travel Edition | These are some of my Favourite #OnTheGo Things #2017 #EDC 

For the last 5 months of 2016 I was on the road, in the air, on planes, trains, underground trains, cars and mostly living out of a lightweight suitcase + a backpack + a crossbody travel bag. So I had to minimise my favourite things into portable Every Day Carry (EDC) options; those which would take the least amount of room, be highly functional, be minimalistic but still give me pleasure. When travelling, especially long-term, the key-words are Minamalism + Functional. I would add my personal motto of Yo-No-Bi: Simplicity, Function, Beauty.

  • Yo-No-Bi 

This principle is known as yo-no-bi. Common among the older generation of craftsmen in Japan, yo-no-bi consists of two kanji, yo (用) which means use or application, and bi (美) which means beauty. Together they aim to balance the aesthetic and the functional – not only must a technique/item be functional, but it must be pleasing to the eye.

 

So here I’ve summed up my Favourite On-The-Go EDC things, all true to the principle of Yo-No-Bi, that I ended up carrying with me all over Australia/Hong Kong/UK/Greece for the last half of 2016.

 
Keep on reading!

Capsized | Writing through the Fog, Emerging from under the Wave

The Uses of Sorrow | Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me

a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.

 

…And today I felt like I was drowning in this ocean wave of grief and pain and lostness. I felt overwhelmed and raw with too many emotions trying to come out all at once…Then I knew I needed to quiet the ocean of noise in my brain. The only way I know how to do this is to Write! So here I have been writing in this journal on and off all afternoon/night. I don’t think the noise in my brain has died down yet. But it feels cathartic to see my thoughts and feelings in black permanent ink on a white page…-I need my poems to truly expel all this grey emotion. I’ve been purposely staying away from working on my poetry because I don’t want to actually face all these emotions. But I know I’m drowning beneath all my emotions/thoughts…the only way I know to come up and out from under all of this is through my poetry. It is my own life-raft. I need to get back in my life-raft… | excerpted from my journal ~ Greece, September 2016

“From the Sea” [Image by Bojan Jevtić]**
Keep on reading!

2016.Bitter.Sweet.

…Today is a difficult day I feel overwhelmed by pain: emotional waves of grief and emptiness that keep on breaching my foundations; foundations weak from physical pain-migraine! I’m angry at myself for being a mess today. I’m angry that I feel so broken and I’m doing all I can to hold onto the broken pieces…but really I just want to throw away all the brokenness and wipe the slate clean and start again, build myself back up…I’m still in Migraine Hell. The pain has dulled but the nausea is now kicking in with full force. I slept better last night but took a while to fall asleep…too much noise in my brain again. But I put on my headset and drowned the noise with music. There is a numbness today after all the emotion that poured out of me yesterday…This is not the End of me…This is the beginning…For so long I had caged my heart, told it to keep quiet. I have lead solely with my head. But I have only survived, I have lived a life half-lived. But losing A so soon, too soon, opened that dark lock-box where I had hidden my heart. Suddenly it was no longer just a lock-box but it had transformed into Pandora’s Box. Suddenly I couldn’t contain, couldn’t constrain, couldn’t control all the emotion that came pouring out of this hidden place. Grief, rage, death, loss skinned me of all my protective layers. I was left unformed, raw, vulnerable, unprotected from the elements, all my dam walls broken in millions of pieces…this journey was a part of my destiny. It would take something tragic, something devastating to move me from the grey places I had walked into when I shut away my heart. The worst thing happened. Someone I loved, someone who was part of my history, part of my story, part of my identity…Left. Not only did she leave but I lost my chance to see her in person once again. She was ripped from my life, taken away with not enough warning. There are moments in life and death that define us, shake the very core of us, change us. There are moments in life that are defined by what came before and what came after. This is my moment. This is the moment, the fragment in time, where I decide to either stay the same or change direction. This journey has freed my heart from the martingale I had constrained it with. Then my heart, now raw, free and untethered suddenly found a reason to wake up…It was both the most painful trip I have ever had to make but also the most clarifying journey filled with sweet pockets of unexpected joy…I cannot help but think that A is still being my BFF and arranging circumstances and moments to bring me joy, to remind me what it means to truly live, not just survive but thrive. Seeing A go through the Cancer with courage and yes even with joy and still believing in love, in spite of the Cancer or perhaps because for her the Cancer clarified how short and precious life is and how rare joy and love is…| excerpted from my journal ~ 2016

I’ve been away, both from this blog and from my own life. I’ve come back from a life-changing, life-altering journey. A journey that I never wanted to take but one that is now part of my story. The journey started 26 years ago when two adolescent girls met one morning waiting for a school bus and said “hello”. One of these girls is me at 12, just moved to a new town with no friends. The other girl is A: a girl who stands with her ballet dancer’s elegance, her feet meeting at the heels and toes pointed in opposite directions. That first “hello” changed my story and opened the chapter of a life-long friendship. In 2016 that long chapter changed with the last words I told my friend, the ballet dancer, the daughter, the sister, the mother, the woman, the nurturer, the compassionate one, the warrior, my anchor; when I told her she could let go now, she could rest.

In 2016 I lost one of the cartographers of my past.

  Keep on reading!

What I read in April| #KimsKaffeeKlatsch #amreading

I would like to thank Netgalley, the respective publishers and the respective authors for the copies of the following books in exchange for my honest review.


As always on #KimsKaffeeKlatsch, I have paired up my reads with my recommended coffee recipe. After all what is a good book without the decadently delicious aroma of strong coffee. So curl up on your favourite couch, light the fire, brew your favourite coffee and lets klatsch delicious books and thrilling coffee.


Summit Lake | Charlie Donlea

[Kensington Books | ISBN: 9781496700988]

Set in a small, picturesque North Carolina town, Charlie Donlea’s suspenseful debut novel tells the haunting story of a murdered law school student, the reporter assigned to her story—and the intimate connection that comes when the living walk in the footsteps of the dead.

“No suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.”

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place, with charming stilt houses dotted along the pristine water. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student, was brutally murdered in one of those houses. The daughter of a powerful attorney, Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Now, while the town reels with grief and shocked residents gather to share their theories, the police are baffled. 

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the determined efforts to keep the case quiet, all hint at something far more than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper into the mystery, pushing on despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and the secrets she was keeping—the more convinced she becomes that learning the truth about Becca could be the key to overcoming her own dark past…

 
Keep on reading!

My #WriteSpace | With Space to Create #WhereIWrite

I have always been fascinated with the spaces where creatives love to retreat to. I loved the Hachette vlog series #WhereIWrite. I absolutely love Catching Days’ How We Spend Our Days interview series where Cynthia Newberry Martin asks writers to guest-post on how they spend their days. I have also just recently found the delightful rabbit hole of  Novelicious’s My Writing Room.

courtesy of the freedictionary.com

To me there is something sacred about being let into a creative space. For many creatives, this space is often where they feel most like themselves. It is a nest where they can retreat to succour their creativity. So I thought I would invite you into my #WriteSpace for a short while.

 
Keep on reading!

Thrilling Secrets and Tantalising Lies | #amreading #KimsKaffeeKlatsch

I would like to thank Netgalley, the respective publishers and the respective authors for the copies of the following books in exchange for my honest review.

 As always on #KimsKaffeeKlatsch, I have paired up my reads with my recommended coffee recipe. After all what is a good book without the  decadently delicious aroma of strong coffee. So curl up on your favourite couch, light the fire, brew your favourite coffee and lets klatsch delicious books and thrilling coffee.

The Forgotten Girls | Sara Blaedel

[Grand Central Publishing, ISBN:  9781455581511]
“In a forest in Denmark, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of an unidentified woman. A large scar on one side of her face should make the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. After four days, Louise Rick—the new commander of the Missing Persons Department—is still without answers. But when she releases a photo to the media, an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a “forgotten girl.” But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates over 30 years ago. As the investigation brings Louise closer to her childhood home, she uncovers more crimes that were committed—and hidden—in the forest, and finds a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed…”

I am obsessed with the Scandinavian Noir genre so I am always pleased to be introduced to another brilliant author in this genre.

  Keep on reading!

What’s on your bookshelf this month? | #KaffeeKlatsch #amreading

February’s #CurrentlyReading Bookshelf

  1. The Forgotten Girls – Sara Blaedel
  2. Summit Lake – Charlie Donlea
  3. Burning the Days – James Salter
  4. The Poison Artist – Jonathan Moore
  5. Blood on Snow – Jo Nesbo
  6. The Lion’s Mouth – Anne Holt
  7. Missing Pieces – Heather Gudenkauf
  8. Dust – Arthur Slade

   

 
Coming up on the next Kaffeeklatsch…Watch this space next week.

I’ll be chatting about The Forgotten Girls , The Poison Artist and Missing Pieces.

So tell me…

What’s on your bookshelf this month?

Favourite Things #Snapshot #Hobonichi #2016

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#PlanitOnPaper

 

I am definitely a #PlanItOnPaper gal. I love my tech but for actually planning tasks and then ticking off/crossing off tasks done, nothing beats a paper planner for me. I also prefer a bound lay-flat planner rather than a ringed planner. Last year was my introduction to the Hobonichi – a Japanese bound planner system (available in 3 sizes) with Tomoe River Paper (Very high quality fountain pen friendly paper) – and for my first year using Hobonichi, I bought the Hobonichi Cousin (A5). I loved the Hobonichi Cousin so much that I knew that I wanted to get all 3 sizes this year. I love compartmentalising my planning. I like having an everything hold-all planner – both personal and professional – which I prefer in an A5 size. But I knew I wanted separate, smaller planners for both my personal life and a dedicated planner/logbook for my writing.

  Keep on reading!

#HappyNewYear 2016 RISE up to Your Dreams | It’s f%#!ing worth it! #OneWord365 #ResolutionRevolution

What’s your  #2016 #OneWord365 #WordOfTheYear ?

Every year for the past 4 years I have chosen my One #WordOfTheYear.

I don’t do resolutions because quite simply there are too many things I want to resolve to do, too many places I want to resolve to see, too many people I want to resolve to meet or spend more time with and too many goals I want to resolve to achieve.

The resolution list would be Long.

So…

This.

This is my 5th year running that I have opted to go with a #PowerWord. [5 means lucky for me.]

This is the #OneWord366 [This year is a leap year! It means 1 whole 24 hours extra to #GetSh!tDone !] I choose to FOCUS on to power my intentions and motivate me. It is the #ResolutionsRevolution. It kicks ass and takes no excuses. No more lists of not done by the end of your first month. 

This year my word is a word I have waited to choose.

It leads on beautifully from my #2015 Word: Push.

 
Keep on reading!

These are some of my Favourite Things #2015

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  • Pens
  1. Visconti Van Gogh Starry Night Fountain Pen
  2. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen
  3. Mitsubishi UniPin 0.3 Black Fine Line Marker
  4. Uniball Jetstream Multi-Pen 
  5. Kikki K Metal RollerBall Pen
  • Ink
  1. Diamine Bilberry
  2. Diamine Ancient Copper
  3. Diamine Eclipse
  4. Diamine Red Dragon
  • Paper
  1. Tomoe River Paper – Extremely FountainPen-Friendly. You can get some from here.
  2.  (All Hobonichi Planners have Tomoe River Paper – gridded.)
  3. TWSBI Grid Notebooks – These are my favourite drafting notebooks. 
  • Notebooks
  1. Midori Traveler’s Notebook – Blue Edition
  2. Chic Sparrow Traveler’s Notebooks
  3. Zenkraft Traveler’s Notebooks
  • Planners $ Planning Methods
  1. Hobonichi Cousin – My absolute everything #GetShitDone Planner
  2. Hobonichi Weeks – My on-the-go portable planner + bulletjournal
  3. Hobonichi Techo – English Planner – My WIP Writer’s Logbook/Journal
  4. Chronodex – My favourite time-tracking tool.
  5. Bullet Journal – My favourite planning method.
  6. Stars +Stickers + Calendar Method – The best #GetItWrittenDeadlineAchiever Trick!
  • Books

For Creativity

  • Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life – Natalie Goldberg
  • Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

For the Soul

  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed

For the Mind

  • The 5am Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast – Jeff Sanders
  • The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8am) – Hal Elrod

For Pleasure

  • Still Alice – Lisa Genova
  • Second Life – S.J. Watson
  • What Came Before – Anna George
  • The Memory of Water – Karen White
  • Mrs. Hemingway – Naomi Wood

Favourite Series

  • Harry Hole – Jo Nesbo
  • Blood on Snow – Jo Nesbo
  • Joona Linna – Lars Kepler
  • Bill Hodges – Stephen King
  • Jack Reacher – Lee Child
  • The Blackdagger Brotherhood – J.R. Ward
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses – Sarah J. Maas
  • Exercise
  1. Walking Jazz, the papillon, my adorable furry BFF.
  2. Running
  3. Swimming
  4. At Home Workouts
  • Tae Bo – I use this app (Apple iOS Apps)
  • Pilates – I use this app (Apple iOS Apps)
  • Technology
  1. Apple iPad Mini Retina
  2. Apple MacBook Pro
  3. Software & Apps
  • Social Media Networks
  1. Twitter
  2. Instagram
  • Music
  1. Yurbuds Inspire 300 Sport Headphones
  2. Spotify – Especially these playlists: Moodbooster, Re-Energise, Creativity Boost, Zen Focus, Morning Walk
  3. New Groups: Jamestown Revival
  • Chillaxing
  1. Massage Therapy – Full Body Deep Tissue Massage
  2. Saunas
  3. Jacuzzi
  4. Shellac Manicures + Pedicures
  5. Glasshouse Candles
  • Rituals
  1. Morning Ritual – Miracle Morning + 5am Miracle
  2. Evening Ritual – Adapted Miracle Morning Method
  3. KonMarie Organizing&Tidying Method
  • Reflections
  1. Journalling 
  2. Morning Pages – Clearing the mind by stream-of-consciousness Journalling and preparing it for focus.
  3. Evening Brain Dumps – Getting everything out of my brain onto paper.


So tell me what are some of your favourite things #2015?

  

Enjoy your last day of 2015!

Welcome in 2016!

    {Re}Focus | Inhale {The Good Sh!#} Exhale {The BullSh!#}

      

     
    I opened up my WordPress app today and this is what my stats told me:

    It’s been 5 months since … Last Post

    So let me begin by stating the obvious…It has been a while a long while a bloody long while since I posted on here. WordPress is kind enough to inform me that it has been 5 months since my last post. So why the deep buzzing of mosquitoes and no posts you may wonder? I could tell you I have been: 

    swamped ~ overwhelmed ~ stressed ~ burnt-out ~ burnt-through ~ exhausted ~ sick&tired.

    All of the above would be true and accurate. But mostly I have been so quiet because I have just been learning to  

     

    Stop holding my breath 

                    and just breathe…

     This year has been a tough one filled with more darkness than light, in more ways than one. But the important thing, even in an Annus Horribilis, to remember is that there have been slivers of light. The last 5 months I have been searching for and storing those slivers of light. That is why I have been quiet online. I needed to take a breath and then to breathe out again. Breath by breath. 

    It got too dark for me to write. So instead of forcing it, I did the unthinkable, and just stopped. I realised I needed to refocus on myself, get my emotional + physical health on a better footing. I needed time to just learn to breathe again because there have been moments this year when it took all my energy reserves just to breathe.

    I could go into a few logical reasons as to why I didn’t want to write but that wouldn’t be quite accurate. The worst thing was that I DID want to write. But my well was empty. A perfect storm of events + emotions + health (lack of) = Empty, dried up well of creativity/inspiration/focus. Things, past things, that I had boxed up and stored in a dank, forgotten basement in my memory crept up out of the darkness and demanded to be dealt with. Where I thought I had been brilliant at compartmentalising I was proven wrong. Because nothing had been thrown away instead the boxes had just been hidden. 

      But I’m still upright. Bruised, battered and scarred from the Past-become-Present and the Present, kneeling but upright. Ironically enough it has been this WIP – Tattooist – that has forced me to deal with those memory-monsters hidden away in boxes in that dank, forgotten basement. I was feeling claustrophobic because it was in the writing and rewriting of Tattooist that these memory-monsters started creeping out. Tattooist was their siren call. So I did the only thing I could do, I boxed up Tattooist and all the poisonous emotions and I faced down my hungry memory-monsters. I faced them and although they put in more than a good fight, I conquered my inner demons and released those hungry memory-monsters. 

    That is what I have been doing for most of this year and all of the last five months. I haven’t been writing but I have been healing. In the next few weeks I’ll share a little on how and where I found the small slivers of light that took me from a dark place up into a place of faint, but growing, light.

    Today there are exactly 6 weeks left of 2015. 42 Days. I won’t lie by saying I’ll miss 2015. I won’t. But today, with just 6 weeks left of 2015, I embrace my personal Annus Horribilis and I thank it. I embrace the hungry memory-monsters and I thank them. I embrace my stalled WIP and thank it. I embrace my creative claustrophobia and I thank it. I embrace the dark nights of my soul and thank them. I look at the reflection in my mirror and I see a woman who is stronger for the struggles and I thank her. I embrace and thank the girl that stands in this woman’s shadow, a reminder of what hope, joy, optimism and love look like. 

    So today there are 6 weeks left of 2015. 42 Days.  

     I have been holding my breath but now I’m breathing again. I’ve exhaled the darkness and I’m inhaling the light. It is time to dust off the creative cobwebs of that dank basement and step into an open space. A space where there is light and where I can breathe without fear, without panic, without doubt, free from the shackles of the past. A space where I can pour the elixir of story back into my soul. Tattooist calls me again but now I am ready to accept the call not as sirens calling me near treacherous, dangerous rocks but as a lighthouse guiding me back home to the written page. 

    So today there are exactly 6 weeks left of 2015. 42 Days. 42 Fresh starts. 42 Days to start over…

    What are you going to do with your one precious life these 42 days?