Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Something new is coming. That's always pretty exciting, huh. Hope you like it. Hope you want to be a part of it. It might take a moment (or two, or three). Will keep you posted. Maria x

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Listening to

Caruso (song) written by Lucio Dalla is hands down top of tops. If you haven't heard it, I'd recommend this recording or this one - you'll be ironing out your goosebumps. So I've been listening to Caruso recently (often when I can't find 'the' words) and it's set alight my need for some kind of creative release...as it always does.


I'm one of those hopelessly passionate people for artistic expression. Maybe why I can spend hours in ballet class, sitting at the piano or silently painting a canvas.


I'm useless when it comes to speaking with words (unfortunate, I know). When I have to really dig deep and let my bottled-up-deepests out, I consistently manage to spill out a disjointed bundle of stop-started-nothings. Caruso (the song) somehow frees all that. I'm sure we've all got one of those tunes (be it Abba or Pavarotti). I'm carrying on...I know...but there's a point. This song has got me thinking...

I see my written word is wanting to go on some other journey (not quite sure where yet) so I'll be focusing on the direction to take this blog. Another platform? Another name? Another focus? I hope, whichever road this takes, you'll be able to follow along - I don't think it'd be quite the same without the wonderful people I've met through this little blog.

Stay tuned.


Maria xo

p.s. my placement of Diana Vishneva (saying everything the words do) behind the lyrics in the pic gets to my point quicker/better than what I can. This video (of a magical dance pair) is also a better example of "no talk needed". Spellbinding (not kidding).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Whole30 Wednesdays

Anyone been eating the Whole30 way? If not, I can totally understand. But you're missing out on one thing...this "ice-cream" recipe, completely dairy, sugar and guilt free!

Ingredients (Serves 4) :
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 tsp maple syrup, divided (if you're on Whole30, just leave this out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (again, Whole30 eaters may swap this for a fresh vanilla pod)


  1. Place banana slices in a single layer on a plate or tray lined with parchment or wax paper; freeze at least 3 hours. 
  2. In a bowl, combine almonds, 2 tsp syrup and salt. In a food processor, pulse frozen banana slices, milk, vanilla and remaining 2 tbsp syrup, scraping down the sides as necessary, until mixture is the texture of soft-serve ice cream. 
  3. Spoon into bowls; sprinkle with almond mixture. You're done.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What I've been up to

Its been a tail chaser week for me and I've met Friday without any of my usual Friday Finds. What I do have, though, is an update on all that's been going on in my world this past little while...just excuse my iPhone's camera quality.

  1. Wearing red
  2. Smiles. I know, I know...I tend to repeat myself but the smiles I wear thanks to the hand-picked-folk in my world are tops.
  3. Heading out of town. Winter rain. Misty grey beauty.
  4. A winter's night with a hearty, spiced chicken soup, fresh bread, a good red and my guy to enjoy it with.
  5. Drinking this sublime tea.
  6. Switching from my summer essential Byredo to some winter notes.
  7. Translating poetry to unveil Liszt's musical inspiration. Playing things like this makes practice a pleasure...
The Poem:
Francesco Petrarca CANZONE CXXXIV
Pace non trovo
Pace non trovo, e non ho da far guerra,
E temo, e spero, ed ardo, e son un ghiaccio:
E volo sopra ‘l cielo, e giaccio in terra;
E nulla stringo, e tutto ‘l mondo abbraccio.
Tal m’ha in priggion, che non m’apre, né serra,
Né per suo mi ritien, né scioglie il laccio,
E non m’uccide Amor, e non mi sferra;
Né mi vuol vivo, né mi trahe d’impaccio.
Veggio senz’occhi; e non ho lingua e grido;
E bramo di perir, e cheggio aita;
Ed ho in odio me stesso, ed amo altrui:
Pascomi di dolor; piangendo rido;
Egualmente mi spiace morte e vita.
In questo stato son, Donna, per Voi.
I find no peace, but for war am not inclined;  
I fear, yet hope; I burn, yet am turned to ice; 
I soar in the heavens, but lie upon the ground; 
I hold nothing, though I embrace the whole world. 

Love has me in a prison which he neither opens nor shuts fast; 
he neither claims me for his own nor loosens my halter; 
he neither slays nor unshackles me; 
he would not have me live, yet leaves me with my torment. 

Eyeless I gaze, and tongueless I cry out; 
I long to perish, yet plead for succor; 
I hate myself, but love another. 
I feed on grief, yet weeping, laugh; 
death and life alike repel me; 
and to this state I am come, my lady, because of you. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Whole30 Wednesdays

Welcome to day 2, for those on board the Whole30 challenge (with me). Every Wednesday for the next 30 days I'll be posting my tips and tricks for getting through this lifestyle change. I know (you're rolling your eyes) there are plenty of bloggers talking about Whole30 but I'm writing for those of us with less time on our hands for food prep.

My on-the-go grilled venison back-strap and Chinese cabbage.
Thanks to my past Whole30 experience, I've fine tuned Whole30 eating for us time-poor folk who require maximum nutrients for high energy output. My meals may get straight to the point (see the grilled venison and cabbage above) but I know how to pull together enough to sustain me through a day's work and 2-3 solid hours of ballet every night (and once home, focus my mind on my piano diploma). If you like the sound of getting through 15 hours straight with physical and mental energy to burn, read on.

Getting in the swing of Whole30 eating isn't as tricky as it seems. Here are my tips to make it through week one for the time-poor.

  1. You'll be buying more from the fruit and veg store. Apples and blueberries became my pals. Try and buy organic where you can; the produce has a bigger flavour punch and keeps you satisfied (not to mention the "it's better for you" thing).
  2. Lettuce cups with tuna (or whatever you prefer) and fresh herbs will change your life. Literally rip some lettuce and herb leaves (shove them in a zip lock bag), grab a can of tuna and you're set.
  3. Eggs. Stock up on them, boil them and have them ready to go! These babies are the easiest options for lunch on the run.
  4. Banana and a handful of nuts - this option can be a brekkysaver (think driving to work).
  5. Steak. Buy and freeze individually. Every few days you'll need one! Simply cooked in coconut oil (or an oil-free pan), drizzled with lemon/lime juice and sprinkled with seasoning is the way to go.
  6. Coconut oil. Good for you in so many ways, this is also the thing to use for a little oil in your cooking. My girlfriend gave me the tip of adding a teaspoon in my tea (any tea) or coffee. It's delicious!
  7. Look forward to the weekend (this is when you might have more cooking time). Breakfast becomes my "treat" - I can't wait to get into omelette packed with mushrooms and truffle. Yum.
  8. A Whole30 grocery list and my pinterest board for inspiration.
The biggest tip for day 2:
Today is the worst you'll feel (drink a pot of herbal tea to drown your sorrows). You're realising there will be no sweet-treating through 3pm but you'll get through it (and the headaches), and once you do there will be no looking back! I promise.

salmon for dinner? via
This blog has a heap of Whole30 certified recipe inspiration for brekky, lunch and dinner.

p.s. The first time I tackled whole30 I took weekends off! I still noticed results and felt it was much more manageable. If you want to try this version, enjoy a latte or something on the "no" list. See how you go. The interesting thing is, you may no longer crave it come the weekend.

Fine print: these are just my tips on tackling the challenge. I'm no nutritionist, I just know what works for me. I hope it's useful and helpful for you too. If not, please ignore.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Whole30: Take 2

Whole 30 round 2 has kicked off for me today. I know hearing about Whole30 might be getting old  but I'm carrying on with this good thing regardless. In case you've missed it on my previous posts, Whole30 is all about saying no to sugar, alcohol, legumes, grains, dairy and anything else you think of that's processed. Think all things green, plenty of fruit, clean protein, herbal tea and black coffee and you're on your way to Whole30 success.

Here are some of the benefits you'll experience on Whole30:
  1. This is not a fad. It's a way to clean your diet and bring it back to basics...for good.
  2. Say goodbye to aches, inflammation and irritating gut cramps. I was skeptical too, but Whole30 shakes your body up so much that niggling pains disappear. I began training (ballet) better than ever and at the end of the day I wasn't sucking an irritated stomach in.
  3. You'll have a refreshing energy from the minute you wake up.
  4. You won't crave sugar.
  5. You will lose inches. This is not the reason to tackle Whole30 but it sure is a nice side effect.
  6. You will sleep like a bambino.
  7. Your skin will glow and your hair will be goddess-like.
  8. You need discipline for the first week. After that, it's a piece of cake!

So, who's joining me? Let me know if you're keen to tackle mon-fri (weekends free) Whole30 style. I'll be posting Whole30 Wednesday tips, tricks and recipe ideas if you're up for the fun.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday's Finds


 Hey kids, it's Friday (and the intro to a long weekend in my neck of the woods). Here are the few finds I saved for these exact Friday minutes. Enjoy!

 1. Remember the days (hello 80's) of the "two-in-one" Wash & Go product? Seat yourselves down - we now have a "three-in-one"...I KNOW! Crazy! Davines Authentic Moisturising Balm For The Face/Hair/Body; a face cleanser, a conditioner and as a rinse off body moisturizer.

2. Jewellery to make you feel good about yourself.

3. Iris Apfel visits the zoo. Watch the outlandish (91yo), native New-Yorker's zoo-treck here.

Maria x

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Boost me!

It's been all a bit too much "humph" for me this past week. You know the times when you've driven yourself into the ground by tackling maybe a touch too much? That's me. Problem is, I'm struggling to get out of it. I've tried coffee, sleep, herbal tea, putting my feet up, getting my heart rate up, painting to Bach, playing through some Bach pieces, hot showers, fresh foods, soothing soups and a lot more coffee...nothing is working.

What's your tonic for re-loading your step with a spring and getting that glint in your eye again?

Maria xo

P.s. Through my Whole30 challenge, I was the total opposite. It's interesting to realise that the introduction of more toxins and non-Whole30 foods may have a huge part to play to the crash and burn of my energy and mood.


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