Category Archives: Penny for your thoughts..

Penny for your thoughts: How do you unwind?


After a long silence from my part I thought the most appropriate way to re-enter this space would be to talk about relaxing. After starting a career in teaching this has been on the forefront of my thoughts. It seems to be a challenge to find a balance between working and relaxing – especially with a job where you’re never done and could always do more. So, I’m curious, how do you manage it? What makes you relax after a long day in the office / school / university / workplace?

In the last year or so I’ve realised that these small things make me unwind:


Lighting a candle while having a bath or a shower and leaving the lights off. Amazing what a bit of ambience can do to calm your busy head.


Comfy slippers (or woolly socks) that keep your feet toasty.


Reading a good book (thank you Sarah for this one – making my way through it!)


Going out for a walk. I can’t wait for the afternoons/evenings to get brighter to be able to do this more!

Like I said these are very small things but help me to keep find some kind of balance between home and work. Although it’s definitely a constant area for improvement.

Have a relaxing week 🙂

– Hanna 

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Hygge and Hot Apple Punch

hygge-2‘Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of friends by a good fire?’ C.S. Lewis

I was listening to BBC Radio 6 music while working this morning; Lauren Laverne dedicated her show to the Danish idea of ‘Hygge’  (pronuonced ‘Heu-gah’). We don’t have a direct equivilent in English but I came across this beautiful explanation:

‘The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.

We all Hygge – around a table for a shared meal, beside a fire on a wet night, making coffee, together at work. In our overstretched, complex, modern lives, Hygge is a resourceful, tangible way to find deeper connection to our families, our communities, our children, our homes and our earth. It’s an uncomplicated, practical method of weaving the stuff of spirit and heart into daily life without sentimentality then taking time to celebrate it on a human scale. Hygge is a kind of enchantment– a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about being not having.’ (

We are in the high season of Hygge, as we relish in it and be grateful for the simplest and greatest joys, my challenge to myself if who else I can make space for by the fire of my Hygge season; my advent season,  Who are those experiencing the coldness of loneliness, poverty, sickness near me who I can create Hygge for?  That I can extend warmth and welcome to? For whom is this season marked by isolation rather than the warmth of belonging? How can I cultivate Hygge in my advent? My prayer for this season is that I can stoke a fire warm enough for many,

In keeping with the notion of Hygge here is a little recipe for a Fairtrade Spiced Apple Punch (taken from the Fairtrade Cook Book) to warm your hands and your bellies:


800 ml Fairtrade apple juice

2.5 ml Fairtrade ground cinnamon or

4 pieces of Fairtade cinnamon stick

4 slices Fairtrade lemon

16 Fairtrade whole cloves

30 ml organic Fairtrade runny honey


Gently heat the apple juice in a saucepan.

Add the honey as the juice warms through, and stir to dissolve.

Add the cinnamon powder as well if this method is used, stir well.

Once the mixture is hot (it should not be allowed to boil), pour the drinks into large wine glasses.

If you are using cinnamon stick put one piece in each of the glasses.

Take each slice of lemon and impale four cloves.

Add one cloven lemon slice to each drink.

To serve

Sip this beautiful aromatic drink, and enjoy curling your fingers around the hot glass.

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Penny for your thoughts: Reasons why I’m turning into my grandma…

Do you find, that as you get older you’re starting to be more and more like your mom or your grandma? As a teenager I would have rather died than acknowledged this, but now, I’m embracing it. I can spot myself doing/being different things that majorly resonate with my mum and/or my grandma.

To start things off here’s a list of reasons why I’m turning into my grandma:


1. I open any present carefully, not necessarily because there might be a fragile item inside, but because I want to save the wrapping paper! I actually have some wrapping paper that my grandma saved in the 70s – proof is in the pictures above…nuts!

2. When my toothpaste is running low I cut it in half and scrape the rest out with my toothbrush (this might be one of the weirdest habits:)


3. I have a box full of buttons (one of the most special things was to inherit my grandma’s collection of buttons when she passed away).

4. I’m inspired to start making more of my own clothes. She made all her own and her children’s clothes – winter coats and all! (I think it’ll be a looong while before I’m brave enough to attempt winter coats:)

5. I knit. (And oh boy did my granma knit! She was a machine)

Some might find realising they’re turning into their grandma terrifying. I don’t – my ‘mummi’ is one of my heroes!

– Hanna

Ps. Sorry about the silence over the last weeks – life is taking over at the moment and making it so hard to keep on top of posting! However, we’re still managing to keep fairly active over in Instagram. If you’re a grammer find us under->

@hannaelinab , @celestemichelle , @sarahbelfrancis


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Penny for your thoughts: The Great Gatsby


After almost eight years I find my self coming to the end of a season and starting the beginning of a new one.

I was walking along a road I had walked so many times in the last eight  years, a road that had before been an escape, a road that I had lived off, a road which I had known and had known me but somehow it felt different…the sun shone brightly (and about time that you made an appearance sun!) As I walked, in the sun,  I read. From experience I have learnt that reading and walking can be a dangerous affair…It is an art to avoid lamp posts, pedestrians, prams and dog poop. I don’t want to sound smug but I pretty much nailed it.

”And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees … I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sometimes it happens like this. That there is a book, poem, song that you have read or heard a thousand times and the words that you have seen, known & missed jump out at you and describe for you feelings, hopes or dreams that you may not have even known how to articulate. This has happened to me, today in the sun.

Cheesy but true.

P.S. I can’t wait for Baz Luhrmann’s film of this book, ‘The Great Gatsby’ to come out and blow my mind.

F. Scott Fitgerald and Baz Luhrmann in my mind only a winning combination!

Happy Thursday/Friday morning

xx Celeste 

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Penny for your thoughts: Amanda Palmer – The art of asking.


Yesterday, perusing the interweb, I came across this Ted talk by musician Amanda Palmer. Talking about ‘The Art of Asking‘. Like anything there are bits I love and bits I don’t love (being distracted by her eyebrows). More than her eyebrows what stayed with me was the invitation to creative generosity, community and humility.

To be generous with creativity, to be generous in community and to have humility are things in my life that I want to be in constant pursuit of.

Although I’m not sure I would strip naked though for drunk Germans to draw all over me. Maybe if the conditions were perfect? Hmm.. Perhaps not.

Have a look and see what you think? About the talk.. not particularly about getting naked for drunk Germans. But you tell me what you think about that also!

– Celeste xx

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Penny for your thoughts: Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013.


I have been thinking, as you do at this time of year, on the year that has passed. The things done and left undone. Taking stock of the things I am grateful for, the things that have disappointed and the things that make me excited for the new year. 

November 17th, 2012 saw me return to my motherland (Australia) for the first time in 12 years! That is a lot of years. I was pretty nervous to see how I would find it, and how it would find me.

It turns out we were the best of friends and it’s as if it we had never been a part. Although, I would regularly gasp and say things like,

‘Paddlepops, I remember Paddlepops!’ and,

‘The Crystal Car Wash Cafe! That still exists!?’ and,

‘Summer Rolls!! I forgot about them but I loved them so much!!’ (Summer Rolls are nougat, dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut! I ate at least 27!)

Generally my nostalgia centered around food… that says a lot about me. But also returning to places, the smells, the faces, the hot air. I love it. It felt like home. It felt like me.

Turns out, I still call Australia home! I am saving up some lovely places, stories, memories and pictures for you all over the next few weeks so be excited. Very excited! Or be ready to be bored hearing about the ‘magic’ of Australia from me.

Anyway, back to the thing at hand.

Dear 2012,

thanks for giving me that time in Australia. Thanks for beautiful times with lovely friends old and new. Thanks for the time with people who know and love me, people who help remind me of who I am. Thanks for the hearing of music, live and recorded, that makes me feel a little more excited to be alive. Thanks for the chance to create, to make, to be inspired. Thanks for the times that have been minor therefore making the major all the brighter. Thanks for saying goodbye…

I look forward to meeting you 2013 and excited to bring you in with that beaut lady Sarah in her motherland of Northern Ireland. Woot!

Happy New Year!

– Celeste 

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Penny for your thoughts: Girl/Style crush…

Saturday’s X-factor reminded me of my teenage years girl/style crush Gwen Stefani from No Doubt…

Not only is she an ultra cool lass but I also love what she has to say about marriage (in US Marie Claire Oct 2012):

‘A miracle…my biggest accomplishment is my marriage so far. Because it’s hard, everyone knows it’s hard. [Marriage] is something that I always wanted to do successfully. It was a dream of mine. I like the official-ness and the family-ness of it all, having the same name and making decisions together. [Our relationship] is better than it’s ever been. Like, we’re learning about each other all the time. He’s an amazing dad, he works so hard – I can hear him writing songs through the wall, and it is at a much quicker pace than me!” Above all, she adds, “He balances me out. And he – he never stops liking me, which is awesome! It makes me feel happy, that someone likes me as much as he does.’

This added fuel to my Stefani love. Just thought I’d put it out there. 🙂

Hope you’re having a good week!


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Penny for your thoughts: Rein that colour in!

I have a colour that I am obsessed with. Sure I go through stages when I am obsessed with lots of different things that come and go but there is one that has stood the test of time and I have so many things that are turquoise. Maybe too much?

– Celeste

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Penny for your thoughts: How d’you like your eggs in the morning?

I love breakfast. What makes me get out of my warm bed most mornings is the thought of food (I’ll never be skinny!). If I don’t eat in the mornings I’m extremely grumpy and no good for anyone.

So I was thinking… What is you peeps’ go to breakkie? Most of my weekdays start with a good bowlful of Fruit and Fibre, or as my husband calls it: “Granny cereal“. But in the last week or so I’ve been trying to mix things up a bit (so as not to OD on bran) and have other things too (though it still sneaked in there with an addition of banana). However on weekends I chuck out the bran and bring in are the likes of pancakes, french toast and other yummies. It is possible I could live on breakfasts.

Here’s for the most important meal of the day –don’t miss it or diss it!  🙂


Ps. Oh yeah, there’s always, always coffee

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Penny for your thoughts: ‘The generally accepted silliness of love and relationships’

I mentioned in the ‘Weekend in Pictures‘ that I had been talking to someone and they said this great thing. They were explaining why they wrote a pop song about something ‘silly like black pepper’ rather than the ‘generally accepted silliness of love and relationships’.

That left me thinking about just that, the silliness of love and relationships. I am sure he meant something intelligent and existential but it made me ponder the awkwardness and silliness of my own experience of love and relationships. You see, I am particularly gifted in being silly and awkward when it comes to romance.

There is the silliness of accepting complimentsSO UNCOMFORTABLE. My first boyfriend tried to tell me my smile was pretty. I slapped my hand over my mouth and yelled ‘Shut up!’. 12 years later I have improved in this area but not by much.. my current strategy is to either a) ignore it entirely and keep talking or b) make fun of the compliment giver ensuring they won’t make that same mistake again!

The silliness of dates with someone you don’t really know. I went on a date recently and was seeing a friend beforehand so showed them pictures of the date on my iphone (incase they turned out to be axe man – you can never be too careful!) and she managed to ‘like’ 10 of his pictures without realising. That was uncomfortable. However the great thing about dates with someone you don’t really know is that it doesn’t get too serious, you can have fun and when it doesn’t work out you’re generally not gutted, you’ve made a friend AND you don’t have to see/run into them all the time.

The silliness of saying yes to dates even when you don’t really want to just because you think you’ll be judged if you don’t. It has been said to me, ‘you have to stop being so choosy, he is hot and you may not get another one like that!’  So uncomfortably I said yes and then hid from him. He got the idea.

The silliness of rejection. Being rejected, awful. Doing the rejecting, more awful and then sometimes the immense relief that you’ve been rejected therefore you don’t have to be the rejector!

The silliness and awkwardness of kissing. Oh man, everyone else seems to kiss in a super cool and smooth way. I am the one who bumps heads/teeth or, in the excitement of kissing, forgets to breathe. Even though I regularly breathe through my nose in general life I seem to always forget to do so when kissing. I frequently vow to ‘practice’, err …on my hand ?- i guess, but always forget until I once again am about to pass out, not from being overcome by passion and intensity but from lack of oxygen.

The silliness and awkwardness of not kissing. There was one poor, poor, boy who dated me when I was a teenager and for six months… SIX MONTHS, we didn’t kiss. He tried, I thought that he was just talking really close to me and would get cross-eyed trying to look at him. He also would get a little saliva bubble on his teeth when he got nervous… I didn’t want it to pop on me.

The silliness relating to the fine line between stalker and romantic. I think that line is defined by how hot the person is. The words ‘I thought you looked pretty’ can be either creepy or butterfly inducing depending on whether you want to hear it from that person in particular or not. Poor guys, they have no chance really.

The silliness that your friends assume you’re going to die a long, slow and lonely death if you’re not ‘snapped up’ soon and as a result a well-meaning flurry of set ups ensue. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Maybe.

The silliness in the assumption that because someone ‘likes’ your photo on facebook that they are, in fact, in love with you.

The silliness that going for coffee and a few text messages mean you want someone’s babies.

The silliness in all the pondering on this silliness and taking it too seriously.

Life is such fun,

live it,

laugh at it

and make new friends.

Now I may be alone in experiencing all this silliness so as always please don’t judge me.

Happy Hump Day! (wait .. that is what they call Wednesday’s isn’t it? Somehow it takes on a slightly different meaning in the context of this post?)

xx Celeste


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