Monday, 30 June 2014

THE best chocolate truffles ever - and, guess what, they're good for you!

Well, I wasn’t going to write about food today but then I popped on Facebook and saw that Amy Levin had posted up the recipe for the absolutely beyond awesome truffles that she made on The Deep Pause and so I thought, right…let’s talk about food.

Now, you know me…I went from punishing myself with food (eating myself nearly to death) to punishing myself without food (nearly passing out doing 80mph on the outside lane of the M5 cos I’d been fasting for over a week – no, not that intermittent nonsense; full-off eating nada fasting) to just not really bothering about food at all. 

Nourishment.  That’s what I’d forgotten.  I’d been eating to live.  Cooking as a chore, eating as a bore.  And, yes, I was feeling dried up, desiccated, like coconut that’s been left in the jar and forgotten at the back of the cupboard for years; dried up like old raisins and sultanas turned chewy and mank. 

Amy’s food at The Deep Pause was juicy…it had a touch of decadence, of abundance, of generosity, of power.  Now, don’t get the wrong idea – it was also mega-healthy, the kind of food that makes your cells sing; the kind of food that is just so full of life and passion that it makes you want to do mad things like Crossfit (well, for about four seconds).  No gluten; no sugar; no meat – just total deliciousness. 

When I arrived the table was a cornucopia, piled with fruit, home-made biscuits and energy bars, two types of roasted almonds – one spicy and punchy; the other lazy and sweet (but with a tangy kick).  Oh. My. God.  Could I ever eat enough of those bastard almonds?  And bonbons, bloody bonbons.  And truffles.  But healthy bloody truffles and bonbons for bonbons’ sake!  They tasted like the thickest darkest pure chocolate but were made of …  
‘Go on,’ said Amy, ‘Guess!’  
We tried…thought of everything but… 
‘Nah, you won’t get it,’ she said in triumph.  ‘Black beans!’  Who’da thought?  And she poured out glasses of something that looked like a witch’s potion – dark berry-red and dangerous.  Hibiscus, rose and schizandra infusion, mixed with sparkling spring water and sweetened with a few nectarish drops of vanilla-flavoured stevia.  We sipped, then we slurped and kept passing the jug. 
‘It’s a heart opener,’ she said.  Did it work?  Yeah, it did. 

Amy is a kitchen superhero – part ninja, part alchemist.  Every tenth word is ‘fuck’ but the way she says it makes it sound just plain sweet.  And she sings as she cooks – James Taylor mainly, in the kind of voice that pierces through all bullshit and takes you to the heart/art of sound.  And I’ve always been a bit sniffy about James Taylor but, you know what, I’m mellowing.

Anyhow, enough already.  I ate.  I ate more and more as each day went by.  It was food made with love and mindfulness and every mouthful tasted like bliss.  And, no, I didn’t put on weight, not an ounce.  I just put on a dose of juiciness and came home determined to be a bit more nourishing to myself – on all levels.

If you live in or around London, check out her raw chocolate workshops and wotnot.

If you don’t, check out her website and blog which is jam-packed with recipes and insights and general Amy-ness. 

What?  You want the recipe?  Of course you do.  I'll share this one (thanks, Amy!) but you'll have to go over to the website to catch the rest.

Top Secret Chocolate Truffles


1 tin of black beans
50g xylitol or coconut sugar
1 dropper full sweetleaf stevia
1/2 cup or 50g coconut oil, melted or same amount of cacao butter, melted
50g-70g cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp extract


  • Open the black beans and pour the contents into a small pan and warm them through
  • Sieve the liquid from the beans and transfer the food processor or high speed blender
  • Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. If you have a low quality food processor, then you will have a slightly inconsistent texture, but it’ll still be epic
  • Taste the mix and see if you want to add more cacao powder (or cocoa powder) or sweetener… everyone is different so you may want them darker or sweeter than me
  • Transfer to a bowl and pop in the fridge to set, about 30 minutes or so
  • Once set, roll into balls in the palm of your hand (if the mix is rather firm, it’ll loosen when you begin to roll them)and then into a small bowl of cacao or cocoa powder to coat
  • Pop back in the fridge to set and that’s all!
Note:  Xylitol sounds like a chemical shitstorm but, truly, it isn't.  It's a natural sweetener that is actually a fine anti-fungal too (so ideal if you're trying to cut out sugar because of candida problems).  Stevia is also okay, providing you get the sweetleaf variety (think health food shops, rather than supermarkets).

Saturday, 28 June 2014

True Love, primal yurts and the people who're airbrushed out of fairy tale books

While I was at The Pause I read Call Off The Search by Anna (Pasternak) and Andrew Wallas.  Why? Because Danielle suggested I might find it interesting.  She runs courses with Andrew Wallas and says he’s a good guy.  So I did.  It wasn’t as if I had anything else I was burning to read: I haven’t read anything lately that has rocked my boat, that has really made me think or feel. 

It seemed a bit familiar and then I remembered that I’d read an extract from it in a supplement when it first came out.  It had annoyed the hell out of me.  So I guess that’s one very good reason to read it, huh?  What annoyed me?  Well, the book is all about how you shouldn’t ever give up on a relationship; that you have to work through the fights and the anguish and the tough times.  That love relationships can easily call up your ‘core wounding’ – that early first pattern of hurt and disappointment we suck in with our mother’s milk – and offer a wonderful opportunity to heal at a deep, primal level.  Which is all very stoic and good except that…Andrew Wallas left his relationship.  He told Anna Pasternak she was a posh spoilt insecure bitch, got her sobbing in his yurt and then had this sudden ‘ka-boom!’ realisation that she was his One True Love.  So, what did he do?  He left his wife.  Just like that.   All very amicable apparently but still…

Marriage neatly dissolved, the whole book is all about how he and new ‘True Love’ Anna work out their stuff.  It's about how they fight and bicker and nearly break up all the time, how they love each other but also sometimes hate each other; and how that can all change in a heartbeat.  Bottom line, they just slog it out with brutal honesty.  Which is great.  I mean, good for them…but, but, but… all the way through I was left wondering ‘And what about his ex-wife?’ 
The relationship, he says, was ‘emotionally empty’.  So then, it’s okay to walk out of a relationship if it’s ‘emotionally empty’?  I dunno, it just seemed all a bit too convenient somehow.  How do you know if your relationship is ‘emotionally empty’?  Maybe emotionally empty is a manifestation of core wounding?  Bottom line, how do you know if it’s doomed, terminal, that it’s time to pack up your yurt and move on, or whether you should stay, drive in your yurt pegs a bit deeper and sledgehammer away at it?  A&A just don’t answer that question.  So I was left pondering it myself. 

Maybe it’s about a ‘charge’?  If a relationship still has ‘juice’?  As the saying goes it’s a thin line between love and hate but both are positive emotions, right?  As in emotions that have a positive charge, that are powerful, punchy, full-on.  I’ve always felt that the true opposite of love isn’t hate but apathy.  If a relationship has become apathetic, if the parties involved are just going through the motions, presumably that is what A&A are calling time on?  Can you give apathy an adrenalin shot?  Can you juice it up?  Or should you just sigh and move on?  What if your core wounding has left you unable to love?  

I don’t know. I really don’t.  All I know is that, all through the book, I kept wondering when we were going to hear about his first marriage.  I wanted to know what happened to his ex-wife.  Did she find ‘True Love’ as well, or is she sitting somewhere reading the book and shoving her fingers down her throat over each gushing paragraph?  How did she feel when he told her it was all over?  Was she gutted or secretly relieved?  Did she punch the air and go, ‘Yessss!  I always hated that fucking yurt!’ 

I guess I wanted to hear about how one lives when the projections of falling in love fall away.  That, to me, is the more interesting question.  A&A are clearly still madly passionately in love.  Will they still feel the same way in twenty years? Is that True Love?  What is? 

I wasn’t intending to write this blog post.  There was a bit in the book, a concept that intrigued me and I was going to blog about that but this came out instead.  But, hey, it is what it is.  What do you think? 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Dreaming on the starlit hill

So, there was a hill at The Deep Pause.  A gentle slope hill, not a hard slog hill.   At the top stretched a small stone circle with a fire-pit in the centre - a mini mandala.  A line of trees protected its exposed flank, dappling shadow-shapes onto the green green, grass-green grass.
The first night most of our group crashed early to bed but Danielle, Lynn and I sat around the fire and had one of those conversations that smack you sideways because you simply aren’t expecting them.  And it was all good.  Very good. 
Stretching out on the ground felt good too, and looking up as the stars stretched themselves out felt good, and listening to the myriad little sounds of the night felt good.  So good, in fact, that when the others went in, I didn’t want to follow.  I wanted to stay right there, in that sweet sweet spot, in the soft not-so-darkness and spend the night out under the sky, wandering/wondering through star semaphore.  So I curled up in my blanket (my snugly heart throw) and did just that.
Vague thoughts of vision quests arose, of confronting fears and wotnot but, really, that was daft because there was nothing out there to confront – the scary monsters and super freaks are all inside me, not rustling in the hedgerows.  My animal medicine was yet to come. 

It got darker and darker but it was a silky blue darkness, like rubbing your face in velvet. It felt so safe up there, so held, just me and the fire and the stars; the cool breeze on my face and the crackle and warmth of the fire on my back and the rough and tumble of the earth against my side, grazing shoulder and hip and head. 
It struck me again how insane it all is.  There I was, this little ant stuck to this little planet like a fridge-magnet, whizzing through space, roller-coastering through time.  Isn’t it crazy?  You'd think that, at some point, the earth would go 'Oh, just sod it' and let go and you'd just ping off out there, like a stone from a child's catapult.  For now at least, it doesn't but, while the body stays behind, the mind can go...anywhere, anywhen.  Can't it?  

I put another log on the fire and turned over to stare at the stars and dream and dream and dream. 

'Proper' report coming soon on Queen of Retreats.
Waterloo Farm is pretty magical - if you're planning a trip to Cornwall, maybe check out their website? 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Pause and the Invitation

I'm just back from The Deep Pause in Cornwall. It's a five day retreat run by life coach Danielle Marchant and I was there to report for Queen of Retreats. Funny thing, I wasn't even sure I wanted to go.  I was feeling low, on one hell of a downer for all sorts of reasons, and I just didn't feel I had the energy or the inclination to engage.  I felt I had nothing left to give and my life felt like such a mess that I really didn't think that something like life coaching could help in any which way.

Wrong.  So wrong.  It was a totally mind- and soul-blowing experience all told and I need to digest what went on for a bit before I splurge.  But, right now I just want to give heartfelt thanks to Danielle, to Amy (who did way more than just cook incredible food) and to Lynn, Caroline, Sarah and Hayley (soul-sisters one and all)...oh, and Dave (who played guitar - another story in itself).

But let me start with the ending.  Just before we left, Danielle read out Oriah Mountain Dreamer's poem The Invitation.  I have seen the poem around a lot but, you know, I haven't ever really read it, I haven't really listened.  This time I shut my eyes and I did listen, and it chimed. A lot.  So I thought I'd just put it out here for you in case it has passed you by or in case, like me, you have never really paused to take it in.

There are parts of it that are really harsh, that make me wince - for example, 'I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself?'  Ouch.   And many other parts that make me want to punch the air and say 'YES!'

(c) Oriah Mountain Dreamer - this image from

To be continued...hopefully.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

How to lose weight sensibly and keep it lost

I didn’t tell you about my recent retreat, did I?  It was fabulous, it really was – and I figure it might be interesting to those of you who are still looking for that magic weight-loss bullet.

I love The Body Retreat and this is the third of their breaks I’ve tried.  I met trainer Julie Brealy years back, when I did something nasty to my Achilles and my pal Trisha recommended her sports massage.  She was working for a local bootcamp in Devon at the time but now runs The Body Retreat alongside hypnotherapist and food guru, Juls Abernethy.  Most of their retreats are UK-based but twice a year they ship out to a gorgeous cortijo in Andalucia.

Yes, there’s a lot of exercise – and you know how I love to get my exercise fix.  But the interesting part for me was the food.  I’ve been doing a lot of juice fasting lately (reporting for Queen of Retreats) and, while you certainly do lose weight on these, it doesn’t stick.  It’s a great thing to do if you know you have been really poisoning your body and need a clear-out, but if you want to lose weight and keep it off, I’d go for something that combines sensible diet and exercise. 

The Body Retreat programme is precisely calibrated to optimise sustainable weight-loss and the aim is to instil sensible eating and exercise habits you can continue at home. It’s not endless salad either – we ate great paella, tortilla and even got to make our own (healthy) pizzas.  Can you make healthy and delicious pizza?  Yes you can!  

You get three meals a day at the BR plus three snacks, so you’re never hungry, but the portion sizes come as a shock.  I eat pretty healthy stuff at home but I swiftly realised that I’m simply eating way too much.  And yes, you can put on weight with too much healthy stuff.  J

Seriously.  If you want to shift pounds, you really do need to think about portioning down.  Don’t be tempted to skip meals – that will only play around with your blood sugar levels and hormone levels – in the long run, eating too little can actually cause you to pile on pounds as your body panics itself into holding onto fat.  So, three balanced meals plus three small snacks in between is the optimum – it keeps everything nicely ticking over and it means you don’t get hungry and then blow it all with a vast pig-out.
How small?  Take a look at the meals we ate and bear in mind these are small plates – a 9 inch side plate, rather than a dinner plate.  A couple of inches of smoothie, rather than a tall glass-full.  A small handful of nuts, not a bag of peanuts. 
The other thing Juls insists on is paying serious attention to how you eat.  Her golden rules:
  • Always sit down to eat in a mindful manner (rather than grabbing something on the run or eating at your desk).
  • Take a ‘posture reset’ – before you eat, sit up straight and take three long, deep breaths.
  • Smell your food.  Lift the plate up and sniff it. 
  • Really taste your food – sense each mouthful – notice how it feels in your mouth, its texture, its temperature, as well as its taste.
  • Chew really well.  Digestion begins in the mouth.  And put your cutlery down while you eat. 
  • Wait until every last morsel has been swallowed before picking up your knife and fork again.
  • Keep checking in with yourself.  Are you full?  Are you satisfied?  When you feel satisfied, stop eating. 
  • Regardless of whether you’re full or not by the end of your meal, always leave something on your plate.
  • Oh, and don’t drink water with your food – it dilutes the digestive enzymes.   The odd glass of wine is okay, curiously enough, but just bear in mind it packs a heavy calorific punch.

Does it work?  Yes.  I shed nine pounds in a week.  And the lovely Wendy, who gamely volunteered to be pictured with me in the shots we took for the Daily Mail, has lost over six stone with these guys.  She keeps coming back (this was her eighth retreat), not because she needs to lose more but because it’s become her favourite type of holiday.  ‘It’s addictive,’ she says.  ‘No normal holiday makes me feel so good.  It’s not just about losing weight and feeling fit either; it’s about self-belief. Everyone’s so supportive and I’ve made really great friends.’ 

She’s right.  Yes, it’s hard work but there’s also plenty of down time by the pool and everyone was just so damn nice.  Seriously, just lovely, lovely people. 

See for a full list of breaks and holidays.

Big thanks to easyjet who flew me to Malaga.

You can see my report for the Mail here:  

And check out the full photo album on my Facebook page.  

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Why do we kill ourselves with food and drink?

So I’m lying in bed, scanning through my body.  It’s the start of a meditation practice I picked up from Arnie Mindell but today I’m not meditating, I’m just observing.  Yup, the torn muscle in my arm is still twinging a bit and there’s my Achilles putting up its, er, ankle to wave its discontent.  My jaw is clenched and my shoulders are tight (I’m not sure I relax even when I sleep).  And my arms are aching from yesterday’s kettlebell class (but that’s a good ache).  Mainly though I’m feeling dehydrated and my heart is beating far faster than usual.  Why?  The bottle of wine I downed yesterday in the sun. For the third day in a row. 
And I wonder, again, why do I do stuff to my body that it hates?  Why do I put stuff in my body that makes it weak and makes me feel crap?

I know it sounds a bit health Nazi-ish but pretty well all of us eat or drink stuff that we know isn’t great for us and it makes me wonder...  Do we have some kind of unconscious (or conscious) death wish?  I’m sure my father did.  The doctors told him that, if he wanted to live, he needed to lose weight,  he needed to cut out the heavy fatty food and the alcohol, and he really should do some exercise - but he chose to carry on regardless and dropped dead of a heart attack.  It was his choice of course.  He’d given up.  And, okay, so it’s selfish of me to think this way but it still hurts.  It hurts me because he could still be alive today; I could still enjoy his company; we could still be sitting and laughing; we could still be arguing and fighting (how we loved to disagree – on everything from politics to music).  
And, you know, I’m not one for telling anyone how to live their life, what to do, what not to do, but it does strike me that when one is seriously cavalier about one’s health, it doesn’t just kill them, it hurts those who love them.  So much.  But I guess that’s our problem, not theirs, isn’t it?
Of course, you could argue that we’re all going to die anyhow, and so why not enjoy yourself with food and drink and whatever?  Why die healthy?  J And, again, what kills one person will slide off the cells of another.  It’s not just food and drink, there’s a complicated equation of genetics and environment and mind that comes into play. 
But really, we all know, at heart/liver/lungs, what suits us and what doesn’t.  I know my body doesn’t run well on wheat – every time I eat it, I feel my pulse race.  It’s the same with wine. Sugar and caffeine buzz my adrenals.  Yet I love them.  Curious, isn’t it, how we crave the things that are bad for us? 

Try the scan thing.  It’s interesting, if nothing else.  Back in bed, I’m stretching out the fingers of my right hand.  Every morning I wake to find they have become stiff and sore (thanks a bunch, Italian guinea pigs) and I have to wonder.  Why my right hand?  My ‘write’ hand (and right/write now it’s so hard to write).  My ‘rite’ hand (and I have lost my belief in magic so that is right/rite and fitting).  Because bodies often talk in metaphors and, if I do slide into a Mindell body meditation my hands… clench into fists. 

What does your body say to you?  

Saturday, 14 June 2014

On not-gardening

I’m in awe of you gardeners, I really am.  Never more so than in summer. I love the concept of gardening, I love the end results, and your spaces are so very beautiful.  But, you know what?  I’ve finally accepted that I'm just too damn lazy to be a gardener.

My garden has gone wild and I have decided that, rather than fight it, I’ll choose to like it that way.  For almost my entire adult life I have molested gardens, fighting and flailing in an attempt to keep them neat, tidy, under control.  But just like children who can spot a weakness a mile off, they seem to divine that my heart isn't in it and they fight back, tooth and nail, or rather thorn and spike.   So this is the year of 'fuck it gardening', or rather non-gardening.  I have realised that although I like being in gardens, I simply don’t enjoy the act of gardening. I'm a passive garden user rather than an active garden creator.  
Okay, so back in the day when I had a gardener, I quite liked choosing plants and deciding where to put them (or rather where they should be put) but that was about it.  Now I can’t afford either the gardener or the plants, I have realised it doesn’t matter that much.  The plants still come – it’s just I don’t get to choose which ones and where.  I have learned to, if not love, then tolerate weeds (what is a weed, after all, but a plant in the wrong place?).  Okay, so the ground elder still bugs me a bit but, hey, it’s won, I’ve lost – I'm nothing if not gracious in defeat.  The brambles are pushy to the point of rude but hey ho nonny no, free food come autumn!  Yes, it's sad that some delicate souls get crowded out but then, that’s Darwinian life – survival of the fittest and all.  But there are surprises like the irises that appeared in the erstwhile pond and the tiny wild alpine strawberries that taste like vanilla and bubble gum. 
Now, let’s be clear, it’s not a total unadulterated wilderness.  Adrian does mow the lawn (borrowing a lawn-mower; ours broke years ago) but carefully, avoiding the edges because the slow worms like it there, in the cool of the stone walls.  And I don’t clear the undergrowth because the hedgehog needs some respite from pesky dogs.  Yup, a wild garden calls in the beasts and birds and bugs, that's for sure.  The place is buzzing with them.  The grass snake is elusive – but I hope s/he is still out there somewhere.  

From a distance (and bear in mind I’m short-sighted) it all looks tickety-boo.

Every once in a while I’ll realise it’s got a bit too far out of control.  Usually when I can’t see out the windows or when getting to the back gate is like wrestling through the enchanted forest to Sleeping Beauty’s snoozing spot.  So then I’ll haul out the shears and secateurs and go a bit bonkers (and end up covered in slashes and scratches).  But not too much because I have always loved the secrecy of paths, and the sanctity of entrances, the liminality of certain spaces. 
And, don’t get me wrong, I do the occasional bit of gentle maintenance – well, I dead head the roses and scatter the petals like confetti.  Or I move benches around and re-arrange cushions. 
But really, when the sun is out, on these oh so rare beautiful summer days,  I just can’t be doing with the fussing and finnicketing.  I prefer to stretch out with the SP on a rug on the grass, or curl up in a chair on the terrace - either with my nose in a book, or just snoozing or musing, drifting and dreaming.  Glass of very chilled rose optional but welcome.  J

Of course, having said all this, I know so many of my dear friends and readers are avid tenders of the soil, careful custodians of plant, bush and tree.  It would be lovely to share your blogs and pictures so do please leave any links in the comments. 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

How do you moor yourself? More-come-and-wise?

The gym was shut this morning and it left me feeling untethered, adrift.  When I’m feeling unsettled, out of sorts, out of touch, I throw myself into exercise.  Yes, I know I need only do a short sharp burst of HIIT or Tabata to keep fit but why do 20 minutes when you could lose yourself for an hour or more?  On the treadmill or the cross-trainer (as opposed to the happy trainer?) my body sinks into auto-pilot – it drops the need to stay tense – and my mind empties.  I float in a motion of sweat – and it’s sweet.

So, instead, I took the SP for a walk and, as I climbed the first sharp incline to the woods, I wondered…why do I make everything so damn hard?  I mean, everything.  Why, for instance, so I always assault the toughest path to the hill fort?  Nobody else goes that way (is that the appeal?) because it’s nigh-on vertical for mercy’s sake.  Anyhow, today I took the aptly named Middle Path and, every so often, as I slalomed through the trees, I walked into a wall of air – its texture palpable, thick.  It made me almost gasp and chew – the kind of air you eat rather than breathe.
And instead of route-marching round the entire circuit, I meandered to my tree, sat down and leaned against him, my head resting back against his bark and bite.  My woof/wulf-tree, lately left lorn. And spiders wobbled around me and a bee looped lazily and the grass was so grass green (like children’s crayons) and high, stalks leaning into one another as if exhausted already by this shot of summer. 
I sat and, well, just sat and became so very aware of my tension.  And I tried (ho ho) to loosen my jaw, to allow my shoulders (the should/ought/musters) to drop, to unclench my heart.  Just to be, just to breathe.  And it was good. 
The SP is always the best of companions.  He meandered around, doing what dogs do but kept coming back, checking in and, every so often, winding himself onto my lotus-lap and solemnly licking my wrist.  
Anyhow, that was it really.  No great revelations, no deep meanings, no nothing really.  

But I wonder...what do you do when you’re adrift? How do you moor (more?) yourself?  J

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Some decades are better than others...

Some days are better than others.  Some months are better than others.  Some years…some decades…  Yeah, you get the picture. 

It’s easy to get lost in the past, isn’t it?  You start by looking at old pictures and, hey, weren’t you so young and pretty?  And, oh, didn’t you have a life back then – a job, a vision, a purpose; friends, family, home.  Weren’t you so in love – with someone, with life, with yourself?  And wasn’t the future so bright? 

And what happened, in those years that followed?  What turned the rainbow monochrome?  What killed the magic stone-dead?  Was it the first grey hair or the first deal that went west?  The dimming of eyes or the dilution of love?  Was there a definite point where it turned sour?  Can you look back and see exactly that fork in the road where you made the big mistake, where you chose this way over that, or did it just float over you imperceptibly, like mist, until one day you woke up and the fog was so thick that you couldn’t even bite the hand in front of your face?

Isn’t it so damned unfair the way it never quite worked out the way you planned? 
Ah, it’s so easy to get snaggled up in regret, in self-blame, in else-one blame, in disappointment and despair, isn’t it?  You had your chance, you blew it and life will never be so rosy again.  You’re washed up, old, tired, so bloody tired, and doesn’t the mirror delight in showing you how just plain nasty time can be? 

Where did those days, weeks, months, years, decades go?  It only seems a blink ago that you were standing, fresh–faced and hopeful at the prow of adulthood, peering into a future in which you could be anyone, do anything, go anywhere.  And now?  Now the walls crowd in around you. Time chews your face, biting it into furrows, spitting out lines.

Many of us have a golden time, a period, however fleeting, in which life felt good, the fates seemed kind.  Or do we?  Isn’t it all just hindsight?  When I look through my photo albums at the pictures taken in my twenties, it looks like heaven.  And, yes, it was a magical time.  Looking back, I was one lucky bitch – I had the looks, the job, the flat, the friends, the fun.  I knew what I wanted (work-wise), I went after it and I got it.  I ticked off my goals one by one – first published feature, first feature in a broadsheet; first feature in a glossy woman’s mag; first feature in a tabloid; first column; first book; first TV appearance; first …oh, you get the idea.  My love life was a shambles but hey, I had great work and fabulous friends and, as the song says, two out of three ain’t bad. 

But you can’t turn back time, no matter how hard you wish you might.  The past is sliding by, slippery like water – and, really, there is no past, it’s just memory.  There is only now and what we choose to do with that now.  And one can easily sit and drown oneself in the past, in that lovely lilac wine of Lethe that, if you drink enough, pulls you into a soft soporific befuddlement.  

Or, alternatively, you can look back with love and a shrug, and then tug yourself into the here and now, gird your loins and all that malarkey and make of it something new. 
Because if you don’t…if you can’t let go of the past, it will strangle you and squeeze out every last fragment of possible happiness.  Cos time’s just a right bastard like that.  J