030 | 365 Bliss on Kersbrook farm

I am so lucky. I have beautiful friends. Two who live on a farm. They invite me for dinner. They cook me a roast dinner. They have a wood oven, an Esse called Effie. Dinner is in the Esse which is warming the room and us as well.

After dinner we all help to make a chocolate self saucing pudding (not from a packet). I add some ginger.

While it is cooking we start a game of Baulderdash.

They give me flowers from their garden and some eggs from their chooks.

Warmth, nourishment and fun.

Perfect way to spend an evening!

029 | 365 My friends are awesome and inspiring but what does that mean?

I like to be challenged with things that are thought-provoking and my friends are important to me in this regard. For example, if they ask me what I’m are doing and why, and I can’t answer, I need to ask myself “am I doing what I want to do to get me where I want to be?”

It is good practice to question what you are doing and reflect back on your work, whether it is of professional or a personal nature. It maybe that you are on track but you may need to reevaluate your goals and purpose for doing what you are doing.

Over coffee with my friend Matt, we discussed the use of certain words. Matt, a very creative and funny writer, editor and publisher (see his website at Pure Slush), is irked by certain words, one in particular is the word awesome but there are others such as inspiration. For him, he thinks some words are overused and often not used with their correct meaning that he believes that they have lost all meaning altogether.

I start to reconsider my use of some words. Am I using them in the right context? Do I overuse them? Do these words no longer mean anything to those who read them?

I checked the meaning of awesome on Google:

Awesome (adjective):
– Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
– Extremely good; excellent.

Awe (noun):
– A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.

I have used awesome in my post on New York and I feel happy that I am using awesome in it’s correct context. New York is an impressive and daunting place, it is big and busy in so many ways. In fact, awesome is a perfect word, based on the definitions above, to describe this city. Happy to hear others feelings on this.

Matt and I then talked about my blog after me mentioning how I had used awesome in a post, and he asked me what the purpose of my blog was (having not had time to read it himself). I said that I wanted to write about something that inspires me each day for a year. My friend then asked what I meant by inspire as he felt that this word was overused through its use as a marketing term in the self improvement  industry.

This made me question my understanding of what inspiration meant. Had I got it wrong? Was I using it in the right context? Was my purpose of this blog wrong?

I go back to Google for the meaning of inspiration:

Inspiration (noun):
– The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative: “flashes of inspiration”.
– The quality of having been so stimulated, esp. when evident in something: “a moment of inspiration in an otherwise dull display”.

Inspiring (verb):
– Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative: “his enthusiasm inspired them”.
– Create (a feeling, esp. a positive one) in a person: “inspire confidence”.

I went back and read my About statement on this blog and my first post which explains my reasoning for starting this blog. I think if my friend had read this then he wouldn’t have questioned me as I think it is clear that I am using the word in the correct context. I also check that I have done what I set out to do which is to write about something inspiring each day for a year.

My reason for doing this blog are to:

  1. seek inspiration everyday
  2. improve my writing
  3. build confidence
  4. be creative.

In starting my new business, Fresh Ginger Consulting, my purpose is also to inspire others, to help them freshen up their business, project or brand to reconnect with their current clients/staff and to connect with new clients. So I think I am on track, even though it is early days.

My friend Matt is an inspiration to me through his own creativity. He is very funny and clever. Sometimes he is so clever it’s scary. He’s awesome!

I am blessed to have a number of friends who inspire me in different ways. I admire each and every one of my friends, they are all awesome.

What inspires and is awesome to you?

Are you heading in the direction you want to go?

018 | 365 Loving all things ginger

Maple syrup with Ginger

It’s my second to last day in New York and I’m feeling sad already. Today is spent walking through Union Square Markets, Washington Square markets, shopping through Soho and then back again with Naomi.

As we start out the streets seem quite. There aren’t very many people around and we consider why, is this because it is the end of summer holidays, or that it’s labour day weekend, or that school begins again on Tuesday? There isn’t the activity about from musicians or stand-up acts around the parks so maybe it’s all back to work New Yorkers as well as for us as we spend our last hours enjoying this city.

Our first stop is the Union Square Markets, that line the perimeter of Union Square Park, and they are full of wonderful local produce. If only I could purchase and take home. It all looks so wonderful. There seems to be every single variety of potato and carrot on the planet along with whatever else is in season.

I am drawn to a stall for maple syrup, Deep Mountain Maple, this is one of the produce stalls that have travelled from Vermont. I look at the labels and there are different flavours infused in each of them. I see the ginger infused maple syrup and the stallholder must notice my mouth watering as he offers me a taste. It is divine. It’s better than chilli chocolate. He explains how they grate fresh ginger into the maple syrup, this give it a better tang than using powdered or candied ginger. I want some! They do not ship overseas. The thought of placing a glass bottle of maple syrup in my luggage doesn’t appeal. If he is still there on our way back I will get a bottle but by then he is packing up, all the ginger maple syrup has been sold. It’s not meant to be. If anyone is going, or knows of someone who is going, I have a request for ginger maple syrup.

On our way down Broadway to Washington Square, we stop in The Strand bookstore. I love the bookstores in New York and this one is huge. You name it, it has it here, from old to new to rare books. As soon as we enter we are both absorbed into looking at books so before we lose each other completely, we set a time and place to meet up – half an hour we give each other. Well about an hour or so later, we leave purchases in hand to continue our walk.

This weekend in Washington Square is a different market to last weekend, it’s an artists market. There are many different type of art, from painting to jewellery to crafts and textiles. I fall for the work of one artist who has created t-shirts, scarves and hats using different textures. She doesn’t have my size t-shirt but will have more the next day. I might be able to get back there before I catch my flight home. If not, it’s not meant to be either… Naomi and I continue on to Soho.

We go into many shops. Some have music playing so loudly it is too hard to think, especially the shoe shops. One even have DJs playing with their mixing table set up along the wall of the shop. It’s crazy. Lots of people, lots of noise and lots to buy but not by us. We exit to the noise to the crowds of the streets instead. This is more peaceful.

We arrive back to the hotel after a long day walking and the first thing we need is a coffee and a delicious ginger biscuit at Birch Coffee before freshening up for our evening’s activities. It’s been a very hot day and as Naomi wants to go to a Broadway show, I let her shower and get ready first. I am in two minds about going to a show and in the end decide to have a relaxing evening preparing for my long flight home the following afternoon.

Naomi went to see Nice Work if You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick starring. It’s a show with Gershwin tunes, which would have been such fun to go to and probably would have if we had gone on another night. I am not too upset at missing the show however.

I decide to go to make a final purchase at the Gap as there is a t-shirt that I have been looking for – I love NYC in the shape of an apple – and have been told that the shop on 34th Street might still have one left. They don’t unfortunately and they do a thorough search for me too (service I’ve experienced in America is outstanding). I purchase a pair of trousers that I had tried on earlier and now on special, plus I find some jeans that are on a specials rack as well along with a San Francisco t-shirt. The jeans I get for $7! All up my three purchases cost $50, which is an amazing bargain.

To end my night, as it is a warm and beautiful night, I decide to go back to where I spent my first night, in Madison Square Park. Even though it is after 9pm, the queue for Shake Shack is long. I don’t mind, the park and the people here are lovely. I take the time to reflect on my time in New York and I chat with a New Yorker who is before me in the queue. I order my burger, a single Shack burger with extra salad, a glass of merlot and a bottle of water, and find a seat in the park. While waiting for my order to come I start two lists titled BIG, one for New York and one for San Francisco as everything about these cities isn’t on small scales, especially compared to my hometown of Adelaide in South Australia. Then eat my dinner reminiscing on my holiday before I go back to the hotel to download my day’s photos in the foyer, then up to my room to unpack and repack my bags ready for my last day before I head home. I dream about the ginger maple syrup (yum!).