If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen a post I made one night last week after reading this article. Reading it made me honestly feel like someone had snuck inside my head and written my thoughts on this very subject. I was JUST a couple of nights prior to reading this, thinking of the beginnings of a blog post in my head as I brushed my teeth… such is the life of a blogger (!) and my opening was going to be words to this effect when reflecting on how run-down I felt and how my immunity had given out on me as I found myself sick as soon as the school holidays began.
Today I am sharing with you a recipe that you all went crazy for when I posted a teaser on FB and Instagram. But there is a reason I am combining this recipe with my heartfelt expression on the sickness of ‘busyness’ that is infesting many lives these days. I hope you’ll hear me out. And even if you read my beginnings on Facebook, I have fleshed this out a little so please read again.
I would describe my life as full, and at times a little frantic, but not crazy, not hectic, not overwhelming and not busier than any average person – stay at home parent or work out of the home human. Sure there is the 5pm hustle that some nights is not my favourite time of day, but it’s never so overwhelming that I could legitimately call it madness. Life is easier in some ways now than it was for our parents generation, or our grandparents before them, and in some ways it’s harder. But the busy that we seem to all pride ourselves on maintaining is ridiculous. It’s not healthy, it doesn’t make us special if we are so busy that we have no time to even sit and have a cup of tea, or read a story to our children. So many friends I’ve caught up with lately tell me I look like I’ve been super busy because they’ve seen pictures I’ve shared on Instagram showing me attending a product launch, hanging out with so and so, or going here and there. What I believe it is important to remember is that I’ve obviously had time to post that picture, to put a frame on it first and to enhance the colour saturation or whatever. Therefore, I’m not so busy! At least I don’t feel rushed off my feet busy. I feel like usually I’ve got it mostly under control. My version of control at least.
I love my life and I love having things on my mind and plans I’m working towards, goals I want to achieve and so on. But I’m also completely content to stay at home in my track pants and a tee shirt, not vacuuming crumbs off the floor for three days in a row. Just like people get all crazy about the perfection that is portrayed on social media and how it puts pressure on others to ensure their homes and children and selves are up with all kinds of monochrome trends and styling their homes like magazines, it’s important to remember that everyone is projecting something and there is always, always the out of shot reality that you can not see. The other thing is that like anything in life, my version of busy is going to be completely different to yours and what each of us choose to fill our day with is completely up to us. My Aunty who was in town visiting this weekend asked me if I was still breastfeeding my youngest – which I am – and when I said ‘yes’, asked “How on earth do you do that?” I was kind of confused by her question, so I said “In what sense do you mean?” She replied “Running a home, having two other children and a business and so on”. Her question truly baffled me. I understand that again, some people don’t feed for as long as I have, for whatever reasons, but the suggestion that breastfeeding takes time and that would be a reason for ceasing at whatever point was so foreign to me. I personally never want to be so busy that I can’t give that comfort and time to my babe. I won’t feed him forever, but I also will not stop just because I am too busy to nurture him in that way or a blog post to write or a something else to do. Besides, feeding him is relaxation time for me. A reason to sit still.
I don’t want to seem always busy. I don’t want to not know how to sit and be still. To read a magazine or take a moment to play. Or pick up my knitting. I want to enjoy the little moments. I don’t want you reading my blog or anyone following me on social media to think that just because I look busy, I’m busier than you. And that even if I were I would somehow feel any more special just by being so. I don’t value busy. I value time. I value making the most of the hours in my day. But sometimes, just like you, I get to the end of my day and my list is not ticked off. I’ve spent too long procrastinating, I haven’t cleaned the windows even though they badly need doing. My skirting boards are out of control dusty and my washing isn’t folded – again! My ironing hasn’t been done in forever.
I know during these holidays I crashed and burned, and it was probably because I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Like I mentioned above, I’m still feeding my little man and some days I’m not eating as many nutrient dense meals as I should – slathering a few crackers in relish, cheese and salami does not a fully nutritional meal make! Ooops! And I was pretty busy the weeks leading up to the holidays with several nights out and another few day time commitments. I can’t ignore the fact that my body shutting down means I needed to rest and relax more. I’m trying to get better at listening. And though I may look busy from photos I’ve posted, what you haven’t seen is my down time: I have been knitting – and completed two scarves – I’ve watched a shit-load of House of Cards with the husband, I’ve been reading a book, and I’ve had a nap or two along the way. All that to say that I’ve got time up my sleeve. And I’ve been enjoying a slower pace this second week with my kids and although I’m still not 100% back to full health, I’ve been trying to listen to my body. I’ve been popping allll the vitamins and hoping they kick in soon.
This slice was created on a day last week when I felt like taking time to experiment in the kitchen. It’s not a quick bake by any stretch of the imagination – least of all because it’s not baked (!) but it’s a recipe that requires time and a relaxed, careful pace. It’s full of delicious natural ingredients and being refined sugar free means all good things!
Make this slice if you can. It is a nice way to reward yourself at the end of the day with a sweet treat that has zero guilt attached.
But my take away from this post is truly: There is no glory in being busy. Let’s revisit the art of relaxation. Of taking time to just stop and BE. Stop rushing around like a headless chicken, for these days pass by too quickly as it is. It’s not to say that you won’t be busy at times, and feel totally overwhelmed because of course you will, it’s more about whether you give that feeling/state any place of pride in your life. You may love the hustle and bustle of being busy, of feeling frantic, just as some people thrive on having drama in their lives… but I ask you, at the end of the day, what does being busy get you? I doubt you’re feeling satisfied, revived, refreshed. You’ve likely lost sight of what you’re even so busy doing or why. There are no brownie points in being busy. It doesn’t count towards anything in this life or the next. It just really leads to stress, and a sense of never doing or being enough. You ARE enough as you. Whenever I start to feel like there is too much rushing and too much hustle, I consciously try to pare it back. And I think it’s working. (think!) I’m not advocating for sitting on your hands and watching TV all day long or laying in bed reading that captivating novel until school pick-up (though wouldn’t that be nice for just one day?)
Let’s stop and smell the roses as often as we can. It’s my new life goal.
- 1 C almonds
- 1/3 C dates (medjool or if dried, cover in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and add to mix)
- 2 T sunflower seeds
- 1 T Chia seeds
- 1/2 C wholegrain or rolled oats
- 1/2 C coconut (shredded/desiccated)
- 3 T hot water
- 3 T Heilala Coconut Oil, melted
- 2 T cacao powder
- 2 C raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
- 10 drops of orange essential oil (I used doTERRA)
- zest of 1 orange
- juice of 1 orange
- 1/2 t Maldon sea salt flakes
- 5 T cacao powder
- 2 T cacao nibs
- 4 T Heilala coconut oil
- 2 T pure maple syrup or raw honey
- Blend the almonds and sunflower seeds in a processor until crumbly and well combined.
- Add the dates (drained of water if using pitted, not Medjool) and process until well combined. Add a T of water at a time if the mixture needs a bit of loosening.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the oats, coconut, Chia seeds and cacao powder and mix well.
- Melt the coconut oil, and add to the mixture with as much water as required to make a smooth mixture.
- Press the mixture firmly and flatly into slice tray lined with baking paper.
- Place in the freezer while preparing the top layer.
- Drain the cashew nuts and blend them with the juice of 1/2 an orange until the mixture is smooth.
- Add more orange juice, as well as the zest and continue to mix until well combined.
- Add the coconut oil (not melted), maple syrup or honey and orange essence and blend.
- Once your mixture is smooth and creamy, add the cacao powder and salt and blend until well combined.
- Add the cacao nibs and mix carefully.
- Spoon the mousse over top of the set base and smooth out with a palette knife. Sprinkle in cacao nibs and zested orange rind.
- Place in fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
- Using a hot knife, cut into bars and serve.
- Keep in fridge.