Category Archives: My magic

1 year without nicotine – how was it for you, darling?

Standard

If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know I haven’t found stopping smoking easy. One of the reasons was I didn’t feel any better or healthier, in fact, for a number of months, I felt dreadful. I’d made so many changes already. Why didn’t I feel any better?

More than twenty years ago, the terrible, scary pain in my side was diagnosed as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and I spent the next four years coming to terms with a massive change in diet and trying to find a work/exercise/eating balance that worked for me.

For a couple of years I ate very little because the less I ate, the less pain I was in, but gradually, I built up my eating (I was already vegetarian) and rebuilt my body with bellydance.

I believed I was strong, slim and fit due to my diet and dancing, but what I didn’t realise was that the nicotine was playing a part in this equation. Taking it out of my life, my hormones were like socks in a tumble dryer; all over the place. My IBS returned with a vengeance for a couple of months, as did violent menopausal symptoms, and on top of all this, I’d sleep for two hours and then lie awake for the rest of the night. Mood swings were violent. I experienced chronic anxiety on top of depression…

But this didn’t last! Yes, I felt terrible, but now I’m finally feeling some benefit for giving up my addiction. I’m no expert, but here are a few things I wish someone had told me….

Firstly, make sure you’re giving up for the right reasons. The Alan Carr book is really good, challenging you, making you face what you really know but don’t want to believe. Stop smoking nicotine because it is best for YOU. YOU are worth it! YOU deserve to live a healthy life.

Secondly, they say (whoever they are!) you don’t need to replace smoking with another habit, and maybe that works for some people, but I needed something else. The day I chose to begin my day walking, was the day I began to feel better. I chose walking instead of choosing that first cigarette, and that really helped me in a number of ways:

I changed my routine

I set myself a new challenge

I quickly found I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was!

Walking is the BEST exercise

Thirdly, make sure you’re supported by friends and family. I’m so glad my partner and I stopped together, and support and encouragement from my tribe kept me going at the hardest times.

My final piece of advice I can tell you, but you might not believe me….you don’t have to feel as rubbish as you do. Your joints don’t have to ache. You can feel SO MUCH BETTER than you do now.

Why did I find life so difficult without nicotine? One reason was because I put on two stone which appeared on my body like a weighty, solid belt, and undermined all my confidence. All my old hang ups about my weight and appearance returned. I felt old, heavy and weighed down and I didn’t look or feel like I was the same person. Unable to show my ladies dance moves was devastating.  

The doctor was kind. I’m back on a very low dose HRT and I sleep better now, but as far as the fat orbiting my stomach is concerned, I’m told it is my lot, middle age spread I’ll have to put up with….

NO WAY!

I’m making even more changes for 2019! If I’m going to be a different person, I’m going to be the person I want to be. I am now committed to a wholefoods, plant based diet and to exercising for a fitter, healthier me. There will be changes on my blog too…

I’ll be encouraging you to watch videos, read books and check out the data about plant based eating as the best diet for you, your family and the planet.

I’ll be trying and testing new plant based recipes and sharing them with you.

Dance will always be my favourite exercise, but I’m going to be trying out other exercise which I’ll share with you.

No longer will I ‘fit in’ those aspects of my life that make me happy….I’m going to begin with them and work my life around them.

I’m looking forward to a busy, exercise packed, fun filled, exciting 2019! Come and join me xx

 

NB: even if life throws a curved ball, don’t give up. Check out my latest video from Phoenix and the Dragon and see what I mean…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz7O480_fws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Now!

Standard

For the first time, since I was eighteen, my Christmas dinner was cooked for me this festive season. We were away at our eldest son’s house, joined by our other children and partners. I shall remember it as one of my favourite Christmas times ever.

We walked and talked, catching up on life and sharing our thoughts and ideas for the future. After four glorious days, I made some decisions….

Now! Is the time to spend days and weekends with family and friends, the ones that make my heart sing.

Now! Is the time to embrace the fitness challenge with both hands, and see what I can achieve in 2019.

Now! Is the time to commit to plant based eating and to spreading the word by sharing recipes and ideas.

Now! Is the time to get the groundwork in place for our potting shed/greenhouse and new raised beds, so we can grow lots of veg.

Now! Is the time to finish my Lizzie Martin Witchlit series, inspiring women to embrace magic in their lives.

Now! Is the time to work magic every day, be it a lighted candle of thanks to the goddess or a chosen tarot guide to seek guidance or assurance.

Now! Is the time to push all our plans on our house and land forward, creating the warm, cosy home we seek.

 

Life’s too short not to do it now! ‘It’ doesn’t have to be big, but whatever ‘it’ is, don’t put it off until tomorrow.

Bright blessings, peace, health and happiness for the coming year xx

 

10 months on – The daily fight

Standard

Ten months on from stopping smoking, I don’t feel any fitter or healthier. My body has been through hell, ridding the nicotine and I never want to have to go through it again. Keeping cheerful has been difficult. We get to the coast as much as we can. This is me with my feet in the North Sea two weeks ago.

 

At the beginning, the constant gnawing and craving preoccupied me, but as my hormones began to party without the nicotine hanging on for a ride, my weight gain has become my focus.

That’s me in the purple and black in October 2017, and here’s me in March 2018

If one more slim, yogatastic, enlightened 30 something tells me to embrace this new part of being a woman and be excited about my crone phase, I’ll punch them in the face…not really, but you can hear my frustration. I didn’t ask for this. I thought stopping smoking would make me feel better…I’ve never felt so depressed and anxious.

Smoking held back some, but not all my menopausal symptoms. Everything has been heightened since stopping putting nicotine into my body, so my IBS has been chronic too. I feel like my body is returning to factory reset, shaking everything up along the way, but rather than settling, everything feels off kilter.

I had to stop running, my knees couldn’t cope, partly because I’m running on the road and there isn’t a single flat section anywhere near me, and probably because I already have knee damage and I’m heavier than I should be.

I am not alone. Thousands of women are waking up one morning to find their once taut bodies have softened. I haven’t been this fleshy since I was pregnant and the irony of that is like a stab to the heart…you’re no longer capable of conceiving a child, but your body looks like you’re carrying one. Wicked.

It isn’t all bad news… I’ve stuck to my walking every morning as soon as I get up, and my new morning best is 5.2k steps. I always do at least 2k, and often do 4k. Having said that, I do walk some lunchtimes too, but now the evenings are dark, I’m not walking in the evening. I’m guessing I put on two stone at the beginning of the year with eating a bit more and the change in hormones and have now lost one of those, but I still can’t get my clothes on. In fact, last week I bought bigger jeans. Gutting.

I am a fighter. Every morning when I walk, Dr Dain’s affirmation rings in my ears ‘All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory’. Life is amazing. I have a wonderful partner. My friends and family are dear to me. I live in an amazing house in a fabulous part of the world, with a roof over my head. I’ve started doing a little yoga after my walk, just a few balances and stretches…the plan is to build up to more, making sure my thighs don’t get too bulky with all the extra walking. Loki likes to be carried around on my walks…He is a fidget though

There is other good news. I’ve gone back on my original HRT. I now sleep through most nights. I sweat less during those nights. The day time sweats are occasional.

But every day is a battle, making my steps count and attempting to balance my body. As you may know, my diet is already plant based and I cook most meals from scratch, so how I lose this lump orbiting my middle, I’m not sure. Food and I have battled for most of my life and I’m gutted I’m being forced to re-evaluate again, when I thought I was doing the right thing becoming plant based.

Women need to stand up and say, ‘This isn’t just hormones! Have you any idea how life changing their fluctuation can be?’

I’m re-inventing myself. I may have had to buy bigger jeans but I also bought the cutest pinafore dress, and I’ve booked in for a new tattoo. Support the women around you while they deal with this life changing transformation. No more jokes about menopausal women being grumpy!

 

Day out for Diwali

Standard

On Sunday we visited St Fagans National Museum of History, where the event for the day was Diwali Mela. Hundreds of families from Cardiff came together to share their special day, the dances they had practised and the food they had cooked.

We were greeted in the foyer of the museum by music, colour, dance and laughter. Music and dance from all over India was showcased from Indian Classical dance to Bollywood, dances from the Punjab and from Indonesia. Foot tapping tunes were followed by exquisite, complicated slow dances where the dancers used every part of their bodies, including their eyes, to tell the story of their dance. Some styles I recognised, others were new, but no less delightful to watch.

After an hour of so, we set off around the museum. Most of the buildings at St Fagans have been dismantled from their original location, and rebuilt in this beautiful area, surrounded by woodland. It’s billed as ‘A walk around Wales – from Celtic times to the present day’, and that’s exactly what the museum is about, preserving the history of the past for all of us today. They almost took our house to be part of the museum, so we were fascinated to discover all we could about the houses they had taken.

From simple miners’ cottages to highly decorated Tudor halls, we walked in and out of the exhibits in glorious sunshine. The houses of stone and clom, similar to ours, were of special interest, and the woven thatch was stunning, completely opposite to our straight, raggedy thatch.

Furnishing the houses brings them to life and I especially loved the row of cottages, Rhyd-y-car Iron Terrace from Merthyr Tydfil, set up to show the typical life of those living in the small community from 1805 to 1985.

The iron age roundhouse is special too. A long walk through glorious golden woodland leads you to the roundhouse. I danced in one in Essex, and felt the urge again here!

There’s a castle with the most stunning grounds and gardens, all of which we didn’t get around. There’s access to the kitchen, always fascinating and luxurious panelled drawing rooms and study.

Oakdale Workmen’s Institute is another fascinating building. Opened in its original location near Caerphilly in 1917, this library and institute served as a focus for social and cultural life within this mining community in south east Wales, financed by a substantial loan from the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company, which was repaid in 1945. This was a place to learn to read and write, as well as come together, and the building was reopened in St Fagans in 1995.

Back in the foyer of the museum, we ate biryani and onion bhajis, while enjoying more music and dance.

I enjoyed my day of history and culture, and though I can’t promise indian dancers for your visit, you can be assured of a warm welcome at St Fagans.

There are a number of cafes and restaurants, and the toilet facilities were adequate. You can take dogs into the museum.

You pay £5 to park your car, but entrance to the museum is free, though a donation is requested. For more about what’s on at St Fagans, visit their website. https://museum.wales/stfagans/

 

 

Meet Mabh Savage – pagan, author and herbalist

Standard

For my second interview from the WitchLit group on Facebook, I was contacted by Mabh Savage. Her two beautiful books are published by Moon Books, and she’s been a contributor to many of their anthologies. Join me in welcoming her to my blog…

Welcome Mabh! Tell us about your writing…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I change tack constantly! I have a very busy mind and as new ideas pop up, I find I have to adjust what I have done already to allow the new bits to fit in. It’s like doing a complex dot-to-dot puzzle where the dots you’ve already connected keep shifting. I’m never 100% sure what the finished picture, or book, is going to look like. So, I do plan but I nearly always end up with something wildly different to what I imagined in the first place.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

With up to three children and three cats around the house at any one time, my ritual is pretty much grab what scraps of free time I have and splurge something out onto a page! An odd thing I’ve started doing recently is putting the cooking channel on the TV in the background. I have no idea why this helps me concentrate. Maybe it’s the contrast of something else that’s creative but entirely different to writing. Other than this, in the day I write by tea; in the night I write by wine and this is when most of the poetry happens.

Until we moved to Wales, I too used to write with the ‘aid’ of children and cats….now it’s just cats!

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I’m a huge sci-fi geek. I love Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Blake’s 7 and more recently, Stranger Things and the entire Marvel Defenders collection. I adore a good box-set binge!

I’m the same with reading too. Once I get into a fictional series, I get completely absorbed and need to get the next book, at any cost. I recently re-read all the Pratchett books again, and am looking forward to starting on The Dresden Files for another session of self-imposed hibernation.

I suffer from chronic and occasionally severe anxiety and depression so I have a real interest in mental health and ways to cope and even thrive with mental health conditions. I write about this a bit on my blog, and lots of my poetry is about struggles with mental health.

I’m an amateur herbalist and I have a column at PaganPages.org every month called Notes from the Apothecary in which I examine the magical and medical qualities of different plants.

I play music and sing, and have lots of different influences from traditional folk to prog rock! I have a few tracks on Sound Cloud and hope to add to those soon.

Lovely to know your creativity goes beyond writing to music too, fabulous. And you can’t beat a good Sir Terry binge:-)

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

A replicator! Ha ha, I guess 3D printing isn’t quite there yet so… My guitar, my Irish whistle, a pad, a pen and a special blanket which helps me sleep.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Ooh that’s a hard one. If it’s not cheating, I’d take the Elfin Diary, to keep track of days and also because it’s full of fascinating info. I’ve had one nearly every year for over 20 years. If I was in the middle of a series, I’d have to take the next book(s) in that series then just sit rocking with fiction withdrawal when they ran out. The SAS survival handbook would also be useful on a desert island! Maybe sack all that off and I’ll take the Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin. I don’t think I could live without them.

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

I have crippling social anxiety so the thought of having dinner with someone I don’t know it’s absolutely terrifying. I wouldn’t even go on a blind-date. I would very much have loved to have met Stephen Hawking though. He seemed like such a warm, funny person as well as incredibly intelligent and insightful about the universe.

7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on a book about Lugh; his mythology and also how he is revered in modern Paganism. In the realms of fiction, I’ve been working on a science-fiction/magical cross-over for some time. There are elements of artificial intelligence and also inexplicable universal energies. The protagonist is a scientist who is trying to make sense of the weird events unfolding around her. My eight-year-old boy wants me to write a children’s book, so I’m thinking of re-working some Celtic myths and legends for younger readers.

How exciting that you’ve such varied projects in mind. Good luck!

8 Other published work and links….

My first book was A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors which is an exploration of the relevance of Celtic culture in modern society. It’s told through the voices of many different people from all walks of life.

My latest book is Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft and this looks more specifically at following a magical path inspired by Celtic spirituality and with the influence of Celtic deities.

I’ve also contributed to the following anthologies:

Essays on Contemporary Paganism

Paganism 101

Pagan Planet

Naming the Goddess

iPagan

Every Day Magic

The Seven Ages of the Goddess

The Celtic Goddess

My main website and blog is at http://www.mabhsavage.com and I write for paganpages.org every month too. People can follow me on twitter @mabherick and I’m on Pinterest, Facebook and tumblr too.

Thanks so much, Mabh for your honest answers, allowing us into your writing life and thinking processes.

Check out Mabh’s books, and pop back for more interviews, writerly discussions, dance, healing and plant based recipes. Why not sign up for the newsletter and receive a FREE short story as a welcome. Bright blessings xx

Read The Naked Witch anywhere!

Standard

You can read The Naked Witch on your holidays….maybe at Glastonbury Tor.

You can read The Naked Witch when you stop on your walks…maybe in a field in Wales somewhere.

You can read The Naked Witch on the riverbank…

Download your copy for FREE and begin your journey into the world of Lizzie Martin today

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

and for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

 

The leap into Witch Lit

Standard

My first published novel, Destiny of Angels, was the novel I wanted to read, but couldn’t find. With a large cast of varied characters, Angel Parsons led me along the paths of the witches Qabbalah, and I learned about myself and my writing. At the time I published, magical realism was stuffed full of vampires and werewolves, so it was time for real people and real magic, but without realising it, I’d written a specialist book. Not every reader cared about the opportunity to view life through different eyes, and be open to the idea of alternative realities. I wrote the sequel Wrath of Angels because it needed to be written (and it’s a far superior novel to Destiny in my opinion), but I had no readers and needed to think again.

Though ideas for the final book were rattling around in my head, they were quoshed by new ones, evoked by the Welsh landscape. Discovering a Bronze Age settlement site on the hill beside our house, my mind was drawn to the past and the people who lived there, and to those who will live there in the future and the Standing Stone book series was born. Three women linked, across time and space, are brought together in the presence of the goddess by the standing stone and given help and support to deal with their current problems and heartaches. I loved writing these books!

I was invited to submit a story for a Witchlit anthology, a gathering of magical short stories, so turned my hand to attempting to write one. The first two weren’t right; they were too magical somehow, and then I hit on an idea and Last Chance for Love was created. This short story has changed my writing path, leading me to write stories that mix the mundane with the magical with ease and pure joy. Sign up for my newsletter and receive it FREE as a ‘thank you.’

I know how much you’ll enjoy the Lizzie Martin, Wendy Woo Witchlit Series, so from 9th-14th October, you can download the first book, The Naked Witch, for FREE, and begin your journey into Witchlit. Lovely to have you with us. New moon blessings xx

https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

For all my books, have a look at my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

Call out to magical readers and writers

Standard

This is a call out to magical readers and writers, poets, songwriters and creatives alike. Be part of a magical group on Facebook and Twitter, that wants to ‘take over the world incrementally’, a wonderful phrase from Laura Perry, one of the group of four of us who head up this revolution.

It all started with Sheena Cundy who brought in myself, Ruth Aitken and Laura to form a working group, working in unison to sail us in one direction; to fight for our creative talent to be heard in the world at large. Talking together, we began to understand what that meant; we weren’t just talking about stories anymore.

These are Sheena’s welcoming words that head our group page:

As the Witches among us will know, this (magic) happens when we weave the web. And here, the threads are constantly flowing from the earthly to the unearthly, reading to writing – the craft of words and magic binding together where the boundaries blur.
Witch Lit is something we are passionate about, not just because it reflects what we do but more importantly because it expresses who we are as magical creatives:
The Wise and Wild among us, the Warriors and the Healers. The Visionaries. Storytellers, poets and songwriters, bards.
The Walkers between the Worlds.

If you have work out in the world, we want to know about it.
If you want to put work out into the world we can help you do it. And in the doing we can all grow and build together, individually and collectively.
We don’t have all the answers, but between us we try and work them out with large dollups of humour and respect for each other, our paths and crafts.

So enjoy the vibe and we hope you get something out of being here. Make the most of it and ask questions…it’s how we all learn!!!
Remember to add your links to the file Laura has set up, it’s always useful to know where to find out more about each other.
And if you’re particularly nosey like me, this will feed any curiosity and hopefully inspire you to move out of that comfort zone.
Because that’s where the magic happens.
Dark Moon blessings! )O(

Come and share your magical creative talents, ideas and thoughts, on our group, interacting with other creatives with love and respect.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055104057875422/

https://twitter.com/WitchLit1

 

15k tweets and beyond! Tweet and tweet again!

Standard

Last week I reached the 15,000 tweet milestone and I’ve been sharing a few tips and ideas for those of you who’re new to this social media or who would like to take part, but aren’t sure how to join in. This final post is about bringing YOU to the party.

Tweets are unique. Those good with tech can produce clever banners with links, GIFs and videos. I am not one of those people, but that’s okay. If you read the first two posts from last week about tweeting https://wendysteele.com/2018/09/25/tweeting-milestone-15k-and-beyond/ 

and https://wendysteele.com/2018/09/28/15k-tweets-and-beyond-part-2/

you’ll see that honesty is one thing I’m passionate about when sharing online, so my tweets reflect that. I use ** then write my headline, enclosed by ** on a lot of my tweets. I first use this way of highlighting when I began **The Amazing Karmic Sharefest** on Facebook (now obsolete because you can no longer see ALL the posts from pages you like) Think of a style or way of posting that is unique to you, that might make you stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be on every tweet, but it helps.

You’ll find lots of accounts encouraging you to sign up to gain twitter followers. The whole point of twitter followers is that they are likeminded in some way, I believe, so gathering followers like that does not appeal to me. I follow people I’m interested in. If someone follows me, I check out their profile and decide whether to follow back, but that’s just me as other users follow everyone back. You can decide the way you build up your world on Twitter.

There are hashtags on Twitter that you can use to encourage people to follow cool people you know and interact with like #FF (Follow Friday), but I decided to go one step further. I’m a great one for ‘thank yous’, so every day I thank those who have RTd for me and on the line sharing groups, I say a big thank you to everyone for liking my words. It doesn’t take long, maybe fifteen minutes out of my day, but it’s very me and another way I can be honest online.

I rarely interact with DMs (direct messages), will unfollow if I see any posts that are racist or inciting people to make judgements or make unkind comments and will RT any cause I believe in, for example, homing rescued animals.

I’m on my way to 3,000 followers, but on a day where I’ve done my five tweets and have time, I’ll start working backwards through the alphabet, RTing for my followers. They don’t know that’s what I’m doing, of course, but it’s always a lovely surprise when someone I haven’t heard from in a while RTs for me.

When you follow me on Twitter @WendyWooauthor, you are welcome to the world of Wendy Woo.

Tweeting milestone – 15k and beyond!

Standard

Today I hit 15,000 tweets; not bad for a woman who struggled so hard to find her place on Twitter. So what did I do? How did I ease myself into the Twitter community?

When I began social media, honesty was the key. I wanted people to meet me in the street and find I was the same person they had ‘met’ online. I’ve never compromised who I am, but in the past, I’ve been a little shy.

On twitter at first, I couldn’t see the point. I was a tiny person in an enormous aircraft hanger, calling out to anyone who would listen, ‘Hello? I write books, did you know? Hello?’ I took a step back. Maybe I could operate in a similar way as I did on Facebook, share for other authors and offer help, advice and share my experiences. I asked other users, but still couldn’t find a way that suited me.

Then I discovered the 5 Tweets a Day idea. Knowing I only had five tweets to construct gave me confidence to try new things.

Tweet 1: something helpful, a ‘how to’ tweet, either from something I knew myself or from YouTube or other people’s blogs

Tweet 2: inspirational: I chose writing quotes at first. Later I found tweets about my passion for dancing were popular.

Tweet 3: fun: I chose to share pictures of my crazy cats and kittens

Tweet 4: retweets: I chose to RT from groups that I care passionately about, for example, The Woodland Trust.

Tweet 5: promotional: limited offers and links to FREE content.

 

Tweeting just five tweets a day is a great way to begin on Twitter. You’ll discover which times of the day work best and you’ll bring people into your Twitter world who are likeminded.

Join me later in the week when I’ll share more of my Twitter ideas. Full moon blessings xx