Post Script: I Am, I Am, I Am – Maggie O’Farrell

I Am I Am I Am

I Am, I Am, I Am

Seventeen Brushes With Death

Maggie O’Farrell

Hachette Australia

Tinder Press

ISBN: 9781472240750

 

Description:

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

 

‘O’Farrell takes up a bow and arrow and aims at the human heart’ The Times

‘A life-enhancing two-fingers to death… mesmerising’ The Sunday Times

I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

 

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell.

It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?

 

I AM, I AM, I AM will speak to readers who loved Cheryl Strayed’s WILD or Max Porter’s GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS.

 

 

My View:

I was tempted to request this book when I came upon fellow book blogger and reviewer (and book seller) Written By Sime’s review:  

https://writtenbysime.com/2017/09/13/i-am-i-am-i-am-seventeen-brushes-with-death-by-maggie-ofarrell/ and I was so glad he enjoyed the read and shared his view.

 

This is a remarkable read – what an incredible life Maggie O’Farrell has led (and not by choice) and yet…here she is, daughter, wife, mother and successful writer. Remarkable – I think that covers it all!  J

 

As the title informs there are seventeen chapters in this creative memoir, each chapter is heart wrenching and demonstrates the incredible resilience that is Maggie O’Farrell. For me I was profoundly affected by several chapters – the first, titled Neck 1990 – could be the stuff that a ripping work of crime fiction is made from- but it’s not.  If you have ever been the source of amusement to a bully, to a lunatic…or if you are female you will get chills down your spine, you will recognise the issue here, you too will know what lies ahead, you may have “the instinct for the onset of violence.” p. 12  I know I have it.

 

“Lungs” could have so easily been named #MeToo  – I am sure so many of you will identify with the 16 year old Maggie O’Farrell in this chapter.

 

And the chapter that talks about anaphylaxis…  so much that is personal to me, perhaps it will strike a chord with you too.

 

A wonderful read.

 

 

 

 

 

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For the Baker In Your Life

Soulful Baker

Soulful Baker: From highly creative fruit tarts and pies to chocolate, desserts and weekend brunch

Julie Jones 

 Jacqui Small

Murdoch Books Australia 

ISBN:9781911127246

 

Description:

From apple rose and plum and frangipane tarts, to lemon madeleines and muddle cake, trampoline bread and grissini to chocolate ganache, delizia di limone to banana, pecan, and chocolate muffins and fluffy pancakes, this incredible bake book has all the recipes you need to create something beautiful, imaginative and impressive. Whether you’re making pies or cakes, bread or brunch, this stunning book is full of recipes that bakes that feeds your soul as well as your stomach.
Baking became a form of therapy for Julie Jones when her mother, who taught her to bake, was diagnosed with dementia. They began baking together again, and Julie started her Instagram account as a way to document this precious time and now her delicious recipes are available for the first time as a sumptuous cookbook that would make an inspired addition to any kitchen bookshelf!
Learn to cook crafted, beautifully styled pies, tarts, cakes and bakes, but be sure to cook with Julie’s secret ingredient – love.

Across the 175+, heavily illustrated pages, you’ll find chapters on:

Fruit Tarts and Pies, containing recipes like apple rose tart and plum and frangipane tart, plus pastry decoration techniques
Cakes, Bakes and Treats, with dipped lemon madeleines and muddle cake, as well as tips for getting cream fillings right every time
Bread and Yeasted Dough, with trampoline bread and grissini
Chocolate, including a stunning triple chocolate celebration cake and chocolate ganache
Desserts, with delizia di limone and a meringue sharing nest wreath
Weekend Breakfast and Brunch, with banana, pecan, and chocolate muffins and fluffy pancakes.

 

This is the ideal Christmas present for the baker in your life – regardless of their skill level they will find something in this recipe book that they can conquer and share with those they love, because isn’t that what baking is, sharing food made with love, for those you love? That’s how it works for me anyway. 🙂

And this book is gorgeous!  I love the images (even if you don’t bake you can sit and ohh and ahh at the wonderful creations within this book), and creations/work of arts they are!  Buy this for yourself or for someone you love and get baking today 🙂

 

**I look forward to sharing a few of the recipes and the glorious art that is the finished product, with you soon.

 

 

Tell Me How You Pause…

It is Freebie Friday! To win a copy of the outstanding book Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia, in the comments tell me how you pause.

How to press pause

 

** This competition is open to Australian residents only and the winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday the 1st of November 2017. Thanks Hachette Australia for the opportunity to host this great giveaway.

 

 

****The winner is Brett. Thanks to all who entered.

Pause…Bee Meditation: Pause – How To Pause Before Life Does For You – Danielle Marchant


How to press pause

 

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

This book is probably the best A$19.99 you will  spend this year; so many useful, simple exercises for relaxation and meditation, for re centering and pauses – big and small.  If you do nothing else – concentrate on your breathing – deep breathing is so good for the whole body and you can practice this anywhere any time of the day.

 

“Bee Meditation

 

One of the ways we can begin to create harmony with our outer world is to create harmony within ourselves. There are different approaches to this. One is creating a natural rhythm

(with your food, sleep, work and so on); another is learning to manage your mind. A long time ago, I was taught, “You have a mind but you are not your mind.” In the same way as you have an arm but you don’t let your arm rule the show, why would you allow your mind to take over?

 

If your stress levels feel unmanageable and you find it hard to switch off and relax, it’s likely that your mind is busy. For some people this is particularly easy to spot at night, when

after an intense day they lie in bed exhausted, but unable to sleep. The more stress builds within us, the less easy it is for us to flow in our lives.

 

One tool that helps deal with everyday stress and allows you to begin to manage your mind to bring it back into harmony is meditation. I meet a lot of people in my coaching practice who tell me that they have tried mediation, but found it too difficult and have given up. The trouble is, when they sit down to meditate they can hear their busy minds racing, and they think they are meditating incorrectly. In truth, sitting down to meditate will make you conscious of what is already present, and if for you that’s a racing mind and anxiety, then that is what you will experience. This doesn’t mean you are not doing it right; it simply means that this is what your inner world feels like at this moment in time (and perhaps beyond this moment). The art of meditation is to sit with the experience you are having, whatever it is, without trying to change it, judge it or fix it. Your “job” in meditation is to stay seated and simply pay attention to your breathing, while your mind chatters and your feelings come to the surface. 

If that feels too difficult for you at this time, you might like to try this lovely Bee Meditation (see page 74), which I describe as a meditation for people who can’t meditate. I find it works well when you have a busy mind, because the sound you make is a distraction, and the mind loves a distraction! It works by blocking out the senses of sight and sound, and creating an internal vibration by humming. The hum makes a sound like a bee buzzing, hence the name.

Here is how the Bee Meditation works (read this through in full before you begin):

 

Prepare yourself by finding a place you can be alone for a few minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, with your back straight.

 

Scan your body and notice how you are feeling.

 

When you are ready, close your eyes, put your thumbs in your ears and gently cover your eyes with your forefingers (the idea is to block out the senses of sight and sound for a moment).

 

Inhale, and on the exhale make a humming sound.

 

Repeat the inhale and hum for ten breaths.

 

When you have completed your ten breaths, keep your eyes closed, rub your hands together to generate some heat and place your hands over your face.

 

Gently open your eyes and remove your hands.

 

Scan your body again and notice how you feel.” p.72

Pause: How To Press Pause Before Life Does It For You – Some Ideas to Help You Slow Down and Breathe Again

How to press pause

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

Summary (p220)

 

If you think you are heading toward an enforced pause, here are some ideas to help you to slow down and breathe again:

 

Technology – reduce the cortisol spikes in your body by:

  • Removing all alerts from your phone.
  • Deleting social media apps from your phone.
  • If you’re feeling bold, you can also turn email off on your phone – you will survive, I promise!

 

Nutrition – support your overall system by:

  • Eating less sugar, gluten and dairy.
  • Increasing your daily intake of water.
  • Cutting out caffeine (remember it’s hidden in some fizzy drinks and is also in chocolate).

 

Reflection – allow yourself to slow down and reflect on the signs life is giving you by:

  • Journaling daily, even if it’s just a paragraph.
  • Writing down the dreams you have at night can have a very powerful effect.
  • Working closely with a good coach, therapist or body worker.
  • Regularly spending time in Nature.

 

I’m ever grateful to have been taught how to read the signs of my life, to be able to enquire and get the message. I’m discovering I don’t always get it right, but my life has undoubtedly changed as a result. ” Danielle Marchant

Pause: How to Press Pause Before Life Does For You: Deep Breathing Exercise

How to press pause

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

 

I have found deep breathing to be  particularly useful practice whenever I am feeling tense or overwhelmed, or having my blood pressure measured, trying to fall asleep etc  I hope it assists you too.

 

Deep breathing exercise (p196)

 

This simple breathing exercise is very relaxing for the body and mind, so it is particularly helpful before you go to sleep – you can do it lying down in bed.

 

  • Let your arms relax on either side of your body and keep your legs about hip-width apart. Initially, just take a few gentle deep breaths, inhaling through your nose

and exhaling through your mouth, mindful of filling and emptying your lungs fully.

 

  • Now take a deep inhale through your nose for a count of four. You might create a soft sound as you do so that also helps to soothe and relax you. Hold the breath at the top of the inhale for a count of four, then exhale through your nose for a count of four.

 

  • On the next breath, inhale for a count of six, hold for a count of six and exhale for a count of six. And the breath after that, inhale, hold and exhale for counts of eight. If you can, try building up to counts of 10 and 12.

 

  • To complete the exercise, start reducing the count by two for each breath until you finish with a count of four.

 

  • Now just let go and breathe normally…

A Time To Pause

There are times in our life we we need to pause, to stop for reflection, to work out a new or maybe different path, a time to slow things down and work out what is important. Endless lists, social media updates, work, meetings, deadlines…all a priority – or are they? It is time to pause.

 

 


How to press pause

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you by Danielle Marchant ($19.99), published by Hachette Australia.

More soon.