Tag Archives: why

A Thing That Completes Me.

Did you know it was Dutch growers who cultivated the orange carrot? True. It was a tribute to William of Orange who led the struggle for Dutch independence against the Spanish in the 1500s. Traditionally carrots where yellow, white or purple. It’s not just colourful tulips here!

One thing I miss from Australia is the way they do food. It’s fresh, flavoursome and tasty! We love food in Aussie. Our deliciously migrant inspired cuisine. How many Masterchef series are we up to? It’s also easy to have a little food adventure with local growers. Farmers markets are a real thing. And there are many small scale, big love for organic practices farmers and farmhers doing exciting things. I’ve popped in on garlic farmhers, pasturised chicken farmhers and market garden farmers.

Produce here is a bit bland, maybe it’s because a lot of our produce comes from outside our borders. And humans have developed a taste for ‘out of season’ food. If we are eating berries here in winter, aargh they’re travelling a LONG way. Typically the Dutch aren’t foodies. In all honesty you don’t come to Holland for the food scene. Ok except for the chips and mayo! This is excellent.

I have been perplexed about food here. We have similar topography and climate to Denmark and yet they do far tastier food. The Dutch are growers. Huge growers. In fact they are the second largest food producer in the world. Last year the agri export industry was worth 94.5 billion euros. Punching way about their weight this tiny country, feeding the masses. Remember this country is half the size of Tassie with a population of 17.8 million (Aussie is 25 mil).

Even the markets often sell imports from all over world. I can buy NZ kiwis here most of the year. I don’t obvs because food miles. One of my goals this year was to get better at knowing where my food comes from. During my hikes through Holland I have seen many interesting farms complete with the farm gate, my favourite. By walking across this country I’ve seen there’s a local food movement. I just have to start tapping into it. And how I love the notion of walking across countries, best way to know one and actual most authentic form of slow travel in my mind.

I was super excited when my friend sent me the link to crisp.nl. They’re an online food delivery company whose mission is to sell quality food direct from the growers and producers to consumers. So easy. Simply down load the ap. order and the next night it’s one the door. I’ve only had one delivery but I really noticed the difference in food quality and taste. And the packaging was fairly minimal on the plastic which pleases me greatly.

I did ask about returning the delivery boxes to reuse but as yet that doesn’t happen. It’s a problem in process, hopefully a solution will follow. I think I may also raise the idea of wonky fruit. The fruit the farmers can’t sell because it doesn’t look perfect. I’d be interested in buying that. It didn’t seem a lot more expensive than the supermarket.

I really admire young start ups that seek to create something with meaning. Here they are trying to build a business based on supporting local farmers. I had contact via whats ap with then prior to my delivery and after. It was so personal, so positive and so tech convenient. Lol. I wish I had the energy of these entrepreneurs. Yeah this little find, this way of purchasing food, of knowing the farmer it is surely one of the things that makes me feel complete.

Tell me a little story of something that completes you if you like, if you have time. It’s actually is a nice way to smile inside and I’d like to know you a bit more. :)










The Good Busy.


‘Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors.’ – Mary Cantwell

What’s in a day of pottering? Hmm where can this tale go I wonder? The truth is I spend the day in the garden with busy hands and a busy body. Lost in a hard day’s work without really thinking. My mind in the garden, the jobs and the possibilities of this tiny space. Intoxicated by the smell of these tomato plants and the the sun on my back. They smell like the the ones you buy on a vine. My poor tomato plants who were sitting in a holding zone, in pots too small for them, growing without a stake. They’re a little wonky, hopefully they’ve still a little resilience in store and I’ve re-potted them in time!

Perhaps a cup of tea and my tale will come I thought. Into the kitchen, tea pot on and a Barry’s Irish tea bag in my favourite cup. It’s proper black tea, big mug kinda night. In the window sill I see my orchards have also outgrown their pots. Can you see the new roots sprouting out into thin air?! And wouldn’t you know it, here is where a gardening tale arrived.  It’s a simple reminder that we grow out of things. Taking care of plants is not so different to taking care of ourselves.

I’ve mentioned before that it’s time to end my #runstreak because I want to train with more intention. I want to train for a half marathon. I can’t do that if I run everyday and ride a couple of times a week, it’s too much! I’ve grown into the fitness to run a half marathon and into my new cycling hobby and now I’m too big for the pot I’m in. I need to change it. Otherwise I’ll respond like the tomatoes and grow all wonky, or the orchards where there is no space for new roots to flourish.

We need to adjust our space just as we need fuel to grow. Oh did you notice the pizza oven was lit in the first photos. Tonight’s was a pretty heavenly one. Some leftover olive, feta and mint salsa from last night, artichokes, porcini mushroom, rocket and burrata cheese. I spent the whole day pruning, planting, sweeping, shifting pots, enjoying and dreaming dreams about our tiny garden space. We are growing together, my garden and I. And it’s hungry work giving yourself to the garden all day. Or does the garden give itself to you? Perhaps we meet in the middle. I think we do.

I used to find fairy houses and fairy doors in the garden from the daughter who now regularly calls me a hippie and gives me the eye rolls! Lol. Today I found her stash of moon water. There is also one that belongs to her best friend. The garden is truly full of magic, truth and enchantment. It’s a place for daydreams and the good busy. Tomorrow, I’ll replant the orchids and refresh the herb planter after I take my morning’s ride amongst the canals and the windmills. And tomorrow I won’t run. After 140 days, I’ve outgrown my runstreak. I’m repotting myself!






Taking Stock. The season.

It’s the season of summer. The streets are empty. The sun has returned after a week of rain. In a way I’m living in a world that feels surreal. A world I can’t get too deeply in bed with because the flux is mind blowing. And for me the secret to surviving is in the stopping, in the taking stock.

There’s a tradition on the interwebs of taking on a word for each new year. A word to focus on. Maybe a word that finds you, a word that focuses on what your life needs. I’ve had words before, although not for a while. Somewhere, somehow, along the way I’ve stopped living year to year. I’ve started to live season to season.

Seasons not defined by dates. Seasons defined by timing, life, often correlating with the seasons of nature. The past season was the one we were quarantined. It was the last of the winter and the beginning of the spring. It was a season of ‘planting’. Bulbs, seeds and us. We planted and we were planted. Literally.

As it does, one season began its drift into another, spring faded, giving way to summer and our freedoms were no longer curtailed. We stepped outside a little more, welcomed the smiles of friends and slowly began a new beginning. It was warm and sunny both perfect ingredients for a beginning.

It opened into a time to taste the pleasures of life. The abundance of fruit, the energy of the sun, the encouragement of the long days to move and the gift of time, quiet time. And for me it’s become a season with its own words, a season to ‘take stock’.

Uncharacteristically, we are home for summer. Trips are googled but never booked. The pull to stay still prevails. Even though last minute trips are off the charts enticing, our ship remains anchored. It’s comforting to follow our instincts. And we’re connecting with home in a completely new way, in a season we don’t normally experience being home.

Memories are being made as we swim the local lake, SUP the canals, skate the empty streets and eat together on holiday time. The teens are investing in friendships with lazy sleepovers and local adventures. And in amongst all this we’re organically sorting ourselves out. The kind of sorting that can only be done by stopping. Stopping at home. Taking stock. Processing. Reflecting. Where have we been? Where are we going? What do we need? What don’t we need?

Summer is unfolding a new season of serendipities. It’s magic and I need to believe in magic, that it exists. My soul survives on magic. Perhaps magic is simply trust. And the magic is flowing in being home, in connecting with our local life, with each other, with ourselves. So here we remain, anchored, yet traveling new waters. Doing new things, doing things differently, taking stock and expecting less, taking less from the world, a world who has nothing to give right now. And giving, it feels like a time to give more, more from the chest. The heart.






We Are A Bit Wild. You & I.


‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.’ – Maya Angelou

Where is the connection? This is the question. The question I am asking myself as I move forward in developing my writing. Tutorials would probably call it a niche. Let me start with the things. I am lots of things. A traveller, a woman, a friend, a wife, a mother, a lapsed midwife, a lapsed teacher, a hiking enthusiast, a novice cyclist, an activist … the list is long. I generally don’t subscribe to tutorials so I am also a rebel. I like to do things my own way. Or does that just make me stubborn!?! Or is this the clue – the signpost to the connection, the way forward.

I have always written for myself. I write as a way of moving forward, of making sense of where I am or of where I’ve been. Along my writing path, a path I took in my early 40s, people started reading and connecting with my words. Still I write for me, but if I truly only write for me I’d journal. Wouldn’t I? So, also, I write for you. Of course I do because I publish my prose.

But who are you? 

My most precious gift in writing, my connection, my clues!

You’re women (mostly). Some of you are partnered, some not. Some are mothers, many are not. Some are empty nesters, some are in the thick of the trenches. Some of you are hikers, not all of you. Some of you are activists, some quietly some actively. Some of you travel, some don’t. Some of you are vegetarians, some not. Some of you also write, take photos, paint, cook stuff, grow stuff or just generally make stuff! 

The thing I think we all have in common, our connection is that we are a bit WILD. A bit radical, a bit dreamy, a bit adventurous, a bit what else is in the world, a bit what is there to feel, learn, see, a lot strong, a lot fierce and a lot in love with not being ‘normal’. What even is normal? We are our own normal. 

Yes, we are the wild ones. And so I write for you. You are my niche, my people and you are the ones I seek to share my energy with. To be radical with. In this space and in my space away from the words. My style of writing, my ‘niche’ is fuelled by living. And so I won’t only be sharing my energy here with the wild ones, I’ll be keeping it wild in my every day life too. Because let’s face it, we’re all a lot more focussed post our corona isolation aren’t we!?!

Accepting what I am as opposed to pushing my boundaries? This has been an important distinction for me to ‘get’ in this process. For example I travel a lot and mostly with kids and I guess there’s a whole genre in the ‘how to’ travel with kids, it’s the obvious one for me. But the thing is I just don’t dig writing about it. It doesn’t spark my fire. It wouldn’t be pushing my boundaries to start writing about it just because I do it, just because I know it well and there are others already loving it, doing a great job of it. I can’t fit where I don’t.

It would be far more honest for me to accept it’s simply not my style and to push the boundaries in the genre I do dig. The one I live to feel! The one that feeds my soul. The one where I find my connection, where I meet you lot. The Wild Ones. The ones seeking the more of life because you simply can’t live without sparks and flashes of promise and a great love and appreciation of the story. And yes travel will be a big part of it and possibly also kids but the thread, the inspiration for me is the connection. So here’s to creating a body of work that is inspired and focussed from a connection to the wildness we need to feed. 







Mi Camino – Home to Rome. Via Francigena. Stage One.

Hola adventure hearts,

I know you are. You wouldn’t be reading along here if you didn’t feel that twinge of excitement when possibility strikes. That lust for life, the thirst for something a little less ordinary. A deep desire to feel a part of your world – the world. Possibility. Oh what a word … what a feeling.

Stage One: Hilversum (home) to Maarn – 27kms.

Total kms: 27kms (of about 2000kms to Rome in a dress).

Now you know I’ve been playing with and committing to the idea of running a 1/2 marathon a month for One Girl. I had the first one planned but I couldn’t quite hit the enter key to register, nor could I hit book for a flight. It was an idea, one I had jumped into and one that felt like it could be possible. There were a few hurdles and slowly this month the hurdles became crossroads, choices – perhaps there was another way. A different adventure for me.

When I signed myself up for the idea the same company whose running shoes I wear were offering an ambassadorship. Of course I took this as a sign and applied. Four pairs of shoes they were offering for the year. I would be needing those. As with my last One Girl challenge I’m not looking for freebies … but a product I actually use and need that contributes to the adventure I’m ok with that. Hey honestly I’d prefer corporate sponsorship as in donations to the charity but that’s a whole other hurdle (note to self – one to explore)!

Although it would be poignant of me to point out that since the last camino my view on sponsorship has shifted a little. At first I thought it was a great way to build my camino – to get some recognition and air play for it. But now I realise that while it gave me some confidence in promoting the camino I didn’t need it for that.

The gear was awesome, it saved me buying it and I am grateful for all the support I received for my One Girl hike. I won’t be asking for more because I’m still wearing it! Shameless plug for Wilderness Wear I love everything about this ethical company. The air play for the camino and the actual financial aid that made it possible to put girls through school that didn’t come because I had sponsorship. Nope. It came because people (women mostly) related to, shared the story and supported me. Grassroots relationships.

So the hurdles … well the main one was the physicality. I’m fit and I’m strong minded but my body isn’t ready for what I was going to ask of it. I have been doing the right things, adding anti inflammatory foods and drinks (namely broth) to my diet. I’ve sought treatment for a few niggles that were surfacing and I trained. After a rather severe neck strain last week I decided to move my challenge start date from January to April. I can make up the rules as I go, why not it’s my challenge.

Now coinciding with this challenge is of course all the other stuff that goes on:  my responsibilities, my capacity, my resources and importantly my current season of life. A few more little signs played out this month. I went for a walk to the post office and I know that sounds ordinary but normally I ride. I love my bike life . LOVE it! But I realised that like a car you end up going from A to B and that little walk to the post office reminded me how I love to walk and immerse my senses in the pleasures of it.

I also started seeing a Thai masseuse and she has the healing hands … those practitioners are GRACE. The ones who with a touch of their hands, or words from their heart know what you need. As she dug into my muscles I realised they were full of tension. FULL. Perhaps from some of the stresses of the year and definitely getting exacerbated from the running training. Those massages have felt a bit like a detox. And like any detox they have cleared some space to create some softness and an urge to be a little more gentle on myself.

A few posts back I talked about needing something, some motivation something to move forward with while at the same time remaining grounded. I’m not looking for an off the chart adventure. I don’t want to travel for months on end or pack up my life. No this gypsy soul wants to remain planted, secure and within the same four walls but she doesn’t want to feel stuck or bored or going through the motions. Of course I need an adventure and some shit giving … that’s my soul food, my love language but it was becoming clear that the running might not be the right one.

And then there was a story about an opportunity. A new door to step through. A friend who I had met through IG (gosh so many good stories have come from there). I have found a tribe through that little ap. Digressing sorry. This friend asked if I’d be interested in coming to her home in the UK and talking about my story, my camino and my work with One Girl with a group of women. She would arrange it and a small donation towards One Girl would be the ‘ticket’ fee. Perhaps we’d aim for $300 – one girl – one education. I actually called this friend and I am NOT a phone person! This idea lit a spark and it seems like something I could /should/want to do. Something of a possibility wouldn’t you say?

I didn’t get the shoe sponsor and I was relieved … it was a free pass to change the path I was on.

And I did.

Today I walked out the front door and started walking to Rome.

I don’t even know how many kms away that is! I’m pretty sure it’s well over 2000. Am I crazy – SURE. Crazy for a life well lived. You see when I walked the Camino Frances I though to myself ‘if I was retired I could definitely see myself (with Greg of course) walking from place to place. Wandering the globe for a while, walking.’ And why would I wait? I have patience for many things but time that waits for no one. I have two feet, a love of the trail and a cause I’m committed too – again I ponder ‘perhaps there’s another way’.

Traditionally a camino starts from home … from your front door. Perfect! Here I am, start where you are (I always say that, it’s the only place to start eh). Walk towards Rome (I always wanted to learn Italian). And so I started. I walked to a small village 28kms from here and on the way to Germany. As I left my village the church bells rang across the town and as I arrived in Maarn a choir version of ‘the little drummer boy’ was playing into the gardens of a castle, both  beautiful harmonies for the beginning and ending of a special day. Day one.

I took the train home and for the next hike I’ll train back to where I left off … every hike getting further away and closer to Rome. Eventually I will need to go for longer periods but for now I think I can make my way into Germany in this way.

It’s perfect because it suits my family and our need to be settled in one place with routine and structure. And it satisfies my need for that ‘something’. Possibilities friends … they are endless. As are the different paths we can take.  And today I took one that passed through villages and farmland, along countryside and roadsides and I felt pretty bloody ecstatic to be back on the camino. My camino. I think I’ve found my way.

Buen Camino and I wish you and your families a beautiful Christmas,

Fran xx