Author: lovelifeandbeyond

Book Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

“They say a witch used to live in these woods, a long, long time ago…And there, she bore the wolves who chase the sun and moon. They say she went to Asgard and was burned three times upon a pyre and three times she was reborn before she fled. They say she loved a man with scarred lips and a sharp tongue; a man who gave her back her heart and more. They say she loved a woman too, a sword-wielding bride of the Gods; as bold as any man and fiercer still. They say she wandered, giving aid to those who needed it most, healing them with potions and spells. They say she stood her ground against the fires of Ragnarok until the very end until she was burned a final time. All but her heart reduce to ashes once more. But others say she lives yet.” The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec is a reimagining of Norse mythology’s end of the world, Ragnarok, and how it came to pass. It is told from …

On 100 Days of Blogging

What happened when I blogged for 100 days straight? It felt incredible, first of all. I am proud that I took it on and committed to it, even with travel plans looming ahead. I’ve written previously about my feelings when I completed a hundred posts and my reasons for blogging. This felt like more of an accomplishment because it needed more discipline.   It wasn’t always easy. There were days when motivation was lacking. On these days, I took a quick break to unwind either on my art table or with a book or TV. I planned for days when I knew I would be away from my desk and scheduled posts to auto-publish – posts like this one! I had stopped working after my son was born. As most non-working parents would experience, it is tough to have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. The laundry’s still piling up, the house is a mess, you’ve barely managed to feed everyone, and you’re exhausted by the end of the day. It feels …

Pumpkin and Lentil Soup

October is a time for pumpkins. I am not a big fan of pumpkin pies or lattes, but I do love a good soup. This lentil soup is healthy and filling. It also tastes great and is easy to make. Ingredients: Makes 4 servings 2 cups boiled and mashed pumpkin (or squash) ½ cup boiled and mashed orange carrots 2 cups cooked yellow lentils (toor or mung dal) 2 cups vegetable stock (or water) Salt to taste 2 tbsp butter or oil for tempering 1 tsp grated ginger Coarsely ground pepper Roasted and ground cumin seeds Drizzle of cream to garnish (optional) Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional) Method: Sieve the boiled pumpkin and carrot to remove seeds and fibre.  I usually take out as many seeds as I can before boiling the pumpkin. Then rinse it and roast it to use as a crunchy topping for the soup. Cook the pumpkin, carrots, lentils, and stock on medium heat till it comes to a boil. Add salt to taste. In a small pan, heat the …

child sleeping with his toy car

What is Sleep Training?

If you are a parent, then you’ve heard the phrase sleep training multiple times already. Maybe you are looking for ideas to get your baby to sleep through the night so you can get some sleep. Or maybe you’ve gotten some unsolicited advice on how you need to sleep train your bundle that kicks all night. There’s a lot of information available online on different methods to sleep train your baby. No hard and fast rule works. It all depends on your baby and you and what you’re comfortable with. Co-sleeping vs Sleep Training The most common sleep-training method you’d have heard about is the cry-it-out method. It means that once you’ve fed and changed your baby, you put them in their cot and only go back to feed, change the diaper, or once the sleep time is over. We tried this for a short while. I felt horrible about letting my son cry his tiny lungs out. Moreover, it didn’t work for long. Sleep regression around growth spurts are standard, so we’d be back …

painting of a woman

On Validation Seeking

Have you ever said (or heard someone say) “I don’t care what the world thinks. I do what I want, and I don’t need the world’s approval.” This sentence is usually followed by a smug look, especially when others nod in awe. This person has just received approval and validation for feeling like they don’t need it. Seeking validation is human nature and essential to being a part of society. We are constantly seeking approval from people around us. It gives us a sense of belonging. A slight nod of appreciation or a Like on a social media post makes us smile and stand a bit taller with a little sense of accomplishment. Some harmless peacocking is good for the ego, but how do we know if it gets out of hand—when seeking approval turns into becoming dependent on approvals?  In light of some investigative revelations that Facebook’s research showed the mental harm of social media on teenagers, it’s worthwhile to reassess our reasons for seeking approval. Constant exposure to the extravagant ‘lifestyle influencers’ makes …

greenlights ebook with leaf, cars making the traffic lights, and moon locket

Book Review: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

“Great leaders are not always in front, they also know who to follow.” I knew this book would be eccentric; I just didn’t realise how much. Matthew McConaughey Oscar winner actor is anything but your regular cup of tea, and this memoir of sorts just gives you a glimpse of that wild life. Greenlights is not a tell-all book. He hardly discusses any of the movies he worked on and doesn’t talk about anyone he filmed with or dated. It’s a book about his upbringing, his experiences and explorations, and what he’s learnt along the way. So if you’re here looking for some gossip, this is not for you. Greenlights is part memoir and part life guide. He has a few insightful observations which have shaped the way he lives his life. Just go for what you want and be true to yourself. The universe will give you green lights as you move ahead. Take a break on yellow lights when you need it, and watch out for the red lights. “The inevitability of a …

collage of book covers of biographies

7 Must-Read Biographies

I love stories. These stories become even more meaningful when you know they’re true. I’ve not always read non-fiction, and I started reading biographies even later. Since then, I’ve read stories from people’s lives that are inspiring, heart-breaking, and relatable.  I cannot classify the stories I’ve read into good or better stories. Each book brings its own charm. However, some books are well-written, and some books pull you in and make you pause as you feel each word that’s penned down. This is a list of those books. Decoded by Jay-Z It gave me a refreshing perspective of the hip-hop culture and rap music – a genre I always overlooked. The lyrics have been beautifully written and explained and is comparable to pure poetry. That is not to say that there isn’t some lousy hip-hop doing the rounds (pointless violence and sex), but good rap, as Jay Z points out, is very powerful and has several layers. Even the cover of a Rorschach blot is a stroke of genius…just like rap music, it conveys different …

colourful salad ingredients in a wooden bowl

Black-eyed Beans Salad

We try to have salads as often as possible, but it’s a pain to wash and dry the salad leaves. This bean salad is filling and full of protein and other awesome things. It can be had as a meal in itself or with some garlic bread and soup on the side. Ingredients: For a meal for one ½ cup boiled black-eyed peas ¼ cup roasted peanuts  1 small tomato, cubed 1 cucumber, diced 1 small carrot, diced Few pieces of pickled radish or onion A few olives ¼ cup of semi-ripe mango, diced (or Totapuri mango), optional  2 prunes, cut into small pieces Coriander and Mint leaves to garnish Salad dressing I like the store-bought Sweet onion dressing for this one  You can also quickly make your own dressing with 3 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon (or vinegar). Add a teaspoon of honey or sugar. Mix well and pour over the salad. Enjoy your health boost for the day! Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if …

baby with a book

Raising a Reader

I love reading. I’ve loved it ever since I can remember. I don’t remember where I picked up the habit because no one else in my family was interested in or had any time for reading as a hobby.  When I started college, I first came across people who romanticised reading. You’d never catch them without a book with them. They’d pride themselves in how many books they carried on their travels because they’re more important than clothes or shoes! Then came the Internet memes asking boys to find girls who read over every other type (whatever that means). I’ve seen parents proudly showing off how their kids are glued to books at the dinner table and prefer the company of books over people. Let’s not even get into the topic of book hoarding. I love books, and I have done all of these things mentioned above. But I am also a practical person. I’m not going to carry a book unless I know I’m in for a long wait. On my travels, I would …

packed boxes piled on top of each other

On the Move: Shifting Homes

How many times have you shifted your home in your lifetime? Even shifting houses in the same city counts. Do you have the numbers of movers and packers on speed dial? I have shifted houses about 22 times in my 41 years – as far as I can remember. This also includes coming back to the same place after a move. The longest I’ve stayed in the same house is six years, and the shortest is about seven months. I’d say this makes me quite an expert in packing and unpacking tasks. I’m very organised. There are times when I wish I had stayed put in one place and developed a group of friends that have known me for a lifetime. On the other hand, the personal growth I’ve experienced because of all the shifting is immeasurable. I also feel it has helped me not get too attached to a single place so that I am free to follow opportunities for growth and happiness. Advantages of Shifting Houses It’s an excellent opportunity to declutter. When …