It’s that time of the year, finally… *exhales deeply, smiles*
Just after the Winter Solstice we meet. What a magical time! It’s really difficult not to write something that doesn’t sound poetic or profound. Because a solstice is both of those things, the truest milestones in the year and greatly anticipated by the whole of nature.
On the 21st of December we were as far from the Sun as we’ll ever be, but just after that – we’ve started coming back. And so the year turns, and we move back into the light.
It’s a beautiful time to go inwards, to reflect and plan ahead. A beautiful time to unwind, enjoy the ride and appreciate all that we are, all that we have been given.
I just wanted to give you that same wonderful feeling that I have these past days, perhaps even weeks. That incredible warmth in my heart, that incredible gratitude and peaceful joy.
It’s not been an easy year, but we’re all here. A little more broken perhaps, but much more courageous, strong and vital.
For some it may not be so easy and joyful this year as someone very dear has passed. My heart prays for you and I know it’s hard at times, especially when all those memories are just memories now.
Grief is something that makes our hearts stronger and more pure. And because of that, we need to get back on our feet and let the light in. We need to learn to start loving and feeling true happiness again, it will heal us and help us grow. Not to forget, but to detach our hearts from the pain.
Our hearts are deserving of that and it’s exactly when we can feel our loved ones loving us back from above, it’s exactly when it becomes easier and all the dots connect. It’s exactly when we have made a noble shift, just like the solstice.
On a lighter note, I would like to offer you one of my favourite things to do on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Second Day of Christmas or whenever around that time.
It’s a “homemade” chocolate. I like to have a moment to write down everything that I have experienced and learned this year, every challenge that made me stronger and every happy moment that filled me with joy.
After reflecting and symbolically leaving the past behind, I now turn to the sweet part, literally.
I melt 4 to 8 bars of chocolate, spread it on a sheet of parchment paper, decorate it and pop into the fridge. When taken out, I cut it and put it into clear wrapping paper, tie it with a ribbon and attach a small label.
Done! Super easy, quick, nearly effortless, yet so therapeutic and creates a lovely result!
I love doing it with my spouse, daughter or grandkids (if you’re ready for it to be messy). Whoever really, I have also done it just by myself or with my friends watching me.
I’ll go through the steps so you get a better understanding of how this works (I used a strawberry bark recipe for the photos):
1. Find a chocolate you like.It can be 100% raw, dark, milk or white. You can also mix them if you prefer. Some nuts (careful with allergic loved ones), sprinkles, dried fruit or whatever you would like on top! Make it as fun or aesthetically pleasing (or both) as you wish!
2. Melt the chocolate. I like putting it in a bowl and melting on top of boiling water, but putting it in the oven will work equally good, perhaps even better!
3. Spread the chocolate on your parchment paper in a rectangular that’s about a centimetre thick, depending on how thick you want your chocolate bits to be. If you have used the oven method, you will only have to spread it a little with a spatula, knife or spoon.
4. Add your toppings!My favourite method is mixing sizes and forms! So what I would usually do is cut some almonds in half, add those, then perhaps some other nuts in crushed form instead of using sweet festive sprinkles (that would work just as great) and then some colour – be it cranberries, lemon zest, orange moons or anything you prefer!
Other ideas: Coconut flakes, cookies, seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, thinly sliced ginger, apricots, bananas, pomegranate, pistachios, drizzled peanut butter or jam, pretzels, rice bubbles, cacao nibs, sea salt etc..
5. Put in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until it hardens.When taken out, let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature.
6. Cut in triangles, rectangles, hearts or however you like, crushing with your hands is also an option and will give you a more “effortlessly chic” feeling which I personally prefer.
7. Wrap in some transparent paper, tie it with a festive ribbon!An extra step would be adding a small label which I always do. An extra step that creates extra loveliness and personality.
I often write whoever made it on the label, what’s in there and perhaps some sweet wishes for the holidays. The sweetest and most thoughtful gift itself or a little something to accompany a gift you have already chosen.
It’s also a rather perfect recipe if you’re going somewhere for the Holidays and someone else does all the hosting madness. A little “thank you” and “I appreciate you” kind of thing.
Voila! If you do make this, please send me the pictures, I would love to see!
Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating! For those who don’t – may your weekend be merry, peaceful and lovely!