Happiness is something that is beyond manufacture and marketing (yes, I know they try, but the fact they have to try so hard shows how impossible it is…)

Anyway, I have been feeling very contented as the stress drained out of me during my halcyon break

(see https://singingbirdartist.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/halcyon-days/)

and today, as I went back into the world, I realised how unusual that is at this time of year. I went to see the lovely chiropractor and he hurt me in new places 😉 because I hadn’t hurt my neck/collarbone the usual way, he was working further out, yelp I yelped as  he sent air pellets into my shoulders a good five inches below the usual…even the big neck crunch (where he helps me do a Linda Blair head spin) was smaller…he was very pleased and as he explained how my rotator cuff (?) was less agitated, I thought, oh! I stopped ‘spinning out!’ 🙂

So how do I maintain that?

Coming home to this helped:


– messy play allowed here 🙂

and as I had friends coming round who have not had a halcyon break, I set to and made cookies, as a way to sweeten things for them…because life is so much about taking turns…

I think it’s Anne Morrow Lindbergh who says that on a day she couldn’t write, she made cookies and was just as happy…I wouldn’t go that far, but I know when I bake for friends, it’s an effort, so it is to say thank you or well done or things will get better…and there is a happiness in having enough to share, being the giver, when often I need help…so that abundance is as happy-making as creativity…

Vegan Chocolate and Brazil Nut Brownies:

STA43929 easy peasy to make!

8oz/200g fairtrade brown sugar

8oz/200g vegan margarine/shortening

4oz/100g vegan dark chocolate, even better if it is Green and Blacks but Lidl do a lovely fairtrade dark choc

4oz/100g chopped brazil nuts

12-16oz/300-400g self raising flour

a bowl of oats

melt the margarine and brown sugar over a low flame, till the sugar is dissolved and beginning to bubble

turn off the heat, add the chocolate and nuts, stir in well

add the flour, half, then half again…depending on the water content of the margarine you use, you may need extra flour, so add slowly, stir well and if it seems very moist, add that extra 4oz/100g

now, I was out of oats, but nicest is if you put a tablespoon of mix in a bowl of porridge oats and (with very clean hands!) roll it into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet

bake for 8-10mins at 180c/gas 4 till it dimples if you press a spoon back on it

makes 30-36 depending how big you like your cookies – but they are VERY RICH so small is better 🙂

in the photo, the ones on the right have white chocolate drops added for the non-vegans (who have a sweeter tooth!)

variations, instead of chocolate and brazil nuts use:

– molasses and ginger or mixed spice, use molasses for a stronger flavour than brown sugar

-vanilla or almond essence and 4oz glace cherries

-cinnamon and raisin

-xmas! raisins, mixed peel and marzipan, mmmmm!

One friend left in a cab, with a bag of just cooled cookies to share with her parents, some are waiting for the next visitor and some will go in the freezer…

You can’t give happiness, but you can give symbols of your care and concern…words are good, but simple handmade invitations to take time out and remember how rich friendship is, given year round can really help…