Why Do You Want to Read ‘The Gift of Life’?

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Recently, I offered my mailing list subscribers the chance to win a copy of The Gift of Life. All they had to do was tell me in 25 words or less why they wanted to read it. I hadn’t expected to be so delighted by reading their responses, and thought I’d share some with you. Maybe you’ll find a good reason in there to add The Gift of Life to your reading collection when it is released into the world next week on 2 April.

The winner of the competition was April Nisbet, who shared “your books are medicine for my soul. I can always connect to your characters, I feel their passions and their fears from page 1.  ”

April also sent me another email telling me how The Tea Chest inspired a total life turnaround for her, fuelling her passion to begin working with tea. She even took her copy of The Tea Chest to Darjeeling for research (see photo), and will be completing her tea blending certificate later this year. April is actually the third person who has shared that The Tea Chest had this affect on her. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be a writer and have people not only enjoy my books but actually find meaning in their own life because of them.

Thank you to everyone who entered this competition. There were so many wonderful entries and it was such a joy to read them.

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I have had a transplant and hope to see the emotions of the situation of donor & recipient expressed realistically, sensitively & positively. (Karen K)

I have always wondered if there was a spiritual connection between the donor and recipient of a heart transplant (Delores B)

…life is a precious gift (Sue E)

I often replace your books with my daily meditation practice (April N)

I have been involved in many organ donations aka “the gift of life” as a nurse in ICU (Karen J)

Just read “The Chocolate Promise” for the fourth time. Totally LOVE all four novels so far and can’t wait to read “The Gift of Life”!!! (Ainslie H)

Love all your other books and know I will love this one just as much.  (Corinna)

…sometimes I need a reminder to appreciate all I have and the people in my life (Liz H)

I am waiting for a heart/lung transplant (Heidi D)

Love, love, love all your books. (Chrissy B)

Josephine is my favourite and she is yet to write a book I don’t adore. (Bryannan K)

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If you’re feeling inspired to read The Gift of Life, you’ll be able to get a copy of the book from anywhere good books are sold, Big W, airports, K-Mart, and Target. Or you can buy online at

Booktopia

Get it on audio here (Audible)

Get it at Amazon here

Book Depository (with FREE international shipping)

 

Top Ten Tips: The Writer (and Mother) as an Athlete

Written on my fridge right now. Remind yourself--you are an athlete!

Written on my fridge right now. Remind yourself–you are an athlete!

I have often been heard to say that I feel like I’m running a marathon every day. And I hear a lot of other mothers say it too. What can we do? Here are some thoughts.

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I am an unashamed ‘Swiftie’ (that is, a fan of Taylor Swift), and I once heard her say how much time she spent at the gym. Now, I’ve been to a Taylor Swift concert and trust me that entire performance is more than any gym work out could be. Why on earth did she need to go to the gym as well? I asked this of my husband, who is a physiotherapist.

‘It’s a huge misconception,’ he said. ‘I see it a lot in guys who work in labouring jobs. They think that because they’re active all day that they don’t need to do any more exercise. But what they don’t understand it that to work continuously at their optimum performance, they actually need to be fitter and stronger than what they are required to do.’

Big. Lightbulb. Moment.

To get through everything in my life I need to think of myself as an endurance athlete.

A green smoothie I made with a stick blender - banana, flaxseeds, spinach leaves, fresh mint, parsley

A green smoothie I made with a stick blender – banana, flaxseeds, spinach leaves, fresh mint, parsley

It’s not okay to be just fit enough to do our jobs. We have to be MORE fit so we can do it easily AND have energy left over to play with our kids and have quality time with our spouses and make awesome food and maybe even play and have fun.

‘Writer’ and ‘athlete’ don’t normally conjure up similarities. In fact, most writers I know complain about how sedentary their job is and how much weight they’ve gained and how unfit they’ve become. It’s not even just that we’re sitting at a computer for many hours a day, as many people do who work in an office. It’s also that we don’t have to leave the house, so there’s a serious decrease in all the incidental exercise you get if you have to walk to and from a bus or a train, or escape outside the building for a walk during your lunch hour, or have to walk from one side of the building to the other to talk to a co-worker. I noticed this dramatically when I gave up work that required me to leave the house. My weight bloomed, almost overnight.

After writing for thirteen years through full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and even unemployment, I finally got my agent just five weeks after my son was born, and three book contracts very soon after. Suddenly, I had to juggle first-time new motherhood with serious contractual requirements, severe sleep deprivation, renovating a house and moving, and living in the country and driving obscene hours in the car with a newborn. I coped, but only just. And with a lot of coffee and chocolate.

I’ve come to understand that if I’m going to have longevity in the game of being an author, and be energetically and emotionally present for my child, husband, family and so on, AND look after my self, my animals, house, friends and all of that, then I have to think of myself as an athlete. I need to train regularly — and yes, I do mean with physical activity. I need to fuel my body with the best resources possible: protein, vitamins, juices, power smoothies, organics, fresh produce. I need to put energy IN in order to get energy OUT.

It’s so simple, isn’t it? And yet it’s so easy to overlook. And the more tired we are, the easier it is to reach for coffee and a bowl of cereal for dinner rather than juicing vegetables and cooking energy-enhancing foods. It becomes a vicious cycle, one that’s very hard to break.

This is still a work in progress for me, but I’ve been steadily improving for the past couple of months. And here are my Top Ten Tips for what’s worked for me. Maybe some of them will help you too.

  • Design a daily checklist of everything you feel you need to (or want to) do to help your body. Most of the time, I get so lost in the work I’m doing that I truly and simply forget to take my vitamins, get on the cross trainer, do my physiotherapy exercises, make a fresh juice, defrost something from the freezer. Checklist. Get one. Leave it on the bench in the kitchen and tick it off over the course of the day. Write down everything you eat. You’ll start to see patterns and it helps keep you on track.
  • You don’t need an expensive juicer! You can do almost anything with a stick blender. I was feeling blocked about juicing because we didn’t have a juicer (cheap or expensive) and have no cupboard space or bench space to have one. Then I worked out that you can do almost anything with a stick a blender. Throw ingredients in and whiz. Simple. The only things it will struggle with are really hard vegetables, like beetroot or carrot. BUT, if you want them, grate them first and throw them in. Simple.
  • Protein for breakfast. Salmon, eggs, protein smoothies (as supplements, not as replacements), steak, baked beans, mushrooms. Get your high quality protein in early in the day (rather than at the end). It reduces sugar cravings and keeps you going longer.
  • Grow some leafy greens. Seriously, spinach, kale and chard are SO simple to grow (I’m growing them in styrofoam boxes), so cheap and quick to sow from seed, and so fabulous to pick fresh and throw into a juice or smoothie for some LIVING food that is packed full of vitamins and energy boosting goodness. IMG_3178
  • Start the day with a fruit bowl. In our house, as I know is true of many others, we have resistance to eating fruit unless it is chopped up. So we now start the day with a fruit bowl of freshly chopped fruit. We take turns at making it in the morning while the other person is generally tending to our toddler. Your fruit is done for the day and it is yum yum yummy. (We also like to top the fruit with extras like chia seeds, flaxseeds or goji berries — you can buy in advance and store in jars or paper bags and throw them on).
  • Exercise. 20 minutes. Any time, any where. Every day. There is always something you can do. Personally, I am challenged with multiple (and complicated) rheumatic conditions, I’m always carrying at least one severe injury at any given time (which usually lasts a good six months or more) and have to be so careful about how I exercise. But I married a physio. And what I discovered was that it is a (good) physiotherapist’s job (and calling in life) to find a way for you to move. And they will. Example, if I lift even 1kg weights, I sprain my wrists. So, my husband bought me strap on ankle weights and strapped them around my forearms so no load goes through the joint. Presto. Problem solved. Find yourself a GOOD physio (because, like all things, they aren’t all created equal).
  • Stop drinking coffee. Oh boy, this can be hard. I never really drank coffee until I had a baby. (True story: My husband had never had a coffee in his life until we walked into the hospital to have our baby and he decided that it was going to take a while so perhaps he should start. It took him the next two years to give up.) After I had Flynn, I was shattered, in every way. Coffee became the only thing that would keep me safe on the roads and even vaguely able to do my job. But by the time Flynn was two years old, I realised that I couldn’t keep drinking coffee. It stimulated my adrenals and gave me a false sense of energy when really it was just draining me even more. Now, my rule is that if I think I need coffee, I will make a chai. And if I still feel like having coffee after the chai, then I’m allowed to have one. But I never do.
  • Spirulina / Power Greens. When all else fails, throw a teaspoon of high-density greens in powdered form into a juice. You’d be amazed.
  • Vitamin B. You burn lots of vitamin B when you’re stressed. Make sure you’ve got enough, are getting enough, or supplement with enough. Iron. Same goes there. I’d fallen into a false sense of safety with iron. I used to have to take it all the time but I thought things had changed. Wrong. I didn’t even have a clue until a GP randomly tested for it and phoned to tell me it was below the line. Wow. What a difference to your life iron will make.
  • Dark chocolate! Oh yes indeed! Dark chocolate is good, good, good for you. It’s a power food, people. Eat it. (But it has to be dark! I can eat up to 85% cocoa quite comfortably, but if you’re just beginning, try something around 40 or 50% and build up.)

Win! Eat! Create! This Saturday, Brisbane.

Be sure to share this FREE event around! I’m so excited about this, a real life ‘Pot-pour-tea’ bar, just like in The Tea Chest!! And, you could win this gorgeous six-piece tea set!

Win this tea set!

Win this tea set!

I’ll be bringing a smorgasbord of ingredients (fruits, herbs, spices, teas) for you to come and try making your very own blend of tea. AND, I’m giving away cupcakes! AND, anyone who buys a book (or BYO for a signing) will go into the raffle two win this six-piece pink heart set of teacups and saucers!! (The box is a little worn but the goods are good!)!

You’ll find me at Angus & Robertson, Brookside shopping centre, Osborne Road, Mitchelton, Saturday 2nd August, from 11-2pm. I hope to see you there!

FREE Event: Tea Bar, Cupcakes, Raffle, Booksignings

Be sure to share this FREE event around! I’m so excited about this, a real life ‘Pot-pour-tea’ bar, just like in The Tea Chest!!

6a992109b77b847caec77dcd617f75e5I’ll be bringing a smorgasbord of ingredients (fruits, herbs, spices, teas) for you to come and try making your very own blend of tea. AND, I’m giving away cupcakes! AND, anyone who buys a book (or BYO for a signing) will go into the raffle for the day!

You’ll find me at Angus & Robertson, Brookside shopping centre, Osborne Road, Mitchelton, Saturday 2nd August, from 11-2pm. I hope to see you there!

Radio Interview with Evana Ho from Artsound

Interviewer, Evana Ho

Interviewer, Evana Ho

My first radio interview for The Tea Chest, talking with the lovely Evana Ho from ArtSound FM 92.7. You can listen online now to find out more about The Tea Chest and the writing of the book. Thanks, Evana! 9781743317877

“Take one brilliant tea designer. Add a gutsy woman newly separated from her husband. Sprinkle in another woman recently fired. Brew for 359 pages and you have a delightful first novel from author Josephine Moon.

The Tea Chest interweaves the stories of Kate, Leila and Elizabeth, who come together to realise Kate’s dream of opening a boutique tea shop in London. It’s a book about love, friendship, discovering strengths you didn’t realise you had, and of course – tea.

I spoke to Josephine Moon ahead of the release of her book on 26 March.” (Evana Ho)

Listen HERE.

A Pot of Tea as Meditation Time

Tea for time out

Tea for time out

You know the drill: every day we’re told we should be exercising, eating five vegetables, meditating, taking vitamins, taking ‘time out’, ticking off our To Do list, strengthening social bonds, making time for our husbands, making time for our children (‘Don’t miss a single moment of these precious years!’), decluttering, detoxing, doing our pelvic floor exercises, investing sensibly, planning for holidays, working hard at our jobs, and getting at least eight hours of good quality sleep. Probably, most of us are lucky to achieve a couple of these things a day.

I used to be a meditator, back when I was single and childless and sharing a house with other people. I could lock myself away with a guided meditation CD, candles, incense and whole hours of time to devote to me. I enjoyed meditation, but I was also always a fan of moving meditation, those activities that can give you the same sense of peace, insights and altered time as more formal meditation. Riding my horse was always a huge moving meditation for me. Nothing like sitting on top of a half-tonne animal, clopping quietly down a street, listening to the birds and the rhythm of the squeak of a saddle in the sunshine to bring you firmly into the moment. Walking, yoga, gardening and swimming have also been sources of moving meditation.

And now, with an eight-month-old baby, renovating a house, writing a new book and all that jazz mothers do, I’ve become a fan of momentary meditation. Delightfully, I’ve realised more than ever that I can relish momentary meditation with a pot of tea.

Unlike throwing a teabag in a mug and covering with water, making a pot of tea takes just that tiny bit more time and thoughtfulness. You need a few extra bits, like a pot and a strainer. It takes a few moments more. You need to count out the scoops of tea for the pot (counting, also a form of mindfulness… or OCD depending on your personality). And then you need to pour it carefully into your (hopefully) lovely china cup.

It does take more time and a tiny bit more effort than the teabag option. But it’s a wonderful moment just to be present and breathe and relax. A teeny weeny meditation before returning to the chaos.

Roses in My Creative Life

Rose oil meringue, rose water cream, crystalised rose petals, and non-alcoholic wine with rose water and fresh mint leaves.

Rose oil meringue, rose water cream, crystalised rose petals, and non-alcoholic wine with rose water and fresh mint leaves.

Did you know that you can eat rose petals? I went a shamefully long time through life without knowing this or experimenting with the divine loveliness of this flower.

I studied aromatherapy some years ago, as part of a massage qualification. I had to complete a semester-long subject in aromatherapy. Like many people, I didn’t realise what aromatherapy was really all about. It’s name suggests it’s about smelling things. And that’s certainly a big part of it. But it should really be called something like ‘essential oil therapy’. It’s also sometimes now called ‘aromatic medicine’ or as part of ‘botanical medicine’ sitting alongside herbology and naturopathy.

So I walked into that first lecture thinking, gosh, what a waste of time! And I walked out a complete convert, and changed my qualification the very next day to specialise in this amazing healing science.

But I digress. Back to the roses.

Rose essential oil is a wonderous oil, exceptionally complex, with over three hundred chemical compounds, many of which are still unidentified. (Therefore, a synthetic version is not a complete version of rose oil.) It is fantastically healing for all sorts of emotional situations and physical ones too.

I’ve often used rose water (a byproduct of the distillation of rose petals) into cakes, icing and beverages. And this weekend just gone, I wanted to take that a step further and use the actual rose essential oil in baking, as well as rose water, and crystalise some rose petals too.

Although I’d made tea out of fresh rose petals from my garden (while I was writing The Tea Chest), until I made this rose meringue I’d never actually eaten rose petals. They are wonderful. The flavour is so much more intense than I imagined it would be because rose tea (from fresh petals) is actually very subtle. The full-bodied flowers are sensational! I highly recommend them.

(Note: You must not eat roses that have been sprayed with chemicals and that most likely rules out any you buy in the shop. Try farmers’ markets where you can get accurate information about the source of the roses, or do as I did and just take them from your garden!)