Raphaela’s Companions-Nicci Peverill

Nicci and Liv
Nicci and Liv

Nicci Peverill owns Cupcakes in Camden, and runs food tours via her site, Made in Macarthur  As if those two endeavours aren’t enough, she is also a resident writer at In Macarthur Magazine She is a whimsical nature spirit, resplendent with colour and art, flowers and fairies. “Often my biggest risks turn into my biggest triumphs!” She was born across the ditch in Auckland, and came to Australia at 27. She moved into Camden three years ago, and everybody has fallen in love, both with Nicci and her cakes! She has degrees in psychology and zoology, and after having her gorgeous daughter Liv, she brought her small business to fruition. She did an inventory of all the equipment she would require, and then practiced and refined recipes. “If you are determined, and have a love for something, anything is possible!”
IMG_3072 She has a love of nature, and bakes from her heart, using natural resources. She is a storyteller, and clients open up to her, knowing their hearts are safe. It isn’t just about cake, but rather building a story around this ancient tradition. There is an affiliation between life and baking “Every wedding story that I tell- every event that I bake for- I really try and capture the personality of the people, whether it’s through a colour or a flavour. Food and emotion go together and food brings people together. I try to make the cake interactive. It’s not just about putting cake on the table.” She loves experimenting with flavours, and is a gluten-free expert, baking for local gourmet haven, The Epicure Store

Persian Love Cake and Salted Caramel Brownie.
Persian Love Cake and Salted Caramel Brownie.

I asked what triggered Nicci’s love of baking. “My grandmother did loads of baking for her family. It’s always been a love of mine. I looked at the skills that I had, I was pretty determined!” I asked Nicci about how she unwinds, as one of the challenges of running a home business is that you are always accessible. “I have to be strict with myself. I do really simple things. Livi and I go on nature walks after school. We also escape Camden and travel to the city or Southern Highlands, normally outdoors and centred around food, shared with other people. Every morning, gear yourself up with a good attitude. You might not feel great each day, but it is how you conduct yourself. Life is not an easy thing. You need to look after yourself. I see a lot of people not doing that. I think it is the most important thing, as a woman operating in society with all its demands. We have to take time out to look after our wellbeing, physically and emotionally. Most of the time I am pretty good at doing that, but other times I have to remind myself. It is having that awareness there.” There is a family link to depression. Nicci’s father was a Vietnam Vet who came back from the conflict with deep depression. When he passed away, she went through a dark time. She forced herself to get out into the world, rather than retreat. “It’s the natural stuff which helped, exercise and friendships.” She has a very happy life today. “So many people get bogged down with everyday life. You see it and you want to tell them!”

What is your vision for the next year?
“There are some amazing people who have moved into the area. I think it’s really started to change Camden, and we are on the creative map! Growing my gluten-free baking range. I always want to be a small boutique operation where people can come and get an old-fashioned cake. I will continue to experiment!” I have no doubt this cake artiste shall do all this and more. I am honoured to have a friend of such generous spirit, wisdom, love and laughter in my life.
picnic 3

A Letter to the 14 Year Old Girl Trapped in the Darkness of a Body Cast


Ever Upward™

August 25th, 1994 I had my first of two back surgeries, both of which left me in a body cast for 6 months following each surgery.

Twenty years later these are the words I need to say to that part of who I am still to this today.

The words to that scared 14 year old girl because in these words I choose to heal her.


I know you are scared, but relieved that you finally have an answer to your pain. This is not the only time you will feel this gut wrenching and breath stealing bittersweet feeling. You will again feel this painful clarity on the day you receive the phone call that your last round of IVF did not work and you learn that your journey to have children is over.

But I can promise you, it is all worth it and you will be

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Why you should always say yes to fun. No exceptions

Fun and Whimsy rule!

Pam Grout

“What has trapped you in a belief system that says your ecstasy can only come when you have certain physical stimuli in place? We want you to understand that ecstasy is your birthright. It is not something that exists outside of you.”—Daniel Scranton
pam and friend resize

A new member of yesterday’s power posse sent around the above quote. I had mentioned what I call “The Divine Buzz,” this sense of being joyful and filled with well-being. I often experience it just walking across the floor of my kitchen.

It’s not something that requires me to be staying in five-star hotels or meeting America’s Top Chefs. It just is…anytime I take down my preconceived mental constructs.

The first corollary in E-Cubed is called the Boogie-Woogie principle. Or the importance of NOT being earnest. It’s about the Divine Buzz, about being happy. Stated simply it says that the more fun you have, the better life…

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Kindness Challenge – Week Four

Let’s be kind to ourselves, people! Fill our cups so we can nourish those we love!

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Image sourced from Lucy Ellis Image sourced from Lucy Ellis

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”
~ C. JoyBell C.

Hello Lovelies! Welcome to Week Four of our six week Kindness Challenge.

To participate in today’s challenge all you need to do is select and perform one of the following kindness activities. The beneficiary of our acts of kindness for Week Four is our Self.

Self Love and acts of kindness toward the self can be a…

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Why I am a Feminist.

I have been alarmed (more like horrified), at how many young women dismiss feminism. “We don’t need it anymore!” Some give reference to the early 70’s and are convinced that things are different now. Really? Really?! Off the top of my head, here are some reasons why I am a feminist. I grew up in Sydney, in a little town (now quite big), about thirty minutes from the city. I grew up around folks you would find gathered in any town. I am in my thirties. Now here is why I am a feminist.  My appearance was commented on from the time I was tiny. I don’t mean as in “you are a beautiful little girl.”  Rather, “you will be a heartbreaker. Sexy little thing…You will be daddy’s secretary one day.” My appearance as a girl wasn’t part of the package of who I was as an entity. Rather it was isolated as being the sum of me. There was no “you have lovely blue eyes, the hue of the ocean,” the commentary was obscene and made me feel ashamed. All this before starting kindergarten!

I was exposed to pornography, chilled that this was what women were worth to some men. What a thing to look forward to as I grew! I was made to feel ashamed by being in swimmers or shorts in an Australian summer. If a man made a lurid comment at the local pools, I was to blame, not he. I was threatened at my local shopping centre, on more than one occasion. Walking back from the toilets, a local boy and his gang pinned me against the wall and I hit out wildly to escape. I was threatened walking down the street, and became used to being in a hyper-vigilant state.
Girls were referred to as hoes or bitches, and treated as such. Some were sadly immune and accepted the labelling. My first surgeon said that I could still be a wife and mother after sustaining injuries from male violence, not something I wanted to hear at fifteen after so much trauma. Even now, it makes me livid hearing children referred to as looking ‘cheap’ because they wear certain clothing. Children are never cheap, nor are young women. They are seeking identity and a sense of individual style. The manufacturers and those that demean them are cheap.There wasn’t a time when I didn’t feel threatened. I was a young girl on the train, going on an adventure with friends. A young guy (sometimes older), would often press up to me, stand over me, grope me. I felt rage every day at my pruning. It happened with makeup or without and was independent of what I happened to be wearing. It happened because I was a girl, and they were seeking control. I had to be ready to fight as the threat of harassment and worse accompanied me every day of my life.

I was sent to a private clinic at 14 years of age, as way of punishment by my father. The men wasted no time. I endured listening to them bet on who would “get me” as they sipped their coffee in the café. I was fodder, not a person. On one occasion, I slapped a male nurse, who sidled up and pinched me, whilst whispering a lurid suggestion. Contrary to popular belief, I was a person, not a thing. I had a wide vocabulary and love of science and the arts, and was a voracious reader. I was reduced to being a “little blonde.” When the man who later threw me off the building disobeyed his restraining order, he scoffed, “I showed my lawyer a picture of you, and he told me to go for it.” Told him to go for it. This wasn’t in another era. This was recent history! The court case eventuated, and I was treated as a slut. I was degraded yet again. My being on the pill for severe endometriosis was questioned. Everything was questioned. My mother was more devastated at the ravages surgery inflicted on my body-the scars seared into my flesh- than at the psychic wounds I carried.

If one survives the teenage years, there is more pressure to be found in your twenties. Pressure to look the part at work, pressure to have a family. I discovered that women with fertility problems have to fight a bloody battle to get to see the right doctors and then embark on a brutal drug regime. Every person and their dog sees fit to enquire as to when you plan to have children, as though one isn’t a whole woman without a child. The most personal and sensitive of questions is brought up on a daily basis. I had my daughter, but then the probing into having more kids started. The pressure and judgements were felt continually. Pressure to be a certain weight, dress appropriately, women judging women, whilst men look on. I am angry. Angry that our government doesn’t adequately assist women who have a child get back into the workforce. Angry at the condescending attitudes. Angry that working mums are judged, stay at home mums are judged, single mums are judged and single women are judged. Women in general are judged.
I am determined that my cheeky, impudent, artistic child can be anything she wants. I took her to see an elaborate display last Christmas. A church had crafted a village to represent old Jerusalem, complete with shepherds, bakers and craftsmen. On the way out, a Roman Soldier stood at the gateway, and demanded my daughter give a gold coin, or he wouldn’t let her pass. He had an arm over the exit, blocking her. “Then what will you do?” this burly man mocked. I was taken aback. She had gone ahead, so was alone at the exit and he was standing over her, close. I don’t believe he had any idea how intimidating it appeared. My seven year old looked up, smiled sweetly, and replied in a strong voice, “I will kick you between your legs if you don’t let me through.” I took her little hand and made a quick getaway. I had always been told to be polite to adults, especially men, and never make waves. Here was my seven year old, feeling able to stand up for herself, knowing she was safe to do so, knowing that this grown man was out of line. I thought about her quick response, and felt immense pride. She thought on her feet, standing her ground against a man. Immense pride. We need to watch what we say to our young girls. Enough with the commentary on their build, their hair, their appearance. Let’s hear more “your eyes carry the depth of the ocean, and your mind holds a library of wisdom.” Being a feminist doesn’t entail hating men, not at all. It means holding yourself in esteem. As long as there is a disparity in pay, the extraordinary emphasis on appearance, the condescending attitudes and violence, feminism must be a revered state.

Revising Life.

Robin Williams has left us. My friends and I are all in tears. Those that bring laughter and joy are usually the ones who battle in private. Acutely aware of not wanting to burden the people around them, they say little of their struggles. They keep busy, running several projects at the one time, spinning the plates with only two hands. Their social life looks full and one witnesses the happy snaps, reassured that your friend or family member has had a week of contentment. Busy, busy, busy. Loathe to stop and sit quietly with their thoughts. Running harder and faster, with a full calendar and mind. A fleeting sinking feeling might appear, and they acknowledge the hidden anger, grief, pain and sadness within their psyche. Who to tell? Everyone is so busy. Everyone has their own stuff. I have to keep it together. I don’t want to have my depression dismissed by platitudes. It wont help. When I was in the midst of grave depression, what did help was acknowledgement. A hug, and sharing a pot of tea. Going for a walk in the sunshine and talking to a friend. It is a tremendously brave thing to do, to share that you are in hell. So very brave.

One cannot keep depression at bay by running harder. You stumble, and the black dog awaits the fall. Maybe we need to have a revision of life, and how we do it. Simplify, go back to basics. Keep Sundays as a day of rest and of connecting. Give more hugs, be attuned to the subtle nuances of our other humans. Pare down the commitments and be with those who fill your heart. You can’t afford to be punctured, to leak as though you were a sieve. This is your life that is at stake. Anything and anyone that compounds the darkness, must go, at least for now. I regret that life is so difficult, and for some, too difficult. I have lost many loved ones to suicide. My heart still aches. If I could have breathed hope into them I would have. If you are suffering depression, and are dismissed by the first person you confide in, keep going. Go gently in this world, beautiful people. Too much activity is just as troubling as none. Balance. These are things I am learning. Robin, we love you. We cherish the legacy you left us. As I sit with my daughter in the years to come to watch your movies, I will tell her about you. Bless you always and ever, and our love to those whom you left on earth.

Goth Boots and New Beginnings

Love this for so many reasons and on so many levels.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Image from UniSexShoeStore Image from UniSexShoeStore

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibres connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibres, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
~ Herman Melville

Have you ever found yourself in the right place at just the right time, even though it didn’t mean much to you in the moment?

A few weeks ago my husband needed to go into Lismore ( a small country town about half an hour’s drive away) to get some farm tools and supplies. Problem was, on my new medications I was really unwell, and Ben was worried about leaving me at home alone for so long on my own. Solution? I went with him.

We only had a few chores left when we stopped at a favourite bakery so Ben could get some lunch. I ordered a pot of peppermint…

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