Grief, Silver Birch and Digestion – The healing link

Silver Birch is a tree that always catches my eye, so much so, I planted 8 of these beautiful trees in the front garden with another 7 thriving out in the back garden. I just love how its trunk stands out from all the other trees and can be recognised anywhere with its magnificent white peeling bark.   I love its elegance, how it rises majestically up into the sky with thin wispy branches adorned with small delicate leaves.  I have watched it bend and lean precariously in storms fearing it may never right itself, only to see it settle back into exquisite gracefulness once again.

Vesco was chatting with me recently and as always our conversations can take any direction, this particular day it took the path of the healing benefits of silver birch.  

Did you know….

“The white peeling bark is great for lighting fires and the buds and twigs have tons of medicinal uses:

  • A great source of vitamin C, tannin, and flavonoids, silver birch is useful in preventing viral infections and even cancer.
  • Silver Birch contains powerful diuretic properties that help in flushing out harmful toxins, uric acid, and excess water from the body, making it a good anti-inflammatory, and helpful for maintaining kidney and liver health.
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties mean it can treat conditions like arthritis, high cholesterol, heart and kidney swelling, and cystitis.
  • Silver birch stimulates the digestive system and aids in better digestion.
  • Its nutrients are also effective in strengthening the bones and boosting overall immunity.”

I was delighted to learn that you can make tea from the twigs and the buds.  I am here presently sipping and thoroughly enjoying a fresh brew which I made from some of the new growth leaves and buds.  I simply placed a fistful of the leaves and buds into a herbal teapot, poured boiling water over and let it draw for a couple of minutes.  It tastes wonderfully light and refreshing.  It is something I think I would like in the summer with ice as it would be really delicate.

The heading of this blog is “Grief, Silver Birch and Digestion – The healing link”.

What I have learnt from my personal experience over the last couple of years is this.  Shock and grief are difficult to face, deal with and release from the body.   Due to a decline in my health last year I was made to face and have a good hard look at myself.  I realised that where I am moving forward from the enormous grief on a physical level, I wasn’t dealing with it as such on an emotional level.  I had reverted to my steadfast pattern of shoving it down (into my stomach and intestines), keeping active and pretending that all was well, getting on with things outwardly but struggling inwardly at times. 

However, my body had had enough, my stomach or intestines were not digesting properly, I wasn’t receiving the full nutrients my body required no matter how healthy my diet, or the amount of exercise, my muscles were not being fed properly and aches and pains had moved in regardless of the amount of yoga I was doing.  My health had started to deteriorate and I was physically feeling the effects.  I turned as you normally do to the Medical Profession for answers.  Trips to Specialists, Doctors, hospitals, scans, test after test to discover there was nothing wrong physically.  Emotionally was another issue, so many months later I found my answer in the holistic approach. 

I didn’t know that after any type of a shock it is advisable that you up your intake of Vit C, B’s and Zinc.  This has been life changing for me.  For the first time in months I have a reserve tank behind me, I had known for months that there was nothing physically left in my body to fight if anything had shown up medically.  Taking the above concoction resulted in my body reacting and absorbing immediately what it had been starved of for so long.  This has been huge relief in itself as I started to feel better not just physically but emotionally also. I began to feel more sane and grounded.

As a result I have started to focus on nature and what is growing around us in a bid to feed my body the nutrients it badly needs. 

Fear is stored in the kidneys.  Anger is stored in the liver, grief and sadness are stored in the lungs which if not dealt with over time will weaken the nervous system and also weaken the energy in the body as well.  What I have noticed is this, my body is coming alive, it is like it has been crying out for this type of food for a long time.  It feels nurturing and beneficial in my system.  If I was a cat my insides would be purring with pure satisfaction.

The benefits of dandelion are as follows:

  • Promotes a healthy liver
  • A natural Diuretic
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers cholesterol
  •  Aids weight loss
  • Helps fight against cancer
  • Supports a health digestion and treats constipation
  • Boosts you immune system.

Nature has a way of bringing us back into balance, I personally feel human again just by being in the presence of the power of the ocean, or walking in the woods. Nature provides for us and if you look at the benefits of both the Silver Birch and the Dandelion they have quite a lot in common both work on the kidneys, liver and digestion. 

The Dandelion pesto (see earlier post on Facebook) and the benefits of silver birch above are all based on natural nutrients found free in nature and all around us. They act as a deep cleanse for our liver, boost kidney energy, power up our digestion system and improve our immune system all freely available and at hand to our disposal. So don’t just see weeds next time you spot a dandelion see a nutricious boost for your body. 

Today the sun is shinning, I made a delicious dandelion pesto and I’m drinking silver birch tea.  Life is indeed good and I’m really grateful..

Om shanti Noreen.

Is turning 50 tough?

I LOVE it!

When every so often out of the blue I get asked a question which makes me stop, go WHAT?!  ……. Where is this coming from?! …………  Then I have to actually think and really ponder the answer before I reply. 

This week I got asked such a question.

Out of nowhere I got asked by a friend ….

“Has the time since you turned 50 been tougher than usual?”

A WHAT???!!!! Moment.

My friend continued to advise that according to a mutual acquaintance – a person’s 50th year is meant to be really tough.  While I am still pondering this I receive examples of such difficulties that had been evident in their life since they themselves had turned 50. 

I picked up my phone to respond only to find myself putting it back down and actually wondering, what has my 50th Year been like? 

I only turned 50 last August, so my 50th Year is still underway.  However, I found myself contemplating the last 8 months and how they have been and then found myself fleeting back and forth to my 40’s for reflective comparison.

It is funny what you learn when you delve truthfully into answering an unexpected deep question and not just rattle off some fast reply.

Here is what I responded with…..

They say life begins at 40……

But 50 has actually been my best year. (I was even surprised to realise this one!)

In my 40’s I was dealing with the raising of my two lads, going off the rails, scandal, breakups and mending my marriage.  My Mum passed away.  Cancer once again raised its nasty head and brought flooding back painful suppressed memories.  Then my sister Antonia sadly lost her fight for life.  I began the difficult journey of self-healing.   So to be honest with you I’m delighted to see the back of my 40’s!!

I actually feel freer, calmer since I turned 50.

I feel I am more in touch with who I am. I feel connected to myself a lot more and I will no longer do things just to please other people or because it is expected of me.

Antonia’s death put a lot of things into perspective. It was hard not to.

I also look at it this way, if I live as long as my Dad did, I have 8 years left in my life. 

If I live as long as my Mum, I have 19 years left.

And I have already lived 8 years longer than my sister Antonia.

I’ve learnt to appreciate the gift of age.

I’ve paid huge attention to all this especially in the months leading up to my 50th.  I was observing people everywhere whilst I contemplated if I had the liathroide to actually stop dying my hair and let it go natural.  Vanity played a huge part but with so much grief in my life I wanted to see what I would look like if I gracefully embraced growing old.

I’ve come to realise that most people view age negatively. It is all wrinkles, hair loss / hair going grey and menopause.  Menopause gets blamed for everything from what I have experienced so far, from swelling in the body, to tiredness, to whatever!!  No matter what your ailment is, it all appears to be put down to “your age and the menopause”. 

Menopause is followed by the middle age spread and mid-life crisis.  Interestingly next on the list is regret.  Regret for all that hasn’t been accomplished in life.

Maybe it is because of my life experiences but I have taken to looking at it in a WOW!! way.

I have had some amazing memories and experiences and I just plan on enjoying life.

Yes turning 50 means ailments kick in, but ailments, aches and pains is a way of life saying HEY!  Slow down, enjoy each moment of your life.

I look back and I can honestly say I have had one colourful life and it’s been bloody amazing, but I’m not through with it just yet.

There are places I want to go, things I want to do, experiences I WANT to experience and I AM going to do it. 

I love being 50 because now I have life experience under my belt and a realisation that a clock is ticking. I no longer have the innocence of youth thinking forever will always be there at my disposal, because it won’t. 

All I have is here and now in this moment.

I have embraced this year and will continue to create many more memories.  I have loved every moment so far, even the low moments, the loneliness, the sadness and the pain and I am working through all that.  It is all there, it is all part of me but it has also shaped me and made me who I am.

So in answer to your question NO!!  I haven’t found 50 to be tougher than normal.

I’ve actually found it easier, and a welcome change from my 40’s.

Life is short, no matter the age, embrace it.

Plus on the up side I can now cat nap in the afternoon because at my age as it is now socially acceptable to do so.

Mega Yoga – Holiday to Bulgaria


Would you like to deepen your yoga practice in the foothills of the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula?

Find stillness and calm amidst the rustling leaves of forest trees?

Cleanse your Aura and find deep inner peace within yourself by gushing waterfalls?

Maybe you would like to rejuvenate yourself by the flowing waters of some of Bulgaria’s most beautiful rivers?

Mindfully ramble in the luscious mountains, home to mountain goats, bears and eagles.

Ramble and wander at your leisure.  Experience the true essences of bear pose when practiced deep in the mountains.

Expand deeply into the sanctuary and tranquility of eagle pose when practiced in the open air close to rapids deep in the heart of luscious forests.

Spend a week in an altitude higher than you experience here in Ireland.  Being in high altitude increases your red blood cells which boosts your immune system.  Join us, let your spirit soar and enjoy the health benefits you reap for the rest of the year.

Spend your mornings doing mega yoga and spend evenings winding down in the same spas where Roman Gods and Goddesses came to restore their health and beauty.  Perhaps catch a glimpse of a Roman show in one of the world’s best preserved ancient theatres constructed in the 1st Century AD.

A yoga trip to Bulgaria is going to be an adventure of a lifetime as we travel in and around the Rila Mountains, some of the oldest historical sights and most stunning locations in Europe and quite possibly the World.

Yoga and Mindfulness will be taken to new heights literally with this trip as we travel to the highest point in Bulgaria and one of the highest peaks on the Balkans, weather permitting.

You will have an opportunity to practice yoga and mindfulness every day as we leave the comfort zones of the studio and on occasions practice our session in the heart of Mother Nature.  We will head back to basics and get in touch with our true essence, connecting to and expanding with nature, allowing ourselves to touch deep the inner states of our being as we find our own true nature within.

We will practice Yoga and Mindfulness in an area with the highest number of natural hot springs, we’ll bathe in the hottest natural geyser in Europe, don’t be concerned it has been cooled down to comfortable temperatures so there is no fear of us being scalded!

We will do walking yoga in our visit to the only capital that has an extinct volcano right next to it.  It is now mainly a ski-resort and hiking paradise so please make sure you pack your walking boots for these scenic delights.

Tour the birthplace of yoghurt and tickle your taste buds with other culinary delicacies.   We will pass the oldest golden treasures in the world, we’ll be right by the biggest golden mine in Europe but unfortunately we won’t be allowed in to visit.  Security reasons.

We are staying in Samokov, known for its world-famous painting and wood-carving schools.  The name of the town itself means self-forging and it came from the times when it used to be the main iron-making location in Central and Southern Balkans.

So where better than here to begin to raise you up to the next level of your yoga, self-discovery, self-empowerment, self-love and self-awareness.  We will walk the same cobble-stoned paths that some of the brightest minds of Europe walked back in Renaissance times.

Did you know that for years now Bulgaria has featured top of most surveys as being the cheapest destination in Europe?  Yes, it is extremely cheap as destinations go but rich and affluent in what it offers most to tourists – stunning natural scenery of pure epic mega rich proportions.


  • Expect to experience yoga in breath taking beauty and learn how to be mindfully aware and present whilst doing so
  • Discover and explore the sights and history of the local area
  • Explore some of the most well-known pilgrimage locations of Orthodox Christianity and the healing relics they give sanctuary to
  • Wash away any sins you may have by passing through the cave of St. Ivan.
  • Expect to be pampered. I personally recommend the chocolate massage.  Just don’t wear white that day in case you miss a spot afterwards!
  • If you have the nerve, fly like dragonflies … well, semi fly, on the mountain lifts.
  • Master the local Cuisine.
  • Of course there will be time for some shopping where you can purchase local hand crafts

On this trip you will be nurtured and cared for and this will begin the day you arrive in Samokov with a massage to help you relax and release the effects of travelling.  Take time in the sauna or the pool and just allow yourself to gently land into the space.

Take time to settle into your surroundings and open up to the adventure of the week ahead.

Samokov is a small town and the hotel we will use was purpose built to host top sports teams when they come to do high altitude training and if you are lucky you may even get to spot some of the best teams training outside early in the morning.

As already mentioned you will indulge in the practice of yoga and mindfulness every day in some shape or form, mountain yoga, river yoga, walking and studio yoga to name but a few.

We will be mindful of our surroundings, the scents tantalising our nostrils, sounds floating around us and tactile touch at our fingertips.  Mindfulness will be ever present and forefront of our minds.  The experience will vary from day to day but the overall feeling of healthy goodness will only expand and deepen with each passing day.


  • A new way of experiencing yoga out in nature
  • Deepen your practice of yoga and mindfulness
  • Learn new techniques to expand your own practice
  • Build and strengthen your immune system
  • A fabulous all in trip where you have none of the hassles of organising and simply enjoy
  • Travel alone or with a companion and meet new friends, enjoy new experiences and share many laughs.
  • Broaden your mind by a fabulous new and exciting experience in a cultural trip offering beauty, nature and city experiences.


We will be exploring the beauty of the landscape that is Bulgaria in the mountains, there is so much to see in this amazing country it simply would be disgraceful not to.

You will adventure into culinary delights as we sample the local cuisine and you will learn how to recreate these dishes under the guidance of a professional chef and a professional granny. The latter has won a few awards for her cooking too, so perhaps we will get a few tips to bring back home with us.


Wake up and arise peacefully each morning to the sound of natural running water and the glorious powerful presence of Bulgaria’s highest mountain range.  Breathe in deeply the crisp fresh mountain air.

Expand and intertwine with nature.  Home to the Seven Rila Lakes, these mountains are alive and abundant with tempting hiking paths.  Definitely bring you hiking boots for this one you guys or I guarantee you will be disappointed.

The scenery alone at Rila will lure you lustfully onto her trails.  Nature will bewitch you, drawing you deeper and deeper in the magnificent natural and untamed beauty that prevails all around and within this mountain range.

In ancient Thracian times the name Rila means “well-watered mountain” which aptly describes the area which is sprinkled with glistening lakes, numerous waterfalls and bountiful amounts of fresh mountain water which you can drink from at almost every location.  For me it was a truly wonderful experience.


Bulgaria is home to more than 120 monasteries and we will visit one of its most famous – the Rila Monastery which was founded in the 10th Century by St. Ivan of Rila and is the most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria.

Here I personally fell in love with Bulgaria.  It was the highlight of the trip for me.  I couldn’t even begin to find words to describe the peaceful presence it exudes.

Rila Monastery is a Unesco protected site as it was destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, subsequently it was rebuilt and restored.  It is regarded as one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key tourist attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe.

You will be able to see stunning mural’s and paintings inside the monastery, some of which were painted by the self-taught genius painter from the Samokov School of Renaissance Art, the town where we will be staying.

If timed to perfection we may have an opportunity to see one of the Monks wearing the most amazing ceremonial gowns when he appears on the altar.

A visit to this monastery was definitely a highlight of my trip to Bulgaria.  Words cannot describe the feeling of being physically present and connecting to the energy in the grounds of this magnificent building which is home to over 60 monks.

Energy pulsates up through the ground at various power points.  If you are mindfully present you will feel this energy pulsating into your body filling you with an essence of peace and tranquillity that will transport you to a place of surreal calm. You will experience tranquillity and awe in this beautifully astounding place.

Please note that shoulders will need to be covered when visiting here.

A visit to the cave of St. Ivan will further transport you to a deeper level of natural peace and calm. Experience yoga here the way St. Ivan used to in the heart of nature.

Just to give you guys a heads up for this trip to the cave.

Legend has it that the cave will cleanse you from all your sins as you pass through but there is a test of character to be overcome first.  I am delighted to say I passed and definitely came out lighter after this experience.  So a tip for this outing would be to eat light on this morning.

I would recommend having your mekitsas after the trip to the cave.  Mekitsas?  Oh, this is an experience you definitely want to try as this monastery is famous for their flat donut type pastry, which are seriously delicious.   It is finger licking great.


Our trip will see us visit Sofia to see the serenely imposing golden domes of the St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral.  This building is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world and can hold up to 10,000 people.


Our visit to Sofia will offer the ideal opportunity for a spot of shopping.  We will visit Vitosha Street, which is the equivalent of our very own Grafton Street.  We will set you free here to fly and shop to your own hearts content for a couple of hours.

I am hoping that we can time out trip well and be able to combine our visit with a flea market so you can experience the local markets first hand.

You will also have an opportunity to purchase pure rose oil in Sofia.  Those of you who care for your skin will already know the fabulous benefits of this amazing oil.  This oil has amazing qualities so we won’t be buying barrel loads to bring back with us as 1oz works out at approximately €20 as the oil is so pure.  They won’t recognise you when you get back home between the mountain air, yoga and oil you will be positively 10 year younger looking.


Sapareva Banya is located at the North foothills of Rila and is famous for its hot mineral and clear mountain water.  We will also visit the Geyser which sprang forth in the town in the year 1957.  I walked in this myself and it has a special quality to it. Romans used to travel across the country just for this luxury in days gone by so I felt especially privileged to be able to enjoy this experience.

Geysers / hot springs have huge health benefits.  Did you know that sitting in one boosts blood circulation?  The water found in natural hot springs contains a variety of different minerals, including calcium and sodium bicarbonate.  They reduce stress by relaxing tense muscles and promote a great nights sleep.  They have been known to relieve pain and heal skin problems.  So you are in for a treat with this one.


Bulgaria has its own unique pottery style and schools. I personally love it as it is quirky, purposeful and just dinky.  On this trip you will have an opportunity to learn from the best-known local potter. People travel from far and wide purely to be trained by this pottery master.   Some of you who have visited my kitchen have already admired the beauty of these fabulous creations which I purchased last summer on my trip over.

Bulgaria has its own pottery and we will have an opportunity to set lose our creative skills as we learn how it is made from a well-established potter.  This is where you can create your own special keepsake of this special trip.  If things go a bit wonky for you, don’t fret there will always be a backup plan and you can just purchase one of the already made items from the potter himself.  Don’t worry there is a mantra for this trip “what happens in Bulgaria, stays in Bulgaria” so mums the word.


The town where we will be centrally based during our stay in Bulgaria is Samokov and this town is situated approximately 2 hours by car from the Greek Coast.  So something for you to consider – perhaps you may wish to extend your stay to include a week by the coast and make the most of your trip away to Bulgaria.  We will gladly assist you in making the necessary bookings and arrangements if you so wish, just please advise us at the time of booking.


(The costs includes your accommodation, breakfast and dinner, away trips and yoga/mindfullness workshops)

The costing for the trip is as follows:

Early bird – €870 if paid in full by 30th April, 2019

€940 if paid in full by the 31st May, 2019

€990 paid in full by the 30th June, 2019

Please note that a non-refundable deposit of € 150.00 to be paid on booking in order to secure your place on the trip.


  • Comfortable walking shoes.
  • Shawl for visiting churches / monasteries
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun screen
  • Up to date Passport


Contract me – Noreen, on 086-7847998 to book your place on this amazing adventure.

Looking forward to spending time with you and creating wonderful memories.

Om shanti