24 October 2016
28 September 2016
|Picture by Anne-Marie Sanderson|
6 September 2016
First of all prepare the Schmeese!
Now, prepare the base.
29 August 2016
Wow! As a woman, I cannot stand the idea that if I want to spend time at the beach wearing modest clothes to go swimming and to deflect unwanted attention and leering eyes, it is now a subject of controvosy and newspaper articles.
The burkini is a fabulous invention and gives some protection from the sun's rays too. Is it really true, in this world I am living in, that women can be told by the law what to wear? Especially something so modest!
I've seen newspaper headlines screaming 'Burkini Banned in France' but how is that enforced? Where is the line between a burkini and a very modest leotard? This is just such mixed up thinking, to my mind. Now I read a headline mentioning a police officer in Britain challenging a burkini wearer! How does that work? 'Excuse me love, could you please wear less clothes as we find burkini wearing offensive, come on now, I'll just help you take this off, that's right step out of it immediately, with your hands above your head.'
What is wrong with us? What is wrong with our attitude? Have we decided to target burkini wearing women because they are easy to victimise? Easier than say, someone wearing a suicide vest? Talk about misdirected focus.
Leave burkini wearers alone and concentrate on the real threat to lives and peace. A burkini ban solves nothing and messes about with our freedom.
19 August 2016
Chocolate Beetroot Cake with frosting.
1 cup of Essential Buckwheat Flour
1/2 a cup of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
1/2 a cup of sugar
1/2 a cup of Divine Cocoa Powder
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 a smashed up bar, 100g of Divine Dark Baking Chocolate
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons of Biona Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother
13 August 2016
|Karen Mercer, My Coffee Stop. Photo by Anne-Marie Sanderson.|
24 July 2016
So, last week, I went to my youngest son's sports day. To my surprise there was a race at the end for the ladies, the MUMS, in other words. I was just going to sit back and watch the others run in the sunshine and heat, then one of the teachers cajoled me and said, 'Come on, come on, you can do it!', well it didn't take much, after a few verbal nudges like that, I was 9 years old again, good at running 100 meters and ready to RUN! Just let me point out here, that if I do anything to keep fit these days, my choice is not running but anything that involves dancing and music to lift me up and along into the realms of exercise, that ethos was quickly shoved out of my mind as I imagined the glory of winning, especially after Elijah had just used Sports Day to display so beautifully the fact that he hasn't picked up how to skip whilst running yet, the slow painful embarrassment that I had felt watching him would soon be turned into a success for the Mercer-Hollenstein clan and our family would climb up to grace once again! I stood on the white line, waiting to begin and as I did so, I looked down at the boots I was wearing and thought, loud and clear, if that is possible, 'No, I shouldn't be doing this!', the thought was so very loud and clear that I almost stepped away from the line to go and sit down again but the logical part of my brain saw no logical reason why I should not take part in a fun little race, so there I stood, poised for action. Whilst my mind was off in another realm, 'Go' had been shouted out and as I saw the other Mums set off in slow motion, it seemed to me and stretch out far in front of me, I knew I had to close that space and catch up, overtake and win! There was NO WAY I was going to lose, I urged myself forward, pushed my toes into the ground with extra might and found myself flying, NOT towards the finishing line but towards the ground that was now rapidly coming up to meet my face and body. I lay on the ground, completely shocked, then for some reason, decided it was important to get up and finish the race. I don't know what lesson that taught the children watching at that young impressional age, at this stage of life, maybe keep going even if you're a loser, or don't let your Mum embarrass you at sports day ever again, (That one probably a personal one for my son Elijah).
After going over what happened in my head, I realised that it is very important to listen to your inner voice, in particular for me, my inner voice. I took this as a message from the universe, as a warning, a little hand life tip to heed for my future and to help me make important decisions and to tune into my instinct. I told Elijah the story about how, even though I had managed to fly in the race, I had missed the opportunity to listen to my inner voice.
Today, I had the perfect opportunity to listen to my inner voice. We went with some friends, our children and their child, to Glastonbury Abbey and Joshua my 13 year old, was doing commando rolls all over the place and running and jumping, just yesterday we were watching some Parkour videos on YouTube and having studied gymnastics when I was a girl, I noticed Handsprings, Somersaults and Arabsprings (Are they still calles that?) buried in the sequences. Of course when Joshua started doing all this, I revert to my 13 year old self and try to copy what he's doing, not very successfully, so I decide to show I am quite good at some things still and do a nice little controlled headstand. Having built up my confidence, I do a quick little cartwheel, then decide I show Joshua how to do an Arabspring, 'Er, should you be doing this, ' my inner voice said, 'You don't want to hurt yourself!'. Then my logical brain responded with the logical and end conclusion that there was no reason that I would hurt myself, can you recognise a pattern here?
'This is how you do an Arabspring Joshua', I eaxplained, as I took a run up and did the preperatory hop on my left leg, before going into the spring which would be where I would go upside down on my hands.....I didn't get to the upside down on my hands bit, my sequence was completed with the hop and a tightening in my left leg and a cramp like searing pain, as I crumpled to the grass, screaming out a very long ow!
Just as with the running experience, I lay still at first, this time, on my back and Joshua thought it might be a joke but it wasn't. I have bloody hurt my left leg so much, after having not listened to my inner voice that I am now in bed, worried about going to the toilet and getting there in time, down our very long corridor with two sets of steps. I can't walk properly, only with a limp and if I do a wrong move, it makes me yelp with pain. I need a walking stick, tomorrow is Monday, I do not know how I will cope in our shop and on Tuesday, a TV crew is coming to film us, with Heather Bryson-Banks, Columnist from The Shepton Mallet Journal and her family, in our shop and I am lying here and hoping that it will all be sitting down stuff. At this moment in time, my inner voice, rather than stomping off in a mood, has decided to look at my situation and laugh at me, jumping up and down with glee whilst shouting out, 'I told you so, I told you so!'. What kind of childish attitude is that for an inner voice to have? I can hear my inner voice saying back to me, 'Yup, the same kind of childish attitude that I have to put up with from you, when you choose not to listen to me!'.
'Yeah but what about feel the fear and do it anyway?' I question, stubbornly.
'Not at Forty Six Years old, just ACT YOUR AGE.' Inner voice replies in frustration.
It's taken me years to even get to this level of maturity, I do NOT accept the age 46, in which case, I feel there are a few more injuries to be had. I am still wondering to myself how I can make sure I do my Arabspring correctly, with no injuries next time, in the meantime, when you see me hobbling around Shepton Mallet, let it be a reminder to listen to your innervoice, your instinct and take heed.
27 June 2016
After the 2nd world war, to encourage peace the EU was created. Britain joined in 1973, when I was just 3. So basically I don't have a concept of Britain not being a part of Europe.
In 1995, Austria became a part of the EU. In 1996, I went over to Austria to work and met and fell in love with Gunter Hollenstein. I was able to stay there without a problem, open a bank account easily, be taught German, have a job as a singer and a dancer and sometimes barwork too, all easily because we were united. Gunter came with me back to the UK to live and to work, he easily got a NI number, he easily got German speaking jobs and a bank account. I went on to broadcast the traffic and travel news for ten years and we had Joshua and Elijah on the way. Then Gunter and I decided to open a coffee shop in this country and for a while we had two coffee shops in this country.
Then one day, somebody decided we should have a referendum about something that I thought had already been decided in 1973.
So, I went along and voted. Gunter is Austrian and wasn't meant to be able to vote but he had a polling card and his name was on the list at the polling station. I told him he'd better vote, just in case he is allowed and he did.
We are living history, that is why both sides of the debate feel so passionately, that I can see but what I don't think I'll ever understand is why an imigrant in the UK would vote leave, after enjoying all the freedoms that EU gave him.
Why would a man with two sons in Britain and two sons and a Dad and brothers, sisters and lots of family in Austria vote for the UK to leave the EU?
Being in the EU was a strategic idea to keep the peace, that worked. I still do not understand why my own partner would vote leave. I wish I could.
At the moment I am in bed with flu, I'm calling it the Flexit virus because it bowled me down on Friday when the Leave win was announced.
Illness always makes me think things through and think about life and I've been mulling that one over big time, I can tell you. When I saw the online petition stating the grounds for a second referendum, I thought that it was a very good idea. I posted it onto my Facebook profile to encourage a friendly discussion but generally leavers accused remainers of 'Throwing their toys out of their pram' and 'Childish-like tantrums' and yes my glee was delightfully childlike when it was revealed in the press that the petition was started in May by a Leave campaigner, in case the vote hadn't gone his way!
Like many others, I am left wondering why a person so close to me voted for something that would tear his family apart and give his two youngest sons less opportunities than they ever had before.
Hey, forget the 2nd referendum petition, the poll wasn't run properly and no one is even admitting it.
The truth will out in the end but at the moment each one of us is living with this great divide, this great rift and one day, when people read our history they will wonder why we let it happen and how it came to pass.
22 June 2016
|What a great job, in front of the iconic Pyramid Stage!|
|From left to right: Andy, Thali and Holly.|
|My first and only bin so far, with bunting and flowers.|
15 May 2016
Sometimes it is really hard trying to eat healthily and especially when you're hungry, rushing around, trying to do so much and have hardly a moment to think about nutrition. That's why I created this Easy 5 Minute Raw Vegan Soup Recipe.
Influenced by the tastes of my customers and a lady who came in the other week and told me what I could do with my copious amounts of wild garlic!
This is so easy, so good for you and so very enjoyable, so, here goes:
1/ Put the following into a blender.
A handful each of WildGarlic, SpringGreens and Spinach.
A quarter of a Kallo stock cube.
3 generous teaspoons of MellowBrown Rice and Soy Miso.
Chilli to taste.
A drizzle of Clearspring Japanese Toasted Sesame Oil.
Organic Tamari Soy Sauce to taste.
A shake of Turmeric.
And around 600ml of hot but not boiling water.
2/ Whizz blender until required texture. I whizz until there are still little chunks of leaves but you might prefer it throughly blended and smooth.
3/ Pour into a mug or bowl, drink to your health and enjoy.
This recipe creates around 4 portions but of course that depends on the size of bowl or mug that you are using.
10 May 2016
I started the Leave our Library Alone petition with just my own voice. I do have a habit of saying out loud what everyone is thinking, which usually causes some offence and is generally something I have to try hard to control but when it comes to creating a petition, that's when my weakness is a strength. I write it from the heart and write what I feel is my truth and if people agree with it, they sign the petition, it's as simple as that. A petition isn't just about what I as an individual think, it is a tool to accumulate power for our collective voices to be heard and that's why, I think that if you sign a petition, it's really important to write your own personal comment about what you think about the issue. A petition isn't always a perfect document and society is of course made up of many individuals, each with their own story or angle on the situation. The petition I have created isn't a list of perfect wishes of mine, that need to be magically turned into reality, it's a starting point to attract like-minded individuals, to campaign for what our town needs and to encourage discussion with Somerset County Council. The people on Somerset County Council are real people too, they are not some ogres and I truly believe that when they understand how much our library means to us, in the position it is, that we can come together and create a solution. Nope, I don't know what that solution is but that doesn't mean that I can't campaign against something that is just plain wrong!
So, the petition that I created has three main points:
1/ For our library to be left where it is at the heart of our town.
2/ For opening hours to be longer.
3/ For staff to be supported by automation and not cut because of it.
In just a few days, the campaign has been gathering momentum and there are several powerful comments already on the petition which is just about to reach the 400 signatures landmark!
Please join your voice with ours and get our message heard:
Please sign and comment on the petition, here.
Please share this article on Facebook and encourage your friends and family to sign too.
Thank you so much for all your support so far.
Here are some of the other voices joining the protest.
4 May 2016
Please support our campaign and sign the online petition.
Why should our Library stay in the centre of our town?
Why should we keep people employed in the Library?
DO NOT MOVE OUR LIBRARY, LEAVE OUR LIBRARY ALONE!
3 May 2016
I am posting this yummy recipe, especially for one of our regular customers, who keeps asking me for it. So here is is for you.
I know most coffee shops and restaurants don't usually release their secret recipes but I am going to put them all into a cook book one day, so this is my little method of getting it all down before you actually have to pay for it! (I didn't want to write that bit but our customer Rob, who can hear what I am writing because I keep reading it out, keeps piping up with suggestions in the background and he said that he hopes you buy the book anyway, as a matter of fact, I agree with him).
I wanted to create a brownie that everyone could enjoy, the catch word I like to think of in our shop is inclusivity, (It's probably not a real word but it could be one day). I want everyone to be able to eat the same thing and not worry about allergies, or health issues, or weight gain and so on. So, I try to make things that all the different groups of minority eaters can enjoy together.
The great thing about these Brownies is if you swap the Divine Bar of chocolate for the Hasslacher's 100% Cacao option, they are perfectly suitable for a clean eating paleo diet, with no refined sugar in.
Here we go then:
1/ Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2/ Take a 9" x 9" square brownie tin, line with grease proof paper.
Take one 400g can of drained black beans and put into a blender.
2/ Add two dessertspoons of Divine Cocoa powder.
3/ Meanwhile take 1/4 of a cup of Biona Organics mild coconut oil and put it in a warm place to melt. I normally put mine in a bowl of hot water.
4/ Take 1/3 a cup of Chantico Organic Agave Sweetner and pour into the ingredients that are already in the blender.
5/ Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of Taylor and Colledge Vanilla Bean Extract vanilla essence and 1/2 a teaspoon of Doves Farm Gluten Free Baking Powder.
6/ Take half a cup of gluten-free Glebe Farm Oats and add to the ingredients in the blender.
7/ Add a pinch of ginger and a pinch of chilli, or leave out, or put more in according to your taste!
8/ Pour your melted coconut oil into the ingredients in the blend and then blend. I use a smoothie setting on mine.
9/ Smash up a 100g bar of Divine Chocolate. This has sugar in it, so for a cleaner option, you could use Hasslacher's 100% Cacao. Just use about 8 cubes, as it is very intense, if you love bitter, you'll love it with this chocolate! Then stir whichever smashed up chocolate you have chosen into the mix.
10/ Then pour the whole mixture into the brownie tin and cook for 19 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Get the ingredients now for the Hasslacher's Version
Get the ingredients now for the Divine Chocolate Version.
This recipe makes 9 portions.
The Hasslacher's Version is about 127 calories per serving.
13.5g Carbs Sugars 7g
6.8g Fat Saturated is 5.8g
The Divine Chocolate Version is about 165 calories per serving.
20.5g Carbs Sugars 12.7g
Dietry Fiber 3.8g