Sunday, 31 March 2013

Your happy memories 03/31 | Blog Talk Radio

Your happy memories 03/31 by Samantha van Dalen | Blog Talk Radio

The topic this week: A seminal moment that changed your life. Frank's story. Beautiful.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

As you get older you understand even less.

Joni Mitchell sings Both Sides Now. Heartbreakingly beautiful and true.

Both Sides Now

Ice Age cometh...

It's all very pretty with the snow but the cold is really getting to everyone I meet these days. In the UK our heating bills are exorbitant. The longer the cold will last the poorer we will all be. Spare a thought for the elderly in this country who die because they cannot afford to heat their homes and who have to choose between "heat" or "eat".

It is estimated that around 5,000 people have perished in the UK since the extreme cold weather began.

I took this photo today and it was exactly 0 degrees C at the time.

Photo copyright SvD.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Buddha on a Bicycle

I do hope you will come along to the buddha!

Talk and book signing April 18, London

Cheerful daffs

We've been having the most dreadful weather- Artic temperatures and a persistent winter that refuses to end. Sadly, many thousands of farm animals have perished- especially sad, the newborn lambs which at this time of year would normally be gambolling across the fields, warmed by the spring sun. Well, the sun has taken a holiday from the UK. Despite the extreme weather, I noticed the daffodils are valiantly fighting on- since the mini Ice Age began, the daffs have been repeatedly frozen overnight, thawed out in the day, refrozen and burnt by the frosts. However this morning I was warmed and charmed to see their sunny faces about to burst forth. I won't make a point about the philosophical meaning of all of this- suffice it to say that a splash of yellow from a smiling daff is just a heart-warming sight when your bones are frozen solid walking the hound in the early morning mists.

Photo copyright SvD. On the way to the woods this morning.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


This is another image that had me riveted- in its simplicity, the subject is exquisitely perfect. A lesson that elegance exists even in nature. If you hadn't guessed, this is a log covered in snow but unusually, the 'trompe l'oeil' effect means that it's difficult to tell what it is. (That's my wellie-clad foot spoiling the photo).
Photo copyright SvD.

Perception is everything

This lowly pothole had me transfixed- infinite possibilities lie within, even the reflection of trees which appear by pure chance, and strangely, the pothole reminds me of a brooch encrusted with precious jewels. No, I'm not going mad but we see what we want to see and we interpret life in our own unique way.

Photo copyright SvD.

Badger no more

Those of you who follow this blog will recall the baby badger which died on the 15th March, knocked down by a car. Well here he is on the 26th March. A sort of (very still) and surreal still life. The foxes do a fine job in disposing of the departed.

Photo copyright SvD. This morning in the woods.

Friday, 22 March 2013

There was something about the way she looked at him...

But then he turned his attention back to the matter at hand.

Photos and painting copyright SvD. Oil on canvas.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Come meet Samantha and Tori Hartman

Come Meet Hollywood Psychic Tori Hartman and Noted Author Samantha van Dalen

Venue: Buddha on a Bicycle
Date: 18th April 2013
Time: 6.00-7.00pm

Address: 27 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BA
tel: 020 7836 8000
email :

Tori Hartman is the creator of internationally-acclaimed oracle deck, the Color Wisdom Card. The deck and companion book are endorsed by author, artist, creative fountain Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (aka SARK), N.Y. Times best-selling author Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul), and Amy Zerner and Monte Farber (Karma Cards, The Enchanted Tarot and Goddess, Guide Me!). You can use the cards for free online at

Samantha van Dalen is the author of How to be Happy, The Little Book of Peace (for your soul), a compendium of the lessons Samantha learned the hard way and which ultimately brought her happiness.  How to be Happy was NUMBER 1 in the Alternative Medicine/Healing category on You can also tune in to Samantha’s inspired radio show “How to Be Happy” on Samantha is MD of Primo Relocations, a London-based relocation company.

Tori and Samantha will be discussing the inspiration behind their books, how to use spiritual tools to manifest the life you truly desire and answer your questions. Tori will also be giving free Color Wisdom Card Readings.

Together this dynamic duo is offering an evening of candid discussion filled with insights and tools to make 2013 a powerful year.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

What I ate this week

Cooking remains the great love of my life. (That and the French language.)

Photos copyright SvD.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Death and rebirth

This morning I stood transfixed watching a mama blackbird flying to and fro and back to the nest she is building in the clematis near my bedroom window. How lovely to see this bird fly off and return again and again, her beak full of twigs and hay (stolen from the nearby stables). I am privileged that she has chosen to be in my garden. The nest is a promise of things to come, of anticipation. The bird has chosen a spot that faces due east- is this significant? Better than due north which is always freezing in this country and nothing fruits or flowers when planted in that position.  West catches the setting sun which is cold and south retains heat the best. But the morning sun is the most tonifying to both plants and humans, and it would seem, birds.

An hour later I stood near the corpse of another baby badger that had been hit by a car and had crawled onto the raised verge to die. I watched his little corpse, the way he had bent his legs as if he had been in terrible pain, the bloodied snout and the contorted face.

The beginning is also the end.

Photo copyright SvD.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Faithful hound

Always turning around to see if I am there. Faithful and unconditional love from my hound. I had just finished sprinting up the 100 steps - literally- out of the woods and up a steep hill. Of course the hound was ahead of me- he has four legs! It was snowing but that barely shows in the photo.

Photo copyright SvD. Today.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A tasty pick-me-up

Mea culpa! I love meat. I used to be a vegetarian in my salad days (no pun intended) but there is only so much one can do with soya mince that is edible. I love to cook and eat- both acts are my meditation at the end of a working day- cooking and then eating at the dinner table with a lighted candle, the world shut out temporarily. Money is tight for all of us these days and if I am feeling a bit low in energy, here is my salvo: calf's liver, lambs' kidneys, bacon and spinach. All of these ingredients are relatively inexpensive. For those of you turning up your noses at this simple fare, I eat like a peasant and am proud of it. Consider this: my French adopted grandmother (I adopted her) survived the Second World War eating cats but mostly going hungry. The image of her young daughter pleading for something to eat and going slowly mad with hunger is an image that forever haunted her and which she took to her grave, aged 78. This meal of offal would have been like Christmas for them.

Photo copyright SvD.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Esteemed implement

Every once in a while I stumble upon something that I simply must have. This is a fine example- a rather beautiful and very old chamber pot. I shall let you do your own research as to what a chamber pot is but suffice it to say that my suggestion to use it as a punch bowl, replete with ladle, and placed on the dining room table, was met with horror. I have visited castles in the UK where the chamber pots of kings and queens are preserved with the reverence they deserve. In the East End of London, the chamber pot is known as a 'gazunder'- literally 'goes under' and in Scotland, it is referred to as a 'chanty'. Have you figured out what it is used for yet?

Photo copyright SvD.

Your happy memories 03/17 Upcoming interview: Tori Hartman | Blog Talk Radio

Your happy memories 03/17 by Your happy memories | Blog Talk Radio

Join us this Sunday- Tori is amazing!

Your happy memories 03/10 by Samantha van Dalen| Blog Talk Radio

Your happy memories 03/10 by Your happy memories | Blog Talk Radio

The topic was "new beginnings".

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Amy Winehouse

Seems someone is selling this painting I did of Amy on ebay!

Oil painting of Amy Winehouse

I did this painting about a year before she died. I was inspired by her individual style especially- I think I captured it here.

Oil on canvas. Artist: Samantha van Dalen

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Your guess is invited. What is this?

Clue: A state of undress.

This morning leaving the woods. Photo copyright SvD.

Unusual arrival

The first plants to emerge from their winter slumber are these succulents, lily-like in appearance. The French call these 'plantes grasses', in other words the leaves and stems are tender and plumped up with a high water content. One would hardly expect these delicate plants to survive the soggy, freezing British winter where sub zero temperatures can cause instant death from frost and snow. Yet every spring the most unlikely survivor returns, more luxuriant than before and determined as ever.

Stay open to being surprised because the world is full of surprises. Nature taught me that.

This morning in the woods. Photo copyright SvD.

Your happy memories 03/03 by Your happy memories | Blog Talk Radio

Your happy memories 03/03| Blog Talk Radio

Topic: Peace.

Email me your stories of what peace means to you: and I'll read them out during the show!

Join me!

Friday, 1 March 2013

What I ate this week

 By the way, what I ate is actually what I cooked and then ate...

Photos copyright SvD.