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Oh Life! . . . Onward! The September Beagle

Embrace the cosy and find someone's hand to hold.

“Some days in late August at home are like this, the air thin and eager like this, with something in it sad and nostalgic and familiar.” - William Faulkner
When you see the ark of the covenant . . . move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” - Joshua 3

Hello lovelies,

I'm afraid you're not finding me my usual self at this time of year possibly due in part to the non-event summer we’ve had and the approach of Autumn in the air. I love autumn for all the reasons but without having that sunshine top-up I feel a little desperate if I’m being honest.

I was chatting with a friend about this. Of course we have no choice but to press on, there’s no going back, there’s no perfection to go back to either, ‘tis a lie. She exclaimed, “Oh Life! . . . (pause, sigh) . . Onward! We giggled.

And so we move forward, we are different, we are changed, we cannot stay the same, nor make the sun shine! But we can light a candle and embrace the cosy.

And so we move forward, we are different, we are changed, we cannot stay the same, nor make the sun shine! But we can light a candle.

I’ve just gained my certification as an accredited Life Coach which i’ll share more about in the coming weeks and months. I’ve also relaunched my photography business and added an additional arm of Social Media Management to the portfolio. I feel like I’ve finally made the move into the next season of life and am now in a new rhythm of full time work hours. It took some adjustment but the grease is on the wheels.

Friends, I’m discovering so much in this new stage: what a privilege self-care is, what a privilege surplus income is, what a privilege a full weekend of rest is. I’m searching my heart, have I taken these things for granted before, have I been tone deaf?

The cost of living crisis is biting hard in the UK, I hear it’s low growl, see it’s bared teeth. We’ve been tightening our belts in our home and one challenge I’ve set myself is to reduce our food bill each week, by half!

Another learning curve: what a privilege a plant based diet is, how mindful you become in expense choices and how auto-pilot you can become in habits of old, the joy of finding reduced items, the blessing of an freezer to store food, an attuned antenna for free offers. My kids have both said in response to this challenge, “So we really are poor then?” . . . What a privilege it’s been to not have to account for every penny in the past. I grew up in a poor home, I know lack and I know debt, it's because of this you strive to make and provide a home where your children never have to go through the same things but there's a tension to walk. The challenge is to launch them well but give them the gift of having grit. Grit makes the oyster.

Does being mindful of your spending make you feel less well off or, a little smug that you’re in on a secret and making big savings? I’ll let you know how I get on.

We picked apples last week and made our own applesauce ‘Wakelam Farms Organic Produce’, such a soul-filling experience with my daughter. Something I’ve been pondering from Attached which I’m currently reading is the truth that we need each other to help regulate our health, mood, minds. We’ve been told in the past that we only need God or that self-help is all we need but the truth is that God has beautifully hard wired us to need and depend on each other. We’re literally God’s gift to each other. I’ll do al little podcast sharing more about this next week over on the Sub.


Did you know I link every book, film, recipe etc in the Beagle? Where you see words highlighted, simply click the link.


Substack Beagle Community

I can't say enough how much I appreciate my financial partners. Your support has enabled me to invest in a new flash, studio stand and umbrella, and remote flash trigger. Through your generosity I'm able to keep creating for the Beagle.

I'm looking forward to sharing some of my Coaching programs with you as we move forward. Having been in pastoral ministry for over two decades across a diverse range of areas I'm excited to draw from my experience both professionally and personally to help you get unstuck. I'll be looking for some folio building clients shortly so please let me know if you're interested in having me come alongside you. Life coaching is not therapy or counselling it's about helping individuals take steps they already wish to make but might require the accountability and guided focus to do so.

I'll share more details on Substack shortly.


Still Life


This image is from a shoot in April 2022. I've not shared this particular iteration before. The reason I share it now is that after my studio move I'm having some light issues. Ack!

This month's theme has emerged as I've written and stitched together its parts; there's no going back, only onwards. But alas for today I've gone back and given up hope on every image I tried to capture a couple of days ago (insert crying). But we will work it out!

These are my favourite Parrot Tulips which I grew last year, perfect for Still Life in the Dutch Master's style.





Make Peace by Emory Hall Make peace with all the women you once were.

Lay flowers at their feet.

Offer them incense and honey and forgiveness.

Honor them and give them your silence.


Bless them and let them be.

For they are the bones of the temple you sit in now.

For they are the rivers of wisdom leading you toward the sea.


Listening to

I’m continuing to build my Alternative God Songs playlist and will start an Autumn one this month ready for October. It will be the Beagle's 3rd birthday next month!



I thoroughly enjoyed these three titles last month.

Elemental was beautiful aesthetically as well as being a heartwarming story with depth. You’ll appreciate that pun later.

I think everyone would enjoy the Obama documentary. I also think everyone should watch it especially younger people. The comments my children made about our household belt tightening make a lot of sense in light of how they’re experiencing the world right now. This generation have never had so much yet they’ll feel as if they have nothing.

David Attenborough's latest documentary was beautiful and uplifting although tinged with some sadness at how our treatment of the planet affects the delicate eco system. It didn't dwell on the downers though, it’s not preachy, I came away feeling inspired. The musical score is luscious, the scenery breathtaking.



Attached and Falling Upward are part of my coaching studies. I’m really enjoying Attached and have had a couple of lightbulb moments. I’ve barely begun Richard Rohr’s book but have heard so many good things about it over the years I have high hopes.

I confess I pressed pause with Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers last month. With so much study going on it required more bandwidth than I found I had left at the end of the day. I’ve gone back to the delightful and lightweight Incorrigible series, it makes me giggle. I’m up to Book 4.



Broccoli Stem Fries. Yep, you read that right! I am a huge fan of Carleigh who founded Plant You. Her Scrappy Cookingseries is brilliant and I made these the other day, a winner. I’ve thrown the stalks away all my life but not any more. I think you’ll find lots of other fun ideas on her site also. (Psst, your kids might never know 😉)

Cannellini Beans Braised in a Tomato Sauce.

Cannellini Beans Braised in a Tomato Sauce. This is so autumnally cosy! You can add chorizo, sausage, bacon etc for a meaty adaptation.

Serves 3-4, Takes approx 20-25 mins.

Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 finely chopped red onion 2-3 sliced garlic cloves 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (5-6 cups) 2 tins Cannellini beans, drained Crème fraiche or ricotta to top if desired Basil to garnish

Method: Sauté the onion and garlic gently for 10 mins, add a splash of water to stop it catching. Add the tomatoes and simmer until they break down and go soft, about 10-15 mins. Blitz with a hand blender/stick, or mash in the pan with a fork. Add the beans and stir through, add more water if it’s too thick.

Season to taste. I added sea salt flakes, pepper and some fruity hot sauce.

Top with cheese if using, sliced basil leaves and serve with toasted sour dough rubbed with a cut garlic bulb and a drizzle of olive oil.


For fun


In Case You Missed It

Snaps From Home here on the Sub last month. Beautiful interiors from the home of Florence Nightingale’s sister, Parthenope. Florence spent a few months here every year.

What's Stopping You From Stepping?

“Look, I can’t find the words for it.

All I have is this golden fullness

rising in my chest, flooding my throat

like a pool of honey. . . ”

~ Luci Shaw, an excerpt from her poem Without Words.

Don’t let me forget to practice these little acts of groundedness, to give myself to entering into the joy of wonder 🍎


Signing off

Have you signed up on Substack yet? It's free unless you feel to throw some spare change in the hat. I release the Beagle there first before here and am working to make that my main platform.

I wish you all a September of cosy embracing, of rhythm, ritual and people.

With love,

Jacqui X


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