Mother’s Day Special: Naural Beauty Interview with Patricia Alice Mitchell

This month we’ve interviewed a delicious woman by the name of Patricia Alice Mitchell. Name not familiar? That’s because Patricia is none other than Cindy Luken‘s mum.

This month is about appreciating the woman who gave life to you, so for our May She’s Delicious interview Cindy has sat down with her own mum to reminisce and reconnect. Now, you don’t have to sit down for a formal interview with your mum, but simply taking the time to ask about her childhood, interests, opinions, passions etc is a fantastic way to connect on a deeper level and make your mum feel loved. Often it is the everyday woman who is actually a superhero in disguise so what better time to let her know how much she is appreciated…and you never know, you might just learn something!

INTRO + BUSINESS
Mama- one of the things I love about you is your caring and selfless nature. You’re also incredibly strong – can you tell me about how your life has shaped this about you?

I hadn’t realised that I was perceived as strong. I’ve suffered a few heartbreaks in my life but from each of these I have tried to focus on the good parts of those relationships and how they have strengthened my character and given me joy – such as my two children, a love of my home and an interest in antiques. I have become a much more resourceful person.

Apart from being a schoolteacher, you are also the best mum in the world. What do you think makes a good mum?

What makes a good mum? An ability to play with & enjoy children whilst guiding them to be kind & confident. My happiest childhood memories are of activities with mum and dad – backyard cricket, tennis, table tennis in our lounge room, and picnics. Mum and dad were very loving to each other and that set a wonderful example to try to emulate.

You’re nearly 70 and still working! Tell us about your business and why you love it?

My late husband Paul introduced me to antiques and collectibles. We both loved the business that we set up and now after 20 years I’m still just as keen. Through it I’ve meet people, shared information and above all kept learning – even reluctantly becoming computer and social media literate.

Mum searching for antiques for her shop

Mum at an antique fair in Newcastle with her goodies

When you’re not exploring and hunting for new antiques, what do you do to relax?

Home for me is a special place where I read, garden, cook and fiddle. I’m a great fiddler with all the bits and pieces that I buy for my shop. I also take a great interest in current affairs and am addicted to the ABC and Q&A but at the same time enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

FOOD
What did you grow up eating and how has this changed over the years?

Growing up we lived on the land and had our own milk, eggs, fruit and vegies. Only basic essentials such as flour, sugar, cereal, white bread and meat were bought in. Our meals were very predictable. Mum’s shopping lists were almost identical from week to week. A lot of lamb, stew, & grills with 3 vegies. Always a desert – stewed fruits with homemade custard, junket or ice cream made from eggs and fresh cream.

At 17, when I met Cindy’s father, a German migrant, he introduced us to many different food experiences such as continental cheeses, cakes and small goods. I loved these new tastes and experiences and with his help, developed my cooking skills to encompass these things.

Tell me about your diet now, what do you eat to give yourself the energy you need to continue being so active?

Now I’m more health conscious, looking for healthy fats, reducing salt and eating very few refined foods. Fresh vegetables and fruit are the main part of my meals with small servings of meat or fish. My energy comes from eating regularly the freshest home cooked meals. I have almost become intolerant of takeaway foods – they affect my sleep and don’t sit well in my stomach any more.

Mum looking gorgeous in her garden

Mum looking gorgeous in one of the beautiful wild flower gardens she loves to visit

What is it about cooking that you love so much?

I love trying new recipes – particularly savoury and we seldom have the same meal twice. I cook at least 80% of our meals and really look forward to preparing my evening meal and enjoying a glass of wine.

What are your top three ingredients when you cook?
  1. Fresh fruit and vegies
  2. Herbs
  3. Spices
Can you share with us your favourite recipe?

This is my own creation and all of my grandchildren absolutely love it!

Chicken, tomato & fennel with pasta & parmesan cheese

What you need |

600g boneless organic chicken thighs

olive oil

1 onion sliced

2 cloves garlic chopped

½ red chilli [optional for adults}

I punnet fresh cherry tomatoes

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 tspn fennel seeds

1 tspn raw sugar

silver beet or English spinach

salt & pepper

to serve

pasta

parmesan cheese

chopped Italian parsley

How to |

  1. Fry onion, garlic, chilli, fennel seeds and cherry tomatoes in 1-2 tbsp olive oil in wok or lidded pan until almost caramelised then set-aside.
  2. Cut chicken thighs into small pieces.
  3. Brown in wok.
  4. Return the sauted ingredients to the pan with the chicken. Stir in tomatoes. Add ground black pepper and salt to taste. Cook for 30 mins.
  5. Top with chopped silver beet and cover and simmer until wilted. Stir in. (note if using silver beet you may want to add in at step 4 as it takes longer to cook than English spinach)
  6. Serve with your favourite cooked pasta. Top with parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.
BEAUTY
What is your skin/beauty regime?

As a child we were a weekly bath family with cat washes on other days. With no hot water or electricity until I was 10 years old, that’s how it was done.

With the connection of electricity, showers became a daily pleasure and skin care became easier and more a priority. As a teenager I suffered terribly from acne with very oily skin. But in some ways the oily skin has been a benefit – I’ve had almost no wrinkles and lines  until recently! I have religiously cleaned my face each night since my teens – mostly just with warm water, then moisturised. It’s become a ritual that cleanses my soul and skin for sleeping well.

What is your best-kept beauty secret that has kept you looking so young?

Religiously cleansing my face, applying my lip nourish and doing Tai Chi with U3A to keep me supple and relaxed.

What is your favourite lip nourish?

Vanilla & cinnamon!

LIFE
So much of what you’ve taught me, I’ve passed on to my own children Karl and Ciara- what were the core values that you instilled in my brother and I growing up?
  • A love of nature and nurturing. Being considerate of those less fortunate.
  • Sharing of tasks around the home so that you appreciated what’s involved and didn’t take things for granted.
  • Setting boundaries so that you knew where you stood.

I hope that my children have benefitted each in their own way from seeing how I have coped with life’s misfortunes. I believe that I have become much more self-sufficient but with an ability to empathise with and be interested in other people.

My little ones Karl and Ciara

My little ones Karl and Ciara

What is the best advice you have ever been given and how do you live it each day?

Be interested in how things work, whether it be money matters or home maintenance. You never know when you’ll have to be responsible for it all yourself.

What is happiness to you?

Feeling healthy and fulfilled. I believe it’s up to me to make the most of life – to try new things, stretch my boundaries and keep myself well both physically and mentally.

Also having my grandchildren come to stay with me. I love to have them engage with me in my love of old things, my garden, books and games. Karl tells me he loves Nanny’s old things. That makes my heart sing.

What is next on the cards for you mum?

For my 70th birthday, I’m going treat to myself – I’m off to the Kimberley region on my own, to join a small group bus trip in this remote and precious area. I’m very excited.

Well there you have it! This is my gorgeous mum. I hope you have taken something from this interview, even if it’s just the desire to sit and down and have a chat with your own mum. It definitely made us both a little emotional and nostalgic but this was such a beautiful way to learn and connect with each other. Happy Mother’s Day natural beauties! xx

cindy luken signature

PS. Head here to check out the rest of our She’s Delicious inspirational interviews

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