Festivals, Health & Well-being

The magic of Soul Circus

SOUL CIRCUS 6

If I thought Wilderness festival was love love love (which I certainly did), then I’ve found an event which raised that by a 1000.  An event that compelled me so much that when leaving, I bought myself a ticket for next year. I didn’t even really have to think about it- it HAD to be done.  Now that has to say a lot, right?

Based in the glorious setting of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Soul Circus is a small festival carefully and lovingly made. I arrived on the coach and my heart did a little happy jig as I could see the bell tents and fairy lights and the roaming fields around it.  We pitched up in an area with ample green around us- no need to be squashed together like sardines.  I really liked the fact that it took me just over 5 minutes to walk from the tent to the main site, and that queuing for a shower took 5 minutes as opposed to 45. I loved the fact I got to see familiar faces and that mums and dads could let their children run and play and still easily be able to see them and keep an eye on them. Where doing a 360 meant you could pretty much see all the main tents and plan your day easily. This is the kind of event that proves bigger doesn’t have to mean better. Its population size of around 4,000 meant for a restful and reflective time for ME. In an event that focuses on health and well-being, that felt so important.

I didn’t however love forgetting to buy a higher seasoned sleeping bag and choosing to ignore the fact that the end of August in the UK countryside can be seriously cold! Lessons now learned 🙂

My highlights

There are so many styles of yoga classes by many experienced and big names that you’ll be spoiled for choice, and happily exhausted! I attended a few of these, and a lot of talks. I love listening to people, sitting there and scribbling their best bits of advice. Soul Circus had lots of choice in this regard from excellent speakers, and I wasn’t disappointed. Then there’s the food demos, gong baths, dance classes, wild running, aerial silk classes, classes for children, life drawing, boob printing, talks from nutritionists and more on offer!

I saw Jasmine Hemsley who gave a food demo, book signing for her recipe book East by West, and an informative and inspiring talk on Ayurveda. The discussion of Ayurveda resonated with me in a health respect and made a lot of practical sense and I immediately did the dosha assessment via her website (I’m mostly Pita it seems!). Jasmine was funny, lovely, well-informed and super interesting. She also runs her own sound bath experiences in London- I immediately whacked this on the “to-do” list! Find her and more details at: http://www.jasminehemsley.com/

Zofie Lloyd-Gucia, aka “The Happiness Coach” spoke to us about the significance of our beliefs. Believe you are something and you will prove it. My favourite take-away was when she told us “if you argue for your limitations you get to keep them”. Even if something is factually true, or has some fact to it, do the beliefs you are carrying actually serve you? Zofie shares her own personal challenges, but approaches life with joy and gratitude. Take a look at Zofie’s amazing work and website, offering 1:1 coaching, free weekly meditation sessions and more: http://www.relaxmehappy.co.uk/

Keeley Dann: professional dancer extraordinaire, and super relationship coach based in London. I attended her Beyoncé class which was broken down easily for those of us who are not natural dancers, with the emphasis on confidence and fun. In a separate workshop, Keeley spoke with us about self compassion, acceptance and appreciation, and is a charismatic, personable and knowledgeable speaker. Check her out for more events or contact her for 1: 1 sessions: http://www.keeleydann.com/ Absolute girl crushing on these gorgeous ladies, Keeley and Zofie, and took so much away from them.

Kundalini yoga class. Have you heard of it? The way I describe it is, remember when you were a child and you’d feel so angry about something you’d pummel your pillow to let that anger out? Kundalini yoga focuses more on the spiritual than the physical and encourages you to release toxic and negative emotions. I admit as a first timer, it felt a bit “out there” but I LOVED it!! Absolutely loved it and the after effect was immediate. It resonated so much that one of the first things I did was get back to London and check out local classes!

Radical Life Drawing by the Anti-Diet Riot Club. I loved the fact that the speakers at this event spoke positively about body image and not everyone being the size or the body that the media portrays. I felt it was a really good call to include this at a yoga event where perhaps a smaller body size felt the norm, to remind you that healthy encompasses all sizes. I love the message and manifesto this group radiates, not just about sizes but diversity in all its glory. You can find workshops and life drawing events in London, if they are not at a festival near you! http://antidietriotclub.co.uk/

What I recommend

Get yourself a ticket! Honestly: if self care and wellness is your jam, current ticket prices are an absolutely bargain at just £125 each! If you consider how much yoga classes alone cost, this is an absolute steal.

As above, don’t miss the talks- there are some amazing speakers and life coach professionals here and they each made such a positive difference to me and can to you too.

Check out the stalls- beautiful independent jewellery, art and clothing stalls. I bought some amazing crystals here for a fraction of what it would have cost in London! Varying in  prices but all super beautiful to look at.

Don’t fret about “not being into yoga”. I wasn’t! There are all capabilities and levels here.

Take tea bags and a flask! You might be charged a bit for hot water, but it’s still cheaper than buying tea or coffee anywhere all the time. We didn’t have serious rain, but it was cold on the Saturday, when I probably drank 10 cups of hot drinks!

Bring snacks! Soul Circus didn’t really appear to offer any of the usual errr rubbish I like to indulge in! Well it’s a health and well-being event!!

Get a group of you if you can! It would be a magic place to bring friends along to chill with!

https://www.soulcircus.yoga/

 

 

Festivals

Wilderness Festival- because here we all belong

So, it’s been a few days but I’m still on a high from what was such a special event. Wilderness is just pure love, and gin and tonic joy! Where you are in a community where you feel you all belong, where there is no outsider, there is no “better than” and there is no class divide. This was my first time and hopefully won’t be my last.

It was all rush rush rush leading up to getting on the coach and when I did, all my stresses (mainly at fighting my way through rush hour commuters which made me feel FML on several occasions!) literally seemed to melt away. Cornbury Park, the festivals location, is in a really beautiful location (I mean REALLY, so gorgeous) in a part of Oxford and the UK not really known to me. I now realise I need to fix that.  It’s about a 10 minute drive from the village of Woodstock and the Royal Blenheim Palace and the grounds of the festival are just dreamy and almost made for such an event. Who has a freshwater lake in the middle of a festival?!

I arrived at 12.30pm via National Express on the Thursday. I was grumbling a bit that it was a bit early, as it left London just after 10am and we were unable to access the festival until about 3.30pm that day. However, on the positive it was absolutely perfect in that the fields were empty of tents and I got to see them in their untouched glory, plus we had our pick of where to pitch up. The National Express is also such a convenient way to get there and took me just over 2 hours direct from Victoria. Totally recommend it- easy and environmentally friendly too. It was super chilled both ways, with everyone snoring on the way back!

Highlights

I have so many warm and wonderful highlights!

-The talks were exceptional. I’m excited to tell you about them, they were honestly so good.  I listened to Anna Hart in the “Book Tent” discussing ethical travel and her book “Departures” which is a book of Anna’s solo travel adventures. Anna was funny and interesting in discussing her work, and answered questions on how to get published and committing to your own style of writing.  She discussed ethical travel as to think about including getting the “holiday prep” such as nails and tanning done in the travel you are arriving in, to support the local people. To consider booking the local accommodation or bed and breakfast’s rather than chain hotels. To consider going further for longer periods of time or going away long haul less often. Small and totally achievable things. She made me think, she made me laugh, she has an impressive CV,  and was so down to earth and lovely. She ALSO gave a really exciting sounding travel trip (I scribbled it down!) called “Do the North” which are short kayaking experiences in Sweden where you totally switch off and get away from it all. Including links for Anna’s book and the “Do the North” experience here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Departures-Guide-Letting-Adventure-Time/dp/0751569569 and https://dothenorth.com/

Roy Gill was one of the speakers in the Forum tent, who gave us just a 15 minute but so captivating overview about his life history and how he came to be running in own business: The Dairy restaurant in Clapham, London. I really enjoyed his chat and clearly his huge work ethos. Roy told us he dropped out of university, persevered with an interest in cooking and is now running a hugely successful restaurant. He, like Anna, was totally down to earth and answered questions around audience members cooking queries (I loved at this point how another member chipped in on the best way to cook a chicken!), and sustainable and ethical working. I also thought it was compelling what Roy had to say on the vibe and ethos he wanted the Dairy to uphold. The fact that his staff may spend 60-80 hours a week at work, so careful considerations were made of the plan of the restaurant (open plan element connecting the kitchen and its staff to the restaurant staff and clients), the choice of music, and choosing to  “run it like a family” and how this informs for a positive and more upbeat environment. Roy has a farm in Croydon so he was explaining his meat is sourced directly from there, and his food waste goes into a recycle bin to return it directly to the farm soil. Sounds incredible. Here’s where you can check his restaurant out- it’s definitely on my list! http://the-dairy.co.uk/

-Swimming in a freshwater lake in +30’s temperatures were incredible. You can do it in your underwear if you forget your cossie: no-one cares here!

-It got me thinking more about the environment. The festival promotes green living and recycling highly, and all the plates/cutlery and cups advertised the green and recyclable message. Alice and I attended a talk on the huge amount of waste in the ocean and it got us talking about everything we use on a daily or weekly or monthly basis; cotton wool, sanitary pads, baby wipes, plastic bottles, feeling overwhelmed with the amount we maybe “should” be changing and instead opting to positively change 1-2 things in our lives going forward as small but achievable steps.

-There is a huge focus on health and wellness. Music is important, but it’s not the focus of the festival. Granted some of it maybe on the pricey side, but you can totally opt out of buying or purchasing things, as we did, and definitely not feel excluded. There was still free events that you could enjoy and partake in- not as much, but still available.

-Ok so I never went to this BUT The Togetherness tent sounded awesome- creative and alternative workshops on nipple decorating, “spooning”, “how to have better sex mindfully”. I just loved the options here! I don’t think you had to go with a partner necessarily either- some of these were talking only, no physical contact required 🙂

-Alternative festival options such as Hip Hop Karaoke, Gods Jukebox and the Alternative Miss Wilderness are Wilderness staples and I LOVED them! I cried at God’s Jukebox, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Members of the audience request songs to be played by the Wilderness Orchestra, with added dedications to loved ones. Tear jerking and humbling dedications that made you feel glad to be alive 🙂 Told you it was all about love this festival didn’t I?!?

My Recommendations

-Travel with National Express if you want a fuss free journey. Yes if coming from London you do get there quite early on the Thursday but that has its perks, and the grounds are so beautiful to relax and enjoy until things get going.

-Ask the staff on arrival where the little bridge is and head to that campsite to pitch up there! It’s a perfect spot as you are close enough to the lake and getting into the event, therefore not far to get back to the tent in the evening

-Take note of the fancy dress theme and dress up! Or not- you won’t look weird if you don’t. But this is the festival to let your hair down and NOT CARE!!!

-Forget glass and cans. You can take cans to your tent but they won’t let you take the cans into the main festival area. Therefore just make sure you have something to carry your drinks in!

-There are ATMs on site, but they WILL charge you £2.75. it’s a festival, to be expected, so take enough cash to last you!

-Consider as Alice and I did the deposit scheme to pay for the ticket entry, however just note this charges you a little bit more (£20, £30 more?) for this option.

Final thing to say, just have a brilliant and beautiful time!! I honestly loved it- it was the right size for me, I loved the talks, the alternative workshops (we are still a little sad we never got to make the Frieda Kahlo headdress due to the popularity of the workshops though!), the yummy vegan and veggie options (especially the chocolate avocado pot from Onist and the yumminess from The Good Egg) You. Will. Love. It!!!

Please let me know if you book in for next year as I will be so so jealous- lazy bird tickets (early bird sold out!) for the super keen came out TODAY!! https://www.wildernessfestival.com/

Journal

Cha-cha-cha changes

Today I am having a home day. It’s the perfect day to recharge and have some alone time, which I need and love, despite being as social as I am too! It feels the perfect day to sit and reflect, and watch the rain pour down outside. It’s so soothing.  I’ve been inspired by a few things lately. Actually inspired by a lot of things, and I wanted to share some of those with you.

The younger me was super cool about significant changes, it turns out the older me struggles a little bit more! Tomorrow is my last day at work at St Thomas’ Hospital, the last day (perhaps ever?) of me wearing the white tunic and green trousers us Occupational Therapists are known for. I am a little anxious, yet so relieved. I definitely feel it’s the right decision for me, as I have never fitted into the rush and hustle and bustle of hospitals. In fact I would take it a step further and question my fitting into the role itself if I am honest. It’s not like I’ve tried many different settings to know that, but there are some extenuating things going on to increase these thoughts. I had a total freak out one morning earlier this week when I was randomly awake at 4am pondering questions of life and a self critical voice trying to creep its way in. Now I’m realising: why the insane rush to DO, and self flagellation when not working? What is 3-4 weeks of not working at the end of the day if it was needed?! So now I’m really excited for the plans I have during that time, including taking the time to write and do more London tourism for my blog, and just to rest. The end of work felt like such a sweet and poignant celebration and there are plenty of lovely people there I’ll miss. I think whatever happens and when all is said and done, I applaud my own decision to leave at the end of the day when it was such a big decision to make. Our wellbeing is more important than anything.

I’ve been a little quiet on the ground blogging and Instagram wise, as I’m torn between the need for consistency and not wanting to post waffle/tripe either if the content I have is not of value. Over the last month I’ve attended 2 blogging social events which were fantastic. One was run by the events company Traverse, and the other was a Sandals promotion led by the bloggers, the Twins that Travel and Sunset Colada. The Traverse event was networking and was a little scary for me initially as there are bloggers there with a few thousand and more followers to their name, but I met some really nice people and came away with a few new friends which was awesome! And the talk by the Twins that travel and the Sunset Colada was just INCREDIBLE and I was really inspired by both their journeys and how very hard they are working to create well written and beautiful content. I was and am a total fangirl of the Twins that Travel who are both so intrinsically nice despite how mahoosive they are in the blogging world, and Ebru the girl behind Sunset Colada was so down to earth and approachable and I was hooked during her interview. Both bloggers have a real sharing nature and are not afraid to share their top tips with you, and their openness is so refreshing. I was also super inspired by Lucy Lucraft’s podcasting talk at the Traverse event in Rotterdam (I listened online via her awesome podcast) and have signed up to her podcasting course. I know- Clare where are you going to find the time?! But I’ve already written a list of those who I would like to interview, and feel that the biggest challenge (despite previous education experience which should indicate otherwise!) will be the tech aspects and me trying to become a bit more techy! But I’m so friggin excited for this. It brings me back to the younger me who completed a MA in Radio and loved creating digital content such as this. My curiosity for people has not gone away and audio will bring life to the interviews in a way that type cannot- bring that on.

I’ve also attended my second crystal channelling workshops which I guess in a nutshell focuses on channelling and harnessing you inner good via meditation. There is something really special about Roberta Boyce who leads these workshops and I really recommend you take a look if you are in the need for some self love and reflective time. The subject title changes monthly: and the space based in Covent Garden is intimate and protective. Take a look at http://www.buddhaonabicycle.com/

Being essentially what will be a self employed OT essentially means if I don’t like something, I can give a weeks notice and leave. Or I have the homeless charity to locum with, until I figure things out. I have a half marathon in October (11 weeks to go- gulp!) , am wanting to keep up with the blog and would like to start this podcast. So much on as usual, but there feels a notable shift in my attitude and awareness and readiness for it all.

Essentially, I feel like I am in a flux of change, but that I am becoming more authentically ME, and that THAT is exciting.

Gratitude as always for my friends, family, and to Ellie Quinn of the Wandering Quinn who introduced me to this blogging lark and opened me up to the creativity and possibilities again away from the 9-5pm world. I love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festivals, London Living

Happy to be back at The Chap Festival 2018. Enjoying the day with London’s fashion finest!

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If there was one event I’d encourage you to attend in London, it would be the Chap Olympiad. It takes place every year in July, in the beautiful and elegant Bedford Square: which I am told is the only fully Georgian square in London. Whether you are a Londoner, or visiting the city, you will absolutely love this quiet masterpiece of an event.

I believe this year was the 13th year of the festival, organised by Gustav Temple who is the founder of the Chap magazine, which details itself as ” a journal for the modern gentleman” http://thechap.co.uk/2018/07/05/fashion-at-the-chap-olympiad/ The magazines, also were sold on the day, come out quarterly and offer simply beautiful fashion articles and advice for the distinguished modern gent. I certainly recommend taking a look. Subscriptions would be a novel and special gift for a friend, partner or father who has an interest in finer male fashion and dandy wear. People who attend the Chap event range from general vintage and period enthusiasts, to those who wear such garments on a regular and even daily basis, and some of them look as though they’ve been styled directly from the magazine itself.

Bedford Square itself is a small and charming area, and absolutely perfect for an event of this kind. In the heat, the green is shaded by several leafy trees of which bunting adorns. Period music is played from speakers around the green, and the format changes slightly every year, but this year a jazz band played later on in the day and regaled us all in the sunshine.

\The day itself is split into several fantastically silly games (eg, “Not playing tennis”) and attempts at breaking world records (eg,”how many people can smoke from a pipe in 1 minute”) and as well as being a celebration of such beautiful fashion, it’s also a sheer celebration of English eccentricity. A compere introduces and leads the day, and rounds the partaking ladies and gents up. There is normally a central stage and this year was the first year without it, but I’m not sure this changed the overall feeling of the festival too dramatically. Changes are as good as a rest they say!

Certainly many of the attendees like to take part in the fun of these Olympiad games. But the absolute essence of the day is the sipping of Pimms and G&T’s and just people watching; marvelling at some of the absolute glorious individuals who come in what is mostly early 20th century regalia. Arrive early and you can grab yourself a table for yourself and friends, or bring a picnic blanket, spread out on the grass and just take in the visual feast surrounding you. It really is just lovely.

This year I went alone, and took part in “working” behind the scenes on a stall selling the Chap merchandise. Beautiful pocket square, cravats, magazine subscriptions, lapels and cufflinks. I had always meant to return to the event since first attending in 2014 but July has been quite busy the last few years and returning had become more and more difficult. This time, the idea of working was also a perfect way to return! I don’t mind attending events alone, but this is certainly one you’d get more out of by attending with special friends.

I got chatting to many wonderful attendees who had come over from the US, Canada and the continent and specifically timed their visits to attend this event. All spoke of being starved of events like this at home, and really appreciating the vintage scene in London and the Chap event itself. Some of the gentlemen who attended the stall tipped their hats when saying hello to me which was just lovely! I was even lucky enough to be treated to a few G&T’s on the stall (and ended up a little squiffy!) It just made me feel so wonderfully happy to be in London and enjoy the special events we have here. My team of fellow stewards were lovely chaps and ladies. And the Chap founder and organiser of this event Gustav Temple is the epitome of being a true gent and made the event very special.

The Chap takes place around the 14th July every year- do not forget it! Tickets were £25 this year and well worth the price. If you are looking for a special occasion for yourself and a loved one, or perhaps with a larger group of friends, mark this one in the diary; and make sure you give yourself enough time to find an outfit!

Super thanks to Gustav, Hayley, Marcus, Paul, Jimmy Keck (visiting from Providence Rhode Island, US!) and all the others who made the day so wonderful.

 

 

 

 

London Living

A beautiful day at Hampton Court

Hampton Court is a beautiful day out and easy reach from London. We’d planned it during a week when I had a week day off, and thought therefore it would be relatively quiet. Actually what we had overlooked is that the RHS Hampton Court Flower show was taking place during this week, which made Hampton Court busier than usual and the train packed! I’d have preferred the romantic notion I had in my head for the visit of virtual emptiness and being able to stand and stare in rooms without having to worry if you were standing in peoples way, BUT I still had a really lovely visit!

The visit was actually for a birthday present to mum, who was trying to decide over it or Arundel Castle. We are starting to notch up visits as mother and daughter to impressive and historic buildings, with visit earlier this year to Kensington Palace and a previous visit to the Ritz for a lovely afternoon tea, and Arundel remains on the list!

Mum can only walk short distances, so we asked for a wheelchair on arrival. Her disability status and my needing to push the wheelchair, actually meant that we actually both entered the Palace and grounds for £18 combined. Ruben bought his ticket online that morning, for an online rate of around £19.00 and the ticket was there waiting for him to be collected. The facilities are so, so disability friendly and no where is out of reach.  The staff were so polite and friendly, that was also really wonderful! We had people carrying the wheelchair for us and going out of their way to ask if we were ok, and re-directing us as it was at times a little confusing as honestly the Palace is humungous! There was no where that we missed- everything was access friendly and we were directed to and taken in the lifts around the Palace where necessary.

When it comes to the beautiful grounds, do ask for an electric scooter if you or your party is needing one, as they have these on offer also and you just need to sign a form before borrowing. It meant mum could come out with us, over the gravel and pebbled areas, and enjoy the vast grounds. And when I say vast, these are something else! Our favourite garden was the Rose Garden which was elegant and peaceful. Whether you are an avid Royalist or not, it’s still incredible to be there and think about Henry VIII and the time in which he lived there. One of our favourite parts inside the Palace was Henry’s kitchens, which was very busy during the time of our visit but had men and women dressed in period costume scurrying through and around the areas, bowing their heads to you and offering a “Good day madam” as they passed. It just made it feel really authentic and brought to you a visual of how it must have been, way back when.

We came on a train from Waterloo and opted to buy return tickets as we were hurrying, and on advice of incorrect information from train staff present. Please note and remember, if you are coming from London and you have an Oyster card, just ensure you have pre-pay on your card! As Hampton Court is still in zone 6. We paid something like £15 each for a return ticket, when really we only needed to have a few pounds each on our Oysters and could have easily used them- oops!

It’s a very worthwhile day trip and one the 3 of us were happy to have finally visited! Perhaps my only negative point would be to say I didn’t think the food on offer was particularly exciting, and it was also quite expensive for what it was. I suppose, to be expected in these settings. If you could bear the thought of carrying items, the ground would make a beautiful setting for a picnic! 🙂 Otherwise happy viewing- the quality of the Palace rooms and the restoration work involved is just outstanding, it’s super value for money and amazing to see a set of buildings where such history took place.

 

Health & Well-being

Give yourself permission (to find your soul)

I have been so, so lapse on my writing for some time. I’m not quite sure why, but it’s definitely lovely to be sat back in front of the laptop again with so end game, no work related activity to complete, other than to share some thoughts and open up. We’re having this seemingly endless spell of sunny weather and I’m sat on our big dining table watching the Stoke Newington world go by as the sun goes down. It’s gorgeous.

Where I’m at these days: Well, Ruben and I obviously moved! We both love our new house. The journey to work is slightly longer- but that’s ok. It’s well worth it to have extra space, and be in a beautiful “village like” area. It’s not as hip as Dalston as I said before and I say this with a huge “phew”. I’m not hip! I just love the cosy byt anything goes nature of Stokie though. I can’t wait to properly attend the markets one weekend and just hang out in Clissold Park!

Workwise, well, I handed my notice in about 2 weeks ago. I’ve been working for the NHS for just over 2 years as an Occupational Therapist and I’ve just got more and more anxious in the acute hospital environment. I’m over the critical culture I feel the NHS has, and I’m looking to do agency or locum and just find my feet in a few other areas before deciding on the longer term path.  I’ve now got a month to go (it was a 6 week notice period), so really, the count down is on! I feel honestly that the NHS has derided my confidence, and I’m hoping with all hope that these new ventures lead me to building some of that back up!

And with regards to this new work and life related vigour, I’m all about Gary Vaynerchuk right now (https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/) Whilst his speaking and motivational messages were not the direct catalyst for me handing in my notice, the video link I’m attaching here sums up exactly how I’m feeling right now about- well about everything! Please listen to it if you’re feeling low, about anything. He’s too bloody right- tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us and it’s time to take action if you can:  https://binged.it/2ME8w4x

You see, here is the trap I was making for myself: I’m 36, I can’t leave! I need to stay for the benefits, like the maternity pay! I also let people within the environment reduce my confidence. The truth is the longer I stayed with the a job or environment that wasn’t right for me, the worse I was feeling. And part of me couldn’t believe I was feeling like this at 36, there was a bit of shame attached to it too.  The more I believed the negative of “what choice do I have” the more desperate and down I became. I’m definitely feeling better now. Less disempowered and more empowered with my choices.  Nervous but hopeful. Tonight, I’ve sat down, finally finished the CV and sent it off to a few agencies.

I’ve realised that sure I’m 36, but that’s still pretty young! And regardless of any age, we have to be happy! And no one deserves to stay in an environment that makes them feel miserable, where people take advantage of them.

So! Some beautiful things I’m totally recommending you look into (both London focused and online):

1)The crystal channelling workshops at Buddha on a Bicycle in Covent Garden, £25 for 2 hours with a small group of other women http://www.buddhaonabicycle.com/workshops-and-events/ (none posted yet for July) Roberta Boyce is something extraordinary and really has a gift. You’ll see what I mean if you go! Crystal channelling might sound out there, but is nothing more than focusing on the most inner part of yourself: your soul essence. The part you might attribute to god, to a higher power, to the universe. Whatever you name it, giving it focus is part of self love and self healing. This was a beautiful event and I really recommend this for anyone. I plan to go once monthly as each month there is a different topic. So you know, you are invited to speak in front of the group, but it’s not as scary as it sounds! After a while you forget/don’t care that anyone else is listening!

2)Gary Vanerchuk podcasts. The content we consume is so so important. Some of it focuses on entrepreneurship, but I still find a lot of it interesting and relatable and at the moment am just a huge fan girl on anything the man says! It’s clear he’s got to where he is because he knows what he’s talking about and who he is. He’s also not been afraid to work hard for his dreams and talks a lot about the fear of failure holding us back. I listen on my phone or you can access the podcasts here :http://www.richroll.com/podcast/gary-vaynerchuk/

3) Yoga. This is something I tried in my 20’s and found the “stillness” aspect of it too difficult to achieve. I think at the time I wanted movement and action and had too much energy in my head and mind to manage it! I’m currently enrolled in a introductory offer at Yoga Home in Stoke Newington. Whilst it isn’t the cheapest yoga offer you can get, it’s literally 3 minutes from my house! And I’m having fun trying all sorts of yoga and realising how amazingly hard and inspiring it is! Plus the breath and focusing on mindfulness obviously declutters your mind and almost reprogrammes you. I think for someone feeling very very low, this might be too intense, but for someone coming up from negative thinking and a low period, it has been a blessing http://yogahome.com/

Furthermore, I’ve also been going to my friends Sunday “Weekend Warrior” yoga sessions which are just £5 a class and super brilliant for all levels, including beginners. if you can get to Clerkenwell for 12.15pm on a Sunday i really recommend them https://www.facebook.com/Weekend-Warrior-Yoga-2049700728383028/ Who knew that the puppydog pose could be so intense?! I love challenging myself with these sessions!

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3) Emails from tut.com. These have really made me smile! Sign up for pearls of wisdom from the Universe, direct to your inbox! See the photo below for an example of what I mean. They’ve really cheered me up!

4) Access the website thetallphotographer.co.uk for subscription to  “Five good things”. This is a weekly email which, you’ve guessed it, details 5 lovely things to brighten up your week, and for me balances out the negativity of the news and the small hum drum details which bog us down and serves to lift your spirits! I love this idea so much- I’ve recently unsubscribed from a lot of spam, so that my inbox can send me little treats such as this one!

5) The Chap Olympiad! I don’t think I’ve been back since 2014. It’s on every July in Bedfordshire Square (which is just glorious) in central London and is a celebration of pure English eccentricity. If you want to see the smartest looking people (this is an understatement) look no further, and if you want to laugh and delight at literally the silliest things, here’s the place! I loved this event, and have tried to go every year since but one thing or another has stopped me. This weekend I saw an email come through regarding help required and it therefore transpires I’ll be there on the 14 July in my finery! Check here for tickets! Come on! https://www.chapolympiad.com/

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Just one of my hilarious emails from http://www.tut.com

 

If you are feeling in anyway in a place of shift, I wish you all the best with it. It’s a cliché but you’re not running out of time and it’s never too late.

Happy Sunday all xx

 

London Living

Half a day at Westminster Abbey

I had no idea of the amount of famous people who are buried here! A famous quote is that Winston Churchill refused to be laid to rest here, saying he had had so many people walk over him in his life, he didn’t want that to continue after death. Or words to that effect: so there is a tribute to him in the cathedral instead! It really isn’t just the royalty, aristocracy and names from history you know you should know more about but don’t. It’s a very exciting line up of scientists including Sir Issac Newton and Stephen Hawking and novelists including Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens (yes: it’s also a bit male heavy, such were the times I suppose). I learned that at the start of the building of Westminster Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster (now Houses of Parliament) they were built on an area called Thorney Island- a small island that obviously ceases now to exist. And that everyone is laid horizontally of course in the cathedral and excavation work still brings up unknown graves. There is one plot however that stands out and that is the grave of the poet Ben Jonson, who could only afford to be buried standing up!

Over 3,000 people are buried here which is just unbelievable! It feels vast, but not that vast to encompass so many!

The logistics

We bought our tickets online the night before and were at the Cathedral by 10am. If you have bought tickets, you’ll jump the long, LONG line which even by this time is already in formation. You will be given an audioguide and headphones as part of your ticket entry fee (£22 for adults if bought on the day, or £20 online). I have to say, we didn’t use this so I can’t review it for you. As soon as we were inside we went to the desk on the right to pay for the “verger tour” which is a group tour for an extra £5 p/p, taking you around the cathedral. We had already decided on this, and were advised that this tour would cover areas that the audioguides couldn’t. In case you don’t know (I didn’t), a verger is an official who takes care of matters in the church- looking after the priests and the patrons, but not someone who has been ordained. The 10.30am slot was sold out, so we went for the 11am instead and decided to take a walk through the cathedral, past the cloisters and have a cup of tea in the Cellarium Café. Which was quiet and rather blissful!

 

We really liked the tour! Ruben struggled to hear at points, but John, the verger we were taken around by was really lovely. As I’ve said, we can’t compare and contrast with the audioguide as we didn’t listen to it. We did feel though that the tour didn’t take us to that many places,  that the audioguide would not have done. Which was ok by us, just we were informed otherwise! That is, apart from one of the most considered important places in the Abbey which was the Shrine of Edward the Confessor who ruked as King of England from 1044-1066(http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/confessor_shrine.html). This was a beautiful area of tombs of Kings and Queens from British history and we got to spend about 10 minutes here, away from the crowds, which was lovely.

Useful information to plan your day

When you arrive to the Cathedral you really need to ask one of the assistants in the red coats before joining a line, to make sure you join the right one!

Note that photographs are only allowed around the Cloisters area (Ruben’s favourite part and we were advised you could come back into this part without paying

As with most things, arrive early! As we were leaving at 1pm, people were being turned away unless they had bought tickets online. The church closes at 3pm and the officials were advising the queue was already too long!

Consider peeking into the 12th century St Margarets Church before going into the Cathedral. We lost an opportunity there as they would not let us back through the main gates as the queues were so long when we were leaving!

Check it out and enjoy your trip! https://www.westminster-abbey.org/visit-us/