Daily Inspiration, Journal

Autumn blogging reflections- gratitude

Today is my 1 year friend-adversary with Ellie Quinn, travel blogger of the Wandering Quinn (check her out- https://thewanderingquinn.com/) and it seems poignant therefore to complete a blog today around this. Meeting Ellie, as I have no doubt previously mentioned, woke me up to my life. I know, dramatic, but hey it’s true. It woke me up to the world of fear based “shoulds” I had been ascribing to and reminded me of what the younger me had aspired to. It’s had the following affect:

  1. I left my job a few months later. It had been causing me a whole heap of anxiety and discomfort for some time and I was growing more and more miserable. I could feel myself becoming more negative and feeling stuck. I start a new job tomorrow, via an agency. I can’t tell you yet how that’s going to work out for me, BUT it’s better paid which means more authentic me choices in my spare time and for that, I am delighted.
  2. I changed and enhanced the content of what I am absorbing and tuned into more positive and self nurturing material. I choose uplifting people to follow on Instagram, attend health and wellness events, and have started to meditate. I follow groups such as the shelf-help book club, Gary Vee and Hazel Wallace aka the Food Medic on Instagram (follow them- they are ace!) which has also helped to wake me up about the possibilities for our lives if we believe and work for it.
  3. I started this blog in Feb this year. It’s not been very consistent as you will have seen. I have floundered a little at times on its direction, and due to this I think  therefore it’s been difficult in the past to grow. My aims are to grow the blog so that I can be an “influencer” rather than just a blogger. I’d really like to travel more and take beautiful photos and write up of the experience. In the meantime until I travel again, I’ll be focusing on beautiful London and improving my photography skills over autumn.

So. Much. Gratitude! Thank you Ellie! Thanks for always giving your time, support and friendship to me, when you have been so busy yourself., and as always in your high energy and positive way. It means a lot!! Literally everytime I message Ellie, she always get back to me in such a loving and positive way and really, she’s been like an informal mentor to me. Whatever happens I owe so much to her! (Now please go and check out her page re the link above, as she’s away travelling in super fantastic places now for a bit which will get your wanderlust drooling!) It brings it home to me with how fantastic it is to support one another.

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The super lovely Ellie, on our meet up on my birthday 8th April 2018

Nicely leading on from this, I’m tagging the wonderful girls of Twins That Travel who are doing something amazing and offering one lucky blogger the chance to be mentored by them in their exciting competition for free mentorship. Did I say for free? How amazing is that. Check out their wonderful writing, photography and travel destinations at: https://twinsthattravel.com/

Happy beautiful Sunday. What are your reflections on the months past and how are things shaping up for you with your life goals?

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal, Travel

Cadiz for Ricky’s birthday

So some ago Ric turned up with an exciting plan for his 40th, a group of us heading to Cadiz in Spain and having a wonderful party weekend! I mean- how wonderful! I love how much he planned it and how far in advance- because that’s what I’M like for events, let alone for one as big as this one!

So basically, an amazing opportunity to party with one of my best friends, in order to party with some of his best friends from Spain and London in the beautiful country and climate that is Spain.  Plus, I’ve never been to Cadiz (this was written out of the 3 week backpacking trip I did around Spain in 2016), so an extra big tick! 🙂

Ruben and I purchased our flights in January this year (return with Ryan air to Jerrez- not overly cheap, I guess because it was May) and our Stanstead Express train tickets in advance, and set our alarms for 3.40am! We travelled with our friends Rodolfo and Antonio and had a car ready to be collected on arrival…

Cadiz might not be the place you think of when you think of Spain. It wasn’t somewhere I’d necessarily heard of until 2016 and planning my backpacking trip. We drove about an hour from Jerrez airport to the coastal region of Canos de Meca, but stopped on route in Cadiz which is the oldest city in Western Europe, and explored a tiny, tiny part of the old town.

From there, we headed onwards to our costal region, where Ricky had rented 5 bungalows, each with living room, kitchen, double room and twin room with single beds. Each bungalow had its own grass area with a barbeque, and just down the lane was a swimming pool.

We had such a great time! Each night was a party, Ric’s friends DJ’d, we watched sunsets and made BBQ’s together and had our own private time too. lLittle sleep, as to be expected, but super, super chilled!! Going in May is a bonus as the temperature was already getting high, but it was low season so no where was busy as yet, and we had excellent food and service everywhere.

Here are some of my favourite snaps from the weekend!

 

Accommodation recommendation (car required to explore local area- we booked via Firefly who were quite straight forward): http://www.arenaymar.es/ If there is a group of you, like us, it’s just perfect. As we were there off season, we saw no-one else and had the entire pool to ourselves.

Restaurants recommended in the area of Canos De Meca:

El Pirata (we had some wonderful fresh fish here, including grilled calamari which was sublime)

Los Pinos: on arrival we stuffed ourselves with plenty of Tapas, a home made burger and home made desserts and it was truly lovely. Check them out via Trip Advisor; https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g580273-d2201373-Reviews-Restaurante_Hostal_Los_Pinos-Los_Canos_de_Meca_Barbate_Costa_de_la_Luz_Andalucia.html

Sightseeing recommendations in the area of Canos De Meca: 

-I didn’t see as much of it as I would have liked to, but visit the town of Conil de la Frontera. A gorgeous and relatively untouched little Spanish town, full of charming white houses and small hotels overlooking a beautiful beach, and about a 20 minute drive from Canos de Meca. My cousin was staying in Conil at the same time as we were in Canos de Meca, and she and her family took a 35 minute ferry to Tangier in Morroco! So, pretty cool!

-Visit the lighthouse at Cape Trafalger and watch the sunset with a bottle of wine

 

I’ll finish by saying- what a birthday! It was truly epic and I was soooo thrilled to be able to be there for such a special person and friend xx

 

Daily Inspiration, Journal

My weekly inspirations

Today is a much needed day off after working the Easter weekend and bank holiday. I always tell myself I’ll be super productive and have all these amazing things ticked off. The reality is that I hit snooze several times, mooched with a very beautiful cup of tea as mentioned below, surfed the net and then realised I was running late for an appointment! So much time to so little time- bam! There doesn’t always need to be this demand to be super productive though; as in, there does in my head, and it’s something I am trying to get better at. Everyone needs their downtime, their quiet time! I’ve still got lots done, it’s just not been in the super-woman way I was unfairly demanding it to be! And it’s during these moments of quietness I catch up with the great things that are inspiring me in my life at the moment! Here’s a few lovely things on the list:

  1. Heard of Yoga Girl? I hadn’t, until very recently! First of all, it’s not all about yoga, so don’t let that put you off! Rachel Brathen talks about all subjects and is real and personable. It’s deep, meaningful and spiritual stuff. She’s so honest, and just 2 episodes in, I love her for that. Find the “From the Heart” series on podcast. Loving the #metoo episode and her deep and meaningful podcast with her mum and their sincere honesty and love for one another. I love that Rachel doesn’t pretend everything is perfect and is really open about that.
  2. Latest blog site readings: wowed by the content and design of the following sites, which I really recommend. So, so much good posts to read and so carefully put together.  If you haven’t read http://www.eleanorgraceful.com/ or http://www.sophiecliff.com, then you should. Also loving  jessicarosewilliams.com bluejayofhappiness.com me&orla.co.uk (amazing podcasts) https://asthesparrowflies.com/ and https://weekendcandy.com/. They give me food for thoughts and just sheer admiration for what they have and are creating. I have no idea how many if not all of these ladies created such beautiful sites! I love it.
  3. Days off with a cup of tea from Good and Proper and deciding between the lovely loose tea we’ve chosen! They make it a perfect lazy morning as per THIS morning 🙂 I’m normally all about a teabag, but on a day off you can just go with the flow more, and Good and Proper teas are gorgeous. I love this London based tea company and their humble beginnings and friendly vibes.IMG_0506.jpg
  4. My friend and yogi Claire Matthews. Former actor and dancer, current yogi, swing dancer, more, and all round super-human. Her strength, flexibility and dedication to #yogaeverydamnday is brilliant and I admire it so much. (And I heart anyone who does anything everyday) Struggling at the moment with my own exercise routine and inspired by Claire’s posts. Find her and enjoy her on Instagram: Ilama Soares.
  5. Skincare rituals (my skincare ritual specifically! and just rituals in general) I am following through with my commitment to great products from The Ordinary to hydrate and nourish my skin, and am following up every morning with a factor 50 from La Roche Posay. Evening time I do the same again and use the Superfacialist, as pictured below! You have to find the products which work best for you, and as previously discussed it is just great that these don’t always have to be pricey. I think the guys at The Ordinary have done an amazing job!IMG_0511.jpg
  6. And finally, individuals, (as my boyfriend below) who are studying or doing something extra on top of a full time job, to better their situation. That takes a lot of determination and drive. Come rain or shine, 4 hours sleep or not, Ruben is studying…and it reminders like this certainly challenges some of the excuses I make. And that reminds me, I did promise myself I would learn some Spanish today! Umm…IMG_0491.jpg

 

I think inspiration helps to make us happy and bring us joy, or strive to be the best version of ourselves we can. What is inspiring you today? 🙂 xx

Journal

“Because we are all mysterious works of chance”- my review of Orphan Black

I’m an Orphan Black fan girl. Bit late to the party I appreciate seeing as the series ran from 2013-2017 and I only found out it existed February this year! I haven’t been THIS intrigued by a series since Desperate Housewives first began in 2004, and I wrote about that in a cultural studies essay as a student at university. I feel like maybe everyone knows about this series already so don’t want to patronize with too much detail for those of you who do, but for those of you who haven’t watched it, it’s in a nutshell about a girl called Sarah who randomly uncovers that she is one of a group of clones. As the series develop, it’s about her and her sisters fight and resistance against the dark forces going on around them as their lives are closely monitored.

The title of this post was actually inspired by Sarah’s brother Felix, who in Series 5 puts together an art show with the varying personalities of the 4 key characters (Sarah and her sisters; Helena, Cosima and Alison) represented. This quote says so much about the pivotal characters in the show, the “clone sisters” who are connected by DNA but all so, so different based on the different options, opportunities and upbringings they had, and the choices they make as adults. That we are all mysterious works of chance says so much about you and I, and the entire human race; mind boggling and fascinating. The series showcases strong female characters who know who they are and own it, without apology. No woman here is asking a man what they should do, which I totally love.

My favourite has to be Helena, who starts off as a delusional, unstable killer, and becomes a loving mother of twin boys by the end of her series. Helena is special, not least for her crazy one liners that have made me laugh the whole way through, her love of happy 60’s music which she sings to out of tune (and louder, if criticised) and for her fierce loyalty to her sisters, but for her balancing a child like fragility with instinctual warrior strength and attitude as required (plus a little aggression for good measure). She’s something else and kind of amazing!

This show reinforces the idea that having something worth fighting for is what drives the human spirit. That new beginnings and possibilities are totally worth fighting for. That in upmost fear, there can be upmost strength. Finishing Orphan Black therefore took me to a happy place of 1) anything is possible with hard work and determination 2) connections are what makes our place in this world special 3) love and laugher are good for the SOUL.

Orphan Black may have focused initially on its subject of clones and the monitors who seek to control them, but its key underpinnings serve to remind us simply that life can be a struggle but beautiful at the same time, and that it’s our responses to the struggle that make living truly worth it. 

If you haven’t watched it yet and if you can’t guess already, I TOTALLY recommend! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

All series available on Netflix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal

What I’d like to embrace in 2018

Manifestation appears a hot topic in the blogging community at the moment and not to be one to jump on the band wagon, it’s certainly something that resonates at the moment, and is on my mind very often, out-there sounding or not! At the same time as being a productive person and setting many personal targets to work towards which I have achieved, I have conversely also struggled at times with patience and commitment to a task. Fear you see has sometimes gotten the better of me and I’ve nipped out of the game early, with excuses, rather than fully immerse myself and be held accountable if I failed. As Brendon Burchard said in the book I reviewed on here earlier this year, positive thinking is not enough to be successful, it’s the habits which form daily action. And as my friend Ellie of thewanderingquinn advises, in her excellent post on the power of manifestation, writing down ones goals makes us accountable. This in itself is a bit daunting to me, let alone making this list public to the blogging world, but here goes. Life has been very generous with me lately and I’d like to have 2018 include more of the joy I believe is there for us all. The following therefore includes a list of personal goals and life goals.

  1. Recognising the things I do and am doing well. More, more and more is no good if you don’t stop to appreciate who you are, what you have already achieved and what you already have. There is a fine balance between understanding that whilst development is a key part of the human psyche, If your inner self is half full, topping it up with external wins will only last a short while, and when the high wears off you’ll be back to feeling empty again. It’s not always a balance I get right I hasten to add, but it’s something I am acutely aware of. I’m flawed,  I get things wrong, but I try and I am willing. Sometimes I write daily gratitude lists, but I’m also finding that writing the blogs is helping remind me of the key loves and joys in my life and how things are progressing.
  2. More dancing. I’m saying more dancing with recognition that this isn’t to give myself targets so to speak but because I enjoy it so much, and it’s fallen to the wayside. Probably in part since my dayjob means I get up super early and I have less energy to go back out for classes during the week. I’m also aware that part of my stopping of dancing has been to do with fear and that really if I am going to be quite honest I haven’t given it my best shot, for fear of being judged. How crazy is that? Judged by who, the UK dance committee?! Why do I care? But I do care, I care very much, and it’s this level of insecurity I’d like to work on. I think attending a swing lesson once a week should be reasonable and achievable. I used to be a fairly decent dancer but regardless of any comment on my level it’s simply a beautiful and joyful skill to have.
  3. More language learning.  You see, my longer term aims are to work with Ruben in his business and therefore, I need to have my Spanish to a fairly good level and also I would love to bring my German up to speed. We have been together for nearly 2 years and I have been dabbling for a year, but am a rather undisciplined learner. I think I have been engaging in fitness a lot (umm- although maybe not VERY recently!) and my job, seeing friends and enjoying London, but not a lot else. This skill would be part of my future. I wasn’t ever bad at languages, quite good at German which I learned from primary school to A’Level,  and I would bloody love to be able to readily converse. I just need more consistency. Babbel has been a bloody useful app that I use via my laptop: I just need to use more of it!
  4. Continue to give my self the permission to back away from things that are not meant for me, in any respect, and love the ones who love me and treat me well. This is huge. As a soft and people pleaser person, saying “enough” and stepping back takes a while for me. I want my life to be full of the love my good friends and special family members bring, and remind myself I don’t deserve any less.
  5. More fitness training and looking after myself holistically. Well I’ve signed up to the Royal Parks Half Marathon again, to fund raise with Mencap! My friend Ricky ran his half for London Landmarks recently and smashed it. I couldn’t resist and signed up for Mencap later that week! I’ve also got Soul Circus in the Cotswolds in August and I am going alone- again inspired by Ellie (thank you Ellie). I can’t wait!
  6. Being with people who make me feel excited! I have so many friends that I am awed by, inspired by, who I want to put on my inspiration page here! Watch this space- high five for friend appreciation!
  7. Blogging once a week. It doesn’t take me long to write to be honest, and whilst Ruben chills with Netflix, I quite like to get my thoughts down on paper (so to speak!) Not being afraid to include personal journal entries like this one, where I deal with the subject of fear and hold myself accountable. Submitting entries in time to the Lonely Planet (Pathfinders scheme which encourages entries from travel bloggers- I appreciate I’m not doing a great deal of travel in 2018 but I’ll still submit from my planned trips to Paris and Cadiz later this year, and would they take a blog on Manchester?!?) and getting a handle on social media platforms. Meeting other bloggers on the 8th April (my birthday!) which will be exciting and lovely to start building a little community. I am reading inspirational blogs and loving my beginnings in the blogging world.
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    I’m including this photo as one of my favourite photos ever, taken by my friend and supreme photographer Christiana Helen Perry  (christianahelenperry.wordpress.com) It’s one that inspires me. It brings back SUCH happy memories, from Twinwoods vintage festival 2015. All I could think about was dancing at the time. I just love the swish and the movement in the photo, and how alive I felt when it was taken. I’m going to bring that feeling back!!!

    Hope you enjoyed my ramblings! What brings you joy, and what do you plan to manifest for yourself this year?

Journal

Renting in London

Flat hunting hasn’t been half as bad as you might imagined it would be, although I have to say I’m glad to have someone to share it with. I didn’t want to get started, having moved 7 times already in 6 years. London’s my home, but every flat has always felt temporary for one reason or another, and I’ve lost things in every move. We’ve searched furiously on the obligatory rightmove over the space of a week to 10 days, and using the site sent off lots of requests for viewings. We heard back from a fair view to be honest, and calls are still coming in for flats which are both in the areas and the price ranges we like. It’s still irritating nonetheless when you apply to view for dream properties that apparently went sometime ago, but haven’t been removed from the website!

Ruben and I have been living with another couple for almost 6 months, and have given our notice to leave the flat at the end of April/early May this year. We gave the landlord a couple of months notice when we were obliged to give just one, as we were absolutely sure we needed to go. There have been some difficulties, but really it could also have been worse! The rent has been reasonable (£700 per couple) and the bills have been minimal, in fact the cheapest I’ve ever had. Plus we’re just a 3 minute walk to the tube station, which is certainly helpful when realising you’re up later than you should be and rushing to work in the morning! (That’s me, most mornings!). It’s definitely our time though to be living alone together, so we’re beyond pleased with our little searches and the prospect that soon we can negotiate our own time and space simply between the two of us.

You realise when you are searching that you can’t have it all and that’s part and parcel of accepting you’re living in an amazing city, unless you earn enough to say “to hell with it”. Obviously, living and sharing costs as part of a couple certainly helps. And we think Brexit has impacted upon the rents too. In 2009 myself and an ex-boyfriend paid £1300 for a 1 bedroom flat in Balham (zone 3). It was a lovely flat, but I can’t believe I paid that now, almost 10 years ago. I think Ruben and I are fairly flexible in our expectations and demands, purely because we also want to save and not put everything we owe into renting. An NHS worker, my budget is fairly limited. Keyworker schemes are prevalent in London but nothing has come at this time (a shame as 1 bed flats via the Peabody trust for keyworkers are from £960 a month in super central and cool areas). Really, just being together and happy is the most important thing but access to decent transport links is essential, and god I’d love a bath! We’d both like “cosy” and just the idea we’ll be able to be there for at least a couple of years. Our dream really is to have a flat in the areas of Stamford Hill or Stoke Newington so we’ve focused the search on this part of London town. We’ve really loved it there as a couple. I loved the community feel in these areas, the cafes for breakfast and the good bars and parks around. There’s an alternative, arty scene here but it’s not as hipster cool as say nearby Dalston, which for me is a positive (I’m not cool).

So far! We have seen a gorgeous cosy bedsit in Stoke Newington, a student like “dive” near Turnpike Lane (errr my doing- bit of a wild card that one!), a 1 bed flat in the basement of a family home in the Highbury Quadrant and just to the left of Clissold Park (beautiful), and a properly organised and beautiful 1 bed flat with small balcony in Stamford Hill. Agency fees can be rather pricey. I’d recommend you take a look at Openrent, where you are letting “directly from” the landlord and there are no hefty agency fees to worry about: https://www.openrent.co.uk/ as a couple of these viewings have come from there.

The verdict on the viewings? My hearts in the cosy 1 bed bedsit in Stokie, and Ruben really liked the 1 bed in Stamford Hill, so we have made offers on both. Or rather RUBEN made the offers. I have to say I’m glad he’s with me on this, realising how soft I am! Obviously today is good Friday so the response might be slow. Hopefully I’ll have some good news by tomorrow!! (the “hopefully” means please let me have some news, otherwise I’ll have a breakdown).

There’s nothing I can advise other than be strong, be positive, and negotiate! And that right now is a good time for the renting market for those looking to rent. Looking at a few different flats at least helps you understand what it is you’re NOT wanting- even my wild card helped us with that! And do check out Open Rent- it’s a lovely site and might bring up a few great possibilities where you’re not spending £500 on fees upfront.

Post our viewings, we decided we deserved a quick post viewings discussion and drink and nipped into Fontaines on Stoke Newington Road to enjoy a few of their cocktails. If you sign up to their emails, you get 20% off on your first visit and Thursday nights they offer some cocktails at £5. It’s a beautiful 1920’s style venue (my outside photo doesn’t do it justice/it doesn’t look from the outside what you get inside) and I totally recommend a visit. If you’re a gin drinker, their “Clover Club” and “Singapore Slings” were sublime 🙂