Travel to Make the World a Smaller Place

Ahhh, where do I start? We are back from an amazing trip around the Mediterranean, aboard cruise liner Viking Jupiter on her maiden voyage.

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As it’s our first cruise, we have no comparable, but we are sure Viking will be hard to beat. The attention to detail, decor, staff, services, on board facilities were just wonderful. Even on the rough seas we experienced, me, and my anxiety felt safe and secure. That speaks volumes. But before we get too lost in the ship, what about the lands we visited?

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We began in Switzerland, Basel, where we stayed with my life long friend Sinem, and her 3 girls. We accompanied them to the airplane and took off for Venice, Italy. From Venice we joined the ship in Ravenna, a beautiful port in Italy.

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First city up was Split in Croatia, a beautiful charming town, we sat in the harbour, and soaked up the early February sunshine. Delightful.

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Next up was Dubrovnik, and any Game of Thrones fan would be in their element here. It is packed full with real life sets from the popular show. Everywhere you look, it’s picture perfect and the sun shone all day long. We walked the old castle walls, with views for days.

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Day 3 we woke to the beautiful, yet misty scenes of Kotor, Montenegro. We walked the small harbour town, huge red umbrella sheltering us from the drizzle.

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Day 4 we arrived in Corfu, an island we had visited previously, which proved a perfect opportunity to pick up a fridge magnet. We took the shuttle bus to the other side of the town and walked our way back across the port. The sun had come out to shine again.

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Day 5 we arrived in Olympia, ready to see the beginning of the Olympic games, the iconic place for the lighting of the Olympic torch. Iconic. It drizzled and we hurried back to ship for lunch, grilled cheese steak. yum.

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Day 5 & 6 we were in Athens, capital of Greece, cosmopolitan city and place of the Acropolis. I had a gorgeous honey and walnut ice-cream and contemplated all of the wonderful things the Greeks had given us, not to mention authentic honey and yogurt.

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Athens made me sad, a city so important, yet covered in graffiti, our tour guide showed us archaeological treasures in the museums and we walked to the Acropolis. This place should be thriving, it should have the feel of Rome, the ease of the city, yet it felt left behind and that made me sad. I wanted Athens to be wonderful and full of life.

I have 2 brothers and a sister who have a Greek father, so Greece has always been a part of my life. Growing up my mum cooked Greek food weekly, and we enjoyed the tales of the Greek gods, Zeus, Poseidon, Helen, Athena, Aphrodite. Greek history being part of their history, was adopted into my history.

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I felt emotional in Athens for my brothers and sisters.  They had been separated from their father at a young age and never got to fully experience this side of their heritage. I’m sure they wondered about their dark skin and unruly hair often, but we never spoke about this in depth until we were all older, it was always acknowledged but only as a fact of childhood. That’s just the way things are. You don’t think about the bigger picture as a child. They also never got the chance to meet their Greek father again in the 18 years before he died, which is a story for a whole other day.

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Greece and its islands are beautiful, I hope their economy recovers soon, and more people get to experience this stunning, historic part of the world. It had been on my dream wish-list for a long time, and I’m sure i’ll return to savour the sunshine, the history, and the ice-cream soon.

 

Kxx

 

 

Teaching the First Classes

Yikes! I did it! I taught my first real Yoga teacher classes in Edinburgh, and I LOVED it!

It’s harder work than you imagine, as you are watching out for everyone in the class, making sure they are getting the most from yoga.  You’re also talking ALOT, giving instruction and motivating them. Then you’re remembering the carefully put together yoga sequence you devised. It’s all so much fun. It definitely kept me on my toes, and I am so thankful.

I had the most loveliest bunch of ladies, and we flowed, chattarangared and asana’d our way through an hour. I was slightly nervous beforehand, but it soon when, mainly because it had to! Don’t you find that? You are nervous about something but time is creeping up on you so you have to bite the bullet and go for it! Teaching my first Yoga Classes has been exactly like that.

Straight after this class, I had no time to catch my breath as my students were rolling up their mats, and the next class were coming in and un-rolling theirs. It was a fantastic 2 hours, and I could not have enjoyed it any more than I did.

I then left that studio, to head over town to teach in my other studio, and met a lovely lady who was getting back into yoga.

In between those classes, I managed to have a delicious fresh mint tea to sip on. Perfect for the yoga teacher on the go! So much nicer than coffee, although it would have been very easy and delicious to have a cup of that too!

One thing that I have noticed when nerves got the better of me, not for very long, but my training really kicked in. I am so proud to have been taught by the teachers I was. I think in all life situations, good training sets you up for every eventuality.

When you have been trained vigorously and as thoroughly as I was, you know you have the wealth of yoga teachings in your bank to call on.

Feeling super proud of myself, and ready for more classes!

 

Introducing South Edinburgh Yoga for 2019

Ahhh 2018, 17 and 16 passed in a blur when I think about it.

I gave you a quick recap in this post so you know what I was up to, but now I’d like to tell you what I am doing going forward.

It’s this amazing yoga studio in studio in Edinburgh! Yay!

That’s right, I have completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training, I’m Yoga Alliance UK registered and insured, and ready to teach the good people of Edinburgh.

I will be teaching flow yoga, basic ashtanga yoga and express yoga for those busy lunch time workers.

I am so proud to have worked this hard, but then, I always did, I am occupying the space above a gin bar in central Edinburgh, you really couldn’t make it up!

Today, even more exciting, I met with a fellow yoga teacher and we are going to be adding Barre classes to the schedule. Double yay!

Barre has it’s basics in ballet training and provides a REALLY good work out. Your calves and abs always thank you after a barre class. No really!

So, if you are in Edinburgh, come and join me and my fellow teachers for some feel good yoga classes. (And Barre!)

 

www.southedinburghyoga.com

 

New Year, New You!

I used to love nothing more than writing up my end of year blog posts.  If you care to scroll back through the 8 years of blog posts, you’ll find them.

For the last few years, while I was doing my degree, this site fell by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many “i’m back!” posts, but none constant.

The biggest reason why was that I was hired by other people to write for them. Yes, dear blog reader, the dream came true! The dream that initiated this site, being a paid writer, became the reality.

And the most wonderful thing about dreams, is that if you keep having them, you open yourself to the possibilities of those coming true too!

For the last 5 years, or so, I worked as a digital journalist and helped many people get to grips with the internet and online world. Oh what fun!

I also, and this was the big one for me, met THE ONE. Yay! He’s currently sitting on the sofa, (our sofa) watching Homes Under The Hammer, on our TV, in our house, with our dog on his lap! Double Yay!

Next year, 2019, we get married, so the first part of the year will be busy with organising our celebrations with our faves.

And in the wonderful way that life continues to evolve and grow, I trained as a Yoga Teacher and will be teaching Yoga in Edinburgh from January! Triple yay!!

I’m going to aim to keep blogging here, so do pop back if you’d like to keep updated.

And to all those single mums out there, keep striving, keep dreaming, and keep on keeping on! You are worthy of

 

the BEST!

Think Before you #

I have to admit, I thought it was a fad that would die out.

I (stupidly) thought, it’s okay, it’s A-okay, it’s ‘Okay Corral’ okay. This won’t catch on.

I, even, in a fringe-skewed-to-the side moment, researched it thinking I’d missed something. What had I missed? Why had I missed it? Surely I stay up late enough scrolling and getting tech neck to NOT miss these things.

Still I had no solace. People were still using hashtags in sentences.

And, to be clear, I don’t mean at the end, like the tags they are meant to be used for.

But #actually in #sentences #why are #they doing #this 

#why

Don’t they #understand that while #yes it puts an emphasis on a certain #word, It makes no #sense #whatsoever.

It also reads badly.

Maybe times have changed, I mean you just have to read this hashtag advice post from 2014 to realise how much things have changed. (Well maybe not so much, if you read

this Hashtag advice post from 2017.)  So, maybe they read a post somewhere, perhaps someone is telling them. Maybe they are replicating someone similar to the way people use CAPITALS when they want to come over POSITIVE AND PRO-YOU! HOWEVER, THEY ARE JUST COMING over as shouty, with bad grammar. 

Please let us keep some grammar rules, Internet.

 

Finding Hashtag fame

Some rules for hashtag usage are dated and misinform users, could that be it?

From the off, the Hashtag took on its own meaning. It enjoyed a ‘Stock, Aitken and Waterman’ level of fame. Then it settled in to become a firm fixture. People owned their hashtags, people joked via hashtags, it got its own T-shirts! The hashtag had found its place.

People even got used to it being used sparingly on Facebook. Imagine!

Then, just when we thought it’d settled in alongside us for cosy late-night tweets, Instagrammers took ownership and maxed out the 30 hashtag limit with gusto. Hashtag power grew influencers overnight. It was like, “Erm, sorry, Twitter who? Don’t know her, but look at this cool photo of my coffee” #coffee #coffeelovers #onmytable #anotherhashtag #andanother 

Hashtag Lovers Unite!

Now, if you haven’t guessed, I love a hashtag? I do. So much so, I even called my new Puppy hashtag. ( not true). But I do love that you can search, group and identify with them. I love the humour associated with them. But this latest fad, this using them IN sentences, it has to stop. 

I know I am in danger of becoming the Hashtag police but I can find no reason for it and no source for it, and I really like understanding things! 

So, please, I appeal to you. STOP using hashtags in your sentences. Add them at the end. It only takes a moment. You will thank me. Everyone will thank you! And who knows, maybe using them correctly will enable you to get the audience you were aiming for?

(Clue, it’s not me)

Ps. This post by Social Bakers is alright if you want an updated post on Hashtags – but ignore the bit about using lots of hashtags, especially on Instagram. It’s okay to do that there.

A Thrifty Girl’s Guide to New York

Travel is one of the greatest gifts in life, being able to see something for yourself is priceless. One of my favourite cities in the world is New York, so I’ve been super happy to visit there 3 times, woohoo!

I think most people are put off because of the expense of it but I’ve never found it super expensive.  We are obviously going to different places!

A visit to New York should be your birthright and hopefully these handy tips will make it more accessible. Please feel free to share your tips too, all welcome.

The first thing with any travel is to make it your own. Sure you’ll want to visit tourist attractions, so grab a guide book, but in a City like New York City there’s SO much to take in, find your own pace and make it your own.  Every second step comes straight out of a movie scene anyway, you’ll soon stumble your way around.

I’ve alway been super lucky when visiting New York in that I’ve gone with people who know the streets. First time visit I was choked with a cold and had paid too much attention to Sex And The City, packing only heels, my boots certainly weren’t made for walking those streets.  So take good shoes! Perfect for finding NYC’s little quirks! 

Second time visit was more chill based, hanging out in Brooklyn and not even crossing the Brooklyn Bridge into the city.

Third time, we hit Manhattan, for reals. The sights, the sales, the bars! Probably my favourite visit so far. But I am due a fourth visit soon, with the man, whether he likes it or not, (I think he will!)

First visit I stayed at The Ace Hotel, Uber Cool, Central and for a decent budget.

Second visit I stayed with Friends, in Brooklyn. Lucked out!

Third visit we stayed at The Sohotel,  Nice, clean, cool, super friendly staff, and for a happy go lucky budget. (Found it on Booking.com)

While you pretty much have to do some of the tourist attractions, (I mean you didn’t come all this way not to did you?), there’s so much to do for free in New York.

I don’t buy into that it is expensive.

You don’t have to eat at expensive restaurants every day, you don’t have to climb every attraction after parting with $40. I’m a much more simple person, so slices of pizza and a beer each for $16 and a walk around central park, is up there in my favourite things to do. Save money for the cocktails!

The Highline is a disused railway linen that takes you up high through the manhattan skyline, see the Hudson, see the Empire State building, sit and take stock at one of the many sitting bays.

Central Park is located at the end of Fifth Avenue and it’s wise to leave any shopping to the out walk than the in, who wants to carry bags in the park? Romantic couples will like the carriage rides around the park, but we jumped in as a celebration of our friendship anyway!

While I am a big advocate of spending money on travel, I do like the odd thrifty day here and there. Look for cheap flights, I flew with British Airways and it came in at less than £450 return from Edinburgh. Search the flights first and work around when is in your budget, I used to check Skyscanner pretty much daily until it hit me to check Airlines websites too.

 

My Dog Who Chews

When my dog chews a bone, she chews it with so much gusto, I wonder, why?

What is it about this solid form that entertains her so much, and stops her chewing my trousers, my shoes, my sofa, fluff from under the sofa, my boots, my coat, the cat, her bed, my bed, me?

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She travels along the floor as she inadvertently pushes it away with the force of her chewing. She slowly travels in a zigzag line across the carpet. She is so focussed on putting things in her mouth to chew. That’s all she is doing.

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Chewing.

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Chewing.

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Chewing.

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Dogs have mindfulness sussed, I think.

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Turning the tables with Turmeric

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Ahhh dear, sweet coffee, you have been my constant companion for decades. For years we have strolled streets, sat in cafes, you’ve been the eavesdropper to many conversations and confessions, the giver of life, and a gift of love. But, we all knew it could not last and over the years, I have tried my hardest to escape you, to give you and caffeine the slip, to release myself from  your grip. And how catastrophically have I failed! But now it seems, I am on to a winner, a new boost, a kick in the right direction, with Turmeric. The golden latte of love.

I have long been drawn to Turmeric, it’s an anti inflammatory, and as someone whose skin seems to be in a constant state of flux, I have always sought the natural remedy route. For the last few months I have been adding Turmeric to my smoothies, and then I tried a Turmeric Cortado, courtesy of Burr & Co, in Edinburgh, and am sold on it’s buzz.

A long lover of Matcha Green Tea, I now swap my mornings with a cup of one of the other. Turmeric and it’s spicy, honey and cinnamon sweetened taste tempts me, more often than not and stirring the pan of golden loveliness is captivating in itself.

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There is enough mysticism in a cup of this eastern nectar, that you feel transported to the streets of the ancients, the age old medicinal benefits coursing your bones.

I make mine, (and I checked with Ozzie, in LA, teaching Yoga, again, on this!)

  • two teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • honey to taste
  • a grind of black pepper
  • a pinch cinnamon
  • 2 cups of almond or oat milk

Black pepper helps your body absorb the Turmeric, as it’s a heady spice on its own, so make sure you add it, or if you can’t bear it, make sure you ingest it on something else throughout your day.

Enjoy, the mysticism and the magic of the Golden Latte ❤

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Raw Cacao – a hug in a mug

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My friend Ozzie, who lives in LA, teaching yoga, recently advised me to get on board with Raw Cacao. Of course i’d heard of it because I haven’t been living under a stone lately, but I’d never tried it.

I tried to source it locally to me in Edinburgh, (North) but failed and took to Amaze-on. As a prime account holder I am always amazed you can order something and sometimes have it delivered the same day! I mean, it’s almost like going into a shop and picking it off a shelf – Imagine!

I’m not going to lie, I was totally geeking out at the raw cacao arriving, not just because of the swiftness, but the goodness that was about to envelope me and my family!

Raw Cacao is packed full of health benefits including; promoting feelings of happiness, antioxidants and magnesium for a healthy immune system and heart and it is a source of iron and calcium.

Plus, did I mention it is chocolate? Oh boy, YES! Raw Cacao is the same beans used for all chocolate, but cold pressed and unroasted to preserve its natural nutrients. Cocoa, typically found in all chocolate, is roasted and heavily processed, adding in sugar to make it sweeter.

The Aztecs and the Mayans held raw cacao in such high regard it was considered liquid gold! I defy you not to run out and buy some now, and make it a store cupboard staple. Add it to smoothies, cakes, baking, or simply mix a teaspoon of Raw cacao powder into some almond or oat milk, add cinnamon and honey to taste, and enjoy. I raise my cup to you x

Overnight Oats

I was wary of overnight oats, mainly because I love oats, and didn’t want to fall out with them. If a cold oat isn’t in a sweet and buttery flapjack form, how on earth could they be good?

I’m a convert now though, it’s a case of finding the right combination of add ons, and letting them sit a little when you’ve taken them out of the fridge. Now, don’t quote me on this, but I’ve even heard of people warming them up the next day. That’s right. Warm overnight oats. It kinda makes me think they should have just saved their time and made porridge but hey, I’m not judging anyone, least of all someone who doesn’t want to eat a cold oat.

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The ones pictured had Pomegranate, Blueberries and Honey added in, but you can add in what you like, as long as you stick to the basic recipe. Mix equal parts of raw oats with any variation of milk. I used Almond Milk, because, well if you’re going to make something healthy, you might as well go all out. Now, some people add in greek yogurt, but I’ve never tried that, or indeed had to.

It’s important to stick to the basic recipe or you  will have too much excess liquid, but go nuts with toppings! You can add them the night before when you make the mixture up, or wait until the next day, the decision is yours!

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