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28 June 2013

 Happy Friday everyone! Hope you are having a lovely day so far?
Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st, so if you use Google Reader to follow this little blog then you might want to consider using Bloglovin' instead. It's my preferred way of reading all your wonderful blogs so I think you might really like it :)
 
You can also find me on Facebook here and Twitter here.

A first time for everything and a few words on comparison.

27 June 2013

My Dad said that I have been getting very "deep" on my blog recently and that I should lighten things up with a post about all the reasons why I love giraffe's. I did actually start that post (I really do love giraffe's) but then came across this image on tumblr and decided to go with this instead.
via
It made me giggle and then giggle some more because we have all been there. Maybe not necessarily in a yoga class, but maybe in school trying to learn maths (ugh) or at the gym with that friend who can run non-stop for 2 hours and not even break a sweat or even in those moments when you look at the really successful people around you and think "when on earth will I be that good at (insert thing here)".
 
Comparison. Big yuck.
 
Letting go of comparing myself to others who I am inspired by and respect is one of the hardest things that I have faced and continue to face. I used to waste so so so much of my time and energy comparing:
All my friends earn more than me, all my friends are at uni still,  all my friends are on proper career paths and are being promoted left right and centre, I want to do that incredible job but don't think I will ever succeed in actually getting there, I will never be able to touch my toes like that yogi, I won't ever be good enough at nutrition or yoga to coach in them like these other women.
This constant comparison talk was always switched on and it was exhausting. It even got to the point where Ben was pulling me up on it daily.
 
But all this work that I have been doing has released this "comparisonitus" some what. Comparing myself to others doesn't serve me AT ALL and I know that now. It's my ego taking control and making me feel small and play small. Even though sometimes I slip up without realising (sneaky ego) I know how I can get back on track.
 
Getting on my mat and connecting with myself is one way that I do this - baths and reading Brene Brown are other ways.
Yoga is a journey and there really is nothing to be gained when you compare in yoga: every one is beautifully different and if you push yourself to match someone else's pose or flexibility then you are instantly removed from the moment and the connection you have with your body. You are removed from your own bodies journey. 
 
This picture makes me giggle because even though it is true, it's just funny to me now. It doesn't strike a cord make me feel inadequate. And funny is good.
 
Two of my favourite affirmations today:
+ I am safe and secure and always taken care of.
+ I am enough just as I am.
 
**whoops Dad, looks like it got deep anyway, sorry!

Reflection, journals and a silly picture.

25 June 2013

The past few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster around these parts and I am really struggling to plant my feet firmly in the ground. My head has been trying to figure out how to create stillness, balance, expansion, freedom and love in my life, but all this striving and searching has left me feeling confused and VERY inadequate. Not enough. Not worthy.
Juices to drink, emails to be replied to, yoga to practice, chinese herbs to take, 8 hours sleep to clock, books to re-read, forgiveness work to be done, Fire Starter Sessions to work through, time to be spent with Ben and my friends, time to be spent by myself.
Most of this usually feels organic, natural and heartfelt, but at the moment it feels a little more like an obligation. I need space and a little time.
Which is why when I woke up this morning nearly in tears I decided to read through my journals from these past six months on the way to work. My journals are not the typical "dear diary" journals where I bitch and moan about everything and anything (although we have all been there and done that!!) ...instead they have been the place where I write down any inspirational quotes that I find, snippets of happiness in my day, the deepest things that I struggle with, my favourite daily affirmations, lists of the things I am truly grateful for (gratitude lists are my favourite). These journals have become my sacred place of freedom and space where I can wildly dream and explore and this morning they brought me slowly back to feeling enough. To feeling like I belong. To feeling that everything I am doing really is leading me towards the life of my dreams.
These past six months I have become so much more aware of myself and how my energy and feelings can shift, change, expand and contract with just the smallest of happenings. I am more aware of which thoughts I need to believe in and which thoughts I need to let go of. I am more aware of how I am treating myself and how I am treating those I love. I am more aware of my body than I have EVER been.
This is what is refreshing but exhausting. I can't un-know these things and I certainly won't ignore them.
I suppose this post was just my way of saying that I am surrendering. I am going to take it easy this week and simply see what happens. SPACE is what I am creating.
 

How to confuse your whole week's schedule..

19 June 2013

Today is Wednesday.
But today is also my Monday AND my Friday.
It's all very confusing to be me today. I keep asking "How was your weekend?" and getting the blank "That's such a Monday question to ask" response in return. I looked at Monday's menu instead of Wednesday's which created quite a deal of disappointment when I realised it was beef today instead of the desired chicken. I have said "Happy Friday" twice today. And I answered quite a few of this morning's phone calls with "Good Afternoon"...but that last one may is mostly just be me being blond.
 
Why all this confusion??
Monday and Tuesday were spent training at Head Office (and we all know that training isn't really real work).
Today I am at work like normal.
Thursday and Friday I have booked off as it is Ben's birthday on Saturday. 
So today is my Monday AND Friday. In my head.
Tomorrow I am planning to start the day off with a big fat juicy green smoothie and doing an hour or so of yoga. We are then heading up to meet Ben's brother, Alex, for some lunch followed by hopefully (!!!!) enjoying the lovely weather in Kensington Gardens and finishing off with a trip around the V&A.
 
Friday will be a little more hectic though as I am a little booked up with physio & acupuncture appointments, yoga to be done, a top secret meeting in the morning and a nice big gathering in the evening for the Zoo Lates event.
 
Saturday and Sunday will be spent with Ben seeing his family, going on cinema trips, having casual drinks about Balham and enjoying Sunday lunches in the sun.
 
The problem with all this awesomeness coming up is that I could REALLY get used to having four day weekends.
So here is to working towards having a fulfilling, challenging and inspiring career that allows me to work when I see fit!! Goal added.
 
Oh and 5pm? HURRY UP ALREADY!

Sacred Self Peace Alchemical Oil

15 June 2013

Yesterday had me running all over the place. Appointments dotted around, acupuncture to be had, doctors to be seen, coffee catch ups with Ben, dress up with an amazing new friend, dinner dates with old friends, drinks with the girls after that. It was fun, but it was crazy... 
If I had a day like that a year ago I would have been frazzled by it all; it would have been too much and I would have been plunged right into anxiety mode from the moment I woke up. 
But not this year, this year I was prepared. 

My recipe for peace:
A good night's sleep. 
No Friday morning hangovers. 
Yoga practise. 
Acupuncture. 
Lots of herbal tea. 
My Chinese herbs. 
A good nutritious breakfast. 
Meditation. 
Journaling. 
This oil is a game changer. 
Self Sacred. Peace. Self-love. Just looking at it makes me calm.

I was lucky enough to win a bottle of this gorgeousness over on Carly's blog, Pockets of Peace, a few weeks ago and ever since then it has become part of my daily routine; every time I get my yoga mat out, I put a few drops of this oil on my wrists and my neck too.

I believe the power of these oils lies within them being hand-made with love during a specific meditation ceremony. Because "each item is energetically infused with sound, light, colour, sacred symbols, crystals and a pure intention" they become a perfect tool to focus your mind and body.

During my yoga practice, the smell of the oil helps me relax, focus, smile and connect me with the present moment, it is a smell that my mind links me to feeling calm, powerful and peaceful. When I am off my mat and I need a little peace, I simply pop some oil on (just like you would a perfume), deeply inhale a few times and walk away feeling calm, powerful and peaceful again. A clever little trick of mine!!

What's really great about these fantastic oils though is their versatility. You can add some oil to your bath for a deeply relaxing treatment, mix a little with an unscented body lotion, add a few drops to your homemade body scrub, put a few drops on your pillow before bed, use them as a daily perfume, as a luxurious massage oil... the list goes on! Hop over here and have a look at the tonnes of different oils that Sacred Self have to offer, there is something for everyone...

"Peace begins with me."

A rainy June...

12 June 2013

Him: Let's get off at Wandsworth Common and walk the rest of the way home.
Her: Okay, that's cool.

We get off the train and I realise what I have agreed to is a massive mistake. It's raining. I hate the rain. 

Him: It'll be fine, we have trees to cover us most of the way. 
Her: Hmmm...not one of your best ideas, and we won't be covered all the way, so thank you for this imminent soaking. No really...thank you Ben.

I sulked for the first few minutes (I can be quite highly strung when it comes to rain) and in no time at all we were soaked through. 

Him: I have made a terrible mistake. 

Ice broken. We giggled. We took selfies. 
 And we really did look like silly when we finally got home. 
But it's the little things that make us the happiest. It always is. 

Raw chocolate and goji berry brownies recipe!

11 June 2013

I had a craving for brownies on Sunday and I was determined to fill it.
(I blame the hormones) 
But there wasn't a chance in hell that I was going to get dressed (pfft) and trek down to Sainsbury's to stock up on over processed and unhealthy treats. No Sir. I decided to make my own.
I grabbed lots of stuff out of the cupboards and got started.
You will need:
  • 7 pitted organic medjool dates
  • 50g extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (I made my own using the Nutri-bullet but you can buy this in jars - which I wish I never learnt as it is damn delicious!)
  • 50g cacao powder
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 80g walnuts
  • 1 big handful of goji berries
  • 1 tsp pink himalayan rock salt
First up, let me just say that this recipe is really versatile. All the above measurements are  approximates because as I was going along with this recipe I found that I would keep tasting (you will find it hard to resist) and adding a little bit more of this and a little bit more of that to make it how I wanted. Trust your taste buds and have some fun eh?!

The big "How To":
  • In a bowl, mash up your dates until they become paste like. I added a little water to get things going and soften them up, it shouldn't take too long but keep at it!
  • Blend your walnuts in a blender until they are in small pieces. I kept a few of the walnut pieces big though as I love having that chunky aspect to the brownies.
  • Next up, combine the walnuts, goji berries, salt, coconut and cacao powder in a mixing bowl.
  • In a double-boiler, melt the coconut oil and the almond butter down to a liquid. Stir frequently.
  • Once it is a liquid, pour over the dry ingredients, add the date paste and stir till it is all combined.
  • Taste. Smile. Taste a little more...
  • Adjust the brownies to taste, you can add a few big walnuts, a shake more coconut,a spoonful more of almond butter... you get the idea!!
  • Press into a baking dish & chill in the fridge.
  • Once chilled, chop up or eat straight from the tray with a fork!!
Let me know if you try them...you really won't be disappointed.

Side note: I tend to keep my brownies in the fridge as our kitchen can get quite warm in the day and I prefer them to be a little cold. But once again, your preference!

My favourite weekend quotes and a handful of pictures to go with...

10 June 2013

The past four or five days have been lovely. Really relaxing, full of laughs and full of naps (isn't that not the best combo!?!).
Thursday night me and Ben had an impromptu sushi picnic in Green Park in order to soak up the gorgeous weather! This was followed by a lovely catch up with Rik and Holly in Balham.
Thursday night's quote: "I was in a private hospital when I had my wisdom teeth out so they didn't use a tampon, they used cotton wool."
Friday night, I went for an acupuncture and cupping session at the local Chinese medicine Shop to help with my recurring cystitis and kidney deficiency. It was amazing and not painful at all (despite the marks on my back looking rather painful). Will keep you updated how the treatment goes!!
Ben's gorgeous Mum came up to London on Friday night too so we all went to watch After Earth and grab some dinner in Westfield. Despite the film getting not so brilliant reviews, we all loved it!
 
Friday night's quote: "Now Joebeff's we have spoken about you using words like energy flow, qi, meridians and science in the same sentence!"
Saturday was slow and lazy. We drank super green smoothies, ate yummy mackerel salads, had a few naps, caught up on House and had a lovely long bath together.
All of our friends had been at the Polo during the day (damn you budgets) but we met up with them for a few drinks at the London Cocktail Club in the evening.
I treated myself to one Porn Star Martini and a little bit of the rum boat cocktail, but the best drink of the night by far though was the fancy pants water! Every pint I had seemed to get more and more extravagant, it was as if the bar staff were getting just as excited about it as I was.
Me and Ben then slipped off to spend a little time just us two at Bar Zedel as he had an itch for an "Old Fashioned" which just had to be scratched.
Saturday night's quote: When referring to three guys spotted at the Polo during the day (each wearing brightly coloured 'rah' trousers; red, green and blue, whilst making rude gestures with champagne bottles) "it was like watching a bag of skittles have a posh orgy".
 
Sunday was much like Saturday; slow,lazy and relaxed. We made pulled pork for dinner, cleaned the flat, watched some more House, and I had sore boobs and hormones to deal with all day. While Ben played his games all evening I sat and started work on The Fire Starter Sessions and watched some awesome documentaries on nutrition and well being.
Sunday night's quote: "Ben, I think it's time for bed, I am tired and my hormones are all over the shop". It was 6:30pm.
 
My kinda weekend. How was yours??

Morning ritual.

7 June 2013

Mornings will go one of two ways for me. I will either jump straight out of bed (usually at the weekends) or I will feel like I am super glued to the mattress and no amount of willpower will see me get up on time.
This morning was definitely a case of the latter. There were a few reasons why: the non-stop & super loud rain that started at about 4am, a dream involving one of Ben's ex girlfriends, another dream involving a giant jelly fish (I blame our group conversation last night about Rik's irrational jelly fish fears for this one), the fact that Ben couldn't sleep for ages so decided to tap away on his phone till past midnight, my insistent teeth grinding*.
When I woke up at 6:30, as you can imagine I was not a happy bunny.
But I dragged my ass out of bed, put on some more autumny clothes (to match the not so great weather) and made myself a green smoothie** to inject a little bit of joy into the morning.
I then take my green smoothie into the bathroom with me while I am doing my make-up.
Most days I have a little helper:
Isn't he just the sweetest?
One of his favourite things to do is to investigate the bath. God knows why, but he really does.
He will then take a perch on the side nearest where I stand and wait for me to give him random kisses on the head.
When I am all done, hair tamed, face on, I will head back to bed and finish off the last of my smoothie and give Ben a cuddle before I leave.
Even when I have had a terrible night's sleep, this morning routine puts me right back on track!

*Guys, I need your help. I have been grinding my teeth crazy amounts recently - i've always done it, but recently it has started to happen every night. Has anyone tried hypnotherapy for this, or any other alternative therapies to help??

**I was thinking about writing up a few posts about the green smoothies I have been having  daily and wandered if this is something you would all be interested in? Let me know!!

Pukka Teas : I have a new favourite thing!

6 June 2013

Because I no longer drink Coffee or English Breakfast tea, I needed a go to when you just have that "I need a hot drink" kinda feeling...and Pukka is my go to at the moment. I first discovered them a while ago when I was browsing through Balham's health store and the "detox" tea caught my eye.
"Organic aniseed, fennel & cardamom tea: to cleanse & revive"
Sold.
I took it home, brewed it, marvelled at how much I liked it, brewed another and then proceeded to tell Ben a hundred times that it was "Utterly delicious. Like really delicious, Ben, have I told you how delicious this tea is??". You get the idea.
Since then, as you can see, my collection has expanded. These are the five that I have been buying regularly for a few months now and my plan is to slowly work my way through their whole collection.
My favourite at the moment? Peppermint & Licorice.
My goodness is that amazing. If I have a sweet craving after my dinner I will have one of these teas with a bite of my favourite raw chocolate. That way my craving is satisfied and I am looking after my body at the same time. Win win.
I recently discovered their website and it has a wealth of health resources on there so go have a look around (especially if you are interested in Ayurveda) and learn more about them and their gorgeous products. I cannot highly recommend them enough!!

The We Love Comedy night at The Balham Bowls Club!!

5 June 2013

Last Thursday myself and Ben took ourselves down for a night of laughs at The Balham Bowls Club. We were invited by the gorgeous We Love Comedy team and we had such a brilliant time, I honestly can't recommend it enough.
First up, let's talk venue.
The bowls club’s history has been perfectly preserved, with a series of small, wood-panelled rooms downstairs decorated with chesterfields, mismatched furniture and what seems like millions of teapots and upstairs there is a beautiful and equally mismatched venue room where the comedy night was held.
We Love Comedy had dressed the room perfectly and as soon as you walked in you felt immediately comfortable and right at home.
 
Our host for the night was comedian Sean Brightman and he was hilarious! We were lucky enough to have chosen to sit in the fourth row as Sean particularly liked picking on the third row (so, so, so lucky!). I did end up feeling so sorry for the incredibly built guy sitting in front of us who was challenged to a wrestle. Thankfully (for Sean mostly) this progressed to a simple arm wrestle and then to rock paper scissors. In the end Sean got another audience member up to do his dirty work, which was highly amusing!
Look at the size of that guys arm muscles.
 
Anyway, moving on to the all important comedians. They were all fantastic!
 
As comedy is such a personal thing, sometimes comedy nights can be a little crap if they only have one "type" of comedian on. But what I found at this comedy night is VARIETY. They were all so different, there was something to suit everyone.
My favourites were Tom Allen and Angela Barnes.
Ben's favourites were Tom Allen (he really was halarious), Tim Shishodia and Mark Stephenson.
 
What I loved most about this comedy night was the FEEL of it. Relaxed, casual, comfortable, easy and quirky. I could not recommend this night more. If you are around you should definitely snap up tickets as this night is going to be a big one.
 
And now for some details:
The We Love Comedy night will be held in the upstairs Ballroom at The Balham Bowls Club on the LAST THURSDAY of each month.
The We Love Comedy website can be found over here.
They are on twitter here and facebook here.
They also run comedy nights in Brixton and our East so check those out if they are closer to you!

One of "those" mornings.

4 June 2013

When a morning starts with nearly cutting your thumb clean off you know that you are going to have to take certain steps to ensure the rest of the day doesn't follow suit.
If it was up to me, I would have taken the day off, iced and wrapped up my thumb and hung out with Goblin (probably with the same expression on my face too!)...but unfortunately the world doesn't work like that and squidging myself up on the sofa feeling sorry for myself simply wasn't an option.
Instead, I added a teaspoon of cacao powder to my green smoothie (to make my thumb feel better okay!!), put on my 'good bum jeans', spent an extra five minutes doing my make-up and grabbed my old school iPod so I could listen to some good music on the tube.
Simple things, but things that meant I left home with a smile on my face and bopped all the way to work.
And the icing on the cake? Glorious and clear blue skies.
Morning redeemed.
And quickly, I would just like to introduce my latest pet giraffe (the tall one on the left for those of you who don't keep up to date with my pet giraffe's, unbelieveable as that is!)
I have yet to name him/her though so any good name suggestions would be totally welcome!!