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There is lots of awesomeness tucked into this post:

26 July 2013

I have been experiencing writers block around these parts lately. Could you tell? It sucks and is rather confusing for someone who usually always has something useless awesome to chat on and on and on about.
I even text my sister this morning to ask what to talk about.
She suggested potatoes.
image
Honestly Tash.
 
So instead of potatoes (mashed are my favourite kind by the way) I am going to share a few of my favourite internet spaces and favourite thoughts that have been crowding out my brain space lately.
 
^ This wins the internet and perked me right up this morning. Thank you Claire for sharing.
 
^ Money was the subject of my most recent coaching session. Lots and lots of work to do there. Do you struggle to find Enoughness too?
 
^ A 7am commute is about a gazillion times better than an 8am commute. Case and point, free seats:
 
^ Wellness websites that I think are amazeballs:
 
Danielle LaPorte's words always leave me speechless. Especially these words that I found over here:
So many people are looking for it: their big life purpose.
Becoming YOU is your purpose. You’re the very purpose of your existence. Realising what lights your fire and floats your boat—THAT’s your life purpose. What else could it be?
If it gives you true joy (not the seemingly happy-high that is fleeting, but the reliable, always-there kind of satisfaction) to…grow a family or a garden; to help people feel powerful…whether by fuelling their bank accounts or working their bodies or writing their stories; to make people laugh, to commune with nature, to make things a little more beautiful wherever you go; to feed; to stir it up, to clean it up, to look on the bright side; compassionate citizenry, non-stop exploration, or pure pleasure-seeking…then, by God, that’s your life purpose!
Your life purpose is what you say it is.
Who could tell you otherwise?
 
^ I sweated my ass off to the first 35minutes of this yoga class last night. I spent the rest of the class in Savasana, because sometimes you have just got to.
 
^ Giggles and truth:
 
^ Dream apartment right here.
 
^ I may or may not have spent hours on this website the other day. Okay okay, I totally did.
 
^ Favourite quote:
"Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life." - Eckhart Tolle
 
^ I have a serious thing for ripped jeans. Hurrah for airy conditioned jeans in the summer:
 
^ Story of my life.
 
^ I have super talented friends. So proud of my Susan!
 
^ I got about 90% of the way into this pose in yoga class last week. I honestly nearly burst with pride. Forgetting how far you have come happens to us all I suppose.
 
Writers block? Conquered.

Yet another...

24 July 2013

Picnic in the park. Look at the picnic basket guys! Claire is one lucky lady...
This summer is fast becoming the summer of picnics; savouring the last drops of the glorious sunshine, the smell of sun baked grass, the nibbles, the bubbly drinks, the Frisbee, the strawberries, the suncream...it all makes for good memories. Last Friday we met up with Claire and Simon on Tooting Common for a good catch up. We talked, we laughed, we ate, we played. It was glorious. And something I wish we could do every Friday!
I have decided the sunshine can stay.

Mid-nap : circa 2010

19 July 2013

I discovered this picture today whilst having a look through my old facebook photos (what a horrifying experience). This gem was taken in 2010, back when I was still working for Clarins and Ben was working freelance. We both had random days off in the week which were spent educating me on classic films (something Ben's family are brilliant at and still do to this day), mooching around in our pj's all day, eating and taking lazy long naps in the afternoon.
This picture was taken mid-nap.
Can you tell? I used the trusty "pull the cover up to hide my face" technique..I am sure you are all familiar with it?
I was wearing one of Ben's comfiest t-shirts (that I had probably worn for a few days) and we had taken the duvet down for a proper "Tuesday afternoon sleepover" experience. It was around this time that I really realised I like liked him; that he was different from the others. Such good times. I love coming across photos like this that instantly take me back to that exact moment.
Smiles all round today guys.
 
Happy Friday!!

A rather drastic measure..

18 July 2013

Last night we went for a few drinks and a bite to eat in Balham with Rich (Ben's dad) and Alex (his youngest brother). We ended up grabbing food at The Clarence was a brilliant choice on my part as the food was delicious! We ended up all going for big juicy burgers with french fries and gherkins. Yummy. After a good catch up and one glass of wine too many (two is my absolute max now) we headed home back to our flat which I have now nicknamed "the hottest bloody flat in London". 
I was preparing myself for another shits night sleep when Ben proudly declared that he had "the solution to all of our sweltering problems".
Apparently Ben had been researching how to keep cool at night earlier on in the day and had discovered a nifty tip: frozen socks.
 
I'm sure you are wandering what the hell I'm talking about here but trust me on this one.
You take a pair of socks, make them damp, put them in the freezer for twenty minutes and then wear them to bed.
IT WORKS. Like an absolute dream.
Frozen socks. Who knew??
 
Sure your bed sheets get a little wet at the end and you will probably wake up in the morning to find your frozen socks on the floor and rather unfrozen...but I would say that's a damn good trade off for 8 hours of uninterrupted and pure "wow I feel much cooler" sleep.
So there's my tip of the day.
You're welcome.

Homemade nutritious granola

17 July 2013

Over the last few months I have spent more and more time exploring healthy foods that I can make at home that support my nutritious diet. The more things I can make myself without having to resort to store bought and pre-packaged the happier I am. I know what’s in it – and what isn’t. Specifically knowing how much sugar is in the food I am eating. I was horrified to actually take a look at and learn how much sugar is in my regular "healthy granola" so I went about making my own. Here is the recipe:

You will need:
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut flakes or dessicated coconut
  • 3 cups of mixed almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, goji berries, chia seeds, mixed seeds
  • 2 tbsp of almond butter
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp rice malt syrup
Just to quickly point out that once again (as per usual with all my recipes!) all of these measurements are rough estimates and you can add anything you like to your own granola!! Try different nuts, seeds, fruits, add more coconut if you like, try a different nut butter etc...

The big "How to":
  • Pre-heat your oven to about 120°
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then spread on a tray lined with baking paper
  • Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove to shuffle all of the mix around
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes
  • Remove and cool immediately
  • Store in an airtight container & enjoy with your favourite nut or soya milk!!
  • This makes enough for one person for about 5 days

I want to see this little face...

16 July 2013

I could really do with some 'part kitten, part monkey' lollipop craziness today. And that is all I really have to say for myself on this incredibly average Tuesday!

Weekending in the parks of London..

15 July 2013

Saturday was spent with Ben, Wandsworth common, a (small) bottle of prosecco and some delicious picnic food. The evening was spent swooning over Luther and going to watch this film. Despite the film being made solely for the entertainment of men, I did enjoy the eye candy. Silver lining right there.
Sunday was spent sleeping in, having a huge minor paddy over my spotty skin (wtf hormones???), enjoying another picnic with Sylwia in Kensington Gardens and hanging out with this guy in the evening, trying to keep as cool as possible in the worlds hottest flat.
How was your weekend? Did you picnic?!

Meat MISSION

14 July 2013

Note: this post was originally posted in February but my blogger seems to have glitched. Apologies all! Normal posting resumes tomorrow!! 

A few weeks ago a group of us ventured out East for Alex's birthday to go to see what the fuss was about at Meat MISSION.

Fuss = JUSTIFIED.
First impressions are important and this place certainly does not disappoint. 
The cocktails were delicious, the venue was really cool and the atmosphere buzzing. 
They certainly did the job:
But the food? 
OUT OF THIS WORLD YUMMY.
Everything is served on big trays and 


A morning snapshot...of the things that went through my brain on my way to work today:

12 July 2013

Not a chance I am going to walk under that monster of a ladder, no sir.
 
It's just a ladder on a street Nicola, don't be stupid.
 
Walks around ladder.
 
Turns around a little further down the road and sees someone walk under the ladder and feels grateful it wasn't me.
 
Oh Nicola, sometimes you are so silly.
Ohhhhh goodies being given out near the station. Grab some Nicola, good girl. 
 
I love free goodies, especially free chocolatey goodies.
 
I think I am going to ignore the fact that these are really bad for me.
 
79 calories for ONE COOKIE?? Wtf.
 
I'm going to eat it anyway.
 
Don't eat it Nicola, you will regret it.
 
Whoops too late.
 
Well done fatty....as if all the emotional and hormonal eating that has gone on all week wasn't bad enough??? Bread, chocolate, ice cream, burgers...and now a cookie?
 
I instantly regret it. The cookie wasn't even that good. I feel disappointed.  
 
Be nice to yourself Nicola, it's not about how you fall off the wagon it is about how you get yourself back on it. Kindness and compassion. Yada, yada, blah, blah, shut-up.
 
Declare my clean eating plan for the whole weekend; two green smoothies a day with only one treat allowed. Yoga twice a day and lots of rest.
Maybe I should have at least brushed my hair this morning?
 
Nah, the extra two minutes in bed with my boys were worth it...I'll brush it later when I get to work.
 
Spends double the time trying to get a brush through it when finally at work.
 
Next time Nicola, brush your hair when you get up.
Ben: If there was a zombie apocalypse I'm sorry babe but I would have to leave you. For sure you would get us killed.

*My jaw drops.
 
Me: That is SO UNFAIR. Why would you do that to me??
 
Ben: Babe, you don't even like being in a bit of a crowd on Regent Street, what are you going to be like when mayhem breaks loose all over the city and people are acting crazy??
 
Me: You would just leave me? Alone?? To die???
 
Ben: Yeah I think so, but especially if we have children!
 
Me: WHAT?!!!!!!!! You would leave me and our children alone??? To die??? You are unbelievable!!!
 
Ben: No of course not, I would take the children with me. They would have a much better chance with me and my brothers than with you.
 
Me: I literally cannot believe this. You take that back right now mister.
 
Ben: No.
 
*I then proceed to glare at Ben for the next ten minutes, thinking about ways that I can trip him up to make him feel a little of the pain I am feeling at this revelation.
 
Ben: Sorry babe, it is what it is.
 
*More glaring. More scheming.
 
Ben: Okay okay, a compromise?? If we have kids then I will leave you behind. BUT, if we don't have kids I will stay with you and we can become zombie's together.
 
Me: Much better. Now buy me a nice present to make up for what has just happened.

When the sun comes out...

10 July 2013

...so does my Deadmau5 play list.

Ever since the sun made its glorious appearance last week I have been listening to this album NON-STOP and every time I listen it takes me right back to laying by our beautiful pool in the Tuscan mountains, drink in hand.
We listened to this album tonnes when we were in Italy last August. It was on this holiday that we nicknamed my Dad the "techno viking" (his dancing to this album was priceless - as were his generous rum measures), we ate some incredible pizzas and Wendy and I indulged in our love of prossecco every single day. Just because we could.
So I suppose this post is me simply wishing I was back in Italy. Bring on Amsterdam in six weeks!!!

Grateful for...

9 July 2013

Friends that have become my family.

Support, love and trust from those people who make me smile. With a few emails peppered with cute pictures of baby animals thrown in for good measure.

Goofing around with Ben every single day.

The headbutts Goblin gives me so that I will snuggle him in the morning.

Time spent on my yoga mat.

Tears which were much needed last night.

Sunny weekends, picnics and family time.

My morning smoothie - spinach, kale, frozen raspberries, banana, spirulina, maca, seeds, walnuts and coconut water.

And ice cream in bed.
 

Monday, oh Monday...

8 July 2013

As you can see, I have had a productive and exciting Monday.
Not.
After my lovely weekend I was really hoping to continue on all happy, relaxed and stress free today however my hormones and other shitty situations have taken over and I am in desperate need of my bed, a (huge) bowl of Ben & Jerry's, some cuddles with my boys and a good film to sink in to. Instead I have a yoga class to attend and some washing and ironing to take care of.
It's not exactly what I have in mind as I really just want to sink into being a lazy bum but I know that I will LOVE the yoga class as soon as I am there and that it is exactly what I actually NEED to bring me back to feeling much less frazzled.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and please do share any funny snippets from them that might make me smile?! I would love to hear them!!!

I loved this lunch time...

5 July 2013

Well I think I have just had the loveliest lunch break of this year so far. Which is a good and a bad thing. Good because, well it was wonderful and bad because I will compare lunch breaks to this one from now on!
Here is how it went:
 
Me + Susan + Sunshine + Duke of York Square + lunch treats + catch ups + Wimbledon = HEAVEN
 
Oh and one last thing:
SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE!!!!
Can you believe it?
London is just so beautiful when the sun shines.
 
Pretty please stay around for a while sunshine?!!

My day yoga retreat!!

4 July 2013

Last Saturday I had what I like to call a "perfect day".
I attended a Yoga and raw food workshop here in Balham run by the gorgeous Louise from The Yoga Cook and it was AWESOME.
We started the day with an energising flow yoga class with lots of Asanas and Pranayama to stimulate our digestive systems and boost our energy levels. The class was paced really well and was challenging but familiar - the perfect class in my opinion! After our class we took ourselves down to Louise's gorgeous kitchen to learn how to make Raw pizza and Raw Lemon Cream Bars. For lunch we ate a fresh garden salad and our pizza's washed down with homemade Elderflower cordial! After lunch we took part in a Meditation/Yoga Nidra class to soothe and nourish the system and then took ourselves out in the garden to enjoy the glorious sunshine with our fresh herbal teas and yummy lemon bars. Here are some of my snaps from the day:
^^ Louise making the raw pizza toppings ^^
^^ My raw pizza - it was so unbelievably fresh and delicious, not to mention crazy good for you! Even Ben loved it (I took half home for him - surprisingly filling these pizzas... ^^
^^ The lemon bars - pictures do not do these bars justice at all. They were really delicious!  ^^

What I loved most about the day was how much I learnt - new recipes & tips, new Asana's, new mindfulness eating practises that I can put in place immediately - and I learnt it all in a calm, nurturing and relaxed environment with a wonderful teacher! Louise's home is unbelievably beautiful (and exactly the kind of home I see myself in one day!) and everything about the day was planned perfectly. Hats off to you Louise - you know how to run a damn good workshop!
 
When the workshop retreat was over I made my way to get a long overdue haircut (had been a year since my last - eek) and then I had my weekly acupuncture session. As you can imagine, I floated my way back home for cuddles with this little man: