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These might be the most awesome pumpkins in the world. Wait, no, they definitely are.

31 October 2013

Halloween has landed. And this year was the first year EVER that I participated in pumpkin carving.
I know right, I missed out as a kid big time.
Oh and just to clarify... by participation I mean myself and Harriet hung out toward the back of the kitchen, sorted out our nails and observed the boys carving away.

Aren't they the cutest??? Whoops, I mean the scariest pumpkins??

*side note*
Our one was the cat...but that was obvious right?

Weekending like a boss..

29 October 2013

Oh my, this last weekend was such a good one. Like a little gem of goodness. There was lots of yoga. Yoga Saturday, yoga Sunday. My kinda weekend!!
The theme of the weekend for me was 'wearing all the colours I could find'. See the picture above for evidence. The minute Autumn comes around I am usually wearing all black so I'm not sure what came over me. I'm sure it looks like I fell into my wardrobe without my glasses on!
After stealing an extra hour of sleep we made our way West for the OM Yoga show....aka Yoga Heaven.
I chatted to some lovely yogi's, soaked up tonnes of information, discovered new studios that I am going to start visiting soon and even tried an open 'Dru Yoga' class. Not really my kinda yoga, but you never know till you try it!
 
Sunday morning I attended a yoga for bloggers and back care event (but more on that later this week) and then headed over to Sam and Harriet's flat for an afternoon of food. Can you see now why I adored this weekend?
Here are some snaps of what we got up to in the kitchen...
 Us girls made a shit tonne of mess.
 And then had fun playing with the mess.
The Red Velvet cupcakes were out of this world.
The Banana and chocolate ones were incredible too.
And then, after the sweet treats, Sam and Harriet made this dinner.
What can I say to do all of this food justice? Probably nothing...so just scroll up again and drool over it some more.
I headed home super stuffed and super happy.
 
*SIDE NOTE*
Not included in this post is my opinion about Lady Gaga's performance on the X Factor because I can't find the words to express my embarrassment about it all. The boys sum up my feelings pretty well though.

It's Friday, so here's a few thoughts and some news...

25 October 2013

This morning I woke up at 6.45am and actually got out of bed.
Why is this important? Because usually I snooze my alarm for a good 40 minutes (at least) and I am not an early morning person.
So today when I didn't even snooze it once I was pretty smug with myself.
I rolled out of bed, put on a pair of Ben's pants and a vest top (comfort to the max), got myself a mug of warm water and lemon and rolled out my yoga mat. After about 20 minutes of moving and waking up my body I felt amazing. (I use this yoga video for the morning and usually repeat it two or three times to get things going)
Then I decided to run with this surprising good mood so I wacked on Katy Perry's new AMAZING album and danced my way through my shower and getting dressed.
Then this happened:
And I laughed... because it was bound to happen sooner or later as it's been about two years since I smashed a MAC blusher so time was up. Perks of being a clumsy so-and-so.
 
Once this was all cleaned up and we spent a few minutes playing with Mister Goblin. It's okay to call him Mister Goblin right?? Anyway, it's all very amusing for us to lob his giraffe and Darth Vader teddy's around the flat for him to catch and play with.  
He takes these games very seriously.
 
In other news, I am loving all the Autumn-ness going around at the moment and I have a serious things going on for Autumn leaves. Wow, I think I may have just said the weirdest thing on my blog so far. Awkward. Let's just move past that.
Tonight I'm going to a "Try Us" evening at a yoga teacher training school in London Bridge to check them out and find out more about their program. I've already found the program that I think I will do but it's good to keep looking and see what else is out there!
 
See how I just slipped that right in there, mid-blog post, super casually, trying to not make a big deal out of it? Suppose the cat is out of the bag now, so here goes, let's back track a little...
 
About five months ago I said to Ben in an off hand casual kinda way that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. Some day. Some day in the distant future. If I'm being honest at the time I was terrified to verbalise it in a real way for fear of what people would say and there was no way that I would've looked into doing anything about my dream.
But the Universe kept popping up and giving me hints; a conversations here, an article there, a passing comment, an inspiring class... I kept coming back to it. I remember Sas telling me to follow what you love and see what happens. So I did and after a while I told Ben that this is what I wanted and he said we would work on it coming a reality. Because he is pretty much the coolest and most supportive person I know.  I've also been having a few life coaching sessions with a gorgeous lady who happens to be my yoga teacher and we have been thinking, scheming, exploring and expanding this dream of mine. The fear that I have surrounding this all (after all career changes are damn fucking scary) is melting away and I've started to make all this happen. 
Last weekend I went to an Open afternoon at an inspiring training school in Clapham Common and it was like the Universe lined up and presented me with what I could ACTUALLY be doing in my life, I haven't been that excited in years.
So yeah, I've decided next year I'm doing this and there is nothing to be gained by waiting for five years, ten years, fifteen years to pass. I'm doing my yoga teacher training and I am making these scary but awesome changes.
 
 
 

Discovering the worst picture of me that was ever taken...

23 October 2013

Can you believe that we've now gotten to that point in the year when it's ^^ this ^^ dark on my way to work in the morning??? I know, I know... it is only 7am, but still...a few weeks ago the sun was shining at this time in the morning and when I left the flat today it was like winter was there waiting to kick me in the face. Oh hello SAD. Come to grace me this year with your presence huh? Fab.
It took me a good few hours to shake the darkness off once I had dragged myself to work. Having a good chat with Sylwia and going out for a slice of banana bread and a green tea latte with a friend on my lunch helped too but you know what has cheered me up the most?
Discovering these gems on my phone.
Ladies and Gentlemen...my sister and I.
I'm not sure if it's the hairstyles we're both rocking or the fact that neither of us understood the concept of a chair that was height adjustable or the fact that our parents even let us outside looking like this, but I don't think I've ever seen more embarrassing passport photos since...so please, make my day and share yours with me if you think you can rival these lookers.  

Saturday morning at the races...

22 October 2013

Saturday morning was an unusually early one for us as we went to go watch Sylwia (my gorgeous co-worker) complete her first 10k race! We got to Battersea park for about 8.30am (no rest for the wicked) and settled in to appreciate how gorgeous the park was in Autumn and to wait for Sylwia to smash through the finish line.
After about 20 minutes we spotted her on the final approach (the girl in the green jacket). We cheered. We clapped. We snapped pictures. After all this is an exciting first race and these things should be documented...
And there she is sprinting the last 10 meters!! Go Sylwia!!
She completed the 10k in 57 minutes and 48 seconds. Under an hour. So proud!!
And before you ask...nope... I haven't been inspired to start running. Give me my yoga mat any day.

The Wellness Series: Green Smoothies

21 October 2013

I've been meaning to write this post since about February (which is completely ridiculous I know) so it made sense for this to be the very first Wellness Series post! So today I'm going to talk to you about greens.
Green smoothies more precisely.
 
Before I dive into my favourite recipes, what I use etc, lets talk a bit about WHY they are so good for you....
 
"Greens are extremely rich in chlorophyll and the molecular structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of human blood. Studies show that when this is consumed, the production of hemoglobin in blood is increased. Higher amounts of hemoglobin in the bloodstream means more oxygen-rich blood, the first and most important element that cells need to thrive. Therefore, greens are incredibly alkalizing and will help protect your body against disease and illness. They also boast high amounts of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals, proteins, protective photo-chemicals and healthy bacteria helping you to build cleaner muscles and tissues and aid your digestive system. These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys."
-- Jessica Ainscough of The Wellness Warrior
 
Smoothies are a fantastic way to keep yourself healthy because they are super EASY to make and you can have tonnes of FUN making them to suit your personal tastes. I have a smoothie for breakfast probably 4 or 5 days of the week and always make sure to put in slightly more greens than fruit (you don't want too much sugar in them), switching between a few of my favourite combinations.
 
Now for a bit of technology chat. When I was looking for a blender to use for my smoothies I did tonnes of research and came up with two that I was interested in; the Vitamix and the Nutri-bullet.
 
The Vitamix is brilliant because it not only makes smoothies super smooth but it can also be used to make ice cream, nut milks, soups, dips, and anything else you need whizzed up in a jiffy. The only down side is that they come in at about £400 depending on the model you pick. Unfortunately, I do not have that kind of money to spend on a blender.
The decision was made. The Nutri-bullet was bought.
Best decision EVER. It's super compact taking up hardly any space in the kitchen, it completely breaks down ingredients so you are left with a completely pulp free, smooth smoothie. It also bursts open seeds, cracks through stems, and shreds tough skins to get the most out of your fruit and vegetables. It's fantastic and one of the best £100 I have spent on my health so far. I highly recommend it.
(I bought my Nutri-bullet in the UK here)
 
So here is a basic guideline to making the perfect smoothie:
 
The main thing to remember is that you really can be as inventive as you like with what you put in your smoothies...go wild and mix it up, experiment and find your favourites!
Here are mine:
 
The Green Eyed Monster
2  large handfuls spinach
1 small banana
1 pear
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp spirulina
1 tsp coconut oil
coconut water
 
The Morning Booster
1 large handful spinach
1 large handful kale
1 pear
1 handful frozen mixed berries (blueberries & raspberries)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp spirulina
coconut water
 
Sylwia's Super Green Favourite
2 large handfuls kale
1 small banana
1 tsp wheatgrass powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 tbsp honey (not necessary - but good if you have a sweet craving!)
almond milk, unsweetened
 
The Chocolate Warrior
2 large handful spinach
1 small banana
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp cacao powder
1 tsp coconut oil
coconut water
 
The Cocktail One
2 large handfuls spinach
1 large handful of pineapple, fresh
2 tbsp coconut flakes, unsweetened
almond milk, unsweetened
coconut water

 
A few final tips for you all..
  • A great way to make sure that your smoothies are nice and cold is to freeze your greens and your favourite fruits like pineapple, berries and even things such as ginger. This is also a great way to not waste ripe fruits and veggies!
  • Change up your liquid base every once in a while. Or combine a few; almond milk and coconut water is a winner!
  • Experiment with your extras. This is a great resource of information about the different kinds of super foods!
  • Try to drink your smoothie as soon as possible to maximise the nutritional content from it. Fresh is always best, but sometimes you will inevitably have leftovers. Store in an airtight container to limit oxidation (which breaks down nutrients and changes the colour). You can usually keep green smoothies in the fridge for about 12 hours.
Let me know how you get on!!

Goblin...

20 October 2013

It's amazing to think he was ever this small.
Completely baffling.

Life lately : A few moments to remember from October.

17 October 2013

And just like that, it's the middle of October. Madness. Here's what I have been up to the last few weeks..
Spending time thinking up and creating my Wellness Series posts! They're still being put together but should start going up next week. Exciting times around here, so thank you for all of your suggestions.
I've also been journalling like mad (this will be one of the Wellness Series topics) and one of my favourite entries last week was inspired by the amazing Danielle LaPorte. Remembering that my heart knows what it knows. Juicy stuff.

"Trust now. Trust in The Now. Consciously access what you know to be positively true. And that sureness will help you strengthen the bridge you’re building to what’s next."

That's one wise lady right there.
Yoga by candle light. The only perk of these darker evenings.
A bit of a back story here: last Saturday night I drank. I drank tonnes more than I have in the last few months. My hangover was epic. When I stepped on my mat on Monday evening, my practise was all over the place...balance was off, everything was tight and stiff, I had no patience for myself and I was just annoyed with myself. Thanks alcohol. So I sat myself down and had a pretty firm chat with myself. I rolled away my mat and left it for the evening.
On Tuesday I started thinking about ways that I could ease into my practise with kindness and gentleness so when I got home I started by burning some incense and lighting some candles.
Perfect!
The mood was set and I showed up on my mat with more kindness than I have in a while.
Sacred self-care in action peoples!
I've also started to take some leggings and a top into work so I can practise on my lunch.
I've really noticed how much it helps unwind the tension that builds from sitting down most of the day. If only there were classes near enough that I could go to on my lunch, would be much nicer than practising in the shower room (nice as it is, its still a shower room) but you know...making the most of what you have. Grateful I have a space to practise at all!
I've always wandered if that little rhyme "Red sky in the morning; shepherds warning. Red sky at night; shepherds delight." was true. Well this was the sky yesterday morning at 7am...and we all know how the weather yesterday panned out don't we.
And lastly, I spent last night with these two handsome men eating the world's most enormous pizza. Delicious. The pizza was pretty good too!!!

There I go...busting through fear barriers...

15 October 2013

There are a great many things I'm good at, and there is a stinkin' pile of things I'm not so good at.

One of the things in that stinkin' pile, is that I am not good at driving. Namely because I don't actually do it. Shocker huh?

I've always had a lot of fear lingering around learning to drive, and when my 17th birthday came round I just kept on putting off booking lessons. And then put them off some more. And then some more. You get the idea! When I moved to London there was no need AT ALL to learn, since then that's been my excuse. No need.

There was always so much to think of, so many decisions to make. Sure...some were completely rational decisions that needed addressing asap, and some decisions that could be put off for a while (but still bugged me and made me nervous!).

Decisions like: Which teacher do I choose? Will I pass my test? Which car do I pick? Which level of breakdown cover from the AA do I choose? What colour car? Which car freshener? Will there be a cup holder big enough for my mint tea mug?!
Choices... Choices...

This excuse will expire though, things will change and I will need to start making these decisions!

I am picking a teacher that I like as a person. I will pass my test (I can accomplish anything I put my mind to). I'm going to choose a car that makes me feel safest. And I am going to choose the most comprehensive breakdown cover there is, because Ben is ever the worrier and won't even let me near my hair straighteners without giving them a once over.

So as a way of getting to grips with it all, guess what I did??

I drove a car for the first time. EVER.

Guys, I can't explain how big of a deal this is to me. Everyone I know would have said that it would be years before they see me brave enough to try. After all I've been putting this off for SEVEN YEARS now. Geesh, procrastination much??

So how and when did this all happen??

Well, a few weeks ago when I was at home visiting the family, me and my sister were sitting in her car waiting for my mum when she just turned to me with a wicked look on her face and asked “Do you fancy driving? You know, like for real? Now?”. You can only imagine the look on my face as I made no attempt to hide the terror and excitement. She just smiled and declared that 'you can totally do this Nic, you'll be fine”. Let me just mention quickly that Tash is the only person that I would consider doing this with; she had her first lesson as soon as she could, and has been driving for YEARS. She's also training to be a maths teacher so is a complete natural at teaching AND she wouldn't ever doubt that I could do it.

I decided to park my fear and put my bum on the drivers seat.

Tash ran me through everything; turning on the car, the break point, the different pedals, how the car actually worked, how to use the gears. Everything. Nothing was going to be a surprise when I eventually turned on the car and that's what put me at ease the most.

The rush as I moved the car forward the first time was crazy silly.

Who knew I could do this??

I didn't crash (I only travelled about 5 meters), I didn't break the car, nothing bad happened and I only stalled the car once. Once people! What an achievement! We spent the next fifteen minutes or so going forward and backward, practising steering and working towards getting me totally comfortable at the wheel.

When Mum came out of the pub and saw me at the wheel in the car park she was gobsmacked. And confused of course.

For the rest of the day I beamed with pride and told everyone of my accomplishment. Yes it may have been a small accomplishment for some, but it meant the world to me. I proved that I could drive (5 meters). And that was something :)

Monday blues and a quick question for you!

14 October 2013

It's Monday today. Yuck. 
Not being the biggest fan of Mondays anyway and the shite weather  that we have had here in London the past two days means that I'm feeling a little glum today so tonight I'm baking me some nutella filled cookies. Yes. Oh yes.
But anyway...moving on.
I actually have something to ask of YOU today.. I'm starting to put together a collection of informative posts regarding yoga, meditation, mindfulness, happiness, struggles, wellness, self development..etc etc... (you get the idea) and I would love for your input into which areas you might be most interested in!?
Are you looking for advice on beginners yoga? or what to expect in a class? what to look for when finding a class? Maybe you would like meditation demystified a little? or it's the Law of Attraction you are interested in knowing more about? good books about self development? ways to help with anxiety? finding your purpose??
Over the six months or so I have gotten a fair amount of emails (and lots of questions from friends) asking for specific advice regarding some of these things so I thought I might put myself to use and share it all here on the blog! I can't wait to hear all your thoughts and ideas :) Any help would be much appreciated! 
 
image from here - love love love this blog

This is my London.

11 October 2013

Autumn has landed with a big old thump. A big grey, windy, rainy thump. But it's not all bad. It just means that more time can be spent at home on my yoga mat, warming myself with mint tea, writing blog posts and spending time with my boys pottering around the flat. I'm liking Autumn already.

Sunday dreaming...

8 October 2013

Not only was my Saturday pretty perfect, my Sunday was pretty perfect too.
It started with an hour of yoga at 8am, swiftly followed by lemon and poppy seed American style pancakes courtesy of Joy the Baker (she is my newest obsession).
What a start.
Domestic goddess right here everyone. I really did get my bake on this weekend.
The pancakes brought the tang and crunch to the table whilst the maple syrup brought the sweetness.
Even thinking about them now is making me want to defrost the rest of the batter and have them for dinner. Oh my.
Sunday afternoon was spent with Ben's mum wandering around Balham, discussing life, lusting after all the gorgeous things in Oliver Bonas and having a gorgeous lunch at The Avalon. The evening was spent snuggled up with my boys watching more Fringe.
 
I'm one lucky girl...

If I could dream up a wonderful Saturday it would be like this every time...

5 October 2013

Changed plans this weekend meant that today became an official 'plan free' day. Despite wanting to have a lay in, I woke me up at 7.10am and was totally wide awake from the get go. A cup of tea and some lazy cuddles later I slowly eased my way into the day. This is what my day looked like...
^ Banana bread making ^
 ^ A trip to the vets for Goblin's annual jabs ^
^ More baking...this time Nutella cookies!! Recipe here ^
^ Cheekiness ^ 
^ Strategising, openness, growth, dreaming, scheming, expansion. With berry tea and banana bread. Obviously. ^

This evening we're having a date night at home. Candles, popcorn and films. If only I could decide what to have for dinner...cookies surely can't count. Can they??