A family weekend!

30 April 2014

Last weekend was spent with my family.
My crazy, wonderful, bonkers family.
Friday night was spent in the company of these three candyfloss fiends at McBusted.
The concert was hilarious and I literally nearly cried when they played Star Girl. (I always have one moment at EVERY concert that I cry. always.) I always liked McFly and Busted but if i'm being honest, the only reason I went to the concert was to see them perform that song. It brought back lots of memories of laughing and dancing in the car with Mum and Tash along to the Chris Moyles Show and I've probably watched  this video far too much since Friday. If you're a Chris Moyles fan you will understand the link. If not, well....we can't be friends.
Saturday morning was spent lazing around in bed, catching up with my sister and having family cuddles. A great start to the day in my opinion! Once we were all up, dressed and full of coffee we took a cheeky trip to Bodeans for lunch and I indulged in a Kraken Rum cocktail whilst Tash enjoyed a Maple Syrup twist on an Old Fashioned. They definitely hit the spot.
It was all quite a civilised affair. Until this happened.
And she claims that she's the smart one.
Sure thing Tash. Sure thing.
After lunch we caught the tube up to London Bridge and took a nice stroll to Fenchurch Street, pausing for a few typical tourist pictures.
We have much to learn.
This was take 64.
After some time, a few stern words from Ben and many shots later we managed this one.
Which I actually really love.
Go Team Purkins Girls!
Saturday evening was spent at the Romford Dogs; drinking, eating and betting the night away for my Grandad's 70th Birthday.
As you can imagine, I'm not that good at betting so I won fuck all.
But that's why we had wine.
Sunday was spent cleaning (yay), running errands, watching this and cooking up a HelloFresh storm.
What a perfect weekend.
One last picture... because I think it sums us right up. Happy Hump Day!!!

Overnight choco-almond oats recipe

24 April 2014

Overnight oats are my favourite. Simple. Quick. Delicious.
You will need:
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 2 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I found almond works best)
The big "How to":
  • Throw everything in a jar
  • Mix well...sometimes I just throw the lid on and shake it for 30secs, does the trick rather nicely.
  • Store in the fridge overnight.
  • Take out in the morning and enjoy.
  • I usually pop the jar in the microwave for 20 or 30 seconds and have them warm but you can enjoy them cold straight out of the fridge too.
Told you it was easy!! The brilliant thing with this breakfast is that you can chop and change it however you like. Sometimes I skip on the cacao powder and use hazelnut milk instead. Sometimes I throw a banana on the top and a few berries. The possibilities are endless. Have a go making these tonight, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Following a whim...A new blog!

23 April 2014

This morning I decided to start up a new little side blog. A sacred online space for my daily gratitude lists to live called...
You can find the new blog here.
Tell me. What are you grateful for today?? 

The Wellness Series : Journaling for beginners

17 April 2014

Anyone who has been reading this blog a while knows that journaling is something that's really close to my heart. In fact, it's become one of the most important parts in my life. A place where I don't have to be anything other than exactly who I am in all my beautiful messy glory. A place where I can retreat, re-centre and imagine. A place that is 100% completely mine.
It's not the words that I write on the page that make my practice of journaling powerful, it's the intention behind them that has the most impact. Every time I pick up my pen I'm choosing to get to know myself better. I'm choosing honesty and bravery over fear. I'm choosing myself.
Since I started writing about wellness and self-care I've had a lot of emails and comments asking about my journaling process and today I'm gonna share with you a few techniques and prompts that will help you delve into this awesome world of journaling!

If you're new to journaling start with creating lists of all the things that you are grateful for. Reflect on your day and take just five minutes to open up to the beauty in your life. Look at all the areas of your life, the big stuff, the small stuff, the simple stuff.
Express genuine gratitude.
Even if your day, your week, your year has sucked ass, dig deep and find something to appreciate. Be grateful for the air you breathe, for the bed you sleep in, for the body that supports your life. There is always something. Dig deep. Muster it up.
In the words of Danielle.... "When you specify what you’re grateful for it becomes more real and sensual. And from that sincere feeling you will become more emotive — and what you emote, you attract."

Take a few minutes to reflect on the day ahead, or the day just gone and simply observe what comes up for you. More often than not I will use these questions to support me through my feelings:
  • What would I like to create for myself today? (this one works best in the morning obviously!)
  • What is my emotional home at the moment? What am I feeling right now?
  • Where is my focus right now? (and what can I do to shift it? if needed)
  • What has lit me up today?
  • What do I need?
  • What am I not being honest about in my life?
Sometimes I find it nice to put on some of my favourite music and answer these questions straight up. I don't umm and ahh. I just answer the damn questions. The thing that I came up against when I first started journaling is the notion that there are right and wrong answers.
It took me a while to get out of this censoring habit but when I did, my god, it was liberating.
I call bullshit on right and wrong in journaling. It's your space. Declare freedom.

Sometimes I get a little stuck and when that happens I head straight for my 'Unravelling the year ahead' workbook by Susannah Conway (link here) and re-do parts of it. There are a lot of inspiring and reflective questions nestled in the workbook that instantly get my brain fired up again.
If you haven't done the workbook before I highly recommend it. It doesn't have to be done at the beginning of the year for it to have impact. This type of introspection and laser focus work can create impact at any point. (Read my musings on the workbook here)

If I find that my mind is on 'monkey brain' mode then I grab my journal or a few sheets of blank paper and write a stream of consciousness for 3 pages.
I just put my pen to the page and write even if I have to start with "blah blah blah"....the words and feelings always come eventually. Let those a-ha moments and nuggets of insight present themselves organically. No structure, no boundaries. Just let go.
This practice is called 'Morning pages' (a link with some more info is here) and even though it is usually done first thing I find it useful to do at any time of the day. On my lunch. Before bed. Clearing space any time of the day is always a good practice in my opinion!
And lastly... have fun with it!

On being transparent and the lessons of life & self-care

15 April 2014

I suppose this post is me being transparent with you all and letting you know why I've been so quiet these past two weeks. Showing up anyway, speaking my truth, owning the parts of me that I would rather leave alone. It's all a practise, it's all part of the journey.
The last week has been a real mish-mash of emotions and I've resisted talking about it because it's been too confusing for me to put into coherent sentences.
Actually, I've resisted pretty much most of the things that I know make me feel good and nourished (meditation, yoga practise, journaling, writing, dancing) and done lots of the things that make me feel heavy and numb (booze, processed sugar, not enough sleep).
All this (and a few other things: my rusty yoga teaching skills, an OCD tick that has taken up residence in my body, feeling weak and unconnected to eating) has brought up the 'all or nothing bitchy Nicola' that steps in, takes my "story" (of not feeling good enough) and waves it in front of my face shouting 'See... You can't do this, you're not enough, who are you trying to kid??'.
I suppose it feels like there's this part of me that is resisting balance and instead striving damn hard for perfection (whatever that even is). What's made it feel hyper-sensitive is that I'm aware of all of this going on, but have struggled hearing the voice that's saying 'don't bother trying to be perfect, be impeccable instead'.
'don't bother trying to be perfect, be impeccable instead'.
Last night I lit some candles and incense, put some music on and got on my mat thinking that moving my body and being kind and compassionate to it would help me get out of this funk but it didn't go as expected. I ended up really frustrated and on the verge of tears because my body felt so weak and tight. I softened a little bit after but then accidentally burnt Ben when we were making dinner and it all came bubbling up again....not my finest of moments. Ben, I'm sorry.

Basically all of this has felt quite suffocating and I've shied away from this space big time.
"If I won't write all the time and love it then I won't write at all."
Big fat 'all or nothing' again. 
I've been full of fear about the slippy slope that leads to that place of YUCK. It starts with the blog falling to the way-side, then the yoga practise, then the reading falls away, followed by the meditation and the nourishing diet. Then 'what's the point of any of it anyway?' rears it's ugly head.

Instead of feeding into this fear I've decided to haul my ass out of this hole and am going to do small but nourishing things today that are achievable (lets stack the odds in favour of success why don't we?) and will make me feel connected to myself and my WHY.

My why: inspire love and trust.

For me this means:
• Eat foods that make me feel good. Feeling good is the primary intention! No processed sugar or biscuits, lots of herbal tea, my hearty stew for lunch. Crowd out the bad with good.
• Move my body. Yoga class with my gorgeous friend Ellika and then maybe a dance party for one when I get home! Whatever feels good at the time! Going with the flow, making things easy and free.
• Meditate on my lunch break. Maybe in the Church next door. Sacred space.
• Go for a walk after my meditation. Fresh air and sunshine...yes please!

This morning I started off with some Apple Cider Vinegar and water and a spoonful of flax seed oil, I've had my yummy super-food granola, two cups of delicious herbal tea and am looking forward to the rest of the day with all this stuff behind me.

"Through the chaos, through the darkness, the broken heartedness, we will always circle back to light.
Your true nature is luminous."
-Danielle LaPorte

Other things I'm WILDLY grateful for right now...
• Having safe spaces to come to and release the resistance of everything going on.
• Goblin waking me up with tonnes of cuddles and a kiss on the nose.
• Spending the long weekend with Ben house sitting for my sister. We've rented a car and are using the freedom of a car to explore the lovely countryside around North Essex. Road tripppp!!!
• Knowing that I only have 2 more weeks in this job and that my new job is super exciting and will be lovely and busy! The girls there are really looking forward to doing some yoga classes too...silver linings.
• For Nag Champa.
• For switching to plain organic Rosehip Oil as my moisturiser. I'm using this and I really HIGHLY recommend it. My skin is already glowy and its only been a week...which means I'm now grateful for not having to wear as much make-up as a result of my nice glowy skin. Bonus.
• For Ben being my soul mate.


4 April 2014

For my yoga studio. It's small but it's sacred.

For Ben for allowing me to have the second room as my yoga studio instead of the 'games room' he had been (not so secretly) planning.

For the new job that I start at the beginning of May. This year is proving to be BIG. Big job, big yoga plans, playing big in all areas of my life. Just like I hoped for.

For naked yoga tomorrow with my best friend. Thank goodness for home studios and friends that I trust enough to explore this type of thing with. Next up? This.

For yoga choco tea.

For Friday afternoon chats with Sylwia. For London grumblr making us laugh.

For booking the venue for my first yoga class in South London next Wednesday. Told ya, big year.

For having my heart cracked WIDE OPEN last night whilst watching Gabby's lecture (here) and doing this Kundalini meditation. More on that another time. Still processing.

For not getting upset that this space seems to be changing.
I've had a few moments of anxiety lately when I think that I should be blogging a certain way here, like I used to (more random stuff, more silliness, more moaning). But then I made the choice that instead I'm going with what I feel drawn to write, not what I think I 'should' be writing.

For Ben and his tipsy drunken ramblings at 2.30am.
At the time, half asleep, listening to him go on, well I gotta be honest...I wanted to punch him in the face. Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing.

Happy Friday.

Self-care, love & a givaway for the OM Yoga Show!!

3 April 2014

"All love has to start with yourself."

Learning to love yourself is brave. It runs deep. It takes trust, compassion and awareness.
Bringing love into my life looks different on a day to day basis.
Here are some of the things that I'm doing at the moment that bring more love into my life.

It reminds me of who I really am; powerful, loved, imperfect, abundant + strong.

Showing up.
Even when and especially when, its hard. Showing on my mat, even if it's just for 5 minutes a day is an act of bravery in knowing that I may come up against those dark parts of myself. Accepting these parts has everything to do with love.

Breathing properly.
Using my neti-pot, meditating and doing alternate nostril breathing has enabled me to be incredibly connected to my body this year. These things take commitment and practise but the pay off is huge. I can literally breathe my way through so much more these days.

Being selfish.
I declared this year that it's not selfish to make sure that my basic needs are being met - and then some. This is what I need to thrive. I listen in to what my body and soul needs to feel inspired and trusting and then I go do that. Learning to say no is taking some practise but I will get there.

Having responsibility.
It's my responsibility to take care of the one body that I have in this life. Sometimes this means eating clean, sometimes it means going to yoga every day for 60mins. But also it sometimes means having a glass of wine and chocolate to celebrate good news and sometimes it means only 5 minutes of yoga just before bed. Listening in means that I'm bringing awareness. Bringing awareness is taking responsibility. Awareness that EASE is the primary feeling.

These words by Mara sum up my feelings about this perfectly.
"In caring for myself and for my body, I am showing myself, again and again, that I am worthy of love and care."

Being open.
This is the biggie. I'm so incredibly lucky that I have an amazing support system of people that I can completely be myself with and that I can lean on for support, guidance and love. Being my true self, no mask, no bullshit is the truest way that I show love to myself.

As you must all know by now, I'm a yoga teacher, I love yoga (state the obvious Nicola - geesh!) and yoga's something that I love to share with people. I'm delighted that I have two pairs of weekend tickets for the Manchester OM Yoga Show in May to giveaway today!!

Enter via the rafflecopter widget below and hopefully see you there!

The Manchester OM Yoga Show is the perfect introduction to the ancient Indian practice of yoga, which is renowned for relaxing the body and de-stressing the mind, the perfect counter to today’s modern world.

Come see over 100 exhibitors showcasing the best yoga, Pilates, complementary therapies plus a fantastic range of yoga accessories, clothing, jewellery, super foods, holidays plus lots more.

This year we are offering all our visitors to the OM Yoga Show the chance to visit the Mind Body Soul Experience at no extra charge. The Mind Body Soul Experience covers complementary health, spiritual awareness and personal development and it is the largest show of its type in the UK.

The show takes place at Manchester Central from 10 – 11 May 2014.

Highlights of the OM Yoga Show this year include:
- Over 40 free yoga sessions over the weekend
- YogaMonkey Swing Area
- Yoga Disco!
- Top Yoga presenters including Bee Bosnack, Andrea Everingham, Nicky McGinty and Yogi Ashokananda.
- HotPod Yoga sessions

Fancy coming?!"

Disclaimer: The awesome people at Om Yoga Magazine have given me a free online subscription in return for me occasionally sharing articles in the magazine here on Our Little Balham Life. This article was inspired by an article I read in the magazine. I buy the magazine every month anyway so was pretty darn delighted to be asked and as a bonus I get to giveaway tickets to you lovely people!!