Wonderful Wednesday 1st August 2018

Wonderful Wednesday 2018We didn’t manage a Wonderful Wednesday last week, there’s a long and sad tale involving an overheated spaniel and a sleepless night all round. (He’s fine and dandy now, the rain has fixed him up a treat). So here’s a bumper set of beautiful little bits:

Wonderful Wednesday 2018Sunset Chasing We are working hard to make sure that Monday feeling doesn’t creep into our lives. I made an utter douchebag comment a while ago about just ‘living your best life every day so there is no Monday or Friday or sad sack Sunday vibes, every day is a cracking day’. The words came out of MY mouth and I KNOW it’s crap. Life is what it is BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t grab on to those lovely little mood enhancing moments to carry you through. Which is why we got home on Monday evening, ditched the corporate whore attire in favour of flip flops, packed up a leftover BBQ picnic (ale included) and headed out to follow the sunset. Peak Devon right there and it was magical.

This Is Going To Hurt I used my last Audible credit on the audiobook version and can confirm that Adam Kay narrating his own amazing/harrowing NHS journals is a thing of majesty. Not for the easily offended or weak of stomach but an incredible insight into just where our healthcare system is at and the extraordinary pressure those on charged with taking care of the rest of us. Bevan would probably call the whole thing bullshit. The system, not the book. He’d bloody love the book.

Crimble Crumble Early one dog walk I spied some small children clutching handfuls of delicious looking juicy blackberries. SURELY it’s too early for those?! After making my peace with it I did what any self respecting woman would and woke up even earlier to beat them to it the next day* The weird and wonderful weather none of us can stop banging on about seems to have brought the blackberries out to play a little early. I’ve been sticking handfuls in my morning smoothies and whipped up the first crumble of the year . 

Those Malteaser Buttons I resisted grabbing a bag at the checkout to find that my friend R had brought a bag over to to scoff post BBQ. They are absolutely as sexual as everyone is saying. Get them, put them in your face.Wonderful Wednesday 2018It’s All Gone a bit Pete Tong After a long old week in the office, I wasn’t 100% convinced that I wanted to spend Friday night raving on the Hoe. I was an idiot. Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra with Jules Buckley brought their set to the South West and it was UNBELIEVABLE. The combo of stonking dance tunes and the talented orchestra is ridiculously good. If you didn’t catch the live stream, here’s a sneak peak. If they rock up at a venue near you I’d very strongly suggest dipping your face in glitter and getting tickets. We wore anoraks and ached a lot on Saturday, totally worth it.

Disclaimer: we are related to the drummer but my effusive love of raving is in no way familial obligation.

How’s your week been? Best bits?

For more WW search the hashtag over on Twitter #wonderfulwednesday or check out any of these beauties:  JoHelen, SallySarahKateCatSamEl Kerri’, and Peta’s blogs.

*I swear I left some behind, chill. I probably didn’t make any small children sob this week. 

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Wonderful Wednesday 18th July 2018

Wonderful WednesdaySettling down to write this in a post yoga zen daze, clutching quite the Malbec and with the latest Handmaid’s Tale* on in the background, I feel a bit….content.

After the last six months, that’s a word I wasn’t sure I’d get any more use out of! BUT this week has been all kinds of restorative and soul feeding and full of beautiful bits. Shall we?

Le Weekend Husband and I had a FULL ON week back in the office, we hit Friday with empty tanks and frazzled brains. Recognising that we desperately needed some recovery time, the rest of the world was shut out in favour of two whole days together in the sunshine. We stomped on the moors, paddled in old quarries and lay prone in the garden for a ridiculously long time. We did a bit of yoga a deux too, check us out.  A moment of gratitude for the fact that we are, as frazzled as our brains may be, so very fortunate to be able to take that time to be together with food in our bellies and a garden to veg in.

Devon Sunsets are always the best. Especially when enjoyed from the middle of a river divesting a trainee of his futile optimism. Fecking teenagers (he might have been 21. Apologies fella). That sunset though. Go. Devon.

Wonderful Wednesday

British Protests Because we may be screwed politically but boy do we give good protest. Always proud to be part of a nation willing to speak up against injustice and tangoed terrors at the beautifully entitled Carnival of Resistance. Some of my absolute favourite British protest signs here, here and here .

And here…

True that.

A Good Book I’m a dirty great book pusher. If you spend more than five minutes in my company you can bet your arse you’ll walk away with something to read. It’s not entirely altruistic, I love it when someone comes back and says how magical they found the recommendation (in need of validation, moi)? The most recent success was Eleanor Oliphant – is there a human being alive that wouldn’t benefit from a bit of Eleanor?

Homemade Coleslaw Freshly chopped with a decent grinding of salt and pepper, squidge of lemon juice and a bit of thinly sliced fennel chucked in. Not too shabby at all with all the barbecue food we’re still wading through. Posh puppy anyone?

Those Summer Ni-higggggghts Not those ones. I mean the ones spent with a decent read, a cup of peppermint tea, a snuggly blanket and a spaniel companion. We’ve been sitting out in the garden til the last of the sun dips below the horizon and we’ve squinted our last out of the books. I’m not saying I don’t love a good Netflix and chill (not using that right, I know) but the peace of the garden and the company of my favourites of an evening might just be a shade better.

In Their Own Words  Amnesty International’s podcast with people from around the world share their extraordinary stories of fighting for the rights so many of us take for granted. Well worth a listen if your podcast list needs a refresh.

Peep Show From the sublime Amnesty International to the utterly ludicrous Peep Show. For all the outdoorsing, one still needs a little something funny to stick on when bedtime comes round. Enter Peep Show from the beginning.

Go forth and enjoy more wonderful courtesy of:  JoHelen, SallySarahKateCatSamEl Kerri’, and Peta’s blogs. Or search the hashtag #wonderfulwednesday on Twitter.

*Waterford’s getting shittier by the week. He wasn’t brilliant where Atwood stopped was he? But man alive, SUPER DOUCHE. 

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Wonderful Wednesday 11th July 2018

Wonderful Wednesday July 2018I’m struggling not to go full Brit and bang on about the weather so no pre-amble, straight to the beautiful little moments that made this week a good one:

Birthday Bonanza The husband had a whopping birthday last week and we celebrated in the best possible way: hopping on a plane and getting the hell out of Dodge for a bit. We spent four days wandering the palm lined proms of Palma, navigating tiny little Mediterranean streets and basking in the sun like oversized gekkos. Hashtag weird creature choice.  More on Palma next week but spoiler alert: much trendy, very avocado, go.

Sunset Dinner Continuing the birthday bonanza, my beautiful step ‘children’ descended on The Shire to enjoy a sunset dinner of dreams. Coombe Cellars is right on the river and might be the perfect spot to enjoy a bit of sunset porn and a roast beef on a Sunday evening. There were pooches, sunshine and all of my favourite souls. Not the worst.

Cracking Caprese I’ve had a think about it and yes, ‘cracking caprese’ is the very worst thing I’ve ever written BUT the combination of perfectly sweet Mediterranean tomatoes, rich mozzarella and all the pesto and balsamic is not to be sniffed at! I’ll try to keep it more relatable in future….

THE Playlist I’ve spent some time curating the ultimate running playlist. It starts all Motown (read: Gladys Knight) when I have the lung capacity to sing along, switches to a bit of angry female in the middle when I need a boost and switches to fairly offensive noughties rap (read: Big Pimpin’) when rage is the only thing that will get me home. Apart from some awkward gyrating incident at the traffic lights, it has so far served me well. The power of the right playlist should not be underestimated.

Wonderful Wednesday July 2018

Early Mornings Ok, it’s a bit weather related. But getting out of the house first thing with the pooches and making the most of the beautiful sunrise and slightly cooler temperatures when no one else is awake yet is just lovely. It feels a little like being the only souls privvy to the sunrise…or like extras from 28 Days Later, whichever appeals to your particular persuasions. Basically it’s an introverts dream.

Not My Monkeys, Not My Circus I’m that douchebag who returned from holiday full of vitamin D and good vibes, spouting old Polish proverbs like this one. Didn’t even go to Poland.  Extra arse points for coupling it with a shaka as often as possible. BUT as post holiday life philosophies go, this is a pretty good one to have – stepping away from ‘fix it’ mode and accepting the things that lie completely outside of our personal spheres of influence is not a bad place to set up camp. I’m staying here, it’s warm and fuzzy and my only energy expenditure is where I can make a difference.

Playtime Because if I don’t mention yoga is it even worth it? Nope. After a long and arduous return to the life routine, I set aside a good hour to stretch and unwind in the evening sunshine. It remains the greatest of self care gifts I’ve found. It’s not about the fancy stuff, it’s about showing up for you – DO IT!

Secret Beaches Particularly ones accessed only by a smugglers tunnel. Happily, most of the off the beaten track beaches in Devon are dog friendly all year round. This week we hung out at The Ness in Shaldon. It feels counter intuitive to tell the internet about my favourite secret beach hangouts but I’m not naive enough to think there are more than three readers who may benefit from that knowledge. Hi mum! More on The Ness next week.

New Frocks Found me a Mango Outlet store in Palma, bought all of the dresses. Current favourite is a blue and white floaty number. Any dress that makes you feel like a more feminine version of a functioning adults is an absolute win. It’s on Instagram. Seamless link there, seamless.

Green Tea with Mint Nuff said. Particularly good after the excesses of the holiday.

Wishing you the most beautiful of weeks, tell me stuff.

For more WW search the hashtag over on Twitter #wonderfulwednesday or check out any of these beauties:  JoHelen, SallySarahKateCatSamEl Kerri’, and Peta’s blogs.

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Wonderful Wednesday – Here We Go Again

Wonderful Wednesday Two posts in a week – hang onto your knickers. And if you could keep your voices down in case the words bugger off and leave me again, that’d be swell.  The first, a round up of so very many unsurprising benefits of getting your yoga on (I know, I harp on about it a LOT. And let’s not start on the nonsense that is my Instagram grid right now – down dog to actual dog and back again all day, e’rry day, I am most definitely NOT doing it for the ‘gram) and the second: this perky little look at the best bits of the last week or so.

Having not done one of these for a while, I was pretty chuffed to sit down in front of the keyboard to discover that my ability to capture the beautiful little moments in each day had not completely wasted away. Admittedly it has been somewhat squished down by my own equivalent of the Dogma sh*t demon for the last 8 months or so but it scrapped and clawed its way up from the abyss, from the fiery depths of….yeah, enough with the drama, shall we crack on?Exeter to Newton AbbotThe 16:45 to Penzance More specifically a very tiny bit of the railway between Exeter and Newton Abbot which remains breathtakingly beautiful and unfailingly feels like coming home. Even more so when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Stepping off the train to feel the sun on my face after enjoying that view was a bit lovely.  Especially after coming from a grey and muggy Bristol.

Pukka Vanilla Chai Tea After being mercilessly abused (lightly teased) about my tendency to move everywhere like Phoebe runs, I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce my caffeine levels because clearly that’s the problem.  I still cannot glide effortlessly around and have NO semblance of grace but discovering Pukka’s Vanilla Chai tea has been a happy little accidental side effect.  Like a hug in a mug.

Dogs and Ducks I wasn’t entirely sold on the concept of duck herding as a team building exercise but the ducks were cute and full of attitude and I did get to make pretty firm friends with Sam and Sian the Welsh Sheepdogs. Any day with a new pupper pal is a good one.  These were the smartest most beautiful duo I’ve met in a while.

Two Hour Cross Country Hikes With Macaroons You’d be forgiven for thinking this narrative ends there, it’s fairly descriptive. However, it doesn’t quite capture the heady combo of excellent company (thanks R), life planning like a boss and chats with a couple of random rambling pensioners. And the baby cows. They were divine.

Paddleboards and Puppies and P….nothing else alliterative. Oh My!  I absolutely say this every season but summer HAS to be the best doesn’t it? I feel endlessly lucky to live two minutes from the sea. Just two minutes from feeling the sand beneath my toes whilst the sun warms all those bits normally wrapped in thick British layers. Two minutes from trailing my fingers in the sea or being splashed head to toe by an amorous spaniel. If there was no spaniel attack did it even really happen? Nope.  Spaniel Ears^^This face^^ I spent nearly three whole days away last week and it took a while for those two to forgive me. They greeted me enthusiastically before conferring to give me the cold shoulder in tandem. They just couldn’t help themselves though and edged closer and closer all night long til we were in a human/spaniel heap of love. Man can those pooches deliver a burn but there’s nothing quite like the unconditional adoration when they cave in.

Marvellous Mrs Maisel On Amazon Prime and straight from the brains behind Gilmore Girls, Midge’s husband is a shit so she heads out and nails life (and stand up comedy). Full of painful 1950’s stereotypes, smart jokes and kick arse women, series one was one of the loveliest TV binges I’ve had in a while. I followed it up with Leatherface on Netflix (don’t bother – 90 minutes you’ll never get back). Fargo on Netflix however is a bit of alright if you’re looking for a new binge.

Snack Wielding Office Buddies I was ill prepared for eating this week. Lots of lovely workmates to the rescue with their mini cheddars, bananas and weird protein bar stashes. Any good workplace is built on a mixture of personalities and working styles, tip top communication from the powers that be and colleagues with well stocked snack drawers. You heard it here first.

On Writing I picked up Stephen King’s how to/memoir/CV again to dip into this week. It’s a wonderfully down to earth retelling of how he came to be, how he was formed as a writer. I adore it. Anyone with any interest in linguistics, words and whimsy with a whopping dollop of real life will love it. It inspired me to sit back down and stick words in places I’ve been avoiding for quite some time.

Last but definitely not least, as I write this, a news alert popped up telling me that Donald Trump has signed an order to stop the separation of migrant families at the US border. Nothing that man does will ever make me think he’s a functioning human being but this seems like a win for actual humanity and some days that’s enough.

So there you go, easing back into this Wonderful Wednesday lark with humanity, poise, grace and all the spaniels. Business as usual!

How’s your week/month/2018 been? Tell me stuff.

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I’m so sorry, I’m not sure who’s in the feel good posse any more but if you are, please leave me a link below. Head over to the Mistress of Mirth herself, Miss Sally for a whole lot more wonderful.

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An Undisclosed Number of Fairly Unsurprising Benefits to Daily Yoga Practice

Headstand with Eagle Legs I’ll be the first to admit (unless you’ve met anyone who knows me) that I’ve turned into quite the yoga wanker. Assuming that the universally accepted definition of an anything wanker is someone with average ability in a given thing but who does not let that stop them banging on about how transformative and beautiful it is, or how their new superpower is extreme zen, or wears chakra balancing bracelets, or chucks phrases like ‘evangelical about yoga’ on their professional networking bios [For the love of Buddha someone ask me SOMETHING about yoga. LOVE ME]. I digress.

Because I bang on about it incessantly, I’m often asked what’s the point? What’s in it for me? Why should I bother? Does it really count as a workout? Yes mother, it does.

As a long term dabbler, I’ve only really committed to regular (almost) daily practice in the last year or so. The renegade master that I am splits this practice between self guided, good old Adriene and classes at a studio around the corner from my home. It was unintentional for my practice to become daily but it turns out yoga is pretty damn addictive, those days on which I can’t squeeze in even a quick ten minutes, my karma is all kinds of out of kilter.  There are some obvious benefits, some less so and some I’ll leave you to find out for yourself (because a little mystery makes the world go round).

Mind Over Matter Let’s get this one out of the way early on. It’s a pretty powerful one but it’s also the one that makes me sound most like a joss stick wielding, tie dye wearing, age of Aquarius sort.  The acceptance that your mind is your limiting factor rather than your physical ability is a little bit magical. It shouldn’t be particularly revelatory but somehow it is and it takes a while to get ones head around. Acknowledging that your mind will give up long before your body is too tired to carry on is all empowering and has pushed me to achieve things I never would have before. Like levitation*

Crow Pose

Posture As a classic nine to fiver, I’m about six hours away from being Quasimodo at any given time. By strengthening everything around your core and lengthening muscles where it matters, regular practice will encourage you to hold your body properly wherever you spend most of your day. Fewer aches and pains and no hunchbacks – winner.

Stress Relief The focus on the breath/body connection is at the core of yoga practice and being able to drop into your body whenever you need to is quite the game changer. It doesn’t take very long for a habit to form and the more you practice this the more you’ll be able to use it in your day to day life – switching from the thinking brain to the present moment as and when you want to. You may not realise it during the journey but all of a sudden you’ll find yourself breathing through something that may have otherwise thrown you off your game when you’re nowhere near your yoga mat. So yeah….yoga teaches you how to breathe and breathing big and deep reduces stress. Ground breaking.

Muscle Tone No matter where your starting point is, yoga is a full body experience. I am currently the leanest, most toned version of me I’ve ever been and the muscle I’m flashing about the place is 100% down to yoga. Those tiny little abs visible on a new moon when you squint a bit, the bicep I hit a waiter with when flexing for my friend- all yoga. Regardless of whether you think that looks better, feeling strong and healthy is not to be sniffed at.

A Positive Outlook 70% increase in endorphins, 20% reduction in cortisol release 10% zen by osmosis.  Taking time to set an intention for your practice, throwing yourself in fully and realising an hour later that you haven’t spent a single moment of that time ruminating on what happened today or what might happen tomorrow or what happened 16 years ago in the classroom is a beautiful thing. We can talk about the benefits of meditation another day but the ability to spend an hour focused, engaged and entirely in the present is a gift not to be squandered. And who doesn’t want to give themselves a gift every day!? It is hands down (bum up) the kindest thing I’ve done for me.

Downward facing dog

Flexibility Turns out if you bend and stretch more, you generally become bendier and stretchier. SHOCKER.  Whilst that should never be the goal and we all know that comparing ourselves to the most bendy and stretchy insta-bod we know is of the devil, it’s a very nice side effect of pushing your own boundaries as far as you are comfortable with. Increased flexibility and mobility will serve all of us well now, in the very distant future and everything in between.

Perfection is not the goal As true in yoga as in real life, the aim is to move in a way that feels good and appropriately challenging for you. If you can do this physically, it isn’t a huge stretch to engage your thinking brain in this way of operating. Letting go of the need to be perfect and embracing whatever the hell you are is so very freeing. Remove expectation from yourself and those around you and see how much more satisfying your little world becomes.

Regular practice will also make you more relaxed, a little bit kinder and at least 79% better in the sack. Probably. Are you a zen master or a newbie yogi? I’d love to know about your journey.

Namaste bitches. 

*not levitation but I can run a lot further than I ever could and hills are a lot easier these days.

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