Glamping

I’ve got a secret to share…I’m a closet tramp! Don’t get me wrong I am very much one for being clean, you know the drill: washing everyday, brushing teeth twice a day and so on but I have to admit; sometimes washing my hair does feel like a chore. So when the opportunity comes to not wash my hair, live in comfy clothes and skip a shower if I want to…well I jump at it! I think its great to not worry about how you look for a couple of nights, and a bit of grease and body odour, well that doesn’t hurt anyone; I joke, there was certainly no body odour…and plenty of dry shampoo was used!

I love camping and this version of it; well it’s even better. This is our version of ‘glamping’.

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We stayed on a site consisting of two yurts surrounded by woodland.

We spent the days BBQ’ing and relaxing or trekking to the local pubs for a cider and some grub. Evenings were spent making fires and toasting marshmallows. The nights were spent trying to keep warm and holding in my need for the toilet! It was a scary walk to that toilet, through the woods in the pitch black, and the aid of a torch just seemed to help cast frightening shadows!

Have you ever been glamping or stayed in a yurt? If not would you like to?

The Saatchi Gallery

The week before last I decided to take my Dad off to an Art gallery. My creative interests are inherited from my Dad and he has always encouraged and nurtured that side of me. He used to work as a tattooist some time ago but I have to say all of his art is amazing, and I am not biased! (Well I say all, maybe I would discount some of what is produced whilst drunk! Word of advice- Do not tattoo yourself whilst under the influence!)

Anyhow here a few snaps of our morning…

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We both picked the following as our favourite piece from all of the exhibition: ‘Fagboy’ by the artist Gerald Davis…

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My Dad said he was once asked; “Did you get teased at school for being into art?” to which his reply was “No because I would have just punched them”. As much as he liked art and wasn’t into football, he wouldn’t back down from a fight so perhaps that’s why he was left alone; and he never lost that passion for art.

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How cool are these paper cups? I like them all the more for being used cups. The artist worked as a parking attendant and began sketching on anything he could find, receipts, cups etc. This is the result.

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Whilst looking at the next piece we couldn’t help laugh at our analysis…it consisted of us pointing at each portrait and saying either “I like that one” or “I don’t like that one”, oh yes quite the art critics we are! But come on sometimes that’s all that matters isn’t it? Whether you actually like what you are looking at?

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Another of my favourites, love this technique…

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This next artist painted a fairly large collection of child portraits, all of which grew up to become dictators. The first portrait is of Adolf Hitler and the second of Saddam Hussein. I have to say I like the concept of this more than the execution. Although still a scary thought that there are so many evil people in the world!

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If you have never visited the Saatchi Gallery it’s definitely worth a gander. It showcases contemporary modern art by largely unknown or younger artists. It’s located on the Kings Road and as with most London galleries…it’s free!

What is your favourite art gallery?

Have you visited the Saatchi Gallery?

MEATliquor

Like burgers? Like cocktails? Like weird decor? Then MEATliquor is definitely worth a visit!

Simple menu consisting of: MEAT- beef burgers, some chicken (wings and a burger), fries on the side (with or without a topping), rabbit food (loved this name for it!) which includes a halloumi burger and ‘slaw (or coleslaw to me and you) and of course Liquor- various cocktails and beer. All at a reasonable price, cocktails start at about £7 and a cheeseburger (with relishes etc) at £6.50.

You can’t book but just join the queue outside. We waited no longer than 10 minutes and managed to grab a drink at the bar too. It’s dimly lit so you can’t inspect the presentation but with burgers that taste this good who needs to?

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I took my Dad who enjoyed a perfectly cooked burger and he loved the simplicity and quirkiness of the place. It was a hit with us.

Have you visited? What did you think?

Motivation

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So my healthy living journey kind of fell to the wayside…or maybe ‘completely stopped’ would probably be more accurate. This meant I needed a way to get motivated again!

It’s not just about weight loss (particularly as I am not far off of my goal weight now!) I want healthy living to be just that… a way of life. By becoming a habit and eventually the norm. However, realising that can take some time I needed some way of tricking myself into falling into this habit so what better way to kick start motivation than with the promise of treats at the end of it! Who doesn’t like a treat?

I started by making a spreadsheet for the month (example below). I listed the goals I wanted to achieve every day such as Exercise, No Diet Coke, Practice Yoga etc etc (there were also some non health related ones).

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I printed this off and kept a copy in my bag. Each day I put a tick or a cross against each goal as to whether I completed it or not throughout that day.

For each separate goal I have written in the notes, the treat I can have on the Sunday if I complete it each day (or if I have done particularly well, i.e just missed one day)…the treats range from buying myself an iced skinny latte to buying a new bag.

If you are struggling with treat ideas to motivate you here are some other options:
1. Purchase a new bubble bath and indulge in a soak for half an hour.
2. Buy a new app for your phone or download a new song.
3. Buy a new nail varnish.
4. Buy a new piece of make-up.
5. Watch your favourite program.
6. Indulge in a cheesy film.
7. Buy new underwear.
8. Buy new pyjamas.
9. Buy a new item of clothing (or shoes!)
10. Treat yourself to some raw chocolate.
11. Buy a new book or spend time reading one you already have!
12. Slap on a facemask.
13. Spend an hour listening to your favourite album.
14. Arrange a healthy dinner with a friend.
15. Get a wash and blow dry.
16. Get a free makeover at a make-up counter in a department shop.
17. Have a glass of wine!
19. Buy a new workout DVD.
You get the idea….it can be anything that helps motivate you and makes you feel good.

Then at the bottom of the table I have a couple of monthly/quarterly goals and ideas for bigger treats if I reach all of those, such as a facial, a new watch or a new camera!

Until I complete a goal I cannot buy anything!

REMEMBER- Do make sure your goals are reasonable and realistic, not all treats have to cost money, celebrate the small victories as well as the big ones, do not beat yourself up if you don’t achieve your goal just work harder to get there next time. Have fun and try not to take it all too seriously!

What motivates you? What treats do you give yourself for reaching goals if any?

Camden

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I absolutely love Camden in London and can spend hours wandering through the winding and hidden alleys and walkways. Each turn you’ll discover something new. It is vibrant, fun and eclectic. But be warned…it does get extremely busy, which means sometimes getting to where you want to be can be a bit of a squeeze. They have a good variety of food stalls as well as the market and quirky shops. It’s also a great place to do some people watching for fashion inspiration!

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Are you a fan of Camden?

What places do you like to visit to people watch?

OUR ENGAGEMENT!

Me and Craig have been together for 5 years (6 years this August!) and last December (22.12.12 to be exact), he proposed!

He said he had an early Christmas gift planned for me and to pack an over night bag. We made our way into London, starting with a little shopping on Oxford street. Craig then told me we were going to McDonalds for lunch. I would have been happy with that but instead I was led to a hotel nearby and we had champagne afternoon tea. It was delicious! I’d been telling him since the summer that we should go for afternoon tea; so he planned it for me!

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After some more shopping we made our way to our hotel to freshen up and get changed for dinner. We then spent some time looking at the Christmas lights around Oxford Street and Regent Street, although I have been to see the lights before, it is not something we had done together as a couple. In my opinion London is beautiful and charming at any time, but is even more romantic when it’s lit up!

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It was then a quick hop over to Tower Bridge for a dinner at “TGI’s” which turned out to be Gaucho’s! This was the restaurant at the top of my list of places to try! So another first for me and it was amazing…the views made it even more memorable!

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Although I was overwhelmed at the ‘Christmas present’ up to this point, I had know idea the best was yet to come. Both full of cow and red wine, we strolled back to our hotel in the rain. I went into the room and I saw a note next to a bottle of what I thought was wine. On closer inspection I noticed the note said ‘Marry me?’ and the bottle of ‘wine’ was Cristal champagne. I turned to look at Craig who was on one knee with ring in hand. After I exclaimed “is this a joke?” a few times and he responded “no” each time as he tried to keep balance, I was satisfied it was for real and said “Yes” with tear filled eyes!

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I couldn’t stop smiling all night. He had picked me a temporary ring so that we could go shopping for a ring together. The ring was actually one I’d seen in Primark a couple of weeks before but had put back when I’d noticed the huge queue. I didn’t know that he had gone back to get it for me. We sipped on our champagne (which I had never tried before and was impressed with…perhaps those wealthy rappers have got it right ;-) ), we chatted about our future and then he told me that he had asked my Dads permission, which almost made me start crying again! I was so touched that he had been old fashioned (and brave) enough to ask my Dad. He said he’d also asked my older brothers; as he knows how close we are. Of course they all gave their blessing (and Craig didn’t even need to use the alcohol he’d bought to bribe them!). It was a day and evening of ‘firsts’…and ended with the a proposal from the first and only person I want to marry!

Craig had always said he would want it to be a surprise when he proposed and the best thing…it was! It was unexpected and a total shock. (In an amazingly good way!)

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A couple of weeks later we went to Hatton Garden and chose a beautiful ring…an Emerald cut solitaire with baguette diamonds on the side. (Craig couldn’t stop giggling about the ‘baguettes’ imagining a ring with a couple of French sticks attached to it!)

As cheesy as it sounds; it was the perfect proposal and I am excited about everything to come! Xx

Crete

We had a week packed with laughing, BBQ-ing, Ouzo drinking, Halloumi eating and exploring.

It was my first time in Crete and certainly won’t be my last.  I didn’t expect to like the place as much as I did, but it really is an extremely pretty and quaint island.  The emerging mountains a perfect backdrop to the delicate Venetian style buildings.  Being out of season and staying in a place a little off the beaten track made for a peaceful holiday and a chance to indulge in all things Cretan without the interruption of too many other holiday makers.

My friend is half Greek and we were staying in a Villa owned by her Granny and Papou.  The villa was tucked up in the mountains about a 2 hour drive from the airport.  As soon as we approached and I looked out at the spectacular view I had no doubts this was going to be an unforgettable break.

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Having someone with us who was almost, very nearly (not quite) a native would make things a lot easier.  It meant we could blend in with the locals; even with my pale skin and blonde hair.

“You Greek?” asked the waiter directing his question to my friend.

“Yes” she grinned looking rather pleased with herself.

He blasted another question to her, this time in Greek, and she duly answered with a simple “Nai”, or Yes in Greek.

Satisfied she understood and was indeed Greek he continued his questioning.  He obviously decided to make his test a little harder, as my friend shook her head looking quite confused and quietly muttered another few Greek words.

“I really should learn Greek.” she said as the waiter walked away.

Half of our time was spent wandering lazily through the local towns and villages admiring the quiet harbours, vibrant lakes, and beautiful buildings Crete had to offer.

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The rest of our time was occupied with food! I am a huge lover of Greek food so knew that there would be at least one thing on this holiday that wouldn’t disappoint…and it didn’t!  Whether this was sampling the local restaurants or visiting the village butcher and baker, then firing up the BBQ to cook up our purchases which always included Halloumi.

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And there were the sunsets which I think speak for themselves…

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Ok, so the obligatory jumping shots didn’t quite work out, with that as a backdrop anything looks good!

We came back with our skin suitably sun burnt, head brimming with great memories and bellies full of Souvlaki and Raki!  I cannot wait to return one day….