Time for a break!

So the weekend just gone I had the pleasure of taking a break. And I mean, really taking a break. I spent three nights at Seren Retreat on the Gower Peninsular in South Wales, check out the website for more information: http://www.serenretreat.com

 

 

 

Their house sits surrounded by beautiful countryside. There are stunning steam side walks out of their back yard. Wild horses come to visit in search for apples. And the pigmy goats who enjoy the fields are a joy to watch. So it definitely felt like an escape from my day to day life. Although we didn’t turn on the TV once, we were able to use the wifi which was useful for communicating with the outside world, as the signal is non existent! So it is worth bringing books.

 

The meals are all made by Alaea, and follow a similar formula based on Ayurveda. All the meals were natural, free from processed food or sugar, and mainly vegan (except Rex’s delicious honey from his bee hives). I won’t lie, when I first saw my dinner of a side salad with millet and a bowl of soup, I imagined it was a starter! But in fact, I was satisfied and realised that perhaps I don’t actually need as much food as I think I need.

 

Breakfasts are a type of porridge, with an interesting grain such as millet or quinoa, in an interesting milk such as hemp or almond, sweetened with interesting fruit such as dates, figs or goji berries. Every morning was delicious, especially with some of that honey.

 

Lunch was similar to dinner, although slightly more substantial, with extra grains to go with the soup and salad. Each soup was home made, interesting, different and delicious.

 

In the day time we experienced the treatments, one day an Ayurveda massage from Alaea, where we understood my energy (fire energy grounded in the earth) and then I was slathered in oil. Very relaxing. The next day Rex delivered a polarity session, which was a blend of reflexology and what reminded me of Thai yoga massage, the dry massage where you are fully clothed and receive a massage which involves mobility. Some people experience really emotional reactions to this type of therapy as well.

 

The yoga Rex teaches is a type called Kundalini, which was a bit different to my usual yoga class. Very focussed on breathing and energy. I came away from each session feeling calm, and you are able to take home some notes to carry on some of the practise when you go back to your usual life. Some of the breathing techniques I am hoping will be useful after a busy day at work.

 

In our free time, we explored the coast line, which was absolutely stunning. Pack your walking shoes! Top spots are Three Cliffs Coast and Worms Head. We were particularly lucky with the weather, I even came home with a Welsh tan!

 

Ultimately it was not a cheap weekend. I probably could have had a mini break in Europe for the same money, but while I was there I didn’t spend another penny. It definitely was a very different experience compared to my usual holiday, but I came away feeling rested, taller and more healthy (if a bit desperate for some bread or cheese!). I also feel inspired to make more positive changes to my lifestyle now I am back. I’m currently writing this while drinking a Deliciously Ella Best Breakfast Smoothie and have some nuts and dates packed into my handbag for an afternoon snack. I also felt that all that space and time gave me the room to think, and I came back home with two realisations which I can now action, so I feel more empowered. And can you really put a price on that?

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Sorry, not sorry.

It’s really become a pet peeve for me how much we, as women, tend to apologise. Since reading the incredible Sheryl Sandburg ‘Lean In’, and seeing the Pantene ‘Sorry not sorry’ ad on YouTube (check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p73-30lE-XE) we are being called out on it!

 

At work, we have hot desks, so no allocated seating, meaning you can chose who you want to sit next to each day, which is great. One day in particular, three of the young women around me were talking about their habit of apologising, and I made them watch the said Pantene ad. It rang so true with all of us.

 

So now, I have set myself a challenge to not apologise unless I really am sorry.

 

Am I sorry that we bumped into each other walking towards the Underground? No.

 

Am I sorry that you are talking over me in a meeting and I want to finish what I was saying? No.

 

So now I am trying to say ‘excuse me’ instead. So I don’t sound like a complete cow! Have a think today about how many times you say sorry and if it is the right word for that situation… and watch the ad! Have a great, unapologetic day.

Wellbeing and Cancer Awareness

I’m lucky enough that our work provides some really useful tools to help take care of my and my colleagues wellbeing while at work. There is an on site gym and GP, and they run sessions to help us with all aspects of our health, including yesterday a talk about Cancer Awareness from a GP. I wanted to share my top learnings from the session as I found it really interesting:

 

  • Cancer will touch all of us at some point, but over 40% of cancers are preventable.
  • Men still die on average five years before women, generally they visit the GP less, and cancers are found later on in the process. So the lesson here, is don’t be embarrassed to go to your GP, it could give you another 5 years.
  • Symptoms which last 4 weeks or more should be checked out by a GP, such as a soreness, cough, etc.
  • Most common cancers change for different age groups and gender, but it’s worth remembering women should check their breasts for any changes (as it makes up 31% of all female cancers), and men should be looking out for lumps which might be testicular cancer (particularly 15-35 years) and as they get older, notice symptoms for prostate cancer.
  • 8 women a day are getting diagnosed with cervical cancer, so ensure you get a cervical screen when your GP calls you in. It’s actually to find pre cancerous cells rather than actual cancer.
  • If you suddenly lose weight without any reason, it’s definitely worth visiting your GP.

 

Ultimately, what I learnt is that early detection and prevention are the most important part of surviving cancer. Obviously they covered reducing alcohol, not smoking or being over weight as important lifestyle choices.

 

Ultimately, the most important thing is to ensure you enjoy every day you can for as long as you can.

Personal Brand 6 – Dressing the Part

I’m sure by now you have heard the expression, ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’. If your office is anything like mine, there is less and less of a dress code. Our office is very modern, and you can ultimately wear whatever you like…  but there do seem to be some rules. Some of them I have made up for myself, as the new, more modern version of ‘dressing for the job I want.’

  • I chose to never wear jeans on a Monday. There is something about starting the week being your most professional business self which I really believe in. In the same way as I always make sure I do a work out on a Monday… starting the week as you mean to go on.
  • A dress is the ultimate in looking like you made a lot of effort, but not actually making any effort at all! You don’t need to match it with anything. (Hello an extra minute in bed!)
  • A jacket makes almost anything look professional, I throw mine on over a jumpsuit which might normally be reserved for the beach and instantly mean business.
  • I’m learning as I get older, that shoes are worth spending some money on. If you can find the holy grail of something smart that works with most outfits and that is comfortable… buy two pairs!
  • Hoodies and football shirts are exclusively reserved for techies and people who want to be unemployed for their next job!

Ultimately, if you feel comfortable, you will be able to perform at your best level in most situations, so prioritise that over anything else.

Taking time out…

So I haven’t blogged now for a couple of weeks, because I was knocked out by the flu. This was the type of flu that made me realise, I have never actually had the flu before, only some serious colds which I had mistaken for the flu.

 

I was house bound for about 5 days, sleeping for the vast majority of those days as well as all night, shaking and shivering, then extremely hot. It was a horrid experience. Beyond that, once I was better to go to work, I still didn’t feel myself, coming home and having a nap on the sofa because the day had taken it out of me.

 

Today, I am feeling more human, so I just wanted to share my experience of the last couple of weeks, and remind you, that there is nothing more important than your health! If you are wiped out with illness, take your time to rest and recover. You will not achieve anything trying to push through the illness. Just get better first and get back to being your wonderful self.

 

That is exactly why I have been so quiet on here… but I’m back now!

Practise Makes Perfect… Round 2!

So you may remember a few weeks back, I had embarked on the journey of learning to braid my own hair, and had been taught a first step, the two strand side braid which I explained here: https://searchforhealthandhappiness.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/practise-makes-perfect/

 

So as I suggested in that post, anything worth having is worth working for, and I have been putting in some time to learn how to do a French plait in my own hair, and I am thrilled to say, yesterday I finally managed it!

 

Here is how you can manage it too…

 

So you have to start further back on your head than you would initially think… When I do a French plait on someone else I start on the top of their head… but when it is your own you need to take three strands of hair from what is ultimately the back of your head, right at the top (where you might position a high ponytail).

 

Take three strands there, and as you wrap around each strand in a normal plait, pull some hair from the front of your face, adding them to the strand, alternating each side, so the strands start to get thicker, and all your hair eventually ends back in this plait.

 

Don’t forget to have your band close to hand for when you get to the bottom, and take some time to sweep up all the kiss curls which might get left loose underneath.

 

This is perfect third day hair for when you have to look smart and really cannot be bothered to wash it!

 

Now for me to figure out if it was just a fluke or if I can do it again… wishing us both luck!

Copenhagen – My Top Ten

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Wow, Copenhagen caught me by surprise. I had heard it was beautiful, peaceful, with world class food…  And it really, really is. I want to share with you my top tips for making the most of this delightful city.

  1. Start with booking cheap flights… my last post about Bank Holidays will give you some good tips!
  2. Chose your Airbnb wisely! I stayed with Jesper… great apartment: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/5460986
  3. Visit the Rosenborg Slot (above). It is a beautiful castle in stunning grounds. Even if you don’t want to pay to go inside, it is worth a walk in the grounds.
  4. Next door to this is the Botanical Gardens, free entry, and with a roof top walk way.

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5. The Little Mermaid is a classic, worth a visit even though she may be smaller than you expect!

6. Eat a superb open sandwich at Aamanns, http://www.aamanns.dk/us. I am gutted I don’t have a picture to show you! Each sandwich was a work of art.

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7. Rent a solar powered boat at http://www.goboat.dk… these are not in order, this was the highlight of my weekend!

8. Straight ahead was Experimentation City, an awesome food market… we lost hours eating and drinking in here… a short walk away from:

9. Christiana, the green light district. Worth a walk around even if it is not your thing. Just don’t run!

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10. Going up things… Above is Frederik’s Church, only open twice a day so plan wisely (or get lucky!) and below, Christian’s Palace, the tower is free and has a lift in case you can’t handle any more steps.

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