Don’t sweat it

Wow, London… this is how you do summer!

Luckily for me, with an empty schedule I am free to enjoy today at my leisure and in my underwear, if I so wish. No sweaty backpack back (try saying that three times fast), no empty water bottle, no train delays from people fainting.

Apparently my brain isn’t working today… I went out to pick up some bits and pieces, but what I did was forget to measure the pictures that needed frames, walk around the market three times, buy carrots from the supermarket, peruse bed linen sets in a discount store for way too long, and prowl around the market again to eventually buy two bags of spinach which turned out to be completely wilted* (that would be why the stall-holder shoved those in the bag so quickly, then). Continue reading

Lessons I am learning from yoga

It’s funny how the world works sometimes… With a few free hours between appointments last week, I took myself to a coffee shop eager to put this post together. After a couple of hours of typing and deleting, I was slowly coming to the conclusion that there were no words to describe what was in my head. It must be a Claire thing. Nobody will get it. It’s not even relevant to your post, I told myself; you’re meant to be writing about how yoga has helped you implement everything you believe about fitness and training, how it has given you renewed faith in yourself and respect for your body. I was about ready to trash the personal stuff and just present a list of the benefits of yoga.

Then, just two days later at my friend Viv’s – who I hadn’t seen in three months – we got talking about yoga and fitness, and to my great surprise and excitement, out of her mouth came my thoughts in her words. Continue reading

Happiness habits

Shortly after I spent ten days at a silent retreat, I read a brilliant quote on Twitter:

It is not necessary to meditate for one hour a day,” it said – “unless you are too busy; then you should meditate for two hours.”

 I thought that was perfect, and to this day whenever I catch myself making excuses not to do something (you know, like, several times a day), that line runs through my head.

After all, we all perform many little tasks mindlessly every day, without even questioning whether we have time for them. Brushing our teeth; showering and/or washing our hair; for some of us, exercising; Instagramming our breakfasts… In a world where we are increasingly prioritising productivity, certain daily non-work rituals still squeeze their way into the schedule. Continue reading

Come here often?

Hi there. Have we met?

Perhaps we knew each other a while ago, or maybe we just feel like we’ve known each other forever. It’s still me, but maybe it’s not quite me. We’ve probably both changed quite a bit. I hope we still get along!

I didn’t leave a note because I was all out of words. Just like that: one day they were there, the next – nothing. But slowly, as I knew in my heart of hearts they would, thoughts of this humble patch of the internet with my name on it started to tug at my heartstrings and my fingertips.

Things might change a little around here. I’m not too sure yet how, when, or why, but it’s time for some spring cleaning. Nothing too intense, don’t worry; that’s not my style. But I’m feeling different feels and I hope this reflects that. Join me for the journey. Let’s have some fun with our words and our thoughts and remember what we cared about before everyone else decided to tell us what to care about.

These are some of the things that have been happening, in as little order as I can impose:

+ I wrote two essays, both of them brilliant and frighteningly poor at the same time. I hope my awareness of their shortcomings means they will actually have none… that’s how it works right?

+ I ordered room service in a hotel for the first time in my life. At midnight. Home Alone anyone? Thank you, Fairmont Dubai, for one of the most memorable vegan impromptu dinners I have experience thus far (and for the slippers).

Fairmont Dubai vegan room service

+ I made a delicious (albeit slightly modified) sunshiny breakfast quinoa from a Zsu Dever recipe to hit your bookshelf soon. I can still taste it, it was that good.

Zsu Dever breakfast quinoa+ Ben and I bought a bed! It felt so grown-up lying down on the beds in the bed shop with a view to actually buying one for once.

+ If I could eat sun-dried tomatoes and/or za’atar in every meal, I would. So I do. I would also like to eat the avocado toast from Double Take Café every day, but it lives in Toronto, Australia, so thank goodness for za’atar and sun-dried tomatoes (but how good would this toast be with za’atar and sun-dried tomatoes?!).

Double Take café avo toast

+ In Australia I saw a dolphin leaping, a sea-eagle soaring, some insanely big jellyfish jellyfishing, a pelican choking, and a giant rat. Nature is great, but it isn’t great at cuddles which is why we have cats.

Mika+ I got a new tattoo, but it feels like it has been there forever – in a really good way! I knew what I wanted for years but could never picture it in my mind’s eye. Luckily, Sooz at Fifth Dimension Tattoo is some kind of psychic visionary and created the most perfect tattoo for me that I could ever have dreamed up. It’s like she knew me better than I knew myself. It was scary at first and then just crazy awesome.

Cherry tree tattoo+ I went back to a grappling training session for the first time in over a year! Well, I thought it was grappling. It was submission wrestling. It was a breath of fresh air in a suffocating January (figuratively – literally it was more like gasps of sweat-soaked air in a brutally crisp January).

+ I spent some quality time with a friend before she moved back to Turkey. It was sad to see her go but I was super grateful for the bonding we got to do which, let’s face it, never would have happened had she been sticking around. She also made me these totally crave-worthy almond butter biscuits. They are perfect flight snacks!

4-ingredient flourless cookies+ Ben bought us a Nutri Ninja (with Auto-IQ)! Believe the hype. So far my best concoction has included mango, kiwi, banana, strawberries, spinach, pumpkin seeds, matcha powder, and soy milk.

+ We got to look after a dog for a day and got given a bag of Monmouth coffee (Finca Malacara A, since you asked) and a shiny new cafetière for our efforts. Mornings are a different beast, and so am I.

Cat coffee chillSo that’s what’s been. I want to give everything on here a little revamp at some point, but mainly I want to get a little more personal. In my time off I indulged in a lot of reading of other blogs, falling out of love with some, but much more deeply in love with others, and I realised that the blogs I love the most are not necessarily the ones with the prettiest pictures and the best recipes, but the ones that are held together by one author’s voice and passion and honesty.

So in the spirit of treating others as I’d like to be treated, I will try to open up a little more on this space that is my own. If I could serve you some of my fancy new coffee and those melt-in-your-mouth flourless almond butter cookies while we chat, I would.

Tomorrow I’m planning on sharing the most personal post I ever have shared on here. Beyond that, I’m not sure what will be next, but please join me in jumping off at the deep end.

Thanks for sticking around, and speak soon!

Double negatives

Sometimes, as a blogger, something will be on my mind that I can’t quite articulate – something that stops me from being able to write about much else, but that I can’t actually seem to formulate an opinion on, let alone a cohesive blog post – and then some internet storm will slot right in and unlock a response from me which allows me to express what has been weighing on my mind.

A few things have been happening lately. Continue reading

Bang, bang

If you run in the same virtual circles that I do, you’ll have noticed “trigger warnings” popping up more and more often. These are typically then given a specification like “sexual assault”, “eating disorders”, “abuse”, or anything else that is described within the video or article that may have a triggering effect on somebody who has dealt with similar issues in the past.

This is much more than a simple movie rating; while there may be some overlap, the latter are often aimed at not causing offence whereas “trigger warnings” are specifically looking to avoid causing anyone any direct or indirect harm from the nature of the content. Continue reading

Vegan birthday cake (and other stories)

I remember, years ago, having a conversation with one of my best friends about whether birthdays or Christmas were better. I preferred my birthday – a random day just for you, where you can do what you want – while she preferred Christmas, where there is less attention focussed on you and more general fuzzy happy times.

For the last few years, however, I have become less and less fond of birthdays. Not because I am worried about getting older (though no longer being able to tick the 18-24 bracket is a bit of a shock), but because more than ever I shun the pressure to have fun, making the decisions because it’s your birthday and you have to have the most fun. Continue reading