Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 11


Today we leave for the sunshine, and to see our Family and Friends in South Africa for the next three weeks!

I am going to be pretty much completely offline until the beginning of January, other than on Instagram, where you can find me at luluberrydiaries.

Thank You so very much to all of you that have come to hang out with me on my little space on the internet this year.  I appreciate it so very much!

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a very Merry Festive Season! 

Zero Calorie Advent Calendar

Tuesday, December 10

Image Source
Hello all to the Zero Calorie Advent Followers, and thanks for popping over to my blog!

I shared a simple Festive Snacking idea as my contribution to the is year's Zero Calorie Advent Calendar, which you can find here.

The Calendar supports the Wonderful Charity, A Mile in Her Shoes.

A Mile in Her Shoes is a charity that helps homeless women to find their feet through running.

Our project creates, leads and supports groups of women who are currently homeless to try running at sessions with a qualified run leader, helping them to reach their own personal goals.
They are also encouraged to access further support services to address issues surrounding homelessness.


If you have any spare running shoes or kit that women in the project could re-use to take part in the running sessions - or that we could re-sell to help raise funds - please get in touch.

I hope that you are having a super week so far.

I can't believe that we leave for South Africa tomorrow!

RIP Tata Madiba

Friday, December 6



Today we mourn the passing of one of the World's greatest human beings.  

I had the privilege of meeting him once briefly, and he shook my hand and asked how I was.  I was 18 years old and completely in awe of the man stood in front of me.

I was telling one of the ladies on my recent yoga retreat about this very special moment in my life, when she said, "So he was completely present, as he spoke to you."  And she in those words helped me understand why this brief interaction with him was so powerful for so many of us that day. For those few seconds, whilst his minders patiently propelled him through a crowd of adoring school children, he was completely focussed on each adolescent that he spoke to.

The next time I saw in real life was 5 years ago at the 46664 concert to commemorate his 90th Birthday at Hyde Park.  I was struck by his frailty, and certainly wash't the only one to shed a few happy tears watching him smiling and enjoying the concert each time that the camera's showed a close up shot of him.

How someone who has spent 27 years in prison says the following upon his release, is beyond my grasp of the ability of a human to forgive.

"I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands."

Tata Madiba, if there was a democratic system for a very select few to remain immortal, I think we all know who the people of South Africa and many other parts of the world's votes would go to.

Thank You for all that you did for our beautiful country.

You will never be forgotten.


Swiss Christmas Markets

Tuesday, December 3


We had a wonderful weekend in Zurich and Basel at their Christmas Markets!

It was crisp with smatterings of snow about, but sunny.

 The Air BnB apartment that I booked for us to stay in was great, and very hipster.
The owner must have either inherited it from someone 20 years ago and not changed a thing, or she has spent a LOT of time buying old school items.  I'm talking an original etch a sketch board in the toilet, snap bracelets and a retro crockery collection that would take years to accumulate in thrift stores. I felt like I was continually fascinated by little smurf figurines perched in pot plants and very cool green coloured wine glass stems...

Hope that you had a good weekend too!


Happy Friday

Friday, November 29


It feels like there is that little bit of Christmas magic everywhere that I go at the moment, and I LOVE it. 
The weather has been kinder to us than I can ever remember it being in the 6 years that I've been in London at this time of the year, and so going outdoors isn't filing me with dread (yet). Or perhaps I'm just more used to the British weather now.

Lots of the children that I treat are singing Christmas carols during our sessions as they have all been preparing for their school plays, and everyone is starting to get that festive feeling.

The thought that this time in two weeks I will be in Sunny South Africa with my family for 3 weeks is pretty fantastic too. And almost makes up for the cold and annoying cough that I just can't seem to shake off of me.

This evening, Pete and I are going Zurich with the newly engaged couple, to the Christmas markets there and I can't wait!

I've wanted to go to one of the big European cities Christmas markets for years and I am so excited to see what it's all about.  I've booked us into an Air BnB apartment for the first time, and the Swiss girl who owns the apartment seems lovely-so I hope that it all goes well and that we don't end up wishing that we had just gone for a standard hotel...

Have you ever been to a European Christmas Market?
Any tips?

Have a super weekend!

Intuition - And when I Stupidly Ignored Mine.

Thursday, November 28


Last Summer, my friend Jules was visiting me from South Africa and we had had a solid shopping expedition on Oxford Street.  It was quite rushed in that adrenaline fuelled in a 'I need to see all these shops quickly as I'm going home tomorrow' kind of way.

At around 2pm we were exhausted and dehydrated-as you often are after such a task.  We wondered down Carnaby street looking for somewhere to refuel and rest our weary feet and it appeared that everywhere was rammed.  Being a rarely sunny and dry day in London, us and everyone else wanted to sit outside. Jules really wanted us to have a pub lunch being a tourist and all, and we eventually discovered a rather grimy looking pub with some tables outside on the sidewalk.  However something inside me told me that I really didn't want to sit there or eat there. The table we were headed to had it's previous occupants leftovers strewn over it, and someone had spilt a hefty amount of tomato sauce on the floor beside it.  But as were tired and really had no other easily available options, we sat down.

Soon after our waitress had begrudgingly cleared the table and placed our drinks down, we became aware of a women begging pretty aggressively at the table just down from ours.  She was filthy appeared middle aged, and was covered in pustules all over her face.  She was gaunt and clearly desperate for funds for whatever addiction fuelled her, although I'm guessing it was drugs of the worst kind.  She was leaning over a nervous looking American couples table and insisting that they gave her some money.  

After a few minutes she was at our table, asking for cash.  We kept our heads down and declined politely, both looking at our phones at the time.  Jules was smoking, and the woman then asked for a cigarette.  Again Julie shook her head and said she didn't have one for her.  The women became annoyed and shouted "well shove it up your arse then", to which I think Julie mumbled something in reply.

A few seconds later the women was right beside me shouting: "Do not laugh at a homeless person, do not laugh at a homeless person." When I replied to her that I had not been laughing at all, she retaliated and said "Because at the end of the day, you have a home and I don't". And as she finished the word don't, she swung around with all her might and smacked me across my head with her palm, her swing continued and she knocked over my drink before completing the arc of her circle by whacking Jules too.

It then felt like everything stopped. People in the street watching this commotion froze as she skipped down the street singing 'do not laugh at a homeless person, do not laugh at a homeless person'.

It felt like a scene out of a movie, and really rattled me.  Passers by came to ask if we were ok and if we were going to press charges, but we didn't as I'm not sure that this woman would even have recalled the encounter, and once our shock had worn off and our clothes dried off from the spilt drink, we felt really sorry for her.

Afterwards all I could think about was rushing home to shower and scrub where she had touched me.

The thing is that I KNEW that I shouldn't have sat there, my intuition had told me that I shouldn't, and I had blatantly ignored it.

I think that we are all losing this innate ability to listed to ourselves.

Intuition is defined as: the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.

I thought about this story again last week as I read about a yoga game for kids using their intuition. It involves one child standing in the corner with their eyes closed as another child on the class hides a feather beneath one of the yoga mats in the class.  The child then comes back to the group and uses their intuition to 'guess' where the feather is.  Apparently it is incredible how often the children guess correctly the first time.  

It's as we get older that begin to ignore this inner wisdom.


I need to start listening to my intuition more. Although I do think that my daily meditation practice is helping me with this too.  I also plan on going to a group next week about connecting with your inner guidance. 

When last did you go or not go 'with your gut feel'?

PS The picture above has no relevance to where it happened, I just like it :)

An Amazing Proposal

Monday, November 25

On Friday night me and some of my favourite people were sat in a restaurant glued to our phones, watching one of our best friends getting engaged via a live video stream.

We had all helped make the proposal video and it was SO incredible to be a part of the excitement!



You have to watch this.

NikKi had absolutely no idea of what Trav had planned!

After he had popped the question,  we were all waiting in a bar downstairs to toast the Happily Engaged Couple.

It was Amazing.

CONGRATULATIONS Nikki and Trav <3

Love you Guys x 

The 4 Locks And Keys

Friday, November 22


Aside from my sadness about Jen leaving this week, I have had a really great past few days.  I've felt like I have finally had time to stop, think, (blog) and breathe a little and I've had a generally light and peaceful feeling in my heart.

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that I am fascinated by how some people 'have more peace in their hearts' or 'are more comfortable in their own skin.'

And I truly believe that after your health nothing is more important than being at peace with yourself.  In my yoga teacher training this year, I've learnt that the Yogi's consider the feeling of inner peace as having good "Prana" or life force or vital energy.  I previously discussed here Why Gossip is no Good as it sucks your Prana from you.

Now there are aways going to be people that you encounter in your days that are so low on their own inner peace stores, that they can rob you of yours.

Now before you think I'm talking utter rubbish, think about someone who you know who loves to gossip, seldom sees the good in anyone and complains about their situation in life non stop.  Someone who really sees themselves as "one of lives victims".

Now think about the last time that you saw them.  I'm guessing that you were really nice to them, reassured them that they are thin/kind or successful enough and insisted to them that their life was about to improve.

Now think about how you felt after leaving that catch up. I'm guessing that they left much happier, and that you felt emotionally exhausted and a little anxious.

I know, I used to have this happen to me ALL the time.  And I still occasionally do.

Now it's all very well to say that you need to slash these kind of people from your life, and believe me, I have where possible.

But there are some people that you just aren't going to be able to. Perhaps they are a relative or a colleague or a friends good friend that you have to engage with at times.

A big lesson that I have learnt this year, is that for the majority, you can't change people.  And that you can lose a LOT of your own inner vital energy trying to do so.

Especially the people that are always seeking reassurance, I remember a Psychologist colleague once telling me that, "reassurance feeds anxiety", which I never properly understood at the time.

Ok, so I'm saying you can't shed everyone who is negative or wicked from your life, and you need to maintain your own prana/vital energy or 'inner peace'.

How do you do it?

Perhaps you could try using The Four Locks and Keys that are mentioned in the Yoga sutra's?

The Yogis believe that there are 4 types of people in this world, and each type has a 'key' with which we can engage with them, whilst preserving ourselves.

We should demonstrate:

Friendliness to the Happy

Compassion to the Un-Happy

Joy for the Virtuous

and Disregard for the Wicked.

I tried out the second one recently and was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome...

What do you think?

Have a Super Weekend friends!

A Bitter Sweet Tuesday

Wednesday, November 20

I feel as though as I have had more going on in the past few days than I usually do in months.  

So much has happened this week and it's only Wednesday.

On Monday I taught my Yoga 'feedback class', the practical examination following the three theory papers that we wrote this weekend. I am delighted to have passed, and I can't believe that Nikki and I are now fully qualified Integral Yoga Hatha teachers! More about all of that soon.

Yesterday was Bitter Sweet for me.


Sweet in that I met my friend Anshul and Aditi's baby girl for the first time! The last time I saw Aditi she was 6 months pregnant with Anya at our Wedding in South Africa.  Anya is the most beautiful bubbly precious child you've ever met and I can't wait to hang out with her again whilst they are visiting London!

And also bitter bitter bitter....

as I had to say good bye to Jen, as she and Barks are moving back to South Africa.

Jen and I have been pretty much inseparable since we started at boarding school together aged 13.  After school she went to University in Australia and I in South Africa. For the past 7 years we have been reunited in London, and lived if not together, then very nearby to each other.

Jen who is I call when I am happy, sad, angry or debating quitting my job.  She is my friend who will get up at 5am to ice cupcakes that she has made for me for an event of mine that she isn't even able to attend. She is the person in my life who 'just so happens to have the day off' and can come with me when I'm facing a terrifying visit to my Oncologist. Jen always remembers the little things. Being with her and Barks in Italy earlier this year when they got engaged was so incredibly special, and I am so going to miss all our travelling adventures.

Jen you bake the best cupcakes, make the best salads, buy the most thoughtful presents and read more trashy chick lit novels than anyone else I know.  I love how you pour you whole heart into tasks that you care about, and how indifferent you are at those that you aren't passionate about!

You have patiently endured hundreds of conversations about the benefits of yoga this year and I love how you also educate new Mummies about Physio things that I'm always going on about. 

I am tearful as I write this as my heart despairs at the prospect of living in London without you, but I know that you two are making the right move for yourselves right now. And Jen, you couldn't be making the move with a greater man beside you.

I can't wait for your Wedding next December, I just wish that I could be doing my bridesmaids duties from the same country as you.

Jen and Barks all the best for your next adventure, THANK goodness we are going to see you guys in a few weeks in Cape Town...or else I would be having a breakdown right now.

Wow but am I going to miss you.


Now you HAVE to start a Blog so that I can make sure that I don't miss out on ANY of your antics..

Love you my friend...

Festive Snacking

Friday, November 15


The lovely ladies from the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar kindly asked me to contribute to their campaign this year.  With my Yoga teacher's exams looming this weekend and the busiest two weeks that I have had since my Physio practice opened, I was unable to make the Yoga 'workout' video that I had hoped to.  

I instead offered to contribute a recipe, and decided to use this one, that I posted earlier this year and absolutely love.

If you are wondering what the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar is, the ladies describe it as:

An alternative to the usual chocolate-based Christmas countdown, this online calendar will provide viewers with a free workout routine, a healthy recipe, and a health-related business deal (giveaways, discounts on products, free London-based fitness classes).
How it works:

1. Visit www.zerocalorieadventcalendar.com every day from 1-24 December after 9am GMT.
2. Check out the free workout,delicious healthy recipe and fabulous special offer for that day.
3.  This year we are supporting one very special charity – A Mile In Her Shoes

We hope that people see the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar as a motivational tool to stay fit, happy, and healthy at a time of year when over-indulgence becomes the norm.
Connect with us on Facebook  at www.facebook.com/ZeroCalAdvent and Twitter@ZeroCalAdvent (also #FatFreeXmas and #ZeroCalAdventCal )
Nut, Cranberry, Dried Fruit, Sunflower Seed and Dark Chocolate Mix

This very simple recipe, is a slightly healthier alternative to the usual calories involved in the food devoured over the Festive period. and could also make a lovely little gift. 



Simply Mix Together:

One Fruit and Nut Snack Mix
Dried Cranberries
Pumpkin Seeds
Dark Chocolate


You can leave the chocolate in blocks, or chop it a little smaller. 

It is delicious with out the chocolate too!



Serve in a pretty bowl, or re-use an old glass jar, and decorate the outside to make a lovely little Festive Gift.

Hint: Use Vinegar to rid the glass of the smell of it's previous contents.   After washing thoroughly, place the jar (not the lid) on the oven for 20 minutes at 180' to ensure that there is no residual food in the jar that can go mouldy in the future...


Enjoy!

And make sure that you sign up to the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar to help you keep a little more on the healthy track this Festive season!

Have a wonderful weekend friends, and I look forward to being back to some more regular blogging next week hopefully...

Overwhelmed but Excited

Thursday, November 7


I feel like I am juggling so many exciting projects at the moment that I hardly have enough space in my head to think straight.

Which is why my blog is sadly being a little neglected at the moment, I am sorry and please bear with me...I just need to get through my Yoga teacher exams next Weekend and then I feel like I will finally be able to breath a little.  No irony intended there:)

Today I taught my first antenatal class with the rest of incredible Prenatal Classroom team at Grace, the private Women's only members club in Belgravia.  I absolutely loved teaching the group of pregnant ladies about what they need to be aware of whilst pregnant and in the post natal period, from the Physio perspective.  We are so fortunate to have had such a wonderful group of Women who have signed up for the classes. 

And despite being so nervous last night that I could hardly sleep, I now can't wait for the next one!

Tonight I head off to the Paediatric Physiotherapy conference in Bristol until Saturday, which I am also really looking forward to.

In other VERY exciting news, I together with the Prenatal Classroom team, have been approached with an incredible book deal!  Plenty more to come about that in the future. At the moment I am just still feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. But so so grateful and excited.

So thanks so much to all of you who so kindly pop past here to read what I have to say. I'm hoping to give this space of mine on the internet the time that I would like to again, soon.

I really really appreciate you visiting here.

Have a super weekend!

Our Incredible Yoga Retreat at Cleeve House

Wednesday, November 6


I had a wonderful time on my Yoga retreat this weekend at Cleeve house in Wiltshire, after initially promising myself I would never go on another one...


The view from our bedroom when we returned upstairs after our morning practice was incredible. Sunlight streaming through the windows and the fresh crisp morning air outside.


The house is ancient, and beautiful in a rustic kind of way.



Virginia Woolf, the famous English author, is also linked to the home.  Her sister, Vanessa Bell, was married to the owner at the time, Clive Bell and Virginia spent a significant amount time writing here in the 1920's.


The library is a beautiful big room, although I'm sure it would have had far more books in it before it was turned into a B and B...


Robs loved the weekend too.


On Saturday night, we sat around the fire, with the lights dimmed and sang songs (kirtan) whilst two of the yogi's in our group played on their guitars...It was wonderful, and almost made up for the unlit bonfire outside that we would have been sat around had it not rained.


The rain didn't stop us from running around outside in the dark with sparklers though in celebration of Diwali.  I felt like a child running around with pure delight.


The grounds are beautiful and surrounding countryside is picture book perfect.


We spent a lot of time in this room, on our mats.  Meditating, yoga-ing and deep relaxation-ing.
It was wonderful. And I survived the periods of silence from 9:30 pm to 10am pretty easily too...I also found the 5:30am starts pretty effortless. 

Maybe I am going to become more of a morning person after all?

The food was unbelievable.  

Each person brought a cooked vegetarian dish and lovely Ammaprema did the rest of the weekends shopping.

There were 25 of us on the retreat, but it felt like I tasted 50 amazing dishes this weekend.  Everybody helps with preparing the meals, setting up and washing up afterwards and the karma yogi spirit was abundant throughout the weekend.

I left there feeling restored and rejuvenated, having met a whole new bunch of wonderful friends.

Thanks so much to Padma for a wonderful weekend, and thanks to all the ladies (and gentleman) who were there!

I laughed so much this weekend, and learnt so much from so many of you.

Thank You.

A few people have asked me for more information on Padma's retreats, you can like her Facebook page here for more information on her wonderful retreats, and to learn how you can also find more peace within yourself...

Why I'm going another Yoga retreat today...

Friday, November 1


Well after promising myself that I was never ever going to go on another Yoga retreat, after that first one in June....guess who is off to Wiltshire this afternoon for my second one?

I've just re-read this post that I wrote about the first retreat, and chuckled at how diplomatic I was when recounting it

I knew that there was a good chance that Padma, our teacher was going to read the post, and I think that I a) I am ultimately a nerd and didn't want to disappoint my teacher or hurt her feelings, and b) didn't want to look like an inferior yogi amongst my yoga teacher training class.

What I really said after that weekend was:
"I am never ***** doing anything like that in my life again."

It was two and a half of the most psychologically intense days of my entire life.  The silent periods of time together with the meditation sessions almost killed me, literally.  I convinced myself that I was dying of cancer and that I needed to see my Oncologist urgently upon my return to London.

I know. Ridiculous.

Amazing how your deepest fears can raise their heads when you are being all silent and reflective.

When Padma announced with joy that we were going to have the opportunity to go on a second retreat this year, I got home and told Pete we needed to book a weekend away on that weekend ASAP.  Again the teachers pet, nerd in me wanted a valid excuse rather than facing up to the fact that I don't know if I was up to more time with just my mind for company.

So what on earth has resulted in me heading off to Wiltshire this afternoon? 

And without Nikki, who has been there with me every step of this Yoga teacher training journey so far, as she is in South Africa on holiday.

Well, a combination of things I think.

I have learnt so much this year  through my yoga teacher training, and I really believe that I am becoming more comfortable and peaceful within my own heart about myself and my life.

I feel like I have embraced so many of the Yogi ways that used to freak me out, surprise me. Like chanting, which I used to think was some kind of voodoo like ritual, but I now adore.  

And vegetarian meals. You should taste the vegetable and lentil soup that I've made to take along to the retreat this weekend!

And whilst my mind still drifts whilst I am meditating, I have come to so value that clarity and focus that these minutes give me in the rest of my day.

And I can not wait for more "Sound Bath" relaxation sessions where Ammapremma plays her gong, and we lie there enveloped in the beautiful vibrations and sounds.

But mostly, I think that I have become more confident and comfortable in myself and how much I am realistically able to transform my life into that of a pure yogi.  Currently, I don't see myself being able to become a full vegetarian, or giving up the occasional glass of wine or cup of coffee a day.  And I am ok with that.

But who knows what the future holds?

Padma, if you are reading this, please stop now.

As I may be sneaking some coffee into my suitcase this weekend...

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

PS: My friend Robs is coming with me this weekend, I can't wait for her to share some of the amazing-ness that is Integral Yoga!

The Very 1st Photo Hunt!

Tuesday, October 29


On Saturday, Che, Bobbi and I, hosted our first Photo Hunt event.


The aim was to provide bloggers and creatives with an opportunity to interact and network in a fun way, offline. Read how we came up with the idea initially here.


After meeting at BoxPark in Shoreditch, we divided everyone into their teams, and gave them their task sheets for the day.

From 10:30 to 1pm, the teams wandered (and at times raced) their way around the buzzy borough of Shoreditch, snapping photo's as proof of every task that they had completed.



We then reconvened at BoxPark to tally up the scores, and refuel thanks to our lovely sponsor's:
 Milk, Tea and Pearl for bubble tea, a falafel pita from Falafelicous, followed by delicious yoghurts from Chobani for dessert!


After a few spot prizes, the final scores were revealed, and the winners declared as the 
Drunken Reindeer Team.
Well Done to Freya, Siobhan, Elena and Anna for managing to complete EVERY task!


Thank You so much to all of you that came! We had no idea that we would have 32 people sign up to our very first event, with only 4 weeks notice from when we revealed our plan!

The enthusiasm with which you all embraced the tasks was incredible.  From running races with strangers to capturing a 'sidewalk tragedy', and a 'creative interpretation of an idiom', we could not have had a more fabulous group of attendees!

Thank You for all your positive feedback on the event.


We had so much fun planning it all, and I loved meeting all of you and discovering more gorgeous blogs to read!

And Emma and Sarah, it was SO lovely to finally meet you two in real life, after reading your blogs for so long!


This picture pretty much sums up how I felt all day on Saturday!  You know how much I love hanging out with like minded people from the internet...

Bobbi and Che, Wow, you girls are incredible.  Your hard work and attention to detail in planning this event has astounded me.  The laughs we have had over the past few weeks in the planning, and then the minor panic stations we had on Friday when were at the printers and the hard drive wouldn't work, have all been incredible to share with you!

Thank You.

Our next event is on the 1st of March, you should sign up.

You can join the Photo Hunt mailing list here.
And follow us on Twitter and Facebook 
where you can also see more links to blogs by the fabulous ladies and gentleman who joined us on Saturday!

We also hope to have The Photo Hunt blog up soon, I can't wait to share the link with you!

 
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