Kindness cards for my special friends

Wednesday, July 31


I've had some more health drama's recently which have needed investigating, and I am SO relieved that on Monday, after numerous appointments and scans with different Doctors, it has been declared that I am FINE!

Once again, I have been absolutely blown away by the amazing support that I have had from my husband, family and friends.  I was actually giggling as I stood sending updates after my final medical examinations on Monday outside Regents Park Underground station, I was standing on the steps trying to 'quickly' send a few messages when actually I was just getting in the other busy commuters' way.

And I even forgot a few people off of the list in my joyous haze - I am so sorry!

How lucky am I that so many people are so concerned about me?

Last night, La had a dinner catch up with a whole lot of my favouritest girls and I wanted to do a little something as a thank you.

In the past few months, twice at our Yoga teacher training, someone has made these kindness cards.



Now I hadn't seen this before, but what happens is, someone makes a whole of little cards with kind and positive affirmations in them, and then passes one to each person in the group.

Without looking at what yours says, you then move about and swap the cards amongst the group. After a few minutes this naturally draws to a close and you keep the card that you are holding.


Inside, is a lovely message for you.


So yesterday afternoon, I quickly made up some cards and decorated them with some washi tape.

I had also popped past the shops in the morning and found some every sweet little bracelets on sale, and so attached a little bracelet to each one, wrapped simply in brown paper. 


After dinner last night, I handed them around and explained what to do.

The girls absolutely loved the cards and the little bracelets.

And it was amazing how so many of the quotes found just the person that they were pertinent too...

I would really recommend you do it with your friends or loved ones.

And there is no need at all to attach any gift to it!

A few of the lines that I used, I found here.

The World is abetter place because of what I create

I choose to be with someone who loves me for who I am

I make myself vulnerable and share my stories with those who have earned my trust

I am in charge of my own happiness and responsible for filling my own needs

I live my life free of fear, I am adventurous and engage with the world

Use these or make up your own...

Have you ever seen or done anything similar to this? 

Please let me know if you have!

I love this kind of thing:)

The Happiness Formula

Monday, July 29



So researchers say that they have come up with a formula for happiness. 

(Mx16 + C + Lx2) + (Tx5 +Nx2 + B x33)

And I think it's pretty accurate.

Don't worry, it will make sense in a minute.

They say that there are 6 factors that make up how Happy you are.

First is: M Living in the Moment

Second is: C Being Curious

Third is: L Doing something you love

Fourth is: T Think of Others

Fifth is: N Nurture Relationships

Sixth is: B Taking Care of your body

As most of you know, I am fascinated by the topic of happiness, and what makes people happy.

I very often discuss it here.

And so I have shared a few links to some of the posts that I've written previously with regards to some of these topics too...

When looking at the above formula, it's interesting to see which of these are multiplied by the highest numbers, and thus weighted the most heavily and considered the most important and influential in determining your happiness.

Most Important:

Taking Care of your Body.

Not only does looking after yourself make you feel better about yourself.

But


Eat well and exercise regularly.  I think meditating could feature here too...

Living in the moment. 
is weighted only second to taking care of your body.
And it's SO important to constantly reassess wether you are 

I spoke recently on here about  this too in this post, 

I know I need to remind myself to be happy and present in each moment and activity, and not constantly thinking about future plans...

Think of Others.
Do things for other people.
I remember being asked once at school,

"When last did you do something for someone to help them, knowing that you wouldn't get any recognition for having done it?"


Nurturing relationships.
Rated fourth highest in it's weighting in this formula
Take time to appreciate and nurture those around you.
Work out What their Love Language is, and how they like to be shown love.
And take time for Date Nights with your partner.

I've found that when things get tough, the only thing that you care about is the support from those around you.

Make sure that you are continuously nurturing relationships.


Joint fourth is:
Doing something you love.
This I think also needs constant reassessing and tweaking.
I am SO fortunate to do a job that I love.

Feeing curious.  
Is Sixth.
Curiosity for me, fuels interests and passions, which give meaning and purpose to life.

Do you agree with these and with the weightings?

Have a very Happy Monday! 

Salmon and Lentil Salad

Friday, July 26




London Weather you have continued astound me this week!

I think it's been four weeks now that you have treated us to such glorious sunshine day after day?

Thank you.

On Wednesday evening, Nix came around for dinner and I made a great summery salad for us to to have out on our balcony.

Pretty healthy too.

My photography skills above don't make the ingredients the easiest to decipher-but it was delicious.

Salmon and Lentil Salad with Mint Yoghurt dressing:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups Puy Lentils
Salmon Fillets (we had 4 between 3 of us)
Cherry tomatoes
Green beans (I could only find yellow ones)
Avocado
Tub of Plain/Greek Yoghurt
Mint
Flat leaf Parsley
3 Lemons
1 clove of garlic crushed

Method:

Boil the lentils for 15 minutes, then drain and season with the juice of one lemon and the crushed garlic.

Whilst the lentils are cooking, place the salmon fillets in tin foil, with a bit of butter and fresh lemon juice, and cook for 10 minutes at 180'c fan oven.  Then open the foil for a further 5 minutes.

Boil the beans for 5 -8 minutes.

Chop up a handful of mint, and stir it into the yoghurt, and squeeze some lemon juice in too.
Season to taste.

Cut up your tomatoes and avo and add to salad.
(place them all on one edge of the salad if your husband doesn't eat them...) 

Sprinkle the parsley over the top.

Pour some of the yoghurt dressing over the top of the salad, and have some more in a bowl to add as you would like to, too.

Serve with wedges of fresh lemon.

And Enjoy!
--------------------------
What are you up to this weekend?

And a big thanks to those of you that have already entered the awesome Style Ambition giveaway:)

My Wardrobe Detox and a Giveaway!

Wednesday, July 24




A tidy house is a tidy mind.

Is a phrase that I've heard a few times over the past few years, but never really appreciated until recently.

I think that most of this realisation has come from having the administrative part of my business based from home.  And quite often lately, feeling overwhelmed by all that I need to get done.

A few weeks ago, I went on a tidying rampage.  And I don't mean a surface tidy. I'm talking refiling those papers from a lecture I attended once and might need one day....and creating a pile of books for the charity store.

 I totally ordered and cleansed my desk, files, shelves and the growing pile of old magazines under the coffee table.

And it felt and still feels amazing.

Next I knew that my wardrobe needed a thorough cleanse.  I try and do this every few months, but to be honest I've known for a while that some drastic action was required.

And then in the way that life so often works out, I got an email from my friend Claire.

Claire has recently started Style Ambition- a personal styling business, and she offered to come and help me go through my wardrobe.

Perfect. 

A few days later Claire came over.

Before our session, she got me to fill out a form, asking various questions about my daily life, style icons and what I feel my best and worst body features are. She also asked what my budget was for shopping, my dress sizes and what shops I frequent the most.

Armed with her little bag of scissors, needle and thread, for any on the spot jobs, we got to work.

It turns out I'm an "Hour Glass Pear." 

I know. Pete thinks its hilarious too.

But it also means there a few things that I've been doing very wrong over the past 29 years.

Claire made me try on every item in my wardrobe. 

And other than my gym clothes-she scrutinised every piece.

Initially I recoiled a little as she encouraged me to add more and more to my throw away pile.  

But I soon eased into it.

Turns out you don't need so many of the ok fitting jeans, nor coloured knitwear that after a few rounds in the washing machine look a little tired.

It also turns out that the long tops that I love because I feel they 'hide' my hips, actually draw more attention to them and they cut me at my widest point. I need to wear slightly shorter tops with higher waisted trousers.  I also need tops that are wider across the shoulders to balance my hips. And I am never ever ever allowed to wear flared trousers as these make my hips look wider than they already are. 

There were of a course a few items that or various sentimental or financial reasons I didn't want to throw out. Claire then made me try various combinations of items until we found a way for me to wear the item in the best way possible.

3 hours later, I was exhausted and I had two massive bin bags of clothes for our lovely cleaner to send home to her family in the Phillipines.

 Claire however, was still full of energy.

I needed something to wear to Henley that covered my knees.

And my wardrobe hadn't revealed a thing.

The following day I met Claire in the Wimbledon Village, where she had selected a few options in my size and had them hanging in the changing room when I arrived.

How is that for service?

And I LOVE the blue dress that she selected for me.


I could soo get used to this personal shopping stuff...

And so can you...

Style Ambition is running a summer deal for Berry Dairies readers:

This runs until the 15 September 2013.

A wardrobe consult that is usually £150, you can get for £75.
A shopping day with Claire, according to your budget, is usually £250, but you can get it for £125.
The wardrobe consult and shopping experience are usually £350 together, but you can get it for £175.

And if you want to go all in for a full make over, instead of being £500, you can get it for £250.

And you could win this for free!

I was so impressed by the advice that Claire gave me, that she is offering two of you lovely London based readers the choice of a wardrobe consult or shopping experience!

To enter, like StyleAmbition on Facebook.

and/or

Follow @StyleAmbitionUK on Twitter.

Leave a comment below here or on the Berry Diaries Facebook page, or tweet @Berrydiaries saying you have done the above and you could be the lucky winner!

Entries Close next Thursday.

Winner will be announced next Friday the 2nd of August.

Good Luck!

Tuesday thoughts...

Tuesday, July 23



With the British school summer holiday's pretty much upon us, my Physio case load has reduced rather significantly as everyone jets off to their summer holidays. 

And so instead of rushing to do the things that I have absolutely have to do today.

I've had a chance to catch up and do the things that I want to do and things that I really should do.

Yesterday, I even had time for a bit of baking.

And it's been wonderful.

I've finally created a twitter account and Facebook page for my Physiotherapy business, which is in the process of expanding a little.

This both excites and terrifies me at the same time.

This afternoon after sitting in front of this computer for far too long, I went for a walk along the river in front of our house and tried some of the photography skills that I learned at the recent EatnSnap workshop.

It really is such a treat to be able to wonder along the river in shorts and shirtsleeves.  London in the summertime, as much as we have been complaining about the heatwave recently, really is incredible.

Hope that you have all had a happy and productive day too!

And if you are looking a for good book to read next, The Fever Tree by Jennifer Mcveigh, is definitely a contender for my book of 2013 so far!

Amalfi Coast Holidaying Tips

Monday, July 22

Wow it is warm in London!

I really hope that Kate had some brilliant air con today whilst delivering the future King:)

Talking of warm weather, a number of people have asked for advice on travelling to the Amalfi Coast, after the posts I wrote about going there a few weeks ago.


So here is some more detailed advice if you are planning on heading there yourselves...

The Amalfi Coast is situated at the X on this map of Italy.

Original source
And then the below towns are considered the 'Amalfi Coast.'

 Source
If you are flying in, then Naples is the easiest place to fly into, and if you are catching a train to the area, that's where you will be likely to come into to too.

We stayed in Naples in 2008, when backpacking around Europe, and it was certainly our least favourite city in our two months adventure.  Our taxi driver from Naples to the Amalfi Coast this year, said that many Italians are wary of visiting Naples, as crime is rife there.  When we stayed there in 2008, we used it as a base to get to Capri from and to get to see Pompei and Mt Vesuvius.   This tine we did that from the Amalfi Coast just as easily.

It seems that Naples is best avoided, other than for major transport links.

We caught the train to Naples from Bologna, and then we caught a taxi transfer from Naples to Positano.  This cost 120 euros for the 4 of us with our luggage and took about and hour and 15 minutes.  The reviews online said that if you are a group of 4 or more, then it's worth taking a taxi as the train fare would have been similar.

We used Rainbow Limos and I couldn't recommend them more.  Corresponding with them from here was so easy and our driver gave us loads of interesting information about the area and it's history on our drive.

There are also train and bus options available from Naples to the Almafi Coast.

An aside, the drive along the coastline can be a little hairy! the road hugs the cliff edge at times, and an abundance of motorcycles and cars going in every direction!

I would be terrified driving there myself, and you really don't need a car for exploring the area.

We started in Positano for 2 nights.

Then caught the ferry across to Capri Island for a night.

And then we caught the ferry to Sorrento for 2 nights.

And then caught the bus from Sorrento to Naples Airport.


We loved all these places, but in hindsight, I would have started in Sorrento, then gone to Capri, and then to Positano.  Just because Sorrento is far more of a bustling city, and it would have been nicer to end in pretty little Positano.

We stayed in Amalfi in 2008, but I would recommend Positano and Sorrento over Amalfi.



We stayed at Casa Teresa.


Well we actually ended up staying in the next door hotels rooms, as they were full, but it was very relaxed and the rooms were stunning.  In the mornings we wondered down a few narrow passages for breakfast on the Casa Teresa balcony.

It was perfectly situated and I loved the patterned tiles on the floors and the furniture in the rooms.

The lady who runs it doesn't speak much English, but is wonderful.

I would really recommend Casa Teresa.



I am SO glad that we decided to splash out a little and stay the night on the island, rather than being one of the hundreds of tourists who arrive by ferry just for the day.

Capri was my favourite I think.



We stayed at Hotel San Felice, in Capri town, and it was great.  There aren't many hotels on the beach (or that we could afford anyway), and so the pool was a bonus at the hotel.  We so enjoyed going up the cable car in Ana Capri though, so maybe investigate some hotels near there if you are going to Capri.

We caught taxi's up and down the rather steep hill between the port and the Capri town which sits at the top when we had our luggage with us, and caught the tram/cablecar thing when we didn't have our bags.

You have to do a boat trip around the island and to the Blue Grotto.

And you absolutely have to go up the cable car in Ana Capri.
We caught the bus to Ana Capri from Capri town. 



Sorrento, as I said above is much more of a city than Positano and Capri, but lovely too.
We stayed at Magi House, which didn't have the same character or quaintness in the rooms, but was pleasantly modern and clean, and very well situated for all we wanted to do.

The staff however at Magi House made our stay extra special. Roberta at the front desk even played a key part in Adrian popping the question to Jen at breakfast!

We hired a boat in the bay and cruised along the coastline, stopping to swim and admire the view. I would really recommend this too! You could even go all the way to Capri yourselves in your own hired boat too if you wanted to do a day trip there instead of staying there.

From Sorrento, one day we caught the train to visit Pompeii, the city that was wiped out by Mt Vesuvius erupting in 79AD.  It is incredible to walk around the ruins of the city, that was first begun to be uncovered in 1599, and is still being uncovered today from beneath the ash that covered it.


I learned about Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii when I was 10 years old, and was fascinated by the story! I have visited the Pompeii ruins twice now and would really recommend doing it with a live guide, even though it costs a little more than the audio guide as you get so much more out of the tour.



In 2008, we braved the walk up Mt Vesuvius.  It was a very long and hot walk up the still active volcano, and to be honest there isn't that much to see when you get to the top-but I am so glad to have done it myself.This year, it was just SO hot! And the others didn't remember being as taken with the whole story as I was when I was younger so happily gave it a miss.

It was really hot whilst we were there, and we were there in mid June.
The locals laughed when we said how hot we thought it was and told us that compared to August it was cool.  I would certainly not recommend going there in August then...

There were quite a few mosquitoes around then, if you are prone to being eaten alive, take some insect spray.

If you are like us,

You will eat a lot of Pizza, Pasta, Caprese Salads and Ice Cream.

With lots of mozarella and parma ham.

And you will also drink a lot of ice cold water, and prosecco.

And it will be one of the best and most beautiful holidays of your life...

 

Have a great trip if you are heading there on holiday and let me know if you are reading this and have any other recommendations!

Burger and Lobster

Thursday, July 18


I absolutely loved having my cousin Scoot and his wife Odes here to visit from South Africa!

We were non stop touring and exploring around London and by the time they left to continue their European adventure, we were exhausted! 


One evening after they had been on the hop on off bus all day, and Pete and I had been at work, we met up in Soho.

I've been wanting to go to Burger and Lobster for ages, and so we went to try and get a table.

We were advised to it would take an hour and a half for one to be ready, as it is just sooo popular.


Fortunately Soho has no shortage of great bars, and we we quite happily past the time.



Our waiter when we arrived at the restaurant after they had called us to say that our table was ready, was fabulous.


The name of the restaurant covers the menu too.

You can have a Burger or Lobster or Lobster roll.


Being allergic to crustaceans, my choice rested solely on the Burger. Odes had the lobster and the boys got a  combo where they shared a lobster roll and each got a burger and two desserts.  


The food was great and the atmosphere in the restaurant is fantastic.

It's £20 for a main, be it the Burger or Lobster.  Which I suppose makes it a well priced lobster and an expensive Burger. The boys combo deal was £30 each.

Our waiter's friendliness and character really added to a great evening too.

I would really recommend it if you haven't been before...

But as a non Lobster eater, I'm not sure I would wait an hour and a half for a table to pay £20 for a burger again.

For you lobster lovers on the other hand, it's well worth it!

Henley Regatta, a little Rowing and a lot of Pimms

Tuesday, July 16


Friday before last, whilst Scoot and Odes were visiting us from South Africa, we went to Henley for the day to watch the Rowing Regatta.  



By watch, I should perhaps more accurately say, we went to drink jugs of Pimms on the riverbank whilst some rowers went past, on the most gorgeous summers day.


Pimms is becoming a worryingly regular feature on this site....

But it really is the best summer drink :)


I can't remember what Odes, Binds, myself and Jess thought was so amusing, but the smiles in thss picture pretty much sum up the mood of the day!





 We were in the enclosures, where the boys need to wear jackets at all times.  Now this would never usually be a problem in England, but it was so hot that day that the boys were struggling! Whilst us lucky girls swanned about in sleeveless dresses. We did have to wear dresses that came to below our knees, and I actually had to go and buy a dress that was below the knee, as didn't have any in my wardrobe! But more about that later this week.



We also took a stroll down to the start of the race, along the riverbank, where there is no formal dress code.  Ice creams were an obvious essential and the boys took advantage of the situation and took their jackets off for a while too!


Fortunately, Pimms is available all the way along the riverside:)




We did see some rowing I promise!


Before heading back to the enclosures and enjoying an absolutely beautiful evening.


England you have outdone yourself with this weather recently.

We had such a fabulous day.
Thanks to everyone in our group.

Pimms wise, Pete and I couldn't even face any two days later when we were at the Wimbledon Men's Final!

I know.

Thanks so much to Sam and Bindy for organising!

We are looking forward to next time:)

Happy Friday

Friday, July 12





Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

Londoners, I'm sure it going to be a great one this side...Sunshine and most likely more Pimms.

I am feeling so grateful today for all my Family and Friends and having the best husband ever!

Thank You.
 
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