Magical Maldives

“The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever”

2 buses, 2 trains, 2 planes, 1 seaplane and 1 boat led me to this……………………..and my word it was so worth it! The Maldives is more stunning and tranquil than the pictures reflect which really is an understatement. I’d wanted to escape from the rat race for sometime, even if it was only for a short period of time and the Maldives was the place that came to mind. Even though the island came equipped with Wi Fi, a tennis court, a football pitch, a library and a Spa, all I wanted to do was sit on the beach, shut down and completely unwind. No people, no phones, no IT, no emails, no hustle, no noise just plain old fabulicious silence and stillness. My room was literally on the beach with my own sun loungers and a whole section of the beach, so this is how it feels to have your own private beach? I could get used to this! Every day I woke up to a nice flat beach, someone had lovingly swept it out flat in the early morning so I embedded my footprints in it every day, just like when you walk on freshly fallen snow! It was 7 days of sheer heaven, no thoughts, no conversations, no commitments, no obligations and no having to move unless I wanted to. The food was just as amazing, with over 9 restaurants and bars on the Island I was never short of options and none of the places ever served the same dish twice. So I got to try out a whole range of cuisine that I’d never sampled before and then wander off to my lounger and lay lazily on the beach until it was time to sleep and prepare for another day in paradise. It really was such hard work, so much so that I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully soon.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

“Work for a cause and not applause. Live life to express not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt”

I have heard a saying throughout my life, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” I sometimes strongly disagree with this. I have been lucky enough to encounter many different people, from all walks of life. I’ve enjoyed meeting them, talking with them and enjoying their company. Some have gone on to become good friends and others were quite simply an encounter through my life journey. Those I never saw again will always hold a fond memory in my heart and soul for the joy and pleasure they brought.

The absence I’m referring to doesn’t make my heart grow fonder, it makes my heart grow stronger and fonder of itself. The absence of some people I have encountered has been nothing short of a blessing, a relief and a joy. These people made my heart feel heavy, burdened and in pain. My heart was weakened by their presence, my heart was strained, my heart was unloved. So their absence saved my heart which is now filled with joy, love and happiness. Long may they stay absent from me, for my heart and I are fonder without them. So I think the saying really should be absence makes the heart grow fonder, sometimes!

I wish I’d

I wish I’d tried harder
I wish I’d said what I thought
I wish I’d loved better
I wish I’d valued wiser
I wish I’d been happier
I wish I’d aimed higher
I wish I tuned into my feelings more
I wish I’d laughed more
I wish I’d hugged more
I wish I’d help change the world for the better more
I wish I’d done all those things that I wanted, all those things I’d thought, all those things I dreamed,
I wish………………………………………..

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Ibiza Shores

“There is more to life than making a living, do not work more than you live” Mokokoma Mokhonoana

As the winter remains upon us and we try to embrace the cooler days, I couldn’t help but remember my trip to the hedonistic island of Ibiza. I’d ventured to the island with nothing but the intent to party hard and fully embrace the constant buzz the island had to offer. Club ticket prices were expensive but as I only intended to do this trip once I thought I’d just go for it, after all there’s no point only partying half-heartedly! Only I could go the week war broke out between Manumission and Privilege, luckily they’d moved to Amnesia by the time I got there though I did feel for the poor party goers who’d been caught up in it all the previous week and ended up missing out on Manumission.
So I raved straight into Judgement Sunday at Eden with Judge Jules and Lisa Lashes which threw you straight in at the deep end, if you didn’t like to party you were pretty much doomed! Then came the water party at Es Paradis – thankfully I was on a high ledge otherwise I’d have seriously risked drowning, though one of my flip flops nearly drowned as it escaped from my foot! Remember the good old days of MTV? Well the crew were there filming so that’s one claim to fame I got without having to go looking for it! Walking back home soaking wet through a busy town in broad daylight without anyone blinking an eyelid at any of us was an experience in itself!
The outdoor club in the hills, name escapes me, was a must see, trying to navigate around it in the dark was an experience, especially when there were no lights anywhere not even in the loos! I don’t know if there were deliberately no lights or if there was something wrong with the electrics or if the bulbs had gone. All I know is it was an experience I don’t really want to repeat, who knows what was on the floor or anywhere else for that matter!
Drinks at Café Mambo and Café Del Mer, sitting on the rocks watching the sunset was something you couldn’t quite beat, even the most hard core of party goers was lost in this moment. Tranquillity spread and rested there until there was complete darkness and then as suddenly as tranquillity had arrived, the trance vibe of the night was upon us.
The boat party was hysterical to say the least, even now I can’t stop laughing at the thought of all those party goers trying to dance on a swaying boat in the middle of the sea. Spillage of sangria, rocky waves and intoxication were at play and there was no way of beating them other than staying firmly glued to your pew! I’d have joined the jumping into the sea for a cool off if I’d been a confident swimmer but thought against it, no one would have heard my screams for help over the loud bass and if they had they’d have fallen over just trying to get me!
There had to be at least one bar crawl thrown in on this trip, I’m sure there were many but I only intended to experience one, I had far too much else to cram in!! The bar crawl was a fancy dress one and my did we see some sights, where they all got their costumes from remains a mystery!! The crawl was entertaining and you couldn’t help but join in, how could you say no to dancing on the bar top! We crawled through many places and eventually crawled to Cream which was as thrilling and buzzing as I expected. Cream was Cream just like you knew it would be, packed with serious dancers and amateurs alike, hanging off every possible podium and ledge, all completely lost to the trance of the tunes. The DJ booth looked like something out of a sci-fi film, all monitors, flashy lights, plugs, leads and vinyl, but disappointingly no David Guetta!
Last but not least was Manumission. And it didn’t disappoint. I’d waited a long time for this and it sure was worth the wait, it was as exciting and tantalizing as I’d thought and definitely not for the prude!! Nothing beat dancing on the podium that only the privileged few got to enjoy, and as I spent most of my night up there I can safely say I felt very privileged! My biggest claim to fame came here, being photographed by the club and being placed on the wall of fame leaves one hell of a smug smile on my face, even today!! My friends are still green with envy…but in a good way!

Only in Ibiza could you be asked to pay 10 euros for a small bottle of water, but on this trip I didn’t care, I only intend to visit San Antonio once in this lifetime so why not!! I hope to visit the quieter side of the island at some point, hopefully in the not too distant future. But at least for now I can sit back and say that I’ve been there and done that!!

Love

There is only one happiness in life – to love and to be loved”

It is the day of love all across the world which regardless of what anyone thinks of this given day, is quite magical. People from all over the globe will spend the day showing love, devoting themselves to love, expressing their love and feeling loved, that in itself is something quite special. It wasn’t until I realised this that my own feelings of Valentines Day saw it from a different perspective. We spend most of our lives rushing from one moment to the next, always on the move, always thinking of the next thing, how often do we actually stop and acknowledge what we truly love? 
Today I made a conscious effort to create a new habit and what better day to start the habit of love on than today. There are many things in my life which I love, some are tangible some are not. I love my life, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my home, I love my past, I love my present and I love my future. It is amazing how everything today was the same as yesterday yet once I sat back and thought about it and saw it all with an open heart, it all looked so very different, better different. 
Love, like any other emotion we experience is an uncontrollable but one which unlike the other emotions which pass, can linger on for days, weeks, months, years, lifetimes. We are bound by love in many instances, for our families, our children, our pets and we are bound by love for things yet to come. 
Love is quite fascinating, we can’t help or control who we fall in love with, it happens of its own free will whether we like it or not. There is an unknown pull which we can’t see but we can feel, we can deny it but eventually it will bring you back to where you need to be. How the law of life works we’ll never know, how cupid decides where to shoot the arrows we’ll never know, what I do know is that the emotion of love always brings out the good in ourselves and in others. We all show love in different ways, I’ve learnt not to expect others to show love the same way as I do and more importantly I know some find it difficult to actually say the word. That one tiny four letter word has the power to make or break you. I know many parents who show their love by caring for their families, by feeding their families, keeping a good home, doing jobs they don’t particularly enjoy all to show their love. I see couples showing love to their partners with gifts, proposals, trips, I see children showing love to their pets and their friends. We are all doing it, every day of our lives, we forget to acknowledge it, to embrace it, to spread it.

So I hope you all have someone or something you love and enjoy this day for what it is, disappointingly for me I’ll not be dining out with Cillian Murphy but doing the next best thing which is dining in with Cillian Murphy…..me on my comfy couch, him on the giant plasma screen! Who knows, maybe one day I will have the pleasure of dining with Cillian, until now I’ll go with what I have! Happy Valentines Day to you all.

Happy Valentine’s Day

420“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart!” Helen Keller

I can’t help but raise an eyebrow and watch the world become like one giant marshmallow every year on Valentines Day!! I watched on as guys who were too scared to be seen as insensitive, not loving, not caring enough rushed out and bought ridiculously large gushing cards, the red roses – either a single one or a giant bouquet, cuddly toys with hearts, helium balloons in boxes, perfumes, boxes of chocolates, meals to cook for two – all of these were ridiculously priced. I watched grown women coo at the gifts that they probably spent ages hinting at, the very gifts I watched guys rush out to buy during their way in to work or during lunch hour. The very gifts which I’d weep at recieving on this particular day but would embrace on any other day. 

Don’t get me wrong I’m a really sucker for romance, I love it, the excitement, the anticipation, the lust, the love, the passion but I am most certainly not one for cheesy, predictable, cliches. I would have no time for anyone who needed a day to remind/tell them what they needed to do, nor do I like the fact that they’ve bought such obvious things the commercial world throws at them, nor do I like overly dramatic public displays of affection. No, I’m more of a loving originality kind of girl, I love spontaneity, individual thinking, thoughtful gifts that are relevant to me and not half of the world. I’d much prefer to be surprised on a day when I’m not expecting anything, a gesture that’s been thought out, attention to my needs and likes and above all discretion and privacy. I don’t like these big shows of affection, I know many people who love this day and good on them. I have many friends who truly delight in this day and I join in with them and embrace their fun, excitement and preparation. I’m simply the opposite, I prefer privacy, I prefer to be surprised when it is unexpected and I prefer something specifically for me and my needs. So I truly wish you all a very Happy Valentines Day, whatever you’re doing and whoever you are with. You all deserved to be loved and to have the day you want to have. Me, I’ll be spending the day quietly and behind the scenes and away from the world, so yes I’ll join in the fun but in my own way, away from the spotlight, away from all the fuss. And even if I was dating my not so secret crush, Cillian Murphy I’d still be spending the day this very same way.

Happy Valentines Day, may the day be filled with much love 

Are you on lunch?

“Time is an illusion, Lunchtime doubly so” Douglas Adams

Today I was both amused and annoyed at the same time. I was slightly annoyed at being rained on when I popped out to get a sandwich for lunch and was feeling super hungry. So on return to the office I settled down for 10 minutes of peace and tranquillity to enjoy my sandwich while reading the paper. So imagine the annoyance when someone came waltzing over and asked “Are you on lunch?” and no they weren’t joking or being sarcastic either. I had to refrain from saying which part of the newspaper I’m reading or the sandwich I’m eating suggests anything other than I’m on lunch? If I wasn’t so hungry and so tired I’d have been tempted to hurl the sandwich at them but that would have been an incredible waste, it was one of my favourites, Chicken Caesar salad followed by chocolate dessert. I’d say they got off quite lightly for today at least!!
And no, it didn’t end there. Despite the blatant fact I was on lunch and confirmation from me that “yes I was on lunch” the person in question decided to continue with the conversation about work related matters. And not only did they continue, it turned into an endless monologue. Needless to say I continued to eat my lunch and read my paper and eventually when they weren’t getting the message which I think was loud and clear I had to politely ask them to come back later once I’d eaten lunch. Their response was “oh yes of course, no problem” and then they carried on talking at which point I had to be more direct. Where has the lack of courtesy and consideration gone? Good old simple manners? It was astonishing that I couldn’t actually eat my lunch in peace, I only have 20 minutes so I wasn’t asking for a great deal. Unfortunately with the arrival of open plan offices getting 5 minutes to yourself to think is fast becoming a luxury, tomorrow I shall spend time looking for a quiet corner to call my own even if its just for 10 minutes.

Delicate Daffodil

“Daffodils that come before the swallows dare, and take the winds of March with beauty” William Shakespeare

It was a normal day in the office, everyone was going about their work in their usual way with a bit of light banter thrown in. A simple act changed the day in more ways than one. One of my male friends had ventured out for lunch and whilst out had treated himself to something which he said had made him smile and it appeared to have the same effect on the rest of us. 

You can’t help but love the daffodil nor can you miss it or ignore it, there it is, bright and yellow like a smiling sun, literally looks like the sun wearing a hat! My friend had put them out all over on his side of the office, and after I passed a comment that my side looked rather dull in comparison, especially my desk, I returned from a meeting to find this one on my desk. If you look at it closely you can see it smiling, just like I did! I’ve never been able to walk past a daffodil without having a flash back to this particular day. And every now and then I’ll treat myself or someone else with a bunch of these sunny smilers.

 

Sunday Lunch

The tradition of the Sunday feast accomplishes more than just feeding us, it nurtures us” Chef John Besh

There is something quite magical about Sunday Lunch. No matter how busy we all are, how manic the week has been, how stressed out we are, how far from home we live, what the weather, we are lured by the delight of Sunday Lunch. Somehow we all seem to find our way home like the homing pigeon. We all congregate at my parents and no matter how we all feel we sit around the dining room table eagerly awaiting the culinary delight. The conversation starts flowing about anything and everything, the food platters arrive and get served, the kids suddenly go silent and an air of satisfaction and contentment is suddenly upon us.

The meal is savoured and enjoyed, the dishes cleared  away and loaded into the dishwater, our stomachs are rested as we all recline back onto the welcoming sofas and we all settle in front of the TV. The silence only broken by the TV shows, dessert soon arrives and to say we are all full to the brim is understating it. The Sunday lunch doesn’t have to be anything huge, expensive or extravagant, the true value is it’s ability to bring everyone to together, for everyone to remember where they belong and where they came from. Sunday lunch is for everyone, regardless of who they are and where they are from. I always loved it as a child, but it is only as an adult that I fully understand it’s value and impact. The demands of life keep us busy and distracted all week, we are all caught up in the many things which fill our days, very rarely do we come up for air and when we do we’re exhausted.

I despair at the cost of food which continues to rise, but I now actively chose to make a conscious decision and effort for the Sunday Lunch regardless of what it looks like. I enjoy purchasing the ingredients, peeling the carrots and potatoes to leave them boiling away slowly, the smell of the green beans and the chicken roasting lingers in the air and wafts around the rest of the house, the kitchen windows slowly steaming up. And last but not least the Yorkshire puddings get lightly baked until golden and crispy patiently waiting to be served and topped up with lashings of gravy. I don’t pretend to be the best cook, I simply cook the best I can and if that means getting a helping hand via pre made Yorkshire puddings and gravy granules then I’m ok with that. Everyone loves the smell of Sunday Lunch, it’s recognisable immediately as you step indoors. You can see their faces lighting up, even when done ever so subtly, as they are greeted by the pleasure of a decent meal cooked by another. So no matter how busy I am, I will now make the effort to cook the Sunday Lunch, in the hope that it brings us all together, leaves a feeling of contentment in all, and leaves us all with a subtle feeling of being loved and wanted even if it’s not spoken.

So whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you enjoy eating, I do hope you’ll all join in with this tradition, for it is these very traditions that keep relationships alive, conversations flowing, our lives fulfilled and our hearts beating.

Street Art

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see” Degas

It was almost as if this piece of fabulicious art was made just for me, it would have fit in beautifully in my back garden if only I could sneak it away in my handbag! I haven’t quite seen anything like it before, it’s unusual, quirky and right up my street, hopefully one day I’ll be able to commission the artist to come up with an even more fabulicious piece just for me. In the meantime I’ll just mimic it with my outfit which I was funnily enough wearing when my friend and I spotted it. My dear friends suggestion was that I should stand in the pot 009 (2) - Copywith it or better still get my own pot and stand in it like a live piece of art mirroring this one!!! Now there’s an idea! We soon discovered there was a selection of these delights. We later encountered a handbag and a shoe amongst others.

I do love looking at all types of art, I may not necessarily love everything I see, I do enjoy seeking it out to feed my senses. I’ve been lucky enough to see a far bit of art whilst traveling and when local galleries have new shows. There is still much art I wish to see and hopefully one day I’ll have the pleasure. I always find art provokes a reaction within me, sometimes I’m in absolute awe, sometimes I get lost in it, other times I’m really not feeling it and occasionally I’m confused by it! Whatever my reaction I love seeking out new artists, new exhibitions, new creations whatever they may be.