Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

The great rumble and lurch as I hurtle along the concrete path, a sudden lift in the pitch black. The lights become smaller, we bump through the blanket and poooof!

Out we pop above the beautiful marshmallow mattress of cloud-cover. Rolling out into the distance like a soft winter blanket. The purest while, rippled and dappled with the blue of the dawn.

A bright orange speck on the horizon splits through distant cover and streaks a sunbeam across my vision. The colour, the deepest brightest blood orange. A tint only possible made by something Greater.

The sweetest, rawest sunrise over T5, en route to Copenhagen, 7am in October.

The infinite bobble blanket so beautiful, my heart swells. Another small adjustment, a gentle tug forward, and we rise another few thousand feet, the blanket drops away.



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Goosebumps. A spark.

I read this article:


I saw this quote:

I think there are too many people who try and present a smiling, sexy, happy, glamorous version of themselves online. Their lives appear perfect, without a glimpse into the shadows and the shit that keeps them up at night.

I feel draw to the phrase “The shadows and the shit”. It’s the dark side of all of us. “I’ve got fractures, cracks and damages”. We all have. It’s our humanity. It’s our beauty.

I feel a stirring in my soul. It looks like a poem, tastes like a song.

Inspiration hits. “Ding”.

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Heart hole punchI got an exciting new gadget this weekend. A heart shaped hole punch. Little did I ever imagine how much joy and distraction it could bring.

It’s wedding invite construction season and this process has taken a little longer that I’d hoped. I used to think it utterly ridiculous that brides-to-be could spend so much effort and time, quite frankly, on something so trivial as the invites.

Turns out I’m. ridiculous after all.

invitesAnyway, I had my invites printed a few weeks ago – I found a nifty little online store called Zazzle which gave me some sweet inspiration. But I want to personalise it a little more, so have used Gimp to create some further info bits to add to the back of the invite. And now I’m constructing the entire thing together, which includes punching heart-shaped holes.

The punch is tiny and only punches one heart at a time, which is fine for the invites, but my second activity with the punch is to create table confetti. This is really fun. I’m punching hearts out of my travel brochures – all those delicious islands in the warm watered oceans that glimmer on the pages with their turquoisiness and golden sand-appeal. I’m punching hearts right across exotic beaches and blood orange sunsets, across the himalayas, taking in the prayer flags and snow-capped mountains of the mighty Everest. I’m punching out hearts through lush jungles and fields of tea plantations in Sri Lanka, I’m capturing ancient temples and the faces of buddhas right inside my paper hearts.

heart holesThen I’m dropping them all into a Sharwoods Green Curry jam jar to save up and they’ll be liberally sprinkled over the tables at my reception, bringing a little piece of world adventure and wonder to all who take a moment to glance down and perhaps they’ll spot an Atol from the Maldives, or a small piece of the Great Barrier reef staring up at them from the table!

You may think it’s a crazy lot of effort for something that ultimately may not even be noticed, but I’m enjoying seeing these little heart windows walking all over my magazines before I toss them in the recycling. The punching itself is pretty therapeutic, and I love the idea that I’m sending small subliminal messages to my nearest and dearest, when they gather to celebrate our wedding day, to travel the world, even if only from that table, with a little heart-shaped scrap of paper and their wildest imagination.

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I’m on a mission to get my hoop skills up to scratch in the next couple of weeks, ahead of a new class we’re starting up in Oxford. This means I’m grabbing spare minutes in my evenings to spin my hoop around my waist, shoulders, neck, or whereever. In the kitchen, in the living room, on the bed. There is a lot of clattering going on. Downstairs neighbours must be pleased. I’m also devouring YouTube for video tutorials, inspirational hoopers and I found the incredible Hoophub site today, which is a goldmine.

It was on this website that I found a quote that seriously blew my socks off. It rang more true than many inspirational quotes (and I’m a sucker for these) that I’ve read in recent times. I’m going to adopt this as my mantra to let myself know that it’s OK to play and have fun, even (cough) at my age…

“There is not one shred of evidence to support the notion that life is supposed to be serious.”

I don’t know who to attribute this piece of genius to, but according to the FABULOUS post that Gail O Brien wrote (who I now worship, having never met her and only having read this one post of hers so far), it was on a badge once. The fabulous post in question is titled “You are never too old to do ridiculous things“, and I urge everyone to go and read it immediately. If not to liberate yourselves, then to understand me 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I want to get married (and plan to this year!!), I want to one day own a big house with a tropical garden overflowing with crazy plants. I want to have dogs (three, one big, one small, one in the middle) and maybe chickens for my own eggs, and perhaps a goat. I want to have children (multiple, better get started soon). I want to have a good job and work hard and be satisified, produce results and inspire people. I even want to hone my house-wifing skills (broccoli cheese in the oven as-we-speak!), bake cakes and perhaps even wash some windows.

I want all those things, AND I want to have fun doing it.

Seriousness is over-rated. Is it in the definition of “adult” in the OED? I’ll need to check…

Wonderwoman headband

Wonderwoman headband, at the ready!

So, I’ll create a home and continue to hula hoop around the living room. I’ll get dogs and dress them in glow in the dark collars. I’ll have children, and wear my wonderwoman headband to pick them up from school. I’ll grow up and I’ll dodge any seriousness that comes my way.

And it’s thanks to the wonderful, crazy, creative minds and words of people I’ve never met (such as Gail) that inspire me to continue to do these so called “ridiculous things” – bring it on!

Right, broccoli cheese is burning now, time to return to the real world 😉

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Snow is falling outside, I’m polishing off my hot-cross-bun breakfast and booting up my laptop to start thinking about my work day ahead. So, before I get on with that serious stuff, I’m returning to some unfinished business… finishing my review of the Rough Guide bucket list!! So here we go…

  1. Witness Tibet’s true spirit

    I know Tibet is a magical place. I know this and I’ve never been. I feel drawn there and know that I need to go so, as I’m sure it’s becomming more spoilt by the second. There’s something about the place that intimidates me a little. Perhaps it’s the feeling that if I go there, I’ll never want to come home, or never feel the same way about big bustling cities and western life ever again. True spirit, oh yes…

  2. Hike in Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina

    Brazil is absolutely on the list. My idea of Brazil is more beaches, favelas, dancing, waterfalls. I once had to make the decision about South America – East or West Coast. It came down to Peru versus Brazil. On the one hand it was sunshine, beaches, parties, living life to the full, on the other was adventure, achievement (Inca Trail), an authentic South America (not that Brazil isn’t authentic) and visiting one of the most mystical places on Earth (Machu..). After a lot of deliberation, I chose Peru (and did not regret it). So I feel I have unfinished business with Brazil. I’m also becomming more appreciative of hiking. Hiking is something I always thought was reserved for strapping Scandanavians or fresh-air thirsty Canadians, not indoorsy Brits like me… but as I get older I really appreciate being out in the wilderness, soaking up the horizon and immersing myself in the landscape. So, yes, I’d be willing to entertain this one, so long as I have a Caipirinha and samba sesh the following day!

  3. Sleep wild in central Sweden

    I may get a chance this year – I’m attending a wedding at Midsummer, and we don’t have accomodation booked! Love camping, and love Sweden, so yeah, alright then.

  4. Stay in a Japanese capsule hotel

    Is it weird that I (seriously) have wanted to do this ever since I saw it on telly a few years ago? Bonkers, completely mad. Japan is on the list in general. I am fascinated, and this is one of many things that I’m sure will make my eyes pop out on stalks. Jeeesh, if I ever got my feet to Japan, I would have sooooo much blog-fooder my laptop would explode.
    I think they have these kind of pods at some airports now. Possibly even in the UK. So I may get to experience it closer to home (Japan IS a hike..). It looks hillarious though, like curling up for a snooze in a filing cabinet.

  5. Sleep beneath the stars in the Sahara Desert

    Have I done this? Hmmm. I don’t think so. Come to think of it have I even been to the Sahara. It’s one of those familiar places but I’m not even sure I have. I’ve ridden camels in Sahara sand (Gran Canaria), been to Egypt, but I didn’t make it to the desert. I’ve also slept beneath the stars in other places (Wadi Rum, Yosemite…). This needs to happen at some point!

  6. Swim with pink river dolphins

    When I was flipping through this bucket list, THIS was the one that made me click on the info button to find out – WHERE CAN I DO THIS?!?! It’s the Bolivian Amazon (of course), which feels very remote. Perhaps one of my regrets (don’t really believe in regrets but..) was that when I did my trip to Peru and Bolivia that I didn’t make it to the Amazon. The Amazon is in the bucket, what a mad and wonderful place. Swimming with dolphins would be the cherry on the cake. But unlike the Rough Guides, I’d be happy to do it at SeaWorld…

  7. Take the kids to Tobermory, The Isle of Mull

    This looks pretty. It looks a bit like Bergen in Norway. I know Mull is stunning, my mum and dad took a trip there a while ago and I was taken aback at the photos – a beautiful wilderness with turquoise water. One day, when I have kids (or borrow someone elses), I’ll take them there.

  8. Visit North Korea

    YES. I went to South Korea last April, which was a blast. I absolutely loved it and was completely suprised at how interesting it was. When in South Korea I took a trip to the border (and actually stepped over the border at the DMZ, so technically I HAVE done this already!!) and I met a guy who had taken a trip to North Korea – it sounded fascinating. He had to go in with a tour group, I don’t think everyone is allowed (some nationalitites are banned) and he was sure that they bugged his room, always asking questions). It sounded like something out of a spy movie. They also played propogada videos to him about the prosperity and so on in the North (in the same way they play propoganda to you in the South on the DMZ). Anyway, it was so interesting and my friend and I were plotting how we could work in a trip to North Korea in the future.

  9. Watch ballet in Cuba

    I just want to go to Cuba. I don’t think I’d have enough time to watch ballet, there’s so much other stuff I’d need to be getting on with. Beaches, Havana, 50s cars, cigar rolling, rumba, and just watching life there.. amazing. On. The. List.

  10. Visit Tikal in Guatemala

    Tick. I went to Tikal in 2001 and it felt like the biggest adventure of my life (it was back then). This was real Indiana Jones stuff. Looking back I think it was difficult to get there, which was part of the adventure, and we were able to walk all over the ruins, climbing those craggy rough steep steps up and up, getting breathless and popping our heads out at the top to get a view over the jungle canopy and meeting strange animals (cotimundis) on the ruins. I want to say that everyone should go here as it’s very special and part of what travelling is all about, but I don’t want everyone to go there because it is so special. I don’t want to imagine tourists with their big cameras and bright shirts crawling over those cracking steps!

  11. Tour the bodegas of Mendoza

    I once had a spanish teacher who told me Argentina is the three Bs – bueno, barato and bonito – good, cheap and beautiful (or something like that, my spanish never was that good). ANYWAY it made an impression and ever since I’ve had it on my list. My cousin now lives there with his wife and children and asks me to visit, so really have no excuse now (and I don’t want to make excuses). I think Argentina tops Brazil by a hair, and of course the vineyards would be a must, once I get there!

So, that’s it, the Rough Guide Bucket List has provided plenty of inspiration, and having only completed 3 of the items on the list, I need to get saving! But now, unfortunately, it’s back to reality, morning TV is kicking in and I need to power down and head back to the land of spreadsheets and marketing strategies.

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I’ve had one of those crazy weeks at work where I’ve used up every last drop of energy. In fact I’ve been running on empty for a few days now. Meetings, interviews, presentations, brainstorms, report writing, catchups, transatlantic phone calls, webinars… all sorts. It’s been a good week, productive, but still stacked with plenty of stress and it’s pretty much been a week all about the 9 to 5, or in this case 9 to 7, with my energies and focus centred on the work, rather than life, part of the balance.

And so, as I come to the end of my work-week and start to get excited about the refreshment of my weekend ahead, it’s time for a fabulous dose of inspiration. I just stumbled across this most amazing, inspiring and enlightening video on TED, and I have to share it. EVERYONE needs to watch this video – ESPECIALLY anyone who works, manages, teaches, or has an influence over people and approaches at work. I like to think something like this (and someone like Shawn Achor) could change the world, and what a place it would be! So watch it. Take just 12 minutes of your life, and feel how uplifted and inspired you are at the end.

I’m a big believer in the power of 21 days – it’s supposed to be the amount of time it takes a person to form a habit (good or bad) and seems more manageable than sticking to something for a month. I’ve been taking part in a 21 Day Journaling Challenge over the last two weeks and am currently on Day 15, and I’m finding it really interesting and cathartic to journal first thing in the morning, especially with a focal question to explore. In Shawn’s talk above he also talks about the power of 21 days – apparently that’s how long you can take to completely reprogramme your brain to be positive. He suggests that you can train your brain to become more positive, all you need to do is the following every day for 21 days:

  • Note down 3 “gratitudes” – new things that you’re grateful for each day

  • Journal about 1 positive experience you’ve had over the last 24 hours

  • Exercise – this teaches your brain that your behaviour matters

  • Meditation allows your brain to get over the ADHD that culture brings to us (curse of multi-tasking)

  • Carry out one random or conscious act of kindness – praising or thanking someone – every day

Positive smiley faceThis is pretty powerful and exciting stuff, and I’m excited to start to drip feed these ideas into my overstuffed life, easing back that work and getting some life back into the mix. So let’s help the revolution of positivity along and get started this weekend!!

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A couple of weeks ago I spent a fabulous weekend in London with lovely Lara. We went dancing, drinking and dreaming. The main reason we got together was to attend a weekend seminar on coaching, but half way through we decided to do a runner and spend time in the sunshine planning and goal setting all by ourselves (we’re well practised at this). Anyway, after some introspection over Lara’s kitchen table, we identified our metaphorical “elephants”. Lara needs to buy a house and I need to plan a wedding.

It’s been over a month since I agreed to become a wife, and people keep asking me if I’ve set a date. Nope. I’ve tried to think about the wedding but it’s such a huge thing, I don’t know where to start! It’s an elephant, and I know the only way I can eat that elephant (so to speak) is one bite at a time.

How do I do this? I’ve never been one of those girls who has dreamed of their wedding since age 5. I’ve never really pictured it at all. I just thought for a long time that if I got married I’d want to go to Vegas. And I tried that suggestion, but perhaps it’s tacky and extravagant and will only do if we fly everyone out… erm… we’re not millionaires…

I figure we can go there to renew our vows in 20 years time…

So now I have to plan this HUGE event, which could cost a lot of money, and it needs to be the best day of my life and the biggest and most important party I’ll ever throw ARGH this is STRESSFUL.

I need to start eating my wedding elephant…

So, one bite at a time.

First bite – breathe. This should be a fun experience and not a stressful one. I need to keep reminding myself of this so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

Second bite – inspiration. I’ve decided to give myself a couple of months to be inspired and not worry too much about committing to plans. Here’s how I’ve started on my road to inspiration:

  1. I’ve read a couple of cool blogs, for inspiration; Offbeat Bride and Rock My Wedding. Already this has given me some cool ideas about making decorations and some pretty funky venues –I’d love to get married at The Tunnels (beach in Devon), or have an Underwater Wedding at the London Aquarium, or get some beautiful tents in some gorgeous outdoor venue.

  2. Dress. Initially the idea of a white dress made me wince. I’m not really a white dress person. But then someone told me about dresses with a colourful lining, and you can even get electric blue wedding dresses! My ears pricked up! Well, whatever the colour, I need to bite the bullet and start trying some of these bad boys on, so my mum has booked an appointment at a shop for us to spend some time trying to work out which styles I like. Yikes! It’s just an appointment and I can pretend I’m playing dress up. A friend of mine said that she tried on loads of styles in a shop to find out what suited her (I didn’t even think about this) and then went and looked on Preloved to get the dress for half the price (I like this!)

  3. I’ve set up a pin board on my Pinterest in case I spot ideas when I’m randomly browsing the internet, such as the amazing tent I want and the mushroom stools.

  4. I’m going to completely submit to bridezilladom and buy two tickets to go to The National Wedding Show in September. I have a feeling this place could fill me with horror, BUT it could also be a lot of fun. I’m going to take my mum, my sense of humour and a notebook and get inspired (whilst pretending I have a winning Euro Millions ticket in my back pocket – why limit yourself when blue sky thinking!?)

  5. I’ve been thinking about the hen do and honeymoon – now THIS is the easy part – well, to come up with ideas, choosing will be tricky. I think the trick here is to allow myself to think big, work out what it is about the ultimate fantasy that I like and ensure that those boxes are ticket when I down-size back to reality. So far I have:

    • Hen-do – Villa in Ibiza, Week in the Maldives, Week in Goa

      What do I want from my hen-do? Spending some quality time in the sunshine with my best girlfriends – with cocktails, fancy dress in our bikinis, lying around all day, cartwheeling on the beach, transitioning to night, beach bars, dancing in the sand.

    • Honeymoon – Camper van round Australia and New Zealand, Swimming with Whale Sharks in the Maldives, Thailand with stopover in Dubai, Brazil.

      What I want from my honeymoon? – to relax in paradise with my man but have a dash of adventure and a couple nights of pure indulgence somewhere we’ll never be able to go again.

  6. Finally, I’ve written a list. All the other things I need to do once I’ve been suitably inspired. They go as follows (definitely not in the right order):
    • Find venue
    • Find dress
    • Build guest list
    • Set date
    • Set budget

So, I feel like I’ve made a start. I’m on the second bite, still a long way to go, but I feel I’ve moving in the right direction. I’m determined that this WILL be a fun experience (said through gritted teeth), I am excited to plan this, I’ve just got to be able to focus and make decisions once these couple months of inspiration have passed.

Now, is it too late to sign up to the next series of Don’t Tell the Bride..?

P.s. No elephants were harmed as part of this blog post – it’s just a metaphor (I LOVE elephants – not to eat, and actually would love to get married on one…)

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