Exciting Stuff

Old Times and New Starts

It’s been ssssooooo long since I last blogged – this has turned out to be a long one but bare with, I do occasionally take a breath!

I had intended, now that I’ve finished Body Boss and developed a more ‘standard’ exercise regime – ok I admit, my husband and I now go to a personal trainer once a week, possibly not ‘ standard’ per se… but it is great for accountability and to be honest compared to a gym membership which would only be used for the first few months (there is no point in denying it) it is actually good value for money – there’s nothing like having someone being disappointed in you to get you doing at least three of their quick workouts a week!!! We get to learn all sorts of techniques which makes it easier to work out – basically you don’t realise you’re doing it, we can now do a Turkish Get Up WITH a kettlebell! Although I do always worry when he starts smiling at the start of the session…

Sorry, back to the sentence start… I had intended to Blog more regularly about ‘stuff’.

There have been several things that have sidetracked me, work, setting up a coaching business, being one of a team setting up a menu planning site for people with allergies/ dietary restrictions, my art business and, basically, life.

It also is tricky when you know you should ‘niche’ down to a specific audience, that’s great if you have one passion, but what if you have more?

What if you are an avid health person (currently working with kettlebells and trying a Keto Diet, which is quite easy when you’re gluten intolerant!), a passionate artist, an obsessive knitter (there’s a whole series just in that!), an old time actress (currently retired from the Flea Circus but will return on my return to the UK!) and wannabe comedienne – and that’s not counting the business side?? It gets tricky…

However this week I learnt that an old friend had passed away suddenly, she was only a year or so older than me, and although we hadn’t spoken for a number of years it really hit home. She was way too young. I remembered all the amazing times we had as a group – we were pretty wild back then, ok looking back if my daughter got up to half the things we were doing she’d be grounded until she was at least thirty, possibly older. It crossed my mind how we all survived it! But then we didn’t all survive it three of the group have passed away and two went into rehab… wellness awareness wasn’t a ‘thing’, we were living on the edge with little to no safety net…

I was always the one with a story, usually funny, usually something I’d done that had gone horribly wrong but somehow worked out ok, I’ve always loved telling stories, I love blogging (hard to imagine given how long it’s been!!).

It made me think how quickly time passes, I wanted to go on stage, I did for a bit but then I needed to pay rent etc., I became sensible (I quite like who I am) and now I’m too old being the wrong side of 45 (wrong side of 21 in my head!) and although I still have curves they’re now in the wrong places… My wonderful husband has pointed out that he disagrees with this statement, he may get banned from proof reading, but I do love that he believes that 🙂 I have also recently been diagnosed with primary Lymphoedema – I am overwhelmed to have this diagnosis, it is the biggest relief in ages!!! I literally cried!!! My doctor in the UK had told me that I had swollen ankles and legs (which hurt!) because I was F.A.T., honestly she actually said the letters rather than just saying I was fat, I was a UK size 14 at the time, it did nothing for my self esteem and although I never let it stop me, I’ve not felt comfortable in a dress for about 17 years and spent loads on water retention tablets which did nothing!! I honestly thought ankle bones were a myth… Thanks to my wonderful husband I now have unicorn slippers to fit over my bandages which are on for a few weeks whilst I undergo drainage therapy – Nya thinks they’re her new toy.

Sorry rambling again…

I really ought to stick to the point, but that is the point, what if you have more sides than a dodecahedron and just want to make people smile?

My wonderful husband has suggested a YouTube channel for my ‘monologues’, I was going to ask him what he meant but then realised he meant our conversations… He said he’d film it…

On plus side which is slightly of topic (you can decide which topic) I can now do a headstand – it’s taken over a year of trying, one of my BodyBoss posts has my first attempt! Please excuse the PJ’s nothing else fits over the bandages… and also my stomach, I couldn’t keep my top tucked in – I have stretch marks and I’m rather proud of them 🙂

Attempt number one 2017 – note, close to the wall and held for approximately half a nanosecond:

Attempt today (2018) – note, no where near a wall and held for about a minute while my wonderful husband phaffed!!!:

I think my original thing was to say I’m back, I may also be on a YouTube channel… If there is anything you’d like me to attempt to stay on subject for, let me know!

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Eye Eye… Look who’s just gone and done it!

Well 20+ years of contemplation, investigation and general parping I am finally sat here typing this sans glasses!!!

I have worn glasses since I was twelve and those of you from the UK will know the pain of the pink NHS plastic glasses issued to those who couldn’t afford/ weren’t prepared to pay the extra for any glasses that looked remotely cool:

Delightful aren’t they?

I knew we weren’t well off (at all) but I did really hate those glasses and yes I did suffer the usual ‘four eyes’ jokes.

Of course now I’m a parent I can totally understand why my mum was reluctant to pay the extra when my prescription was changing twice a year and I did have a tendency to loose/sit on them!!

So when this new fangled laser eye surgery came into existence I thought my saviour had arrived – no more glasses!!!!!

However back then it was a developing science and ignoring the fact that I definitely couldn’t afford it I started to look into whether it was feasible… the short answer being – No.

This was due to the fact the my poor eyesight is largely down to having an astigmatisms which back then was untreatable. I treat this as a sign, on the basis that I couldn’t afford it anyway and carried on with life…

About ten or fifteen years later my little brother has his eyes lasered – it’s brilliant! He’s a convert – I literally hear about nothing else…

Naturally I start to look into it again (I am now sporting glasses that are quite nice so I don’t mind wearing them but I would still rather not).

I discover they can now do my prescription! However I still still can’t afford it so start looking down the contacts route instead – you can now get weighted contacts, but they’re hard ones and extremely uncomfortable… I stick with glasses… I buy a designer pair… I sit on them… my mother really did know what she was doing.

A few years later my hairdresser has her eyes ‘done’ she has the same prescription as me… it is very tempting… I’m now on toric soft daily disposable contacts but my vision isn’t as good as glasses as they ‘swing’ whenever I blink so that everything goes a bit blurry, but they’re good for a night out.

I look more at the side affects as I’m an artist in my spare time now and I do love my art, ridiculously so, (feel free to check out my work on FaceBook / website – the website needs updating, it’s on my ‘to do’ list along with several hundred other things – let me know what you think) my eyes are naturally dry so I’m concerned about extra dryness but I’m also terrified about losing my sight, after all it’s just cosmetic, I can see perfectly fine with my glasses (I’m now on ones the you can sit on and they spring back into shape – genius!).

Fast forward another five years… I should probably warn you about the length of this blog – but it does span 20+ years!

I am on secondment in the USA and my son has just has his eyes lasered, he is also a total convert and one that knows I’ve been looking into it far his entire life so I hear everything and basically I should “JDI Mother!”

I take this on board and look at the advancements that have been made, along with the cost – it’s not cheap the £250 per eye is basically bol***ks – I’m an accountant by original trade and I’ve been borderline (and occasionally well over the border) broke for most of my life and so frivolous spending is not on my agenda, however, over the last few years, things have become easier. But old habits die hard and to be honest I’m glad.

So I look at the price I pay for my designer glasses, my occasional contacts etc. compare it to the fact that I have dents in my head and nose thanks to the glasses, the issue re sunglasses (esp. now we live somewhere that sees the sun more than twice a year!) and the poo bag issue…

It’s still a lot of money with a long pay back period… I research what’s around locally and how much… I imagine on the basis that everything except petrol (gas) in the USA is TONS more expensive than the UK that it will be a decision for when we return to the UK.

I found a place in Connecticut called Liberty Vision in Hamden – they have excellent reviews – better than others, I do believe reviews are an excellent first check, make sure you look at recent reviews and see if they are ‘confirmed’ customers where applicable. They seem good and they do the latest surgery techniques that involve 6300 individual readings of each eye to customise the treatment.

The cost is comparable to the cost in the UK in fact to my surprise it’s slightly cheaper!!! I know!!!

It’s Christmas so as I’m with my son and also seeing my brother I interrogate the pair of them on the finer details… I’m on the verge of a decision… I still can’t really afford it but I do have an empty credit card… so I am considering it…

I would like to point out at this point that I truly believe that you should not put something that is not absolutely necessary on credit!!!!! I know I’m the worlds worst on this but now I’m free of the debt I would totally recommend never getting into it again. EVER. I cease considering it again.

Shortly after Christmas I come into some money – a small inheritance (not so small for me!) which could either get me an electric harp when we return to the UK or… it could… possibly… I book an appointment to see Dr Gold!!!

I have the free consultation – it’s very thorough and I’m very impressed with Dr Gold, he is reassuring and doesn’t sugar coat the procedure which I appreciate, he also instantly gave me a feeling of trust which is so important.

I book in for the ‘Op’ at the next available slot – if I think about this much longer I’ll have died of old age!

So… E Day!!

I am so excited/nervous/terrified!!!

During the procedure you’re given a bear called Seymour (see-more, I wasn’t in a ‘laughing at jokes’ place but did appreciate the humour) to hold – this is to stop you from trying to wipe your eye – I felt a bit sorry for Seymour, i don’t know how other people hold him but I nearly decapitated the poor thing!

The ‘procedure’ is not pleasant, at all. However it is over very quickly.

It really is very unpleasant – did I mention that?

I had the procedure where they remove the top layer of your eye and then laser it (don’t worry I was reassured this layer grows back in about three days) rather than the one where they cut a flap on your eye, lift that up and then laser – the recovery time for the ‘flap’ one is much quicker however the cut never heals… I didn’t like the sound of that – neither did Dr Gold who doesn’t operate that procedure at all.

My wonderful husband was able to video the procedure from an adjoining room where he got to watch the camera on the laser machine! He has the video and I did consider posting it here but it is a bit grim… I’m glad I couldn’t see it! So instead this is my eye being lasered!

As soon as it’s finished (which i am exceedingly glad about! It doesn’t hurt but it’s not nice) I notice the clock on the wall which I couldn’t read before – it’s 10:25!!!! The whole thing took ten minutes and i can see!!!!

My eye’s are sore, actually very sore, which is to be expected – there are a lot of instructions which boy am I going to follow!!!

But I think I can rock this laser look!

One week later – no protective lenses, drops every few hours and i can see better than I could with glasses, I was even able to wear make-up again and you have no idea how much easier it is when you can actually see (although I think I do need more practice).

There is one downside… it appears my bathroom needs a damn good clean!

Exciting Stuff

Poo bags

Ok I know it’s been a while since I last blogged… it’s been a funny few months, lots going on, some expected – some not so. 

In my head I’ve written at least 30 blogs, three of which had potential and I’m writing this one – it’s probably one of the 27…

I would like to point out that we absolutely ADORE our little puppy (well she’s nearly one now so not so little anymore!) she’s a Lhasa Apso and my husband and I got her for a number of reasons, (I did say to my wonderful husband when we first got together that if I ever ask for a puppy he should be strong and say ‘no’. He lasted nearly two years – I’m very proud of him!!) however there is an issue… POO BAGS!

One of the reasons we got our gorgeous pup was to get us out and walking, we love walking but when you’re in a new place (half way across the world from your normal social group!) and you’re busy at work it’s way too easy just to come home, close the door, open the wine and not go anywhere – there’s no-one dragging you out and you don’t know where to go as you’ve very little local knowledge.

Don’t worry we do still open the wine but once we’re back from a stroll!!

And so little Nya came into our home – to be fair she chose us. She’s called Nya as my mum was concerned we would be tying ourselves down with a dog and so felt if we needed a pet we should get a goldfish… Nya is tibetian for Fish (there are several Tibetan words for Fish – in our opinion Nya is the prettiest) and she is gold… I know I know, I promise that one day I will grow up, maybe…

However there is a downside to this, and I’m not sure if anyone else has the same issue, but why is it that you get to your choice of walk, you walk around a bit to get your little ones ‘moving’ before you head out – this is also when my wonderful husband has a vape, as I’m a mean wife and have asked him to vape at the beginning and end of the walk rather than on it so that we can hold hands etc. and I don’t get wafted by a cherry infused cloud, this is far better than smoke but as a non smoker I prefer to smell flowers. 

I’m procrastinating and wandering off on a completely different subject!

The point being that inevitably ‘nothing happens’ during this little preamble and so we head out on our walk, whereupon little Nya will proceed to poop at the absolute perfect time – just far enough in that it’s too far to turn back to the car park to put the poo bag in the bin so you carry it with you – for the next hour…

This in itself is probably fine, everyone who has a dog does it, right? 

My issue is not with carrying said poo bag – in fact when it’s really cold it can act as an environmentally friendly hand warmer… we’ve all done it!!

My issue is if, like me, you wear glasses and you’re acting on impulse you regularly have to push your glasses up your nose… remember how I like to smell the flowers? Poo bags are very aromatic as they bounce delicately off the end of your nose…

So for the last 9 months this has been the downside of going walking… until today!!!

And I have no idea why it has taken me this long, I do wonder what I could achieve if I actually used my brain, imagine my surprise when I thought to myself – why don’t I just tie this poo bag to the strap of my handbag?

Flipping obvious really!

Meanwhile our litltle rock climbing pup tires herself out looking too cute to possibly cause this much trouble!

Although I am pretty sure she knows exactly what she’s doing…

Exciting Stuff

Orange water!

When life throws you curved balls…

It’s been one of ‘those’ weeks, you know the ones, I’m sure everybody has them… at least I hope they do! When you start out with best intentions and that’s about as far as it gets.

My plan was to get the girls ready for our road trip to Tennessee, attend a ‘learn to play the harp’ webinar prior to the online course starting in September (I’ll fill you in on that in another blog!), do a Yogaburn workout, take puppy to the kennels, help to pick up the hired minivan (there was no way we were doing a road trip with three teenagers in anything smaller!) and be at the airport to pick number one son up at 4:45pm. That was just day one.

Corralling two teenage girls is never easy, ensuring they’ve packed everything and making sure the chargers, headphones etc. were easily accessible along with a variety of random snacks is key! To be fair this went reasonably smoothly… could’ve been a lot worse…

I did a quick tidy up loaded the dishwasher, pressed ‘go’ and nothing… literally nothing… at this point number one daughter pointed out that the white stripes on her Nike top were orange… 

The orange thing does need explanation as it’s the one thing about living in the states which has literally made me cry. I love my white sheets, white tee shirts and I happen to have a pair of white shorts that actually look good on me. 

Since moving to the states everything has turned a blotched orange, I’ve binned all my white tee shirts and it’s only thanks to discovering ‘Iron Out’ that I’ve managed to keep my white shorts (there’s an orange line on the seam but it’s not overly noticeable). It’s been getting steadily worse too…

I phone our landlady – first time in ages, to be honest she’s lovely always really helpful – this is another British thing, we tend not to ask for help but just ‘muddle through making the best of the situation’ which is great but sometimes a careful question can save so much time and in this case, clothes!

Upshot is that not only do I mention the dishwasher (it’s being sorted on Tuesday) but due to my slightly elevated stress levels I also mention the orange water – I’m quite proud of myself for not bursting into tears, time is marching on and we still have so much to do, now to include washing up!!

It turns out that we’re on a well water system – we were aware of this but as I’d never come across this in the U.K. and water came out of the taps etc. I gave it no more thought, apparently it needs salt.

However at this point I don’t have time to sort it out, so on with the washing up!

This makes us late for the kennels – not late as such, but behind schedule, upshot is puppy dropped off, running happily into her enclosure without so much as a by your leave – just the same as the kids heading off to school for the first time, you’re so anxious and they don’t even give you a second glance – but the webinar starts before we can get home – plan B swings into action and I load the meeting space onto my I-phone and dail in while my husband drives, not the best way to attend a meeting but it works!

I’m starting to feel like some sort of wonder woman! 

We get home, a couple of slight technical glitches later and I can join the second half of the meeting on my I-pad – much easier to see, hear and interact with 🙂

The rest of the schedule starts to regain momentum and we reach the airport as the plane lands – by the time we park we have five minutes to wait before number one son walks through arrivals and I get a big hug = one very happy mum 🙂

We start our road trip – we are breaking the journey with a stop at a motel, number one daughter has watched way too much trashy Telly and is convinced we will be murdered in our beds.

Breakfast was rubbish. We weren’t shot. 

The next afternoon we arrive in Tennessee in a wonderful lodge overlooking the smokey mountains, the wine is open and the views are gorgeous.

The next three days are spent in Dollywood – I’ve always wanted to go, other kids wanted Disney, me I wanted to go to Dollywood!!

My kids had never heard of it and were a little sceptical – I was terrified in case it didn’t live up to my expectations…

All I can say is what an amazing place! It’s the most family friendly fun place I’ve been – it helps that American schools have gone back, UK schools don’t start till the beginning of September – subsequently no queues for any of the rides!! 

I love the sculptures, the theatre, the rides, there’s even a steam train!

All on board for the Dollywood Express!!

We drive back home in one go, 15 hours including stops… and I have to say all the kids were amazing! It really does help having a car with multiple charging points, a plug for number one sons laptop and audible books for us in the front – Wolves of London by Mark Morris… it was tempting to take an hour detour to finish the book, but not that tempting, especially as there’s another airport run soon!

Back to reality, and into the basement… there’s a tank, a scuba thing and a sealed tank – I have categorically no idea what any of it is… however there is a phone number on the scuba tank thing, I give it a ring and speak to the most wonderfully helpful person, she talks me through what’s in the basement and with the help of a few photos texted to the company’s mobile I have a solution!

I now know that there is a filter system in the basement which has a bucket thing which you have to keep half fill with salt – there was nothing in it apart from a red scum like pool… there has been little to no salt in it for nearly a year… oops…

She even tells me where I can get the salt and how to kick start the system – it takes five 40lb bags to half fill the tank…

I follow instructions and then start up the washer (we have a lot of washing!) and OMG there’s no more orange, the water in the bathroom doesn’t smell or taste ‘funny’ – you have no comprehension as to how happy I am!!!!

Although a thought has occurred to me… I dye my hair (I’ve been grey since my late twenties and at fortysix have no intention of going grey gracefully, even if it’s the new ‘thing’ thanks to the Game of Thrones!) and my hair color fades to a really lovely copper colour, I wonder if it will still be copper now the orange water has gone…

Exciting Stuff

Book review! – Dark Black by Jessica Germaine 

When my wonderful husband and I were in Savannah we meet a lovely young author called Jessica Germaine…

It was a very windy day… 

Now I love reading and I especially love reading new books from people I can actually talk to, so to come across Jessica whilst walking along the riverfront was great!

She is (ok this is a first impression as we only met the once! But in my experience first impressions are usually correct 😊) a very genuine, lovely young woman with a totally adorable daughter!

It takes a lot to set out your stall and sell your own work, I’ve done it myself so many times selling my art and it can be demoralising when people look at your work and walk away saying things like “well I don’t like the look of that” whilst still in earshot! Just rude!

So when I see someone starting out and obviously passionate about their art I make an effort to talk to them and if I’m intrigued/interested I will buy their work… Jessica totally fitted the bill!

I bought a copy of Dark Black (which Jessica kindly signed) and on a plane in July started to read…

Before meeting Jessica I had no idea ‘urban street’ was a genre. I’m a big reader and i had never heard of an Urban Street Novel – ever. It is possible that we don’t have the same branding of genres in the U.K…

Anyway I start to read…

Initially I was a little put off by the introduction being written in capitals, I can’t get away from the image of someone shouting at me! 

Also the type setting of the book is similar to a poetry book with the writing in the center of the page with large gaps either side – I know, I’m being picky, however I have since learnt that Jessica originally started writing lyrics and poetry which fits with that style 😊

I start the main novel and I have to say it took some getting into, again this had nothing to do with the novel and more about me, as a middle aged British woman… 

It’s written in what I assume is street language and to be honest a lot of the time in the first few chapters I had no idea what the characters were saying!! It’s also a little on the racy side but appropriately so for the story. It made it ‘real’ – once I got over my middle aged British woman thing, or should I say ‘tang’ – and I apologise if I got that wrong!!

I’m not going to say any more about the story – you need to read that yourself… a very brief synopsis (courtesy of goodreads) is as follows…

Charlytte Black is young girl who runs away at age fifteen, trying to escape her abusive Aunt JoAnne. In the streets, she struggles to survive on her own and does whatever it takes to make sure she never has to return home. Ever.

Once I got into the language and stopped trying to correct the spelling – again that was an English to American thing, way too many ‘z’s!!! 

I really enjoyed the book, it’s not like anything I have read before and had we not met Jessica it’s not something I would’ve picked up. It was refreshing and I loved the way she brought everything together which made for a very satisfying ending. There’s nothing worse than a book that leaves you dangling! 

This book leaves you with a message that will hopefully inspire young girls who think there is nowhere to turn that actually with some hard work, determination and learning to accept help that there is always a different path.

Would I recommend Dark Black? Totally! And I will look out for Jessica’s next books too 😊

Exciting Stuff

Making some income from blogging…

My initial ideas on blogging was to improve my writing skills, and to stick at my exercise program, and so far I have succeeded – well no one has told me to stop writing which I’m taking as a favourable response…

But everyone who knows me knows that I have a rule that all my hobbies are self funding, in fact my art hobby has paid for a few family holidays as well as all my paints which is pretty amazing! (trust me I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to paint or actually anything stationary based!).

So I started looking at ‘affiliate schemes’ – essentially these are adverts on your blog and if readers click on them and then purchase something I get a percentage. Sounds reasonable.

I was discussing this with my wonderful husband who asked a very interesting question…

“Why do you want to sell other people’s things when you have your own?” 

Not something I had considered… research is on going… watch this space, things might get a tad exciting!

Some of my art will be involved but not as paintings… intrigued? I hope so!

Here’s a taster of some of my previous art work…

Let me know what you think and watch this space!!

Exciting Stuff

Yoga Club Box – 5 Day Challenge!!

As some of you may have seen I have started to subscribe to a yoga club box… this is a monthly subscription for a monthly yoga outfit, it’s amazing value!! This is my second box and I received $185 worth of clothes for $79, bargain! (They have two other price options – $45 and $69, but on the basis that I only have had, one workout outfit that I’ve had for six years, I reckon I’m worth it!)

The clothes are gorgeous too, I’ve chosen the ‘funky’ option as I feel the need to jazz my life up a bit – so far they have not disappointed! They have sent two outfits that I would never have picked up in a shop but they look amazing!! 

Anyway I noticed on Facebook that they were running a 5 day yoga challenge that could win several prizes including vouchers for Jala clothing and even a years supply of yoga boxes! Now I have no illusions of winning – until very recently I’ve not done yoga for years (seriously it must be at least 15years and 28 pounds since I last did a class!) but the little videos my wonderful husband and I have been doing on a Tuesday has rekindled my love of yoga and I figure it would be fun, after all how difficult can it be?

On balance I think it was more of an elimination than a challenge… 

Day 1 – Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1

So far so good, I’m liking this! I even wear the leggings from my first yoga box, so nice!

Even little Nya wanted to get in on the act although she knows she’s not supposed to dig there!!

Day 2 – Paripurna Navasana, Full Boat Pose

Hmmm… looks easy but then it also looks like a harder version of the dreaded Russian Twist from the Bodyboss program, however I can now do those so maybe it will be ok…

I start in a Russian Twist position and try to straighten my legs, after several attempts I manage it! Briefly, my thighs are on fire!!! But day two done – tick!

Yep I definitely don’t look as happy in the full boat pose…

Day 3 – Bakasana, Crow pose

Omg, thank goodness I’ve been working out and my balance is beginning to improve!! 

This is really really difficult! But after about half an hour I figure it out – ish… again I can’t hold it for very long and little Nya licking my face is not helpful, very cute, but definitely not helping!

Day 4 – Sirsasana, Headstand (I kid you not!)

Ok, deep breath, I can do this… the fact that I could barely do a headstand when I last tried one and I was about 11 years old then, is not going to stop me having a go!

Nya is removed from the room – the last thing I want is to squish her during a rapid and probably uncontrolled descent! 

I follow the instructional videos that the sponsors of the challenge have posted, they make it look so easy! I try for about an hour… and all things considered I think I did a pretty good job! I held an unsteady headstand for approximately 5 nano seconds, I do actually want to keep trying this and intend to do it again after the challenge to see if I can do better, I’ll use a wall next time!

Please note yoga outfit courtesy of the second yoga box!!

Day 5 – Marichasana – the last day, quite sad, I’ve enjoyed this.

I working on the basis that anything is easier than yesterday and this looks a wonderful deep stretch.

The first variation is a twist and it’s a really lovely pose…

You can then deepen the stretch and reach round your body and clasp your hands…

I did try this but there is more of me than I anticipated and I can’t touch my hands – I need to lose about 4 (ok make that 8!) inches, or grow my arms, or, yes I know, practice more to be able to stretch! 

Challenge completed to the best of my ability!

I really have enjoyed pushing myself and although I haven’t quite made it, I did far better than I ever thought I could – especially when it comes to headstands!!

I now feel inspired to do ‘yoga every dammed day’! 

Namaste 🙏 

Exciting Stuff

‘Pack up + go’ – a mystery holiday! 

Now this is an amazing concept! 

In the U.K. it’s what we would call ‘marmite’ – marmite is a yeast extract which you can have on toast or put in stews etc. but the key thing, which the company used to market it, is that you either love it or hate it – personally I love it! 

My wonderful husband found this site on one of his Facebook feeds and curiosity got the better of him.

This is a holiday company with a twist, the twist being…

Until you get to the airport/train station etc. you have no idea where you’re actually going!!! 

Now you see where the ‘marmite’ comment comes from – one of my best friends nearly had a panic attack at just the thought of going somewhere that she hadn’t completely organised!

The deal:

Tell the company when you’d like to go away for a short break (we chose two nights) and set your price, the range was between $250 per person to $2,500 per person – as it was to celebrate our first wedding anniversary we went for $650. 

You then fill out a questionnaire about interests and tell them where you’ve been before (so they can send you somewhere new!).

Pay your chosen price and wait…

The count down begins:

A week before the date we received an email telling us to be at Bradley Airport at 8:30am on the Friday morning and to pack walking shoes, a swimsuit, sunglasses and sun cream along with a weather forecast with the place name removed – it was going to be hot with a chance of thunder! 

The next day an envelope arrived – not to be opened until we got to the airport! 

The temptation to peek was almost unbearable but we didn’t! To say we were excited is an understatement!!

And we’re off to…..


Being new to the states we’d never heard of Savannah… we were excited and intrigued!

The holiday:

First impressions were good (that’s an understatement!) the envelope contained a brochure, city map, suggested itinerary, where we are staying, how to get there and a handwritten note to wish us a wonderful stay in Savannah – nice touch!

We arrived at our hotel, a fabulous boutique inn called the East Bay Inn – our first taste of southern hospitality and we love it! There’s even complementary wine and hors d’orves in the evening!

What to say about Savannah…

It is a truly beautiful city, full of art, amazing food and fabulous people. 

It is a city with a soul!

Our itinerary was spot on – every suggestion, from where to eat to what to visit was amazing!

We especially loved B Matthew’s for brunch, my first taste of fried green tomatoes and I’m hooked! For dinner Circa 1875 was also top notch!

For a bit of fun we discovered Wet Willies Bar – slushy cocktails, what a fabulous idea – especially in this heat!

While we were supping our slushes we started chatting to a rickshaw driver called Juan who offered us his ghost tour, he was such a cool character we could hardly say no so agreed to meet up that evening… 

It seems everyone in Savannah has a ghost story but Juan was brilliant! Two hours and two bars later we knew nearly all the stories from the civil war to old family feuds via architecture, film sets (I’m sure you’re aware that Forrest Gump was filmed here!) and the odd Ferrari! He also introduced us to Abe’s – a fab bar covered in napkin art, it turns out it was also one of our Pack up + Go recommendations!


There are also some amazing cemeteries – it’s not as morbid as it sounds! 

If you love sculpture mixed with a bit of history and a good ghost story – I did say they’re everywhere – Take a tour of Bonaventure Cemetery with Shannon Scott, he is a great storyteller and you’ll get to learn all sorts of things!

I’d love to tell you loads more but you really have to go and see for yourself!

It’s also got a few famous past residents, did you know Johnny Mercer founder of Capital Records and amazing song writer is from Savannah? You probably did… I didn’t realise he was a lookalike for my wonderful husband!

In summary, go and visit this amazing city.

But if you want an adventure….

Pack up + Go!!!