My Sunshiny Life

{February 28, 2010}   London Fashion Weekend

At the end of London Fashion Week they have a weekend shopping and fashion show for the public, which I went to with Bec, Ramona and co.  We met for drinks beforehand at Number 1 Aldwych.  Then we browsed through the designer sale and watched the fashion show.

Although none of us bought anything it was a lovely way to spend a girly bonding afternoon.  It was great to see the new Spring Summer trends on the catwalk (nudes, layers, cargo pants, studs) and heartening to see that the models didn’t look anorexic like the Jenny Packham show we went to last year.


{February 21, 2010}   Columbia Road Flower Market

I can’t believe I’ve lived for 7 years in London and I still hadn’t been to this famous London flower market.  When I got there, I was even more astounded that I’d never made it until then.  What a vibrant, colourful, character filled, bustling place.

Flowers from Columbia Road

Columbia Road Flowers

Kylie and I walked through, choosing flowers and taking in the atmosphere of the East End institution.  Market traders yell out their specials of the day, and we were lucky because it was nearly closing time so there were a few deals to be had.  With calls like “they’re only this cheap cos we nicked em” how can you not love it!

As well as the flowers, shrubs, palms and a multitude of other flora and fauna you’ll find some gorgeous boutiques, cafes and charming shops. 

Columbia Road Shops

My sign for when I get my dog Dolly

I was shocked, until I clicked what the C word was

There’s also a mini market down the side street where we bought some delicious kalamata olives.

Adding to the vintage, quaint feel, there was a couple busking, singing and playing the cello.  As we slowed down to watch them, the girl forgot all the words for the song, so we left them for a bit so she could compose herself (excuse the pun) and went back to watch them again, filming this time.  The guy totally cracks me up.

It won’t be another seven years before I go back.

Find out more about the stalls, traders, shops and history of the market here

Opening Hours : Sundays 8 – 3 (or thereabouts).  Most shops are only open on Sundays but check the site for more details.

{February 18, 2010}   Sunshiny Ski Trip

There’s nothing quite like bonding with your team mates and I think the perfect way to do that is skiing. We went to Champagny in the French Alps, which is postcard picture perfect, a quaint little village with a cheese shop, very cute ski men in the ski shop (cheeky winks help tired muscles when you’re dropping your skis back) and a bubbling stream through the centre of the village.

Champagny Chalet View

Our chalet was absolutely beautiful and slept 19 people.  We had fabulous food, copious amounts of booze (sparkling water for moi) and even a pool, spa and sauna to soothe tired and aching muscles.  Before the trip I loudly proclaimed that I would NOT be getting into the pool, spa or sauna with the guys from work.  I don’t need to see my male colleagues in their swim shorts, it’s not an image I want in my memory banks.  I certainly don’t want them to see me in a bikini!  I got there, sans bikini, and would have gone in naked my muscles were so sore.  I couldn’t have cared less.  I settled for some borrowed shorts and a bra and swam, spa’d and sauna’d my little heart out.

On the first day we took it easy and everyone sat at the pub drinking after skiing.  I’m not drinking this year so that doesn’t hold as much allure as it once did.  I went back to the chalet alone, as dusk was darkening into night and appreciated the solitude and stillness, with snowflakes drifting down covering everything in a beautiful, white blanket of purity.  I caught them on my tongue and thought how lucky I was not to be in dirty, rainy, cold London.  Nature is so raw and powerful and we forget that as we run around the hamster treadmill of life in a big city.

When you’re learning you need a couple of things.  You need some buddies who are at the same level as you and you need a patient instructor.  We were lucky enough to have both of those things.  N, H and me were at the same level and took turns waiting for each other and assuring each other that we could do this, we could get down the mountain and we would get better. 

Another rest break for the dream team

Then we had S, who was our ski instructor for the day.  Normally a funky ass snow board instructor, he gave up carving it up the mountain for a day to teach us, and to rest his knee which he’d mutilated in a snow board accident a few years ago. He was better than our paid instructor the day before and he patiently stayed with us, repeating phrases like “use your edges”  and “follow the S down the mountain.” 

S our patient instructor for the day

S, our patient instructor for the day

Sometimes he’d tell us to stop whining and get up.  You need that when you’ve given up and are lying in the middle of a busy run.

I don't wanna get up!

I don't wanna get up!

Skiing can be the most beautiful thing in the world, when all the planets seem to align, when the sun is shining, the wind is blowing in your hair and you’re gliding down the mountain, with snow flakes glistening in the air like diamonds. 

Skiing through sunshiny diamonds

Then it can be the most frustrating activity in the world and you wonder why the hell you’re clumping about on a mountain at all. 

I  threw an almighty tantrum on an icy steep slope when I couldn’t get my ski back on.  Sailors would have blushed at the shrieking curses I directed at the mountain, my ski’s and the snow that was trapped on the bottom of my boot, which was hindering the binding process back into the ski.  I would have thrown myself on the ground and kicked whilst screaming, but unfortunately it had taken me about ten minutes to get up after I had fallen over, so I threw my pole down instead (and then picked it up).  Thanks to my hero team of 3 people (N, A and D) who held me up and helped me back into my ski binding as we were slipping down the slope for TEN minutes.  Thank you for not leaving me there to have my tantrum by myself. I might still be there.

After two hours of skiing I finally saw the end in sight and tucked up, ski’s under my arms and headed in a straight line to the bottom.  I picked up speed.  Too much speed.  All the phrases I’d been fed through the day fled from my head in horror.  I didn’t know how to turn, I didn’t know how to stop and I’m sure I was going 30 miles an hour.  I threw myself into the snow to stop before I got any faster.  What courage you can find when you need to go to the loo.

So until next year, when I’m sure I’ll finally be able to nail the parallel.  For now, I’m still very ungracefully snow ploughing my way down the mountain.  But at least I get down.

The Ski Squad

{February 16, 2010}   Shrove Tuesday

If you don’t already know why we even have Pancake Tuesday (also called Shrove Tuesday) then let me enlighten you.  Lent starts tomorrow and Pancake Tuesday came about as everyone used up all their leftovers so they could fast for Lent, or give up their favourite goodies at least. 

Now the practice is more commonplace, even for those who aren’t religious.  Any excuse to eat a delicious pancake, right?

I wouldn’t ever want a pancake enough to queue in this long line outside the Holborn branch of My Old Dutch.  I wouldn’t queue up for one of their pancakes in fine weather (thick, greasy, yet dry at the same time), let alone in sub zero temperatures in the rain!

I had my own pancakes at home.  Lovely healthy pancakes!  Just tip a cup of buckwheat flour into a bowl, make a well and add a lightly beaten egg.  Then stir in a 1 1/3 cup of soya/rice/coconut or another nut milk.  Add a few tablespoons of cold water to make into a thin batter and work your magic in the fry pan.

Buckwheat pancakes with greek yoghurt and cashew nut butter

Then K and F had their turn in the kitchen and I had to investigate when I heard the smoke alarm going off.  They quickly shuffled their best looking pancakes to the surface for a photo.  Smoky pancakes could become a covetable cuisine!

Smoky Pancake Stack

{February 7, 2010}   Acupuncture Angel

I haven’t been up to much lately.  With low energy levels from my detox and an even lower immune system, I haven’t had the energy to do anything.  I had acupuncture twice this week to help my body process the toxins, as my poor over worked organs were taking a hammering and the toxins were manifesting in awful ways, with skin rashes, spots, heat and itchiness.  AWFUL! 

I rang Kylie in a panic, was there anything she could do to make me purrrty again?  It’s great to go to someone that heals people in a way that goes beyond surface symptoms, where they get a thorough background to understand how best to help you.  It’s an experience poles apart from dealing with doctors in western medicine, where they prescribe, prescribe, prescribe.  The holistic approach is definitely my preferred way on the road to healing and wellness.

As Kylie went around my body putting needles in, I felt a dull sensation by some key spots.  They were the points that had a direct correlation to my kidneys, which were over burdened with toxins from my detox.  I went in to see Kylie with a hot swollen mess of a face, which was itchy and sore.  It had been like this for 3 days, with no sign that it was improving.  By the next morning the heat had dissipated and the swelling had gone down.  I felt 1000% better and the improvements continued after my second treatment throughout the rest of the week.

Kylie Box is an acupuncture angel and I’d totally recommend her services to anyone.  She works with stress and fertility issues, but there are many ailments that can be addressed with the magical little healing needles. 

Kylie Box  (Acupuncture Angel)

et cetera