Balanced bling || Jewellery with meaning from Daisy London

For my sister, Natalia, and ALL the sisters…

I don’t know about you, but I am really enjoying the chill in the air at the moment…

…Don’t get me wrong, I am the ultimate sun-worshipper, but after a good dose of vitamin D in Portugal earlier this month, I’m totally happy to slip into Autumn’s amber and gold leaf-strewn landscape, and feel the fresh frosty air kiss my nose and fingertips as canal walks from Hackney through to Islington become the order of the day.

Everything is crisp and cosy. And as it should be. And these familiar chills in the air, and return of pumpkin lattes listed on coffee shop blackboards, has turned my mind to Christmas, and how quickly the last year has flown by.

 Last Christmas….

I have a huge family, as does Jamie; so thoughts of Christmas inevitably evolve to thoughts of Christmas shopping, which for the pair of us is no mean feat – but no matter what, my priority is always to ensure I have the most thoughtful treats sorted for my mum and sister.

It’s been just the three of us for most of my life. This spiritual duo are my lifeline and while Christmas is not about the gifts, it is about the giving; making the festive season the time to spoil and thank them for errrrrthang.

My sister and I haven’t seen that much of each other in recent years, so last Christmas I particularly wanted to give her a gift that showed her how much I love her – I was thinking a necklace – striking the balance between being a beautiful piece of jewellery, with heart and soul behind it.

Cue the discovery of Daisy London – Designer of the iconic Chakra bracelet, Daisy London is known for its wellness focused jewellery and contemporary designs.

With collections inspired by Eastern philosophy, good karma, and of course classic British daisies, as well as limited edition designs from celebrity collaborators, Daisy London is a range of meaningful pieces that add a personalised touch to your style. – Each in silver, gold and rose gold.

I went straight for the Chakra collection. My sister (Natalia) and I have grown up under our mum’s spiritual guidance, so books on the Chakra’s, Reiki sessions on the sofa and crystal healing for everything* are part of our make up – so it felt natural and right to honour our upbringing in a significant way. 

*To note, I definitely didn’t appreciated how amazing it is to have a mum like ours enough until the last couple of years when I began delving into the chakras, as part of my yoga training…

I chose the 18ct rose gold Heart Chakra (Anahata) necklace for Natalia, and opted for an 18” chain so that it sat right at the heart centre.

Just like Natalia, the heart Chakra stands for love, compassion and altruism, emotionally connected with love, self-control and forgiveness – and striving towards acceptance of self and others.

And I suppose I want her to know that I have nothing but unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance towards her, so as well as being a beautiful necklave, it seemed like a fitting gift.

Needless to say she loved it as much as I loved giving it to her…

This year…

…I’ve been eyeing up Daisy’s Chakra range ever since, wondering when I would justify treating myself to a few pieces – namely the Throat Chakra necklace (Vishuddi); a choice I had somehow managed to convince my was nothing more than based on the design, rather than being especially connected to Vishuddi Chakra.

However, the further I dive into my yoga practice, I’ve come to learn that Vishuddi is a chakra I’m totally connected with.

Vishuddi is the blue wheel of energy at our throat, connected with communication and truth.

When I’m happy I sing non-stop, tell the people I love just how much I love them, talk to strangers and really find my voice when teaching a class.

Anyone who has taken one of my classes or seen my practice will know it’s a feminine, fluid flow with a lots of movement and space created in the hips – the physical body part associated with Vishuddi (as well as the throat of course – but there aren’t many pose that work the throat) and the element water.

I’m a total water baby, seeking out the sea and craving being by the waves when I need to heal and when I ‘m having fun (Vishuddi is the blue wheel of energy – like water) so perhaps there is more in my choice piece of jewellery than I first thought…

Since treating myself to the rose gold Vishuddi necklace, I have been in touch with the lovely ladies at Daisy London, who (amazingly!) interviewed me for their Blog

It’s been amazing to work with a brand that I love so much so head over to their site, a read if you fancy, and maybe make a Christmas wish list while you’re there – or pick a pressie for someone you love…. It’s not really that long until 25th December after all…..

n a m a s t e

 

Albakech House, Marrakech: Hotel Review

Albakech House, Marrakech: Hotel Review

In the tourist-friendly, Agdal area of Marrakech you’ll find Albakech House, a British/Moroccan owned and operated luxury riad allowing you to experience the best in British service and Moroccan hospitality.

Offering free airport transports as part of the hotel’s service, from the moment you step out of the airport and into the Red City’s glaring sun, you’ll experience the efficiency, warmth and attention to detail that the team at Albakech House pride themselves on. Headed up by the friendly and enigmatic Adam, the team at Albakech House are there to have you relax, enjoy and provide everything you need for a memorable stay.

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Albakech House is a calm and homely space of eclectic design, through which the gentle rippling sound of the ground floor, rose-petal-strewn water feature and the distant hum of Scottish bagpipes run. There are sumptuous arm chairs to curl up in and sip sweet mint tea while making use of the hotel’s handcrafted chess boards; and a large garden with icy blue swimming pool and all day, outdoor dining options.

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With circa-10 generous sized, individually decorated bedrooms; expect to sleep well in a heavy-set four poster bed, lit with colourful traditional lamps and fragrant with fresh rose petals. The rooms benefit from the outdoor space, be it via large cactus and floral adorned windows gazing right on to the poolside and through which flecks of light from lattice frames dance; or private balconies over looking the lush garden. We were lucky enough to stay in the latter, making for a secluded evening spot for sinking Casablanca beers and playing cards.

The en-suite bathrooms boast Tadelakt walls, with baths and showers in solid stone, with thick soft towels, powerful hot showers and deep baths. Almost a mini hammam, another service, along with massages offered at Albakech House. The boutique hotel also benefits from air-conditioned rooms, suites with free Wi-Fi connection and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels.

A continental breakfast is provided and Moroccan specialities, between 7am and 10am, and is served either the dining room, lounge, or around the pool. – Perfect for those up at 7:00am for an excursion to the chilled out blue coastal town of Essaouria (also arranged by Adam), or lose languidly rising at 9:45am to slink down to the poolside in time to catch the last of the most important meal of the day and pass the rest of their time, strictly poolside.

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Lunch and dinner options are also available, and are charmingly ordered and served at the same set times each day. Soft drinks including Morocco’s famous mint tea and fresh orange juice can be ordered all day everyday.

While the hotel doesn’t serve alcohol, Adam and his team are happy to allow guests to BYO from the local Carrefore French supermarket just a 5 minute walk away, store in their fridges for you, and serve to order.

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A stay in the beautiful, frenzied magic of Marrakech is not just about staying poolside with Casablanca in hand however, and Albakech House benefits not only from being a five minute drive from the famous Jemaa el Fnar Square in the old city, but by offering guests a free taxi service from the hotel until 5pm each day. The drivers look after you, ensure your comfort and will advise on where and how to get home, should you be staying in the Old City later on into the evening.

 Albakech House has stunning views of the Atlas Mountains, is just minutes from the medina and new town and will set you back just £95 – £140 per night.

xxx

The Green Room Restaurant Review, Southbank London
The Green Room Restaurant Review as written for Mi Business Mag
A garden-like oasis in SE1 may sound like a paradox, but new neighbourhood restaurant, bar and garden, The Green Room, a uniquely ethical and culinary collaboration with local social enterprise Coin Street Community Builders, is just that.

This urban dining retreat, with its own stylish and sustainable garden, is housed in a beautiful, glass-walled green house, tucked behind The National Theatre on London’s Southbank.
Bringing a welcome, delicious and grassroots offering to an area too well-known for its high street restaurant chain offering, The Green Room serves up ethically-sourced British diner food in a spacious and contemporary setting.
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Mirroring the refreshingly sustainable approach to its menu, The Green Room’s eclectic, up-cycled interior makes for a stylish, eye-catching setting, featuring props and scenery recycled from National Theatre shows; in which you will enjoy good, honest food, executed well at reasonable prices.
Expect well-informed, friendly staff to guide you through a four part menu comprising, “Pick It Up,” “Knife and Fork,” “On The Side,” and “The Big Finish,” patiently on hand to take your food order as you pick on everything from paprika popcorn, through to Salt cod croquettes and Spiced salami sticks.
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Main courses include classic fanfare such as cheeseburgers with Montgomery Jack cheese, BBQ Pork Ribs and Peppercorn Steak with chunky chips. There’s also a few innovative vegetarian/vegan dishes worth trying, such as the mouth-wateringly piquant Spicy vegan sloppy Joe, rich with black beans and brought alive with jalapeños and chipotle; or the Grilled calamari with pesto and slow cooked winter vegetables.
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Accompany your mains with side dishes such as chunky chips rustling in the bowl, thus cooked to perfection, guiltily dunked in creamy coleslaw; and light, zingy English wines like Three Choirs ‘Winchcombe Downs’ from Gloucestershire’s vineyards.
If you can squeeze in dessert make it a honey sponge and cream layer cake topped with honeycomb with coffee cream. Delectable, and of course lovingly made with locally supplied National Theatre Honey; or a classic Creme Brûlée, arguably the dish any and every restaurant should be judged on…
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If the tasty and ambitious menu doesn’t leave you warm inside, then perhaps knowing that all profits from this restaurant support the National Theatre and local communities; Double the reason to both check this place out, and return again and again.
This creative, ethical and culinary hub was designed by the recently graduated architect Benjamin Marks and maintained by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust with volunteers from the theatre and local area.
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The Green Room is already gaining momentum in popularity, likely to increase over the summer when the Southbank spills with weekend visitors and guests will be able to dine alfresco on the lawn; therefore although booking ahead isn’t essential, it’s recommended to avoid disappointment.

 

 

Sun, Souks and Snake Charming, Marrakech
One of Marrakech’s infamous attractions are the snake charmers found  the main square of Jemaa el-Fnaa, within rose-hued walls of the ancient city.
Here, all day every day, small circles of the “gifted” few, practiced in the art of (pretending) to hypnotise a snake (most commonly King Cobras but also Vipers) sit in the sun playing an instrument called a fungi.
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Originating as a traditional healers by trade, with treating snake bites included in their training, and practiced by literate and high-status men; Snake charming has become a street performance staple, originating in India, common in North Africa and rife in the frenzied arabian magic of Marakech.
  Sun Souk Snake Charming, Born To Be A WildFlower, Bianca Capstick, La Paire Marrakesh, Fashion

This wondering existence adds real bewitchment to Jemaa el-Fnaa, and is the perfect excuse to allow the snake print trend to slither back into your holiday wardrobe.

While it may be tempting to pack a plethora of python sheath dresses and clutches, wearing just one serpentine element makes it more memorable, so pick a staple piece like glamorous mid-wedge heel La Paire sandals and dress up a loose fitted, understated crochet dresses and a timeless vintage backpack, like those from Scaramanga.

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Thanks to its edgy pattern these sandals takes any outfit to the next level; and by balancing out a statement snake print with plain pieces, the outfit is stylish and functional enough to take you from sun to souk.

Sun Souk Snake Charming, Born To Be A WildFlower, Bianca Capstick, La Paire Marrakesh, Fashion

Sun Souk Snake Charming, Born To Be A WildFlower, Bianca Capstick, La Paire Marrakesh, Fashion

Sun Souk Snake Charming, Born To Be A WildFlower, Bianca Capstick, La Paire Marrakesh, Fashion

When dressing for the souks it’s essential that you respect Morocco as a devoutly Muslim country. This dress works because it falls just above the knees, and teamed with a fringed kimono means that you can cover your shoulders and be sensitive to your surroundings.

Sun Souk Snake Charming, Born To Be A WildFlower, Bianca Capstick, La Paire Marrakesh, Fashion

Sun Souk Snake Charming, Born To Be A WildFlower, Bianca Capstick, La Paire Marrakesh, Fashion

While it isn’t usual to fall in love with Marakech or receive warm Arabian hospitality, do expect to keep alert from pick-pockets or those able to swipe your bag as they whizz by you on their motorcycle.

If carrying a bag, keep a hold of it and choose something practical. This backpack from Scaramanga works because not only can you sling it securely over your shoulder, its hardwearing, repurposed leather is inspired by those worn by intrepid explorers, making for an authentically bohemian holiday look.

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As wearable as they are beautiful, these La Paire sandals, as with the rest of Amy La’s collection are playful in elegance and a distinguished sense of effortless style. La Paire should the top port of call when planning a summer holiday for their classic silhouettes, unparalleled quality, comfort, wearability and durability – surely what all wanderlusters would look for in their shoes.

 

Health Post: Blue Cow Yoga Summer Body Challenge 2

14 days down and 14 days of exercise closer to a summer body!
And not just any summer body…. A yoga bunny summer body!

I actually had to take a 2-day break from yoga because my lengthened limbs were suffering from so much dynamic stretching and core-strengthening posing.

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To make sure I kept up my 30-day, daily exercise though, I went for 2 days of cardio instead – the result…. My personal best in a 10k run (48 minutes) followed by my personal best on an 18k cycle (60 minutes)!!

Then I returned to my Tuesday AM Pilates class and my Wednesday AM Dynamic Flow class – the result….. Deeper stretches, in more advanced poses, for longer!!

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Over the last 2 weeks I have understood how challenging and sporty yoga can be – banished from my mind are images of hippy chicks in child’s pose, intoxicated by the smell of incense. – Which of course is fine, and another aspect of the discipline, but for someone like me I can feel the physical challenge and see exactly why combining yoga with strengthening exercises and cardio all compliment each other to achieve results in each area.

And looking like this wouldn’t be so terrible…

BCY Blue Cow Yoga posing inspiration