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

 

FRAME Launches Yoga Studio | Kings Cross

Forward-thinking fitness studio FRAME is bending over backwards to give its loyal, shape-shifting Framers a little more of what they want with the launch of the first ever standalone FRAME Yoga Studio.

Located a stone’s throw away from FRAME’s existing studio in Kings Cross, the FRAME Yoga Studio will take their yoga offering to a whole new level with a timetable of varied yoga classes from some of London’s finest teachers. Classes range from Meditation, to well thought-out Vinyyasa sequencing, Rocket Yoga, Mum & Baby Yoga, Yoga for Sports People and Pre-Natal Yoga.

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The shiny new studio will flip the traditional, serious yoga studio on its head with a fun, upbeat atmosphere, whilst still offering strong and mindful practice for seasoned yogis. The Frame Yoga Studio is for everyone, from beginners to pros and even teachers looking to hone their skills.

As always the FRAME Yoga studio is home to impressive bunch of instructors, both FRAME faves and some new exciting faces including Steffy White, Annie Clarke, Michael Wong and Emily Clare-Hill.

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The new studio has 3 changing areas and one loo. To make the studio extra spacious and airy the showers are located one minute away, around the corner at Frame Kings Cross. There are cubby holes and shoe racks to store your belongings during class. Towels and waters available to buy.

Also launching this month is the MOVEYOURFRAME the label! Designed by founders Pip Black and Joan Murphy, the collection comprises everything needed to get you moving in studio through to life in the outside world: clothing, equipment, nutrition and bundles; all crafted with a busy Framer in mind.

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Fusing technical fabrications with fun and functional silhouettes, the 20 piece apparel collection is designed to be mixed and matched to cover all scenarios; a sweaty HIIT class, an ‘at-home’ yoga practice or just a trip to your local for a flat white. Choose from performance wear for higher impact classes, medium support garms for lower impact fun times and lounge-wear for Sundays…

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The FRAME Yoga Studio launches officially to the public on 5th of September and

MOVEYOURFRAME the label will be available to buy online nationwide from September 1st and in all Frame studios across London, cementing Frame as the one-stop-stop for all things health and fitness!

Frame Yoga, Unit 2, Arthouse, 1 York Way, Kings Cross, N1C 4AS

Soul Circus Festival | A Yogini’s Dream

Attracting some of the country’s most sought after yoga instructors, S O U L  C I R C U S Festival, in its first year, is the perfect countryside escape to let your body dance and your soul run free, whether you’re brand new to yoga or an experienced practitioner.

Having just about got a night’s sleep in after putting on our own festival (Varkala Festival) two weekends ago; attending Soul Circus last weekend – a Yoga and Wellbeing festival in the heart of the Cotswolds, with an emphasis on feeling great and ‘putting yourself back together’ – was just what the guru ordered….and a dream weekend for any yogini.

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Offering everything from restorative Y I N classes, uplifting Rocket sessions, G O N G baths, dynamic V I N Y A S A flow practice and soulful Jivamutki; through to Aerial, Acro and D I S C O flow; from sunrise to sunset, Soul Circus privided an extensive program offering something for everyone.

Dreamt up by Broga U.K’s Matt Miller, the yoga-loving California-born former American football and his Co Founders Roman and Ella of Ella and Fleur Hot Yoga, truly succeeded in offering a weekend of tranquillity; giving his guests the chance to re-calibrate with twenty yoga classes taught each day across Friday to Sunday, in three difference ‘experience tipis’ in this lakeside outdoor venue.

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It wasn’t all about the yoga though…

True to their name, Soul Circus fed the soul with a collection of different sounds and experiences including Meditation Classes, bubbling Hot Tubs to ease the muscles, a Gin Bar, a Rude Health breakfast bar, Supper Clubs, Chocolate Masterclasses, as well as having some of Gloucestershire’s finest local and sustainable vendors pitch up to offer interactive dining experience, including plenty by The Core Cheltenham.

And once the yoga was done there was plenty of time to relax with the best in local ales, ciders, wines and special Soul Circus cocktails – a favourite new discovery of mine being Asparagasm, serving beautiful raw cakes, insanely delicious unique Vegan Cheeses, creamy Nut Mylks and their own range of vegan organic beer and wines.

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Whether you swear by a plant-based, vegetarian, gluten|dairy free or cold pressed diet – or are simply a good old fashioned lover of meat – Soul Circus catered for it!.. A refreshing take on the old idea that you have to sup on green juices and avoid meat if you practice yoga, making for a well-balanced wellness festival serving delicuously shameless Chicken Tandoori Wraps and glasses of Prosecco.

As well as food vendors within the festival sites, Soul Circus also host two lunchtime interacting workshops run by Chef Jay Halford on how to live and cook healthy.

And on the Friday night and Saturday night, festival goers had the option of bookings one of two amazing dinning experiences.

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There was also a VIP Tipi hosted by Canadian apparel brand, Kit & Ace, satisfying the senses on a number of different levels including, a Kit and Ace pop up shop, VIP Supper clubs, a Rude Health Breakfast Bar, Evening Cocktail Bar and Outdoor Beanbags for lounging and watching music performances – the best seats in the house…

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Having spent the day, Namaste-ing in the hay, perfecting downward dogs and cultivating Zen; revellers returned to their accommodation with luxury loos and shower facilities.

In the dedicated glamping village, guests found fully furnished bell tents with matting and bedding set up with either two single beds, one double or three single beds.

Thanks so much and N A M A S T E to Soul Circus for having us…

The Most Beautiful Yoga Shala in the World? SongSaa Private Island, Cambodia

At $2,000 a night, winning numerous travel awards, and having been on CondeNast Traveller’s HOT LIST prior to its opening in 2012; Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia’s first premier luxury resort, occupying Koh Ouen’s two diminutive isles just across the azure shores of Koh Rong island, is every bit as jaw-dropingly beautiful most of us could only ever imagine it to be.

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With its own Song Saa timezone, allowing its guests a luxuriously longer day in the sun and a stunning sunset unique to anywhere else in the world; Song Saa Private Island is an untouched topaz promise land in Cambodia’s isolated Koh Rong archipelago.

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Set to seduce, surrounded by an endless turquoise sea-meets-sky, and against a dense jungle backdrop; Song Saa Private Island offers guests a range of 27 pristine thatched villas, dotted around a forest covered hill or stilted along the water’s edge; each with secluded terraces and private pools.

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Seamlessly merging with its outstanding natural surroundings, here turquoise water features merge with sundappled infinity pools, trickling into tiny ocean peaks.

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Step back from the water’s edge and paths working with the curvature of its island’s terrain lead guests to Driftwood, a sunsoaked, sandy lunch spot, the tranquil hilltop spa, across to Song Saa’s second island – an unspoiled area preserved for conservation – and of course, what may well be, the most beautiful yoga Shala in the world.

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Meander further along the driftwood jetty, under which shoals of tropical fish weave so swiftly through the crystal clear seas it’s as though they’re tickling your toes as you walk; and you’ll arrive at Song Saa’s Restaurant and Bar.

Wide open and exposed to its natural surroundings, here guests have the option of snow white day beds or chez longs to drink in their 360 degree sun-and-sapphire sunset view and languidly linger into a starlit supper.

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Original artworks and individual design details add a distinctive touches throughout; brass antiques sit next to upcycled fishing boats turned furniture, and in one villa there is a glass floor below the sunken bath tub with an aquarium view of fish in the sea below.

Glamour and tranquility are the order of the day at Song Saa.

My visit to Song Saa Private Island was short but very sweet, having been invited to a 1-2-1 yoga practice with the resorts equally beautiful and sun kissed yoga teacher, Sacha Bryce.

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In the serenity of a shala at one with the ocean’s floor and gently shaded by softly swaying white muslin; here Sacha expertly guided me through the exact dynamic vinyasa flow that my body was craving.

In perfect tune with my mind’s needs and physical ability, as she is for each of Song Saa’s guests; Sacha took me from a calming Hatha warm up, to fast paced, breath synchronised vinyasa, culminating (as requested) in a personal headstand tutorial.

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The class closed with a savasana like no other: The waves providing a natural rhythm for my closed mind and breath to follow, the sun tickling my skin through the movement of the muslin, and Sacha leading me gently into relaxation with peaceful mantras including “may everything we do today be for the greater good of all beings.

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The class was sealed with a Namaste and an almond milk cappuccino and carrot & ginger juice, over looking Koh Rong’s private Palm Beach.

Truly blissful.

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Yoga and wellbeing may not be everyone’s first check point to tick off when booking a luxury holiday with so much natural opulence to offer, which is why Song Saa and Sacha ensure all levels, needs and ‘schedules’ are worked with.

Included in your room rate is a daily 8am Hatha based morning practice; a gentle introduction to both your day and to yoga for anyone looking to incorporate a little wellness into their holiday ‘routine,’ or learn a little more about yoga.

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For those wanting to lay in those sumptuous kingside beds a little (or a lot!) longer than 8am, there is the option to salute the sunset rather than the sunrise with a 1-2-1 lesson instead.

Alternatively, for dedicated yogis not wanting to skip on their practice while away; Sacha also offers private classes any time of day, at $100/hour, giving guests the opportunity to tailor their flow to their needs or receive personalise guidance on any postures needing practice.

Luxury treading lightly; Song Saa Private Island is a unique, blissful, romantic setting.

My time here was incredible thanks to Sacha, Douglass and the whole sparkling team. Thank you.

To book your stay visit: http://songsaa.com

 

 

Backwater of Beyond : Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi (Laos)

In between the mighty Mekong and calming Khan rivers lies laid back Luang Prabang; a Unesco-protected world heritage site and a genuinely chic little town thanks to its colonial French Indochinese heritage.

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These good looks come at the price of drawing in many a tourist, and while falling in love with Luang Prabang is easy, it may leave those looking for the ‘authentic Southeast Asia’ still searching that little bit harder..

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Lucky enough that search won’t take you too much further – a 4 hour drive north to be precise – to the stripped-back, thatched-housed village of Nong Khiaw. A town where roosters rule the road and locals smile at the sight of you, sitting on the spectacular river Ou.

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imageHere the simple way of life doesn’t just mean cotton weaving and vegetable picking as we watched young boys chase litters of chubby black baby boars off their porches and proudly present sling-shot snakes for their dinner that night.

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Having been lucky enough to call Nong Khiaw our home for two weeks, this sleepy town set in the foot of spectacular limestone mountains is not necessarily for those living life in the slow lane; with the area priding itself on untouched trekking, kayaking and mountain biking excursions.

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Smiling down on it all is the Ban Sop Houn ‘View Point’, a fairly challenging 2K ascent up a mountain path, naturally sun-dappled thanks to the jungle overhead. Entrance to the ‘View Point’, a wooden shala balancing a top Nong Khiaw’s peak 20,000 Kip (£1.80), and the views of the surrounding villages and valleys from the top are most definitely worth the effort.

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An hour’s boat trip north-west lies Nong Khiaw’s even more beautiful little sister, Muang Ngoi, a tiny village on which bombs fell from B-52s during The Secret War of 1962-75.

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Truly one of the most idyllic settings I have ever found myself visiting; here a country stroll through mountain paths, along side glistening streams and rice paddy wetlands, will lead to the cave of Tham Kang, in which the entire population of the village sought shelter for during The Vietnam and Secret Wars.

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Despite their authentic, jumbled and edge-of-the-world feel, the rural ways of Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi by no means involve ‘roughing it’, for travellers…

As well as the usual plethora of £8 a night guest houses, in Nong Khiaw you’ll also find the stylish, stilted, eco villas at the Riverlodge (where we volunteered for 2 weeks), with private balconies as perfect for drinking in the views as they are for drinking in a warming tumbler of Lao Lao, the crystal clear locally brewed rice whisky.

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And over the bridge you’ll find Mandala Ou, a boutique hotel offering not only fully immersive yoga retreats in its cliff-edged shala, but also the serenity of its infinity pool and tropical garden restaurant for soul food, excellent soya banana smoothies and the perfect spot for a post-stretch savasana.

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Both hotels are priced at £34 a night.

In Muang Ngoi Guest Houses offer private bungalows for around £3.50 a night, in most of which you’ll also find hammock-filled gardens for whiling away your days.

Foodies will fall in love with The Gecko Bar a restaurant and shop serving incredible Laotian specialities such as Larb and Papaya Salad, as well as selling locally made honey, Laos Mountain Coffee and ethically woven scarves. – It was here I had the best latte I’ve drunk in Laos, made with coconut milk and a dash of agave syrup.

For unrivalled river views and a dark Lao beer, head to Riverside Bar where you can watch villagers literally living off the river, with steps reaching down to the “dock” for your sunset ride back to Nong Khiaw.

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Now no longer accessible from Luang Prabang via a lazy river trip due to the first of seven proposed dams (a moneymaking plan by the Chinese to harness the river’s hydro electric power) to be built along the River Ou; Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi are threatened by imminent modernity.

Following the dams is also the planned construction of a high-speed railway line from China to Singapore, passing directly through Laos. These, along with ever-increasing tourism to South East Asia means those travelling to Laos should definitely make the trip to this norther, rural oases while it still retains its authenticity!