If you go down to the woods today….

It’s Bluebell season folks!  The Jetman and I had a lovely few days visiting friends in Dorset and walking their adorable Labradoodle 7 month old puppy, named Bentley (in case you’re curious).

The UK  and its woodlands are gloriously abundant with colour at this time of the year – lush fresh greens, vivid bluebell blues, stark whites of wild garlic, patchwork’s of radiant yellow Rapeseed fields, and the warm dappled light through the tree’s, even the bark on those tree’s and fallen log’s appeared to be a richer chocolate hue this weekend.  So bloody beautiful! Perhaps it’s my tired London eyes being invigorated by an unaccustomed nature hike??  After one of these walks I lay down for a quick nap and woke up 5 hours later.  I usually pride myself on being descent company, slight fail that day.

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Borough Market

Borough Market in all it’s lunch-time stroll glory…

The hustle, bustle, old, new, ancient, textures of London’s are an ever evolving fascination for me. Blogging has been a great excuse to lose a few street-photography inhibitions and get out there to explore this wonderful city I live in.  The street-food area is phenomenal – mouthwatering scents abound!

While the Jetman and I get a few more ducks in a row (get the flat ready to put on the market, sell said flat, move in to a tiny hovel to save save and save some more) before some more adventuress travel, I’m making the most of lunch breaks to check out different parts of the city near London EC4.

Do you know any little known places of interest near EC4 in London?  Hook me up!

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Bathing in the Waves

I took a chance and dipped my toes into the new experience pool with this novel way to spend a Friday night:

When life permits a Vinyasa Yoga class at Islington’s Life Centre floats my boat, and whilst perusing a recent newsletter  an advert for ‘Oasis of Sound with Anne Malone and guests’ tweaked my interest button.

After a beautiful stroll from work on a lovely spring evening I was already in a pretty happy place but new things still give me a flutter of apprehension. I entered the class dressed in loose stretchy clothing with newby-dither, Anne noticed and greeted me with soft words, held hands and warmth – ok, tone set.

First task was getting as comfortable as I could with the aid of bolsters, blankets and wheat filled eye masks on the double layered yoga matts that were pre-laid; one couple even made a bed with a layer of bolsters – proper chill-fest, this I can handle.

After that Ann had us all group around the singing bowl which was filled with water and ‘sung’ to indicate what happens to the water within your body when you add sound vibrations. Basically, it’s a bit of a shakeup of those negative tense parts that should settle back down in to a more relaxed mode after a loosen up. We dipped our finger in the bowl to feel the vibes – hmmm, I’m thinking this could be ‘interesting’ but I’m still not sure if that a good or meh? thing.

Right, now down to business – lay back, relax, eye mask on and cosy toasty. Soothing wide spectrum sounds piped through the high-quality speakers, gorgeous Sanskrit vocal layers, sub bass rumbles, mid and high tones loud enough to feel through your body. This class is aptly named, it feels like a sound bath, my head and hands were tingling.

With senses heightened though lack of sight and the music and vibrations cascading around and through me I let go of the week, my worries, my insecurities and let myself be everything and nothing in the moment. After a while (I lost all sense of time) one of the guest helpers laid her hands on my shoulder’s and performed Reiki. It was a loving and gentle experience, an exchange of energy, though if I’m honest I’m probably a little uptight and on the fence to fully appreciate its benefits. In my head I was thinking ‘am I doing this right? What’s expected of me right now?’. Touch, like massage, is intimate and this was pure and lovely. That’s all you really need to know, whether you’re a believer in reiki or not.

Anyhoo, I digress. Throughout the first part of the class each person had the singing bowl laid upon their chest or solar plexus area and sung to with it. It’s a unique and wonderful experience to have the vibrations move so directly through you. I don’t think it would be right to go into too much detail about the rest of the class, part of the joy is in the unexpected sound sensations, but there were lots of lovely surprises.

I’m not sure if this resonated so profoundly with me because I’m a singer and I was really impressed on that level or because of latent hippy tendencies but I guarantee this wont be my last fix.

I left feeling like I’d had a tune up – completely chilled, uplifted and open. There was a nice mix of first timers and regulars; afterwards I forgot my usual reticence and chatted with my fellow soundscape travellers, sharing a complimentary gluten free brownie and a cuppa.

Going in my fears were ‘what if this is one of those cringe-worthy experiences where we dance around singing, clapping and chanting’ Well, it was kinda like that (though no dancing – phew!) except all the things that I’d feared were nothing to be afraid of and felt right at the time.

A couple of days later and I’m still feeling the benefits. Long may they last.

Have a listen to Anne’s Soundcloud page and there’s even an App (just look up Anne Malone in iTunes), if you’re truly converted Anne teaches at Yoga Campus.

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One Walk, One Spring Evening

With a couple of hours to kill on a lovely Friday night I decided to walk to my Sound Oasis class and snap some pic’s along the way.

Walking around any city reveals hidden layers and combined with that sweet light you get before sunset, well, it was a truly beautiful way to relax into the weekend …..and way more virtuous than drinks after work accompanied with greasy fried food. We’ve all been there.

I’m always amazed out how quickly the urban landscape changes, all this was captured within an hour’s walk.

All pic’s shot with an iPhone 6. Mainly I edit with Snapspeed, occasionally dipping in to the photoshop app. I’m always trying to up my photography game, currently attempting to edit more realistically – obviously its a work in progress;-)

For those interested here’s the route I took:

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Holy Heck, What a Coffee Spot!

Is that the face of Jesus in my cuppa? Nah, its just divine coffee.

I was waxing lyrical to a colleague about my amazing experience @ MacIntyres, one thing lead to another and the very next lunch break I’m on the discovery trail. Hello Host!

Granted it’s not quite in the same artisan coffee realm as Mac’s, but for unique gorgeousness, zen vibes, bloody decent coffee in a quiet spot in the middle of the city…well, I think you’d be hard pushed to beat Host…and if you can I would LOVE to hear from you.

Set in the beautiful St Mary Aldermay Church (which I’ve walked straight past dozens of times on the way to Jetmans work place) Host gives new meaning to contemplative cuppa.

From the outside you’d be forgiven for confusion, perhaps assuming it was a mothers group type hang out with watered down insipid offerings, but you’d be the loser for being so judgy.

Artisan Cakes, great coffee, nice staff, the smell of old wood that’s like a hug from the big man Himself (kinda), stained glass windows, soaring ornate ceilings and one mighty organ – I’m sold.

This stressed out city worker has found a new hideaway. Try it! …or don’t, I’m happy to keep this haven for those in-the-know select few.

Laters navigators. x

Host Address: St Mary Aldermary Church, Watling St, London EC4M 9BW
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 07.30 – 16.30 (closed Saturday/Sunday)

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