Waiting for the storm..

waiting

Today I woke late (again), to find that moody grey clouds, which hung heavily over the port, had replaced the sunny blue skies of yesterday. The almost glassy still waters had morphed into choppy waves that caused the yachts to bob up and down, jostling for a safe mooring; indeed many local boats have been removed from the water completely. We are waiting for a storm, and the storms we get here are quite a spectacle, trust me! They are fierce, dramatic, exciting, beautiful, and oh so humbling; a real reminder of how impuissant our existence is on this planet when nature unleashes her energy to the sound of Zeus’ wrath. Or as my dear friend Hilda says of the thunder, “There goes Zeus moving the furniture around upstairs again!”

I wandered around the quay, finding Kostas in much better shape than yesterday, in fact he informs me that rather than ‘better’ he’s in fine form; quite a spectacular recovery! We sat on the deck watching the storm come in with our cappuccinos and shared traditional pastries from the local bakery. The change in weather means more work for the locals, as umbrellas and canopies are tied down, outdoor seating (which makes up the majority) is stripped of its upholstery, and anything that’s not nailed down is stowed away securely. The bars and cafes are also preparing to be busy, as we all cram in to the limited space when the rain starts, to sit out the storm in relative comfort with company. Meanwhile the visiting flotillas linger in the harbour, rather than risk the white-capped waves that wait beyond the lighthouse, as their crews sit on deck patiently waiting.

I spent the day visiting friends, lunching with the lovely Tselenti family at the big house on the hill, MT having cooked a feast for her mother and 4 brothers, who all tucked in heartily, between shifts managing their two hotels. I called in to see my oldest friend ‘Speridoula’ and my special friend Phoebus at the taverna with the best view across to the neighbouring island. When we met 14 years ago, Speri didn’t speak much English, and I certainly didn’t speak any Greek, but we quickly became firm friends based on some serious feet-stamping laughter and a twinkle in the eyes that made words completely unnecessary. Now we manage quite decent conversations, despite poor grammar and including much gesticulation, which is an amusing and beautiful testament to our friendship. Phoebus is one of the most determined and inspiring souls I know, he suffered a life changing moped accident years ago that left him severely disabled, unable to control his body including his speech and capacity to manage tasks we so often take for granted such as dressing, eating, or bathing unaided. He is such a brave, patient, courageous soul, and I adore him. Today we hugged and laughed, and I felt his strength emanate from his body, he improves each time I see him, slowly but doggedly determined to stand on his own two feet again.

The air is thick and heavy, but it’s still warm despite the breeze that tugs at the awnings and canopies; the dark sky has been threatening rain for hours and I have been holed up in a favourite patisserie with my laptop, in anticipation of the rain that slashes horizontally. Several cups of coffee and pots of tea later, the light is fading and just as I wonder whether the storm will pass by uneventfully, the distant rumble of thunder creeps into the chilled out music currently playing.

I am not a patient creature by nature, which doesn’t always work out best for me, but some things simply cannot be hurried, and life seems to teach that acceptance is key. Aristotle reminds us that ‘patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet’. So as I wonder how soon I will sink my teeth into the soft flesh to release the juiciest pleasure, lightening fills the sky, flashing across the water; followed by much closer, quickly advancing thunder, and a dirty great grin creeps right across my happy face.. oh I DO love a storm!! The clouds have crept in, hanging heavy and low, almost obscuring our neighbouring island. The temperature has distinctly dropped a few degrees, but I am still comfortable in my shorts & vest, after all the less I wear, the less laundry will be necessary. Skin is certainly a fantastic design element of the human body; thermostat controlled and wipe dry, perfectly suited to dancing in the rain, maybe! In all probability we will lose internet connection soon, so I will post this and just let you know I’m barefoot and ready. “Bring it on Zeus, I’m in the mood for dancing, just throw the rain at me!” ☺ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words ~Hayley Darby ©2013}

My favourite slice of paradise

PN Kef emblisi pic

I awoke late by the Greek clock, early by the British hour, and my waking thought searched for that peaceful presence, that occupies a space in my heart recently encountered. I had been wandering along, feeling remarkably carefree and unsuspecting of the impending intrusion, and am left floating in the uncertain ocean of possibility, a place I have learned to embrace passionately, for after all it is full of infinite beauty, if we choose to see it.

I eventually found my body, having previously only been aware of my internal territory, and noticed the disparate relationship of my physical topography and the typically unyielding mattress of my austere Greek bed. Sounds of the port slipped through the shutters with the slices of light that had spilt across the crumpled sheet, wrapped around my legs, entwined in a memory. Sighing I summoned some strength and managed to inspire millions of motor neurons to move my body, in order to check the fluctuating Internet status of my abode by opening my emails. I read those I wanted, then sank back into my repose to process my findings until coffee called me, when I dressed swiftly in a faithful pair of denim shorts and vest, to bound down the stairs to greet the lively port and all the characters that make this particular slice of paradise so precious to me.

I wandered around the quay greeting friendly faces and answering the familiar questions (What took you so long? Where have you been? How long are you staying?), until I found Kosta in the quiet shade of his bar, whilst the staff served the tables outside as quietly as possible, so as not to aggravate his hangover. His face cracked into the most beautiful smile of recognition before his headache sharply reminded him of his condition. We laughed at life and hugged tightly despite his temporary fragility, catching up over a cappuccino (me) and water (he), sharing traditional pastries from the local bakery. Aggeliki lived up to her angelic moniker and administered her magical massage to the troublesome spot of Kostas neck that feels the tightest, and we lamented the consequences of age combined with the youthful behaviour of his crazy parties. Kosta surrendered to his struggling body and retired to bed, Aggeliki resumed her responsibilities at the bar, and I sat outside figuring there are worse places to contemplate ones indulgence in temptation, as the cheerful sunshine drenched the peaceful port, illuminating it’s beauty as boats gently traversed the glassy water.

After a while I left my seat on the balcony in search of the preciously acute and hilariously dry observations of Minas. He customarily spends the majority of the day at his favourite table, surveying his restaurant. Surrounded by his team of waiters, he called out across the square at my approach, heralding my arrival for anyone within 100m, and nursing his coke zero assured me that his diabetes is behaving lately. We discussed local politics and recounted stories of our shared histories, noting the changes and lamenting absent friends. We watched the life of the square and Minas’ grumbled for my entertainment, enjoying the audience for acknowledgement of his unique and frequently extreme viewpoints. I left Minas with a cheerful smile with a kiss for the orange juice, and walked around the corner to find Angelos in his office.

Angelos is a serious young man with the weight of responsibility resting on his shoulders, and a photo of his father smiling from beyond the grave on his desk. Our comprehension of the passage of time and our confusion over the specific years in which events occurred, served to remind us of the accelerated speed of time that age bestows upon us. Although at least a year younger than I (and a quarter of a century than Minas), he always makes me feel juvenile with my independent adventures in contrast to his empire building vocation. We put the world to rights, and he tells me to keep travelling and bringing home my stories for his enjoyment. I left him with promises to visit his mother soon and sent some love to his wife and children before sauntering back along the quay with an undeniable hunger for my darling, the sea.

As luck would have it, Makis had a similar craving, so when I popped into the shop on my way back to the apartment, he offered me a lift to his favourite beach; allowing me a quick change of clothes as he sat impatiently with the engine running. The car curled expertly into the curves of the road, just a short distance before our descent amongst the fragrant pines towards the turquoise water sitting, waiting, assuredly faithful, for our adoration. Makis changed in the car, and it was my turn to be impatient as I rushed towards the deliciousness. I paused momentarily to drop my bag on the beach and swap my ray bans for Cressi goggles, before hastily stepping into the water, saving my entering breath to exhale below the surface.

The crystal clear water engulfed me, and it felt as if anything other than bliss was cleansed from my soul, instantly revealing the clarity of this privilege. I swam towards the shelf, clearly marked by the line where aquamarine meets turquoise, inhabited by numerous fish that swim unafraid of the human company that dips into their world. I took a moment to float like a starfish in gratitude, to feel the surface tickle my sun kissed skin, feeling supported by the powerful entity in its reassuring calmness. Having spent the summer in California, enchanted by the ocean, my heart has still pined for my true ‘agapi’, the Ionian sea, with it’s gentle caress and beautiful hues of the heavenly blue spectrum. I submerged completely; lost in that peace that resides within and felt my physiology sigh thankfully, as does the heart in the embrace of a previously estranged lover. I noted my slowed pulse and that internal tranquility one finds when gratitude obliterates any other emotion, before breaking the surface to breathe in deeply the joy of living. I swam across the bay, much to the amusements of Greeks who tend to swim straight out into the darker deeper waters, beyond the rocks and around to neighbouring bays, whilst I cause disruption to the traffic system since I wasn’t born by the water and lack their confidence. I soon found my rhythm, breathing deeply for the long strokes my lengthy limbs prefer, and smiled at the un-phased fish, which loitered nonchalantly in my pathway, showing off their magnificent iridescence in the piercing sun beams. I finished my dip, resuming the star-fish floating position for my finale, before joining Makis and his sister on the beach to top up my tan as the sun sat high above the shady olive trees.

Makis returned to the shop, leaving his towel and flippers for his girlfriend Nancy, who appeared for her swim, bravely venturing beyond the visible rocks, before settling on the beach and into the conversation amongst the locals whose children played at the shoreline. I let the language waft over me as I lay under my panama, feeling the heat on my skin and remembering vocabulary and other trips. My thoughts wandered away from the beach and retraced some recent adventures, exploring new territory and chambers of my heart, slipping through the layers of awareness and comprehension, desire and vulnerability. The afternoon drifted by, as the shade inched towards the shoreline, soon eclipsing the beach, cooling my salt dried skin. Yaya, a French friend that runs the diving school, kindly gave me a lift back to the port, and I wandered down the steps smiling as I noticed my shoulders have dropped several inches after my sea-bathing. I encountered Nikos & Themis passing the bar, and admitted that I’d cheated on the Greek sea with the Pacific Ocean, but that my heart was ‘home’ again, laughing as they teased me good naturedly, but promising to join them for the last buffet at The Thai restaurant. It’s the end of the season here, and as tourism cools, businesses close for the winter. For me it’s the best time to visit; the port is returned to the locals, and as they untie themselves from their shops, bars and restaurants, they have time to relax and enjoy it again.

I’m writing in the port, replete after my Thai dinner and catching up with Anna & Pete (who tend to collectively know all the news in the village). I found a sweet spot at Le Passage, beautiful Eleni’s new business venture, which reflects her chic style and sweet nature, as well as her family’s famous restaurant for locals in the village up the hill. As I sip my tea (Jasmine) looking out over the still dark water, it reflects the pretty lights of the port in a perfectly mirrored image. The yachts are lined up and sit obediently waiting for adventures tomorrow, and the impressive private cruisers jostle for pole position for admiration along the quay. Passing friends greet me with hugs of welcome, and acquaintances nod in recognition; they know that this is my favourite slice of heaven on earth, and that I wherever I travel, I will always find a way ‘home’ again. I have had a gorgeous day, and I have more of the same to look forward to again tomorrow : )) Evlogimeni eimai (I’m blessed) !!

I hope that wherever you are, that you have an opportunity to appreciate your environment and spend time with people that enhance your being too. Blessings & filakia (kisses) ❤ Hxx

{Photo of my slice of Paradise 🙂 Words ~Hayley Darby ©2013}

Rainy days and panama hats

panama

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke early, to another grey, damp day in London. The sky is a pale uniform grey, and the soft opaque light lends a gentle quality to the quietness. It’s not currently raining, but after yesterday’s downpour, the cool air smells peaty and autumnal, and it’s tempting to curl up with my latte and laptop and spend the morning in bed. Yesterday was similar, and the day before, and the one before that, and although the changing season has its own charm, there’s a part of my heart that’s not quite ready to relinquish summer with all it’s carefree fun and joyful beauty, just yet.

Yesterday it rained, all day, relentlessly; starting with that fine rain, the kind that’s heavier than mist but falls slowly, gently, silently, and seems to soaks in thoroughly. I met my beautiful friend CE for coffee, in between her kid’s school runs (her little one has just started and is collected at lunch time). We sat in the big squashy sofa at the back of the café, knees curled up as we chatted about our summer adventures, about how life has a funny way of working out, and our current jewellery making projects and ideas. CE has an Etsy page, and regaled me with some of the sweet and romantic stories her customers write to explain they are purchasing her exquisite designs to celebrate, commemorate, and honour those special life events we wish to remember. She admits that some of the stories break her heart, and that as she works moulding the precious metals, she feels emotionally caught in the circumstances, as if she’s infusing her work with compassion and acknowledgment for each individual piece and it’s wearer. Her work is beautiful, delicate, elegant and exquisite; I especially love her fine droplets work; do have a peep! http://www.etsy.com/shop/chained7?ref=pr_shop_more
In fact she’s offering Pure Nourishment readers a 15% discount on orders placed before the end of October 2013, just mention the code word ‘PURE’ in your order (message to seller). Please do check out her FB page too! https://www.facebook.com/christinaeccojewellery1?fref=ts

CE and I said goodbye as she rushed off to collect her little one, the rain kept pouring, slightly heavier than earlier in the morning, droplets that bounced off the pavement and plopped in puddles, and I wondered whether I really needed to go anywhere in it. My heart pined for carefree summer days, walking out of the house without a thought of a jacket or umbrella, sunglasses perched on my make-up less face, carrying nothing more than my purse (wallet in US terms) and phone, and good intentions. I started to pack away my summer wardrobe, sighing heavily as I lamented the lightness of linens, and softness of cottons, smiling affectionately at the flirty panama hat and comfortable Birkenstocks. Then the phone rang, and everything changed, summer’s reprieve arrived with perfect timing. So I booked a flight and depart on Thursday, to my home from home on my favourite Greek island.. where indeed it also rains, but the light is still incredible and the sea is still warm, and frappes in the port with dear, dear friends are waiting. This weekend I’m packing again, I’ll be including some cosy jumpers and a waterproof jacket just in case, but the chance of the panama and Birkenstocks getting an airing is looking pretty hopeful!! Be careful what you wish for.. it might just be granted, and if you let it, life can surprise you with all sorts of blessings! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are, whatever your weather, it’s all so much better when we’re smiling! Love & happy smiles Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words, Hayley Darby ©2013}

September letter

beach type

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke early, around 6am, and snuggled into the covers in search of sleep again; happy just knowing I had the privilege of such an option. I drifted for a while as my mind considered attaching itself to the thoughts it observed floating by, but in the end the draw of the deep was too great to overcome and I succumbed to the dreamy depths, to dwell in that secure state where the answers are all obvious and nothing is a problem. I woke later in the morning feeling calm and refreshed, and decidedly carefree, as if any potential obstacles on the horizon will work themselves out, or I will overcome them and gain some new learning. So I lay for a while in gratitude for the peaceful feeling, until thoughts of coffee distracted me and I got up to greet the day beyond the blind.

It’s a cool autumnal day here in London, there’s a dampness in the air, but blue sky patches appear sporadically amongst the clouds, and it’s not raining (which is a relief after the relentless downpour yesterday). I pottered round the house for a while with my latte, still reorganizing my home after a protracted absence, and chatted with the dustmen (refuse collectors) who welcomed me back from my trip with tales of their summers and experiences in America. They are such a friendly team, always so cheerful and it’s nice to know that they’ve been keeping an eye on my property for me. I addressed some laundry, answered some emails, and made a list of all the important things that need doing today.

The top priority is my annual letter to Billy. Billy is a dear friend from my favourite Greek island, yesterday was his birthday, and every year I write him a letter, pouring out all the things I wish for him and all the important stuff I wish I had known at his age (he’s just turned 18 years). Billy is a beautiful soul, he’s a thoughtful guy wrapped in fun with a cheeky grin and lovely manners, and I adore him. It’s a letter of love really; just an out-pouring from my heart, that takes me on a journey as I write it, through my own learning curves, regrets and understanding, and is full of hope to inspire courage and compassion in this young man that is so dear to me. Of course I don’t have all the answers, and much of our learning must come from personal experience, but I write so that he knows that I care, that I believe in him, that I wish the best for him, that I will celebrate his success and appreciate his struggles, and that when his heart has been broken and trampled on, I will be here to listen and gently encourage him to pick up the pieces and keep loving. This annual letter writing usually takes place on a favourite Greek beach, when I arrive around the time he has to return to school on the mainland. So today I’m going in search of that space within, where I am full of gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me, and my thoughts can float with the sun on the sea, and a love that’s as deep as the ocean churns up all the words I need.

I hope that you have a beautiful day, and hope that you have received and will send love letters, not necessarily romantic, just a way to reach out and let someone know that they are cherished, and that your heart fills with all the beauty that you have seen, because you want to share it too Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words by Hayley Darby ©2013}

Rainy days and opportunities

rain

Good morning everyone! It has been a very busy week, and the opportunity to laze on the sofa and write this today feels like a luxury. It’s a damp, grey, rainy day in London, and as I sit on the sofa with my latte I watch the rain drops race down the window pane, snuggling under the cashmere throw dear ADS gave me. It feels like I’m fighting off a cold, which wouldn’t be surprising, stress depletes the body of immune fighting nutrients, and I’ve been stood in the less than clement weather on several occasions.

At the beginning of the week I gave a presentation on the detrimental effects stress can have on our bodies, sabotaging health, fitness, and waistlines too; since our hormones conduct our appetites and metabolism. I spoke to a larger audience than usual, in fact I’m more familiar with 1:1 consultations, which gave me an opportunity to observe my own stress response, particularly in the preparation. Stress is a largely unavoidable part of modern life, but much of it also depends on our choices, and sometimes it’s a worthy exercise to reflect on those elements. I often see patients who are neglecting their health and happiness as they strive to achieve in areas of work, or sport, or being the best at everything; as their health and happiness suffer tremendously. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and gain a little perspective.

This week I have observed lots of stress, my friend ADS had her laptop stolen on a short flight to Spain from Switzerland, it seems it was lifted from her hand luggage whilst in the overhead locker, something she failed to check before disembarkation, because who would think anyone would be so cheeky? Having endured the expense of a trip to Apple, she then discovered her time-machine back-up is defunct, so two years of her business development appear to be lost, and she’s devastated. My consolation attempts are limited to acknowledging her anger and frustration, as I try to focus on the things she CAN do, and the things she DOES have; whilst she laments her loss. There are some things we simply cannot change, and acceptance of such is a key step to moving forward. For ADS this feels like a bereavement, and she is going through the painful process.

I had another bereaved friend this week, I accompanied dear GH to a funeral as she said good bye to a man that seemed to have filled his short 50 years with an extraordinary amount of life, an action hero with a reputation for being jolly. As I sat and listened to his friends and family deliver his eulogy, it gave me cause to reflect on what I would want my own to be. I wondered about my life currently, and what my present concerns mean in the bigger picture, am I focusing on the things that really matter, or am I stressing about details unnecessarily?

So this morning, I am relishing the opportunity of just watching the rain, as I curl up on the sofa with my latte. I’m taking time out to assess what’s really important, and which aspects truly don’t deserve the energy expenditure I have been spending. And I know that some of life’s stress is unavoidable, but I’m going to try and monitor whether those levels of damage I inflict on my well-being, reflect the gravitas of the issues in the over-all picture. As I write the rain continues to fall, and the grey day beyond the window looks cold and uninviting, but I am grateful for the blessing. I’m privileged because I still have an opportunity to impact the meaning of my life, I have choices and the chance to make changes that may reflect in my eulogy, so I’m working on it! I hope that today you have a chance too, to choose a life with less stress about the little things. I’m off to meet dear LS for coffee and a dance in some puddles : )) Much love & blessings from a work in progress ♥ Hxx

One step at a time..

morning  window

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke late, luxuriating in the opportunity for a lie in as I let my mind peruse the dreams in my heart, and noticed how stubborn it really is. Sometimes I wish I was an easier version of myself, less complicated, less driven, I wish I could be satisfied with some of the perfectly nice things I am presented with, but instead I seem to be chasing challenges that leave me feeling bruised and exhausted, and yet despite the momentary glimpses of sanity, still not ready to give in

I eventually embraced the day, and stretched my full length before wrapping up in a robe for coffee. It’s another beautiful sunny start to the day in London, with blue skies stretching endlessly. It seems I’m not the only one feeling turbulent today, I had a call from darling GH whose heart has just changed direction, again! We talked about expectations and disappointments, and hopes and fears, as laughter replaced tears and we decided today was too beautiful to waste regretting anything. Perfect timing then for dear LS to text me suggesting a walk on the heath before lunch.. a great way to remember that life is best taken one step at a time, enjoying the sunshine whenever there is an opportunity, with friends by our side; who will be there through all the ridiculousness we get ourselves into, either encouraging us and cheering us on, or ready for tea and sympathy when required, the occasional sanity check when we really need it, and best of all laughing at what a wonderful, beautiful, chaotic mess life is, because we wouldn’t really want it any other way.. hmmmm!

I hope you have a fantastic day, whatever you’re up to, and that whatever is happening in your life story that you have friends to share it with and point out the silver linings. Blessings & hugs, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Smiles and sun salutations

beach yogaGood morning everyone!! Today I woke late, and snuggled back under the duvet searching for remnants of the dream that I was waking from. I caught a fleeting glimpse of a favourite grin before it disappeared around the corner, a little ray of sunshine that left me with more questions than answers, and I sat watching the sea again and wondering. I miss the sea dreadfully.. something not lost on those that know me. Yesterday I met darling DA for a breakfast, and as we caught up on news and gossip, he informed me that I was lacking a little sparkle, and asked if he could tempt me with a flight to a beach destination, as if temptation is ever a problem! DA works for British Airways, and flights are answers to all those tricky questions, don’t you just love those friends who know what you need to make things better!? We perused a few possibilities, fanaticising about sun salutations on long sandy beaches, as he quoted me prices that generously include his staff discount, whilst I tickled Tosca (the dog) under the chin where she likes it. DA made me laugh, and when he declared with a flourish that really I’m not the sort of woman that should fly economy, and I suddenly wished he was straight; because seriously I could fall in love with a man that thinks like that! We giggled over almond croissants and coffee before I left with promises to dog-sit Tosca whenever required, and walking home looked skyward, searching for vapour trails and inspiration.

Today the skies are blue, bright and sunny, stretching as far as the eye can see, beyond the proud resilience of the bare branches of trees by my window. It’s a wonderful day for a walk on the heath, and I’ve already been on the phone to LS, arranging a rendezvous that involves warm scarves and walking boots. The sun pours into the living room, spilling pools of light on the awesome sofa, a suitable hot spot for enjoying my morning latte. I remembered another snippet of my dream, noticing a feeling more than a situation, and smiled at the clouds in my coffee. DA is right, I have been feeling a little lack lustre recently, probably just still recovering from flu, the January blues, and let’s face it everything feels more difficult when the days are short, dark, and cold. However from now on, each day will stretch out a little longer, as spring draws ever closer. Dear DA is right, flights to sunnier climes are terribly enticing, but the best medicine for everything, are the friends that keep us smiling : )) I hope you’re blessed with people who put the sparkle back in your smile, and that your skies are sunny and blue whatever your weather this weekend! Blessings & love with hugs, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

In it together

handssss

We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old…We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Good morning tea

Good morning everyone!! It is a beautiful start to the day in London, one of those crisp fresh days with beautiful blue skies that let’s the sun twinkle on the frosty roof opposite and in the branches of the trees, magical! The temperature has definitely dropped a few degrees on the last day or so, and it’s starting to feel rather wintry. It’s a pretty day, cool and sparkling, and it puts a smile on my face.

I woke gently, slowly realizing my presence as I was swept up on to the shore of consciousness, and snuggled for a few moments in the warmth of the duvet; delicious in contrast to the chill in the air (I should adjust the radiators, but actually I like the contrast). I made some coffee and sat for a while on the sofa, just admiring the blue sky, and the pools of light that spill through the windows when the sun shines between the odd fluffy white cloud. It was so peaceful, and I felt that moment last more than the time it took, if you will understand that savouring sentiment. I ran a hot bath with refreshing oils of grapefruit and rosemary, and soaked away the remaining fatigue, before wrapping up in a robe for breakfast.

I’m glad the weather is kind today, I’m meeting a friend near Green park for tea (her) coffee (me) this morning, on the way to clinic. HB is a fellow nutritionist and we’re celebrating her new job, but she’s also arranging a wedding, so we have plenty to catch up on. We’re meeting at Starbucks, but I’m taking her to The Ritz for tea, after all it’s right there on the opposite side of the road, and the Christmas decorations are on display, it would be a such shame to miss them, n’est-ce pas?! So I’m rushing to get ready, I don’t want to be late! Wishing you all a wonderful day, and hope there’s a little glamour you can squeeze in somewhere too! Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo: Tea at the Ritz, London, sadly uncredited}

Good morning, fading autumn.

Happy Monday everyone!! I hope you have had a wonderful weekend, and that you feel rested and rejuvenated for the week ahead : )) It’s a cloudy day here in London, and the air is cool and still damp from the early rain. A few birds chatter outside my window, displaced it seems from the tree that now stands bare, her elegant branches stripped of the autumnal hues of the leaves she has shed. It’s quiet and peaceful as I sip my latte on the awesome sofa, just the gentle sound of the clock to remind me that time is ticking, and the day is passing, this day that will never come again. I smile at the paperwork beside me, half done, half to do; and it feels good to be in the middle rather than at the beginning, with the end in sight. It feels like a productive Monday already, and as the autumn plods into winter, this week of winding down with some work (nutritionists aren’t generally busy during the festive season), some other projects inspire me, especially after an encouraging afternoon yesterday, discussing some plans with friends.

I met my friend LS yesterday with every intention for a walk on the Heath, as the beautiful morning began to fade in the afternoon. Wrapped up appropriately against the looming clouds, I marched up the hill to meet her, yet got delayed in the village as a Christmas market filled the high street, and the narrow trajectory passageways left over from an earlier era. As I struggled through the thick crowds perusing homemade cake stands, and stalls of Christmas decorations, jewelry, knitted tea cosies, chocolate truffles, and natural hand creams; I called to explain my delay, so she came to meet me and we decided to take a quick turn around the event to see the live reindeer (yes visiting London from Lapland, and so-o cute), before we got caught in the festive spirits and abandoned our walk completely.

We met several friends unexpectedly, and stood chatting amidst mugs of mulled wine and frothy hot chocolates, smiling faces peeking between hats and scarves as children proudly brandished their prizes won at the fair. We live in an area popular with writers and thespians, so every now and then a familiar face in the crowd wouldn’t be someone we actually knew after all, but everyone was jolly and super-friendly. The Christmas lights were turned on as the darkness crept in, and we continued our festive spree, sitting snugly in a café, chatting about love, life, health and well-being, shared histories, careers, travels, plans, and reasons for living, as the evening displaced the afternoon, and the ferris wheel was packed up with the rest of the stalls, straw swept from the road, and gingerbread treats taken home. Then we said our goodbyes to old friends and new ones acquired, before tramping home in our different directions, feeling suddenly ready for the festive weeks ahead and smiling.

So this morning I’m cosy and snug as I address the work that didn’t get finished on Friday, and after a full weekend it feels like a good week ahead; I’ve decided to make it that way! I’m stretching my back, and breathing in deeply as I smile at the clouds beyond the window, reassured that the blue sky sits just above them. I do hope that this Monday feels positive and productive for you too, and that as autumn prepares to depart, you feel ready to embrace the winter season. Blessings & love, Hxx