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Friday inspiration and wanderlust

Some of you may know that I currently only work Monday - Thursday, and whilst Friday is supposed to be a blogging day, it often ends up being a day of pinning inspirational quotes, drinking lots of peppermint tea and planning my next holiday destination.

Where I'm at a real crossroads in my life at the moment - leaving another house, single again (at 33), still feeling like I'm searching for my 'calling' in life and having only Bodhi dog and my parents to tie me to this area, it's incredibly tempting to want to up sticks and go away for a few weeks, or months and have a bit of a break.  I must admit that my Google history is currently featuring a lot of searches for flights, on Jet2Holidays and for yoga teacher training in Ibiza.  It probably doesn't help that we watched the movie Wild last night, and now I'm wondering whether I can walk 1000 miles and carry 20 lbs on my back in hiking boots (no, and no - but imagine).

I must admit that Jet2.com rather fuelled my wanderlust recently when they sent me a little care package of items to pack on a yoga holiday (as well as to have some relaxing time whilst planning one).  Yoga is actually a pretty good hobby to take to other countries as all you really need is a mat (which are incredibly light) and lots of other items can be swapped for other things you might already be taking (a stack of books works well as an alternative for blocks, belts can be used as straps, and all hotels have blankets you can use for savasana).  Having witnessed how difficult it is to bring surfboards home from Bali I can honestly say that packing for a yoga retreat seems much more stress free - which of course is exactly what a yoga retreat should be.

I've been reading through Yoga For Travellers by Jennifer J Ellinghaus and it's a great resource for anyone wanting to keep to a yoga practice whilst on a trip.  Not only does it have great advice for yoga sequences and postures, there's also a really interesting section on using yoga to create space and time for reflection on a trip and to help you through tough times.  It has reassured me that should I take a solo trip, you can combat the loneliness by befriending other travellers, with positive self-talk and of course with the discipline to get on your mat every day.

Whenever I'm feeling stressed and a little lost (as I definitely am now), I make it my mission to step up the self-care rather than letting it fall by the wayside.  Jet2.com sent me that gorgeous Tranquility candle from St. Eval Candles (£9.46*) in the first photo and tonight my plan is to give that a burn - it has lavender, orange and ylang ylang which are three of my favourite scents - put a face mask on, run myself a long bubble bath and do some serious holiday planning.  I don't have any more trips booked this year but I really fancy a city break, especially with the weather being like it is at the moment (I'm not at all a fan of storm Brian).  I've never been to Italy, and Tuscany and Rome in particular look utterly stunning and are top of the 'to visit list'.  (Of course the Vogue Weekend Guide to Florence is a frequently visited page in my bookmarks - though I'm not sure I could afford to hire a Ferrari to drive around in).  I have a feeling my travel Pinterest board is going to have a lot more pins by the end of the evening!

Where would be your top spots for a city break or a sunny escape from this gloomy weather?

*yoga themed hamper gifted by jet2.com, all opinions my own

My life now - an update

I've realised that I've spent a few posts talking about some of the smaller details of my life like my health and wellbeing, and trips and holidays I've taken, but I haven't really spoken about some of the larger details of my life since it changed hugely in January of this year.

Long-time readers of the blog have probably gathered that Tom and I separated in January.  It was an incredibly painful and heartbreaking time and obviously I will keep the details private, however I will state that we are still good friends and I still have a lot of respect and care for him.  We are sharing Bodhi the dog and we have him around 3-4 weeks each before he then goes to his other home.  He is a hugely loved little doggy and he now has double the amount of cuddles, walks and people around him who love his little face.  I should have him again within the next week or so and I can't wait to give him a big squeeze.  It's tough but it's been the logical thing to do since we both love him very much.

We sold the lovely house in Lymington (goodbye roll-top bath - a sad day) and I moved to Southsea in August.  I had been living at my parents for the first seven months of the year so it was amazing to finally have my own space again rather than trying to keep a houseful of things in one room. I will, however say that the time with my parents was wonderful and they looked after me so well - it was actually such good fun to be around them again and to wake up in the morning and have long chats with my Mum over breakfast.  I grew up in this area so it really felt like coming home again, and though it was obviously an incredibly tough time, it was also a time when I focussed on healing and finding myself again - I even ended up having to take time off work but it was exactly what I needed to find my way out of that depression.  I went for lots of walks on the beach with Bodhi, saw friends, read lots of books and watched lots of Netflix. (And caught up on lots of sleep).

I've been living in Southsea for two months now.  It's very different to living in Lymington (as I write this I can hear police sirens in the distance) - in good ways and bad ways, like any situation.  Southsea has lots of lovely coffee shops, independent bars and restaurants, the beautiful seafront and it's easy to get the train into work.  The area is quite different to anywhere I've lived before and there have been some issues with the neighbours and noise, but nothing you wouldn't expect from living in a fairly student-y area just outside a city.  

I've been spending my spare time in Southsea finding the best coffee shops, going for drinks and trying to get back into running and yoga.  I've found a yoga class but though I've booked in twice I haven't actually made it along yet for various reasons.  I'm hoping to get back into a regular practice soon as I find it really makes a difference to my mental and physical health.  It's funny how you can know that something is really good for you and yet be useless at making time for it (monkey covering face emoji).

At home I've been powering through my to-read list on my Kindle (I've been updating my Good Reads) - favouring trashy crime novels, self-help books, the picks from my work book club and anything else that takes my fancy! I'm going to write a blog post soon about some of the best ones I've read this year as I've come across some really life-changing non-fiction and some gripping fiction novels.  I'm also still completely addicted to podcasts, particularly true crime podcasts.  My current favourites are In Sight, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, The Trail Went Cold and Up and Vanished.

Not much else is new - the last month or so has flown by in a flurry of hen do's, weddings, trips to London, festivals and settling in to a new home.  I can't deny that my life looks very different to what I thought it would be at 33 but I'm healthy, have amazing friends and family and I'm working on finding happiness again.  The last few months have given me the opportunity to start to get to know myself again and start a bit of a love affair with aromatherapy, crystals, Law of Attraction, shamanic healing and acupuncture (which I'm long overdue another appointment for!).

I don't know if I've shared too much in this update but I just wanted to write a little bit about where I am and what I'm doing.  It's been a funny old year so far, but it's Autumn now, and how could you not be happy about that?

Five nights in Palma

At the beginning of September, on one rainy Wednesday I jetted off with a group of friends to sunny Palma in Mallorca for a hen do.  In total there were 17 of us (I know right, I don't have 17 friends myself!) and it was such an amazing time.  Having never been to Palma before I didn't know what to expect, but I quickly fell in love with it, with its winding back streets, beautiful old buildings and array of tapas and wine bars.

We actually stayed just outside of Palma in a small town called Portals Nous.  The hotel we stayed in was the Salles Hotels Marina Portals, around £80 a night for a deluxe double.  The hotel itself was perfect, with several pools, lovely rooms and a great breakfast (breakfast is very important!)  We spent a lot of our time lazing by the pool, chatting, reading books and drinking prosecco.  Pretty bloody perfect if I do say so myself.

We made a few trips down to the marina at Portals Nous where we were staying.  We had delicious pizzas and cocktails at Diabilito, a lovely bar and restaurant overlooking the marina.  Some of the restaurants on the front are quite expensive but this was really reasonably priced.  

We visited Palma itself twice - on the first occasion we visited we went to a stunning bar with amazing rooftop views and great cocktails.  This bar was called Es Baluard Bar Palma - it's next to the Contemporary Museum of Art and in a great location.  They also serve food but we only had drinks - we actually visited twice as it was such a nice bar with a good drinks menu.  After drinks we had tapas/pintxos at a place called Tast Union in the centre of Palma, which again I hugely recommend.  They have a huge selection of really reasonably priced tapas and well priced, good wine (around 2-3 euros a glass).  It's advisable to make a reservation as it was absolutely rammed and we had to book quite far in advance.  The best thing we had was the mini burgers (2.80 euros) and the melted brie was also very yummy (2 euros).

After tapas we went onto Bar Cuba - a bar, cafe and nightclub in the centre of Cuba.   There is a Sky Bar with rooftop views but the queue for this was huge and as there was a large group of us they advised that there would be a long wait.  The nightclub downstairs doesn't open until midnight so we hung around until that was open and had drinks and a dance there.  It was really good fun and the music was great - my only complaint was the drinks prices were quite steep (10 euros for a disaronno and coke, cocktails are about 15 euros).

The second time we went into Palma we had an amazing Italian meal at Bianco e Rosso.  Main meals were about 13-15 euros but the portion sizes were big.  I had a gnocchi and it was delicious.  House wine was 10 euros a bottle, service was good and everyone enjoyed their food - another great choice by the hen party organisers!

After the Italian restaurant we went to a bar called Abaco, which was a real highlight of the trip.  Hidden behind huge wooden doors it has a stunning courtyard with a water fountain, birdcages and beautiful flowers.  You can walk around the house, which is also a sight to behold and very plush.  It doesn't open until 8pm and then it fills up quite quickly so I think it was wise of us not to arrive too late.  Worthwhile also noting that drinks are around 16 euros, so it's very much a stop to take in the sights and tick it off the 'to see' list rather than somewhere to buy a few rounds!

All in all we had an absolutely amazing trip to Palma and I adored every second of it.  It was fab to be away with a big group of ladies, lying by the pool and gossiping and drinking lots of fizz! The ladies who organised the hen do did an amazing job picking brilliant restaurants and bars and booking things for such a large group.

I'd love to go back to Palma again as it's such a stunning city with so many great restaurants and bars.  It was a great choice for a hen do as there's so much to see and do.  We flew from Bournemouth and flights were about £100 but you can get good deals depending on when you fly.

Have you visited Palma before?