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A Wonderfully Busy Life

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

I realise it has been almost a year since my last update and time has certainly flown by. I have immersed myself in getting back into dancing and learning some new styles. I considered Tango but as I could not find a regular partner to attend classes with, have put that on the back boiler for the moment. So I threw myself into the world of West Coast Swing and now can honestly say, that my interest in dancing has been totally renewed. I am loving the challenges and all the new people I am meeting along the way.

Dancing really is a great hobby…not only for the health benefits but the social side too.

West Coast Swing – Elitist?

I had heard previously that there was an elitist mentality with the WCS scene and I can honestly say, I have found that to be totally unjustified. So any of you out there who have been put off by these rumours, please take it from me the scene is warm and welcoming and there is a class and teacher to suit everyone. I will put links up for you over next few days. The WCS freestyles have been some of my favourite dances this year and I always find the leads very patient and helpful. It has been a joy to be welcomed into a new dance community. I am loving the music played at these events too, it is varied and inspiring.

Blues Baby

My other new passion is spending time in the Blues Rooms at events whether dancing WCS or now blues too, it is really giving me a chance to express myself in dance terms. I have managed to go to some blues classes too and really enjoy the way my dancing is evolving as a result. I am now toying with the idea of getting more involved and perhaps promoting some freestyle events with live music, so watch this space!

One of the high points of this year was discovering a Blues club called Big City Blues which operate out of the most incredible venue in Kew. There is a Blues class at the beginning then plenty of freestyle where you can practise and get a feel for the music. What I love about this club is that everyone mixes and dances together plus it is extremely friendly. I have learned more on a Sunday evening there, dancing with the fantastic leads to eclectic music, than I ever have at a workshop. So don’t be shy, come on down to Big City Blues and express yourself, for the love of dance.

Weekend Dance Events

I am now working at most of the Ceroc Escape weekend dance events and this has meant me travelling as far as Southport and Weston Super Mare. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the events, each unique in it’s own way. There are classes for all levels from beginners through to advanced, so something for everyone. I tend to spend more time in the blues rooms these days but still enjoy a good boogie in the main rooms too of course.

My favourite weekender was an independent one with MJRoc at Warmwell, a much smaller event with only 650 dancers but organised with a real personal touch to make everyone feel welcome and part of the event. I had some of the best dances of this year at that weekend. Thanks to all the great leads, you know who you are, you made a girl feel good! My favourite DJ was playing too, Nick Stephens from Cornwall. Watch out for this dude, he is phenomenal!

My advice to anyone considering Warmwell as an option, is to get booking soon as the last one was a total sell out and you do not want to miss out on the next one. It will be spring time and it is such a lovely place with all the log cabins sprinkled round the lake.

What’s Next?

Well, I have a lot of plans in the pipeline and some new areas to consider. I am going to keep up going to the gym, as I am on a quest to get fitter and lose the weight gained. I have already lost well over a stone, so it is remain focused and get it done time!

I am considering doing adult ballet classes in the new year to improve my core skills and strengthen my body. I have never been the most graceful of people and I would like to do something to improve that while still retaining a ‘get down’ feel:) Will keep you posted on how that comes along.

With a full year now behind us at Hollywood Boogie, we are looking forward to another year of events in both Penge and Kent. We have some exciting events planned already so join our Hollywood Boogie Facebook page and keep up with what is planned.

I am going to do minimum of monthly blog entries in the new year, so do expect to hear more from me again. In the meantime, Merry Festivities to you all.

Life is what you make of it…so let’s make it special

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Life is what you make of it

Happy New Year to everyone. May 2012 bring you everything you need, most of what you want and a lot of fun along the way.

It is the time of year for reflection and looking inside at what we want to achieve. It is not all about resolving to limit ourselves but about allowing ourselves to dream and then planning positively to make them a reality.

While life can be difficult and trying at times, it is about riding the punches, dusting yourself down and having the follow through to keep reaching for your dreams. In truth our dreams are evolving and changing and we need to keep adapting and reassessing along the way to ensure we are heading in the right direction.

I got this in a forward from a good friend today and thought after reading it, it would be great to share some of this woman’s wisdom with you all. Life is definitely what you make of it, so go on and make is extra special.

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written.” Regina Brett, 90 years old

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s,we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Riots, Photography, Portraits and Paper Crafts

Friday, August 26th, 2011

I know, I know, it has been a L-O-N-G time since my last post! Let me assure you I have used the time wisely and been busy dancing, going to see music and generally having fun:-) I did manage to fulfill my 2010 ambition of turning it into a dancing year and this has continued into 2011 and I hope far beyond.

The morning after

Living in Croydon, close to London Road meant we got affected by the riots this month. My daughters and I were shopping in the centre that afternoon before it all flared up and could feel the tension building. We were glad to get home and lock the doors behind us, however little were we to know, how close it would come to our area. That evening we could hear the mayhem, smell the smoke from the burning buildings and see the looters with arms laden passing our windows. We stayed in and slept with baseball bats by our sides overnight unsure of just how far it would escalate. Not something I ever thought I would live through.

When we went out walking the following morning, it felt totally surreal with every piece of glass smashed on the main road near us and debris strewn everywhere…circuitry from tills smashed, empty alcohol containers, sweet wrappers…it was like the aftermath of a kids party gone very badly wrong! The Policemen and vehicles were all Welsh brought in to bolster the exhausted crews from London who had been on all night. We walked through the carnage and could barely take it in. Seeing the burnt out parade at the corner of St James Road with the burnt carcasses of cars on the main road was like a grim reality check. We took photo’s of it to record it, seemed strange to do it but somehow very necessary. We went out for a few days recording the changes and were amazed at how quickly the damage was being dealt with.

Goodbye Reeves

From speaking to local people, there is a sense here that our area was sacrificed to protect the larger shopping area in Croydon. It seems the Police held their line at both ends of this area and the rioters were allowed to run amok along the  main roads and there were not enough Policemen on duty to control the situation. The mob ruled the area that night and threw themselves a huge party at the expense of the local community, wrecking everything in their path.

I am sure the physical scars of the destroyed property will go and be replaced by new builds. People will walk passed and barely remember the Victorian parade of shops and housing that stood there before. Money will get invested and it might even improve the area in the mid to long term but for those of us who lived through that night and the aftermath, our confidence was knocked. Good has come out of this situation as the community has been drawn together in clearing up the mess and donating clothes and household items to those that lost their homes. We will not let these yobs destroy our community but we will remember and hope that it never happens again.

On a more positive tip, I was lucky enough to be quick off the mark and secure a FREE family photo shoot with the amazingly talented Shimelle Laine. It was delayed by a week, due to the riots  but we managed to meet up with Shimelle in St James Park, London and thoroughly enjoyed our time with her. She is an inspiring person and full of energy. Afterwards we went to the National Portrait Gallery and saw the BP Portrait Award 2011. Well worth going to see this if you have not done so already, regardless of your views on the company who sponsor it, the artists work on show is awe inspiring and worth seeing in real life. We also dropped in to the Glamour of the Gods exhibition which had some amazing Hollywood portraits but was a little on the small size for me.

Meeting Shimelle has reignited my interest in paper crafts so I have signed up for her ‘Learn Something New Everyday’ class. This will involve having prompts sent to inspire me for 30 days and I hope to make and complete my first mini album in over three years by the end. I have been assigned a buddy to help encourage me over the process and am now receiving communication from a woman in Colorado. I am certainly looking forward to it and will post details of my finished album in due course.

Good Old Fashioned Folk Music

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

As a mum with two musicians as daughters, I have been delighted to find an amazing world of live music in various folk clubs around me. My previous experience of folk clubs had been that of sitting in airless cellars, bathed in cigarette smoke while more traditional folk music was played with varying degree’s of proficiency and enthusiasm. How different the clubs of today are!

With the smoking ban, the whole experience is more pleasant as the smoky atmosphere is gone and filling the air now is what feels like a sense of camaraderie. There are singers, guitarists of all styles, accordion and keyboard players, woodwind instrumentalists, ukeles, banjoes, violins… People from all walks of life brought together by a common love of making music.

No two clubs are alike and there is certainly a wealth to choose from. Some are less formal where you sit and then take your turn around the room with people joining in, if they can. Sometimes it works brilliantly with everyone hitting the groove. There are times of course, it does not quite hit the mark but it doesn’t matter, there are no judges, this is no X-Factor.

There are other clubs where you take your place out front on the make-shift stage and get announced by the MC to play a few tunes. This open mic policy is definitely my favourite, artists get a chance to warm up and do a couple of numbers allowing you to get a better taste of what they are about. The variety of acts is wide and you never know just what you will see.

My favourite club is based in Merstham (you know who you are;-) it is a lively and busy little club, one of the friendliest place I have ever been. I am wary though as too much advertising and we wont fit into the venue anymore! So my lips are sealed except to musicians who might enjoy the opportunity and a few select friends.

There are other more formal clubs where it costs you money to get in and you might see a guaranteed higher profile artist and some of the select residents. I feel this is great if that is what you are looking for but to me the true essence of the folk club is alive and well in tiny back rooms of pubs all over the country where the locals get together to express their love of music in many forms and it is often free.

So do your research and find out where your local is. They are often advertised in local libraries and music shops and there are even publications like Folk London which tell you what is going on in the scene and where. When you find a good one…can I be one of the selected friends who you tell about it?

Politics of Dancing

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Well I am happy to say that I am managing to keep my New Years Resolution of making 2010 a great dancing year. There has barely been a week I have not been out to at least one venue and generally it is 2-3 times a week and I am loving it!

Having stopped dancing for a few years due to illness and then being busy with college, it is great to be rediscovering my old passion and finding that it is alive and well and continuing to flourish and evolve. I was also pleased to discover that I can remember how to dance, some of the techniques are a bit rusty but just need dusting down and will be fine.

I started gently at a local modern jive club to allow myself to build up my fitness again. At first I was doing one dance and having to sit down for a few to get my breath back. It is definitely improving but I do look forward to the days when I can just dance back to back tracks and not worry about it anymore. (I do not think I will ever be able to emulate the moves as seen here:-)

I just love dancing! It is a fabulous way to meet new friends and get fit while having fun. You can go on your own and not feel out of place. The class structure allows you to mix with the people you are going to be dancing with later. Even good dancers benefit from the classes, particularly if they are new to a venue, as it allows them to meet the regulars. What is even better is women can ask men to dance, it is encouraged and acceptable:-)

So what kind of dancing do I do? I started my jiving in the world of modern jive clubs like Ceroc and Le Roc and I still to this day, enjoy going to a good modern jive night. You do get a great mix of music, however some of the Europop does not do much for me and I generally use the time those tracks are on to take a break.

The music that really makes me move and smile is swing and blues and for that reason, I love going to swing dance clubs like Hula Boogie, any of Swingland’s events, No Name Jive and a host of other great nights. Not only do I love the music, I find the people friendly. There seems to be an extra element of fun and musicality that you can express through swing dancing that just makes me beam from the inside out!

I love to see people having fun when they are dancing. I still find it a little odd to see people with straight faces being very contained while jiving. I can understand it in tango but jiving is about moving, interacting and having fun surely? Just watching two people on the floor loving the music, getting into it and exchanging smiles, really boosts me, it is infectious and you feel yourself smiling too:-)

I went back to the my old favourite dancing haunt this month, the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley. I was delighted to see over 300 people enjoying a live band and dancing the night away in such wonderful and authentic surroundings. If you have never been there, make a point of going, you will not be disappointed! Jive Party do a monthly night where modern jivers and swing dancers get together and get down.

I hear lots of comments from people singling their preferred dance style out as the THE best and putting down other dance classes or organisations. In my opinion, it is horses for courses…what suits one can never suit everyone! I definitely recommend trying out lots of different classes and styles and you might just surprise yourself by finding a few moves or the added bonus of new/ old friends that you didn’t expect

I am excited to be finally going to learn a style of dance I have been interested in for years but just never got round to, Balbao. As a present for my birthday, my family has bought me a course over the next four Sundays learning Balboa with Simon Selmon. I am one happy lady and look forward to being able to put some of the new skills learned into practise as soon as possible.

I like to have an eclectic approach to my dancing in much the same way as I do with the music I listen to. Musically I consider there to be two main types of music, good and bad (I like the good stuff of course;-) In dancing I am pretty much the same, if I like it I do it. If you have never tried it you cannot know if you like it…so get out there , try something different and Let the Good Times Roll!

The Dreaded Lurgy

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

There are not many people who will have escaped some form of the ‘dreaded lurgy’ at this time of year. Even the most resilient immune system is bombarded with airbourne viruses and bacteria – during commuting with the person spluttering near you; at work with the office colleague sneezing germs and touching shared equiptment all round  you; from school either from attending or from nursing a sick child; in the doctors waiting room with all the other people suffering – the possibilities of exposure are endless and numerous.

In an attempt to help protect the family from this exposure I use a mix of essential oils sprayed on our clothes. As our body heat warms the clothes the oil evaporates encapsulating us in a protective haze of therapeutic aroma. The oils we use in our family are eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender. They are fairly mild oils, inexpensive and easily available from most chemists and health stores. I keep all of these oils in our first aid kit at home and often burn them to kill any airborn germs in the house and office. (Please note, the links above are to give futher reading about these oils if you wish to know more. I strongly advise you check with a qualified aromatherapist before ingesting any essential oils and if you are pregnant or have health concerns, always discuss with a registered therapist and/ or your GP before use.)

Viruses cannot replicate and multiply on their own so have become one of the ultimate parasites. They invade and highjack the cells in our bodies and turn the machinery of our own cells, their host, into factories that make multiple copies of the virus. Hiding inside our own cells they keep churning out multiple virus particles that go and invade more cells and so the cycle continues until our immune system kicks in and eventually wins the battle with less serious viruses.

It is worth remembering there are viruses which the body finds more difficult to defeat and some like HIV and Hepatitis C, continue to wreck havoc in our bodies and even target our immune system to make it harder to fight off other infections.

It is easy to see that prevention is really better than cure when it comes to viruses. There are a number of things you can do to make it harder for the virus.

* Wash your hands regularly and especially after touching door handles, handrails, etc. Do not touch your face with your hands or rub your eyes. Clean hard surfaces regularly to kill germs.

*Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and/ or sneezing, using a tissue. Throw tissue away quickly and safely.

* Get plenty of rest. There is some evidence to suggest that people getting less than seven hours sleep are more susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.

* Taking Vitamin C regularly, not just when you feel a cold starting, is said to reduce the likelihood of catching viruses and speed the recovery for those taking it.

*Be extremely careful who you share bodily fluids with. Even kissing can pass on viruses and when it comes to the more serious ones, make sure and have safe, protected sex.

 

ON A DIFFERENT NOTE

Have you noticed how the days are definitely getting longer and you can already see the buds on the trees? Spring is not far away. I love this time of year with everything getting ready to burst into life. I am lucky to live very close to an organic lavender field and look forward to seeing the purple haze creep through the foliage over the coming months. I am posting a picture I took on a stormy day last summer in the Mayfield lavender field near Woodmansterne. At one time there were miles of lavendar fields in the South East of England and with development these have all but disappeared. Find out if there is one in your local area or travel to see one this summer. Just walking through the purple lushness makes you feel good.

Reflections of 2009 including the KO of the year

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Gherkin reflect

A new year…a new decade, a good time for reflection.

Professionally, reflection is an important part of my self-development as a healthcare practitioner. It is something I dreaded as a student osteopath because I was never really sure what was required of me. Now fully qualified, I really enjoy the process and feel free to indulge myself as I can set my own schedule and directly see the benefits not only to my patients but to me as a therapist.

On a personal level, I have always enjoyed self-reflection, especially as a new year approaches. It may well be part of my Scottish heritage as growing up, the dawning of a new year was a time to make changes, let go of the past and move forward onto future plans with new hope. Of course, the transitions were always well lubricated on both sides of the Bells and washed down by a few ‘Hair of the dog’s‘ in the following days.

I do miss being in Scotland for Hogmonay…bringing in the bells, going ‘first footing’, always plenty of parties on New Years Day and of course, the people. Still a bit of a traditionalist in some ways, I always make sure and ‘let the old year out and the new one in’ straight after kissing everyone and wishing them Happy New Year. Standing at the door, I take a few moments to remember our absent family and friends and raise a glass to them and a smile.

January 2009 saw the passing of a great musician and one of my personal favourites, the legend John Martyn. For those that do not know his work, here are a couple of links for you to check out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOi_wxypeGc (shows him in his youth with the cherubic face and angels voice) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR2uSWmlSHI (shows beautiful visuals with one of his classics playing) I hope you enjoy them.

What a successful year 2009 has been with their fifth studio album and a sell out tour for my favourite band The Prodigy! I went to see them play at Brixton Academy and my only disappointment was that I could not take my daughters with me as it is an 18+ venue. After the smaller venues, the band played a massive arena tour and are still gigging round the world finishing at a mammoth venue in Milton Keynes Bowl in July…which we all have tickets for of course;-) Other bands I have enjoyed this year include Florence and the Machine - she sort of reminds me of one of my idols Siouxsie Sioux; The Dead Weather and of course the success of Rage Against the Machine becoming the UK Christmas No. 1 and toppling the X Factor winner…priceless!

February 2009 saw a sporting hero of mine retire, Joe Calzaghe. Joe had an amazing career and retired as Britains only undefeated world champion boxer with a record of 46-0, 32 by TKO. He was also the longest reigning world champion boxer of the modern era and deserves to be celebrated as one of the best British sportsmen of his time. I was surprised to see him take up ballroom dancing on Strictly but quite glad that his stay in the show was relatively short.

First women inducted to world boxing Hall of Fame

I was delighted to see lots of progress in the world of women’s combat sports in 2009 with women boxers being approved to participate in 2012 Olympics; Lucia Rijker, one of my favourite women fighters, was deservedly voted into the world boxing Hall of Fame and we saw the first MMA show with a female bout as the headline. When I first became involved with the sport of womens boxing back in the 90’s these days seemed so far away. It is a pleasure to see how far women have succeeded in being taken seriously in this arena.

There is still work to be done however. I saw an interview with the UFC President Dana White where he made comments which demonstrated he is no expert in the world of MMA as he has failed to notice the likes of Cris Cyborg Santos and a host of other great female fighters and is refusing to let women fight in the UFC. Not only did his ignorance disappoint me, it infuriated me too as he exhibits the kind of predjudice that has typically held women athletes back for generations…shame on you Dana! Fortunately UFC is not the only MMA organisation, so props to Strikeforce for being openminded and making it happen.

2009 saw some great match ups and included seeing my fave MMA fighter George St Pierre defend his world title twice and show his critics the amazing athlete he is. Lyotos Machida knocking out Rashed Evans in his first loss was a shocker but the best bouts involving Rashed in 2009 were those between him and Rampage Jackson on the most recent Ultimate Fighter series where they were both coaches. Rashed got right under Jacksons skin and the resulting tantrums Jackson threw reminded me of Elton John on steroids but with more humour. I look forward to seeing these two in the ring one day soon.

My KO of 2009 might shock a few people. I am generally the girl who always supports the home fighter but 2009 saw a first for me…I wanted a British fighter to lose?!? The fighter I am referring to is Michael Bisping and while initially I thought he was cocky and a little arrogant, his behaviour on the Ulitmate Fighter series where he was coaching against Dan Henderson left me less than impressed. I found myself supporting Henderson in the lead up to the fight and hoped by dishing Bisping a big slice of humble pie, not only would he learn some humility but maybe even become a better fighter in the process. Only time will tell how the KO will affect Bisping but I list it as my favourite KO of 2009.

So what plans do I have for 2010?? Well I fully intend this to be a fun-filled fabulous year. As well as putting time into my business, I want to focus on getting fitter again and that is going to involve a lot of work. For me the best way to do it is to keep it fun and hence my main New Year Resolution is to dance more and make sure it happens at least on a weekly basis. I can thoroughly recommend this form of exercise to anyone. I have links to places where you can learn on this site…go on be good to yourself…you know you deserve it!

I would like to share a quote from Andrew Carnegie with you. It is certainly something I have noticed to have truth in my experience and backs the statement that actions speak louder than words.

“As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

Peace, love and unity. All the best to you and yours for 2010

Believe – Film Premiere

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

believe – The Eddie Izzard Story

On Wednesday I was delighted to attend the Premiere of this new film. The red carpet was out and the place was bustling with comic geniuses and other performers. Eddie looked fabulous after all the running during his marathon challenge for Comic Relief. (If you want to donate to this good cause –  www.comicrelief.com/donate/eddie)

The film was a great insight into the determination of Eddie on his journey to become one of the best comic entertainers of his generation.  The film had great contrasts of light and shade but that quirky humour was never far away. Eddie’s sheer enthusiasm is infectious and I defy anyone not to be motivated by this film. Go see it or get it on DVD in the Spring.

www.eddieizzardbelieve.com for more information

Afterwards there was a 70’s Glam Rock party in a private members club in Soho. It was great to mingle with everyone and catch up with people. There were street performers there I had not seen since I used to work as a ‘bottler’ in Covent Garden in the 80’s. It was great to see them all and find out what they are doing now, we chatted into the wee hours.

Just want to say Thanks to Eddie for the wonderful hospitality and a great night:-) Good Luck with the film too.

Hello world!

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Welcome to my new blog.

The feedback I received from many people regarding my new business website, Pivotal, was they wanted to know more about me. So to show that I do indeed listen, I have decided to put this blog on my personal website. I still find it incredible that people are interested in what I am doing and hope that my ramblings over the coming weeks and months do not disappoint.

It is my intention to comment on all areas of my life in this blog. So, as well as personal news, expect to see health related issues, crafting, beautiful beads and of course my thoughts on pugilisim and MMA.

So what news do I have to share for December?

WINTER SUN

poolI was lucky to be treated to a wonderfully relaxing break in Lanzarote with one of my closest girlfriends at the beginning of December. The temperature was around 24 degrees as we sipped cocktails by the pool in our five star hotel. We stayed in Playa Blanca and I can thoroughly recommend this resort to anyone needing some peace and quiet in the winter sun. The climate was perfect for me as I love dry heat.

I loved the volcanic landscape, it was almost lunar like. We spent one afternoon travelling looking at sites and I can cetainly say the coastline is scattered with beautiful beaches. The water was an amazing blue and seemed to shine against the black volcanic sands.

The food was amazing and I am now on a quest to learn how to make decent paella. I also loved the Canarian Mojo sauces and hope to find somewhere to buy them over here as they are delicious. The variety of fresh local fish was  incredible and I loved the simplicity of the cooking style and then the variety of sauces you could accompany it with to suit your mood. Another delight was the coffee, every cup I had was excellent!

It was a great way to start December and has left me recharged and ready to brave the festive shopping!