Adventure, Self-esteem, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

I am Fearless

Today I feel fearless. I saw this photo below of me surfing in Indonesia in 2010. I got a helping push onto the wave but I said ‘yes’ to it, paddled for it, saw the mound coming towards me and I went for it. Over the years my fear of taking bigger waves on my own has just grown and grown rendering me unable to just ‘go’. My mind has built up a block that feels impossible to push beyond.
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Today I had a conversation about regretting giving up gymnastics as a child. I left because I felt inferior, not good enough and jealous of those around me who performed better in the competitions. Back flips, handstands and the splits became distant memories of the past.

Today I practiced handstands in the park. I lent that little bit further over my shoulders and I felt more air time than ever before. That little fear point lingering close! But I’m not fearful of falling backwards. Maybe it’s the fear of actually holding it, of being suspended in air for a moment with one way or the other to go.

Today I went to calisthenics and instead of thinking ‘I can’t’ I thought ‘I can’. I can do this. If I can’t quite get there I will damn well try. I will try and just see what happens. Because I am here and I am strong and I am fearless.

Today I spent time with my partner and enjoyed every moment of it. We drank tea and ate cake and kissed and connected. I used to feel fear, fear of the ‘what if’ and the questioning myself, him and us. Then I realised that I didn’t have to feel this way. Over years I had become conditioned to ignore my feelings and push them away. Now I know I have a choice to embrace this man and everything we have. That we are a partnership and it’s ok to be vulnerable together. That we learn from each other. That nothing is perfect. That relationships ebb and flow. But that we have love and each other and the space to grow together.

I’ve allowed myself to feel inadequate, never quite good enough. Any success always lined with a thin layer or anxiety. Sometimes feeling like my own worst enemy and critic. In jobs where I looked to others to hold responsibility. To think I couldn’t do something. It’s incredibly exhausting and demoralising. The constant loop of challenge, lack of attempt, feelings of failure wore me down. I’ve always noticed improvements in others before recognising my own.

These fears don’t disappear over night. But jeez Alice you can do it. You are more than capable. You are fearless. Small steps, however minute are so much more motivating than taking the ‘safe’, comfortable option. Appreciate how far you have come, and inch by inch just try, you will never know how it feels otherwise.

So thank you for today. Right now I feel fearless.

 

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Adventure, Love, Poetry, Yoga

Increasing Observations

There can be so much focus that the bigger mass of who we are is temporarily lost. Sometimes my eyes are down and fixed and I unwillingly ignore the magic around me.

Be open and switch off to tune in. Be open to new things and follow your passions because otherwise what are we doing?

Do your work with love and offer gratitude for the pleasant in equal measure for the things that challenge us.

I wrote this musing yesterday after my second day of prenatal yoga teacher training. There was a moment of deep realisation today during day three. We were given a task in groups of three to be the talker, listener and observer. With each person taking it in turns to be one of the three. The topic was ‘yoga mother’. In between each person talking we sat for an equal amount of time to absorb. 35 women sitting in silence. Except it wasn’t silent because the hum of vibrations was all around us. The peacefulness, the understanding and appreciation was almost tangible.

We had to pick which postion we felt most comfortable with and which least comfortable. I loved listening. I found the position of observer difficult. Then that magic moment, CLICK. I turned the pages and there was the musing above. I NEED to observe more. Maybe in the sense of my yoga classes; getting off the mat, demoing less, looking more. Or perhaps observing more prenatal classes. Or maybe it’s just being more present in each moment. Putting the phone down. Looking up because there is so much beauty to see.

Life has changed so so much in the past year, especially in the past five months. Times have been hugely rewarding and challenging. Ultimately I have grown more than ever before. I have been consciously making an effort to appreciate everything. From the hot shower in the morning to the mattress bought for me. I am so lucky to have my support network, food in my belly and money in my bank account. I offer up gratitude for the smallest of things and I feel so much happier for it. Never take for granted the small things yet always look to the bigger landscape.

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Adventure, Travel

22 Travels-Cambodia

This weekend I had the pleasure of watching back old footage of my travels and it got me thinking.  I’ve been to so many incredible countries, 22 and counting.  Sure there is beauty all around us and it’s important to seek it out, even in the mundane.  But I want to celebrate all I have seen throughout my months of exploring the world.

Travelling to warmer climates not knowing what to expect gives me such a thrill.  The rush of acceleration as a plane takes off is a sensation I crave.  I’m very fortunate to have visited so many wonderful countries and my list still to visit gets longer and longer.  I’m going to document some of my favourite places, starting with Cambodia.

When Jade and I left to travel the world in late 2009 we had no idea what was in store for us.  Two weeks in Cambodia simply wasn’t enough.  I know so much will have changed in the 6 years since we visited.  But at that time this valiant country was a heady mix of poverty, heat, history, intrigue and the pinkest sunsets I have ever seen.

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The temples at Angkor Wat

Sunset at Angkor Wat

Sunset at Angkor Wat

 

 

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S-21 Where The Khmer Rouge Carried Out Their Horrific Genocide-Never Forget

A Child Playing in Southern Cambodia

A Child Playing in Southern Cambodia

Every Night a Stunning Sunset in Phnom Penh

Every Night a Stunning Sunset in Phnom Penh

The View from our Guest House

The View from our Guest House

Monkeying Around on Monkey Island

Monkeying Around on Monkey Island

I would highly recommend Cambodia, it is such an interesting country.  A visit to the Killing Fields and S21 is a humbling and important experience.  The horrific killings and torture that gripped the country for five years must not be forgotten.  Six years ago the country felt like it was on the edge of tourism hitting, i’m sure it’s fully fledged by now.

Next up will be a look through the archives of our time in Vietnam and photos from our five weeks there.

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Adventure, Health, Wellbeing

“Be The Change You Wish To See”

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.  The ability to look back, reflect and most importantly, learn.  It’s been one whole year since India and I left for Sri Lanka.  We packed up our lives in London, left the comfort of a great house with Katrina and busily took our next steps into the unknown.  It was a hard decision to leave what was a comfortable lifestyle, in a great flat, in a buzzing part of London.  Yet now looking back I am so glad that I decided to have a break from this great city.  I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, this time last year we were somewhere along the West coast of Sri Lanka, probably in a thunderstorm eating Rice & Curry.

Last Summer my sense of validation was totally thrown.  Things I had worked so hard for and a path I thought I was on were suddenly whipped away without me even having a moment to understand how or why.  Yet I took amazing friends with me, lessons on life and an appreciation of understanding that paths are never certain and it’s ok to leave them.  Discomfort can be unsettling but also it can be a sign telling you you need to make a change.  My change was forced upon me but my goodness I am grateful for the new lease of life it allowed me.  To be able to travel to new countries and live a beach bum lifestyle is an incredibly fortunate position to be in.

I have never felt in a stronger position to be able to evaluate and put things into perspective.  I don’t quite know when my mindset shifted but I don’t worry so much about the small things anymore.  As a former self-confessed worrier who was given a worry doll for her 22nd Birthday I used to fret over everything.  A perfectionist mindset is both a blessing and a hindrance.  Perhaps it is down to the travelling.  Without trying to sound cliche when you see people happy and grateful to have food, health and family and little else you start to wonder why you even bothered worrying about certain things.  Also after spending time on sweaty buses hurtling round blind corners and sleeping on questionable mattresses things that could be a worry start to fade away.  After all where’s the use in fretting?

So it’s now at 27 I find myself becoming more interested in well, life!  Last year I felt like I was always rushing around, never stopping to think why I was doing something.  Putting all my energy into relationships which weren’t doing me any good.  I was merely meandering through life, putting a coat of make up on and a willing smile.  Take away the make-up and the daily routine and things get a little more interesting.  Since being back in England I have begun to pursue my interests; yoga, poetry, writing and cycling.  I’ve learnt it’s ok to stay in, it’s ok to say no to a pint and it’s fine to say yes to one.  It’s ok to just be by yourself.

 

 

 

 

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http://morninggloryville.com/
Adventure, Health, Love, Wellbeing

Well Good Morning!

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Image courtesy of Morning Gloryville

After seeing some particularly bright and shiny photos of a friend in the midst of a dance move looking radiant I thought where is she and how do I get there?  I was thrilled to discover said photos were from an event called Morning Gloryville. After finding out it was mid-week in the morning I thought alas I can’t attend.  How wrong was I? Those clever free-spirits run the party from 6.30am-10.30am so it’s accessible to all us 9-5ers and such like!!

Armed with some badass high waisted leggings the girls and I found ourselves outside the infamous Oval Space with a bunch of very bouncy crowd pleasers to rouse the sleepy lot. We get in, we run up the stairs and are hit with a wall of heavy bass, dance beats and more glitter than you can shake a disco ball at.  Whilst others headed straight for the coffee bar we went totally caffeine free and did what can only be described as ‘had it’ on the dance floor.  I’ve never had the pleasure of dancing in my running shoes and funnily enough you can bounce really high in them, makes for great airborne feelings.

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Image Courtesy of Morning Gloryville

What makes this event unique is the party is totally sober, well it is Wednesday morning after all.  Gone is the focus on shots and whatever you choose to sway your reality with. In it’s place a room full of people, cliché it may be, high on life. What stood out for me were all the genuine smiles, everyone was loving it. Every few songs you had to take a moment to appreciate the surreal element of it, plus the thought of your meeting at 10am.

From the get go I was a sweaty ball of dancing hyperness.  Put hundreds of revelers in a room and it gets hot.  The DJs knew exactly how to get this chipper crowd off with some 90s classics mixed in to encourage off the chart hands in the air.

http://morninggloryville.com/

Image courtesy of Morning Gloryville

I didn’t even stop for a smoothie which had a dedicated bar serving up lots of delicious healthy concoctions.  After pretty much solid dancing for two hours I stretched my weary legs on the complimentary yoga mats.  There are even 15 minute massages to soothe your weary limbs.

This party was hands down, or should I say up, one of the best things I have ever done.  It got me thinking about group mentality and of course the darker side of parties.  It’s the norm to have a party, people get drunk, they dance, they have fun and then don’t remember most of it the next day.  This kind of party is the total opposite.  You dance, you have fun, you remember everything and on top of that you get the best work-out you could ask for at 6.30am.  In this environment you can let loose and totally dance like you want because it’s an open forum.  People are there to be ‘in the moment’ and revel in the music and the atmosphere, unaltered, honest and real.

http://morninggloryville.com/

Image courtesy of Morning Gloryville

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Adventure, Surfing

An Interview with Kelly Says Surf

It was whilst perusing the SurfGirl Facebook page that I came across a competition which caught my eye.  Little did I know that this would introduce me to the wonderful world of ‘Kelly Says Surf’.  As soon as I began watching one of their episodes I was hooked.  I also entered said competition but forgot to provide two videos, sadly victory wasn’t mine.

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A little freeze frame of my clip

Finally here were two funny, interesting and above all passionate surfers, surfing no matter what.  What could be more inspiring than seeing these ladies frothing on any wave, big or small, smooth or dumpy and doing it with all with a smile, comedy and an excellent soundtrack. 

As a passionate ‘surfer’ myself I love reading surf related paraphernalia yet what grips me with these girls is that they are showing another side of surfing.  Its less about glossy images and more the real side of surfing; cold mornings, wetsuits, wipeouts and laughter. 

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Hannah and Dannie and the surf competition

So I am delighted to say Hannah and Dannie have agreed to do an interview with me.  Without further ado here is what they had to say!

Ladies, where do you see Kelly Says Surf going in the future?

Hannah: At the moment we still have a lot of ideas (mostly stupid) and people are still interested in watching them so I guess until we run out of ideas or when people tell us to stop! Also we had 2 goals, one was to reach 1000 views on our video and the other was to meet Kelly Slater….

Dannie: To infinity, and beyond!! To be honest, we’ve already come so much further than I think either of us had expected, that whatever happens next and wherever KS ends up going we’ll be stoked!

Well I for one can’t wait to see these ideas!  I’m interested to know what makes you happy?

Dannie: Surfing, sunshine and spending time with my friends and family. Everything else can fit around that :).

Hannah: Surfing, eating and above all: friends. Some things in life you just cant do alone and that doesn’t mean you’re weak it actually something amazing to share good and bad times with friends. I love playing music as well, a few beers and a guitar/singing session (this is best to do alone!).

I couldn’t agree more, sharing waves with friends is an unbeatable feeling.  What was the best wave you ever caught?

Dannie: Oo, I’m not sure about this one! I loved our trip to Tenerife, because there were just so many amazing waves. I find it so hard to remember my waves, even when I’m just out the water..too much seawater between my ears, I think!

Hannah: I always say every wave was the best wave ever!! Actually, the other day week when I was in Cadiz , I got this shoulder high lefthander that just went on forever, I think I did about 6 or 7 turns and each time I was going higher and more vertical, working on a fins out turn. Also Tenerife always delivers the goods!

Ok you’ve cemented the fact I need to go to Tenerife next!  Who’s your surf inspiration asides from the legend that is Kelly Slater?

Hannah: Mine has to be Lakey Peterson. I love underdogs and stories of girls that have not grown up into surfer families but started surfing later in life and worked hard at it and are pushing the boundaries. Every competition you can see she’s still learning and not always sure of herself (something I can relate to!) but her free surfing is next level! Also Steph Gilmore, Lisa Anderson, Carissa Moore and Dane Reynolds.

Dannie: Mick Fanning, he’s super powerful, and Medina because he’s just so awesome! I’m more inspired by female surfers, I love Sally Fitzgibbons because not only does she shred, but she’s also an amazing role model. She’s super dedicated and healthy, and a total babe too 🙂

That’s quite the list of surfing legends, I’ve followed Steph Gilmore a lot over the years, what she achieved on the World Tour was so inspiring.  So what’s your favourite board and why?

Dannie: I love my Adams 5’8 tonka, it just catches loads of waves and my surfing has come on loads since I got it! And I’ve got to admit, I’ve also very partial to a good old swelly sesh!! 

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Dannie 'rippin

Hannah: Whichever board I’m using at the moment is generally my favourite but I recently had a board shaped by Adam’s surfboards and its my magic board! It’s a 5’9 and fairly wide at the nose and has a lot of volume but it just turns so well and can catch anything (I use K-fins as well which makes a massive difference!). I like to spray my boards as I feel giving them a bit of TLC makes you love your board as there is nothing worse than hating your board, once you get into feeling that then you’ll never get a good wave and always blame the board!

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Hannah 'rippin

Haha everyone loves a good session on a Swell board its true!  Its good to see you riding a local shaper’s boards! You both make me laugh but who makes you laugh until your sides hurt?

Dannie: Oh my god, I absolutely love Kevin bridges and Michael MacIntyre. In fact, I think the funniest guy in the world is Steve Carell (Brick off of Anchorman). Dinner for schmucks is literally one of my favourite movies, I’m surprised I haven’t peed myself watching it!

Hannah: Dannie! She is just hilarious! I always feel so unfunny next to her (maybe because I am). Also my sister, Gemma Bristow, she has an amazing sense of humour and generally comes out with one liners that have me in tears. Also Jack Whitehalls stand up comedy and here’s one for the Scots Kevin Bridges….just epic. Oh and I can’t forget DC skater Rob Dyrdek, his tv series Rob and Big was just epic!

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Kelly Says Surf, they're funny!

Brilliant, you can’t beat a bit of stand up!  Your episodes are really well put together. How long does it take to make a Kelly Says Episode from concept to upload?

Hannah: Dannie will probably say forever! The first one, we filmed for 3-4 months and then I kept trying to edit it for ages and though no one would like it so it took me about 5 months after we finished filming to edit it and get it online. We had no idea what layout we would have, the “house on the beach” is totally improvised, we do it on the last day of filming and we never know what to say, it’s the hardest bit! The France one we filmed in 2 weeks and took me a month to edit, the Scottish one we filmed in 10 days and I edited in about 4 days……it’s getting better! The editing usually take a good solid 24 – 36 hours at the computer….I usually hate the episode by the time I’ve got it finished!

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Filming!

Dannie: Errr… It’s getting quicker haha! The first one took nearly a year or something but now we know what we’re doing a bit more (sort of), it can be a couple of weeks!

Wow I had no idea they took so long to piece together, but I can safely say your audience appreciates them!  The soundtracks you use are great and have inspired me to seek out Tove Lo and MS MR.  Where do you get your musical inspiration from for the videos?

Dannie: Hannah is a total music geek! She spends hours trawling YouTube, not that I’m complaining..I love all the tunes she finds! To the point that it’s annoying, because I like them all so much I can’t help choose a favourite!

Hannah: On the first video I used the Chvrches song and because we had so many views it got taken off (it wasn’t known when I used it and about 2 months later it started getting played on radio one). So actually its now one of the hardest things. I spend hours on youtube just looking for songs of artists that don’t have lots of views or aren’t signed to a huge record label and then I send them an email and ask if we can use it. I’m really lucky that every song I have wanted to use I’ve been able to. I have a friend at MTV that gave me contact details for Tove Lo before her track Habits got played in the charts and she was so sweet and said yes, I was literally screaming! Then the newest song by Jetta is just incredible, I’m pretty proud of the songs we get to use.

I think that makes me love Tove Lo even more, what a babe.  What’s your dream surf destination?

Hannah: The Maldives!!!! Also somewhere super tropical with peeling left handers that has no sharks….I’m not sure that exists though.

Dannie: I reeeeeaaally want to go to Hawaii! It’s surely on every surfers list. I’m happy with anywhere hot really, although I think the people who watch our videos prefer to watch us suffer haha!

Agh I am regretting not visiting the Maldives when I was in Sri Lanka this year!  This is a question that’s had a lot of discussion recently. Do you think the sexy surfer girl look overshadows the capabilities of women’s surfing in the surf industry?

Dannie: Hmmm, this is a deep one! I think it’s definitely fair to say that when you’re learning to surf in a 5mil wetsuit in the freezing cold, your hairs everywhere and there’s snot dripping down your face that you’re definitely not living up to that sexy surfer look! I think if a girl is amazing at surfing and absolutely shreds, people will notice that. If she happens to look awesome in a bikini too, good on her!

Hannah: Yes and no!It’s so hard as a girl to say this and not sound like you’re jealous  but that’s not the case. I see young girl surfers who aren’t pushing themselves in the surf but post bikini shots and full make up shots and get huge sponsors and then other young girls who are such good surfers, are still beautiful but get nothing.. I think Alana Blanchard is awesome and an AMAZING businesswoman and surfer but girls need to realise that there will always be someone more beautiful than you so just don’t focus too much on looks. However if it wasn’t for this sexy surfer girl image that was portrayed then I think half of us wouldn’t have even tried surfing to begin with!

Yep Dannie the post freezing surf look is always a beauty to behold!  I particularly enjoy my squeezed face whilst wearing a hood. Hannah I think you’re totally right, girls need to realise that there is more to life than looking hot on the beach.  Don’t get me wrong I like to see bikini shots, women’s bodies are beautiful but I also want to see more images of women surfing.  I think actual surfing images are far more interesting and frankly inspiring. 

Well Hannah and Dannie it’s been an absolute pleasure to find out more about you both, thank you.  Keep on making the videos and surfing no matter what.  Your mantra works and I have actually used it!

Be sure to check out the Kelly Says Surf YouTube and website.  These girls are doing great things for the surf industry and beyond!

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Hannah and Dannie do Portugal!

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Adventure

Holding On To The Positives

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This manifesto

After five and a half months of travelling Sri Lanka and India I came back to England full of enthusiasm for life, positivity and a clear mind.

I was chatting to two friends the other day discussing trying to cling on to the positivity you feel when you’re travelling.  How do you stop yourself from holding onto to those feelings of wonderful openness to new things, relaxed attitudes and a pretty much perma smile?

There is no doubting life in England versus a life on the road is vastly different. I firmly believe travelling and experiencing new cultures have been important parts to my personal growth.  I am very fortunate to have travelled extensively.  I have also met many people in countries where their dream is to leave their borders for an adventure yet their income will probably never allow this.

Going to India alone a lot of people described me as brave and said they wouldn’t do the same.  I too had my reservations to begin with but actually I found it thrilling and enriching.  India captured my heart in ways I never could have predicted. Finding yoga and its more spiritual side was so interesting. I used to associate yoga with primarily relaxation then fitness.  Learning the philosophy and discovering the connection between asana, body and mind left a lasting impression.

If I start to feel a little down on things I try my best not to dwell on it and look for the positives.  There are times I’ve felt negative and have to make a conscious effort to try and reconnect my positive way of thinking towards it.

By the end of my trip I felt mixed emotions on coming back to England.  I couldn’t wait to see my loved ones but I also felt a larger fear of ‘what if I have nothing and have to start from scratch?’.  I thought I would spend my time away figuring out some genius life plan, voyaging into new domains or something like that.  Instead I spent the best part of six months loving, living every moment at that time.

Yes it’s cliché but I learnt a lot about myself on this last trip. I learnt new things, I was inspired by people, humbled by lives and stories and above all darn grateful to be spending time doing what I love.

Being back in England I felt a rush to regain my feet and some momentum in my life.  I’ve always been fairly driven and worked since I was 13.  I like to keep the brain in gear and one big reality check was the money pot was empty, time to work.  I initially didn’t see myself back in London.  I had dreams of coastal living for a while.  But the pull of jobs that would stretch and teach me and my beautiful friends brought me back to this vast city.  The concrete jungle with glorious patches of green I seek to find.

I was described as impatient a little while ago.  I think this person, although said it not the best way, had a point.  I often do ‘want it all’ yet life changes and merges in mysterious ways.  I count myself extremely lucky to have wonderful family and friends who have offered me beds, sofas and warmth over these past three months.  I also have a brilliant exciting new job which breathes a welcome breath of fresh air into my career.

As my best friend said, ‘things will take time’.  I have kindness, open doors and opportunities all around me and that’s a whole lot to be positive about!  When the daily grind pulls at me I remember how far I have come in the past year and the great lessons I have learnt.

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Ganesha in the desert

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Beautiful

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