Drift, drift away

I don't want to do anything.

Not even write.

Not even cook.

I want to drift, drift, drift away .... slip away ... fall into the realms that exist within the realms, and into the the worlds between the worlds as they circle and slide and in tiny places collide.

I want to fall into those tiny places ... to be in another place.

My quickest way to access this drifting merging of time and space .... is to take my towel, something soft, anything ... and ... bikini on, so most skin can soak up the life-force rays .... 

I lie in the sun.

I don't want to read, think, talk ...

I just lie, close my eyes, drift off into the magic.

Every single time within a few seconds, I'm there.

There, here, wherever it is.

The light plays on my eyelids - today like the beginning of an old movie.

Somehow the chickens we had when I was a child are ruffling their golden brown feathers in my mind so clearly.

I open my eyes and it's all blue.

I close them and drift again, letting it all fall away.

The sun on my skin is pure goodness, soaking in.

I think I hear my sister's voice now, but I'm not sure what she's saying.

I think I see some words but I'm not sure what they are.

I'm tumbling, allowing, receiving.

The light plays across my eyelids.

I don't even think any more.

I don't even see pictures in my mind's eye any more.

I am at one, right here, just existing, not awake, not asleep ... in that corner of the worlds between worlds.

No words, nothing to do, nothing to be, just this.

Time and space are just concepts.

No thoughts, just this.

I don't know if stayed here for millennia, for seconds, time isn't even a thing.

And I open my eyes and I'm here again ... sleepy, golden-feathered, languid, warm ... that sense, knowledge of having been somewhere, drifted somewhere ... and back replenished.

Sunbathing is my fastest way to this beautiful flow zone, state, meditation, other worldly travel. 

Now ... drinking water, stretching ..... time to be here in this world again for a little while. 

Before I choose to drift, drift, drift away again.



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Be careful - no, be very specific - what you wish for

Three years ago I wrote THIS ....

It's about having wanted a garden, putting my name down for a local garden plot, and some years later getting to the top of the waiting list, getting my garden and realising I didn't enjoy it or choose to spend my time there.

At the time I wrote it, I was really writing about how we show by our actions and our choices what's really important to us, and that I wasn't choosing the garden.

And at the time, I still loved the idea of having this garden and thought that perhaps it just wasn't the right time for me ... so I went back on the waiting list.

And again at that time, I half suspected that I somehow just preferred being on the waiting list - so I could enjoy the anticipation of the garden and how next time I had it I would be totally at one with it, growing plants to pick to cook for dinner that same day (the way I enjoy it when I'm at my parents, where my dad gardens and there's the vegetables, the orchard, the fruit trees).

Anyway.

Here we are three years on and I got the key back to the gardens and my own little raised bed patch!

And again, I day-dreamed about picking the tomatoes and the herbs and the pak choi and all of it, ready to cook fresh that night for dinner.

Ahhhh AND IT'S SO OBVIOUS, ISN'T IT?

I was setting the wrong goal, asking for the wrong outcome for me, working towards the wrong dream!

I didn't want to garden and grow things.

I wanted to pick the freshest vegetables and salads and herbs and fruit to eat and cook with.

So I gave the key back again and despite being offered a return to the waiting list I said no this time.

At the same time, a part of the communal gardens where I live, was being turned from overgrown bushes into a beautiful space with raised beds, mostly for us all to help ourselves and enjoy the produce - a communal kitchen garden that I see every day when I look out the window.

I love watching it all grow - and I love taking a courgette, a handful of mixed salad leaves, a few tomatoes ... to make dinner.

So be careful what you wish for  ...

Or rather, be very specific about what you wish for!

Set a goal for having a garden and no doubt you'll get a garden.

But if you really wanted fresh produce from the garden, well, that's a different goal ... 


I've had this happen before - in another, very beautiful way - a different way, a different example but the same principle.

Several years ago, I set a goal, my DREAM to have a house on the beach.

I want to be able to be by the sea more often, to be able to walk out the door and be there on the beach - in my dream especially in winter, where it's empty, a huge beach to walk along, watching the waves and the surf, drinking in that air, hearing that crashing noise of the sea ... just being there and having that on my doorstep.

So there it was - my beach house dream.

I journaled and meditated and kept it in my mind's eye, I could SEE it ... and I changed my passwords so every day I'm typing and retyping 'mybeachhouse'.

420871_10150733424908035_1438036661_n.jpg

And then .... my sister and her family moved from where they were in a smaller house high on the cliffs above the sea to a much larger house right there, round the corner from the beach. They have spare rooms and one of the attic bedrooms I always feel is 'my room'.

I realised that I had it then, I had my 'beach house' by being able to stay with my family where they have room for me - any time really I want and I get to be with people I love too.

Without worrying about keeping a house looked after while I'm not there, without worry at all.

So it might not be 'my' beach house, but then again it is.

It's where I get to go and be on the beach - oh and yes it is exactly the beach of my dreams too.  It's where I love to go to walk and write and escape and dream - and chat and laugh and have fun too  - how perfect, how much more perfect really than it being just me.

I've realised I need to be specific about what my goals are if I want to achieve them.

I got 'my beach house' - just in a different way than I'd been imagining.

And I got the garden I wanted ... and realised it wasn't the garden in itself that I'd been after - it was the produce from the garden.

I really love these little lessons in being super-clear with myself exactly what it is that I want and dream of and choose to call in and bring to life.

Be very, very specific about what you wish for! 


Cooking for self-care

Sometimes I love cooking just for me and making it really beautiful and special.

Lots of 'unnecessary' washing up for instance as I toast sesame seeds in a pan to have in my green mango salad, and use a much bigger bowl to toss and massage the salad dressing into the salad itself.

Using the little plastic rice bowl so my rice is in this pretty shape and not just piled on the plate.

Spooning the hot and sour sauce over my salmon and then pouring the rest into a little dish in case I want more.

Rachel Redlaw cooking for self care

All these details ensure many more senses than just taste - or less than that just a satisfying of hunger - come into play.

It's beautiful and the act of preparing it is sensual - full of appreciation of the senses.

Cooking for myself - something nourishing, healthy, beautiful - is such a form of self love and self care.

And I believe that when we take this care when it's 'just' us - our subconscious minds and even our souls take note and just have a great big happy inhale ... and exhale ... and relax. 



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For when you don't even know what it is you want

I've been feeling a little lost this year, to be honest.

Nothing dramatic, but just ... unsure, and the strange feeling has been that I'm unsure of what I want. Of what I want to be, to do, to have, unsure of what I'm aiming for, or what my goals are.

And that in itself is what's making me feel a little lost as I'm usually very sure of my goals, no matter how often, how much they change - that's all fine - but I know what they are.

And I like to feel decisive as well, I like to feel sure - it's a combination that makes me feel good - feeling very sure, but at the same time very open to changing what it is I'm feeling sure about.

But for most of this year ... I don't know.

And now, sitting here on yet another gorgeous hot summer day, over the last couple of days of yet more gorgeous hot summer days ... I've come to realise something.

What I've been doing is fighting that feeling and willing myself, demanding of myself to just do it ... just DECIDE something, set a goal, anything - but just decide!

I kept trying - YEAH NOW I KNOW - I said time and time again.

I kept trying ... and I kept lying.

I didn't know.

It hasn't felt great and I've wrestled with it - how this TRYING and not somehow finding it makes me feel weak and indecisive and slow ...

I've blamed my indecision and lacklustre-ness for putting on a few pounds, for sleeping more, for writing less, creating less ... for FEELING less.

Last Friday I kind of got hit round the head (in a good way!) - with looking at it the other way round.

TWO clear messages in one day, when I'm ready to hear them - oh yes, I hear you!

First, there was the quote that morning on my Chrome Momentum - I can't actually remember it now and didn't take a note of it, which I find interesting in itself - it's like I GOT the message I needed to hear and didn't need to keep the message itself.

Later that day I read an email from James Altucher (sometimes I read his emails, sometimes I don't, so I know this one I was meant to) and it was all about his daily practices. Oh, and I just went back to find the email and I can't ... so seems again, the message is that which I GOT from it, not his message in and of itself.

Ah, but also trusting myself - not checking back what it was I saw and read, trusting in what I learned and realised. I'm pretty sure his email was about NOT having goals but having processes.

These two messages, in one day, and I feel like I've stumbled across something totally new for me - that it's not always having a goal, deciding to achieve it, eyes on the horizon and one foot in front of the other.

NO.  

Sometimes, it's not knowing but trusting in the practice.

Sometimes it's feeling lost, but choosing the process.

And so I used his framework to journal around what my own practices are ... for my Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual habits.

My own framework, my processes, that I trust if I (in the main) follow, then I will find my own path through, and that doing this is ENOUGH, in and of itself, it's enough - and I'm open to where it takes me and what it shows me.

There are goals and adventures all around me that I'm not even aware of and I'm trusting that trusting in the process (and I can change my processes at any time of course) .. will open up something exciting and magical ... goals will be met and dreams realised that I didn't even know I had.

Turning it on its head feels good and it's also immediately stopped me feeling lost.

I KNOW again what I'm doing and what I'm doing is NOT setting a goal, an outcome, a dream ... not right now.

Right now, I'm choosing my practices, processes, habits.

THESE are mine ... what are yours?

PHYSICAL: walk 10k steps a day - make time for my beloved yoga  - choose good food that nurtures and nourishes me and is aligned with where I am with choosing my happy weight - sleep around 11pm most nights.

I'm also going to be creating my dream body, step by tiny step, choice by tiny choice and choosing to WORK ON IT.

EMOTIONAL: cut out negative people who drag me down -spend time with and help those I love - be wholehearted - love myself in the same way - never feel I need to explain - I owe no-one an explanation.

MENTAL: journaling - write down 10 ideas a day - use my Duolingo app and keep learning a language - read something inspiring or do some of a course I'm taking or go back to something I've taken I'd like to go through again.

SPIRITUAL: meditation (keep using my Daily Calm) - read and learn more about Buddha's teachings and about philosophy - gratitude and forgiveness practice.

I'm feeling the best I've felt in a long while now that weight is off my shoulders of feeling I don't KNOW where I'm going or doing or what I want!

I choose to DO those things that make me feel great and see what comes up.

Everything will change again I know, but for now, this feels good - and freeing, and new. I'm interested to see what happens and what new ideas are now able to come to the surface.



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Thailand & me

You don't know how to love and you have nothing to give.

I will wait.

I will wait and show you the most beauty and I will watch - and you show the most ugly.

I will show you everything.

I will wait until you break.

I have all the time in the world.

Until you realise you can't break because there is nothing to break.

You are nothing, you give nothing.

I will wait and when you give and when you break, you will break here, into me, and I will hold you.

I won't rescue you.

I am everything. I see everything.

There is beauty in the ugly and strength in the weak and so much you didn't ever know about yourself.

You have to break, because you are holding it all in.

Pretending. You don't know who you are and really, you are nothing.

You haven't made yourself.

Here is where I show you everything and if you are the person I know you are, here you will break and make..

You will feel the mayhem caress you, the chaos calm you.

The noise and the heat and the smells start you alive.

And the beauty and calm will enrage you - and you won't know how to cope with it.

You're going to be broken open and only you - and I - know that right here that is ok.

I won't change for you - but I am here to absorb it all - and you can do this.

Right here you can be broken open - you can be wrong - you can be ugly - you can let it out.

You can't not let it out.

This isn’t new, it's not going to come out like pretty tears.

It's going to come out like death, destruction, anger, rage, remorse, revenge.

And love.

And I will still be here.

My tides going out, the stars above, that beauty, the truth.

You don't even know what's true, what's you, what's not true.

But here ... that doesn't matter.

That's exactly what you have to, want to, learn.

To become you.

You're selfish and scared.

That's fine.

I'll hold up the mirror for you.

Sometimes where you see beauty, I show you pain.

Sometimes you can't comprehend and yet I show you ease.

Here's phosphorescence - and you start to live in that moment in your body and just in that moment, nowhere else.

You're self obsessed and scared.

I know.

The sun rises at 7am and sets at 7pm and there is an order in the world.

There is complexity and hardship and this is not a comfortable place.

I will challenge you. I will break you.

You never thought you could.

You thought it was going to be picture postcard - and wondered why it wasn't an easy beauty.

It was so intense it felt strangely bland and it was all too hot, too noisy, too mad, too manic, too too too too too everything.

You wanted to cry, but you didn't.

You wanted to love me, but you didn't.

You steeled yourself because it was hurting you and you didn't understand why.

You resisted me.

You fought against. You tried to create order.

You tried to own.

You tried to make it about you.

And then you cried and you saw that you had no power.

That you didn't know where you were or who you are.

And so you tried out experiences, tried on extremes - you wanted to feel anything other than that which I was making you feel.

Which was YOU.

Some people don't get it. Some don't want to.

I'm proud of you.

You broke, you saw, you opened - and we became one.

I healed you as I broke you.

You became strong when you fell.

I will never change. I am the constant.

Here is not easy.

It is real.

And true.

And sometimes you didn't know what was true, what was me, what was you.

You started choosing and creating truth.

You made the phosphorescence.

And the squid boats on the horizon.

The jungle looking back impassive as you stand in the water.

You made the stars.

You made the sea.

You turned yourself inside out and back to front and confronted you to be home here with me.

We became as one. At one.

I am the land, the sea, the jungle, the people.

The love, the struggle, the hardship, the faith.

The truth, the power, the infinite goodness, the infinite strength and the infinite struggle.

We became one when you stopped resisting me, fighting against me, came back home.

Back home for the first time.

The lights, noise, heat, smells, food, traffic, people, mayhem and sheer wonder of the cities.

The blackness of the sea after a storm and the ravaged sand, and the blue skies and the grey, the angry seas and the still.

I hurt and cried and did things I wish I hadn't and I didn't do things I wish I had.

This is where I learned love and fear and strength and everything.

It is always coming home.

The untamed wilds of my heart came home.

The unnamed restlessness inside me stilled.

I am free.



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Kick 'comfortable' to the kerb, right now!

I haven't posted a blog post for over a month.

I feel it, I've been feeling it.  

Feeling I don't have anything to say, which feels really weird.

But I also know that this is a habit, that I usually choose to write and share and create whether I FEEL like it or not. 

That's been such a big one for me over the last few years - choosing how I WANT to feel rather than how I feel RIGHT NOW, so much that I thought I was in an automatic new habit of doing so.

But seems I have to keep creating that, keep choosing that, keep it in mind, journal, make that choice really a PART of who I am every.single.day - someone who does that.

And I 'never' get sick, but flu de-railed me a bit and then ...

I was better but not quite right.  Even before then I was feeling a bit quiet and not sure what I was doing here, what I wanted to say. 

That's kind of a different message but still part of the same. 

I felt quiet and suddenly unsure.

And then I got ill - only for a week or so - but it exacerbated all those feelings. 

Maybe that's exactly what I needed to feel and learn. I believe that's so. 

Because I started doing things that don't make me feel good overall - and also stopped doing - all the things that I love, that make me feel good, that keep me feeling YES.

And I realise now, that these aren't habits you just DO automatically - you have to continue to CHOOSE them.

I fell 'out' of habits very fast, and we all know that starting again is harder than continuing ... well, and we all know that it's actually though NOT harder really.

What it's all about is making a decision. After that, easy.

But I haven't been making that decision.

(Why does it feel hard to make that decision?)

I got flu and I got comfortable.

Well, why NOT spend more time with my adored, my family, my friends?

Why NOT take a 'break' (WHAT? from doing what your soul wants you to do?!) ... from writing, sharing, engaging?

Why NOT retreat? And go quiet. And sit on the sofa and read. 

Why NOT feel comfortable?

Hang out, watch Netflix, cook for friends, go for coffee, go for wine.

Eat a little more, put on some weight.

It's good, right? It feels good to have this time to just kick back, relax, feel comfortable, sleep more.

ACTUALLY, FOR ME? NO, IT DOESN'T.

It feels a slugging settling.

It feels not choosing me, my dreams, my life.

It feels like hiding, switching off - and not in a good 'retreat and rejuvenate' way.

It feels like a slowness.

It feels like I lost the power to choose.

I feel like I'm not actually CHOOSING this.

When I choose HOW I want to feel and be and what feels great ... and this isn't it.

So ... back to the ONLY hard part of ANYTHING you choose and desire.

Making a commitment and a decision. That YES you choose this.

It's been interesting in a way, watching somehow myself from the outside how easy it's been for me to slip into 'comfortable'.

And how I feel (SO MUCH) that this is not good for me, not right for me, not who I am or want to be.

Not who I choose to be.

I want to feel lit up, inspired, energised, creative, full of ideas.

I suspect I haven't posted because I've created this comfort that blankets me from the ideas.

No more lolling, watching something that doesn't add to my life. Not right now, anyway.

No more allowing the creep .... of slowness, dullness, weight gain, lack of ideas. 

I choose to go for it again ... open up to it, no more hiding and creeping around.

No more stillness.

The stillness that comes from hiding and not moving - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. 

That results in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual weight gain and comfort blankets and a layer of insulation from ... what?

NOT from the world after all. 

From MYSELF.

I choose to be again, move again, create again, be the ME I want to be.

No more 'comfortable'. 

Dulled, slow, unsure.

Step back out into the light ... that spotlight you sometimes don't know is even on but yet follows you to shine on you.

I choose to shine again. DECIDE.  Shed the comfort blanket. 

Stretch and rise and BE.

I've felt it, feel it, don't want it. And now I DECIDE.

You can ALWAYS make another choice, another decision. 



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The only certainty is change

Everything changes.

All the time. Over and over.

Flip flop, there it goes.

Someone changes their mind, or finally speaks up that's it not for them - this show, this book, this LIFE ...

And flip flop - over and over it rolls yet again.

Change bringing change bringing more change.

You think you're set for life? Or this month? Term?

No one is.

One day it flips and flops over again.

Someone is brave enough to say they don't want this, don't want YOU ... any more.

YOU are brave enough to say - it's not what I thought it would be ... and have to say so.

One day, one day.

These are the hardest things ever to say. To do.

Change is hard.

Hurting people is hard.

(Continuing to hurt ourselves is somehow easier).

Saying what you've realised you HAVE to do - that your heart and soul wants you to do is fucking hard.

It usually - short term - hurts everyone.

Because we hold on.

If and when humans, us, can embrace movement and change, it will become easier.

For now, most of us equate change to hurt and loss rather than opportunity and excitement.

Equally we tend to see stability as safe and good rather than stultifying and sluggish.

Maybe it's not, for you.

Energy can come from every energetic equation.

Even when we are still .... and happy.

That's the whole point.

We can be still and remain still.

Thinking that will keep us the same.

Nothing will keep us the same.

Flip flop.

If it's not you - it'll happen anyway - and you'll change anyway.

Nothing stays the same.

And change doesn't mean the end.

It means often the start of a new and wonderful journey.

Change with your loved ones, change you, change your focus, change your plans.

Be nimble, be ready, be open.

The only certainty is change.

Flip flop.

Here we go.



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Step into the spotlight // be the star

Turn the lights up. 

Step into the spotlight, the spotlight of your life.

What even IS this? How can it even be possible to play a bit part in one's own life?

Here I am drifting around in the wings, sometimes making a walk-on appearance, every now and then a few lines.

Ooh, I got a speaking part.

What the ACTUAL?! 

A bit fucking part in my own freaking LIFE?!!

I am casting director, I am director, I am screen-writer. I am the LEAD.

But oh no, here I am sneaking around backstage hoping not to be seen.

NOPE.  It doesn't work like that.

Get out there, in front of the spotlights. Go and be amazing. 

You only have to be amazing at being you, at the being the lead in your own life.

Write the story, improvise, make it up as you go along.

But be the STAR.

Stop people-pleasing, playing to the crowd, wondering what they want you to be.

Waiting for a ripple of applause, a laugh or two.

It's not about them. 

Do you think it's hilarious, cool, fun, exciting ... are you just drawn to it?

Well, do that.

Stop shadowing around .. no one is every going to come into your life, and pull you from understudy to star, ANOINT you in some way.

Stop wasting time.

Life is happening right now.

You are the star. Go and shine.

Make that call, write the letter, apply for the job, cut your hair, ride a horse, catch a wave, do the thing. 

Do your thing.

And that's it. This is it.

Today ... I'm casting myself as the star of my show, this life, my life.

No more hiding in the shadows. Time to step out, step up, step in. 

I'm ready to take the lead role in my life.

CURTAIN UP!



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Rip it up and start again

Well, hey again, inner jukebox ... that ALWAYS gives me in songs and tunes what I'm thinking.

Rip it up and start again.

I HAVE been thinking about this too.  Been feeling stagnant, wondering why.

I'm doing what I love, I'm writing and cooking and have my supperclub ... and my goals and plans and even BIG dreams... 

BUT ... 

Why am I feeling stagnant and slow?

Why am I choosing to spend time reading, watching Netflix, going to bed earlier, sleeping more?

Is this good?

I tell myself it's good.

I tell myself that I'm doing what I love and now I get to also sleep more, read more, be a bit slower.

I feel stagnant and a little lost to be honest.

I don't know why everything that used to excite me - I still love - but I'm not excited.

I'm not full of adrenaline and ideas, wanting - no, not able to NOT stay up, write it NOW, do it NOW ... 

I tell myself that's good.

I was always reckless, I'd destroy things to make myself go back to the start.

I'm comfortable with nothing, with crisis, with emergency.

I tell myself I'm just adapting to how it feels when it's good.

I sleep more, I'm slower, I'm eating more, I'm writing less.

I love reading, sleeping, cooking, journaling - I feel very ... moderate. Grounded. Content.

I tell myself that's good.

And then I get honest with myself - maybe yesterday, the day before, maybe today, but it's been brewing.

IT'S NOT ME.

It's not me to be moderate, considered, in 'balance'. To work out the hours I 'need' to sleep, but yet completely distance myself from seeing that I'm not writing.

How much do I 'need' to write? To create? To BE ME.

Content? Or stagnant?

I only 'found' me a few years ago, and now I'm shutting myself in this box? 

I don't want to sleep and read and dream and doze. 

Well, sometimes maybe.

I want to be alive with everything that is springing out of me and that I cannot NOT obey.

Yep, it's tiring and yes ... THIS ... you can't just keep doing what you do.

Yes, I 'found' myself and my voice.

But what next? What next?

Without new and more and pushing and pulling and fighting and flowing and BEING ... 

What, I'm going to do THESE 'new' things forever? Now I've 'found' me and them, that's what I do, that's it?

Oh, no, it doesn't get to be comfortable like that.

Because comfortable is feeling stagnant and dull and ... where have the urgent ideas gone, the excitement gone?

Because I haven't been open to the next idea, the next thing, to KEEP ON DOING THIS.

It's not a one-off. You don't get to stop there.

Well, you can do, but isn't that feeling like it all was before we did this thing, this thing of being true and open and GOING WITH IT.

So, I'm here again.

Getting fatter, sleeping too much, all too comfortable.

Time to shake it off, shake it out and be open to the ideas floating ...

Reach up, as if to a leaf falling from a tree, or a star from the sky, GRAB IT.

So many ideas, things ... I don't have to stay the same, no matter how 'good' that currently it.

I need new, I need to keep doing it.

I'm actually smiling the hugest smile as I type this.

And start again.

Rip it up and start again.

LET'S GO.



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A new year + a new energy = BEAUTY

I wasn't going to have a word, an intention, this year.

I first chose a  word for the year back in 2013, the year I changed my life, the year I became for the first time conscious, aware that it was entirely up to me to take responsibility for my life, for deciding what I wanted it to be and to creating that.  

It was April really that year that it all became clear that this is what I had to do - so I gave in my notice at the job that really wasn't for me at all and was making me ill, and found another which would give me time and breathing space to see what else I wanted to do ... and the word ALIVE just gave itself to me.

It literally was as important as that, I felt that I had come alive, at last.

Only a few months later it was the start of 2014 and again, the word just came to me.  It was BOLD and it was a perfect word for that time as I was so excited to see what I wanted to do and where I was going and to try things out and see what felt right - I needed some boldness to start doing different things - blogging more and also starting my supperclub, The Tiniest Thai in London.

It felt good, creative, a rush of being alive and bold and all this lovely free-flowing energy, like being rushed down a river, but staying upright with ease, surfing life.

And 2015 - well, I just couldn't wait for it!  I felt a gathering momentum and that it would be the most amazing year and leaping point into something huge ... but I didn't settle on a word, nothing quite felt right ...

I tried out, tried on ... SOAR, PLAY, ACTION ... but nothing felt right and sometimes 2015 felt a struggle - like I was pushing too much, had expected so much.  Towards the end of the year I thought perhaps DISCOVER or EXPERIMENT was more what the year had been about.

I'm wasn't sure any more that it felt right to me to set a word for a calendar year and to process things like this.

It feels a little rigid and as though I'm putting rules somehow around things ...

I set the intention of GRACE for 2016 and it took right through until the last quarter of 2017 (yep, I carried over this word into another year) until I felt at one with GRACE.

But what a huge change it has been - one of stepping into a way of feeling of being, rather than doing. One that needed that time and 2017 in particular felt a time of BECOMING and of BEING.

I spent a lot of time during 2017 travelling to Norfolk regularly to visit my mum, who's bedbound with heart failure and kidney failure. I visit on a Saturday every three weeks or so, a round trip of 6-7 hours.  She reads suspense novels and I go out to get anything she fancies eating as she can't get it for herself of course. 

I sit on the train watching the seasons change over the Fens, thinking about life, death, my grandparents, my childhood, the big wheel of history as the train rushes in a straight line under that big sky.

I have done less writing, and the supperclubs have taken a back seat.

I have felt more at one with the seasons, and I have been feeling conscious about pacing myself, thinking more about my health and not to get too tired - of prioritising what is important for me to do. This is new for me, to have this consciousness as I've always just run at things and relied on my strength and health to carry me through, not thinking at what cost.

I have felt quieter and more gentle, and I realised towards the end of the year that I felt stronger too for being so.  

Feeling everything that swirls around, just out of reach, like something half dreamt, like dust motes in the sun out of the corner of your eye, like a fleeting memory, a kind of nostalgia, a fragment of thought, of everything that one is, we just ARE.

I did a lot less doing and lot more being.

And stepping into being rather than doing, felt like a state of grace to me. A surrender and a trust.

It feels that the intention of grace had to become a part of me ... saw me choosing to spend my energy and time on what nurtures me rather than what drives me.

It's felt a mini-hibernation in some ways, anchoring in some habits of journaling and of yoga, of sleeping and reading more, an odd sense of knowing the way ... allowing that to be what it is.  

Where am I going? I light the way for myself.

Things are softer and kinder. Without rules and without processes.

A new way of being that doesn't need the beginning and end of the year to denote a new stage in itself.

But then again .... it does.

I watch the seasons change and feel at one with that rhythm of nature, at one with the old ways. I've been remembering how much from childhood I was fascinated with learning about natural remedies and medicines, about magic and ritual and healing, and I've started sharing some of this knowledge ... just a little, just when it feels right.

I've spent more time reading and learning about something I've always been interested in, numerolgy.  

It's so fitting too for everything I've been feeling .. to learn about the energy of the year from its number ... and 2018 has the energy of the Master number 11 (2+0+1+8 = 11) ... 'my' number too with my birthday being 11/11.

And there it is then.

I do after all return to the beginning and end of a year, to the rhythm of life rather than a process and I am called to set a vibration rather than an intention or a word, to flow with the energy of this year.

That vibration swirls around me as a shawl of magic, of remembrance, of purpose, of comfort, of safety, of strength, of an old lamp on the end of a stick, shining a path through the snow, the dark earth, the daffodils, the warm sandy beach, the crunch of leaves that then fall and through the whole cycle again.

This year's vibration - as the year's energy will ebb and flow - I surround myself with and choose to seek out and to see and be at one with ... BEAUTY.


There is tons of information about numerolgy and about the energy of this year, but here's just a couple of features/resources I found interesting and helpful.

THIS one - the overall theme of 2018 is love.

And HERE for a really comprehensive look. I had already settled on BEAUTY before reading this and love that 11 = Shambhala. 

'The word ‘Shambhala’ resonates to the Master Number 11 in numerology… and is the perfect word to help us embrace the greater potential of our Universal 11 Year.

Shambhala is a sanskrit word that roughly translates to a place of peace, tranquility & happiness.  Each of us has the FREEDOM in our hearts/minds to choose to experience Heaven here on Earth, a place of Shambhala.   We have the choice to live our lives being kind to one another, to live in harmony with the Earth and in service to something greater than us. 

Our Universal 11 Year is our wakeup call to remember Shambhala, to remember how beautiful the world feels when we experience our lives through our hearts and how when we choose to create Shambhala in everything we do we awaken the best in ourselves and inspire others to do the same.'



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What makes me feel ... ?

What makes me feel strong?

What makes me feel serene?

What makes me feel grounded?

What makes me feel creative?

What makes me feel connected to the Universe, Spirit, God? 

I've been asking myself these questions and journaling each morning on them for a week or so now, and my answers - well, there are definite patterns, things that come up, the same answers again and again.

Some only show up once or twice, sure, but ... 

If I want to feel and be these things that I want to be?

Strong, serene, grounded, creative, connected to the world and its source.

Then I'm prioritising making space for:

* yoga

* being outdoors in nature, preferably the beach

* a surprising one for me as I don't need a lot of sleep - but I know how strong and good I feel when I do sometimes get 7 hours, so that's definitely going on the list

* writing

* cooking

* making great food choices and really choosing to nourish myself

* reading

* getting a massage

* having a clean and serene house

I was surprised at some - ok, mainly how much having a clean home environment means to me. but it gives the feeling of space and freedom and is the foundation from which I then feel inspired to do all the other things.

But now that I know the things that give me so much - so much - and create how I want to feel and be?

Well, these are the things I'm now prioritising in 2018 - whether I 'feel' like them or not.

And if I don't have time ... er, I do have time, I just need to prioritise these things above other things.

It's taken me a couple of weeks to think about this one, mull it over, let it brew, journaling day after day.

And it seems actually - for me to feel and be strong, serene, at one with the world, happy and creative - I just need to allow these things that make me feel that way be important.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to do this simple exercise too - and would love to know what your things are that you'll be making space and time for this year.

Happy New Year everyone x



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Why do I blog, why do I want to share?

I'm not sure any more, right now.

I'm not sure why I'm blogging and why I share, or wanted to share, or what it's for.

Is it just for me, in which case I can journal more?

Am I writing for my book?

Or is it just because I can't NOT?

Well, that's what I used to think and was impelled to do, immediately, often.  Something would just make me get up - sometimes out of bed at night - and WRITE it out that second.

And I'm getting the same compulsion but without the feeling that it has to be shared too ... oh what IS this all about?

Doubts doubts doubts doubts.

I don't know why ... does my writing help anyone, does it just help me?

DOES it help me to share - I thought to - it was like I couldn't stop writing when the words just came - and the words did just come sometimes in fully formed sentences.

I don't know.

Is this part of the same change these last couple of months - calmer, softer, quieter .... and what is it I need to do and be.  

My stepping into and being and living graceful, playful.

ME.

I don't know but I'm sharing this now, because sharing was my compulsion and now that the things I'm being called to write and think about are quieter, softer and I'm not sure if I want to share ...

Maybe right now when I question it ...

Maybe I DO need to continue to just write it out and ... 

Press publish.  

Share. 
 



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When the boots fit ... or don't ...

Yesterday I met a friend for a walk around the lovely market near where I live and stopping for a glass of wine and to chat and plot some very exciting ideas for the new year.

But I digress :)

She's also a member of the Thai Diet Movement and was wearing a beautiful pair of Dubarry boots .... that she had bought THREE years ago but was only wearing for the first time as this is the first time they fitted comfortably around the calves.

It's these seemingly small things that chip away at us, that make us uncomfortable in our own bodies and in our skins, that make us feel ... well, feel horrible ... that we can't even wear a great pair of boots.

I completely get this one too - it reminded me of some years ago when I was bought as a present some pink wellies that I'd really wanted ... and when I put them on I couldn't get them over my calves.

I had to cut down the backs to make more room for my legs. It doesn't feel good at all.

But it feels so good when you start getting happy in your skin, pulling those boots on without even thinking or worrying, or pulling them on only SO far before they're tight and uncomfortable ...

We celebrate ALL these 'small' things for the huge things they are in the Thai Diet Movement.

It's all about simple principles and recipes and ideas that change our relationship with food and with our bodies forever as we consciously choose, create and celebrate each individual happy weight.

The Thai Diet opens again with a whole new fresh look and feel and all sorts of new things in January 2018 ... and I'm excited to be working on it ready to share with you in the new year.

If you want to know more just pop your details in the sign-up form below so I can send you all the info as soon as it's ready to share.

And honestly, these simple steps have had and are having big results for so many of us in the group ... it's like something switches off in your head and also ON ... and it becomes not only easy, but fun too.



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Tiniest Thai Talks To // Ruth Ridgeway

TT: Hey Ruth - let's just  dive straight in!

You're someone who does a lot of different things - writing, designing, photography, coaching and mentoring, and of course created The Lifestyle Designers Club (which I love being a part of) but it seems to me there's  a common thread of simplicity and mindfulness and creating moments and things of beauty.

I've noticed that your food photos  are also very beautiful and have a lovely simplicity to the look of them.

Would you agree? Can you tell us a bit more about your philosophy of life?

And is that also your philosophy when it comes to food too?

RR: I'd totally agree with you, although I didn't notice at first.

Seeing the simplicity in the food I enjoy only came when I started sharing some of the meals I ate, and how simple they always looked on the plate.

But you're right, I'm definitely a LESS IS MORE kinda person.

If it's on my plate - or for design, if it's on my website, or tee, or stationery -  it's going to be put and placed there for a reason.

I like everything to have SPACE to be fully enjoyed and appreciated, and when it comes to food, every flavour enjoyed fully.


Has how you eat changed over your life, and if so, can you share how? 

YES, big time! 

I was the fussiest (and slowest) eater as a kid. I mainly ate processed foods and sweets, I'd turn my nose up at most fruit and veggies. 

Now, totally different story.

Sure I'll have a take out from time to time, but I prefer most of my foods now REAL and as fresh as can be, for example I love going to the farmers market on a Sunday where there's not a single processed food in sight!


What are your food memories growing up? What did you really love? 

Honestly, I don’t really have any. My food memories and habits aren’t good or productive ones.

Enjoying food has become a learned thing through life, mainly starting when I was twenty or so...

Is food an important part of your life now?

Yeah it is. I see it so differently now and definitely believe you are what you eat.

I only have one body so I want to take care of it as best I can, and give it the best most nutritious foods I can.

Do that mean I'm 'perfect' and just eat avocados and kale?

No way, but I do try and east mostly fresh, real and organic food (and enjoy the other bits on occasion).


What do you choose to eat when it's just you - when you're cooking for yourself? 

Something on toast!

But again, with 'real' fresh from the bakers bread. Top it with scrambled eggs, some mushroom, bacon, homemade guacamole...

Well, that's a happy me.


What are some of your favourite foods?

I LOVE smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, served with a generous grind of fresh black pepper and squeeze of lemon juice.

I also love having a great big bowl of veggies, my fave being a bowlful of sweet potato fries served with green beans and tender broccoli cooked on a grill pan with nothing more than a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Simple, but so good. If I'm feeling indulgent I'll top it with some blue cheese or feta. 


Do you enjoy cooking? 

I do it it’s simple and quick and I get a tasty meal at the end.

It’s not my thing to spend HOURS in the kitchen.

What's the best meal you've ever had? 

I have two.

One in New Zealand, I think it was the day after I arrived. I was tired and jet lagged and found some sweet bread (similar to Chelsea buns) from one of the supermarkets and devoured it in one of the parks on the way back to the hostel, too tired to wait - and it was something just about being there, and feeling free, with the whole trip ahead of me and adventures still to come...

It felt good and exciting (and delicious) despite how tired I was. 

Another with my guy the first time we went to our favourite restaurant - Bully's in Cardiff. The food was good but was just laughed and laughed and laughed the whole night. 

To be fair, a tonne of my best meal memories are about the good food, but also about the company and laughter shared over it.

ruthxo.com
Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 17.59.54.png
http://bullysrestaurant.co.uk/

Have you a favourite food writer, blog or cookbook you'd recommend?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorraine-Pascales-Fast-Fresh-Easy/dp/0007489668/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=A7WN7NC4F39FQWAVJX81

I LOVE Lorraine Pascale's book Fast, Fresh and Easy.


And is there somewhere local to you that's a real insider find you'd recommend anyone visiting the area just has to try? 

Bully's in Cardiff!

Also, in one of the arcade's there's an Indian Street Food place called 3B's, that's REALLY good too!


And now I just want to ask .. .you do such a variety of things - is there such a thing as a typical day for you and what does that look like?

Hmmmn, I'm not sure I have a totally 'typical' day.

I try and time block certain things as much as possible (my head goes crazy crazy if I'm darting all over the place switching from task to task), but it depends what project I'm working on at the time.

Right now I'm creating a new week long workshop which is taking place in December, so today went like this:

- Register for two new Trademarks over breakfast

- After getting dressed and ready, head down to the sea (which I'm fortunate to have at the bottom of my garden) to record the workshop videos

- Once recorded, drive to the local coffee shop for a couple hours of work

- Come home, have lunch with my guy

- Host a live call with the members of The Lifestyle Designers Club

- Dinner of pasta before unwinding for the night. 


Just for fun - what are a few of your favourite things?

Hugs with my guy

Good food and/or cocktails with friends, with plenty of laughter and conversation

Time to myself

Thai massages

Wandering bookstores

Going to the Farmers' Market on Sundays


Finally ... what are you most excited about right now?

Can I pick two? (I'm allowing myself two).

A break away with my guy over Xmas...

Nothing but food, wine, me, him, and... blissfully nothing else. 

And second, my upcoming Unapologetic Living workshop! It's a word I embraced in 2016 and totally changed my life, so I can't wait to pass it on to others and see what it brings for them :)


Oh, and of course - what recipe are you sharing with us?

I think we got the drift about I love things on a good slice of wholemeal toast. THIS is one of them, preferably with a crispy fried egg.

My chunky homemade guacamole.

I REALLY love this! I've made it three times in the last week or so alone (yep, these ones are my pics).


Ruth's Unapologetic Living 2018 free workshop starts tomorrow - so there's still time to join me there if you'd like to! 

And of course I know you know I only recommend things I personally truly love - and I love being a member of both the free workshops and a paid-up member of the Lifestyle Designers Club.

It's an incredible program and wonderful community and I'd recommend it anyway - but I do want you to know that if you also sign up to it that I may receive a bonus for recommending it.



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A Whitstable weekend

So, a weekend away with my love ...

One in which I also fell in love.  With Whitstable.

Our Airbnb was perfect - exactly as described and absolutely ideal.

Right by the harbour.  

A little bit quirky, eclectic, perfect.

Rachel Redlaw whitstable
Rachel Redlaw whitstable
Rachel Redlaw Whitstable

Oh, and seafood!  I love fresh seafood.

Love being by the sea, wandering around the harbour and exploring.

The weather was such an unexpected bonus, but I know I'd love it just as much in the winter too, wrapping up against the sea winds and ending a walk in a cosy pub.


Rachel Redlaw Whitstable
Rachel Redlaw Whitstable
Rachel Redlaw Whitstable

Rachel Redlaw Whitstable
Rachel Redlaw Whitstable
Rachel Redlaw Whitstable

I love being outdoors, connecting with the seasons.

I love being able to walk to get everything we need - and here in just a few streets are supermarkets, farmers' markets, places to eat and drink, interesting individual and independent shops.

We didn't even cook!

I know - me not cooking?!

Nope, we ate out every meal which included a good Saturday night curry and a Sunday brunch of oysters at the harbour.


And within a short drive so much to explore (next time) ... Canterbury, Margate, more of the coast.

We did stumble across Botany Bay - idyllic in this sunshine, to lie on the beach and watch the blue, blue sky, the happy dogs playing around, the little white cliffs.

Rachel Redlaw Whitstable
Rachel Redlaw Whitstable

I wondered yet again, even as we drove away, why I haven't  come here before!

I now know because the time for us (me and Whitstable) to meet was right NOW.

Utterly perfect.

I'm already planning the next trip. And the next after that.

One of them is going to be a rendezvous just me and Whitstable - at only an hour and 15 on the train from London right into the town, it's going to be a perfect little writing retreat ...



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4 years since starting this blog ... starting creating my life ...

Four years ago last Saturday was the day I started my blog.

It looked terrible (and I knew it, but I'd never blogged before, never tried to do this, and I couldn't make it look how I wanted. So I let that go).

It was called Racey's Thai Cooking (Racey's a family nickname).

 And this was a year and a bit on! I kept adding content, even though I was stuck on how to make it look good.

And this was a year and a bit on! I kept adding content, even though I was stuck on how to make it look good.

It was the first time I'd written something that wasn't an email or report or a presentation in YEARS (and years and years).

And it was the start of a total passion - sharing recipes, food, writing, that has lead to so many other things - including creating The Tiniest Thai supperclub and the Thai Diet ... and lead to meeting so many new friends.

It was terrifying pressing publish that first time.

My writing didn't flow.

I honestly worried people would laugh at me.

I thought maybe I should have posted a few recipes/posts/blogs before announcing I was doing this - not 'launch' it with just that one post.

But what felt right to me then - and has done ever since - is to SAY you're doing something .... and then you kinda have to DO IT.

I'm better with a deadline and/or some accountability!

It was also a time in my life where I'd made a huge decision to focus on creating space to find what I loved doing.

At the same time, it was in many ways one of the loneliest times in my life - where I realised that it was down to ME and only me - to create what I wanted, to create my life.

And. THANK YOU.

Thank you to everyone for not only not laughing (why do we even have those stupid thoughts?) but for supporting and encouraging and even - a million more THANK YOUs - trying my recipes and commenting and sharing - and coming to my supperclub.

To celebrate four years, I'm going to be doing a couple of celebration supperclub/parties - on me of course - so comment or message me if you'd like to come (and if you've been before I'll be messaging you to invite you. Soon as I've worked out what dates I can actually do).

It's been a truly transformational four years.

When I started blogging it was about something much bigger than blogging.

It was starting again - choosing to do something just because I wanted to and wanted to do something creative.

Something that was in me but hadn't had any outlet at all.

And it has been - and IS - something much bigger than that for me.

It's truly been life changing to see what happens when you choose what you really want to do and make time and space for that - and then see all the opportunities and connections and things you couldn't even see or think would happen... come from that.

Just start. Totally imperfect and scared.

Whatever it is that's calling you, nagging inside you.



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Make sure YOU'RE in your dreams

I realised I do this.  Or rather, didn't do it.

Didn't add to my goals, dreams, 'perfect day' journaling ... well, I didn't add ME.

I was missing from it!

Me, physically (and ok emotionally too actually) ME.

I was missing.

How can I create my dreams, achieve my goals, dream into creation that perfect day ... if I'm not in them?

If I'm not also at one with me, with myself, happy in my own skin?

If I don't know how that feels, or how I want it to feel?

How can you live a dream life in a body you don't feel is your home?

And actually, domino effect, small actions, small things creating big ones?

Dream big ... and start with finding peace with your body.

It's easy, and it's necessary.

You cannot live a 'perfect' life without being at one with yourself - and that includes feeling good in your skin - WHATEVER that feels like for you.

I believe it's a powerful and easy way to start - you decide, you choose, you see results, you're inspired and you start to BELIEVE.


I was talking with a friend the other night and realised something so important.

We often FORGET to think about our physical selves - or ourselves at all for that matter - when we're thinking about our lives and goals and ambitions and dreams.

We think about the jobs we want, the relationships we're calling in, the creativity we'll share, the places we'll live ...

All those artists, all those beach houses, all those fulfilled lives and all those dreams written down, made goals, made real.

But you know what's missing?

YOU.

The real, actual, physical YOU.

We so easily disconnect with our bodies ... and almost forget about them.

As IF you can create your dreams without also being totally at ONE in your dream body too.

THAT you, me, us .. in the dream life ....

Don't forget to put YOURSELF into the dream.

Not just into it. Into the HEART of it.

You're happy just as you are? That's brilliant. SAY SO.

Don't let your body, health, wellbeing, how you FEEL in YOU not be a part of the big, big dreams.

It's pivotal.

It's important.

When dreaming, setting goals, writing out those perfect day journaling exercises ... do NOT forget to put yourself in them.

Your perfect day begins with feeling comfortable in your own skin, surely, luxuriating in just being YOU, at one with yourself (WHATEVER that looks like for you).

I think it's too easy to forget this - and I believe that firstly it's powerful to consciously add YOURSELF into your dreams.

I also believe in the domino effect, small changes creating big shifts.

And - no matter what you might be telling yourself - feeling at one again in your skin, losing weight if that's what's going to feel good and right to you, is KEY to then also creating all of the rest of the things.

Yep, and actually easier.

It's a perfect starting point. Start consciously choosing, creating, feeling happy in your skin.

Results happen fast .. both physically and mentally.

Don't dream big ... without YOU being in the dream.



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I see you. I am you. I believe in you.

I see you.

I see you, feeling like maybe it's too late, you're too old ... mourning the body you didn't appreciate when you were younger.

Wondering if actually, maybe you'll never in your life be happy and comfortable in your skin.

As we were as children when we and our bodies were one - when our life was a physical one and we climbed trees and played and ate and ran and slept and did it all so easily.

Wondering if it's now inevitable.

Is it too late? Is this just how it is? 

We've been having good lives, eating good food and yes, over the years, putting on the weight.

And now ... it feels like maybe it's too late. That this will keep happening, and maybe that's just how it is.

It's inevitable ... 

I'm here to say I see you.

I was exactly the same. I was scared, actually, really scared that it was too late and that not only would I not be able to lose the weight and feel happy again in my body, but in fact the weight would now just keep creeping on.

And I'm here to say NO, that's not true.

Not only that, but that when I made the decision to face the facts, get on the scales - and then the decision that I WAS going to lose the weight?

Well, you might not believe me when I said after that it was easy.

But it was. 

The hard bit, the really scary bit, was that decision ... the decision not to keep letting it creep on, not to keep hiding from it but to come out and SAY IT.

I'm unhappy at this size.

I'm uncomfortable.

I don't feel at one in my skin.

I'm scared.

After that ... it was easy.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 22.19.20.png

I felt back in control - and that's a huge thing.

And I saw results fast - tiny results, sure, but results - and that's so motivating.

I didn't want to go on a diet, not me who loves cooking and food.

I realised I could create my own - that all these years of cooking and of reading and studying cooking and nutrition ... I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

And that's how the Tiniest Thai diet (named after my supperclub, The Tiniest Thai in London) - based on easy principles of a Thai-inspired way of eating came about.

It's for us. 

Women probably in their forties or fifties, who love cooking and eating ... who would never want to go on a restrictive, bland, temporary 'diet' (again).

This time, something changed in me - and in those who've joined the Thai Diet Revolution - and I've lost the weight for ever - and somehow, slowly, at last changed my relationship with food and eating forever.

In a way that means I still love both food and eating.

So, I see you.  

And I believe in you and know you can do this too.

If you choose.


PS. We are LIVE again!

Come and join the Thai Diet Revolution - we start another live 8-week program on Monday 11 September!



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Paris je t'aime ... 2 nights in Paris

I went with my niece .... just for two nights.

To get some Paris.  I needed Paris, she needed Paris. 

I think a little piece of all our hearts remains in Paris - however mad it sounds, even if we've never been .. you know it when you get there, there's always a little sense of coming home.

We wanted Paris and we wanted Montmartre and the little apartment was perfect, on the top (fourth) floor, on the Rue Muller which leads to the steps which lead to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. 

Steak haché
Rachel Redlaw Paris

The Sacré-Cœur. I cry every time I light a candle there and feel the overwhelming sense of history turning. Those candles that never go out, that each light another, as lives light other lives. I think of history, of people gone before, of my place in the world, my place right here in this place in the world.

There's no getting away from the fact that we live in times that are tense too - the day we arrived there had been another terror attack on soldiers in Paris.

It makes you feel the hand of history even more, I think, and the emotions of the fragility of life and the endurance too.

The Sacré-Cœur is breathtaking and overwhelming and also brings such a sense of peace.

There is a service taking place and the nuns sing and we take seats and stay to breathe it all in, take it all in, take these moments.

Steak haché
Rachel Redlaw Paris

We go back the next day too, to take it all again and carry that essence with us, before we leave.

In the mornings, I stick my head out the little skylight window above the bed in the mezzanine bedroom where you can't stand up straight and see the Sacré-Cœur again.

And we go to the 'Amelie' cafe, Cafe des Deux Moulins and, bien sur, had the crème brûlée (after my niece has camembert with honey and thyme, and I have steak tartare), and we both have red wine.

We stay up talking over bread and wine and cheese from the very good supermarket just five minutes walk away.

Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris

We go out for fresh bread and croissants first thing and to sit with a coffee in the sunshine, before returning for breakfast chez nous.

Later when it rains we choose one of the many gorgeous-looking bistros - Le Sancerre - on the Rue des Abbesses and journal and write companionably together over French onion soup (her) and oysters with a glass of Sancerre (me).

Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris

When the sun is out we browse and walk and discover ... from the huge fabric shop Le Marche St Pierre to peeping into the Museum of Montmartre and the Renoir Gardens to choosing macarons in the most beautiful little shop.

Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris

We walk and walk and walk - and up and down so many flights of steps!

Usually the app on my phone shows 3-4 flights of steps climbed every day, sometimes up to 8 or 9 ... in Montmartre it was 48 flights one day and 37 the next!

We walk to my favourite restaurant for dinner - Bouillon Chartier - after queuing as always to get in, we love the bustle and noise and people-watching.

And the escargots, bread, steak haché and frites ... and all at such incredible value.

Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris
Rachel Redlaw Paris

One last evening walk for a last cocktail sitting outside as it grows dark and one last walk down the iconic steps back to the apartment.

We don't want to leave ... but at just a 15 minute walk to the Gare du Nord and the simplest journey on the Eurostar back to St Pancras, agree not to leave it so long before returning.

After all, a little piece of my heart lives here.



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If you don't choose your habits, they'll choose you

If you don't consciously decide what you want, consciously create your life?

Guess what?

Yep. Life happens anyway.

And like many things, maybe it's easier to start small, rather than big, like, well, LIFE.

Smaller things get you into the HABIT of creating what you want and achieving them and building that practice.

Small things add up to become big things (I know you know this, I'm not being patronising, just thinking out loud).

And talking of habits, habits are a great place to start.

If you don't consciously choose your habits ... guess what?

Your habits will choose - and define, BECOME you. Part of you.

What you do and what you choose is who you are - and you can change that at any time.

Without consciously choosing habits you might find habits find you ...

The habit of watching TV mindlessly.

The habit of endlessly scrolling Facebook, looking for something, anything interesting and thought-provoking.

Oh and similarly, the habit of feeding yourself food that doesn't have the nourishment, the nutrition, your body needs and craves, so again you're left hungry, endlessly wanting more.

But what more?

Housework habits, 'duty' habits, oh-I-have-to-do-the-ironing habits ... then flop on the sofa for some TV.

THESE habits are often masking that you haven't CHOSEN your true 'YOU' habits.

Well, not so for everyone I guess.

I suppose some people genuinely choose to do these things (and for most people YES sometimes) ... and that's great ... but when it's not a choice, it's a mindless HABIT?

You know you can choose another habit?

Starting with perhaps how do you WANT to feel?

NOT how do you currently feel.

Giving in to the voice of the how you NOW feel will NEVER move you into being how you WANT to feel, to be.

You have to consciously choose it.

How you want to feel and who you want to be.

The person who gets home after a long day (ok, many long days, this isn't a one-off) and eats a takeaway full of goodness-knows-what whilst slumped in terrible posture watching - well, do you even know what? - on TV.

YES, sometimes.

But also, YES you're exhausted and stressed and tired ... but you CAN also choose other habits.

It doesn't have to be hard.

Some things (including plenty of recipes on my site) are easier and quicker to cook fresh than to heat up or order in.

And it's all about TRUE self-care and looking after you.

That means choosing a shower, choosing a great book, choosing a quick stretch or yoga online practice to keep it easy (I do).

(I'm not saying you instantly turn into someone who wants to go to the gym at 9pm, but hey you MIGHT choose that, now you think about what you want to choose).

It might mean writing, journaling, a Skype with a friend, learning something new.

Habits become non-negotiables in your life (like cleaning your teeth).

Mine aren't (yet) always so, but I really, really now feel it and miss it when I don't for whatever reason DAILY:

- journal in the morning
- make good food choices that nourish me (and taste great of course)
- move my body in some way (usually Yoga With Adriene
- personally I also love to cook so a day without cooking something makes me feel 'off'

Ha! Just caught myself I thinking I need to think of more than these three / four ... but WHY?

I'm all about making it easy and you know it's actually not always that easy to do those three or four key things.

Isn't that funny, how our human brains almost want to make things HARDER?!

These are my chosen habits - that make me feel great, give me a foundation for my day - when I do them I feel stronger, clearer, more able to get everything else done.

I'm going to choose to add in a short 10-minute meditation practice soon but for now making my journaling and yoga practice daily - allowing it to become daily - allowing that time for me, to say that time for me daily is precious, is a PRIORITY ...

I'm still learning to make that my reality.

What are - or will be - your chosen habits?

The ones that make you YOU, the you you choose to be?