Tag Archives: Nature

Yoga at the beach

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A Mexican girl and a French girl, both focus and enjoying yoga at Semaphore beach in Australia


When I was living in Paris, many people would talk to me about the benefits of practising yoga. Life in a big city can be stressful between your job, the commute, busy people and so little time to enjoy life. I was curious about it and I thought maybe I should try and see by myself how it feels. So I enrolled to a class and it was good but I did not connect with it and I stopped after a few sessions. Some of my friends were surprised as they really believed that it would fit with my personality but sometimes all it takes is to meet the right person.

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I want to hug the sun with all my heart ‚̧

And it happened… with patience… many years after in another country actually. Life, work and opportunities took me to London (UK) for a year and this is where I met the most amazing yoga teacher you can imagine. And have you also noticed that often the best things that happen to you in life, are very often the ones that you were not looking for. It is like sometimes, life has little gifts for you. And this is what happened to me with Mieke ūüôā at that time I was really not thinking about yoga or anything and I found a card in my letter box and I was about to throw it directly in the bin, but some words caught my attention ¬†because I could relate to them. And this is how I started yoga sessions, 5 times a week with the adorable Mieke. And you can’t imagine how much it helped me at a time I needed it the most in my life. At the beginning I remember it was challenging because it was in English and I did not know the names of the postures etc… but then I got used to (watching her mainly and associating images with words) and now I can’t imagine yoga in another language than English, funny isn’t it?

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My family name is related to nature and more specifically to trees… so this posture was made for me ūüėČ even if I am a very tiny and not very flexible tree lol I can bend but I won’t break!

Now that I am living in Australia, I still practise sometimes yoga on my own thanks to internet and when I find the time to do so. It is a very calming and grounding activity that I highly recommend. Besides I must say that with this beautiful weather I had the opportunity to go and practise yoga at the beach and it was a great experience with all these beautiful colours, the sound of the waves rolling on the beach and this beautiful sun in this vibrant blue sky. It was like a dream and practising yoga in such a beautiful setting made me feel very grateful. Besides I had the opportunity to teach some postures to some of my friends (Jessica from Mexico and Liliana from Venezuela) and they really enjoyed it! It is a good way to feel connected with earth and feel your stress leaving you as you are embracing yoga with all of your heart, letting go, no where to go, no where to be, just in the present moment!

Namaste! ‚̧

Looking beyond the horizon

“Being happy does not mean everything is perfect, it means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections” – Gerard Way

My friend Jessica (Mexico) often says that people come to your life for a specific reason. Sometimes it is to teach you something about life or yourself, sometimes it is to bring you love and kindness, sometimes to challenge you… and you have to embrace this feeling!

There will be¬†sometimes, when living abroad, when you will feel frustrated, like nothing is working the way you want and you don’t really understand why because you are trying your best. It is a strange feeling that many foreigners experience because we are far away from our country, our culture, our family… and everything is new and different. The key is to learn to adapt as quickly as possible which is not always easy. But you can’t do this alone, you have to surround yourself with true friends. Friends who will become your second family, friends you choose because they are “like” you, friends who will show you the way when you are lost, friends who will be there for you no matter what. These people will make a big difference not just in your day but also in your life and you will do the same for them too, sometimes without even realising it!

Picnic time in the grass

I recall once I had a “perfect” day with¬†my friend Liliana (Venezuela) and it felt really nice. We did not do anything “spectacular”, we were just 2 girls sharing a nice picnic together, taking pictures/selfies, enjoying a good conversation! But it was sooooo good. Sometimes you think¬†that you need complicated things to be happy and you can feel frustrated thinking that it is going to be hard to get them but thinking of it most of the time it is the simplest things that make you really happy. Think of it, try to remember when was the last time you really felt happy and I am sure ¬†you are going to realise that it was something very simple.

When France meets Brazil, it’s crazyyyyyyyyyyy! My Brazilian friend and I, partners in laughing crime.

It can be a smile, a compliment, a nice walk, something nice to eat, a beautiful bird passing by… you don’t need your day to be perfect to feel it is perfect, you just need to collect moments, those who make a difference in the rest of your day and will accompany you the rest of your week. And sometimes, total strangers will make a difference too without knowing it, just because they are genuinely nice and friendly when you need it the most.

So yes, all in all it does not have to be perfect and does perfection really exists anyway? The most important is not to be fooled by imperfections, not to focus on them but rather look beyond them, what really matters and enjoy ūüôā

Life is beautiful like a nice walk on the beach

Let’s go crabbing!!!!

What could be better than sitting¬†on the Semaphore jetty, catching crabs, drinking beers and having fun with a bunch of good friends?! That’s called a perfect Aussie summer day ūüėČ

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Let’s go to the jetty!

Last Friday, Kim (Vietnam) came up with the perfect and most original idea: “Let’s go crabbing at sunset”, she said! It is something that none of us have experienced before. We thought, yes sure, why not, let’s give it a try! Jessica (Mexico) believes that each week we should do something totally new in order to embrace our new Australian lifestyle and make some good memories.

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Sometimes it feels like your own private desert island!

I must confess I was a bit confused about the technique and was picturing myself running on Semaphore beach, lifting (small) rocks and chasing (or being chased) by crabs and running even faster should this happen to me! I thought, yes well, worst case scenario I would enjoy the beach and maybe even an ice cream.

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Catch me if you can ūüėČ

But actually, I was wrong, crabbing is easier than I thought, all you need¬†is a jetty, a bucket to hold your catch, a fishing basket with¬†line¬†and a little bait to attract crabs such as fish heads… mmm I know yummy! Like fishing, it requires some patience, so the best way to make the time flying by is to enjoy this activity with some crazy and lively friends!

So lucky to be surrounded by my international friends!

Our friend Kim (Vietnam) was the best instructor ever. She gave us many instructions how to throw the fishing basket far far away. You need to keep if flat and be careful with the strings attached to it because you don’t want to end in the sea with it eaten by the crabs. Three, two, one, GO and fly away!

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Thank god, I have been working out lately and it shows!

We were pretty successful and we managed to catch something like 12 crabs. Actually we caught more but we had to release the little ones. Everybody was super happy and Peggy’s kids (Taiwan) were so proud and they had so much fun. It is definitely a good idea for a family/friends activity.

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Summer time can be so hot in Australia, sometimes the temperature is so high that sleeping at night becomes nearly impossible despite a good air con. Some people prefer instead to spend the evening until late at night on the jetty crabbing. There is a cold breeze coming from the sea and as the sun is disappearing the temperature is dropping. Actually I recommend to bring sweaters, socks, trainers as it can get pretty cold on the jetty… As it was a first time, many of us did the mistake to come in their beach gears, not the best idea especially at sun set, it was “freezing”!

We spent a really good time together and stayed at Semaphore¬†beach from 6pm to 10pm. We also had like a little picnic there because the sea, the air, the activity make you very hungry! Kim was thrilled, I must say some crabs were HUGE and Liliana tried to make me pause with a crab on a picture but I was a bit scared (she is a naughty girl haha). All in all it felt like being on holidays somewhere else. Sometimes you don’t need a lot of money or being in fancy hotels to enjoy life, simple things can actually feel even better. Best Friday, since a long time, I really enjoyed it ‚̧

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But the fun did not stop there. Crabbing¬†is something and eating crabs is something else! And the party went on at Kim’s house. She invited us in her beautiful home and taught us how to cook the crabs. She also made some delicious sauce to go with. It was fun, because we learnt how to eat a crab, breaking it in small pieces and sucking the flesh out of it… does it sound like a zombie/vampire thing?! I must say it was delicious and we all enjoyed it¬†very much and we can’t wait to go again crabbing!

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I would have never imagined that eating crabs  that I caught could be so much fun!

These moments make me realise how important it is when you are abroad to be surrounded by amazing and generous people that you can call friends. They will make you smile, welcome you in their home and share some part of their culture with you. This is the beauty of living overseas, getting to know new people, bonding with them, discovering new places, opening your heart to new experiences and so much more. The more you are discovering about what is surrounding you, the more you are learning about you ‚̧

Who could have imagined that crabbing could be so deep ūüėČ

 

Happy Mauvember!

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When Spring looks like a French Autumn, the only thing you can do is put a hat on, grab your bestie and chill out with a latte! Nasim (from Iran) and I are always on the same page when it comes to enjoy life at its best!

Spring has been so lazy to come this year. We experienced a lot of morning showers, grey sky, wind and some severe storms in September and October. In one hand, it was a bit depressing¬†+¬†there was a “major” water leaking in my house (one morning I woke up and water was coming from the ceiling, click here for the full story) but in the other hand, it is really good for mother nature because the trees and flowers look amazing right now with beautiful deep and lively colours. I guess you can’t have it all!

These past few days, spring is back on the track and it feels good to wake up with a big bright sun in the bedroom. I like to ride my green bike in the parks with this beautiful weather and explore new places whenever possible. In Australia, you have to wear an helmet (it is the law) and I must say when the weather is warm (sometimes around 40 something) I miss to feel the refreshing wind in my hair when biking! But again, I know this is for my own good so I am just going with the flow…

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A romantic vision of a young girl with¬†a white dress walking on the Jacarandas’petals on a sunny spring day.

Maybe you will think I am a fool but one thing I was really expecting was to see the Jacarandas blooming! They are my favourite trees and their romantic purple flowers appear the first weeks of November announcing that spring is here and summer is only a month¬†away. This year, because of the strange weather, the Jacarandas only started now to spread their vibrant¬†colours in the whole city. Their mauve flowers petals are falling on the¬†pavement¬†like confettis and it brings a “je ne sais quoi” to the streets of Adelaide. Someday when I will own a house with a garden I will plant a Jacaranda tree to gaze at it!

At the moment, my friend Jessica (Mexico) is encouraging me to practise “mindfulness”. I started doing it in London with my yoga teacher and I must say it is a really calming and grounding state of mind. We are so busy with our everyday lives sometimes, worrying about the past and the future that we forget to fully live the present moment. Maybe it will seem odd to some of you but sometimes just taking the time to stop for a minute and gaze at a tree or a flower¬†can make a big difference ¬†in the rest of your day ‚̧

Just try it and tell me in the comments below how it felt!

Bikeway To Hell

Sometimes I have crazy ideas and luckily for me I have always awesome¬†friends to follow me in my euphoric projects. So it is no surprise that when I decided to go to Henley Beach by bike to celebrate my birthday, my friend Nasim (from Iran) was part of it! For those who have been following me and paying attention, last year, for my birthday I got a beautiful green bike that became my fav.¬†transportation mode to go to work, school, activities, market etc… So it makes sense that this year I wanted to take it to the next level and go on a bike trip from Adelaide¬†CBD to ¬†the beautiful Henley beach.

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Adelaide’s parks are full of surprises. Look at this party setting with permanent balloons floating all around! Happy birthday to me I guess!

The river Torrens Linear trail is known to be pretty easy, flat and scenic. Imagine yourself biking along the river, in the parks, with the beautiful and majestic trees swaying in the breeze, the enchanting colourful birds singing along the way (have you ever heard a Cockatoo?! not very melodious lol) and the nature surrounding you like a comforting cup of tea on a Sunday morning. I really believe, this is worth giving it a try and we are so lucky to have many bike trails here in Adelaide. It is a good way to discover a city and its surroundings. Besides it is very easy to rent a City Bike in Adelaide for free, so no excuse!

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Nasim, in a very sporty attitude, ready to hit the road, no stop signs, no limit, nobody to slow her down on her bikeway to hell ūüėČ

Nasim and I met first at San Churro for breakfast. I guess we both ¬†needed a good dose of sugar to boost our bodies before hitting the road. At the beginning, everything was really nice and we really enjoyed it. Nasim was even considering buying a new bike to do that more often. I mean it is an healthy and fun way to exercice. We stopped many times to take funny pictures, to gaze at the landscapes, to relax… But what I did not consider is that even if this trail is said to be easy, it is quite long and you need at least a bit of practice. So basically I think it took us about 3 hours (maybe more) from the CBD to reach Henley Beach. When we arrived there, I think Nasim was about to collapse.

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I think at this stage, Nasim had enough… this pic was taken sometimes between her collapsing and then having lunch.

We rested a bit, walked on the beach (well deserved), took some more pictures and ended up in a restaurant with a view on the seaside. It was good to relax and chat about this little adventure. Despite the fact that we were both exhausted, there is no doubt that this bike trail is wonderful and the feeling you have when you arrive closed to the beach: awesome! All these little houses facing the beach, the white sand, the blue sky, this is the dream picture ‚̧

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Adelaide and its surroundings are so beautiful. Sometimes I can’t believe I live here!

As we started to make our way back, it appeared that Nasim had no more juice. Her body hurt, she was not feeling well and soon riding her bike became a nightmare. We tried many things, we switched¬†our bikes, I encouraged her… but when the body shuts down, there is nothing that can be really done. And sadly for Nasim, this was over. I was getting a bit worried because it was in the late afternoon and the sun was slowly vanishing on the horizon and I started to worry picturing us, walking in ¬†the dark woods next to our bikes, the gloomy shadows of the trees, the scary sounds ¬†of the nocturnal birds and the silence of the night surrounding us¬†like a dark trap. BOO!

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The power of the mind is funny sometimes, what was magic a few hours before became suddenly scary. I started to feel bad because this was my whole idea, what on earth was wrong with me, we are talking about maybe 23 km and it is not like that we are used to ride our bikes that much. Nasim suddenly quit cold turkey and called her husband to pick her up in the middle of nowhere. There was not enough room in the car for 2 bikes and I felt I had enough energy to go on and reach my home before the night comes. So it was me all alone against the clock haha!

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Last smile before scratching my belly on the tree (natural scrubbing… yes you bet!)

As I was riding back to the CBD, I could not help feeling grateful to Nasim for joining me in this crazy but funny bike trip. I felt really happy about the whole day. All in all it was one of the best birthday activities I have ever had ūüôā I liked it despite of its unexpected events: ¬†Nasim thought at some point she had broken her bike, a lady advised us to be careful with the Magpie attacks, a guy asked me for the time and I thought he wanted to steal my bag, I scratched my belly climbing in a tree for a scenic picture… and all those km that obviously we were not trained enough for.

It is all those little moments that make also good memories and you know what now looking back at it, Nasim and I really enjoyed this beautiful day together because we laughed, we had fun and we experienced with delight¬†our¬†very own bikeway to hell. Life does not have to be perfect to be fun,¬†it is its imperfections that make us smile and stick to our minds forever… Life goes beyond the beautiful pictures and selfies that we post daily on social medias… it is living the present moment, experiencing feelings, the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the laugh and the tears. It may not be always perfect but it is the REAL deal and it is up to you to make it count! I am sure if we had to do it all again, Nasim would jump on her bike in a matter of second to join me ūüėČ

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect” ‚̧

Total blackout

South Australia was in the eye of a nasty storm on Wednesday 28th September 2016. Despite all the announcements on radio and social media, I believe nobody really expected what happened.

Since it was my first storm in Aussie world, I decided to play it safe. I just went jogging early in the morning as it was very sunny and I noticed it was windy (I mean more than usual) so I made my way back home and decided to stay there for the whole day, working from home, just in case. Around noon the weather dramatically changed and turned into lightenings, heavy rain and a lot of wind but nothing THAT scary. I thought “well ok, not a big deal”.

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No light, no worries! I’ve got this ūüėČ

But then around 5.00pm, things got ugly. I was chatting with my friends on “WhatsApp” and we were worried because our friend Jessica (from Mexico) was outside with¬†this terrible weather, when suddenly we experienced a major power cut. What was unusual, is that my friends and I live in different parts: some in the suburbs, some by the sea, some in the CBD and we were all left without electricity, meaning: no lights, no heating, no TV, no internet (except on our phone for those who¬†have enough battery). We joked about it and thought it was time to reach out for some candles (thank god, I had few big ones at home), very handy!

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Adelaide was plunged into darkness after wild storms disrupted power supplies across the state. (ABC News: Tony Hill)

A bit later, I called some friends¬†to enquire if everything was ok on their side and to inform them¬†about the situation. They¬†told me that it was the same issue for them¬†at work and actually that the whole South Australia state was experiencing a total blackout! In other words: no traffic lights in the streets, no lights inside and outside, businesses, shops, librairies force to close… So basically we are talking about a whole state and its 1.7 millions residents left in the dark! Jessica texted me to tell me that people were running in the streets, all shops were closing and supermarkets were full with people buying supplies such as water, milk, candles… (she also mentioned there were good deals on chicken breasts haha… ūüėČ ).

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Zinaida cooking on her camping gas stove

As the hours were passing by, my friends and I decided to limit the text messages since our phones were running low of battery and we did not know when we could recharge. It was getting darker and darker and despite all the candles, it was not very efficient to read, ¬†write, cook (thank god I have a gas stove). It was so strange to see the city and the streets that dark. According to the newsfeed, it turned out that 2 tornados destroyed some critical infrastructures causing a network shutdown. On top of that, 22 interconnectors were knocked down by the wind. Thank god no death was reported, only properties damages, broken trees, flooding etc… People tried to make the most of it, lighting candles, playing board games, reading, drawing, meditating, checking phones, getting bored, eventually sleeping… two men were also spotted in the streets walking around with banners saying “the end of the world is coming”, “Aliens are here”…

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what a “nice” way to start a shitty day!?

On a more personal note, the blackout lasted in my house from 5pm to midnight. First time, I was in bed that early, I think around 8pm! I could not really sleep since one of my neighbors’burglar alarm went on and on the whole night forcing me to sleep with ear plugs (which I hate). And cherry on the cake, when I woke up on the next morning and I opened my bedroom door, water was falling from the ceiling so I had to contain the situation with buckets and towels and call my landlord to let him know that there was a leaking due to the storm. By the way, he sent someone to fix the issue and so far so good.

Thursday was supposed to be as bad maybe worst than Wednesday. People were asked to stay home if possible. Fortunately, despite of the rain and the wind, it was manageable. I stayed home and did not experience any power cut whereas my friend Zinaida (from Russia) did. All in all, it was not that bad but I can’t help wondering about¬†the hospitals who had to use torches and what about if you are in the middle of a surgery when it happens, I assume they have energy power back up. And what about people on life support machines when there is no electricity… OMG I am thinking too much!

“Life without electricity, it is beyond our imagination”- Siddhant Chak

Colour the world, colour your mood

Lately I have been obsessed with coloring books for adults. It’s the new trend and it is nearly impossible to miss them when you are in a Bookshop. Anyway I own a few of them and I really enjoy using those books¬†whenever needed.¬†I believe coloring has a grounding effect.

It all started when my friend Ana (my former Spanish teacher from Colombia) offered me a postcard from the artist: Johanna Basford! When it comes to coloring book, this girl is a GURU, believe me! Her work is amazing: have a look at “Secret garden” (my fav), there is so much poesy in her art, she managed to create a real enchanted universe.

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Colouring book for adults “Secret Garden”, Johanna Basford

So I started with her books and her postcards that I would share with some friends. Sometimes we would go together to the café, with some pencils and we would colour some beautiful magic scenes while chatting. It turned out to be very effective, especially when we were stressed or worried about something. It acted like a colour therapy session and it was a very calming and a comforting activity.

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Texturing and colouring¬†my breakfast bowl: a good¬†way to start the day happy and zen ūüôā

It is a combination of little things that separately are just details, but when all combined, it is like a ritual where all your senses are activated. The colours that are dancing in a farandole in front of your eyes, the paper texture under your fingers, the soft  sound of the pencils pressed on the paper, the delicate smell of the drawing in progress and the taste of gratitude as the image starts to appear more and more alive.

 So now I extended my selection to other colouring books such as: Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, The mini Mandala by Susanne Fincher, the little book of Mindfulness colouring by Holly Macdonald. I really enjoy them as they are a great help to meditate , to relax and sometimes to escape .

What about you? Have you ever tried it? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I can’t wait¬†to hear about your experiences when it comes to coloring books ūüôā