Monday, 23 July 2012

Olympic Nails–subtle or solid?

It’s decision time!  With the Olympics less than a week away and my excitement building, it’s time to think about outfits for the events I’m going to.  With Australia’s colours being green and gold, the clothes are the easy part.  I've plenty of green clothes and a few yellow accessories lying about from previous sporting events.  The only decision left is nail polish. 

I don’t have a steady enough hand for any fancy nail art so I’m thinking green nails with a yellow ring finger on each side? What do you think?  Then the question is – neon or pastel?

Olympic Outfit

(Yes, I have that dress and the belt so will probably wear them to one of the events.  I also have both the green nail polishes but neither of the yellows, so either option requires a purchase).  What combo would you choose?

Floating

Thinking I might be a bit sore and stiff after the walk (I was!) I’d booked in for an hour long float today at Floatworks here in London, using a voucher I’d been given for my birthday.

I’d heard of them before but didn’t really know what to expect when I turned up.  Essentially, you are in a room (to yourself), you shower and then get into your pod and float for an hour.  There’s music for the first ten minutes and last five, with silence in between.  The water is so salty that no effort is required to float (really similar to what you experience in the Dead Sea).  Within the pod, there is a light button (on- blue, off, on-varied colours, constantly changing), a neck pillow (not needed to float but it does add comfort) and a spray bottle of water (in case you get the super salty water in your face/eyes etc).

IMG_4555IMG_4558

The purported benefits are (from their website) include eliminating fatigue, energises, revitalises, relieves pain, deepens meditation, alleviates stress, creates mental clarity, improves circulation and a whole host of other things. Whether all of this is the case or not I did really enjoy the hour, even falling asleep at one point and my legs are no longer stiff and sore.

Have you ever tried something like this?  Would you?  I don’t know if I’d go again (it’s not really that cheap) but it was fun today.

(if it’s not clear, this post isn’t in anyway sponsored by Floatworks, just my thoughts on something new I tried today.  They’ve no idea I’m writing about them).

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Coast to Coast Walk–completed


I did it! I walked from coast to coast and it was wonderful.  I’m now home, riding the high of doing it, suffering withdrawal from finishing it and getting my thoughts together on it.

In the meantime, here’s a round up of some of the pictures I’ve shared on instagram whilst away (apologies for the double up if you already follow me over there.  Hop to it if you don’t!).

England's west coast (St Bees). Tomorrow we start the 320km walk to the east coastDay 1 done. 14 miles done, 178miles to go #c2cEnnerdale water, lake district, day 2 #c2cThere are worse ways to spend a Monday than walking waterside and scrambling up scree slopes in the Lake District #c2c  30mile down/162 to goA well marked path, if not a little wet. #c2c  #nofilterPretty sure the best way to spend hump day is climbing the humps of the Lake District. #c2cAnother stunning day walking in the lakes #c2c #ullswaterShady #c2cGoodnight AustraliaHighest point on the #c2c, Kidsty Pike. 63miles down/129 to goGoodbye glorious Lake District, I'll be back for more some dayFirst sunset of the trip we've stayed up to see #c2cToday was the last day in these short's long lovely life. #c2c21 miles through rolling green hills, stone circles & ruins. 84 miles down/106miles to goFour of the nine standards on the edge of Cumbria. Thought to date to roman times but really, who knows?A slog through the bogs today with only a few (several?) falls. Mud up to my waist and a tummy sore from laughing. Now checked in to the highest pub in England & looking forward to a hot shower & a local ale. #c2c 98 miles down/94 miles to goAnd then I spent a good while stuck in the big, trying to free my boot #c2cPenultimate day walking on the #c2c . 172 miles down / 20 miles to goHello Yorkshire my old friend, I've come to walk through you again #c2cThistles a plenty on today's walk #c2cSitting in the sun drinking tea after a lovely day's walk. 106miles down / 86 miles to goChatting to a local on the way home from the pub #c2cLovely evening in Richmond, Yorkshire after a short walk over from Reeth today. 114miles down/78 miles to go #c2cA long day today crossing from the Yorkshire Dales to the North Yorkshire Moors. Tired, but happy to have it behind us. 138miles down / 54 miles to go #c2cA gorgeous day as we began crossing the North Yorkshire Moors, both sunshine and heather a plenty. 151 miles down/ 41 miles to go #c2cA forest path #c2c #latergramFinished. A coast to coast path walked, 192 miles. Ties dipped in the North Sea, a belly full of bubbles & so many memories #c2cAll 192 miles of the coast to coast were done in these babies.Finished. That is the North Sea behind the champagne there. 192 miles down / 0 to go

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Coast to Coast Walk

Written in advance and scheduled to post as we set off

Whernside
{Whernside, Yorkshire Dales as seen when walked in May 2012 as part of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks}

Over the past few months I’ve alluded to a “walking holiday”, “the big walk”, “the walk in July” and just plain old “the walk”.

That walk that I’ve been referring to is this:
This walk begins today, Sunday 8th July
This walk is 320 kilometres (192 miles) from St Bee’s on the west coast of England to Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast of England.
This walk finishes next Friday, 13 days after today. 
This walk is known as the Coast to Coast and follow’s Alfred Wainwright’s classic coast to coast path.

We’re not crossing England at its narrowest part (that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Along Hadrian’s Wall would be quite appealing and 190 kilometres less) but we are crossing through some of the most beautiful and most spectacular landscapes this country has.  We will walk through the Lake District, touch the edge of the Pennines, traipse through the Yorkshire Dales and trundle over the Yorkshire Moors. 

We’re staying in B&Bs along the way and taking full advantage of a Sherpa service for our luggage (leaving us to walk with only our day packs).  We’re doing it the easiest way possible, but we still have to walk 320 kilometres.  The daily distance varies based on the terrain and locations of towns.  We will average about 25km a day but the longest is 39 (hopefully mostly flat) and the shortest will be 14km as we climb the fells of the Lake District.

The challenge of this walk is not its physicality*.  We’re walking, not running, so we just keep walking.  Keep walking until we get to the coast.  The challenge of this walk is the mental side.  It’s often the biggest roadblock for me and I’m expecting to find it tough.  

And in a fortnight when I’m home again after having walked the width of this country?  I’ll share it all with you.

In the meantime, I hope to be posting pictures to fb/twitter/instagram as my energy levels/phone batteries/data coverage/wifi allows.  I would be most grateful for all the encouragement you can send over the next fortnight.

*not that I think it will be easier, I just think the mentall side is tougher

Saturday, 7 July 2012

I Don't Know

I've just had a mad cap day at work getting things done and now have two weeks off.  Two weeks to relax, think about things and walk from one coast of England to the other (more on this walk I'm starting this weekend in a post scheduled for Sunday, day 1 of our walk).

Work has been hectic this week which is always the way pre-holiday.  It's also still a new role and completely unlike things I've done before.  Whilst it plays to some strengths, it doesn't play to all.  The upside is that it does play to things I *wish* were strengths.  This is my time to dig deep and get some new skills.  It feels like it has been a long time since that was the case.  I've pretty much floated in my career in this country.  This role requires some more effort.

The trip though, I'm excited about.  I will have a lot of thinking time I imagine.  A lot of time to really think about England, London, Australia, Melbourne, Singapore and all the places in between.  Whilst there is a lot in my life I am excited about and looking forward to, I would say for the most part I'm not as happy this year as I have been in years past (in the last 29 years past even?).  Time for me in this country might just be up.  Kind of what I thought at the beginning of the year, but very much not what I thought a month ago. 

I guess I'll walk it out, think about career, loves, family, friends* and the like and come to a decisions in time.

And on that, friends.  A big asterisk there.  The nature of London is it's a mostly transient city.  Not many people I know here are from here (not many I know here are even from England).  A combination of the economy, the change in immigration & visa policy (i.e. highly skilled visas are no longer issued) and the passing of time (my friends are mostly >30 so no longer eligible for tier 5 working holiday) mean a lot more people have left than are coming.  Very few new friends in the last year or so.  A lot, whilst remaining friends, are spread all over the world.  More are follwing them.  Too few will remain in London. 

I have friends that are sometimes good value, that are sometimes up for things.  I don't have the quality of friend here though that are up for just about anything (be it something crazy and new or a cup of tea on the couch) that doesn't need to be scheduled months in advance.  I don't have the friends I really feel like I can rely on or trust implicitly.  Not in this city, not any more.

So, whilst I walk, I shall think these things over.  Do I want to stay here, focus on work and put a lot more effort into the social life (I'll admit I haven't at all this year... I do think in part that what I get back from my friends is a reflection of what I put out there).   Or do I make my way home via the wide wide world and set up shop in Melbourne.  Forever. 

It's always felt like when I move home, that will be it.  Not that I won't travel and have a lot of fun in the future, but that it will be the next part of my life, the rest of my life.  Do I want that yet?

I don't know. 

And that is what I will think about as I walk from one side of this country to the other.