Posted in Life sparks

Two anniversaries today

Today is a special day for two reasons – it is our lovely Dad’s birthday (77! Imagine!) and it marks two years since my friend Steph and I took our first steps on the Camino de Santiago. Both anniversaries include wonderful people, and bring back many fantastic memories of fun times and lots of laughter. With a few challenges along the way (if you were a blog reader two years ago, I am recovering well from The Insect Attack of 2013, thank you).

I reckon it’s always important to celebrate and remember on a day like today, so here are some snaps for today that make me smile.

All dressed up - LIttle Jim and Little Pat. (That's my Dad on the right, circa early 1940s, I guess.)
All dressed up – LIttle Jim and Little Pat. (That’s my Dad on the right, circa early 1940s, I guess. He still has good hair.)
Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat. Our lovely Lauren's portrait (on an etch-a-sketch) from a few years ago.
Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat. Our lovely Lauren’s portrait (on an etch-a-sketch) from a few years ago.
Steph on the Camino. I am available to photograph weddings, parties, etc on my iPhone.
August 2013. Steph on the Camino. And yes, I am available to photograph weddings, parties, etc on my iPhone.
Fields of smiling sunflowers along The Way. Sometimes cute, sometimes very creepy.
Fields of smiling sunflowers along The Way. Sometimes cute, sometimes very creepy.
Cruz de Ferro on the Camino, at sunrise. This should be on more bucket lists, I reckon.
Cruz de Ferro on the Camino, at sunrise. This should be on more bucket lists, I reckon.

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And we made it! After 800km, our arrival in Santiago de Compostela, September 2013. [Unfortunately, this pic is missing Shane and some of our other Camino family.]
So many good times. So many good people. Happy Birthday, Pat, and Buen Camino, Steph and our Camino family!

Posted in Life sparks, Travel sparks

Some snaps from WA

Greetings from here, the sunny south west of Western Australia. Rather than document the picture-perfect scenery, I thought I’d share some other snaps from WA. Not ones that you’ll be seeing in the tourist guidebooks any time soon, but I think they provide an important insight into some aspects of life in the west.

Supermarket elves pre-peel the onions here

Naked onions.
Naked onions.

Customised car license plates are very big here

Hey

Mrs

Even churches put wacky Christmas ads in the local paper here

Uh huh.
Uh huh.

So, there you go. There’s so much more to this stunningly beautiful part of the world than the incredible beaches, wine and food. You’re welcome!

Posted in Life sparks

Happy New Year!

Hello and I hope that your 2015 is off to a great start. I always like the first day of a new year (or month, or week…or the first day of most new things, really – but especially a new year). It definitely feels like it’s a chance to start afresh, with a clean slate, or a blank page, or a restarted ipad (if you prefer). And that’s super exciting, that sense of optimism and possibility.

'We are lucky ducks', I said yesterday to my niece Amelia (3) as we spent some of the last day of 2014 here. 'But we aren't ducks, we are PEOPLE', she said. Fair point.
‘We are lucky ducks’, I said to my niece Amelia (3) as we spent some of the last day of 2014 here in Busselton, WA. ‘But we aren’t ducks, we are PEOPLE’, she said. Super lucky, either way.

Whatever has happened before can be irrelevant, as the new year marks a new beginning. Whether it’s beginning a commitment to being healthy, reading more books, blogging more frequently, baking more cakes, taking more holidays, meditating regularly or whatever. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s a real beginning or a fake beginning (a re-beginning that is kinda more like a second or fifth or four-hundredth attempt). Whatevs, THIS could be the year!

Anyway, 2015 has not turned me into Deepak Chopra, so that’s the end of my reflection for today.

(Oh, and for the record, I am smashing my new year commitments so far – here’s a blog post, there’s a half-read copy of Amy Poehler’s excellent book ‘Yes Please’, we baked rainbow cupcakes yesterday, and I’m currently enjoying a short break in Western Australia. This year definitely has the potential to be the best ever. Because, why not?)

Posted in Life sparks

Some very good advice…

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the festive season, I thought I would share some excellent advice from my lovely niece Laura, aged 9. This was part of a homework assignment last week. I really do think that this little book, Recipes of Advice, could come in handy for children and adults all around the world. Including, you know, political leaders and diplomats and HR professionals. And meanies.

LG_recipecover
Recipes Of Awesome, more like.
Some excellent suggestions.
Some excellent suggestions.
And I take this opportunity to say, 'thank you in general' to my fantastic parents.
And may I take this opportunity to say, ‘thank you in general’ to my fantastic parents.
A good friend indeed.
A good friend indeed.

 

So many gems to consider – love you and your work, Laura Grace. xoxo

Posted in Life sparks

Finding Headspace

I have written about this before in various guises, but here is a simple truth about me: I am not always a great Completer-of-Things. Thinker-of-Things, most definitely. Planner-of-Things and even Starter-of-Things, absolutely. And if I ever get around to completing even a fraction of the things that I think or plan or start – or just dream about while I look out the window – look out, World.

However, since I am now 8/10 of the way through my current Headspace meditation trial, I figure that it’s safe to say that this is something I’ll definitely complete. And so I wanted to share it with you here, in case you haven’t heard of Headspace or their ‘gym membership for the mind’, starting with a free trial program of 10 minutes a day for 10 days.

According to their website (and, I’ve got to say, my experience over the past eight days), Headspace is all about ‘meditation made simple’. Not woo woo woo pan pipe music, cascading waterfalls and bird calls, but proven meditation techniques with a scientific foundation. Treat your head right is their tag line, which sounds like an excellent idea to me.

Headspace was started by Andy Puddicombe who, according to a quote on the website from the New York Times, “is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food”. Only not charging quite so much (or offering branded tea towels and crockery, at this stage). I’d first seen Andy juggling his way through an interesting (and relatively short) TED talk – you can check it out here if you like – about the importance of mindfulness and, in a nutshell, making time to give our overly busy minds a rest on a regular basis. Another excellent idea.

On another topic, here are two giraffes that my lovely niece Ella and I met at Roar and Snore on Sunday morning.
Speaking of head space, here are two giraffes that my lovely niece Ella and I met at Roar and Snore on Sunday morning.

The Headspace site and app are easy to navigate, pretty to look at and fun to use. With clever animations and images, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that after I complete the initial 10 day challenge, I’m going to subscribe to get access to their other mindfulness and meditation wares. AND I WILL USE THEM. Look out, World!