Monday, October 21, 2013

Crying Times

OK, so the packing is kinda turning out to be the least of my problems.  It's the good-byes that're proving absolutely heartbreaking.

Maya's friends threw her a big surprise farewell party, with lots of sweets, presents, and a handmade Minion cake(coz she dressed up as one in one of the school's charity events).  They also crafted up a video montage of all the best pics with her at various school trips, class-clownings and sleepovers, set to a couple of Taylor Swift songs.  A right riveting tearjerker, I tell you.

Maya's Farewell presents
And this afternoon, Ruhi said her last good-byes to her BFF, Hettie.  After a tearful hug-and -"bye-bye" at the door, Hettie stood by her window sobbing and waving to us at the bus-stop, for a whole 5 minutes until the bus came along.  Needless to say, Ruhi, too, was sobbing her little heart out.

Ruhi and Hettie, pre-sobs.

It's so heartbreaking to see the kids' hearts breaking... :(

Monday, October 14, 2013

End of a Chapter

Our time in the UK is coming to a close far too quickly.  We moved over from Singapore in November 2011, and now it's time to head back...

And so the complete and utter nightmare of packing begins.  The movers have come and done their survey, so the reality of what needs to be done has set in.  Painfully, it involves a lot of sorting, throwing out and giving away, stuff.

But those are just Things.  Even more difficult to deal with are the attachments and friendships and connections we have made during our 2 years here. It's especially hard for Those Two, who are lucky enough to have some of the sweetest girls I have ever known, whom they can cite as BFFs.

As for me, I will sorely miss the family friends and relatives who live here, the fact that world-class museums are just a short train ride away, the slower pace of life that allows me to literally stop and smell the roses, my lovely yoga teacher Emi who has helped me grow and progress in ways I never knew I could...

Gah! It's just too depressing for me to go on.  So I shall leave you with a pic...

Singapore Zoo, WE'RE BA-ACK...!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

M.I.Y.A. (Missing In Yoga Action)

I cannot believe I have been so neglectful of my beloved blog.  I blame it entirely on yoga.

I have been pretty much obsessed, to be truthful.  I have been devouring yoga magazines religiously, and have acquired a considerable amount of hardcore yoga reading material, including Kino MacGregor's lastest, various Iyengar classics, yoga philosophy favourites, as well as yoga anatomy references.

I have also gathered up courage to rejoin society.  Yoga society, that is.  You see, up till last month, I have been practising all on my lonesome, with my best friends: YouTube and Yoga Journal.  I have to say, they have served me very well.  In fact, so well, that one of the teachers I have been going to lately commented that I have "a very lovely traditional practice".  Cue Dance of Joy...

Balki Bartokomous and Cousin Larry - weren't they just the funniest!  I digress.

So, I've signed up at a new yoga studio that's opened round the corner from where I live, called Samsara Mind and Body, a fabulous little place that's given me the opportunity to lesson with some really amazing teachers...

Naz Khakoo is an amazing teacher with a truly heartfelt practice.  Her style of yoga is known as Hridaya Yoga, where the focus is on engaging and exploring the Heart chakra.  She is encouraging, nurturing, and ever so in tune with her students.  It is an absolute pleasure just to be in her presence.

Michaela Olexova is another amazing teacher I have had the honour and pleasure to practise with. Her style of yoga is called Baoli Yoga, and it involves a slow, contemplative flow (which by all means breaks you into a sweat even if it doesn't look like your'e doing much), rounded off with a meditation topped with Reiki.  How fabulous is that!!

I also had a taste of a rigorous Vinyasa flow class courtesy of Austin Ince, whose animated, chatty style proved effective, 'coz you don't realise how much work you are actually doing, until sweat starts dripping off you and onto your mat.

And yesterday, I had my first ever session with the great Mark Kan, whose sessions are known as Dharma Mittra yoga, a style that is pensive and very challenging, based on the wisdom of the yogi Sri Dharma Mittra.  What can I say - you know how you take a piece of meat and tenderise it with a studded hammer...? Yep, that's how my body is feeling.  But I've got to hand it to the guy.  'Coz he got me into Full Pigeon, and Pincha Mayurasana!  And this is without any pulling or pushing.  He is ever so gentle with his cues and instructions, it is just mind-blowing.  I was absolutely gobsmacked - with myself, his unassuming, quiet, yet super-effective ways...  Happy is I!!

Full Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Feathered Peacock (Pincha Mayurasana)
So, for good measure, here is Mark Kan in action.  So inspiring! *happy sigh*

*Update/13 Sep* I have not been able to Pincha Mayurasana on my own since... :S.  But I shall persevere... :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

New Acquisition

My new tattoos. Finally got them, a couple of months back.  I had been wanting them for the longest time, and I finally got round to it.  I am SO happy!

I knew I wanted old skool swallows with Them Two's names on, but I was waiting for the right time, the right artist, and the right "Go on! You know you want to!". So I scouted around a bit online for London artists' portfolios, saw Jaclyn Rehe's work and was immediately smitten. And then I decided this was the perfect way and time to collect some super lovely art as a souvenir (of sort) of my stay in London.

The great Jaclyn Rehe working on me.  2 hours of whirring, buzzing, bleeding and idle chit-chat...

This is Jaclyn Rehe.  She hails from Australia and currently works out of Good Times Tattoo up in Shoreditch, fronted by Nikole Lowe of Discovery Channel's London Ink fame.

Jaclyn is the cutest little button in the entire button shop, but is one mean old skool tattoo artist.  Her work is curiously timeless, because the theme, subjects and form are so traditional, yet her slight cubist lean gives her art that little handsome quirk and a modern edge.  I mean, how cool is it that my traditional swallows match-but-don't-match?!  Check.  It.  Out!

Fresh from the shop...

... and, some days later, in full scabby glory.

It was a tad tricky, and  bit of a pain (to say the least), that these had to heal under full sleeves (this was February/March), and through days of school runs, cooking and cleaning.  But look at them now, and you know it was all worth it. *happy sigh* :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Getting My Yoga Needs On YouTube

Every day, I scour YouTube to watch yogis and yoginis do their thing.  There is so much yoga YouTube material out there, you'll never run out of inspiration.

My favourite is Kino MacGregor.  She is Da Bomb.  I love how she can chatter on while she throws her leg behind her neck, or floats up into a handstand.  She makes it look super easy, but lets you know it is not, and that it's OK not to get it right for a long time to come, because it's the journey that matters (Yes, Kino).  She has done so much stuff for sharing, it is absolutely amazing.  Just look at her go about her stuff.  Remember to breathe.  And prop up your jaw...

Isn't she a goddess... *happy sigh* :)

Another yogini I like to gather inspiration and instruction from is Shana Meyerson.  She is funny, bubbly, and super-precise with her instruction.  Such an amazing teacher!

She's SO cool! :)

And then there's Meghan Currie.  Her flow is just so awe-inspiring.  Don't be fooled by what looks like a smooth, fluid and chilled-out workout.  It is actually an absolute killer.  Just try this one.  I dare you to.


Other than a proper yoga teacher on the well-stocked My Yoga Online, she proves herself to be a raving goofball on her own YouTube channel, where she posts videos of her home practice in fast mo, how she and best friend make honey face masks, and how she cuts her own hair.  What a kookie! (And I mean that in the fondest way)

So, this is how I get my yoga fix.  I watch, I take notes, I keep in memory, and then I roll out my mat, and give my Self some attention. :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scenes from Rome

Rome absolutely stole my heart...

The Romans are a special lot.  They are warm and friendly, super-smart dressers, crazy about coffee, hardworking yet chilled-out, and generous to a fault.  Basically, they treat everyone pretty much like family. Absolutely amazing.

The sights had to be seen.  Walk into any random little church (and there are loads everywhere), and be gobsmacked by the art and architecture.  The exteriors are deceptively non-descript.  And inside, although the awesome beauty renders you speechless, it still is really hard to be quiet.  Every one had heart-stopping ceiling murals, where it's a real challenge to decipher where the actual ceiling ends and where the illustrated heaven starts.  

The Colosseum, The Roman Forum (and the ruins in between), the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Obelisk at St. Peter's Basilica... I found it hard to wrap my mind around all that history.  Cardiac-arrest inducing, I tell you.  On top of all that, we got to see the new Pope, His Holiness Pope Francis, at Vatican City!  It wasn't a formal thing.  He just popped out of his apartment window at midday, said a few words in Italian (probably something sweet like "Now go and have a good lunch!"), and waved.  It was exhilarating to see the sea of people just wave back.  What a rock star!

The food was soul-satisfying.  Who knew that the simplest of foccacias, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with a pinch of salt, could be so... "bellissimo"!  And I discovered that Roman Carbonara (real carbonara, if I might add) was all pancetta and no bacon, all egg and no cream.  With that, I shall for ever judge an Italian restaurant by its Carbonara.




(Our slice of heaven in Rome, at Maison Giulia)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Acquisition

Dr Martens Pascal Boot

The Dr Martens Pascal Boots in Shiraz.  I got me a pair of these lovelies coz my current boots are so worn on the outer side of the heels that they're making me tip.  I realised I was walking with a slightly contorted ankle to make up for the tip and prevent my ankle buckling.  Which kinda explains how I managed to sprain my ankle twice.  Tragic.

I was a bit torn between the uber-cool Navy and this super Shiraz.  I then figured the Shiraz looks a tad more feminine, and therefore, flattering - considering I am constantly in buttoned-up Oxford shirts and high-cuffed jeans.

Anyhoo, I am wearing my gorgeous new DMs in.  Though I must say, they don't need all that much wearing in, coz the Buttero leather is oh-so-soft.  I am surprised how snugly they fit, because, you see, I have extra skinny feet, and usually my foot is swimming around in any normal shoe.  These fit like a glove.  And in this deep oxblood red, my cool factor just hit the roof, I swear. ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Scenes from Amsterdam

Ah, Amsterdam... :)

With a kickin' arts and culture scene, gorgeous architecture that's archaic yet chic, people so chilled out they are economical with words and emotion (in a nice way), casual cannabis coffeeshops and soulful, hearty traditional grub houses everywhere, I love how Amsterdam has a curiously comfortable way to serve up Heaven and Hell, on the very same plate.  

From the stark practicality of the Red Light district that grates on the Conservative, to the unabashed graffiti that inspires the Artist;  the grandeur of the museums filled with Vermeers and van Goghs, to the quiet grace of a mother-and-daughter run coffeeshop complete with a Zen crystal garden, Amsterdam has no secrets.  She tells you everything, and then leaves you to decide who you want to be.  

And that is why Amsterdam is so the place to just Be. :)