Croatia so far

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Jon & I have been in Croatia for about 5 days now and we have another 5 to go. We spent 4 days in beautiful Dubrovnik yet one of those days involved a day trip to a nearby island called Lokrum & another day visiting parts of Montenegro. We managed to enjoy the stunning sights of Dubrovnik’s old town, ate locally made ice cream, rode up the cable car and a swim in the sea. During the 4 days in Dubrovnik we became friends with the lady whose apartment we stayed in and an interesting young woman at a Pizza place. I really enjoy making friends with people around the world because not only does it become a cherished memory but it also expands the mind and encourages you to immerse yourself in their culture. Jon is really enjoying learning Croatian as it sounds like an intriguing mix between soothing Italian and rigorous Russian, he already knows the basics and we find ourselves savoring the relaxed lifestyle here. Croatians are very fond of the arts and on nearly every street corner there are painters, musicians, art galleries, jewellery designers and lace makers. Croatians enjoy creativity on all levels including theatre, a mixture of music, poetry, literature & dance and I have even seen a number of locals here actually reading books or Kindles in parks, at a bus stop or on the beach which is so refreshing since most Brits nowadays prefer to watch television shows or go shopping, not that there is anything wrong with that, I just find it difficult to fit in with that sort of lifestyle because I am such a history, culture & art geek.

This morning we hopped on a local bus for our 4 hour journey to Split & this afternoon we pottered about Split’s old town photographing the old ruins & architecture before another swim in the sea. We have plans for a day excursion although nothing is set in stone and we have 3 nights here before we head out to Plitvice Lakes & Rijeka.

Until the next update čuti ćemo se! (We’ll stay in touch!)

Croatia: Adventuring up the Dalmatian Coast

country flag patches
After Jon & I came back from Morocco in early April we decided to save again for another holiday in August, something last minute & reasonably priced. We looked on the world map and our terms & conditions were: It had to be somewhere with a balance of adventure & relaxation, somewhere in Europe that had that tropical look and somewhere neither of us have been. Morocco was out of this world, there are no words to describe how incredible that adventure trip was however it felt at times a bit rushed & because we went in March sometimes there was a chill in the air which made me uncomfortable because I have low blood pressure and I can get cold quite easily; when I lived in Cyprus for 4 summers I thrived during the hottest days, my skin was healthy and my hair had a bounce to it. Finding a destination on the world map became tricky because both of us have been to quite a few European places, when I suggested somewhere in Spain or Italy Jon said “Nah, I’ve been to Barcelona & Rome with work…” and when Jon suggested Bulgaria I replied with “I went there when I was 5 or 6 and now my mum has a house there, it is somewhere we could go at any time we want.” Neither of us wanted to go to places in France, Germany or Prague again because they are so close to the UK they are more like city breaks or long weekends away than a ten day adventure.

At this point in our lives we are trying to visit as many unusual places as we can before we opt for revisiting countries we’ve already been to. I discovered Croatia, it seemed like a perfect location, on google images it looked like a stunning desktop screen saver & there were plenty of things to do and places to see. But Jon gets bored easily & decided to take it one step further and plan an adventure up the Dalmatian Coast, I was adamant though that there needs to be a slower pace than Morocco as for this holiday I didn’t want to be rushed around with my suitcase trying to cram in loads of activities over the ten days, there needs to be a break with times where we might decide to have a lie in and potter about the location we are staying at as it gives us time to savour the architecture & culture plus it allows Jon not to feel rushed when taking photographs, it will feel nice knowing there isn’t much of a time restriction in places we are located, plus I am trying to find a local Yoga class in Split which will be nice to attend on a warm, sunny morning.
Lonely Planet Guide to Croatia
So here is our Itinerary:
* For 4 nights we are staying in a quaint hotel in Dubrovnik. Just from staying in Dubrovnik there is a stunning Island called Lokrum we can visit via a 15 minute ride on a Boat Taxi. There are also day excursions to other Croatian Islands plus Montenegro & Bosnia might be on the agenda, not to mention spending time in Dubrovnik’s old town, historical sites, art galleries & Museums.

* Then we travel up to Split via Ferry or hire car, here we are staying in our own apartment for 3 nights. Split is like the epicentre of the Dalmatian Coast as it is the largest city in Croatia & the main port for ferries, it’s a great tourist destination due to it’s stunning beaches and we have plans to visit Diocletian’s Palace and Plitvice Lakes are about an hour away.

*Our last destination is 2 nights in Rijeka where we will be staying on a Botel! (A hotel boat). Here we can visit the island of Krk, Northern Velebit National Park & Trsat Castle.

All in all this holiday is a good balance between adventure with plenty of things to do and relaxation where we have the time to enjoy the locations we are staying in. I am really excited also because as the UK’s weather is changing with our evenings becoming cooler, Croatia’s current temperatures are between 22°C and 28°C! Not only that but Croatia offers a wonderful mix of interesting culture, heritage sites, a beautiful language and yummy local foods I can’t wait to immerse myself in. We will be travelling to London tomorrow afternoon and our flight to Croatia is at 6am on Sunday morning, I am really looking forward to adventuring up the Dalmatian coast of Croatia!

Changing Aura Colours

tribal belly dancer Katie having her Aura photographed

This time last year I had my aura photographed for the first time. It was a treat to myself & a small thing I wanted to cross off my bucket list (That has both epic & small activities I want to do in my life). Last year my Aura was expansive & a reddy orange, you can view it here. The deep reds and oranges at the time seemed odd as I am quite a calm person and thought I’d have a blue or green aura but now it makes sense, looking back I was fighting against adversity & was using a lot of inner strength to hold onto who I really am regardless of judgement. It was a time of standing up for what I believed in. Red is the colour of passion & aggression and you might say I was a bit of both, inside I was head strong & forceful even if at family gatherings I seemed quiet on the surface.
medicine music festival, orange aura

orange aura, rainbow aura
So in May 2014 and I was given the opportunity to perform at the Medicine Music Festival, but that will be wrote about in another Blog Post. I was also invited to have my Aura Photographed. I was quite excited to see how much my aura has changed within a year and how it represents my personality and entire being now at this stage in my life. The only problem was for some reason the computer/camera could not pick up my Aura, my Aura kept changing colours rapidly. In order for the photographer to take a picture of your Aura, she needs to give your body and camera about 10 seconds to settle, with mine she couldn’t even count up to 3 seconds! The photographer said my Aura is constantly changing, it is all the colours of the rainbow and this rarity has only ever happened twice before me in the countless years she has been photographing Auras. The photographer reset her computer 3 times and it still didn’t work, I was worried and kept apologising for breaking her computer, even Jon (who is an atheist) found the entire event bizarre & watched with amazement. I had another woman place her hands on my feet & Jon held my hand to ground me. It took the photographer all afternoon (in between other people who had their Auras photographed quite easily) for her to finally photograph a colour, this happened because I was looking deeply into Jon’s eyes, the photograph said “At that moment in time when you were looking deeply into Jon’s eyes your Aura settled with Golden Orange, but I have to say to you now, this may not be your actual colour, I think you are all the colours but my camera can only photograph one. What does this mean? It is nothing bad, your aura is so full of spiritual energy, you are going to do great things, this is just the beginning” She continued “You are interested in many things, hugely empathic & multidimensional…It is very very rare, that the aura colours are not settling down. And in all those years we have been doing Aura Photography (since 2007) we have only seen this 3 times (you are the 3rd person )”. One day I will book another aura reading with Tonya to see if my aura has settled or if I literally am a rainbow of energy and will be for the rest of my life? Who knows?
aura photography

For the short time my aura was still and was golden orange this denotes self control, motivation, a connection to the higher self, creativity, wisdom & radiating love like the warmth of the sun.

I received so many hugs that day which was awesome, it is so nice to be around people who not only have the same or similar interests as me but also respect who I am, I felt loved and I felt accepted and it was an honor to meet everyone that day.

To book an aura reading with Tonya & Francis visit their website here.

Totnes Devon

totnes

shops in totnes

quirky gift shops in totnes

organic home made foods in totnes cafes

paper moon book shop in totnes

old church in totnes

clock tower in totnes

Devon countryside

day out in Totnes Devon

things to do in the South West of England

things to do in totnes

castle in totnes

totnes castle

I love Totnes and try to go there often, especially in the summer months due to the vibrancy of the bohemian people, it’s colourful market place and quirky shops. Totnes has a lot of charm to offer and great if you are hunting for unusual gifts for friends and family. Yesterday Cath & I had a potter around the quaint shops and galleries and had awesome conversations about life and I got to visit my favourite book shop entitled ‘Paper Moon’ and the awesome Indian clothing shop called ‘Firefly’.Totnes is a really accepting community, you can be whoever you want to be as long as you are nice and I feel like I can be myself there. Totnes has a lot to offer if you are into the creative and healing arts whether it be art and art workshops or Yoga and Reiki and everything else that is in between. I love days like that and I was in desperate need for some girly companionship, if I wasn’t cooped up at home studying or at work, I am with Jon, which is not a bad thing but sometimes just like men do, a girl needs her space. I have known Cath for a good few years, she was one of the first people I bonded with when I first moved to Plymouth from Blackpool. Cath has a similar approach to life as me and I love that she is honest and loyal, if she says she’ll be at the train station at 10am, she means it and when I asked if I could have some of the photos she took to share on this Blog, she instantly sent some to me the moment she got home. This is exactly the way I am and it is refreshing to have a friend with a similar mindset. Cath is also a photography enthusiast, enjoys illustrating when she is in the mood to sketch something and is exceedingly fast at learning Belly Dance. I told her she is a natural and recommended she take it up as a hobby and she is currently attending my Sunday morning classes. Cath & I hope to plan other day trips around quaint little Devon towns and villages in the near future.
I hope to be going back to Totnes on the 27th September to sample different types of Yoga at their YogaFest. I quite fancy having a go at Viniyoga, Satyananda Yoga & Ayurvedic Vinyasa. Cath may be coming with me and I believe because she is reasonably new to Yoga she might like Dru Yoga & Yoga Nidra as they are both quite gentle.

totnes yoga fest

Learning to teach Yoga

yoga
What I love about the idea of Teaching Yoga or being in a Yoga class is that it is profoundly personal. I love intimate spaces and conversations as oppose to big classes or having loads of friends. There is something beautiful & sacred about small groups and it enables you to connect and share energy on a deeper level. I have been toying with the idea of learning to teach Yoga with Belly Dance for some time now and for years I’d not only push that idea aside but I’d allow others place doubt in my mind by implying these ‘ambitions’ were a silly idea. I went through a lot of soul searching in 2013 and I was quite solitary, soon a fire inside of me rekindled and I have actively participated in allowing this warm creative energy burn within and through me whereas in the past I held on to it in fear of judgement, this is also perhaps why I suffered with bladder and kidney infections as they were physical manifestations of trapped emotion, self confidence issues & lacking the courage to say “No” or “I’m going to do what makes me happy regardless of judgement” because my base chakra was unbalanced. I think the trick to happiness is acknowledging our lives are short & precious so go ahead and do something with it, challenge yourself, if you love doing something why not learn more about it and become a master of it and share it with others?

Over the first half of this year I took it upon myself to change my life because I felt trapped by inner conflicts and external forces. I can’t change external obstacles or the judgemental mind set of others but I can work on my inner conflicts and get to work on me, just me. I had to think of myself for a change in order to go back to supporting others, If I couldn’t be there for myself and be confident from within, how could I do that for others? The time is now!
So I set about this new journey which is actually an old journey that has been dormant for many years. As a child I was the strange one in the family, collecting crystals, I had my own cauldron and researched spells. As I grew up I learned about the Chakras, Reincarnation and Mudras and at university I learned about Yoga, Meditation, Temple Dancers and Tantra. I enjoy reading about Indian Philosophy, Buddhism and Persian Mysticism alongside the Gita and the Yoga Sutras. I love the strange mixture of wisdom, clarity, alchemy, mysticism & connecting to a higher force and I love the flowing energy between the mind, body and spirit.

I am a creative soul, there is no doubt about that, this is me, this is my gift God has given me, whether it is art, belly dance or yoga, it is all the same on my gigantic creative spinning wheel of fiery rainbows. I have gone as far as I can go (for now) in terms of art therapy & psychology, until I can do my masters one day to be a certified art therapist I am content I am qualified to be a community artist who can lead harmonious art workshops in a variety of places like hospitals, residential homes, kids club and mental health care. Now is the time I work on the other dominant side to my creativity and that is my Belly Dancing, body movement and physical well-being. I passed my Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 with flying colours, I am on the verge of completing my Dance Leadership Training, I have just passed my Nutrition & Health course and have now enrolled on a mini course in Sports Psychology & a Hatha Yoga Teaching course. This is a stepping stone (or a platform if you wish) that will give me good grounding for if/when I go onto study with the Devon school of Yoga. But for now it enables me to incorporate Hatha Yoga into my belly dance classes as a safe and gentle warm-up before participants begin dancing. Before this year is up I will also study a short course in Dance Therapy.

I love Yoga, I love it’s grace and I love the quietness of it. When practising my asanas something amazing happens to me, my mind goes silent and this is a very rare occurrence because although I am a quiet person and I can appear like a Zen Monk, my mind is like a honey bee constantly buzzing around in search of honey. The moment I step onto my mat I concentrate on my breathing, I actually visualize my lungs as giant trees (see how my arty side still comes into play) & I focus on my postures as though I am a moving sculpture (Arty thoughts again). I am already learning a lot from my current Yoga teacher Jo Thyssen, she runs a beautiful studio space called The Yoga Loft and her voice is soothing yet playful. They say people come into your life as guides or messengers, I think she is one of them to me and I am thankful to be able to attend her classes.

In many ways I am new to this so it is a challenge and I have difficulties with remembering & with balance due to my Dyslexia but as Paulo Coelho says ““Fortunate are those who take the first steps.” and as Barney Stinson from the show ‘How I met your Mother‘ states “Challenge Accepted!