Joyful Things 19

TEFL for dummies
Interesting article with beautiful photos of an old pagan clan still living today.
Handmade, beautiful bohemian dream catcher in this Etsy shop.
TĀLĀ is a half Iranian singer/song writer. She produced this magical video called Alchemy.
Meghan Currie the incredible yogi & yoga teacher brought out her first EP Album!
From a study of wolves, we’ve got it all wrong about Alpha Males, even in humans.
Ever heard of an inverted fish tank? You can build one yourself!
This instagram yogi is super inspiring and so fricken sexy, love her tattoos!
This piano piece is so beautiful, I’ve been practicing yoga to it in the mornings.
This book about Yin Yoga looks fascinating, I fancying specializing in this form of yoga.
Men who marry smart women are less likely to develop dementia & live longer.

I have almost finished my TEFL teacher training with only one module left to work through! This module is quite small in comparison to the others so I estimate I’ll have completed it by next week. It’s been tough, specifically relearning Grammar and even Grammar I never knew existed like conditionals and the Present Perfect Continuous! I wasn’t taught about this in high school! It has also been fun though, I’ve enjoyed learn how to make lesson plans and even include art activities into the mix too. I do want to study two specialist short courses in online teaching and teaching young learners as well, that will happen some time in the Spring. It feels so amazing to say I am actually a qualified kids yoga teacher and soon to be certified TEFL English teacher!
I’ll soon be equipped to live and work abroad and I am pretty sure schools will also love that I am also a kids yoga, dance and art teacher too. The possibilities are endless now!

Two articles are soon to be published with Bad Yogi and Yogi Approved and I am currently working on three more to be sent to my editors! Phew so much writing! There are some more exciting endeavors in the pipe line which I am organizing so I can’t really tell you all what is happening just yet even though I really want to, but stay tuned!
Happy Hump Day Everyone!
*photo of my TEFL for Dummies handbook.

Portugal: The Algarve, Faro

Faro, Portugal
So just before Christmas Jon surprised me with a mini break to the Algarve, Portugal. It has been a place I have been pestering him to go to (as well as Andalusia in Spain) because it is a culture I dearly love and I have just discovered it is part of my DNA, even though my DNA results show I am largely British (Irish & Scottish not English) and Western European (French, Italian, Hungarian and Norwegian) we found out I am also Iberian. The Iberians form a group of people whose culture is mixed, don’t consider themselves Spanish or Portuguese and have a South American heritage mixed with Moroccan. The Iberian Peninsula sits at the bottom of Spain and parts of Portugal (The Algarve) and has had an interesting history of both Christian and Moorish rule-hence their devote Catholic lifestyle surrounded by Moroccan decor and architecture. Knowing what I know now about my genetic ancestry has filled a hole in my personality that felt isolated and “different”. I feel more complete and I understand aspects to me that were once confusing. Like why so many people believed me to be Spanish or half Arab, why I am so drawn to Latin music and darbuka drum as though those sounds stir my blood and why I have jet black curly hair, strong facial features and almond shaped eyes. But more on this in another blog post!

I was so happy when he surprised me because I had just found out I was contracted to work all the Christmas holidays (except Christmas day) and I was feeling super glum. This mini break was an early Christmas present that lifted my spirits!

So, we visited for four days and were primarily situated in Faro. With its international airport, Faro is the main city people fly into to go on holiday in the Algarve. We went in December meaning costs were low and there were little or no tourists about (peace on earth!). We usually prefer to travel during the shoulder or off season to avoid that touristy vibe, trashy merchandise and bratty children. The weather in the Algarve was still very pleasant, with lovely temperatures from 11am until 4:30pm every day, however early mornings and by 5pm temperatures do drop so I’d advise taking a winter coat, scarves and tote socks for the evenings, I carried a woolly jumper with me during the day in case the sea breeze was a bit chilly, however most often than not, I’d have to take it off because it did get quite hot during Mid day!

We stayed in Story Guesthouse which offers free wifi, breakfast included in the price, shared kitchen and small courtyard and communal bathrooms on every floor, the showers have super hot water and simple rooms with balconies. This is a great accommodation for backpackers.

Visit the Algarve

Algarve tourism

mini break to Portugal

Portuguese mini break

things to do in Faro

old town Faro

Visitor information, Faro

Faro old town
Faro is a very pretty and quiet seaside city, with pleasant cobbled streets, an old town and with beautiful churches and chapels throughout. Often over looked or used as a pit-stop for tourists, this place holds a lot of traditional charm and a sweet ambiance. The pleasant shopping area is lined with open air cafes, seafood restaurants and pizzerias and there are tours available offering day excursions to Ria Formsa national park from a small harbour. Often Faro’s beaches are scarce of tourists, meaning in the height of the season you’d be sharing quiet coastal area with locals. It does make for a lovely day excursion if holiday-makers are situated in other parts of the Algarve, there is a bus service and train station nearby and the locals speak very good English.
The thing we loved about Faro is that it is a good central point to be in as a main base if you want to sleep easy somewhere quiet and plan your time in the Algarve to take day trips to places outside of Faro. You can literally hop on a two hour long train journey to spend a day in Portimao or one hour to Albufeira, and it takes just over two hours to get to Lagos, how easy is that! There are also neighbouring towns and villages to visit too if you didn’t want to venture out too far, within 15 minutes you are in the pretty village of Estoi where you can explore the Pink Palace (highly recommended) and you can also visit Loulé which takes 25 minutes or Quarteira in 31 minutes. The inexpensive public transport here means the entire Algarve can be traveled to very easily.

Yoga in Faro

Main square Faro

Faro holiday

holiday in the Algarve

Algarve break

holiday in Portugal


Faro things to do

The old town at this time of year was deserted with only the locals dressed in their Sunday best for mass or casually having a coffee in the main square. It is very pretty to visit though and it was great for Jon as a photographer as he didn’t have to wait for bumbling tourists to get out of his shot.You enter through the 18th century Arco da Vila, walk uphill through impeccably cobbled streets framed by elegantly balconied houses and arrive at the Largo da Se where the Municipal Museum stands and off these squares in every direction are little streets and lanes which just beg to be explored. You can walk from one end of the Old Town to the other in about 30 minutes and leave by the other Arch, the Arco da Repouso, emerging by the edge of the water on the Largo da Sao Francisco. For a small price you can enter the church in the main square and venture up to the tower for some splendid views across Faro also.

What’s special about this part of town is that there are no postcards or souvenir shops, just a few bars and sea food restaurants and in parts an almost rural atmosphere. I do appreciate it might look and feel a bit different in the high season however it is a little gem of a place to go on a relaxed walk, a real joy!

Carmo church Faro

Churches in Faro

Bone Chapel Faro

The Église du carmel de Faro Church, or the Carmo Church (which is the same location as the Bone Chapel) is a stunning piece of architecture situated near the market place and post office in Faro. The statues and alter inside take your breath away and there is a beautiful state of calm within. Most tourists do come here to see the chapel of bones built on the side of this church but I do recommend you spend some quality time being dazzled by the decor and high ceilings. A long approach over shallow steps gives it a feeling of grandeur and, upon entering, one is taken aback by the incredibly ornate nave and altar – so much gold carving and statues. Perhaps due to most people coming to see the Chapel of Bones and needing to walk through the main church to access it, this isn’t a place to come for quiet reflection or prayer, but worth a visit just to compare it with other churches in the city. This is well worth a visit because it is cheap to go inside (one Euro each) and it gives you a glimpse into part of Portugal’s rich Catholic lifestyle and history. In the summer, be wary of gypsies begging for money near the entrance though.

explore portugal

travel to portugal

day in Faro

backpacking in the Algarve

Backpacker in Portugal

what to do in the Algarve

why visit Faro?

Faro day trips

day trips around the Algarve

Algarve holiday destination
The Chapel of Bones is what most tourists in Faro come to see. Built on the back side of the Carmo church you have to walk through the church and out through a side door to the right which then takes you into a small dark room full of Christian artifacts and solemn statues before leaving out through another small door into a courtyard of stone graves, cats and plants. It is here that the Chapel of Bones is situated and it is a very small room literally covered in skulls and bones. I have always wanted to see something like this, we did find a church in Cornwall, England that included bones as part of the decor (which is a rarity in the UK) and we had seen documentaries of churches and holy places around the world being decorated with human bones. I personally do not find it macabre as I find different cultures interpretation of death and the afterlife fascinating and I love learning about tribal rites of passage, old fairytales about the life/death cycle and the symbolism of bones. So seeing the chapel of bones was a highlight for me, I’d question why the monks did this? Was it a ritual? Did they believe it kept them close to God? How did they do it? How did they carve out space for each person’s skull every time they died? And Ironically this chapel is next door to a school playground so hearing the cute laughter of children just outside a place dedicated to the afterlife was interesting to say the least!

This place is out of the ordinary so if you like peculiar things or you are a history and culture buff or maybe fancy going for a walk just to see something different on your otherwise beach filled holiday then do go visit this place especially after your calming walk through the old town.
According to wikipedia the bone chapel is known as an Ossuary. An Ossuary is a small box like building used as tombe when burial space was scarce. A body is first buried in a temporary grave, then after some years the skeletal remains are removed and placed in an ossuary. The greatly reduced space taken up by an ossuary means that it is possible to store the remains of many more people in a single tomb than if the original coffins were left as is. Many Ossuaries can be found all over Europe, including Italy, the Czech Republic and the Catacombs of Paris. Ossuaries have been common practice in Greek Orthodox and Jewish tradition for hundreds of years.

chapel of bones, Faro

Bone chapel Faro

Ossuary in Faro

Faro is a perfect destination for visitors who wish to know the “real” side to the Algarve and want more out of their holiday than a week on the beach. Faro offers history, culture, local charm and a peaceful environment. It’s close to the airport to catch your flights in time and offers a wonderful transport system to visit the rest of the Algarve by an independent traveler who stays clear from typical and hectic tourist hotspots. Faro is not geared up for visitors who want the nightlife, clubs or pubs and it is not quite suitable for families (especially families who just want a week on the beach), although it really depends on the family and how you raise your kids. I recommend visitors stay in Faro for two days to really soak in the atmosphere before traveling to your next destination or if you get into the Algarve on a late flight, it is a great location for an over night and day stay before you venture on towards your main holiday destination.

Next up: The Pink Palace in Estoi!
If you wish to see other Travel blogs visit them here:
Morocco for 16 days
Croatia/Montenegro for 10 days
Hungary/Vienna for 5 days
Nepal for 21 days
The UK

January Book Haul

Pagan books
I am currently interested in the topic of Paganism and the sacredness of nature. Paganism is an old spiritual and practical path or lifestyle that literally involves having respect for nature and the elements. Deities are personifications of the natural world because as humans we need labels, personalities and faces for us to understand objects or things that are obscure or inanimate. Paganism is having knowledge of old traditions, knowing the morals of ancient fairy-tales, having the wisdom of herbology and even of the weather, it is knowing the seasons as well as the moon cycles. That is, to me, what the basics of a Pagan lifestyle is. It is a very simple lifestyle and much like some Hindu sects and Buddhist philosophies, Pagans also believe in the concept of Karma and that every action creates a reaction and therefore it is up the individual to be responsible for their own actions and practice being good. Unlike organized religions, paganism doesn’t burden it’s followers with needless dogma and pretends to absolve them from their sins if they kneel before an invisible entity. Pagans are not subservient to the supreme being but recognize we are all part of this beautiful, primordial macrocosm of mother earth and I feel very connected to this path.

Here are a few Earthcentric books I am currently reading:

The Barefoot Diaries
This sweet UK based magazine has everything earthcentric within it, from poetry revolving around nature, to recipes, stories of trekking in the great outdoors, illustrations of woodland creatures and much more. I love it’s size, great for popping in your backpack and the paper quality is beautiful. This is a really thoughtful creation was homegrown by a lovely British couple. Buy the magazine here.

The Original Brothers Grimm Fairytales
I’ve always wanted to read this book, it makes me think of olde wives tales. My partner found a version of it with the original, brutal and gory stories throughout. These original stories were read to children as a way to teach them of the turmoils of the real world, they were meant to both shock and make the reader think about life. Tales of damsels in woods with wild creatures were metaphors for being wary of cunning men and tales of jealousy, drug induced sleep and spitefulness are to show children to realize as they grow into adults that witches are not the evil hag you think they are and monsters don’t always live in the woods, they can be your mother-in-law, your friend, your neighbour or your lover. Buy it here.

The Hidden Life of Trees
This book fascinated me the moment I saw it in waterstones just before Christmas. I had no idea that trees know love, have a language and even have ‘forest etiquette’. My partner Jon gifted this book to me for Christmas and I was over the moon. This charming little hardback book looks like it’s going to knock my socks off with the information I am going to learn and it’s going to feel so magical to find out that trees communicate and have a wisdom beyond what us humans can fully grasp. Buy the book here.

These are the books I will be reading over the next month (yes I read that quickly) so I will try and do a monthly book haul, depending on my schedule outside this blog. What are you reading?

Manifest Your Dreams: Set Intentions, Not Resolutions

manifest your dreams in 2017
A few weeks before Christmas just as I was winding down, I felt this urge to write! It started out rather angry at the world, at people who; like horses on a narrow road can only see a tiny fragment of the world through blinkers. I couldn’t understand why many individuals need to judge others for essentially taking their blinkers off and gasping “My gosh! There is a beautiful world out there!”

Then I began to soften and talk about how to manifest dreams in a slow and steady way by ignoring the critics who foolishly tell you “you’ll never get there” because it hasn’t happened yet and just fully concentrating on yourself, taking baby steps to nourish your soul, to be patient with what is and what will eventually come if you put the work into it. Dreams do not happen over night, like the sea carving away at a jagged rock it takes years of personal/lifestyle/career development before you can stand back and view your master piece and even then the work is not finished. In the next stage, once the seed turns into a sampling you now need to invest time and energy into your dream to watch it grow.

Like most things worth waiting for, it needs to bake in the ether before it is ready. It takes 9 months for a baby to be born, it takes 3 years to attain a degree and it took my own mother 10 years to finally move to Bulgaria permanently.
This article is me telling the world “When I say I am going to do something, I will do it, it will take time but it WILL happen!” and it will for anyone who has set intentions for themselves.

This whole concept is centered around New Years Resolutions and why it is better to set Intentions to manifest because then you’ll stick them and it will make you feel good about the positive changes you are making.
Read the full article here on Bad Yogi: Manifest Your Dreams: Set Intentions, Not Resolutions

Farewell 2016, Hello 2017

2016 was a great year for me, it was a year of finding my confidence and I’ve achieved a number of things.
~ I got my first tattoo.
~ I qualified as a kids yoga teacher in Brighton.
~ One of my prose poems was accepted & published on Elephant Journal.
~ My blog was considered one of the top 25 European Yoga blogs by “DoYouYoga”.
~ I became a writer for Bad Yogi Blog.
~ I did my practical training to become a TEFL English teacher.
~ I modeled in London for a sports & leisure clothing company.
~ I became an Activity Leader for a Language School for their summer camp.
~ As well as this, Jon and I spent two weeks in Bulgaria, including the beautiful city of Plovdiv.
~ To end the year we had a mini break in the Algarve Portugal.

For 2017, it’s a year I find my power, It is really important now for me to truly focus on myself and really build on the foundations I have set so that my career can firmly take shape. This is the year I will:
~ Set up and promote my freelance kids yoga & art sessions.
~ In March I’ll be a qualified TEFL English teacher.
~ I’ll be getting a couple more tattoos- A flower and a mermaid.
~ Planning a much needed week up North to visit close friends & family (& to perform/teach).
~ I’ll be going on a Teen Yoga teacher training in Somerset.
~ I hope to do a week long Level 2 Fitness Instructing course with YMCA.
~ Jon & I are going on another big backpacking adventure somewhere in the Far East.
~ I am attending a Pagan Priestess initiation for spiritual development.
~ Organize the 200hour Yoga Alliance teacher training in Thailand for the end of 2017.

The overall plan for 2017 is to finally facilitate art, belly dance & yoga workshops to adults and children alike, I’ve worked so hard and been so patient for years so 2017 is all about encouraging great change.
You’ll see my freelance teaching business come to life with all my skills finally being utilized. I want to offer combined sessions in Yoga with art for children and belly dance with yoga, reiki and meditation for teens and adults.

The idea is to be a teacher of English from home and teach creativity, leisure and holistic fitness out in the community running classes, workshops and I am also open to being involved in festivals and retreats.

What are your 2017 aspirations? What are you manifesting?
Wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2017 and I hope this year brings you good health, joy & plenty of wonderful experiences