Blackout Poetry

The witch of Portobello
last week was a quiet one for me, it was a time of reflection so I spent my days reading poetry and having a play with my own Blackout Poetry.
So, what is Blackout Poetry? This style of Poetry requires you to have an old book and a marker pen. You then find a page within that book and begin to circle words you like. Once you have picked your words (or small sentences) you blackout the rest of the page, leaving the circled words to form a short poem. This is a beautiful and simple way of introducing someone to poetry, using it in Art sessions and for TEFL teachers who want to make their vocabulary lessons more creative. Marker pens are not the only equipment you can use, you can opt to include Biro pens of different colours, paint, crayon and collage art to Blackout your pages, the ideas are endless.

I was going to buy a book from a charity shop (so that I don’t destroy my own books), but by chance someone had left a few books by the side of the road, (I’m guessing in the hope individuals might pick them up?) and I had seen they left a dogeared copy of “The Witch of Portobello” by Paulo Coelho in this pile of books, I read this novel years ago and loved it, so it was destiny to have this disheveled tome and so I took it home.

Here are a few samples of Blackout Poetry I have created so far. I hope to complete the entire book and perhaps leave it somewhere for someone else to find as a public art piece or as a gift to inspire them to take up Blackout Poetry or do something else with it entirely? What I love about this form of poetry is how nonsensical it is, it really allows you to be playful with the English language and tap into your inner child, it is perhaps a great activity to do with children too.
intro to blackout poetry

blackout poetry


learn how to make a blackout poem

blackout poem

poems on blog

English TEFL lesson with poetry

Blackout poetry for TEFL tutors

blackout poetry for art therapy

poetry therapy

poems for therapy

poetry for art activity

Exciting News: Collaborative Yoga & Belly Dance Workshop!

yoga and belly dance

Last week I spent an afternoon with my good friend Jodie who is a newly certified yoga teacher. I am happy to announce we are organizing a collaborative workshop together which we hope will be delivered in May although an exact date has not been decided. The workshop will consist of 2.5 hours of Yoga, Belly Dance and a Chakra meditation. Both of us are Reiki practitioners too so Reiki will be included throughout. This is a tester workshop which we hope to facilitate in our local community centre and if it is successful we hope to continue creating workshops together as well as Reiki gatherings and sacred feminine circles not only in the community centre but perhaps in other venues around Plymouth too eventually.

This workshop will be open to all levels and even though it is targeted to a female audience, men are welcome too because men can belly dance (there are male belly dancers in Turkey).

We are at drafting stage so we are making lots of notes and exchanging ideas but we’ll be promoting the workshop very soon, we’ve already chosen a title and will be creating flyers to promote it.

I am also working very hard on setting up my Kids Yoga & Art workshop (age 7-12) too which I hope to be held at the Yoga Loft once my teaching Insurance is processed. My promo flyers for this are nearly finished and I currently planning a Tween Yoga & Belly Dance workshop for girls (age 9-13) to be facilitated in early summer also.

So, lots to plan and initiate, I’m excited because I finally feel ready within myself, I’m being patient for things to get started and to overcome mini hurdles (like waiting for insurance paper work) but I do believe in divine timing, it will all happen when the time is right. So stay tuned for more updates on my workshops!

Portugal, the Algarve: Lagos

we stayed over night in a hotel in Portimao instead of heading back to Faro so that we could catch an hour long train journey to Lagos. The main reason we wanted to venture here was for the cliff side walk which makes this part of Portugal famous. The coastlines here are breathtaking and another destination to put on your bucket list.
Lagos is probably our favourite place during our stay and we both said we could live here, although we have no idea what the high season is like however it did appear less commercialized than Portimao.

Lagos town has quaint shops and your usual souvenir stores alongside cobbled streets and beautiful architecture, it had a sleepier aura than the high rise resort complexes of Portimao. First we ventured to a local fish market to see the locals doing what they do best. The Portuguese are renowned fishermen throughout history, hence the reason why so much of their murals depict sea goddesses and mermaids on stone walls and I am pretty sure they have their fair share of pirate tales too!
Lagos is a harbour town so there are all kinds of fish on the menus of all restaurants, we stepped into a local fish market and found it intriguing because there was an array of fish, squid, crab and octopus plus this is their livelihood and it’s good to be involved in another culture somehow, it was also great for Jon’s photography, capturing a small glimpse into how people live in a different culture.

visit Lagos

attractions in Lagos

the beauty of Lagos

After a spot of lunch in the town square we ventured to the coastal walk. This walk takes about four hours and takes you along a coastal path to view the beautiful rock formations looking out to sea. Very similar tour to the cave tour in Portimao, only this time it’s on land and on foot.

This walk is great for advanced trekkers and beginners alike, children can do this walk and if you have a dog, bring him along too! I will mention though, sometimes there are steps and uphill walking so if you struggle with leg, knee or back problems do some more research before you decide on this walk. It is reasonably gentle but it does take you away from civilization at times so do carry snacks and water as well as sun lotion. There are pit stops in between where you can buy refreshments or stop at a restaurant for a hearty meal.

things to do in the Algarve

Algarve sight seeing

Algarve holidays

coastal walks in Lagos

rock formations in Lagos

The cliff walk known as the Ponta da Piedade is a must for every visitor of the algarve and one of the most frequented hotspots in this area. the best time to go there is in the early morning or in the late afternoon for the sunset. This is an easy walkable path between the big rocks which bring you down winding pathways to breathtaking coves, grottos and beaches peppered with golden rock formations and the crystal blue sea. The panoramic view is extraordinary so brilliant for photography enthusiasts. This coastline feels very exotic and tropical, you’d think you are in the Maldives. Organised boat trips are available in lagos a few kilometers from Ponte da Piedade, the price depends on the season and the number of people in one boat though. Jon and I did this walk on foot as we are avid walkers anyway, since the weather is glorious it made sense to be in the fresh air and take a leisurely stroll along the footpaths as the sun slowly set.


mini break in Portugal

mini break in the Algarve

Even in December this place is stunning, although very early in the morning there was a huge down pour and thunderstorm we very nearly cancelled coming to Lagos because I had accidentally left my rain coat back in the hotel in Faro with my main backpack. After an hour of breakfast and a cup of tea, the storm cleared and by 10am all the clouds disappeared to make way for the sunshine. You wouldn’t think it ever rained would you? Unlike the UK which remains damp hours after a rain storm, the Algarve was warm and dry within an hour.

We walked the entire point along the cliff top paths, including going down to all of the beaches on the east side that we could. One of them (possibly Praia Camilo) has 233 steps down to get to the beach (and 233 steps back up!) At the point itself, go down the stairs to see the rock formations. I think “in season”, there may be boats that load up here to take you on a tour, but in mid-December, it was deserted, with just a few other walkers like us.
On the east side of the point, there are stunning views of the Lagos Bay and as far as the Cape Carvoeiro lighthouse. On the west side, you can see the beach at Porto do Mos, and the cliffs and bays to Praia de Luz and beyond.

coastal walking in the Algarve

As stated earlier, Lagos is a firm favourite and we would venture back here to do the coastal walk again perhaps when the weather is hotter, going to the Algarve in December does have its merits in that we pretty much had most places to ourselves (bar the locals) however we only had some kind of warmth from the sun between 11am and 4pm, sunrise and sunset was a tad chilly, but bearable if you take a jumper and raincoat. I would like to revisit this place during the summer so that I can enjoy walking around in my summer dresses, harem pants and bikini.
There are other parts of the Algarve yet to be explored and it is a destination I do hope to go back to, perhaps run a yoga and belly dance retreat there? Who knows? All I do know is that the Algarve took my breath away!
This concludes my time in the Algarve,
to see the other destinations we visited click on the links below:
One day in Faro & chapel of bones
One day at the Pink Palace
One day in Portimao

Here are a few other destinations you might like to read about:
16 days in Morocco
10 days in Croatia & Montenegro
21 days in Nepal
5 days in Budapest & Vienna

When friends teach you things

About a week ago I met up with a friend called Lauren whom I’ve known for 4 years now. We started out as work colleagues in the same part time job and she has now moved on within the world of law and I am very proud of her accomplishments. We hadn’t seen each other since my birthday so we decided to have lunch and a mooch around our favourite shop, the Body Shop together.

What I love about Lauren and what she teaches me is to relax and to treat myself more. She is not an over spender on things but she does work hard to get what she wants. When I tell her there is something I really want, her response is always “Get it then, don’t feel guilty for treating yourself.” and I love that. I do struggle with guilt and learning to value myself has been a hard road to walk down but I’m slowly getting there (Hence the red lipstick and tattoos). Through friends like Lauren I am learning that buying stuff for myself doesn’t make me a consumer or a shopaholic, it makes me normal for wanting to be attentive towards myself plus the Body Shop uses organic products that are not tested on animals. At the Body Shop Lauren found a body mist she felt would suit me and it did smell divine and very sensual and so she devilishly tempted me to buy this very sexy Black Musk body mist.
Lauren: “Katie, get it, it’s very you, I mean just look at the sign, it says “Sweet on the inside, Fierce on the outside.” it’s totally you!”
Me: “Do you really think so?”
Lauren: “Yeah it’s just you if you were a perfume.”
Me *with a smile*: “OK then!”

Sometimes you need friends around you to remind you of your worth and to teach you self love, in a world where we are bombarded with negativity on a daily basis, it’s important to give yourself some love, to be kind to yourself and others throughout the bad times by just getting that book or dress or perfume you wanted, sit in meditation for 5 minutes, laugh at puppy videos on youtube or take a nap and go see friends and family members whom you can be yourself around. Life is so short so practice love in all shapes and forms.

Kama Sutra Article: Bad Yogi Blog

Kama Sutra, Bad Yogi
My recent article with Bad Yogi has been published and this is my second to last piece for them as I will be taking a hiatus in writing for the rest of this year. I have one more article to produce for Bad Yogi and Yogi Approved alongside a prose poem for Rebelle Society and then that door will be ajar for a while. I may still publish something in the mean time, if the inspiration hits me at 2am on a Sunday morning and I need to write something so I am still staying open to the possibility and I am still connected to Bad Yogi and Yogi Approved, I just need to free up my personal time to concentrate on other endeavors so I can’t be committed to writing on a monthly basis for both platforms anymore. That being said, this recently published article about the Kama Sutra is probably one of my favourites as it’s a subject (alongside the chakras) that is close to my heart. All the illustrations are created by me also, so do have a read and enjoy learning more about the Kama Sutra.

“The Rig Veda states; ‘In the beginning there was desire and this was the first seed of the mind.’ Hindu cosmology believes that the process of creation emerged from primordial chaos and a frenzied sensuality. The idea of creation was manifested as an amorous act between the gods and goddesses; making the formation of the universe both sacred and erotic.

Everything in nature makes love in order to create new life and to rejoice in the beauty of spring. The ancient Indians viewed love and sex as highly important because it connects us to nature and to the cosmos. The pursuits of pleasure of the human body was seen as one way of being closer to the divine and thus attain spiritual union (or achieve Moksha) that one aspired for.

Much like the practice of Yoga, the Kama Sutra is hugely misunderstood around the world. The Kama Sutra is an ancient book of Love; it is not just a book of sex positions. There are 64 different positions that can be assumed during loving making and are actually one small part of the entire book. Kama Sutra literally translates to “love lessons” or “Desire Song” and was used as a guide for couples of all ages, courtesans to the king and was a great resource for the ancient holy women or priestesses residing in temples and were said to be a direct connection to deity and thus making love to them was extremely sacred.”

Read more and see the six positions illustrated elegantly by yours truly: 6 Kama Sutra Positions for wonderful Intimacy