Hiro + Wolf

Molly and I have been seeing Hiro + Wolf collars around the park for a while now. We’ve taken Adam to the stall in Broadway Market more than once to “just look and not buy, promise!!!”, but when we saw the cutest miniature schnauzer in the park wearing one, that was just the last straw. Ok who am I kidding, Molly cares about nothing but tennis balls, food and cuddles (in that order) so it was mostly me that wanted one for her.

Then last week we were on our regular shopping trip to Columbia Road Flower Market to buy some flowers for the week, when we got distracted by a shop at the top of the street. When we walked in a little black dog wandered up to us and his owner said, “oh that’s Wolf”. I looked up and there was the full range of Hiro + Wolf collars displayed right before us, I nearly went off my rocker trying to pick a favourite.

I spent a good long time chatting to Bee, Wolf’s owner and one half of Hiro + Wolf, about how they source their materials from Kenya, and how they work with those who need employment the most in some of the poorer parts of Mombasa to put together their stock. I mentioned how I had been to Kenya for work a few times, and also to Mombasa, which lead us to talking about animal welfare and their partnership with A.N.A.W. who focus on improving animal welfare and conservation by educating local communities.

Bee also told me about how they are branching out into creating a really beautiful jewellery line – something new to lust after! Personally I’m loving the Mamba ring and the Zawadi earrings.

We left that day with a brand new collar for Molly (which she wasn't allowed to wear until she had had a haircut and a bath) and as you can see she’s pretty proud of it! Now I can start obsessing over buying her a new lead…

*collar gifted by Hiro + Wolf

Today :: Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy Your Life

freya.dowson

This morning I woke up and thought, "nope, I am not ready for Monday". Lately I have not been following my own advice about not making appointments and spending quiet time at home - mostly because I have been having too much fun. Life lately has meant warm nights spent on my front doorstep, staying up to the early hours of the morning chatting to friends. It has meant lots of BBQs and lots of nights out drinking cocktails or seeing shows around town. It's all been great, but it's time to reign it in again and slow things down. I am so excited to do a whole lot of nothing.

I am dedicating this week to slowing it down, taking a deep breath, and sitting still for a while. If you need some ideas on how to slow things down, here's what I plan to do...

:: Walk Molly in the evenings without my phone, just enjoying her company and people watching in the park.

:: Baking something comforting and delicious. Rosie's bread looks like just the thing I need. Or maybe I can convince her to come over and bake some for me. *hint hint*

:: Lots of stretching and time spent working out the muscles that don't see a lot of action during the day. Speaking of yoga, have you entered the giveaway yet?

:: My weather app says it's going to thunderstorm this evening. Since opportunities to get out in nature are few and far between in this big city, maybe I'll sit down for a moment and watch the rain with a cup of tea when I get home from work. If nature comes to you, why not take some time to enjoy it?

:: Sitting down and just reading a book feels like the ultimate luxury. I'm almost done with mine (I won't tell you what it is because it's been pretty dull), do you have any recommendations for me?

:: I think I'll dedicate an evening this week to going through the house and putting together a box for charity. I'm a hoarder at heart, but I'm working on changing this and it feels so wonderful to de-clutter.

:: Spend an hour each day doing something creative. In my case I'm either going to practice my calligraphy, or start editing my photography portfolio. I have some photos from India that have been waiting far too long to be edited properly.

I can't wait to dedicate this week to everything that makes me feel relaxed and content. Happy Monday!

A True Story and a Giveaway :: How to Get in Shape When You Hate Exercise

The person who fist inspired to to learn yoga was my beautiful friend Sara Jane, about ten years ago. I found it so hard I nearly cried right there on my Dad's living room floor. Things are pretty different these days...

The person who fist inspired to to learn yoga was my beautiful friend Sara Jane, about ten years ago. I found it so hard I nearly cried right there on my Dad's living room floor. Things are pretty different these days...

I have a complicated relationship with exercise in that, I hate it. 

I have been meaning to get fit for, oh I don't know, years and years. I don't need to lose weight, but I'm unhealthy due to the quality of food I eat and all the activity I don't do. I may be a small size, but that doesn't mean I automatically look good in a bikini - hello cellulite (I blame the pizza). Also, I'm tired a lot, I lose concentration, I'm moody, I sleep poorly - all symptoms of someone who doesn't exercise enough. 

I've been working really hard on changing this though, for my physical welbeing but also for my mental welbeing. The trouble is, it doesn't work for most people to just suddenly be the sort of person who runs. Or the sort of person who commits to doing a workout DVD after work every day. I never stick to it and that just leaves me feeling even worse about myself! That kind of grand commitment and failure cycle is what's kept me stuck in a health rut for years. 

Now all of a sudden I'm on a countdown to our wedding and it's not so much about looking good, but feeling good on the day. Oh the pressure! I finally just told myself that it doesn't matter what I do, or when I do it, I just need to start moving!

A few months back I discovered the Kickstarter campaign for MyYogaPro. It's an online yoga platform that has tonnes of yoga classes, workshops and short videos on how to do poses from beginner level to advanced. All classes are taught by Erin Motz who just seems like a nice, normal yogi - she's easy to follow, and most importantly she doesn't make you feel like there's a lot of pressure to be perfect at it. 

I first learned about Erin from her 30 day yoga challenge which I tried and failed to commit to. I don't know what made me invest in her Kickstarter project (probably my good intentions), and when it finally launched I spent weeks meaning to suddenly become the sort of person who does yoga every day.  

A few weeks ago I had that panic moment of being on the countdown to our wedding, and that's when I decided to take the pressure off and just start moving. If I was going to dedicate hours to watching Orange is the New Black, maybe I could watch it from the floor while stretching. That I could handle.  

Then I started watching some one or two minute pose explanation videos while simultaneously watching some other rubbish tv. I would try out one pose for a bit until I got bored and wanted to switch to another. After a while I found I was trying out four to five poses during a half an hour to 45 minute tv show.

After a week or two I found that the tv was distracting me from doing the pose correctly, and I started hitting pause on Netflix more often than I hit pause on Erin trying to teach me a pose.  

After that I found myself craving yoga. I liked the novelty of being able to do some crazy pose and I wanted to see how strong I was getting by trying some more challenging poses, requiring my full concentration. Before I knew it, I had cut out the tv altogether and I wasn't just doing one or two minute pose videos, I was doing 15 to 20 minute classes! Then a week later I started doing these classes back to back. And these days I'm up to an hour of yoga a day, if not more. And it all started with me watching crap tv and trying (but failing) to touch my toes.

I've learned that yoga isn't about flexibility and fitness, although those are added benefits. It's about getting in touch with your body and inhabiting every inch of it - as opposed to just living in your stomach and only being aware of how much you crave pizza all the time.

So because I feel like I've made a massive breakthrough, and finally learned to love exercise after years of inactivity - I wanted to share the love and give one of you a membership to MyYogaPro too! Remember, you don't need a yoga mat, you don't need fancy yoga clothes, all you need to do is move a little bit to start with.

To enter the giveaway you need to...

:: Follow Nishaantishu on Bloglovin'

:: Leave a comment below with your email address so I can contact you if you win.

:: And, you don't have to, but sharing is caring, so it would be nice if you shared this with one or two people you think could benefit from a chance to win a MyYogaPro subscription. Click the share button below...

I'll pick a winner this time next week and contact them by email. Good luck!

Just a Moment :: twenty one

1 :: The weather lately has been something else, hasn't it? One minute it's so so hot, the next it's humid, and the next it's thunder and lightning. It's made for some incredible light though, and I love the way it lights up the houses across the street every evening. 

2 :: Pancakes part two! I have been perfecting my pancake making abilities and I think I'm getting better, if only a little bit. I mixed things up a little by adding some honey stewed peaches and some Greek yogurt as extra toppings.

3 :: Some flowers captured on my way home from Angel on Saturday afternoon. Flowers are everywhere in my neighborhood at the minute. 

4 :: I cheated on my no caffeine streak (not for the first time I have to admit) with an iced coffee on Sunday morning.

5/6 :: I took my friend to Hackney City Farm for the first time, and she loved it! We took a selfie with a donkey. 

7 :: Pizza in the park with some beers while it thundered above us and got ready to rain. We made it inside before it started pouring though! And Molly is being super cuddly at the moment because she's started to get sick again. My poor pup. 

8 :: Sunday's flower market haul.

Some other wonderful things not pictured:

:: I slept for 11 and a half hours on Saturday night, it was amazing! I haven't done that in years.

:: I'm currently eating porridge with peaches to celebrate the fact that it's marginally cooler today which means a hot breakfast is called for. 

:: Today marks the start of a thirteen week fitness countdown. Adam and I have thirteen weeks to get fit and healthy for this wedding, so it's time to start. Cue confused face because I am not one to exercise beyond the occasional yoga and horseback riding. If anyone has any fitness and diet tips, please do share!

Travels in Japan :: the Bamboo Forest

Oh how I miss Japan. Isn't it funny how you can miss somewhere even when you spent such a small amount of time there? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm reading Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha by Mineko Iwasaki. It takes me back to all the streets we wandered in Kyoto, and all the fun we had at bars and restaurants in the evening - it's such a magical story.

The Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama is just beautiful. It's so peaceful and calming. I mean, if you can ignore the countless tourists and chaos all around you - which isn't really all that difficult after a while. When we visited the temperature in Kyoto was reaching nearly 35 degrees, and the shade of the bamboo was very welcoming. Adam spent some time looking at hand-painted postcards while Sara Jane and I had an impromptu photo shoot in a small bamboo grove we discovered - until we started attracting attention and had to stop because we were embarrassed.

It doesn't take long to walk through the bamboo grove so we decided to hop over to the Kinkakuji, or Golden Pavilion - just to have a look. The number of tourists there was overwhelming. We spent some time admiring at the very picturesque zen temple, had a walk around the grounds and sat under a tree in the shade for a bit before heading back to the city. 

That evening we had a hilarious conversation with a taxi driver who was keen to practice his English - he seemed particularly proud of the term "world heritage site" and repeated it constantly. It was one of those surreal travel moments that seem insignificant at the time but they stick with you forever.