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23 2017 Mar

Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail – Mar 2017

The Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail has got to be one of THE most stunning cycle trails around. Superlatives abound when describing the trail and they are well justified.  With its snowy mountain ranges, wide open grassy plains, shady tree lined streams, intensely blue canals and lakes……its beauty is all around everywhere, every day you cycle.  Needless to say, we all LOVED it.

The Wall of Remembrance in Christchurch.

Our adventure started in Christchurch.  We all arrived at our YHA accommodation at different times of the day depending on flights.  Some of us went off for a bus tour and then a walk around the CBD to see the effect of the earthquakes.  I was actually really shocked.  I hadn’t been to Christchurch since before the earthquakes and I didn’t expect it to still look so bad.  There seems to be endless road cones everywhere, crushed buildings with sheets of plastic and “keep out” tape flapping in the breeze.  Yes, there has been some building going on and there are some lovely little areas and lots of beautiful artistic ‘graffiti’ and the Botanic Gardens are looking great….but…..I really thought there would have been a lot more done in the CBD area.

Our arrival day ended with dinner out where we all officially met each other.  We were all feeling excited and really looking forward to the next 6 days together on the A2O.

Day One – Tekapo to Twizel – 54km (5.5 hrs)

We were all up and organised early for breakfast at the YHA then a short walk down the road to catch the 8am bus to Tekapo where our bikes were being delivered.  It was a lovely bus ride, the beautiful scenery all around us was certainly an indicator of what was to come.

Our bus dropped us off at the busy car parking space on the shores of the lake.  Camper vans and tourists were everywhere.  We had time to head to the local pub for some lunch before our bikes arrived.

And we’re off!

It takes a wee while to get 12 women all fitted out properly on their bikes, little adjustments here and there but soon enough after the obligatory “at the start” photos were taken we headed off…..only to find that it was a bit confusing actually getting out of Tekapo.  Finally we were on the right path and we just breezed along beside the incredible turquoise blue canal waters of the Tekapo Canal.

However, our ‘breezing’ along soon changed to ‘battling’ along against a vicious side wind that threatened to topple us off our bikes, some even had to get off and walk. It didn’t last too long though but it certainly tired us out.

Me, in my happy place.

Whizzing along the Pukaki Flats into Twizel was one of the main highlights of this whole adventure for me. I loved the huge wide open space, the purple shadows on the rolling hills, the vast blue sky with surreal cloud formations.  My soul soared, my heart sang, I was in heaven!

After a quick supermarket visit we biked around to our accommodation in 2 separate houses and settled in for the night, feeling like we’d biked 80 odd k’s instead of 54!

Day Two – Twizel to Lake Ohau – 38km (4 hrs)

This morning a few of our bikes needing “tweaking” so we stopped off at the bike depot and had adjustments made before heading off following the river trail out of Twizel.  There were a few big gusts as we cycled along the Ohau Canal but nothing like we had had the day before.  Lunch was at the Ohau Dam and then we were off again cycling a lovely trail around the edges of Lake Ohau.  Lots of twisting, turning, little ups and downs, through scrubby growth full of bright red rose-hip bushes and surrounded by massive hills and mountains, most of them with pockets of snow at the top.

Lake Ohau Lodge.

As beautiful as it was, by the time we reached the road into the little settlement of Lake Ohau we were ready to stop, though we had another 5km to go to go our accommodation at Lake Ohau Lodge.  And what a relief it was to get to such a stunning place.  We had very nice twin share rooms and soon we were showered, rested and enjoying our pre dinner drinks in the lounge overlooking the lake.  After an absolutely sumptuous dinner and lots of laughter and stories we each retired for a well earned sleep.  We were definitely going to need it for the day ahead!

Day Three – Lake Ohau to Omarama – 45km (6hrs)

Climbing up to the pass.

Today we were in for a long steady climb up to the pass and then pretty much downhill all the way to Omarama.  Sounds relatively easy…….  On our way up to the pass it started spitting with rain and getting bitterly cold.  At times the path was steep and rocky and right on the edge of a long drop down to the hills below.  Some of the group needed to get off and walk and we ended up in two separate groups.  There was no time to stop and regroup at the top of the pass as it was just too cold.  Despite the cold we all marvelled at the beauty that surrounded us and there were still lots of quick photo stops!

No, it’s not a mirage, it really is a coffee van!

It was a fast and furious ride down from the top on a stoney trail that wound its way down to the plains below.  We had heard that there was a coffee van at the old historic wool-shed but didn’t want to get our hopes up just in case it wasn’t there…..We still could hardly believe our eyes when there in the absolute middle of no-where, like a surreal mirage,  was the coffee van with lattes, flat whites, hot chocolates, the works!  We practically swooned with delight.

Enjoying our hot chocolates!

Sitting in a sheltered spot in the sun with our hot chocolate, eating our lunch was just heavenly.

And on we went….. Unfortunately there was no time for the side trip up to the Clay Cliffs but we managed to meet up with some of the first group who had made the one and a half hour detour to view this amazing sight.

Heavenly hot tub spa!

Our motel accommodation in Omarama was a very welcome sight and the long soak in hot tub spa over the road was absolutely divine!   Dinner was at the local pub just down the road and then it was off to bed for an early night.

 

Day Four – Omarama to Kurow – 80km (8hrs)

Today was an incredibly beautiful ride but just a bit too long as we had extra mileage added on to get to our farm stay accommodation out of Kurow.  It was a very chilly start to the day with frost on our bike seats and we were all bundled up in our thermals and gloves as we headed off on what was to be one of the most beautiful days on the cycle trail.

We sped along beside Lake Benmore, it’s deep blue waters sparkling in the sun, then up onto State Highway 83 where we carefully rode in single file as we climbed up to the Otematata saddle with big trucks roaring past.

Cafe stop at Otematata.

Our morning tea stop was at the Otematata café.  We stocked up on food for our lunch at the local Four Square before heading off on the next section.  It was a short but pretty steep climb up to the top of the Benmore Dam and what a stunning view from the top.

Our blissful lunch stop on the shores of Lake Aviemore.

We couldn’t have asked for better conditions as we cycled around Lake Aviemore, it was so sunny, still and calm that you could clearly see the reflection of the surrounding hills in the lake.  Golden leaves on the trees that fringed the lake, a flock of sheep being herded ahead of us, crab apples ripe (but still sour) for the picking, the warm sun on our back, our lunch stop sitting gazing at the lake, were just some of the delights.

A lovely flat riverside ride took us into the small town of Kurow where Richie McCaw stands proudly in his All Black splendour.  We rode on through and stopped at the Kurow Winery for much needed refreshments as we were all starting to feel the effects of our long day.    In hindsight, we should have all been picked up from the Kurow Winery and taken to our farm-stay accommodation as the extra k’s were just a bit too far for most.

After showers and a rest we gathered together for pre dinner drinks and then a wonderful huge home cooked meal before retiring.  All up, it had been a beautiful but huge day’s ride!

Day Five –  Kurow to Burnside Road – 55km (6hrs)

After a lovely big breakfast we were all packed and ready to go.  4 of us were taken to where we had stashed our bikes under some trees beside the road when we got a lift up to the farm the day before.  The rest (who had bravely rode their bikes) all the way, headed off from the farm to meet us at the crossroads…..except it didn’t quite happen that way.  Due to a misunderstanding we all missed each other but we eventually all met up together when a local stopped was able to courier the message to those of us who were waiting, (phone coverage wasn’t that good there.)

It was a lovely easy start to what was to be quite a hilly day.  We sped along the highway before getting back onto the trail, wending and weaving our way through pockets of shady trees, through paddocks and alongside the river and eventually into Duntroon.  We were looking forward to a coffee stop but there was no café.  However we found out there was a coffee machine at the Vanished World Museum so we a happy bunch of women sitting in the sun outside the museum sipping our coffees and eating our huge morning tea that was part of our farm stay packed lunch.

Elephant rocks.

There were a couple of historic sights for us to visit on our way.  We stopped at the Takiroa Maori rock art drawings and then started on one of the many climbs we were to do that day.  We stopped and admired the Elephant Rocks, and then it was another long and winding climb up to Island View, with fast and fun down-hills!  An abrupt turn took us off the road and onto the trail that goes through Rakis Tunnel.  Out came the torches as we walked our bikes through and out the other side where we cycled through lovely little pine forest glades carpeted with pine needles and then another long hot hill, cycling in the sun to the top of Peaks Rd.  Most of us found our way up to Burnside Rd but unfortunately a couple of the front riders continued on the cycle trail and ended up cycling into Enfield before being redirected back to our accommodation at Burnside Historic Homestead.

Burnside Homestead.

Our last night on the A2O was spent in THE most beautiful accommodation.  Practically all the women had their own rooms, all decorated in the old period style.  There were 4 poster beds, free standing claw foot baths; it was like we had stepped back in time. Even the couple that run the place are dressed in period costume.  We wined, dined and slept in absolute luxury and loved every minute of it.

Day Six – Burnside Rd to Oamaru – 20km (2hrs)

We all slept so well and woke feeling refreshed, most of us wanting to stay an extra day and just enjoy the place a bit more.  We had a beautiful big breakfast before we cycled off to Oamaru, literally just down the road, and the end of the trail.  Once again the sun was shining and the conditions were perfect as we sped along what used to be an old railway line.  I cycled along thinking of all the beautiful places we had seen on the last 6 days, it was almost overwhelming and I felt quite emotional as I cycled into Oamaru.  What a lovely way to end the trail, riding through the Oamaru Botanical Gardens and on through the Victorian Historic Precinct with its alleyway type streets leading to the Oamaru Harbour.

We made it!

We gathered together for the obligatory “end of the trail” photos, all feeling immensely happy and proud of what we’d achieved.

 

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7 2017 Feb

Tongariro Crossing – Jan 2017

What a perfect day we had for this adventure!  We certainly appreciated that fact when we found out that the day before had been unfavourable conditions and as it turned out, the day after was thick with fog!

We headed off from Auckland on a very hot, sunny afternoon and drove via Tirau to pick up the 4th member of our group.  Just a small group but the van was full of our chatter!

Walking in to the local pub with Mt Ruapehu to our left.

We arrived at our very comfortable, self-contained, holiday house and settled in before heading off to the local pub for dinner.  It was pretty much full of other trampers with very few kiwi accents that we could hear.  This was to be our experience on the crossing too, loads of other trampers and all seeming to be from different countries (and all much younger!) We all had an early night so that we could be up early and ready for our 6.45am shuttle van.

7.40am at the start of what turned out to be an almost 8 hr trek. (Lots of photo stops…)

We awoke to a lovely fine, clear day and joined the masses being transported to the start of the crossing.  Bus loads were being dropped off and we wondered what it was going to be like, all jostling for space on the track.  Luckily we did all span out and it was only at the toilets or the “slowly and carefully” parts of the track that we all ended up in queues.

 

On the boardwalk at the start.

 

The first part of the track is easy, boardwalks and pretty flat terrain.  From Soda Springs the track starts to climb up the long ascent known as the Devil’s Staircase, (I think there are a few walks in NZ with a Devil’s Staircase!)

 

 

On the climb up the Devil’s Staircase.

 

 

We were all very pleased to get to the top, have a rest, find somewhere out of the wind to have some food and then head up to the Red Crater. It was during this part that we all noticed a young man on a BMX bike trying to cycle the track!  Mind you, when we saw him he was carrying his bike and I’m sure he would have had to do that for a fair bit.

 

 

The awesome Red Crater! Photos just do not do it justice…

The red crater was absolutely stunning!  So dramatic, almost like something from another planet!  Deep, rich, dark blood red, rusty browns and ominous black walls steeply disappearing into this huge crater.  The fierce cold wind only added to it’s stark beauty.

The magnificent Emerald Pools.

Once again, we sheltered out of the wind whilst admiring the panoramic view.  From here it was a bit more of a climb and then below us was one of the most magical scenes of the whole trip,  the Emerald Lakes.  These honestly have to be seen to be believed.  All around us was this rocky, sparse terrain and in front of us was a huge scree slope heading down to where these 3 magical lakes sparkled and shone in turquoise splendour.  All around us people were taking advantage of the perfect conditions and taking photos and videos.

Slowly and carefully making our way down the scree slope.

We joined the long, slow procession carefully snaking down the crumbly, scree slope.  Many a slip was had but luckily no-one was seriously injured.

 

 

On our way down to Ketetahi car park with the Blue Lake ahead of us.

We walked across the vast Central Crater, the sun shining down, enjoying the ease of the track.  From here it was an easy walk to the Ketetahi Hut and it was about here that we realised that we didn’t have quite as much time left as we thought we did.  Despite starting to feel a little bit weary and foot sore, we needed to up the ante to make sure we were back by our pick up time of 3.30pm.

The track down through the alpine scrub and down into the forest is actually really lovely, especially with the pretty little river rushing alongside.  However, we didn’t get to really appreciate it due to the rush to get back in time! Needless to say, we made it back and thankfully settled in to the air-conditioned shuttle bus and drowsily nodded off on the ride back to National Park.

It had taken us almost 8hrs with lots of stops for rests and photos and we were all feeling very satisfied with ourselves.

Once we were showered and rested, we sat back with wine and nibbles and celebrated the day.  We ended up celebrating a bit too much, or maybe we were just too knackered, and decided to stay home instead of going down the road for dinner.  Yes, it was an early night that night too!

We woke the next morning to this!

And as I said at the start, look what we woke up to the next morning!  Thick fog that lasted all day, in fact, they closed down the track.  Were we feeling a little bit smug and pleased with ourselves that we had done the track YESTERDAY……..damn right we were!

 

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7 2014 Dec

Sunset Kayak to Rangitoto Island – Dec 2014

10pm on a Saturday night…..I could be out at a noisy, lively bar celebrating with Christmas cheer.  I could be snuggled up on the couch watching a DVD with my hubby.  I could be early to bed reading a good book…….but here I am, smoothly, silently, slicing through the black waters with my paddle, full moon at my back, city lights sparkling way ahead, all around me quiet, peaceful darkness with just the “tail lights” of the other kayaks gliding through the darkness with me.

We are on our back to St Heliers having kayaked over in the late afternoon to walk to the top of Rangitoto Island and watch the sunset.

It was pretty choppy out there...

It was pretty choppy out there…

 

Setting off in choppy seas, (no white caps though) our kayaks felt very stable as we rocked and rolled our way over to the island.

 

 

 

 

Tea, coffee and muffins before we head up to the top of Rangitoto.

Tea, coffee and muffins before we head up to the top of Rangitoto.

 

 

Once we got there we pulled our kayaks right up out of the water and had a very welcome hot drink with muffins, muesli bars and apples.

 

 

 

On the trail to the top.

On the trail to the top.

 

 

Then it was off for a very nice chatty walk up to the top of the island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silvery light over Auckland.

Silvery light over Auckland.

The view from the top of Rangitoto island never fails to disappoint, it is always spectacular.  This time there was a lovely silvery light as the sun shone through the heavy clouds.  There was no real fiery sunset but that didn’t matter at all.

 

And the moon comes up....

And the moon comes up….

 

We walked back down, enjoying the evening light and as we arrived back to the wharf, the moon slowly rose up in front of us.  She was beautiful!  With our backs to the setting sun, we all excitedly took photos and marveled at the beauty of the moon!

 

 

Enjoying our BBQ dinner before we headed back.

Enjoying our BBQ dinner before we headed back.

We sat, eating out BBQ steak with couscous and pasta salads, watching the moon and feeling very happy and satisfied.

 

By now it was 9pm, time to pack up the kayaks, turn on our little tail lights and paddle back.

The first time I kayaked in the dark I remember feeling rather nervous, this time though, I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of being cocooned in the near darkness, the friendly full moon at my back giving just enough light.  The peaceful feeling of gliding through the dark water was euphoric.  10pm on a Saturday night……I know exactly where I’d rather be!

So pretty.  This kayak adventure was more about the moonrise than the sunset!

So pretty. This kayak adventure was more about the moonrise than the sunset!

29 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 26 – Encourage others.

Well here it is, this is officially the last day of my month of May challenge of giving myself permission each day to do something that makes me feel great and that adds richness to my day.  Tomorrow I am up way before dawn and off to the airport to fly over to Samoa with 10 other women for 10 days, 7 of which are going to be spent cycling 200km around the island of Savaii and staying in villages on the way round.   Excited….?? You betcha!! 🙂

So today, I finished off my list of ideas that I’ve put together that might help others see ways to make your day special.  (it is by no means a complete list!)  Please feel free to add your ideas onto this blog.

I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and I’ve been amazed and the different perspective it’s given me and how enriched my life has felt this month by simply taking the time to proactively add value to my day.  I encourage you to give it go too.  It doesn’t even have to be every day but at least 3 times a week I reckon, or it probably won’t happen.

Give Yourself Permission To:

 

Get up half an hour earlier and:

Go for a walk/run/bike ride somewhere you don’t normally go

Jump in your car, (pop your bike in the back,) and go somewhere further away and explore a new area for a bike ride/walk/run

Do some yoga (get a DVD out from the library to follow)

Get a DVD out from the library and do an Aerobics type workout (Step, Kettlebell, dance etc)

Spend half an hour sitting quietly, focus on your breathing and then choose a thought to reflect/meditate on like; forgiveness, compassion, honesty, grace, loyalty, friendship……

Write a daily journal and include at least one thing that you did the day before that you are proud of and one thing you’d like to focus on for this day

Meet a friend for breakfast at a local café

Go to your local gym and do an early morning class

Join a boot camp

Go for an early morning swim

Stop at a café on the way to work and spend half an hour planning and prioritising your day

 

If you’ve got young kids or nieces, nephews, grandkids…….

Play hide and seek outside somewhere or inside….in the dark

Have a picnic tea on the living room floor (with no TV)

Pretend there’s no power and have a candlelight evening

Make a treasure hunt

Build huts (inside or outside)

Climb trees

Go exploring

There’s loads of things you could do with kids, just let your imagination run wild and BE a kid again!

 

Do something different in the evenings: (instead of watching TV)

Go for a walk around your neighbourhood

Play cards or some other game

Go skinny dipping on a moonlit night

Wade through the sea at night and watch all the phosphorescence

Play in the playground (when there’s no kids around)

Go to the movies

Join a club/group/night class and learn something new

Be creative; draw, knit, sew, sculpt, bake, write stories/poems

Talk

Visit

Read,

Phone family/friends and actually talk (not text or email)

Pamper yourself; have a facial, footbath, do your nails, your hair…

Share a massage

Sort through your photos, your files, your wardrobe, your drawers, your boxes of “stuff”

Invite friends around for a pot luck dinner

Go out somewhere cheap and cheerful for dinner (where you’ve never been before)

 

 

Make little tweaks to your day:

Drive a different way to work/school/wherever

Take some time to sit and a café and read the paper

Give yourself half an hour to check out that shop/museum/library/art gallery/café/park/garden centre/beach/reserve/walkway/show home…….

Purposely get yourself lost on a walk/run/drive and find your way out without any help

Buy yourself a little treat just because; flowers/magazine/book/nice bottle of wine/ chocolates/CD

Start using stuff you’ve been “saving”; that body lotion/soap/perfume/underwear/etc that you got for Xmas/birthday

De-clutter! (This could be a blog of its own!) De-clutter your wardrobe for a start and get rid of stuff that you no longer wear, or looks a bit shabby, is dated, the wrong colour for you …..Be ruthless!

Try a new recipe at least once a month

Change your daily routine just a bit

Get in touch with old friends

Give yourself a focus for each day eg; to smile more, to listen to others more, to appreciate the little things, to laugh, to be more gracious/patient/kind/loving etc

 

Do some big stuff! Give yourself permission to LIVE YOUR LIFE OUT LOUD!

Set yourself a “sweaty armpit” challenge that both scares and excites you, and do it!

Some examples could be:

Physical:

Do a skydive, a bungee jump, white water rafting, high ropes course, abseiling, caving, canyoning (choose from some of my adventures on this website J) or some other adrenaline pumping adventure

Relationship:

Ditch a bad relationship, if it’s not working for you and you’re not happy, get out.

If it’s worth working on then talk, get counselling do whatever it takes so you know that you’ve given it your all……

Try online dating, speed dating, join a singles club – meetups.com

 

Job/Career

If you’re not happy in your job/career then start the ball rolling now, start looking/planning when/how to change it

Do your research, get the help/advice/training/education you need

Talk to people who have the job/career you want and ask them about it

See a career consultant

Read “What Colour is Your Parachute” (an oldie but a goodie.)

 

Go on….give some of these a go or come up with your own ideas…..you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!!

28 2013 May

Yes You May – Days 21 to 24 –

It’s been a few days since I’ve written my “daily” blog…….   But each day I’ve made sure that I’ve done something that will make my day feel that little bit more special and each day through having this as my main focus I have found out more about myself.   Read below to find out what I ended up doing….

Day 21 – Yes you may celebrate yourself!

It was early Saturday morning just after 6am and I was up and getting ready to meet up with my running group “GoldP1000791 Resizedingham’s Girls” to do a 10km run in the Northcote Point area.  (One of my favourite areas of Auckland.)  We drove off in my van down the motorway, parked at Onepoto Domain and off we set.  I took off at the front with my chalk to draw arrows for the rest of the group to follow.  It was a gorgeous run, we ran down streets and walkways that we never knew existed, marvelling at all these beautiful old villas, we ran under the harbour bridge on ramp, through parks and reserves……

And as I ran I was thinking about what I was going to give myself permission to do that day to make it special….imagine that!  Then of course I realised that what I was doing right then was pretty blimmin special, but to push out the boat a bit more on myself I decided as I ran along to celebrate myself.  Now, this is not always that easy for us to do.  Often we find it easier to identify our faults not what we’re proud of.  We are often guilty of the “tall poppy syndrome” to ourselves.    But as I ran along feeling fit and strong I decided to acknowledge and congratulate myself for that –  and then I started listing off other things big and small that I had achieved  that I felt proud of and I really allowed that feeling of personal celebration to sift down into my inner most being and stay there.

Day 22 – Yes you may ……

OK, I admit it……. I found it hard today to come up with something special, something different, something that I was giving myself permission to do,  feel, express, learn or experience that I maybe wouldn’t normally do.  In fact I started putting a bit of pressure on myself, like, come on, you’ve GOT to enjoy this day!  What are you going to put in your blog then?  Accountability is a great motivator but it can also be a source of stress too which kind of negates the whole premise behind this blog.  Throughout the day as we had a lovely long breakfast with my sister at a local cafe, (in Northcote Point) as I shopped for last minute things to take over to Samoa, (I leave on Thursday) as I lay on the couch with my feet up reading my book, as Derek and I “judged” the X factor contestants together….. I was thinking “hmmm, this feels pretty nice, this feels special, and this feels good but is it really worth writing a blog about…..?

Day 23 – Yes you may harden up!

Now I know I’ve said quite a few times in this Yes You May blog that I enjoy exercising in the early morning002s and that is true for most of the time…. but…..there are times like this morning when I didn’t want to get up.  I had done all my little motivating strategies like getting my exercise gear out the night before, planning my route where I was going to cycle, visualising myself out on my bike feeling fit and strong, visualising myself getting home and how great I’d feel and it still wasn’t working.

I knew I wasn’t sick, tired, sore or anything like that.  Mentally I didn’t feel like I needed to “give myself a break.”  I knew I just needed to “harden up.”  Over the years I have learnt (and am still learning) how to let my mind control my body and not the other way round.  I have learnt that my body, my attitude, my emotions will believe what I tell them to believe, if I say it with conviction.  And the more I say it, the more my body etc goes along with it.  So, harden up I did.  On went my jacket and out into the drizzly rain I went on my bike.  I gave myself permission to go out for at least 20 min and ended up out for double that and yes……once again my mind was right. I did feel awesome when I got home. 🙂

Day 24 Yes you may try something new!

Another wet early morning start.  This morning I was determined to do something completely new, to try an exercise class that I’d never done before.  We’re very lucky in that we live just around the corner from the local Leisure Centre.  The darpm classy before I had booked myself in for the 6am RPM (or Spin) class.  I hadn’t ever bothered with RPM before because I have a bit of an aversion to cardio machines as I think, why be inside rowing, cycling,  running , cross training on a stationary piece of equipment with loud music blasting and big TV screens on when I could be outside in the fresh air enjoying the sounds and smells of the early morning (read one of my previous blogs “Maximise the Moment and you’ll get where I’m coming from.)

But some women from my running group had raved about the classes so I decided to give it go.  WOW!…. talk about a heart pumping, sweat pouring, jelly legged workout!!  It was great!  There we were pumping our legs as hard and fast as we could to Billy Idol blasting out “With a rebel yell she cried more more more!”  What a way to start the day!  I don’t think it’s my thing to do it all the time but it certainly is a damn good workout and it’s made my day. 🙂

 

 

24 2013 May

Yes You May! Day 19 and 20 – Add some value to your day!

Day 19 of giving myself permission, “yes, you May,” to do something each day for the month of May, that will make me feel great.  I didn’t get a chance yesterday to do this blog as I was back on “nana duty.”  During the day though I was thinking of what I could do, what was something I could add to my day that wouldn’t take up a huge amount of time (as I didn’t have much of that yestbath 204erday), wouldn’t cost money and would add value to my day.  I discussed it with my husband and still hadn’t really thought of anything….I’d already cooked up a really nice meal as a treat but still felt like I could do something else…..

I had an exercise class to take at 5pm so off I went.  When I got back home it was dark and raining just slightly.  My wonderful husband had run a lovely hot bath in our outdoor bath for us with with a big glass of red waiting for me!  We sat in the bath, caught up on each others day, drank our wine as the soft misty rain fell on our faces and it was just perfect……!  (I didn’t get a photo of us in the bath…probably just as well…but here’s one of our bath on a sunny day.)

Today…..well after spending all day in my office catching up on a backlog of work as soon as I finish this blog I’m off down the beach for a late afternoon walk which I am soooo looking forward to!

 

 

 

22 2013 May

Yes You May – Days 17 and 18 – Give time to what really matters.

Well I’ve just had a taste of what it’s like to be a busy mum at home with sick kids ……!!  I’ve been on “nana duty” yesterday and today and I realise how difficult it can be to try and create great moments when you’re busy catering to the needs of sick kiddies.

However, through doing this blog and therefore having the thought of creating great moments constantly on my mind, I loo261018_571109953_2294773_nked for ways to make my time with my grandkids special.  Given that they weren’t up to doing much at all on account of feeling sick, I spent time reading stories, watching a DVD all the way through with them, (instead of leaving them plonked in front of it while I worked) building a lego zoo and cooking up their favourite foods to tempt their little appetites.

After they were gone I spent some time relaxing with hubby and then heading off to bed early with a good book.  I don’t know about you, but that for me is bliss…..!

No, I didn’t get my work done, yes, everything was put on hold and yes I got up real early this morning to do some catch up but I wouldn’t have had it any other way and yes, it felt great to spend that quality time with my grandkids.

 

20 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 16 – Maximise the Moment!

Maximising the moment, squeezing all the juice out of it, BEING totally in the moment, being present…..this is what I gave myself permission to do today.

I LOVE my early morning exercising.  I love the gentle soft pre-dawn light, I love the sound of the birds waking up, I love the clean freshness of the early morning.  I love the ease of just rolling out of bed, throwing on my exercise clothes and within minutes I’m out the door either on my bike, my kayak,  running,  tramping, swimming…..

This morning I decided to practice being totally in the moment with all my senses (except maybe for taste) being highly attuned to that present moment.  As I ran along one of my favourite runs, (if your a local “coastie” you’ll know it – up Scott Rd, into Wade River Rd and down to where the boats are moored) and I asked myself these questions;

What can you hear?  I listened intently to all the different bird calls trying to identify what bird was making which sound , the distance hum of traffic, the sound of the wSunrise boatsater lapping, the sound of my feet running, my breathing….

What can you smell? Ahhhhh…….breathing in deeply I savoured the earthly richness as I ran through the bush area, the faint eucalyptus smell of the gum trees planted nearby, the almost peppery smell of the vegetation and the delicious salty briney tang as I ran down the hill to the little bay…all heightened by the early morning freshness.

What can you see?  I allowed my eyes to roam further, to look deeper, to notice the way the early morning light infused the air with a delicate golden hue which in turn heightened and enriched the natural colours so that they glowed.  I noticed textures, the white silkiness of the trunks and branches of the gum trees, the shapes of branches splayed against the sky, the pink clouds reflected in the milky blue sea……

And most importantly, what do you feel?  I stopped to drink in the view, to absorb the moment, to feel the beauty in my soul, to allow myself to just BE and my eyes welled up as I was overcome with such a feeling of contentment, joy and calmness.  At the moment a woman walked past and looked over at me, “so beautiful isn’t it” I said.  “Yes, she replied, “such a lovely way to start the day.”   I felt like going over to her and hugging her!

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.”  By being aware of maximising moments in your life, squeezing the juice out of them, BEING totally in the moment, you are ensuring you are really LIVING your life.

17 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 13 – Be efficient and effective!

I’ve purposely put a slightly different spin on what I wanted to feel great about today.  I know that besides feeling great when I add the physical stuff to my day I also feel great when I know I’ve had a really productive day and got heaps of stuff done.  I love lists and ticking things off…sad but true….

Unfortunately I’ve found that when you work for yourself and from your home there can be a tendency to procrastinate.  There’s no-one to be accountable to but yourself.  Those nasty jobs on my to do list slip further and further down and inevitably cause me to wake in the middle of the night fretting over the fact that I STILL haven’t done them!

So today, I gave myself permission to “Be efficient and effective!”  This became my mantra for the day.  I wrote myself a new list with all those yukky nasty jobs prioritised at the top of the list.  I divided my day up into chunks of time so I had a deadline to work to.  I allowed myself 5 min at the end of every 2 hrs to check out what was happening on facebook, or send a chatty email, or do some other little reward type thing. If I felt tempted to dilly dally any longer than 5 min I’d just keep repeating my mantra, “Be efficient and effective.”  I even put off doing this blog until those prioritised jobs were done or at least had a good start on them…(I’m talking about stuff like getting my tax info sorted for my accountant.)

And now, it’s the end of my work day,  I’ve achieved heaps and I feel quite smug and self righteous AND to celebrate…. me and hubby are off down to the local pub for a few drinks.  You see I won a $50 drinks and food voucher when I put my business card into a box and now we’re off to redeem it.  Another thing to make me feel great about today. 🙂

16 2013 May

Yes You May! – Days 11 and 12 – It doesn’t take much.

Both yesterday and today were busy, busy mornings and I didn’t get to get out in the early morning for my usual sunrise exercise that makes me feel so good.  And, I must admit I was struggling to think of what I could fit into my day that was a bit different and would make my day a bit more special.

What I decided on for yesterday made me realise that 1. how privileged I am to be able to do this and 2. how demotivational-posters-determinationso may people do this every day and probably don’t think anything of it.  What did I do……..?  I decided that on my way home from taking my Active Mums exercise class that I would stop at a cafe for just half and hour and treat myself to lunch.  Now I’m a packed lunch type of gal so this was quite a treat!  While eating my lunch I caught up on magazine gossip from December last year…they really need to update their magazines!  It was a lovely little break in my day to recharge my batteries and treat myself.

Today, following along with my theme from yesterday that it doesn’t take much, I decided instead of driving up to post my mail and do some banking, that I would take half an hour out of my day and walk up in the fresh air and sunshine.  So I did and came back feeling just great!

Life/Work balance is so important and it is very easy to allow our days to get busier and busier until it seems that there is no way out.  But there is!  Hopefully what this blog is showing is that once you set your mind to looking for ways to get a bit of balance in your life and if you are commited to doing just that then, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” And…..It doesn’t take much! 🙂

14 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 10 – Sunrise Cycle

Sunrise Cycle 2Day 10 of giving myself permission for the month of May to do something every day that makes me feel great!  By now you may have noticed that doing physical stuff makes me feel great.  I do love the physical feel good factor. 🙂 And what I’ve noticed is that most of the time I’m only actually adding an extra half an hour, that’s all, and it makes such a huge difference on so many levels!

This morning I was up and out the door cycling off to our local Estuary cyclepath and stopping to take in the misty gentle sunrise on the way.  Sunrise Cycle 3

 

13 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 9 – Kayak Into The Sunrise

Arkles Sunrise 2Day 9 and what a stunning way to start the day today!  I was Arkles Sunrise 1up early loading my kayak into my van and driving down to a different bay than my usual one. I was so excited and really looking forward to this early morning kayak.  I just LOVE being on the water at this  time of the day, it is simply magical and I have so many “heart singing” moments where my heart is filled with such contentment and sheer pleasure that it brings tears to my eyes.

I paddled off from Arkles Bay in the early morning pre- dawn light.

For me this is such a ‘spiritual’ time.  I pray, I sing, I contemplate, meditate, just sit quietly out in the water and be Arkles Sunrise 3still.  It nourishes my soul and always fills me with calm.

There was a time in my life when being able to do something like this was so far away from reality it wasn’t funny.  I think that’s one of the reasons I appreciate it so much now.  I also know that for a lot of you there is just no way you’d be able to do this either.

Arkles Sunrise 4

My sunrise kayak this morning has set me up for the day and has enriched my life.  And it honestly didn’t take too much time at all.  By 8.30am I was showered, breakfasted, the gear was all cleaned up and stored away and I was ready to start my day.

 

13 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 8 – Learn a New Skill.

Day 8 happened to be Mother’s Day and even though my son has grown up and left the nest and I now have grandkids, I’m still a Mum so I made sure I treated myself (plus receiving cards and calls and a lovely gift.)  I also gave myself permission to NOT do any work.  I like to have at least one day in the weekend where I keep out of my office but when the spare bedroom is your office that can be difficult at times!

So the big thing I did yesterday that made me feel so chuffed with myself was……I learnt a new skill.  I learnt how to produce my own little video.  The day before my 11 year old grandson had shown me what to do and together we created yesterday’s little video clip.  So yesterday I decided to do it all by myself and I DID IT!  Now for those of you who are not technologically challenged at all, this may not seem like such a big deal, but to me (and a lot of my “baby boomer” generation) it’s pretty out there!   I got such a kick out of doing it and felt so proud of myself that I can’t wait to do another one……..so watch this space! 🙂  (I didn’t put it on You Tube though as it’s virtually identical to yesterday’s one.)

5 2013 May

Yes, you May!

Debbie blogOK, so here we have my first ever blog!  How exciting, a new learning curve to climb and get over to the other side of ……what an adventure!  And that is what my daily blogs (hopefully I’ll get one done every day) are going to be about.  Adventures.  Daily adventures.

Probably to a lot of you these may seem like seemingly small, insignificant and even meaningless adventures but what I propose to do for the month of May is to add a little bit of adventure into my every day life.

Now because I run a Women’s Adventure group where I  organise exciting adventures every fortnight or so, I thought yes, that’s great but how can I encourage women to add just a bit of daily adventure into their lives?   And the way to do it is to GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to do things a bit differently, to do things you wouldn’t normally do, to “push the boat out a bit” to try new things, to try living life on the edge of your comfy zone just a bit…… That’s why I’ve called this blog that I am doing just for the month of May, “Yes, you May!

I want YOU to think of things that YOU can do that will make you feel chuffed with yourself, proud of yourself, boost your confidence a bit more, make you feel special, alive, positive, empowered etc and tell me (and others) what you’ve done. BTW, I don’t want you doing anything illegal, dangerous, stupid, rude and offensive etc.  Let’s keep it clean and positive. 🙂

Now I know it’s already May the 5th but I only just thought of doing this daily blog this morning after I had had a little adventure.  What did I do that made me feel alive this morning?  I went for a swim in the sea……… see I told you it might seem like “so what?”  But gosh I felt good!

I went for a lovely run along the beach early this morning.  The sun was shining and it was warm, especially considering we are now in May! I thought to myself that a swim would be really nice. Straight away though I started making excuses, “you haven’t got any togs on, “you’ve got no towel”, “it’s probably too cold”……….And then I just thought, “Go on, just do it!” So I did.  Off came the t’shirt and in my running bra and shorts I ran into the sea and had a lovely swim and felt so pleased with myself after.

Now I reckon, doing something every day that makes you feel great, has gotta be good for you on so many levels.  So why not join me for the month of May, give yourself permission, “yes, you May,” and let’s see what happens!