Inspiration

I recently wrote a status on Facebook proclaiming that Yoga had changed my life. Which I agree sounds kind of dramatic. My former self of a year ago would have read a statement like that and been naturally dubious. Really? It changed your life? Huh, right, okay…. And yet it’s true.

Perhaps I should have elaborated a little more on how it changed my life, after all I still live in the same house, in the same town, I am still married with two children and I still do the same job. And yet I am totally transformed. With today being International Yoga Day, I thought it was perfect timing to go into a little more detail on the profound effect yoga has had, and is still having on me.

Firstly I’ll let you in on a secret. I am not a very sporty person. I have been known to hang out a bit at the gym in an attempt to try and keep fit but it’s always begrudgingly and I can never seem to sustain it longer than a few months. I have been known to feel a bit self conscious in the gym. I never really felt comfortable sweating and turning a deep shade of tomato in front of strangers.

Day 1 of Kundalini yoga and my first lesson was ‘We leave our ego’s outside of the yoga studio’. Refreshing! And yet I thought, easier said than done. I definitely stepped into the class with a first rate ego, always conscious of what others may think of me, eager not to embarrass myself, look composed and keep up with the class.

By the end of the lesson I had more of an understanding of what my lovely teacher Corrine meant. Even though I may have felt a little self conscious doing some of the more ‘ out there ‘ breathing techniques and yoga moves, within a few weeks that awkwardness had completely disappeared. I was there for myself, this was entirely my journey and I was in the zone! As far as I am aware there is only me and Corrine in the room while I am doing my class, it helps that the majority of the class is done with our eyes closed too.

So how did I come along the path of Kundalini yoga? Totally by accident, or perhaps totally meant to be, who knows? It was Christmas 2018 and I was reading a book called ‘How to be your bad ass self’ by Jen Sincero. It was good read and got me thinking about my life and where I was at this point which to be honest wasn’t quite where I wanted to be.

You see I’d been struggling to manage my stress levels and moods for quite a few years. I found the slightest thing triggered me whether it was the children misbehaving or something not going my way at work. I put it down to having a young family, running my own business, planning a wedding and renovating a house, all at the same time. I sure had a lot on my plate so it was no wonder I felt crappy. Deep down I knew I was still ‘me’, the me I liked, the joyful, creative, kind person but I felt like I was drowning in this heavy overcoat I didn’t want to be wearing. Only I couldn’t take it off. It was a constant struggle between the person I wanted to be and this person who was just not really okay. Kind of trying to be ok, maintaining I was okay to the outside world (I think?) but really not being okay on the inside. Sad, angry, confused by everything and nothing I could quite put my finger on. I mean I had a great life but I still didn’t feel great. Why didn’t I feel great?

On a whim, I googled yoga classes in my area and came across Corrine’s class. I attended not knowing a thing about Kundalini yoga or what was in store for me! Wow, I was in for a surprise. Reaching out for some kind of spirituality and finding everything I needed and more, so much more.

What is Kundalini yoga?

Perhaps I need to back up and give you a brief introduction into Kundalini yoga as like me 6 months ago you probably hadn’t heard of it. Kundalini is both a physical and spiritual yogic practice that works on awakening the kundalini energy through movement, breathing techniques, mantra and meditation. It’s goal is to build physical vitality and consciousness within the individual so they can realise their life purpose. It’s an ancient form of yoga and it’s believed to go back as far as 1000BC.

Kundalini yoga is healing to me. Through movement, meditation and deep relaxation, gong healing / sound therapy I heal each one of my chakras. Each lesson we tackle a different area to work on. We strengthen our neutral mind and learn to quieten our negative minds. I read somewhere that 90% of people live in their negative minds, wow! A yogi is neutral which means they are not controlled by their minds. We open our hearts to love and most importantly love ourselves so we are so full of love that we are complete. Being loved by others is only a bonus!

So how has yoga changed me?

In the past 7 months, I’ve changed a lot. To an outsider maybe nothing has changed. I am still the same person, in the same house, job and personal situation. But inside I’ve changed. Each week, each month that passes brings new changes and is still bringing transformation. Some are subtle and continually evolving, some are more obvious to me.

I’ve changed mentally

It took me about 2-3 weeks of attending classes with Corrine for my moods to change. Everything felt lighter. I shifted from the negative mind into the neutral. I seem to be able to deal with stress and I don’t sweat the small stuff. Ragey people in cars no longer make my blood boil inside of me, I’m pretty much indifferent. Work stresses no longer make me feel tight in my chest and like I can’t breathe. Instead I just knuckle down and deal with the situation to the best of my ability, it’s all I can do after all!

I shout less at the kids. It used to be much more frequent than I’d have liked but these days we can have whole days, heck even whole weeks, dare I say whole months with me not raising my voice in anger. I mean the little monkeys really know how to test me but I have a deep well of patience and good humour I just didn’t have before.

I’m much less afraid. Afraid of what bad things could happen, afraid of what someone might think, afraid of not being liked, afraid of speaking my truth. I trust in the universe.

I’m way more joyful. I SING and DANCE again! I never realised that I’d stopped singing (how sad is that, it really shocked me when I realised that) but I had… I’d stopped singing along to the music. Here’s another secret I actually sometimes want to dance across a carpark because I feel so joyful! I haven’t actually gone for it yet but who knows you may spot me one day, haha!

I’m wanting to spend more and more time out in nature. I was always a nature lover but everything is more beautiful than it ever was before. Every tree, hill, sky, plant is magnified in it’s breathtaking beauty these days!

It’s changed my health

I have no physical pains at all. I’ve never been one to suffer with any chronic pains or anything but I did often hold stress in my neck and shoulders which I no longer do. In fact I haven’t been ill at all, not even a cold in nearly 7 months. Which I think is pretty good going.

Physically I am able to push my body to do more in yoga class and not give in to my negative mind trying to tell me I cannot do it. Some of the Kriyas can really test this and I find an amazing strength and energy from inside me which I find incredibly empowering.

And then there are little things. Like the fact that I have bitten my finger nails since about the age of 7 when I lost my baby brother and never quite recovered from that anxious feeling as a child that someone I loved was going to die. I’ve never been able to stop despite trying many, many times. Even when I wasn’t biting them it seemed my nails still didn’t want to grow. 30 years later and 3 months into my yoga journey and my nails started to grow beautifully as if by magic!

I’ve also spent the best part of 15 years battling with my diet and the way I look. I’ve slowly put on more weight over the years, much to my dismay, as I thought I was a healthy eater. I’m pleased to say I’ve even managed to improve on that, choosing to eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting right down on the sugar and processed carbs. A few months of yoga saw me change to being a vegetarian, it felt a totally natural lifestyle change to make aligned with my yoga practice.

What’s even better is I’ve thrown away my weighing scales because they are absolutely NO good for me!

So there you go, that’s just a few ways yoga has changed me but I’m not finished yet! My heightened intuition, my new, more neutral mind are just the start for me, the foundation for me to take the next step.

I’m still working on myself, still healing and learning, uncovering my journey. I’m excited to see where I go from here.

Thank you to my wonderful teacher Corrine for teaching us with so much love and devotion. Corrine teaches yoga in the Nottingham / Newark area, you can find more about her lessons here.

Sat Nam

I grew up in London and spent the nineties, my teenage years, mulling around different parts of the city soaking up each district’s unique vibe. On a Saturday you’d normally find me in Camden or Covent Garden rocking my favourite Stussy t-shirt checking out the cool boutiques and hitting up the skate shops for free stickers.

Fast forward 24 years and I live in a small town in rural England, which is a great place for family life and raising children, but sometimes lacking in design inspiration. As an Interior Designer it’s important to keep inspired and while there is a wealth of inspiration online, sometimes when I need to be immersed in amazing design, a trip to London is the only fix. The buzz of the city streets never tires for me and I love the energy and creative boost a trip to London gives me. Last week I took such a trip with my younger sister, a fellow design lover, to visit the best design shops, restaurants and hotels in Soho on behalf of Hotels.com

Found right in the heart of the West End in London, Soho is an eclectic mix of streets offering some great shops, vibrant restaurants, quirky food joints, nightlife and live entertainment. It’s home to the famous Carnaby Street, Liberty’s and Curzon cinema.

The area covers roughly one square mile (2.6 square kilometres), making it nice and easy to explore by foot. Whether it’s a brief day trip to London, or not, ‘I ain’t here for a long time, I’m here for a good time’ seems to suit the Soho vibe. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only got a day or a few hours to enjoy it and take it all in – there is plenty of things to do and see.

On a sunny day it would be rude not to do as the Londener’s do and head to Soho Square to soak up some rays. Or if you fancy something a little more up market – there is always the rooftop bars where you can grab yourself a cocktail with a view. Don’t be down hearted if your Soho trip ends up in a London shower, the rain won’t dampen your day. Head to one of my favourite rainy day spots in Soho, the Curzon on Shaftesbury Avenue where you can catch everything on the screen from the latest blockbusters, vintage classics and cult favourites.

The area is easily accessible by the London Underground, closest stations (of course depending on where it is you’re coming from) include Oxford Circus, Picadilly Circus an Tottenham Court Road, or alternatively the London Buses. Public transport is made super convenient now with the option to pay via Contactless Card on both the Tube and the Buses which I love as it means no faffing around queuing to buy tickets, hooray!

My favourite place to shop Interiors in Soho? Liberty’s, Anthropologie, H&M Home

Arriving late morning, we had time for a spot of shopping before lunch so headed to one of my all time favourite shops and an absolute must visit destination for design lovers and shopaholics in London – Liberty’s. Six floors of the finest designer clothes, jewellery, accessories, stationery and of course my favourite homewares. Always great for trend spotting, we loved the minimalist art, dried flowers, blue and white ceramics, mix and match patterns and colours and the eclectic seventies vibe.

The second stop had to be Anthropologie on Regent’s street. If my soul was a shop it would be Anthropologie. I adore their design aesthetic and use them as often as I can in my room designs with Lish Interior Design. I’m absolutely loving their range of accessories for styling.

A few doors up you’ll find a brand new H&M Home Concept store which has just opened this April. With over 7000 square foot of Interior goodies it’s an Interior Stylist heaven! I defy you to visit without leaving with something you didn’t know you needed. If you are a visitor from abroad, no worries, H&M are offering International delivery on all items bought in store. How cool is that?

My favourite places to eat in Soho? Sketch (okay just outside Soho but is a must for design lovers), ChottoMatte and Maitre Chou.

After a spot of shopping we needed to refuel. Luckily Soho is not short of fabulous places to eat whatever your mood. We were in the mood for a sophisticated lunch in a design atmosphere so we opted for Chotto Matte – a Nikkei (Japanese / Peruvian) restaurant with a cool Tokyo street style.  Day time diners included a mix of business people, tourists and ladies who lunch – us! Featuring a very cool graffiti wall and some super high tech black box toilets (it took me a while to figure out how to get in!). On a warm summers day the restaurant opens it’s window front so you can find the perfect spot for people watching. The lunchtime menu listed some amazing looking Bento boxes which seemed really popular. We decided to sample a few items from the menu; California rolls, Tempura prawns and vegetarian tacos with spicy miso and honey, ginger yoghurt. Yum!

The food was delicious and we were very tempted to order more sushi or to move on to sample the dessert menu but we’d heard there was an amazing patisserie close by so headed off in search of Maitre Choux to try their famous choux pastry. We were certainly not disappointed. Oh wow, stuff . of . dreams. I could eat their Vanilla and pecan eclairs every day for as long as I live. Truly, truly scrumptious and not to be missed. Launched by award winning pastry chef, Joakim Prat, it’s contemporary, fun and totally delicious with really interesting flavour combinations. You can also sit in and have a spot of tea – if you can find a table!

Although it’s situated on the border between Soho and Mayfair, we knew we couldn’t visit Soho without paying a visit to Sketch, one of London’s most famous art and design restaurants. It’s one of the most instagrammed restaurants in London and it’s not hard to see why.  While the outside of the building blends in with the London architecture, the interior is a creative masterpiece / art gallery! Sketch feels bold, fun and imaginative, a wonderful experience in both dining and design and I highly recommend a visit if you are in London.

Conceived by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, it has attracted huge media attention for its food, drink and entertainment styles since it opened in December 2002. Sketch were kind enough to give us a tour of the restaurant and private dining rooms – wow! Each room of the restaurant has been designed by it’s own designer and has a unique menu and vibe. You can choose where you would like to sit based on the kind of atmosphere and dining you are likely to be doing. The Gallery is for afternoon tea and dinner, The Glade for breakfast, lunch and cocktails, The Parlour for all day dining and music & bar into the evening, The East bar – an intimate bar with DJ and The Lecture rooms and Library is available for private dining.

We couldn’t leave without soaking up the atmosphere a little bit longer so opted for tea and a cocktail in The Glade. What an experience! The room is described as an enchanted forest and honestly you do feel just like you are sitting in a magical glade. The lush decoupage forest walls soothe you with shades of teal and turquoise. Pops of purple and jewel tones in the furniture create a rich and inviting setting and the lighting brings the magic and sets the scene for the wonder to begin!

My favourite place to stay? Ham Yard Hotel

After our tour of Sketch it was time to catch our train and head back home, buzzing with the infectious energy a day in London gives. But if unlike us you’re lucky enough to be staying in Soho overnight, you’re in for a treat as Soho is home to some really amazing places to stay.

The height of luxury and exquisite design can be found at Ham Yard Hotel and the equally as fab Soho House, both part of the Firmdale Hotels group. The Ham Yard Hotel Interiors are designed by the award winning Interior Designer Kit Kemp. It’s an absolute feast for the eyes, the public spaces are beautiful, interesting and thronging with people enjoying the atmosphere and the food. It’s also home to a very cool rooftop terrace it’s a great place to experience Soho from another viewpoint.

Image credit: Firmdale Hotels

For more offer on hotels in Soho, check out Hotels.com

Disclaimer: The spending money for my trip to Soho was gifted by Hotels.com, but all opinions and observations are, as always, my own.


This time of year brings with it the promise of warmer weather, days spent outside, family lunches and pretty spring flowers. Just the thought of it fills me with hope and positivity. By March I am usually well and truly over the cold weather and dark days.

Easter marks the start of my favourite time of year, when we get to be outside, enjoying our beautiful English countryside and our lovely garden.

We have a few traditions that we like to do as a family on Easter Sunday to celebrate together.

Our Sunday always starts with Easter breakfast in bed together as a family of four. We’ve a lovely super king bed which fits us all in perfectly for morning snuggles, chats and breakfast time. Breakfast in bed is a treat we always do on special occasions, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays and Easter Sunday. We also like to have the occasional lazy Sunday if the little people in our lives are not demanding we go downstairs!

Sometimes our breakfast in bed is just tea and toast, sometimes pastries and coffee. I do always try and make Easter Breakfast a little bit special though.

A few little touches when dressing the tray can elevate a normal breakfast to a thing of beauty! Think butlers tray, gorgeous kitchen accessories, a pretty cup and saucer, flowers… and I personally LOVE the touch these jute placemats bring. For Easter you can find some gorgeous egg cups and the prettiest eggs in pastel shades to add.

Now on to the food! One of my favourite quick and easy but divine breakfast recipes is for Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg Breakfast Pastries. Made with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, a dash of creme fraiche, puff pastry and a good amount of black pepper they are a quick and easy recipe to follow but make an absolute delicious Easter Breakfast treat.

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg Breakfast Pastries

You will need:

  • Pre rolled puff pastry cut in to equal squares of about 15cms (Determine how many squares you need on the number of people eating. They are quite filling and I don’t think you’d manage more than 2 per person!)
  • Smoked salmon slices
  • Eggs (to make up scrambled egg)
  • Creme fraiche or milk to add to scrambled eggs
  • Butter (optional for scrambled egg)
  • Black pepper and salt to season

To make your pastries:

  • Combine your eggs, milk, butter and salt and pepper together to make scrambled eggs. The amount will differ depending on how many pastries you are making but usually one egg = one pastry. Don’t worry about the scrambled egg being totally cooked as it will cook some more in the oven later too.
  • Lay out your pastry squares on a baking tray (with greaseproof paper underneath so they don’t stick) and fill the centre with scrambled egg. Add two small slices of smoked salmon and parcel up, making sure the points overlap and are stuck together in the centre.
  • You can brush the top with a glaze of egg if you’d like to but it isn’t necessary.
  • Cook until pastry is golden brown.
  • Serve with a helping of black pepper and enjoy!

Why not add your own twist?

If you wanted to add a twist to the recipe you could add some spinach too, or go for good old fashioned bacon, egg and mushrooms.

I will be making these on Easter Sunday as well as some mini easter bunny pain au chocolates for my girls! (using pre bought croissant dough, a rabbit cookie cutter and dark chocolate drops for the centre).

We will be off to church after our Easter breakfast and joining the rest of the clan for a big Easter lunch and egg hunt around the garden later in the day. I’m really hoping that snow they’ve warned us about decides to give us a break and we get some well deserved sunshine! What about you? How will you be spending your Easter Sunday? Do you have any traditions you like to do every year?

Disclaimer: I was sent some beautiful kitchen accessories by The White Company in order to create this post. Thank you to The White Company for supporting Lish Concept, we are big fans!

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