Have you ever stopped to consider why you attract negative people into your life?
I have to admit, it’s something I have often made a habit of.
Not on purpose of course.
But time and time again, I would find myself attracting friends and partners who were negative and needy.
No matter how hard I tried to be positive when I was around them, I was fighting a losing battle.
Over the last 6-7 months, as I have started to change my own mindset, throwing myself into improving my own wellbeing and self care, I have noticed my energy levels change. My sparkle is brighter.
And as a consequence, I’m attracting other people who have a positive energy about them.
Spending time instead with people who, despite the troubled world we live in, who see the good in people, who make the most out of bad situations, and thrive on throwing themselves at life.
Even on days like yesterday, where I felt far from 100%, and woke up with a little bit of attitude, within an hour of being surrounded by positivity, I found myself grinning as wide as a Cheshire Cat, relaxing and, quite simply, enjoying the day.
The more positive we are about ourselves, our lives, and the environments we share, the more positive people will be drawn into our lives, leading us to a much happier existence.
The last couple of weeks have made me realise just how important it is to have a self care bank.
If I hadn’t been able to cash in on some of my self care reserves, I definitely wouldn’t have got through it as well as I have.
Most of the drama that has unfolded, has been out of my hands.
Sadly we’re living in a city where knife crime is a reality. It’s almost becoming the norm. Yet twice, in the space of just a few days, knife crime got closer to home.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s my country bumpkin background that makes me more shockable when these things happen.
The guys I know who have lived in and around London for most of their lives, tend to just shrug it off and tell me ‘that’s life’. I guess this isn’t the first time they have dealt with knife and gang crime. It’s not like it’s a new problem, but with the news and social media platforms we use these days, perhaps it just seems worse because it’s talked about more.
Whatever’s going on, when it impacts people you know, as well as the work you do, it starts to feel like it’s getting a bit too close for comfort.
I’ve also still been having problems with my ex. I’m not going to air my dirty laundry on here, but it’s something I could do without.
I’m also trying to spend some time forging new, exciting friendships/relationships with people. It was one of the things I wanted to accomplish this year. It’s early days, but it’s kinda fun wondering whether these people are here for a reason, here for a season, or here for a lifetime.
I haven’t even had time to head home lately. Weekends have been filled with hen parties, friends and family visiting, and work. And there’s still more busy weekends to come.
I’m certainly not complaining, but my body and mind are starting to tell me I need some R&R.
Today, I listened to my body and did bugger all. After working all day on Saturday, I needed some time to just vegetate today. I only left the house to grab some food for dinner, and barely left the sofa. I used to hate days doing nothing. But I’ve learnt that when my body says rest, I need to listen to it, otherwise I run the risk of burning out.
Heading into a new week, I need to make sure I focus on getting back outside for some exercise, as well as creating some time to bank some more self care points, in order to replace those I have used over the last couple of weeks.
Thursday was my last full day in Portugal. I had intended on having a rest day, but I also wanted to get back out to see what else was around, close to where I was staying.
I had been staying at the beautiful Alfagar II Aparthotel, which has private access to Praia Santa Eulália. Although I had taken a walk down to the beach on the day I arrived, I really didn’t explore that much. So, I decided to pack up my rucksack and head down to the beach armed with my book and my beach towel ready to explore Praia Santa Eulália.
Once I arrived at the beach, I noticed the tide was out, so I decided to keep walking and followed the beach around towards the next cove. The beaches around this part of The Algarve are stunning. They are rugged and wild, but magical and serene at the same time. The cliffs were something else, and their colours are just beautiful.
As I continued my walk around to the next beaches (Praia da Oura Leste and Praia da Oura), I turned back to look at the view. It was such a stunning spot. So it was there that I sat and read my book until lunchtime approached.
After a spot of lunch by beachside restaurant Vivaldo’s it was time to head back to the hotel to enjoy my last afternoon poolside.
As the evening set in, it was time to reflect back on a fantastic trip.
I booked the entire holiday (flights, hotel and transfers) through easyJet, and I couldn’t fault any of it.
The hotel was absolutely stunning and spotlessly clean, the staff were really friendly and helpful, the food at the Buganvilla Snack-Bar where I ate my evening meals was fantastic. The portions were huge, with a wide selection of starters, and main meals. The apple pie was to die for, and the chocolate mousse was simply divine! The evening entertainment was on the cheesy side, but I guess you expect that in resorts, and in actual fact, holidaying in February, I was probably lucky that evening entertainment was on the menu! The little supermarket in Alfagar Village was well stocked with everything you could wish for, including fresh bread, a butchers, and plenty of wine.
I didn’t use all the facilities on site (there is a car rental office on site – not sure I trust myself to drive on the ‘wrong side’ of the road yet!), but those I did use were superb. The gym, the spa, the pools, as with the rest of the hotel were spotlessly clean and well looked after.
On my first day, I had a slight problem with my lights not switching on in the apartment, however, I called down to reception, and within 15 minutes the maintenance guy was at my door, ready to fix it for me. 2 minutes later, I had light and had no further problems throughout my stay.
I had also booked my transfers through easyJet. Finding the meeting point at Faro airport was really straightforward, and only took 30 minutes to get from the airport to the hotel. On the return journey, thankfully I was early, and already in reception, because the transfer was a good 10 minutes early picking me up. We got to the airport early which at least meant I had a bit more time to look around duty free!
And despite landing in windy conditions, both flights were excellent.
This time I decided to head east of the resort, and headed to the beach at Olhos de Agua. Again, I chose to walk, as good old Google maps told me it was only a short walk away.
20 minutes later, I arrived at the beach. Olhos is small fishing town where the local fishermen still pull their boats onto the sand when they arrive back to the shoreline with their fresh catches. It’s a much quieter town than Albufeira, but lovely if you have a young family and aren’t looking for somewhere overly commercial.
As there wasn’t an awful lot to do or see there, I decided to head down onto the beach to see if I could walk round to the next Praia (beach), Praia da Falesia.
If you are lucky enough to get down to the Praia‘s on the Algrave’s south coast when the tide is out, it is really easy to walk from many of the beaches to the next without too many problems, albeit over a few small rocks. However, once the tide comes back in, these parts are pretty much impossible to reach by foot.
Luckily, the tide was out when I arrived in Olhos de Água, leaving a clear path right i round to Praia da Falesia.
As soon as I walked around the corner of the cove onto Praia de Falesia, the view took my breath away. Seeing the vivid orange colours of the cliffs and the distinguishable layers of rock, made my inner geographer do a little back flip of joy!
I must’ve walked down almost the entire stretch of the praia with a massive grin on my face. Every new section of cliff face I came to had something different to offer.
As I continued to walk along the beach, I realised how light and carefree I felt. I felt more relaxed and content than I have done in a long time.
As I walked along, I did a lot of thinking. I started to make a lot of sense out of things on that walk, putting some things into perspective, letting other things go, and thinking about some of the changes I need to make in order to create more happiness and feelings of being carefree, on a more regular basis.
I will share some of my thoughts with you over the coming days, but for now, it’s time to pack and wave goodbye to Portugal as I have a flight back to London to catch tomorrow.
Since I arrived in Portugal, I’ve been feeling torn.
My intention was to get away, relax, get some self care points in the bag, and to have some much needed reflection time.
However, my inner explorer keeps trying to lure me away from this.
So, I’ve compromised, alternating each day. A day of exploring, followed by a day of rest and relaxation.
Thankfully the facilities at the hotel are great. With a gym, tennis courts, indoor (heated) and outdoor pools, and a spa, it means that I don’t have to wander too far from my apartment to enjoy some of these little luxuries.
As yesterday was my first proper rest day, I got up, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the restaurant, and then headed back to my apartment to catch up on some blogging (Albufeira was the result!). It was then time to check out the gym facilities.
I don’t think I’ve ever been on holiday and used the gym before, or even taken my gym wear away with me, but as I am becoming more aware of my health, as well as the mental and physical benefits of exercise, I came away with every intention of using the facilities.
Luckily, as with so many other parts to this holiday, I had the gym to myself.
I didn’t go too crazy, as I haven’t used a gym in around 3 years, but managed a good spell on the treadmill, the recumbent exercise bike, as well 3 x 10 reps on the lat pull down machine.
I say I didn’t go crazy, but I managed to work up a really good sweat, and came out of the gym feeling really good.
I had booked in for a full body massage in the spa for 2:30pm, so it was time for a light lunch back at the apartment before heading down to the spa.
I don’t remember the last time I had a full body massage (I normally stick to a deep tissue back massage to sort out the terrible knots I get in my back!), but it was lovely to switch off and relax. I must’ve fallen asleep a couple of times, as I remember dreaming once or twice! My only criticism was that the lady was too gentle. I like someone to really work on my knots when I’m getting a massage. However, it was relaxing, and it was lovely to just lie there and enjoy getting some pampering, breathing in the aromatherapy scents and thinking of little or nothing for 50 minutes.
Once I had finished in the spa, I had just enough time to sit by the pool and read for an hour before heading back inside to get ready for dinner.
It’s very easy on holiday to spend every waking moment on the go, and that’s understandable. Perhaps we spend all year saving for our holiday, and it may be that we only get one a year. However, it’s also really easy to burn yourself out when you go away. The last thing I want to do is go back to work next week feeling as though I’m not rested. I know I haven’t been performing my best since Christmas, and I need to listen to my body and my mind, in order to make sure I’m ready to hit the ground running when I get back.
So as much as my mind keeps trying to lure me into Miss Explorer mode, my body is fighting back and making sure I get lots of rest and self care opportunities too.
It’s funny how sometimes it’s the smallest new tips or habits that can really change how we feel and deal with situations.
For me, being quite newly aware of self-care and wellbeing, I’m constantly learning new methods to try and experiment with.
Some stick, others don’t. But I know my self-care journey is all about working out what works best for me. What helps me to unwind, stay calm, but to also stay focused on chasing my dreams.
This week, my self-care tip of the week is….drum roll please…🥁🥁🥁…a good old shower!
Now, before you think I’m crazy/smelly/massively unhygienic, hear me out.
I shower everyday. I can’t function without having a shower in the morning to set me up for the day. If I don’t shower and wash my hair, I feel uncomfortable, dirty and unable to focus, particularly if I am at work.
In the summer, or when on holiday, I will often shower twice a day.
But, I had never thought about showering twice a day on a normal day.
After reading about the power of the shower at the weekend, it got me thinking.
The idea is not only to wash off the days work, but to help transition the mind from work mode to home mode, in turn, helping the mind and body to relax, and hopefully enabling a more enjoyable evening, and a much better nights sleep.
So I decided to give it a try.
Monday evening, I came home from work, cooked, and then took a shower. The shower felt heavenly after a day in the office. Afterwards I swapped all of the clothes I had been wearing that day (including my underwear and even my socks) for my comfy joggers and a baggy sweatshirt. I still had work to do, but by showering after dinner, I was then focused on only completing work tasks I had to do, without letting it bog me down and/or getting side tracked. I even had time to catch up on some reading before I fell asleep, and slept like a baby.
Last night, I followed a similar ritual, and again, had a really good nights sleep.
Today I finished work a little bit earlier than normal. I had already decided to have a work free evening, after two long working days earlier in the week. As soon as I got home, I showered. After travelling across London today on the underground and buses, I felt particularly grimy. I stood under the shower for ages enjoying the feeling of the water against my skin, washing away the days dirt, and completely freeing my mind of work. I even had a little chuckle to myself over how good it made me feel.
The other thing I am keen to see if it impacts, is the difference in my skin. As an adult, I have often suffered with lousy skin. I never really had problem skin as a teenager, but as soon as I lived with someone who smoked in my 20s, my skin has never been the same since. To cover my bad skin, I wear make up. But by showering when I get home from work, instead of just washing my face before bedtime, I’m not only washing off the grime, but also my make-up. I’m also making sure I don’t reapply my make up again that evening, in the hope that my skin will get a longer period of time to breathe before I reapply my foundation before work the next morning.
So far, although I am aware that showering twice a day is less kind to the environment (I am having a much shorter shower in the evening than I am first thing in the morning), and may impact my water bills, I have noticed real benefits to my wellbeing by showering twice a day. Not only do I feel cleaner, but my mind is also more relaxed in the evenings, and I am sleeping better than I have done for ages.
After the wobbles of last week, it’s been a beautifully chilled weekend.
Whilst some of the immediate work pressures have been lessened, there is a lot to do over the next few months, with lot’s of evening meetings coming up.
I knew I needed to get some self-care bonus points in the bag to help get me through the next couple of weeks.
The first thing I did this weekend was to get my haircut.
Whilst I’m trying to budget carefully at the moment while I get used to the extra expense of renting the flat on my own, there are some things I’m not prepared to scrimp on.
Getting my haircut at my favourite salon is one of them. It took me ages to find a hairdresser I liked after I moved to London. In fact, half the time I ended up traveling back to Northampton to get my hair cut at the salon around the corner from mum and dads house.
I find some hairdressers so stuffy. I always feel so uncomfortable when the hairdressers are overly manicured and immaculately dressed. Thankfully my hairdresser in London is lovely and normal. We spend most of my appointment chatting about the great outdoors as opposed to gossiping.
I spent Saturday afternoon catching up with some housework and found some time to bake a banana and chocolate chip loaf to put in the freezer, ready to devour next time I have friends or family come to stay.
I woke a few times last night (thanks to my delightful cat who decided to play with her toys right outside my bedroom, and then tried to sit behind my head on my pillow 🙈), and had hoped to sleep in, but my cat was having none of that either.
So I decided to get up and make the most of my early start. By 9 o’clock I had my running kit on and was heading out for an early jog. It was so nice to be out and about whilst London was still half asleep. The park was empty except for the odd runner and a few sports teams starting to warm up before kick off. Every time I go out, I’m able to run a bit further, and my body is loving the exercise. I used to convince myself that walking was enough, but I realise now that it’s not. Walkings obviously good for you, but getting my heart racing, breaking out into a sweat and noticing the difference in how my body feels, is fantastic. It’s giving me so much more energy throughout the day, as well as helping me to sleep better.
After my jog, I carried on my workout at home, by cooling down, and lifting some weights. This time last year, I noticed my arms had got really big (and not in a muscly kinda way). That’s when I first realised how much weight I had piled on. Whilst I haven’t lost as much flab from my upper arms as I would like, they are slightly more toned. Hopefully now with jogging and eating better, hopefully it won’t be long until they start to look more how I would like them too.
I’m super pleased that I booked my holiday before Christmas, as this is giving me extra motivation at the moment to keep exercising, knowing its only a few weeks until I fly out to Portugal. On top of that, two of my best friends get married in the first half of the year, a month apart, so with two hen parties and two weddings after my holiday, I’m hoping that will give me the motivation I need to keep me focused on my new eating and exercise regime well into the summer months.
After my workout I decided to get some more self-care in the bank, with some pampering.
My brother always buys me really good beauty products for my birthday and Christmas. A couple of years ago he brought me Ren Flash Rinse 1 minute facial which has become one of my staple beauty products. It is what it says on the tube, a 1 minute facial. So even when time is short, there is no excuse not to treat my skin.
With my workout and pampering complete, it was time to head off to Westfield to do some much needed pre-holiday shopping. Thankfully, I had some vouchers to use, so I came away with some lovely new holiday clothes without suffering from buyers guilt.
I then made it back home in time to pop outside to my terrace before it got dark, to see what state my plants were in. I love gardening, but as soon as the winter weather creeps in, I tend to neglect my poor plants. But it was lovely to get out there this afternoon to tidy up and deadhead the plants that haven’t realised it’s winter yet. A perfect way to end the afternoon.
So after a topsy turvy week, it’s been a productive weekend, with lot’s of self-care. I’d love to sit here and say I’m ready for that week ahead. Whilst my body maybe, my mind would really like another day or two at home not worrying about work. But at least I’m getting closer to my Algarve Adventure ✈️☀️🏖