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Never forget where you are from…but don’t let it stop you from going where you want…(Chymeera)

I had a fabulous time over my home town over Christmas. This was the perfect place to spend the end of year. Cold, crisp and sunny days, beautiful sunsets, food, wine, chocolate and close family. I missed my niece and nephew who were spending Christmas with the other side (of their family tree) but we still had a great time.

We didn’t do much except eat, drink and play board game. We went for a walk on Christmas Day and were treated to a beautiful sunset on the bay

And later, on our last evening there…I suddenly noticed the colour of the sky and rushed out, all wrapped up in my new winter coat, to take some more sunset pictures over the oyster farms at the end of the road…I am very pleased on how they turned out…particularly as I only used my iPhone 4s camera.

I hope you enjoy them…

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Kayaking London

Since finishing all my treatments, I now have my life back and I feel particularly enthusiastic about trying out new things. I have the attention span of a two year old so, I naturally like to try new things all the time but BC (before cancer), I would sometimes put things off or think that I would do them one day…now, I just go with it. This resulted in me signing up to do a kayak tour of London by night through the Meetup group uDare Adventures.

I have been a member of that group for a couple years now but I haven’t been able to do many of their events. Partly because of timing issues and partly because the last year has been focuses on my health, so when this new event came up, the day after I finished my treatment, I was like “hell yeah, I am doing this”. Few days after I signed up, I was a little worried that maybe I had over estimated my fitness capabilities as the fatigue side effect from radiotherapy hit me hard.

However, I still had a couple weeks before the event so I decided to wait and see…I am glad I did.

The weather took a turn for the worse over the last week and I was worried as well that it would be a miserable experience but I wasn’t going to skip it because of it…again, I am glad I didn’t.

The tours are run by Kayaking London tour company and we got 3 experts with us to keep us in check and safe. Although the river was relatively calm (and the rain had actually stopped a few hours before), there are heaps of boats going up and down it and when it’s dark and you only have a little bike light at the back of your kayak to identify you, you are quite glad that an expert is ensuring you don’t get run over.

I didn’t know anyone in the group but that never stopped me. I originally paired up with a girl who I met at the gate but the coaches had recommended to try to mix the boys and the girls to make it more even so I ended up pairing up with R. He got the rudder controls at the back and we had difficulties aligning ourselves at first. I am a control freak by nature so I found it hard to trust him with it and kept trying to steer from the front…which is counter productive but as he was having issues managing the pedals I was nervous we were going to end up in the bridge…but halfway through the first leg, he got the hang of it and I started to relax and only worry about my own paddling.

We paddled from Chelsea Harbour where the kayaking club is to Big Ben and back. The tour took about 2.5 hours. After that we went to the pub for a drink. I had to leave quite quickly as it was getting late and we were on the wrong side of town for me. As it were, although the actual journey back should have taken me no more than 40 mins, it took me 1h15 because trains were only every 15-20 mins and I missed the first one by a minute…Oh well…I got home for midnight, like Cinderella, although the pumpkin effect is carrying through to today as I had to take a shower as I kept splashing Thames water on my head and there was no way I was going to bed with dirty river water on me…yuck. I now feel shattered but happy I did it.

And for those following…no Mr Piggy didn’t come. I couldn’t take the risk to drop him in the water!

Below are some of the pictures I managed to take with my iPhone (through a waterproof casing, so no flash possible).

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Daily Prompt | Earworm

On this blog I normally write about my travels but I haven’t been travelling much lately. Although I am about to go on hols (tomorrow) but as it is back to the home town, it doesn’t really feel like travellin’….saying that, it stills put me in a jolly good mood, especially with whilst the sun is shining over London and “I feel like dancing tonight” (from All Time Low, Album Dirty Work) and that song has been wiggling in my head for the past few days…thanks to my new membership to Spotify!

Thus concludes my participation to today’s daily prompt!

Happy Summer!

ps: and Mr Piggy is coming with!

Pingback: Daily Prompt | Earworm

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Casa de Bacardi – Sitges, Spain

A couple weeks ago, I got treated to a short trip to Sitges, a small town (25,000 inhabitants) near Barcelona. The trip was organised by a hotel who invited a few potential clients (events organisers) to come check out their property and the area.

I can tell you that after the past few months of hospital appointments and feeling tired, this was very well received on my part.

The trip was short – got there late afternoon on the Friday and left Sunday evening, but it was packed with all the things that I needed. Namely: sun, good food, good wine and relaxation… We were a small group of London professionals and the sales pitch was only kept to a minimum…

Here are some of the views of the hotel and the town…if you wonder why the post is called Casa de Bacardi and why there are so many pictures of the famous rum, it’s because the founder of Casa de Bacardi was born and raised in Sitges and emigrated to Cuba when he was 15 (there, a little bit of culture there too).

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London: Notting Hill Carnival 2011

I have been living in London for nearly 13 years now – yes, I know, it makes me feel old too! – and I have pretty much loved every minute of it…well maybe not every minute: I didn’t loved being unemployed for 3 months and having to sign in at the JobCentre every 2 weeks ; I didn’t love having to move every 2-3 years ; I certainly don’t love that I can’t really buy a flat in a nice neighbourhood without having to move away from centre….but there is plenty I have loved, honest.

In my early years in London, I lived smack in the middle of Notting Hill and for 3 years I got to “enjoy” the Carnival as a resident. The first year was exciting as it was new and I had never been to a carnival of this amplitude before. The 2nd year, I felt like I knew what to expect and therefore enjoyed it more whilst avoiding the scary parts…the 3rd year, I was over it: the crowds, the noise, the mess…I wished I had gone away somewhere else that weekend. Then I moved away from the area and never thought about it again, until last year.

A friend of my family back home in France, sent their 16 years old daughter to spend the August Bank holiday with me. She was keen to visit London and experience a little of the life there as she wanted to come study there later on. So, to show her what London was all about, I took her to the Carnival…here are the photos of the day…

All the photographs have been taken and edited by me (under my Photography name StardustDigital Photography).

A little walk down memory lane…this is the street I used to live on

I spent many a Saturday morning buying fruits and veg at the Portobello Market

Some candid photographs of interesting characters or just gawkers….

Birds of a feather…

I got my first piercing done there…it hurt like a b*tch!

I remember a private party we managed to sneak into there once…Got really drunk on tequila shots and a little light headed from the smoke inhalation of all the happy cigarettes being smoked around…

Long day, uh?

Everybody joins in….all ages, all colours, all genders….

Some people were really creative….and a little scary!

The Aftermath….

The weather wasn’t too great on that day but it was a good day nonetheless…saying that, we had enough of it after about 2 hours!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures…

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Crete: Mononaftis – August 2011

For those who don’t read French…they made a mistake translating “fresh”. Instead of using “fruits frais” they used the word “fraise” which means strawberries…unless it was an intended pun… 🙂

Sunrise after a night at a beach party…

Mr Piggy chilling out (told you he travelled a bit)…

Getting a tan…

The pool at the Blue Bay hotel…it was a really nice resort but a bit too many French and Russians around for my liking.

View from our room’s balcony

Mononaftis beach…

I didn’t take that many pictures on that holiday… mostly because it was a beach bum experience. We just spent a whole week between lounging by the pool and lezarding on the beach, with a bit snorkling.

I like Mononaftis a lot as it was small (one bar, 2 restaurants and a couple of tourist shops) and we just got ourselves into a neat routine and relaxed….

Although I will admit, I am not a huge fan of all inclusive holidays as you end up being very limited on what you can do…especially when it comes to food (it gets boring after a while) and Mononaftis is fairly remote so you can’t go wandering around exploring much, unless you fork out extra cash for day excursions (which aren’t that cheap)…

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