Retreat and Restart

Hello.  It’s me.  No, its not an Adele karaoke, but still it is a happy Saturday. Well it was, as I laid in a hammock, rocking gently side to side listening to the breezy/borderline windy air flow over me. Typical British Summer hey.

At the time of writing I’m currently horizontal on a wonderful weekender. No, not the kind that I used to go to (well I think I did, all a little blurry) but a calm and tranquil yoga one somewhere near Eastbourne, at a place called Gayles retreat.

We arrived yesterday. I was not quite so zen having got a little lost and being the last one here, as my need for a coffee and Justin Timberlake blaring whilst I drive led me to sailing past the place without realising. Deep breaths Al, deep breaths.

However once here, bunk bed made (yep I was on top) it was time for a relaxing two hour class with the delightful Jo to get the old seized up body going. It certainly did that! My hips were pulled in every direction (no sniggering please) and after a challenging few hours I felt as chilled as Mr Frosty. (80’s children will understand).

After a wonderful dinner, including some epic brownies, I found the hammock. Now, if you have read my Jamaica blog you will know once I find one it really will be a struggle to move me. There’s is nothing better than gently rocking watching a beautiful sunset (ahem), as below.


My one concern about this trip had been sleeping in a dorm stylee. My spoilt self likes her own room. I rarely share with my own pals let alone strangers no matter how lovely! So bedtime took a little while for me to settle, especially with a squeaky bunk bed – there was not a lot of movement I can assure you! (Stop the sniggering now). After an initial hour of worries I drifted off beautifully. I did wake a few times (more as I’m used to sleeping alone so any noise woke me) but all in all GOOD SLEEPING! Yay!

Fully restored I leapt (quietly) out of bed, pulled on my gym stuff and went for a run across England’s green and pleasant land. How truly beautiful is this Country of ours! Feeling very smug I sat down to a huge brekkie of granola, eggs and toast. Yum.

My smugness was short lived half way into our next 2 hour yoga sesh with Jo. My legs were aching before we started, so I huffed and puffed my way through it. Then the moment of dread – “let’s try Headstands”. Possibly as bad as telling me the Gin has run out…….

I tried them a while ago with no success and a bloomin sore head. So the prospect of this was as about as appealing as dinner with Donald Trump. A poor old Melana finds though,  mind over matter though, quite literally.

After a couple of attempts that looked liked a failed 80’s breakdancing move (see me in the back row), I DID IT! What a good feeling to do it. But not a feeling I enjoyed AT ALL. Sorry Headstands, me and you will never be pals! Much love to my poor head, I won’t be that mean again….


Post a lush lunch of soup and salad, it was time to STOP – HAMMOCK TIME! (Sorry, poor joke). As this is England, I did need a jumper and cardi to keep warm, but it didn’t matter. It is truly amazing how time flies when you are chillaxing. Before I knew it, it was time for my massage. First world problems indeed.

The marvellous Monique offered me the chance to read some Oracle cards reading your life purpose. My immediate response was ooh no, but after I realised these were not tarot cards I decided to give it a go, very sceptically. I am not a believer in predictions etc, but it couldn’t do any harm could it?


Wow. Wow. Wow. As a reminder the people here are mainly strangers and there are a few who I see through yoga. None of them know me that well or my job or life set up, let alone my brain musings. Let’s just say I was rendered speechless as to the accuracy of these cards and what they say are my way forward. EXACTLY what I am currently thinking and feeling, and if I wasn’t convinced before of Al’s next adventures I am now!

Next up was a massage with Monique. If you live near me, I highly recommend her. Based In Herne Bay, she is a fabulous woman who always makes me feel wonderful inside and out. Needless to say I floated to my next yoga session.

After 2 hours of yoga and meditation, dinner was well needed. A sneaky G&T (thanks Cathryn) beetroot risotto and a hidden bit of chocolate later, I was ready for a bedtime walk to the Cliffs. It wasn’t overly warm, but walking and chatting with an absolutely amazing woman and just shooting the breeze made my day complete. My head hit the pillow at 10, and I was in snoozeland before I knew it!


My nights sleep was not the best (my own coughing and snoring along with sleeping with 10 others) meant I woke fairly early a little stiff from the previous day, so I wasn’t the happiest yoga bunny on Sunday. Yoga felt painful to start with (mainly my own brain not letting go) and I have so much tightness in my hips (due to running and emotional stress) IT BLOODY HURT. But, with a great teacher in Emma, by the end (despite many grimaces) I felt much better. Even fell asleep at the end and took the snoring in class crown. (Sorry Graham).

After an amazing swim (if not a little chilly) with a fab lunch, it was time to leave. I headed home with the lovely Cathryn for company, chatting and mooching through Kent’s amazing countryside.

Rested, and very happy. The reset button has been pressed. Thoughts confirmed. Friends made.

Biggest thanks and love to Emma from Whitstable Yoga and Jo from Yoga Bubble for the organisation and relaxed vibe.  I love my yoga but not too strict or preachy.  These ladies have that balance spot on, and their professionalism and love for their art never fails to impress me.

Also the biggest love to all the girls and guys thanks for being so lovely.  Its the people that make these fun, believe me that is not always the way!

Stay tuned for the next episode…  Summer is here!




Just Juice….

“What do you mean, what no food at all?” “Well I replied ” all the nutrients and a lot more than most of us get from our diets, but no solid food for 5 days, no. 4 bottles of made to measure juice, specifically for getting me through a 5 day period”. “Madness” they replied. All of them.

This is how my conversations have started everyday for the last week. Mainly when I am going to breakfasts or lunches and I decline food. Or god forbid, when I decline a cake, chocolate or biscuits in the free for all otherwise known as my office.

This is because I decided to finally sort out my diet. After months of slowly eating more carbs and sugar, I decided to wipe the slate clean and get back to the good habits I developed 2 years ago. I’ve fallen back into the vicious downward spiral or being tired, eating carbs.  Being bored or fed up, eating chocolate.  Then a token glut of booze to swill it all down.

As always my body has let me know. Bad skin, bad sleep, grumpy (even more than usual) and highly stressed. Stressed mainly through forces outside of my control currently, but the impact is extremely noticeable.

I am lucky to have met a wonderful lady locally running a business on Herne Bay Pier called Little Pep.  Sherry runs a juicing and healthy food hut, and arranges juice plans for anyone local. She is very passionate on the subject with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. So who better to help me out!

My first delivery arrives, freshly made and ready to go. I am talked through the plan (ginger shots, one juice every 3 hours, lots of sleeping but exercise too) and then it hit me. NO FOOD FOR 5 DAYS? AM I INSANE?

So obviously I treat myself to a small bar of chocolate pre bed (such a bad habit) and begin to plan my congratulations meal for Day 6. Deffo eggs and avocado on toast……

Day 1 – first things first, water. So far so good. I can so do this. Next, a ginger shot. Wow, it certainly packs a punch! But definitely wakes me up! By the time I get to work I am starting to feel hungry. Usually for me it’ll be porridge or toast. Today it is a beautiful berry based juice that tastes heavenly.  Yum. Easy this, I think to my smug faced self, but by 11:30 my tummy is rumbling LOUDLY.  Sorry team.  I am thoroughly looking forward to lunch! Oh, but then I realise I am not going to do my usual brain planning for a good hour of what I’m going to buy, and secretly it’s quite a liberating feeling. For once the pressure is off.  I haven’t got to think about calories, or carbs, or sugar.  Amen.

 For lunch I sip my juice slowly, savouring every little bit.  To be honest, it filled me up.  I rewarded myself with a black coffee.  Rock n roll hey!  I’m feeling good until BAM- the 3pm sugar and caffeine monster jump into the party and spoil things. My head starts to cloud over, and I feel exhausted. Luckily my 3rd juice is at hand to carry me home.  Post train home, I neck the 4th and head to bed early – not feeling top form at all. Only 4 more days….what have I done!

Day 2-Saturday.

In my head it was a really good idea to do this over the weekend where I was free, no social engagements to hijack my plan. However the reality was something completely different. I had totes underestimated how much I bloody love food. Not just eating it, but buying ingredients, preparing it, cooking and scoffing it all. It’s a main part of my weekends as I don’t get a huge amount of time during the working week. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THE EXTRA TIME?! After a mini panic I realised this was a great thing. I can plan a full day of stuff! So off I went in keen pursuit- manicure, walking, until precisely 11:30am when my body just wanted to stop and rest. This annoyed me as I’d had 11 hours sleep, so I didn’t feel the need to allow my brain to tell me otherwise. After some tense negotiations between the left and right of my brain, I compromised to sit down and have a mint tea. Except for juice consumption I did not move for 5 hours….. sometimes you just have to concede brain victory. It’s like your Mum, it tends to know best.  Something we all learn in life, however frustrating!

For being such a obedient Al I rewarded myself with a hour long bath, and bed. At 8:45pm.  FFS…

Day 3 – Sunday

6:15am. Normally if I woke at such an ungodly hour on a Sunday I would just turn over and continue Al’s beauty sleep. Not today. I sprung out of bed feeling truly great. Brain fog gone and full of Energy.  Now, anyone who knows what I am normally like in the morning will currently be spitting their tea out in fits of laughter- I am not a morning person. I do  not usually come round till a few hours post eye opening. Ginge shot is the first thing I crave, followed an hour later by my first juice of the day. I then turn into some duracell bunny version of myself and proceed to spend the rest of the day rattling through one of my many to do lists. I love a list. Makes me feel efficient. However writing it down doesn’t get it done (I know, ridiculous), but today I AM ON FIRE (not just from the ginge shot).

4 juices done and feeling ridiculously wonderful I flop into bed at 10:30 and drop off at 11.  Yay!

Day 4 – Monday

Hm. Was expecting to feel as good as yesterday. It’s 5:30am and I am so awake. The only problem here is timing my juices – every 3 hours. So I really need to wait till at least 8:30. Let’s just say it was a long 3 hours…. but my Ginge and Juice saw me through a rubbish Monday morning at work. At lunch I went for a little walk (normally can’t be bothered) and realised how calm I was. I’ve still had my coffee (black) but I am not easily stressed today – and believe me I had a morning of bull.

The day was a long one, but Mondays usually are (lets be honest).  My productivity was amazing today. So much so I didn’t sit down till 10pm.  It took me a good hour to drop off but I guess my body is doing a little thank you dance (or is waiting for the sugar!) I wasn’t overly hungry so I had my last juice at 8:30 – an hour late, probably why I couldn’t sleep till 11:30, but now I understand how to fuel at what times of day. If you eat at 8:30 it’ll keep your energy up for 2 hours at a higher level. Unless its pasta/pizza. Then expect to sleep in about an hour – otherwise known as a food coma. I’ve had plenty of those bad boys! I finally drop off at 11:15, and sleep solidly again. Brilliant.

Day 5

Final day. I am looking forward to food. I have missed the art of cooking and eating.  But I have realised how much I actually eat! I was in denial. So a lot of valuable lessons learnt:

  1. Just buying fruit and veg doesn’t mean that you eat it….
  2. Sugar should not be a daily basic (no more chocolate before bed)….
  3. Helps my digestive system to swap one meal a day for juice (brekkie for me, get all the nutrients early – pow)
  4. Cravings gone! So now I know how to reset

I’m a little nervous about actually eating to be honest. So I’m planning my favourite thing for brekkie. Avocado, tomatoes and eggs. That’s got my taste buds going!

I go to my Tuesday yoga class, and I get some lovely comments about how well I look. Yoga seems easier too (this may all be in my nourished brain). I bounce out of there, and have my last juice sat on the beach watching the sunset. Tomorrow really is a new day, and a new Al.  Do not worry, I am not turning into one of those really annoying clean eating people, and I am still grumpy most mornings.  The difference is I know when to pull back.  I have just been on a trip for work – one of those that is full on for 48 hours (including food, booze and stress).  Normally I would take all week to recover.  Instead, I ordered a 3 day juice plan (which has actually taken me 4 days) and I feel recovered.  Why did it take me 4 days?  Because life is for living, and I enjoyed a Saturday night out.  AS WE ALL SHOULD!  Balance.  In everything life throws at you.

You will see from the piccies below my before (rough as) and after (glowing) speak for themselves.  YAY!

Biggest thanks to Sherry at Little Pep for getting me through it, so supportive and knowledgeable. Truly an expert in her field!

So come on Monday.  Let’s see what you have for us.

Speak soon!


Al’s Brekkie Bars….

Brekkie special bars

You know those days where you’re trying to be good but fancy a big fat muffin? Well here’s my answer to those days. (frequent occurrence in Al’s house, so luckily these freeze superbly without losing any of there loveliness).  These are based on a Nigella Lawson recipe which is fab, so please see her book Simply Nigella or website for the original recipe.

The joy of these is once you have your base you can pretty much add whatever you fancy – your choice (well within reason!) they are dairy free (unless you add chocolate!) and if you use gluten free oats & cornflakes or puffed rice they will be GF too

This is my fav combo, I’ve broken the recipe into must haves and swappable (my favourites, but please experiment).

Hope you like it, please let me know your opinion, comments, and general taste testing! Drop me a line at

Or on twitter @alsyclarke


Must have

Dates – 250g (preferably Medjool – what a funny name, reminds me of Ali G!) They must be pitted. But if not just break them up and whip out the stone.

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

125g porridge oats (gluten free ones if needed – oats are not gluten free as I discovered to my pain)

25g rice krispies or cornflakes (gluten free options now in most supermarkets)

25g chia seeds – yep, I know but they are great for your skin!

300g in total of seeds and dried fruit – the seeds must be 200g of the total (see some suggestions below)

50g of cacao nibs which are dairy free (or chocolate drops if not making dairy free)


75g of any dried fruit – cranberries, blueberries, apricots, goji, the choice is yours! You can use fresh, but that will reduce the storage time

130g of sunflower seeds or flaxseed – sunflower are easier to get I find and cheaper.

75 grams of pumpkin seeds or flaked almonds

25g of nuts (any you like) to mix in or to decorate

White Choccie drops, well we all need a bit of chocolate some days.  Even a small amount will make people happy.

Marshmallow pieces.  I’m not a fan, but kids will go wild! They melt well too.

A teaspoon of vanilla essence, or honey – I like this to give a little sweetness


The fun bit – making them!


Firstly make sure you switch the oven on at 180 degrees centigrade (Gas Mark 4)

In a small saucepan (milk pan size) put the pitted dates in and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and let bubble away on a gentle heat until soft (takes about 5 minutes). Take off the heat and either blend or mash using a fork or a masher till you have a thick syrup style mush!

Put all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the date syrup. Stir well until all mixed together (be patient, it takes a few minutes). Use a spoon or you may burn your little fingers.


Then put into a lined and greased baking tin – doesn’t matter if square, oblong or circle – depends how particular about the slicing into even portions! You need a layer about 2.5cm (1inch in old money) thick.  I use my brownie tin (note to you all, brownies are my favourite.  Hint over).

Put into the oven and cook until set. It should feel firm to the touch and a little tanned from the heat. In my fan assisted oven it takes 23 minutes but please check after 20 minutes.


Let cool and cut into 12-14 portions.   Freeze half if you live on your own like me, or spread the love to your families or colleagues (hint, hint).

Eat with tea or as I prefer on my morning commute an Oat milk latte (with a little dunking action going on!).




Jamaica? Nah, she went on her own….

Sorry, couldn’t resist it.

This year for my January lay down after the end of year chaos of my world,  I chose Jamaica. Why? Half of Europe were under snow, Asia seemed 3 hours too far for a week, and basically I love the Caribean!

I was given a tip off through Instagram  by the wonderful Clara Amfo – Radio 1’s finest. Clara had been there recently and her pictures were beautiful- and just what I was looking for. A laid back, relaxed, not fussy place to hide for a week and recharge. No one bothering me – except to feed me & teach me some yoga a couple of times a day.

I landed after a fabulous day flight with British Airways – yes I am loyal. They are in my opinion are still the best airline and take care of me whilst travelling, important when you spend as much time on planes as I do! Job done. Already chilled out, and raring to relax.

Now, here is my one complaint about Jamaica – sort out your roads! From a chilled flight to a two and a half hour drive across the bumpiest and dangerous roads. Relaxed out of the window – quite literally!

Finally, I arrived at my destination – tired, semi whiplashed and just wanting to sleep amongst beautiful scenery and peace (unlike the drive) here to Go Natural.

Go Natural Jamaica is just that. Natural. No frills, all ethical and truly beautiful. I didn’t realise how beautiful until the next morning when I stepped spend of my 10 hour coma (that never happens at home) and saw this….


Now for the kinda weird bit. Well it was for me. We naturally started the day with yoga (perfect and one of the main reasons I am here for) but prior to that – Oil Pulling. No, not in that way you cheeky lot and nothing to do with Oil so to say (given what my day job entails working with Oil Companies, I was slightly freaked out), this is the Ayurveda principal for good oral hygiene and dental care which involves putting a tablespoon of oil (coconut in this case) into my mouth and swilling it around for a minimum of 5 minutes. Now, for those of you who know me and have had the pleasure of my Company first thing in the morning, I’m not exactly cheery or up for a challenge – especially putting oil i my mouth first thing – always tea in my world.   However, I persevered and gave it a go. I won’t lie, like most things the first time was not a pretty sight or one I wish to remember, & followed by tongue scraping with a bit of copper I did wonder what I was doing here. Had I finally gone insane!  Sometimes you need to push those boundaries, and after an hour and a half of yoga and a wonderful brekkie of the most amazing selection (DIY Granola in this case) I calmed down a bit and cancelled my flight home the next day! (only joking).


The days progressed with beach visits (blue skies and white beaches), waterfall trips (quite scary – take waterproof shoes & pray) all very relaxed and easy. No airs and graces, a little rough around the edges, but I felt so welcome by all the peeps I met who are so wonderfully chilled and friendly, and with these surroundings, who can blame them.



The yoga was great for me, lots of new versions that I can take home with me and try to do outside of my usual classes at home (thanks Lisa!) and some of it literally either made me elated, chilled or wanting to cry (letting go apparently). But all of it made me feel good. Every night I slept at least 9 hours, and as each day progressed I felt a LITTLE cheerier in the morning. Baby steps.  And with these views by sunset, who could resist.


I learnt a lot about food too. Now, as a 40 year old food lover I thought I was an expert, but I learnt how to eat. Finally my Mum would say. Food combining makes sense – protein and carbs separately and fruit on its own basically! And the results show. The practicality is a little different without a full time chef on hand, but I am trying to adopt it as much as I can.


Some of the lessons on natural cosmetics passed me by to be honest, I’m sure they work but not for me. I’m happy to buy them. Sorry!

I can highly recommend Go Natural for a chilled time.  It is down to earth, friendly and simple, in the most wonderful surroundings (mainly viewed from this hammock)…..


Jamaica still has its challenges and where I stayed at Go Natural was not in a tourist area, but was perfectly safe and extremely welcoming. There is plenty to see, across the island and the locals are more than happy to take you along for the ride.

So my advice – bite the bullet and go, push your boundaries and mind – Oil pulling not required.

See you all soon

Al xx

Why: I’m a Believer

Love this. Everyone get behind this! Fully behind you and will look to join you


Not sure if you’ve noticed but all of my blog post titles so far have been songs. Well here are two (thanks Annie Lennox & the Monkeys) to explain the reason I hit the juicy path, the inspiration behind Juice on Wheels and what will keep me going through those 10 marathons.

In 2014 I had the worst birthday ever. My mum was taken ill and into Kent & Canterbury hospital. Over the next month, her health improved and deteriorated in equal measures and after spending our family Christmas in hospital, we were relieved to bring her home. New Year’s Eve mum was seen at home but was so desperate not to go back in, we begged for her to stay home and had Oxygen fitted in the house that day. That night, as midnight struck I sat with mum reflecting on everything that had happened, grateful that she was…

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Staycation – a real vacation?

I never have a holiday in August. Normally too expensive & everywhere is packed. But since moving to the seaside, I decided to take two weeks – yes 2 whole weeks off of the day job. Now, those who know what a control freak I am know that for me to leave my team to it takes quite a lot! However, having the best team in the business makes it fairly easy for me to go away! Thanks guys, lots.

I decided to break the holiday up into 3 parts. Seeing friends and fam, seeing the local beaches and scenery, and pottering around getting all those ‘jobs’ done around the house you never get time for when your at work.  That list was long as ever, but not impossible.

So the fun bit first – off to Cornwall to see some very wonderful friends who recently relocated there, near to Penzance. As that’s quite a long way to go alone I decided to go by train. 7 hours in total, with 5 and a half being from Paddington & very scenic once past Reading! I loved that journey. It’s why I love flying long haul, you can just sit back and relax properly – you know you aren’t going anywhere for a while. For me its the perfect time to makes plans and get organised so perfect start to my staycation..

I have no idea why but I have never been to Cornwall. We only ever got as far as Devon when I was a kid. I love Devon, so I was intrigued to see the difference. I had the pleasure to stay at the most wonderful place, newly purchased by my pals. Who wouldn’t want acres of land, a massive lake in the garden, and the chocolate box cottage to stay in! The days there were so relaxing  and fun so the perfect start to my holibobs. Watch this space as to its future use, very exciting!

We managed a few days of sun, so we headed to the beach along with a lovely wander round Falmouth. I guess that’s the difference- Cornwall seems more rugged, and certainly a Fishermans town. Beautiful though, I can see why people fall in love with it.

Back I traveled on the train a few days later, a little sunburnt, but super chilled. Thank you guys!

I decided to spend the next 2 days at home working on the ‘list’. Possibly the dullest thing ever came up was buying a new shed. I genuinely can’t think of anything less exciting (Sorry all men everywhere currently gasping). However, we all need a shed, so off I went in search of a corner shed to fit nicely in my newly decked seating area. As I expected DULL. What I didn’t expect was the amount of decisions – slated wood, windows, colours, bases – what a revelation! I must have picked obscure things because it won’t be ready until December. It’s a shed for goodness sakes! Well, when it finally arrives it better be the best bloody shed I have ever seen..

Now my rule is that after every dull thing follows a fun thing (a lesson to us all-amen). In my newly highlighted blonde head there is nothing more fun than KITCHEN SHOPPING! Wooohoooo. I’ve dreamt of that day for months now and my expectations were well and truly met. What a fun 2 hours! New appliances, cabinets, work surfaces – the choices are endless. All is To be fitted in November by a wonderful local Company Carolines Kitchens in Tankerton. I always believe in shopping locally, I think you get better service and quality. Not been proved wrong yet! I’ll keep you all posted. Eeek!

After SEVERAL days of housey stuff, a ton of cleaning, organising & tidying I gave myself a treat – dinner with the girls. Always fun, we don’t get to do it very often as life is busy but when we do its like we haven’t been away. Such fun, thanks girls!

Before I knew it the list was 3/4 done. Mainly the big stuff left – one thing was jet washing the garden… Wow. I never knew they worked that well! Transformed my garden, and a lot of fun on one of the hottest days of the year! I am available for hire….Checkout the results too…


Week 2 started with lunch with the family and a trip to the Strand for some fun in the sun. Bouncy castles, trains, ice cream- the kids did it all while we observed! Made me feel young again if only for a few hours.  Happy Days indeed.

Tuesday brought a great day out in Margate. Brings back so many happy memories when me and my friend used to get the train down, and the ticket included free entry to Dreamland Fun Park. I’m over the moon to see it reopened, it’s not quite there but the council has agreed to rebuild the cinema and the restaurant- well done! Now we need Southeastern railways to reinstate the train ticket and free entry for under 14’s!

The Old Town looks fabulous, full of wonderful independent shops and cafes. So nice to see. Please go and visit! There is also the Turner Gallery (too hot this time but will go next time). The same can not be said for the rest of the town. It needs huge investment from Government or local investors- let’s hope it happens soon.

Before I knew it the last weekend was here. But I had a great time planned. First stop Big restaurant. A fabulous festival on Alex James farm (ex Blur star) alongside Jamie Oliver. If you know me you know how much I admire the man… Looking good as he gets older! Love his passion for cooking but also his enthusiasm for making things better in the food world. So off we went to Kingham, rain prepared, and hungry. The food here is amazing, and so much choice – even for us Gluten Free lot! We wasn’t disappointed- my lobster & chips was fab. And well timed, as then the rain came down… Along with the thunder and lightning… Typical British Summer! It didn’t dampen our spirits, the gin was flowing and the sun came back out – just in time to watch Nathan Outlaw demo a marvellous fish dish. I love his food, and he is such a friendly guy. I then was lucky enough to meet him and get a book signed – highlight of the day.

After a burger, cocktail and quick bop in the Cheese hub we headed off home, muddy but happy and full! It’s honestly one of my favourite days of the year with some of my favourite people. Roll on next year.

After a lovely Sunday with friends, and a last day sitting on the beach in the sunshine I have a warm feeling – and not just from the many sunny days we have had. I had a fabulous two weeks at home, feeling healthier, my brain is calm, my life is some state of organisation and a big smile on my face. I love where I live in Tankerton, and all that surrounds it. Kent really is the most beautiful County in England.


I’ve also had time to make lots of future plans – watch this space for more updates!

Overall verdict – The staycation stays for good. I love my travels with friends or by myself, not so much for work anymore but that’s a privilege I intend to do less of going forward. It’s time to make some changes in a lot of things – something I look forward to and am super excited about….

So long Summer. See you again next year!

Have a great week and speak to you all soon


Planes, Trains and Automobiles 

Well what a busy few weeks. It’s the time of year I dread. A few short trips for work (sometimes the worst ones as in and out in 24 hours and I hate airports for those flying visits – no pun intended) & its Renewal season. Or silly season as I like to call it. From May until the beginning of July work takes over everything. Literally. So this year I decided it wasn’t going to…. 

Why I hear you ask, it’s only for a few weeks and you love your job. Yes, I do usually. This is no normal year for my Industry. Depressed Oil Prices means pressure on the cost of Insurance (my bit) and a real slow down in the whole Industry. It’s been 18 months and shows no signs of changing anytime soon. Which leads to desperate behaviours, stressed and grumpy people all around me. However when times get tough you learn a lot about people. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t really loving my job. 
So I decided to take back control. Make time for friends and family. Look after myself more. Get the balance right for once. 
First thing – stop turning down invites for things. Time to spend less time at work and more time with friends. 

Second – go home more! No, not in the dirty stop out kinda way but in get back to my beautiful home in Kent more. I’m happy there. Comfy. Content. So why am I not there that often? Well basically I have no willpower to leave work on the dot, always finding a reason to stay. I am a control freak, so it’s all my fault, but it has to stop. I was working right through to 8/9/10pm, knowing I only had a 20 minute walk to the flat during the week. There was the problem- the flat. Now, don’t get me wrong I love my flat – stunning interior, slap bang in the heart of Bermondsey, extremely convenient. But it’s just not me to live in a flat or in town. Been there and done that. I realised I didn’t like it, so I would work late or go out – it was too easy. It’s turned into a glorified hotel room. A bloody expensive one! 

After much thinking I’ve made the leap and moved lock, stock and barrel to Kent. I’m a commuter again. Yes it takes an hour and a half. But that’s an hour of work, with some chill out time. Or its a nap, a G&T (Fridays only of course) or just time to think. Something I haven’t had for a long time. 
So how’s it going I hear you ask? It’s been 3 weeks and it feels great. Ironically I have more energy as I am sleeping better and my diet has dramatically improved. As I’m home now each night I can plan and prepare my meals at the weekend, so when I walk in the door I know what’s for dinner whereas when you work late or I was at the flat I wouldn’t be bothered to cook properly, and would snack mainly. My bad I know, but exhaustion can and does make you lazy! I also have the time now to exercise twice during the week instead of just a token run at the weekend (if at all). 
The other bonus is that I am home earlier than staying in town. Why? I leave on time. I’m out the door like Boris escaping the Conservatives. It doesn’t mean I work a lot less, I get a good hour done on the train with no interruptions- some of my best work if I do say so myself! If needed I log on at home too. No longer will I play the martyr sitting in the office being visible to ‘prove I’m hard working’. What a load of old cods wallop. (Great phrase that, must use more!)
Now I realise none of this is rocket science, with many of you shouting hallelujah after trying to tell me time and time again to slow down. As we all know I’m a stubborn one, got to work it out myself! Too independent sometimes….
All this leads to one thing- Happy Al. Calm Al. It may have taken me a while to figure this life/work balance thing & I’m sure it will have its moments in deepest Winter (although this flipping weather hasn’t exactly been Summer) but I’ll take the rough for the lovely benefits of the seaside. My Instagram will keep everyone up to date too (alsadventuresuk) 
Wish me luck! Especially with Southeastern trains…. And hope to see you all soon. 
Peace out 



Yep. Fat. It’s the brutal truth. My name is Al and I am fat. Harsh but true. I’m now going to make a whole load of excuses. ..

Main one is work. 

It’s been tough lately. Rubbish, that’s no excuse – it’s tough for a lot of people right now. NEXT
I’m too busy to be organised enough to eat well. 

Tosh. I’m living in the most beautiful place near the seaside where fish is begging to be bought, and I commute into London most days where there is a Leon (v lovely salads) & a good old M&S food right in the train station. ANYMORE? 
Life’s for living, you have to have fun. 

God I use this one a lot. Yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean drinking as much as I do or stuffing my greedy face with the rubbish I do (usually post drinking). Life is for living, but to do that you need to have balance. 1 night a week out, not 4 or 5…… FINISHED? 

I don’t have time to exercise 

Now, to some extent this is true. So, build it into the day. Go to the gym at lunch. Do HIIT. Stand up more off your fat flabby backside (it’s not natural for me to have such a huge rear!) ANYTHING ELSE? 

No. I’m all out of excuses. So, time to face up to the facts. I’m lazy. Glutinous. Fat. Weak. 
So, there you go. The kick up the fat backside I need. No hiding from it. It’s in words & online. The reason for doing this? Is to get your encouragement and support please. That’s all I ask. And some tough love from those nearest to me! 
See you on the other side. Apologies in advance if I waffle on about it all for the next few months, I hope you can all forgive me! 

Now where are my bright pink leggings….. 

5 Years on…

Today is a strange day. It’s 5 years since my Mum was killed in a car crash along with her friend, in a tragic accident. That day so many people’s worlds were turned upside down, all from one mad moment, none more than Dad & I. Dad didn’t make it, grief took him just under 3 years later. 
As those of you who followed me know, I’ve plodded on through. Even taking 4 months out to grieve, travel and ‘get over it’. Probably a naive view on grief as you never get over it. 
So last Christmas I kind of had a relapse, all the process of grieving should have been done (apparently) but I felt emptier, lonlier, anxious and emotional than ever. How on earth do you move on? 
Well you just sometimes have to ask for help. For me that was professional help, my friends had been through enough & I needed a neutral person I could scream, shout & cry at. Someone I could say all those things to that sound selfish or hateful. Someone who would listen, and make senses of all the noise in my head. 
I started some grief counselling- which is not as scary as it sounds I promise! Also I revisited some Cognitive behavioural therapy to help me deal with my anxiety and irrational thoughts. Practical skills to get you over those mad feelings your going to collapse, throw up, or want to hide away. 
It wasn’t easy. There was some really low points. Reliving it all, Mums death and Dads made me worse. Lots of sleepless nights and tears, was I falling apart? Of course not. I was finally grieving. Ouch it bloody hurt. Like a punch to the brain, heart and stomach all at once. 
The turning point was writing a letter to both of them. And then reading it out allowed. I genuinely didn’t think you can cry that much. But you can. Days after the exhaustion came the relief like a giant weight hd been lifted, maybe it was Mum and Dad telling me it’s all OK and to get on with things. Then the guilt went. I realised I have done my time feeling responsible, like I should have been able to stop it all happening and now it’s time to slowly but steadily move on and bloody well live life to the full. 
So although I will always have my odd days, and moments, I know life is for living and nothing or no one is going to get in my way. Those who annoy me, use me or insult me will know. Those who like me or love me will know more than ever. Those are the ones that matter. 
Today is OK. Yes It is 5 years since I last heard my beautiful Mums voice, calling me to ask how my trip to Paris was, asking what I had for dinner (daily question) & wishing me a happy birthday for tomorrow. But I’m not sad today. I’m thoughtful but remembering the good things and the happy times with Mum. 
No more sad posts, no more tears of guilt. Time to move on. 

Love you Mum. I’m not sure I’ll party like I used to tomorrow on my birthday but I will be raising a glass of bubbles in your honour and mine to celebrate my birthday week! 
Cheers to you all. 😘

Barcelona It was the first time that we met..

So that was it. I got off the train from work exhausted, feeling the unhealthiest I have for a long time. No more excuses. It was time to fix up and look sharp. Cause tomorrow I was off to Sitges, half an hour from Barcelona for a detox yoga thingy for 5 nights, & I have to admit I was not looking forward to it. This was going to be tough.

I had an early start – 8am flight means leaving home at 5, so obviously and in preparation for my detox I scoffed a lovely plate of Salmon and Eggs in Jamies At Gatwick – well I maybe starved the rest of the week! Washed down with my trademark pot of tea and a latte….

After a short flight I met up with one of the ladies joining the same holiday at the airport. Now to all you solo travellers there is always that moment of anxiousness – are they sane? Or neurotic? I needn’t have worried as like always she was lovely! Phew.

We jumped in a cab despite knowing there was a cheaper train/bus option (girl after my own heart) and then the comedy ensued. Genuinely think we found the most crazy, yet wonderful cab driver who highly amused us for half an hour, then slightly ripped us off but hey ho! At least we learnt how to ask for a table for two in Spanish….

Finally we got to the villa, a calm and tranquil place for our 6 days. Recently refurbished with a modern twist it is cool but warm all at the same time. Sleek concrete floors, beautiful concrete bathroom – I was never a fan till now… Watch out new bathroom in the future!


Now for the tough bit. Vegetarian food. No booze. No caffeine. I mean come on, NO TEA! How is this allowed! Is this a step too far for Al?!

I needn’t have worried. After a wonderful dinner I realised I can do it. Still not convinced on the caffeine thing, I had a great nights kip. Funny that…



Next morning it was yoga time. Now, let’s be clear, I am a novice. I’m like the Bridget Jones of Yoga. My balance is shocking, I am not bendy at all (no rude comments now) and I tend to giggle. A lot. However our wonderful Yogi gave us a great starting session. Although I still couldn’t do all of it, I wasn’t too bad. At least I didn’t fall over. Or giggle.

After the hour class I was starving. My stomach decided to inform the whole room of that during the final 5 minutes relaxation of the yoga class. Timing Al, timing. Brekkie was stunning though, Fresh fruit, Tea (herbal, I know it’s shocking), avocado and lovely bits n pieces. I felt so happy each day after breakfast I won’t lie.

So we repeated the same pattern daily – Yoga, Breakfast, chill out time, lunch (amazing salads and soups), yoga, dinner (from stews, veggie lasagnes, to wonderful curries) we were fed very very well. I didn’t feel deprived once. Honest gov. I won’t deny the caffeine withdrawal was by far the toughest part – excruciating headaches ensued for a day, but I drunk through. With water of course.

I also started to improve at yoga, especially with our 2 Yoga Teachers – especially Judith. Such a wonderful, fun and helpful teacher – fun but firm. Such fun we didn’t realise we had done an hour and a half that night- well until the next morning…. Blimey. I was hurting in places I didn’t know you could hurt! Good pain, happy pain if you know what I mean.  Thank you Judith for making me realise I can do it! I’ve mastered tge headstand too now! Go me.


On day 3, me and a fellow guest decided to spend a day in Barcelona. It felt like an escape! So off we trotted on the bus (bargain at €4) and in half hour we were there, walking amongst chirches, museums, stunning port, Marina, and the beach – yes the beach. Name me another City where you get such diversity within a 7km radius!

Now, lunch was a real test. I confess we ordered Sangria. I ordered a salad with chips (obviously) to scoff whilst sitting in Carpe Diem overlooking the beach. Please try it if you get the chance. The Sangria was delicious, as was the salad. But then I realised I was full. I’d only eaten 4 chips. Yes to my horror I had to LEAVE chips. In just 3 days, my stomach has learnt to stop. Learnt to let my face know to not input anymore. YAY. Just taken the 40 years 😂


We took a final stroll through the park and up to Sagrada Familia. What a building! Will they ever finish it?! Hope so. We made a pact to revisit in 10 years – I’m holding you to that V!


Back on the bus happy and sun tinted, we headed back for a stunning dinner. We had walked nearly 20km that day, and I was snoozing in my bed by 9:30! A wonderful day.

With two days left we got into a wonderfully chilled routine of yoga, rest and food. We also got the treat of going to the Torres vineyards for a tour & some tasting. A test of my resolve. I sipped a few, but luckily I didn’t really like any of them! Thank goodness…


By the time Friday came round I was ready to come home. I felt revived, relaxed and a lot less fat then when I arrived. And I could balance for more than 5 seconds! Bloomin miracles do happen! After saying my goodbyes to the two loveliest fellow guests I trotted to the airport, took a seat in the lounge and sipped on a peppermint tea. Yes peppermint. I could have had Builders. Or a latte. After 6 days of no caffeine I didn’t want it. We all know how much tea I drink, around 6-8 cups a day. I didn’t drink enough water. After 6 days my body was telling me when I was thirsty – not hunger but thirst. It’s a wonderful feeling finally getting those messages. Liberating to say the least! (Although what I am going to do with all the tea I have at home I do not know..)

When I got home temptation was all around me. Caffeine, Booze, meat, fish, dairy. I treated myself to Salmon and Salad for dinner. It was out of this world. And I was full! I realised I can do this myself. After a good nights sleep (having removed the TV from my bedroom at last) the big weigh in. 6.5lbs lost. In a week. Neber had that before, after all the diets I’ve tried. Very happy Al!

Now lets not pretend I am going to stay non booze & non meat Al. I never had any intention for that. But it was extremely interesting to see how my body worked a billion times better without it all. Maybe we are meant to be veggies. So I decided to eat vegetarian food 5 days a week. And only drink 1 good quality tea or coffee a day in the morning. Booze once a week. Chips once a week. (Tbh the booze and chip thing was tough, & I broke it 2 weeks ago but only once!). I feel the best I have for years, my skin glows, my stomach isn’t bloated and my energy levels have doubled. All from a better diet and Yoga. I’m more active as I want to be. Naturally I am a lazy arse. I am the Queen of excuses to not exercise but not anymore as I actually look forward to it. Sleep has never felt so good & I wale up naturally with the sunshine. Well, most days!

So thank you Barcelona. Thank you for reminding me of the way to live, & how beautiful you are! It certainly won’t be the last time we meet ❤️☀️❤️☀️👍🏻