Toes out

It’s a gorgeous day in Edinburgh.

Sun is out. Veg is all planted. Day off!!

Flip flops are the only things I’m going to put on my feet today. I’ve done a yoga class. Side crow as a peak pose in my living room was pretty satisfying. Best thing is that I’m sure my instructor couldn’t see how rubbish it was 😊.

What is everyone up to today?

Me – I’m in the garden. My toes are getting some sun. My 🎧 are on and I am loving today. If you have any great music to recommend send it my way. I’m not moving from here unless it is to dance around the garden with a wine 🍾.

Tomorrow – it never comes so I’ll just be focusing on today, toes, tanning and temptation…(it was the only other t I could thing of!).

When you come up for air: breathe

It’s been busy. Really busy. But getting home, getting space, getting wine and getting relaxed is like coming up for air. Forgetting the week, focusing on something else is like a breath of fresh air.

My evening. It won’t involve going out. Not tonight. It won’t involve tv or phone calls or messaging. Just a bit of music to relax to and then a little bit of piano. Then another playlist with a glass of wine.

I’m slightly obsessed with playing Beethoven’s moonlight sonata c# minor (yes I know it’s a hashtag but I couldn’t find a symbol for the sharp). I have been since mid December (I may have mentioned it). I’m through the first movement and even giving the second a go. The first is beautiful though. The first is like a soothing lullaby so obsessed or not it completely relaxes me. The daft thing is that, other than Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1, it’s the only thing I can now play on the piano.

I can’t even play the pieces in my beginner books yet. I have set them aside for just now. I bought the piano late last year as an impulse buy (yes I posted about it) and started playing again after not playing since my early teens. I have figured out that learning for learnings sake isn’t relaxing; learning pieces I love hearing is relaxing. So I think I might be doing this backward and starting off complicated.

I’m not sure how I’m managing to fit this in. Work, yoga, gym goals, work, socialising blah blah…all take time. Yoga, music and piano allow me the time to breathe. Step back a little, refocus, come up for air. Like a great holiday in the mountains or on a beach but more achievable on a regular basis. Especially when it’s not yet spring, not yet summer. Taking the time to breathe. My kind of mindfulness. Essentially what mindfulness should be; just taking the time to notice, to breathe, to be. This kind of thing is a necessity in life right?

What’s your breath of fresh air?

Header Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Finding ease through effort

I was at yoga last night for a Yin class. Yin isn’t always comfortable but it is relaxing. There’s that fine line of finding your edge in the pose (stretches) and staying there for a good while (sometimes 5 minutes or more). It’s the balance of finding ease through effort.

The teacher last night described it as trying to disconnect from the effort. The attempt to relax and submit your body to whatever the pose is whilst you are also at the edge of your stretch. It can sometimes be a difficult balance to find. Its kind of a life thing too.


I usually go on a Sunday night when I’m already relaxed from the weekend. So this was different. Having worked right through from last week, a Monday night before my cheeky wee Tuesday off, really confused my body.

I know that my muscles are more often in a state of tension than they are in complete relaxation. Ask my Thai massage lady (Sue…literally the best and I really hope she comes back from her winter break in Thailand soon!), or the weird physio I saw for for an injury last year.

Its probably a work thing. But I don’t notice the possibility that my muscles are in a state of hyperarousal. Its functional as a response to some environments but it feels like a relaxed norm. I don’t know how to fully describe it but I only notably notice my difficulties in moving from tension to relaxation if I am lying on a beach (Carribean or Koh Samui preferably) or if I am in Yin. On a beach I get the difference, in Yin I have to consciously submit my muscles to relaxation then try and be in the stillness. I can do this on a Sunday. A Monday after a run of work…clearly not!


Last night I was present and I was on my edge. This wasn’t hard to get to given it was hip opener and hamstrings as a focus. My hammies are not the most flexible. I wasn’t balanced though. My body felt different in every area and on both sides. I know this is likely to be the case usually; in Yin it is so noticeable. I couldn’t let my quads go in forwards folds, my glutes in frog. Its not like they are brilliantly toned and lovey muscles…they are just tense.

Maybe its just a representation of the last few weeks. No matter the reason it doesn’t matter. I got my body last night, I worked with it and got some stillness. Some ease in the effort. Some relaxation. A Monday night relaxation. Its different to my Sunday night relaxation but my Tuesday off long lie was worth getting to.

*The header is a photo from a holiday in Koh Samui a couple of years ago. It was beautiful there.


Back from a brilliant skiing short break, which followed a fabulous Hogmanay (NYE for the non-sottish folk), which followed a busy work period, which followed the usual Christmas nights out and it is finally time to relax. With the rest of the week off from work (yep sorry if you are back but I am going to enjoy this!) my plans are – nothing!! Well not nothing but here is my list of relaxing nothingness.


Still feeling like a beginner again I took suggestions on what to play. A neighbour said she loved Beethovens Sonata no 14 in C sharp minor. So I now own a copy of the sheet music and I think she overestimated my talent. It is literally one of the most beautiful, haunting and damn difficult piece of music I have seen. Would twinkle twinkle not have done?! So I am about 12 bars in and I think this one may take me all year (positive thinking there) to fumble over. Luckily the first 12 bars are my favourite.


Airports always give me an excuse to buy a book. Like an actual book rather than my usual kindle ones. I bought Dust. I love the Philip Pullman books and waited till my holiday to buy the latest one. I lumbered it on the plane (it is massive), read about 3 chapters on holiday whilst trying to soak my ski legs in the bath each night and then I lumbered it home. I am currently savouring this book whilst having a long lie in the mornings. Bliss!


Yin has been the choice class for me but I am back to a full body conditioning class tomorrow. I might just be ready for it as long as there isn’t too much leg thingies. There is bound to be. I’m sure it will be fine as long as I can just get to shavasana.


I wouldn’t class this as the most relaxing thing but I figure my legs should not be as sore next year when skiing. So back on it – joined the local one with the pool. I have always had a gym membership but gave it up a year ago when work was far too busy and I figured yoga 4 times a week was enough. At the time I had good intentions of using my work one but I just don’t think I can combine the gym with work. I’d rather just get home. So first session today and as I have yoga again tomorrow I may just go for a swim. That still counts as relaxation.

Being fed

I may have mentioned my lack of skills in the kitchen once or twice. So I am thankful for brilliant neighbours who actually like cooking. I had a parcel delivered by the piano loving neighbour which contained a feast of Dahl and sides. So I was fed yesterday and today. The coffee shop can feed me tomorrow. It technically is part of my new year resolution not to use the cooker but I have managed to get to now without even using my kitchen. Bonus!


Piano, reading, yoga, gym and being fed compiles my only aims for this week. It won’t last though. By Sunday I will have the anticipation of work. Hopefully by Sunday I will need it.

Then back to the madness, the rush, the attempt at balance in life….always the fun.

For anyone who fancies having a listen to someone who can actually play that bloody Sonata…here you go.

Header image Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


Sometimes relaxation is relaxing. Other times relaxation is just relaxing. For everyone the difference may be subtle, but there is a difference. For me relaxing is a yin yoga class. Or a good book and a glass of wine in the garden. Time out from a madly busy week. It can even be a wild weekend with friends in Edinburgh; non stop busyness; just not work busyness. But then there are times when it is a little different. It may be a skiing holiday, or the beach in Koh Samui. It is also, for me, likely to be time well spent at a friends place in the countryside. The peacefulness, the quiet, the laughter, the drinks, and of course the Scottish banter.

Its very personal

When I think about what I find relaxing it usually involves yoga. But that is a central part of my life in Edinburgh and so it isn’t the ‘take me away from it all’ kind of relaxing. So a drive (or a plane if I am feeling a bit flush), to a place I know I am welcome in is an immediate calmer in life. It is a personal thing and everyone is different, but I feel just as relaxed heading off to the West coast of Scotland to friends as I do to the top most part of Scotland…as I also do to Thailand. Common denominator? Friends and time away the day to day normality.

Time away

This time it was West. Second time this year and planned as a result of enjoying friends’ company and a good mate hosting us the last time. I am also very lucky in that said mate has a gorgeous place in the midst of nowhere on the West Coast. Cows, swallows, butterflies (current Scottish 1 in 10 year phenomenon of bloody millions of them), dogs, cats and general country animals all add to the feeling of getting away for the weekend. Clearly wine was involved as was good weather (thank you Scotland I promise I will stop moaning about the heat) and good food.

Bliss. Just like a good shavasana at the end of a serene yoga class, getting away from the city and spending time with friends is good for the soul. No expectations. No demands. This meant that I had time to read my book, time to watch a movie (I fell asleep), time to have a walk on the beach, time to soak up the local culture (gala days and fairs), time to enjoy a coffee, soak up the sun and time to just be at a slower pace.

Affect / Effect

Whichever way you look at it, from a health or emotional perspective, time away from the hum drum of normality is good for you. Sitting back at home feeling a little knackered from the drive back to Edinburgh I am still feeling relaxed. I have a few pages left of the bloody brilliant book I am reading (‘A Fire Sparkling’ by Julianne MacLean). I am going to finish it tonight to end the long weekend and to keep the relaxation feeling going a little longer.

Tomorrow I will get ready to be busy again. A different type of relaxation on my fortnight leave from work. I will quicken the pace, get back in the Edinburgh zone and get ready to enjoy the Edinburgh festival. The fringe is an amazing time in Edinburgh and I plan to do loads. Just not tonight. I am still enjoying the effects of my relaxation with friends in the West Coast. Tomorrow will have a different effect and a different affect. A different style of relaxation.