Manic Monday: Samsara

July 30, 2012

SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.  Filmed over a period of almost 5 years and in 25 countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders.  By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern. 
SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man’s spirituality and the human experience.  Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation.  Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.

I can't wait to see this film but it doesn't look like it will be released in Amsterdam for a while unfortunately. It opens in the U.S. on August 24th in a few cities and then has a larger release on September 7th so check release dates.

London lovins

July 26, 2012

By the time you read this post I'll hugging the crap out of one of my bezzies in the Big Smoke. Amanda's visiting Europe with her boyfriend and I couldn't bare the thought of missing out on the excitement. A handful of my close friends in one place + wonderful weather + crazy Olympic atmosphere = pretty darn good excuse to book a last minute trip!

Plans so far include watching the opening ceremony on a big screen in Hyde Park, picnic'in, lapping up the sunshine & wandering around tourist style (I can visit certain museums & galleries a million times and still get excited!)
So I'll be offline until next week as we catch up and enjoy the city.
Lots of London lovin'

Christmas in July - PRESENTS!

July 25, 2012

Daryl from Roots, Wings & Other Things was my Secret Santa for the Christmas in July gift exchange! Daryl and I have more than a few things in common and I love reading her blog. She hit the nail on the head with my gifts and I was really touched with my presents. Included in my big box were a packet of chocolate "Mozart Balls" - unique to Salzburg and super yummy! This cute and quirky mug includes a little painting of the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein castle that inspired Walt Disney in the Bavarian Alps. I can't wait to drink some warm glu wine from it in the winter! Last but not least, Daryl remembered that I collect postcards and picked up two on her travels; a really cute touch to a lovely Christmas package!
Thanks a lot for my gifts Daryl :)

Count on my internet to go bust this week of all weeks when I had two blog swaps lined up! Please excuse any formatting issues with this post {Or any in the coming days} as I'm posting from my phone for the first time and it's quite tricky.

Blog Swap: Favourite Family Holiday!

Hey Ginger Flair readers :)

I’m teaming up with Kassie today over from Skip to Malou* for my very first blog swap thanks to20 Something Bloggers and our challenge was to talk about our favourite family vacation.

I come from Barbados, a really teeny tiny island in the Caribbean which is known for its tropical weather and beautiful beaches. But there is a place that’s even more idyllic, so untouched and picture perfect that many people say it’s heaven on earth. St.Vincent and the Grenadines are a small set of islands southeast of Barbados and people from near and far sail and fly to these little gems to get away from it all. I’m lucky enough to have been here a couple of times on holiday and a family vacation spent on a sailboat in the Grenadines remains one of my favourite holidays. I especially miss it now that I'm studying in Amsterdam and the closest I'll get is sailing along the canals!

You wake up at the crack of dawn as the sun peeks through your porthole (Sometimes we snuck upstairs and slept on deck) and immediately jump in the crystal clear water.
Days are spent snorkeling, building sand castles, sailing between the islands and soaking up every minute that you can in the water.

Christmas and Easter are the busy periods because of the cool temperatures and steady winds, so the tiny harbours are usually full of boats from all over the world; Germans, Australians, Barbadians and Canadians are all brought together by a passion for sailing.

Locals zip in between the docked boats selling ice and fresh fruit from the islands or offering to do laundry. They’ll also sell vital supplies like Oreo cookies & canned sausages.

If you’re lucky you can still find a bottled coke in one of the local restaurants {Have you ever had glass bottle coke? If not, you’re missing out} and drink that with your lobster or conch pizza.

This all sounds pretty basic but as a kid there’s nothing better than spending a day on a boat, fishing off of the back and hoping you don’t catch something that’s just been dumped from another boat nearby {ewww} You can also spot whales {at certain times of the year}, dolphins, sea turtles and a bazillion kind of fish.

We ate fresh fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner thanks to my Dad & brother’s mad fishing skills; marlin, dolphin, barracuda, lobster…I never thought I could get sick of lobster but it’s possible! This is a more recent shot of them zipping around on the dinghy:

By the end of the day you’re feeling sun kissed and exhausted, with the smell of sunblock on everything you own. And even though you’re sick of sharing a cabin with your snoring siblings and miss having a warm shower, you wouldn’t trade that taste of salt on your skin for anything…

For more on an island girl living in Amsterdam, follow me on Skip to Malou* | Facebook | Twitter

Window to the World: Oman

The view form the car window as Dad and I make a trip across the Wahiba desert in Oman - Ema McIntyre, 2012

Manic Monday: {Epic} Failed attempts at Cockney Slang

July 23, 2012
Ever tried your hand at cockney slang?
Cockney Rhyming Slang originates from East London and was used by local gangs as a 'secret  language' of sorts to confuse the police: if someone was seen on the stairs, they said "apples and pears."
Rhyming Slang phrases are derived from taking an expression which rhymes with a word and then using that expression instead of the word. For example the word "nightmare" rhymes with "Tony Blair". In many cases the rhyming word is omitted - so you won't find too many Londoners having a "Tony Blair" but you might find a few having a "Tony's". There's a long list of cockney slang used more commonly:

Dog & bone - Phone
Barnet Fair - Hair
Pork Pies - Lies

This basic understanding of cockney is crucial to appreciating these videos; your average Englishman would barely get the gist of Cockney Slang when used in everyday language, far less Americans who have obviously never heard of it. I commend Team USA on this marketing ploy; it makes their athletes seem much more fun,human and likable, even if their attempts at a British accent are dreadful.

Worth a look and a giggle or two:

Can you guess what {Chicken Oriental} {John Cleese} & {Rosie Lee} are?


Fitness meets Fashion

July 21, 2012
I may be a bit late on this Olympic shoot by Annie Leibovitz in the June issue of US Vogue but I really like the 'Behind the scenes' video that came along with it. How cool is that technique used for the 'swimming' shot of Ryan Lochte? (He also made fashion history as the fourth man to ever grace the cover of US Vogue - shocker!)



Eat myself skinny

July 20, 2012
On the long dark days of dietdom, when I want to eat everything in sight purely because its 'not allowed', I turn to Pinterest for yummy, healthy recipes. Here are a few I've tried over the last few weeks; I didnt bother to take my own photos because a.) I was too hungry to stop for a photo and b.) these looked pretty damn good & my photo wouldn't have done my meal justice. They were delishhh!

Lemon Quinoa Avocado Cilantro Chickpea Salad{via}
Marinated mozzarella
Grilled Zucchini & Summer squash with yoghurt cumin sauce{via}
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with roast tomatoes & goats cheese{Via}
Zuchinni Ribbon Salad{Via}
Black Bean & Avocado Lettuce Wrap{Via}
Honey yogurt berry pops made from Greek yogurt, honey and mixed berries

Window to the World: Bequia, St.Vincent & the Grenadines

July 18, 2012
Olivia Wilkie, 2012

Can't waitttt for Carnival Part 2!

July 17, 2012

Here's Part 2 of my blog post build up to Notting Hill Carnival at the end of August. I can't believe I left all of this off of the blog last year! I think I was too busy settling into postgrad life to blog about it.

This whole carnival concept seems pretty strange to anyone who's never heard of it or experienced it. Notting Hill Carnival is held each August Bank Holiday in London and was started in 1966 by the local West Indian community. When I first partook in Nottinghill in 2010 we were worried about being 'underdressed' for the underground and public transport but soon realised that nobody bats an eyelid at the girls wearing beads and feathers on the tube, they know what's going on. 
The parade starts early in the morning and we were not exactly the peachiest of revellers when we were getting ready. Needless to say, lots of glitter and fake tan later, we were ready to go :) 
What followed was a full day of non-stop debauchery, everyone dancing and going completely wild! 

Manic Monday: How Happy People Do

July 16, 2012
I thought I'd share something I read in an article the other day that emphasizes the feeling of happiness. Sonja Lyubomirsky's book "The How of Happiness" discusses the steps you should take to a happy life. These steps are pretty straightforward and I loved their simplicity:


Express gratitude

When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison

Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.


Practice acts of kindness

 Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.


Nurture social relationships

The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.


Develop strategies for coping

How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.


Learn to forgive

Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.


Increase flow experiences

Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

Savor life’s joys

Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

Cultivate optimism

 Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.