Travel & Life Digest

New Year’s thoughts, Salt Lakes and Sunshine

I bet you thought that I am now going to tell you all about my new year's resolutions and how this is a new start, a new chapter and ultimately a new life!
It's January and it hasn't been sunny since mid-November. I was working over Christmas and what's worse, I was sick over Christmas too. So if I hear one more time about "what's my New Year's resolution", I'll lose it! I don't have time to make a resolution. I went from work pre-Christmas, to a family trip were we all got sick, back home to prepare Christmas meal for 10, back to work! I missed the Nutcracker performance, which I was looking forward to since September, because on my first day back to work my head was still buzzing from this ridiculous flu. I don't feel excited, I feel tired and stressed at the prospect of looking excited. It's grey out there and like the other 10 million Londoners, I have to commute to work, every single, grey, cold, rainy, 7:30-start day. How does it make sense to push yourself to start something new, in the middle of grey January, with post-Christmas fatigue and deflated sense of fun?

So instead of fake excitement and fake new starts, how about we slow the heck down, take a step back and let ourselves switch off this January?  I pride myself in being a "glass half-full" kind of girl, but even I need my annual allowance of just being. This is not being grumpy, I just feel that there has to be some balance out there to all of the articles and adverts that urge us to always be doing something different, something more than others, go places, tick lists that wouldn't really matter otherwise. 
How about not being grumpy about being on a diet, because you don't really have to be on one just because it's January? Or getting itchy about "dry January"?
How about a bit of moderation instead, good food (that is not to say junk food) and swapping bottomless prosecco brunches in London hotspots, for cosy, long pub lunches with our friends?
How about some quiet time instead of unleashing yourself onto new and challenging sports?
I was watching Bad Mums 2 the other day, which evolves around mums creating the perfect, movie-worthy Christmas for their families, in order to receive a couple of "hug coupons", as they put it. Nothing wrong with movie-worthy Christmas at home, but that's only if you feel like it. Enough with the pressure, if you feel like putting a tree up do it, if you feel like decorating a little wreath instead, go for it, if you feel like doing nothing at all, perfect! As long as it is what YOU want, not what Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or your mother seem to want you to do!   

Here's a list of easily accessible country pubs - and some country-like London spots - in case you feel like a cosy Sunday roast, or even better...a cheeky, Wednesday lunch!
Sir Charles Nappier Inn - Chinnor, Chiltern Hills
The Chequers  - Chrurchill, Cotswolds
The Engineer - Primrose Hill, London
The Greyhound - Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire
The Ethicurian - Mendip Hills, Bristol
Petersham Nurseries - Richmond
The Sun Inn - Dedham Vale, Essex
The Wild Rabbit - Kingham, Cotswolds

I'm going to leave you with a few pictures from our trip to Mesologgi Salt Lagoons in Western Greece, from last year's Christmas. These were taken two days after a loud, extravagantly foodie Christmas, when we all felt the need for some downtime, time to let our senses absorb some natural sounds, instead of TV, loud headphones and nightclubs.

I still feel at peace every time I think about that place.

The earth meets the sky, the colours between the lagoon waters, the stacks of salt, the dirt paths and the sun are beautiful and earthy: creams, pinks and light blues. The sweet afternoon sunshine made me smile and then, I got hyped at the similarities of human nature, when I saw the fishermen’s boats. They have this rod sticking out, holding the nets hovering over the water. They looked exactly like the ones I had seen in Goa, on the beach. This thought made me happy. I love finding things that bring us together, the more unlikely combinations, the better! Things that underlines the human spirit - finding similarities between the fishermen on the coast of the Indian Ocean and the lagoon fishermen in this little corner of Western Greece is certainly something that makes me feel positive for the year to come!

PS: By the way, the other day a comedian on "Very British Problems" tried to explain what seems to others, as a fascination of Brits talking about the weather - when people talk about the weather in the UK, what they are really saying is..."it's grey out there and it's getting to me". Makes perfect sense.'s started snowing, as I'm finishing this post. Grey is shortly to be replaced with white!

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