As some of you may know I’m a retired gymnast, current aerialist with a passion for travel and trying new things. I’m into fitness and health and I’m always looking for something new that excites me. Once I finished up with gymnastics my next great find was aerial (which I’m still totally hooked on). But I did also want to try something new and see if there was anything else out there that would challenge me in new ways.
(Serious concentration face on in the pics! Haha)
Well I have definitely found something! I’ve just tried my hand at Pilates. Now I know what your thinking Pilates that class that runs in the gym studio. NOPE!
Welcome to life balance! A Pilates studio situated in Blackrock, Dublin like nothing I’ve ever seen before! The studio is amazing and I finally found something that could challenge me. The reformers allow for my range of movement and strength combined each one working with the other in a way that I only remember from the bygone days of gymnastics training.
If your up for a challenge or looking for something that encompasses strength, control and mobility you should definitely give reformers Pilates a try!
As I drove closer I could see the huge lizard and animal shaped kites floating high above Bull Island. I started getting giddy as the excitement bubbled up inside me. There is something about kites, I felt like I was five or six again. After finally parking the car I wandered towards the kites. They grew and grew in size as I approached, it was mesmerising. These huge colourful kites hovering and gently flicking in the breeze on a smashing summers day, it was perfect.
There was kite making, food, ice cream, toddler music fitness, drumming, CPR demonstrations, hammocks, expert kite flyers, everything you could need or want and imagine. The weather was on board too as there was a nice breeze for the kites that kept everyone cool in the sun that was splitting the stones!
It was a fabulous day all round an I would highly recommend it to all! 🙂
I got some really cool travel related gifts this year and am so excited by them that I want to show them off! These are my top 3:
1 Colour your own passport
I’ve never seen this one before and just think it’s a great idea. A portable world map that isn’t an app (yey old-school) and it protects the passport and the ever important stamps that are in it along the way! I won’t go anywhere without a passport cover any more as once a bottle of water spilled in my backpack and the cover saved my passport and all of my stamps I’ve collected from around the world.
2 Exotic holiday fund savings box
This just lit up my face when I opened it. So cute and thoughtful and gives that extra bit of motivation to keep saving for the next adventure even when funds are low.
3 The scratch map
One that is popular and widespread but it is ever so satisfying scratching off that gold covering country by country. My sister got me an awesome one that also has a travel journal and miniature maps that are the perfect size (about A5) to bring with you on your travels.
These are just a few of the fabulous gifts I’ve received over the last while. Maybe you’ll treat yourself to something similar or it might spark an idea for a gift for the travel addict in your life. 🙂
I’ve heard many talk about going up The Great Sugarloaf Mountain but it’s something I hadn’t ever gotten around to. Well with the New Year here and a fabulously sunny day I decided to bite the bullet and do it!
On the way up
The view from half way up
I parked in the car park at the base of the trail and off I went. The views are stunning. I could see stretches of Dublin, Wicklow and The Irish Sea. It was Irish horizons all around and it was the most picturesque site ever.
The walk itself was lovely. There were people of all ages climbing up and down, one man even had a little baby who was definitely under 12 months strapped onto him while doing the walk. There is a steep part towards the very top which is a bit of a scramble and I must admit made me slightly nervous but it was definitely doable and worth it. Mind you next time I would wear my hiking boots rather than the runners! There are also three different pathways to the top to choose from so you can choose the one that best suits you and the people who are walking with you.
The view out to sea, and the shadow cast by the mountain
Wear the climbing shoes
This trail is a must do for both locals and visitors to Ireland.
This was by far the highlight of the trip for me. We booked our tour with Arabian Nights. It was brilliant! They came and picked us up from where we were staying and off we went to the Red Dunnes Desert. There were six of us in the 4×4 myself my friend and a family of four. First on the agenda was some dunne bashing. This is definitely not for the faint hearted. We flew along the dunnes at crazy angles. I quickly realised why the roll cage that I had first noticed when we got in was there. It felt like we could roll at any moment and I loved it! Our driver was obviously very skilled and enjoyed terrifying his passengers. After the dunne bashing we stopped at the top of one of the sanddunnes just in time to take some stunning sunset pictures.
Next we headed towards an Arabic style camp site. We left our coats on seats beside the stage so we would have a good view of the show later on. Once we had nabbed the seats we went to do some more exploring. First we went for a camel ride and then attempted some sand boarding. We didn’t quite get the hang of it so we went back into the camp where we got henna designs, dressed up in Arabic dress and had some shisha.
The barbeque buffet was great for our ‘starter’ we had freshly baked Arabic flat bread that was cooked in a stone oven, falafel and chicken shish kebabs. Then the show started. We saw a tanoura dancer spinning around. It was dizzying to watch, I have no idea how he did it. The main meal consisted of a range of Arabic food including hummus, tabbouleh salad, flat bread, shish taouk, lamb kofta, rice and of course some other more western inspired choices, so there was plenty of choice for everyone. There was also a belly dancer performance to round out the night!
This trip really was brilliant, we had an absolute ball and I would highly recommend a dessert safari if you have time while visiting.
Tip: pack a jumper and socks for later on at night so you don’t freeze!
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is spectacular. It is a stunning place where the sense of peace and quiet is calming. While here we walked around the Mosque admiring the architecture and art work all around us. We also heard the Call to Prayer from the minaret by the Imam. It’s hard to describe either the feeling of calm or the sheer beauty of the Mosque accurately so I have included a selection of pictures that will speak for themselves. This is a must do day trip from Dubai!
With the days getting longer and weather milder why not start exploring! Another micro adventure for me today; this time I was exploring Union Wood in Sligo. There are many trails marked out that you can choose from. I went up to Union Rock and it is one of the best views of Sligo in my opinion.
From the top of Union Rock you can see the beautiful Ox Mountains, Knocknarea and The Dartry Mountains including the iconic Benbulben and Truskmore. A fabulous walk with beautiful scenery and nature all around Union Wood is well worth a visit.
Here are some pictures of some of the information signs along the way: