Elf sniffs flowers

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

– Walter Hagen


We’ve all heard it. Been told it. Told people it. Posted it on facebook with a pretty picture (much like the one above). But do we do it?


So today I did. I actually stopped and smelt the roses…these aren’t roses, but they are lovely none the less. I stopped and looked at how beautiful they are and thought how wonderful it is that the earth that we walk on each day is capable of growing such a creation, and how often we forget this. Rushing one appointment to the next and not really noticing anything around us. Constantly reaching for the next thing, next meal, next promotion, next event.

I know I am not going to stop, none of us are, not unless we disappear in the forest to live like cave people… which sometimes seems the best option. But it was good to take a moment and remember that I am a human and a creature of the earth, the same earth that grew these beautiful flowers. So today’s adventure was actually to stand still and be in the moment. I hope that you find just a couple of minutes to do the same.


Ceremony Elf!


Awards ceremony! I’m not suggesting that it is a good idea to gate-crash a ceremony or sneak in under a barrier…unless you are up for it? But I was actually invited to this one, on the guest list and everything. It was not a glitzy black tie event, but a university ceremony with moderately formal wear.

IMAG1480It was lovely to be included in an event to celebrate success and hard work. We all work hard in our own ways and it is not always recognised. It was a great to be a part of an evening that was simply about congratulating people on their hard work. Yes, it was a little long, and there was too much clapping (the ever important hold your applause to the end of the group was missing) but I could not help but smile at all the proud friends, parents and family present.

If you get an invite or someone casually drops into a conversation that they have won something… say yes! In a slightly leach like way (but not so gross) I drew a lot of happiness from this event and urge everyone to support the people in their lives.

Happy adventure indeed!


Elf goes climbing

Bouldering.  Climbing without the gear! Sounds dramatic doesn’t it?

Wet and windy Sunday mornings are perfect for an indoor sport.  So my friend, Fran and I headed off to try our hand at bouldering.  The indoor climbing done on a relatively smaller wall than normal indoor climbing and done without the harness, ropes ect.

The walls are covered in coloured notches and rocks and at first they look haphazard and random in nature, but we are reassured they are not and are in fact “problems”.  Advanced climbers use these to help them learn how to pre-plan their climbing routes we are told.  All I can think is that there seem to be some large gaps between the different colours!

We chalk up and are left to our own devices.  We laugh…a lot…some of the proper climbers seem a little irritated with us so we endeavour to get on with it.  Or up with it.

Starting off on the easiest problem (yellow in this case) I’m off!  Suddenly I see myself boldly climbing in some beautiful wilderness with just blue sky beyond me… its glorious.  Then I realise I’m only half way up and my upper body strength is …frankly embarrassing… and I have no idea how I am supposed to get down.

I do get down…eventually.  And I did actually make it up! Horary.  Further to that on the second attempts I do actually stick to the yellow ones and solve the problem.   We solve more problems as well, some not as well as others and we try a couple of the harder colours, not always being able to stick to them.  But it is great fun and before we know it over an hour has passed.

My hands are left red and sore, it’s very cold in the hall and the chalk is a strange feeling under my finger nails.  But I loved it.  bouldering

Elf cooks with Tofu

Tofu.  Yep, tofu.  I’ve eaten it occasionally at a restaurant, normally due to rash ordering or panic ordering!  But I have never cooked it at home.  Having received a lovely cook book for Christmas on all things veg and vegetarian (I’m not vegetarian – errant gift? Possibly but it is a lovely cook book) I decided to venture into the tofu world starting with a black pepper recipe.

I am not great at following recipes I tend to wonder off the exact measurements and get a bit over excited about adding herbs and feeling all Jamie Oliver.  That being said I thought I did a good job of halving the recipe as I was only feeding two Elves and improvising with onions instead of shallots which I thought would not make too much difference.  I very carefully cut up the tofu and coated it in flour before frying in batches.  I then made the sauce and returned the tofu to the wok.  I made some extra vegetable stir fry to go with it and served up.  All in all an easy recipe and not too much prep time, although probably a little fiddley just for a mid-week dinner.

Taste time.  Flavour of the sauce was lovely.  That being said, after the first couple of bites of the chunky tofu…it was still tofu.  Tofu, just like disappointing ordering when eating out.  Yep, tofu.  I have to say I think the trick would be to use prawns or chicken in the yummy sauce or vegetables if you are veggie.  Or cut the tofu up so that it is not so overwhelming.  Given that I don’t like strange textures this was a pretty predictable outcome.  But at least I tried something new!

2016! Elf does yoga! Starting as we mean to go on.

It is 2016, I want to do something different this year.  This year I want adventure.

Now, donning an Indiana Jones type outfit and heading off into the wilderness would be a dream come true, that is a distant, spec of an adventure to come.  So when I say adventure, I mean an everyday adventure.  Small things that brighten the week and are achievable!  I’m thinking, more along the lines of grabbing the tube map and umbrella.

Each week I want to do something different, eat something new, try an activity, walk somewhere not in SW London! (I know shock horror! Outside my postcode!)

So with this in mind…. My first adventure of 2016 is Hot Yoga.

Hot Yoga is the cooler cousin of Bikram yoga.  It is not so hot so the sequences are faster and devotees say these is what means you burn more calories and work harder as a consequence.

Pulling on my gym gear and heading off to a Sunday morning class to blow away the cobwebs.  The class was predictably busy given the New Year status and the Instagram inspiration of 2015 mostly involving beautiful, colour co-ordinated fitspo women holding impossible possess in places we dream of visiting.  Nevertheless, everyone seems calm and happy.  Soon enough we head up to the studio and instantly feel the temperature difference.  I chose a mat in the middle of the class and not directly under the heat of the lamps suspended above us.  Without much pre-amble were directed to our feet and we are off.  It’s hot.  It seems an obvious thing to say and it is about 25-28oc which does not sound too hot but as I bring myself to downward dog and try to ignore the trickling sweat moving from my chin to my forehead and try to breath calmly though my nose, all I can think is that it feels hot.  Much hotter than I had expected.

At the end of the class everyone else is lightly flushed and damp… I on the other hand am more 3rd degree sunburn red and so sweaty my shirt is several shades darker.  I am not sure that my forearms have ever actively perspired before!  There are no photos for a reason!

Despite all this, I actually really enjoyed the class.  I am left feeling content, grounded and as though I have had a really good work out.  I will definitely be going back, way more fun than thrashing away on the treadmill.

© All artworks, photography and written word belongs to the creator Little Elf