Voting Elf

I know we are all a bit weary of hearing about the in/out EU situation, over and over and over and over again.  We are all also a bit fed up with the people we would normally regard as friends fiercely debating the topic and quoting so called “facts” over a dinner or quiet drink.  But please vote.  I know we have no desire to read another Facebook rant from someone you haven’t spoken to in years about the exact reasons why their particular view of the situation must be right.  But please vote!  I am not going to tell you what side the Elf is voting for, or expound the virtues of my political views, but please vote.

Vote because there are millions of people across the world who may never get the chance to vote for anything at all.  There are millions of people who will never live in a democratic nation.  Please vote because you have the right to, vote because you have the opportunity.  Vote because your voice matters.



Support our arts

Do something fabulous this week, support new and emerging artists or all types head along to the Camberwell School of Art.  This week the brilliant students of Camberwell have their degree show.  This is an amazing demonstration of will, determinationand talent.

You will be taken back, awed, maybe even shocked.  It is free and in Peckham, easy to get to so no excuses.

Let’s support our artists and art in London and the world.

Click here for more information



Elf’s 7 tips for Petra

Petra has long been on my list of musts, here are a few tips some of which we knew before going and some that we wish we had known to make your trip more enjoyable.

  1. Get there early. There are always swarms of people visiting Petra, beat some of the crowd by getting there early.  We timed it so that we arrived at the Treasury just as the sun was hitting it at 7am and it was astounding.  The colours were so lovely it would be a shame to miss out on this for a sleep in.
  2. Take lots of water. There are plenty of places to get water once you are inside the complex and just past the Treasury, but it is a fair walk to get to that point so make sure you have plenty of water with you to get you to that point.
  3. It is hot. Seems a silly thing to point out.  But it really is.  Keep your shoulders covered, take a hat and drinks fluids.  You will be doing a lot of walking and there is not much shade so look out for yourself and your travel buddies.
  4. Instead of following the main road follow the track leading up the hillside and parallel to the main “road”. There are beautiful views from up here and a lovely byzantine church with beautiful tiles.
  5. Make sure that you take the time to walk the steps up to the Monastery if you are physically able to. It is lovely, less people make it up here so it is a lot quieter.  But also the Monastery is huge! The effort is worth it.
  6. We stopped at a little shop and bought fruit and snacks which we ate up at the Monastery site. We sat in the shade of the little café up there and bought cold drinks and they seemed happy with this arrangement.  A lot of the hotels will do you a packed lunch if you ask the night before (we did not realise this) but it would be worth it.  There are restaurants and cafes inside the complex but I would recommend picnicking if at all possible as the restaurants seemed like any other buffet type place in Jordan.
  7. Plan for the whole day we set of at 5.30am and did not stop until after 7pm. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking.  You can hire donkeys, horses and carts at various points, we chose not to, and I would recommend not doing this up to the Monastery as it seemed…precarious at best.

Petra remains one of the best places I have visited and it is so worth the rather expensive fees to get in.  if you fancy cooling off after the long day head to the Cave Bar, they do cocktails, cold beer and soft drinks served in the cave tombs.

Oh, and don’t forget to sing the Indian Jones theme tune as you approach the Treasury…because you might not get another chance, so go for it, I certainly did!

Thank you to Steve for your wonderful photos! (Elf broke her camera)

Elf in Amman – Jordan

Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a wonderful city often over looked which tourists only stop in briefly on their way to Petra, but is a beautiful place in its own right.

We made a slight mistake in staying a bit further out than we realised, aim for somewhere a bit closer to the main town.  Although taxis were easy to get and easy to negotiate with in any case.amman

Make sure to vist the Roman amphitheatre which is almost in the centre of town, it is hard to miss.  It is huge!  The information provided on the signs is very good although there are tourist guides that offer their services we did not take this up and instead climbed our way to the top and enjoyed the view as well as exploring on our own.

The next attraction to see, is the Amman Citadel.  We walked from the amphitheatre, but this was not a great idea, the road is very steep and quite busy, best get a taxi (definitely get a taxi!).   There is a lot to see here, three is a Byzantine church, Roman temple,Umayyad palace and museum.  We hired a guide at the entrance and paid extra for his time, he was excellent and very knowledgeable.  If you are going to get a guide at any point in Amman this would be the place to do it.  The signs are not so frequent in the Citadel and if you are interesting in the history of the area I would further recommend getting a guide.  We spent a good two to three hours in total here.  The views are spectacular as well. The citadel is has a museum within it which was very good and worth paying the bit extra to get into.

amman marketWe found a small falafel café hovering between two buildings at the bottom of the cross roads leading up to the citadel (we got a taxi down) which sold the best falafel I have ever had!  I have since recommended this to lots of people who have told me it is no longer there, but I am telling you any way… just eat falafel in Amman with lots of homemade humus.  It was amazing.

We wandered through town during the afternoon and though the markets which were shaded and less busy in the afternoon.  All sorts of vegetable and fruit on offer, we bought dates to munch on our way around.

Amman was an unexpected pleasure and I definitely recommend taking a least an extra day to enjoy it.

Thank you to Steve for the lovely photos

British Museum

The British Museum, arguably one of the best museums around and certainly one of the most beautiful buildings in London. If you can get here on a weekday it is much quieter, the weekends are very very busy.

The visiting exhibitions are well put together, if you enjoy museums and plan to be in London don’t for a year it is well worth signing up to be a paying member of the museum.

Today we are just visiting the normal exhibitions. We skip the mummies as their rooms are always full to the brim, instead we head to the Asyrian rooms and wonder though through corridors enjoying the massive carved stone slabs that line the walls. We carry on through the corridors and see the pottery of the same time.

The brilliant thing about the British Museum is that you can dip in and out for a few hours at a time and each time see something different and enjoy something new. This museum is always on my list and definitely a must if you are visiting London.

More information on their website

Pottery Elf – Revisited

Not that long ago we tried our hands at pottery, well recently we picked up the results of the workshop.  If you want to read that post again click here.

They are wonky and in some ways look like they have been produced by a small child, but I am quite proud of them.  The vase especially, it has turned out such a lovely colour.  The candle holder has a lovely shape and turned out much more refined than I thought it would.

I definitely think crafts are a good meditation tool and very much enjoy the produce of creative time.

Little Fish – Guest Blog

Little Fish

Since graduating from University, I’ve travelled to almost a dozen countries to swim their oceans, liaise with their local communities and have adventures. I’ve dived with humpback whales in the Cook Islands, surveyed coral reef fish communities off uninhabited tropical islands in Chagos and snorkelled with dugongs in Vanuatu.

My latest adventure has been to assist in establishing a brand new and truly exciting marine conservation NGO; Coral Reef CPR. Our pioneering program, the HARP (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection) Initiative has been underway since January in the Maldives. The Maldives is the most vulnerable tropical country in the world to climate change. It contains the world’s seventh largest reef system, and over 99% of the country is underwater! In January we began setting up permanent monitoring stations to collect baseline data on the health and state of a selection of reefs in two atolls. This effort was in preparation for the impacts from the longest El Niño in history! Returning in April, it was astounding to watch coral’s bleach before my eyes due to the abnormally high water temperatures. Spending up to seven hours a day underwater for a month, we documented the bleaching event, and resultant coral death. But all is not lost; we have set-up experiments to identify ‘super corals’; corals resistant to changes in temperature. When we return to the Maldives in July we will use these ‘super corals’ in nurseries and ultimately transplant them on to damaged reefs to speed up their recovery.

If you want to find out how are rehabilitation and conservation efforts go… follow us on Facebook (coralreefCPR) and visit our website

If you want to help us on this adventure; you can donate at logo_transp bgr

All donations, no matter how small, make a huge difference!