Do you ever think about your breathing? If you're yogis or in healthcare you might? Or if you have asthma or another respiratory disease? Or maybe if you've known someone with a respiratory or cardiac condition or even cancer or something that challenges their breathing? Then maybe you've thought about breathing and not taken it for granted? Otherwise, why would you think about it? I mean we all breathe...

A couple of weekends ago I went to watch Katie do her first ever half marathon around the royal parks in London. She ran for Breathe Easy and is still collecting money for this amazing charity. Katie is a doctor and the most amazing, hard working person ever, she pushed herself to run despite hip, knee and shin pain. The reason she was doing this was that she wanted to raise money for this charity as she unfortunately lost her beloved dad to COPD a few years ago.

If you want to donate to the British Lung Foundation, you can do so here through Katie's Just Giving Page. This is Katie's story:

I am running my first (and possibly last) half marathon through the Royal Parks to raise money for the British Lung Foundation, in memory of my Dad, who we sadly lost two years ago!

The BLF are researching cures into lung diseases from COPD to fibrosis to lung cancer (which affect millions of people), and support those who struggle for every breath (and their loved ones). It's awful watching someone you love suffer, and I hope by doing this, we can help people to breathe more easily.

Thank you in advance for sponsoring me.

This is what the BFL do:

We’re the only UK charity looking after the nation’s lungs. We offer hope, help and a voice. We fund research to find new treatments and cures. We support people who struggle to breathe to take control of their lives and we campaign for better lung health.

Being in healthcare as well, I'm just saying, try not to smoke! I won't lecture, but just saying...

Anyways, after her half marathon, we decided she needed a treat and we went for the most delicious, Aussie inspired brunch at Timmy Green. Well at least Katie saw it as a treat I think after she vomitted! Poor thing! See how much she pushed herself?! Go on, you can give as little as two quid...

Katie had pancakes and blueberries, Katie's friend Rahul had sweet corn fritters and I had the best thing ever, coconut bread French toast with maple syrup, mango, berries and roasted coconut flakes, mmmmmmmm! I'd never been here before but we decided to try it out as it makes up one of the restaurants in the relatively new Nova complex by Victoria. It did not disappoint, tasty food and gorgeous, golden interiors!

Social bunch they were...

I was so very proud of Katie so please support her great cause if you can... Remember, we might take breathing for granted, but everyone might not be that lucky...

In the evening, I was happy to be invited over to Noell and Ryan's for a perfected, homemade roast. Boy was my palette spoiled that day! Thanks Ryell, I'm so blessed that their home is like my second home haha!

Have you ever pushed yourself to do something completely out of your comfort zone for a great cause? Haha not quite the same, but I was proud I got up early for a power walk in nature the morning before...

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Last weekend I headed to Manchester for the yearly orthopaedic physiotherapy conference. I did the long drive up Friday night after work, but unfortunately it was on my own. Samantha and I were supposed to be making a weekend out of it but she got sick, poor her, so couldn't come! I didn't get there until very late, so checked in to my Travelodge room and quickly went to bed, ready for my early start the next morning. The room was descent for a Travelodge.

And this was my view.

I headed to the cool location where the conference was being held, Old Trafford Stadium.

So inspiring to be spending a day learning in this place! It was a great, educational day and it was fun networking and meeting the lovely Sarah. There was a yummy choice of food too, so I went for everything haha; fish and chips, veg, mini burgers and veggie curry. With a cheesecake like pudding.

The view behind the lecturers was pretty epic too.

It finished at five so I deduced to explore Salford Quays just nearby. I was taken aback by the brilliant, very modern and highly aesthetically pleasing architecture. I crossed lit up bridges over the canals and passed by BBC and ITV studios in Media City.

I found an outlet too in the midst of this new world where I spent a few hours before heading back to the hotel for a face mask and xfactor. Our original plans had been a night out but I didn't quite fancy that on my own ha!

I felt refreshed when I woke up the next morning and headed into the city centre.

I started off in Manchester's bohemian neighbourhood, the Northern Quarter. I found Sugar Junction where I settled for brunch.

It was a cute, vintage place, so I had high expectations.

I ordered a chai latte and French toast with mascarpone and blueberries. But I was disappointed to be honest. The food was ok but not amazing and the service was terrible for me and the other tables around me, sad times.

Full of energy, I started walking around the Northern Quarter which was indeed very boho chic. I loved all the street art and the bees kept appearing.

I popped into a few cool design and interiors shops. I then found this one on the corner which looked like it had been there fore decades. The ground floor focused on gift and design ideas. But if you walked down the staircase, room after room unfolded itself, absolutely packed with everything you could ever need for any type of craft, craft heaven I'd say!

I then did some shopping around the city centre. Great shops and they even have Harvey Nichols amongst all the main department stores. I continued exploring and was impressed by the now much older and richer architecture, each area of Manchester I went so was so extremely different to the next! And they had decorated all the trees for Halloween, so cute!

The cathedral...

The town hall...

I felt so happy and safe walking around and was taken aback by how polite and friendly everyone was. The cit was also buzzing with people out and about enjoying the late autumn sunshine but it was also clear there were tourists from all over the world exploring this city.

I'd read about Foundation Coffee House back in the Northern Quarter so headed there for some food before heading back. Loved the design!

And the toilet, or water closet as they called it!

It was a big open space with a beautiful, minimalistic design and the customers included groups of friends or families catching up but lots and lots of people on their own, working away on their laptops or tablets. I settled into a comfy chair with a delicious iced latte and Reuben sandwich and blogged away, felt so at ease! It was everything a good coffee shop should be.

Late in the afternoon, I got in my car and started the long journey back home, listening to podcasts and singing along to music at the top of my lungs, a little sad to be leaving this Northern city that I had visited before, but that this time blew me away a little. Old, new, cool, classy, artistic, cultural, friendly and with great shopping! I look forward to my return! Have you been? What did you think?

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Happy almost weekend people! I hope you're all having a good week. It doesn't feel like autumn temperature wise as it's still so warm for this time of the year but you can tell it is. Autumn isn't my favourite season, summer is, but I find it so beautiful, and sad at the same time, admiring the leaves change into the most beautiful shades of red, orange, amber, yellow, gold like a roaring fire and eventually falling off the trees. It's much darker now and Christmas decorations and things can be found in the shops. But before we hit winter, what is there to love about autumn?

1) Candles
Yay, I loooove lighting candles at any time of the year so I make the most of the darkness at this time by lighting lots of the, for no special reason. Now that's creating hygge all the way. Remember that amazing Danish world than you can't translate but that means cosy, simple, quality time with loved ones with the right kind of mood set by the lighting etc.

2) Cosy blankets
Again, a big part of hygge. It doesn't matter if you're a little cold when you get to snuggle up under a cosy blanket on the sofa while enjoying your favourite tv series, without feeling guilty that you're not out enjoying the summer weather.

3) Walks in nature
What better time to enjoy a long walk in nature, admiring the colours of the trees around you and feeling the powerful autumn wind chilling your nose and cheeks, giving them that healthy pink glow?! Get out there, take a brisk walk for exercise. Listen to a podcast for inspiration or an audio book for relaxation. Or do the walk with a loved one and enjoy some real quality time. Take in your surroundings, smell the difference in the air.

4) Halloween
It's all commercialised now but it is fun dressing up and looking scary right?! Also love carving pumpkins or going for a more sophisticated display of a few different types, sizes and colours of pumpkins, like in the picture.

5) Hot chocolate
Never has a hot chocolate tasted so satisfyingly delicious as when you have it on a chilly, autumn day. Fill it up whipped cream, marshmallows, anything goes!

6) Baths
A hot bath to soak your sore muscles in... A deliciously scented oil or bath soak... Relaxing music in the background. Light candles, turn off the main light and now that's heaven. Just don't fall asleep!

None of the photos are my own, check them out and more on my Pinterest. Despite the depression of leaving summer, I'm excited about autumn for the reasons I've mentioned above. Are you? Do you do the above things that all resonate well with hygge or might they be something you try this season? Let me know...
Have a good night!

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Happy weekend folks, I'm just having brunch while starting to write this, mmmm. Brunch is my absolute favourite meal of the day! What's yours?

Anyways, a week few ago, I had the most productive and amazing weekend ever! I woke up early both days and just got through so much, while still having time to work on myself and the all important me time, see friends, get through chores, exercise, study etc... In my last post, I told you what I got up to on the Saturday. On the Sunday, I got up early again and headed to Lululemon on Regent's Street for yoga with Katie again, felt so good to sweat, work hard, focus, meditate and stretch after the previous day's Park Run. It was run by Marion who was the most amazing ball of fire and positive energy. Apparently she's a mum and a lawyer too! How do these amazing people do it?! You can check out my instagram if you want to follow her: nicolek_nielsen.

I love that there are so many different kinds of yoga that focus on different aspects, but this one was right down my street. It focused on strength, fitness, balance, core and flexibility. It was done to amazing music and included a focus on breathing, gratitude and love with meditation at the end. How can you not feel incredible when you finish?! Marion went round and corrected our positions when needed to ensure we worked as hard and as correctly as possible.

Katie left and Sophie came as we were now gathering on the beautiful beanbags and cushions and sitting round for an inspiring talk by Kikki K's founder, the Swedish Kristina Karlsson.

She married an Australian and lives there and they have two little children. We met her whole gorgeous family on the day. I thought it was so cool that the kids were fluent in Swedish and English, love meeting kids with a background similar to mine.

I've talked a lot about Kikki K in previous posts as I absolutely love this amazing stationary store. It's beautifully designed and practical Swedish stationary with the aim of inspiring their customers the lead the best life they can everyday. RIGHT DOWN MY STREET! I've bought their goals journal to so many different people in my life and think it's amazing at helping you go on a guided journey of self discovery. We got a few cute prezzies! The notebook is now where I'm writing down my dreams and life goals and coaching inspiration.

The talk was amazing! Kristina was successful and beautiful and seemed so down to earth and real. I'd been so excited about meeting her and was not disappointed!

I wanted to get a book for myself but couldn't decide between the large choice! They were doing a new series of Dream - Do - Enjoy - Share. Here you can pic what stage you're at, do you need to start dreaming or have you already got lots of dreams but you need guidance in how to get started with the doing? Or are you already busy doing and actually need to focus on enjoying your life rather than just being super productive all the time? Or are you in the fourth state age you're leading a great life and could benefit from sharing this with others? With their guidance, I finally settled for an entirely different one, written by Shannah Kennedy, an amazing Australian life coach. I follow her too and have listened to a couple of good podcasts if you're interested... I chose The Life Plan.

It is broken down into different chapters and takes you through a process of discovering who you are and what you want and then how to get it through theory and practical exercises. It's gorgeous and helpful, when I started reading it, I couldn't put it down!

So what did Kristina have to say? She explained that she was in her early twenties and living in Australia which wasn't her ideal place. She didn't know what to do with her life and would keep waking up her boyfriend at 3am in fits of panick. One night, he told her to write a list of what she wanted, she calls this her 3am list and suggests we do something similar. One her list she'd written amongst other things that we wanted to have her own business and be involved with Swedish design somehow. She had no idea how or what she would do, but the next morning she decided to go shopping as felt that she should have a good home office to get started. She realised the stationary and office accessories at that time were neither practical nor beautiful and this is how her business idea came about. I asked her if she'd had a mental breakdown and she told me no. Her and her husband focus and family now since they handed the immediate running of the business over to a CEO a few years ago. She admits she's a workaholic but remains very self aware and listens to her body when needing to rest or take a break. She told us what her Ten Pillars of Success were. Maybe have a go at answering these now if you fancy:

1) Dream
What would you do if you could do anything and had all the money in the world and didn't have your family or others saying no? Kristina got us to write down out dreams for a couple of minutes while she was asking us prompting questions, I quickly filled a page! Incredible!

2) Passion
She said money will come if you really love what you do.

3) Purpose
Why are you currently doing what you're doing? Does this inspire your next step or does it tell you that a change is needed? What do you love and what are you good at doing?

4) Vision
Remind yourself of what you want and where you're going. This gets you and your team going. I now have a vision board at home.

5) Don't say no, say how / Don't take no for an answer
She told us to ask ourselves "how can I make this a win win for both parties?"

6) Mentors
Seek a mentor, especially in an area that you're weak in.

7) Build a good team
Delegate what you're not good at or not passionate about.

8) Be a lifelong learner
Attend conferences, listen to podcasts, read books.

9) Enjoy the journey
Get up early, do some journal writing and reflect, light candles for a true hygge feel continue with these tings daily.

10) Share
Once you've made it, share your wisdom and learning with others, give back.

Hat do you think of these ten points then? Do you live by them or a few of them maybe? Do you want to try them out? Are they realistic? I particularly loved the last one, I haven't heard that one very often before. I think it's great that Kristina is successful but hasn't forgotten where she's come from and wants to help others achieve, like by for example inviting us in for this motivational talk!

Finally, I'll share with you Kristina's Five Life Rules:

1) Get up early

2) Look at your habits
Ask yourself "if there's one thing I would change in my life, what difference could it make?"
For example, "if I got up an hour earlier, could that give me time to exercise, make my lunch for work, get out of my morning mood and have some proper me time enjoying a delicious coffee?" All of a sudden, your life might have improved a lot just due to one change in habit... imagine the possibilities...

3) Surround yourself with great people
You get influenced by the people around you. How can you be driven and positive if the people around you are lazy and negatively moan?

4) Set goals
Dream, set goals, then look at your goals daily so that you keep working towards them.

5) Take notes
Write down inspirational quotes or things you learn. Pretty stationary is always a bonus!

We were blown away and I hope that you, my readers, have gotten even something from this post and Kristina's inspiration, I was so keen to share it with you all! Please do share here if you have made any changes to help inspire all of us...

Sophie and I then grabbed lunch at Danish bakery Lagkagehuset/Ole&Steen and discussed our dreams and aspirations!

Incredible day that was! Since then, I have consistently gotten up earlier than I normally would, done a bit of exercise when I've woken up (that's on top of my regular gym sessions), enjoyed my mornings more with less stress, gotten through more with to do lists that I'm ticking off and even watched a Grace Lever inspirational webinar, crazy! Go on, you do it too! Laters...

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Happy Monday guys! How has it treated you? I'm so behind, what have I done these last few weeks?! Well I've been pretty busy, as always, let's take a look...

I saw A LOT of Katie, which was a nice change. We headed to Rum Kitchen, in Brixton, for cocktails one Friday night, love that place, the music is always fab as are the drinks and the vibes!

That edited selfie is courtesy of Gema and her photo loving skills, thanks! Katie stayed over and I made us a yummy breakfast in the morning, copying the one Kim had made me before. French toast brioche with maple syrup and berries, delicious if I say so myself!

I then did a lot of studying for my leadership module, it's minimum three hours of self study a week, hard work but inspiring!

Needed a cinnamon bun break...

And check out the cheeky, fearless squirrel I spotted on my balcony...

I also ran my first ever Park Run! I know it's only 5 kms but I get so bored by running so this is a huge achievement for me and I am very proud. Katie has been training for the Royal Parks half marathon and suggested we did our first Park Run together as a bit of practice. Debbie, the running guru at work, suggested the Beckenham Place Park Run near me so this is what we did one early Saturday morning in the rain!

We had to do something as a treat afterwards so headed to Beckenham to try out the newly opened Poached. It's a dark blue, tiny brunch cafe right by Beckenham Junction station and it's been teasing me for months every time I've driven past it. It's a family run place with very cool and homely interiors. The service was great and the menu covered the basics like full English, eggs and pancakes but all with an interesting twist! Exciting! I for example had a Turkish breakfast: chilli, thick yoghurt, cress, poached eggs, cucumber, herb butter sourdough bread...mmmm.

The food was delicious. My only complaint was that they served lattes in very thin glasses that got so hot you couldn't pick them up! I'm excited this little gem with huge potential has popped up locally and look forward to trying it out again, this was after all like the third day they were open and it was busy, busy! Try it out, what do you think?

As we left, we spotted the cute town fair and decided to check it out. Here were some lovely stalls selling local produce and crafts. What a lovely, local morning and so productive considering it wasn't even near lunchtime yet! I guess that's what happens when you get up early! Are you an early riser? Is that when you get lots done?

The candles above were all different scents organised by star sign, cool idea!

We also said bye to Ali at work, another junior rotating away to another team. We brought in some goodies for lunch and Ali brought fresh bread, loooooove fresh bread!

I didn't really know Ali before she joined our team but boy did I love getting to know her. She shared so much of herself; jokes, laughter, passion, worries, tears and last but not least, fab Ortho songs! I mean what's not to love?! I'll miss that the nurses won't get us confused anymore, nobody in my team looks like me now ha! I'll miss that we won't be able to compare hair products! But mostly I'll miss the extreme vulnerability but also immense passion and strength that this gorgeous girl doesn't always see in herself, she helped give the definition to "Wednesday warrior" after all. Ali is an absolute diamond and I am so thankful for her contribution in our team, I wish her all the best in her next team and in her new gorgeous house, it's gonna be a good one!

I also had a long weekend off and headed to Belgium where my mum lives for her birthday with my sister Andrea and we met my dad there. Fun road trip, loved singing at the top of our lungs with Andrea!

Love being at home, get spoilt with fika.

And yummy breakfast.

And yummy Raclette dinner. Have you had Raclette? It's a dish from the Alps and it's so yummy, melted cheese poured over boiled potatoes with cured meats and pickled things, and wine of course. Quite a social meal too as you cook the cheese at the table.

And yummy lunches out at Le Pain Quotidien. Like a good Croque Monsieur.

As it was my mum's birthday, I had a go at making her normal birthday cake, the Swedish kungstårta, which means king's cake. It's a little hard to make but the gooey vanilla and almond deliciousness makes it all worthwhile!

We went for the most delicious birthday dinner meal at a local place.

We then got back and got to watch this Danish god in concert on TV, Rasmus Seebach. Can't wait till his new album is released, before Christmas!

I had a lovely break at home with my family and celebrating my mum, we even got old family video tapes out from when we were small and reminisced, nostalgia alright! And Waterloo looked beautiful...

Back in London, I was lucky enough to be given preview tickets to the Frieze Art Fair in Regent's Park by Marion, so Noell and I headed there one evening after work. Marion is Max's lovely girlfriend, Max being one of my oldest school friends, and Marion had been invited as she works in Art but lives in Switzerland so gave me the tickets instead, thanks Marion! Frieze Art Fair featured over 160 of the world's leading art galleries. It was extremely impressive and the people watching in a place like this was exhilarating to say the least...

It was absolutely heaving, I can't believe this was the preview. Unfortunately this is the evening my back suffered like never before but the very interesting art work certainly kept me distracted...

What was crazy though was that there was no food left... So we headed to La Aubaine foooooooor......... a lobster roll! Didn't quite fully meet my craving but it did go a long way.

I did also go see Neyo finally and attend the most amazing, inspiring yoga and self-improvement talk but you've gotta wait for the next posts for those, this is so long already! Did you enjoy seeing what I'd been up to? Any comments? Hope you all have the most wonderful week!

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