Brussels & Bruge- Europe’s secret

In Mid-August I visited Brussels and Bruge for a holiday break from London by EuroStar.  I have never been to either before and absolutely loved it.  Nice chilled city break! Bruge reminded me of the movie Shrek where happily “Ever After Land” is – with its flags and tall building, canals and cobbled streets, the city looks surreal as if it has been pulled out from a fairy tale.

Famous for its gorgeous rich and high in coco chocolate, Bruge has over 50 chocolate shops. It also is an incredibly safe feeling city.  If you are looking to visit Brussels in the summer in 2016/18 I suggest you go during the flower carpet which takes place every 2 years in August for 3 days.  The one thing to note is both places can get rainy – so good shoes and a strong umbrella is a must!  Before booking my holiday I went online to find some ideas on what to do and get a sense of the place.  There wasn’t a lot on these destinations so thought I would share some of the highlights from my trip!

EuroStar allows you to visit any city on your return or departure ticket, so first stop was Bruge:


Center of Bruge



Gorgeous waffles, a must in Belgium. Vary quite a bit in price.


Take a boat ride in Bruge




Scene from film In Bruge


When lost – look for the bell tower. This goes off all the time in the day! 🙂


Just loved the clock collection— still on the boat



Quite cool, and different- label your house from the outside?


Visited chocolate museum in Bruge… watched a demonstration



Made from beautiful rich coco


Hire a bike and just keep riding- rode all the way to some windmills

We then took the train to Brussels….



Manneken Pis!


Beautiful chocolate



Hot chocolate – yum!




Instead of graffiti- comic art!


Recommend visiting the palace if you go in the summer as it is free and open to the public


Lots of comic art


At the comic museum


Each road sign is in French and Flemmish!

Each road sign is in French and Flemmish!

Near the palace...

Near the palace…


Even a trip the EC! p.s. further than you think from the Palace!


The best bit… The flower carpet…


Step 1


Placing the petals


Opening ceremony at night!


Carpet in its glory!

Any travel questions drop me a note and will do my best to answer! x


The benefits of active charity work

I have always wanted to do charity work, I have installed the belief into myself that we need to make the world a better place otherwise what is the point of us being born and living here.  In a work place, or team you want someone who contributes and helps you advance.  Contribution to planet earth can vary, maybe your birth alone made people smile and live better…well done job done.  Perhaps you campaign about injustices, or make everyone laugh.  Your contribution can vary, but at the end, If I am asked what did you contribute and did you leave this world in a better state, I want to say yes.

This isn’t about legacy, although only in 2012 during the Olympics I realised that as you get older you slowly start think about legacy…hadn’t even considered that before. With the objective clear, I want to help people the way that I can and plays to my strengths.

Looking at my posts below, you can see the frustration.  I hate reading them, and have avoided deleting them.  But one of the things which helped me was doing an activity completely removed to my daily life.  I went to the other-side of the world, met lots of people I do not know and know nothing about me solo, worked really hard on something I hadn’t worked on before.  Met people in completely different circumstances to mine.  When I returned to the UK, everything became clear.  Obviously everyone has their own experience, but if you feel like I did, maybe put all your effort into something removed from your daily life and give yourself a break from your daily challenges and see how you live under different circumstances.

It’s like you are stripped back just to you! I understand this isn’t an option for everyone but if some how you need that lift, and can make it happen I recommend that as a good starter.

Much love!

bat rob


Why I quit my job….with nothing else lined up



It has been a really long time since I wrote here and things have changed quite a bit since.  The biggest changes took place a few months ago, right after my 26th birthday.  I think 26 is a much better age than 24.  You are no longer concerned by the fact you are in your mid-20s and things are changing around you super fast, you are more comfortable in your own skin and you have embraced the fact that you are an adult!  Or maybe this just applies to me!

After I turned 26 I knew I needed to do something more with my life, so I searched online for volunteering opportunities, new jobs, events I could support- just something new and exciting to immerse myself in.  Then one night I decided to write all my key interests into Google and the search resulted in what can only be described as a miracle- my dream opportunity appeared.  I applied- went to Rio and worked with street children in a communications role for two weeks! It was amazing!!

The volunteering experience itself deserves a post dedicated to itself but it is when I came back it really hit me that there is a bigger picture. I have been in many ways working towards being afraid of failure.  I have seen a few people/friends near my age pass away over the years and as a result I am always comparing myself.  It isn’t great- but I look at my life- what I am doing.  If it was me who had gone instead would I be happy to go being who I am and having done what I have today. The answer is always “no”.

After my time away I came back and just really listened to my heart and it was telling me its time for a change.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is the thing that makes you feel most uncomfortable.  You learn and grow more as a person when you 3 days later i did quit my job.  I am fortunate in the sense that I have some money I have saved which can get me through a period of unemployment – for a short while at least!!  After having handed in my resignation, sitting at my desk- sheer panic would spread across my face and I would fill with regret.  So many times I have wanted to go to HR and say- I am sorry – I really do not want to leave. Knowing that you might be moving on to weeks or even months of sitting on the couch getting fatter, lazier as you watch Jeremy Kyle isn’t that motivating, and pretty scary to be honest.  I have been on job seekers allowance and I am not doing that again either!!

What if my next job makes me feel terrible?  What if the hours are longer? What if the people do not like me?  I had trouble listing why I was leaving my current company.  It;s  a nice office… hours are flexible although long, I have friends…the company does great work……  Yes- I was consumed with these thoughts.  I did a test prior to my volunteering experience.  Each morning at the end of the working day I marked whether I feel I should stay or go.  The mornings were almost always telling me to go.  Evenings were mixed.

But I did it – I handed it in- and this is my last week now at work.  I am feeling excited!!  I have no idea what is next but that is nice, it is a new chapter of my life.  A chance for me to better myself, personally and professionally.  I have been in my company for over 3 and half years.  It was my first real place of work (career wise) and I know for me to be who I want to be I need a new experience and a new source of inspiration.  It was good to me, but it is time to move forwards.

In many ways you are born a blank canvas- perhaps you have limited paint colours to choose from at times.  But it is up to you what gets painted.  My painting hasn’t progressed much recently, infact it is very dry and looks like it is finished.  Hopefully this will add something new.  I’ll keep you posted on this.  I am not saying – quit your job! But if you do – go in with an open mind.  The urge to undo your resignation can be pretty strong.  Just be sure, do the same test I did.  Even go away for a week and do an activity different like working with kids, cooking course, climbing a mountain.  Sometimes new scenery helps to clear the mind.  It isn’t easy and we will see just how this decision unfolds, but just make sure you are good to yourself as you need to be able to answer to your older self later in life.

To put it simply- I have tried working in my current job for ahwile and it isnt working for me, so now I will try not working in my current job and give that a go

Just making change for the sake of change!


New Website to Make Poor Decision-making a Thing of the Past!

Sometimes making a decision can be really tricky, especially when you find yourself constantly re-assessing the pros and cons and the impact it this decision could have on your life.  Recently Channel 4 (UK) launched a TV program called The Audience.  The Audience is a reality TV show where a member of the public is facing a tough decision in their life – it could be anything from quitting a job, sending a child to live with her father for a better life.  To help them come to an answer on what to do – they are provided with 40 strangers who hear the whole story , follow them around in their lives and then after a week they will discuss amongst themselves the situation – giving the decision maker a unanimous answer as to what they think the person should do.  Interesting idea – and a great TV watch!

Research by GSK shows that – well the UK is not in the top 10 happiest places to live.  When people make poor decisions or feel unfulfilled  it can lead to regret and sadness.

Today I came across a tweet advertising a new website called Sentio Search.  What is it all about?  Well here the concept is simple- the internet is meant to make life easier for us- but in some ways it is not. Sentio Search is a website created to help you make better decisions and achieve greater happiness in life. They do this by something they call surrogation-  based on the actual experiences of others they convert the hindsight of similar people into foresight to help you get the answer you need.

Here is the trailer video – it is quite long so below are the short notes.

They state that the average Joe makes….

  • 2 decisions every minute
  • 3000 decisions every day
  • 88 million decisions in their lifetime

Statistics show….

  • People are now less happy than they were in the 70’s
  • 78% of people believe regret is avoidable
  • People spend 44 minutes a week dwelling on regret

On the video – Sentio  believe that we all want the decisions we make to maximise our own happiness… I’m not too sure about that – but anyways I think it will be interesting to watch how people take to this.  If you are having a tough time- why not try it??  Let me know if you do – I might give it a go too.

But stepping away from the internet – decisions mean impact on your life and the future can be scary in a way.  But sometimes mistakes are going to be made – and as corny as it sounds- you just need learn from them.  On the other hand change can be positive and without change- things get boring.  That’s what I think anyways!

Bombarded With 21st century Noise

In today’s world we are being bombarded with information, noise, updates, brands trying  to get us to buy their products, and friends/family trying to tell us things.  The majority of people will always have a gadget nearby which distracts them from their current surroundings. I-pods and mobiles probably are the most popular.  The days are long gone where you would wait for the 10 o clock news- news now comes to us through channels such twitter, subscriptions, apps, emails and 24/7 news programs.  We have opportunities for engagement all the time.   In a recent article on LinkedIn I read we change windows at work approximately 37 times an hour.  It is hard for your mind to settle on something when it is so vulnerable to distractions.  At some point you will start to feel a little overwhelmed – busy in mind and find yourself needing to get away.

One thing which we do not do at all any more is sit in silence.  Allow our thoughts to flow during the day (not just before bed) and come to terms with all the activities taking place in our lives.  To some extent, all this technology at hand must be somewhat unhealthy for us.  Don’t get me wrong – I completely see the perks and feel lost when I do not have my mobile besides me but I do sometimes wish that we could go back to a time without the internet.

When I was comparing university experiences with my aunt – hers sounded a lot more social.  People had nothing else to do but spend time in each others company.  Whilst I enjoyed my uni experience- there were times where you would just be on your computer typing away/watching TV shows happily.  There are pros and cons but the 9 Am – 8 PM work lifestyle does make me think about pre internet days and what this life would be like.

One project which I love is Selfridges – No Noise room.

London store Selfridges have recently opened a exhibition called No Noise.  Designed by Alex Cochrane Architects.  Designed with an insulated inner-sanctum, the room shields those inside from the noise and human traffic of the store.  Leading this is a company called Headspace.

Trend websites are predicting that people will start digital dieting- wanting to break away!  This does not mean they will stop using technology but will instead start stream lining the information they receive as at the moment there is a lot of noise and you do just need time to have your own space.

Love love


Finding Your “Muchness”

I re-watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland yesterday and loved it.  Each time I watch the film the more I understand the rhymes and riddles Lewis Carroll has written.  There was one particular scene which resonated with me this time round.  It goes:

“You’re not the same as you were before. You were much more muchier; you’ve lost your muchness.” -Mad Hatter

“My muchness?” –-Alice

“In there (points at heart), something is missing.” -Mad Hatter

The terms “Muchness”,  “Muchier”-  What does it mean?  Just much more of much!  In life we all reach a point where we have difficulty seeing beyond what is in front of us.  We get caught up with the little thing and start loose that muchness within ourselves.  Muchness is very much that spark that makes us more than what we are.  It’s hard not to talk in riddles when talking about the book- but bear with me.  When Alice is told she has lost her muchness she is offended- and later rem,arks on this.  I admit I am currently struggling with my muchness but sometimes you need to work at it in order to keep it.

muchness qu

Muchness is something we are all given – the level of muchness you have depends on how much you embrace it.  Muchness is full of energy and vigour.  If you are feeling tired, exhausted then you might need to revive it.  Muchness can be a low priority – if you do not give it any attention it will become shy and start to fall into the background.  It is the spark- the bit that doesn’t care so much about the small details and goes for it.  All children have it – but can be questioned if all adults do.

Ask yourself- the following three questions.

  1. Do you still have “muchness” in you?
  2. Do you give muchness enough time?
  3. Think back – what was the muchiest thing you did last?

No idea what I am talking about?  Click here to watch the scene 

Here are a few ideas from Alice in Wonderland to help restore your “muchness”

1. Where are you going?

dirrections 1

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”- Alice

“That depends a good deal on where you want to go,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

We don’t all know where we are going- and you will always end up doing something at some point.  You don’t need to plan everything but it might benefit you in the long run to know where you want to be.  Then you may just get there.

2. If it is not working – shake things come up a bit


“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”- The Red Queen

It can be exhausting doing the same thing especially if you feel like you are in a rut.  Staying in the same place also requires maintenance physically and mentally.  This can be absolutely fine that is if you are happy where you are.  If you want to be somewhere else sometimes you need to work at it – not only at maintenance but change things and shake things up.  Run faster as the Queen would say.  But it take s hard work to keep what you have and takes more work to be where you want to be.

3. Imagine the absurd until it is no longer absurd


mad hatter

Every now and then I like to do something that even I couldn’t predict I would do.  This can be as small as taking a completely random road with the hope of it leading me to where I want  to go.  I try and just do something at the spare of the moment.  If you cannot recall the last time you imagined something- and I’m not talking about getting a promotion or the girl/boy you want- but something  that is more likely to be impossible.  Such as you being a super hero, or an underground tunnel that leads to a secret palace- whatever you might think of :)- then you may need to actually try and remember 6 impossible things in the morning.   Could be a great exercise!

4. Believe and it will be

“It’s impossible!” – Alice.

“Only if you believe it is.” – Mad Hatter


Be determined!  A common mental exercise used for athletes and sports persons is to imagine yourself winning – putting that ball through the net- crossing the finish line first.  This prepares your mind for winning – for achieving. You are more likely to succeed at something if you can visualise it happening and make yourself believe that you can do it.  Try it- and do let me know the tips and tricks you use to do this.

5. Make decisions – as all decisions have consequences

“You cannot live your life to please others. The choice must be yours.  Because when you step out to face that creature, you step out alone.”- Mirana, the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland

We all have to live with our own decisions and face whatever music that action brings.  Regardless of what you believe spiritually – in a sense we are alone.  We are accountable for what we do and therefore I think the better decision is the one made with conviction.

In order to get you’re your muchness you have to be willing to be a bit different and come across a little bit mad….you might even find yourself asking…. 


2013 to be Emerald City as Pantone Names It Colour of The Year

colour of the year

Each year a colour is named by Pantone (The authority of colours). This year the colour will be emerald. Pantone decides this by looking at different influencers, i.e. travel, fashion, fabric to see which which colour will be most influential.  Well so they say…..

Fashion labels and designers if not already will ensure that the colour is incorporated within their clothing lines.  Designers such as Chanel, Miu, Roberto Cavalli and Jonathan Sanders have included emerald in their A/W 2012 collections  – and Zac Posen Spring range.

















































Emerald is an interesting symbolising growth, nature but also luxury and prosperity.  Leatrice Eiseman, s Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute of the shade, says “It’s a color of growth, renewal, healing, unity and regeneration – words we’re all so in need of at this point of history.”  She continues to say “This powerful and universally-appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

How much emerald is there in your wardrobe or in your home right now?  I’ll ask you again in 6 months time.  I think it is a great colour for 2013- let the healing and good fortune commence!!

emerald 2013