Insanely overdue, but I was one of the lucky few that got to try the very first cat yoga class that was available at the Cat Cafe Manchester. Here’s how it went!
The cat yoga classes were introduced in 2016 and I thought it’d be a brilliant present to myself as combining the two things I love; yoga and cats together was a no brainer! If you’ve never visited the cafe before check out my first review of the Cat Cafe Manchester here. Yoga mats were provided if you don’t have one of your own. I found them to be a bit on the thicker side, so bring your own if you have a preference! The lovely yogi Kate Sassanelli taught this class. It’s aimed at beginner level with easy poses such as warrior 2, cat & cow, and lots of ‘downward dogs’. Just like a usual yoga class… except in a room full of resident cats! You’re reminded to be careful to not accidentally sit or knock any of the curious felines over during your practice, and by the end of it I was super relaxed and had a good giggle at some of the cats that decided to try and join in by sitting on the mats!
You don’t get penalised for coming out of any poses to snap a quick photo of the comedic moments, and it’s actually a fun way to socialise unlike any other yoga class I’ve been to. Although numbers are limited due to the space available, it’s a great small sized class and you can fit a quite a few mats into the cafe. The pricing for the classes is more on the steeper side compared to some 1 hour long yoga classes I’ve attended before, but they don’t have a room full of cats and the price does include the use of equipment and a bottle of water.
There was a bit of time to enjoy the company of the cats at the end of the class before the next one started, and as the classes are on in the evening quite a few of the cats were quite active. I would 100% love to attend again for the novelty of a combined mindfulness and animal therapy class, so I hope they host more soon!
Would you try a cat yoga class or have you tried a yoga class with a different group of animals before?? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
This post is not endorsed or sponsored in anyway, all opinions are my own. Featured image from catcafe.co.uk
I decided to embark on a solo trip to Bali after seeing travel brochures for a paradise looking like island and I was sold! I also found it’s a pretty safe place to travel alone and the locals are very friendly. So here’s my fantastical blog on what I did there for a week with all of my golden tricks and tips!
What originally started as a month long trip around Asia had to unfortunately get cut down to two weeks max as I picked up a new job contract. So I had already planned to fly to Singapore and use it as my base, which is very common when travelling around Asia! Singapore airport is not only the most popular place for connecting flights but long running top rated! Check out my Singapore in a weekend blog post here. I booked a return flight to Bali with Scoot and I read reviews that it was a great budget airline to use.
Unfortunately, I had quite a terrible experience with my flights out to Bali from Singapore as the pilot announced an hour into the flight that we were delayed for half an hour because they originally couldn’t turn the engine on! That was resolved after they restarted it but now we had to turn around and land back into Singapore because a new fault has cropped up! This meant we had to fly around for three hours to burn enough fuel to land and then we didn’t get onto a replacement flight and actually into Bali until 6 hours later! By this time all my plans to check out the local neighbourhood, sample the local cuisine and sit down to plan my trip there with everything unpacked had gone out the window! I also got charged a fee for an after hours pick up from the hotel, which I was not aware of and I had already given the taxi driver a big tip anyway! Thankfully my flights back all ran quite smoothly and I left plenty of time to catch my flight home to the UK straight from Singapore (lots of time to hit the duty free – hard!)
The Moksha Ubud garden
The Moksha Ubud communal pool
Views from The Moksha Ubud
I had pre organised an AirBnB well in advanced at the Spa & villa Moksha Ubud. It’s a beautiful villa with a communal pool, garden and spa hut out back where you can pick and choose from a range of spa treatments and even book a week package where you can get a select few wonderful treatments each day! The place is run by the friendly duo Mega and Ali with dedicated security at night and a great team that made me feel safe and right at home. They do not rent out scooters but you’re only less than a 5 min walk from the main road where there’s a plethora of travel shops and stalls where you can hire scooters, book transport and a variety of trips.
The Fire dance and performance was a spectacular to watch!
Temples! Temples everywhere!
You can’t go to the yoga mecca without going to at least one yoga class! Try Radiantly Alive Yoga or the famous Yoga Barn!
For the first day I farmiliarised myself with my local surroundings so I took a walk along the whole length of the main road and scouted out where the most popular places were to eat by the locals. I then ventured to the monkey forest where they had an event on and all of the women were there dressed in their traditional prayer garments and listening to the show and testimonials. Having visited a monkey forest in Manchester before, the proximity to the cheeky furry creatures was not new. However, their fearlessness of teasing visitors and nicking personal belongings astounded me! I made sure all of my things were tightly packed away in my drawstring bag, but even an unfortunate shop keeper from the string of stalls in there had their stationary stolen by a cheeky monkey!
All of the architecture just took my breath away, the temple arches were decadently adorned and everywhere exudes history with the mossy weathered cobbles and bricks. I really disliked how touristy Ubud was as the streets were heaving with visitors and this attracted a lot of hawkers, which unfortunately made every step along the road a constant battle to reject taxi rides! A great way I met new people, locals and other solo female travelers (which there were a lot of in Ubud!) was by using the Couchsurfing app. Speaking the local Maly language encourages shopkeepers at the local markets to haggle in your favor and is a great shopping experience!
Other great apps and links:
Flytographer.com – capture all those memories by hiring a photographer
Booking.com – book from over 400,000 home-stays and hotels around you like any other a hotel
AirBnB – Search some great hidden gems to stay in
Apple Activity tracker – it comes with my Apple iWatch and I could track all the steps that I did each day exploring
Through making friends with other fellow female travelers using networking apps, and just going out for a meal at busy restaurants to get chatting with others around me I managed to arrange a day trip and share a taxi with mutual new friends and visited; The Monkey Temple – they have occasional parties here after hours, so get the invite through word of mouth from the locals for a fantastic night there when the sun sets!
A variety of temples including the beautiful Water Temple, a coffee plantation – get a tour guide to take some candid photos and taste test all the coffee they make on the plant for FREE! The additional famous ‘poo coffee’ is at an additional cost but it makes for a great story! Rice fields – unfortunately, if you thought Ubud was too touristy, the popular rice fields are a lot worse! The locals have barricaded any tourist photo opportunity spots and have even set up a toll to progress any further up the paddies! It did dampen my experience, but luckily it wasn’t top of my bucket list.
Bali has a plethora of temples to explore from their religious roots that has been at the heart of every Balinese for centuries. Each place has their own rules to be respected but you can really get up close and personal with the ancient rooms and artifacts.
You can hire a horse to ride along the beach at Gili T
Whilst I was there I really had to visit the insta-famous Gili Islands. My heart sank when I almost couldn’t squeeze it into my itinerary, but I organised a 1 night stay at Gili Twargran at a wonderful villa, Ko-ko-mo. Known for its bustling parties at night, it was a great choice out of the 3 islands. Gili T is best for the younger audience that likes a party, Gili Meno is full on honeymooners and Gili Air is the best for a relaxed island break.
You can hire a bike for the day and it takes around an hour to cycle around the whole island. I picked the best time in the afternoon to set off and the sun just started to set as I was getting closer to the famous Hotel Ombak swing sunset Insta-photo opp location. Luckily I found a great spot just before the hotel that was a lot quieter and quaint to take a swing photo! The hawking of sales was a lot less and more manageable being on a small island but that means the prices are a bit higher and there’s less of chance of a successful haggle. After watching one of the most beautiful sunsets on earth the night life really kicks into action! There are a few locations for outdoor movies and dining options to chill out with, but just shy of a few minutes away near the night markets where you can get fresh food cooked right under your nose is the booming clubs where you can party the night away!
The fast boat back to Bali was the worst experience I had in the whole holiday. It took a while longer to get back than the journey out to the island because it had a lot of stops to take along the way, and it needed an inspection halfway to ensure it was not overcrowded- which is common and very dangerous. It was great having the wind in my hair on the upper deck until the tide changed and we were all getting soaked! So we had to retreat back inside where it was hot and stuffy which was ripe conditions for sea sickness. I really had to get into my zen mode to stop throwing up! When we finally reached the dock at Bali I was cold, exhausted and just wanted to quickly get back to Ubud and crash in my bed. Horribly there was a bombardment of taxi services which even made it difficult to get off the boat! I think I know what it’s like to be harassed by paparazzi! I had to be pulled onto land! Thankfully, I had a very informative taxi representative that recommended a driver to me, obviously it was at tourist prices. I thought I had booked a ride back but unfortunately this is quite common. You can take a private taxi back to Ubud for 350k-500k IDR or take a shuttle bus for around 120k IDR that takes longer and drops off everyone along the way. It was my own space and aircon back for me!
Recommended places to stay in Gili T:
Ko-ko-mo resort Gili Trawangan
Hotel Ombak Sunset
Pearl of Trawangan
Santorini Beach Resort
How did I end my amazing solo trip?? With dinner at the local of course; Mee goreng and a Bintang – A Bali home brew!
I had an amazing experience of the best and the worst of solo travelling. It was a great way to learn more about myself, overcome my personal fears of social anxieties, learning to swim and make great new friends for life! I really felt it was one of the most enriching things that I’ve done in my life, and learning a skill to not only overcome a fear but to fulfil my dream of swimming with turtles was an empowering point in my life. I felt like I could do anything! So I passionately encourage everyone that’s thinking of travelling on their own to 100% do it! Do your research thoroughly, and prepare yourself for a trip of a life time. Take that leap of faith, because a wise man once said ‘if you think you can, you will!’.
If you missed it check out my review of the Apple watch here.
After thinking of getting a new phone other than the new overpriced iPhone X, I started looking into fitness trackers that I could use with a different operating software. Here’s my review of the Fitbit Alta HR after trying it for a week.
Fitness tracker – auto tracks most cardio workouts.
Sleep tracker – auto tracks.
Nutrition tracking on the easy to use app
Why I did I choose it?
Having looked at the huge range of fitness trackers available on the market now, I narrowed it down to a few criteria’s. I wanted a watch with a face that would show the time, track my fitness when I do a workout and sync to an Android phone. The bonus is if it tracks my sleep too, as I’ve always wanted to try it out.
In the end I chose the Fitbit Alta HR model because of the physical customisation capabilities. It is the newer model of it’s fashionable counter part; the Fitbit Charge that is also waterproof, and you can pop the tracker out of it’s band and hang it around a necklace accessory or bling bracelet (separately purchased) It loses it’s waterproof properties and possibly does not track any workouts as well with it being looser from the body. But for the intentions of it looking great, it’s perfect to jazz up to wear for an evening outfit but still be able to track your steps as you boogie away! The Charge does not have a screen, so I finally decided on the Alta HR but the Charge was a close second.
The great thing about the Fitbit I have found is that you don’t have to manually select anything to tell it when to track your workout or sleep. With the Fitbit it automatically senses you’re working out at the gym after an adjustable amount of time and cleverly knows when your sleeping or awake.
All of the data that it collects periodically syncs to the app on your phone when it is close by, making it so that you don’t have to have your phone on you at all times. Apple has jumped on this feature in the new iWatches but you need a cellular connection to make it entirely independent to the phone. The Fitbit app is super easy to use and the layout and user experience is a delight. It clearly displays my activities, water hydration tracking, and nutrition in neat tiles. The nutrition tracking has a vast database to chose from with barcode scanning abilities to easily add what you’ve eaten for the day. Unfortunately, the barcode scanning only worked 1 of the few times that I tried scanning my food, and most Chinese dishes aren’t ready available. However, you can manually input the food data, but I did not use this feature because you need an idea of the weight of each portion you ate so it was more hassle.
Another great feature was that it automatically tracks your sleep and gives you a brilliant graph of the different sleep stages that you had; deep, light and REM sleep. This is great if you’re looking to improve your sleep and it’s interesting seeing the quality of sleep that you get each night.
What did I think of the Fitbit after trying it for a week?
Honestly, if I had any other phone it would be my go to fitness tracking wearable. However, as an iPhone user Apple knows their market and how to keep their customers happy in their eco system. All of their products works in perfect sync and harmonies together when you own more than one of their devices. For example, I can use enabled fitness apps on my series 1 iWatch such as the AutoSleep App that syncs with the app on my phone to see all of the details that my watch has tracked. This is typical of most fitness trackers, but the information available on the watch is more detailed than the limited 8-bit like Fitbit screen. I love the personalisation available for the Fitbit, the Tom Ford accessories collection calls my name! The prices of them are similar to the lower budget iWatches, but I would be more inclined to spend the money on gold Fitbit hardware than a different colored strap. Ultimately, being the tech giant that Apple is, there is always an app for everything. Although it wont be all in one place, they all work with each other and I can connect them all up. So I will stick with my iWatch for now whilst I still have my iPhone and maybe I will end up unwilling shelling out the extra dosh for an upgrade, so all of my devices are more personalised.
Do you have a fitness tracker? Let me know all of your favourite ones in the comments!
Check out my review of the Apple Watch 1st Series here and see all my wearable tech posts here.
I ventured out on my first cruise with my mother as a birthday present. Here’s my experience and my top tips that I took away from the trip.
Our cruise was around the Greek Islands with P&O cruises on the Oceana ship at mid-June time.
It’s hard to miss the size of a full cruise ship. The P&O Oceana is a Sun-class cruise that holds up to 2272 people with 11 floors to explore. The size standing next to it at port just took my breath away, but nothing prepared me for what the interior was like. I was in awe of the décor and it literally felt like a three story building when you step into the foyer. You almost completely forget you are on a ship until you venture out on to the deck where there’s enough room to share sun bathing space with all the other sun worshippers on board. There was even a small shopping mall inside with several shops! I was a regular at the jewelry store that stocked local finds wherever we docked. They had all of the latest designs at amazingly affordable prices.
I would definitely recommend paying an extra £100 pp for a twin bed room for a port window, especially if you’re nervous about sea sickness and also for a first time cruise. I wanted to be able to see the sights when we were moving or docked, even if it was just sea for two of the days in a row! My mother is a natural at sea and rarely ever gets sea sick, but having felt it myself before. I didn’t chance it and packed sea/motion sickness tablets with me just in case. Thankfully I did because the seas were quite rocky for two of the nights!
There’s an all day buffet available that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and always has something different each day. My favorite was the occasional BBQ they had outside when we were at sea and even included entertainment by the pools whilst you feasted! For the last night we indulged and paid extra for a Italian dinner at Café Jadin.
Sports and Spa
I highly recommend adding on the option of a realigning Pilates class or relaxing yoga class followed by a spa package whilst you’re cruising away. I adds a luxury touch to your cruise experience and I took advantage of the spa exclusive packages when they had a talk where we were able to trial all of the stocked Elemis products.
Every night is a different themed night and adds a splash of fun to your evening dinners. For the black tie night, we glammed up and chose to share a table to meet others on the ship. We met some wonderful people and shared the tastiest food! I think people are almost forced to be overtly friendly not only because you’re stuck with them for the whole trip but also the crew on the ship that you interact with everyday always have their customer service A game. So it highly influencing, but makes for a wonderful atmosphere. It made it a lot easier being on a floating island for a few days!
Top tips for next time
It’s easy to over pack for all of the themed nights and exploration attire. But if you can, board from a port rather than taking a plane out. This way you have a lot more or even limitless luggage allowance, always check with your agent first!
I couldn’t live without sunscreen and my facial mist from Garnier with SPF 30 in it. The sun was out every day (except for Mykonos! Which I vow I will give another chance!) and it was a lot easier to burn when you’re sunbathing at sea.
Pre book excursions in advance. You can take advantage of the savings and even if the excursion doesn’t go ahead on the day, you get the money refunded back to you.
If you can, bring some bottles of your own water or take advantage of the water bottle package on the first night. Although there is a water dispenser you are able to use at the buffet, due to hygiene reasons, you should not use this to refill your bottles! Hygiene is important on board and hand sanitizers are available at the entrance of all food areas. Tummy bugs are easily spread in a close environment, so don’t chance it!
Spending can get away from you sometimes as drinks are extras and hitting the on board boutiques makes you feel like you’re not spending any money when you just sign your room number! Everything is charged at the end of your cruise and you get the long bill to pay either by card or cash.
There are many other great tips and helpful advice about on board tipping digressions and health and safety, including emergency information and drills. Always be in the know of these and it will make your cruise more relaxing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at sea and at the Greek islands of Mykonos, Athens, Sarande and Katakolon! I would definitely have loved to explore Malta more than just the airport and port next time, but I’m already looking at a Caribbean cruise for my next trip! Cruises are a great way of getting a feel and quick overview of different locations. It was a great insight of the Greek islands and now I know which islands I would like to go back to holiday at for longer, like Sarande and it’s cosy village! With the wonderful crew service and daily activities, I can see why it’s a potential retirement plan!
After a bit of a break from delivering wearable tech workshops, I got back into the groove and created more wearable tech fashion projects! This time, I made a colour sensor flower accessory!
Women of Wearables co-founder, Michelle Hua had experience with a colour sensor by making the Adafruit Chameleon Scarf so we came up with the idea of making a detachable colour sensor flower accessory!
The brooch involves a colour sensor and two LEDs. After applying code to the flora microcontroller, I chose my favourite colour (red) and placed it on top of the sensor to pick up the colour. After three seconds, the exact colour transferred to the LEDs!
Having worked with Adafruit’s kit before, I knew to make sure the arrows all pointed the right way, away from the Flora microcontroller and all the connections were correctly sewn. Using the skills I picked up from my previous wearable tech fashion projects, I had to make sure all the conductive thread connections must not overlap and short circuit. This knowledge also helped me lay out the circuitry before starting to make it as compact as possible because the colour sensor is very small. And, a good little space saving trick was tucking the battery behind the Flora and ensuring the battery could be removed to be recharged.
We wanted to make the flower accessory as versatile as possible because as fashionable women, we love to accessorise! What can be a brooch could be attached to a belt, a bag, your hair or even your wrist! The sky is the limit when you want to be creative and personalise your wardrobe to make it as stylish as possible.
The best thing about the colour sensor is that you can change the colour of the LEDs to match your outfit!
I found that the primary colours tend to be the brightest, ensuring we get the right lighting and shade when scanning the colour. This is due to the RGB nature of an LED, as it uses red, green and blue lights to create it’s colours. However, this makes experimenting with the colours more fun! You can enhance the brightness by using more kit however that would mean buying more electronics. So, we diffused the light with fabric instead. After testing different fabrics, we found that the more polyester content the better because the shiny properties of a polyester fabric would reflect the light a lot more, making it look brighter!
I’ve styled it up for a wedding attire, but you can also dress it up or down, and decorate it however you like! We are exploring ideas for our next project of an interactive light up skirt to complete our wearable tech fashion outfit!
DIY LED Light up shoes
You can check out all our projects including a light up bracelet, self lighting bag, UV sensor hat and our light up shoes here!
If you would like to learn how to create your own wearable tech projects, contact us at email@example.com.
I’m a self confessed gymbunny because I aim to go to the gym daily and I bloody love it. Even when I’m away from my home gym I hunt down the closest chain and pop in after a days work. So here a few things I’ve picked up after almost half a year of enjoying a healthier lifestyle.
1) Gymbunnies sweat – so you gotta wash everything more reguarly. This includes your hair! All that talk about stripping your hair of its natural oils go out the window. When you work out you sweat from every pore, even more so from your scalp because of all of that hair. So avoid the hairline pimples and give it a clean!
2) You need two yoga mats – the gym floors tend to be super hard being solid floorboards, so double up your yoga mat. It gets uncomfortable real quick if your rolling on your back in Pilates or holding poses that put a lot of pressure on your knees/arm joints, so a little extra padding goes a long way. You can concentrate more on the routine at hand than the pain going through your knees during a Sun Salutation.
3) Always have a hair tie handy – There’s nothing chic about sweaty hair for a gymbunny! I throw a few extras in my gym bag for the days I forget, but a large hair clip doesn’t quite do it when you’re jumping around. I normally use a huge clamp clip to avoid the kinks when I whack my hair back, but it doesnt hold your hair when you’re doing a stint of cardio or hanging onto the barre in body barre.
4) Keep the flip flops handy – the thought of walking around barefoot around the pool and shower areas grosses me out, so reduce your chances of getting a varruca and keep a pair of flip flops handy. I wear mine and leave them with my towel by the pool when I fancy a swim.
5) You probably need to take a step further back for lunges – I started off quite meek with my strides for my lunges and realised I wasn’t working the right muscles and just putting pressure on my knees. So now I always keep a check on my form and take a bigger stride. If they’re not at 90 deg when you bend down, you’re not doing it right!
6) If it hurts, stop – a work out should be challenging and tiring, not painful in the sense that you’re hurting. That means you could be doing something wrong or you need to take it easy. Tune in with how your body is before you start a workout, are your joints feeling okay today? If not take it easy, you don’t want to aggravate an injury.
7) It’s okay to miss a day – motivation is hard at first but you need to make it easier for yourself to love the gym in the first place, check out my last gym post for a pep talk here. If I’m not feeling it one day because a favourite class isn’t on that day and the thought of running brings tears to my eyes, I just say I’ll take that day off. Simple as! There’s always another class I can choose to go to the next day thankfully.
8) But don’t be a lazy gymbunny – take a rest when you need one, but don’t make excuses. If you’re down and out with the flu then recover before you smash it at the gym again!
9) Cheat your brain into running for longer – when I’ve missed the cardio classes for the week I’d have to bribe myself to have a quick run by watching a Youtube video. Distracting your attention from just starting at the gym wall when you run will make you focus less on how boring it is and make you more likely to run for a little bit longer.
10) Have fun – another way of gathering some motivation to hit the gym is to enjoy your workouts. Everyone has their own little fun bits in the day so make it yours!
I also tried to subtly get that Easter bunny in there, could you tell??
Let your inner gymbunny shine!
Do you have any great tips and advice for enjoying the gym more? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter @RinnibooUK
This was my first time pitching for funding that I found after we were approached by Debbie to host a wearables workshop for her students! I hope you pick up some great tips of confidence for speaking to a crowd and pitching.
CEO, Debbie Edwards of FDisrupters, a start-up in Liverpool approached Women of Wearables to deliver our wearable tech workshop. The goal was to inspire 11 young girls aged 14-18 in her 14 week pilot program of workshops on confidence, self belief and tech skills.
As with most challenges start-ups face, Debbie was waiting for funding to enable us to deliver our workshops.
Our Wearable Tech Assistant, Rachael Yeung from Liverpool used her initiative and discovered a funding avenue through Awesome Liverpool.
Awesome Liverpool is a chapter of the Awesome Foundation. It is an ever-growing worldwide community devoted to forwarding the interest of awesome globally. Established in 2009 in Boston, the Foundation distributes $1000 grants to projects and creators.
In the UK, it is £500 and the money comes from 10 local Trustees who each put in £50 in a kitty for allocation each month.
There are 87 chapters in 20 countries world wide and disappointingly, there is only 1 chapter in the UK. But that’s why I think it’s fittingly called Awesome Liverpool.
After we secretly submitted an online form answering a series of questions about the brief on delivering a wearable tech workshop for FDisrupters and ensured that it fit the criteria of:
1. Solves a problem
2. Has a budget
3. Keeping it local and most importantly,
4. Bringing joy
we were shortlisted in the top 3 after 70 applicants had submitted!
Read the whole blog post on the Women of Wearables website here!