Someone to chase

This video popped up on my Facebook account the other day and it was so motivational and really hit home.

This is the whole clip as I am unable to edit it down! Something to learn! The video is from YouTube via Facebook!

If you don’t want to watch the whole clip, skip to 1:55 and watch from there!

In a nutshell, Matthew McConaughey needs three things every day:

  1. Someone/something to look up to
  2. Something/ someone to look forward to
  3. Someone to chase / a hero

The part that hit me most was the third thing he needs every day.

Someone to chase!

His story about the person who asked him who his hero was and he said: “me, in 10 years!”
This stopped me in my tracks…I thought about it… it made sense.

It made a lot of sense.

Throughout my twenties I remember telling my friends that if I grew up to be my mother I would be happy – She is independent, determined, she raised four successful children, she always made a plan, and she celebrated her 60th birthday at Everest base camp. Here was someone to chase…

I thought back to me at 26, I was working in London and looking for a way to see the world and be happier. To be more than I was, I was trying to be me now!

Even further back, at 16, I wanted more than the simple life in my hometown, I wanted adventure and wanted to see the world. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be more.

Now at 36, I realise that my mother inspires me, but I am chasing myself. She taught me the skills to chase myself to be more than I am today.
Using Matthew McConaughey 3 things, I have formulated my own:
1. My mother
2. My Family and friends
3. Me in 10 years

What are your 3 things to inspire you?

Who will I be in 10 years? Who will I want to be in 10 years?

Who will you be? Who are you chasing?



Charles Fort and Kinsale

Where do you call home?

Sometimes memories hit you in the strangest ways! You open an email with a link to the West Cork Times and voila – now you are homesick for Kinsale! I first travelled to Kinsale in 2008. Since then I travel there at least once a year to see my father who has retired to the small Irish village. It is now one of the few places I can happily call home!

Check out this awesome video from the West Cork Times:

I can’t wait to go to Kinsale!

Are you like me and many places you call home?

How to plan your packing for 3 months

How to plan your packing for a 3 month summer holiday - carikubeblog.wordpress.comBeing an international teacher means when it is holiday time I want to get out and see the world! This is a wonderful way to live. But when the term dates are changed, and I end up with three extra weeks holiday over the summer – two things happen:

  1. My colleagues and I become the most hated teachers’ on the planet, thanks to extra long summer vacation.
  2. I panic about how to pack for a three month holiday!

Three months is a long time – last summer I had 110 days and had to pack for a scuba volunteer project in a summer climate and winter with my mother. This summer I plan to travel around the UK and see some parts of Europe I haven’t seen yet (More on that in a later post). With the additional problem of taking some books back to the UK, as well as having to take my laptop, kindle and Ipad in my checked in baggage – the problem increased.  Even less space in my suitcase!

How do you pack for a long holiday?

My sister laughs at me, but I start with Pinterest – I have a board called Packing, that I pin all sorts of packing hacks, tips and methods. Recently, I have developed an interest in capsule wardrobes, I like the idea of a smaller wardrobe that makes more outfits. This will allow me to spend more money on travelling and fun stuff! Check out my Pinterest Board called Fashion for more details and ideas about capsule wardrobes.

My sister laughs at the way I start packing, I use a pencil and my Bullet Journal. This means I can pack anywhere even while on the bus waiting for the bank to open. I find that this method helps refine my thinking of which items I need – I can then pull out what is necessary and then add things I feel are necessary.  Or things I just have to take with me!

Steps to my slim line packing method:

  1. List the basics for clothes
  2. List extras that you might need to buy (this helps if you have limited space)
  3. List basics for toiletries (thanks to Boots and Superdrug I can pick up anything bulky like shampoo and conditioner!)
  4. List basics for makeup
  5. Once the basics are listed – lay everything out on the bed (this helps with colour coding and making sure everything matches).
  6. Pack it all – if it fits great! If it doesn’t – sorry high tops will have to only take the Converse!

My lists help me visualise what I might need and gives me an idea of what the basics are! Once, the items are out on the bed I can see what I have and add or remove items depending on my needs.


So how do you pack for a long holiday? Let me know your tips and tricks!


4 Great Ways to Make Coffee!

4 Great Ways to Make Coffee #greatcoffeemaking

How do you make coffee? I love coffee – particularly in the morning! Strangely, it’s not about the caffeine, I will happily drink a decaf coffee as long as it is good coffee and made well. Part of my morning routine revolves around the making and drinking of a good coffee. Here are some of my favourite coffee techniques!

Continue reading “4 Great Ways to Make Coffee!”

Letter to Steve

Dear Steve,

Yes, this is an actual letter! Well sort of, it’s the letter I have been meaning to write for ages!

Just before I set off on my Eastern European Extravaganza tour, I was concerned about all the eating and drinking that would be happening (I love food) over a six week period where staying in shape is tricky.After searching the infinite web, I landed on a site called

After searching the unlimited internet, I landed on a site called Nerd Fitness – I was intrigued! Yes, I am a nerd – I do like Zombies Run and have a complicated relationship with fitness. Of course, I was going to be interested. Gym bunnies and I just don’t think the same way.

Nerd Fitness has made some changes over the last few years, but its mission hasn’t changed only been focused. The first post I actually read – you can surf the site for ages looking for different things – was Do Something You Suck At.

That was back in June 2014, yes I have been following NF for a while.

The post was cool – the main picture was of Lego figures, and everyone loves Lego! It was simply about the new things that you (Steve Kamb) had tried out that week. It resonated. When had been the last time I had tried anything just for fun? One post leads to another and as I was actually searching for ways to stay fit while travelling I discovered a post called How to Stay in Shape while Travelling.  Which details your efforts to stay healthy while travelling. There were some key points and some interesting ideas. The fact that the post included pictures of you before your trip and after – you got bigger! Wow! I was impressed.

Three things I took away from your post:

  1. Stay active – walk where you can, work out where can
  2. Keep a routine – important for both fitness and sight seeing!
  3. Eat well – make the right choices, including salads and vegetables.

While you were travelling, you were using body weight exercises, and pull ups! I used walking and jogging – I love a fast walk around a park! If I could rent a bicycle, I did! I don’t like gyms and struggle to work out on my own I definitely prepare team sports!

Food – well it was an interesting journey for me because I love food, but after reading your tips on travelling and food, I found I was making better choices. Choosing high protein meals and although nothing in this universe will make me give up pasta or great bread, I did start eating fewer carbs. Or should I say more vegetables and fruit? I was choosing vegetables instead of rice or potatoes, and I loved it.

There is an option to sign up and pay for extra things – and this has changed a lot over the last few years – more towards a gaming platform to inspire and encourage people to get involved and be part of something bigger. The Nerd Fitness Academy includes mindset, meals and fitness modules with workout routines. The courses are self-paced which is great. I love that you even have a Nerd Fitness Yoga section too (also new in the last 2 years). I haven’t signed up for either yet partly because I want to do both but I also am getting what I need from the blog posts and free resources. Although every time I check out NF Yoga, I am tempted! Due mostly to the fact that there is no yoga near where I live! I think the blog is excellent and the tips and ideas are great – which I incorporate into my life (See Blink and you will miss it post), I love the body weight exercises although I do struggle with some of them – so I reduce those I need to and increase the ones I can. I am signed up to the Rebellion and even have my own password but I am only just starting to get into using it!

While it is a fitness site, Ned Fitness is so much more – it’s about regular people, getting advice and support on fitness, get stronger and living better lives filled with adventure and courage to find happiness. It incorporates geeky references and movie trivia, and I love the lego pictures and the Superhero work out’s (even though they are super tough!).

After I got back from my Eastern European Extravaganza I started on the Paleo Diet Food plan and focused on adding more vegetables and I slimmed down nearly 5 kilogrammes! As a teacher, I walk constantly, so incorporating more activity in my life has been tricky but using the hints and ideas from Nerd Fitness I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I am now 36 years old and looking to the future I want to be more! Yes, more of everything! Doing my masters and working full time and trying to include the fun things I enjoy is tricky but so far it is working all thanks to you, Steve! You and Nerd Fitness!

I am now 36 years old and looking to the future I want to be more! Yes, more of everything! Doing my masters and working full time and trying to include the fun things I enjoy is tricky but so far it is working all thanks to you, Steve! You and Nerd Fitness! I even started going to the gym with some friends and it was so much fun – sadly our busy lives and extra tutoring for saving scuppered that about two months but I am refocusing and respawning in order to ensure I continue to be healthy and get a bit fitter!

Thankfully NF has taught me that it’s 100% okay to fail as long as you brush of your failure and try again!

So I want to say a huge thank you to you, Steve and Nerd Fitness for helping me along my journey to lead a stronger and more adventurous life!

Many thanks,


PS. To anyone reading this post please leave a comment and check out the links embeded in this post – and if you haven’t already check out Nerd Fitness!

Rule #1

Blink and you will miss it!

Life is the biggest distraction – suddenly it’s two years later!

As a child we often get told not to wish to be grown up, at least my mum did. Now at nearly 37 years of age, I realised that like most things – mother knew best!

I was checking out my creative writing folder on one of my backup USB’s and “wow” – in some cases I have worked on any of my stories in YEARS and YEARS! Even my most planned piece was last updated in 2012, and others since 2002. So what was I doing creatively?


  • 2014 I documented my travels through this blog.
  • Attempted to learn the violin
  • Scuba diving
  • Traveled
  • Marine research volunteer in Madagascar
  • Traveled

Okay, okay, I did lots of travelling while living in the Land of Sand. I also started my Masters.

So I have done a lot, but I miss my creative writing, and I do miss it a lot. I feel that I blink and days or weeks disappear.

So April 11, 2017, is going to be my:

Respawning Day

Yes, just like in the games I love so much and rarely get to play, I am respawning from where I died… reloading a previous save! I feel no shame in re-spawning, it’s much more forward thinking than you realise. So you can’t kill the last dragon because you are (a) not strong enough, (b) you didn’t collect the Staff of Ages. Why spend hours grinding and getting frustrated? Respawn, reload, fix the problem! It works in Dragon Age and Mass Effect! So a big thank you must go to Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness who first introduced me to the idea that respawning in life is good! (More on my love and admiration for Steve and NF in the future.)


As the end of November rolls around, everyone starts talking about Halloween. Whether they are Christian or Muslim. I remember last year not really thinking about it! Having lived most of my life in the West, I look forward to the parties and dressing up. Though never quite experiencing the trick or treating that is so popular in the USA. I have found that the hype here in Saudi is over the top. The kids are all dressed up, talking about the parties and where they are going to trick or treat. For some it is up and down their apartment block, for others it’s around the compound. This all seems fine and dandy.

Until you remember that I live in Saudi Arabia, a very religious country where music, bikini’s, women driving and drinking is forbidden. Suddenly, children getting excited about a pagan celebration that celebrates the dead seems really strange and oddly worrying. Trying to have discussions with the older children is like talking to a brick wall – Halloween is about getting candy and wearing scary stuff – much like Christmas is about presents. 


Maybe it’s me being older, surely there’s more to it than that? 


Maybe I am looking at this in the wrong way? 

After all we all believe in different things and our beliefs colour our celebrations be they religious or secular. Perhaps the key thing to remember is that everyone is different and we all believe in different ways. 

So I should just don some over the top make up and head out for a laugh and look for a sugar high! 

The thing about coffee

imageimageLong, short, quick, instant, milky, foamy, cream or sugar….heck in Cambodia they even have it with condensed milk!

Coffee – like marmite you love it or hate it! No one can really say it is just ok! The options of how you have it are endless and each country has its on variation and style.

My morning brew is usually an extra large latte of something strong. The last one was a spicy Sumatran while the current is a Strong African blend. 1/2 coffee, 1/2 milk with a dash of foam – allowing for maximum enjoyment on the school bus. imageI own an imageespresso machine which make much better coffee than instant which just seems so thin.

Sadly I am limited to 1 extra large coffee per day otherwise the caffeine overwhelmed me and I get hyper and a hyper teacher plus hyper children is a bad mix!

So I enjoy it on the ride to work or before the bus ride. My biggest problem when it comes to coffee is that I am incapable of keeping a travel mug alive for more than a couple of months. In the last year I have been through a cheap one, metal one, several expressive plastic ones. I drop them, leave them on buses, tubes, trains. There is nothing more frustrating than getting of a train or tube and realising your coffee is still of the train! Then trying to get back and have the doors slam in your face and watching your coffee disappear into the distance!

I usually console myself with mug shopping  and if I am in London, a trip to Broad Street market in Hackney for my favourite brew of all time. Filtered Monsoon Malabar with thick cream and a dash of sugar!

                               Yum, Yum.

People I’d love to meet…

Work – life balance

  Everyone yells: work – life balance!

You must do it this way, no do it that way! I have tried several different way to organise my life better.

20141024_055830Lists – Easier way to organise the day, write everything on it and get stressed because you haven’t done half the list by the end of the day. I am a great list writer but also a great procrastinator. So I just put it off till tomorrow.20141024_060726

Franklin Covey Lists – List everything of the day/ week then label each item A for must get done today. B for should get done today but end of the weekend is good. C for anything that could get done today but in two weeks is fine too. This allows you to cross of small things that you do while doing others and gives you a much shorter list that must get done. I got this out of Franklin Covey’s “Time and life management” book and use it all the time even if I don’t letter or number the items. This is really good for deadlines and to fit into your day.

20141024_060311The Wheel of life – An old boss introduced me to this when I was stressed out that I wasn’t doing any of the things I really enjoy doing. The method is simple and allows you to see which area of your life you need to work on. I either choose 6 – 8 segments as it covers most of the topics I am interested in e.g. work/ career, healthy eating, exercise, hobbies and creative. Then you simple colour the wedges up to to how happy or how much time you spend on each. Really good to see what you need to spend more time doing but not so good for planning your week.

In my adult life I have tried many different ways to get the perfect work life balance.

I have discovered:

If you are happy then your work life balance is good.

So what if you work all the time! Are you happy?

Yes – great, No – fix it!

You like to do things on your own and don’t socialise much, are YOU happy?

Yes? Then it is working!

You play hard and hate your job – then you are in the wrong job.

Work is fine, life is expensive, the weather sucks? Try a new city!

I did and I am enjoying my life!

My advice to anyone who struggles with this, we all do at some stage or another, if figure out what it is you want to do more of and make small changes toward being happy.

What about the work – life – exercise balance? You ask.

Don’t ask me – I am still figuring that out!