10 things to love about Lanzarote

Hello people of the world wide web! It’s been a while, I know. I am rubbish at blogging, I know. Life has taken over as per usual. Updating my laptop not long ago, I went through some old-ish un-edited photos from my travels and oh man there is enough to provide content for years and years ahead (decades maybe, considering my blogging frequency). I may as well put them on that dusty forgotten website of mine, I thought.

At the end of last summer, after two months filled with festivals and work events, Red Bull Air Race travels, a cheeky escape to an undiscovered bay in Croatia and a quick semi-business trip to the UK extended into a cheeky few days in Devon, I was desperate to go surfing. Don’t get me wrong, Devon was just as lovely as it always is, but waves-wise not much happened. And even though we tried our hardest looking for landlocked surfing solutions here in Prague, wake surfing doesn’t quite do the job.

A combination of a quick phone call, crazy cheap flights and a few spontaneous decisions made a very last minute trip to Lanzarote happen. I never really knew much about the Canary Islands and I didn’t really google anything prior to our arrival. The plan was to just rent a car, rent surfboards and go and explore. Little did I know the island had so much to offer. These are my 10 favourite things about Lanzarote:

1. Cacti

If you’re a cacti freak like myself (yes there are people obsessed with cacti in this world), Lanzarote might be your dream destination. They are everywhere, they are majestic, elegant and oh so aesthetic. I couldn’t quite photograph every single one I secretly fell in love with, but here are some.

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2. Architecture

Lanzarote’s architecture is very specific due to the influence of César Manrique, artist and architect responsible for regulations on the height and colours of buildings built on the island (Bali might want to get inspired here). Therefore nearly none of the buildings are taller than the palm trees and most houses are bright white colour with green or blue window sills. If you’re really into architecture and arts, I recommend visiting Manrique’s house Fundación in Tahiche or the museum in Jameos del Agua.

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3. Volcanoes

The island of Lanzarote apparently has so much hard lava on it that every single human being on this planet could take 50kg of it. It is very much of a Moonland, hardly any plants would survive the dry and windy climate. This creates a very unique Mars-like landscape with reddish, grey and black colour scheme. You could take billion pictures and still be amazed by how beautiful, peaceful yet mysterious Lanzarote’s landscape is.

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4. Creepy Teguise toy garden

On our way to a traditional Saturday market in Teguise we walked past a random creepy garden. If you’re not into weird semi-destroyed toys, headless Barbie dolls and bleeding teddy bears this may not be your cup of tea, but I found it rather fascinating.

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5. Food

I have no photographic evidence of the delicious food Lanzarote has to offer (most probably because I eat like a baby dinosaur and no meal can ever stay on my plate long enough to take a picture of it). Let me just tell you all about it then. Our favourite spot was definitely a place called “La Cantina” in Teguise. Lots and lots of organic goodness, amazing cheese platter with tasty fig jam, delicious sweet potato fries, traditional Spanish cured meat (not for me, gracias!) and oh dear lord the Sangria!!! Me gusta!!!

6. Beaches and waves

Lanzarote is definitely not the easiest spot to figure out when it comes to surfing. Without the very precious local knowledge (muchas gracias Gony and Josh!) I would be stuck at Famara beach (on a bigger day suitable for intermediate level, beginner friendly on a small day) the entire time. Luckily the boys advised me on nearly all the spots around the island, so we did lots of exploring and wave hunting. The first few days were ridiculously big and scary, but slowly but surely it got better (or maybe we just grew some balls out of pure surf deprivation haha). La Santa left was definitely my favourite wave, reminding me of my favourite spot in Bali. I had a really good surf there on our last two days (nevermind hitting the razor sharp lava rocks on my way in and scraping my entire body whilst being late for our flight back – you gotta love your top sticking to you with dried blood on a 6 hour flight haha!). We also surfed on the east coast a few times (white beaches – turquoise water), tried San Juan and failed (hit the rocks for the first time and bruised my shoulder), surfed different parts of Famara beach every day and nearly attempted to surf Punta Mujeres, but luckily didn’t as the waves were mahoosive. Lanzarote definitely isn’t a beginner friendly island, apart from Famara beach so if you’re thinking of a learner’s trip, perhaps try other places. Once you get the swell-wind-tide balance right it is dreamy though! I loved La Santa but seeing what happened a few weeks after we left left me speechless.

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7. Cute little villages and the people of Lanzarote

Every single little village in Lanzarote left me speechless. Typical hispanic atmosphere mixed in with a lot more relaxed and peaceful vibe of the volcanic island made for a very interesting combination. People of Lanzarote are beautiful, with dark eyes, olive skin and wrinkles that could tell stories. There is a large expat community in Lanzarote and friends of friends took care of us and showed us the party side of the island life as well which felt refreshing after days and days of chasing waves.

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8. This natural pool

Here’s a little pool located in a sleepy little village on the east coast. I loved it. I loved the old ladies swimming and chatting for ages. I couldn’t stop staring at them and taking pictures whilst sipping an espresso bought in a local supermercado.

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9. This sunset

On our first night, the sunset was unbelievable. I didn’t have my camera on me and of course the following days it wasn’t quite as spectacular but still… Did you know that the volcanic ash can inject millions of tonnes of dust into the stratosphere and produce vivid sunset and twilight effects? Learn something new every day they say!

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10. The adventures

Lanzarote is an epic place for adventures. Most of our days were spent wave hunting but we did sneak some dry-land activities in too. One day we even went caving (with no guide, no torches, no actual caving equipment) and it was great (and slightly claustrophobic) fun. No adventure would be an epic adventure without radical humans to adventure with though. Muchas gracias amigos, muchas gracias Lanzarote.

xx Pets

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The definition of home

Oh hello 2017!

What an interesting year 2016 was. Even though it had been all sorts of bizarre on the global politics level, I don’t really want to get into that (I’m sure you’ve heard enough Brexit/Trump rants over the past twelve+ months). 2016 was a year of losing a dear friend, a year of making new friends, a year of unexpected travels and discoveries, a year of great success and growth, a year of hard anxiety battles, a year of an amazing fundraising campaign and last but not least a year or adventures, fun and laughter. And even though I am not much of a New Year, New Me type of a person, it does feel good starting fresh again. I don’t really have any new year’s resolutions as I probably wouldn’t stick to them anyway. I try to live a healthy sustainable life as it is (with the occasional YouTube binge watching session including a bottle of wine, chocolate and crisps). I try to keep active and have no significant bad habits I’d need to try giving up. So the only potential resolution of mine is to be more creative.

Working in a creative field one would have thought the last thing you need is more creativity. You do though. There is never enough creativity in life. And I don’t mean come-home-from-work-and-paint-an-entire-mural type of creativity, but just general little life hacks that make your days a bit more exciting. Creativity in cooking, dressing, giving presents or travelling. My favourite yet very neglected creative outlet is this little online space of mine. I have never really thought much about the “power” of putting thoughts out on the Interweb up until recently. Casually playing a game of pool with a very dear friend of mine, I listened to a story of how she met her bae, whom she’s about to go travel the world with. Believe it or not, they started talking after she shared my blog post on her Facebook wall and he reacted to it and started a conversation on the topic. It made me oh so happy that just a silly little semi-depressed ramble of mine could spark conversations and connect people. Crazy! So here I am – determined to make a lot more effort with sharing thoughts, travels, pictures, jokes and memories (exciting travels and fun times planned starting in February, yeew!). So here we go!

Starting off with something I have been thinking about a lot lately. The definition of home. Just after Christmas I took off to visit a place that is quite possibly the closest to my heart. Perhaps it’s the combination of the sentiment of it being the first place I’ve ever surfed, the place I escaped to when I had no idea what I wanted to do in life yet everybody else seemed to have an idea. The place that had hosted me for three years and where I met people who have been so dear to me ever since. The place that takes your breath away no matter how many times you’ve seen it and where things stay exactly the same no matter how much time has passed. You guessed it right… I was on my way to Woolacombe, Devon. And even though I paid a quick visit to Wooly over the summer as a cheeky little stop-over on a work trip, I was still excited as ever. Even sat in the taxi on my way to the airport I had this funny feeling in my stomach – the feeling of going home. It felt just like back in 2011 when I would go see my family over Christmas and fly back to England just in time for New Year’s Eve party.

Long story short, it was just as wonderful as I expected. I brought a “South West newbie” with me and Devon put on quite a spectacular show. We spent hours and hours surfing every day (oh hello 6mm wetsuits, gloves and hoods), the sun was shining, the waves were dreamy, the coastline looked even more beautiful than I remembered. I got to see my lovely friends whom I missed like crazy (the thing you don’t realise until you’re chatting away for hours as if none of those years have passed), danced the night away on New Year’s Eve, walked my favourite walks (I missed you dearly Baggy Point!) and we even took a trip down to Cornwall to see Luke, the wonderful man who was there with me that critical morning in India and paid a cheeky trip to Bali and Prague in the following years (4 countries and counting Luke!). We stayed in the most beautiful house down in St Austell (the movie About Time might be a hint), made delicious pizzas from scratch and walked Kernow’s pretty beaches. Saying goodbye to the South West is never easy (and always teary) and it always makes me question the whole concept of feeling at home.

What exactly is home? Is it the house you grew up in? Is it your own place, the one you properly furbish and decorate yourself? Is it where you store your belongings? Is it your belongings? Is it a feeling you get in certain situations? Is it a person? Could it be all of the above?

I can’t seem to define home. My old beaten suitcase had been my home for years and years, travelling the world with me. My worn out Vans had been my home when climbing volcanos, crossing rivers and walking hundreds of miles on cobblestones in. Waking up in my childhood bed to my favourite breakfast prepared by my mum. Strong vegetable soup and plenty of blankets to wrap myself in when I am suffering through a sinus infection. Reading a book in the gardens of my sister’s summer house surrounded by the whole family. Climbing the mountains I grew up in. Lighting my favourite scented candle and practicing yoga in my flat in Prague. The hours and hours spent laughing and goofing about in the office every day. Driving down Jl Pantai Berawa to check out the waves first thing in the morning. Sunset coconuts on the beach after a surf session with all the Canggu gang. Surfing Combesgate until late hours of the evening and having a barbecue on Barricane beach right after. Walking down the beach to Putsborough  in the midst of English winter to grab a hot chocolate with way too much whipped cream for the walk back. The menu in my favourite little cafe that hasn’t changed a bit in the past 6 years just like the genuine heartfelt smile of the owner hasn’t. Rock pool exploring and seal-spotting along the coast. Having deep conversations and laughing at the silliest and grossest of jokes at the same time with a special someone. General presence of a special someone. All of the above makes me feel at home. People, places, scents, sounds. Could home be a feeling? Does home have a heartbeat?

But then… is home a temporary thing or is it eternal? What if the house you grew up in is no longer standing? What if that tropical little island of quiet and peace turned into a tourist trap throughout the years of your absence? What if that special someone who once made you feel eternally at home no longer does that for you? What if the feelings that once felt like home turned into memories? Is it safe to make a home in them?

Perhaps, there is no need for a definition of home. Perhaps it doesn’t need a geotag, it doesn’t need an address. Places change, feelings change, people come and go. Sometimes the departures are fatal and unfair. Sometimes the goodbyes are sensible, yet terrifying. Sometimes they’re healthy. Always, at all times, feeling at home should be a state of mind. A state of mind you feel happy and safe in. A state of mind that can sometimes be found in the safety of the known and familiar. Sometimes we find it in an escape. Sometimes we find it in ourselves and sometimes we find it in each other…

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Here is to 2017, being creative, travelling, working hard, having fun, exploring, adventures and feeling at home.

love always, Pets

(Poems and quotes are by Beau Taplin, a crazy inspiring author I always love coming back to. Photos are from our winter holiday to Devon. I doodled over them in an attempt to learn something new. Excuse the silliness.) 

 

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Stockholm Syndrome

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… is a psychological phenomenon first described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. [wikipedia]

I sure did feel like I was being held in hostage and was being shown an act of kindness at the time of my visit to Stockholm. Let me explain myself…

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About living and learning

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It sure has been a while! “She’s back to her good old non-blogging self” one would have thought. The truth is that since my last post life has been pretty full on. I entered 2016 with big changes awaiting me. Right at the start of the year I took up a role nothing in the world could ever prepare you for. The role of a parent. An adoptive mother of a six-year-old (no hidden baby bumps here!). He’s a babe. Fluffy, white with black spots, simply an all-round dreamy french bulldog. My days had transformed into a little bit of sleep (only if his snoring volume allowed me to sleep) in between walks and cuddles. Having a dog is the best technique of learning that I am in no way, shape or form ready to have a child despite the fact that I am only getting older.

I have also been (more or less) successfully juggling two jobs, one of which happens to be the best job in the world, with the best co-workers, boss and a studio/office. No need to say that the workaholic inside of me is having a whale of a time. Apart from work and puppy-sitting I have also managed to squeeze in a bit of social time, including exhausting wine-fueled nights, dance parties, admiring miss Ellie Goulding performing live and watching my husband-to-be Leo DiCaprio fight grizzlies in The Revenant (multiple times). Not much time to be pouring my heart onto the Interweb but fear not, my emotional babble is back!

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Festive season’s favourites

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As it is the fourth Advent Sunday today this will be the last one of my Advent Sunday special hyper-festive blog posts. Words can’t express how excited I am to have my family here to celebrate my favourite holiday together. I can’t wait to go ice-skating and drink mulled wine walking through the beautiful Christmas markets (if you haven’t been to Prague’s Old Town this time a year yet, you’re seriously missing out!). Let’s hope we get even the tiniest bit of snow! I remember last year it started snowing right in the middle of our annual festive ice-skating get together and it was oh ever so magical!

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It’s a wrap!

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So as you may have figured out by now, I am officially Christmas obsessed. Anything-festive-obsessed in fact! Perhaps I was an elf in my previous life? Or little Cindy Lou Who? Could I make Grinch love Christmas? Who knows.

It only makes sense that as soon as I bought my first Christmas presents this year, I couldn’t wait to wrap them. I felt antsy all day yesterday as I couldn’t wait to get home, get all comfy and start working on this year’s wrapping. Last year I went for a combination of classic brown parcel paper with natural and gold decorations (see the DIY post here), this year I decided to go a bit more festive and do gold and silver combination.

Tomorrow is the third Advent Sunday and there is one more festive blogpost I will be doing before Christmas. But now open this post to see how to wrap your presents in a super-festive-yet-aesthetically-pleasing design:

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‘Tis the season

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If you have been following my blog(s) for a while now, I am sure you know that I might be slightly obsessed with anything festive. It’s been a bit different this year as the weather has been absolutely glorious, sunny pretty much everyday and surprisingly warm so it is not exactly the usual pre-Christmas atmosphere.

I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet (crazyyy!) but together with my sister we have started decorating the house, baking and generally getting ready for the festive season (I even played my YouTube Christmas playlist today!). I decided to share my favourite Christmas diy and recipes with you, starting with a home-made Christmas wreath (could be an advent wreath as well) and traditional gingerbread cookies. Enjoy!

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Back to the island life

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On my way to Berlin about two weeks ago I got an e-mail inviting me to be a part of a press trip to the island of Crete. Naturally, being an islander at heart, I couldn’t say no. After I got back from Berlin I quickly charged my camera and put together a little pile of warmer climate clothes that has been stored in my “Bali” suitcases. The thin layer of snow and the negative temperatures on my way to the airport made it pretty clear to me that I was in for a treat. Next stop, Crete!

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Berlin Blues

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On Friday I headed off to Berlin for a premiere of surfing world’s most expected film – View From A Blue Moon by the absolute legend and the freak of nature that John Florence is (who apparently is not John John anymore… say what???). 

No need to say how epic the film is, you could have guessed it from the trailer. And trust me it gets even better. Go and watch it people, but make sure you have your bank card ready to book a surf trip somewhere tropical straight away. The premiere was organised by the guys from Hhonolulu events who did a great job as there was not a single empty spot in the house. Well done!

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The worst best idea

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I have had all sorts of bad ideas over the past 25 years of my life. Sometimes funny, sometimes silly, most of the time just utterly stupid. One time I thought it would be fun to cut my hair with nail scissors, next time I got dreadlocks (yes I did…) or I skipped school and went snowboarding in order to avoid chemistry test. It wasn’t until I was in a hospital chair being wheeled into an operating room I thought maybe I should have gone to school instead. The worst of all ideas was to take off one day and go explore the world. Yes you’re reading this right. The worst idea of all.

Why you may ask? It wasn’t until very recently I have realised. I used to think travelling was the best idea ever. And here I am pouring my heart out into the inter web as it seems to be the only suitable way of dealing with all these unknown emotions.

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