“Creative Journaling for Mindfulness” – The full-length workshop in English

Hello everyone!

I am happy to announce that my workshop “Creative journaling for mindfulness” is finally available in English for purchase in streaming!

What is it?

It’s a 37-minute video-workshop that combines the creative process and the use of artistic techniques such as collage and scrapbooking with the concept of writing a personal diary, highlighting the benefits that these activities together can give to our mental well-being.

In an era dominated by the digital, when moments and memories are entrusted to social media, to the point that they become less and less concrete and tangible, this workshop will bring you back to the concept of recording thoughts and moments on a physical diary. And you will do it creatively, learning and applying artistic techniques that will make your diary a real and personal work of art. But that’s not all. You will learn to savour the creative moment and to rediscover a connection with the present moment. I will suggest exercises and ways to use your creative diary to improve your mental health, if for example you suffer from anxiety or if your mind struggles to find concentration or motivation.

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The video-workshop is divided into three sections:

1) Materials and Glossary, with tips and tutorials to create a collection of items to use for your creations;
2) The Creative Zone, where we will see in detail how to compose your creative diary;
3) Creative Diary and Mindfulness: how to use the diary for your mental well-being.

Total duration: 37 min.

How can I purchase it?

You can now benefit of the 50% Winter promotion and buy the workshop for only 10 £ instead of 20! You just need to send an email of request to carlopavan79@gmail.com . I will reply with all the details for your payment via Paypal or online banking, following which you will receive the exclusive link to the full workshop video, that you can stream as many times as you want 🙂

“Creative journaling for mindfulness” is waiting for you! Buy it now and recommend it to your friends!

Thank you!

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Homeowning

Hi everyone!

I’m on a train to Bruges at the moment and I’ve finally found some time to write, after being away for more than a month (sorry!), swallowed by my life basically. What happened in the past busy month? First of all, this blog turned one year old (yay! virtual prosecco for all my followers).

But the biggest news is a personal milestone I’ve finally achieved: [drumroll…………] I’ve bought a house! Well, a flat actually, not an entire building, which in London is already a pretty big thing. But yes, I’m officially an adult with a mortgage, scared and excited. I know that most travel&lifestyle bloggers prefer to have a more nomad life and flexible bases, and I thought about it a lot… coming to the conclusion that for me it was very important to stop wasting money on rent, making landlords rich and having to deal with ridiculous letting agencies (and having to argue because they wanted to charge us 334 £ to change a toilet lid that was cracked. Yep, 334 £, true story. Not even in the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi I’ve seen toilet lids worth 334 £). I wanted to start investing in something more solid for my future. Plus, my partner and I really wanted to have a house to call our own and we felt this was the right time.

The past year has been dedicated to this project entirely. Saving money was a priority: after a delightful contract on board SilverCloud I had to put my performing on hold and commit to a more regular day job (aaaaaargh….). I had to find ingenious ways to live, eat, go out, even have holidays on a budget. I’ve switched to a capsule wardrobe, minimising and optimising the purchase of clothes. I’ve mastered a shopping list template that allows me to buy groceries for an entire week for two people spending less than 30£, salmon fillets included. I’ve cooked nice and healthy meals to take to work, so that I could cut extra costs (and extra carbs). I bought an insulated flask and started preparing my coffee at home, with my beloved Italian moka espresso machine (saving a minimum of 2,70£ a day). This was the best part, but it was tough at times. I had to constantly remind myself that I was working towards a goal, and that sacrifice was only a temporary and necessary step.

And here we are, all settled in our new place, having a fresh new start. I feel a bit tired and overwhelmed by emotions, but at the same time I’m happy and energised. We still don’t have Internet connection at home (we live in a brand new development and the works for the fibre broadband are delaying a bit), but I think I’ll use the local library to have my blog work done. I need to get back in the game, and after this important milestone there’s so much more I want to achieve, personally. Things I want to do, places I want to go, best versions of me I want to be. But first, I’d better put up the curtains on the bedroom window, because I’m currently sleeping with a black t-shirt wrapped around my eyes like I had been kidnapped by a dodgy gang in Tijuana.

See you all soon!

 

 

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Celebrating Chinese New Year 2018 in London!

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Well, the Dog Days may be over, as Florence & The Machine claim, but the Year of The Dog has instead just started! This weekend, London celebrated Chinese New Year 2018 with a series of colourful and sensational events that took place mainly between Chinatown, Soho and Trafalgar Square, including the famous traditional parade where all the Chinese folklore takes centre stage.

London’s Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration outside Asia, attracting around 700000 people, so it’s quite an unmissable event! Restaurants in the Chinatown area, along with street food stalls, give the visitors the best of Chinese cuisine, and the streets become a precious light tapestry of red lanterns and dragons, a real feast for your eyes.

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The Chinese Year follows the traditional animal zodiac, which cyclically repeats 12 animals (and their attributes): Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. This year we celebrate the Year of The Dog, and the attribute of Fidelity.

So, Happy Year of The Dog everyone!

 

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Bonfire Night 2017 in Blackheath

Hi everyone!

Every 5th of November London celebrates Bonfire Night a British tradition that jumps back in time to 1605, when the Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament (with his infamous Gunpowder Plot). The plot failed and King James I was safe on his throne. The event is celebrated every year with bonfires and fireworks displays in various parts of London (Battersea, Victoria Park, Southwark…).

Last night I attended the celebrations in Blackheath, where the Lewisham council organizes one of the biggest firework display in London. The event takes place in the large outdoor space around All Saints Church: a fun fair is open from midday and food stalls and bars keep you fed and happy until late in the evening (the beautiful firework display starts at 8 p.m. and lasts about 25 minutes). It’s one of the best free-entry Bonfire events in London, but make sure you donate, even a small fee to the guys that walk around with buckets, to keep this tradition open and free for the years to come.

Here’s some of the pictures I’ve managed to take from last night. It was nice, fun and freezing cold! I’ve basically skipped last winter entirely because I was working on SilverCloud in Africa, so i guess I just need to re-adjust to the British winter weather 😀 I’ve spent the night looking for a food stall that served mulled wine, but my pursuit failed miserably… I’ve ended the lovely night eating an overpriced but, to be fair, over-delicious pot of hot fried churros with sugar, cinnamon and chocolate cream on top.

Now that the Christmas season is approaching I will attend London’s most unmissable events and I’ll make sure I document them fully for you Wanderers 😉

Stay tuned!

 

Photodiary of a weekend in Bath

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Some weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend a lovely weekend (despite the weather, it basically rained the whole freaking time) with friends in Bath, in the countryside region of Somerset (UK). It’s the perfect weekend getaway from London! Easily reachable via train (but we went by car, which is cheaper and gives you more freedom of course), Bath is famous for its natural hot springs and it still preserves a bath system built by the Romans in the 2nd Century! And every thing that the city has to offer is within walking distance from the station and from the main street. This is a photo-diary of those two days, enjoy and… go visit Bath!

The river Avon, which crosses the city and has a walkable promenade.

Parade Gardens, with a beautiful flower sculpture dedicated to the novelist Jane Austen, who spent in Bath five important years of her life and career. At 40 Gay Street you can even visit the Jane Austen Centre, a picturesque permanent exhibition where you can go back in time to the beginning of the 19th Century.

IMG_20170725_075549_831If you like whiskey you can’t miss this place called The Hideout, a stone-walled bar for real connoisseurs, with a warm and friendly atmosphere!

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Bath Abbey and the Pump Room, where you can have a good afternoon tea right next the Roman Baths.

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The experience of the Roman Baths is a must-do, especially in the evening when the torch lights enhance the magic of that place. The path describes very well the everyday life of the Romans, and you can see perfectly preserved objects and architectural structures. A company of actors recreate scenes from the Roman age and accompany the tourists on their walk.

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We stopped at Boston Tea Party for cakes, coffee and herbal tea, and it was very nice!

More views of the city, walking towards The Circus. The umbrellas installation is located just inside Southgate Shopping Center (Southgate St, Bath BA1 1AQ).

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Dinner time! Probably because of the Roman origin, Bath is full of Italian restaurants 😀 We chose Nonna’s Cucina Italiana, very stylish place and delicious food! I had Insalata di Mare (seafood salad) as starter, and a rich mushroom risotto, all accompanied by an Apulian wine called Primitivo. Highly recommended if you fancy an Italian dinner!

The morning after we had a good breakfast at Rosarios, and then we visited the Victoria Art Gallery . We crossed Pulteney Bridge and we went exploring the other side.

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We stumbled upon a rugby field! I thought it was a croquet field. I’ve never been too good at sports.

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What a great surprise was The Holburne Museum! Full of art and antiques, with a gorgeous park attached. We had a nice wander through the building and enjoyed the green surroundings… and we got caught in the rain again!

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I definitely want to visit Bath again soon. Probably in springtime, hoping to find a drier weather 🙂 On my bucket list for next Bath weekend:

  • Experience the open-air rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa
  • Visit Alexandra Park for more spectacular views
  • Have a traditional full afternoon tea

and….

…visit Stonehenge on the way back to London (this time it wasn’t possible due to limited time)!

Have you been in Bath? What are your favourite spots? And what do you suggest for my next trip?

 

Lisbon: a tale of love and life portrayed on blue tiles

 

Lisbon is always a good idea. I’ve just come back from the third Portuguese holiday of my life and it confirmed my thoughts firmly. Lisbon welcomes you wrapping its warm and strong arms around you, then it takes your hands, looks into your eyes with a cheeky grin and spins you in a twirl, before taking you out for one of those fresh, magic summer nights that you would never want to end.

“It’s the weather. It’s always sunny and that reflects on people, people are nice” says Ricardo, who grew up in Lisbon before moving to London fourteen years ago. “It’s the display of the city, it’s old and new at the same time and these two aspects seem to cohabit perfectly with each other”. Like a song by Ana Moura, that’s what I think while he continues talking about his hometown. “Lisbon is a capital, but you can still relax… It’s not overcrowded with people in constant rush, numbed by their daily routines, and the pace is much slower than London…”.

That’s exactly the first impression that strikes when we get off the train in Cais do Sodré, once we manage to leave the station full of vacationers heading to the beach at this time of the year, and while we walk on the lush promenade along the riverside. The area has been renovated in the past five years and now it’s the perfect stroll path to enjoy the sun, the drinks and the suggestive view of the bridge, before arriving to the spacious and central Praça do Comércio.

Passed the Arco de Rua Augusta you are ready to see the core of Lisbon, walking on the beautiful cobbled streets and enjoying the colourful tiled facades of the buildings. The traditional Portuguese tiles used to decorate public and private spaces since the 13th century are called azulejos, from the word “azul” (the colour blue, dominant tone of the tiles).

On the left you’ll soon meet the imponent Elevador de Santa Justa, a big metal elevator designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel: it connects the “low” part of Lisbon to Largo Do Carmo, in the Bairro Alto district. Arriving to the gigantic square of Rossio you can see, on the right hand side from a distance, the beautiful Castelo de São Jorge. Rossio is paved with black and white cobbles in a wave pattern, which brings my mind back to when I was in Rio De Janeiro, walking along the coast of Copacabana. The decor of pavements and buildings in Lisbon is so unique, and it certainly plays a big role in making this city memorable, together with other elements like the traditional trams on railway, the radiant bouganvillea plants, the old shops selling salted codfish and sardines, the pastelarias (bakeries and pastry shops, pure heaven for a sweet tooth like me), the melancholic fado music that echoes from cafes in the evening… Well I could go on for pages and pages, but instead I will let some of the pictures I’ve taken do the talking.

One of my favourite places in Lisbon is surely Alfama. Probably the oldest part of the city, it miracolously survived the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake, managing to mantain all its pitoresque beauty: with its narrow streets and white houses and stairways it reminds you of some Greek island or South-Italian village, but still has its own special feel. One of the best areas to stroll and shop for wonderful pieces of local craft. The little shops and ateliers will delight your eyes with gorgeous pottery, azulejos, art prints and blown glass creations. Do like I did: buy yourself a beautiful red fish made of glass. (Don’t do like I did: don’t break it while you’re doing the dusting at home because you’re clumsy like an elephant smeared with butter on a crystal stepladder). Around the 13th of june, when Lisbon celebrates St. Anthony, Alfama’s streets are decorated with multicoloured buntings and you can indulge in lovely street food (don’t forget to try the grlled sardines, one of the typical specialities of Portoguese cuisine). This part of the city is ideal to experience the fascinating world of fado music. I suggest you to have a nice dinner at a “casa do fado” and even if you don’t speak Portuguese I’m sure you’ll go home at night singing a couple of those tunes you’ll hear, guaranteed! But before dinner, don’t forget to enjoy a stunning view on the city from the Miradouro da Graça.

My Portuguese holiday included some other places, at a reasonable distance from Lisbon, really worth seeing. Here we go!

Belem – It’s the area where you can have the most fresh and delicious pasteis de nata (see next post about Portuguese food)! Have a walk along the riverside and you’ll find the amazing monument called Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Take pictures from different angles, the results are always stunning! Climb to the top (there’s a lift actually) to take beautiful panoramic shots and enjoy the mosaics on the ground below. Don’t forget to visit the Tower of Belem and Geronimo’s Monastery if you have time between pasteis de natas. I barely had any. (Time, not pasteis de nata.)

Cascais – Take the train from Cais Do Sodré to reach this lovely summer retreat near Estoril. Visit the old Fortaleza and the Boca do Inferno (a cliff with an open cave in the rock formed by the ceaseless pounding of the Atlantic waves), enjoy the beauty of the views and stop in a cafe called “Sacolinha” for a lush breakfast with the best pastries and sweet treats ever! (Yes I know, sugary food again… Well, don’t forget to brush your teeth, kids.)

Sintra – Perched upon a hill, Sintra is a really fascinating city and UNESCO World Heritage Site: walking in its natural parks and gardens opens up your lungs and the views are spectacular. Visit the Moors Castle, and try a sandwich with presunto e queijo da Serra from the stalls of local products that you find in front of Palacio Nacional.

Obidos – If you have a car, go and visit this lovely village, home of the delicious ginjinha liquor (see next post)! Very suggestive especially in the evening, with an unmissable Medieval Fair occurring every summer between July and August, where you’ll see a real Palio at sunset, and you’ll drink sangria in characteristic clay mugs that you can take home with you! You’ll absolutely love the experience, guaranteed.

Well… I can’t wait for my Portuguese holiday number 4! This time, if everything goes according to my plans, I’m going to see the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 live! I will keep you updated with news! 🙂

One weekend ago in Rome

Last weekend was quite intense. Everytime I go back to Rome I get assaulted by an army of mixed emotions… My hometown squeezes my heart in its hand, it seduces me, it scares and surprises me, it makes my blood race and my forehead sweat… It makes me cry for what I’ve left behind and makes me understand what I’ve actually never left… It makes me anxious because I would like to see the people of my family happy and with no struggles… Rome feeds me high carbs until my belly aches and then sings to my sleep, just to wake me up all of a sudden with rays of sun that sting my eyes.

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So, what did I manage to do last weekend in the tiny space of those three very sunny days? First of all I had the pleasure and honour to be best man at my best friend’s wedding! Fabio tied the knot with the beautiful and lovely Cristina in the gorgeous scenery of Borgo Le Grazie in Manziana, a countryside borough near Bracciano. The wedding was perfectly planned and curated by Serena and her team at Italian Event Planners, here are some pictures so you can have an idea of the wonderful and detailed job that made this day even more memorable!

 

When I visit Rome I usually try and see as many friends as possible, running all over the city and grabbing a coffee with each of them (which makes my liver beg me to stop), but this time the available hours were definitely not enough. I managed anyway to see a bunch of the loveliest people, with some newborn additions as you can see in the pictures, and it really warmed my heart. Although I love my independent life in London, my Italian friends and family will always be that missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

 

My sister Silvia organised a brunch at her house for us three siblings and she decided to cook more than all the contestants of a season of Masterchef put together. Savoury muffins, baked pasticcio, gratin veggies, puff pastry twists, breaded chicken goujons, spinach and potato tarts, Ascolan olives… Carbs galore accompanied by prosecco, and after half an hour we became the humans of the last part of the movie Wall-E.

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Yes I’ve eaten a lot, but I’ve walked a lot too (oh, the sweet ethereal illusion that it could have possibly counterbalanced…)! It’s basically impossible too see Rome thoroughly in a week holiday, let alone having only one day and wanting to see the most of it, but if you are keen on walking until your Fitbit combusts spontaneously and enjoying practical and delicious street food instead of sitting down for lunch, then you’re ready to jump to the next post called…

Rome wasn’t walked in a day but f**k it I’m gonna bloody try.